W5990 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Sep 21 1907
To: Calvin McQuesten Glenhurst, Saskatchewan
From: Oakville Ontario
My dearest Calvin,
To begin where I left off. Tom arrived home on Saturday night a week ago with all his new toffery. He was very much set up indeed with his fine Prince Albert, silk hat, grey tie and gloves and patent leather boots. When arrayed he was quite imposing. Well, Monday Hilda, Ruby, Edna and he started off at 1 o'clock for the Fletcher wedding, it was an oppressively hot day but good for the girls' thin dresses. When Tom reached Mrs. Fletcher, she asked him if he would make the speech for the bridesmaids none of the ushers was equal to it, so Tom had to do his best on the spur of the moment. The Bard wrote us since that they "all thought Tom very happy in his little speech, and looked important enough to be an Attorney-General with at the same time all needed geniality."1 He certainly did look very fine in his dress suit and I was glad he was able to take his part and assist Mrs. Fletcher. It was an immense wedding but they all thought it very dull, Colin [Fletcher] and Mrs. Colin hardly spoke, the Murrays all very quiet and Dr. Lyle too, all seemed too tired to be jolly and of course poor old Dr. F. was feeling very badly.2
Tom went straight back to Toronto, so have not seen him since, but have heard from him from North Bay. He and Mr. Kerr were expecting to go on to Herron Bay. Before leaving Toronto he had seen Masten and on Tom's return he goes in with him at $1000 a year, I feel most sincerely thankful.3 He had an offer too from Angus McMurchy solicitor for C.P.R. but he preferred the work in the other office.
Then on Thursday Hilda & Ruby set off for the Whittemore wedding, they were to stay at Mr. MacKay's till to-day, so they are not home yet, it was an evening wedding at the Haworth's house in Rosedale, only the girls were asked.4 I sent both Annie F.[Fletcher] and Florrie H.[Haworth] a chaffing dish.
I was sorry to see by your letter received yesterday, you were not starting till first of October, that will not give you any days at home, be sure and do not manage to preach the first Sabbath you get here. You have done that sort of thing too often, that is, preached when you were tired.
You would notice the sad ending of poor Jamieson it was very distressing. How much they must all have endured and suffered, it is terrible to think! You must excuse this letter, I have had a number of business letters to answer and am very tired. Being in Oakville necessitates so much writing.
You have had so much trouble getting your letters I shall just send this to Glenhurst. As I said before if you have time to go up to Miss Oates, before coming on to Oakville, you can get the "Ten trip" ticket we have for Oakville. With much love from all.
Your loving mother
1 The "Bard of Athol" was William Murray (1834-1923) uncle of the bride. The Murrays lived at "Athol Banks" at Queen and Herkimer Sts. He and his brother Charlie were the sons of Peter Murray, poet and businessman in wholesale and retail dry goods. William was a also a partner in the family business. Critics of the day acclaimed him for his "fine literary taste" and he was elected senior bard of the Caledonian Society in 1889. Many of his poems appeared in magazines and newspapers, often anonymously. Some were political as in "Passing the Hat," an attack on Sir John A. Macdonald. He is listed in Scottish Poets in America (1889). He also wrote poetry on Biblical themes and historical events. He wrote several poems for the McQuesten family on special occasions. He liked writing acrostic poetry and wrote two poems for William Blair Bruce. The Murrays were members of MacNab St. Church and his sister Phyllis married Dr. Hugh Fletcher the minister of the church (for Fletcher, see W4479n; DHB2.49, 119-20; W5990, W6636, W430, W4506, W6250, W6694, W6895, W7290, W7359).
See also Jeff Seffinga's lecture "The Bard of Athol," Box 14-095.
2 For Fletcher family, see W4479. In May 1907, Annie Fletcher's engagement to Price Montague was announced, the marriage to be in September. Mary was sorry that Rev. Dr. Fletcher's name was to be associated with Dr. and Mrs. Montague, but she did not state her reasons (W5850): "Nevertheless it would make me very uncomfortable to be connected with Dr. M." (W5960). It really gives one quite a shock to realize that the time has come for Edna's friends to be married. . . . It seems to me Annie need not be in such a hurry. But I know her mother always seemed to be in quite a hurry to have her married" (W5942). She also noted that Dr. Montague was "worth about a million. Price is to manage his father's affairs in W. [Winnipeg]." Dr. and Mrs. Montague lived at 5 West Ave. in 1900 (Tyrell 150) (W5990, W5942, W6223, W6419, W7769).
3 Tom remained with Royce and Henderson until the fall of 1907 and then began work with Masten, Starr and Spence, Toronto, at $1000 per year (W5912). He made several trips North on law business and, from January to June 1909, took charge of their new law office at Elk Lake which served the mining boom. His letters home record frontier life (W5990, W-MCP2-4.037a, W5868, W5912, W6053, W6318, W6327, W6336, W6343, W6351, W6367 W6391, W6398, W6405, W6436, W8184, W8200, W8206, W8212).
4 For Whittemore family, see W4815.