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Cejyris^t, 1889. 






Surely there stand few nobler cities than 
Montreal — surely none more fairly situated. 
Upon the banks of the St. Lawrence Montreal 
lifts her thousand roofs toward the faint blue 
of the Canadian sky, and her sons speak with 
many tongues of the young nation to whose 
tniterprise and daring she is a living, a growing 

To-day Montreal ranks as the largest and 
most important of Canadian cities. She has a 
population of two hundred thousand souls — 
including her suburbs — composed mainly of 
English and French Canadians. To these add 
German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, and Chinese, 
and it will be seen that Montreal's inhabitants 
are from every clime and of many tongues. 

Not ^one ^s to numbers does Montreal 



claim pre-eminence over her neighbors. Her 
commerce is far-reaching, and for its accommo- 
dation she has built the finest wharf-frontage 
in the world. Come with me to the northern 
approach of the Victoria Bridge — that monu- 
ment of engineering skill — and look toward the 
east. Far almost as the eye can reach are to 
be seen the ships of many nations freighted 
with the products of distant lands. The Grand 
Trunk and Canadian Pacific railways here find 
their headquarters, and Montreal is thus the 
centre and distributing point of two of the 
greatest railway systems in the world. 

Within the city the traveller meets every 
evidence of nineteenth-century progress. Let 
him drive along St. Paul Street, and its solid 
warehouses must impress him with the wealth 
and commerce of the city. Escort him to Sher- 
brooke Street, and he will see on either side 
the evidences of the good taste and refinement 
of the Montrealer. 

vShould he be lucky enough to visit Montreal 
during her Winter Carnival, let him mafk well 
the fair and smiling faces of her daughters, 
the stalwart forms of her sons. If, after this, 


NOT AS WB 8SB1C 5 . 

he would deny to Montreal her many beauties 
he must indeed be as prejudiced as a Bostonian 
or as ignorant as a Londoner. 

But you, the resident of Montreal, what do 
you know of your own city ? The Parisian 
prides himself upon his native city, and for 
hours he can discourse upon her loveliness. 
** See Paris and die," he says with an air of 
superiority truly French. Even the Neapoli- 
tan — down-trodden, priest-ridden, dirty, and un- 
happy- was impelled to reply, " See Naples 
and live." To the New-Yorker there is no 
street like Broadway; to the Londoner, no park 
like Hyde Park. Boston, the butt of small 
wits who prate incessantly of " baked beans" 
and call her the home of sluggers, still boasts 
of her culture, and the Bostonian, according to 
W. D. Howells, is loud in praise of the beauty 
and refinement of Beacon Street and Common- 
wealth Avenue. 

What hav^e you, dear Montrealer, to say of 
your native city ? 


It is certain as night follows day that the 
ignorance of the Montrealer, as regards Mon- 



treal, is as dense as it is remarkable. A witty 
king of France once said, after hearing a ser- 
mon by tiie Abbd Maury, "If he knew a little 
about religion he would know a little about 
everything. It might well be said of the 
Montrealcr that all he requires to be a well- 
informed man is an acquaintance with his native 
city. It is certain that he is lacking in knowl- 
edge and appreciation of his own city. Upon 
other subjects he is at least the equal of his 
American cousins. 

Would indeed that it was the object of this 
short sketch to open the eyes of the dweller in 
the Canadian metropolis to the beauties of his 
native city, or to lead the stranger to visit there 
and enjoy its hospitality ! Fain would we dwell 
longer upon its public buildings, its parks, its 
railways, and its people. Another and a less 
pleasant task is before us. 

To Montreal, as to every great city, flows each 
year the ceaseless tide of immigration. It brings 
with it the young man and maiden upon the 
threshold of independent life, — recruits for the 
great army of wage-earners and breadwinners. 
Driven perhaps by desperation from the shores 



of unhappy Ireland, or, it may be, leaving the 
quiet of the simple Cawadian village, they enter 
within the city's walls and begin a life to whose 
hardships they are unaccustomed, against whose 
temptations, alas ! they may not be proof. 

Does it not become a duty to warn them ? 
If aught written here should bo the means of 
guiding aright one stumbler's feet, this book 
has not been written in vain. 

•' But," say resident and visitor alike, " Mon- 
treal is a fairly moral city. It is not like Lon- 
don or Paris; it 's different from New York 
and Chicago. You would not compare it with 
Boston, where Si i with painted face and gaudy 
dress nightly walks the cfowded streets. It is 
not St. Louis, where the Lord's Day is forgot- 
ten, nor New Orleans, where gambling is car- 
ried on with open doors. In short, Montrealers 
do not seem to be strugglers in that insane race 
for inordinate wealth which is the moral ruin 
of so many cities of the New World." 

No ; Montreal at least wears not its scars 
upon its face that all may see them. The 
Pharisaical Montrealer ofttlmes is thankful that 
his city is not as other cities are. 


"{J -. - 


The Canadian who judges of New York life 
through the medium of Lawyer Hummel's 
book "Danger" or Talmage's sermons on 
*'The Night Side of New York," and whose 
ideas of Chicago are derived from one of 
" Pinkerton's Detective Series," who reads i ' 
the pages of Gautier, wSylvcster, or Zola of th^ 
awful vices and shameless profligacy of modern 
Paris, is justified in believing that Montreal, 
with all her sins upon her head, is no sink of 
iniquity like these. But for all her modest 
face, her moral ways, and her countless 
churches, the Canadian metropolis is not only 
to be seen on a sunny September afternoon. 
There is a reverse to the medal. 

Montreal has indeed its seamy side ; and the 
young and inexperienced will do well to read 
and profit by another's knowledge, else their 
ignorance may cost them dear. 

Back of the well-lighted streets and the 
open, honest faces are other streets whose 
lights burn not so brightly, and other faces not 
so fair. 

Come with me, dear reader, and you will see 
where Sin and Misery dwell together, — where 

i.-JigiW^'.V^yf^^^ij' ^^ g ? ^. 


the gambler behind close-drawn curtains and 
locked doors is winning the money his victim 
can ill alTord to lose; where gilded \ ice in its 
every form holds high holiday, ande very shred 
of modesty and virtue lies torn and bleeding ; 
to houses of quiet looks and sombre appear- 
ance, where is nightly told 

"The same sad, wretc. . 1 story that for ages bards 
have sung, 
Of a woman weal .nd villinc: :ind a villain'^ t^'mpt- 
ing tongue" — 

where Virtue at hA surrenders, and insane de- 
sire with burning eye- seizes upon its prey; 
where wretched men in stiliiiig j>est-holes 
drink madly their ruin here and hereafter, 
while near at hand, perhaps, their family, with 
hunger faint, cry for bread in accents which 
would melt a statue. Walk with me through 
factories which know neither air nor sunlight, 
where children of tender years are forced by 
cruel parents to work from chili morning to 
dewy night for wages such as are supposed to 
be paid only in London or New York. 

It may be then that the Canadian will recog- 
nize that London is not alone "the modern 



Babylon," but that the Minotaur of brutal lust 
and the blind worshipper o^ Mammon live in 

their midst. He will see then tha* because 


Montr ;al has no Hay market, no Chelsea Gar- 
dens, it is not therefore a very citadel of virtue, 
but that the scarlet woman is our neighbor and 
flaunts her sin in our faces. 

Upon the streets of Montreal are daily seen 
the cheery faces and ofttimes is heard the 
merry laughter of the young toilers in the 
ranks of labor. But behind the smiling lips is 
there not often the sad heart, and is not the 
laughter forced and hollow ? 

Last and greatest of all, think you that the 
modern plague of London is not known to us ? 
Are we not infected ? In the thirteen hundred 
places where strong drink is sold, one liquor 
store to every one hundred and fifty inhabitants, 
can you not find food for reflection — aye, and 
a field for labor ? 

Let the Canadian think these things over. 
Let him come with me, and he will find more 
things in Montreal than are dreamt of in his 

What say you ? 





Of late years, the fashionable world of Lon- 
don, wearied in its pursuit of pleasure, its sated 
senses sleeping from excess of excitement, its 
every conceivable source of enjoyment failing, 
betook itself to scenes of which it until then 
had but a shadowy idea. The Park and Rot- 
ten Row, Lord's, Hurlinghame, Richmond, 
the theatre and the opera-house, had all been 
done to death. The parade in the Park, the 
shooting at Hurlinghame, the sports at Lord's, 
and the drives and suppers at Richmond no 
longer supplied the devotees of pleasure with 
their needed stimulant. The stage-manage- 
ment of an Irving, the graces of a Terry, the 
music of Patti's voi* c, or the harmonies of 
Hans Richter's orchestra at the Albert Hall 
were seen, heard, and admired. But this was 
not sensation, to stir the feeble pulse and send 
the patrician blood coursing through shrivelled 

B,J.3U\--'J. ■ 

- ■ > j^..-. »<-*%Q.- t Fit ^^nfciTJi— Lj -■V*' afj - 




veins with new life. Where could the nobility 
find a relief from the monotony of fashionable 
London life ? Every sight and every scene in 
society was familiar and wearisome. The per- 
son who could find for these — the salt of the 
earth — a new diversion, one which would prove 
a pleasure, not a penalty, might claim from 
them I he ransom of a king. He would be 
honored, paragraphed, interviewed, and his 
name would be known and famous wherever 
the English newspapers were read. He might 
even be given an entire paragraph in the 
columns of the Morning Post. Surely, with 
such iiiduccments before them, the wise and the 
witty of London town would find this water of 
life, this long-sought diversion. The man who 
could once more supply the bluest blood in 
England with " one crowded hour of glorious 
life" must be found. 

One fine day he appeared. 

Who was he, this benefactor, this Moses who 
was to prove a leader for the chosen people ? 
Was he already known to fame, noble and rich, 
or was he only some obscure public-house 
keeper who had Invented a new drink, some 



low sporting man who had devised some 
species of contest more exciting than fox- 
\hunting, more brutal than coursing, more de- 
grading than prize-fighting ? 

It was nothing of this kind. 

The (Edipus who had solved this riddle, or, 
more properly speaking, had suggested the 
solution, was only a simple paragraph in a 
London daily. 

What did it say, what secret had it revealed, 
to so shake fashionable London to its very 
heart ? 

Only this and nothing more : 

" On Thursday night last. Sir Charles Gran- 
dison, accompanied by his wife, Sir Paul Parra- 
vicin his cousin, and his two nieces the Honor- 
able Misses Herbert of Herbert House, xvent, 
went through some of the lowest districts of 
Whitechapel and Billingsgate. Their visit was 
the subject of much discussion at the reception 
at Buckingham Palace last night." 

This, then, vas the long-sought amusement — 
the pleasure which could never pall, which age 
could not wither, nor custom stale. The parade 
and pomp of the fashionable world, its glitter 



THE TgNEMBin'-UOUbi:. 

and its show, so tiresome and so enervating, must 
pale its ineffectual fires before this latest and 
best diversion. The poor, the wretched, the 
downtrodden, and the starving, with hunger in 
their eyes and misery written in indelible marks 
upon their features, could supply an inexhaust- 
ible source of pleasure ; and perhaps out of it all 
some good might come. Maybe some patri- 
cian heart, less flinty than the other, would hear 
the song of sorrow and lend a willing hand to 
smooth the path of poverty and sin. 

Like a storm, the new craze spread over the 
tight little island. Nothing was heard but 
"The Bitter Cry of Outcast London," The 
reviews and the dailies teemed with news from 
the foulest quarters of the vilest city in the 
world. Photographs of professional beauties 
and notorious actresses for a time were at a 
discount, and in their places shop-windows held 
** Interior of a Whitechapel Lodging-house," 
" View of a Tenement near the Docks," and 
" Group of Men and Women in Little Crooked 
Street, off Mile-End Road/' Night after night 
the best biood in England thronged to the dis- 
tricts where Comfort and Honesty are un- 




known, and where Abject Poverty and Brutal 
Vice hold high carnival. 

Like absinthe to the dram-drinker, like free- 
dom to the convict, the latest amusement came 
with a novelty and a charm simply irresistible. 
It gave the pleasure-sated Englishman a new 
and curious feeling, not perhaps entirely agree- 
able, but fascinating: it compelled him to 
think, to ponder awhile upon the sin and sor 
row which lay scarce concealed below the sur- 
face of Merry England, and which smouldered 
with a threatening light. 

The amusement travelled. 

New York, English as she would be, was 
not to be outdone in the eager pursuit of 
pleasure. Hardly had the news crossed the 
water that "The Prince of Wales formed one 
of a slumming party last Monday," than every 
would-be chappie in the fashionable clubs and 
restaurants of the city decided that he too must 
see those sights and hear those sounds in imi- 
tation of "the First Gentleman in Europe." 

And so it came about that the beings who 
prowl about the narrow, dark, and crooked 
streets surrpunding Chatham Square and the 






lower end of the Bowery, the unfortunates 
who live in sky-scraping tenements, stifling al- 
ley-ways, and dark, damp cellars on Pell and 
Baxter and Mulberry streets, were nightly 
astonished by visits from strangers who peered 
about, laughed and jested, and departed. 

The craze never reached Montreal. It might 
be that the inhabitants of the metropolis of 
Canada were not sufficiently loyal to follow in 
the footsteps of the most distinguished admirer 
of the sport, or perhaps they read of the mis- 
ery and poverty of London and New York, 
and forgot the slums within their own ci'/'s 
walls, and the starving poor at their own doors. 

The latter is the true cause. 

Montreal tenement-life has its dark and 
seamy side, for all that it boasts of no nine- 
story rookeries whose condition is a folly and 
a shame unto New York. Come with me into 
the poorer quarters of the city, and you will hear 
the voice of hunger in accents not less eloquent 
than would greet you in Mulberry Bend or 
Mile-End Road. Walk in the streets running 
up from the St. Lawrence River, and you will 
see faces which tell of sorrow and privation 



not less plainly than if you encounter them on 
Elizabeth Street or the Old Bow Road. 

Some years ago, the Montreal Star^ as a 
cheerful subject for Christmas-time, published 
a series of articles upon the slums of Montreal. 
Well-written and clever, they excited much at- 
tention at the time, and to this day the " Little 
Windsor" and the " Piggery" are not forgotten. 

Upon a much-frequented street in the vicinity 
of St. Ann's Market on McGill Street is a four- 
story stone building whose walls seem to 
have come apart, not for the purpose of ad- 
mitting heaven's fresh air, but to allow the 
noxious exhalations from within to escape. 
Formerly used as a hotel, it is now a low lodg- 
ing-house, and within its four walls and upon 
its four stories lived at one time no less than 
twenty-eight families. In the direst poverty, 
in abject want, without air, with no appliances 
for health and decency, in dirt and filth appal- 
ling, over one hundred and ten human beings 
herded like rats in a pit, barely existing from day 
to day. Small wonder was it that when the 
awful small-pox epidemic of 1885 visited and 
devastated the city, it found fair fuel in this 



den. From morning to night could be seen 
the burial-carts of the city standing in front of 
the door, as if waiting until the pestilence 
should claim another victim. They seldom 
waited in vain. Dying of this foul and filthy 
disease, the child of dirt and uncleanness, the 
unfortunate lay with others scarcely human in 
this pest-house in the heart of the city. Slowly 
upon him would steal the deep stupor, the sure 
precursor of death ; fainter and fainter still the 
heart would — beat a quiet, almost imperceptible 
sigh, and another soul had left the house of 
death. Thrown into a box of unplaned boards, 
the corpse would be carried down and pitched 
into the burial-cart, and the slums of Montreal, 
aided and abetted by dirt and unsanitary condi- 
tions, had claimed another victim. 

When the plague had stayed its Hand, the 
officers of the law investigated this sink-hole. It 
was reported unfit for habitation, and the occu^ 
pants were compelled to move. A few trilling 
alterations were made to the place, but it still 
remains, a disgrace to Montreal, but surely 
taking high rank as a "A Slum." 

Upon a narrow and unfrequented street in 




the vicinity of McCord Street, and adjoining 
the Lachine Canal, stands a row of tenement- 
houses. To the passer-by, their neat and clean 
appearance without would attract attention in 
so squalid and poor a district. One thing in- 
deed was more than noticeable : even in sum- 
mer no open blinds gave the inquiring eyes of 
outsiders the satisfaction they craved. In winter 
thick curtains behind the double windows shut 
out the occupants of the outside world. 

What secret is hidden behind those brick 
walls? What scenes are enacted on the other 
side of the curtains ? 

Come with me and see. 

Upon the ground-floor of No. 127, the first 
in the row% live in three rooms two families. 
Eleven human beings — created in the image 
of their Maker — eat, drink, sleep, and perhaps 
wash in these three rooms. In a Christian city 
is this right ? 

Upon a bed in the smallest room of all, 
covered with dirty and tattered blankets, lies 
the form of a man. The pale face, sunken 
eyes, and wasted cheeks need no interpreter^ 
Here sorrow, poverty, and hunger speak 




in tongue that all may hear and understand. 
This man, until lately a stonemason upon the 
works for the new Canal, was seriously injured 
by the falling upon him of some heavy stones. 
At first he deemed his injuries trifling, and was 
glad to accept a paltry hundred dollars from 
his employer in full of all claims for injuries 
received while in his employ. But the days 
moved on, the obstinate flesh refused to heal, 
days became months, and he was compelled to 
sell his furniture and move to his present dwel- 
ling. His wife earns an occasional dollar, 
which always goes the way of the corner 
saloon, and his three young sons sell papers. 
In this way they exist. 

The second family who occupy this tene- 
ment are in even a worse plight. They are 
husband and wife with no children, but they 
are always drunk. When they cannot buy 
the liquor they steal it. 

In the third room, which is used for bed- 
room, kitchen, and occasionally as a wash- 
room, four unfortunates sleep as best they can. 
They are the young children of a man who 
deserted his family, and of a woman driven to 

tnt tfiKBlfBNT-HOUSle. 


death by drink. The kind-hearted neighbors 
once in a while give them food and drink, and 
the eldest boy makes enough from odd jobs 
to pay two dollars a month for rent of his 
den. Here is squalor and misery ; in a room 
reeking with vile odors and foul with dirt, 
he and three sisters lie out upon the floor and 
sleep as best they can. 

Do you still doubt Montreal has no tene- 
ments where cleanliness and health are un- 

Come with me to the second story, and 
read another lesson from the Book of Sorrow. 

In three rooms whose condition is fouler, if 
possible, than the apartments downstairs live 
a husband and wife and nine children. Again 
eleven persons, where there should be but 
five. The w^ater turned off, the sink long ago 
choked up, the floors thick with dir*,, and a 
swarm of children almost naked roll upon the 
floor, gathering more dirt as they play. Upon 
a bed in the corner, a drunken man ; in a 
broken chair, a woman sobbing. It is enough. 

Upon the top floor tho partitions dividing 
the rooms have been torn down, and the floor 

I I 



is pile 1 with rags — foul-looking and ill-smell- 
ing. The holes in the roof have been patched 
up with paper and anything handy. 

But th'j room is deserted. Does no one 
occupy this flat } is it untenanted ? 

Go there at night, when the horrors of the 
place are made more horrible by shadows 
dark md forbidding. Upon this floor, scarce 
twenty-four feet long and nine broad, are 
stretched fourteen men and boys. Fourteen, 
did you say ? 

Aye, fourteen and sometimes more, for this 
room is let to a harpy in humnn form, who 
in turn sublets it to any man willing to pay 
ten cents a night. The lowest in this poverty- 
stricken district congregate there : disease-rid- 
den, loathsome, and drunken lie down side by 
side, and snatch as best they can a few hours 
of heavy and unrefreshing sleep. 

What need to go farther ? Why visit No. 
129 or No. 131, and hear again with silent 
tongue this sad, sad tale of woe? We would 
but listen to the same story told in other 
words; we would but feel the same tugging 


ii i 





at our heart-strings and be saddened. We 
can do no good. 

There is no need to visit the tumble-down 
dwellings in the East End — dwellings, which 
lie in rows between such streets as Visita- 
tion and Beaudry, or Wolfe, or Montcalm. It 
is not necessary to see the interior of the 
mean and dirty tenements on the Ruelle Pcr- 
rault or the Rue Labelle. The crumbling 
houses on Barrack and old St. Paul streets 
near the river would repeat to us what we have 
already heard. 

Farther east, again, in Hochelaga, in dwell- 
ings not fit for human habitation, live the 
countless workers in mill and machine-shop, 
in factory and in foundry ; their wages re- 
duced year by year by grinding competition 
and tariff-fattened monopoly, or ofttimes driven 
out of employment entirely by the arms of 
fast-toiling, never-wearying machinery. In 
these districts, not thickly populated like New 
York, or Paris, or London, the misery is scat- 
tered. The tenement-houses do not raise their 
hideous heads to heaven in endless rows, far as 
the eye can reach. Often they are semi-de- 




tached, or in groups of two or three ; but the 
misery, the poverty, the sorrow are there. 

