W8969 REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN FROM HIS FRIEND HUGHIE [FLETCHER?]
Oct 31 1911
To: Rev. Calvin McQuesten Hamilton, Ontario,
From: United Free Church College Glasgow, Scotland,
I hope you will excuse this very primitive style of paper but it is the only kind available in this very primitive country.
Well you old rascal, how are you anyway. I suppose you have a congregation by this time over whom you lord it like you did over me last summer. However I hope your presence with them will be as pleasant as it was with me. I think last summer the best in many ways that I have ever had and to you my worshipful sir I give a large amount of the thanks.
Have had little or no word from Canada since I left except the letters I got from home and [Davis?]. Now I hope my boy, that you immediately get to work, upon receipt of this and reply in a very liberal and beneficent manner. I know your generous soul could not refuse me a few [slashes?] with your unruly [member?] especially since you are not here to prod me from behind with your no. fifteens. I would give half of my kingdom Cal to have you here. This country is hell--nothing but rain and fog and mud.
By the way I joined a "bath" club to-day and I thot [sic] of all our swims together in Muskoka. It seems that they dont [sic] provide a gym & tank at the Y.M.C.A. In order to get anything like that you have to join one of these "baths" as they call them. The fee is [pound symbol] 1 for six months, a most fabulous amount for a man of my financial standing. But I had to have someplace to get a little exercise and so I joined. They have all sorts of baths, Turkish, hot & cold shower and a huge tank, at one end 3 1/2 ft deep at the other about ten. It is about twice as broad as the one at Varsity and over twice as long. So saving the company it is almost as good as Staney Brae. The only draw back to it is that you don't have to hide behind the boards for fear of the fair sex or crawl out on your stomach over the beastly stones when some maiden takes it in her dear pate to sit on the wharf. So you see Cal I intend to at least keep clean and I know you will be in sympathy with that same.
I must tell you about the course. I get Dr. Orr, McFadyen 1 & [Denny?] every morning. The second year gets those three and I guess they are the best on the staff. Orr is giving us Kant & Hegel and I think he has old Jimmy Hume beaten a mile in explaining Kant. He is starting in to-morrow on comparative religions. I think he will be good in that too. From McFadyen we get lessons in Hebrew also a Psalm once a week and [besides?] he lectures on 2nd Isaiah once a week. From [Denny?] we are getting Galations in the Greek and Acts in the Eng. Bible. Do you not think that a good line up. Already I feel glad that I came. [Denny?] certainly is a wonder. He makes a fellow feel as if even after all the critical things are said there is something at the bottom worth while. But then my dear boy, be it far from me to preach a sermon to you who are my senior in years and experience and sense. As long as I live I shall be grateful that I had the chance of putting it over you from Sabath [sic] unto Sabath [sic] in Staney Brae last summer.
There doesn't seem to be much to talk about but myself Cal or at least the "I" seems to be holding a terribly big place but you'll forgive me I know. Bob Campbell & his better half are here. Bob is still calculating in the cents although he spends far more than he used to. I guess you know why. Mustard & wife are here too. They are a mighty fine pair. I never knew what a decent sort Mustard is till now. But then the world is full of surprises isn't it. [?] & I are the only ones left and we put in a lot of our time together. We always get our dinner together down town. The evenings get rather long sometimes and so we all get together and do fairly well in passing the hours. I expect it will get terrible by Xmastime. [?] is [?], taking a long trip then and the Mustards are going to London. What will become of myself is more than I can tell.
Have had one good trip. [Up?] [Loch?] Lomond by boat past Ben Lomond. By the way the weather was cloudy as usual but as we came up to the foot of the mountain the clouds seemed to break as if for our special benefit and the sun shone on the old Ben. It certainly was a sight. Then we went to Inversnaid. Saw the falls where Wordsworth wrote "To a Highland girl." Walked out to Rob Roy's cave & explored it. Then we walked to Callendar along York [?], York [?], through the [Trossacks?] & Home all in one day. How is that for [?]. I have not been able to get out once since on account of the weather.
Last Monday I held forth in a church here in the city. It was a big job for me and my knees trembled so that bell in the tower kept ringing all the time. And with a [?] on too Cal what do you think, that for [real?] [genuine?] [?] or gall or [?]. I don't know what you [?] it. Next Monday I hold forth in [Limbar?]. Oh, I tell you there is some class to me. Wouldn't you like to give me one good bang on the seat of the pants.
I see that it is nearly time for me to get into my bed but there is just one thing I want to tell you about and I know it will give you a real thrill of clear delight. Commming [sic] over I nearly kicked the bucket. The [Whiz?] or as Allister would say, [?] the Powers! there was something doing. I think I threw it farther than anyone else. I really thought my poor old gut was making an ascension through my mouth and it was no little mouth full either. But in all honesty Cal for days I didn't dare smile let alone laugh the muscles of my body were so sore. Even now when I think about it my big toe gets nervous. Otherwise we had a very enjoyable trip and I enjoyed it very much indeed.
Have only one more thing to say and that is I hope the world is using you well. How did the crop come out in the West?2 I hope it was a good one because I know you were depending on it. Please write me and tell me all about yourself. I hope we can keep in touch with each other a bit if for no other reason than for the sake of old times at [?].
Cal, do you remember the night of the masquerade? And the show? [Oh you Robert?]. I wonder the looking glass didn't crack. But never mind the memory of those days may cause a smile some time just when it is needed the most.
Your old Pal
P.S. This is the first letter that I have written since I got here in which I just let loose & babbled on the natural way and it sure feels good.
[written on envelope]
Rev. Calvin McQuesten
Hamilton, Ont. Canada
1 Dr. McFadyen had been teaching at Knox College in Toronto from 1898 to 1910 or 1911. He was one of the major proponents of the "Higher Criticism," a modernization of Bible teaching. This caused a great controversy in the Presbyterian Church. See W-MCP1-1.025 for a brief bio for McFadyen. As for his movements, in 1909 he is still at Knox. In 1910 letter no. Box 12-626 states that "he is going" but it does not state where. Moir in Enduring states that he left Canada "by 1911." This letter now explains that he went to Scotland.
2 Rev. Cal had a homestead in Saskatchewan for a time, but he lost it when his crop failed. See W8239 for links to Cal's homestead.
3 We have ascertained that this is likely Hughie Fletcher, who had done rather poorly at school, but obviously Cal had been able to teach and to inspire him to educate himself, possibly for the ministry, in Glasgow. His father was the minister at MacNab St. Presbyterian Church for many years. For Hughie, see W5183, W6521, W4562. For Rev. Dr. Donald Fletcher see brief bio and links at W4479.