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Letterhead:

THE SOUTH BEACH HOTEL

D. C. Oliphant, Manager

Perce, Quebec

W7149 TO MARY BAKER MCQUESTEN from her son Rev. Calvin McQuesten
Aug 17 1934
To: Mary Baker McQuesten 'Whitehern' Hamilton, Ontario
From:

My dearest Mother,

Today I have been here a week and it has been a very happy week. The scenery can scarcely be surpassed; I have delightful company; and the weather has been perfect, as it usually is in summer in "Gaspesie au Soleil."

Even after seeing what I did in Britain and the rest of Europe, I think that there is more natural beauty and of greater variety within walking distance of Perce than any other place I know.

It is the only place I really enjoy walking. But I do not overdo it. I take a walk either in the afternoon or in the morning, but not both. I have been twice round the island of Bonaventure to see the birds, at 50 cents a trip; and it is well worth it. Yesterday morning, the man next me in the boat was a Dr. Newton from Philadelphia who knows Tom McCrae very well.

He has lived in South Africa, and says the scenery here is strikingly like that in the neighbourhood of Cape Town.

As usual here, I enjoy my French Canadian fellow guests very much. We are four at table -- Perre Dansereau, Madame St. Jean, and her grand-daughter Madeleine Morin.

This is the third summer holiday I have spent here with Pierre Dansereau, and I am very fond of him.

He was only 16 when I first knew him, but with an extraordinarily mature mind. He is still more so now. And I can think of no one I know who can discuss as wide a range of subjects interestingly. He knows English thoroughly in all its fine shades of meaning; and is a great help to me in my study of French.

Madame St. Jean is, as I think I told you, a daughter of Senator Dessaulles, who lived to be 102. She is a charming old gentlewoman. But she is not very much at home in English, and in French does not speak distinctly enough for me to understand her across the table in the buzz of the dining-room, though when we get together elsewhere I understand her quite well. Her grandmother was a sister of Louis Joseph Papineau the patriot leader of 1837.

Madeleine Morin is a lovely youngster of twenty-one, decidedly pretty, with a piquant little face and perfect figure. She is as bright as a dollar, thoroughly well-bred and sensible and very pleasant with everybody. She is much interested in birds and quick to identify them. She has been along both time I went round the Island; and between us we have identified all the different kinds--
Doublebreasted Cormorants--all black;
Kittiwatses which are like a small Herring Gull;
Sea-Pigeons, little black fellows with white patches on the wings and bright red feet;
Razor-billed Auks, little fellows who stand up very straight in black coats and white shirt fronts.
Sea Parrots, kind of Puffin, comical little chaps with big bills like parrots brightly colored.
And last but not least the famous Gannets -- a large white gull with yellow necks and heads, found in only two places on Atlantic coast of Canada, here and on the Magdaline Islands.

On Tuesday I had a telephone message from the Morin Hotel that they have reserved a room for me. So I go there on Tuesday.

Hope you are all bearing up under the heat. Take great care of yourself dear. With much love,

Your affectionate son

Calvin

[P.S.] British Weekly came yesterday.




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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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