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Full text of "The fair grit, or, The advantages of coalition [microform] : a farce"

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vi2:iK- 






THE FAIR GRIT, 



— OR — 



J 



AfiraiiUi 



B 




^■^y 



A FARCE. 



' *§. 



r.Y 



NICHOLAS FLOOD DAVIN. 



TORONTO: 

IH^.LFORD BROTHERS, I' L'RLISIIERS. 

1876. 




PRICE as CENTS. 






THE FAIR GRIT. 



Dramatis Personce. 



Alexandku McPeteuson (a Grit and a 8eiuttor.) 

BiiowNSON Banburv St. Claiu (a i-elio of the Family 

Compact. ) 
GrEOiiGK St. Clair (his sou, educated abroad.) 
Ronald (a friend of George, and a cynic given to 

express himself strongly.) 
Supple (a Grit candidate.) 
Snapper (a Tory candidate.) 
Editor of Smnshar. 

Editor of Dasher. ♦ 

(Variout^ Editors.) 
Angelina McPeterson. 
Mrs. McPeterson. 

Servant. 
Policeman. 

Sheriff. 

(Ladies, Citizens, etc., ''tc.) 



THE FAIR GRIT: 



on, 



THE ADVANTAGES OF COALITION, 



A FARCE. 



BT 



NICHOLAS FLOOD DAVIN. 



-»♦- 



TORONTO: 
BELFORD BROS., PUBLISHERS, 

II COLBORNE STREET, 
1876. 



■■■i 



I -H-ioJ 



Entered according to the Act of Parliament of Canada, in the 
year one thousand eight hundred and seventy-six, by 
Bei-ford BB0THEB8, in the office of the Minister of 
Agriculture. 



TORONTO : 

PRINTED AT THE MONETARY TIMES OFFICE, 

64 AND 66 CHURCH 8TREET. 



THE FAIR GRIT. 



SCENE T. — A hnllgh'inri on a ballroom. George 
St. Clair and Angelina McPeterson prom- 
enading. 

George. — I hope, Miss McPeterson, you are 
going to the Cheapleys' next week. 

Angelina. — No : we don't know the Cheapleys. 

George. — But there can be no difficulty in youv 
being invited. Shall I get Mrs. Cheapley, who is 
a particular friend of ours, to send you an in- 
vitation ? 

Angelina. — It would be of no use. Papa would 
not let me visit them, and you would find the 
task you propose more difficult than you think. 
It's only on occasions like the present that you 
and I can ever meet. The Cheapleys are Tories. 
The Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans, 
nor the McPetersons with the Cheapleys. 

George. — The Tories are not so terrible as 
you think. I'm a Tory {with a smile), or at 
least my father is. {With a touch of anxiety). 

Angelina. — Although born in it you do not 
know the country. You have lived too much 
abroad. 

George. — But, surely, politics do not embitter 
social intercourse. 

Angelina. — They pervade all life. We carry 
the war along the whole line. If a member of 
our party "jibs" in the least, my father gets 



THE FAIR GRIT. 



word from hoadqiuirtcrs to frown, and he tells 
us all to frown, and we do our best to send the 
offender to Coventry. A liungry Tory would not 
touch a joint cooked on Grit principles. The 
very look of a pudding made according to a re- 
ceii)t furnished by one of your party would dis- 
agree with the strongest member of ours — to 
such an extent, he would fail to recognize the 
value of a live-dollar bill. We have Tory delf 
and Grit ware ; we eat off party plate and wash 
our hands in basins of faction. {They change 
sides). 

George. — If this bo so, then I fear our oppor- 
tunities of dancing together will be few,- now that 
the season is so far advanced. But I hope we 
shall meet. 

Angelina. — I fear not : my father would be 
very angry if he knew I had this long tete-a-tete 
with a member of the opposite — 

George. — Sex. Is he so particular ? {Laugh- 
ing.) 

Angelina. — No, no. (laughing). I was a])out 
to say " opposite party." Here comes my part- 
ner. * 

George. — That gigantic gentleman — " pride 
in his port, defiance — " 

Angelina. — Hush ! That is the Speaker of the 
Imperial Bund. 

George. — God bless me ! 
{Exit Angelina with the Speaker of the Imperial 
Blind. She smiles at George St. Clair ar. she 
goes awag. St. Clair remains for a mom( nt in 
a hroicn study, ivhence he is aivakened hy a taj) 
on his shoulder from Eonald.) 



THE FAIR GRIT. 7 

Ronald.— Why, St. Clair, what is tlie mat- 
ter with you ? Arc you in love ? Have the 
starry eyes of the fair Grit cast their spell 
athwart your heart ? Has your soul ])een 
captured hy that smile which hreaks like sun- 
shine from the purple cloudlots of her lips, and 
glories each dimpled rosebud, and wreathes her 
snowy chin with subtle charms. Ha ! ha ! ha ! 
Say— Have the darts of Dan Cupid pierced the 
joints ofyour worship's harness? Ha! ha! ha! 
George.— Come, Ronald. No chaff. Good 
Heavens ! what a beautiful girl ! How she dances ! 
What a lithe figure ! Her little feet ! I could 
take both within my hand. And her eyes ! And 
that columned neck on which the head rests in 
lovely praise ! 

Ronald. — Yes : the neck of a swan and the 
eye of a Basilisk. I see you're hit hard. But 
there's no use ; she's a Grit. 

George. — She told me that herself. But what 
matter ? I suppose mine is the oldest family in 
the country. 

Ronald. — Barring the Indians. 
George. — I'm well off; or shall be. 
Ronald. — Of good appearance — go on. 
George. — Come, don't chaff. 
Ronald. — Well, then, your fa^^^er would cut 
you off to a penny if you were to mingle the 
aristocratic blood of an earlier with the plebeian 
blood of a later emigrant, and a Grit too — fair 
though she be. 

