Lot 21 in our auction Saturday 6th February 2021

My dear Wife
I have received your note of the 19th- You ought to have signed the release and sent it on at once but I don’t know if it is worth while doing it now till I come home as it could by being sent here at once get to Montreal only on Friday morning instead of the Tuesday morning following-
I cannot say much about the fire more than that I called in to the office on passing a little after five o’clock Friday evening found Mr. Fleming there and he remained there with Mr. Rowan and Burpee- reading proofs of a report to about ten minutes to six. At seven o’clock the place was discovered to be on fire-by some one about the middle of the building and apparently about the floor and ceiling between the ground flat and upper flat- there were people living in one end- who took care of the building- they lived in the end farthest from the entrance to Fleming’s office which you will remember. The man was gone to the post office and his wife says the first they knew of it was part of the ceiling falling down in the dining room- which was under one of the drawing offices- the policemen were soon on the ground and could have saved a number of things if they had known where to look for them but they went away for the firemen the first there after this who knew anything about the value of the plans inside were the Camby’s they tried to get in but were driven back by the flames I did not see it till the..

..had rough tracings for use in the field- of some work done in 1872 and this is all that is left for a million dollars-
My work did not fair quite so badly- as my assistants are working in rooms in the House of Commons- so that all my last years work is safe- and I had on that very day taken over tracing of the work in B.C. in 1871- with two plans of 1872 and next day would have had them over- but I have not a vestige of field book levels or profiles of 1872 except some scraps that may be in Victoria office-
But fortunately my report of 1872 as well Rowan’s and those of Moberly’s (which you read before I left for B.C. last June) are safe: they were in Fleming’s safe which has stood the ordeal of the fire- all Fleming’s private collection of plans, drawings, reports, specifications B.C. that he has made all his life time- with some he had from me are gone-
Yours ever
M. Smith