W2344 TO MARY J. BAKER [MCQUESTEN] from Isaac Baldwin McQuesten
Mar 14 1873
To: Toronto, Ontario
From: Hamilton, Ontario
My own loved one,
All my acquaintances this winter, with very few exceptions, have had their dose of cold; & there has been a sort of malicious delight in informing them that never a winter had passed when I have been so free from the infirmities of the flesh; but now I am in for it at last. I very much fear it. It seems as though my head were so heavy it could not be held up; and to use that very choice expression that has always impressed you with a sense of its extreme refinement: I am just 'bunged' up. Whether a good long sleep tonight will make one all right again is hard to say. If you were only here to growl at, there would be some happiness to me if not to you. It would be fine to be too sick to go out of the house if my darling were only near to pet me, and cram me with a lot of soft things, every one of which she knew there wasn't a particle of truth in.
Oh you dear little wretch! To dare to tell Mrs. Schuck that it made me sick to smoke. I don't care, its too bad, because Schuck would laugh at me and that would be very horrible, and he might not think me a man if I were not able to smoke. Bell told me he was going to Toronto last Wednesday to bring Miss R. home on Thursday. So Whittemore thinks she has a bad temper. Well, seeing she has so few ideas outsides of dress and appearance, I am very glad she is not to be our next-door neighbour.
If we cannot find a house there will be no other course but for me to persuade father that the most profitable investment will be to build, and put up a pair of tenement houses.1 I don't want to do this if it can be avoided, but I may yet find it to be a necessity. In two or three weeks I can let you know finally, but not before that.
W. G. Crawford, married to Miss Craigie, died the other day. The poor fellow's end was a great deal, as was Craigie's. How terrible it is the vast numbers that intemperance and it consequential diseases are daily sweeping away. I hope this Asylum 2 that they are about building may do some good; but I have very little confidence in its beneficence.
Our house is emptied of its invalids at last: Mr. Barron and little Clarence both went away yesterday. It seems awfully quiet: Father has not been out of bed this week. He is not ill now. But he had a very bad cold and to use his own language--he was determined to sweat it out and he has succeeded. I gave him three hot toddies in one day, & they settled the matter. But as he says he doesn't see anything to be gained by getting up, so he may as well lie abed. I think he is getting lazy and that cannot be allowed. I have not had a letter from Dr. O. [Ormiston] since his return to N.Y. I fancy he is waiting to hear from me. Calvin was much pleased with the chain. That relieves me, for he is 'crotchety' (you see it runs in the family) and I feared it might not suit him in some particular or other.
Isn't it a shame that the Gladstone Govt. is defeated and old D'Israeli's in again? I fancy however his tenure of office will be brief. Gladstone's going out of power will only serve to increase and solidify his influence.
My jewel, I don't know what I have written in this letter. I'm half dizzy. But I know I am writing to the most charitable & kind-hearted darling that this world ever saw; and she sympathizes with me with her whole heart in this abominable matter of letters. Cheer up, sweet-heart; the day will come when you will be privileged with a worse & more constant torment than writing and reading letters.3
As ever your own, darling,
I. B. McQuesten
[Isaac Baldwin McQuesten]
1 No doubt Isaac and Mary were planning to have her parents move from Toronto to Hamilton. Isaac eventually found the attached houses at No. 1 & 3 Bold St. in Hamilton, for both couples. The Bold St. houses were very near his father's house, Whitehern.
2 An Asylum for Inebriates was being built in Hamilton at this time. Isaac's half-brother, Dr. Calvin Brooks McQuesten in New York, considered applying for a position there but was discouraged because he was not a Canadian (2447, December 7, 1874).
3 Other courtship letters on this site at present are: W2259, W2336, W2337, W2339, W2343, W2344, W2351, W2361, W2364, W2368, W2377, W2380, W2392.
Isaac and Mary were married on June 18, 1873.