Nova Scotia Archives

The Prat Sisters: Free Spirits of the 1890s

"To My Own People By Grand Pré, Christmas, 1892" : poem by Bliss Carman about the Prat family (print version)

Bliss Carman was a close friend of the Prat sisters and a frequent visitor at 'Acadia Villa,' the Prat family home at Wolfville. 'C.E.W.' refers to Charlotte Elizabeth Wilcox, 'R.M.P.' to May Rosina Prat ('Rose Mary'), 'A.L.P.' to Annie Louisa Prat ('Nancy'), and 'M.S.P.' to Minnie Sophia Prat ('Malyn.') Carman's phrase about Malyn's "lonely ways" is a delicate reference to the death of Minnie's fiancé, Goodridge Bliss Roberts, from influenza, at the Prat family home, in February 1892.
Carman sent a typescript of the poem, tied with white ribbon, to the Prat family in December 1892. He followed it with a letter to Annie in which he wrote, "I hope you got my few words by mail yesterday; I wrote them in Washington and made the bookie myself white bow and all. Don't you think that was pretty clever of old Kelly?... I am here by the fire all alone. The household has gone to bed. But I know Murray [his sister Jean] and Aunt Jean would send their love. I shall watch the fire as I fall asleep, and think such sweet gentle thoughts of my dears ones at home..." Part of the letter (including place of writing, name of recipient and date) is missing. A note in Annie's handwriting on the reverse reads, "This letter followed the little "bookie" he wrote to us all the Christmas after Goodridge's and Father's going, in which he wrote a bit of verse to each one – "To My Own People by Grand Pré."
Letter in the William Inglis Morse Collection, University of King's College Archives. Location of typescript unknown.

Date: Published in William Inglis Morse, Bliss Carman Bibliography (Windham, Conn., 1941)

Reference: Nova Scotia Archives  PS8455 A72 Z7, p.71

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