Box 13-047 THE TATLER, THE MONTREAL HEARALD (WRITTEN BY [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN)
Jan 3 1903
The Montreal Herald, Saturday, January 3, 1903
Horrors and Heroisms of Peace
The interest with which the news of some great domestic casualty like the recent railway accidents is received may well be compared with the announcement that a great battle has taken place. We scan the lists of dead as carefully as we did when we had friends and relatives at the front, and we discuss the responsibility of telegraph operators and switchers as keenly as if the reputation of a general were at stake. What is lacking in national import is more than made up by personal interest, which every one who travels ever so little must feel in an event so closely related with our everyday life. We read of a battle being fought, and we think that history is being made. We heard of a railway wreck, a fire in a hotel or a panic in an opera house; and for months afterward we recall it with an uncomfortable feeling, or even a thrill of horror, every time we board a train, go to bed in a hotel or take a seat in a theatre; and unconsciously our eye looks for the box of tools, the fire escape or the nearest exit, as the case may be.
And is it not strange, when we consider the equality of the interest, which we have in the tragedies of peace and war, that there is such a disparity between the glory which we give to their respective heroes? On the battlefield, a soldier, under the inspiration of the thought that an army is watching him, rescues a wounded comrade from the enemy's fire, and receives the Victoria Cross. In the cellar of a factory, a foreman, in an agony of pain from the steam of an exploded boiler, steps back that the engineer, who has a wife and family, may ascend the ladder first; the delay, costs him his life, but a few lines' mention in the next day's paper is the extent of the act's recognition. A bloodthirsty little beggar of a drummer boy killed five Boers with a revolver, and was presented to the Queen as a hero. An elevator boy in a burning hotel stuck to his post till he had brought the last guest to safety and his clothes were burnt off his body; but if he got any recompense at all it was not heard of outside his own city. And yet we boast of our advanced civilization.
The Housing of the West
A writer in Winnipeg Free Press, discussing the progress of building in the west, draws an interesting comparison between present day conditions and those of the pioneers who in the early eighties came from Eastern Canada to subdue to the service of civilization the Great Lone Land.
The merchants, even of the metropolis of the west, carried on their business in stores that were typical of frontier towns. The goods were shown on shelves made of rough lumber, in place of the finely finished show cases now in vogue. The primitive box stove had not then been superseded by steam-heating plants. Plate glass fronts, cash carriers, elevators and similar modern appliances were conspicuous by their absence in these establishments.
Most of the country stores were simply log houses, the upper storey serving as the residence of the proprietor. The specialization of stores was unknown. Each time constituted an emporium where everything from dress goods to tobacco was on sale. The merchant was frequently implement and lumber dealer, postmaster and livery stable keeper. He would trade horses or buy cattle in the intervals of selling boots or sugar, and would take butter or cordwood in payment. Often he was the only wheat buyer for the district and sometimes he added banking to the other departments of his business. His rough lumber or log store shared with the school house--which on Sundays did duty as a church--the honor of being the social club of the neighborhood. It was, indeed, in this respect, the more popular; because of it's being less exclusive. Seated on the nailkegs that lined the front of the rough counter, the local politicians would settle the affairs of the nation, while expectorating brown streams of tobacco juice into the sandbox on which sat the huge box stove. At the present time there are in the country towns of the west many stores that would be an ornament to the main business streets of any city. They are fitted with every convenience for handling business with precision and dispatch, and the stocks carried, both in variety and quality, will bear comparison with any in the oldest settlements.
In the evolution of agricultural buildings the change has been equally marked. It is not so long ago that farming was carried on in many parts of the Northwest, practically without out-buildings. The harvest was threshed as soon as reaped, and the bags of grain were piled on the open plain until they could be carted to the nearest railway station.
When this was done the agricultural implements were left with only a tarpaulin to protect them from the weather, while their owners migrated to Winnipeg for the winter. It was considered cheaper to buy new machines every year or two, than to build sheds to preserve them. Now, mammoth barns are being built all over the country often with stone foundations, and fitted with every labor-saving contrivance known to modern agriculture. In the roomy granary above are stored not only the products of the field, but also the winter's store of feed for the stock. The winds are now harnessed to assist in the work of the farm, and the light but strongly braced steel towers supporting the mills can be seen dotting the countryside in every direction. These mills also do much other work heretofore done by hands--such as chopping, gristing, cutting firewood, etc.
