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W6583 TO MARY BAKER MCQUESTEN from her daughter Ruby McQuesten
Dec 30 1909 Thursday night
To: Mary Baker Mcquesten Whitehern, Hamilton, Ontario
From: Gravenhurst, Ontario

My darling Mother,

Here I've had Tom and another Xmas, when will wonders cease! 6 full surprises to see Tom walk in! Then he began to unload like Santa Claus--A delicious charlotte russe and lady fingers, now extinct, beautiful nut cake also nearly extinct. I'm certainly a total and entire pig, head, hoofs, tail & all. But still I keep on eating. And my family provide. You're all just too good and you'll just get a hit in the eye each separate individual one of you, if you send me another thing for mos. to come--I was going to say years.1

And then I had lovely letters to-night from little Teddy [Edna] & I can hardly refrain from writing to her.

And 'Aunt Annie' is a hardened criminal and little Laura is nearly as bad.2

I do want to break rules & write to them.3 Here after getting one splendid present slipped in to me as a Xmas present early in the season with the distinct understanding that it was Xmas come early--doesn't she now forget the past just as if she had never been a frost and Xmas comes all A beautiful [?] of pink and grey & blacks? [line illegible] and her own beautiful poem on pink and satin ribbon with [??] Xmas messages And the naughty little Laura who should be ashamed of herself not the [?] of thing to dearest little letter & sent such a dainty little box of lovely candy and such a pretty Japanese glass affair that tinkles when the wind moves it. It is already hanging up in full view. Really tell them [???] thank them.
1. Mrs. Fletcher [crossed out]4 a very pretty book, "Lavender and Old Lace."
2. Mr. Murray--a comical Xmas card & poem.
3. Mrs. Ketchen [crossed out]--a dainty little purple leather book--"A Wallet of Wit."
4. Mrs. Bogue [crossed out]--a box with a lovely pair of pink and white striped bed room slippers with pink bows, a big bunch of green grapes, a package of delicious home made cookies and another package of short cakes. The eatables were exceedingly good and have nearly all departed this life. It was certainly exceedingly kind of Mrs. Bogue.
Mr. Bogue [crossed out]--a card of their street [?] with their place marked. Thank him too.
5. Miss Grantham [crossed out]--a very pretty box which is nice for my table and [???] to write a little round piece of glass to cover my tumbler with a beautifully worked little white [??] covering it & tied with white ribbon. It is very pretty & useful.
6. Annie Woods [crossed out]--a pretty little red blotter and calendar--it looks quite gay on my table.
7 Mrs. Arnott [crossed out]--a most beautiful fancy leather edition of Whittier's poems. I've never had Whittier & will be [??] to read it. Also a pretty little Xmas card.
8. Mr. & Mrs. Geo. Hay [crossed out]--The Bank Ottawa--that dainty little edition of "The Dawn by Galilee" by Ralph Connor [Charles Gordon].
9. Miss Nellie Kay [crossed out]--198 Furby St. Winnipeg, Manitoba. (You remember she was here with her mother & wrote that bright letter which I sent home)--She sent me also "The Dawn by Galilee," but it has Charles Gordon's autograph in the front. I thought it very kind of her.
10. Mr. Keith [crossed out]--a pretty little book "Legend of Bethlehem" by David Smith. I thought Cal might make a note of it & phone Mr. Keith some time in Toronto at whatever High School he is and thank him. He doesn't expect thanks but it would be nice to do it.
11. Emily Colquhoun [crossed out]--a book. "The Great American Pie Company" by the author of "Pigs is Pigs." It's very comical I fancy.
12. Kate [?] [crossed out]--a pretty card she painted herself. 13. [illegible]--a book "The Personal Friendships of Jesus" by J. R. Miller.
14. The James Family [crossed out]--a block calendar which is hanging on my wall--a pretty ribbon thing with safety pins from Mary & I was just out of safety pins & a few days before Xmas a really long letter from Mrs. James.
15. The McLarens [crossed out]--82 Gloucester St. [?]. Lizzie--a lovely wide pale green ribbon--"to tie up your [?] hair, but it's too pretty I think. Jean--a lovely Turner calendar which is already adorning my wall & some little Japanese lower things which open in water. James [crossed out]--a big box of beautiful holly & mistletoe--really the finest sprays of mistletoe I've ever seen. It looked so fresh & pretty when I opened it.
16. The Robinsons--323 Frank St., Ottawa.--
1. Mrs. Robinson--a book "Ezekiel"--it looks like a comical 'darky' story.
2. The family--a great box and in it a great net stocking with Xmas in itself--nuts & raisins & an orange & apple & comical musical instruments to cheer up the 'Minnewaska,' a candy cone, a game of dominoes, (an old friend of mine) a candy animal, a cute little box of [fudge nut?] flower petals called old fashioned 'Pot Pourri'--a very naughty thing from Marion which I won't mention. It was a great stocking & it was all packed so nicely & came in perfect shape.
3. Mr. & Mrs. Robinson & the girls all wrote in a quotation book that [???] for me. It was an awfully nice thing & very kind of every body.
17. Mrs. & Miss M. Arthur--36 Brunswick Ave. Toronto.--a beautiful calendar with sea scenes it is very pretty on my wall. It was too good of them.

