Advanced Search 

Home - introductions to the site
Search - a searchable database of letters/essays/etc.
Genealogy - short biographical information of each family member
Photographs - various images pertaining to the McQuesten family
Thesis - essays on the McQuestens and lifewriting by Mary Anderson
Timelines - a chronological list of events in the McQuesten family and corresponding historical events

Search Results

Jan 15 1901


The Evening News, Toronto, Ontario January 15, 1901

What a prodigality of adjectives are a float in these days--prodigality it is verily, for, though it shows the richness of the English language, at the same time it impoverishes it for this reason: Superlatives are used, or rather misused continually. The most trivial things are "too sweet for anything," "perfectly lovely," "simply exquisite," "magnificently grand," "perfect," etc. What is left to adequately describe the really remarkable things of life the beauty of literature, the terror of the elements? One cannot use with any force words that are used to describe a new hat, a laugh, style of hairdressing, to describe some mighty upheaval of nature. The style of the Queen's English may have been stilted and ["hissish"?] fifty years ago, but a little of that same conservation of style just now would be a relief and a blessing. Adjectives and adverbs were originally intended to intensify and deepen an impression, or a fact; but things have become so inverted of late that to make a really forcible statement, one must eliminate all use of comparison in either form; simply state the fact, and its badness, and simplicity, its very lack of adjectival accomplishment will impress its importance on the public.

This misuse of words is a very bad thing for the language and literature of the present day, as all thoughtful people will admit. Go to any ordinary society function, a tea, for instance, and place yourself in the position of an unbiased listener--What do you hear? Why, enough abuse, or rather ill-choosing of the English language to make you shudder for its ultimate fate. The "awfully lovely," "My dear, it was just too simply sweet for words," etc., which will greet your astonished ears will make you say with Pope (Essay on Criticism):

"Words are like leaves; and where they most abound

Much that of sense beneath is rarely found."

It is literally an artillery of superlatives. Much is said in the condemnation of slang--but in my humble opinion, at least, it is not so harmful, generally speaking, as the extravaganza which is taking possession of feminine conversation. In the latter you are in great danger of drifting into a very objectionable characteristic to all truth lovers, viz.: "gush," "Slang," it must be admitted, is not always euphonious or pleasing, but nevertheless, slang, so called--colloquialism would, perhaps, be a more just name--is nearly always very forcible and pointed in its mode of expression, and it is because this forcibleness is recognised by the general public--who are not ultra-purists in the matter of language--that many slang phrases and words have become justified by use till they are really a legitimate part of the English language. Perhaps these very colloquialisms are doing more than anything else toward enriching the language, now almost universally spoken, and which is really a quaint combination of the Latin, Teutonic, and Saxon tongues.

Many pointed and queer sounding phrases are used by us now under the name of "Americanisms," and they are rightly so called; though they are practically in the same class with slang. Do not for one moment think that I am trying to justify the use of slang. Not so, I am only trying to convince my readers that a judicious use of forcible colloquialisms is much preferable to the injudicious and gushing abuse of adjective and adverb. Listen to what Archbishop Trench says in his "Study of Words," and it will make you more reverent in your use of language:--"Language is the amber in which a thousand precious and subtle thoughts have been safely embalmed and preserved--It stands, like the Pillars of Hercules, to mark how far the moral and intellectual standards of mankind have advanced, only not like these pillars fixed and immovable, but ever itself advancing with the progress of these. The mighty moral instincts which have been working in the popular mind have found therein their unconscious voice; and the kinglier spirits that have looked deeper into the heart of things have often time gathered up all they have seen into one word, and launched it upon the world, and with which they have enriched it forever--making in the new word a new region of thought, to be henceforth in some sort the common heritage of all.

Ceremony palls on Queens, and They Long for Simplicity.

I wonder if it is because we women always wish most to do the things we are debarred from doing which makes so many royal women long and strive after simplicity and quiet homely pursuits. A life made always subservant to ceremony must be a most wearisome thing. In fact the privileges of royalty are few. Women like ourselves who have their preferences in love, and strong ones, too--yet they must marry for state reasons, and largely as the state decrees. Their lives are in a sense cut and dried for them; their choices are compulsory and they are always hampered by the conventionalities of court life.

