W6188 TO REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his sister Ruby McQuesten
Jul 11 1908 Saturday
To: Rev. Calvin McQuesten Glenhurst, Saskatchewan
From: 1510 Fourth St., Calgary, Alberta1
My dearest Cal,
This is not a real letter but just a line before Sunday. I reached here safely on Monday night but didn't get my room for a couple of days so couldn't unpack and so it was Thursday before I got at my note paper to write a line.
Then yesterday I wrote a regular staver home of how nicely every thing turned out and I told them to send it on to you so brace up to stand the strain.2
It was fine to get your letter, the first one I read, almost immediately after reaching here. And then Mama sent on your letter about 'old man Dolan' and the breaking in of your land. He is a dear and it is fine news. Shure's I'll be touring the country in a private car at your expense.
It seems very queer to find myself here--I hadn't the faintest idea of it. Sometimes I feel very puzzled by the thought of the future and then I try to trust and not to worry.
Sometimes I hate the thought of teaching again and don't feel a bit able for it and then again I think I might be better if I were settled at something not too hard that interested me. Those old doctors, nice as they are, I don't believe know what is the matter with me any more than I do myself. You know Dr. Caven both pronounced me sound but then Dr. Caven sort of bothers me--though you mustn't tell Mama this--because from the fact that I had some temperature and I told him I had had some off & on for the last couple of months & from my general sort of weariness (probably original sin in the form of laziness) he seemed to think there might be some latent trouble and seemed to think Calgary was the place and told me I should live and rest and feed up just as if I had the "Con" (Consumption). I'm to keep [taking] my temperature. Wasn't Dr. Caven kind, he gave me his own little thermometer--and probably he will give me further advice. Mama of course doesn't know about my thermometer, so don't give me away. But I'm first going to rest and go quietly to my meals and take my two glasses of milk & a little cream & one egg between meals as Dr. Caven said and go to bed early and see if in a week, I can't get quite rid of my fever. I'm sure it is just a kind of weakness. For my temperature isn't very high and Uncle says lots of people get a temperature if they raise their little finger. But then Uncle spoiled that nice remark by saying that I'd better prepare to stay two years out here, which I couldn't and I couldn't tell Mama. And so these troublesome men--they didn't help me a bit, though Dr. Arnott & Dr. Caven were both so kind that I feel guilty about calling them names.3
Only it makes me wonder about taking a school. Country schools start beginning of Aug. & I won't dare to start then and wouldn't want a town school particularly. But it would do no harm to try & find your friend Mr. Scully--I remember the picture & explain to him I was a little run down & taking a holiday & was there a school that might have no teacher & so take me any time. 4
Well dear old boy I must be off now or I'll miss the mail. Don't bother about me--I'm sure I've had spells of fever all my life only I've never had a doctor bothering before. And I'll escape out of their clutches soon, never fear.
It is lovely here & I'm near the Whittemores & Mary & the hills & Elbow River--it couldn't be nicer. But you'll hear all that in my letter soon.
With much love
1 Ruby has been sent to Calgary for a rest cure. She is being treated for Consumption which is Tuberculosis and after several years of treatment, she dies in 1911. See W6135.
2 "Yesterday" would be Friday July 10, which is Ruby's letter marked "Friday" W6203, however the Calendar has this letter listed under July 15 since it was enclosed with Tom's letter to Cal of the 15th. We have corrected the date for W6203, on this site and in the Calendar.
3 There are three instances in this letter in which Ruby asks Calvin not to tell Mama. She confides in Calvin and is obviously confused about her health and the conflicting reports from the doctors. She is deeply worried about Uncle Calvin's remark that it might take two years, and Dr. Calvin McQuesten was right since Ruby went into another Sanatorium in Muskoka and then to a cottage on the Hamilton mountain and then died in April of 1911. See W6135, and Ruby's biographical sketch by clicking on her picture on the "Family" page.
4 Ruby had hoped that she could teach while in the West but she realizes now that she is not able yet. It is possible that she also hoped that she and David could resume their relationship which they did until finally she wrote Calvin in October 1908 and told him that she and David were finally finished and that David had broken it off (W6302). We have found none of the correspondence between Ruby and David Ross.