We will not take the visitor to the dense 
and stifling lodging-houses of the East End 
on St. Constant or Jacques Cartier streets, 
where wretched men and sinful women lease 
rooms, and live concealed from the public eye. 
They are there. To describe them all would 
be a Herculean task. 

Some day, it may be, organized charity will 
see fit to look with searching eyes into this 
evil so widespread and serious. Individual 
effort is almost useless. The sad facts must 
be accepted and sorrowed over. 



It may truthfully be said that as most fac- 
tories are run in daytime except at very 
Dusy times, when they are kept running at 
night, the heading of this chapter is rather 
at variance with the title of the book. The 



reader may thus be reminded of the book by a 
forgotten author who in beginning a chapter on 
'* The Snakes of Ireland " prefaced it by say- 
ing "there are no snakes in Ireland," and he 
may complain thereat. 

Should these objections be carried out to 
their legitimate conclusion, the title of this 
sketch would not apply to sundry other chap- 
ters. We could make a rcductio ad absurdum 
and find that the main streets of Montreal for 
many years have been lighted by electric light, 
and much of our edifice so patiently con- 
structed would thus be demolished almost at a 

The objection would have no foundation in 
sober ear.iest. In using the title " Montreal 
by Gaslij.;ht" the endeavor was made to at- 
tract attention to the darker side of our city 
life, to expose its sin, its shame, and its sorrow 
as with a limelight, and to stir up our citizens 
to seek a ^emedy for each particular evil. 
Had we the spear of Iihuriel that we might 
illumine with cekstial fire each subject we 
touched, the heavenly light would be none too 
bright, none too strong. 



The stranger standing upon Mount Royal, 
and seeing the fair city sleeping at its slope, 
could not fail to notice the number of tall 
chimneys rising heavenward in the clear blue 
of the Canadian sky. Were he a man of ob- 
servation and thought, he would say to him- 

" Here is a city where Vulcan forges in many 
places, where Commerce centres and distributes 
tiie wares of weary toil. In its thousands of 
factories and workshops, its mills and its 
foundries, are crowded the poor of every 
class, of many nations, and of all ages. Their 
condition, social, mental, moral, aaid physical, 
will be of interest to me. I will visit them." 

It is no subject for congratulation to Mon- 
treal that in some respects the state of its la- 
boring population is better than in the larger 
cities of the world. There are not in Mon- 
treal any 5uch human beehives as in the cigar 
factories and clothing houses of lower New 
York, but there is a depth of ignorance, of un- 
progressiveness, in the ranks of the toilers of 
the East End of London, which would open 
the eyes of iie cultured West-Ender. 



It may sound unfair and biassed to speak 
against the state of the French Canadian popu- 
lation of the Faubourg de Quebec, but the 
facts are there. By some their condition has 
been charged to account of the mother church, 
whose poHcy of repression in reHgious thought 
has caused a positive stagnation in matters 
secular. It may be that the wishes of the 
priesthood with regard to the advisability of 
early marriages has caused this arrest of physi- 
cal progress. Certain it is that, with few ex- 
ceptions, the advanced workers, the promoters, 
the pioneers in lower Canada have been the 
English, and the classes who compose the 
manufacturing woikers of the East End of 
Montreal have been left far behind in the race 
for progress. 

Living in the latter part of the nineteenth 
century as he does, the French Canadian 
worker of Montreal is still indeed "lenfant 
de I'ancien r^^gime." He walks with us and 
works for us, but his thoughts, his habits, and 
his ideas are two centuries behind. Living in a 
land where religious, literary, and moral and 
mental progress arc nt rly at the highest point 


tllE FACTORt". 

of development, he does not take advantage of 
his position, but remains stationary. 

Far in the East End of Montreal, an enor- 
mous five-story brick building spreads its hid- 
eous length along the shores of old St. Law- 
rence. The hideous noises proceeding there- 
from attract at once the attention of the 
passer by. It is a cotton-mill, created by a 
protective tariff, and fostered by the care of the 

Within its bare walls the busy toilers sit in 
stifling air, and work until nightfall. If it be 
true that man must work, then work under 
these conditions is not so hateful. Upon the 
faces of its many workers can seldom be read 
the sign of starvation : it is fair at the surface. 

But let us look deeper. Here sits a man a 
shade paler perhaps than his fellows, but not 
otherwise noticeable. His face, essentially 
French, marks him a descendant of the original 
invaders of the land, and it bears the imprint 
of care. He knows that a reduction of hands 
is threatened, and, if it comes, he must go. 
Over-competition has spoilt the business of 
late years, and the periodical reduction will 



likely come around. He .vill be unprepared. 
At home a wife and six children wait for him. 
Upon the wages paid him, his family and him- 
self barely exist ; saving is out of the ques- 

Now and again the question enters his mind : 
Why is there trouble ahead? If he had not 
married young, life would be comparatively 
easy for him. Well, he married early because 
his father did, and his grandfather before him, 
and '!ie Church encouraged him. True, his 
ancestors did not work in a stifling factory, 
but were tillers of the soil ; but he forgot that 
when he married. Is it the fault of the fac- 
tory for not paying better wages? Be it as it 
may, the outlook is far from cheering. 

But his case is indeed insignificant when 
we look deeper and further. 

One of the most profitable industries in 
Montreal is the business of cigar-making. 
There is little or no tenement-house work done 
at this date, but what of the factories ? 

Let us visit them. The attempt, if success- 
ful, will not be without interest. 

On this head let justice be done first, that no 




J ■■ I 
V ' 



man may suffer undeserved loss, even in the 
estimation of humanity. There is one factory 
in Montreal, — the largest in Canada, — situ- 
ated not far from the Theatre Royal, where 
injustice and misery are not known, where 
cleanliness is as marked a feature of the estab- 
lishment as its opposite at the majority of sim- 
ilar factories. Its owner is to-dav rich and 
respected, and his money has not been made 
through the tears and privations of his fellows. 

Ouitc recentlv a labor commission was ap- 
pointed to sit in Montreal and sift the evi- 
dences of unfairness, injustice, uncleanness, 
immorality, and unhealthiness of the various 
labor-employing establishments of Montreal. 
First upon the black-list of dishonor stood the 
cigar factories. 

Commission was appointed to sit in Mon- 
treal and sift the evidences of unfairness, in- 
justice, uncleanness, immorality, and unhealthi- 
ness of the various labor-employing establish- 
ments of Montreal. First upon the Black 
List of Di;:honor stood the cigar factories. 

What four revelations came as a result of 
that commission, — what heartrending stories 


,* ,4 
* -J. 



of unfair wa^cs, unjust fines, inhuman over- 
seers, and unhealthy factories ! What man can 
read the sad story of wrong done by employer 
to employed without realizing the truth of the 
lines that 

"Man's inhumanity to man 
Makes countless thousands mourn." 

Aye ! did they read of the child-labor and 
its sad results in Montreal's cigar factories they 
would weep their eyes dry. Did they know of 
the danger to body and mind, to the health and 
morals of the employees of these Canadian 
galleys, ground down by grasping employers 
and abused by brutal ov^erscers, they would 
have realized that within their own city was a 
white slavery worse than the darkest hours in 
the South befor" the war. 

The Labor Commission has done much to 
improve the condition of the toilers in the 
many cigar factories of the city. The Cigar 
Makers' Union has lent a helping hand, and 
yet, while much has been done, more remains. 

If we can pass the Argus-eyed guardian who 
watches the factory door, and effectually pro- 

.'J£ A*--*^ 



vides against violation of the notice which so 
boldly stares us in the face, " Positively no ad- 
mittance," we will form ourselves into a com- 
mission of two and investigate for ourselves. 

Past the door, up two flights of dark and 
narrow stairs, v/e hear the sound of machinery 
and the hum of voices. Ere we have time to 
fully appreciate the consequences to the em- 
ployers of a fire in such a death-trap, we see 
before us one of the work-rooms. 

Here, in stifling air foul with odors of to- 
bacco, machine-oil, perspiration, and a thousand 
other evil-smelling substances, are seated the 
slaves of the leaf. Young and old, women and 
men, boys and girls, from seven o'clock in the 
morning until six o'clock at night, with one 
short hour for dinner, they toil for three dollars 
a week and sometimes two. There are no 
toilet appliances, no fire escapes, no facilities 
for ventilation : there is nothing but work and 
a brutal foreman to enforce it. 

Of the facts brought to light by the Labor 
Committee, we must take but passing notice. 
The brutal beatings, the want of privacy be- 
tween the sexes, and the unjust finings and 



Imprisoriment in the Mack holes are almost 
done a\v^;- with ; bul liie abuses of improper 
ventilation, the want of fire appliances, and 
the like, remain unto tliis clay. 

It is not alone of cotton-mills and cigar fac- 
tories that we might write. Hardly any class 
of manufacturing in Montreal but has its 

Walk thrc gh the boot and shoe factories, 
the house . where ready-made clothing work is 
farmed out, the type-foundries and printing- 
houses, and the thousand other industries of 
the city, and everywhere can be learnt the same 
lesson. From e ery branch of toil comes the 
sad story of long hours, unsteady work, low 
wages, and improper treatment — in a word, 
the slavery of labor and ignorance to capital 
and enterprise. 

It does not come within the province of 
such a book at this to advocate or even suggest 
a remedy for this sad state of affairs. It should 
be sufficient that we draw attention to the facts. 

But a few words ere closing this subject, 

Montreal to-day is growing fast. Within 
her boundaries are livincr nearly two hundred 




thousand souls. Situated as she is, at the head 
of navigation, and being, as she is, the head- 
quarters of two of tiie largest railway corpora- 
tions in the world, Montreal's rranufacturing 
interests must grow apace. The number of 
her toilers in the vineyard is increasing daily. 

But is their condition improving? Will 
labor in Montreal throughout the coming years 
be happy, or will it follow in the footsteps of 
labor in the United States. 

In New York, Boston, and Chicago, the 
condition of the poor is indeed sad. Crowded 
by pauper immigration, ground down by the 
powers of combined capital, and too often 
aiding in his own downfall by supporting the 
corner saloon, there are many pitiful tales to 
be read in the factories over the border. 

And yet signs are not wanting that com- 
bined labor iS beginning to feel that it has 
rights which even capital must respect. It 
pleads for them now with hunger-faint voice 
and plaintive, toil-worn faces. 

It may be that some day labor will raise and 
demand that for which it now pleads. That 





demand will mean riot, strike, and even civil 

America is slowly drifting thither. Why 
not Canada ? 

And if Canada, where will the trouble begin 
but in Montreal ? 

Think over this. 




It would be idle, if not criminal, to suppose 
that any city of the size of Montreal would 
be free from the cardinal sin in its darkest as- 
pect. There are, it is true, no Harpies of the 
kind read of in American papers as living out 
their shame in New York or Chicago. In 
Montreal there are no dens where innocence 
is sold to evil by guilty and shameless parents, 
and the sad tragedies of modern London are 
seldom witnessed in our midst. We have no 
Minotaurs, like modern Babylon, to be printed 




TH« HOtrsB OP AMtr.^ATlO!^. 

by notoriety-seeking journals of the PaU Mall 
Gazette stamp. 

But for all this, shall we say that Montreal 
has only its ordinary vices? 

Such a statement would be far from the 
truth. Outwardly, Montreal is virtuous — this 
cannot be gainsaid ; but, behind the scenes, 
strange sights are witnessed. 

It may be that in our colder Canadian cli- 
mate, the young men, occupied as they are 
all day, and devoted to athletic sports, have 
often neither the time nor the inclination to 
devote to those pursuits affected by the young 
men and old beaux of New York. In Mon- 
treal, ciiippie-chasing has not reached the dig- 
nity of an occupation, and its followers are but 
amateurs,. It is well. 

Strolling down St. Catherine Street from 
Peel Street, past the Queen's Hail Block to 
Blenev Street, the strai,<Tfer cannot fail to be 
impressed with the number of young men and 
young women walking up and down, and 
chatting as gaily as Parisians. This is the 
evening promenade of the better classes. 

Down Bleney Street to Craig, the wanderer 




turns his steps, along Craig (the local New 
Jerusalem), St. Lawrence Main Street, and 
over upon that famous thoroughfare, he real- 
izes that he is upon the local Sixth Avenue. 

There can be no mistaking the faces of 
many of the promenaders. They, in the 
American vernacular, would be called "yel- 

In front of low saloons and cigar stores of 
questionable repute, are gathered in knots the 
i<lle, the ignorant, and the vicious of Mon- 
treal's French population. Who are they all? 

They are the innumerable members of the 
family of "ne'cr-do-wcels," who find here a 
stamping-ground ; petty clerks out of employ- 
ment, skin gamblers, petty storekeepers, and 
a hundred other specimens of the wastes and 
burdens of society. 

Of the women who float up and down the 
pavements of this famous street at nightfall, 
much might be written, and much more is un- 
reportable. Many are honest, respectable wo- 
men, the wives of hard-working husbands, 
shopping, or taking fresh air at the close of 
the d;'y. The great majority, however, are 

i < 




\ I 

either the women whom Mercy Merrick has 
described as " driven from want to sin," or 
else young girls who have foolishly preferred 
the idle pleasure of an hour to the strait and 
narrow road of virtue. 

Around this district are the fashionable " re- 
treats" of Montreal. It is the " Tenderloin 
Precinct," and the streets which form this sec- 
tion of the city have anything but a savory 

St. Charles Borrome(3, St. Dominique, St. 
Constant, and St. Elizabeth Streets, running 
north and south, and Vitre, Lagauchetiere, and 
Mignonne Streets, running east and west, con- 
tain much of the social vice of the citv. The 
"castles," if not precisely "gilded palaces of 
sin," as the New York establishments are gen- 
erally described, are in many cases rttractive 
within, if not inviting without. Seldom or 
never as in larger cities, on the walls of such 
places do we see the card bearing the signifi- 
cant legend of " Furnished Rooms," but their 
reputation is known to police and public for 
years past. 

Upon a certain corner of Dorchester Street, 





not far from St. Lawrence Main Street, is a 
solid-looking brick house. Here for many 
years, and until very recently, liv^ed the acknowl- 
edged jueen of the local demi-monde. By a 
strange fatality, the house is now occupied as 
a Woman's Sheltering Home. If those walls 
had tongues, they could a tale unfold which 
would startle the present occupants. 

For ten years past, this woman reigned as 
the first in that special branch of illegitimate 
industry. By what merit she has been raised 
to that bad eminence, does not appear ; but> 
certain it is that, had the police cast their nets 
there any night in the week during her sove- 
reignty, they would have made a rare catch. 
Fast bank clerks, prominent young lawyers, 
and well-known French merchants formed the 
retinue, and drank night into day. 

How sad a tale could be told of this house! 
How many foolish young women could point 
to it with a look that spoke everything ! How 
many faithless wives played a part herein 1 

"The same sad, wretched story that for ages bards 
have sun<f, 
Of a woman weak and willing and a villain's tempt- 
ing tongue," 



There is no need to say more. The story is 
always old and always new. 

To-dav this wortian is mistress of a similar 
establishment. Free from police or official in- 
terference, she flourishes like the green bay-tree 
of Scripture, within a stone's throw of her 
former residence. 

Another establishment, not less infamous, 
reared its impudent head to the sunlight, upon 
St. Lawrence Main Street. A more or less 
fashionable milHnery store occupies the base- 
ment, and its signs have the name of the owner 
of the entire concern. 

The millinery business was but a blind. No 
woman need be ashamed to enter a millinery 
store. Once there, a few steps toward the rear, 
an ornamented wooden partition passed, and a 
flight of stairs led to the fools' paradise above. 
How many have ascended that stairway in 
guilty fear ? how many have descended in sad 
regret ? 

The lady patrons being thus provided for, 
the gentlemen's wants had to be met. For a 
man to enter a millinery store on St. Lawrence 
Main Street might attract attention ; and at 



night it would have attracted attention to 
keep open. Thus it came that " madaine " be- 
thought her of a rear entrance. 

On St. Dominique Street, near Dorchester, 
an unpaintcd and unvarnished door claimed 
no attention from the passer-by. If noticed, 
it would only be considered as leading into a 

Many knew different. This insignificant 
and harmless-looking door led into a covered 
passage running through the yard and into the 
house of which the millinerv store was hut an 
outside blind. Could any contrivance be more 
simple or more secret — a millinery store in 
front and a door leading apparently into a 
yard in rear ? 

How many of Montreal's bravest and best 
knew of this notorious spot? How many of 
the local '* four hundred " had entered through 
that narrow gate ? The " madame" alone could 

To-day this woman lives in a gorgeously 
furnished house within a quarter of a mile of 
her former residence. The back of her house 
commands a view of a public s(^uare, and it 



may he that ere long there will be, as on St. 
Lawrence Main Street, two ways of getting 
into this home of Messalina. 

Some of Montreal's most prominent citi- 
zens are not unknown to this abode of Venus. 
A well-known printer and his brother, an 
attach-i of a foreign service, a prominent mer- 
chant and leader in volunteer military circles, 
a prominent man about town, separated from 
his charming wife, but still devoted to the fair 
sex, the light-brained son of a wealthy wine 
merchant, the two sporting sons of a retired 
commission merchant, and a lot of card-play- 
ing and hard-drinking French clubmen for 
years supported this house. Its every foot of 
car[)ct, its every piece of furniture, is purchased 
with tiie wages of sin. 

F^ncouraged by the success of these two estab- 
lishments, the frail ones moved like the course 
of empire, and westward took their way. 

In a more or less secluded street not far from 
Bleury Street the first atteinptwas made. The 
favorite of a well-known police officer, now lost 
to sight in the obscurity of the St. Vincent de 
Paul Penitentiary, installed herself as mistress 






of a sumptuously furnished, if small, house, and 
made her bid for public favor. For a time all 
went well, until one day a nasty piece of scandal 
about a young, pretty, but unhappily married 
woman and the handsome and good-natured 
but useless son of a retired banker got noised 
abroad. The house had been some time under 
suspicion, and this was the coup de grace. The 
stout but still charming owner folded her tent 
like the Arabs, and silently put her effects into 
an express wagon and departed. 

For awhile this house had realized all the 
hopes of its occupant. Its respectable sur- 
roundings and its nearness to the fashionable 
quarter of the city, as it were, "spoke volumes 
in its favor." But the neighbors gradually 
opened iheir eyes to the facts in the case, the 
scandal brought it into prominence, and the 
owner, believing discretion the better part of 
valor, retired. 

But the establishment which was piw excel- 
lence the Mecca of high-toned sinners in Mon- 
treal remains to be told of. 

On a side street, and an eminently respect- 
able one, in the immediate vicinity of one of 





the public squares a simple-looking and unsugs 
gestive two-story tenement stood. Its appear^ 
ance was as neat without as the seaside cottage 
of the retired banker, and in summer-time its 
open windows gathered in the fresh air. Its 
entire look spoke of its intense respectability, 
and the children who romped about the little 
plot of grass in front, and made a playground 
of its •* nt steps, nodded and smiled at the 
midd't -^; i but still handsome woman whose 
ficc «;howed itself at times at the window. Her 
distingui^i v^d uearirg and sunny face perfumed 
the entire neighborhood with the air of honest v, 
and her fme old Scotch name seemed appro- 
priate to its owner. 

But alas ! for appearances she was but a wolf 
in slieep's clothing; and behind tlie smiling 
mask were the teeth which rend, the hand of 
steel in the glove of kid. 

The sign ** Dressmaker," which stood out in 
bold relief upon the door, was sufficient reason 
for the free occasional female visitors, and at 
night no callers, male or female, desecrated the 
quiet of the neighborhood. 

vSham, sham, all sham! The women who 



visited her in the day-time, who rushed hurried- 
ly up the steps and through the open door, were 
but victims of their own passions and folhes. 

But their companions in sin, — where were 

A cunningly concealed door in a fence near 
by, opening into the yard of this house, but 
shielded from view by a convenient wood-shed, 
solved the mystery. 

Amongst the supporters of this worst, be- 
cause safest, of the fashionable dens of the city, 
hers claim particular attention. One, a broken- 
down stock- broker, whose heavy failure a few 
years before had caused much comment, was, in 
the vernacular, "an habitual frequenter." With 
him came another sweet sample of the same 
genus, an aged Don Juan, senile and tottering, 
and yet preserving, even in his decay, the hot 
blood and passions of youth. In their trail 
followed some of the younger })loods of the 
city, and there was often a sound of revelry by 
night, which, however, did not penetrate farther 
than the four walls of the house. 

