[Note at top of letter]: Will put cutting with collar as it might be too [illegible].W5183 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
May 16 1904
To: Calvin McQuesten Standoff, Alberta
My dear dear Calvin
Your last letter received was written May 4th & reached us a week after, so I scarcely expect a letter to-day. I am very glad the little birthday gifts reached you alright but am sorry there was no way of having them come to you on the day, but that seemed impossible. We designed the Tie case ourselves according to the ideas you gave us. Florrie Bell said she thought she had seen all the kinds, but had not seen one like that so after you have used it for a while you must report if it is a good sort or not. I cannot help wishing it had been your lot to have been nearer home, for I am quite certain you are lonely out there, if you could come home now, then you would not mind it so much, but you cannot have a single one out there who is a companion or like an old friend, though they may be kind enough in their way. I am sure that sermon of yours on Balaam would be most uncommon and [of] interest. I thought you brought out the points in a very new and fresh way which would be just what would be needed. Who do you mean by Mrs. Eugene McQ.? I have read it over several times and I think it wonderfully good. I am glad too that you enjoy the studying, if you did not, it would never do for you to go on, it would be drudgery and you would make no success of it. Do you find yourself able to speak out well! Of course you have had no large church to try it in. You need to watch yourself and keep your chest well expanded as I used to warn you "Elevate the Chest." How is your hair getting on? I hope some of your increased fat has gone to your hair. It is a great mercy to think of your health.
Mr. Bell is worried to death about Herbie, the doctors prescribed an Ocean voyage, say he must always have bright company must not be left alone. His home seems to be the worst place for him and to find money to keep him traveling and at the same time provide cheerful company for him is quite a problem. Really one cannot fully realize the blessing of health. I often wonder, if he did not get into the habit of smoking a great deal and destroying his digestion, he was such a wretchedly irritable little fellow that he would smoke to soothe himself. I am thankful neither you nor Tom ever gave way to the destructive habit, but Mrs. Bell quiet approved of smoking.
Had a letter from Miss Fisher this morning, she was quite surprised to hear of you in mission work and sends you her kindest regards & best good wishes, She speaks of the great beauty of the foliage & flowers at Hyde Park, she is living near Lancaster Gate, a very nice part of the city. I fancy she had been troubled with colds, but never speaks of coming back.
Dr. Lyle has brought a great deal of criticism upon his head by that unfortunate sermon of his Upon Hell, he published a fierce letter against the person (?) who had said he did not believe in Hell. Tom says that Prof. McFadgen has all the students at Knox with him, they have no use for the other Professors & Prof. Caven will not discuss points, which is a great pity for he would be so able to state his side, so that it is said all who can are leaving Knox for Glasgow. I should think Manitoba College would be good. I do not know what is to become of the Churches in the hands of men of all kinds of belief. Indeed they may well propose organic union for there is no agreement as to belief among any of the individual denominations now, so they may all mix up as much as they like. But what is to become of it all, God alone knows. To say that a man is a minister is no longer a guarantee that he is a man to be trusted. We had Mr. Anderson of Burlington yesterday, who gave two fine sermons, the morning from Corinthian a sermon of life unto life & death unto &c. and he used the illustration of how men cherish a bit of holly or shamrock or heather because it came from the old land and how the scent of it calls a thousand memories & so the Christian life reminds God of his Son's life and work. Dr. Fletcher is busy preparing his sermon for the Assembly, in St. John's this year. Mr. Cunningham we had on prayer meeting eve, he apparently has gained nothing from his sojourn in the Old Country. What he needs, it strikes me, is to be thrown into bright good Society. But when a man marries a widow and two children & has to take them with him wherever he goes, it is not very much use to go abroad.
Old Jimmie at Mrs. Locke's is, we suppose dying, he has pneumonia. A great many have died suddenly of that this year.
There is no word of Rhodes Scholarship and I have really quite got over worrying about it. The idea of Tom's going away for 3 years so over-burdens the honour of getting it. I am afraid Hughie Fletcher is not getting on very well, you will see the L.P.S. [?] results in Saturday's News (13th) and I cannot make out that he has passed any thing but a supplemental for 1903. They say it is very hard, but I am afraid he wastes his time. Those Chapter Houses give such an opportunity for doing so.
Two different parties I believe, were discussing our property for a factory site, but I will take no less than $15,000. So heard no more, they must think me very hard up or rather not think at all, if they imagine it would pay to sell for a trifle.
I do not like to make your mouth water, but I wish you could have some of our asparagus. The cold has killed out my foxgloves, am hoping that the seeds may come up, I fancy a great deal of damage has been done. You would see about appointment of Mrs. Needham to the College. Did I tell you I saw her in Toronto & she had heard that Ruby was a Tower of Strength at the College. Did she [Ruby] tell you how the girls celebrated her birth-day by bouncing her above the gas lights (how could they do it) and Dr. Armstrong & two Ministers saw them & very disrespectful it seems to me.
Poor Adam Hope's last venture is the Electric House cleaning machine and he goes round over-seeing it; it is said to have made a lot of money in Toronto. His wife speaks cheerfully about it, but I should feel very badly. Am sending you some cuttings to amuse you. First read Mrs. Hoodless' letter. It was written because Mr. Bell in the school Board has always opposed Mrs. H.'s Domestic Science & finally called it a "Creature of Mrs. Hoodless" hence &c. I would send you more "Times" but never anything worth postage, but will whenever there is. Now I must close with much love from all. Have just remembered about the celluloid Collar, will get it to-day. Have forgotten your size too, but will look at your shirt. With best love your loving mother.
1 For Adelaide Hoodless, see W4795.