A crown must be a heavy burden on the brows of many of these envied Queens, but they have their brief seasons of respite, and long for them as children do a holiday. A little girl once on being put to bed with her hair up in "curls," twisted and turned uncomfortably, and finally said: "Mother, I wouldn't like to be a queen, 'cause it must hurt as bad as curlers to have to sleep in a gold crown." The young Queen Helena, of Italy, formerly Princess of Naples had been enjoying her play-time up till the assassination of the late King of Italy--but now instead of her lovely mother-in-law, Queen Margherita, Helena must come to the fore and "play the Queen." She is a beautiful woman, with the pale, clear complexion of the south, regular features and large dark eyes. Her usual expression and manner are said to be of gentle sweetness--but back of this there is upon occasion a dignity and imperiousness which does not ill become her position. She is a woman of remarkable common sense views upon dress subjects--witness some advice given a number of ladies present at one of her receptions: "Mesdames, allow me to give you a word of advice. When you appear at court avoid too small waists and do not imprison your feet in too narrow shoes. One is obliged to remain standing so long and to make so many courtesies--you will be far more comfortable in easy garments and shoes that will not martyr you."

This sensible Queen lives up to her preaching on this subject, thus setting a good example for the ladies of her court. Like many other great ladies, Queen Helena has a fad which takes the form of a beautiful array of rare birds. One of her favourite amusements is said to be the making of pies and cakes. But most of these happy homely employments will be ended now, when she must so soon undertake the duties of a Queen of the realm, which she is said to do with great reluctance.

Girl with a Million Marries the Son of a Section Foreman

Chicago, Jan. 14-A special to The Record from Paris, Texas, says:- The most romantic wedding that ever occurred in Texas, took place last night at Clarksville, thirty miles east of Paris. Miss Mamie Smith, of Honolulu, aged 20 and worth a million, was married to Emmet Burke, aged 20, son of a Texas and Pacific Railroad section foreman, between Paris and Clarksville.

David Smith, father of the bride, while engaged in general merchandise, 18 years ago, at Tishomingo, I. T., ordered large quantities of goods from St. Louis and Chicago houses on time, converted them into cash and left the country with $100,000. He turned up in the Hawaiian Islands. In a few years he became the owner of a vast coffee and sugar estate, obtained valuable concessions from the Government, and was the first to introduce electricity in the islands. He was a member of Hawaiian delegation that went before Congress to secure annexation to the United States.

While in this country he made good to his creditors the money he had converted, and returned to Honolulu. He died a year ago, leaving his daughter his sole heir. She was born at Rosalie, Red River Country, near Clarksville, and reached here a month ago to visit her birthplace. She was engaged to marry a prominent San Francisco lawyer, who had the management of her estates. She met young Burke, a penniless boy, three weeks ago. A romantic attachment sprung up, and culminated in the marriage.


The February Delineator has some splendid articles in its pages. From month to month The Delineator is more and more ceasing to be purely a fashion book, and becoming a well-written, readable home magazine, of interest to all classes in the home, though more particularly to the women of the household. This month's issue contains an interesting article concerning Mrs. Phoebe, A. Hearst's work for the University of California, and her kindergarden; there are also some good pointers for Valentine luncheons; Lenten table delicacies. Professor Ellen Richards, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has a splendid treatise on "The House We Keep."

* * *

The anniversary of the first public address of Rev. Dr. McAll in Paris will be marked by the Parkdale auxiliary by a special meeting to be held on Thursday evening at the home of Miss Kendal, 45 Melbourne Avenue, when addresses are to be delivered by Rev. A. S. Geggie and Mr. W. Hamilton.

Their Presence a Necessity that Must be Tolerated.

Is it not a amusing thing, the very small and unimportant part the bridegroom plays at a wedding ceremony? His presence is just a necessity which must be tolerated, but must not be allowed to interfere with the general picturesqueness any more than is absolutely unavoidable. A late fashionable wedding in New York has reduced man's part in the affair, very nearly at least, to the minimum. As a woman preacher performed the ceremony--only the bridegroom and the best man were representatives of their sex. If only a "best woman" could be made to do duty for the "best man" (by the way, that's a sad misnomer; surely, it, should be "second best," to give the poor bridegroom his due), as "ribbon" and "flower" girls have been substituted for male ushers; the bridegroom would stand alone in solitary grandeur, occupying the paradoxical position of being the most important and the most unimportant person there. Here is a funny little "after wedding ceremony" conversation, which hails from Virginia: "It was a lovely wedding; the elite were all there in gorgeous gowns; the music was fine and the refreshments were superb" (note the masterly and distinctive distribution of those adjectives and adverbs), she said.
"And the bride?"
"Oh, she was just too lovely for anything. You should have seen that dress and veil and those orange blossoms."
"And the bridegroom?"
"Don't ask about him. That miserable, good-for-nothing, low-down man never came near the wedding."

