W7074 TO REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Aug 5 1929
To: Calvin McQuesten Gaspe Quebec
From: 'Whitehern' Hamilton
My dear Calvin,
Your most interesting letter came this morning and we were all glad to know you had been so well entertained in various ways. It was really quite an event to see the Memorial service to poor Count De Lesseps, I always felt sorry to think of him being buried in that far away spot, as if his family had no interest in him1. Then it was a pleasant thing to see the French ship. How late your strawberries are! Sorry H. forgot to send little fan back, but first time she is returning your socks, it must go. As it is Civic Holiday
we are having quite a quiet day no workmen in or out. The fence is about finished, that was the most noise, the incessant hammering, which is over and the filing of the plummer [sic] but I think it must be nearly over. Duncan C.[Chisholm] is to try his hand on first coat of paint to give him work, under Festner's supervision.
We were very thankful to have a phone message from Mrs. Dayment, Alice's friend
saying she would see Alice to-day and would be pleased to take her for a few days to her house and then take her to Dunnville. This is a great relief for us. It has been almost too cool for me but is getting warmer now at noon. The flowers in front look splendid, making a fine ray pattern. Archie is a good weeder, very careful and painstaking, but the
vegetables did not recover from early drought and cold, they are scarce and dear in the market, peas were too poor to eat, cabbages are nice. Tomatoes poor. Quantities of raspberries of all kinds in market. Had a letter from Janie James. Mother had fallen on the rocks, but was recovering, she did not break any bones2.
That was a splendid booklet of Gaspe with a great deal of information. Tom was surprised at the number of people all that old history is very interesting. The stocks and salpiglossis have done very well, snapdragons coming on too. Last report of Edna excellent. Must close now with best love from all, so glad if you have pleasant society.
Your affectionate Mother
1 Lesseps, Ferdinand, Vicomte de (1805-94), French diplomat and canal promoter, cousin of the Empress Eugenie. He campaigned for the construction of the Suez Canal, completed in 1869. He was also involved in the scheme to build a sea-level Panama Canal, but work was abandoned in 1888: "management was charged with breach of trust, and five directors were condemned - Lesseps, now a broken old man, to five years' imprisonment for embezzlement, but the sentence was reversed." He wrote Histoire du canal de Suez (1875-79) and Souvenirs de quarante ans (1887) (CBD 887). These books are not in the Whitehern library.
2 For James family, see W4436