21 Cortleigh Blvd.
Sunday [29 Mar. 1953]

Hello Cayke:

This is a little addendum to say 'How do you do?'

I am off on Wednesday to give an address to the Faculty of Queen's Annual Dinner.

I have prepared a speech which, according to the suggestion of Dr Tracy, should be in a 'festive' not a 'research' mood, which suits my mood all right.

But now I am revising it because George Herbert Clarke died on Friday and I must make some references to him. He was 81, and it wasn't unexpected.

It will be nice seeing Queen's again to renew old friendships. I may pay a visit to the ham and eggs restaurant – just to get the smell.

Next week I go to Windsor as I told you and I'll be there for 2 nights. But as it is the same speech – 'Newfoundland Reminiscences' – there is no extra work entailed beyond the telling of the Universal Lung Healer and how I came to Toronto on the proceeds of the sales. The President of Assumption College, the Reverend Father LeBel, asked me to tell it. Can you beat it?


Pratt is adding a note to a letter by Viola to Claire.

died on Friday
In her letter, Viola Pratt elaborates: 'He was having a shower bath, and the water was too hot. He was scalded. I don't know how much – but he had a weak heart anyway – so I suppose the shock was too great.'

Universal Lung Healer
In 1900, Pratt and Willis Pike concocted a mixture which they sold in the outports, earning over $300. The story of the swindle was published in the St John's Daily News ('A Northern Holiday,' 23 August 1906). The version which he added to the paper read at Assumption College was as follows:

I was a probationer for the Methodist Church and the pay was practically zero. I wanted to come up to Toronto University but how could I do it on a stipend which no more than paid for my board and lodging. I was staying with a friend, a Mr X, who helped me to solve my problem in this way. His father-in-law, so he alleged, had been cured of tuberculosis by a potion which he manufactured himself out of spruce tops, wild cherry bark and the rind of fir trees plus sarsaparilla. Such a concoction was not on the market, so when I was staying at the Bell Island Mines I used to go out under cover of night with a huge bag and pluck the spruce tops and the cherry bark, and during the day in the intervals between my clerical ministrations such as getting up my sermons and visiting my parishioners. I boiled the stuff in a huge vat, brought it down to a vile concentrate, got hold of several gross bottles on credit, and had a newspaper plant make cartons for the bottles – foursided bottles. I made up the instructions which were printed in English, French and Italian. I knew a little French but no Italian so I got an Italian grocer to do that job for me for ten cents. On the fourth side was printed in large letters – Universal Lung Healer, and the theory was that the contents could cure not only lung troubles but all the most diverse diseases. I bought the sarsaparilla, put a tablespoonful in each bottle and added a small but powerful tincture of Barbadoes rum, of course to keep the concoction from freezing. I then made a tour of the island [actually only Notre Dame Bay] and sold several gross ... I knew the stuff couldn't do any harm, and I knew a solution of cherry bark was at least drinkable. I made enough money to get to Toronto. (From an unpublished script in the Pratt Collection, Victoria College Library).

Assumption College
A co-educational undergraduate college in Windsor, Ontario. In 1956, it became Assumption University and, in 1962, the University of Windsor.