W-MCP5-6.247 TO ISAAC MCQUESTEN FROM H. J. MacDonald
c/o Proudfoot & Jones
Aug 30 1869
To: Isaac Baldwin McQuesten Hamilton, Ontario
From: Kingston, Ontario
My dear Flask,
I was awfully glad to receive yours of the 16th Inst, and would have answered it before had not all my time been taken up with my military duties. However I have finished with the Military school for the present, having passed my examination for a second class certificate on Friday last in a highly satisfactory manner, as you, no doubt, expected since you know my antecedents at the University, and of course remember what smashing examinations I need to pass particularly with Pernet. In a place where I am as well known as I am in Kingston I had not then the slightest difficulty in gathering a certificate of a good moral character, in fact the Mayor and corporation in their robes of office wished to accompany me to the Drill Shed, but as I knew that they would want to treat, and that might be too great a temptation for my tee-total principals to resist, I declined with thanks, told them that I would have asked them to drink, had it not been against my conscience, and as it was they must take the will for the deed.
I wrote to "Surly" some time ago but did not receive an answer, so I suppose either my letter or his answer must have gone astray, but as you say he is going up to spend a short time with you during this month, I will write to him immediately and ask him to stay over at Kingston on his way up, as though he no doubt fully deserves the name of "short and dirty" still he is a decent little chap and of course while he is under my care I will keep him from all the lusts of the flesh, the world and the devils and will do all I can for the good of his soul by godly precept and example.
Billy Bickford1 is at present at Pembroke on the Upper Ottawa, but intends to leave in a few days, as I learnt from a letter from Yank, which I received on Saturday. I don't know whether he intends to pay me a visit or not, as I have not heard from him for some time. Of all the fellows that promised to come and see me during the summer, the only one who has kept his promise is poor Henry Bickford, and he only staid [sic] a day or two. It is really too bad, why in the devil don't some of your fellows come down and cheer a fellow up. Very little has been going on in this city beloved by the Gods but the week before last was enlivened by a regatta and it was really very amusing to watch the exertions of the Jersey-clad oarsmen as they strove against each other with their [brooding?] oars of well grained-wood. When the winners came in one was about deafened by the bands thundering forth "the conquering Hero comes," and on the arrival of the second boat striking up the lively and sentimental anthem "Not For Joe"2 We are to have a regatta here for first-class yachts on the 1st of September but as yet I have heard of no entries but the Van Guard of Kingston.
It was very wrong in you to delude poor Jeremy with the idea that the only way to get into the Residences was by the fence on No. 14, a boy, boy where do you expect to die when you go to [sic].
[Whang?] desires to be remembered and says if you will come down to Kingston he will promise to have a poker hot to receive you. I hardly think that I can run up to Hamilton just now but will if I can. Remember me to Bob Hope & [Alen??] McKenzie. I remain yours truly,
H. J. MacDonald
1 William Bickford was a friend of Isaac's from law school (see W-MCP5-6.256 and footnotes); Henry Bickford, who is mentioned later in this letter was very likely his brother. It seems that William and Henry did not get along well however. In W-MCP5-6.256, William writes to Isaac McQuesten
And now that I have fairly introduced the subject, let me assure you that the troubles intimated by the confessedly unbrotherly conduct you discerned are likely to diminish each coming yet by reason of a certain league and comment entered into a month or so ago...I will not conceal from you, my old friend, that absence of affection, which, through ties of blood, if from an other cause, ought to bind Henry and me.
2 "Not for Joe" was written by Arthur Lloyd (1839-1904). "His music can be heard on a Music hall web site dedicated to Arthur Lloyd, star of the halls and theatres themselves, London Pavilion."
"Not for Joe." January 5, 2004.