Monday, January 25, 2010


Laurier and wife at Quebec Tercentenary, Bibliotheque Nationale Photo. It's in the Public Domain.

"I've been asking around, and Senator Rodolphe Forget is the most powerful French Canadian railwayman," so if this Crepeau is a relation, it cannot be a bad thing for Edith to work in his house. Despite the 'other'. He was referring to the fact they were Roman Catholic. "And besides, he is likely just another good Liberal."

It was the last week in October and Norman had come home to work on the elections. The results were coming in for the rest of Canada, but it looked like another Liberal sweep for Quebec. And in Richmond-Wolfe Tobin had won handily, with similar results to 1904. Only in Richmond itself, voting had been down, by 25 men, and the Liberal count too. Norman took pride in this fact, for he hadn't been around in September to talk up the Liberals to his fellow constituents. Perhaps Tobin.a Roman Catholic himself and Norman's benefactor, would notice what a value he was to the party on the ground.

Yes, 567 men had been eligible to vote and only 302 had bothered to. He turned to Margaret who was sitting at her chair beside him, crocheting a caftan for Marion in the city, who was having trouble finding a proper rooming house. Flora was a few feet away, tinkering on the piano - feeling safe and contented to have her parents both at home and together in the same room.

"I think women's suffrage is one of the changes that will happen in the near future. Too absurd to think that a woman cannot exercise her franchise with as much intelligence as some of the male sex. And that they are making this so hard is so many countries when you have to drag some of these supposedly intelligent men to the polls as you would cattle."

Margaret glanced his way and Flo recognized the look: some private thought was passing between the old married couple.

Flo knew that her Father was trying to make his wife feel better. She had so many worries when it came to her children, her nerves seemed to be continuously on edge these days and that simply wasn't like her.

Herb hadn't written and, on top of that, he was avoiding Marion. Were the two quarrelling? Margaret had asked Flora one day. Flora had blushed. She hated to keep secrets from her Mother, but what else could she do. How could she tell her mother about de Bullion Street? "Well, at least Edith is in Montreal, now," Magaret had mused.

Edith was already dug out in her 3rd storey room in the 4 storey greystone of Sherbrooke. "Very elegant," is how Edith had described it in a letter, "and filled top to bottom with brique a braque of every kind, porcelain, brass, and marble. "Mrs. Crepeau is especially fond of marble urns filled with fountains of ferns." Edith discreetly avoided describing the walls, covered in paintings of winged angels and bleeding-heart Madonnas.

It was through Edith that Margaret learned about Marion's trials looking for a room. As it was, she was temporarily installed at their friends, the Cleveland's, in brand new Mile End, but she had to take four streetcars to get to her school in Little Burgundy. This arrangement was tolerable for the fall, always a kind season, but impossible for the winter. "She is determined not to have to go to the Y, although she could get a room there for 12 dollars a month. Too many rules! But it is so hard to find a proper rooming house, even with her good references. I hope she finds one soon: Dr. Cleveland drives her crazy. He sits in his den and bellows orders to his family from his chair; his slippers must be warmed for him. Father would never do that!"

No. Father would never do that and for this Margaret was grateful. It didn't hurt, in times of difficulty, to ponder the blessings in ones life. But easier said than done.

Margaret wrote back for Edith to get herself a pair of thick soled shoes for the winter, so she wouldn't catch the grippe. And, if she could, Margaret would try to go to Town to buy her a new suit. Margaret was secretly ashamed that Edith had rushed away to the city so ill-equipped with respect to clothing; her Radnor kit was clearly not adequate for Sherbrooke Street West. And she had another reason to go to town. She wanted to check up on son Herb.