W4531 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Jan 31 1902
In care of (c/o)
To: Calvin McQuesten The Montreal Herald
My dear dear boy,
Just to think this is the last day of January and one month of the new year is gone. Well, I am writing this taking my ease, for unfortunately last evening, I started out to take a little parcel over to Maud Shaw's for her to take to Ruby,1 as she was going to Ottawa to-day, and at the foot of one stone step, in the dark I stepped on edge of plank and my foot rolled over (I had slippers on under my cardinals) the pain was very great and I could not touch my foot to the ground, so I had to crawl up stairs. The greater part of the night I suffered much, but it grew better. This morning to be on the safe side, I had Heurner examine it,2 but there were not broken bones, so after about cooking my foot in hot water, he wrapped it up in cotton batting, so that it looks like the foot of a gouty old gentleman. However I am thankful it was no worse. The great trouble is it gives the girls more to do waiting on me.
Mary came home fortunately the day before and looks much the better of the rest. Tom wrote me a very sad report and Mary heard the same of the doings of Dr. Warden's son. He married Miss Gooderham, she is a great friend of Leila MacKay's, so I heard all about the wedding. At the time Mrs. MacKay wondered the girl fancied him he was in poor health and nothing to him.3 However we heard Dr. W[Warden] was to supplement his salary in the bank. Well, it seems he lived beyond his means, took money from the bank, amounting to $40,000 then ran off. The other day his wife was found at her baby's grave, insane. Is it not perfectly distressing? I am very sorry for his father. To a man in his position to have such an awful trial. Mary understood from Ina Hills that Dr. Warden had paid back that sum, more than twice over. But surely this is an exaggeration. Dr. Warden might be ruined yet just by his sons. What are men like young Warden made of? They must be simple or weak minded, it does seem so insane. Where does the firm come in of going into debt? It is a terrible thing when an individual has not the resolution to live according to his means.4
Heurner told me this morning that Mrs. Dr. Wallace had died at the hospital after some operation, she was a daughter of Dr. Leslie.5 Well I am glad you can enjoy the snow-shoeing, the weather has been very cold, so grateful it only lasted a few days. On one of the coldest--last Monday, Mrs. Bell came to see me, so we had a fine fire in the drawing room with five o'clock tea and enjoyed it very much. Poor Mr. Bell is worried to the death with the whole of them, even Herbie constantly wanting money and most rude when refused; last year used about $600. What would become of me with such a family!6
Had a very nice long letter from Ida Welker. I think she & the Col. are glad to see you, whenever you call.7 Well, my dearest child, I hope you have found a comfortable home, I should have thought you could have secured one, before giving notice as I would think they would be harder to find in the middle of the season. But you probably know, it is somewhat discouraging to have to spend years in boarding-rooms. That must be a remarkable family you mentioned, with all the sons. I do hope you will keep clear of gyps, and when you change, find some motherly person. I feel as if there was no one to look after you, only you could send a card to Ida. When Ken was there, I felt quite comforted, he is such a kind fellow. He sent us some pretty cards (postal) from Quebec.8 It seems months since Xmas, wish you were not so far away. With love from all and much from,
Your loving Mother
1 Maud Shaw was the daughter of Mrs. G.M. Shaw and sister of Jessie. They lived at 57 Bay St. S. and Maud was planning to visit Ruby at the Ottawa Ladies' College. They were members of MacNab Church and Maud had been treasurer of the WFMS (Latoszek 25; Tyrell 155; WFMS "Minutes" 1890-1900; W4531, W4549, W5630).
2 For the Mullin family, see W4521.
3 For the MacKay family, see W4297.
4 This item of gossip became somewhat altered in the following letter (W4535). William M. Warden married Miss Gooderham and lived at 9 Madison Ave, Toronto in 1900 (Tyrell 118). He was one of the sons of Rev. Dr. Robert H. Warden (1841-1905) clergyman, financier ,president of the Metropolitan Bank, 1903, college principal, and moderator of the Presbyterian Church (1902). The Wardens lived at 188 St. George St., Toronto in 1900 (Tyrell 118). Another son, Alexander Warden, married Mary Elizabeth Lyle, daughter of Rev. Dr. Samuel Lyle of Central Presbyterian Church in Hamilton (W4651, DHB2.99). For the Lyle family, see W4436.
Rev. R.H. Warden favoured modernization and "critical" study of the scriptures, and was an executive of the early Union Committee which led to the formation of the United Church in 1925 and created a split in the Presbyterian Church, see W5283n (McNeill 65, 67, 107, 146, 252-3; Moir Enduring 199; MDCB 872; W4531, W4535, W4651, W4694, W5053, W5040, W5105, W5109).
5 I am unable to trace Mrs. Dr. Wallace.
6 Mrs. Emily (Rogers) Bell was the wife of William Bell, attorney, partner in the law firm of Pringle and Bell in Hamilton (DHB3.10; Best 70, 72). The Bells lived near Whitehern, had three children, Charles William, Florrie and Herbert and are frequently mentioned in the letters. For Charles Bell and his plays, see W4582n. Another branch of the family, Mr. and Mrs. John Bell (nee Park) lived at 52 Hannah St. W. and had two children Madeleine and Hessie (W4531, W4500, W4555, W4568, W4582, W4627, W4698, W4855, W4877, W4927, W4977, W5012, W5022, W5059, W5183, W-MCP3-5.011, W5199, W5233, W5313, W5630, W5640, W5808, W5876, W6012, W6383b, W6642, W6683, W6801, W7018, W7095, W-MCP6-1.472).
7 For Ida Welker, see W4521.
8 Kenelm Trigge and Calvin had been fellow boarders in Montreal. Mary obviously approved of Ken and encouraged the friendship. She frequently asked about him in her letters, but when Ken came to Whitehern to propose to Hilda, Mary rejected him (W4635).