W6281 TO REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his sister Ruby McQuesten
Sep 10 1908
To: Rev. Calvin McQuesten [Glenhurst, Saskatchewan]
From: 1510 Fourth St. West, Calgary, Alberta
My dearest Cal,
Your letter has just come & it's nice to hear from you. I had been going to write myself for it did seem a long time since I had written or heard from you. Time certainly flies! Poor old fellow! I'm glad the mosquitos are giving you a little chance. Certainly I've had a snap of it compared with you. But you'll have a snug little place now & I wish I could visit you. But you'll be starting for home in no time now.1
I have very good news about myself--I feel quite proud. I was weighed to-day for the second time. The first time I had gained 5 pounds and this time I had gained 4 1/2 lbs more and now I weigh 123 1/2 lbs & if I gain 4 1/2 lbs more it will be up to my highest weight. Just see me put on that 4 & a halfer. And I've had no temperature for three days steady now. So aren't I doing well?2
However Dr. Arnott said I was to stay till the end of Nov.--he said a month after I stopped putting on flesh. I was sort of prepared to have to stay longer on account of a regular [bucket, budget?] of wisdom from Tom. And everyone seems to think the fall such a specially fine time and I'm pretty well reconciled to the idea now. In lots of ways it is certainly a snap but sometimes one tires of loafing. However there's no time for idle pining when I'm wearing out the everlasting hills and chucking in food and talking to gossips and doing everything but smoke outside the taverns with the boys. But perhaps I'll be doing that yet for my family don't seem to consider the danger to my morals in being left to myself in a place like Calgary with nothing to do but loaf.
I was scared stiff to-day by a bunch of harmless cattle. Two men drove through them & they turned off & eyed me in an awful manner, and I wanted to holler to the men "Please don't leave me!" but instead I just stiffened up like Stanley when he said "Dr. Livingston I presume." and walked off as if I didn't care and it seemed the cattle weren't really interested in me & they walked off too.
There is really no news. May has been away to the coast & Florrie Whittemore is in Toronto & Harry a grass widower.
With much love,
Your affectionate sister
[P.S.] Cal it would be no use my thinking of visiting the Ross's. I would invite myself if I thought it were. But I couldn't do it, even with the best motive underneath, without Mama's knowledge--she would certainly hear.3 And I wouldn't mention the name to her again. It would spoil any good she may have rec'd & I'm afraid from the last letter she is really very poorly again.4
1 Calvin is homesteading and doing missionary preaching in the west. In September 1908, he returned to Knox, and in May 1909 was ordained at Glenhurst as a minister of the Presbyterian Church. During the summer of 1909 he also worked on his homestead at Glenhurst, Saskatchewan to support himself. In October 1909, Rev. Calvin returned to Knox, and in April 1910 he finally wrote his last exam and graduated with a B.A. degree at convocation on April 7, 1910. As his mother stated "it is a most wonderful achievement to have finally passed all your examinations, and be finally launched" (W9033, April 26, 1910). Consequently, Calvin was thirty-four when he received his B.A.degree in 1910 although he was ordained as a Presbyterian minister a year earlier. Consequently Calvin could not be of any financial help to his family. For Calvin's biographical sketch click on "Family" and then on his photo.
2 Ruby does appear to be doing well, unfortunately she suffers a relapse and goes to another sanatorium at Muskoka after she comes home. Eventually, the family takes a cottage on the Hamilton Mountain where Ruby dies in 1911. See W6135 and see her biographical sketch by clicking on "Family" on the Home Page and then on her photo.
3 Ruby was engaged to David Ross in Aug., 1906, and her mother asked them to wait two years. She did not approve of David because he was not "established" yet, and she did not think that he was suitable for Ruby. Also at that time Ruby had to continue working in order to pay Tom's way through university. See W5622, W6135, and Ruby's bio. sketch as noted above.
4 Mary suffers from some emotional fragility, and she had been ill recently with neuralgia and dental problems, and a "nervous heart." She attributes the heart trouble to Ruby's continued relationship with David Ross even after Ruby made a promise to her mother to wait.