Monday, April 21, 2014

Image Conscious Suffragettes

A cartoon from the Montreal Standard, August 1912, mocking the fact that the Canadian Government had banned suffragettes from entering Canada. Apparently, the Powers were afraid for Winston Churchill or Prime Minister Asquith, who had been invited to Canada.

The two didn't make it, though.

An accompanying article asks "How can you keep all the suffragettes out. How many are known to us. Maybe 100."

I am just getting down to writing my play about the Montreal Suffragettes/Suffragists of the 1910-1919 era, because I feel I've done enough research.. but then as I set down to write, before two sentences are typed, more questions pop up in my mind. Now I must deal with the nuances.

That's how it goes I guess.

Lucky for me, because yesterday googling for some info I stumbled upon a Montreal newspaper lost on the News Archives, the Standard.  It's buried under the wrong name: Harbour Something Standard.

But it's the Montreal Standard - and now I can see that newspaper paper had lots of pictures and cartoons.  That means, I guess, that it was aimed at a lower brow readership.

The Montreal Gazette had no pictures, well, except for the ads.

The Montreal Witness, some pictures and cartoons.

Some French Tabloids were mostly pictures.

This is interesting with respect to the coverage of the Suffrage Movement, because the Suffragists, and especially the militant suffragettes were very image-conscious... and theatrical.  Their cause was greatly served by good photography. (And many of the suffragists were beautiful women.)

In the New York Times' coverage of the May 3, 1913 suffrage parade in New York the editors posted 3 large pictures, one of Inez Milholland leading the parade on a chestnut horse. She had led another Suffrage Parade in Washington in March 1913 wearing a white robe, her hair down around her shoulders, astride a magnificent white horse.

That picture is the one used today on Wikipedia.

Inez in the 1913 parade in New York. "The most beautiful American suffragette" It was recommended at a board meeting of the Montreal Suffrage Association June 1913 that Miss Milholland come to speak in Montreal, but that never happened.


Not one image of Montreal Suffragettes remains today, unless you count that one of the Canadian Council Ladies standing in front of Macdonald College on the same day as the New York Parade.

It's from the Witness and it is blurry. Carrie Derick is somewhere in this picture. Originally, I had thought Derick was attending the parade - as she missed the opening ceremonies of the AGM of the National Council of Women on May 1 at the Royal Victoria College at McGill.

A blurry picture of the National Council Ladies in Front of Macdonald College on May 3, 1913.

But no, the report of the 1913 Annual General Meeting says she was at Macdonald College.  In my play, I will have Derick visit New York before the parade to talk to suffragists from around the world, but hurry back on the 2nd to perform her duties with the National Council Meeting.

She introduced Mrs. Ethel Snowden. a moderate suffragist from England, on May 5, 1913, who spoke on a special suffrage night at St. James Methodist.
A sketch from the Witness showing a woman reading Votes for Women. Votes for Women itself had a lot of cartoons and some pictures and lots of adverts for pretty dresses.

This pictures is interesting..it captures a truth of the time, after all, this woman hardly looks radical...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sister Salvation, Scene I. Draft 1


Sister Salvation
by Dorothy Nixon
Draft One

Scene One:

Background noise.  Loud general hum of a crowd and an occasional thump or bang that echoes as in a large church.

Lady 1: (half whisper) So, a full –house, do you think, Mrs. Fenwick Williams?

Lady 2: So, it seems, Professor Derick. Sales at the door have been brisk.

Lady 1: Are the head table guests all seated?

Lady2 : Yes. Except for Lady Drummond. Who is with our guest speaker – somewhere close by --hopefully.

Lady 1: So, then, Frances, we must  wait…I don’t mind, this is the first break I’ve had since I got back from New York City.

Lady 2: When was that?

Lady 1: Late Friday, the 2nd.

Lady 2: So you missed the big parade on the 3rd?

