W2483 TO DR. CALVIN BROOKS MCQUESTEN from his brother Isaac McQuesten
Apr 20 1877
To: Dr. Calvin Brooks McQuesten [New York]
From: Hamilton, Ontario
My dear Brother,
Yours arrived. And under the circumstances I did the best I could about mushrooms; & think I have a fair chance of being successful. Its a rainy day & nothing doing; so think the best way to spend a few moments is to have a fling at you. Youth, be more careful of your letter. You recollect the packet you put away in one of the pigeonholes in the library once? Well, they & mine had remained there for years. But the O.L.1 took a rummaging turn; so all there were brought to light. Of course to pounce on anything of poor John Mitchell's was a treasure, especially if of a nature that would in any way enable her to pick at him. So it seems she showed to father one that John had written you when in Buffalo, wherein he spoke of having pumped father as to his feelings towards you. The O.L. was quite indignant at her husband not being referred to with the deference that was due him. So father read the letter and was more amused than otherwise with it; but remarked the part that hurt the O.L.'s [cares?] were John Mitchell's reference to Archie McKeand where he predicted that in a year or two he would fail; as he in fact did.2 And then the poor fellow at the close of the letter warned you to take care that it did not fall into hands you would not want it to. However Joe removed all the packets up to my house.
You did not tell me whether you intended getting a watch at the same time for yourself as me. Let me know, as I want to be prepared to send the money as agreed and if I'm to provide $480 I must be on the lookout. I would certainly prefer the superior finish of a $240 watch to that of $140 one. I had supposed you had decided upon an American make. But as I've said it's immaterial to me. All I want is a good one. You've had your pick. So if you bungle, woe betide you. The terra cotta ware will not be a circumstance to what you may expect. Still I must to you the justice to say that. I've never left anything entirely to your selection but that I've invariably been disappointed on the pleasant side.
So Schermerhorn & Co. have failed. There has just come another health-lift book stating who is the new agent.
Dr. Ormiston is to be here next Tuesday. Ida Sawyer spent a few days with us last week. But, I congratulate myself that my treatment of Frank taught them a much needed lesson.
As ever yours
[P.S.] If you would care to meet in any place, before arriving in Manchester, say so, you know our route & I will arrange for writing beyond Montreal till I get there and can act according to any word I hear from you there.
I. B. McQ.
1 "O.L." refers to "Old Lady" which is the sobriquet Isaac and Calvin use for their step-mother, Elizabeth Fuller, who was agitating with Dr. Calvin McQuesten to turn him against his two sons and to get his will and the house settled in her name. See W-MCP5-6.351 for more details about the McQuesten family feud.
2 The McKeands were related to Elizabeth, who had wanted her husband to pay to bring them to Hamilton.