W6229 TO REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his sister Ruby
Jul 22 1908
To: Rev. Calvin McQuesten Glenhurst, Saskatchewan
From: Lake Louise Chalet, Banff, Alberta,
My dear old Cal,
Have been having the time of my life here to-day, tremendous excitement. It is really this stiff new pen that causes the wriggles, not the excitement.
July 28 1908
When I look at this disreputable sheet it seems a shame to send it however if I hadn't started this before it mightn't be going on now. I'm feeling better I'm sure only at present after drinking my three glasses of milk with cream in back and having finished my third meal. I feel as Tom says or is it your wicked expression swollen like a p. p. if you can't translate I refuse anything more.
Now you see I've returned to ordinary life yet it doesn't seem ordinary either--This morning I started out from a real walk around the hills that surround Calgary. I started at twenty minutes to nine, a beautiful cool breezy morning with plenty of clouds that cast fine shadows here & there and made the scene a perfect picture. I often wished you were there with me. 1Calgary has really a most picturesque situation and to see the city below & the rolling hills & hollows the mountains beyond so faint in color & yet so distinct in outline, it was all just charming. I suppose I encircled a quarter of the city & it was eleven o'clock when I reached home. The flowers are very pretty. I heard squeaks which might come from a bird or a cricket & which I suppose the gophers make--there was nothing alive in sight & plenty of gopher holes. I just longed to take you away from your nasty 'mosquitoey' country where you could enjoy life. It is wonderfully free from such things here.
Well as you have been in Laggan, I'll not have to describe it. It is certainly a gem of a place, I couldn't imagine anything more beautiful than that lake and in the midst of those mountains such a green lake & the snow on the mountains & the lawn in front of the chalet had rows of fairy poppies, orange and yellow & white. The whole coloring was wonderful. I think I did pretty well for one day. Mrs. Whittemore was not able to attempt anything & quite satisfied to sit on the veranda, so about ten o'clock I started up the mountain very slowly. I took the path to the right all the way up which is longer but more interesting I think & I broke the ascent by gathering flowers,--such lovely mauve daises & rose colored 'painters' brush & pale yellow columbine & something that looks like leather. A nice fat man gathered me the red flowers & he had been very warm before & it didn't cool him any. And so I saw Mirror Lake and went right up around Lake Agnes & rested & took a lovely drink & then trotted merrily down the other way, hippity-hopping & any old way as I was by my lonesome & enjoying myself immensely. The fragrance of the pines was wonderful after the scentless Calgary air. By the time I reached the bottom I realized that I felt somewhat shaken up & perhaps it would have been better to have come down soberly--but who cares!
Then in the afternoon--there is nothing like being reckless you know--I was induced by two fat Americans who nevertheless did not offer to treat tho' my lady wore diamonds in her ears & fingers & toes?--to go for a pony ride around saddleback Mountain a trip of from two to three hours. I'll have to tell you some other time about those funny people--how the little fat man had to be boosted over the saddle & how when he reached the summit he positively & I'm afraid rudely refused to mount again--his wife whispered in my ear he was scared--how he trotted all the way down ahead of us. Well it was most interesting & I really wasn't nervous but I was most dreadfully weary when I reached the chalet. However the beautiful bath with its steaming water came to the rescue. How we did enjoy the luxury of a bathroom, snow white & spotless, just to ourselves!
Then it was dinner time & then a rush to pay our bill & pack the grip & take the stage down to Banff. We spent the night at the Sanatarium there & in the morning I had just time to see the Cave & Basin when it was train time & one o 'clock found us in Calgary, the roughly wearied & yet well satisfied. And ever since I've been getting the stiffness out of me & I think it has just gone to-day.
Did I tell you we have a couple of good singers in the house here, very comical chaps too & it makes things quite cheerful. I've been here three weeks yesterday & with my trip to Lagan included in that time it seems a long time.
But my spirits have gone up considerably & I just try not to think or plan about anything for I think someway things will work out as they should. It is cool to-night & I'm sitting out buttoned up to the neck.2
Well good-bye Sonny--I wish you were enjoying good things such as I have but your time is half over.
With much love
Your affectionate sister
1 Ruby and Calvin are kindred spirits and they wish they could spend more time together.
2 Ruby is referring to her illness (diagnosed as a chronic cough) which has brought her out west for a rest cure, and which now appears to have moderated, and she is enjoying herself. Unfortunately, it does not last and she spends time in two sanatoriums and dies of tuberculosis in 1911. See W6135, and see her biographical sketch by clicking on "Family" on the Home Page and then on her picture.