Box 12-204 TO REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from Georgia Mackenzie
Sep 20 1911 [approximate date]
To: Reverend Calvin McQuesten 'Whitehern' Hamilton, Ontario
From: Staney Brae, Ontario
Dear Mr. McQuesten,
We were all glad to hear from you of your safe arrival at home, and pleasant journey. We missed you, more than I can tell you, from the group around the fireplace. I don't believe it will spoil you much to know that everybody, from Miss Baylor and Miss Limrall down to "Peachie" in the kitchen felt very lonely after you had gone.
I am so glad that you did enjoy your holiday. I think we have been so very
fortunate in the people who come to us, and make a happy time for everybody and then go away thinking well of Staney Brae. It has made our life here very happy and our work, hard as it sometimes is, a pleasure. I had a lovely long letter from Aunt Helen the other day, and she sent her love to you, also a message that she supposed I would not give you. It was to the effect that there had been found at 31 Harbord Street, Toronto, a Clerical heart, which anatomical curio is unidentified as yet. She thinks perhaps you might be able to throw some light upon it. I have been writing her that I am of the opinion that it was only a fragment of a clerical heart that was found in Toronto, because there was evidence irrefutable and conclusive of other fragments having been taken as souvenirs elsewhere.
Yes, I heard of the Harrises late escapade. You will feel less secure than ever now, won't you? How can you hope to escape when an old experienced man like Dr. Harris has been captured so easily by an inexperienced girl. Perhaps wisdom would be shown in yielding gracefully to the inevitable in your case. Seriously, it certainly has created a stir among Baptists. I had the whole story from one of the Walmer Road people the other day, and I feel sorry for the poor girl.
Thank you so much for sending the magazine, we all enjoyed your article, how very interesting it must have been to study the habits of these people at first hand. The pathos of those old braves clinging to the habits and customs of their tribes in olden days, amid such different surroundings, touches one's heart. Did you get the photographs yourself? It seems to me I remember you showing us some prints before.
I wish I could give you an account of the last week or so at Staney Brae, but the note of regret would surely predominate, for, one by one our dear people have waved us good bye from the deck of the relentless "Oriole," and each time it seemed to grow harder to let them go. Only Miss McBroom and "Ikey" are left now. The "Little Minister" went on the early train Monday, with only me to wave good bye to him. We're all missing him so. The people at the church are all anxious to have Mr. McFarlane back another summer. Mrs. Winslow has asked me to write a letter telling him of our wish and she herself is going to write to Mr. McGregor about it. We had a very nice, last service, on Sunday, Mr. Dickson, a friend of Mr. McFarlane's, was with us, and ground out the music for us, so that that part of the performance was exceptionally good. We had an old sermon that only the Stills, the Henrys and myself had heard before, and only I probably recognized, but it was delivered with much greater ease and confidence than our Little Minister has shown yet and everybody told everybody else that he was improving wonderfully. Anyway they all want him back.
We had a farewell picnic for Miss Baylor and Miss Limrall last week. We paddled over to Lausir, explored their Island, then invited them to join us on Charily Island for supper, afterwards. Mr. McFarlane took us to the Henrys for a short call and we came home by lovely moonlight. Since then we have had a most successful cranberrying expedition. Mrs. Forbes and the girls, Alister Ikey and I went in two canoes (oh yes, and Ned). We paddled as far as the C.P.R. tracks, you will remember, just before you come to Rodrick Lake. There we left our canoes and walked down the tracks to our old swamp. We found lots of berries and went on picking till quite late. Coming back to our canoes, we found that some one had been meddling, both canoes had been carried across into Rodrick Lake, and Ned's coat that had been left in the bow of one, was missing. The boys think we came along just in time to prevent the [hobos?] from making away with our crafts as well as Ned's coat. We got about fifty quarts of cranberries though, and Ned said the coat was not a very good one.
Ned entertained the crowd of us and the other family of Riggses, at his cottage last Friday evening and on Saturday we entertained them all here, and had a musical evening after supper. That is probably the very last of our festivities for this year. Of course we are talking up our trip. I think it is to be in some new direction this time, don't you want to come back and go with us? We may be ready to start next week sometime. I am to go down to Kingset tomorrow for a little visit, and as soon as possible after I come back our camping trip is to start.
Miss Robson, of the C.I.M. you know, has been staying at Elgin House, and I have her here with me now for a couple of days. She has been asking how you were, and I said you were very well indeed. That was right wasn't it? Miss Robson also told me to say to you that she was very anxious about the Ayr Congregation getting a new minister, and wondered why you wouldn't preach for a call there. She is very sure the people would like you and thinks anybody ought to like Ayr and its people.
I really didn't mean to let this grow into such an epistle, such dreadful scratching too, do not let it startle you to hear that I can think of many more things I should have enjoyed telling you about, for I am not going to now. I shall have some prints of the "Staney Brae Play" to send you some day. Have only done a couple of them for Miles Langstaff as yet.
The household joins with me in very fondest regards to you, and we all hope you will have real success in your work.