Lady 1: Well, yes, I had to get back for the Committee Meetings for this Annual General Meeting.

And it would not been a good thing if I had marched with the Canadian contingent and certain people back home heard about it. After all, I am now the President of the non-militant Montreal Suffrage Association. 

Lady 2: (chuckles) Yes, of course. The word is, it was magnificent. Yesterday’s  Gazette had a long article: 10,000 marchers strong, no violence, but some wonderful theatre. The crowd was enraptured.

Lady 1: Yes, that lawyer, Inez Milholland , led the parade on horseback as she had done in Washington in March. But, the horse was chestnut this time, not white. And she wore a riding habit, not long flowing robes.

Lady 2: Still, she carried the colours of the WSPU, I read that.

Lady 1: Yes, a banner in purple, white and green. Imagine doing that here, in Montreal.

Lady 2: I can only imagine...By the way, did you pick any copies of the latest Votes for Women magazine?

Lady 1: No, I didn’t need to, I subscribe. 

Lady 2: So do I, but my copy always seems to mysteriously disappear…Many of my friends are intrigued by the suffrage topic but don’t want anyone to know.

Lady 1: Are they closet militants, like us? Suffragette Sympathizers.

Lady: Some are, I suspect, but some are just curious, and others rather afraid. The men, anyway.

Lady 1: Do you think Reverend Dickie is a secret subscriber to Votes for Women?  He who would like to see the suffragettes die of starvation in jail.

The women laugh.

Lady 2: I wish I had been there, on Fifth Avenue, even in the crowd.  What a spectacle it was, from all accounts.

Lady 1: Yes, the Americans know how to put on a show, that’s for sure. But there was a lot of serious meetings too before the parade. Where the real work was done. It’s not all about good theatre, you know…There is politics, too. Ah, here they are. She is resplendent, this Mrs. Snowden. Such a pretty face and not a golden hair out of  place. Too bad she is such a moderate on the issue.

Lady 2: “A child of the gods, divinely fair.” Remember, that’s how a reporter referred to her in 1909 the last time she was here…

Silky Voice from afar: Professor Derick. My apologies for the delay.

Lady 2:  Good luck, Professor Derick.

Lady 1: Thank you Mrs. F... We’ll  speak later. After this AGM. I am wondering if we might arrange to have Miss Milholland come to Montreal and speak… so Montrealers can hear the other side of the suffrage question. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Fight for the Hearts of the Montreal Suffragists



A picture is worth a thousand words and this picture of Mrs. Kathleen Weller hugging her little girl in a newspaper article about the February 1912 Montreal Suffrage Exhibit suggests she was one of those dull and boring maternal suffragettes.

But I can prove she wasn't!

This Mrs. Weller invited militant suffragette Barbara Wylie to her home (probably her home) to speak in October 1912...

Miss Wylie wrote about it in a letter back to England which was printed in the WSPU's Votes for Women Magazine.





Mrs. Weller went on to work with the 'non-militant' Montreal Suffrage Association* but was rather low profile - and then war broke out.

First meeting of the MSA. President Carrie Derick was absent (likely at the huge march in NY City).

The Montreal Suffrage Association, whose Board included a number of clergymen who despised the suffragettes and their methods, publicly denounced militantism.

But many of the women on the same Board, including President Carrie Derick, were militant suffragette sympathizers, just like Edith Nicholson of Threshold Girl and Not Bonne Over Here.

"We are going to try and hear Mrs. Snowden speak. But she is not a militant. For which I am sorry," writes Edith Nicholson in a May 2, 1913 letter to Mom

I am especially interested in the bit where Miss Wylie says that she hopes to speak to the girls at RVC.

That suggests that Mrs. Hurlbatt, suffragist and Warden of McGill's Royal Victoria College, was at the Montreal meeting Wylie writes about.

Maybe she bought a copy of Votes for Women and brought it to RVC for the girls to read.

