W4483 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his sister Ruby
May 8 1901 Wednesday Afternoon
To: [Rev.] Calvin McQuesten Toronto, Ontario
From: [Ottawa Ladies' College]
My dearest Cal,
Here I am taking it easy stretched out in the coolest garb possible, so never mind the scribble. Miss Curry & I have been out all afternoon, & it is so warm that I piled off my things as fast as possible & will cool off & write you a note while the others are having their tea & then we'll go down & have a good time to ourselves. I must say we teachers are getting into awfully bad habits--we hardly ever appear at breakfast with the girls, except on our own duty day & very often don't bless them with our presence at tea. It's such a relief to have it all by ourselves & the maids can clear the five other tables while we collect at one. The girls behave quite well as long as there is one teacher in the dining-room.
And O! Cal, my dear, I wanted to thank you for your lovely Birthday letter. I don't think anything is as nice as a letter. But my dear boy, you needn't charge me with being the only Irish member of the family, if I do say eggs & legs--there is a decided streak in another member of the family.1 And thank you & will you thank Tom too for the beautiful Bible. Really it is a perfect beauty & I'm too proud of it for anything. Really tho' when I gave such a broad hint I didn't imagine anything so fine. I almost felt ashamed when I saw such an elegant little one--and besides the family sent me two 'scrumptious' cakes & a pretty new blouse & blue silk tie. Miss Curry gave me a pretty little hand painted china stud holder, Miss Boyd a handkerchief, Connie James, a lovely Gibson frame done by Lillee, & one of the girls a dozen beautiful carnations,--so I think I was a pretty lucky girl with so many things to remind me of the day.
On my birthday, Miss Boyd & I went over to Hull for tea at Rev. Mr. Salis, minister among the French. Mrs. S. is a lovely little woman & Mr. S. their one daughter are very nice too.
On Sat. we went with the Field Naturalists to Britannia on the Bay, a place about seven miles from here. We had a pleasant afternoon, tho' the cars kept us waiting so long, it rather spoilt the day as we didn't start out till about four & were tired by then as we had left the house at two & had taken two hours to go seven miles by car. However Dr. Ami was as nice as ever & I bro't home another bag of stones to add to my collection. Dr. Ami, you know, is the head of the geological department here, Doctor of Science etc. etc., & is one of the queerest looking little men, but so kind & clever & takes no end of trouble showing & telling you things. On Sat. a book written by himself, on Geology, arrived with "the kind regards of the author." So I'll have to begin & study up the subject. But really--it's hopeless when you try to learn the names. However the general things are interesting & the other day we were finding the fossils of the very oldest strata on this planet--so they say.
Last night the Ottawa Presbytery met & some of the ministers came to tea--a Mr. Ross who once preached for Mr. Lyle one summer & used to play tennis--a tall shy man--do you remember, but quite nice--Mr. Moire or Mohr & a Mr. Scrimger, son of the Prof. S. of Montreal & a very nice man. We had quite a jolly time of it.
And now must hurry this off for the post. Tell Tom I'll write him soon & thank him for me. Also tell him he surely can't mean by his letter that he doesn't know whether he can come here on his way, I do want to see him so much before he goes.2
And now good-bye dearest brother, with much love.
1 The Irish is on their mother's side. Mary Baker McQuesten's mother, Mrs. Mary-Jane McIlwaine Baker, was born in the County of Donegal, Ireland.
2 That summer, Tom made a trip to England and travelled from Toronto to Montreal by train and from there sailed on to England, landing at Salford and then quickly on to Manchester. From his letter, W4490, it appears that Tom left Toronto one evening and arrived in Montreal the following afternoon and so it would seem that he did not make a trip to Ottawa to see his sister.
See W4490 for a description of Tom's experiences on the cattle boat to England, in which he had to survive on a diet of salt horse and rotten potatoes in the company of former convicts.