There is no space here to record further the 
houses of this class in Montreal. Nor is there 



necessity. The evil would seem to be insep- 
arable from every large city, and Montreal is 
no exception. 

Here, only, the business is pursued more 
openly and with less deference to public 
opinion. For years the same houses are oc- 
cupied for similar purposes and police, interfer- 
ence is unknown. 

This is not as it should be. 

In this chapter mention only has been made 
of the better class of establishments which prey 
upon the sin and shame of their fellow-crea- 
tures. Of the others, no word is necessary. 
From St. Lawren-^e Street eastward to the 
boundary line they are without number, and 
they blot their city's face. 

But what of down-town ? 

Upon St. James and Notre Dame Streets, 
from McGill Street east to St. Gabriel Street, 
how many buildings whose rooms and suites of 
rooms, ostensibly let for offices, are in reality 
used for immoral purposes? How often are 
the first flats of these buildings placarded with 
the signs of "Lawyer," "Notary," or "Finan- 






cial Agent," and the upper flats at night given 
over to scenes of riot and debauciiery ? 

Every Sunday the caretaker of one of these 
buildings can he seen with immaculate white 
linen and shining silk iiat wending his way with 
wife and child to mass at the noble parish 
church. Who, of the hundreds who meet him, 
could guess that his ine clothing is bought 
with hush-money wrun.^ from the tenants in 
his building? 

And he is but one. 

Hypocrites, hypocrites, hypocrites! 

EUit after thus laying bare the city's sores, 
what have we to offer? What remedy would 
we suggest ? 

Would indeed that we knew ore ! Then 
of a surety would we be wiser than all our fel- 
lows ; nay, than all the human race who went 
before us to the bright shores of eternity. The 
problem is no nearer solution than it was in 
the days when John saw the scarlet woman of 
Babylon cast down — in a dream. 

Man cannot be made virtuous by legislation. 
It needs no ghost come back from hell to tell 
us this, nor any brief sketch of city life cither. 


ttlE HOtJSft Of ASSWNAtlOW. 

V I 

ii 1 

Man and woman both are born deceitful above 
all things and desperately wicked. 

Still, back of this dark picture is the silver 
lining of hope. V^ice, wc are told, is a monster 
of such hideous mien that to be hated he needs 
only to be seen. It may be that by showing 
him naked and horrible, by revealing his utter 
hatefulness and unworthiness, we may save one 
struggling and tempted wanderer from tread- 
ing the primrose path of dalliance, and turn 
his steps aright. 

Surely, young people, there is another and a 
better life. 

You, young man, who would pursue with evil 
wish some weak and helpless woman, remember, 

" The pretty toy so fiercely sought 
Loses all charm by being caught." 

If you would be a man, think over the unman- 
liness of it. 





The American visitor to Montreal cannot 
fail to be impressed with our essential differ- 
ence between the Canadian metropolis and 
any of the larger American cities. He looks 
on every corner and scans the occupation of 
every block, but he seeks almost in vain for 
the well-known, nay, too familiar, sign, " Res- 

The Montrealer, as a rule, lives at home, and 
prides himself upon it. He aims to be English, 
and therefore insular. 

To him — English as the descendant of Eng- 
lishmen — the idea of taking his breakfast, din- 
ner, and tea in public is unutterably repulsive. 
He fancies, in his conceit, that people are look- 
ing at him and thinking of whr»*- 1 c is eating, 
and he pictures himself the subject of count- 
less jests by the occupants of other tables sur- 
rounding him. He imagines that they are 




watching his honest consumption of English 
roast beef as the visitors to the Zoo watch the 
feeding of the animals, and make mental notes 
thereof; and he declines the honor of havit 
his appetite or want of it discussed ; hr refuses 
to let his fellow-men see the smile which 
comes across every Englishman's face when he 
has eaten a well-cooked meal ; and he denies 
them the pleasure of hearing the sigh of satis- 
faction which involuntarily escapes him as he 
pushes away his almost empty plate. 

There is another and a better reason why 
the Eno;lish-bred or English descended Mor 
trealer declines to " feed in public," as ' 
phrases it. He has been in that bete noire to the 
Englishman, an American restaurant, and his 
soul, and stomach, and good taste have rebelled. 
He has satisfied himself that the American 
nation, as a whole, not only do not know what 
to eat, but do not know how to eat. 

An unspeakable horror fills his soul at the 
thought of daily taking his meals at the same 
table, or even in the same room, with persons 
who eat their potatoes with their knives, and 
who empty their tea into their saucers to cool 



it before drinking. He has dined in New 
York a few times, at Parker's, Trainer's, 
Brown's, or even Delmonico's, and he has seen 
on several occasions men at table with him or 
near him whose style of " feeding," as he calls 
it, was repulsive to his cultured tastes. In his 
English hastiness of judgment on anything un- 
English, he condemnetl the eating-habits of 
the entire body politic of America, and refuses 
to allow his judgment to lie. 

If perchance he is a married man, the idea of 
bringing his refined and cultured wife — with 
her English birth and breeding written indel- 
ibly upon every feature of her handsome face — 
to such a mixed and unpolished circle as would 
greet her in any restaurant is too laughable 
for serious consideration. He has time and 
again seen Americans dining with their wives 
and children at the restaurant tables of New 
York, but he is tempted to deny the evidence 
of his eyes. If he believes it at all, it is verily 
as he believes in the aerial suspension of a 
Houdin or a Hoffmann. It looks real, but 
there is something untrue about it — something 
unreal somewhere. 



No, the home-destroying practice of restau- 
rant-living lias not yet invaded the still English 
land of Canada. If he cannot afford a first- 
ciass hotel, the Canadian, hachek r or benedict, 
goes to a boarding-house, where, if perchance 
his fellow-boarders do not all eat as prescribed 
by the unwritten law of society, he has a 
chance to discover their good qualities and 
overlook their defects of training. 

Down in town, it is true, the restaurants 
flouiish in rows. There is no down-town 
Delnionico's in Montreal, but where could 
meals be better served than at Conij^ain's? 
where can oysters be eaten with more enjoy- 
ment than at Freeman's? or where are steaks 
more tender than at " lohnnv, the Fat Bov's?" 

The night restaurant in Montreal is not in- 
deed a prominent featnre of the city. The 
goriGceous and brilliant establishments in New 
York which from ten o'clock at night until 
dawn are tilled with fair women and brave men 
are almost unknown. ThtM'c is but one first- 
class theatre in Montreal, to keep honest [)eo- 
ple up and out until late ; and the other class 
of supporters of niglit restaurants in New 



York, the demi-monde, are not a sufficiently 
attractive lot to entice the gilded youth of the 
city into the extravagance of late suppers. 

And yet there is in Montreal, a restaurant as 
deservedly popular with a certain class as Del- 
monico's is in the American metropolis — a res- 
taurant whose steaks arc not less inviting than 
Parker's, and whose oysters are in no way in- 
ferior to O'Neill's. Need it he said, that this 
place is Beau's, the famous Occidental ? 

The Occidental is tiie one true glimpse 
of Parisan or New York life in Montreal. 
Everything about it is foreign. The polite 
and gentk'manly manager who greets you at 
the door with a " Bon soir, messieurs!" that is 
an echo of tlie Boulevard des Italiens; the 
whitc-aproned waiters, whose " Que prencz-tioiis 
cc soir, mcs's/'-urs," is as French as a speech of 
Coquelin ; and the menu or style which would 
have pleased Vatcl himself; — are [ill si<7ns and 
tokens by which the traveller may know that 
he is in a place where gastronomy is looked 
upon as a hue art, and where good eating is 
cultivated as a science. 

Truly, the stranger who steps trom the nar- 

I- /• 



row and dimly-lighted street, ill reputed and 
foul smelling, and fnids himself in the neat and 
tasteful hall might indeed wonder if fancy is 
not playing him a scurvy trick ; he will think 
for an instant that perhaps the charming mo- 
tion of the sleigh has lulled him into sleep, and 
that he is dreaming of his petit surprise at 

The manager, the waiters, the setting of the 
tal)le, the menu, and the suhdued air about the 
place are l^arisian and Parisian only. It is a 
restaurant de TAvenue de I'Opera transported 
by magic to Montreal. 

The visitor to Montreal who has not seen 
Beau's and tasted its famous cooking has not 
seen Montreal. Its natural beauties may have 
been revealed, but here is the art that rivals 

Some years ago, the building situated on 
Vitrc street near St. Lawrence Main street 
was occupied by one Cherel. It was tlum an 
obscure eating-house, and its reputation was 
far from savorv. Manv^ were the stories told 
by the sporting element of Montreal of the 



scenes enacted after nightfall within its walls, 
and it became a by-word and a reproach. 

One night the end came. The local police 
interfered and the proprietor was irrested. 
Brought before the magistrate, he was com- 
mitted for trial but released on bail. He in- 
viteJ his immediate friends and patrons to a 
banquet at the old spot. His acquittal seemed 
to him a certainty. 

Surely, never was such a scene of revelry by 
night in Montreal. To the banquet came 
courtesans of high and low degree, politicians 
of every grade, men about town, merchants of 
queer )e{)ute, divorced women and gay girls of 
more or less note ; in short, tlie drenchings of 
the city — the verv off-scourings of the metropo- 
lis. At this Belshazzar's feast no hand-writing 
appeared upon the wall, and Cherel and his 
friends held iiiiili revel. 

Tlie morrow came. Upon another and a 
more serious charge than keeping a disorderly 
house the infamous owner was convicted and 
sentenced to the Penitentiary, and the once 
famous "Cherel's" was closed, never to reopen 
as such. 



Some time later a change came over the 
place. It was rebuilt and refurnished ; its 
every evil association removed, and its doors 
were thrown open to the gourmet, the bon- 
vivant, and the lover of good living. Its evil 
name disappeared with its former proprietors, 
and to-day its reputation as an orderly and 
well-kept restaurant is second to none. 

It is now eleven o'clock at night ,* the thea- 
tre has been over for half an hour, the prome- 
naders upon the thoroughfares have almost 
disappeared. Let us go in, have a little sup- 
per — a petit soupcr, and look at this picture of 
Montreal night-life. 

The drive along the dark and narrow street 
upon which the Occidental is situated does not 
till the stranger with any hopes of comfort in 
the immediate future. Who, he wonders, 
would try to maintain an eating-house upon so 
unfashionable and unfrequented a street. But 
soon liis fears vanish. 

Before him stands a substantial stone build- 
ing whose lighted windows and opaque glass- 
globes, illuminating each side of tiie entrance, 
are strangely at variance with the squalid srr- 

THE XI6T1T RT»:STArilA!rr. 


roundings. He steps into the porch and 
sounds the bell. The door is opened, and be- 
fore him stands a short, black-bearded man. 
He enters the passage, and a voice from up- 
stairs, faint as a muffled bell, !s b^aid. 

'* Mesdames et messieurs, descends." The 
black-bearded man politely motions us into the 
main room, the giand salon. The soft voice 
the easy gesture is Parisian — this is unmistak- 

The door leadin«, to the passage Is closed be- 
hind us and we looiv around. 

At the nearest table sit two men. They also 
are French, but their accent is not Parisian. 
It smacks of tiie Faubourg de Quebec rather 
than of the Faubourg St. Germain. 

One, a short pock-marked man, with a ner- 
vous and shifty look in his eye, does all the, 
listening, now and then interjecting a remark. 
His companion, stout and not '.11-looking. with 
a heavy moustache and a pair of expressive 
black eyes, is talking loud and long. Not- 
withstanding the publicity of their position, 
they make no effort to keep the subject of 
their discussion from the by-s^^anders. To the 




Frenchmen standing near by, such phrases as 
"Trois aces" and "Deux Valets/' "Je perd" 
and *' Je gagne," needed no explanation. They 
were discussing some recent session of the 
American national indoor game, draw-poker. 

Everyone knew them. The little man was 
by turns gambler, political worker, horse- 
dealer, and anything else. The other was a 
well-known figure in Montreal. Born of re- 
spectable parents, well educated, and of more 
than ordinary ability, he began life with every 
chance in his favor, ikit, like many others, 
his beginning was too high. He fell, and later 
was content to live upon the profits of a gam- 
bling house. 

While the visitors are glancing over the 
groups, and ere they have time to see the 
other occupants, a rustle of skirts is heard. 
The voices of women, one low and sweet, the 
other harsh and discordant, falls upon the quiet 
of the room. A man's strong tones, a closing 
of doors and they are gone, and we are ushered 

Once up-stairs, we find ourselves facing two 
passages at right angles to each other. Along 




each passage are rooms, and through the tran- 
som over each door comes the gleam of gas- 
hght and the low murmur of voices. But we 
are not allowed to investigate further. The 
polite waiter motions us. 

" Ici, s'il vous plait." 

We follow him into a small square room 
with crimson-tinted walls and an air of neat- 
ness and comfort, if not elegance, positively 
charming. Upon the table, linen of finest 
quality and snowiest texture ; silver whose pol- 
ished surface reflects the gaslight as with a 
hundred gleaming darts, and glassware of the 
latest style. Surely this is Paris. 

From the splendid menu we order a filet de 
boeuf, petit pois, pommes de terre ci. la creme, 
and cafe au lait. In a few minutes we are 
served. The aroma of the coffee fills the room ; 
the flagrant odor of the meat summons our 
sluggish appetite. We eat, drink, and are 

Here, and in such a place, mortals should 
indeed be haj)py. Despise as we will the 
art culinary, we must remember th t the ques- 
tion as to "Where is the man who can live 




without dining ?" is as yet unanswered. Wc 
must bear in mind the saintly Thomas ^ Beck- 
et who, when reproved for his fondness for 
roast goose, declared that " so excellent a thing 
was not made only for sinners." And, lastly, 
we must not forget that " fate cannot harm 
the man who has dined to-day." 

Without the storm raged, and the driving 
snow of the Canadian winter smote upon tiie 
window-pane. Its invisible hands beat upon 
the glass as if they would fix their cold clasp 
upon our hearts ; but within all is sweetness 
and light — no sorrow for yesterday, no fear for 

With curiosity truly feminine we wonder 
whose voice is that we hear in soft accents 
penetrating the walls which separate us from 
our neighbors on cither hand. We long for 
that Arabian spy-glass which s(,'es ihrough all 
obstacles, and sets walls and distances at UcUight. 
In fancy we conjure up the smiling face, the 
gleaming teeth, and the fur-clad form whose 
voice ever and anon reaches us in merry ca- 

On the other side of us is wassail and high 



revel. No sweet and feminine accents reach 
us, but the English of cultivated Canadian 
manhood. Once in a wliile the noise is 
drowned in low and well-bred applause, and 
the sentences are punctuated with suppressed 

In his review of "Robert Elsmcrc," Mr. 
Gladstone has pointed out the license enjoyed 
by the story-teller, the romancer, and the nov- 
elist. He is not subject to ordinary rules of 
time and space. He may record a conversa- 
tion of two in an open field, where eaves- 
dropping is impossible ; he may follow a beam 
of subtlest reasoning in the mind of one of his 
characters, even if the logic puts not on the 
dress of words. Nay, he may even see into 
the privacy of an apartment, and tell the story 
of sighs, kisses, and tears by outside human 
eye unseen. 

May we not claim the same privilege ?" 


Then we will enter unseen the little supper- 
room on our right, and view at our leisure its 
two occupants. 

At the table, before a half-fmished supper, 




sit a young man and a young woman. The 
man's age might be twenty-five or twenty-six. 
He is tall, not bad-looking, and with that intan- 
gible air of birth and breeding so Canadian and 
so English. The neat clothing, the faultless 
linen, all showed the gentleman, and his voice 
was soft and pleading. 

The young woman before him was assuredly 
not of his own station in life. She was pretty, 
with sweet, smiling eyes and white teeth, and 
about her was a look of health. When the 
eyes rested upon her they seemed to seek a 
perfume of health and honesty which should 
belong to so fine a creature. And yet, fcr all 
her neat dress, her handsome face, and honest 
eyes, there was something wanting. It was 
the look of the spiritual — that inheritarce 
from cultured ancestry which money cann )t 
buy, and to which alone, in these degenerate 
days, money pays tribute. 

Their story was a simple one. The young 
man, a partner through the accident of birth 
in a wealthy manufacturing house, was a 
devotee of the fair sex. For the ordinary 
fcmvie galante he cares nothing; but for the 




free-lances of society, the privateers who sailed 
under the colors of honesty and virtue and 
whose sins were hut an excess of passion, and 
who scorns the ways of sin, he sacrifices his 
spare time and a little of his spare money. To 
him, the pursuit and capture of some roving 
cruiser is a {)rize W(jrth everything spent in the 
chase. He was but a sample of a class well 
known in Montreal. 

The girl was another of an equally well- 
known type. She wr)rked in a store on St. 
CatiuMine Street, for, two years ago, her hus- 
band had fled from their home in a small Cana- 
dian town, and she was thrown upon the world 
to fight the i)attlc of life alone. It did not 
take a clever girl like herself long to fmd out 
that in a large city like Montreal she need 
never want amusement. Her employer, him- 
self a married man. had taken a fancy to her, 
but she soon wearied of him, and now she is 
listening to the oft-told promises of the hand- 
some young fellow before her. 

In the large room upon the left eight young 
men are seated, in various states of sobrietv. 
Their social position is seen at a glance. They 




are gentlemen born and bred, but, as in the 
present instance, occasionally departinp^ from 
the strict line of proper conduct. At the head 
of the tal)le a youno: man, in appearances the 
juvenile of the gathering, is addressing them. 
As the clever words fall from his lips the listen- 
ers are alternately amused and interested. The 
bright expression completes the ensemble of 
clear, honest eyes, oval face, and white, even 
teeth. Decidedly, this ycung fellow is nice- 
looking, and clever at that ; and yet a closer 
look shows the want of continuity of purpose 
— the man who can work well, and will work 
sometimes, but who lacks the plodding, tireless 
energy which, we are told, is but the higher 
form of perseverance termed genius. 

Who are his companions? The young man 
occupying the seat directly opposite him at the 
other end of the table is the son of a promi- 
nent capitalist and railway magnate. On the 
speaker's right is the last member of a wealthy 
and famous Canadian family, whose name i"=; 
known to every school-boy. On his 'ft a 
rising young lawyer, a partner in a pr .ent 



firm, vvli()S<^ partners wuuKl have viewed his 
present condition vvitii <>rave displeasure. 

Again tlie wine-ghisses are filled. A younpf 
Englishman, whose whist playing had set the 
tcnvn talking, rose to his feet, and as his cleat 
baritone began, "'Pis all I ask to be with thee," 
the clink of glasses and the whispering of 
voices died away, fie was receivnig the high- 
est compliiTRnt paid by any audience -worth 
more tlian the loudest applause— deep silence. 
He finished, and his health was drunk with 
three times three. 

Still further along the passage two men sit 
together in a gas-h(\ated room atid talkial 
earnestly. The grave, earnest face, the keen, 
black eyes, and the hair worn longer than cus- 
tomary could hv recognized at a glance. He 
was one of the country's political leaders; a 
seli-made man, risen from the ranksb\ sheer 
force of ability and. the powers of a silver 
tongue, lie was indied I'orateur ptU" excel- 
lence, the representative I'rench-Canadian poli- 
tician of the day. 

But who is this ill-dressed and insignificant 
man who listens as the other persuades ? What 




has this mean and ignoranl-Iooking person, 
whose looks bespeak poverty of ideas as of 
purse, to give for wliieh the other asks? 

It is hut the old story of a deeeitful appear- 
ance Behind the shallow, uninteresting coun- 
tenance is ability and brains; in the ill-iitting 
and unfashionable clothing of the minor per- 
sonage is the man whose clever political arti- 
cles are read throughout Lower Canada as a 
second Gospel. His bitterness of invective, 
his biting sarcasm, are feared and detested. It 
is he who sup|)lies eitlier party, as it suits him, 
with their weapons during the session. He is 
the Vulcan who forges the thunderbolts for 
the political chieftains of Canarja. 'ihe man 
before him may be the head of a party, luit he 
can become the neck. For him the ijame of 
politics has few secrets, and lo-moriow morn- 
ing the columns of L' litcnJard or L.a Minervc 
will contain some unsigned article to becoTie a 
power for good or ill. 

For riches, position, or political power this 
man cares no^hir \, Had they been his goal, 
he would long before have arrived there. In 




vain the astute chieftain before him seeks a re- 



sive chord. Surelv there must be one. 

Suddenly his face ilhimini-s. He leans for- 
ward and whispers in the other's ear, so U)W 
that liad the walls ears thev could know noth- 

iiiir. A smile like that of Sat 

m wi 

th V 

.lUst in 

his arms shines upon his face, like the sun 
upon new-li;)len snow. Wc jumps to his feet. 
Both men flon their overcoat'; and hats, and 
without another word they descend the stairs 
and vanish into the night. 

