W-MCP2-3b.060 TO REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from Georgina Mackenzie
Jun 1 1918
To: Rev. Calvin McQuesten 'Whitehern,' Jackson Street Hamilton, Ontario
From: Staney Brae, Muskoka, Ontario
Dear Mr. McQuesten,
I am so sorry for a mishap that was due to my own carelessness, a couple of weeks ago, for I wanted you to have an answer to your last letter long before this. I wrote you quite a long letter, and had the envelope addressed and all, and then something occurred to disturb me, and in the excitement of the moment, I put the letter, with some other papers I had to burn in the stove, and so went up in smoke the thoughts I meant to pass on to you. I'm afraid they are hardly to be gathered together again.
I shall be glad to keep your room for you. I rather think we are not going to be full to overflowing as we were last summer. We know of a few who want to come but are not sure of being able to get away. Margaret Alexander is with us now, having come a week ahead of the family so as to have their house open and ready for them. You will be surprised (and pleased too I know) to hear that I have been negotiating for the McLeod cottage for Aunt Harriet and Clan, and they may be our neighbours for the summer. Did you notice in the papers that Mr. Wastineys[sp?] is coming to Toronto University with Dr. Robertson from the University of California, to teach Bio-Chemistry? It was such good news to us. They will come to Toronto this month and I am hoping will spend part of this summer up here. In Aunt Harriet's letter there was such a very nice compliment for you, which I think I must pass on, at the risk of making you very conceited indeed. I will quote Aunt Harriet's exact words. She says-"One night not long ago, there was an announcement of Readings from Dr. Drummond1 at the university, and Clare and I rushed off to it, but Oh! what a difference in the rendering of Johnie Courteau, and indeed every member. The reader had a splendid voice but he had never heard the lives himself, and only read it as he had heard someone else read it.-We felt like weeping when we thought of Mr. McQuesten, and the adorable evenings we had at Staney Brae, so please give our united love to him first chance you have." Now isn't that nice? Aunt Harriet does not deal in superlatives very often you know and she has excellent judgement.
I did so appreciate the letter I had from you in April, the answer to which I burnt. It is wonderful to me to think how needed strength and courage has been given me in answer to the prayers of my friends. I am very grateful, what more could any one ask for another than you have asked for me? I do need victory over my besetting sins, the chief of which is probably selfishness, and I want greater charity towards those with whom I do not see eye to eye. I do not forgive easily. Though none of us really "ask in vain." I am afraid I have not been of as much help as I should have wished, but note that it has become a habit. I am not sure that I can easily put your case out of my mind as you tell me to. I may not charge myself with a responsibility longer, but my interest will still be keen, and I shall often remember you when I pray. I have asked for the fulfilment of your hopes, that you may be made happy in the knowledge of having been [?] for the Kingdom, and that if success in the work you have now in hand, should not come to you, as we hope, you may be kept from discouragement, and given to know that your seeming failure may be made to yield a richer blessing than success, as we count if often does.
"We fall to rise. Are baffled, to fight better."
And it really is the continual effort that triumphs over all our discouragements, and makes it possible for us to meet the tasks and the trials, and the joys of life, as they come.
No, you did not send me a copy of the little booklet, "Pray Ye Therefore" and I should very much like to have it.
I know you would be glad to hear of Louis' safe return, he was only able to spend a few days with us, but I am sure they did him good. I was so afraid his home coming would be cruelly hard, and I foolishly allowed myself to become nervous and excited over it, so that after he had gone I suffered the inevitable reaction, and was very much "down and out" for a little while.
Mamma and Norman were both unusually well and cheerful while Louis was here, and he was prepared to find sadder changes than he noticed, and I am very glad. There will be much for him to learn that will be hard, but it need not come as a shock to him now. Louis has improved right along, Florence says, and though his strength is so impaired that he will never be able to work hard again, we are all so thankful that he is with his family again and that he has suffered no worse disablement. He has his discharge, and secured some light employment, temporarily, of course.
I am glad you are so well. Some one was asking the other day if you had considered taking the work on this field for the season. I did not know. I must hurry my dinner now, the hum-drum days are upon me.
Mamma and Norman send kind regards.
1 For more on Calvin's readings of French Canadian Habitant poetry, see, Dr. Drummond's poetry. Calvin developed the ability to imitate Dr. Drummond's "Habitant" poems and did so publicly on several occasions. See W4559, Box 12-159, W-MCP2-3b.060, Box 03-188, Box 03-188a, Box 06-246, Box 03-243.
See Also French Canadian Poem by Joe Picard, pen name for Charles S. FitzSimon and FitzSimon's biography, Box 03-241.