W-MCP1-1.028 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Jan 11 1904
To: Calvin McQuesten [Macleod, Alberta]
My dear dear boy,
Received your letter of Jan 5th, to-day and also read your article in "The News" on the Indians. It read very well indeed and conveyed considerable information. I hope by this time you have received some money from the News & Winnipeg Telegram. Ida Welker sent me back the latter having read your article with much interest, both she & the Colonel, and I sent it on to Herbert Barker. To-day I had a letter from Miss Fisher, she thought your article on Political Autonomy very fine indeed.
When I wrote you last, we were just expecting Miss Sinclair, she came and we
enjoyed her so much. She is the most interesting conversationalist and so companionable in the house, none of the missionaries is her equal I think; though Tom has a prejudice against her because when she was here before (seven years ago) she remarked on the fit of his suit, the first he had had made out. It shows how careful one has to be with children.
Well, Miss Sinclair told me all about her trouble with our Board in the Wilkie matter.1 Four years ago, she wrote Mrs. Shortreed, that she could keep quiet no longer as to the condition of things there with Dr. Wilkie, and her letter was taken no notice of. Then when she came back, the head ladies of the Board received her with the greatest coldness, Mrs. Grant cut her altogether, so she could only infer that Dr. Wilkie had been telling falsehoods about her, and they believed him without giving her a chance to give her side of the story. One thing I had heard and it was told all round that Miss Sinclair & Dr. Oliver went to a ball at Government House in full dress, so I just asked her, and she denied it altogether. It has been a very great injustice, I think, and Miss S. feels it most keenly, after enduring all she did in India, to come home and be received in this way, one lady whom she called upon almost turning her out of the door. And yet I do not know how to help her. Mrs. Shortreed, I know is too weak physically to make any fight and has been I think, over powered by Mrs. Grant and Mrs. McLaren, who were most determined women, and Mr. Wilkie always seemed to have got the ear of the Henderson connection.
On Friday we had a union prayer-meeting for women; the week of prayer is so little observed that we thought we would try to revive it by holding one ourselves in our School-room. We had quite a good number and I gave my address over again which I had given for my own auxiliary and a great many expressed themselves as much pleased to hear some cheering news, when one hears so much of the other side.
To-day I was invited to afternoon tea at Mrs. Sanford's to meet a Miss McKinney and hear an address. She is here on behalf of the Kinneard Zenana Mission Society, doing a noble work in India, but we are all pledged to our own societies. But I enjoyed the afternoon, such a beautiful house and lovely refreshments and yet one feels as if we had too many luxuries in comparison with others. Only those who are doing work like you and other missionaries can feel quite comfortable in their minds.
Had a letter from Tom on Saturday night he has given up the idea of trying for Rhodes Scholarship, he hears of graduates going in, who have a pull. I could not help feeling disappointed, as I had nerved myself to the idea of letting him go and made up my mind it might be a great advantage to him. At the same time he would have been undertaking a tremendous amount of work, which I was very much afraid would be so great that he would not succeed in any of the exams. He says the Varsity takes up every minute of the day that he is not in lectures, and he can only study 3 hours at a stretch at night. I had prayed to God for guidance, that I trust it is for the best, it is a great strain on a young man to go away from home for years, knocking about amongst strangers, for the world seems so Godless, so little true religion. I am not afraid of Tom taking up with bad habits, but one can be too absorbed in one's own advancement. But there was just the one hope in my mind that something else, beside law, might present itself. But I feel sorry for Tom, because he would have liked it and I think if he hadn't undertaken that dreadful "Varsity" he might have managed it. Still I think, as I am always praying for guidance that God is arranging what he thinks best and it might not have [been] the right thing at all, so I must just leave it, and we would all have been too proud if he had got it.
Poor old Mr. Gauld died on Saturday. Heard last week through Mrs. Stevenson that Gordon MacKay was married, it is supposed he was intoxicated but they did not know who it was. The unfortunate pair! Mrs. Stevenson has invited Hilda down, and I think she will go some of these days. Had a long letter from Janie James. Dear! Dear! I shall have another letter to write.
Am glad to know your horse is proving satisfactory. But I feel you must be awfully lonely sometimes, going about continually amongst strangers and cannot be very congenial always. But "He giveth more peace." You have true faith and courage, but it must be very trying sometimes. Emily C. must have sent you that paper, I have never seen the poem though I have heard of it.
Well, I must close, with much love and trust you are well & doing well.
Ever your loving mother
[P.S.] I copied off my address, so am sending you first copy & you need not return it.
1 For more details on the Wilkie case, involving gender conflict among the missionaries and with the WFMS, see W4651.