What shameful plot has here been hatched ? 
what conlinence betrayed? Ali ! for the man 
who scorns money and power there can be but 
one inducement which others may offer — re- 



o-morrow morning some enemy s will be [)illoried forever in disgrace, and 
the price will have been paid. 

We need go no furthei. It is the same 
scene, and it will be to-morrow night —only the 
actors will be ilifTereiit. 

There are other niglit restaurants in Mon- 
treal, some fair, but most of them unwortbx the 
name. Nt)t far from the Occidental is an 
eating-house for the lower classes, open all 



niL;l^^ whtre suspiciously cold and frothy tea 
is served after twelve o'clock. There is the 
I^alais Royal, on Dorciiester Street ; l.ouis, on 
St. Catlurine Street ; and the Delmonico — 
save the niaik. Bui of them little can now be 
recortled hui ihe commonplace. Their pairo!is 
are not liic l)(.tt(M' classes, and about them th<^ 
romance takes on the ci^arments of po\ erty, 
and an occasional odor of onions and s>arlic. 



To manv of the readers the heiidini!^ of this 
ch.iptn" iiiav sound offt^nsivc. It will brin^i^ 
wHh 11 till' odors of the corner gm-mill and the 
low grog-shop. 

To ihcm only this can be said : The head- 
ing goes — popular or ot Iic-wise. it is the 
onlv wo'd c(Mned whijh i'l'lly exf)resses the 
contents of the ch;ipter. if the word sab ton 
offends, whv then insert gin-mill or grog-shoj). 
It matter^ not. The article itself retnains 



But if inclined to pay deference to the views 
of these ol)jectO)N, there is indeed another 
heudinor, rnore brutal hut not less true, nul less 

How would "The Curse of Montreal" do? 

Inio what deptlis of specu.ation v/ould that 
title lead us ! What intricate j)rol)lerns of po- 
litical economy nri«j;hi we not discuss I Back 
of the sin. tin: misery, the poverty, the- ruin — 
social and moral— (jf flie mass of the fallen 
stands the h^-ure of stronf>- drink. 

True, the Oueen allows tiie trafhc. It is 
licensed at so mucli per shop or saloon, and in 
many cases the venders are honc;st. law-ahidintr 
men. But what of the majorii) (j[ the saloons 
in N[ontreal and elsewhert^ ? 

They are hut j^laces where the adulterated 
and injurious li(puds are retailed wholesale to 
men, women, and children ; where the drurd<- 
ard is niu-ie dumker. and (he ruin of the indi- 
vidual i-> he^un and ended. 

Men prate ol llu- niillcimium. li will come 
on the dav when slronii" think is banished for- 

Labor complains of insulTicient wages — of the 



daily increasing price of the necessaries of life 
and the daily decreasing return for the day's 
work. Let them all abandon theii support of 
the saloon. 

Capital complains that it can no longer find 
investment which will return it fair interest. 
Let it refuse to employ otlier than total ab- 
stainers ; let it organize and establish coiTee- 
houses, where thirst may be assuaged at a nom- 
inal piici\ 

The day the saloon-keeper leaves the city — 
nay, more : the day that the maimfacturer of 
strong drink is {>rohibited, except under gov- 
ernncnt supervision and for medicinal pur- 
poses — that day prosperity will shine upon our 
Canada with undying lustre. 

A clever Frenchman summed the matter up 
thus : 

" [n earlier years there were two evils, wai 
and pestilence. Wc are better off in this nine- 
teenth century : we have only one evil — liquor." 

And such an evil ! 

The mind shrinks from its contemplation. 

There is no need to look farther for the sin, 

the poverty, and the misery of civilization. It 




is here, and here only. From tliis parent 
source all other evils spring. 

With the one possible exception of Chicago, 
no city in America suffers in this respect like 
Montreal. She is sore stricken, and maybe 
will never recover. The cursed traffic has its 
grip upon the city's throat and is stilling it. 
Its energy is being sapjied away, and the cure 
must be used ere it is too late. 

The po})ulation of Montreal and adjoining 
municipalities is al>out two hundred thousand 
souls. It has therefore a larger jKjpulation 
than Buffalo, Cleveland. Detroit, Louisville, 
Milwaukee, Pittsburg, or Washington, l^ut 
what an admirable tliirsl its inhabitants can 
boast of ! 

In 1887 there were nearly fourteen hundred 
places —hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, and 
saloons — where the retailing of li(iuor was 
licensed. Think of it ! Fourteen hundred . 
The figures stagger us. 

This would mean that there is one saloon to 
every one hundred and fifty inhabitants. De- 
duct from this numbei \\\v women and chil- 



drcn who may be claimed as non-supporters of 
this noble institution, and what remains? 

These fiirures stare us in the face. The 


speak with an elo(|uenee whicli no man can fail 
to unrlerstand. They tell us of man's daily 
disobedience and his daily fall — of his progress 
toward failure, poverty, and crime. 

Some day Mcjiitrcal will awake and see this 
cancer c-atinir her life awav. Mav that awaken- 
inir not come too late ! 

There is no- saloon better known to the 
sportifiii; friUernity throu,<i;hout the length and 
l)readih of (.'ana<la tlian "The Suburbnn" on 
Craig Street. There is no man so long ))efore 
the public as u sport of evcrv kind, from running 
a Hat wheel at a country fair to managing aiitv 
mce-meeting. than its proprietor ; and it is also 
safe to say that rmaneialiy no man stands better 
before his own class than the famous owner. 
I'\'W hav(,' hatl so varied a career. True, he is 




a saloon 




ut- manv a starvinir 

man who is on his feet to-dav can say that he 
got a helping hand when down on his luck 
from the neatlv dn s'^ed, hard-smoking owner 
of the Suburban. All the chariiv in Montreal 



is not to be IcLirned fioni the lists of donors 
tu the hospitals published for the public eye. 
Some kindnesses never see the light of pub- 
licity. Many scenes of kindness have been 
witnessed around the " Subuiban." 

The frequenters of this place are a more 
motley crew than FalstafT's famous followers. 
All sorts and conditioj^s of men are to be seen 
lierc. No sportini^ man of anvnote in Canada 
or the Ignited States visits Montreal without 
paying his respects here. Iloisemen, sporting 
clerks, gamblers, all the waifs and strays upon 
life's oc( an, have here anchored for a time, if 
cruising in the vicinity. It is almost a glim|)se 
of "ye olde-lime Boweiy saloon" in modern 
Montreal. And yet against this place, evil as is 
the traffic |)ursued, not a word can fairly be 
said. The "isitor is not j>oisoned with bad 
liquor, nor 'ostled by thii ves, nor can Ik* here 
]>rocure li(ju )r alier hours. If ihe »>roprietor 
cannot gu a ran tie the morals of liis patrons, he 
at least guarantees their conduct while there. 

One of the most familiar figures here is sit- 
ting to-nigiit watchinga game of billiards. I lis 
neat clothing, dark and quiet, his wliile and 



tasteful linen, the absence of jewelry or dis- 
play of anykind, and his modest, gentknianlv 
hearin^^, to the casual observer would suggest 
the eonhdential ckrk or junior partner in a law- 
tirm. He would be entirely wrong. The calm, 
repressed young man is a gambler, and one of 
the best known in the country. Sometimes 
called " Little Johnny" and sometimes " Jaok," 
he is familiar to most Montrealers, and his pop- 
ularity is very great. It was rumored that last 
summer he had played the Saratoga races in 
more than ordinary luck, and that in '* going 
up against the bank" his luck had not forsaken 
him. Be that true or not, he is always in funds, 
and seemingly always ha{)py. Should matters 
run against him, his name is good to any 
amount with the fraternity. "Jack" is one of 
the characters of Montreal. 

Next him stands a round-faced Englishman 
with a hearty laugh and rough clothes. Ue is 
the proprietor of an eating-house far away, and 
has sporting asj)irations. So far he has been 
lucky, and it has not cost him much. 

On the right two prominent horse-dealers 
talk and laugh loudly, and against the wall 




•d couple of well-known " amateur" lacrosse 
players discuss in an undertone the chances 
for to-morrow's gri-at match. 

" The Suburban" is in truth the rendezvous 
for the Bohemians. 

Of hardly less prominence in Montreal is 
"The Oxford" on University Street. Situated 
as it is in the immediate vicinity of the armory 
of a fashionable volunieer regiment, it has 
many times assuaged the thirst of the amateur 
soldiers, and its place in Montreal is unique. 

Founded a few years ago by its j)resent pro- 
pi iet or with the inmicdiate help of a then j)rom- 
inent litjuor merchant, it illustrates the whirli- 
gig of time. To-day its owner, from being a 
poor nran, is comparativi ly wealthy, the man 
througli whose money the saloon was estab- 
lished has failed and walks the streets of Mon- 
treal under a cloud. 

Hard!)' less famous than "The Oxford " is 
"The ('aprains." Upon tlw.' corntM of two 
small and comjuu'atively unfrctjuented streets, 
its location would not usually be coiisidined of 
the best, and yet, in sporting pari mce, "it is 
a good and strong game." It has often been 




rumored that " Tlic L/aplain's" was open year 
in and year out, and that the earlier in the 
morning you ealied the earlier you would get 
served. This was a l)ase slander. Here the 
homeward-l)ound elerk, aftt;r a night of extra 
work, stops for a so(3tliing nightcaj) ; and iiere, 
with a fuitive glance around, the hushand stops 
on his morning trip into town for "a steadier.' 

No description of Montreal would be com- 
plete without a mention ol the "Turf f louse" 
on St. Lawrence Main Street. Its genial and 
handsome pioprictor is known to ev'Tyl)ody, 
and has given his tiuK; and money to 'ho fur- 
therance of the trotting interests of Montreal. 
One of the principal supporteis of the race- 
track at ilk' toot of Jacipies Ca tier Square, 
and a lover of racing in every form, his name 
is a guarantee of fair trottitig and no favor. 

So fiu. it iiiust. i)f confessed tiie S(M\my side 
of Montreal's saloons has not been shown. 


far, we ha\'c dealt t)nlv with those places wliere 
not only the letter l)ut tht: spirit of the law is 
fieely followed, — where the vice has lost soirie- 
thinf^ of its evil. W'c have dealt only with the 
saloon evil in its minor form, with places whose 


( / 

[)roprictors are in every wnv hiw-iiltiilinfj and 
consisteiit citi/cns, and we luive seen only the 
best siile of the case. 

There is another pietnre to Se drawn. 

Some of the vilest, lowest, and most infa- 
mous eorner frin-niills, low ,L!:rr)oi::f<'ries, and 
sliehecns in the wc-rld are lieensi-d hy licr 
Maj(.'Sty's government to ruin their fellow-men, 
body and soul. In these places the diuukard's 
money is never refused — the child is as wel- 
come as the man. 

These dens Mot the city's face. They aie a 
shanii' and a dis<rracc. Tlu / must ^^o. 

They lie alon^- the ri\er front where drunken 
sailors, wharf-rats, and sunhsh carouse and 
make merry. They can he found in the daik 
and narrow streets lendinij^ ufi fiom I he river, 
where di-;tilled poison and hKnvcd rum are 
served out over dirty counters to dirtier men. 
They cAi-^t in the \icinit\ of the 1\^•o <rreat rail- 
way stations, and catrh the strans^cr's money 
ere he has time to see a lodjj^in,i;-housc. Aloncc 
' it. Paul Street ii!rt\' hotels are suMported on 
ihc. jiroiits of their har^, and yan*nin<2^ steps 
lead down to cellar dives — low as to the char- 



actDr of their patrons, and vile as to quality of 
liquor sold. 

But what of tlio unspeakable dens which, 
viper-like, open ificir dinghy doors in the eastern 
sul)Ui bs of the city, and in the Point St. Charles 
district f What oi the abominable saloons 
which thrive in the vicinitv of St. Constant, 
St. Dominique, and St. Elizabeth Streets upon 
the irnnvjral frequenters of the dens of infamy 
in the neighborhood ? Many of them, open at 
any hour, recall the worst days of New Vork 
when the Empire, the Cremorne, and the Sans 
Souci were in full blast. They see no hand- 
some women, no silken gowns; only broken 
down outcasts and cotton wraps. But the evil 
is there just the same. 

Have the inhabitants of these localities no 
souls or bodies to save? 

Weary and heart-sick, we must turn from 
this sul)ject. It is with sorrow that we bep;an 
it, it is without regret that our task is over. 
In the presence of the liquor evil the legisla- 
tors are powerless. The power is vested in 
the local authorities, and they, like Cassius, arc- 




reputed to have " the itching palm." Therein 
lies the secret. 

It may be tliat the rcfr)rm will begin some 
day by having as local legislators and commis- 
sioners only men whose position and record 
place them above suspicion. Then, if the 
curse of strong drink cannot be entirely sup- 
pressed, it can be regulated. 

Let us ha.ste the dav. 



With sad heart and faltering hand the head- 
ing of this chapter is penned. With many 
readers, this is no doubt ex|)ected to be a sala- 
cious HKjrsel, which they will roll under their 
tongues, and read fu.dvely in the recesses of 
their bedrooms. 

They will be disappointed. No subject is 
easier done justice to in a su])erricial way — • 
none requires deeper thought. We cannot, 
from lack of experience and ai)ility do full jus- 
tice ; but we will not treat it lightly. 



In New \'<)ik, Chicago, San I'Vnncisco, and 
IIk' larger ciiicsof the IJnitc.HJ Stales hDoks have 
hecn published hearinir titles similar in some 
respects to the tiiU; ol this work. We have 
had " i^aris l)v (iasli<»ht," *' New \'ork hefore 
Dawn,"' "Tl>e Nij^liL Side of New N'ork." 
"Low London Liie," iUid a thousand other 
names to catch tlie eye of unexperienced 
youtii. These hooks have a re id\' sale. They 
circulate |)\- lens (>f thousands, and many 
a younfj uiil has dated her hrst step in sin from 
the day when she lirst n.-ad tlie lecheious and 
glatin<:ly unliue [)ages of "The (}ay Ciirls 
of Nevv ^'ork.'" or some similar mc^s of <;ar- 
bage. '1 lu;<(' otlVcnurinus of deceased inind.s, — 
paintino, as Ihev do, a lii^ht side lo c\'\ livinjj, 
have enticed manv weak ones from the j)ath of 
virtue to wa'.k th'^ slipp( i\- road t ruin. Of 
the dark and seamv sid<\ I he jio^'ert\ inevit- 
able, the health sure failing, and the mental and 
bodily destruction ilit y aie sileiii 

The social e\ il always bus bf t-n. and aKvavs 
will l)e, ; problem who-e solution in theory i 
casv, but whose solution in piaeticc is impo.- 
sible. Men are burn with certain trails of the 



animal in tlicm. Mr. Ed^ar Saltus calls it 
" The beast thai is in us all. lashed down and 
cowering, but waifinj^ for the inadvertent mo- 
ment when it shall spring to li^ht and claim its 

Since earliest dawn, it ha> been a check to 
man's upward, spiritual, and mental progress. 
The law and tlie prophets denounced it; the 
Messiah preached a<j;ainst ii; it entered into the 
visions of John, and formed part of the Revela- 
tion of that famous dreamei. 

Ancient Rome n'ort^anized it, modern Lon- 
don teems with it, New \'ork lomances upon 
it, and Paris le^ali/es it. 

What does Montred do? It lejj^islates 
against the social t\il. Hut the law is a (U-ad 
hotter. It is s(;ldom put into i>ractice, and to- 
day in Montreal the vile t-afl'ic is jMcsented in 
twenty different dins, and has been " doing 
business at the samr *<fand" for ten years. 

Fron present appearances, they will e(»ntiniie 
unmolested, save bv ni occasional line, foi 
twenty years more. 

These houses are known to tveiy pojicemar* 
and detective oflker upon the local force. At 



night, in front, of their doors, can often he seen 
a half u tiozen carriages waiting while the late 
occupants carouse within. 

The question now arises. Is this cc^mpromise 
with vice rigi>t ? 

No! decidedly no ! 

Sliould this unlicensed, unlawful traffic be 
permitted ? 

No ! 

The middle grc und taken by the authorities 
of Montreal with regard to this (juestion is il- 
logical and indefensible in law, in reason, and 

in mora 


It is admittedly an evil. Then it should not 
be permit ted. It should be driven from with- 
out the cii\ walls, and the scarlet woman should 
no longer air her shame and her in lam v upon 
our streets, noi destroy the (juiet of res()ectable 

Gran: -hI it is aji evil, say some, but it is a 
necessary evil : it must exist ; and as it must, 
it is better that its headqua»*ter*^ should be 
known tt> the local ()olice, for in that way alone 
can it be kept under control." 

If this be true, then it is better to license the 




traffic : better to suy, as President Cleveland 
did upon the ()uesli()n of tiusts, "It is a condi- 
tion \hieh confronts us, not a theory." It can- 
not be denied that in puie tlieory the lieensin<; 
of any immorality is coniiary to law. reason, 
and of course, moralitv ; l)Lit when our youn^ 
men are driftinj^ toward ruin, it is no time for 
theory- -action is necessary. 'Ihe lieeusinjj;^ cf 
the "Ciros Numeros" in Paris has not dimin. 
ishcd the immoialiiy. but it has ver)' materially 
fiiitigated its evil consv qu«'nees from a plrv -^i- 
cal, and therefore from a political j)oint of 
view. Tlu' Parisian has btcome healthier, a<Td 
therefore a better citizen. 

But in Montreal the evil consequences of 
the tralTic arc seen at their darkest. In tfiis 
respect it is certain that no city is so cursed as 
that which sleeps in metonlit beautvat the foot 
of Mount Roval. 

If you nvcd proof, go ask the physicians of 
the city. 

In cold blootV each year, a report is made to 
-police hcad(|ua ters that there are so many 
houses of evd repute within the city limits, and 
so manv inmates of these houses. The number 



varies. It has been as high as eighty ; it has 
fallen as low as forty. Last rej)ort made an 
indefinite statement somewhere in the neigh- 
borhood of "forty-nine." This of course re- 
fers to well-known, established, so to speak, 
houses whose inmates are permanent boarders 
numbering three or more. It does not include 
the countless smaller places where working 
girls go at night to add to their insufficient 
and starvation-breeding wages, nor does it in- 
clude the numberless houses of assignation. Ft 
isonlv tlie best known and " wide open" houses. 

Take the number of castles in Montreal as 
fifty— the minimum. It is well known that 
such houses are compelh.'il by bloodsucking 
and greedy landlords to pay enormous rent as 
" hush-money." Take the average rent as $600 
per annum : it makes $30,000. Allow each such 
|)lace five persons -a minimum- -and we would 
have two hundred and fifty persons. It costs 
each one of these an average of $600 per 
annum to live. This gives $i5o,ocx."). 

'I'he grand result is that in Montreal -sanc- 
tioned, connived at, fjr winked at by the police 
— nearly two hundred thousand dollars is 



diverted from lawful uses to the support of 

This is but atrifie— a drn|i in ihe sea. These 
figures, sta'iling as they are, do not ref)resent 
the case in anythiuj^ like its hideous truth. 
Any well-known dt;teetive in Montreal will 
lead you by night t ■ one luindred such moral 
lazar-houses — will show vuu one thousand 
women living in shame u))on the wages of sin, 
and ihen ask if vou want to see more. 

And yet this is a Chri aian country. Sunday 
after Sunday the Moi.lrealer goes to church 
and thanks God that he is not as other men 
aic. He reads — and, worse, his family of young 
girls and boys road — th(^ details of some sad 
cases of imm(»ral!tv in New V'urk, London, 
and Paris, and he is thankful tliat he does not 
livi in any such S(»dom ami Ciomorrah. He 
travels and sees the painted creiitures of the 
Suand, the pronunaders upiui the I'aiis liouU- 
vards. and the street-walkers nf Third or Sixth 

Avenue, tnd he rejoic.'s thai h«. l>elongs to a 

'titer and ir.ore moral city. 

Nay. fimniest of all. lie is called upon from 
the puijMt to subscribe h> the Chine'-e or Hin- 

■ ■«m:-mmf:^''m 



doo missionary fund, when an immorality so 
flagrant is at his door, and a depth of ignorance 
and vice as profound as is conceivable is in his 
own city. 

In the words of Mark Antony, ** Men have 
lost their reason." 

Oh for time and opportunity to press this 
subject and to suggest a remedy ! If we can 
even stir the stagnant waters of Montreal 
thought for one short tiny, this book has not 
been written in vain. 