(Students from Wellesley etc in the US were active participants in suffrage parades, but in Montreal things were different.)

When I checked out the list of members of the Montreal Suffrage Association (at the City Hall Archives) only two women were listed as living at RVC and one of them had her name crossed out.

The Question remains: Were the women students at RVC discouraged  from supporting  the British Suffragettes and Mrs. Pankhurst, or were they encouraged to by Mrs. Hurlbatt?

I really wonder.

If Miss Wylie did get to talk to them, did she say the kind of things she said in the press... did she say there might be bloodshed in England  if the marches and civil disobedience didn't prove effective?



I have checked out the fonds of the British-born Mrs. Ethel Hurlbatt at McGill and there's not one mention of her suffrage advocacy.

In around 1913 she bows out of suffrage activities for the Montreal Council of Women, citing work conflicts.

Well, I think it's time for me to get going on the play I started a while back, because I have all the information I will ever have...

Clearly there was a fight going on in Montreal between suffragettes and suffragists in 1911-12 and the maternal suffragists won out.

And that explains why it took over a year for the Montreal Suffrage Association to get organized. The official reason for the delay was that they 'couldn't find the right officers.'

And that meant the public face of the Montreal movement would be dull and boring - and one hundred years later we wouldn't have any interesting photographs or mementos, like posters and placards and pins, commemorating the Canadian Suffrage Movement.

*Correction: I originally wrote Montreal Suffrage League in a couple of places. Stupid mistake. There existed in 1913 a rival Montreal Equal Suffrage League that has been forgotten by history.

 This is likely where the more militant Montreal suffragists ended up, I think.

Stupid mistake, yes, but Carrie Derick made the same error in 1915. She wrote a bit on Montreal suffrage history for the Montreal Council of Women Yearbook (a copy exists at McGill) and calls the Montreal Suffrage Association the Equal Suffrage League. Was this a Freudian slip, giving away her closet-militantism, or was she merely tired from all that extra war work?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Here and There about Suffragettes and Such




Edith Nicholson, my husband's great aunt, writes in a May 2, 1913 letter to Mom: We are going to try and hear Mrs. Snowden. But she is not a militant. For which I am sorry. Edith was all for the militant suffragettes in Britain, even with all the sensational headlines in the local press. "Suffragettes set fire to this and bomb that." This letter was written a month or so before Emily Davison threw herself in front of the King's horse.


British Pathe has just put a lot of videos up on YouTube and that includes 'stock footage' about the suffragettes.

These videos are just a tiny bit 'jerky' as I've always known them to be.

When I was young, though, I thought the Edwardian fashions looked very silly, but I can now see that the women dressed very stylishly for the most part.

They had to to be a la mode.

 It was too easy to dismiss any woman who didn't look good - and the suffragettes knew it.

And, besides, this parading around was major theatre...spectacle...

I have a diary belonging to my husband's great aunt Elizabeth,  from the other side, his father's side. She visited London in 1910 and she actually mentions seeing the suffragettes.

I checked the date and it was this Hyde Park Rally.

Here's what it looked like from the British Pathe footage: I can't see Aunt Elizabeth though.


There were many many more men watching than women watching. I guess that's why so many of the suffragettes had to be so very pretty.


I found this too: a genuinely humungous hat at one of the rallies.

They were very big, these suffrage rallies, so no wonder most Montrealers wanted no part of the 'militant' movement.

(Not all participants were the notorious suffragettes of Mrs. Pankhurst's WSPU. But she got all the press. And future acclaim: they are filming a movie about them right now, starring Meryl Streep as Emmeline Pankhurst.)


About a day before unmarried 27 year old Edith wrote the letter at top, unmarried 27 year old Inez Milholland was leading a giant suffrage parade down New York's Fifth Avenue on horseback, carrying a banner in the colours of the WSPU: green, purple and white.

Edith probably read about it in the Montreal Gazette. Maybe the very same morning she wrote the letter. Who knows?

