W2304 TO DR. CALVIN BROOKS MCQUESTEN from his brother Isaac B. McQuesten
Oct 8 1872
To: Dr. Calvin Brooks McQuesten, New York, [New York, U.S.A]
From: Hamilton, Ontario
My dear Brother,
I got home all safe about 3:30 on Saturday morning, anxious enquiries were made for the Phat Boy [sic]. I told them I had given him his bottle, headed him to N.Y., & put him to bed. I write you this early to communicate
developments as to Mrs. McQ. Last night I had a long talk
with father: and to my surprise he not only listened readily to our proposition; but has been very anxious that it should be carried out; & declared that with the new year he will
commence to treat her with a severity that neither you nor I would be willing to suggest, should she refuse to listen to a separation.1 This he feels quite sure she will do; had it not been his feeling of the utter hopelessness of her
agreeing to do it he would have tried to carry it out long ago.
Now, my boy, I will have most of the difficulty of
carrying it through. One thing I want you to do. Mrs.
Dickerman comes today to spend a few days. Till she leaves or is about leaving I will not speak to Mrs. McQ. about it. Then [?] though she, Mrs. McQ. gets into a tantrum, I will insist on her taking some time to consider it. In that case her most likely course will be to write Dr. Ormiston about it; asking his advice. The crisis must arriv [sic] if it hasn't arrived. He will know about it sooner or later. It is a difficult & unsatisfactory manner to attempt to explain the state of affairs to him in a letter. I want you
to have a private conversation with him. Shew [sic] him how
utterly impossible it is that any of us can live with her,
give him to understand that such [a?] thing as a compromise cannot & will not be listened to for a moment.
If public opinion must be met, it must be. And let him feel that should she reject this offer, her life will be one of pitiless severity. Write me as soon as you receive this
telling me if you will see him at once. Then on receipt of your letter, I will write him stating the matter briefly, it not to arrive till you have spoken with him.
Trusting to hear soon, I am as ever yours,
[PS] If you think of any better course I will be only too glad to hear of it.
1 Dr. Calvin McQuesten's third wife, Elizabeth Fuller McQuesten, was an ill-tempered and manipulative woman who often demanded money from her husband and made threats to get what she wanted. Isaac and Calvin Brooks wanted their father to separate from her or at least use that as a threat to calm her temperamental nature. For more details, see W-MCP5-6.351.