A few facts in this case. Upon the corner 
of St. Catherine and one of its most notorious 
cross streets stands a three-story stone building. 
The corner l)asement is occupied as a restaurant, 
but two doors of the cross street give entrance 
to the house, and a wooden door leads from a 
yard in rear into St. C-atherine Street. The 
appearance of the house is entirely respectalde, 
and in justice it must l)e said that the esLab- 
lishnu'ut is run honestly, and no svvintUing uf 
any kind is permitted. 

Almost sine*' "the recollection of the oldest 
inhabitant" the occui)atioii of this notorious 
spot has been the same I' or years in this 




house Messalina and IMiryne have i»licd their 
shameful trade. It is true that on several 
occasions the local j)olice have lined its land- 
lady the sum of ninety-five dcjliars and costs 
for selling liciiior without a license, and the 
fine has been cheerfully paid. This sort of 
"hush-money" transaction seems popula? in 
official circles, and whenever the civic treasury 
is low a raid is made up(jn some of the best 
known houses, and they are called upon to pay 
toll. It IS pay up or close up. The former 
course is invariably followed. 

T'oi many years this house was owned and 
run by a notorious woman alleged to be the wife 
of a more or less promii\ent gambler, whose es- 
tablishment, not a hundred miles from Craig 
Stieet, will be noticed later. The house> furni- 
ture, and good-will of the business are now sub- 
let to another wonuin. at the trilling rental of 
seventy-five dollars per week. Wfien an estab- 
lishmcJit of this kind can pay a rent of thirty- 
six hundrt;d dollars j>er .inuuni and have the 
lessee wear diamonds, tlu: business must indeeil 
be valuable. 

Scarcely less notorious than the preceding 



is the estabHslimcnt situated near the rear of 
' St. Lawrence Market. It is ostensibly owned 
by a namesake of th(i owner of the house above 
described, and, while not as hirge, is still consid- 
ered "a valuable property." Its red curtains, 
and the line of cabs which nightly draw up in 
front of the door after ten o'clock, are familiar 
to policeman and citi/en alike ; but it has reigned 
undisturbed for years past, and there seems no 
imm(Kliate prospect of any change. 

Immediately around the corner, on a dirty 
and narrow lane, stands another establishment 
of a similar profession. A few years ago this 
place started with four rooms : it now occupies 
a large house. Under immunity from police 
intcrferiMice such dives (lourish. 

Threading our way along this Little Queer 
Street, and turning the first corner, a large 
porch, a colored globe, and startling (^cru cur- 
tains meet the eye, and sound'- of singing and 
piano-playing strike the ear in unharmonious 

" Surely," says the stranger, " I am dreaming, 
or have been, and 1 am back in Thirty-first 



Nothing is wanting to complete the picture. 
The garish lights, the open porch, the music, 
all unhlushingly invite the wanderer out of the 
cold dark, streets into the light. Within the 
usual sights and sounds —they need no telling. 

To investigate further we need not go far. 
Next door has no open porch, no colored lights, 
but instead a darkness and quiet not at all re- 
assuring. A ring at thr hell, and tlic usual 
wicket is opened and the same catechism is gone 

Upon St. Elizabeth Street, not far from St. 
Catherine Street, is another such spot —viler 
than its fellows. Of the unspeakable infamies 
of this place, prudence commands to silence. 

Up St. Constant Street the temf)les of sin are 
in rows. One hardly less unfavorably known 
than any above described staiids in a yard l)ack 
from the street. It is approached by a narrow 
board walk, and its ervironments arc. not cal- 
culated to cheer the seeker after illicit pleasure. 

There is neither space nor necessity to pursue 
our investigations farther. It would serve no 
good purpose to lead the stranger along the 
narrow and ill-smelling streets in this (juaiter. 



lilK UwmK OV M£8frilLINA« 

Saiigainet StPjct.VitiL^ Street, Mignonnc Street, 
and twenty other St ret;ts in lliis KuMlity eoiil.rib- 
ute their sihire to the calendai ui crime. 

It is not the East Rml alone which suiters. 
For four years a h<iuse on Aijucduct Street was 
notoriously a subject for coinplaint on the part 
of the neiiihhors. It was strange indeed that 
this quarter, one of the '(uietest in the city, 
siiouUl be compelled to submit to such associa- 
tions, bu. (he providential interference of the 
Canadian Pacilie Railway, wliicli claimed the 
ground upon which this jMoperty stood, and 
destroyed it, caused a removal. 'Ihe keeper 
transfcned hersell and her stock-in-trade to St. 
I'rban Street, and in a splendidly furnished 
liouse whose re: r oralleries overloctk Dntferin 
Sijuart; she pursues unmolested her j^roliiable 

St. Antonie Street, staid and respectable, was 
also invaded Ity the " ho; 1/ontales," but. their 
sojomii was brii.'f. 

To-day almost within a stone's-throw of the 
Windsor Hotel is a bagnio of whose existence 
few are aware. The visitors are few and (piiet ; 
no lights gleam through its closely-drawn cur- 



tains; no carriap^cs halt at oi^ht in front of its 
door. Its entire appearance is eminently re- 



JUit careful reci^nnaissance of the fence sur- 
rounilin*^ it and facinj^ Uj)on an unv}ccu|)ied 
plot of ground would reveal a cunningly con- 
cealed gate. Opened, a passage is before you 
and you are swallowed u|) from the sight of the 
outside \V(jrld. 

This place is an echo of Forty-first Street 
and " The Studio." Rich hut tastefully chosen 
furniture t)rnanient'" the rooms, delicate per- 
fumes Ml the air. and an atmosphere of re- 
fmcnient is about us. Mere is danger— here is 
vice not less vicious because alluring and 
scented. It is only more pleasant. 

The demi-fnonde of Montreal is the olT- 
scourings of New V(^rk and Chicago and the 
drenchings from our own gutters. Most of its 
component parts are diunkcji. uneducated, and 
low-b(jin. In most, cases they have not even 
physical attraction to plead their sad case. 
There is no glamour to be cast upon this side of 
Montreal life. It is vile and repuKive to any 







,<" m. 










^^- IIIM IlilM 

.^5. 11102 

u' ilM 

— 6" 




1-4 IIIIII.6 


























WEBSTER, N.Y. 14580 

(716) 872-4503 








one with feelings or culture. It holds out no 
attraction to the hetter class of young men. 

But the middle class must be considered. 
Only rarely would they enter such places, ex- 
cept when under the influence of the enemy 
which steals away men's brains ; but even to 
enter once is once too many. These houses 
are a meeting-ground and a refuge for the low, 
the idle, the vicious, and the drunken. They 
have existed too long, aid should be done 
away with now and forever. 

VV^e have refrained from writing of the lower 
end of the city and the awful vice which exists 
there. We would fain ask the inquiring ^ lon- 
trealer to come with us down Wolfe or Jacques 
Cartier Street even on a Sunday afternoon. 
The denizens of this district do not ask the 
mantle of night to shelter them. In broad 
daylight they ply their hideous calling. With 
painted faces they beckon from ground-floor 
windows, and with liquor-hoarse voices they at- 
tract the attention of the passer-by. Old 
Greene Street, in New York, at its worst pre- 
sented no viler sight than these streets in Mon- 
treal to-day. 




Horrible, horrible, most horrible ! This is 
no overdrawn picture to be read by the evil- 
minded and the evil hearted. It is a sad state- 
ment of facts. The localities are given. Seek 
for yourselves, and you will receive a lesson 
upon " the sinfulness of sin" as powerful as a 
Spurgeon sermon. 

We might write of the low hotels and lodg- 
ing-houses on St. Paul Street near the Bonse- 
cours Market and around the two great sta- 
tions. Such hotels have time and again been 
raided as "disorderly houses" by the city po- 
lice. Fancy a hotel licensed by the city, and 
then raided, and then resuming business ! 

If we have drawn the attention of one ener- 
getic, honest citizen to this sad state of affairs, 
good must follow as the night the day. If we 
have warned some headstrong youth from the 
sin which kills, good has been done. We ask 
no higher reward than this. 

The facts and figures given here speak for 
themselves. Our city rulers should be up and 
doing to purge our city from this moral and 
physical grossness. 

What say you ? 







The New York of ten years ago held no 
stranger sight, no spot more interesting in cer- 
tain respects than the quaint old building which 
stood at the corner of Houston and Crosby 
Streets. Its interior has seen many dramas. 

In many ways, and for divers reasons, *' Harry 
Hill's" was a land-mark. The visitor to the city, 
before being taken out to " see the sights," was 
always asked " Shall we go to Harry Hill's?" 

Within its walls, from early afternoon until 
early morning, was gathered as motley a crew 
as ever the eye of man rested upon. The 
most dangerous and desperate criminals met 
here and planned new villainies. The scum of 
the female sex of lower New York assembled 
themselves together in this place. Men and 
women who had done time, who were wanted 
by the police of London, Paris, and V^ienna, 
swaggered about and aired their rough ways 





before the visitor. Upon the walls, the famous 
verse beginning " Gentlemen, sit at your 
ease ;" at the tables, women who were beyond 
suspicion ; at the bar and in the billiard-room, 
men of every class. It indeed deserved the 
name of " Free and Easy." 

But alas ! one fine day a cruel-hearted and 
inflexible mayor issued his famous proclama- 
tion : "The dives must go." And Harry Hill's 
went the way which the Cremorne, the Empire, 
and other shady resorts had trodden before. 
They will be more or less lamented but not 
forgotten, and they can well be spared. 

To-day the space formerly occupied by Har- 
ry Hill's is a scene of busiest toil, and ere long 
a massive warehouse will rise upon its site. 

Montreal as yet boasts no ** Free and Easy " 
of the Harry Hill class. There are no concert 
halls where immoral women lie in wait for 
vicious men, — little better than houses of as- 
signation. Montreal will allow vice to any ex- 
tent, but it must not offend the public eye. It 
may ply its sad vocation in dark streets and 
behind closed doors, but it must not walk in 
the light of publicity. The festering slums of 




the Faubourg in Quebec may exist, but the 
man who would try to run a well-ordered beer- 
garden in a respectable quarter of the city would 
have a thorny road to travel. 

The nearest approach to the American " Free 
and Easy" in Montreal is Tommy Boyle's fa- 
mous Horseshoe on St. Sulpice Street, It is, 
however, but a feeble imitation. True, there 
is " beer and music," which Puritan New York 
has prohibited ; the sound of song and dance 
is heard within its walls, and some of the at- 
tendants are in female attire: but here the re- 
semblance ends. 

At " The Horseshoe" there are no women 
patrons, no female performers upon the stage, 
and few, if any, crooks In the audience. 

Upon a dimly-lighted street, and within the 
shadow of the noble parish church of Notre 
Dame de Montreal, stands the Horseshoe. 

St. Sulpice Street runs from Notre Dame 
Street for a quarter of a mile down to the river 
front, and its buildings are devoted to commerce 
and the pursuits which enrich sailing-men. 
Tommy Boyle's is the exception. 

Leaving the Windsor we stroll along Dor- 





Chester Street, and the eye is arrested by the 
magnificent dome of St. Peter's Cathedral ris- 
ing heavenward in the soft summer moonlight. 
Truly it is even now, in its uncompleted state, a 
noble and a picturesque sight. 

Still following Dorchester Street, past the 
St. James' Club and the fine residences on 
either side, we find ourselves at» the head of 
Beaver Hall Hill. Glancing downward, the 
lights of the lov/er city gleam and twinkle like 
a thousand stars, and speak to us of a busy, 
ever-toiling world. 

Descending the hill, we pass through Vic- 
toria Square with its massive warehouses, and 
the electric lights oi St. James Street gleam 
before us. It is nine o'clock, and but few per- 
sons walk its quiet length, and we reach Place 
d'Armcs Square. 

Upon the magnificent edifice which arrests 
and holds our attention we cannot devote 
much space. Had we a volume to spare, it 
would give no idea of its imposing entrance. 
Its solid walls, and its heaven -kissing towers. 
We long for the deep tones of its famous bell, 



and we seek to imagine its appearance when 
illuminated upon a festival night. 

Regretfully we turn down the dark and nar- 
row street which sleeps in its shadow, and 
follow its quiet length until the sound of the 
slowly-gliding St. Lawrence River reaches our 
ears, and we breathe with deep draughts the 
fresh and health-laden breezes which pene- 
trate even here. 

Before an open door, which reveals a flight 
of steps, stands a huge colored gaslight. 
Upon its colored glass can be traced in many 
different styles the words : 


Tommy Boyle. 

And upon it are colored horseshoes such as Joe 
Murphy surely never made in any performance 
of " The Kerry Gow " on record. 

Before entering through this hospitably 
open, if uninviting, door we pause. Down the 
stairs stagger two men, whose garb proclaims 
the seafaring man, and they are standing alter- 
nately to starboard and to port. This irregular 
course occasions us some misgivings as to the 

• i 




point to be taken by ourselves. - It is worse 
than two steamboats in a canal. 

- Bill." 

"Aye, lad." 

" Canst tell the way to the ship ? " 

" Naw, lad ; can thou ?" 

" Maybe if 'twas daylight; but this gas, it 
'urt's in' eyes." 

" Naw, lad, 'tis the hoose which troubles 

A muttered oath, and the two men clinch 
and roll to the bottom of the steps. The fall 
sobers them a trifle, and they **make " for the 

Thanking our stars for our caution in waiting 
till the track was clear before ascending, we 
set foot upon the lowest step. 

The sound of a voice roaring out a song to 
the monotonous thumping of a piano which, 
at this distance, sounds like the combination of 
a fog-horn and the noise of a ships screw, 
greets our ears. Floating down the stairway, 
in occasional gusts, like driving snow, comes 
an odor which once smelt is never forgotten : 
it is beer. 




It may be this latest odor, or the thought 
that having gone thus far we should push on 
to the bitter end, that compels us to ascend 
the short flight of steps; a turn to the right, 
and the bar is before us. 

Before us stands a long counter, and behind 
it a strongly-built but agile-looking man at- 
tends to what seems a rushing business. The 
man is an ex-prize-Iighter of no little ability 
and undoubted courage, who, had he attended 
to the job for vvhicii i.ature seems to have 
built him, would surelv have risen to eminence 
in the ranks of the middle-weights. 

P'rom the air of secrecy which surrounds the 
manners of the two flashily-dressed men who 
whisper to him during his every spare minute, 
it would appear that there is mischief in the 
air. The feud between the ex-Ouebccker and 
another pugilist now in the city is at its 
hei<rht, and many are the rumors around of a 
settled meeting and "a merry mill." 

At the far end of the bar is a desk labelled 
" cashier ; " behind it sits a youth of hardly 
twelve years, who seems at home and at ease, 



and who makes chan(?-c with a confidence and 
certainly horn of lon^ praticc. 

This is a son of the proprietor, and a 3'outh 
wliose clever dancing liad called the aristo- 
cratic patrons of a recent amateur minstrel en- 
tertainmenc to their feet and made the Acad- 
emy of Music ring with wild applause. 

Standing in a corner, and that being noisily 
with a group of men whose aj)pearance and 
dress was rather out of character with their sur- 
roundings, is the })roprietor. Ue is a short, 
slim man, with a merry face and a jolly twinkle 
in his eye, which a sore arm carried in a sling 
cannot entirely banish. 

The famous owner has three hobbies — his 
boy's dancing, the pugilistic abilities of his bar- 
tender and his assistant, a slim but muscular 
lad whoH' he addressed as " Fitz," and his re- 
puted " neara("ss" in money matters. lie 
seems to be discussing matters fistic ; for now 
and then he points to the men behind the bar, 
and his voice drops. 

The two men to whom he speaks are well 
known. One, the taller, is a gambler on a 
small scale, and calls himself an " all-around 



sport," to the amusement of his acquaintances. 
He had gained some notorie*;y as a backer of 
pugilists and pedestrians, but of late both pugs 
and peds had flown wide of this city, and the 
noble sport lagged. His companion was a 
foot-runner of more than local fame, who lis- 
tened as the other talked. 

" Well, is it a go ?" 

" Yes," responded Boyle. 

"I'll be here to-morrow night," returned the 
other, in a voice whose Milesian accents were 
unmistakable ; and he walked quickly to the 
door and, with his companion, disappeared. 

The thumping on the piano h?d ceased, the 
foghorn-voiced no longer pierced our ears, and 
above the clink of glasses can be heard scraps 
of conversation : 

"Middle-weight, and a good 'un." 

" To-morrow, at five." 

- I say I did." 

" Isn't she just—" 

- Bill, it's six bells." 

Let us escape from this room and enter the 
" concert-hall." 

Seated on tables, chairs, benches, and even on 





the tioor, a hundred or more men are crowded 
together in an atmo.^phere redolent of stale 
beer and vile tobacco-smoke. Surely they 
must be salamanders, and used to fire, to stand 
this long. Only a stoker on an ocean steam- 
ship would live through an hour of it, it seems 
to us, and yet all hands are orderly and happy. 
The place, for all its vile odor? of liqu '' and 
tobacco, is neat and clean, and drunken men 
are not in sight. 

At the far end of the "hall," a platfor n is 
raised a coupl'^ cf feet above the level of the 
floor and in full sight of all hands. A young 
man has just finished a jig, and the applause 
which greeted his efforts was loud and long. 

The master of ceremonies — on this occasion 
the proprietor himself — steps forward and an- 

" Mr. Wilson will oblige with a song. He's 
a good 'un — give him a hand, everybody." 

He leads the applause himself, and the land- 
lubbers and sailors present follow with vim. 
A young man with smooth, greasy locks 
about which there is just the faintest sugges- 
tion of salad oil, and a close-fitting frock coat 




arises from somewhere in the middle of the 
crowd, and way is made for him. The " gen- 
tleman at the piano" takes an exercise canter 
over the keys, and a finish fight between piano 
and singer begins. After a brief struggle, during 
which we have been possessed of the idea that 
the man has been warbling " White Wings," 
the piano subsides; the volunteer "talent" 
bows to the storm of applause, and his place is 
taken by a " song and dance artist." 

We partake of some fairly good beer at the 
hands of a black-eyed vestal, who attends to 
our side of the room, and we take our leave 
over "The Horseshoe," and wend our way 
homeward to "think it over." 

It is not for us to question the advisability 
of licensing such places as "The Horseshoe." 
It is true they are not of a high moral tone 
nor are they calculated to elevate the standard 
of social morality in the community ; but at 
least something can be said in their favor. 
Here the sailor and the wharf-hand is better off 
than if prowling the streets at the mercy of 
land-sharks male and female. He is not poi- 
goned with vile liquor, but he can take his beer 





and smoke his pipe in peace at little cost. If 
there were no " Morseslioc," he might spend 
his money and ruin his iiealth in some low 
drinking-dcn along tlie river-front, or become 
ihe |jrey of some vile lodging-house keeper or 
female Harpy. 

In short, it is not well but it might be worse. 



The travelled pilgrim, whose Mecca is Mon- 
treal, when he arrives at that beautiful city 
usually inquires for the sights of the city. 
The impression made upon him by guide- 
books, by friends, and last of all by his own 
powers of observation wdiile driving up to his 
hotel, convince him that he has not pitched his 
tent in the bankrupt land of desolation so un- 
truthfully portrayed in Amer c ui annexation 
sheets of The I For M str\pe. 

Far from it. When he has visited our 





bridges, our churches, our residences, our busi- 
ness streets, our factories and, finest of all, when 
he has stood upon Mount Royal and seen the 
fair city nestling between himself and the 
majestic St. Lawrence, he is tempted to ask 
himself : 

" Is this one of the cities forming part of a 
ruined and bankrupt country, being rapidly 
depopulated by the defection of starving, unem- 
ployed labor, and deserted by capitalists as an 
unpromising and barren field ? Can these sturdy 
business men, these dignified matrons, these 
strong and hardy young men, and these rosy- 
cheeked and handsome girls with health and 
intelligence written upon their faces — can these 
be the same people of whom I have lately read 
that they are starving inhabitants of a frost- 
bound and barren country, even now tottering 
upon the verge of dissolution political and 
social ? Are these massive warehouses filled 
with merchandise, these busy factories, these 
splendidly equipped railways but phantoms of 
my idle brain ? Are these houses on Sher- 
brooke and Dorchester Streets, these stone 
mansions which remind me of London, are they 



JOB beef's. 


but tenanted by the caretakers, the families 
themselves having emigrated some months ago 
to Fall River and Haverhill ? 

After seeking around in vain for the ivy 
which should be climbing over our buildings 
public and private, in testimony of their ruin, 
and after a weary search for the moss which 
should be growing over our railway tracks and 
public highways, the idea dawns upon the 
traveller, if he be an American and possessed 
of the average American ability, that the re- 
ports of Canada in the American papers are 
not strictly correct. 

If he inquires a little further, he will be satis- 
fied that the statements in his enterprising coun- 
try's sensation-loving journals should be credited 
to the Father of Lies. 

