c/o Courtney Hutchison, Esq.W-MCP2-3b.055 TO THOMAS BAKER MCQUESTEN ESQ. from his brother [Rev.] Calvin McQuesten
Jul 23 1904
To: Thomas Baker McQuesten Quyon P.O. Quebec
From: Stand-Off, Alberta
My dear Tom
I had intended to write you a decent letter to-day, but the time has slipped away & I did not manage it.
You, I suppose, are "working all day, without sugar or tay" and do not get much time for letter writing. The Mater was telling me that Courtney Hutchison had taken you home over Sunday, which would make a pleasant change from the routine.
I think there is another of the same in sight for you too, as old Mrs. McNeil, the mother of my chief stand-by here was telling me just before she left for her home in the East a few weeks ago, that Bristol Mines where she lived with a married daughter was only 8 miles from Quyon, and she promised to have them send over for you some Saturday & take you home over Sunday. Mr. McNeil is one of the finest men I ever met-the kind that takes a positive pleasure in doing favors for everybody. He has a store there, trading chiefly with the Indians, but it is in his house. I have my service at Stand-Off.
By the way, do you intend to go back to Isabella St. or could we get rooms together somewhere around Murray street about midway between Varsity & Osgoode?
Am sending you three or four snapshots which may interest you, the two of branding I developed all myself, but the other two I got developed in town. The venerable chief is named "Blackfoot Old Woman" and there are two rather interesting stories told of him, which may, however, be different versions of the same incident. It is said that many years ago he had a dream telling him to kill one of his wives every year for three years and he did so. I also heard that after a fight between his tribe "The Bloods" & "The Peigans" in which some of his relatives were killed, he put an end to two of his wives who belonged to Peigan tribe to make things square.1
I think you were at home when they got my letter telling about my being nearly mobbed at the Sun Dance.2 The photo of the "Crazy Dog Dance" with the decolette gentleman charging the camera is part of the fruits of that affair. The Kodak game is certainly most interesting & not nearly so difficult as I expected. If I have any luck at all I ought to have no trouble at all in making it a means of revenue instead of an expense. Next fall in Toronto I shall try to make arrangements with one of the papers to supply them with photos of football, matches, Varsity sports, etc. It requires no mental effort, and if I could get 75 cents apiece for what are used, I see no reason why I should not make a couple of dollars every Saturday afternoon without spoiling my own outing. With modern Kodak & the new methods of developing, even a novice ought to make at least 75 percent of his pictures good. I wish I could set you up in the business too.
Well, good-bye old man.
Your affectionate brother
1 Calvin describes a different account of this story in W-MCP2-3b.053.
2 In June of 1904, Calvin witnessed the three week long ceremony of the Sun Dance and wrote an article about it which was not published until 1911. Some of the members of the Blackfoot tribe involved had religious objections to the camera and Calvin was chased away several times. See Box 14-099 for the full article.