W6419 TO REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
May 15 1909
To: Calvin McQuesten Glenhurst, Saskatchewan
From: 'Whitehern' Hamilton
My dearest Calvin,
Your letter of May 3rd only reached me yesterday. It did seem such a long time since we had heard, but I just thought it was the fault of the mail service. It just seemed too bad that your ordination should have been performed in just such a hole in corner sort of style.1 Does Dr. Carmichael ever appear when expected!2 I had hoped by the paper you were to have something of a service. It does seem poor Calvin as if you were kept in the background a good deal, but we do not know what you may do some-day.
We had a long cold time too but this last week have had some warm days. To-day I have been trotting more or less since 7:30 am after the gardeners, they are very trying they arrive here without their proper implements and then I have to see after them and put them into their hands. Various things in the beds spread over and got out of order. So I had to have them reset. I only invested in one new thing an Irish juniper. The place opposite is not to be a factory but a storehouse, which is a comfort. I am really not worrying about the railway it is all so un-certain. The trees are coming out beautifully even the plum and peach tree and the little cherry; for a couple of months now is the loveliest time for our place. We hear that Mrs. Scott is ill of pneumonia. H. is going to inquire after her. We have been busy getting our curtains done and spring things ready. Dr. McTavish is to be with us at Assembly.3 Would have liked to have taken two more, but did not feel I could just afford to hire help and the girls could not cook for so many for nearly two weeks. Mrs. Hendrie is to give a garden party for the Assembly.5 I was glad to see Tom's name mentioned in the account of Elk Lake church in this week's Pres.[Presbyterian].6
Was greatly shocked to see in to-days Globe of this motion to do away with the clause Against the Catholics in the King's oath. Isn't it terrible to think of Mr. Asquith favouring it?7 He can have no religion and indirectly his wife has none and is a simpleton, as you perhaps saw, she had entertained a company at Downing St. with a display of new dresses on models brought from Paris. What we have come to! People are so ignorant now-a-days of right and wrong that one is never safe.7
Yesterday afternoon I opened the door to your friend Norman MacEachern, Mary also came in. We chatted quite a while and daresay would like him on better acquaintance but we had to do most of the talking. He goes next week, so we have no opportunity of entertaining him. He apologized for not calling before, but had been very busy, so many sick people and there are 1100 members in Knox. He goes now to Crescent St. Montreal. Wish I could hear him preach, it seems an undertaking for him to go to so lay a church.8
We want to get your barrel off next week and will remember tin, shredded wheat. In yesterday's letter you have not mentioned where to send it, so unless we hear again will send to Saskatoon as before, unless I can find out here if we can send to Zealandia. Thursday was a lovely day and Mrs. Thomson took me driving to make calls; and Mrs. Joe [Thomson]9 went too, but every one was out except Mrs. Fletcher and Ann the baby is just lovely the picture of her mother, and a dear little child.10 Mrs. Lyle was away, she & Dr. have gone to New York to Harry's wedding. The house on the outside is painfully plain and ugly. I believe Jack designed it for two stories and his father thought there would be no room for family at Xmas, and added a story, with the result you saw. Certainly the present day houses taken altogether are very ugly, and unfinished.11 Well I must close as H. is waiting to post this. With much love from all.
Your loving mother
1 Calvin was ordained at Glenhurst, Saskatchewan where he was a missionary preacher and homesteader.
2 Rev. Dr. John A. Carmichael was the missionary in charge of the synod of Manitoba 1902-11 (BDKC 36). When Calvin first wrote inquiring about the Western field, Carmichael stated: "I could give you a field where you would have long journeys every week and abundance of time in the open air. Our work requires men of high purpose and average preaching ability." Carmichael traveled a great deal and wrote to Calvin on May 10, 1909 describing his very heavy schedule and noting that Friday, May 21, was the only day he would be free. Presumably the ordination took place on the previous Sunday (W7441, W7797, W7769, W8212).
3 Dr. McTavish, see W4479.
4 For Hendrie family, see W4803.
5 For Tom's work at Elk Lake, see W5990.
6 Herbert Henry Asquith (1852-1928) British Liberal became prime minister of England in April 1908 (CBD 71).
7 For the Coronation Oath, see W6446.
8 Rev. Norman MacEachern (1882-1945), University of Toronto 1903-07, Glasgow 1907-08, Knox College 1908-09, Montreal Presbyterian College 1909-10, M.A. University of Toronto 1909, ordained Toronto 1910, pastor Brampton 1910-16, overseas chaplain 1916-19, Smith's Falls 1919-21, Toronto 1921-26, Winnipeg 1926-31, D.D. Montreal 1937, editor Presbyterian publications 1931-45 (BDKC 130).
9 For Thomson family, see W4415.
10 For Fletcher family, see W4479
11 For Lyle family, see W4436. For son Jack, architect, see also W6053.