W7116 TO REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
May 12 1931
To: Calvin McQuesten [Somewhere in England]
From: 'Whitehern' Hamilton
Have just phoned the P.O. and find the English Mail leaves at 5 o'clock to-morrow morning. We received the card from Montreal and Quebec in due time and this a.m. Mrs. Todd's note and yours written on Sat. which I suppose were posted on at Farther Point. Rejoiced to hear you are so comfortably placed on the steamer, lovely to have a window, (we had just a port-hole) and away from noise too so you will just have a splendid rest and be ready for the grand tour.
We are having lovely showery weather some good rains, for which I am truly thankful for Tom's sake. So glad you had friends in Montreal to give you a good send off, Mr. J. to take you to the Steamer was a great help. Mrs. Todd's note said "We the three Todds want to tell you how happy we are to have Uncle Calvin for a fellow voyager etc." The family were amused at the warmhearted little girl who threw her arms round your neck, and Tom said he was a handsome boy. Well it certainly is pleasant to have friends on the voyage and Mrs. T. is very kind. Nice of Canon Daw to see you off; they drove him home.
Phoned last night to Miss N. who said E. [Edna] was very well physically, but so restless; wanting to get up, which I think is quite natural. The garden in front is beautiful beyond description. The pink sublatum phlox [sic], the Arabis, the daffodils, the Prunus Trilobi, Forsythia and Japonica, never saw the latter so fine, just a magnificent display & grass so green; then in the back, the triliums are a great show with hyacinths, tulip & honesty coming on & fruit trees in bloom.
Tom is delighted with the Rock Garden and the flowering shrubs and trees at Gage Park. The Globe has on its front page the first report from their new lady correspondent. In the Mirror I read that the Painter Wyllie's funeral service was at St. Thomas's at Portsmouth taken there from the Point Tower House (?) [sic] where he lived. After the service sea scouts rowed it back up the harbour to Rochester Castle (?) [sic] where he was buried beside his daughter next the Castle Wall. We never saw the castle or Tower House1. I also read in M. a great description of the New Zoo. 500 acres in the country about 35 miles from London called Whitsnade, where wild animals are to be in large enclosures but not in cages and birds. Refreshment booths. The finest of the animals are still to be kept in the London Zoo, so I think it would not be worth while for you to spend time going there. It would mean too much walking after you got there. Opened on May 23rd. Would send the Globe's Lady Cor.'s account of Westminster Parliament but not worth2. Well, there seems to be nothing more to say except much love from all the family. Take good care of yourself, my dear.
Your affectionate Mother
1 Mary, Tom and Hilda had made a trip to England in 1924, see W8716, W8719.
2 The Globe's "new lady correspondent" was Judith R. Robinson. She wrote an account from London, April 29, of the "Debate at Westminster." It is highly descriptive and moves from awe to disillusionment:
The policeman on duty at St. Stephen's entrance wore even such a helmet as those whose outline has grown dear to the hearts of Toronto Communists. . . . Awe mounted in a child of the Dominion Overseas who tiptoed past the Great Hall of William Rufus, clomb-a lovely word, clomb-clomb the broad steps, passed the carven doors. . . . [entered] the frescoed antechamber under the cold marble gaze of pedestalled [sic] parliamentarians. . . . One after another, honorable members were led to believe, made each other fully aware, did not disguise the fact, had every hope that. . . . Er-er-er-circumstances over which we have no control [and in the end] The ties of Empire were knotted tight.