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W6551 TO MARY BAKER MCQUESTEN from her daughter Ruby McQuesten
Nov 1 1909 Monday
To: Mary Baker McQuesten Whitehern, Hamilton, Ontario

My darling Mitherkins,

Such a glorious morning! My calendar says "The wild Nov. comes at last"--but he's all out this time for it's like summer and the air is beautiful blowing in. I'm perched up looking out on the shining river and the firs along the bank. Across the river I can see a train pass occasionally--they're interesting, not like the horrid unromantic T.H.& B. trains. Also there is a lumber mill and the sounds in the distance are cheerful.

My bed has been moved & I've turned head to feet and I really enjoy my view more than any I've had.1 The leaves are thick and brown under the trees and there is a delicious fragrance from them that makes me think of the days we went nutting. That makes me think--I'm always eating you know--I believe I'd like some hickory nuts when you come up. I'd amuse myself picking them out. Really I wish you could smell this air. I don't believe there's any time of the year so perfect if the leaves are down. I think it might inspire Tom to go nutting. He might get Mr. Chisholm to go with him over the mountain. Only I'm afraid it's late for nuts.

I sent word to the doctor that I was going to get dressed and go for a long walk. But I'm afraid he's evading as usual for there's no sign of answer or person.2 Mrs. Minns and a friend came to see me yesterday. It wasn't a very long call but she is a very nice kind person.

On Hallow E'en night the patients dressed up--the girls, some powdered their hair and wore old fashioned gowns--Mr. Chipman had a long nightgown and represented a baby with a bonnet on and a bottle. Now they say he refuses to drink his milk out of anything else. Dr. Lyle was dressed as a nurse. He had shaved his moustache and made a wonderful flaxen wig out of unravelled rope & really with his mask on I had no idea who it could be.

My room is gay with flowers--various patients sent me them, yellow & mauve & my white chrysanthemums & geraniums and my fern.

The doctor read the prescriptions and said the pellets were calomel--a mild dose--(I can't get away from calomel!) and I think he had no objection to the salts though it wasn't a kind he used. I'll send back the prescriptions.3

I had papers from Mrs. Cruikshank whose son is here. Hilda met her. She is a great friend of the Sutherlands & knowing I was interested in them sent me these papers. I don't know that there is anything of special interest--you probably saw the news in the Globe, but I'll send them anyway & a paper Cal sent me you can look at and then throw away. For Hilda's sake please don't treasure it up, or the others either.

Well my dearest Mother there is nothing more to jabber about. The MacArthurs are settled at home by now--they left on Wed. I hope you're taking good care of yourself--with much love and love to all.


Turn over [P.S.] Here is Mrs. F's [Fournier] bill. She added the last to this not that she is in any hurry she said but simply it was her custom the first of each month. Thank Tousie for her letter--it was very comical--the departure of Thomas and the usual "excite." And small May and the McKeracher baby. I'm getting so that really I can't scrape up any nausea and I shouldn't be surprised if I'd have you bring me a pot of marmalade or preserves of some kind. I'll let you know later. The quinces made me think of it--quince & apple used to be a special weakness.

Had a very comical thanksgiving poem from Mr. Murray for Thanksgiving and another card with witches on and a Hallow E'en poem. Thank him when you see him, if you please.

Here is a card from Emily. She's been a very good girl about writing. Had a long letter a month ago--altogether three letters which is good when I don't write.


1 This mention of outdoor fragrance suggests that Ruby is still staying in a tent. In the previous letter she states that "the fresh air cure" and even the the cold weather, is thought to be beneficial for "this trouble." W6537 For more information on Ruby and her treatment for Consumption (Tuberculosis), see W6135, and see her biographical sketch by clicking on "Family" on the Home Page and then clicking on her picture.

2 This comment suggests that Ruby is still bedridden in the tent.

3 Ruby's comment suggests that Calomel is a regular medication. Calomel is a mercury based medication. See W2469 for a note on 19th and early 20th Century medications including Chlorodyne, Paregoric, and Calomel.

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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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