W2395 TO DR. CALVIN BROOKS MCQUESTEN from his brother Isaac B. McQuesten
May 10 1873
To: Dr. Calvin Brooks McQuesten, [New York, New York, U.S.A.]
From: Hamilton, OntarioPROUDFOOT, JONES & MCQUESTEN
Solicitors in Chancery, &c.,
OFFICE, No. 11 Main Street East, Hamilton, Ont.
WILLIAM PROUDFOOT, Q.C., JOHN W. JONES
My dear Brother,
Your last letter made me unpleasantly aware that I had been decidedly intemperate in the language I had used, and just as uncharitable and incorrect in the opinion I had formed of your estimation of me. So instead of your apologizing, it is my place to ask your pardon, which I accordingly do most sincerely, and only hope no future misunderstanding will occur. At the time I wrote I felt a sort of feeling of despair; and am glad it was no more than a phantasy in my own brain.1 One thing that you say does not at all surprise me;--that from my letters you cannot find an opening anywhere to act; I can't find one myself. If I could, I would only too gladly tell you of it. You must bear this in mind: It is father on whom [all] depends and upon whose wishes--whatever course may be pursued. You have doubtless heard a thousand times about the changeableness and uncertainty of old people. You cannot fully realize how true it is till you are brought intimately in contact with them. I would write you one letter, based on what father said very positively. And before long he would entirely change his ideas. And what was there for me to do except to inform you of that change; or bring to bear on him a pressure I would be scarcely willing to? Be assured I am very grateful to you for all your kind offers, and should the moment come when immediate action must be taken, I will telegraph you at once. My own opinion is that if any illness comes on father after I leave the house, he will as he has always said when ill, want you home immediately. And once there I think you ought to stay. About Mrs. McQ., she scarcely bursts out at all now. And though she tries to be oily, what you said about your doubting that she would ever get much for the McKeands from father is, I am pretty certain, quite correct.2 If she does, I must know it, and you will too at once.
I fully expected you would come home in June. It will be a very quiet affair in the morning. They live in a small house & it would be impossible to have much. I should, as you know, and so would Mary, be very glad to see you. Still, if you could not manage to come both then and in the Fall, it might be for your ultimate benefit to defer it till the fall. Since by that time father might finally make up his mind as to what should be done, when he has been about three months in the house with Mrs. McQ. alone. What do you think as to that yourself? Of course now when I am about, she wants to make it appear that they are on the best of terms. When I brought up to her her conduct towards father, she declared she always treated him well. Afterwards she may, if she is now shamming, come out in her true colors. Have not got my Saturdays for several weeks. Send one to you today. With much love & many regrets for my last letter.
Yours as ever,
1 See W2389.
2 Isaac and Calvin Brooks' father apparently suffered from some form of dementia in his later years (W1545), but was tormented for a very long time before that by his bad marriage to Elizabeth Fuller McQuesten. Elizabeth was apparently quite shrewish and coveted her husband's fortune but all the same, he refused to consider separation or divorce and his sons made efforts to have him revise the will to cut Elizabeth's inheritance, (see footnote of W-MCP5-6.351). For information on the McKeands and Elizabeth's attempts to make her husband buy them a home in Hamilton, see footnote and links in W4535.