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Title: The Scribbler 1822-01-03 Volume 1, Issue 29

Date of first publication: 1822

Author: Samuel Hull Wilcocke (1766-1833) (Editor)

Date first posted: July 29, 2019

Date last updated: July 29, 2019

Faded Page eBook #20190765

This eBook was produced by: Marcia Brooks, David T. Jones, Cindy Beyer & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at https://www.pgdpcanada.net


Montreal. Thursday, 10th January, 1822. No. XXIX.

Saltare elegantius quam necesse est probæ.Sallust.

Weaving the wanton dance with elegant display.

Cœnabis bene, mi Fabulle, apud me,

Paucis, si tibi Di favent, diebus,

Si tecum attuleris bonam atque magnam



If well with me, my friends, you’d dine,

Bring beef and pudding, fowls and wine.


Having lately been appointed Inspector General of parties, Quarter-master general of Voltigeurs, and one of the Deputy-assistant-commissary generals of amusement in and for the district of Montreal, I am forced, like other great officers of state, to do my duty by proxy, and to depend upon the reports of my subalterns, of some of which I now beg to lay copies before the public.


To L. L. Macculloh, Esq.

Inspector General, &c. &c. &c.

Montreal, 3d Jan’y. 1822.


    I beg to report to your Excellency that at a late review of the Social Volunteers, held in this city, during which their evolutions were continued with unabated, though irregular, zeal, out of one year into the other, much judgement and dexterity were displayed by the senior officer and the experienced batallions. Although the distinguished officer who took the command on the occasion, and who acts in the double capacity of major and apothecary, did all that could be expected from him, I am sorry to say that some of the members of the independent corps under the gallant Colonel Yates received severe contusions by a few inexperienced recruits being allowed to practice in the same ranks. It is said that several of the wounded will never join the corps again; and it must be allowed to have been imprudent to permit these recruits to fire contrary to the established regulations of the Corps, by which only such are to be admitted into the ranks as are expert in their military duty and not too much addicted to use grape-shot contrary to the established usages of social discipline. Capt. Jeune of the engineers endeavoured in vain to stop the effusion of blood and received several slight wounds near the groin. The regimental doctor was severely hurt, not without strong suspicion of his professional character being the cause; Gog and Magog, Roll and Ball, Stentor and Fugit, were wounded but not severely. These are all the casualties I am able to report to your Excellency at present. As to the light troops they performed their exercise in general to admiration, but it is feared they will not be so regular in their attendance at future reviews, unless better discipline is observed. General orders will probably be issued in this quarter, and if so, I will send your Excellency a copy; having the honour to be &c.


Est genus hominum qui esse primos se omnium rerum volant,

Nec sunt: hos consector.


A set of strange fellows, who wish to be first,

And think in themselves all save is shut up:

But, out with my carving knife, and I’ll be curst,

If, like geese as they are, they a’n’t roasted and cut up.


Montreal, 6th Jan. 1822.

Mr. Scribbler,

    As I have undertaken to transmit to you accounts of the movements of the Montreal fashionables, and as my last communication has been most favourably received, I can not allow so important an event as the Pic-Nic dinner of the Driving-club to pass without a particular and appropriate notice. With the nature of this elegant institution, its rules, and regulations, your readers are doubtless well acquainted. I shall therefore merely remark en passant that its “fundamental feature,”[1] to use a ministerial metaphor, is the strictest selection. No one below the rank of a merchant or store-keeper (the terms are synonymous here) is admissible. All shop-keepers, clerks, and tradesmen of every description, however wealthy or respectable, are rigidly excluded. Military men and government officers have the right of admission without the slightest enquiry into their character or behaviour; whether well or meanly connected, whether rich or poor, handsome or ugly, genteel or vulgar, married or the keeper of a mistress, if the gentleman wears an uniform, he is, de jure admissible, not merely to the club, but also to the first female society in Montreal. If he should be addicted to the worship of Bacchus, he has an higher title still, for then he may be said to have it jure de-vino. The number of the members was originally limited to thirty, but, on a proposal made this year, and not carried without considerable opposition, it was extended to thirty three; yet this trifling extension gave so much offence to some first rate characters, particularly to two eminent individuals distinguished by their high birth and connections, that they withdrew their names, declaring the thing was now become too common. It is perhaps owing to this unfortunate schism that the driving part of the institution has very much flagged this season, seldom more than four or five tandems turning out on the appointed days: no great cause of regret to the public whose lives and limbs are put into constant jeopardy by the awkward way in which the gentlemen handle the ribbons. It is not unusual to see the shaft-horse on one side of the street, and the leader on the other: sometimes the animal that bears that proud distinction turns round, and, adopting a common practice in the streets here, stares the driver in the face: I actually saw, not long since, one of those sagacious quadrupeds, as if seized with a fit of devotion, bolt into a church the door of which was open. What an admirable subject for queering to a prime London dragsman.[2]