If he be inclined to mercy, he may think that 
the reports of Canada's ruin are somewhat like 
the account of the hanging of the Chicago 
Anarchists in a notoriously unreliable, if suc- 
cessful, New York daily — ihj story is a trifle 

Having satisfied himself as well as possible 
by all outward and visible signs that Montreal, 


jox beef's. 

at least, is not drifting without rudder or sails, 
with neither master nor crew upon the sea of 
ruin, he proceeds to satisfy himself that for tlie 
stranger it possesses sights of interest in no 
way inferior to any cities of the New World. 

Well, he has driven upon our Mountain Park 
road, he has seen our observatory ; he has 
tested our water-supply system and our Cana- 
dian whiskey supply ; in one of our splendid 
hired carriages he has rolled along Shcrbrooke 
Street — our local Fifth Avenue; muI he has fully 
understood tiie pride which the IMontrealer 
feels in the magnificent residences of his city. 
Me has seen thirty brawny Canucks in a hand- 
tc-hand struffs^lc at a c^ame called football in a 
manner truly E^ritish ; and on Sunday he has 
met the voutb and beauty of the city taking its 
afternoon airing upon Sherbrooke Street. 

Upon him steals the idea that, after all, Canada 
may be a country of fair women and brave men ; 
and if he be a poet he is likely tt) ask, 

"Where is the man who would not dare 
To figlit for such a land." 

But if perchance he has no poetry in him, but 

JOK beep's. 


inclined to hard and unpoetic thoughts, he may 

" I have seen all these things before : hand- 
some residences, splendid railroads, busy fac- 
tories, sturdy young men, and pretty girls, 
these are daylight sights in every city. Show 
me something which will be hard to duplicate 

If it is winter, he might be taken to the moun- 
tain-top and shown the city in moonlit beauty 
below. lie could not equal that on earth. 

Or if it is Carnival week, he might be 
taken to witness the fancy drive, the Victoria 
Rink Carnival. Where could he reproduce 
these ? 

If he still seeks for novelty, let him stand be- 
fore the illumined glories of the Ice Palace. 
Even if he be as American as George Washing- 
ton or Jim Blaine, he will confess that at last 
his eyes have rested upon a sight which never 
palls ; which grows in beauty and brings to 
him ihouu'hts of another world, and which even 
his great and glorious country cannot equal. 

He has feasted his vision upon the' sublime; 
he will now laugh at the ridiculous. 



It is certain that if he remains in Montreal 
long enough he will be asked, 

•* Have you seen Joe Beefs?" 

The visitor naturally asks, 

"What is Joe Beefs?" 

The smile of triumph comes into the eyes of 
the resident. He h is found something which 
in all likelihood the American has never seen 

*' It cannot be described, mon cousin Amer- 
icain ; it must be seen." 

And so it comes about that one fine night 
the visitor, armed to the teeth, and his guide 
meet at a leading hotel and point for the river's 

The trip begins. 

There is no terror in the sight of the well- 
lighted and still busy streets of the business 
portion of the city, and as the American walks 
St. James' Street his grip upon his "shooting- 
iron" relaxes perceptibly, and he smiles to 
himself at his former fears. 

But a turn to the left, a few paces down a 
narrow and dimly-h'ghted street, and his doubts 
return. There is a quiet about the neighbor- 




hood which sets his nerves on tension ; about 
some of the buildings on either hand there is an 
air of physical decay not at all reassuring. 

His grip upon his revolver tightens, and he 
blesses his foresight. 

A few steps more and the St. Lawrence, 
grand and stately, rolls on toward the sea. Far 
across on the opposite is the gleam of village 
lights, and in front the electric light marks the 
magnificent wharf frontage far, almost, as the 
line of vision, until far away down the river 
they seem like stars of the summer night. 

Behind him he has left the roar of a great 
city, the murmur of its many tongues, the 
noise of its numerous feet. Above him, to left 
and to right, tower mighty warehouses, and in 
front a countless throng of men, like swarming 
bees, toil under the searching rays of the white 
light. His ear is assailed by shouting of busy 
overseers, by noise of restless donkey-engines, 
and creak of straining chains. To-morrow morn- 
ing, ere sunrise, the iron monster which rests so 
secure upon the bosom of Father St. Law- 
rence, will be emptied of her costly freight and 


JOE beep's. 

refilled with the valuable products of Canadian 

Above him to the entrance of the canal, and 
below him till the eye is strained in its efforts 
to compass the distance, the scene is the same. 

He wonders again if this is the Deserted 
village, of which his country's dailies are so 
tenderly solicitous. He finds himself thinking 
if this is the land of desolation and debt about 
whicli he has read ; and he wonders if these 
sounds of busy commerce are the symptoms of 

Having pretty well decided that in future he 
will seek another gospel of information and 
truth than his favorite Gift Ente7^prise Jotir- 
nal, he sud.ienly remembers the object of his 
trip, and his resolutions are interrupted : 

"Well, we are here." 

To his left, upon the corner of the street fac- 
ing the river front and the narrow street which 
he has just descended, is a dark and dirty cor- 
ner "gin-mill." Its character of occupation is 

Even at this distance, an odor unhuman and 
vile assails his nostrils. He sniffs again : 

Job beef's. 


** Am I on the bounding prairie ? for surely I 
smell buffalo." 

His companion laughs for answer. 

The American is visibly nettled. 

" My friend and Canuck," he says with just a 
touch of sarcasm in his voice, "that peculiar 
odor does not belong to a gin-mill. The last 
time I fainted under it was in a dime museum 
on the Bowery." 

His companion laughed aloud. 

" Brother Jonathan," he replied, with true 
Canadian politeness, '* this is better than any 
Bowery museum, for here you not only see 
the wild animals, but the human as well ; and, 
better than all, you have a good glass of beer 
right on the premises. Lastly, it is free." 

Lost in admiration of this Canadian institu- 
tion so cunningly devised, the two enter. 

For a second, the American has lost his as- 
sumed air of indifference. Manifestly he is 

In front of him is the rarest collection of 
men his eyes had ever seen. There was not a 
good coat, nor a hat in even moderate repair, in 
the entire company. Their garb was of the 


JOE beef's. 

poorest, but it made no difference to their 
spirits — all hands were happy and contented. 

Upon a corner of the room, a stack of loaves 
of bread, piled, if^not mountain-high, at least 
ceiling-high, attracted attention. Around this 
improvised pantry, the men stood or sat and 
ate heartily. 

In the opposite corner, something black was 
lying down, but once in a while the ominous 
rattle of chain warned the inquisitive to keep at 
a distance. It could not be a dog ; it was too 
big for a cat. 

Suddenly it arose, and a vision of a wide-open 
mouth — a dream in white and red — greeted the 

The American's vanity was tickled — his 
sense of smell had not deceived him ; he had 
smelt bear. 

Behind a counter, a stout man, with florid 
face, dispensed the ardent fluid to a thirsty 
crowd. All was quiet and orderly. 

The American suggested to his company that 
possibly to-morrow might be ** bear-steak" day. 
at this restaurant ; but the joke v/as lost upon 
the night air. 



" You have seen the 'tiger' and the 'elephant* 
in Ne\v York. Come down stairs with me, and 
see the buffalo in Montreal." 

A pale faced-l)oy is detailed to lead our steps 
right, and we follow. He L^^ckons us toward 
a stairway which " seems the pathway down 
to hell ;" and with reluctant steps we follow. 

!n a dark and ill-smelling cellar, a square 
space has been stoutly boarded off, and within 
it an object hairy and dark is reclining. 

It was the lordly roanier of thejVVestern plains 
— the animal wiio has rechristened one of Amer- 
ica's most prominent citizens, the Hon. Wil- 
liam J. Cody ; in short, it is a buffalo. 

Properly speaking, it is what is left of one ; for 
captivity has sadly worsted his once noble form 
and frozen the fiery current of his soul. He is 
a treed buffalo. 

To the left of us, another bear is chained ; but 
it is unnecessary — his ferocity is gone, and the 
tenderest Indian maiden in all the forests would 
hardly tempt his sunken jaws into action. 

Upon a bar a huge cage hangs, near the ceil- 
ing, and within it two parrots, almost as devoid 


JOS sjskf's. 

of feathers as a broiled chicken, occasionally 
disturb the vicinity with cacophonous noise. 

In remote corners, unlit by the feeble and 
glimmering light of a smoky lamp, other objects 
are moving; but the desire for fresh air, in the 
visitors, is too strong to be resisted. The in- 
vestigation into this menagerie is not pursued 

Above the saloon are sleeping-rooms ; for no 
poor man need want a bed while Joe Beef's is 
open. In the morning he must turn out early 
and wash himself ; this last being a hobby of 
the strange and eccentric proprietor. There is 
good wholesome bread in the corner, and he 
may eat, and welcome. If he has money, he 
can pay it ; if he is penniless, he need not. 

Joe Beef's may be low, it is certainly dirty 
on the cellar and ground floors ; and the value 
of such a place to the city may be questioned. 
But let one thing be remembered — many a 
tired head has here found rest ; many a hungry 
mouth has here been filled. 

Surely, this charity will cover a multitude 
jf sins. 

At Joe Beef's death, quite recently, the Mont- 

J0« BSKF't. 


real S^ar did justice to one who, with all his 
faults, was the poor man's friend, and gave 
some particulars of his strange career : lie was 
born in County Cavan, Ireland, in the year 
1835, and consquently was 54 years of age 
at the time of his death. When quite a young 
boy, he was sent to the School of Gunnery in 
Woolwich, England. When the Crimean war 
broke out, he was drafted into the Royal Artil- 
lery, and served through the greater portion of 
the well-known campaign, being raised to the 
rank of sergeant. When others failed to secure 
supplies, Joe would start out, and it was very 
rarely that he returned without a plentiful sup* 
ply of beef and other eatables ; and from this 
he received the name Joe Beef. lie came to 
Canada with the Royal Artillery, ordered to 
Quebec in the year 1864 on account of the Trent 
atfair. He came to Montreal with his brigade 
in 1864, had charge of the canteen at the Que- 
bec barracks for three years and at St. Helen's 
Island for two years. In 1868, he then bought 
his discharge, and started a tavern on Claude 
Street, named the Crown and Sceptre. When 
this street was widened, in 1870, he removed to 


JOE beef's. 

his present abode, Nos. 4, 5, and 6 Common 
Street, where he has been ever since. In 1877, 
durinir three days of the Lachine Canal strike, 
he distributed over 3000 loaves and 500 gallons 
of soup. He also sent two delegates to Ottawa " 
to intercede for the workmen. A few years 
after this occurrence, the operatives at the cot- 
ton-mills at liochclaga refused to wo?k unless 
the hours of labor were reduced. Whilst this 
strike was in progress, Joe advised the people 
to hold out, and in the mean time had a plenti- 
ful supply of bread and soup distributea amongst 
them. It will be remembered that the opera- 
tives got the desired reduction in hours. 

Upon this occasion, the Montreal daily 
IVi'liess, which claims the exclusive privilege of 
being the follower of llim who preached char- 
ity to all, followed the dead man even to his 
grave with vilification and hypocritical abuse. 
For them the old and honored saying of " De 
mortuis nil nisi bonum" carries no mean- 
ing. The editorial is worthy of reproduction 
If its claim to being " the only religious daily" 
is founded upon such works as this, it will 
hold its position undisputed. 

^ »:ir.vt a*-.. 

JOE beef's. 



Read this : 

•'Joe Beef is Dead. — For twenty-five 
yea:., he has enjoyed in his own way the repu- 
^ tation of beinix for Montreal what was in 
former days known under the pet sohri(]uet of 
the wickedest man. His saloon, where men 
consorted with ur clean beasts, was probably 
the most disgustingly dirty in the country. It 
has been the bottom of the sink of which the 
Windsor bar and others like it are the re- 
ceivers. The only step further was to be found 
mu'dered on the wharf or dragged out of the 
gutter or the river, as might happen. It was 
the resort of the most degraded of men. It 
was the bottom of the pit, a sort of cut de snc, 
in which thieves could be corralled. The police 
declared it valuable to them as a place where 
these latter could be run down. It has been 
actively at work over all that time for the 
brutalizing of youth — a work wdiich was carried 
on with the utmost diligence by its, in that 
sense, talented {)roprietor. The excuse just 
mentioned for tolerating it, and licensing it 
annually in the Queen's rame, issurelv an un- 
speakable disgrace. Worse than this, under 

i. < 
» 4 



the principles of our present government, this 
destructive resort will be held to have a good- 
will, whatever that word may mean with re- 
gard to embrutlng young men, and claims will 
be made for a continuance of this license from 
her Majesty to carry on this trade on condi- 
tion of sharing the gains with her Majesty to 
the extent of two hundred dollars." 

Comment upon such charity is unnecessary. 



It may be remarked, right at the start of this 
chapter, that Montreal "does not go much on 
theatres." It goes to them much, but the 
drama in Montreal is but the idle amusement 
of an hour. The impression left by any per- 
formance is but temporary ; with the majority 
it is soon forgotten. 

Where is the intelligent man who, after vis- 
iting one of the larger American cities, will 
not confess to his astonishment at the devotion 

s"-., ---;i'ii^*r.-~.'-- 




of the public to the drama, and of their intelli- 
gent appreciation of the efforts of its artists ? 

This appreciation, so gratifying and encour- 
aging to its followers, and so creditable to the 
patrons themselves, finds no place in Montreal. 

The play is applauded or listened to in silent 
condemnation, it is laughed at or wept over ; 
but it is forgotten, and the names of its mimic 
characters, and of the artists who portrayed 
them are sometimes not even noticed and 
almost invariably forgotten. 

In no city is the actor's art more evanescent, 
less permanent, than in Montreal. It is not 
creditable to the inhabitants. 

It is not our purpose to discuss the cause nor 
to suggest a cure. It may be the want of 
proper and intelligent criticism to guide the 
outsiders aright — for Montreal theatrical criti- 
cism is notoriously incompetent and partial ; 
or it may be that the dailies do not lead their 
readers to think upon the art which Shake- 
speare loved ; — but pity t'is, t'is true. 

And yet Montreal has been singularly favored 
in the respect of theatrical performances. 
Withia the walls of the Academy of Music the 



actors in the mimic world beyond the foot- 
lights have not lacked encouragement from 
the "sea of faces" not far away; and applause, 
if not keenly discriminating, is ofttimes hearty 
and honest. 

Upon the boards of the Academy of Music, 
many famous disciples of the art of Tiiespis 
have strutted and fretted their little hour. 
Here Bernhardt, •* La divine Sara," looked 
with the winning tenderness of her liquid eyes 
upon Annand, and braved the Princesse de Bou- 
llion. Over the audiences the thrill of horror 
has passed when Genevieve Ward, as Stcphajiie 
de Mohrivart, sees the revengeful Corsican 
waiting upon the balcony for his victim; and 
her wild cry of terror still rings in our ears. 
Lovely, gentle Adelaide Ncilson murmured 
the passion of the love-lorn daughter of the 
Capulets to the crooning and bleating Romeo 
beneath her balcony, and sighed in silver-sweet 
accents for " A falconer's voice to lure him 
back again." Statuesque Mary Anderson 
has chilled the love of the moon-eyed Orlando 
in the forest of Arden, and posed as Parthcnia. 
Modjeska, sweetest of them all, more womanly. 

Wia,j,U'>iSi:iMV-^.V. - 

-'■'» WAIUN^^W^HH^ ' 



more loveable, has wept as the erring Froti' 
Frou, and Montreal's fairest daughters wept 
with her; and Ellen Terry has flooded over the 
stage and tried the keen encounter of her wits 
with Benedict. Here, too, Marie Prescott, with 
fierce strength, has cursed her lying husband in 
'• The Wages of Sin " and shrunk from Othello s 
stormy caresses. Margaret Mather's untrained 
ability lias shown us dimly the sorrows of 
** Leah the Forsaken," and charming Rose 
Coghlan has fascinate ^ us with her exquisite 
comedy, as she joked at poor 6^/^ Peter Teazle. 
Janauschek, grandly tragic, has cursed Dick 
Hattei'ick; and we have here seen Ristori, 
voiceless almost and in her wane. Patti and 
Gerster have sung here ; and the last notes of 
their music still floats around us. 

Salvini, grandest of tragedians, has pleaded 
his cause before the Senate and lifted his won- 
drous voice in barbaric rage. The skill and 
stagecraft of an Irving has reproduced " Louis 
XI." and thrilled us with the abject terror of 
Mathias in "The Bells." We have laughed 
with Colonel Mnlberry Sellers and sorrowed 
with Mantell. The unctuous humor of W. J. 





Florence as Captain Cuttle, the solemn and 
quiet fun of Roland Reed, and the drunken 
antics of George Knight have amused us. The 
cunning of Keene's hunchback king, the 
ghastly terror of Mansfield's Baron Cher- 
rial, and the humanity and pathos of the 
Jack Yetibett of Joseph Haworth have all 
received their due meed of recognition. 

A first night at the Academy of Music is 
rarely the best for purposes of observation. 
The Montrealer — insular as a Briton — does 
not know what is said or written of the piece 
in other cities ; he does not care. Deep 
down in his mind there is a settled conviction 
that the American theatrical manager is always 
" trying it on the dog," and he prefers to wait 
until his friends have gone. He prefers them 
to stand the brunt of the fray. Ofttimes it is 
a trying ordeal, for the Academy has seen 
some "cruel" shows, of which " C. O. D.," 
"On the Trail," and "Philopene" remain unto 
this day in their memories. In view of this, 
Montreal caution is justifiable — even com- 

rilT ;^:,,..-*iird of dramatic performance seems 





to be the famous "Diplomacy" company of 
ten years ago. Some members of the cast are 
still remembered : 

Henry Beattckrc, . Fred. B. Warde. 

Julian Beaucierc, . Maurice Barry more. 

Ba7'on SteiHy . . H. Rees Davies. 

Count de Carojac, . Signor Majeroni. 

Dora, Miss Annie Edmondson. 

Countess Zicka, . . Signora Majeroni. 

Mr. Barrymore was then an infinitely better 
actor than he is now, and it is certain that he 
then wore a hat two sizes smaller. Fred. B. 
Warde had not been seized with stellar aspira- 
tions. Mr. H. Rees Davies is now with 
Roland Reed, and the Majeronis are in Aus- 
tralia. Of Miss Edmondson, we have lost 
track. It must, however, be admitted that it 
was a notable performance. Ten such stock 
companies are now on the road. 

The Canadian representative of junior 
" upper-tendom" does not consume his rival 
with jealousy by taking his loved one to the 
theatre and filling her with candy between the 
acts. Canadian etiquette does not permit the 



former, and Canadian ideas of health and good 
manners run contrary to the latter action. To 
the Canadian juvenile "aristocrat," this Amer- 
icanism seems a relic of barbarism ; so he either 
goes alone and sits "in the unreserved," or, 
with a "fellow of his own set," he dons his 
evening dress and sits solemn and unmoved in 
the orchestra chairs. 

There is much to be said in favor of the non- 
attendance of young people at the theatres. 
The young man who goes with his fiana^e, — 
actual or would-be, — and has compelled her to 
listen to the indecencies of " La Tosca" or " A 
Wife's Peril," or something equally sultry, is in 
a position not devoutly to be wished for. 

There are some first-nighters in Montreal, 
without whom, it is jestingly said, the 
Academy would remain unopened. One of 
these, a prominent politician, portly of form 
and gray of hair, is known as a devoted ad- 
mirer of the fair sex, and the sacred lamp of 
burlesque shines never too brightly for him. 
From his box, on the left of the stage, his 
ardent glances fall upon the performers ; but, 




alas ! the attraction is not mutual, and his at- 
tentions are seldom rrcinrocated. 

Another familiar figure on Monday nights 
is the smooth-faced and slender scion of a 
leading wealthy French-Canadian family. He 
has figured more than once hefore the public ; 
but of late he has withdrawn into temporary, 
if not enforced ; seclusion. 

Another regular attendant is one of the sons 
of a wealthy railroad-speculator. His attire is 
like unto Jacob's coat, and ev^en Solomon in 
all his glory was not a circumstance to this 
local Berry Wall. It is well that his dress is his 
worst characteristic ; otherwise he is harmless. 

But the time to see a Montreal audience at 
its best is during an amateur performance — 
such as are frequently given in aid of some well- 
known charity. Here indeed, do youth and 
beauty meet ; for the dramatic or minstrel 
talent of Montreal is recruited from its upper 
ranks, and the entire house is always sold to 
the friends and acquaintances of the per- 
formers, and tickets to those outside of the 
" local 400 " are at a premium. 

To-night there is an amateur minstrel per- 




formance for the benefit of " The Home for 
Incurable Old Maids," and we are informed 
that the entire house is sold, and that the 
merit of the performers and the brilliancy of 
the audience will mark an event in fashionable 

Our American blood is up. We will see 
that performance and that audience if we have 
to bankrupt ourselves to get tickets and leave 
our trunks " as security " at our hotel. 

