Dorothea Allison to Milborough Mackay, 2 December 
Oyama — BC
As I have just got a letter from you dated early September — I hardly think this will reach you for Xmas!! All the same I send you our best wishes for a very happy New Year. No — I don’t think India is a nice place when I think of white ants — scorpions & the like — or when I think of the sickly heat — but then look at your hills — a perfect climate & then your incomes all roll in if you take it easy or not. You don’t have to dig it out of the ground in the sweat of your brow. And you certainly don’t have to face going to an out door dub1 in zero weather i.e. from 32 to 50 degress of frost! Generally by this time the ground is as hard as a rock — & if any one dies they have to make great fires and dig a bit of the grave out as it thaws — quite a to do! Everything is dead white with snow tho it is not very cold yet & this I am afraid I don’t like — it makes me feel “sick in the stomach” as they call it here!! A nice little Canadian woman came to call on me the other day, & over a cup of tea told me she had a “gassy stomach” & “female trouble” — ! Another good lady wanted “to leave the room”, so I showed her to the bathroom where I keep a P. O. She said it wouldn’t do as she wished “to relieve her bowels” — I promptly dispatched her to the outside Dub of course!! And these same people are so ultra refined in their ways that we wouldn’t dream of. They never talk of “cocks & hens” — it is most indecent here to mention a cock even on a Ranch — you must call cocks Roosters. Isn’t it funny. At first I must often have made the other Rancher’s wives blush — I naturally spoke of killing off my cocks for the table — but I found it is most indecent to mention a cock. It is always a Rooster!!! To me a “gassy stomach” is much more indecent than a cock. The Canadians are (or the average Canadian that one meets I ought to perhaps say) so essentially middle or lower middle class. Very proper yet disgustingly com: [common] in their expressions! If they feel a little faint they say “they take weak spells”. Of course — they take everything from medicine to a confirmation class. They don’t like the English people at all. I think myself they are jealous of us.
I am so glad about Chris — I always realized he was [clever?] — but I always dreaded something I didn’t quite know what — a morbid streak? But for his [Chief?] to speak like that shows there is nothing much to fear. Is he going in to the Indian Army or what — he seems to be up at Simla? He never writes — so I have not perservered in my correspondence. I am so terribly busy for one thing — & another thing I followed Ro with letters for many years — & I don’t know that it does any good & only hurts myself. So I shall just pretend [to myself?] that he is not particularly my brother and let it go at that.
I have been dying to hear of your book — you don’t say any more & I do want to see it. Would the publishers not accept it now in wartime? Who is your sick friend? You don’t sound sympathetic about her!
How are you — [indistinct] a change at home? Here prices for apples have been good — but the labour has been awful. You can’t get help & the wage is 12 sh. a day for a boy. We picked & packed about 4000 boxes of fruit with a boy of 17 and 3 girls. It was killing work. We came in from the orchard exhausted & then had to light the fire, make supper & then churn. Sunday was the only time to do the house-hold laundry!! I have not recovered yet and next year will be harder still, I fear.
With much love and best wishes to you.
1A dub is slang for a toilet.
Typescripts, 1913-1922 — Dorothea Scott-Coward Allison Letters