W6161 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Jun 19 1908
To: [Rev.] Calvin McQuesten Glenhurst Saskatchewan
My dearest Calvin,
In your last letter to which R. replied you spoke of the statue, and I fancy she described it, I had always intended to send a Times but somehow it escaped my memory but we came across the pack and have sent it. I had thought it would be repeated when statue was unveiled but it was not. Mr. Vander Smissen was most enthusiastic, thought it most beautiful "had nothing like it in Toronto at all." It certainly seems to me very fine.
It is just most cheering to hear of your congregation of young men. I am sure your health will enable you to give of your best. It makes all the difference when one feels well. At the beginning of the week I had a touch of sciatica, so Hilda went down to Dr. Arnott for something for it, when he spoke to her about Ruby. He said he had been waiting to speak to some of us, but had hesitated because I was so nervous. He thought it would be wise if Ruby instead of going to Ancaster as we had intended could go to Calgary. He said, she was no doubt better (we think she is much better) and she might get quite well here during the summer, but he would not take the responsibility and thought two or three months at Calgary would set her up completely, whereas he was afraid of chronic bronchitis, it is almost that now. Of course you can imagine what a shock it gave me, but felt I should be thankful it was no worse. This morning I went over to the telephone and asked if her lungs were alright; he said the trouble was in the large bronchial tube which leads into the lung and is so close to it that it is rather difficult to say. But she is certainly better and we thought going out to Calgary would make her alright. You see for the last six weeks she has been going twice a week to have her throat sprayed and she does not cough but she gets hoarse at times especially when tired, but is always much better when it is warm and dry. She herself says she feels ever so much better, quite a different person than when she came home last year. So I just try not to worry or be frightened.
As I had heard Mrs. Whittemore was going out, I wrote her at once and heard from her this morning. She goes on 30th June, next Tuesday week, taking boat from Owen Sound, and reaching Calgary Saturday morning at 6 o'clock. Hilda also wrote Mrs. Harry Whittemore to look for a boarding place, so we are hoping she will find a comfortable place; we are so thankful Mrs. W. is just going at this time, it would have been so hard for R. to start off by herself among strangers, she felt quite cheerful when she knew she was going with Mrs. W. So you can imagine we are busy trying to get her ready, fortunately she had almost everything in the clothing line.
Of course we expect to have high rates of board to pay and the return travelling expenses will be nearly $100, but we shall not mind if she truly comes home strong and well, as we pray God she may. You must not think that she seems any worse than when you saw her, for she is not now, but at end of April it was damp and raw and she was worse so then I determined to have no more nonsense and take her to the doctor. She had a little fever then but that passed away and now seems really much better, but the doctor thought it best to be on the safe side and try to get completely rid of the trouble instead of allowing it to become fixed.1
We have had delightfully cool weather and very dry, but to-day it is furnace heat with high wind, am afraid for the strawberries; everything promises finely this year, but dry weather will be disastrous as it was last year for the small fruit.
When I heard of your biscuits regretted I had not put another tin of baking powder in the barrel. Hope by this time you have got everything. I also posted you a hymn book. Jock Inkster was married on Wednesday at Burlington. He took a cab from here with Mr. Ketchen and his best man (forgotten the name) the cabman did not know the road and drove on past Burlington so that they were an hour late for the wedding. Just think of the condition of the bride and her mother. Serves them right for not asking Mrs. Ketchen to the wedding, the ignorant creature, after entertaining him at the Manse as she has. "Fatty Tuckett" got married too at Rochester to a southern girl and I see Jack Creelman to do the same. Well, Cal dear, hope all is well with you. With much love from all.
Your loving Mother
[P.S.] The girls of course are dying to sin. There was I awaiting at the church to the luckless man.
1 In this letter Mary finally tells Calvin the seriousness of Ruby's illness, or perhaps she is finally able to admit it to herself. Ruby is no longer able to teach and the financial strain of medical bills, boarding and travel expenses, are weighing heavily on Mary. See W6135 for more on Ruby's illness and death in 1911.