I will continue the list so Cal can take note of any Toronto people & if they have phones thank them that way. It is [??]I think
18. Mrs. Stevenson [crossed out]--a book which they say is very good "The Fortune of Christina McNab" & a pretty card with good wishes.
Sydney Stevenson [crossed out]--a puzzle game. She says she knows Tom & Cal think a puzzle is an invention of the devil. Tell her I'll thoroughly enjoy putting it together & it is very kind of her.
19. Reg. Whittemore [crossed out]--a pretty little blue leather book with views of his trip so neatly put in and nice white lettering. It must have taken him quite a time. The views are very good indeed.

Good night my darling Mother & family,


20. 5
21. Mrs. Tucker 96 James St. Ottawa--a beautiful ice wool fascinator--tell her I've always admired & wanted one. Mr. Tucker sent a comical little doll in a brown suit supposed to represent one of Friar Tuck's merry men. It held a card in its hand stating comically that Friar Tuck had sent it to delivery posty. Miss Tucker must have made it with a great deal of trouble and it came in perfect condition. They sent a box & everything carefully done up. I certainly appreciate their kindness.
22. Miss Curry [crossed out]--an album, the outside of which was watercolor paper & decorated in water colors from [?] Ottawa friends inside were writing on snap shots stuck in & printing. So many did something and it was all so nice that tell Miss Curry I felt as if I wanted to thank individually all who took part & will she please [??] thank her specially for all her trouble of [balance of sentence illegible].
23. Miss Gallaher [crossed out]--such a nice & long merry letter which came with three numbers of The Century saying that the teachers were sending me "The Century" for the year is the present. Really it's awfully good of them after writing in the book.
24. [illegible]
25. [illegible]
26. Mr. C. B. Munro [crossed out]--Calgary P.O.--a very nice book of Calgary with [???] Miss Jackson was very kind to me in Calgary giving me drives & taking me to a couple of things.
27. Florrie Whittemore [crossed out]--307-17th Ave West.--a dainty little book of very nice selections & a long newsy letter before Xmas. She's a jewel about telling me how [??] thing on & would [balance of page illegible] her every Xmas wish. It is Edith Brennan & tell Florrie I'm not sure whether that is Mrs. Eric or Mrs. Clifford.

Thursday Night

Well I've been toddling away at this list & now it is my last night. Many thanks for the two beautiful rose calendars. I'm sending the enclosed if Tom thinks it should be answered. It has been stormy unsettled weather but only one day very cold. I'm very comfortable. Mrs. Young called in to-night & Margery Black & a Miss Parker on Sunday afternoon. Your letter has just come. Yes, I paid Bruce Morris for the wire. I didn't take him long & I paid him for his trouble--there's nothing owing there--he needn't have written you. You're a sad way sending me that one on a well [??] It's a bad one.

I really never asked Mrs. Fournier if she had gotten the [??] for I knew she had for various reasons had no time to write but I'll ask her one of these days.

Will pass on the cheque.

I'm afraid you'll be sick to death of my lists of people & there are still a few more.

Well it is bed time.

With much love to all

Your affec'ate child,


Mr. & Mrs. Motler [crossed out]--316-15th Ave. West Calgary, Alta.--a very neat calendar with comical sayings for the different mos. It is in nice large print & can be seen plainly. I like it very much, it amuses me. Tell Mrs. Motler I enjoyed her long letter of a few weeks ago very much.
Mrs. Geo. Cruickshank [crossed out]--79 Ouletter Ave., Windsor, Ont.--a fine box of candy--and also thank her for her lettof some time ago--giver her my love--I'm so glad to hear of Jennie getting [??].

