21 Cortleigh Blvd.
Sunday [Jan. 1952]

Dearest Cayke:

Well, how are you? Nora telephoned last night to say she was writing you to tell you all the news and I said I would write today to tell you more. The more concerns the financial 'lingo[?].'

I looked into the Bank boxes and found there are enough bonds to give you in coupons every quarter the same amount as the fourth instalment on your govt. annuities. Mother and I argued it out this way.

  1. (1) We could exchange the bonds for that fourth instalment but that would mean the expenditure of the capital.

  2. (2) We could keep the bonds and cut the coupons which in themselves amount practically to the govt annuity. You could have those coupons indefinitely – about $75.00 a quarter or $300 a year. The annuity yields only about 4% anyway while the bonds yield more than 32%. So it would be foolish to make the conversion for the sake of 2% and thus sacrifice the principal. Hence every quarter beginning March 15 you will have a draft of $75.00 which, together with what you have already from your 3 govt annuities, will come to $300.00, that is in all $1200 annually.

  3. (3) In addition to that you get about $200.00 from the Insurance dividends, making a total of $1400.00. That is in perpetuity of course, so you can budget on it.

  4. (4) Our own capital stock actually remains the same.

I have been asked to go to Assumption College, Windsor, in April – the Basilian institute. The Principal is very generous offering me $100.00 plus transportation for one lecture. I am to talk about how I came to Toronto via Patent medicine (you remember the Universal Lung Healer). This, imagine it, is to be delivered to the graduates at their dinner. Then next day I can become serious in conversation. But I have found the R.C.'s more amenable to humor than the Methodists or Presbyterians – L'or bless them all according to their deserts which are very varied.

I am enclosing a letter from New York.


govt. annuities
Anxious about Claire's disability and continuing medical problems, E.J. and Viola Pratt had invested in annuities – including government bonds – to assure her financial security.

Universal Lung Healer
In 1900, Pratt and his friend Willis Pike concocted a mixture which they sold as 'Universal Lung Healer' in the outports, earning over $300. Pratt loved telling the story of the swindle which Pratt published as 'A Northern Holiday' in the St. John's Daily News (23 August 1906). (See EJP:TY, pp. 78-80.)