Dorothea Allison to Milborough Mackay, 8 August 
Mother has sent me a book from you — or two books, one from her & one from you, both are most acceptable. I really don’t know what I shd [should] have done without the books that have been sent to me while out here — with no library & nobody who has new books — except Mrs. Despard sometimes, but hers are unfortunately sometimes the same as mine — Young Visitors and Poor Relations. However I generally am very superior in having several that she hasn’t had.
I do hope you did not have a very dreadful time & that you are back safe and sound. I wonder where? Did you have to fill in passports? We have yards of questions to answer about our appearance — Bob managed in the answers to make himself sound quite handsome & me hideous — so at the last question “any special peculiarity” I wanted him to say Plain for himself & Rather pretty for me else they won’t recognize us from the description. However he wasn’t pleased & quite annoyed with me for wanting to change his “brown hair” into ginger. So I left it especially as I shall look quite as bad as the description by the time I am an hour on board.
I was very interested in your article in the Cornhill — but poor Gen. Dyer & how bad for India.
We have taken berths on the Munedosa sailing from Montreal Nov. 20th. We shall have to leave here about the 14th I suppose — depending upon the amount of snow in the Rockies at the time. I can hardly believe we shall now start after 8 years almost in the same spot — 6 1/2 years absolutely in the same spot never even seeing a train! I am afraid it will be below zero in the Prairie in November — & tho trains are heated almost to extreme — it will be miserable getting out at the long stops. At present it is hard to think of zero — at temperature between 90 & 100 every day. One day it went up to 102. We sleep out on the lawn under the trees with a mosquito netting over us. I feel now as if servants must be an awful nuisance & dreadfully in the way after being without them for years.
It is so stupid of England when she rules a country with a native pop. to pretend the Sword has nothing to do with the Rule. Sometimes we deserve to be called a nation of Hypocrites.
It will nearly be your birthday when you get this — very many happy returns. When the apples are ready to pick I will send you a small box thro’ the mail before we leave. Tho I wonder if they will carry all right.
Poor Em she will be glad to hear the children are well & happy.
Poor little Philippa — it is a hard life I’m afraid in front of her. Did you see her husband? If he is all right & a comfort to her then the rest will be more or less in her own hands — because out in the colonies once you have conquered the awful existence then your happiness depends almost altogether on yourself.
With much love & many thanks for the book
Can’t you come home next spring with Em? It seems so awful to miss each other. What do you mean by paying calls at Oyama? I have a darling little spare room, bigger than the cabin of a ship, and a dub and a bath and lavabo and a telephone and a car — so should be deeply hurt if you didn’t stop.