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Title: The Scribbler 1822-01-31 Volume 1, Issue 32

Date of first publication: 1822

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

Date first posted: Sep. 7, 2019

Date last updated: Sep. 7, 2019

Faded Page eBook #20190911

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, 31st January, 1822. No. XXXII.

Lusisti satis, edisti satis, atque bibisti,

Tempus abire tibi.


Of feast, and sport, and wine, and dance,

You’ve had enough, so homeward prance.


Natio comœda est.


Each country is a stage, its people players.


To Inspector General Macculloh.

One of my scouting parties has fallen in with one of the enemies spies. Among the papers found upon him was the following extraordinary document which I have had transcribed verbatim, with great care to preserve the style, orthography, &c. and have the honour of transmitting it to your Excellency.


New Bostown, Jany. 12, 1822.

Dear Neffew,

It is a great while since I did myself the pleasure of righting to you: In the first place of all I must tell you that I have set up keeping tavern about tue miles off of Montreal under the patronage of the Mr. Gabs who you know used to carry on the sheepskin manufactoring bisness but they have got monstrous rich by doing Government jobs, getting married, and a thousand other choses, which you know they possess a mighty geanous for. I have a right down good run of custom, consisting of all kinds of folks, indeed they seam to be as the ould saying is stark-mad. First the driving-club made up of the likeliest marchants of the town, and king George’s officers of the army; they ride in slays all around the town for two or three ours jist to shew themselves twice a week. They dress funny enough, and blow horns to contract notice, and the boys and dogs all run out to bark at them. But I dont care a darn fig for all this: they at last arrive to my house and bring with them what they call a pick-nick dinner, but I should call it the old Nick’s dinner for it is made up of a cold bit of every thing under the son. Then they drink tea. Then they dance quadrillions awhile, and then they cut up the rest of the pick-nick fragments, which they call supper; and then, after paying me my bill of notions and one thing another, you must know they all retire mightily tickled with the performance, and I am as tickled as any of them. I shall right you again before long: in the mean time I remain as ever, your affectionate

Ant Peg in the Country.

  Veluti in speculum.


“All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women in it merely players.”

Mr. Scribbler,

I hasten to communicate to you a piece of intelligence that must be highly gratifying, not only to the fashionable world, but to the public at large. You are aware that theatrical amusements have been long a desideratum in this place, and of the obstinate prejudices by which they have been constantly and successfully opposed. At last, however, opposition has been vanquished, and the drama will soon flourish, establishing its school of morality in the great, the enlightened, the renowned, town of Montreal. Whether a theatre is to be built, or a suitable edifice hired for the purpose, is not yet generally known, but the principal difficulty, that of procuring able performers, has been overcome in a manner that reflects the highest honour on those with whom the plan originated. The principal inhabitants have come forward, and are to perform the characters most suitable to their age, sex, talents and other endowments, natural and acquired. With so much alacrity was the suggestion adopted that crowds of efficient persons presented themselves, and made a selection both embarrassing and invidious. The committee to whom this delicate matter has been referred has done its duty in a manner that strongly evinces its great good sense and honest impartiality. It has however, been discovered with extreme regret that the majority is only fit for the performance of low characters and that genteel comedy must altogether be abandoned. Tragedy may be attempted with success, as there are in this department not a few able actors from who great things may be expected. Though all the characters are not yet appropriated, I believe you may rely on the accuracy of the following list which is pretty generally circulated.

