W-MCP1-3a.056 TO THOMAS B. MCQUESTEN from his mother Mary Baker McQuesten
Jan 19 1904
To: Thomas B. McQuesten 22 Grosvenor Street Toronto Ontario
My dear dear boy
Your letter amused us greatly with its description of your office. I am very glad you are pleased and hope it will prove satisfactory. I went to St. Catharines on Tuesday morning, a lovely mild sunny day. We had a very pleasant party, Mrs. Lyle, Mrs. Wanzer, Mrs. Leitch, Mrs. Watson, Mrs. Dewar, Mrs. McCaftan. We reached the church at 10 o'clock, just in time for business meeting. The ladies gave us a very fine lunch, we began with [?]ter patties, and ended with Charlotte Russe and jelly. I do not like to enlarge on the food things as I would only make your mouth water. As it happened Mr. and Mrs. Webb of the Webb family of Toronto belonged to Mr. Ratcliffe's church and they managed the lunch. They used to attend the Northern Congregational Church and I used to see them there1. Mrs. Leitch and I came home by 5 o'clock train, as we did not want to stay overnight.
Dr. Fletcher had come in and taken tea with the girls, as he had another meeting at the church, so Mrs. F. had told him to come to us, it is so far up to their house. But I think the Dr. is very pleased at the way the church is treating him, they are giving him $500. a year and he is pastor Emeritus. With what the Dr. has, his income will be about $1000. He is buying the house, had to sell some stock and borrow some to pay for it2.
I was hearing about Gordon Gibson, he is still at Gravenhurst3. When he went there his lungs were badly affected and Mr. Gibson is in very delicate health, his heart is affected, his wife and family have been most anxious for some time to get him out of political life, but his party of course, begged him to hold on, so that it is really very unjust and untrue to say he resigned because he had to. People all have their trials and we really have reason for thankfulness that our only trial is shortness of funds. Poor Mrs. Laurie has had to give up her house entirely. Her brother said, if she would leave her husband altogether, he would send her an allowance, so they have gone to New York, one son, if not both has a position there and pays the rent of a flat. Naomi is to be married in June from her aunt's in Toronto. The ladies sent Mrs. F. [Fletcher] a cheque for $160. and more has come in since, so that will help to start things.
The Hendries4 are another unhappy miserable set, every one of them selfish to the backbone. Mr. Hendrie is in very poor health, has no use whatever for any member of the family unless he has been a success. So the luckless Jim who has been working up in a lumber camp, to keep him out of sight, had to stay at Mrs. Braithwaite's, and Murray Hendrie when in town stays at the Royal. So Mrs. H. is having a very hard time (with all her money).
I have been making inquiries about the black coals for the grate and Mrs. Bell tells me she got hers from Rice Lewis in Toronto. She said, she required 2 bags they were 75 cts a bag. Would you just go into Rice Lewis's and see about it. You know we have in the grate now 97 and 28 we had taken out, but the black coals are smaller, so you could find out size and [?] on how many we would need. What we have are 2 cts a piece. Inquire right away because if you come up election day you could bring them with you. Two bags could come by express for 26 cts would not mind, they could tell perhaps how heavy they are.
We are all so sorry about the death of Mrs. Dr. McKelcan, she was one of the nicest and kindest of women, and it is so sad for her daughters. We are trying to read some of Gladstone's5 life every night and intend copying some of his sayings, which are fine, and worth remembering. Must close, dearie, sorry to think you are all alone now in the house, it must be lonely. With much love
Your loving Mother
1 Mary's father, Rev. Thomas Baker was the minister of this church.
2 For Fletcher family, see W4479. Dr. Fletcher had accepted retirement.
3 Gordon Gibson was likely the son of Sir John Morison Gibson, see W4436.
4 For Hendrie family, see W4803.
5 Likely, William Ewart Gladstone (1809-98), "the great Liberal statesman." He is remembered for his studies in Homer and his political writings, such as, The State in its Relations with the Church (1838), Vaticanism (1875) and Gleanings of Past Years (8 vols., 1879, 1890). John Morley's Life of William Ewart Gladstone was published in 1903 (OCEL 335). The Whitehern library contains the 1905 edition of the latter in two volumes and The Vatican Decrees (1875).