Buchanan's Letters


To Charles G.D. Roberts


My delicious darling,

     Two days to Epiphany! I catch the 1 o’c[l]ock train to Toronto tomorrow, so will [be] with you by mid-afternoon. The old stag1 suspects, of course, but he will get no “ocular proof”2 because Barbara3 is on holiday (at my suggestion!) and he must stay to tend the house and stock.
     Speaking of which, I shall bring you a loin of Piggy as a specimen mouthful. The saddle is not yet cooked, and neither are the chops and hocks—which is probably just as well, for as the saying goes “Never eat more that you can lift.”4
     Delectable Charles, I can hardly wait,

Yours ever and ever,



  1. Presumably Walter Buchanan. A “stag” is an old boar, castrated prior to butchering. [back]
  2. The phrase is from Othello III, iii. 361, where Othello demands proof of Desdemona’s infidelity from Iago. [back]
  3. Barbara Cassandra Godet (1878-1924), a volatile and loquacious servant of the Buchanan’s. [back]
  4. The source of this quotation remains to be discovered. It may be a distortion of the much-used nineteenth-century rural Ontario axiom, “Never eat anything bigger than your own head.” See Colombo’s Dictionary of Canadian Stuff No One Believes I Get Paid for Compiling by John Robert Colombo and I.P. Freeley (Toronto: Hecuba P, 1989), p. 432. [back]