May 25, 1917
I did make it back to my room last night but I remember nothing beyond the last stop at the verandah. It was after 11 in the morning before I made it down to the back kitchen. Annie’s opened up the summer kitchen out back, and I prefer to eat there than in the dining room. I had some late breakfast and coffee while Annie was cleaning up from earlier meals and starting to make lunch sandwiches. Shannon came in the back kitchen and said he got the cow to the barn. This is the cow they bought from Renfrew to replace the one that died about a month ago. It came on the morning freight train from Renfrew. It hadn’t calved yet. In about a week or so. Then Mowat Lodge would have once again a fresh stream of milk.
When Shannon was picking up the cow, he said he saw Winnie and Martin Blecher Jr. on the platform. She was taking the earliest train she could, the Third Class on the No. 571 freight train – the same train that the cow came on. Shannon said he was surprised to see Winnie with Martin but assumed she asked Martin to take her up to the station with his putt-putt boat. He goes up most mornings on Potter Creek to see the trains, so it wasn’t a stretch for Winnie to ask him for a ride. Their cottages are almost next door to each other.
Dr. MacCallum and the Crombies left today too. They took the 3:30 train, so they had their last lunch at the lodge, packed up and Shannon took them up with the hearse leaving around 2:45.
After having breakfast I went to the rooms. Dr. MacCallum was busy packing with his son Arthur. He was taking my two Northern Lights sketches and said he would deposit money in my account back in Toronto. Another sketch, he was going to drop off at Bill Beatty’s store at Scotia Junction. He said he was glad he came. He said he could take my other sketches down, if I wanted to. I told him they were at the Trainor cottage and fetching this at this very moment might not be a good idea. Upon learning that Winnie fled in such a rush, I was sure I would not be received well by her parents. I’d better wait a few days before I approached them. I needed to sort through them to see which ones I’d send down and I didn’t want her parents glowering over me. I figured I’d wait until Winnie came back up in the next couple of weeks and we could set things right again. I’ll write her a letter in the next couple of days.
Last night was still a haze for me. I remember Shannon giving me a bag to pack the remainder of my sketches. I brought them down to the Trainor cottage and left them on the porch by the door. After our exchange, I wanted Winnie to have them because I knew they could fetch a reasonable price, if need be. I figured they’d be worth between well more than $500 dollars, if she had to sell them. She had said I could leave them at the cottage for safekeeping. So I did, with the eventual intention of giving them to her if she needed the money. Despite what went on between Winnie and me, I felt the sketches were more secure there than if I left them with Shannon. He had a tendency of making things his own to sell. If a guest left something valuable behind, he would make little effort to reconcile it with its owner. Once someone left a gold watch behind. Shannon said he would keep it locked in the post office, until the owner sent a message for it. But the watch eventually disappeared. I’m sure my sketches would have the same fate. They should be safe at the Trainor cottage until I decide what to do with them. I’ll probably send them down to Toronto later on.
My poison oak is coming back. I have the red bumps on my forearms and I can feel it on my ankles. I got it years back and for some mysterious reason it comes back every year around this time even though I haven’t been close to any. It’s not as bad as the first time, but it’s a discomfort. The more worrying thing, is that when it comes back, it’s considered a bad omen. It means that something that’s not quite right is getting worse, not better. Annie says it’s because of bad spirits. And George Rowe, the resident medicinal expert, says the best cure for poison oak is horse liniment rubbed on the skin along with a good shot of whisky to flow through the blood. The combination of the two is the ‘magic cure’, he says. I’ll go down later today to see if he has the liniment. I’ll get the whisky from Shannon.
The black flies are biting now.