George. — Are there indeed such great causes 
of division between the two parties? 

Ronald. — You are as ignorant of our politics 



as9 



8 



THE FAIR GRIT. 



as the latest-arrived Englishman, who thinks he 
does us an honour if he comes to earn his hread 
in what he calls our "blaursted country," and 
fears he is about to be charged by a bull from 
the prairies when the driver of a sleigh who has 
been waiting for rugs, cries : '* Here come the 
buffaloes." Great causes of division ? Sir, they 
are like infinity — you cannot grasp them. Do 
you know the cry with which the Grits intend to 
go to the country at the next election ? 

George. — How should I know ? 

EoNALD.— " Loyalty & Condy's Fluid." They 
say they found this invaluable mixture most 
useful for purifying, deodorising, and disinfecting 
the Governmenu apartments in Ottawa after the 
death of the l9,te Government, ai d that it is 
very appropriate for the "Party of Purity." 
But the Tories will be even with them, for they 
mean to inscribe on their banner '* Our Ancient 
Institutions and Chloride of Lime." The chasm 
that gapes between chloride of lime and Condy's 
fluid is a measure in its way of the great differ- 
ences between the two parties. 

George, — But why will the Tories cry " Chlo- 
ride of Lime?" 

Ronald. — Because they contend that the pres- 
ent Government has become vicious at a bound, 
and not by the ordinary process of deterioration, 
and that they have out-Heroded Herod in prac- 
tising the corrupt arts of their predecessors. 
Hence the great need of chloride of lime at 
Ottawa just now. 

George. — Surely our politics cpnnot be euch 



rj 

tl 



THE FAIR GRIT. 



9 



as you describe them. We have not falien so 
low. 

Ronald. — Yep, but we have. It is a rivalry in 
indecent hypocrisy in which practice and pro- 
fession are more than usually apart. They 
out- vie each other first in professions of purity, 
and then out-do each other, as far as it is pos- 
sible, in acts of corruption. It is a buncombe 
struggle — a battle of quacks. Each has his 
sham nostrum, his delusive specific, and the 
poor country is the patient whom the betraying 
drug of the blatant and brawling Pharmacopola 
leaves worso than he was. In Opposition all is 
virtue ; in power all the reverse. 

Gp:orge . — II orrible . 

Ronald. — Horrible indeed, i^ye, Sir, horrible 
hypocrisy. Fancy a polecat crying out for eau- 
de-cologne at the approach of a fox and you have 
an idea of some of our statesmen. Next election 
decency will be outraged, characters stained, 
reputations ruined, life's life lied away, in a 
battle between rival corruptionists, fighting over 
the respective merits of Condy's fluid and chlo- 
ride of lime, while our loc, 1 Government will be 
the Boss Tavern Keeper of the Province. 

George. — What a picture ! 

Ronald. — Say, rather, what a picture it would 
be were there an artist capable of drawing the 
deformed reality in its proper lines, and painting 
it in its veritable colours. It is not even the 
quackery of incompetent or time-serving allo- 
paths who go in for homoeopathy; ours is in part 
the quackery of utter ignorance. We have 
ministers talking like children about political 



10 



THE FAIR GRIT. 



economy — a science they never studied, and if 
they had, they couldn't have mastered it. We 
have persons who don't know its rudiments 
thoroughly, dogmatizing about free trade, as if 
any man of mark ever held that free trade was 
applicable to the condition of every country. 
We talk about constitutionalism. But we are at 
present ruled by a personage responsible to no 
one. If taxation without representation is tyr- 
anny, still more is power without responsibility. 

Geohge. — You have attracted attention by the 
earnestness of your manner. 

Ronald. — The manner is as out of place here 
as earnestness itself is elsewhere. I sappose 
you are thinking of the fair Grit. 

George {takimy Jioh! of Ronald's arm, and 
leadinrf him to the door\) — Look how she dances. 
She moves like a goddess. The motion of the 
wave is not more graceful in its curves. She 
has the sweep of the swallow and the poise of 
the sea-gull. If Grits look like her I shall love 
them all ; and ever}' bit of Grit in her I love. 

Ronald. — What an enemy Cupid is of policy, 
and yet he is the best of diplomats. 

George. — She is the fairest figure in that fair 
scene. 

Ronald. — That fair scene — pshaw! It's a 
mass of vulgarity. Gilded hollowness ! Jew- 
elled meanness; gems, and panniers, and skirts, 
and lace in many instances borrowed ; poverty 
and pride, haughtiness and \ulgarity, confidencS 
and ignorance go hand in hand ; and all pow- 
dered like — but I wont proceed. Are these 
young ladies '? Why, they dance like Bac- 



THE FAIR GRIT. 



11 



chantes and like barmaids leer. George, let 
us here in Canada make no mistake ; to have 
a real society, that shall have good form, yon 
must have a real head of society, and that 
head should find his or her inspiration not in the 
brackish waterS'and moral poverty of imitation, 
but at the springs and fountains of principle and 
nature, and in elevating companionship with the 
ideal heights of human character, round which 
blow for ever more the breezes which keep the 
heart fresh, and the bloom on the cheek of the 
soul. But these mendicants of fashion, these 
social Lazzaroni. — 

George. — I see you're a cynic. 

Ronald. — Sf) much so that I advise you to 
drive love from your heart. 

George. — Never. 

EoNALD. — Tush. 

George. — I mean it. 

Ronald. — You want to marry her ? 

George. — I tell you without her, life is worth- 
less; it is the setting without the gem. 

Ronald. — Or the Irish stew without the mut- 
ton. Ha! ha! ha ! 

George. — You are profane. 

Ronald. — No ; rational. 

George. — Ronald, pray do not talk in this 
way. I love her, and you must help me to get 
her — if all the parties under heaven stood in my 
way. 

