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W6053 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Mar 6 1908
To: Calvin McQuesten Glenhurst, Saskatchewan
From: 'Whitehern'

My dearest Calvin,

It was quite a surprise to receive a letter from Tom at Cobalt. Sorry it is the winter season, but I see by this morning's Globe, Mr. Masten is a director in a Mining Co. there, so Tom will doubtless have many opportunities of going.1

This week I have been quite gay, on Wednesday went to Mrs. Walter MacDonald's to meet a few old friends at 5 oclock. Then yesterday I took tea and spent the evening at May Stevens to meet her mother, Miss Somerset and Mrs. Mullin. I thought it would be better to do this and get my mind off the house and bills. I find many have suffered from this palpitation, "nervous heart" as it is called and got quite over it in time.2 I hope you do not feel disappointed about the M.A. Bremner promised Tom you should have it this year, although you had not got the B.A. last year, though it is more convenient not to pay the $20 this year.3 I have heard from Mr. Baker but as he is very busy invites me to write to him, which is a nuisance, as it is a long story. Hilda is making marmalade to-day, a double quantity.

A letter from Hon. J.M. Gibson to the Presbytery proposing to absorb Locke St. church with all the Funds collected for it into Central has made great excitement in church circles.4 I am extremely sorry about Dr. and Mrs. Lyle, sure they are worried to death, taking this great new church upon their shoulders, no prospect of selling the old one, people criticizing Jack's work.5 The whole Lees connection gone to St. Paul's, old Lees was the largest giver in the church and many others will leave,6 when the church finally goes, so that altogether it is a very heavy burden for Dr. Lyle, and then for the great Central Church to propose to swallow up the Funds collected in poor little St. James (as it is now called) it was most unfortunate.7 Altogether John Knox of St. Paul's who is treasurer of the Locke St. Fund declared he and others would withdraw their subscriptions if St. James did not unite with Central, so it is a fine muddle all round.8 Mrs. Fletcher says that St. James' Church is as far away from the new Central, as the latter is from ours.9

Dr. F.[Fletcher] said that he did not know what to do with Dr. Lyle, he was just so worried and in addition Jack will not put in his tender for Knox College, but thinks it should just be given to him. Silly fellow! Dr. L. is very much incensed with the actions of the Central Managers and Mr. Gibson's letter, which was full of misstatements and spoke of their "having been fooled by the Presbyters." Such an expression! As clerk of the Pres.[Presbytery] Dr. F. refused to put the letter on record.10 You see the whole matter had come before Presbytery and it had been settled where they were to build and no mention made of uniting with St. James. Mrs. Thomson says Mr. G.[Gibson] is "spoiled" and was "always bad tempered."11

Now I must get you to get me some more prescriptions filled at Mr. Jeffrey's. The pellets are for taking at night and the other in the morning, when one's liver is sluggish so you can get a supply for yourself too. I want double the quantity of each for myself and you can get the same. The number on the box of tablets is 188981, but enclose prescription for the other, if you get it in proper can just put it in my bottle. If Tom does not come up to-morrow it will do the next week. We are expecting Mary Taylor on Monday and you could send a parcel of clothes up with her if you telephoned and found out what train she was coming by and Mary will meet her here.12 The telephone is not in her name, but you can call up "Inquiry" and ask for the phone at 44 Isabella St. This is surprising that Tom is not coming up and the clothes would be ready for him to take back next week. Glad to know you are keeping well, with much love to you both.

Your loving Mother

M.B. McQuesten

[P.S.1] Want the prescription here returned.

[P.S.2 is part of above letter on a separate page, marked "Private"]


In case Tom should not come home to-morrow and go to Sudbury next week, I want to give you both a warning as to being careful when you are travelling about using certain places, especially those in connection with wayside stations, to which dirty people may have access. Mrs. M. yesterday told me some amazing things which is well for all to know. Her niece in Montreal had gone out to the coast with her husband and they both contracted a most dreadful trouble, very difficult to cure and it seems Archie and all the staff of the Bank of Hamilton had a terrible time with the same at the time the Bank was being enlarged, because the foreign workmen were admitted to the same W.C. They are small things called crabs (not bed bugs or body lice) with many legs which worm themselves into the flesh and cause fearful irritation and pain to get them off. Heurner directed Archie to rub himself all over with coal oil and then gave him something to put on the parts which stung frightfully.13 He decided the safest thing to do was, when compelled to use these public places, to be careful to rub the seat as hard as possible with paper. Keep a careful outlook.

1 For Tom and Masten, Starr and Spence, see W5990.

2 Mary had not been feeling well for the past year, she complained of having "blind turns" in March 1907 (W5804, W5765, W6135, W6097, W9058).

3 For more about Calvin's "M.A." see W5868.

4 For Hon. John Morison Gibson, see W4436.

5 John ("Jack") McIntosh Lyle, noted Ontario architect, was the architect for the new Central Church. Central burned down in 1906 (DHB2.98-99). He was the son of Dr. Samuel Lyle, minister of Central Church. Jack was also the architect for the Union Station in Toronto, and many other buildings (CE 1253). He was an urban planner and leader in the "City Beautiful" movement with Thomas McQuesten, Noulan Cauchon and others (W-MCP1-3b.015). For Lyle family, see W4436.

6 Thomas Lees (1841-1936) jeweller, watchmaker, optician, was trustee and member of the board of managers of Central Presbyterian Church (DHB1.125).

7 St. James Church was first known as the Locke Street congregation. It was a small church at the S-W corner of Locke and Herkimer Sts. and their building fund had grown to $2,700 in 1906. It. They did build a new church which opened in 1909 (POH 124; dates differ slightly in Wee Kirks 186).

8 For John Knox, see W5898.

9 Central Presbyterian Church had been completely destroyed by fire on June 25, 1906, see W5512. It was rebuilt at at the corner of Charlton and Caroline Sts., and formally opened on June 14, 1908.

10 For Dr .Fletcher, see W4479.

11 For Mrs. Thomson, see W4415.

12 For Mary Taylor, see W5868.

13 Dr. Heurner Mullin and his brother Archie. For Mullin family, see W4521.

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The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
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