W5646 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his sister Ruby
Sep 17 1906
To: [Rev.] Calvin McQuesten Macleod, Alberta
From: Ottawa Ladies' College
My dearest Cal,
It is the lazy life which doesn't agree with the likes of me. There I was all that time in Muskoka and only wrote you one epistle. The less I had to do the less I did though Mama thought I kept myself awfully busy with walking & boating. But it was lots of fun and did me heaps of good. Really though I just left [sic] as if you should not have attempted to do anything but should just have been up there with us. Anyway it did me heaps of good and wiped away the old tired feeling and made me feel fresh and gay, so that coming back here I could really enjoy meeting the new girls and enter into their fun and enjoy my classes.
And Cal I have a perfect snap of it this year--I must touch wood & speak under my breath for it seems too good to last and yet I think it is going to last--one of His kind rewards for hard work in other years. We have some extra teachers & classes arranged so that I've only 2 1/2 hrs. teaching each day. I expect to add a private Greek class.1 Mr. Willie Smith's little girl wants to start Greek but I'll quite like that. I nearly stood on my head with glee when I saw my time table & no drill before breakfast like last year. Oh but it's the lazy life I lead.
It must have been a terribly hot summer for you. Really I don't see how you could get up much interest in life in a warm place like Macleod. You'll feel ever so much better when the cool weather sets in. And when you come home at Xmas we'll have a high old time & paint the town red (I want to put an extra 'd' to red to increase the color).
By the way, Marion Robinson said to tell you she was sorry but she found she would pass through Macleod at night so didn't let you know. She enjoyed her trip immensely tho' I only saw her for a short time & didn't have a chance to really hear about it.
I had about ten days at home before coming here & we did a good deal in that time though it was warm & we didn't attempt great things. We succeeded in finding a coat ready-made and a hat ready trimmed & Miss Honeycomb fixed over a dress in a day so I was really well set up.2
Then the last night Mrs. Thomson brought me over a beautiful basket of peaches. The family insisted on my bringing them here as she had given them another basket before, tho', I'd had a share of those too. So I brought them & treated the teachers & they were really scrumptious. I'm sure it makes your mouth water. It's a shame, but then you like to think of us poor starved creatures having a feast don't you? And when you see me of huge dimensions between laziness & high living just give me the chair with the safe leg.3
By the way, the third night after I'd arrived Ottawa was true to her name. The Gilmour Hotel on the corner of Gilmour & Bank Sts. was burned to the ground. It was a tremendous blaze and wakened Eleanor Ross by the light in her window. It looked like a whole block and we wondered how far it would spread & it turned out afterwards that Miss Bourne's house on James St. had a most narrow escape. So far five people are missing but it is really not known how many may be lost for it was Exhibition week and the hotel was crowded. The fire started, it is thought, either by a cigar or live wire went up the elevator shaft & the stairs near by and cut off all escape before most of the people realized what had happened. A lady told us that for a block away people were wakened by the shrieks of the people in the hotel and it was a terrible sight to see people out on every window sill she thought in the hotel. However as soon as the firemen arrived they set to work to rescue the people and it is wonderful so many escaped. But it is a terrible thing, a fire in an hotel like that and Cal if you ever stay in an hotel be sure you see where the fire escape is before you go to bed or else carry a rope with you.4Well old boy let me see what else there is to tell nothing much. It has been summer weather since coming which is quite a treat here. The place is nice & fresh some new improvements.
The teachers are the same except Mille Vessot from Montreal, a sister of one who used to teach in the Vessot King School.5 She teaches instead of Miss Magee who was here last year, and is so kind and sort of soothing for she's quite gray and sensible and motherly. We all like her very much.
Well my dear, my time is up. Take care of yourself & continue to be as lazy as you can. "The early bird catches the worm but mark you it was the worm which got up first."
With ever so much love.
Your affectionate sister,
1 This provides evidence that Ruby was scholarly and skilled in the Classics, and that she accepted private pupils in order to supplement her income. Ruby was working in order to pay for Tom's education at university, see W6135. For more on Ruby and Tom, click on "Family" on the Home Page and then on their pictures.
2 Miss Honeycomb was a seamstress who somemtimes could be hired to come in to do sewing. See W5709.
3 Ruby was obviously feeling better and had gained weight after her vacation. However, this did not last and she soon fell ill again in the winter of 1906 and Spring of 1907 and did not return to teaching again in the fall of 1907, see W5865. She spent several years in treatment in Calgary and Muskoka, and died in 1911 of tuberculosis. See W6135, W5126, W9058
4 Many fires at this time were blamed on electrical wiring. See the report of the "electrical" fire at Central Presbyterian Church in Hamilton 1906, W5512.
5 Mlle. Vessot may have been related to Louis Vessot King, who received The Royal Society of Canada, Flavelle Medal Award in 1948... He was the most brilliant mathematical physicist that Canada has produced. www.rsc.ca/index.php?page=citations_ flavelle&lang_id=1&page_id=159 - 143k - Cached - Similar pages
KING, LOUIS VESSOT, 1886-1956, Physicist Louis Vessot King was born in Toronto, and graduated B.A from McGill in 1905 at the age of nineteen. Encouraged by Ernest Rutherford to continue in his study of physics, King went to Cambridge where he received his B.A. in 1908. In 1915 he was awarded a D.Sc. from McGill. King's long teaching career at McGill began in 1910 with his appointment as sessional Lecturer in physics. He became Assistant Professor in 1913, Associate Professor in 1915, and was Macdonald Professor of Physics from 1920 until his retirement in 1938. King's major research and publishing interests lay in fog alarm research, applications of electromagnetism, heat convection, and radiation. He developed the gyromagnetic electron theory, invented the hot-wire anemometer and worked on methods of submarine detection during World War I. http://www.archives.mcgill.ca/resources/guide/vol2_3/gen01.htm#KING,%20LOUIS%20VESSOT