I suspect she was a bit jealous.


Inez was famous for her beauty too.  Here she is in that parade. It looks like a US Flag, but maybe not. The newspaper report in the NYT and Montreal Gazette (they shared copy for suffrage stories) says Inez  carried the banner. There were 10,000 at this orderly rally, including a Canadian contingent.

And just a few days later, at a meeting of the newly minted Montreal Suffrage Association, a group that promised at their inaugural press conference in March 1913 that they would be 'peaceful and reasonable' tsk tsk,' it was suggested by Press Secretary Mrs. Fenwick-Williams  that Inez Milholland, "New York Lawyer" be brought to Montreal to speak to them.

This never happened.

I suspect Carrie Derick (the President of the MSA) suggested it to Mrs. Fenwick Williams.

 Why? I think Derick attended the New York parade. She had been conspicuously absent from her duties  in Montreal at the end of April, beginning of May. The MSA had their first meeting April 29 and Derick missed it 'For Good Reason," according to the minutes.

 I suspect Mrs. Snowden also attended this rally and returned to Montreal with Derick to speak on May 5th at St. James Methodist.  Non-militant (maternal) Mrs. Snowden wowed the reporters with her beauty and eloquence. They called her "A daughter of the gods, divinely fair."

She said that she's use her vote to improve children's lives and in support of temperance.

I don't know if Edith heard her speak, or not.


Here's my first stab at making a WSPU Votes for Women Style pin... For a heritage event next month, om Pointe Claire, where I will talk about Edith and the Montreal Suffrage Movement and give out these pins...

or something like them.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

British Pathe and Family History


Polly the Propeller Maintenance Person? My father, RAF Ferry Command pilot, didn't tell me gorgeous young women serviced his airplanes.


Yesterday I visited YouTube to find that British Pathe had just put up a slew of new refurbished films, including three showing the Prince of Wales' 1919 visit to Canada.

In Not Bonne Over Here, the Nicholson Family War Time Letters, Edith Nicholson sees the Prince in Montreal. She is standing on the steps of Royal Victoria College on Sherbrooke Street. She has a privileged vantage point as she is a member of the Navy League.

"I have seen the Prince and he is worth looking at," she writes to her Mom.

Unfortunately, the Prince's tour of Montreal is not shown on the Pathe newsreels, only a lunch on the Mountain with Mederic Martin.  So I didn't find Edie in the crowd! I would have known exactly where to look.

It's a brief clip and Mayor Martin is shown sloppily wiping his mouth with a napkin.

The Prince of Wales throws one back beside Montreal Mayor Mederic Martin in 1919 meet and greet atop Mount Royal.

Odd. Maybe there were not enough people on the street. But David, the Prince of Wales, who would become Edward VIII and then abdicate for 'the woman I love' was very popular in Montreal.

He stayed in the new 'ritzy' Ritz Carleton on Sherbrooke on his visits. Other British Royals stayed at the traditional Windsor.

And,apparently, the Prince liked to party with Mayor Mederic Martin.

When he visited Montreal again in 1924, he asked for his friend the Mayor, who had temporarily lost his job.

David came to Montreal again in 1927. I write about his visit in Milk and Water, about Montreal in the era of American Prohibition.

Mederic Martin was back in power that year, although he was thrown out by Camilien Houde in 1928.

In the 1919 movies, David, who has come to Canada to thank us for our effort in WWI, loses the use of his right hand from too many greetings. For the Western swing of his trip he shakes with his left hand.

What a job! No wonder he abdicated!

The British Pathe Collection also includes a newsreel about the Canadian 'Scotties" (or Kilties) leaving for Europe in 1916.

Not Bonne Over Here has letters about the event. The Nicholsons were from Highlander stock and some of their friends were with the "Ladies from Hell."

It seems these 'colourful' soldiers were used a lot for photo opps.

