[Vancouver, B.C.]
Sunday [10 Sept. 1950]

Dearest Vi:

One day more has gone and I spent most of the time making an abstract of the Post's article (which I found more informative and suggestive on a second reading) and an elaborate account of Dalmage's geological information. Between him and Douglas I have quite a stretch of fact which I shall have to beat into some shape later on.

In the afternoon I called on Sage who is inviting me to the Faculty Club on Tuesday where I expect to meet a few of the University chaps. I tried several times to get hold of Robbins. He is in town but was not at his house. On Tuesday night I expect to be with Birney and some of the 'authors anonymous.' I guess they will be a keen gang of youngsters worth knowing. Tomorrow I shall see Major and try for something else, and it is quite possible that I shall try a quick trip to Victoria – but only if information is available there and nowhere else.

I got back to the Hotel today about five and I have been at the writing pad right up till now which is about eight o'clock.

I shall drop Claire a line before I turn in tonight.

I think the trip is going to be quite valuable for I am loaded with information about the Fraser River which I shall check up along the Route on Friday morning. For instance, Lytton in the Coastal Range is where the Fraser from the North meets the Thompson from the East. A few phrases from Blake can be made texts: – 'the sea of mountains,' and 'lost in the gorges of the Fraser,' etc., etc. They will put dynamic in the story I hope.

I have also learned what muskeg is exactly – a lake of water over which vegetation has grown particularly caribou moss (the food of caribou) and – what I had hoped for – it covers the pre-Cambrian rock – so it can be made part of the 'lizard,' perhaps a leg or a flipper such as an alligator might have. This lizard I expect will be fearfully and wonderfully made, perhaps grotesquely made, before the beast is finally carved out.

With the trip finished, it will be a matter of assembling data from historians, geologists, miners and books. You and I will have to go over your rocks in the furnace room.

Well, I'll be glad to see your dear self on Saturday. It was lonely when you left. I hope you had a restful trip. Don't fail to make yourself comfortable. I am glad that the trip is going to be no longer than it is because I am impatient to be back with you at our own home at 21.

My deepest love to you.

One day more
Viola had gone to visit her brother, Ralph Whitney, in Red Deer while Pratt stayed in Vancouver to research 'Towards the Last Spike.'

Post's article

Dalmage's geographical information
See the
letter to Claire Pratt, 10 September.


Pratt had already conceived a huge geological reptile as a primary mythopoeic form in his proposed 'railway poem.' In it the 'reptile' is described as 'A hybrid that the myths might have conceived,/ But not delivered' (lines 870-952).