The lumber "shack" or log house, sometimes the sod shanty, that twenty years ago did duty as a farm residence, has been, for the past decade, steadily disappearing and in their stead raised commodious and often architecturally beautiful homes, with every modern domestic convenience. They stand in well-kept grounds, overlooking wide lawns and shady bluffs, their wide verandahs offering pleasant shade in summer. Near at hand can often be seen the original dwelling, now used as a granary or hen-house. The contrast between the two buildings is indicative of the improvement in the financial condition of the owner.
In countless other ways the prosperity that has attended agricultural effort in the Northwest has resulted in the lightening and amelioration of the work of the farm, which to-day is being prosecuted under conditions that amount to a revolution, when compared with those prevailing in the early days of settlement the Northwest.
Turning a Skyscraper
The following bunco story from Chicago deserves a medal for its ingeniousness: -
"At noon the other day Henry Green from Saginaw, Mich., stood in front of the Masonic Temple, looking up at the twenty-story building."
"By jiminy fishhooks, she's a whopper ain't she?" he said to a young man with a black moustache, who came up and stood beside him. "There isn't nothing like that over in Saginaw or Detroit, either. How many feet might it be up to the top? Reckon it might be 500 feet, eh?"
"Five hundred and three and one-half feet to an inch," said the young man with the black mustache. "Somebody must have told you or you couldn't have guessed so well."
"No, sir," said the man from Michigan, "I never heard how high she was."
"If you will wait here for an hour," said the young man, who introduced himself to Mr. Green as "Mr. Powers," an employee of the Temple. "I will have the engineer turn it round. We move the building clear around every two hours for the benefit of sightseers from the country."
The man from Michigan said he couldn't wait so long. The stranger asked Mr. Green if he was willing to pay $2 to have the building turned right away, and Mr. Green said he was. He gave "Mr. Powers" a ten-dollar bill and the latter said he would get change and see the engineer to start the Temple revolving.
Mr. Green waited half an hour, and as the building did not turn around "Mr. Powers" did not return with the $8 change he decided he had met one of "them city sharpers."
He reported the matter to Sergeant Morgan at the Central Police Station.
Questions And Answers
(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 may permit. The contributor's name and address should be given, but only initials or a nom de plum will be used for publication.)
Two Forgotten Canadian Ballads
H.C.R., Montreal--1. Quote some stanzas of 'Fair Canada' and 'God Guard Canada.' 2. When and by whom were these songs written?
1 and 2.--Both of these songs are worthy of remembrance. But they are almost forgotten. Fair Canada was popular in Hamilton, Ont., in the year 1873, and was written during that year or in 1872. It was, we think, written by a Mr. Winfield. It had a considerable local celebrity, but was little known in the Province of Quebec. One verse of it is as follows:
'Her sons will ne'er submit to crouch
Beneath a tyrant's way;
The bear that roams her forest glades
Is not more free than they
'Then Canada, far Canada,
Wherever I may be;
There's not a land in all the earth
Shall win my heart from thee.'
'God Guard Canada' was sung in Quebec city during 1873 and earlier. We do not remember its author. One stanza reads:
'God guard Canada--youthful, hopeful, free
Land of our nativity:
Bless our native land.'
The music of both of these songs is processional in character and suitable for military marching.
Marion and DeWitt A Parallel
1. Who is the author of the poem 'Marion's Men?' 2. Give a brief account of the subject of the poem. 3. Quote some of the stanzas.
1 and 2. This poem was written by William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878). In sentiment it is more like Whittier's or Lowell's work. It commemorates the exploits of General Francis Marion (1732-1795), who fought on the American side during the Revolution. He was opposed for some time to the celebrated Royalist cavalry leader, Tarleton. Having formed a camp at Snow's island, in the midst of the swamps of the Pedee and Santee, he, like Hereward in the English Fen country, for some time fought against superior forces. The exploits of the Boer General DeWitt remind one forcibly of Marion's style of fighting. The British troops were so harassed by the irregular warfare which he wages that they are said to have sent an officer to remonstrate with him for not coming into the open filed and fighting like a gentleman and a Christian. 3. There are five stanzas:
Our band is few, but true and tried,
Our leader frank and bold;
The British soldier trembles
When Marion's name is told
Our fortress is the good green wood,
Our tents the cypress tree;
We know the forest round us
As seaman know the sea.
We know its walls of thorny vines,
Its glades of reedy grass,
Its safe and silent islands
Within the dark morass.
Grave men there are by broad Santee,
Grave men with hoary hairs;
Their hearts are all for Marion,
For Marion are their prayers;
And lovely ladies greet our band,
With kindliest welcoming;
With smiles like those of summer,
And tears like those of spring.