We are saved this sad fate. The "gentle- 
manly" (always gentlemanly in print) hotel 
clerk, after superhuman efforts, has got us 
two. He says that his attempts in our behalf 
would have done justice to a sporting man on 
the trail of a prize-fight. We believe him — it 
is easier than disputing; we dress with extra 
care, and duly at eight o'clock we present our- 

The house was not half full yet, and we 
marvelled greatly thereat. We had not yet 
learned that in Montreal, as elsewhere, no 
amateur performance begins at the advertised 

Soon wc hear the rattle of the tambo and 



bones, and for the first time \vc venture to cast 
our eyes about us. The house is full Liri we 
are surrounded by th<3 " youth and beauty " of 

We arc not disappointed. There are pix'tty 
young girls of from eighteen to twenty two 
and handsome women of thirty. The men in 
evening dress are what might be termed " tine 
young fellows." 

One thing is especially noticeable — the:"e is 
an air of distinction about tl;e audience wliich 
seems to say, " Our refinement and our posi- 
tion does not date from last generation." The 
women do not talk loud — that qualii.y of voice 
so commended by the Sweet Swan of Avon. 
Their English pronunciation is of the ))est ; and 
there is no slang, no nasal drawl, no "ain't;" 
better than all, no blazing of diamonds, so 
noticeable in the regular anvl parvenu audi- 
ences of New York. Of this, my American 
friends shall be duly informed. 

There is a tinkle ; instantly we settle back 
in our seats, prepared to be bored and to look 

There is nothing for the old-timer to object 



to in the stage setting, revealed as the curtain 
rolls up. The fifty young men upon the stage 
are well posed, the end-men look confident, 
and the scenery and gas-jets fill up a charming 

The fun begins. An admirably played over- 
ture raises in our minds the hope that perhaps 
the show will not be unendurable, and three 
times we have caught ourselves laughing at the 
antics of the young man on the bones end. 
Then the jokes arc sprung, and we have not rec- 
ognized a single old friend. We marvel at 
the easy manner of the-end men and the self- 
possession of the clear-voiced interlocutor. 
Once, an end man for an instant only seems 
shaky, but the interlocutor, with the readiness of 
a professional, guides him over the rough spot. 
It is admfrably done, and it passes almost 
entirely unnoticed. The solos are admirably 
sung, and the chorus attach with the certainty 
of veterans. 

The curtain goes down upon the first part, 
and we Jonathans are enthusiastic in praise of 
Mr. Canuck. 

" Charley," said I, " this show is good enough 



to travel on its own merits, with no charity at- 

My friend agreci: with me, and we listen to 
the favorable comments of the audience around 

The second part is surprisingly good. There 
is a capital quartette, a banjoist almost up to 
Billy Carter, and the end-man who was so 
witty in the first part is screamingly funny in 
the after-piece. Decidedly, he is an artist. 

We wait in the lobby as the audience file 
out. Our good impression is renewed, and we 
admire the rich, soft furs so much in fashion. 

The next night we prepare ourselves for a 
trip to the Theatre Royal, which, we are in- 
formed, is similar to the Third Avenue Theatre 
in New York. 

Its popularity is undoubted ; to that, the en- 
tering crowds bear witness. With difficulty 
we squeeze in, and, paying fifty cents apiece, 
we lord it, over the common herd, in a box seat. 

" My Partner " is most excellently performed. 
The man who acts ^oe Saunders is an artist. 
Gilfeather is his name, if I remember aright, 
and Miss Mary Brandon is sweet and refined. 


THE spider's web. 

In the audience is no silk and satin, but only 
fustian ; but all seem to be happy and enjoying 
themselves. Above all, everything is orderly. 
Again we are favorably impressed. 

Montreal at present supports but two thea- 
tres. The Queen's Hall, a fine, roomy, and well- 
lit hall, has no scenery and is the home of 
concert proper. Albani, Scalchi, and Cam- 
panini have sung here. 

The theatre is only indirectly an educator ; 
but, if it amuses, its mission is fulfilled. Provided 
the amusement be pure, education will follow. 



The passion for gambling seems implanted 
W'thin the human breast. Ouida, in " Moths," 
remarks that i: is the passion which outlasts all 
the others. Nearly every man and woman has 
at one time or other left the decision of some 
more or less weighty question to the Blind 
Goddess. In the dawn of time, had we their 

'■A ifiiAiai J--. vitruiiiR, •. -aistj-.i 



THE spider's web. 


records, it would probably be found that the 
earliest civilized races were victims. We are 
certain, from the Old Testament, that " they 
cast lots." 

Upon this subject the once-famous O. B. 
Frothingham wrote an e.ssay, which he entitled 
"The Ethics of Gambling," which vice he 
rather wittily defined as " trying to get the 
start of Providence." A well-known American 
monthly publishes some curious statements 
upon the most fascinating sin, which age can- 
not wither nor custom stale — the darling alike 
of hot-headed youth, staid middle age, and 
senile decay. 

The passion for gambling, of which betting 
is only one form, was developed very early in 
in the history of man. The Greeks and Ro- 
mans were fond of laying wagers. One of 
the wildest bets ever made was that of the 
physician Asclepiades, who wagered against 
Fortune that he would never be ill in his life- 
time, staking his reputation as the greatest 
medical authoritv of his dav. He won his 
wager, although he could not enjoy it, for at 


THE spider's web. 

an advanced age he fell down-stairs and received 
injuries from vviiich he died. 

The Romans invested betting with much 
solemnity. Each party to the contract took 
his ring from his finger, and gave it into the 
keeping of some third party until the bet was 
decided. We see here a foreshadowing of our 
modern stakeholder. The lex Titia and the 
lex Cornelia forbade betting on any games un- 
less they were trials of courage, bodily strength, 
or skill. 

In the Middle Ages, various legal restrictions 
were placed upon betting. In Rome, wagers 
on the death or exaltation of the popes and on 
the promotion of cardinals were forbidden. In 
Venice, wagers on the election of all public 
officers were forbidden ; and Genoa carried the 
restriction to bets on the success of military 
expeditions, the revolutions of states or king- 
doms, the arrival and departure of vessels, and 
proposed marriages. A statute passed in Paris 
in 1565 made it illegal to make any woman the 
subject of a wager. 

In the year 1725, a banker named BuUiot 
ruined himself by trusting to a popular supersti- 



tion. The English say that, if St. Swithin's 
Day (July 15) be rainy, the rain will continue 
for forty days. St. Swithin's Day of that year 
was rainy, and Bulliot ofTered to bet that the 
saying would hold good. His takers were so 
many and eager that the terms were reduced to 
writing, as follows : " If, dating from St. 
Swithin's Day. it rains more or little during 
ioYty &dys successively, Bulliot will be considered 
to have gained ; but if it ceases to rain for only 
one day during that time, Bulliot has lost." 
Bulliot was so confident of success that he 
placed money against all articles of value — 
gold-headed canes, snuff-boxes, jewels, even 
clothes. When his cash was exhausted, he is- 
sued notes and bills of exchange to the amount, 
it is said, of one hundred thousand crowns. 
He found himself suddenly famous : verses 
were made in his honor, a play was produced 
of which he was the hero, all England was for 
the moment supremely interested in the 
weather. For twenty-one days, more or less, 
rain fell. The twenty-second opened bright 
and cloudless and continued so. Bulliot had 
lost his bet ; but he was ruined so completely 



that he was unable to meet the notes and bills 
that bore his name. 

A notorious gambler of the last centur)% 
whose name has not yet descended to posterity, 
was playing for high stakes with Lord Lorn, 
until finally, exasperated by a run of continu- 
ous ill luck, he jumped from the card-tabie, 
and, seizing a large punch-bowl, cried : " For 
once I'll have a bet where I have an equal 
chance of winning ! Odd or even, for fifteen 
thousand guine?s ?" 

" Odd," replied the peer, calmly. 

Crack went the bowl against the wall. When 
the pieces were gathered up and counted, the 
number proved to be odd. The gambler paid 
his money, but tradition asserts that it was only 
by selling the last of his estates. 

Heidegger, Master of the Revels to George 
II., was considered the ugliest person in Eng- 
land. A courtier wagered that he could pro- 
duce an uglier. He was allowed a few days to 
unearth his champion, and, after exploring all 
the worst slums of London, brought forward 
an old woman from St. Giles's. The umpire, 
with Heidegger's approval, was about to award 




THE spider's web. 


the palm to her; but Heidegger, in response to 
a suggestion, donned the old woman's bonnet, 
and with this added ugHness he carried off the 

A not dissimilar bet was made in 1806, in 
the Castle Yard, York, between Thomas Hodg- 
son and Samuel Whitehead, as to which should 
assume the most eccentric costume. Hodgson 
came before the umpires decorated with bank- 
notes of various values on his coat and waist- 
coat, and a row of five-guinea notes and a long 
netted purse of gold round his hat. The words 
" John Bull" were written on his back. White- 
head was made up like a negro on one side, like 
a woman on the other. One half of his face 
was black, the other was rouged ; one half of 
his body appeared in a gaudy long-tailed linen 
coat, leather breeches, and spurred boot, the 
other half in woman's dress, with a silk stock- 
ing and a slipper. The judges awarded the 
stakes to Hodgson. 

The violinist Vieuxtemps used to be fond of 
relating the following story. As he was walk- 
ing on London Bridge, a poor wretch threw 
himself over the parapet. There was a rush of 


THK SPIDEE's web. 

eager spectators. " I'll bet he drowns !" shouted 
one. " Two to one he'll swim ashore !" " Done !" 
Vieuxtemps, meanwhile, had jumped into a 
boat and ordered the waterman to rescue the 
unhappy creature. But a roar came from the 
bridge, " Leave him alone ! there's a bet on." 
The waterman, with the true British love of 
sport, at once refused to interfere, and the un- 
happy man wis drovnie^' ^t will be remem- 
bered that Dumas has uit. incident in one 
of his novels. 

True to his country, the L an-cMiiim *s a gam- 
bler. From his British ancestor he has inher- 
ited this vice. From his American cousin he 
has received much encouragement, and the 
American national indoor game was never so 
popular as it is in Montreal to-day. The num- 
ber of "sessions" being held upon any given 
night at draw-poker cannot be fairly estimated 
nor even approximately estimated. 

This particular form of gambling has burst 
like a storm over Lower Canada, and finds its 
headquarters in Montreal. The enterprising 
Canuck is an apt pupil and the city which 
some years ago was fair game for the adven- 






turers from over the border is now pretty 
tough plucking. Its experts can now hold 
their own, and often some of their neighbors' ; 
for in them is combined the cunning of the 
Scotchman, the stolid persistence of the Eng- 
lishman, and the audacity of the American. 
Small wonder is it that, as a Montreal sport 
lately stated, "game is scarce." 

Draw-poker holds sway at the hotels. Not 
a night passes but half a dozen amateur sports, 
from the six hundred-a-year clerk to the flour- 
ishing grain-merchant and the railway mag- 
nate, slowly, and one at a time, glide upstairs 
and are seen no more. 

Of rooms for this purpose there are many 
in every quarter of the city. They are splen- 
didly patronized, and "the little lady in the 
centre," otherwise called "the only winner" 
and " the best player," must be well attended 
to, for the proprietors walk St. James Street 
in purple and fine linen, and their diamonds 
sparkle in the sunlight. 

In company with two others, we were 
" steered" — this I believe is the proper term — 


THE SPIDEk's web 

to several of the most prominent and best 
known. Our trip was not without interest. 

In a fine three-story building on Craig 
Street, not far from St. Lambert's Hill, is the 
finest establishment for the delectation of "the 
fancy" in the city ; and thither one Saturday 
night we bent our steps. 

Descending Beaver Hall Hill, we turned 
our steps eastward along Craig Street, and 
presently found ourselves opposite a wooden 
door forming part of a porch attached to a 
handsome stone building. Pushing open the 
door, a Hight of steps rose before us. 

Arriv^ed at the top step, our upwaru progress 
is barred by a massive nail-studded door. A 
ring at the bell, and we find ourselves the 
objects of surveillance through an eye-hole. 
The result of the investigation seems satisfac- 
tory ; a sound of bolts withdrawn is heard, and 
we find ourselves in a large passage. 

Through two open doors, a room running 
the entire depth of the house is seen. It is 
neatly carpeted, and the furnishings, if not 
costly, are at least complete and comfortable. 

THK spider's web. 


In the far corner, placed diagonally, is a hand- 
some sofa. 

In the corner opposite to the sofa is a table, 
the general appearance of which is familiar. 
At the side, but behind it, is the elevated chair 
of the lookout. 

Plainly, the gamblers' game known to out- 
siders as ** faro," but to the sport as " de 
bank," is not in fashion just now. No stacks 
of checks ornament the layout ; no innocent- 
looking and open-faced box is visible. The 
sports have deserted it, and at the far end of 
the room are gathered together in the name of 

Seated over a large table and facing the 
dealer are the sports. The look of the play- 
ers does not carry with it any assurance of 
financial prosperity. Amongst ten players 
there are two clean collars, six unclean, and 
two without. This would be a bad average 
for a jury. There are but three well-dressed 
men in the lot. But of money there appears 
to be no lack. Stacks of checks and rolls of 
bills appear, disappear, and change owners 
with startling frequency and suddenness. 

k I 


THK spider's web. 

To men used to American gambling-houses 
there is more noise and talk than usual. All 
hands laugh, chat, and occasionally mutter a 
curse, not loud but deep ; but there is no quar- 
relling, no dispute of any kind. An admirable 
order prevails. 

The dealer is an old hand, and he " rakes 
off" with a liberality which would suggest to 
even the most inexperienced that he gets " a 
bit" of the '' kitty,"— i.i French, "cagnotte." 
He is a big stout man, with a round head and 
closely cropped hair, but there is about him an 
air of sturdy honesty and good-humor, and with- 
al, a keen shrewdness. VVe are informed that 
he is a contractor, and that this is but a side- 
issue with him. We are pleased at this charm- 
ingly indefinite statement, — we have to be, — 
and we mentally wish for a share in so profit- 
able a side-issue ourselves. 

The first man upon his left is young, stout, 
and almost guiltless of mustache. He owns 
a prosperous grocery, left him by his father. 
Next him is a small man with keen black eyes, 
who rarely speaks. He is a Frenchman, and 
evidently a rare good player. His neighbor is 



a rather good-looking young man ; but he is 
no veteran, and he nervously fingers his checks. 
The others are much of a kind, with one ex- 

A strongly built mm of about thirty-five at- 
tracts attention. He sports a heavy black 
mustache, his linen is of the finest quality, and 
upon his little finger a diamond of outrageous 
size sparkles. He is the talker of the party, 
and what his conversation lacks in wit, it 
atones far in Irish brogue and wild disregard 
of grammar. He is the ostensible owner; inese 
others are silent partners. 

This house is famous. In days gone by a 
firm of Western sports ran it, and at its roulette 
wheel large sums were won and lost. In its 
loft a prize-fight of some quality was decided; 
and there is an air of mystery about the 
premises, entirely in accord with fights, tips, 
wins and losses. 

But is this game never interfered with. It 
has been; but the coming event had c , Its 
shadow before, and no serious results followed. 
It will be again, but unless the present entente 
cordiale is severed no good will ensue. 




From this it might be surmised that " the 
pull" in Montreal is just as useful and as 
strongly used as in New York. The surmise, 
I am informed, would be correct. 

Taking our leave of here, we descended tlic 
narrow stairway, and the cool air strikes our 
faces. Along Craig Street we walked, and up 
what seems to be a busy street in daytime, but 
is now silent and almost deserted. 

A short distance up, and we stop at a door 
between two stairs, and evidently opening on a 
stairway to the rooms above. Ascending the 
stairs no iron-bound door bars our upward 
progress, no lookout surveys our respectability 
through an eyehole. Everything is wide open. 
Here do they fear no enemy — neither winter, 
rough weather, nor meddling police. In two 
large rooms, separated by folding-doors, two 
groups of men sit around tables, at draw-poker 
engaged. Three men are standing up looking 
on. Upon a sofa in the corner of one of the 
rooms a man is stretched sleeping. 

The air in these rooms is simply stifling. It 
would have weakened those undaunted sala- 
manders of Scripture Vvho scorned the petty 



terrors of the seven-times-heatcd fiery furnace, 
but it produces no impression upon the 
Canadian converts to America's game, who 
nightly assemble here. All are too busy — the 
losers trying to get even, the winners trying to 
hold their own. 

And what a motley collection! The question 
at once enters our minds, "Who are they all ?" 

Fortunately one of the party is posted, and 
he whispers to us the players* story. 

The little man with tiny hn ds and short 
black beard bears a historical name. At one 
time he was rich, he failed in business many 
years ago, and since then he has no visible 
means of support. Still he finds money 
enough to play and to pay. He looks at 
variance with his surroundings^ — this gentleman 
by birth and education, if not by profession. 
Next him is a short stout man with a shifting 
expression of face and a whining voice. He 
claims to be a horse-dealer. His neighbor is 
a handsome man, whose appearance bespeaks 
him the man of business. He is a prosperous 
hardware merchant ; but he has the fever, 
and judging from the pile of checks in front of 


THE spider's web. 

him he appears io have the luck. A stout 
young man, who speaks admirable French, but 
with an English accent, has just left his seat: he 
is cleaned out ; but his place is quickly tilled by 
a blond young man with a gentlemanly manner 
and a smooth voice. 

The proprietor is playing at the other table. 
He is stout and dark, with a heavv mustache 
and large hands and feet. lie talks continu- 
ously and curses loudly. Born with consider- 
able brains and well educated, he has not seen 
fit to turn his ability to anything better than 
"le jeu et les femmes." 

This place, like the other, is quiet and or- 
derly. There is no unseemly noise, no quar- 
rel, and much talk. All appears fair and above- 
board. The pigeon may be getting plucked, 
but his money is not stolen. 

Along St. Joseph Street and not far from a 
prominent hostelry is another but less savory 
spot. Over a store, its entrance is upon the 
main street and up a flight of stairs. At the 
head a gas-jet burns and an open door reveals 
the inside of a scantily furnished room. 

This game is run by two Frenchmen, verbose 

n. tv »■ r^AM.b_t^-«.\i,,iL'^\A.^s.^a^^ 

THE spider's web. 


reputation is none of the best even in their 
own set. They are looked down upon as a 
refutation of the proverb of " honor amongst 
thieves." The better class of gamblers will 
have none of them, and their patrons are prin- 
cipally men who would not be admitted in any 
of the respectable games. 

On St. Catherine Street, East, over a billiard- 
saloon is run the biggest poker-room in the city. 
Four tables in one room, and that room no 
bigger than an ordinary drawing-room ! Surely 
love of poker is stronger in a Frenchman than 
love of fresh air. 

The gambling fever has certainly struck 
Montreal. It is epidemic and very conta- 
gious, and, unless nipped, it bids fair to be- 
come permanent. The day when faro is run 
with open doors, as in Chicago some years ago, 
may be far distant from Montreal. It may 
never come, but the city is drifting in that di- 
rection. Unless checked it may ultimately 
reach that bad eminence. 

Who will inaugurate the crusade ? 





What ideas are conjured up by these words 
— the streets ! 

"The Streets of New York" is of course the 
first if we are of a dramatic turn of mind, and 
the exciting scenes of that lurid melodrama 
again pass before us. From that we think of 
Broadway with its endless crowd of strollers, 
its pretty women and handsome men. We are 
carried in fancy back to Sixth Avenue at 
night, or the noisy and crowded Bowery with 
its gin-palaces and its dives. 

Paris then, and its brilliantly lighted boule- 
vards, and London with its hideous Strand. 

But soft ! we have left Montreal behind, 
and we must retrace our steps. 

Sherbrooke Street with its promenaders in 
soft clinging furs can hardly be accorded a 
place in " Montreal by Gaslight." Seen at 
night, it is lonely and quiet. An air of aristo- 



cratic repose is upon it and its gas-lamps twin- 
kle with subdued light. Occasionally a private 
carriage with closely-drawn windows rolls 
smoothly by, and the muffled-up faces of its oc- 
cupants bespeak the return from ball or thea- 
tre. Over the street hangs a haze ; the noise of 
busy strife in the city below comes to it, but 
its rest is undisturbed, and in the shadow of 
Mount Royal it reposes in grateful seclusion. 

But three streets below a change comes over 
the spirit of our dream. There is a bustle and 
stir different from what we last saw. It jars 
upon our quieted nerves. We can now see that 
we have left rest behind, and that here is felt 
the first breath of toil. 

