The Scribbler, Montreal – 26 Dec 1822 pgs 4-6
Laprairie, 10th Dec
Mr LL MacCulloch
Saint Andrew, with his wintery robes, has been so ill received by his Mount Royal children [I never before knew St Andrews day pass in Montreal, without two or more public dinners. It has been said that the chief persons of note of the Scotch nation, being all conspicuous unionists, and having been stigmatised as a Scotch faction, determined on discouraging a meeting on St Andrew’s Day, alleging that it would add to the popular opinion of their caballing together, and confirm that party-designation, by which they are now generally known. The paltry and vulgar pride that prevented a ball taking place that evening, is exposed in the sequel; and well do such beggarly sentiments deserve exposure. LLM] that he has deigned to honour this place with a visit on his natal day. A select party of his would-be sons assembled at Mr Campbell’s to indulge in the pleasures of national partiality, and to criticise wiser and better men than themselves, as well as to partake of the comforts of the feast. The room was decorated with numerous transparencies and emblems of the “native soil”. (I cannot say whether they had a fiddle;) and the whole, the dinner particularly, did great credit to the landlord. When it was on table, the hoarse tones of a hoarse bagpipe, summoned the party to the gorge. The gathering of the clans, seemed however, rather out of place, when the native countries of the guests are considered, and a Dutch medley might have been better. The gallant Old Buck presided, and filled the chair with the consequential dignity of a feudal chieftain, though he did not seem to be so much at home as when acting the quack-doctor before a dozen squaws in an Indian wigwam. Daddy Dull, who makes his scholars smart, was the nightingale of the day, and, occasionally giving a stave or two of the pathetic, made himself more agreeable, than when reciting his Sunday prayer, with his covenanting whine. Mr Billytap was also one of the select, and, as usual, put too much brandy in his water: at his earnest request, the pleasure of his company was soon dispensed with, and (as the president did shortly after) he walked into the street, and laid himself comfortably down on a pile of wood near the door, where he slept for two hours, in a heavy rain, until he was as completely drenched without as he was within. Mr Shortleg Donaldson, shewed his wit by his manners, but, being young and thoughtless, it is not surprising he should behave a little foolishly. Another genius marshalled the decanters in a truly bacchanalian style, and displayed his soaking qualities so wonderfully, that one would have thought him a sponge. The rest were well Dunn up, and looked as Dow-dy as you please. Another distinguished guest had been invited, but to the great uneasiness of the party, did not make his appearance in due time: it appeared that, having set off in high spirits, the grocer found when he got almost within smell of the haggis, that he had put an old coat on, by mistake, so he thought it behoved Mac to lean towards home again to change it, and crossed the St Lawrence for the purpose.
After dinner, the jovial cup passed and repassed in flowing bumpers, to the numerous toasts which had been prepared for the occasion? And certainly most of them were the worse for wear, and may easily be traced by looking over old newspapers; that, however is nothing, and is perfectly excusable, as the whole party could not have made them of their own, without pilfering. But, Mr Scribbler, here comes the rub. I should not have thought it worth my, or your while, to have given you an account of a dinner, attended by eight or nine persons, and those almost entirely insignificant characters; had this party not been puffed in the Montreal Herald, where it occupied full half a column; and why? Because in the plentitude of their folly, these cacklers, wanting to have something to distinguish themselves by, gave amongst their toasts, one in favour of the union of the two provinces, and stigmatising the opposers of that measure as illiberal, designing and ignorant. Ignorant, indeed! But fools always think themselves wise men: the lord have pity upon these uneducated ninnies! But, it is right that every man should have and maintain, his own opinion, but, in social meetings, party questions should never be introduced. However, without this, these eight or nine blockheads would neither have made a figure in the Herald, nor have been, by reaction, immortalized in the Scribbler.
As to the second part of the fete, suffice it to say that, its etoient tous fous naturellement, and as Sawney says, by the frequent tasting “the joys of the shell,” they were a’ fou. Burns’ much admired song on Bannockburn, was sung by the whole party, but the following parody, will better describe the finish.
Scots let’s nae gang yet to bed,
Till grog has filled each empty head,
Till a’ our senses far hae fled,
Till we nae mair can see.
This is the boozing hour of night;
Drink till a’ our eyes are white
Noise must be when fools unite,
Sae noisy let us be.
Wha wadna’ swill till roarin fou,
The beer that yon mon there doth brew?
And so we’ll a’ be drunk enow,
Then push about the bree.
Wha for Aundra loud wull ca’?
Wha for Bacchus gies hurra?
Like topers sup, like topers fa’
Then tak a dram wi’ me.
By rum, brandy, wine and gin,
By all the liquids, thick and thin,
We will drink till day peeps in,
For we shall not, shall not flee.
This bold resolution, however, was soon laid aside, when they were informed that it was Sunday morning, and that no singing or drinking would be allowed after twelve on Saturday night. They then reeled off singing,
Bid McKay na’ longer blow,
Lay the noisy piper low,
To bed let us a’ reeling go,
Nid noddin a’ are we