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W5758 TO [REV.] CALVIN AND THOMAS MCQUESTEN from their sister Ruby
Jan 12 1907
To: [Rev.] Calvin and Thomas McQuesten Toronto, Ontario
From: Ottawa Ladies' College

My dear Cal and Tom,

It is Saturday night and I'm basking before a glowing fire in Mrs. Needham's sitting room. Oh it has been the cosiest week! We have an English janitor who lays the fire early every morning without any question & leaves coal enough to keep it going all day. And the tabby cats toast their fur & purr--Between you and me and the fire, which should burn up all wicked remarks, we lead a remarkably happy life, and wish her ladyship would just prolong her absence for several months instead of one. Jean Ross is to stay on for four months to help in duty and teaching. Jean was chuckling because she had the chance of another position just in time to bring Dr. A. to terms which suited her.

And when I told Dr. A. that I might not be coming back next year, 1 he immediately spoke of giving me a year off & keeping the position and I couldn't help laughing to myself when he said mournfully, "You know when I first engaged you teachers were plentiful, but now they're awfully scarce."

Well on Monday afternoon we went skating on the river. It was mild & the ice was fine. Then in the evening we went to a lecture by this Judge Lindsey of the juvenile criminal court of Denver, Col. perhaps you both have heard him--if not be sure & go if you should have the opportunity. He has worked a great reformation in his department, a kind firm thoroughly Christian, witty, very clever modest little man who said he was only attempting to follow his master in going after the "one sheep that was lost." He made a great impression on everyone. I wish the paper could have told things as he did with the personal anecdotes thrown in.2 He spoke before the Canadian Club in the dining hall of the Russell & I was glad to see some of the notables there--old hypocrite Sir Fred Borden etc.3

Earl Grey made the finest speech I ever heard--it wasn't printed for he spoke pretty scathingly of the condition of things which he knew existed in jails in Ottawa & the near vicinity--a condition of things which would make honest men blush--innocent children and everyone was innocent by British law till proved guilty--thrown into prison with old tried criminals. He rehearsed all Judge Lindsey's points & wittily asked the honorable gentlemen of the press not to report this speech in the language of the newspaper boys saying he hoped the jiggers wouldn't snitch on him etc. 4

Well I suppose you're both settled. We are so comfortable it makes me long to think of you with a big pleasant sitting room & grate fire. It seems much more than a week since I came back & yet it is only a week ago to-night. Mrs. Ross is here at present & is to take Eleanor back to Toronto in a week's time & Jean of course stays here.

Well children dear it is getting late & I have still a few things to do before going to bed. I hope you're getting decent meals & keeping well.

With much love,


1 Ruby makes no mention of her health here, however, by her own admission she has never been "robust" (W5126) and had been ill several times with Grippe and fever while at the college. She is working to put Tom through university and Thomas would be graduating in law that year so he would no longer need her salary to pay for his school fees (W5861).

Also the family was renting their house, Whitehern, to the Hamilton Club and were going to live in Oakville for about a year and there would be some money coming in from the rental.

However, when Ruby came home from the school in the Spring she was already weak, was sent for treatment to two different sanatoriums and finally died of tuberculosis in 1911. For Ruby's illness and death see W6135, W5758, W-MCP2-4.033a. See also Ruby's biography by clicking on "Family" on the Home Page and then on her picture.

2 Judge Ben B. Lindsey Convention address, "The Nation's Boy Problem," Committee on juvenile court and probation work created. - 118k - Cached - Similar pages

3 Sir Frederick Borden (1847-1917) was Minister of Militia & Defence from 1896-1911, and during his time in office the militia was almost transformed.

4 Sir Albert Henry George Grey, 4th Earl Grey, (1851-1917) Governor General: 1904-1911, Appointed: September 26, 1904. Earl Grey was a very active Governor-General. He was in constant contact with the Prime Minister, offering ideas for social reform. He sought greater political inclusion for all, and worked to reach as many ordinary Canadians as possible. In fact, he was so dedicated and involved that then-prime minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier said Lord Grey gave "his whole heart, his whole soul, and his whole life to Canada."

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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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