July 9, 1908
Kelowna, B. C.
My dearest Kathleen,
I am beginning to expect your answers to two lengthy epistles I sent you with my views on your coming to live in these parts next year. [At least one of the letters to which Robin refers is no longer extant. See note in Kathleen–June 24, 1908.] I am rather anxious to hear what you have to say on the subject and your letter is due about now. I take most elaborate precautions to stick my letters down but it is rather hard to get decent envelopes they all have such rotten gum on them. [This appears to refer to Kathleen–June 16, 1908.]
I think you said you rather liked good hot weather. You will certainly get it out here. For some weeks now it has been between 80º and 90º in the shade, which should be hot enough for you. I rather like it myself, especially as it always get cool in the evenings.
I begin haying on Friday. I was going to begin tomorrow (Wednesday) but the hay isn’t quite ready. [July 9, 1908 was a Thursday, not a Tuesday.] Friday is supposed to be an inauspicious day for starting anything but I hope it won’t rain all the time despite that. I have two Harry Leighs working for me. One spells his name Lee but the pronunciation is the same. One of them will have to have a temporary nickname, I think, to avoid confusion.
I went to rather a jolly picknick down the lake last Sunday. We had two motor launches and unlimited strawberries and everybody knew everybody else very well so one didn’t have to be on one’s best behaviour. As a matter of fact one very seldom is out here, which is one of the charms of the place or rather was, for we are getting too civilized now.
(Some days later.) It is getting frightfully hard to write letters at all now. The carpenters make such a din in the house I cannot collect my thoughts and when I start a sentence I forget how it goes on. They made an attack on my bedroom this morning and took all the windows out, frames and all, and the ceiling is also coming off. It lets the mosquitoes in, otherwise I don’t object. I haven’t the least idea where all my haying gang are going to sleep next week, as I have no rooms in the house for them and only the stable outside. I expect we shall all go to that and sleep on a pile of hay as I have frequently done before and it is really quite comfortable. The mason has just arrived to discuss the ways and means of your fireplace so I must stop and tell him what we want; but no wonder my letters are somewhat disjointed, for I seldom get five minutes peace to write in. I am writing in the kitchen now, which is the only room that the carpenters have left whole, but as it is their highway between the lumber outside and their work inside it is rather noisy.
I went up to call on Harry last night and found him sitting in an irrigation flume that comes down a hill close to his house with the water pouring over him–unconventional but cool. I rather envied him his bathing facilities, but when I get my bathroom fixed I shall be better off than he is. It will be the most popular room in the house this weather. I am having a little hot air engine to pump the water for it, as I find they are handier than the windmills they have out here and one is always sure of having water when you want it. They are quite simple to work, as you will find out one day. (You don’t know all you have let yourself in for by coming out here.) You will have lots to do, you can be sure of that; and if only you like doing it, and I think you will, the sole objection to this country disappears. You say you sometimes wonder what you will be doing out here. I am always trying to picture you out here but it is not satisfactory at all.
The mason has now departed and I have the chimney, fireplace, and plastering all arranged. He is going to start on your fireplace next week. He seemed to think it was larger than most fireplaces out here, but I don’t think I like small open fireplaces. Out here where we burn wood all the time we do not have grates at all, just a flat space on which you build a bonfire. Thereby you will be saved from polishing grates in the early dawn on a cold and frosty morning. Now you must own I am very considerate. The house will be all finished by the middle of August, they tell me. I shall feel quite lost in it all the winter as it is rather large for one; and even if Harry comes to keep me company, natural instinct will drive us to feed in the kitchen and sleep in the dining room, especially as there will be no furniture in the other rooms.
I send you a couple of photographs, one of our temporary kitchen and one of the house just when they started to raise the roof. Towards the end of August I hope to send you proofs of the finished article.
I am so sorry to hear about Mr. Martin, Kathleen. I was hoping great things of your visit there in July, for I think he would have come round to our point of view. I don’t like Mrs. Barnley’s views on marriage at all. I should think by the time everybody has done talking to you, you will begin to think that love is the least important of the qualifications that go to make a happy marriage, unless my letters go some little way to counteract their baneful teachings.
I am painfully aware that my last few letters have been rather rotten and next week I probably shan’t write at all during haying, but you will understand, won’t you! It has been nearly impossible to write with the incessant hammering and talking that goes on and I shall be very busy next week, but you can be certain of one thing and that is that you are seldom out of my thoughts for long and if I wrote to you every time I thought of you I should be writing all the time. I think I miss you more now than I did at first, although the time is going so fast. The worst part of a journey is when you get halfway and are neither here nor there; and I think it is the same with this year which is nearly half over now; but what about next year, Kathleen, that is what I want you to write about.
Yours as always,