W6483 TO REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Jul 23 1909 Friday [estimated year]
To: Calvin McQuesten Glenhurst, Saskatchewan
From: 'Whitehern' Hamilton
Your last week's letter which you thought would be late reached on the Monday. It was too bad you should be called away from the picnic when you really could not be in time to be of any use and so missed the opportunity of becoming acquainted with the people, which I know you are anxious to do. Maggie [MacKay] White at last came to-day, she reached here by the Turbinia at 10.30 this a.m. and we took her round, unfortunately she arrived this afternoon and though Hilda took her up the incline it was too foggy to see anything and she has just left for 5.30 boat.1
It seems that Dr. Senkler came down after Leila and stayed for five weeks. He invited Gordon [MacKay] and his wife to lunch at King Edward and made Leila go, though she was in grief with the result that Gordon was induced to sign a cheque to Leila for $31,000 in exchange for stock to that amount in the warehouse. You see there was $125,000 left by Uncle Edward to the MacKay children and put into the business, this the Ontario Bank cannot touch, and the boys have the interest of that, and Mr. MacKay too about a year before his death suddenly took into his head to take out insurance of $30,000 between Willie and Gordon, so they have that. Providence looked out for them in spite of their sins, for there is no telling when Ontario Bk. affairs will be settled. Leila also, in spite of the direction of the will, took upon herself to divide up the furniture getting what she wanted for herself, letting Gordon have a very good share, but giving a very poor share to Willie, he felt much aggrieved but had not the courage to stand up for himself, though they did have a pitch battle and poor Willie was of course thoroughly ill whilst he was there.
On the way home Dr. Senkler took ill with Rheumatic fever at Salt Lake City and the altitude so affected his head, he nearly died and had to be taken out in a special car to Portland Oregon. They have dismissed Small and the cook, they had been together robbing the house for years. Mary wept rivers, but Maggie thinks Drummond was almost afraid of her, though she had always been very kind and waited on him most devotedly and giving him Catholic books to read. Drummond says if he were anything he would be a R.C. and the other day was quite indignant with the Orangemen's band. I think it is most probable the priests had Mary put up to taking him in with his money. At present the Smiths have got him in Muskoka, though he is very tired of them. He had taken a great fancy to a nurse in the hospital, when he was there; a little Grace [illegible] a friend of the Gartshores a grand niece of Mr. Woodhouse. Poor little Grace would be horrified I am sure. 2
In to-day's Globe we see that our City Engineer proposes that the tracks in the tunnel be lowered and the trains come in through a subway. The C.N.R. to come in this way too and he thinks the two tracks quite sufficient. It seems too good to be true if this could be carried, that we should be delivered from those trains on Hunter St. Tom has just come in to say that Eddie of St. Mary's has sent him a pass to go to Tilsonburg to stay over till Monday. Eddie going too.
The MacKay's do not know what to do for a house. Maggie cannot find anything that would suit. Willie needs a little ground and where he could be private. The University would buy it but would only give $7000 and Mr. Mc. paid $16000 for it. So they scarcely know what to do. Willie suggested to Maggie to look here, but really houses are very scarce here.
Miss Fisher and her friend Mrs. Wood of Toronto came to see us the other evening, (they are living in the Logie house for the summer). Mrs. W. is almost quite blond but very pretty and most interesting, having travelled a good deal. Her dog is quite a noted beast, a little Pomeranian, brown and tan with a fox head, long hair and fine tail like a spitz dog, it was given to her in England and is a brother of the Queen's dog and of a dog which is said to have been beside the Queen when she died; worth $300 as puppies and the father worth 1000 pounds.3
(Saturday Morning) Your letter to Ruby has just come, and was full of interest. Indeed you did well to give such a good tea to that young couple I hope they'll return it with a good fee. I wish you could have been at more weddings to make you feel easier. It was very sad about the poor young girl. You have various experiences. I had just been going to ask when the baptisms were coming off. Peter & Douglas came back here after their two weeks in Muskoka and have been hanging around here for two weeks, to add to the prosaic style of the Event. This was to cheer up Mrs. Williams Helms.4 Well, I must close with much love from all.
Your loving mother
M. B. McQuesten
1 Hamilton's East End Incline Railway ran from the base of the mountain at Wentworth St. to the top of the mountain. It consisted of "two cable cars owned and operated by GeorgeWebb. The cars had a passenger cabin and an area large enough to accommodate horse-drawn wagons, motor vehicles and theatre-goers during the season." Summers Mountain Theatre overlooked Hamilton at the top of Wentworth St. The incline was a favoured by tourists for viewing the city (DHB3.201; Around and About 117).
2 Maggie (MacKay) White, one of the MacKay children from Toronto, had disclosed to Mary some of the details of the disposition of Mr. MacKay's will (died February 1909, W6359). Leila was married to Dr. Senkler. Small, the cook, and Mary, were likely servants of the MacKays at 5 Queen's Park Cr. in Toronto. Drummond did marry a Miss Smith (W6540). For MacKay family, see W4297.
3 For Miss Fisher, see W4315.
4 I have found no record of Mrs. Williams Helms or of the "Event."