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258 letters in canada 2002 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 Apart from being introduced to her social acquaintances, we also glean some information on the social life of Victoria. Sports, particularly cricket and rounders, occupied many hours, as did the dramatic societies of the city. Another leisurely pursuit enjoyed by some Victorians during summer was to set up camp at the local beaches: >It was an old Victoria custom, until about the start of the first Great War, for a great summer exodus of residents to beach camps in the long vacation. Some of the beaches were practically under canvas for the summer months, so numerous were the parties of campers.= In the end we are left with a rather lighthearted account of the social life and travels of a judge=s wife in Edwardian Victoria. We do not discover Eunice Harrison=s personal views on social issues. Instead we learn much about the politics of social visiting and card leaving. (MYRA RUTHERDALE) Jo Fraser Jones, editor. Hobnobbing with a Countess and Other Okanagan Adventures: The Diaries of Alice Barrett Parke 1891B1900 University of British Columbia Press. xiv, 349. $85.00 Historians and scholars interested in women=s issues have been fortunate recently, since there have been a number of new publications that shed light on the experiences of women in British Columbia. Thanks to the fine eye of archivist Jo Fraser Jones, who recognized, in the course of indexing this journal, just what a gem it is, we now have a deeper understanding of not just gender relations but the day-to-day routines of one woman, Alice Barrett Parke, who lived at an important moment in the history of the Okanagan valley. Jo Fraser Jones and the University of British Columbia Press are to be congratulated for producing such a valuable source. Fraser=s insightful introduction, along with the fine illustrations, contextualized comments throughout the text, and remarkably detailed footnotes, provide the reader with just the right blend of primary and secondary material. At age twenty-nine, Alice Butler Barrett hailed from Port Dover, Ontario, and like many women of her time found herself a sojourner travelling in the spring of 1891 to the west coast to take up domestic duties for her uncle and brother, then engaged in operating a ranch in the Spallumcheen Valley. Her brother convinced her to keep journals to send home to her relatives to inform them of her comings and goings. After only a few short months at the ranch, she met Harold Parke, another Ontario refugee, whom she herself described as a bit of a >rover= and whom she eventually agreed to marry. Her original intentions to stay for just one year quickly changed after marriage. She and Harold went on to work at a large ranch and as the postmasters in Vernon, and she ultimately stayed thirteen years longer than humanities 259 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 she planned. While the text is specific to the observations and life of Alice Barrett Parke, it is rich in flavour and detail and provides a remarkable social history of the area and the characters who inhabited Parke=s social landscape, as well as many of the social issues of the day, ranging from feminism and religion to race relations and the politics of British Columbia. Parke was a witty and keen observer. She commented endlessly on the apparent gender imbalance and was much impressed by the >rough= bachelors she frequently rubbed shoulders with: >Men who talk atrociously ungrammatically, who have dirty hands, and dirtier clothes seem to take quite a courtly air, and more real chivalry of manner than many so-called polished gentlemen.= Her friend, however, who came to work as a school teacher, was not so impressed: >To tell the truth I don=t care to give up a sixty dollar school for a forty dollar man.= Parke did not see herself as quite as independent as that, yet ironically she was. She had profound insight at times on just how independent she had become: >I believe being much alone makes me more courageous. I have been wondering...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 258-259
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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