March 19, 1900
Your letter finally reached me. To say it touched my heart is an understatement. And in fact, that is where I am keeping it right now, next to my heart … and yes, my darling, that is meant to titillate!
I must say I miss you in so many ways. I certainly could have used your unwavering support a few weeks ago when I ventured to the office of Dr. Freud for the first time, for a most intimidating man he turned out to be, at least at first meeting. Luckily he is hardly the first man of science I have encountered who dismisses women out of hand, so I had some idea of how to proceed! First, however, I had to circumvent his housekeeper, who had instructions to turn me away. I had to describe at length the distances I had travelled to study with Dr. Freud, and how determined I was to establish the science of criminal psychiatry in Canada, before either relented.
Fortunately, our initial consultation ended on a happier note. I decided to appeal to the doctor's background as a neurologist by describing one or two of the more curious cases on which I'd worked in the morgue, and it seemed to intrigue him. I still have a long way to go to earn his respect, but I believe I may have scratched the surface. Enough so that he sent me away with research papers to read – in English, fortunately, since my German is still a bit sketchy – and I have since met with him three more times. He is growing a bit more cordial, or at least, less condescending, with each meeting. I intend to persevere!
We tend to think of Europeans as much more enlightened and progressive than we colonials, but my few weeks in Vienna has begun to convince me that the opposite is true. So much parochialism! As fascinating as I hope this course of study will be, I confess I will be happy to return to Toronto … and to the arms of a man who sees me as an equal, not a half-wit.
I have never thanked you enough for that, my love.
April 5, 1900
I can sense the frustration in your last letter.
It made me think of our very first encounter, when I'm afraid I may not have been much more welcoming than your Dr. Freud. I was so surprised to encounter a woman at a crime scene, and a woman physician, no less – that I was far less than cordial. I feel as if I can never apologize sufficiently for that. At the time I really had no appreciation for what you'd been through in order to arrive in such an accomplished position, and like so many men, I suspect I felt a bit threatened.
To say you won me over is, of course, an understatement. You won over my mind first, and very quickly you also found your way into my heart, in the most elegant and persistent way. I'm not suggesting you do the latter with Dr. Freud – please say that will never be so! – but I have every confidence that you will convince him of your sincerity and your intelligence as easily as you did me, and that you will surprise him again and again with your insights.
Every time you do so, rest assured you are not only advancing your own hard-won place in medical research, but you are paving the way for your sisters – women like young Dr. Grace, who is proving most capable, if for the moment sometimes distracted by the forest rather than the trees in her investigative reasoning. You taught her well.
I am not proud of my gender when I observe how many obstacles we have thrown in the professional path of the fairer sex, all based on fallacies of emotional and physical weakness. But I am extraordinarily proud of you for having dodged, stepped over, or ploughed through each of those obstacles, with that determined set to your jaw!
Forge onward in your studies, knowing that I love you all the more for it.
PS – You might be amused to know that George has begun writing a second novel. This one concerns a visit from a native of Jupiter. I have the dubious honour of being appointed his proof-reader …