Dorothea Allison to Milborough Mackay 24 August 
,’s (!) blouse & your table centre turned up together just in time for my birthday. The blouse is very sweet — such awfully pretty stuff & very chic in make — Thank you immensely for it — clothes are most grateful & comforting here where I don’t see a shop for months on end. The table centre pleases me also very much. I was longing for something to put in the middle & it is going to be brought out the first time I have guests who will probably be the dear people on a neighbouring ranch who a little time past announce “Us be going in for ‘ogs” (i.e. hogs) I feel sure the gold and silver work will make a deep impression on them.
The War — tho we hear so little real news — fills every bit of our minds of course. I dream of it nearly every night. Belgium has had a cruel time evidently. The German prisoner we have here is not at all in sympathy with his country men about it. It is like reading stories of the middle ages — the way, if true — that they have burned up villages & shot down women!
I feel a fearful wretch not to be writing in time for your birthday — As to sending you anything I rack my brains the first and last thought is fruit — Quite an impossible thought too & I only go into one little town — 16 miles away once in a couple of months or so & when there was cheap jack stuff! & sold at a respectable price. Oh I knew one thing that I might be able to get hold of — muskrat skins. I had a collar made of three of them for your seal coat to wear to my wedding. Everybody who has seen it admired it. It is sold as marten. But the men who shot them call them muskrat. But you have all the fur you want!
Thank you ever so much for your two very nice presents. Both things I wanted and love.
How is Charlie! I am so glad you are keeping pretty well. Give Mrs. Alice my love when you see her.
I have had a pretty hard summer which sent my weight down — but I am very well again the weather being cooler. For weeks — months — the temp dropped much under 98o in the shade & even 100o . Not many days when it dropped much under 90o — and this when you are bottling fruit & making jam for winter use! Besides all the ordinary cooking and butter making. I have been having someone in to help me on ironing days lately. The most killing work in the week. She is the wife of a man who has left his ranch & gone off to the Front. She is left with practically no money & a kiddie to keep, so is very glad to do a little charring. She was a Miss Vuless by the way — niece to the portrait painter & one of the only Gentlewomen around here. — my precious Bob improves on acquaintance without a murmur wipes up the floor when I spill the sloppail. We are going to feel the effect of the war very badly I fear. Fruit is not bought in the towns as sugar has gone up a lot & people can’t afford to make so much jam, etc. Bob sends his love. Much presses me to thank you again very much for the lovely presents & the best wishes for many happy returns of the day September 23.
Yr. Very afec’