Personally, I don't much blame him, it was likely a case of "blue funk," not of his new responsibilities, but of that terror-inspiring ceremony before the feminine elite and its lorgnette.


Major McGillivray, Supreme Secretary of the Independent Order of Foresters, and Mrs. McGillivray were the hosts of a charming party given last night in the blue lodge room of the Temple. Among the guests were: Dr. Oronhyatekha, S.C.R.; Miss Barker, Mrs. G. W. Ross and daughter, Hon. Dr. Montague, Mrs. Montague, Mr. Percy Montague and Miss Orderly, Hamilton; Col. and Mrs. Young, Col. Paterson, Mrs. Sheridan, Mr. and Mrs. Gray, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Gibbs, Port Arthur; Mr. and Mrs. Eakins, Mrs. Case, Mrs. Wellington, Mr. Clerk, Capt. Theodore McGillivray, and Mrs. and Miss McGilllivray, Whitby; Mr. and Mrs. E J. Lennox and Miss Lennox, Dr. Forest and Mr. S. S. Sharpe, Uxbridge; Mr. Lorne Sinclair, Mr. and Mrs. Frankish, Dr. and Mrs. Fotheringham, Dr. Rose, Mr. George Rose, Mrs. W. H. McMurtry, Miss Dora McMurtry, Miss Mary Wheeler, Mr. and Mrs. W. P. Bull, Miss Howard, Mr. John Hunter, Mr. Dimmick Mrs. (Dr.) Millman, Miss Millman, Mr. George A. Harper, Mrs. Rundle, Miss Clarke. There were fourteen tables for progressive euchre, and during the playing music was furnished by Miss Rose Williams, pianist, and Miss Mary L. Mellish violinist. After the cards, Miss Mary Wheeler and Miss Dora McMurtry rendered vocal solos, and Capt. Theodore McGillivray gave a recitation. Supper was served at 11, followed by dancing.

Miss Teresa Wilson, corresponding secretary of the National Council of Women has just returned from Montreal, where she has been the guest of Mr. and Mrs. G. A. Drummond, while attending the executive meeting of the National Council of Women.

The Edinburgh Scotsman says:--"A marriage has been arranged between Mr. George Brown, M.P., for Central Edinburgh, who defeated Mr. Conan Doyle, the novelist, and Miss Mary Eliner, youngest daughter of the late Mr. Thomas Nelson, St. Bernard's, Edinburgh. The prospective groomsman is the only son of late Hon. Senator George Brown, founder of The Toronto Globe."

Major-General Sir Stanley Clarke and Mrs. Clarke are about to make a tour round the world, and will, of course, come to Canada. Sir. Stanley Clarke is an equerry-in- waiting to the Prince of Wales, and private secretary to the Princess of Wales. He married in 1867 Mary Temple eldest daughter of the late Sir John Rose, formerly of Montreal.

Miss Gwynne, of Dundas, and Miss Cochrane, of New York, are the guests of Mrs. E. B. Osler.

Mrs. Janes, of Carlton street, is entertaining at luncheon on Saturday next in honor of her niece's birthday, Miss Temple Dickson.

Miss Gertrude Davies, daughter of Sir Louis and Lady Davies, arrives in town to-day to take a post graduate course in elocution, under Miss Mason's direction.


Woman may err, woman may give her mind
To evil thoughts, and lose her pure estate;
But for one woman who affronts her kind,
By wicked passions and remorseless hate,
A thousand make amends in age and youth,
By heavenly pity, by sweet sympathy
By patient kindness, by enduring truth
By love supreme in diversity

Charles Mackay

Home | Search | Thesis | Family | Timelines
Photographs | Whitehern | Sitemap | Credits

Copyright 2002 Whitehern Historic House and Garden
The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
Please direct questions and comments to Mary Anderson, Ph.D.

Hamilton Public Library This site was created in partnership with and is hosted by the Hamilton Public Library. Canada's Digital Collections This digital collection was produced with financial assistance from Canada's Digital Collections initiative, Industry Canada.