For them we wear these trusty arms,
And lay them down no more,
Till we have driven the Briton
Forever from our shore.
At the conclusion of the war General Marion employed himself with farming.
Stone Walls Do Not A Prison Make
H.T.S., Montreal--1. In what poem does the line occur 'Stone walls do not a prison make?' 2. Who wrote the poem? 3. Quote the remainder of the verse.
1,2, and 3. This line begins the fourth and last stanza of Richard Lovelace's address. "To Althea from Prison." It was written while the author was confined in the Gatehouse Prison at Westminster because of his having presented a petition to the Commons in favor of Charles I. The petition had been drawn up by the Royalists of Kent. He writes:
'Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for an hermitage.
If I have freedom in my love,
And in my soul am free,
Angels alone, that soar above,
Enjoy such liberty.'
Richard Lovelace (1618-1658) was of Royalist sympathies. He was a soldier by profession, but did not see much active service. He was one of the most distinguished of the courtly poets patronized by Queen Henrietta. Before the breaking out of the Civil War his prospects were good; but the success of the Roundheads obliged him to lead the life of a refugee. At the Restoration he might have recovered his popularity, but his muse was too truthful to allow him to utilize his 'swelling measures' in praise of Charles II. The last ten years of Lovelace's life were passed in poverty and obscurity. In 1648 he was a second time imprisoned and again he made use of his leisure to cultivate the muse. At this time he prepared for the press a collection of poems, which was published in 1849. Lovelace, like Sir Walter Raleigh and John Bunyan, made good use of his time in prison. In the case of all three of these men it is probable that their imprisonment aided rather than hindered their literary work. Each of the three proved the truth of the adage contained in the line above quoted.
Thomas Hughes In Montreal In 1870
A.T.H., Hochelaga-1. In what year did Thomas Hughes, author of Tom Brown, at Rugby, and Tom Brown at Oxford, visit Montreal? 2. Where is to be found an account of his visit?
Ans. 1 and 2. Thomas Hughes visited Montreal during August, 1870. He left England on August.4, and arrived at Quebec August.17, having made a fairly quick passage for those days. He sailed by the Allan line steamer Peruvian, at that time among the largest steamers visiting this port. He reached Montreal on August.19. Mr. Hughes speaks of his visit to Canada in his book "Vacation Rambles," published in 1895. Speaking of Montreal he says:-"the city is very fine, the river still two miles broad, and ocean steamers drawing twenty feet of water, and more, are able to lie right up against the quay. S----, a friend of Sir J. Rose's, a great manufacturer here, whom I had taken to the 'Cosmopolitan' was in waiting on the landing place, and took us at once up to his charming house on the hill (the mountain, they call it) at the back of the city. He is a man of forty-three or forty-four; his wife a very pleasant woman, a little daughter, and adopted daughter Alice a very sweet girl of 19, just home from an English school, for the whole family. After breakfast we went down to see the city. We got photographed, had a delicious lunch of fried oysters, at a luncheon shop, kept by a Yankee; washed it down with a drink called 'John Collins, a pleasant cold weak-scented kind of gin and water. Sir George Carter (Cartier?), and Sir Frazier Hinks (Hincks?), two of the present Government, both of whom I had met in England, came to dinner; also Holton, the leading Senator of the Opposition, and the two young Roses, one bringing his pretty young wife, and we had a long and very interesting political talk afterwards." Writing of next day, he says: "we got back in time for dinner to which came Colonel Butler, now commanding the Rifles here; Hugh Allan, the head of the great firm of ship-owners to whom the Peruvian and all the rest of the Allan line packets belong; and several young Canadians." Speaking of the next day's events Hughes says: "The city is the quietest and best-behaved I ever was in. We dined at the mess of the 60th Rifles last night, and walked home through the heart of the city at 10:30. Every one had gone to bed apparently for there wasn't a light in fifty houses, and we literally met no one--not a half dozen people certainly, in the whole distance. Altogether, I am very much impressed with the healthiness of th life morally, and physically, and can scarcely imagine any country I would sooner start in were I beginning life again." The mess of the 60th Rifles would probably be in the officers quarters on Dalhousie square; and Mr. Hughes was living somewhere about Sherbrooke street, perhaps a little above it. Elsewhere he says "The roofs are generally covered with tin, instead of tiles or slates, and all the church steeples, of which there are a very large number, are tinned"...... "There are magnificent stores of dry goods, groceries, etc., but scarcely any shops in our sense. No butcher, milkman, greengrocer, etc., call at the door; ladies have all to go down the market or send there."