Hilda met Mrs. C. in her letter she had spoken of calling on Daughter Wilma. [illegible and crossed out]--Nichols Hospital, Battle Creek, Mich.--Just thank her for her pretty card & give her my best love and my address & say I'll be delighted to have a letter.
Helen Sanke [crossed out]--Box 34 Strathcona, Alta.--(she was such a nice girl who stayed at Mrs. Pavey's when I was there & I heard she had been very ill after she went home) she sent me a Xmas card & some time ago a postal. Just send a card & say I would have liked to write for I often thought of her & hoped she was better & send my love & thanks for the postal card & the Xmas remembrance. Mary Cook--a card--you might just thank her some time if you see her.
Miss Gates--a pretty card with violets. I don't think it necessary to write her.
Muriel Donne [or Sonne] [crossed out] 41 Bishop St. Montreal, P.Q.--a pretty card--a little note saying she'd kept her promise. Just send a card with my love & thanks saying I'm unable to write but would be glad to hear from her any time & give her my address.
Family M. [Calmett?] [crossed out] 2544 Ash Street Denver Col.--a very pretty little post card and she has really been very kind about writing me letters. Give her my love & special thanks & give the baby love from his aunt Ruby. I guess I am in truant here.
Miss [illegible and crossed out]--just send a card thanking her for her Xmas card and her fine interesting letter and give her my love [???].
Miss [crossed out & illegible]--just send a card thanking them for the Xmas remembrance [??] best wishes for the new year.
Miss Bell Smith [crossed out] 35 Somerset St. Ottawa.--Just send a [?] thanking her for her Xmas wish and give her my love & wish them all a Happy New Year & thank her for what she wrote in the book.
Mrs. Hampson [crossed out] 37-4th Ave, Ottawa--perhaps if you'd send a little note to her telling her how much I appreciate her many lovely jolly letters and how interested I've been to hear all the news and thank her for all the snap shots of her [two long sentences illegible] and would she be kind enough [???] thank them for their bright contributions to my book & give them all my love.
Miss Elizabeth Bradshaw [crossed out] Young Women's Christian Association Calgary Alta.--Thank her for the beautiful Xmas wish and tell her I've thought of her so often and was very interested in the paper she sent me [???] the same letter. [illegible].
Mrs. Lincoln [crossed out] 1701 College Lane, Calgary, Alta.--(Mrs. Lincoln wrote me such a nice letter & sent me a snap shot of a group of us taken on her first reception day. She has been very ill and is still quite poorly so I appreciate the letter) Tell her I appreciate her letter very much and would love to answer it as I've thought of her so often. Also thank her for the snap shot which is very entertaining. Give her my love & remember me very kindly to the doctor & best wishes for a very Happy New Year to them both. Miss Helen Ripley [crossed out] 272 Somerset St. Ottawa, Ont.--Thank her for painting such a bewitching and enterprising "Bunny." There is no nonsense nor loafing about him. He's a real inspiration and I'll be following he example & hopping myself soon. And thank her for her comical original piece in it very [illegible to end of note].

Will just send this off with Tom's. I'm just overwhelmed with presents. People are very kind & I was thinking Cal might thank all the "Toronto people," or some of them.

with much love,


1 Ruby states: "I was going to say years." This suggests that Ruby knows that she will likely not have "years to come." Ruby died in April 1911.

2 This is likely a reference to Mrs. Annie Thompson and Laura Hostetter, see W4415.

3 Ruby is not allowed to write. It is likely that it would have been too arduous for her in her condition. At this time she is almost completely bedridden and we also note that her writing during this period is always in pencil, and it is likely that ink was not allowed in bed.

For more information on Ruby and her treatment for Consumption (Tuberculosis), see W6135, and see her biographical sketch by clicking on "Family" on the Home Page and then clicking on her picture.

4 It is likely that these names were crossed out as the thank-you notes were completed and posted by Ruby's family at Whitehern.

5 The number 20 appears to be missing yet the pages are numbered consecutively. It may have been an error on Ruby's part or perhaps the page was lost.

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Copyright 2002 Whitehern Historic House and Garden
The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
Please direct questions and comments to Mary Anderson, Ph.D.

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