Mr. Giles Lightfoot,[1]asBoniface,inthe Beaux Stratagem, or the Fortunate Adventurer.
Mr. Jarret,the Baron,Lover’s Vows.
Mr. Drybrains,Puff,the Critic.
Counsellor Roll-on,Lawyer Briefwit,A Rowland for an Oliver.
Mr. Justice Dearfool,Justice Greedy,A New Way to pay Old Debts.
Counsellor Hack,Counsellor Plausible,the Man of the World.
Mr. Jeo-pardy,Vapid,the Dramatist.
Mr. Loverule Junr.,Watty Cockney,the Citizen.
Mr. Show-belle,Bellamour,Is he Jealous?
Capt. Hornblow,Richard the 3d, and the Mail Coach guard,the Turnpike gate.
Counsellor Ali-Hassan,Col. Oldboy,the School for Fathers.
Rev. Mr. Rant-all,Father Paul,the Dueuna.
M. le Duc d’Argent-court,Lord Title-take,the School for Reform.
Lieuts. Slender and Slim,Noodle and Doodle,Tom Thumb.
Lieut. Charlie,Tom Thumb the great.
Mrs. Loverule,asMrs. Heidelberg,inthe Clandestine Marriage.
Mrs. Jarret,Mrs. Cheerly,the Soldier’s Daughter.
Mrs. G. Lightfoot,Wowski,Inkle and Varico.
Mrs. Yeanay,Mrs. Frail,Love for Love.
Mrs. Show-belle,Flirtilla,The Coquette.
The Lady of Mr. Justice Gobble,Lady Teazle,The School for Scandal.
Miss M’Gilliwiffit,Moll Flaggon,the Maid of the Mill.
Mrs. Hornblow,Mrs. Oakley,the Jealous Wife.

Of course much conversation is excited and a great deal of speculation is afloat as to the degree of ability which will distinguish each of these highly gifted persons. It is generally anticipated that Mr. Giles Lightfoot, from his hereditary qualifications, will most ably personate the jolly innkeeper. Mr. Jarret will give to baron Wildenheim all the hauteur that belongs to the character, but * * * * * * * * * * * It is the reported intention of Mr. Drybrains to enliven his Puff by introducing a few specimens of his happy talent of confounding metaphors[2] Vapid, though expressly written for that celebrated actor, Lewis, is a character of no power in other hands; Mr. Jeopardy, therefore, means between the acts to entertain the audience with select recitations from Joe Miller in his happiest manner. Natural abilities so entirely qualify Capt. Hornblow for Richard the Third, and his admirable performance on the bugle for the mail coach guard, that the amateurs are looking for a high treat. From some recent, though very private, exhibitions of his theatrical talents, expectation is on tiptoe as to Mr. Rantall’s Father Paul; he will completely sink the parson in the monk.[3] The consequential importance of a provincial attorney and the pomposity of a pettifogger will be most ably displayed in the Briefwit of Mr. Roll-on. As to the ladies, it is generally remarked that Mrs. Loverule will do to the life the proud and consequential merchant’s wife. The Soldier’s Daughter will lose nothing in Mrs. Jarret’s hands. Pure nature will shine in Mrs. Giles Lightfoot’s Wowski. The courage and ambition of Mrs. Gobble are highly admired in selecting so arduous a part, for lady Teazle, though bred in the country amongst rustic relations before her marriage, soon adopted the manners and polish of a fashionable extravagante. The Jealous Wife will be sustained by Mrs. Hornblow with great ability: the scene where she pretends to faint it is expected will be her best. There are many more conjectures as to dresses, decorations &c. but my time will not permit me to enter upon them at present. It is however known for a certainty that Macbeth will be got up in the first rate style of splendour, and the Thane of Cawdor is to find a most able representative in a gentleman who has for many years been the principal manager of a Company[4] who have long acted with the greatest eclat the deepest tragedy in the North Western regions of America. When the second list is made out, and I can communicate any thing further, you shall hear again from your very obedient Servant.


[1] From the great antiquity of this gentleman’s family, genealogists have conjectured that it must be coeval with the conquest, and the name, originally Norman French, Gil-Leste-Pied, of which Giles Lightfoot is merely a translation, according to a fashion in vogue about two hundred years ago.

[2] Rumour adds that Mr. D. will amuse the audience by ingeniously imitating the mewing of a cat, in the same inimitable style which gained him great applause at a late evening action. The character of ancient Pistol in the Merry Wives of Windsor was offered him, but he declared he could not even bear the sound of the name.

[3] It has been more than rumoured that in the convent-scene he will introduce the following song expressly written for the occasion, to the tune of “A trifling song you shall hear.”

A curate in England was I,

  I’m famous at all holy work:

My learning is not very high,

  But I shine at the knife and the fork.


Pig, custard, roast beef, and mince pies

  And every description of jelly;

These are the delight of my eyes,

  But still more the delight of my belly.


A bottle or two of Old Port

  Without sin a true churchman may swallow:

Many bishops have done it at court;

  And examples so good I must follow.


