Friday am. [6 June 1952]

Dearest Vi:

I have just got in and am expecting Claire (who left a note of welcome on the breakfast table) in about an hour.

The first night from Corpus Christi I had a roomette with not enough room to stand up without calling the porter to release the spring and put it back during the night. Last night I was managed to finagle a one-passenger bedroom which was infinitely better, though it was quite late before it was available.

I got your notes at the Writers' Conference though there was no reference to my cards which I sent every day. Probably they didn't reach you early enough. I sent a small box of cigarettes to Nellie from Corpus Christi.

I shall tell you all about the Conference later. It was most enjoyable with hospitality belonging to the 'deep south.' The Texans are wonderful. Mr & Mrs Tatton were my hosts and they wouldn't let me buy a meal or a cigar. Tatton (Jack) always managed to get in ahead of me.

I brought back $150.00 net with me, room at the Driscoll Hotel being $10.00 a day. Everything was very expensive – even a shave costing a dollar. But Tatton paid all transportation.

I notice on the table a letter to Claire with the suggestion that you might need an extra fiver or so. By all means make arrangements for a single bedroom in plenty of time. It was only by the merest chance I got one on my return and that was on the train. I had my order in for more than a week but there was no space. Fortunately the purchaser of Bedroom D couldn't go at the last moment. On a long trip one needs it. See to it that you get the reservation in lots of time, and have plenty of quarters for tips in carrying suitcases and meals. Do not deprive yourself on your holiday. I hope you see 20 Questions. Go to the theatres and take trips. Make the most of it all. I am going down to the College this afternoon to get what I expect to be a heavy correspondence. I am anxious to see what they intend doing about Banff. If it weren't such a long distance away! I hope the 'provision' Frank McDowell alluded to is generous. But I would be perfectly happy to stay at home with you and present you with a dish of raspberries every day for a week or so.

I have reserved $50.00 in American money for Claire should she whimsically decide to go to New Hampshire. If she doesn't, she can change it into Canadian.

I am enclosing a $20.00 bill to eke out your meagre existence. Later on I shall send more but don't try to economize too much.

Bless your sweet heart. I shall roast a duck for you crisp and brown some day.

In my next letter I shall tell you the funniest story of the Corpus Christi convention which had all the delegates laughing at me, even the Chairman referring to it in his introductory remarks. Nellie too will enjoy it, because it was straight unadulterated absent-mindedness – not so bad as going on to the platform without my trousers but almost as funny.

Much love,
Ned.


Mr & Mrs Tatton
See the note to 'Mr Tatton' in the
letter to father V.J. Guinan, 22 March 1952.

single bedroom
On the train home from New York, where Viola was visiting Nellie Pratt.

20 Questions
The popular radio show originating from New York. Viola and Pratt's sister Nellie planned to attend a performance as members of the audience.

Banff
Along with Sir Ernest MacMillan (music) and Frederick Haines (painting), he had been invited by the University of Alberta to receive one of its new National Fine Arts Medals for 'contributions to the cultural progress of Canada.'

'provision'
A Public Relations officer with Canadian National Railways, McDowell had promised to make 'provision' for reduced fares for the Pratts so that they could afford to attend the ceremony.

delegates laughing
See the
letter to Viola Pratt, 9 June 1952.

without my trousers
This he appears to have absentmindedly done in the early 1930s, arriving late for a recital and hurriedly removing a mackintosh to find he had failed to don his pants.