Ronald. — Why, really, your case is hopeless. 
Come, 'tis nearly time to go. We will talk this 
matter over as we drive home. I will not say it 
is quite so bad as that the Tory who would be 



12 



THE FAIR GRIT. 









■ & 



mated with the Grit must die for love — but it is 
very nearly. (Exeunt.) 

SCENE 11. — A Hustings erected on one side, on 
the other stands the House o/McPeterson> 

Enter St. Clair and Ronald: 

EoNALD. — Good day St. Clair ; sharp frost — 
though summer ought to be at haml. Has it 
cooled the ardour of your affections ? 

GeorcxE. — If you brought the bulks of ice, 
which make the pole sacred from man's spade 
and keel and placed them round my heart, they 
would not chill the great pulse of love which 
beats for Miss McPeterson. This is the gulf- 
stream of my existence. I saw her father the 
other day ; such a jaw and such manners. They 
say there is no rose without a thorn, but my 
rose blooms amid a wliole hedgerow of prickles. 

EoNALD. — Thistles you mean. You say you 
are well off. But even " another ten thousand " 
would not enable you to pluck that rose. If a 
marriage between you and Miss McPeterson 
is ever to "come off" you must make a "big 
push " and a " grand stand " ; and you may not 
then win her. You have come here for the nom- 
ination, or for the chance of seeing y our goddess? 

George. — I thought I might see her. 

Ronald. — Be sure you look as romantic as 
possible. All grits are romantic. Their great 
leader, steeped in tenderest hues of poetry — you 
understand — and if you are to win Angelina you 
must approach her from the romantic side. 



THE FAIR GRIT. 



13 



Mind that side is not her pocket. But here they 
come. 

Enter Supple and Snapper, the Grit and Tory 
Candidates — McPeterson and Brownson Ban- 
bur's St. Clair (father of Gtsiohqe). Peojde be- 
fore the hustinffs. 

KoNALD. — While the preliminaries are going 
forward let us chat more over this question of 
your marriage. But, see, McPeterson is speaking 
already. 

Alexander McPeterson (comes forward, and is 
greeted ivith loud cries of " Bravo Sandie.'') He 
says : My friends, I don't think it shows much 
good manners on your part to call a man of my 
dignity ' Sandie.' I am a Dominion Senator, 
and even when I say my prayers I always ask 
the Lord to bless not * Sandie' but the Honour- 
able Alexander McPeterson, Senator of the Do- 
minion of Canada, and the Lord feels honoured 
by being addressed by a person of my dignity. 
(Cheers and cries of *' So he ought /" 2cith a voice 
of mockery in the distance : " San-die I" which is 
greeted with laughtei). My wife never speaks of 
herself but as the Hon. Mrs. Senator McP. And 
the motto of our family has always been for six 
months or more — "Let us be dignified or die." 
I should be overwhelmed in addressing such a 
a meeting did I not call to mind the great 
principles of Gritism — those principles which 
sustain the canopy of freedom — (Cheers and a 
voice, " Sandie,'' and laughter.) those principles 
for which Chatham thundered and Sidney bled. 
(Cheers and confusion). 
1st Citizen. — I thought only Tories bled well. 



14 



THE FAIB GRIT. 



Hi 

III 



2nd Citizen. — Yes, Sidney was a Grit ; he took 
money from the King of France; he was in 
foreign pay ; he was a Grit. 

1st Citizej^. — Then it was the King of France 
bled. The King of France then was a Tory. 

Alexander McPeterson. — A base hound who 
has got amongst you {confusion) — some miserable 
Tory scoundrel, some traitorous villain, some 
insufferable blackguard, has dared to interrupt 
me — me, a Senator of the Dominion of Canada 
(sensation) — and I would denounce him as he 
deserves but that it is contrary alike to my poli- 
tical and religious principles to use any but the 
gentlest words. (Cries of " That's so.") Believ- 
ing that my friend Mr. Supple will support our 
respected leader, and knowing him not to be over- 
burdened with education, which is the great foe 
of sound statesmanship, I ask you to elect him. 
(Cheers.) 

Mr. Brownson Banbury St. Clair. — Gentle- 
men, I am a Tory of the old school. Gentlemea, 
in an ancient country like this, with our vener- 
able institutions to conserve, who would not be a 
Tory ? Gentlemen, will you support an ugly old 
Grit like this Supple ? Gentlemen, the Grits are 
not a bit better or more refined than we are in 
the use of nice delicate language. (Hear, ^ hear.) 
I'd scorn to stoop to personalities ; nor will I say 
a word against Supple but that he has the face 
of a villain, and the walk of a sneak. ( The crowd 
applaud. The orator wipes his head with his pocket 
handkerchief.) Gentlemen, my father was a 
member of the Family Compact, and did great 
things for Canada. fA voice : ** And for him- 
self laughter.) 



• 



THE FAIR GRIT. 



15 



1st Citizen.— I love dearly classicality. 

2nd Citizen.— He is too gentle with those Grits 
who brought in hard times and the potato bug, 

1st Citizen.— And is the potato-bug a (Irit ? 

2nd Citizen.— Yes, potato-bugs have be Grits 
from time immemorial. 

1st Citizen.— That can't be, for then it would 
follow that all Grits are potato-bugs. I am some- 
thing of a Grit ; do you mean to say I am any- 
thing of a potota-bug ? {Makes as if he'd fight.) 

2nd Citizen.— Now, hear me patiently, and I'll 
give you reasons. A bug is a bug. 

1st Citizen. — True. 

2nd Citizen.— a Grit is a Grit. 

1st Citizen. — True. 

2nd Citizen. — Now, mark me. All potato- 
bugs are Grits; therefore, all Grits are potato- 
bugs. 

