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W4586 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his sister Ruby McQuesten
Apr 18 1902 Friday afternoon
To: [Rev.] Calvin McQuesten Montreal, Quebec
From: Ottawa Ladies' College

My dearest Cal,

I was so glad to get your letter tho' it made me feel badly too, that I laughed when it came to you & Ken getting married except for the two things necessary.1

I think though the Spring time is the worst for home-sickness--I had a sudden feeling of it yesterday when one of the girls brought in a bunch of the little sweet Eng. violets & thought of ours.2 I would love to be able to gather the flowers in a strange place where you don't know the little corners & the trees which have the flowers around them. I have been out to the woods here but I tho't when your letter came if I could only get set I'd send you some hepaticas but it was too impossible, for with reports there has been no thought of outdoors this week, & this afternoon I'll be busy so it would be too late. To-morrow if it doesn't rain we're going out with the Field Naturalists & expect to get some trailing arbutus--it is so pretty & sweet--we never had it growing at home. If I could only send you a handful there--perhaps you'll be able to get out for a walk in the country to-morrow--I hope you can.3

[Here?] it is seven o'clock, so I can't write as long a letter. We heard Plunkett Greene on Friday & I enjoyed him as much as ever--I agree with you that I'd rather hear him sing than anyone I know. On Tuesday, we went to a concert given by the Orchestral Club. It was fine too--a splendid orchestra with all kinds of instruments & I tho't no music could be much grander. We also heard the famous Eng. harpist John Chesire--he was good too. The harp is such a sweet instrument and his was such a beautiful thing. Really it looked as if it belonged to a court, so ornamentive--all gold looking except the base of light yellow wood. The harpist was a little pompous-looking, stout ruddy white-haired man & he conducted the harp as it was brought in, with great solicitude.4

Then on Monday afternoon I went out to play ping-pong at one of the school girls place. The rest of the week however has been a busy one--every spare minute at exam papers till yesterday when I worked all afternoon & evening till ten at reports & finished them. So I feel very relieved to-night.

Miss Benett is giving a little French play to-night & then she'll feel light-hearted too.

Well my dear old brother, must run. Be good to yourself as well as you can. With much love from,

Your ever affec'ate sister,


P.S. If you should see Mrs. Skeoch & she enquires as to whether I've seen Miss Ogilvie yet, explain how busy I've been.

1 Ken Trigge was living at Calvin's boarding house. Later, in August, 1902, he proposed to Calvin's sister Hilda and was refused because he drank alcohol and also served it to clients, see W4635.

2 Ruby is often homesick at the College in Ottawa.

3 Hepatica: "Any of a genus (Hepatica) of herbs of the buttercup family with lobed leaves and delicate flowers."

Arbutus: "A creeping plant (Epigaea repens) of the heath family that occurs in eastern No. America and bears fragrant pink or white flowers in early spring."

4 Plunkett Greene was an Irish bass singer, Harry Plunkett Greene (1865-1936), sang Irish ballads such as:

"All Through The Night"
Sleep, my child, and peace attend thee
All through the night
Guardian angels God will send thee
All through the night
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping
Hill and dale in slumber sleeping
I my loving vigil keeping
All through the night

The song has several verses.

Also Charles Villiers Stanford, at one time Professor of Music at Cambridge, composed his Six Bible Songs for the baritone, his friend Harry Plunkett-Greene, and "A Song of Peace" is one of these. The song has an Advent text and even quotes from the Advent melody Veni Emmanuel.

John Cheshire, harpist, is known for his "Annie Laurie" renditions. He played at Carnegie Hall in 1905, and was a teacher of high repute--one of his best known pupils is Owen Lloyd, the great Irish Harpist. He was born at Birmingham on March 28, 1839, and studied at the Royal Academy and became principal harpist at Her Majesty's Theatre. Mr. Cheshire, it should be added was harpist to H.R.H. the late Duke of Edinburgh. His cantata, "The King and the Maiden", was produced at St. James Hall London, in 1865. He played concert tours and produced an opera "Diana." His cantata, "The Buccaneers" was published in 1886 and he issued numerous pieces for the harp, including six romances. He settled in America and taught in Brooklyn.

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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.

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