W4916 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his sister Ruby
Apr 24 1903 Friday afternoon
To: [Rev.] Calvin McQuesten Montreal, Quebec
From: [Ottawa Ladies' College]
My dear old sinner of a brother,
I really feel compelled to send you a line just to heap coals of fire on your head. Helen Locke was so long in writing to me and then suggested that I answer immediately and heap coals of fire on her head. It's all very well for people to give hints of that kind. It's never a good thing to let on you see through them.
But we've been having a fairly good time this week. On Monday night we went to the Musical Festival. The orchestra and chorus were fine. They have part of the Oratorio of Hiawatha. It is really fine. I wish you could hear it. I'm afraid that night in Montreal you heard the Messiah you were a little snoozy dear and I'm afraid I was inclined that way too but your little fate wouldn't go to sleep inside the least bit with Hiawatha.
Then on Tuesday night Dr. MacD. [Dr. MacDonald] our old friend, invited us over to the House and took us out and treated us to ice cream and cake and an even bigger box of candy than before. As the House was adjourned on account of Sir Oliver Mowat he was not on duty so we stayed in his room and chatted and Jollied him and he jollied us an a most improper way for stern lady teachers.
Then Wednesday we had a feast of pictures at the Art Exhibition which is held here every three years. Some of the pictures seemed like old friends, that is, I could recognize the artist is work--Miss McGillvray Knowles, Bell Smith, Manly, Hammond, Colin Forbes and Laura Muntz.1 By the way, there was a little picture of C. Forbes, 'Piling Clouds,' like the big beauty and about the size of Sandwell's one. By the way I never asked Mr. Sandwell for that. I'd like it very much, tell him, and of course he would be only too pleased.2 Well it was really a treat to see those pictures. So you see we've been feasting our ears and eyes and mouths and it's nothin' but a greedy description I've been givin' you.
But Mrs. Wiggs says "to shove all your troubles in the bottom of your heart and set on the lid and smile." So I'm grinnin' away at you my dear, and the corners of my mouth are running off to my ears as fast as their legs will carry them. Have some fun, my boy, and tell your old work to go away off and forget itself. Really it is the only thing to do.
We've been having beautiful weather lately, but we really long for rain. Everything is positively gritty from dust, even your clothes and the wool your pate.
Aren't the Smiths an unhappy family? Poor old Mr. Smith is ill of course & Marion that is the sandy haired one, got up the other night and doesn't know how she managed it but tumbled down stairs and hurt herself generally tho' not seriously, but she'll have to have a splint on her shoulder for a month. And she is not strong poor girl. So there is only the other daughter in that house well to look after the family. I hope you never get up and wander about at night my son.
Well dearest must put a chain on my tongue as was the fatherly advice of good Mr. Taylor to you.
With much love, hoping you are well.
Your affectionate sister,
1 See W4908 for a large footnote about this art exhibition and some of these artists.
2 Sandwell, Bernard K., see W4521