February 13, 1917 Letter to Winnie

Studio Building Rear
25 Severn St.
Toronto

February 13, 1917

Dear Winnie,

Things are pretty busy around here. I’ve been doing a lot of painting canvases and hope to be making up North when the weather gets more reasonable. I’ve made 7 so far and hope to get another 3 or 4 finished. I doubt I’ll show anything in the Spring Exhibition because nothing is selling so there’s no point in giving the critics another chance to rail away on what we do. Jim MacDonald is putting in pieces from Arthur and Alex, even though they are away. Bill Beatty is putting in a piece for $600. It seems silly to put such a high price when you know it’s not going to sell.

I received a letter from my brother George. He’s planning to run again for the Academy of Fine Arts in Connecticut. He’s still in New Haven and I may go visit him. I may go to Onteora in NY too. George Reid has a cottage down there  and said I could stay if I came.

Living is getting to be a challenge here in the City. Earlier in the month there was a rail strike in the States and no coal was coming in. People were burning for heating whatever they could and there were a lot a house fires. The city is going to clamp down with more fire regulations but I don’t know how that’s going to make a difference.  The coal started coming in again a few days but it costs much more. As for money, I’ve sold a number of sketches and that’s what’s keeping me on the good side of the ledger for now.

I want to wish you a Happy Valentine’s. I’ve enclosed a little sketch for you. When I go up in the Spring, I’ll stop in. Remember me to your parents and your sister.

I’d better get this in the Post first thing tomorrow morning.

Yours Truly,

Tom

February 13, 1917 Tomorrow is Valentine’s

February 13, 1917

Tomorrow is Valentine’s and I’ve been thinking about Winnie.

Winnie was 27 years old when I first met her in 1912. I was 34 then. At that age she was considered to be a spinster, and at my age, I was a bachelor but that was much less called into question than spinsterhood. Men were expected to be free until decided to settle down in their own time. This was not the case for women, and I believe this had a bearing on her parents’ view of her and of me.

Up North, when Winnie and are together, we have a grand time.  I enjoy her company as she’s not like the other women.  She has a love of the outdoors and we’ve spent many pleasant hours together, fishing and canoeing. Her parents have come to know me well and I know they have the expectation that the relationship would become more formal one day.

I should write a short Valentine’s note to Winnie. I’ve been so absorbed in my painting that I didn’t think of it until now. If I mail it first thing tomorrow, she might get it with the Saturday morning mail.