W4877 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Apr 8 1903
To: Calvin McQuesten Montreal Quebec
My dear dear boy,
It does not seem like Easter at all, when no one is coming home. Except for Edna and it is a mercy for her for she complains of headaches all the time, although she seems able to manage her work quite well. We hear that the assistant to Dr. F. [Fletcher] is a married man. E.[Edna] immediately said "That's enough for me, that settles it, a man that gets married before he is through his studies." You can picture it yourself the ineffable scorn and the expression of the face. Certainly I know I have much the same feeling but must try not to be prejudiced as one does not know the circumstances. Well we had winter again Saturday, deep snow, which saved the fruit, I understand, by keeping it back.
To-day, had a load of fine manure put all over the front beds & bushes, so hope it will do some good, the ground is getting poor. The violets cover the ground in patches of purple, but are so wretchedly short stemmed. If you could only have got off this year you could have seen them, have one bunch of daffodils in fine bud now.
Had a letter from Tom with statement of his expenditure.1 Up to date he has just had $195. and his board is paid till end of April and exam fees of $14. he wants about $25. more to finish up. Now I think he has done well to manage on $220. It means a good deal of self denial for a lad like him who is not a book worm. He is not yet sure of Managership of Varsity but means to go up the Ottawa with Grey,2 who can get him a place, as he wants to be home in September to begin studying again.
Sabbath afternoon Florrie Hill came in to tell us that Herbie had got a Fellowship at Pennsylvania Univ. at Philadelphia. He had been working for several months on an essay on Napoleon. Prof. Wrony[?] was so pleased with it that he advised him to apply for this fellowship, sending the essay and the Prof. wrote highly recommending him. But of course he was very doubtful of getting it but on Saturday night telephoned he had. Isn't that luck?
Oh, about Corelli he is traveling with that Exploration party in Egypt and he discovered the tomb of "the Pharaoh who knew not Joseph" for which Dr. Peters has been searching for years. Unfortunately I have lost the paper, it was such a great discovery that I thought you would be sure to hear of it or see it in some of the papers. He is now in Palestine. I cannot remember exact name of the party, who sent them out. There were a great many valuable inscriptions in the tomb so he has made a name for himself.
The other day happened to see the Toronto Mail & E. in the P. Library & there were a number of items from the Annual Treasurer's Statement of the Dominion Expenditure, very interesting items, did you see it? Monday's paper I think. The visit of Duke cost the government alone nearly half a million, Electrical display at Ottawa nearly $31000., $5000. alone for front of Parliament Building. Then the Census cost over a million. Then the Newspapers and your Herald had about 6 times more then any other paper, cannot remember the exact sum, but during the last five years (I think) had had $113,000. What did you get that for?
Before you wrote I had noticed that account of banquet my attention was drawn by the heading and I wondered to myself if Hon. Prefontaine was going to step right into the same mistake as Taite. It was a noble achievement on your part.
I have just been fitting a lovely summer hat for Ruby, it will arrive for her birthday. Isn't it too bad you cannot have flowers on your hat or wear pretty blouses or fancy collars. The girls have collars on the brain. Does that room of yours want anything?
Well we are all going to the Musical Festival on Easter Monday. I made up my mind that we ought to hear it, so I subscribed for 75cts tickets, went early & secured the row next the dollar one. Walter James had determined to go and take one of the girls, so I got him two and Mrs. Mullin one. So there we are seven in a row.
Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Trigge are moved home to Toronto. Of course the Lockes are delighted. Well, I am exhausted. How are you doing? Are you taking care of yourself? Are you getting good meals? The Whittemores have never written us a word since Hilda came home three weeks ago. It is very strange of them I think. Mrs. Irving & Katie are still here, but go home next week. Well good bye, dear boy with much love from all.
Your loving mother
1 This list of Tom's university expenses is useful in that Ruby's salary as a teacher at the Ottawa Ladies' College paid for his education. Tom did get the position of manager of the Varsity and that gave him some extra money.
2 Tom did go "up the Ottawa" river to work at a lumber camp for several summers. He told Calvin not to tell his mother because the work was dangerous. For other references to the lumber camp, see W4977.
Grey was a friend of Tom's and was the escort for Miss Elliott at Tom's Convocation--Miss Elliott was later engaged to Tom but they did not marry, see W5868.