W4627 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Sep 3 1902
To: Calvin McQuesten Montreal Quebec
My dear dear boy,
Your letter was most interesting with all its domestic details, I am sure your home tea would be an agreeable change. It is well to have a change when you can, boarding house life must be wearisome in any shape and the only thing one can do is to make a variety. I think that is the trouble with Uncle C. Now he wants to leave Mrs. Symington and I am sure he is just tired of everything and will find a better place, certainly not at the price. Ken Trigge came up yesterday, he looks fairly well, but the lack of moustache is hard on him. He had heard from Sandwell of your magnificent turn out, so I suppose you have invested in the topper. Ruby and I took tea with Mrs. Bell last night, they had a wretched experience at Port Carling with bath-room arrangements, the wind-mill broke down, so no water was pumped into the house till the consequences were something dreadful as to odour, so that they were all afraid of typhoid fever and were glad to come home. Charlie Bell went to Deerhurst which is on Peninsula Lake, that was the one after we left Fairy Lake on to our way to Lake of Bays. There he was very ill, fainted one day and went back to the Gates at Burlington to be nursed up, just in miserable health.
Well as to the magazine work, it certainly sounds very tempting and though, loath to
confess it, I am afraid the only place where money is to be got is in the States, that does not mean, that you might have to spend your life there, but make your way there. Of course you must remember that living is higher there. But certainly, there seems to be very little surety of advance in these poor newspapers, that have no capital; no matter how well a man writes, there is no more pay. Evidently the Tatler is being noticed, it was really first rate, the way you answered those letters. People must think you a wiseacre now, when they write you asking for information I should think it would please Mr. Brierley, that is the sort of thing that helps a paper. Dr. Fletcher wants you to send those papers to James Buchanan. But I fancy one has to work one's own way. Have you any way of finding out the salaries paid to the men on the Globe & Mail such as Flaneur. It would be helpful to know what you could expect, if you did stick to newspaper work. Of course if you can write articles and so advance into book writing, you might make a fortune. You spoke of being a slow writer. Mr. Colquhoun said to me, he thought you a very quick writer, but any one like yourself, who knows when a thing is really well done, knows that you require time to put a thing in its best form. Although sometimes I have thought that one can polish up one's language till the life is taken out of it. I have been so often interrupted, that I feel I have not said what I wanted to. You evidently changed your mind about Quebec, sorry you could not manage it.
Mrs. James returned on Monday, do not exactly know what time her vessel with Hong Kong Contingent reached Montreal. She was not at all pleased with the old country every thing so frightfully dear. Her trunk broken into on the vessel and a new silk fur lined coat taken out of it, other passengers suffered in the same way. Besides the extortionate tipping, a regular war should be waged on the present modes of steamship travelling.
Well my dearest boy, you must not wear yourself out thinking and attend to your hair. The girls are very busy this week with sewing for Ruby & the house-work. R. will not go till Monday. Mrs. Ross is much encouraged, already 28 boarders booked & always some come without writing. With fondest love.
Your loving Mother