W9058 TO REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN, B.A. from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Dec 19 1910
To: Calvin McQuesten 449 Ninth Street Edmonton, Alberta
My dearest Calvin,
Just a few lines to wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year and may you see many of them in the enjoyment of health and every blessing. It seems and is a kind Providence that gave you Lorna's home to keep Christmas and it will be a pleasure to her too when she is so far from home to have one of her childhood's friends with her, for there are none just the same. I am glad to know too from your letter of the 13th received this minute that you are still more than satisfied with your position and so happy in your work; though I feel that you will just be overwhelmed with engagements, but I pray daily you may have strength to bear it.
Dr. McQueen may have called upon you to speak as an afterthought, but it was not fair or thoughtful, perhaps I should not say it, but ministers can do mean tricks and the older man is often jealous of the younger1. However as you have charge of the prayer-meeting, I trust you will make much of it, for that is where the church is failing to-day. I wonder what kind of a man Mr. Dowling was and how he was liked. You got the impression he was sick of his position, did not get sufficient preaching, but other work2. Whatever you do try to keep quiet and do not run yourself to death. You are very like myself in temperament.
I am sorry but Saturday we posted some parcels to you at Lorna's address not her care. Look at both sides of tags. I cannot quite understand how a flat cuff case can be so good as your travelling collar box as they come home rolled from the laundry. Ruby's present is to help you to go quietly about it, if you take into your head to get up early or go to bed late.
Would love to send Mrs. Jaffary something but have so many calls3. Have just heard from John Baker, the turkey is coming4. As the time draws on I feel more and more sorry you are not to be with us. We are planning to have our dinner up at the Cottage. Ruby is enjoying so much seeing our various purchases, we take everything up to show her, even to the smallest card, before we send them5. Will send you John's letter when she has read it.
You may have to wait till your birth-day for the [ink stain]. Did not just think to wait long enough for your reply. You know I get utterly bewildered at this season of the year; there is just so much to plan for and the constant running up to the Cottage and thinking what Ruby can eat is very wearing. Tho' I think I have got wonderfully strengthened to hear things without fretting.
Well Calvin dear, good luck to you and may the future hold many blessings in store for you. I should think you would need to spend some of your money on furs for yourself and lined overcoat. You might get it cheaper through his friend ["Shiner"?]. Have not found out yet about where skins are prepared, but am almost sure they are sent to England. Remember hearing Mrs. Proctor say she had been sent a beautiful skin, but it cost her the price of a muff to get it made. This is not a proper Xmas letter at all and would not do for a [?] of a letter from a mother to a son, but cannot compose my mind at all, as I am just flying out. With much love and best wishes from all.
Your loving mother
M. B. McQuesten
[P.S.] Edna remarkably well, a great comfort6.
1 Rev. Dr. David George McQueen (1854-1930) ordained missionary , Edmonton,1887-1930, was also Protestant school inspector for Alberta 1887-94, chaplain Alberta penitentiary 1906-30, D.D. 1905, L.L.D. 1912, and moderator 1915 & 1925 (BDKC 172).
2 Rev. Frederick Smeaton Dowling (1879-1949) Knox College 1906-09, ordained and assistant First Church Edmonton 1910, Toronto, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia 1911-25, United Church 1925 (BDKC).
3 For Jaffary, see W5487.
4 For John Baker, see W5382.
5 For Ruby's illness, see W6135. It is not known exactly when Ruby left the cottage at Muskoka (W6676), but in October (15th?)1910 the family moved her to a cottage on the Hamilton mountain and Hilda became her caregiver there (Box 12-478). It was near the Mountain View [Hotel?] and Mr. Chisholm helped to find the cottage. They named it "Cosy Cottage." Chisholm may have been the owner. Hilda wrote to Calvin on a very windy day December 14, 1910: "I hope we won't be swepted [sic] over the mountain, but we are very cosy inside" (W9050). The family visited regularly and Ruby died on April 9, 1911. The only letter in the Calendar reporting Ruby's death is a letter of condolence from a friend: "I heard from mother this evening--and of your loss. I knew it must come soon and yet I cannot realize it. I did not know how much I loved her till that day and what a comfort it must be to know how happy she was being at Home again and seeing you all so often--she spoke of it to me and said--'and dear old Tom comes up every day--if it is only for a few minutes'. . . . Helen J.R. Locke" (W6680). A commemorative journal is in the archive at Whitehern.
6 Mary is referring to Edna's mental illness (W5382, W5426).