W-MCP5-6.254 TO MR. ISAAC BALDWIN MCQUESTEN from his school friend, Bill Bickford
Jun 8 1869
To: Isaac Baldwin McQuesten University College, Toronto
From: Ingersoll, Ontario
Most contemptible youth!
It was my intention to write you at the beginning of last week: but as Chancery was sitting at Woodstock I have been there for six days past as a intern. So it was next to impossible to memorialize your honor. I beg to inform you that I had a dollar a day, including mileage, which supplied me with a quantum suff. of billiard fees, Cigars and lemonade! Saw J. Miss yesterday in Woodstock and he told me he had been very busy in getting ready the papers to be placed before the optics of the profanum vulgus [sic] who frequent in thick crowds the vestibule of Univ. Coll.
He told me a rather amusing joke you most absent-minded one, It was this:--Pernet showed him your French paper wherein you had scrawled the name of thy adored one over 20 times. The examiners, judging that your mind was elsewhere than on the idioms of the language of that people whom Caesar drove into the woods and crevasses about CLXI [passnum?], resolved to pass you, with hopes that you would immediately on being dubbed B.A., commit matrimony and begin a race of giants to fill up the ranks of freshmen at Univ. Coll. and bear the name of a noble sire. I heartily concurred in the course adopted by said examiners. Am I right?
Ike, the weather is most damnably cold now. Woke up this morning with a terrible stiffness (N.B.) from the absence of a proper and necessary amount of caloric1. (Don't pervert this expression, you lecherous old cuss, you.)
Isaac Baldwin McQuesten, Esq. Baccalaureus Artrium designate allow your most humble and devoted servant to tender you his most cordial and hearty congratulation on attaining the distinguished honor of a Bachelor of Arts (designatus, as I almost qualified it, which being rendered out the vernacular, meaneth "elect.") Long may you live to enjoy your new honour: and I am confident you will shed additional luster upon the glorious annals of this ancient defence.
Angelina will participate in this joy as well as you--Angelina, the future Mrs. I.B. McQuesten2--she who shall marry an hour from the time set apart by her future lord and master when a student at Univ. Coll. whereby the great Isaac was much damaged in his examinations and hurt in his standing in the class list.
That was a most inhuman trick perpetrated upon poor Charley Summers. He will be crippled for life. The least thing that fiend who set off that torpedo should do is to send the poor fellow anonymously a yearly sum of money to give the poor fellow whom he has ruined, some little assistance.
I am not coming to Toronto for my M.A. Don't think I will go up for some time yet. This is the night at the Association Dinner. About 11 o'clock P.M. in the silence of my own dormitory, will I fill a glass of the wine said to be made in Xeres in Spain and quaff the contents to Her most Gracious Majesty the Queen. The Governor General, Alma Mater, and my old friend Ike McQuesten Esq. B.A. respectively. If you listen carefully about the aforesaid hour, turning your aural appendage westward, you may hear a rousing bacchanalian cheer borne on the gentle wind from the window of my habitation.
I am sorry I cannot be with you tonight,--but old fellow, my heart is with you.--and any wind shall wander pleasantly throughout the corridors, halls and dining room of old Alma Mater, beholding the pleased countenance of Isaac as his face beams with happiness ineffable and as he roams free and unrestrained through the passages of his Residence, not so full as on a former occasion.
Drink my health if you can remember me tonight--Drink it deep too with all the honors. As your time in Toronto is some 5 minutes faster than ours I would recommend at 5 minutes to 12 midnight to prepare your draught by Toronto time, while I shall prepare mine at 11 mins to 12, so that we shall quaff simultaneously.
I have no news fit for sending. Have you heard from Bill McBride3 lately?
Time: 12.15 p.m. grub waiting--must go and partake--the inner man to be refreshed.
Bill [William Bickford]4
1 "Caloric" was thought to be the substance of heat. The notion had been discredited and abandoned by the end of the nineteenth century.
2 It is likely that this is a reference to Mary Baker, since one of Isaac's friends composed a humourous poem about "Angelina Baker" (W2795). Isaac married Mary Baker on June 18, 1873. (For the "Angelina" poem and mention of her in letters, see, W2259n, W2795, W-MCP5-6.254, W-MCP5-6.253, W-MCP5-6.251, W-MCP5-6.243).
3 William McBride was a mutual friend of Isaac's and William Bickford's. For some of his letters, see W-MCP5-6.246, W-MCP5-6.249, W-MCP5-6.302.
4 William Bickford was a close friend of Isaac's from law school at University of Toronto, see W-MCP5-6.256.