W-MCP2-3b.054 TO THOMAS B. MCQUESTEN ESQ. from his brother [Rev.] Calvin McQuesten
May 9 1904
To: Thomas Baker McQuesten 41 Isabella street Toronto, Ontario
From: Stand-Off, Alberta
My dear Tom,
It was awfully good of you to write me such fine long letter when you were over head & ears in work. It reached me with the other birthday letters from home last Tuesday for we have only a weekly mail at Stand-Off and I come into Macleod too seldom to get it there.
Yesterday I preached morning and evening for Mr. Jaffary in Macleod, as he is off to Edmonton to Synod. I am very glad to get these opportunities of preaching in a regular church, and I think I held their attention pretty well all through.
I see that The News published in its Saturday issue of April 30th an interview & photo I sent them of Johnny Woolfs the Mormon member who lives at Cardston 20 miles south of Stand-Off. I drove over one day with a Mounted Policemen from Stand-Off post, and I intend to go again. This week too if I can get some photos for an article on Mormonism which Mr. Haddon wanted me to write for the Westminster. For the most part, however, I am afraid I have been loafing badly and doing almost no writing.
That was certainly a terrific fire in Toronto. It seemed strange that it should clean out all the large stationery houses in the country. There are none in Montreal and all those in Toronto were bunched right there.
It was tough about the year-book, wasn't it? I saw the cartoon of you in The News and thought it was capital--a most happy expression. The kids were giving the Mater the laugh about the [?agar?]
This Rhodes Scholarship business is certainly very unsettling. I don't see how you work at all under such circumstances. I thought it was to have been settled a month ago. What an ass Hatton must have made of himself in that freshman affair. Why the freshies ought to feel honoured that their betters would condescend to come to their tea party, and what are lambs for anyway if not to be fleeced? What little sense some people have of the eternal fitness of things.
Well my dear boy, there really is not much going on here worth telling about just. I see a good deal of the [?glorious?] "Nitchis" now that I am living on the reserve and the more I see of them the less I think of them. They're a lower grade of humanity than the negros. They simply cannot be induced to work; and if their rations were stopped I think they'd sooner die of starvation.1
Staying at Mr. Webb's I am mighty well fixed for transportation facilities, as I have two other ponies at my disposal besides my own. One of them belongs to Mrs. Webb & she rides it about once a month, and seems glad to have me use it any time. It is the smoothest little beast to ride I ever had between my knees, just like riding in a Pullman car. The other belongs to Miss Webb, and is just the other extreme as it nearly jolts you to pieces at every step. However, it is great exercise for a short distance. It's astonishing what a difference there is in the gait of horses. I am thankful that my own is so easy. I can make the 22 miles between Macleod & Stand-Off in half a day without feeling it at all.
Well, good-bye, my boy. It was awfully decent of you to take the time to write me. I hope you may have good luck with your exam papers. It certainly was not your fault if you could not work.
Your affectionate brother
1 Despite his racist remarks, Calvin did have some fascination with the native communities in Alberta and in June of 1904 witnessed the Sun Dance of the Blackfoot people. He wrote an article describing the event which was not published until 1911, see Box 14-099.