From the frequency of these mishaps and discomfitures I would suggest a slight alteration in the title of the club, and that instead of the Driving, it be denominated the Dining Club, for, as the French say, c’est par ce côte-ci qu’ils brillent. Nothing can be more exquisite than their charming little Pic-Nic repasts, where taste, elegance and wit preside. To give them the very highest zest the charms of rurality, at all times so attractive in this country, and particularly so in a Canadian winter, have been superadded, and a small tavern about two miles from Montreal is the appointed place of festivity. Last Thursday, being the day fixed for the first display, it was expected by all the belles with fluttering impatience. The Pic-Nic dinners of the Driving-club, are not such as described by Goldsmith;

“If our landlord supplies us with flesh and with fish,

Let each guest bring himself, and he brings the best dish.”

Each guest brings something much better, a good substantial eatable. When “the feast was united,” the table afforded a most pleasing coup d’œil, and what was most striking was the singular propriety with which each contribution was made. The president of the day was that eminent sporting character Captain Hornblow, his vice Mr. Dustworthy. As the party was numerous I can pretend only to give a short history of the principal dishes. The president exhibited a fine Hunch[3] of venison, which, though lean, had fair pretensions to the excellence of high flavour. The vice’s goose was very good of its kind, but it was remarked that it was not well dressed, and wanted what, in culinary language, is termed polish. The Loverule family sent a large Turkey Cock: this fine bird, the emblem of pride and stupidity, was well worthy of being considered a family dish. Mr. Nosy’s sheepshead, dressed à la blankette was excellent: many of the ladies remarked that it looked quite dying. A dish of Cockscombs, en papillotte, a joint contribution from the principal dandy-members was highly relished. General admiration was excited by the Count Oldjoseph’s Calfshead without brains quite au naturel: it was considered the largest that was ever seen in Montreal, and, with the Countess’s highly pickled tongue, pronounced a truly Epicurean treat. Mr. McRobem McKillem McSlaughterem sent a pan of Kail Brose accompanied with a handsome apology for such homely fare, and an expression of his extreme regret that he could not fulfil his intention of presenting the company with a beaver’s tail dressed in the Indian style, for that owing to recent events, which he would never cease to deplore, he had been obliged to break up his grand culinary establishment. A fine Trifle, highly admired by the ladies was easily recognized as the contribution en masse of the military members. There were many other admirable dishes but it would be tedious to particularise further. I must not however omit that Baron Grunt, being called away by his high legislative duties, begged the club to accept of a magnificent sillibub, as a substitute for himself.

The ball that followed went off with great éclat. Quadrilles, with the assistance of a little book, were gone through with the most delightful confusion. A dance was attempted which, after recommencing twenty times and still failing, it was found necessary to explain to the company was meant for a bólero. It was also currently reported that two grand-mothers and four maiden ladies remarkable for obesity and having long since passed their grand climacteric are taking lessons from a tall strapping dancing-master, and assiduously practising a polonaise,[4] with which they mean to open the ball at the next meeting. Mr. Loverule junior, to gratify his numerous friends and admirers, appeared in the costume of an Oriental dandy[5]: this has suggested the hint of a masquerade, of which I will not fail to give you the earliest account, should it take place.