1st Citizen. — A striking conclusion, and de- 
serves a blow. {Hits him; both are removed 

fighting.) 

Mr. Brownson Banbury St. Claiu.— See what 
fellows those Grits are. I know the two 
just removed for the direst members of that 
unholy fraternity. Gentlemen, 1 abhor making 
charges against private character; but to my 
knowledge, or rather to the knowledge of a friend 
of mine, Mr. Supple in his youth stole a pair 
of gaiters, and he and his wife get drunk every 
morning before breakfast, and finish up at night 
just before they say their prayers. {Cheering and 

confusion.) 

One Citizen.— The country is going to the 

dogs. 



I 



16 



THE FAIR GRIT. 






Another Citizen. — We must have prohibition. 

B. B. St. Clair continues— I ask you to sup- 
port Snapper. 
{Here two drunken men, smeared all over with 

filth stagger on to the stage and fall side hy side.) 

Policeman {bending over one) — What party 
are you ? 

1st Drunken Man {holding up his soiled hands) 
— I'm the party of purity. 

Policeman {to the other) — And what party are 
you? 

2nd Man. — I'm another. 

{They are led off' the stage). 

B. B. St. Clair proceeds — I say I ask you to 
vote for my friend — my consistent and honour- 
able friend, Mr. Snapper, who with our worthy 
leader will fight the beasts at Ephesus. {Cheers). 
Mr. Snapper is a cheese manufacturer, but he 
could sell a chp.rter as easily as a cheese, and 
pocket the money with a conscience that would 
give him no more trouble than one of his own 
mites. (Renewed cheers.) 

{Then all sensibly agree that the Returning officer 
shall put the question. There are conflicting cries. 
A poll is demanded. The Election day is fixed for 
the following Monday. The crowd disperses). 

KoNALD. — Well, what are your chances now •? 

George. — I know not. How dreadful ! 

BoNALD. — What ? 

George. — McPeterson called my father a for- 
ger and a murderer, a robber and a thief. 

Ronald. — That's nothing. Do you know what 
your father called him ? 



THE FAIR GRIT. 



17 



George. — Good Heavens ! I heard him call 
him a hrigand. 

Ronald. — Worse ; He said he was a hypocrite. 

George. — And do you call that worse ? 

EoNALD. — Yes, for 'twas true. Will you still 
insist on having Miss McPeterson ? 

George. — The current of my thoughts are set 
that way, and shall know no retiring ebh. True 
love gives strength to purpose and breath to 
character ; its food is hope and sweet imagin- 
ings ; its instinct, effort; its rapture, worship. 
It will outwatch the s ts to catcli a glimpse of 
the beloved's eyes, and scorn sleep to know itself 
near the unconscious angel of its thoughts and 
vows. If I cannot marry her — 

Ronald. — You'll do something desperate. Oh ! 
I know. Ha ! ha ! ha ! I see your case is a bad 
one. Come on, and let us see if we cannot help 
you. Perhaps the Government would subsidize 
a little railway for you from your own to the 
fair Grit's house. [Exeunt. 

SCENE III. — The same. — Night. Light burning 
in one of the bedroom windows of McPeterson's 
house. 

Enter St. Clair ivith a fiddle and a ladder of ropes. 



George St. Clair. — Ah ! that is her room. 
0, dearest one ! {he kisses his hand toivards the 
tvindow). To sit beside you and see your weatlh 
of golden hair shower its largess of glory round 
your peerless form ! To watch your pensive 
heauty in a pleasing sadness, it would be mine 



J 



; 



18 



THE FAIR GRIT. 



to dispel ! To hear your laughter gurgle like 
a stream of music through the pearls and corals ! 
Oh ! — 

Enter Eonald. 



EoNALD {touchinfj his shoulder). — Oh ! 

George. — Ah, Eonald, it is so good of you to 
come. 

Eonald. — Yes, I have come to play love's 
lackey and to act the A. D. C. to a madman. I 
hope I won't prove myself a nincompoop, like 
other A. D. C's. I see you have got the fiddle. 
Now play a little in order to attract her atten- 
tion, and let it be as sweetly, as sentimentally 
cadent as the '' mee-yow" of a hungry kitten, 

George. — Eonald, how can you ? 

Eonald. — And then when she comes to the 
window sing the song I composed for you in a 
thoroughly feeling manner. 

(St. Clair plays, and after a little Miss McPeter- 
SON lifts up the umidoiv and listens.) 

George. — The difficulty about your song is I 
have no boat. 

Eonald. — And an Irishman would say your 
guitar is a fiddle. However, it is all the better. 
Lying and loving have gone hand in hand from 
the creation. 



George sings 



I. 



Oar summer nights are fleeting, 
My boat is in the bay ; 

Our summer nights are fleeting, 
My boat is anchored near. 



19 



THE FAIR GRIT. 

Pftle as the ghost of ill-starred love, 
The moon her course doth take, 

And sad and sweet as hopeless thought, 
Her light rests on the lake. 

11. 

Our summer nights are fleeting, 

And youth is fleeting too ; 
Onr summer nights are fleeting 

And rapid joy's decline ; 
Unvoil thy beauty to the night. 

And I'll fetch my guitar ; 
The moon is waiting for your song. 

And waiting, every star. 



III. 

Our Buramer nights are fleeting. 

Sweet the honied-lapping wave ; 
Our summer nights are fleeting, 

With their silver-shadow'd walls ; 
Whose echoes of soul-born song, 

Wake ghosts of happier years. 
And faint far o'er the shimmering deep, 

And die among the spheres. 

Miss McPeterson (Aside).— I do believe it is 
Mr. St. Clair. Who is that ? 

George St. Clair (Aside).— RonM, hide. 
('To Miss McPeterson) — 'Tis I. 

Miss McPeterson.— Mr. St. Clair ? 

