W6043 TO REV. CALVIN AND THOMAS MCQUESTEN, from their sister, Edna
Feb 27 1908
To: Rev. Calvin & Thomas B. McQuesten Toronto, Ontario
From: Whitehern, Hamilton, Ontario
Dear Cal and Tom,
Mama has been in bed to-day as the result of doing too much yesterday. So she is not able to write you her weekly letter.
Mrs. Mullin was in for tea last night. Archie came in the morning and said his mother was to arrive on the five thirty-five GTR train so we invited them both, but Archie was going to a dance in Dundas so couldn't come. Mama told him she was just changing her dress and would be down in a minute and Archie remarked that he had no dress to change. Mrs. Mullin had a very enjoyable time at her sister's in spite of the fact that she got her ear frozen. She went to a fete de nuit on Mount Royal. It was illuminated and hundreds of people in bright costumes were tobogganing up and down the slides. She said she had never seen such a beautiful sight. She had on a beautiful amethyst-brooch Bob gave for Christmas. Heurner [Mullin] lent Archie his sleigh to meet Mrs. M. [Mullin].
We are very sorry abut Cal's films but they aren't to be found. Mama thought they might have got in amongst Tom's summer things. We have no recollection of his bringing them home.
Yesterday Hilda and Mama did up the bale and with the assistance of Mrs. Mullin it was carried down and to-day the man came for it and we were glad to see the last of it.
Carrie Barclay could not come as her suit was not finished. But she is coming in March to the annual meeting of the home mission and will stay over night here. She told us that Mr. Graham the school teacher who had the pretty garden near us is not expected to live. He had Grippe and never recovered. She said they made over a hundred dollars at the birthday party at the church. Each one took a little bag with as many cents as they were years old. And every one had a large slice of the birth-day cake. I made some cookies but they are very thick and hard and not altogether a success.
Mrs. Thomson brought down her quilt for Cal. Joe had had a hand in it by writing the name and Margaret embroidered it. They thought of addressing it Laura Lodge but thought better of it. We did up the bale in sacking and tied it up with twine. Hilda painted the address with ink on the sacking as well as putting a card on it.
Mary had a card from Mrs. Bell in Germany. They are about fifteen miles from Switzerland.
Mr. Skedden, Mrs. Kinrade, and Miss Carey have resigned from our choir. There is talk of getting out Alice Stuart. Mr. Chisholm is much annoyed. It was on account of Adam Hope saying they sang too strong that Mr. Skedden had them racing through the hymns.
Mrs. Stuart brought us another bottle of dandelion wine so I had a swig to keep out the cold.1
Hoping you will appreciate the letter.
Your loving sister,
1 This is an indication that the McQuesten family continued to use wine even though their father had been an alcoholic and it contributed to his death and bankruptcy in 1888.
Mary had broken off her engagement to Isaac at least twice because of his dependency on alcohol, yet she drank two glasses of wine on the day just before whe went into labour with her first child, Mary, W2440. Isaac died partly as a result of his alcoholism and the use of other stimulants. See W2511, W2520.
It is possible that the McQuestens make a distinction between wine, hard cider and actual 'liquor' or 'alcohol' and they fought very hard for the Temperance referendum on liquor in 1902. Wine and cider appear to be acceptable to them but alcohol or liquor is not, and there are several instances in the letters in which wine or cider is mentioned as either being made by them or is being drunk by them. See W5832.