On every hand is life, active and aggressive ; 
stores with goods alluringly displayed ; brilliant 
electric lights ; and crowding, bustling human- 

Upon a corner a group of young men are 
standing. Some of them, athletic and well built, 
are engaged in heated dispute. 

" He will." 

*' He won't." 



The discussion waxes warmer. The question 
is left to a third. 

"Will Charley run in the steeplechase to- 
morrow ?" 

Only this and nothing more ; and we pass 
on disappointed. Evidently we are in an 
athletic quarter. 

A little farther down another group obstructs 
the sidewalk. 

" You will." 

" I won't." 

" I say you will." 

The discussion ends with both men moving 
toward a red light not far away. We think 
of Rip Van Winkle and again move away. 
Evidently there is a saloon in the vicinity. 

Farther down St. Catherine Street we 
stroll, and at the corner of Bleury Street a 
halt is called. Again we listen. 

" She looked at you." 

" Well, what if she did ? I am the hand- 
somest of the party." 

This pleasantry causes roars of laughter 
from the knot of young fellows, rather loudly 
dressed, who stand upon the curb and keep one 







eye open for the policeman and another for 

the females. 

This must be "Where the Sparrows and 
Chippies Parade" in old Montreal. 

Truly the observant man may gather some 
information about his neighborhood from the 
scraps of conversation about him. 

St. Catherine Street is a sort of local Sixth 
Avenue for Montreal. At night it is a parade 
for the clerk, the servant, and any one whose 
business calls them from the West End to the 
East or vice versa. It is shoddy and unfash- 
ionable at night, but in the afternoon it is the 
promenade of the " nobility, gentry, and bank 
clerks of the city," and also ibr the rising soci- 
ety belles. Not to " do" St. Catherine Street 
at least one afternoon in the week, especially 
Saturday, is to admit an unfamiliarity with the 
manners and customs of good society in Mon- 

This does not apply to Sunday afternoons. 
On this day St. Catherine Street is given over 
to Jane and Bridget, who walk up and down 
from Bleury to Mountain streets and meet 
'•'Arry" and "Jeames." 



But here we are forgetting that this is be- 
coming a story of daylight, and that the gas- 
light part is overlooked. 

St. James and Notre Dame streets upon 
any night but Saturday are almost deserted. 
The electric light's cold rays fall upon closed 
doors and dark entrances. The huge retail 
stores on either side are closed, the offices 
silent and deserted. A twenty years' sleep has 
fallen upon the street. 

Eastward there is some change. Here the 
prowlers and night-hawks of every kind and 
both sexes loiter and lie in wait, like Satan, 
seeking whom they may de/our. 

Around the post-office and the Bank of 
Montreal is fast becoming a miniature Strand. 
It is a stamping-ground for men and women of 
the lowest class. They walk St. Jan es Street 
from St. Frangois Xavier Street at the post- 
office corner to St. Lambert Hill and repeat, 
in trotting phrase. The eye of the police 
should be turned toward this and the street 
cleared. The evil must be nipped in the bud. 

St. Joseph Street on a Saturday night is 
assuredly one of the sights of the city. Here 




are to be seen the belles of Goose Village, 
otherwise called Griffintown, dressed in their 
Saturday-night best and looking sweet and 
Irish. The promenaders here are as Irish as 
Paddy's pig, and in addition have often the 
traditional beauty and virtue of the dwellers in 
the Emerald Isle. Here the masher and the 
chappie do not promenade, for the hunt for 
prey would most likely be unsuccessful. In 
and around this district the Shamrock Lacrosse 
Club holds sway in the hearts of the inhabitants 
thereof. Shamrock victory is a reasoR for 
wild demonstrations and inordinate consump- 
tion of the smoky product of Milesian distil- 
leries. But a Shamrock defeat brings a short 
season of sackcloth and ashes, but always the 
same whisky. 

Upon this street are fine retail stores and 
dirty, insignificant shops, a magnificent hotel, 
the Balmoral, and a countless number of small 
and more or less respectable houses. But al- 
ways and ever is to be seen "the gin-mill." 
Along St. Joseph Street they run about four 
to the block. It is a stronghold of Jol i 



St. Joseph Street is one of the main arteries 
of the city. It runs the entire length of the 
city from St. Henry, the southwestern suburb 
of Montreal, to Hochelaga the southeastern 
suburb, and it can proudly boast that upon 
two sides are lined twice as many saloons as on 
any other street in Montreal. This at least en- 
titles it to consideration, if not distinction. 

But the street par excellence where Mon- 
treal is to be seen au naturel ; the boulevard 
whereupon strolls the grand flaneur; the 
street where walk the pimp and the prostitute ; 
where saloons, museums, confectionery and 
retail dry-goods stores form almost the entire 
length ; where ground-floors are used for busi- 
ness purposes, and the upper flats for gambling 
and vilest debauchery ; where tobacco-stores 
and candy-stores, ostensibly respectable, are but 
dens of infamy, where liquor is sold after hours 
and on Sundays without even the aid of the 
little side door — that street is St. Lawrence 
Main Street. 

Here is a taste of spicy immorality. In such 
a field will surely be found food for reflection. 



We begin at the foot of the street, and with open 
eyes and ears take in the sights and sounds. 

In reversal of the ordinary ideas, the fash- 
ionable side of St. Lawrence Street is the East 
Side. The West Side is all very well for the 
man of business, or the busy wife hurrying 
home from market ; but for the visitor who 
would study the street and its characters, the 
East Side is the only one his wandering steps 
should mark. 

Not far from the lower end Is a saloon kept 
by the prot^gd of a notorious woman who 
keeps a brothel not many blocks away. Her 
money started the • business," and, although 
the place is occasi( aally closed owing to the 
" illness" of the pre :)rietor, it does a flourishing 

A little higher up is a saloon whose violation 
of the liquor laws is flagrant and persistent. 
No side door is necessary, the front door 
being deemed good enough. It is a pretty 
tough spot, but no tougher than its patrons, 
and not one half as tough as the liquor it 



Above this saloon is a gambling-house, also 
in full blast with open doors. There should 
be a fortune in these two places. 

Across the street is a most notorious saloon, 
"The Frog." The origin of this name is lost 
in the mists of antiquity, but the frequenters 
of the little back parlor of this cloister are of 
the lowest class. It has not been decided as 
to whether the men or the women are the 
toughest. The visitor would likely call it a 

A dry-goods store on a very prominent cor- 
ner is respectability itself ; but the floors 
above, to which entrance is gained by a side 
street, are occupied for purposes better left un- 
said. The convenience of such an arrange- 
ment as having an immoral house upon a main 
thoroughfare cannot be denied, but its advisa- 
bility from a moral point of view may be ques- 

A little higher up, on the other side, is a 
small and neatly fitted up tobacco-store. Be- 
hind its counter a faded but still handsome 
woman attends to our wants, and from her 
comes no sign of anything uncanny about the 



store. But presently from behind the partition 
dividing us from the rear of the shop comes a 
sound of female laughter. 

We look at the woman inquiringly and 

The smile is reflected, and she asks, 

" Would you gentlemen like to step inside?'' 

The gentlemen having "been there before, 
many a time," upon the Bowery and elsewhere, 
decline and express a preference for the outside 
and leave. 

Still higher up is a large and quiet-looking 
hotel. Its innocence, we are informed, is in 
its looks, for it answers the purpose of the 
" Parsley," the " West Side," or some similar 
choice spots known to the resident of 

In our interest and curiosity as regards the 
buildings and their occupation, the people up- 
on the street have passed almost unnoticed. 
We recollect [ourselves. 

The e is a decided Third Avenue look about 
them. No silk or satin rustles past us — it is 
cotton and fustian ; no diamonds — only jet and 
coral, and imitation at that, if our untrained 




eye docs not deceive us. Some of the women 
pass us without a look ; some indeed need 
to bestow no looks upon us, for their profes- 
sion is written in their l)razen faces. Others 
young and pleasant-looking if not pretty, 
smile at us. In many cases, if we consider her 
deserving, we return the young lady's smile. 
But we pass through the furnace unscathed. 

The men do not call for special notice. 
They are of the very lowest middle class— French 
dry-goods clerks out on the loose, or bar-room 
loafers, with here and there a fine, respectable- 
looking Frenchman. Two groups of young 
men are standing on the corner. They are 
Englishmen, evidently, doing the town. They 
will soon have enough. 

With pleasure we turn from St. Lawrence 
Street into St. Catherine Street and move east- 

On either side the cross streets are dark and 
unfrequented. There is an air of mystery 
about them, and from occasional glimpses, 
sights, and sounds we reason to ourselves that 
this is the "Tenderloin Precinct." 

Our reasoning once more is correct, Sud- 




denly a tall, handsome church rises before us; 
above and below runs a fine, wide street. It 
has an air of distinction and quiet about it, so 
different from the streets we have left behind 
us that we wonder. Surely this street is an 
oasis in the desert. 

Again we have guessed aright, for on this 
street live many of the leading French families: 
it is the Faubourg St. Germain in miniature. 

From a hasty observation of Montreal's 
streets, it must be admitted that they are order- 
ly and, as far as can be expected in a large city, 
unobjectionable. There art no sights to of- 
fend the eye of modesty ; no disturbances. 
Montreal at least keeps her vices hidden. 
Her seamy side is not seen in her orderly, well- 
kept, and peaceful streets. 







In every city there is at least one place 
in which the novelist or the philosopher may 
find food for reflection, if not character for re- 
production. Ej his habitation in the simple 
village, the provincial town, or the cruel and 
pitiless city, he has one spot where he may 
cast his drag-net and be certain of a catch. 

And what a sight does he view there ! The 
waifs and strays of humanity ; the idle, the 
vicious, the unfortunate — all the wastes and 
burdens of society. Some arc there because ot 
their offences against the laws of society, but 
some also are there because they have nowhere 
else tc lay their heads. Often it may be that 
some innocent lies upon the Lard flo >r, while the 
criminal foi whom he suffers is sleeping at his 
ease under the same roof as hoiesty and virtue. 
All unhappy, aii wretched, but some hopeful. 

A «rgfci fc Jtf -■ 1.- tm 



*• Poor children of man, said the pitying spirit, 
How dearly ye pay for your primal fall !" 

Surely no one knows it better or feels more 
keenly this sad truth than he who has seen his 
fellow-men — brutal and drunken it may be, but 
still men — driven by stern necessity to the cold 
and uncharitable walls of " the station." 

In various cities it is known under different 
names, and the small wits of the lower classes 
have outdone themselves in their efforts to ex- 
tract humor from the subject. But after all, 
would it not take a Dickens to see the funny 
side of "the stone jug" — would not Sydney 
Smith himself forget to joke if "pinched" 
some night and sent to " the cooler." 

What impression the first sight of a police 
station leaves upon its unwelcome and unsatis- 
fied guest ! Do human hearts beat under those 
Uniforms ? Does this strange silence which sur- 
rounds him mean that he is by the world for- 
got. Are these damp walls weeping for him 
and for his sad fate ? 

In sheer despair he remembers that walls 
have ears, Sind fo them he drones the pitiful 
Btory ; but they will not hear. Even the echo 






of his own voice frightens him, and he sinks in 
stupor, if not slumber upon the hard floor. 

Every night in Montreal sees within its sta- 
tion walls the acts, be they initial or closing, of 
some sad tragedy. The officers witness such 
scenes of terror, of shame, and of vice as would 
melt a heart of stone. It is true that constant 
repetition has inbred in the police official a cer- 
tain stolidity : he sees a crime and a criminal — 
an offence and the offender ; but often he for- 
gets the sad story back of it all. 

And yet if he sees only the act and the actor 
is it not true that the dual life exists which 
he does not or will not see ? 

^las not the criminal before him a sister who 
will henceforih wilk with lowered head ; a 
mother whose heart will never seem young 
again ; a brother whose face will blanch at the 
disgrace to an honored family? 

Surely it is so. 

A visit to any of the smaller police stations 
in Montreal will not bo devoid of interest. 

We shall see the drama of humanitv acted as 
It never was on any stage ; we shall see a piece 



Staged with a realism which defies the skill of 
an Irving or a Daly. 

And the actors who will take an unwilling 
part in this performance — who are they ? 

They are unknown to fiune ; the world has 
never seen them before — never perhaps heard 
of them. They are unheralded with gaudy, 
posters and fraudulent advance notices, and 
but a few lines in the next morning's paper will 
reward their performance. 

But what perfection of detail, what intensity 
of purposes, what completeness of effect I 

Tears and grief such as Haworth never gave ; 
drunken humor which the genius of a Knight 
in vain attempts to copy ; tricks of manner, in- 
flations of voice, to baffle the experience and 
study of a Coquelin. 

Ah, my friends, it is here that we remember 
Hamlet's saying that 

•' The play's the thing 
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king." 

The conscic^ncc of the subject can be caught 
by the drama, as seen at the police-station. 
There are no footlights, no applause, and but few 




spectators ; but the performance has a sad per- 
fectioii, not to be found elsewhere. 

At this minute in one of the branch police- 
stations one of these scenes is being enacted 
We cannot see the entire play — the four acts, 
the prologue, and the epilogue ; but one scene 
is offered for our instruction, and we will not 
refuse to grace the occasion by our presence. 

The rolling and the rattle of wheels is heard, 
and a carriage drives up to the door of the 
station-house, and an officer in uniform alights. 
There are still two occupants remaining in the 
cab, and the conversation strikes our ears. 

'• Let me go, will you ?" 

"Come out." 

" Let me go — for God's sake let me go, and 
I'll never-—" 

" Come out." 

" Oh, please let me go. I'll give you ten — 
twenty — " 

*' Come, now, or I'll make you." 

" Hit me, would you ? You won't club me, 
I tell you. There, take that." 

- Oh— h !— " 1 

The sound of what follows is dreadful. The 














blows of the policeman's baton are falling upon 
the head and shoulders of the untamable pris- 
oner. Then the noise becomes faint, and only 
a low moaning is heard. 

From the cab another officer alights. The 
scene has not occupied ten seconds, yet it 
seemed an age. Two strong policemen issue 
from the station-house and assist their com- 
panions to carry the senseless man into the cell. 
As he is borne within, a stream of blood trickles 
down from his nerveless hands and leaves a 
crimson trail. 

What is his story ? What are the first acts 
of this sad drama ? 

This man is no common criminal ; he has a 
wife and family, money and position, and his 
present plight will cause his social ruin. He 
has been found beating a low woman half to 
death in a common brothel. His shameful 
passions are costing him dear. 

But stay! a noise is heard without, and seven 
young men like Eugene Aram " with gyves 
upon their wrists." Some with shamefaced air 
hide themselves behind their companions in 
misfortune, and look as if a second fate o< 



Sodom and Gomorrah would be welcomed by 
them to Montreal. Others put on a bold front ; 
they laugh and jest in a feeble way, but their 
laughter has a hollow sound like clods of earth 
falling upon a coffin. These low classes have 
not yet served their apprenticeship in wrong- 
doing, and at this hrst glimpse of justice they 
falter and tremble. ' mi 

Not so with some of the others. They have 
been there before — many a time : they know 
the penalty and are prepared. 

They are not common loafers, arrested in 
some low East End dive and awaiting confine- 
ment and sentence as " habitual frequenters of 
the same." Their entire appearance, even with 
their present surroundings, speaks the gentle- 

This same night they have been strolling 
through the unclassic regions alnjut St. Law- 
rence and St. Catherine Street, East. 

Secure in their numbers, they had made more 
noise and created a greater ( isturbance than 
even the St. Lawience Street policemen would 
allow, and after a short chase they reposed safe 
in the arms of the posse parading that district. 




To-morrow morning they will appear before 
the Magistrate or the Recorder, be accused of 
creating a disturbance on the public streets, and 
fined. In triumph they will return and tell 
their adventures to their own select set. 

But some of them as yet do not see the 
bright side of the case. They are thinking of 
the long night in the cold, dark cell, the hard 
floor, the bread and water, and, worst of all, the 
publicity next morning. 

A shuffle of feet at the doorway attracts 
attention. A female voice, harsh and unmusi- 
cal, grates upon the hearing. 

" I won't go it." 

More scuffling, a few choice expressions, and 
a woman, half carried, half dragged in by two 
constables, comes into view. 

She is not altogether ill-looking, but there is 
a brazen stare and an evil look in her eyes 
which spoils what might otherwise be a pretty 

" Please, mister, do let me go. I tell you 
how it was. You see it was just this way: I 
wanted to know how far it was to Johnny 
Kegan's saloon, so I went up to a nice, kind 




gentleman and asked him, and the cop came 
up and pinched me for street-walking." 

All this is rattled off with a volubility sim- 
ply amazing ; but the officer in charge is un- 
impressionable. There is a sort of "old 
offender" air about the woman which [makes 
him suspicious. He asks : 

"Well, and what business had you at Johnny 
Kegan's saloon at such an hour ?" 

The assertion misses lire. Either the woman 
is prepared or she is ready-witted. 

" Well, you see, mister, the young man as 
keeps company with me he sometimes goes up 
there of an evening, and then, your honor — " 

•* There, there, that last expression makes me 
suspicious. You can use it to the Recorder in 
the morning. Some one down there may 
recognize you." 

And she also disappears in the depths of dark- 
ness in the rear. 

A frightful din assails our ears. It is mon- 
strous. Over all the noise of sculfling feet, of 
something being carried along and dropped 
every yard or two. Once in a while oaths and 




Two men, each with a policeman on either 
side, stagger into the room. Of their condition 
there is no chance to doubt. They arc drunk 
on vile whisky, and dangerous at that. An in- 
describable odor permeates the room into which 
they enter. It is more nauseous than the 
exhalations of a corpse. 

The livid skin and starting eyes, the trem- 
bling hands and quaking knees, all tell their 
tale. They are upon the verge of delirium 
tremens, and ere long the snakes and the blue 
monkevs will trail over them. 

One glance at them, and their historv is read. 
They are of that numerous class who cumber 
the earth — too lazy to work, too cowardly to 
steal ; living in foul dens and reeking brothels, 
and issuing like bats only in the night-time. 
They have been born vicious, and their early 
training has not been of the kind to set their 
feet aright. 

In face of these criminals, society to-day is 
powerless. True, it imprisons them, and they 
are lost to sight and out of harm's way, but they 
are a burden upon the tax-payers. If they are 
sent down to do a term, ten others are born to 



take their place — born in ignorance, dirt, and 
the vilest immorality, with no steady means of 
support, but their wits and their dishonesty. 
They are the creatures born of crowded tene- 
ments and hideous and unnatural social condi- 

The next customer walks in with the ease 
and grace of a dancing-master. He needed no 
club to persuade him that the way to the sta- 
tion-house was the same in which the police- 
man was directing him. His clothes were neat 
and quiet, and his general appearance was pre- 
possessing. Thev; had been a fire that night, 
and he was caught red-handed with his hand in 
a gentleman's pocket. 

Upon the man's face the disciple of Lavater 
might dwell awhile. There was no look of 
dissipation, no red eyelids, no unkempt hair ; 
the man w is neatness personified ; but a nerv- * 
ous movement of his hands and a restless, 
hunted look in his eyes spoke against him. He 
was in all probability one of those whose hand 
is against every man, and every man's hand 
against him. 

Once only he started, when a prominent city 




detective came into the station just as he was 
being put into a cab to he driven to Police 
Headquarteas. But the scrutiny did not re- 
sult in anything satisfactory to the official. He 
shook his head slightly and turned away. 

A gleam of satisfaction shone for an instant 
in the eves of the handcuffed man, and his lips 

moved. Even a sigh seemed to escape him. 
One would have sworn that he had said to 
himself, '"That was a close shave." 

But he lias smiled too early. Next morn- 
ing we read that one of the smoothest and 
most dangerous crooks in America has been 
captured and that for a while he will he lost to 
sigh in the quiet of St. V^incent de Paul. 

We have seen some of the pluy and a few of 
its actors, and we can meditate. 

Right m Montreal is sin and sorrow, pover- 
ty and crime. The vile purlieus of London or 
the slums of New York it cannot reproduce in 
quantity. There is not as much vice, for there 
is not as much room for it: but vice is vice in 
Montreal, as in New York ur London. 

Montreal has no seven-story ruokerics which 
raise their hideous heads to heaven from Mul- 



berry and Baxter streets ; but poverty is cos- 
mopolitan, and it is just as grinding in the low 
cellars and dirty tenements of the Faubourg de 
Quebec. For these unfortunates organized 
chanty and education are necessary and claim 
immediate attention. Who will begin this 
Augean task ? 

If we have directed the notice, intelligent 
and charitable, of one man to the faults of his 
native city, and to the ulcers upon her surface, 
and underneath, this book has not been written 
in vain. 

We av^ait the result with anxiety not un- 
mixed with hope.