George St. Clair.— Yes, dearest Angelina. 

Miss McPeterson.— If papa were to bear you, 
I don't know what he would'nt do. 

EoNALD (^si^e).— Make a Grit of him perhaps, 
but ijou could do that better. 

George.— I brought a ladder of ropes. 

Angelina (Aside).— 'Enchanimg. It makes me 
quite a heroine. Hush, Mr. St. Clair. 
(Here old McPeterson comes on the stage unseen 

hy the rest. J 



I 



20 



THE FAIR GRIT. 



McPeterson {Aside). — As I live, serunading 
my (laughter. Who ever lii-ard of such a thing 
as a respectable lady Grit beiag serenaded, aud 
by a Tory, too ! 

Geouge. — Will you come down, dearest, and 
walk ? We can slip into the garden. At your 
approach the flow(?rs will open to a dawn more 
lovely than the sun ever steeped our planet in. 
They will diffuse their fragrance in homage to a 
fairer Flora. Oh, come down. 

McPeterson (Aside). — How I hate such stuff. 
I hates poetry like pisen. 

Angelina {Closinff the window). — I'll come 
down in a few moments. 

George. — Ronald, all goes prosperously. 

Ronald. — You did it well. If you should ever 
become impoverished you'll be able to earn an 
honest livelihood as a Christv minstrel. But 
you forgot to offer her the ladder of ropes. 
Look where she comes. 
(Miss McPeterson here enters on the stage, but 

jast as George is about to greet her, her father 

steps between.) 

SCENE IV. — Room in McPeterson's house. Mc- 
Peterson, Mrs. McPeterson and Angelina ar- 
ranging for a garden party. 

Mrs. McPeterson. — Really, Mac, these big 
affairs don't suit me at all — though it is pleasant 
to be so grand as we are — and to be able to send 
out invitations on enamelled cards ; it is a de- 
lirious thing. 

Angelina. — You mean delicious, mamma. 



THE FAIR GRIT. 



21 



McPeterson. — Of course she means dulicious. 
But she must suit herself to her station, ['m a 
Senator of the Dominion, and I'm rich, and 
therefore I'm a great aristocrat. We are grand 
people. What matter who we are, rovided we're 
rich; and what matter whether I'm ignorant of 
political science or not, so long as I'm a Senator ? 
Hang all aristocracy, say I, except our own aris- 
tocracy. And what I say is this — what's the 
good of being in a high station if we don't shine? 
Your European aristocracies be hanged — having 
their family tree, indeed. Though I do like to be 
seen in the street with a lord, whenevpr one 
comes this way ; and doesn't Angelina feel the 
better of dancing with a lord? Nevertheless 
and notwithstanding, as Mr. Blake so elegantly 
says in his orations, give me the aristocratic 
plant that has its roots in the gutter, surrounded 
by dead rats and decaying cats, and with the 
sap of a fine, fat, purse-pride — or to change the 
figure — "ou see I have been studying the orators 
— an aristocracy which is like a pimple on the 
hide of a deranged society — an angry self-asser- 
tive thing as full of pus as of pride. 

Mrs. McPeterson. — Shall we invite young St. 
Clair? 

McPeterson. — No ! No Tories for me. 

Mrs. McPeterson. — You are too bitter. I 
think Liny would like to have him invited. He 
wouldn't be a bad match, and he'd .atroduce us 
into one of the old families — one of the F. F. C's. 
And then we could abandon Presbyterianism 
and go to the Church of England. For as the 
Argyles say — if we are to go to Heaven at all, 



22 



THE FAIR GRIT. 



I « 



we might as well ^o by the first-class route, and 
having in hand, an aristocratic prayer-book 
with a nice Puseyite cover. 

McPeterson. — How foolish you talk. If old 
St. Clair would consent to have his son marry 
the daughter of a Grit, John A. would never 
speak to him again ; and if my daughter were to 
marry a Tory, George, B. would read me out of 
the party. 

Mrs. McPeterson.— Then Liny I'm afraid we 

must leave out St. Clair. 

Angelina. — I don't care. 

McPeterson.— You don't care ? Do you sup- 
pose I forget his serenading of you ? 

Angelina.— Well, I think we have finished 
now. 

McPeterson.— No we haven't. Teach your 
mother how to bow, and how to walk across the 
room= 
Mrs. McPeterson doing the grecian bend a good 

deal, sti ides across the room, cid hows in an 

aivJavard fashion ; the daughter teaches her, 

and at each how old McPeterson hoivs too.) 

McPeterson. — You improve daily, my dear. 
Now, I must go and order wine. I think the 
$1.50 sherry will do. 

Mrs. McPeterson. — Yes, and have a few bot- 
tles of Moet's to mix with the cheap champagne. 
And if vou could find one of the Government 
clerks that "we could borrow to act as my equerry, 
and groom of my chamber, and my lad-in-wait- 
ing, it would be very nice. Some fellow who is 
useful for nothing else. 

McPeterson. — I will make inquiries ; shall be 



THE FAIE GBIT. 



28 



sure to find somebody now that the Civil Service 
is being made a system of out-dour relief for the 
incompetent relations of wire-pullers. I must go 
to my wine merchant. 

Angelina. — And I must do some shopping. 
(Exeunt McPeterson and Wife.) 

Angelina and St. Clair. 



St. Clair {Entering). — Oh Angelina ! 

Angelina. — This is too daring. If you were to 
meet papa — 

GrEORGE. — I'd risk my life for you. I cannot 
live without you. You are the ocean to the river 
of my thoughts. You haunt me with your beauty 
and persecute me with anxiety. In every sweet 
sound is your voice. The light of your eye is in 
every star. How can 1 overcome your father's 
objections ? 

Angelina. — Have you not likewise your father's 
objections to overcome ? 

George. — Yes, but I thirk an article in the 
Dasher would change his views. 

