W3051 TO REV. THOMAS BAKER from his son John Orange Baker
Aug 12 1874
To: Rev. Thomas Baker
From: East Machias, Maine, [U.S.A.]
My dear Father,
Was much pleased to learn from your letter that you were all well, and that you
would be glad to see your humble son and I am unwilling to leave just yet because money continued to flow into the exchequer though somewhat slowly! And I have recently had two operations of some importance, one, excision of the hip joint, the other on a Femoral hernia, which I am loath to lose sight of for a week or two, when collections fall off so as not to be worth staying for, I shall shake the dust off my feet and travel Canadaward, I think some time about the beginning of September.
At present I am not practising, I merely do a consulting business, and attend to the settlement of my accounts, though of course a physician who has resided almost in one place for seventeen years as I have, cannot entirely divest himself of professional cares, merely because he wishes to enjoy "otium cum dignitate" and I confess to a little satisfaction when people ask it as a favour that [?] look at them and hear their story, even if I do not prescribe for them. I wonder how long I shall be somewhere else before attaining the same professional reputation I enjoy here.
What can be the matter with Alfred's wife I cannot imagine you speak of a tumour, is it Marian [Maria Mudge]?1 If it is, she may undergo an operation, and perhaps recover, I have never operated on such a case, I should much like to.
You spoke of Thomas returning to Galt I think it is not of much consequence where as he will never do much for himself anywhere. He would rather gossip half an hour than spend the same time profitably on the farm. He was a real old soldier and the most incomprehensible thing to me was his studying horse medicine.
Give my love to all and tell Mary I am anxious about her baby's teeth.2 I hope they will come regular, and in proper order. If she can only contain herself a few days, I shall be on hand with lots of good advice.
You will, if the Post office permits, have about time to write one more letter. When I will delay answering it till I can tell you when to expect me. [?] [?] believe me my dear father
Your affectionate son
John [Orange Baker]
1 (Ann) Maria Mudge was Rev. Baker's daughter-in-law and the stepmother of his grandchildren. She had a heart condition and had at least one medical procedure performed to correct it. For more on Maria Mudge, see W3155.
After her husband, James Alfred Baker, died in 1876 Rev. Baker helped to support the family until he learned of rumours that Maria was keeping gentlemen callers for undue lengths of time and removed the children from her care. See W3155 for details.
2 This likely refers to Mary Baker McQuesten, Rev. Baker's youngest daughter. Mary had given birth to her first child, Mary Baldwin McQuesten, on March 21, 1874. Although the child would only be about 5 months old at this time and not likely to be teething yet, Mary may have been expressing her concerns in advance.