Here goes, mother church, then, for ever,

  As long as I’ve breath I will sing;

Like the vicar of Bray I shall never

  But pray for whoever is king.

                      Sing fal de ral al fal lal &c.

[4] The conduct of this Company to the author who used to supply them with their best pieces has been censured as cruel and oppressive in the highest degree. They have not only refused to pay him for his compositions, by which for several seasons the whole credit of the Company was kept up, because there was only a verbal and no written engagement, but have trumped up a demand against him which, with their good will, may condemn him to imprisonment for life. But every one of the dramatic corps who served them have been treated alike, and turned adrift when they could dispense with their services.

Amateur theatricals having commenced at Quebec, (the second representation being announced for the 1st of next month, to-morrow, when Speed the Plough and We fly by night, are to be performed by officers of the garrison,) I hereby give notice that candidates for the offices of inspector and reporter of the Amateur Theatre at Quebec may send specimens of the mode in which they can fill the duties of those stations, until Saturday the 9th February, as on the following Thursday I shall proceed to appoint the best qualified to be my regular deputies in that department.



Mr. Macculloh,

Dear Honey,

      I happened d’y see the other day to cast my eye on your Scribbler, where I sees a string of blarney about the what d’ye call ’em club; now, as soon as I sees it, what does I but starts off to Pat Goff, a camrogue of my own. Pat, says I, I has a mind to write to the scribbling jontleman myself, and let him know the traitment I recaived from one of them drivers: “ ’tis yourself that is able to do it nately,” says Pat, “for we all know, sure, that you’re a man of larning.” So I sits down to tell you all about it. Now you must know, that about tin days ago, as I was trotting fair and aisy down the Quaybeck suburbs, singing to my self Pantheen O’Rafferty, up drives a great jontleman, and says, “get out of the way you drunken Irish blackguard.” “As to my being drunk, plase your honour,” says I, “divil fire the sup have I tasted, since morning prayers, save a noggin of gin I took to keep the cowld out of my poor heart. I am an Irishman, God help me, and that skin, liver and lites, but no blackguard, saving your presence, so it is very ungentale of you to hurt my character forenant my face.” “I’m one of the driving-club,” said he, “and if you don’t clear out, I’ll run over you.” “The divil drive you and your club, you dirty spalpeen,” says I, for my blood rose up above my good manners. “Och! and may my teet never fight wid a Munster paratee, if I stirs a foot, and if one of your horse-baists lays his hands upon me, I will drop him as nate as a new laid egg,” and wid that I gives a rale Connaught flourish wid my black thorn tooth-pick. Then out jumps my jontleman sure enough, wid his horse-whip in his fist, and makes up to me. “Keep clear of me, friend,” says I, “wid your jokes, for I am apt to be short tempered,” so I hits him a back-handed skelp under the smellers, which laid him on the flat of his back in the snow. He shouted out murder, and swore I had kilt him, “you lie,” says I, “ ’twas yourself began it, and ’tis myself that hopes you will never lift a horse-whip over an Irishman’s head in haste again, long life to you.” So I bids him good morning very gentalely, and made the best of my way home.

In hopes that you will put this in your book, and do a dacent thing, I remains,

Your most obedient,


his hand and fist.

Want of room alone prevents due notice being taken of the interesting communications of Sennex, and Jack at a Pinch. In the next number they will be attended to. So will the hints and information given by A Spectator; as may also Necromancer’s whose letter has, he will perceive, been partly availed of.

Guesticus is too late, but is requested to send a report of the action of the 14th.

The verses by Abelard are evidently the genuine effusion of the heart, but are too incorrect for publication in their present state, if he will allow of their being corrected and curtailed, they shall appear.

It is with reluctance that the productions of a female muse are refused admittance, but Sophia’s lines are far below the standard of merit required in this work. Indeed it is rather suspected that they are the fruit of the idle hour of a school-boy, and that miss Sophia’s brother has borrowed her name.

An apology is due to the Dramatis Persona for the omission of some of his characters and remarks, which have been considered by the publisher as too severe.


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 1822-01-24 Volume 1, Issue 32 edited by Samuel Hull Wilcocke]