Angelina. —You have hit on the only way you 
can move my father. You know in the Eoman 
Catholic Church they get dispensations for irre- 
gularity from the Pope. Now the Smasher is the 
great Grrit pope, and if you could get an article 
in th3 Smasher saying that in an exceptional 
case a Grit and a Tory might marry — as, for 
instance, when they are very fond of each other 
as we are — all might be well on our side. If the 
Smasher gave him directions, my father would 
eat five dollar bills and sleep on a bed of wal- 

I- 



24 



THE FAIR GRIT. 



nnts. But would you marry me without your 
father's consent ? 

George. — I am prepared to defy my father. 
They say John A. nearly fainted with horror 
when he heard that the son of a Tory wanted to 
marry a Grit. But though a person of such 
extreme sensibility, he would p:obably survive 
the shock of our marriage. If I may make a pun, 
he has though a Tory a great deal of grH in him, 
an'^ he is specially strong on virtue. 

Angelina. — No ; let us not think of marrying 
without our fathers' consent. I will never marry 
any one but you ; let that be enough. But if 
we are forced to desperate courses, my Highland 
blood will not shrink from a bold step. For I, 
too, am proud of my race. That race so strong, 
so many-sided, so thrifty, and yet so generous 
and tender where they love ; so full of purpose 
and of power; hard as the wave -beaten granite, 
and soft as the moss which grows on the brow 
of the steep ; prickly as their thistle, but with 
the heart and beauty of its crimson flower. 
They gave me a spirit as free as the streams of 
their iiitive hills; John Knox's strength and 
Burns' liberal heart ; and Marie Stuart's fiery 
fervour without her falseness. 

George. — My heroine ! Konald was right. 
You should have been serenaded not with the 
fiddle but the bagpipes, and I can see a glory in 
them now I never saw before. Yes; not only 
Marie Stuart's fervour, but her beauty too. {He 
embraces her), ^ 



THE FAIR GKIT. 



25 



Elite)' McPeterson. 

McPeterson. — You Tory scoundrel ! 
(George throws himself on his knees, but McP. 
only belabours him ivith his stick, and George 
flies, while Miss McP. cries " Don't Papa /" 

(Exeunt Omnes.) 



SCENE Y.—The same. 
George St. Clair and Angelina. 

George. — I heard your father and mother were 
out and I bribed Bridget to let me in again. 
I have been to both newspapers and have met 
with nothing but discouragement. 

Angelina. — Then we are indeed undone. 

George. — Yes. On entering the office of the 
Smasher I say; a small boy engaged in sorting 
papers, and I asked him who he was. He re- 
plied *' A devil." I started, but suddenly re- 
membered all abouc printer's devils, and said, 
" Oh ! can I see the editor ?" He asked what 
editor ? Was it the night editor, or the city 
editor, or the political editor, or the trans- 
cendental editor^ or the theological editor, or 
the fighting editor, or the blackguard editor, 
or the editor-in-chief? In my utter bewil- 
derment I asked for the blackguard editor, 
and the devil shouted out, ** Our own black- 
guard — to the front." Immediately there ap- 
peared an elderly gentleman with spectacles, 
and having the appearance of a Sunday school 
teacher. Having told him my business he in- 
formed me that a matrimonial question like mine 



26 



THE FAIR GRIT. 



t 



would only como under bis cognizance if I were 
a candidate for a seat in Parliament. He added 
that my case was one partly theological, partly 
political, in the purest sense, p\d that I had 
better see the political editor, whereupon the 
devil cried out — *' Kohinoor to the front." Again 
I was in the presence of a model of respectability, 
and he informed me that he thought I had better 
see the editor-in-chief at once. " Then enter 
there," cried the devil, pointing to a door 
on his right, and on opening which I saw 
the editor-in-chief dictating how a Tory should 
be roasted to one " amanuensis," and then 
turning to another and telling him whether 
hell had or had not an existence. " The fact 
is," he concluded, "if they caald knock the bot- 
tom out of hell we would re-create it with 
an article. All Canada is at our feet, and we 
can do as we please, and we are determined 
to have a hell. We are just as strong as 
the convict Davis on future punishment." 
At jast he turned to me, and having heard 
my story he said no word but rang for his 






brother, told the devil to summon " our own 
blackguard," the ''transcendental," the ''theo- 
logical," and every editor and clipper in the es- 
tablishment. " Theological, sing a hymn," said 
the editor-in-chief. Scarcely had the sacred 
strains sounded when I heard a war-whoop from 
the brother of the editor-in-chief, and the whole 
pack made at me. When I found myself at the 
door half alive I was thankful. 
Angelina. — My poor George ! 

-I went and recruited my strength 



George.- 



THE FAIR GUIT, 



27 



d 



with oysters and wine, and then repaired to the 
Dasher office. About the iiersomiel of the Dasher 
staff I know nothing, for I happened to meet the 
editor in chief on the stairs, and having told him 
my story, he looked at me with a frank expres- 
sion, and merely said; ''You're mad! you're 
mad!" and on my honour I thought I must be, 
ever to enter a newspaper office again, after run- 
ning such a risk as I ran in the office of the 
Smasher, 
Angelina. — Those papers are dreadful things. 
George. — As I turned to leave, the editor-in- 
chief of the Dasher, fixing me with his glittering 
eye, said with the utmost courtesy : " Follow me 
and I will show you our inquisitorial chamber." 
I followed him. At the touch of a secret spring 
a door flew open, and we found ourselves in a 
room kept v/ith scrupulous neatness. On all 
sides were implements of torture : boots, thumb- 
screws, Procrustean beds, ancle-chains, hand- 
cuffs, rapierSj daggers, and many other cruel 
instruments, the very names of which havt 
escaped my memory. "This," said my guide, 
taking down an augur of huge dimensions, 
*' this is the augur with which we bore into a 
fellow's vitals." I shuddered. *' And this," he 
said, taking down a rapier, ''is what we thrust 
under a person's fifth rib. Of la,te it has been 
used on a learned subject. You see the blood 
has an Oxford hue." On a slow fire at the end 
of the room a figure lay which I was informed 
belonged to one Robert Pinchbeck. "That is a 
process," said the ed' tor-in-chief, "which is sup- 
posed to be understo )d at the Smasher office, but 



28 



THE FAIR GRIT. 



