W5012 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Jul 9 1903
To: Calvin McQuesten Montreal Quebec
My dear dear Cal,
Your letter has just come with its generous enclosure and it was most acceptable. It will just pay Edna's board for the two weeks after she leaves the Gartshores1. We found out from Helen that very good boarding houses are there at $5.00 a week, so we have written to secure rooms for Mary for three weeks and Edna for two weeks. Mary gets so thin and tired out with the heat and work that I had determined to give her a change though I could really scarcely manage it.
In addition to the extra bills for Bold St. houses which I have yet to make up, I had $25 to pay for cement walks and sodding at Bold St. (Ruby brought home just enough for that). And also had to get my coal in April in order to secure reduced rates, but still it was high, making my coal bill $114. I have only paid $60. but the Capt. is very lenient. Then some of my money on mortgage came in and in re-investing I found by making a push and keeping some of my creditors waiting I could pay off a $1050. mortgage on Webber property held by North Scottish Life Ass. For I find if I do not watch carefully, I am tempted to use principal, if it comes in small sums & there were two or three odd sums waiting at Ham. Prov. for re-investment. I could only get 12 shares of the Ham. Prov. for which I paid $122. but as they pay 6 per cent I get 5 per cent on money invested and can get no more on mortgage. They always laugh at me, when I say that we shall be much better off next summer but if nothing happens to Mrs. Hill, it seems as if we must be, for to have one of the houses vacant a whole year is a very great loss, & it takes me a while to catch up, having water-rates to pay too besides all the repainting & plumber's bills, the latter a hundred dollars & loss the same, besides $200 for electric light. I think it is just a wonder, we are as well off as we are. I am telling you all this to show how much help your ten dollars is.
I was so glad to hear of your delightful outing on the yacht. It is just the thing for you to get out in the fresh air. I am wondering how you stand the fearful heat of last two days. We are preparing a reception at the church for Dr. Fletcher. I spent all yesterday morning getting out invitations, the men had been so slow about it that yesterday Wednesday I found they had not been sent & Friday is the day. You see it is the first time moderator came to Hamilton and it is to be made a great affair. So the Mayor, clergy &c are to be invited2.
I feel so pleased every time I think of your trip, you seemed to see so much in the space of time and things turned out so providentially for you, it was fine to have that day's sail on ocean to refresh you, for you must have given your poor legs a hard time of it.
Edna got through her last exam yesterday, so fortunate just before extreme heat set in and she had perfect weather for exams and most of the study time, and she seems quite confident of having got through3.
We expect the Glasscos4, McKays5, and Sydney S. [Stevenson]6 for tea.So the girls have been very busy all day. I do trust it will be cooler to-morrow for Ladies insisted on having coffee and tea besides ice-cream and I am afraid no one will want hot drinks. I am afraid I rather upset Donald McPhie's plans7, he had an elaborate address of his own all prepared, and thought a formal written address to the Doctor unnecessary, but I did not think it would do at all and insisted a proper address must be prepared & presented by the elders and embossed afterwards, the same as when he was made a D.D.
Did you send Tom his paper? Forgot to say that Tom seems to have no time at all except Sunday and perhaps it would be a good opportunity for him to read Drummond8, that is if you can still think of sending it. Hedley has not yet sent his bill, but I will speak about it. You mention a picture by Robt. Browning, surely not the poet. Wasn't it fine to see all those paintings? Herbie Bell had to have his wound stitched yesterday, it had not healed up very quickly being a gangrenous one, but expect he will be all right soon9. With many thanks for your loving thoughts and much love.
Your loving mother
1 For Gartshore family, see W4815. Edna was visiting at the Gartshore's summer home at Roach's Point, Lake Simcoe. Edna and her sister Mary then stayed at Orchard Beach, Lake Simcoe, near the Gartshores, where Mary commented on the social difference between the two vacation spots: "You might call Roach's Point the aristocracy and Orchard Beach the commoners" (W5053). Hilda stayed at the Gartshore's in August (W5063). Ruby and Mary (mother) went to Port Carling for their summer vacation in August but found the weather cold and wet (W5074). They were near an Indian camp and attended an Indian service (W5068). Ruby's letter of August 10 describes the Royal Muskoka Hotel which they visited for an afternoon (W5068). While there Mary had to write to Calvin to ask him to send "two dollars or perhaps V" for their "dinners on the way home" (W5059 August 5, 1903).
2 In 1903, in honour of his long and distinguished service, Rev. Dr. Donald Fletcher was elected Moderator of the General Assembly, and Queen's University conferred on him an honorary D.D. (DHB2.49-50; Johnston 22). For Fletcher family, see W4479.
3 On August 18, Mary wrote to Calvin: "So thankful that Edna's name was in the list of 'passed' in this evening's Spectator. In some way it was crowded out of the Times and her patience had become exhausted & she was really getting worn out with suspense. You can imagine the wild cheering when Ruby came in with the news that she had passed" (W5078).
4 For Glassco family, see W4436.
5 For McKay family, see W5512.
6 For Stevenson family, see W5172.
7 Donald McPhie was Chairman of the Board of Managers at the MacNab St. Presbyterian Church from 1893-1905 (Johnston 21). Donald McPhie, plumber had done business with Rev. Thomas Baker between 1876-81 (W3996). Stewart Thomson McPhie (1874-1934) architect, was also active in the MacNab Church (W6135; DHB3.140; Norman D. McPhie (1878-1977) was treasurer at MacNab Church from 1953-65. He was Assistant Superintendent of the Sunday School, Clerk of Session for 20 years, became Commissioner to the General Assembly in 1950 and was a senior Elder until his death.
8 On July 2, 1903 Mary considered purchasing this book: "We have never had George Adam Smith's Life of Drummond . We are thinking of giving him [Tom] something extra as it is his 21st birthday, was not decided. Thought of a pin, but he might lose it, then thought of ebony military brushes. If he goes to Chapter House they would look good on his table, can you suggest anything or which" (W5008). This book is in the Whitehern library, as well as Smith's Wealth of Nations (1863) and Essays of A. Smith (1863).
9 For Bell family, see W4531.