While perusing these British Pathe films, I took the opportunity to look up FERRY COMMAND WWII to see if my father happened to be in one of them. No.

Many pretty girls did make the cut, though. My father, who was an RAF Ferry Command Pilot stationed in Dorval, Quebec, didn't tell me that young women worked maintenance on the airplanes he flew.

The British Pathe film shows a woman cleaning a propeller and two others perched on a wing.

They are movie star beautiful and I suspect this isn't a coincidence.

Lovely ladies doing maintenance of bombers and such. War changes everything.  The only women usually allowed on airplane wings were acrobats, willing to dance the Charleston for the camera in flapper dresses mid-air.

I also fell upon some newsreels of Expo 67. Apparently, Princess Margaret and former First Lady Jackie Kennedy visited Expo on the very same day, although their paths did not cross. (They were not wearing the same outfit, thank god!)

Who arranged that? What a faux pas!

I, myself, didn't see these two beautiful and famous women at Expo. I saw Bobby Kennedy and Haile Selassi. I put the incident with Bobby Kennedy in my eplay Looking for Mrs. Peel.

The ultimate photogenic First Lady touring Expo 67 in Montreal.. I saw her brother in law with his family on the Expo grounds.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Irony of Life - When it comes to Mothering

Lux Soap, ad.. 1910 era. Lux went on to sponsor a highly popular Radio Theatre. The 1900 era was the Age of Soap and Water.  In the mid 1800's, scientists in England and France figured out that squalid living conditions led to disease, so now it was time to clean up the working class so that they could be more productive workers...and eventually that task fell on Mom.


A few days ago, the Guardian reported that the hugely expensive Tamiflu vaccines given during the last bird flu pandemic period of  hysteria  might have been fairly useless, especially for kids with asthma - a major target of the campaign.

Gee. I'm not surprised.

But this got me thinking about other instances where  health hysteria may have been counter-productive.

In the 1900 era, the housefly was being blamed for transmitting all kinds of diseases to humans, cholera and typhoid for instance.  The germ theory of disease had been figured out by then.

Suddenly, having houseflies in the home was a sign Mom wasn't doing her job.

One answer to this problem was flypaper. But flypaper was toxic. Highly toxic. It contained arsenic, I think and who knows what else.

As a kid in the 1950's and 60's, I do not recall having flypaper in the house (although we might have had some) but I do recall seeing it in houses we rented for vacations.
A 1910 issue of Technical World Magazine contained an article on houseflies as crop wreckers. "Much has been written about the health hazards of flies" is the lede.


And since it was a new thing, we loved to play with it! It hung in strips from the ceiling, after all. And bugs got stuck to it. Boys especially found this gory property fascinating!

In my story, Threshold Girl I have Flora Nicholson tell some friends she is off to buy a new kind of flypaper, one that comes pre-cut. I did this for a reason.

I do believe original flypaper came in cards that had to be cut by hand.  Over the century, products got easier and easier to use.

I am not sure if I ever got poisoned by flypaper as a child, but I sure of something else. My mother, like all mothers in the era, was afraid of trichinosis, the little bug in raw pork. So she cooked our La Belle Fermiere Sausages until they were encrusted in a thick black layer of carbon.

And she was an otherwise excellent cook, never over-cooking anything. We ate our hamburgers almost raw.

Of course, carbonized meat is carcinogenic. But she didn't know that.

Today, I wonder about all these anti-scent products being promoted non-stop on TV.

As humans we have a fear and loathing of bad smells (for good reason).

In the old days, before an understanding of germ theory, experts thought that diseases like cholera and typhoid actually emanated from bad smells.

But I wonder if the chemicals in these products are more harmful than the smells. Some people think so.

In a letter from Not Bonne Over Here, from 1919, Marion Nicholson writes her mom and says her 'baby' has been sick with a cold and has spent the entire week upstairs.

