June 9, 1952

Vi dear:

Your letter came today and I hope you can get a bedroom and be comfortable on the train. I hate to have you stay up all night. You'll arrive exhausted I'm afraid.

I spent the afternoon with Malcolm golfing though my shots were terribly off since the ache is fairly continuous. One good result of going to Marko's is the increased flexibility, but the ache is very little better. He told me that would take a longer time. So I must draw on my Methodist patience and Newfoundland fortitude.

I do hope you are having a good time. When we listened in on 20 Questions last Saturday night we were thinking of you and wondering if we could detect your and Nellie's laugh, but we weren't sure.

One funny thing happened at Corpus Christi that had the whole Conference laughing at me in a good-natured manner. Tatton took me to a part of the Hotel for a lunch and when it was over, a reporter kept me half-an-hour getting a column on Canada, poetry, Newfoundland. Tatton left, so I went to the elevator to go to my room 906 for a nap preceding the afternoon speech. I had a little trouble with my key but it didn't bother me much as the key was bent anyway. I heard an angry female voice inside shouting – 'Where are you trying to go anyway?' I didn't think it was the room maid as she would scarcely shout in that tone. I said 'this room is 906, isn't it?' She replied just as angrily as ever, 'Yes, it is 906 all right, but it is my room, not yours, so get the hell out of here.' I said 'My key is 906.' She yelled 'So is mine 906 but it is my room.' I looked at my key, turned it upside down to see if 9 and 6 inverted would be 6 and 9. But no it was still 906 and I shouted 'my key is 906 and that's my room. I was there last night and I am staying here until Wednesday morning.' 'Like hell you are – over my dead body.'

Then I went to the elevator operator, showed him the key and he remarked, 'This is not the Hotel Driscoll, it's Hotel Eagle adjoining by a very narrow passage.' Well, the story got around the 350 delegates and became the laugh of the occasion, so much so that when the Chairman (a publisher) introduced me to the audience he began, 'This is a Canadian-Newfoundlander who has the talent of breaking into the wrong room.' I wondered if that person in Eagle Hotel was one of the delegates. I never found out. But the argument at the door was certainly a scene. It was made more real as 906 was at the left corner from the elevator – the same parallel passage etc as the Driscoll set-up. When I went to the cashier to pay my final bill on Wednesday morning she said 'Oh, you're the Canadian who goes into the wrong room. It's a wonder you're alive. This happens sometimes and always there's a bump on the head.' So far, so good.

I got a letter from the Alberta University President who is expecting me to come in person for the medal. I haven't replied yet, till I get all the circumstances. If Macmillans come through as Gray said – it ought to be a good trip. It is August 17.

Blessings on your head dear one. I shall be glad to see you back. There'll be much to talk about. Darn this pen. I hope you can make out the writing. Love to Nellie and a great deal to yourself.


See the note to 'Banff' in the
letter to Viola Pratt, 6 June 1952.