Dawson Y.T. Jan 13 th , 1927
Dear Mother Ryder
I believe it is your turn to write to me, but I feel sure you won't object
if I move out of my turn will you?
There isn't very much general news that I can tell you as I know that Mary
writes home very regularly and I'm sure that you are kept well posted. I'm
pleased to be able to say that I honestly think she is now improving – permanently – she
did lose a little weight last month tis true, but I attributed that to the
extra work she was doing for Xmas. – she worries so if she thinks she will
not be able to complete any work she has set herself to do – and so does not
eat as she ought with the inevitable result – she loses weight. I however,
as I said just now, I feel convinced she is better now then she has been since
her return from Ft. Yukon last summer. She is, of course, still keeping quiet
and does not go about much nor does she do any entertaining: Dr Burke strongly
advised her not to undertake any unnecessary social activities and we are trying
to live up to his instructions as much as possible.
You may not know perhaps that he also advised me to get her away from Dawson
if it would be possible, say, for a couple of years. He thought that if it
would be possible for me to be transferred to an outpost for that lengthy of
time, it would be better for her – in this way. She would be relieved of any
social duties – callers, entertaining, and so on and in addition to this, my
work at an outpost would not necessitate my attendance at the office every
day and would leave me freer to go out and around outdoors more, and so be
able to take Mary with me – in short, she would be able to live outdoors more.
Dr. Burke thought that if she could live such a life for, say, the next two
years, it would be a wonderful advantage to her from which she would be immensely
benefited during the rest of her life.
To attain this end therefore, I approached my commanding officer and explained
the whole matter to him, finally obtaining his sanction to my transfer to some
Now, I want you to thoroughly understand that such a move as we contemplate
making is thoroughly in accord with Mary's wishes – she wants to go – is most
anxious for the experience – and for my part I too am anxious to go too, not
solely and entirely for Mary's sake (tho' of course that was the main factor
in causing me to make a change) but because I have lived several years in these
outposts, and I really love the life immensely – much more so than life around
Do you quite understand now how we view the contemplated change? Why my dear
mother, we are looking forward to it with as much eagerness as two kids: we
talk of it morning noon and night, we plan, and figure, and I really think
we dream of it – so you can rest assured that we honestly do want to go.
Of course to Mary it will mean something of a wrench leaving our little home
here where we have been so comfortable and happy – but shucks – will be just
as happy together somewhere else, and will go to work with just as much youthful
enthusiasm to make another home – what do we care so long as we're together?
We may not be able to enjoy the advantages of running water electric light
and so on but at any rate will have lots of time on our hands to do just those
things that we love most to do: we shall have dogs to travel with, or canoe,
ample time for reading, and plenty of camping-out – all of which things we
both enjoy so much.
Wouldn't you think that we ought to feel much pleasure of such a prospect?
Of course you do!
We do not expect to move until the beginning of June when the boats begin
running again. We may probably be able to dispose of most our furniture here,
as we shall not require so much on account of our house where we are going
being smaller. We propose taking the piano with us, our books and so on, and
our pups too – of course!
I might say that I have already spent two years at the post we are going to,
so I know the country well and I think my stories of my experiences there only
serve to make Mary even more anxious to go and try the life.
I'm quite sure she will enjoy it, so you need have no misgivings on that account.
I certainly wouldn't take her if there was the least possibility she wouldn't
like the life.
In my next letter to you I will probably explain the location of our intended
home. I would like you to write to me in answer to this tho' just to hear what
your opinion is about the whole thing.
You may rest assured that we are not making this move without much forethought
and deliberation – we're not rushing into it at all – we don't have to – but – we
both think it would be a move for the best: that's why we want to make it.
Love to both you and Honey from both of us.
Your affectionate son, Claude.