W2368 TO MARY J. BAKER [MCQUESTEN] from her fiance, Isaac Baldwin McQuesten
Apr 2 1873
To: Mary J. Baker, Toronto, Ontario
From: Hamilton, Ontario
My own dearest darling,
"All's well that ends well" seems to be trying--doing its little best--to work out an accomplishment with us; and it is to be hoped that when the final hour of doom does come a marriage bell may never have metaphorically rung more joyously. Believe me, my own one. I do not feel any approach to a jealousy, or a feeling that you do not love me enough, because you are not without sadness at leaving home. I have told you more than once that were I a girl myself I don't think I ever would marry. To a man, marriage--if he marries from love--is an unadulterated gain. If it should turn out unhappily, why at worst, there are many ways in which he can derive some joy. While to a girl, she stakes everything. If the result is unhappy, her whole life is ruined--at least to a great extent. I know, dearest, that you love me.1 And I shall try and do all in power by that wondrous comforter, sympathy, and by cherishing you as fondly as is in my power, to alleviate as much as possible the pain of parting. And you know, loved one, it will not be a tithe as bad now that your father has at the eleventh hour regained his common sense, and for the sake of investigations, doubtless connected with some subject of political economy he is writing upon, asks what the price of rents is in Hamilton. Be sure I will try and make a bargain the very first chance, so that he will scarcely be able not to accept it. I am very, very glad that he & your mother will come here. Then I'll not feel guilty of the same degree of selfishness in taking you away from them.
The house I have is 50 pounds, I paying taxes and water rates. I would not care to have Mr. Baker take it; for he would have as landlord the meanest man in Hamilton; decent and best beloved--because intensified edition of--Lou of Sammy Mills. However when I can find another vacant house and I will keep looking out for one--we can talk about the matter.2
Burson will send to your address next week or the week after the article in the accompanying list. If he finds a handsome piano cover that would not have to have all else in correspondence he will also send it. Should I have omitted anything write at once and I can let him know. The list is a good deal at his suggestion.
No wonder my unfortunate father tried to dissuade me from the idea of building at present. It seems Mrs. McQ. [Elizabeth Fuller McQuesten] has been dinging away at him to buy a lot and build a house for the McKeands here in Hamilton, so that she can get them back near her. He has told her pretty plainly that he will not.3 At the same time it would subject him to all the more annoyance from her if I had a house of my own--and I can do well enough for a few years without it. Cannot you? By Jove! I don't wonder at that English Clergyman that put an end to his spouse.
Don't be too sure that if I fell in love with some other girl you could immediately pick up someone else. I quite assure you the probabilities are you would not be only unmarried but unengaged if I had not taken pity on you.
Oh, did you hear George McDonald? If I ever felt like glorifying a man, it was he. I'm glad his subject was just what it was. Not one in the audience but felt he had never listened to such an ennobling, purifying, Christian lecture as that. Paulson with his Wilberforce is a mere jargon of words compared with the intense, vital, soul-searching earnestness of McDonald. I feel that he has done me good. And every one that has spoken of it says that he trusts he came away a better man. How nauseating would be a dose of Talmages jokes about happy living, after that man's telling and reiterating so earnestly that there is a work for every man to do, and if he neglects it, it can never, never, be accomplished as long as the world lasts. I may be too enthusiastic, Mary, about him for you. But regarding him as I do now, I feel it would be a species of profanity to say a word against him. He's neither sectarian nor national. He's a man living for and sympathising with his brother men. I can read his novels now with gusto that I could not ever before, after seeing the glorious author of them.
Bunson informed me of your little affair. Quite admired Belle's "special" features. I don't think I'll tell you a question he asked. Isn't this horrible.
I'm verging on the old system of a second sheet; It's too near the catastrophe to be so hazardous. Farewell, sweetest and best;
As ever yours alone.
I. B. McQuesten
[Isaac Baldwin McQuesten]
1 Isaac and Mary were married on June 18, 1873.
Other courtship letters on this site at present are: W2259, W2336, W2337, W2339, W2343, W2344, W2351, W2361, W2364, W2368, W2377, W2380, W2392.
2 Isaac had already arranged for a house for his bride on James St. (W2364). However he then found an attached house at No. 1 & 3 Bold Street, and Mary's parents eventually moved into the other part.
3 The McKeands were apparently related to Elizabeth and were likely from the United States. Elizabeth herself was American. Although she often visited with them and had them over for dinner, Dr. McQuesten rarely spoke or dined with them as he did not appreciate their company; Elizabeth, however, paid her husband's discomfort no mind and insisted he bring them to Hamilton permanently. For more on Elizabeth Fuller McQuesten, see W-MCP5-6.351.