!f 



we understand it too." And he smiled on his 

victim with the enthusiasm of an artist. He 

then threw open a large cupb oard in which hung 

the skeletons of those who had been tortured to 

death, with their names and pedigrees, and the 

date of their demise, pasted on a little beam 

overhead. " The owner of this skeleton," said 

he, pointing to the second one, " gave us more 

pleasure than perhaps any other of our subjects, 

and we tried on him nearly every instrument of 

torture in our posssession." Here a radiant 

light of inspiration glowed on his face, and 

"with gentle voice and soft, angelically tuned," 

he sang as follows, all the skeletons keeping 

time with their gaunt bones, and grinning a 

horrid laugh : 

I. 

McK r has gone like a light o'er the wave, 

When night clouds are gathering o'er the dark sea, 

No more will he gladden great M t's conclave. 

No more will he madden the patient Pardee. 



II. 



We called him with fondness ' the blundering child,' 
"For with the best of intentions he never did righi;. 

And a beam o'er the waters when tranquil and mild, 
Best emblemed his smile when just up for a fight. 



iir 



Unless 'twas in coin, all that's golden he hated. 

And kid gloves would tear, if one dared them to show, 

Nor cared he how heavily the people were rated. 
Could he draw but the long, and play the sweet beau. 



IV. 



But he's gone ! oh, he's gone like a light o'er the wave 

Here he was interrupted by the figure of 
Robert Pinchbeck, who asked him if he was sing- 



THE FAIR GRIT. 



29 



ing a hymn, adding that if so he would like to 
join in, but the only answer he received was — 
it has escp.ped my memory — ^but I remember 
well the editor-in-chief seizing on a poker, which 
he told me was a Thalberg poker, and stirring 
up the fire with considerable energy. He then 
turned to rae and asked me if I should like to 
have a pair of wrist crushers placed on me, " or, 
perhaps," he added with the utmost politeness, 
" you would wish to try the boot on ? or would 
you prefer to be placed on this Procrustean 
couch? Would you like to be bound to one of 
those skeletons? We'll do anything to oblige 
you." T begged of him to let me go. " Then 
go," he cried, "but beware of marrying the fair 
Grit." 

Angelina. — 0, George, what a country is this 
Canada of ours. 

George. — Come ; I have prepared everything. 
Run away with me to that land of peace and 
newspaper propriety below the line. 

Angelina.— What if we should be stopped by 
detectives like Mr. Arches and Mrs. McTrieb. 

George. — I'll take care that will not happen 
and even if we were we shoud cut no ridiculous 
figure. There's a great difference between runn- 
ing away with another man's daughter and steal- 
ing another man's wife and not only his wife but 
his children too. I dont know which to think the 
greater fool. 

Angelina. — How can women do such things? 
George. — My Dearest — There are women of a 
certain type who are filways sporting on the brink 
of the precipice. W( need not wonder if some of 



80 



THE FAIR GRIT. 



them go over. Any woman who acts so as to 
deserve the name of flirt is an enemy to herself 
and to her sex. But the married flirt is an enemy 
of the whole race. She is an unmitigated 
nuisance. She destroys her husband's peace, 
disgraces her children, and mars the opening of 
some eager young fool. Such scandals would be 
rarer if artificial obstacles were not thrown in the 
way of the union of such hearts as ours. 

Angelina. — I pity the poor young fellow. 

George. -It is the foolish woman that is most 
to be pitied. He deserves to be censured and 
laughed at as he will be. He was more like the 
leader of family exodus than the organizer of an 
elopement, a beardless Abraham migrating with 
his household Gods than a Paris of the new 
world. The grip of Montreal detectives was 
worse than the upbraiding Nereus. 

Angelina. — Of whom ? 

George. — Oh, an old sea deity. But be sure I 
will prevent all danger of capture. Nor can I 
believe but that Heaven will smile on our attempt 
to escape into virtuous freedom. 

Angelina. — I could not go to-day. 

George. — When then ? 

Angelina. — I am full of fears. 

George. — Dismiss them. The fate fight for 
lawful, even as they fight against unlawful loves. 
To the devotees of these Cupid is constantly 
transformed into a policeman and his little dart 
into a truncheon ; to those who follow the better 
path the gay heathen little God becomes a verit- 
able angel of light beckoning them onward to not 
merely to greater sensuous Jhappiness, but to 



THE FAIR GRIT. 



ai 



higher planes of moral, intellectual and spiritual 
being. Dismiss your fears and lean o^ my faith- 
ful heart. 

Angelina. — I am resolved. Come here to- 
morrow at this hour. Papa and mamma will both 
be out, and I'll be ready to start with you for 
that land of correct clergymen and pure politicians. 

{Exeunt. 

SCENE Yl.—The same. 

Angelina. — {Enter St. Clair.) 

George. — Have you seen the Smasher and 
Dasher ? Both have articles on the question 
this morning. 

Angelina.— -What question. 