By that time, everyone knew about germ theory, although it seems a little harsh to keep a two year old upstairs for a week just for a cold.

Of course, the world had just come through a dramatic period, the Spanish Flu. The Nicholsons had lost many friends to the flu (and to the war).

In a few years, this same baby, Marion Hope Blair, my future mother-in-law, would contract Scarlet Fever and stay in bed in the country at her grandmother's for an entire year!

It was a period she remembered well, and with great fondness.

... I think I've since lost it...but I once had a  little note from a mother of one of Marion's or Flora's students, a note that had gotten stuck in a book.

It was a letter of complaint and I think the Nicholsons kept it because it contained poor grammar and was unintentionally funny. (Maybe not, though.)

The woman's daughter had been sent home for having a dirty face and she didn't think this was right. (She was also angry at having to pay 25 cents for a school fee.)

I guess it was a school policy to send unclean kids home, an instance where health-hysteria got taken too far.

But it certainly says something about the era and the role Moms were expected to play and the class prejudice involved in the hygiene movement.

Both Marion and Flo taught the children of working class parents.



Saturday, April 5, 2014

Mr.Selfridge and Me




 May and Flo in their home-made middle class clothes. In Mr. Selfridge a fashion designer 'predicts' that soon ordinary women will be buying clothes off the rack.



I've been catching up on my Mr.Selfridge period piece. I'm a year behind. I only heard about the show a couple of months ago and it took me some time to get into it.

I think I wasn't sure about Jeremy Piven in the lead role; he isn't the usual classically trained type you find in Period Pieces. (Maybe he is.)

But now I've watched 7 episodes, and I like it. How could I not? It covers much the same territory as my Nicholson Family letters and my Threshold Girl e-book.

The show isn't as compelling as Downton Abbey, which uses a tried and true formula featuring the rich and the poor but no one in-between.

Like the mini-series Testament of Youth, and my Threshold Girl, Mr. Selfridge showcases  the  middle class.

Usually this would be a problem, because the middle class doesn't wear nice clothes and nice clothes are what Period Pieces are all about.

(Even the 'dowdy' Lady Edith in Downton wears the most swoon-worthy dresses. Wow, that orange flapper thing this year. To die for!  And Lady Mary's Grey Chanel style suit a few scenes later.  YUMMY.

The 1995 Pride and Prejudice didn't have many nice fashions. The Bennett girls rotated a few dresses, which was historically accurate.  But that show had other things going for it, didn't it? Andrew Davies wrote P and P and he also wrote this Mr. Selfridge.)

But Selfridges is about a department store, and therefore all about fashion and other fun things. So the glitz and glamour of that place balances out the dull drab boarding rooms they also must show.

In one episode Mr. Selfridge and his staff are debating whether to sell make-up out in the open!

When I first started writing Threshold Girl I put in a scene about make-up. I had May Watters and Flora Nicholson visit Sutherland's in Richmond and talk about 'rouge de theatre."

I didn't put that scene in the final story.

Threshold Girl is just another Edwardian period piece, but it is based on real letters and it has a very Canadian Two Solitudes theme.  In Montreal in 1910, Henry Morgans at Philip's Square was considered the place for respectable women  to shop. Oh, and  also Ogilvy's on Ste. Catherine, where, in 1910, Edith buys a BIG hat like the one she is wearing in the picture below. ($7.50)


Edith and Flora dressed up sitting in the Tighsolas Garden

If memory serves, Selfridges is now owned by the Canadian company Loblaw's. Loblaw's just changed the name of its Quebec stores  back to Provigo because Quebecker's didn't like the "Ontario" sounding Loblaw's.  Hmm.

Here's the bit I cut out of Threshold Girl.
Both Flora and Mae walked with Margaret down to catch the 10:20 train to Quebec the next morning. (Her trunk had gone in ahead of her)

In the Richmond station Margaret underlined her instructions to them for the third and final time, handed them a little pocket money, climbed on board the train, and waved goodbye from the window seat, as they ran up alongside the train, just for fun, just like children.

