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W-MCP5-6.281 TO ISAAC BALDWIN MCQUESTEN from his cousin Mary E. McQuesten.
Jan 19 1864
To: Isaac Baldwin McQuesten, Hamilton, Canada West
From: Plymouth, New Hampshire, [U.S.A.]

My Dear Cousin Isaac,

Your very welcome letters of Dec 31st and Jan 15th are before me. And as the dates unite the young, and joyous new year, with the suggestively solemn old, so as I sit down to write, then gay and sober words for you, rush into my mind--You know me well enough to feel, that the sober is not my mood to the exclusion of the funny side of "human nature." So I trust dear cousin, if I write you, almost "Lectures," you will feel that that my [?] and pride for and in you, are the cause rather that a habit I may have.

Therefore first of all, let me give you the beautiful part of the discourse. You speak of going to the University the coming summer. Mr. Isaac--judging my myself, and many others at you age, I want to ask you with all due consideration as to the personality of the question are you studying hard enough and disciplining you mind nightly, for entering and doing well there?

Here, I think, and I know, it requires one of the hardest fought battles of life, to overcame mental indolence, and arouse a worthy ambition in one's self in your situation. Isaac, do be a scholar of universals. I sympathize with you, for I always was an indolent student, but in you we all hope to see something beside a college chum, a miserable waste of time, money and talent.

I talk very plain but now is the time to talk if ever. It is no easy thing for you to do--but make up your mind that you will exact from your very next lesson, like the lifelong lesson is ended, and then, with aid from the giver of all wisdom, and McQuesten will, there will be no difficulty. I am delighted that you are having music. Who knows, but that in coming years, Papa's darling will be as times had to see him play duets with an old maid cousin and some loving wife, thank him, that he followed her advice? Greater things than that happen every day!

Dear Isaac, what are you trying to do, in a religious point of view? I advise you by all means to "drive away" such feelings as I imagine you have, and indulge in better. Looking back through the life of years, you recognize in the wonderful man of Nazareth, as you see him in Palestine, and read of him in the history of the times contained in the Gospels--one who today is the same as then--God--man! "Come unto me in Prayer believing that I will save, at once obeying my commands" is all I ask--"I will do the work in you, yourself helping me."

Isaac won't you do this? It is seldom, scarce even, that I speak of my inward self, but as I think it may be of benefit to you, I will tell you what follows. The Bible says, "If any man seems to me to be religious and holdeth not his tongue--that man's religion is vain." I have a great deal of McQuesten in me--quickly aroused quick to speak. Hence one of my resulting sins and this year I have taken it in hand to overcome with divine aid this one. Have you not the same blood rushing through your veins after [?] to the [?] forcing out the hasty, petulant [?].1 Show your act as religion, in keeping back your inward by prayer and faith. Start forward--return--and take the way that I made plain--if doubt trust the man with light [arms?].

Isaac I have tried to speak very plain--I do long to have you a noble specimen of a man. A Christian man--is the very beginning of nobility--how I have had quite a pause, reading Esther's lessons. She is studying Arithmetic, [A?] and Smellie's Natural Philosophy. It takes a great deal of time, but I cheerfully do it.

Carrie spent the Sabbath with us. They have been on a long and varied tour and enjoyed every moment of it. She will write you soon. We have had none of the terrible weather yet, as regards to cold that many parts of the country have suffered from. Today it has rained hard. What a nice time you must have with Jessie and your other friends. I fear however--this "Big Pine Willis" will be needed to lay his on you and draw you from ladies. Would he rather [?] [?]? I remember him perfectly, I heard him speak in "the Synod."

Oh what a shame for Dr. Irvine to disgrace himself, the church of Christ, and the ministry so! I suppose you are shocked--still, seeing him as I did. I thought him rather a handsome man--and do I wish I could have spoken to him that morning [?] [?] so ferociously cruel! I beg of Dr. Ormiston not to forget me while sleighriding with the ladies--Isaac [?] he looks a great deal better, and I am delighted.

I wrote Lissie last week. I cannot possibly write Jessie, while she remains with you, as did I write you both I could not write half I want to, to either. Give her my warm love and thank her for her so kind remembrance of me, and say to her, I shall write her soon. It does not seem right that, she did visit me. I hope your worthy Father is not disturbed at night, with your wild ruckus. The Tutor might insist on order though through the Laws of night. I am afraid the results of Easter visit is coming out. I remember such nights.

Oh Isaac, if Mother had not been so sick, what a different visit you would have had. I am so thankful however you had any at all, for us all enjoyed it. Mother wishes she could see you, in your [?] [?]--you are wonderfully [?] when you said "yes m'am" in her presence. I suspect you have not told [your?] Father how you naughtily [?] away from church--greatly at my Father's indignation. I was amused for Father thought he could put his hand on you when the bell tolled?--but you had fled. I laughed all the way to church, him scolding!

I am doing a great deal of sending these long evenings. I seem to write you long letters very easily. They may tax you to read ( [?] I am preparing the way for some fair maids great delight. You are [?] so in letter writing. I shall almost envy her the long epistles the [?] will bring forth. Let it not be done till years hence, that you engage in any such. "Look well before you leap" [)?], I am so glad you admit to your passion about cards. But, Isaac, temptation will come thick and fast when you go to college and into society. [?] cards, wines and ale and all manner of dissipations. This in due respect the young man that is better than the average in these days.

We all send love, mine to your dear Father and Mother. Forgive my long [?] now I fear you will think me [?] only to a [?]. Mind my humour like a good boy! With much love,

I am your aff'te cousin

Mary [McQuesten]

1 This letter is very difficult to read and to transcribe.

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