Agnes' Response to John A.'s Drinking

1867-1891
Lady S. Agnes Macdonald (née Bernard) circa 1881 by William Topley. Source: Library and Archives Canada.Pinterest
Lady S. Agnes Macdonald (née Bernard) circa 1881 by William Topley. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Agnes Macdonald is generally given credit for adding 10-15 years to John A.'s life. "As long as I can help him by being cheery & smiling, I am quite satisfied," she wrote in her diary, but her help extended much further than this. John A.'s drinking binges were further and further apart during the course of their marriage and later in life he quit drinking all together. Her diary is filled with mentions of "trying weeks" and "his headaches," but also "my darling so cheery and in good health" entries about his sobriety. Often accompanying him on the campaign trail or waiting for him at the Parliament Buildings, Agnes also ensured that meals were served on time and that John A.'s home life became as organized and smooth-running as possible.