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Dec 6 1902


The Montreal Herald, Saturday, December 6, 1902

The Police Puzzle

Puzzles in general are an innocuous amusement. Even if the "dot" habit gets such a hold temporarily upon an occasional young man that he is embarrassed to find himself absent-mindedly overusing the freckles on his sweetheart's nose, one is scarcely prepared to put the "dot habit" on a par with the "drink habit" or the "drug habit."

But it is carrying the conundrum craze just a tad too far for a city the size of Montreal to turn its police department into a public picture puzzle with the query attached: "Find the Responsible Head?" At any rate, by this time the spectacle has been running long enough for every one who is interested to have registered a guess, and, in my humble opinion, it is about up to the City Council to decide on the correct solution and announce the answer.

It is now nearly six months since Ald. Lebeuf, as chairman of the Police Committee, amended the Sunday trading by-law so that, as he informed us, what selling of fruit, refreshments, etc., was done on the Sabbath day would be done only by "poor widows" and "helpless cripples," who would starve if deprived one day's profits in seven.

During the summer and autumn there has not been a single Sunday when every fruit store and every tobacco store, big and little, on St. Catherine street and elsewhere has not been running wide open.

When Ald. Lebeuf is approached on the subject, he replies that he has given orders for the enforcement of the by-law, and it is not his fault if they are not carried out. When Chief Legaut is applied to for an explanation, he replies that he is carrying out his instructions.

Is it any wonder that the officers of the Lord's Day Alliance complain that they are being trifled with?

The Slaves of Margins

A writer to the Toronto Globe contributes the following letter on the drying evils of stock margin gambling, which I am glad the republish with my heartfelt endorsement. He says:

"As the stock margin gambling has been attracting attention, I think it opportune to say a word in this behalf."

"I have been a close observer as to how this stock margin gambling works, and consider it the arch fiend and colossal octopus of all gambling. In horse racing and other systems of gambling the gambler wins or losses, knows where he is at, and, if he is not too big a fool, may stop before he is ruined. In the margin system the unsuspecting victim is often drawn in by being made to believe the business is the same as the honest buying and selling of socks or legitimate profits in any business. This is absolutely false and misleading. It is the vampire, blood-sucking system that of all systems of gambling. Often the person who can ill afford to lose goes in with his little $30 or $50 and puts up what is called three or five margins, the victim is often all the more to be pitied. However, he goes in one way or another, and first thing he knows he is 'called' for one or more 'margins,' as the case may be. Then he considers, 'Well, I might better put up a little more than lose all,' and so the bloodsucking system begins."

"I know a person who was drawn in and invested $80, intending to win or lose on this. The squeezing margin system worked, and the person was bled for about $800, in order to try and save something. This only one instance of many hundreds."

"Slave of the wheel of 'margins', what to him

Are Plate and the swing of Plotades?

What the long reaches of the peals of song song.

The rift of dawn, the reddening of the ruse?

Through this dread shape the suffering ages look Time's tragedy is in that aching stoop.

Through this dread shape humanity be- trayed

Plundered, profaned and disinherited.

Cries pretest to the judges of the world."

"Down all the stretch of hell to its last gulf,

There is no shape more terrible than this,

More tongued with censure of the world's blind greed,

More fraught with menace to the universe."

"As I understand the law, the statues of the country make this stock gambling legal, and the not that margins are called and the number of stock shows there is not honest sale or purchase. This much then be the essence of gambling, and come within the statute."

A writer in "The Nation," of New York, gives an interesting exposition of the very simple principle, which underlies the Cockney's misuse of the aspirant. He says:

"In the interests of realism, may I offer a caution to American writers who have occasion to describe the speech of uneducated Englishmen? The efforts made on this side of the Atlantic to represent the Cockney's misuse of "h" are almost invariably grotesque failures, for the reason that no notice is taken of the difference between accented and unaccented syllables. For instance, the editor of a Boston magazine has lately been giving an account of his experience in the London streets on Coronation Day, and he makes his policemen say, "Hit's a Yank just harrived," "Hit's against horders," "You're one of those Hamerican newspaper chaps." Now if any policeman really spoke in this fashion they were undoubtedly Americans, even though they lived in London, for no one but an American speaks so slowly and with such a lack of vocal inflection as to be able to take breath before unaccented syllable."

"Horders' is good Cockney, for the aspirate is prefixed to a syllable on which the stress falls, but every other example of the superfluous "h" in these three quotations is an evidence of the reporter's deficiency in exact observation. In his sentence I have just written, "haspirate," "hevery," "heither," "hevidence," and "hobservation" would be possible to an uneducated Englishman; an American journalist would attribute to him also "hexample," and "hexact," and in this would certainly be wrong. The London policeman himself would tell him that "h" is used for "hemphasis."



(The editor of this column invites readers of The Herald to contribute questions of a literary, scientific, or miscellaneous nature, which will be answered as space will permit. The contributor's name and address should be given, but only initials or a nom de plume will be used for publication).


Georgia - 1. Mention some of the principal ballads of the American civil war written on the Southern side, giving quotations and descriptions.