Sister Marion, would only be arriving on the 4 o'clock from Sherbrooke, so they were free until then.

They popped into Sutherland's drug store, and had Barry, Sutherland's boy, pour them a cherry phosphate from the giant barrel at the soda bar.


Every employee in the store wore a clean white coat, including young Barry. They teased him a bit about it as they handed over 4 cents for the drinks.

With a flourish of his right arm on the crank, Barry rang their purchase into the cash register, dropped the coins into the drawer and slammed it shut- like a seasoned pro twice his age. He was showing off.

But there was their pocket money half gone, in an instant.

The girls sat for a few minutes at the soda bar, slurping the fizzy drinks in unlady-like fashion, and then took a stroll around the spacious store with its wrap around glass and maplewood cabinets lined with bottles and books, and its mystifying mix of mediciny aromas, the alcohols, the menthols, the sulphury fruit syrups, all with unpleasant associations.


They examined a display case of family remedies, as if they were looking at curiosities in a museum, Essence of Pepsin for indigestion (father used that one) and Spirits of Turpentine for the kidneys and Castor Oil. Ugh. They all took that in the winter.

There was an entire case of products for fatigue and lack of energy.

Her mother took Lydia Pinkham's Vegetable Tonic, Mae remarked, but you can only order that by mail. Here's one for you: Dr. Barker's Malt Extract. Puts Flesh on Thin People.

Well, here's one for you. Dr. Hammond's nerve and brain tablets.

They leaned over the toiletries cabinet: Genuine Rose Water. Witch Hazel. All very unexciting.


In Boston, Mae explained to Flora, the bigger pharmacies even sold cold creams, face powders, and rouge de theatre. She said that last bit in her finest French accent.

Flora couldn't imagine J.C.Sutherland, druggist, and the town's most respected man of letters, allowing such 'scandalous' products like that in his store.


Sister Edith's term and she always smiled a bit when she used it. Grown women had their secrets. Even Edith.
But for women to purchase right out in the open? It was unimaginable.
They were having a giddy old time until they hit on the school book section. Sutherland, secretary of St. Francis College, had the school text book concession in Richmond.

Here were stacked some crisp new copies of of Euclid's Geometry, MacMillan's Latin, and oh, dear, her Elementary English Composition book, Bertrand Sykes PhD, Copp Clarke and Co. Flora's bubbly mood suddenly evaporated.

"Let's go home," she said.


By the time they made it back to Tighsolas, only stopping twice to talk to people they knew, she had recovered somewhat from her setback.

Mae released Floss from her rope. The dog jumped up and then madly pin-wheeled, first to the right, then to the left, in a dizzying blur of black and white canine ecstasy. It's as if they had been gone for days.

Floss liked her freedom. She was known to everyone in the community. But Margaret had been afraid Floss would follow them to the train. And dogs were often killed on the train tracks.

Flora and Mae were on their own, with only Floss to protect them from the tramps, and that, in its way, was thrilling.

What would they do with their time?

Mrs. M had been out hoeing in her garden, when the girls had passed, and she had looked up.

They hoped she would not come over right away.

What a wonderful feeling. Free time to yourself. No grownups about. No work to do. Margaret had left the kitchen spotless, of course,so that it did not look, to any nosy neighbours, that she was in any way abandoning her duties.

Flora glanced at the icebox. The door was closed. There was no leakage on the floor.

Their one responsibility was to make sure that the collector pan didn't overflow, oh, and to feed Floss, and, should Terry McJ. come around to fix that pane in the basement window, to make sure he replaced it with a pane of identical thickness.

Just three things to remember, until Marion arrived.

Wait, there was one more thing,but what was it? The most important thing! To pick up 2 pounds of beef tongue at Pope's Butchers on their way home from the train. To marinate if for Marion. Whoops!