At two o’clock the party separated, highly pleased with every part of the arrangements, and the president’s condescending politeness.

I am, Sir, your very obedient Servant.


[1] This figure of speech claims the Marquis of Londonderry for its author, and it is a phrase which, by its frequent repetition, his lordship feels can never tire. It is, however, the fate of merit to induce envy, and accordingly we find that the originality of this delicate idea is disputed by some persons, who cite the following anecdote in support of their opinion. About the time when the fashion of naked backs amongst the ladies first came up, a very fat lady, with her shoulders pinioned back, took her seat in the pit of the opera-house. The attention of Lord W——, who sat a short distance behind, was strongly attracted by the strange appearance of her back, and after viewing it attentively for some time, he took out his opera-glass for a more accurate examination. Unable to satisfy his doubts, he applied to a companion, who informed him that the object that had engaged his attention was the back of the dashing Mrs. B——. “And pray, sir,” said his lordship, “is she on her heels, or on her head?”——“Why,” replied the gentleman, “she is sitting in the usual way.”——“Upon my honour,” rejoined Lord W—— “I mistook it for quite another feature.”

[2] A coachman. Vide modern slang dictionary.

[3] This is the fashionable pronunciation of haunch, introduced by that master of the English language, the Marquis of Londonderry.

[4] This dance was introduced two years ago at Almack’s by the then Lady Castlereagh, who had learnt it from Prince Kissladieski at Vienna.

[5] In the fashionable phraseology of the West End, this term is applied to all persons East of Templebar, but more particularly to merchant’s sons and clerks who ape dandy-ism. I think it necessary to state this as it can not be supposed that this is the sense in which it is here used.

Mr. Macculloh presents his compliments to Mr. and Mrs. Tremble, and hopes they rested well after last night’s curtain-lecture. As he confidently trusts they have each fulfilled his directions, he knows that if they have continued in the practice of them for the fortnight during which their case has been before the Court, almost all the symptoms of the spice-box will have disappeared. If it breaks out afresh with too great a pungency, the lady and gentleman are requested to apply again, separately, to the Scribbler.

For the encouragement of what is evidently a very juvenile muse, I will give a place to the following lines by Eldulah.



One year more gone. Ah! heart-appalling thought?

’Tis hence, and never, never to return;

No miss-spent moments yet remain to pass;

No gleam of hope athwarts the dubious day,

But all is fled, nor left one thrilling sound.——

Mysterious round! where are thy moments fled?

Where are those jovial hours and joyful days?

Those pleasant walks beside the flowing stream

That seem’d to bear a pleasure on each wave,

And gently murmuring thro’ the distant vale

Hasten in narrow windings from our sight?

’Tis thus thou bearest hence each fragrant bud,

Just as a leaf floats on the buoyant wave,

Doth man ride on life’s transient bubble,

’Till mighty storms beat on his brow—then, lo!

He sinks, or driven to some lonely marsh,

He moulders back to dust. ’Till heaven flames,

He sleeps——then bursts the tomb (perhaps in grief)

And wakes with sleeping millions from their beds,

To live eternal ages.——

There are many faults and much to condemn, in a poetic point of view, in these lines; something like a bull or two seem to indicate the natal soil of the writer. But he appears to have a good ear for rhythm, altho’ there are one or two defective lines. The image of man floating like a leaf on the wave of time, and driven into a lonely marsh to moulder into dust, is novel and beautiful. I have enlarged upon this production more than its merit deserves, but have been induced to do so by considering it as the promise of better things.

L. L. M.

The Edinburgh Encyclopedia. A Prospectus for publishing this work, at a sum of £32 currency, with specimens, to be seen at H. H. Cunningham’s, Nickless and Macdonell’s, and the Montreal Library.


Misspelled words and printer errors have been corrected. Where multiple spellings occur, majority use has been employed.

Punctuation has been maintained except where obvious printer errors occur.


[The end of The Scribbler 1822-01-03 Volume 1, Issue 29 edited by Samuel Hull Wilcocke]