January 19th, 1935 was a perfect day to look at a house with the intention of buying. None of your beguiling, sunshiny, wheedling days that lowers one's sales resistance and makes almost any place in the country appear inviting. No, it was a rough, gray day, with razor blades in the wind and white caps on the sea. Not only that, but in spite of the cold, there had been down-pours of rain from the iron-gray clouds that had obscured the sun for weeks. Indeed I had a sinking feeling sometimes that the sun might never shine again. There was a finality about it all, a thick, settled, stubborn grayness.We were not enthusiastic when we heard of another country place. No one could be enthusiastic about anything. The whole country, east and west, was in the grip of the worst winter since '79; but we had come to Vancouver Island to buy and we drove out the six miles to see the place. Nobody spoke. It was better to do anything than sit in the lounge of the hotel and look out at the slanting rain between us and Elbethel Chapel, or watch the motionless old ladies in their purple and gray nightingales, just sitting watching the fire, with no sound in the room but the ticking of a clock on the mantle. The hotel advertising mentioned that it was "a quiet place," and we found it had not exaggerated.
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