George. — Our marriage, which they treat as 
an accomplished fact ; it is dreadful. The 
Smasher says my youth has been steeped in dis- 
sipation ; hints that you are a weak vessel ; and 
thus concludes : " Never since John A., in an 
evil hour for Canada, entered public life, has he 
done anything so nefarious, so ruffianly and so 
traitorous, as concocting this marriage. A nice 
person he is to play the servitor to Cupid. He 
ought to be caricatured as a link-boy to Hymen. 
Away with such immoral coalitions. Talk not 
to us of the happiness of young people. Happi- 
ness indeed ! Preposterous ! Puling nonsense ! 
when the interests of a great party are at stake. 
Before happiness — before individual peace of 
mind stands the ^reat party of purity." The 
Dasher says : " 'Lhere has always been some- 
thing of the sly schemer about George B., but the 



82 



THE FAIR GRIT. 



•♦1 

1 ; 

! ■( 



most devilish guile with which he has set on 
foot this marriage surpasses all his achieve- 
ments." 

Angelina. — Dreadful ! (Bursting into tears). 

George. — Follow me. Let us leave this re- 
gion of newspaper oppression and erotic despair. 

Angelina. — I'll follow you to the ends of the 
earth. 
{As they go forth enter MoPeterson and old St. 

Clair.) 

McPeterson. — Where were you going ? 

Angelina /aZ^ at his feet and says. — Papa, I 
was going to marry him. 

McPeterson. — Suppose there is no necessity 
of your going away. Mr. St. Clair has always at 
heart been a sound Grit. The moment he was 
offered a good place he discovered this, and to- 
morrow morning the Smasher mil have an article 
explaining to the world his true character, and 
saying that the marriage between you and his 
son is one of the most auspicious events that 
could happen. You see there are coalitions and 
coalitions. All coalitions that suit the Tories 
are damnable ; all coalitions that suit us are di- 
vine. 

Angelina. — Do I dream ? 

Old St. Clair. — No ! Embrace me, my 
daughter.. 

(Angelina throws her arms around his neck and 
kisses him). 

Enter Ronald. 



Old St. Clair. — There, that's nice, that's nice, 
that's nice. 'Gad, I'm not surprised at my son. 



THE FAIR GIUT. 



83 



What trouble we have given these young people 
and all for humbug. I wish I knew any way of 
lessening the humbug in the world. 

Ronald. — Commit suicide. 

Old St. Clair. — Commit suicide ! 

Ronald. — Yes. I thought you wanted to de- 
crease the humbug in the world. That would 
be an effectual way. 

George. — Don't be cynical at this hour. I 
have some reason to be morose. My body is still 
black and blue from the blows of the Smasher 
editors. ** Our own Blackguard," or " Our Spe- 
cial Blackguard," whichever he was, hit specially 
hard, and under the belt too ; in fact, his blows 
have made it impracticable to sit down with 
comfort. But when my heart is full of joy, 
what care I — 

* Old St. Clair. — Ah, well, all is over now. I 
was born and bred a Tory, but I was really au 
fond a Grit. 

McPeterson. — Yes, he was always a fond Grit. 

Ronald. — A contract or a good place has a 
wonder potency of conversion. 

Ji'nter Servant. 

Servant. — The editor in chief of the Smasher 
and his staff are come to congratulate you,, sir. 
McPeterson. — Show them in. 

.Enter Mrs. McPeti-rson from one side a7id the 
Editor 5 from the other. 

Mrs. McPeterson. — 0, Liny, kiss me; we shall 



84 



THE FAIR ORIT. 



now belong to one of the F. F. C.'s. {To 
George.) My son ! 

George. — My mother! 

The editor-in-chief sings : 

To-morrow this couple will happy be ; 

To-morrow must ring the marriage-bell, 
And whoever with this does not agree 

We'll roast him slowly, but roast him well. 

Second Editor: 

We'll roast him nicely. 

We'll roast him neatly ; 
We'll do it politely, 

We'll do it featly, 

And all iu Christian love. 

Third Editor : 

Away with love, away with sorrow, 
Give me but plenty of good abuse. 

For if I live on each to-morrow, » 
Some public character I must traduce. 

The whole staff sing in chorus : 

Roast him slowly, roast him slowly, roast him slowly. 

But roast him well ; 
For he's a Tory, for he's a Tory, for he's a Tory, 

roast him well. 

EoNALD. — 0, most sweet voices ! 

Editor-in-chief. — I have not yet shaken 
hands with the bride. May you have every 
blessing, denr Angelina, and be the mother of a 
stalwart rn.c ■ of Grits. I suppose there is no 
difficulty about your future husband. He's 
sound? 

George. — I take my politics from Angelina's 
eyes. 

EoNALD. — Better teachers than most men have 
in that corrupting science. 



THE FAIR OKIT. 



85 



Editor-in-chief. — And her eyes like the stars 
■which guide the Dominion, borrow their light 
from the Smasher. That will do. 

Geokge. — But I hope, sir, she will acquire 
none of the enlightenment of your " special 
blackguard." It is, I assure you, almost as im- 
possible for me to sit down at this moment as it 
would for one of those cherubs who are repre- 
sented all head and wings, and who, holy ihough 
they be, have one characteristic of hell, as de- 
scribed in the sacred writings. 

Editor-in-chief. — Now that you are in our 
party, remember that you have no business to 
think for yourself, sir. We'll do all that for you. 

George. — I am too happy to fight on that 
argument. Come, Angelina, and let us seek to 
realize the unexpected turn events have taken. 

Angelina. — George, how happily everything 
has turned out ! May the union between your 
honest father and the party of purity be sym- 
bolical of ours {advancing to the footlights). 

Nay, do not wonder that both hurled us to perdi'tion, 

For our policy undoubtedly was — coalition. 

Nor could he or I be said to be 

Impartial — since each was parti-pri?. 

Can we be harsh on parties — one or both. 

That to coalesce — they were nothing loth ? 

Yet as so ruthlessly young hearts they'd crush, 

Ere on one side a factious straw they'd brush. 

The sad suspicion will force itself unbidden 

That by both parties country's ovorridden.