It must have been some kind of ball to inspire a poet to write such lines!!!!!
1 February 1842
We commend to our readers the following clever and authentic account of the late ever-to-be remembered ball, held in this city of Montreal:-
Attend, Attend ye Gentles all,
Cits of the far famed Montreal;
A wondrous history I’ll unfold,
worth being traced in ink of gold,
of balls and suppers and such gear,
which ushered in the blithe new year,
but as a history of them all,
would file a book by no means small,
bout one of them, and that the latest,
the best and certainly the greatest
instance of joyful demonstration,
which ever has convulsed a nation,
or been deemed worthy of relation.
The story, I’m about to give you,
shall be; and therefore to relieve you
from all impatience and anxiety,
in which t’were surely not propriety,
to keep you long, the better way
Is to begin and say my say,
in order to commemorate,
an event of very recent date;
the Duke of Cornwall’s birth, I mean,
England’s first son of a reigning Queen,
the gallant sons of Mars combined,
and all without exception joined
in “getting up” with great display,
a supper at an early day,
also a ball at which might dance
those who in such a crowd should chance
to find a partner or sufficiency
of space to shew his great proficiency
in Terpsychorean efficiency.
All the departments too, save one
invited were to join the fun;
Thursday the 20th was the day,
appointed for the great soiree,
Rasco’s hotel the scene of action.
Of ball rooms Rasco’s is perfection.
The pastry and confectionary,
were, I believe, brought from Deverry,
some days before the affair took place,
the postboys ran a perfect race.
The invitations were all sent out,
and then, the ball committee went out
to hunt up flags and purchase boughs,
to ornament the walls of th’house,
these round the ball room then were nailed,
though in some parts, the plaster failed,
to hold the nails, and then the things
were tied up with some coloured strings.
Muskets and swords were then procured,
and all around the room secured,
and then to render things quite clear,
they formed a handsome chandelier,
of bayonnets, ramrods and such things,
disposed in various stars and rings,
wax candles then, some fifteen score,
to shed their lustre on the floor,
were fixed in such way that their light,
might be reflected doubly bright,
from the flat sides of the bayonnets, which had
been polished well by th’Armourer Richard.
In short the room looked very grand,
so many people had a hand
in fixing up the decoration,
for this most loyal demonstration.
Two cannons then, field pieces called,
up to the entrance door were hauled.
One on each side was placed, and then
in full dress came the artillery men.
The hour arrived, t’was nine at night,
and lucky t’was, the moon shone bright,
or accidents there would have been,
for such a crowd was never seen,
In Montreal for years before,
as gathered then round Rasco’s door.
So many all at once arriving,
the few on foot, the many driving.
Some came in cabs, in Carioles some
unto the scene of action come;
five hundred guests or more were there,
among them many of the fair
of this fair city, and we may,
speaking of fair ones, safely say
that such a host of beauty never
before was seen, nor can we ever
expect to see the like again,
while Queen Victoria shall reign.
By ten the company had assembled,
and tis no wonder the house trembled.
For surely such a crowd before
never stood up on Rasco’s floor.
A trumpet sounded, and the fun
had at eleven well begun.
The dancing, to say nothing of its merit,
was kept up with the greatest spirit.
Though a slight accident occured,
but which were scarcely worth a word,
a gallant knight who loves to waltz,
made an unlucky step, ‘twas false,
and down he came upon the floor,
shaking the windows and the door,
which caused such a panic in the room,
had not the noise reached Rasco’s ear,
who stept up to an engineer,
(one who by chance was standing nigh)
requesting, as the walls were high,
that he’d examine the floor and roof,
and see that they were both bombproof;
which being done without delay,
the band began again to play,
the dancing then went on till two,
when to the supper some withdrew.
The festive board with viands crown’d,
abundance smiled on all around’
some fine fat turkeys (as I’M told,
the very finest that were sold
this winter in the market) were
smoking upon the table there,
with hams and tongues and rounds of beef;
whose size and number pass belief.
I cannot now, upon my soul,
remember half, much less the whole,
of what was there upon the table,
so to describe it I.m not able.
The wine, let it suffice to say,
(procured expressly for that day)
was of the very fines sort,
Champagne, Madeira, Claret, port.
The toasts, of course, were as they should be
at such a feast none other could be;
the Queen was the first and then the Prince,
and surely there was never, since
the deluge such a joyful shout
as when these toasts were given out.
The supper over, back they went,
and all on dancing seemed full bent;
indeed, some reeled so, that ‘twas said
the supper had got into their head;
but this I really disbelieve,
Were’t true I certainly should grieve.
The dancing then went on till morning,
and daylight had to give them warning,
that ‘twas high time to leave off dancing,
and on the road home to go prancing.
Coats, caps and cloaks, gauntlets and muffs,
Mantillas, boas, socks and ruffs
became the order of the day
for those who would no longer stay,
but in a heap they’d all been toss’d
and much ‘twas feared that some were lost;
and now in sad confusionall
the doughty heroes great and small,
Hussars, Dragoons, and Rifles too,
t’equip themselves directly flew.
Some few were left behind, it took
so long their swords and belts to hook.
But pretty soon they followed after,
though not too soon to hear the laughter
of some few mischief loving dames
(I will not mention any names)
but some, ‘tis said, there were who thought
that clerks, who went there, should have brought
some pens and ink, wherewith to scrawl
a brief description of the ball,
instead of swords with scabbords bright,
to which (‘twas said) they had no right.
Brass spurs, too, jingling on the floor,
one would almost have thought that more
than two troops of Dragoons were there.
But really I so little know
of how these military matters go,
or rules or regulations, or
the code called “articles of war;”
that I such matters will not try
to settle or decide upon, not I.
“Tis high time now that I should mend
my pen, and then this history end;
the rest may readily be told,
for by five am, both young and old
had from the house got fairly started,
and for their several homes departed,
with th’entertainment they’d received,
highly delighted, though they grieved,
that they should be obliged to part,
so soon; ‘twould really break one’s heart
to hear the doleful lamentations
with which their parting salutations
were interlarded, but at length!
With almost superhuman strength,
they tore assunder, and then wended
their several ways; my story’s ended