W4938 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
May 1 1903 May Day
To: Calvin McQuesten Montreal, Quebec
My dearly beloved son,
Many, Many Happy Returns of the day! How much we wish you could be at home to celebrate the occasion, it is so many years since you were home for your birthday. Well, dear, I am very thankful for all you have been and all you are to me. And we have much reason to be thankful for your health and strength and for the success that has attended all your efforts, for though you may feel that you make very slow progress in return for all your earnest faithful work, I think you have done remarkably well. You have not been long at it, in comparison with others. Now, for the years Burnside R. has been at it, how little he has earned and I was somewhat surprised that he was not receiving more on the Star. I thought it would have been a greater advance for him. Although Sandwell may have seen fit to recommend him for the News, I think it was extremely cool of him not to have talked it over with you, as his oldest friend. Was not at all surprised that they lowered the salary of the other Montreal correspondent, they couldn't keep that up. I would certainly never say another word to Mr. Colquhoun, it is possible he may not think it wise to disturb you, until they are assured of the News' success, from what I hear, it is uncertain. But I still think it was very shabby of Sandwell, I should not call him steadfast in anything.
I should feel provoked with him too for upsetting you in your present quarters, were it not that I should be very sorry to have you stay in a house with such a woman, such an indecent creature allowing a young man to come into her room in such a way. As for him words fail me, or rather I would not like to commit them to paper. It is a terrible thing to be brainless, it was very brave and conscientious of you to write to his father, it was the right thing to do, but considering the circumstances, it was a noble thing to do, for you knew you would receive no thanks but rather the reverse. I wish I could find out, if the father received it, for I cannot understand him not answering; and on the other hand, I would not put it past the young man to destroy it, if he did, the hope is, what you wrote may recall him to his senses. Through Mary S. we hear that his mother is going to Montreal in the near future. I cannot quite understand the extra advantage of taking a flat, it seems such a nuisance to own furniture. I was very glad you could arrange not to furnish your room for it is only an experiment and changes occur. Now what would Sandwell have done, if he had bought a lot of furniture. I shall be very glad to send you the book case, when you are settled and if you really think it worth while. It is very awkward piece of furniture, I never liked it. Have you ever priced those new movable bookshelves, one sees them at Duncan's, they all fold up I think, and must be handy for moving. I had an idea that one could get (a few) some shelves and add them as they wanted. I'll inquire.
The family were wishing they could send you some good things for your birthday, but express charges are raised and so high, so we are enclosing small amount to use as you think best. Have not heard from Tom for nearly two weeks, suppose he is plugging poor chap. The weather has been very warm the last few days, unnaturally so, so that I am afraid it will be very cold again, and we need rain so much the garden is so dry and the Asparagus cannot grow.
Well dear boy, I must close. May our Gracious Father keep and guide you in the coming years as He has done so wonderfully in the past! I can never be thankful enough for the comfort and blessing you are to me. My standard is so high, that to have in a son, such as many men are to-day would literally kill me. With loving good wishes.
P.S. Mrs. Mullin is charmed with a book called "Little Journeys to the Homes of Eminent Painters" By Elbert Hubbard. It is delightfully written. You might like it for your birthday present.