W4730 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his sister Ruby
Jan 14 1903 Wednesday Evening
To: [Rev.] Calvin McQuesten [Montreal, Quebec]
From: [Ottawa Ladies' College]
My dear old Cal,
It seems perfect ages since I've written to you. I can't believe it is really only a week that I've been here, so much seems to have been done in the way of settling and getting classes going again in the way they should. I determined to fix up my room as well as I could straight off & then not think of it any more. So I mounted the picture of our house with paspartout and also a Gibson picture & hung them up and grouped my calendars around them. There is quite a family group gazing down upon me as I write--the pictures of our house with a group of dogs beneath it representing the neighbourhood by day, and nearby Helen Locke's three cats representing our companions by night. It is a very homelike group, the three cats, pa & ma & the baby in the middle, so suggestive as they sit on the fence in the moonlight, of the joys of free home life.
Then I have a new photo arrangement that is quite effective I think, but you'll really have to come & see it one of these days for I couldn't describe it. Altogether I'm really very pleased with my room and will be quite content to give it no further attention than its weekly dusting & its promise of another, but Alas!
We have quite a good school about 32 pupils but we need 40 at least to just keep things level. It is worrying to think it is not paying & to have the tho't popping up that possibly the college might not go on another year. It seems that during the holidays the Board had several meetings to assess the possibility of keeping the school open after Xmas and Dr. A. barely carried his point. He had thought that the point was settled before we left but it seems it was brought up again and again. It made me feel quite blue when I heard it & I wondered if I should have given in to Janie Janes when she said on Xmas that the position at Moulton could still be had,1 if I would decide then for the teacher they got in Janie's place is not suitable & will not be invited back next fall. I tho't over it so much but I felt that as long as the College went on I'd stick by it for the sake of Mrs. Ross & the teachers & Dr. A. But I can't afford to be out of a job & it is hard to know what to do. But don't let it bother you old fellow. A number of new pupils are coming in Feb. & if we have a good school at the last, even tho' there are debts, I fancy they'll go on as before. It doesn't worry me much--I'm too busy to think of it & I didn't let the Mither know to add to other things. I do my best & it isn't my fault that the College had a big debt before I came.
This afternoon Miss Curry, Ross, David Ross & myself all went for a fine skate on the rink. It was splendid & I renewed my youth. I say as I always say that I'm going to do lots of it.
The Ross family are well--Margaret seems better than usual. David went out to work at laying tracks away out of creation someplace to get up his vigor but naturally this weather it was too much for him so he is back. David is an awfully nice boy and we like to have one man coming into the College sometimes, but he really should be settling down to something.2
Ethel Tolton who used to go to the Collegiate in Hamilton was in last night for tea & we had a pleasant little evening. One of the girls came up & brought a box of candy for our appreciation. On Friday evening Jean MacLaren was over for dinner and to spend the evening.
This last Sat. & Sunday & Monday were my duty days so my long term duty is over for five weeks. I'm going to start out & visit some of my friends now. I must visit the Smiths one of these days & various people.
Well my dear old boy, this is a pokey old letter--I feel somewhat 'boozy' after skating, quite happy but lazy. I read Jane Eyre & found it most interesting. I quite went back to my old style of getting so taken up with a story that is resolutely read in spite of kicking conscience & things looming up before me. There is something so guiltily delightful in reading a story that way. I'll give it to you to stir you up when you come to see us. You'll have to hurry up. I do want to see you & I know the people here would be delighted to see you again.
Well my dearest brother, Good-Night & much love from,
Your affec'ate sister,
1 Popssibly Moulton, Saskatchewan, but Ruby did not take the job.
2 This comment is significant in view of the fact that David Ross proposed to Ruby in 1906. She obviously does not think highly of him or his prospects. His proposal, while Ruby favoured it at the time, was ultimately rejected, especially by Ruby's mother, who felt that David had no prospects. See W5622 & W6135.