Ane-The civil war of 1861-66 may be considered to have constituted at one and the same time both the culmination and the conclusion of the sentimental period, both in literature and as regards the popular opinion of the people. From that time forward the demoralizing tendencies of partisan politics pushed to extreme measures, combined with the harder struggle for existence, brought about by a higher taxation, and the growth of a high protective tariff, quenched to a great extent the sentimental aspirations of a patriotic and liberty-loving people. Later literary productions deal more with domestic and ethical ideals, and the mercenary element more or less predominates, though in many instances it is veiled afar. But the challenge of the South, thundered forth at the mouth of Beauregard's sons awake to action many a bold spirit both in North and South, and prompted to deeds of energy and self-sacrifice, reflected in the poetical compositions, and war songs of the period.

If the North fought for liberty, the South fought for their native land, and, accordingly, we find these sentiments expressed in the ballads of the respective combatants. While the North was inspired by the strains of "Hail, Colombia," "The Battle Cry of Freedom," and "John Brown's Body," compositions breathing forth love of liberty and hatred of oppression, the South marched to the tune of "Maryland, My Maryland," "The Bonnie Blue Flag," "Dixie's Land," and "Beauregard's March," songs teeming with local allusions, and reflective of patriotic rather than of democratic and liberty-loving impulses.

Old Montrealers remember hearing these songs rendered by the representatives of the two parties sojourning in this city. The Southerners had their headquarters at Donegana's Hotel (now the Hospital of Notre Dame), from the windows of which edifice floated the then novel strains of "Maryland," and the "Bonnie Blue Flag." Many of the Northerners lived at the St. Lawrence Mall.

One of the best known of the Southern ballads is "Maryland, My Maryland," which was composed by Colonel Randal, of the Confederate service at Points a Coupee, N.C., April.15, 1861. There is Northern version of this song, which is the one generally heard in Canada. It is much inferior to the original in beauty of diction and spirit. Numerous parodies of this song are extant. All politicians are cognizant of the one ending with the refrain Ontario, Ontario, having reference to provincial politics.

The original Maryland begins:

"The despot's heel is on thy shore

His torch is at thy temple's door;

Avenge the patriotic gore

That fleeted the streets of Baltimore,

And be the battle queen of yore,

"Maryland, My Maryland."

The second verse demonstrates the aristocratic sentiment of the South as opposed to the broader democratic spirit of the North. None but a cavalier loyalist would write:

"List to thy wandering son's appeal

My Mother State to thee I kneel;

For life, or death, for woe, or weal,

Thy peeress chivalry reveal,

And gird thy beauteous sides with steel,

Maryland, My Maryland"

Compare the following stanzas, with their numerous allusions to local celebrities and limited areas, with the expensive spirit of the Northern lays, "My country 'Tis of Thee," "Hail, Columbia," etc., etc., viz.:

"I see the blush upon my cheek,

For thou were ever bravely meek;

But let there surges forth a shriek,

From hill to hill; from creek to creek,

Potomac calls on Chesapeake."

"Lo, 'tis the red dawn of the day,

Come with thy panoplied array,

With Ringold's spirit for the fray,

With Edward's blood at Monterey.

With peerless Lowe, and dashing May."

The "Bonnie Blue Flag" is also redolent of the soil.

"We are a band of brothers

We're natives of the soil;

We will defend our country

Which we gained with care and toil.

"And when war bursts upon us

Let the cry rise near and far,

Hurrah for the bonnie blue flag

That carries the single star."

The same things may be noted in "Beauregard's March:"

"My blue Patapsco's sunny banks

The tyrant's war shout comes,

Along with the cymbal's fitful clash

And the sound of h's sullen drums.

We hear it, we heed it, with vengeful thrills,

And we shall not forgive or forget;

There's life in the streams, there's hope in the hills -

There's life in the old land yet."

There is a German song, "Der Tannebaum" (The Pine Tree), set to the same refrain as "Maryland." I don't know which is older, probably the German ballad.

Strains resembling those of "Beauregard's March" are aid to occur in the opera [?"Drnani"].

Beauregard was the very personification of the spirit of the martial, impetuous South. It is said that when he was about to go up to the altar to receive his first communion, that, happening to hear a military band, which was passing the church, he hurriedly left the sacred edifice and followed the soldiers for some distance. He began the war by firing on Fort Sumter - without orders, it is believed.

Among many other Southern ballads of the war period may be mentioned "The Grey and Blue," demonstrating the sentiments of the Southern ladies. "John Bull, My John," set to the tune of "Jo Anderson, My Jo," and calling for British help. "John Brown's Ghost" and "The Yankee Devil," the name given to one of the Northern sloops of war.

Frank Moore's "Southern Ballads" contains a full collection of the lays of this period. Some years ago this books was to be had in Toronto. A copy of it is in the public library of that city.

It is worthy of note that while both the revolution and the civil war produced numerous notable ballads, yet the war with Canada of 1812-14, and the Hispano-American war of 1898 produced no songs likely to live. Perhaps the people of the United States were at heart conscious that neither of these conflicts added much to their national or military reputation.

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