SAGA Document Collection

[Letter, Emily Carr to Ruth Humphrey, 1938-04-25] Carr, Emily, 1871-1945 Apr 25, 1938

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 Apr 25, 1938   I putting off & off & offer writing. Suppose you won't get it anyhow till epochs of aeons later, for this had best go to London, I think. Tho it seems silly when you'll be sitting in Africa for ever so long yet. Well, I don't know when I wrote but Alice has been ill-l`   very bad stomach flue. She is better, has been a few days in Vancouver, came home yesterday & looks so thin & frail & old. It took so much out of her���10 days in bed, I doubt if she has ever been so long in bed before & she feels 'invalids' too, poor old dear, but got to her teaching this A.M. after Easter break. I've been N.G. again :have not painted for on 2 months, & new gone back on writing too. The last story is straight 'orful' yet I've put a lot of thought & time on the brute too. I shall coffin it for a spell and find my level in rag rugs & mending clothes.   Just had the surprising news that Flora (maid) is quitting. We seemed to get on beautifully-never a hitch in the two months. She sang all day & I thought liked me though I think she has a very discontented disposition, always wishing she could do this and that other than housework. I put those spells down to her beau not writing ��� he is in Vancouver & she wishes *she was*, etc. I think that is what I meant by the young people of today--they *are* very discontented if they have to work--seem to think it is menial unless, as they say, they have *a home of their own*, and they only like that while it's a new toy. After divorce they are not *faithful* to anything. I agree with you about the *students* more or less. There *are* earnest ones there, and many perplexities for them. I think it's the girls and young men who should be *honest workers* with their *hands* as well as their heads who consider domestic & manual work menial. Flora is a very nice girl. Her pa is an engineer up at a cannery. She has graduated through high. Her sister took two years in college & a year in Normal. ���(then waited 4 years for a school.) Flora looks well, speaks  well ��� but when it comes to little refinements ��� table manners or anything to improve her mind ��� well, she has no ambition whatever. Idea of improving themselves is to squeeze in with the showy, moneyed vulgar. That is what they aspire to ��� that means 'rise' in their estimation people who dress well & have cars & with heads as empty as week-day churches, Well, I say to self ���as good fish in the sea as ever came out of���but the teaching them is a double-barrelled bore, to be repeated so soon again too. She says she has no complaints & that I've been very good to her (I have too).   Willie got 3 canvases off to Vancouver to the B.C. Fine Arts show today. They have made me an honorary member = equivalent to the Arts & Crafts in Vic .well no it is better than that, (Nothing could be worse than an Art Society). Oh Art, Art, what a filthy thing they've turned the *name* into all the piffle & muck they write ��� everybody & anybody who can gain money and ���talk reputation��� thereby, all posing as lecturers, critics, & Radio talkers on ���Art���. Just now I feel fed up, so excuse the tirade probably comes from being completely dissatisfied with my own work at present. That b rings me to your last & various suggestions on your part. Don't know that I think them *altogether* good, but might bear looking into *when* you come back. You see, I don't consider my pictures really mine after I die. Possibly *they may* sell dead better than living, and I'd want my sister to benefit by their cash. *Strictly confidential between ourselves* when I though I might be going to peep & I knew I���d curse like blazes at having them on her hands what could she do poor thing not seeing well & hating them anyhow? So I left them share & share to Alice & Willie. Willie to do *all the work and labor* and there���d be a good plenty. He doesn���t know painting or pictures more than a hyena but at least he is honest & Lauren Harris has a say too. Well probably they'll all be dead out of fashion & never bring a sou. Things are changing violently from what I can hear, in Art World, so it should as long as it moves honestly (not in a Smart Alec way). This as I say is quite private ��� lots of people have asked me how I was disposing of my pictures but I have not told anyone. Its my business not theirs. Alice & Willie know. My one idea was to make things easy for her the pictures in themselves mean nothing to her tho perhaps she does not so actually loathe them as my other sister did. Had she been saddle with them she���d have *bust*. My nieces hat them too. Can���t say I���m very enamoured of them myself. Life, life, life--it's the irresistible pushing along that counts, isn't it? Things don't stop when they blossom? The blossoms are only the tips that hold more seeds, to make more roots.   When I want to realize growth and immortality more, I go back to of   Walt Whitman he re had a grip it. *Everything* seemed to take such a hand in the everlasting on-going with him, eternal overflowing & spilling of things into the universe & nothing lost.   The last few days glorious, hot enough even for you. Desperate love songs in the aviary, frantic gentlemen peeping round the corners at other gentlemen's wives and losing part of their neckties when the other gentlemen catch them. Discontented ladies unable to decide as to the merits of this house or that & being a perfect curse to the landlord. Sullen old maids & rousty Bachelors glowering at each other.   Don���t be too ���pouty��� yourself at us silly British and the rain. If you must have one isn���t rain better than drought? So cheer up & split up with 3 or four so you can accommodate Russia, Paris, Turkey and Brazil. Love per usual M.E. [postmarked Vicotria, BC April 26, 1938]   Miss Ruth Humphrey   c/o Bank of Montreal   Trafalgar Sq   Pal Mal   London, Eng


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