W6951 TO REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Feb 11 1916
To: Calvin McQuesten Buckingham Quebec
My dearest Calvin,
By this time I trust Miss Smith is beginning to be a little settled, and as she was only to reach you on Wednesday evening, you would not have time to write me yesterday, but I did not like to leave my letter till to-morrow, as you would not get till Monday, but I am quite anxious to hear how Miss Smith strikes you. Kind remembrance to her.1 Mary Taylor has been with us going on two weeks, but we are glad to have her, she is so amusing and does not tire Edna.2
You were telling me in one of your letters of Mr. Winchester's address at Ottawa without a word on missions.3 Our ladies were much disgusted with Mr. McPhail at our Pres. Annual, held at Caledonia. He appeared in Khaki and gave them to understand that missions must take a secondary place this year in givings; the very sentiments we are trying to fight.4 However, our Missionary from India and Mrs. Joseph Thomson didn't let it pass, but gave him a setting down.5 I think he must be as erratic as his wife.
I had a note from our Prov. Sec. telling me, that after considerable work, they have discovered, that in 1915, our W.M.S. in Ontario, raised more than $5000 above the amount raised by the two societies in the year before amalgamation in spite of the war demands. We think this very satisfactory, so that we meet all our claims and pay back a large sum, due to the old W.F.M.S, which advanced $50,000 at low interest to the new Society.6
We have had scarcely any snow, till the last day or two, when it has been snowing pretty steadily. You would get a shock like we did over the Ottawa fire. The recruiting in Hamilton is terrible, scarcely a man would be left, one thinks.
When Miss R. was with you,7 I suppose in the cold weather you had to do the buying, but I hope Miss Smith is stronger and do the marketing so as to save you time, let her know you would like her to. In this cold weather, she can market in the afternoon for next day. You were rather short of sheets, but I have just been getting from Toronto through Maggie White two pieces wholesale.8
We hear that the men at Knox Coll. are having a bad time, they are being urged to enlist, at every opportunity, at prayers, they are told there are no fields for them in the West, this comes from H.M. Com. I am sure Col. McCrae has to do with that, he is very busy at Guelph recruiting.9 This war is a fearful thing. I hope you are keeping well, so afraid you will be tired now.
Your loving mother
1 Miss Josephine Smith was Calvin's new housekeeper. On February 2, 1916 (W6944), Mary wrote: "Hurrah! Miss Smith is coming, but am sorry she cannot get started til Tuesday am sending fare to her, am writing her to write you, if anything should occur to prevent her coming Tuesday. I offered her $16.00, did not like to say less, but she has some of her own. I am giving her $10.00 to take down, but that is my treat, it is such a relief to my mind, it is quite worth it" (W6951,W6944, W6948, W6955, W6959, W6967, W6975).
2 For Mary Taylor, see W5868.
3 Rev. A.B. Winchester was head of the mission in British Columbia. It was not very successful in converting the Chinese immigrants. The mission gave free English courses beginning in 1892. "Unfortunately the desire for salvation fell off rapidly once the Chinese immigrants learned enough English to ensure them good jobs, and in any case only about one percent of all Chinese Canadians were attracted to this mission" (Moir Enduring 167).
4 Possibly, Rev. Donald George McPhail (?-1918). He became a war chaplain and died at sea.
5 For Mrs. Joseph Thomson and family, see W4415.
6 This letter indicates that the finances between WMS and the WFMS were still being kept separate. See note for Shortreed at W5172 for the women's struggle over the formation of the WMS and the controversy over finances. In Mary's speech protesting Church Union in 1923, she comments on the men's usurpation of the women's funds: "She laid special stress on the serious condition of the foreign missions. One reason for this was, perhaps, she said that last year after the women had collected the foreign mission money, the men had attempted to dictate that it should not be spent in that way." (W0127a)
7 Miss Annie I. Robinson was Calvin's former housekeeper. She left because her sister died (W7836).
8 Maggie (MacKay) White, see W4297.
9 Col. McCrae, see W4651.