W-MCP1-3b.024 TO REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN, B.A. from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Jul 16 1916 1
To: Calvin McQuesten Y.M.C.A. Ottawa2
My dear Calvin,
As your letter did not reach me yesterday till after bank closing, for the reason that we have only two postal deliveries in the morning and at 4 p.m., I decided to wire the money. It was not till noon I realized that in order that you might catch the right boat on Friday which our ticket agent told me left only twice a week, the next one Tuesday, he may not be correct, the money must reach youto-day. I hope you have been able to get off, for the weather is getting so warm and I am sure you must be thoroughly tired out and long for a quiet resting place. Do not expect to hear of your appointment in a good while. Last Sabbath Dr. Drummond (we are with St. Paul's now) announced that he has been appointed Chaplain for the summer months at Niagara, remarking at the same time, "It was the third time he had been appointed," but nothing came of it.3
In the meantime Calvin dear take a thoroughly good rest, the longer the better, and try to "think about nothing" as Grandpapa used to say. Do not think of hurrying back to pack up at B. [Buckingham]. Hilda is perfectly capable of doing everything herself, if you will allow her. Your books and personal belongings can be packed and marked so that you can know them. It is tiring and expensive to go journeying up and down. You might find a reasonable comfortable place where you could stay some months, the hotels are generally expensive and not always good. Last year Hilda and Tom found Tadousac most expensive and miserably cold, a lot of rich people from Montreal staying there not congenial and they left as soon as possible, but Mrs. Turner and Mary going there again. You know the places down there better than I do. H. came up from Oakville yesterday, delighted with their cottage, but the accommodation is limited and you would find Oakville very dull. Here we have plenty of room but it is very noisy, so I have no inducements to offer, and trust you will be able to find a really comfortable place, where your mind can rest, a sleepy place. Be a little careful of the money for you may have to wait a considerable time for the Buckingham money, it seems such a large sum. By the way, I could not be expected to know your position with the Presbytery, you wrote me only one letter full of Ethel Maclaren after Hilda and Edna returned, and I am not up on the rules of the Presbyterian Church. I hope you will let me know where you are stationed as soon as you are settled. With much love.
Your affectionate mother
[P.S.] When I know where you are can send you papers.
1 Edna had written to Calvin at the YMCA in Ottawa on June 29, 1916 to ask him to write to his mother:
"every mail Mama looks for a letter & is so disappointed when she does not hear from you. . . .she seems to me to be ageing a lot lately with the war and all. . . . I really feel uneasy about her sometimes and if she makes unfortunate remarks in her letters try and not notice them. In her last letter I was sorry she rather spoiled the letter by some unfortunate remark but like Mary she does not think before she speaks and then she is more outspoken than most people which is a characteristic no doubt that she inherits from her father. Also I notice. . .ever since Ruby's death that her memory isn't as good as it used to be and she is apt to get blue at times. . . .It will be a great thing to get a chaplaincy" (W-MCP1-3b.021).
2 On July 5, 1916, A.C. Rivard wrote to Calvin at Buckingham stating that he was
looking forward to more satisfactory conditions in my next field of labour and I presume it is the case with you. My experience in B. [Buckingham] was that those whose criticisms were offered most freely were those whose armour was the most defective. I cannot tell you how strong my sympathies are for those doing religious work in small communities where one is apt to meet with the petty, narrow minded spirit of the ignorant and half-educated. I hope that you will find the remainder of your time in B. not too unpleasant and I am sure that in comparison with your present work trench life will act as a tonic and help you forget the ingratitude connected with work such as yours. Let me wish you success in the new work and pleasant sojourn in lands across the seas" (W-MCP1-3b.022).
Calvin was contemplating a chaplaincy position with the armed forces overseas, but he appears to have resigned Buckingham abruptly. On July 25, 1916 Calvin received a letter from A.E. Armstrong asking for his reasons for resigning at Buckingham, "What's up?. . . . May I bother you for a few lines stating your plans?" (W-MCP1-3b.026).
3 Calvin had applied for a chaplaincy appointment to the armed forces, but he did not receive one. He came home and there are no letters immediately afterwards.