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for ale; and I have generally found that In Thomas Hardy's story, "The Shepthe time for advice is after a cup of herd's Christening," there is a rare ale."
tribute paid to mead, that glorious "Lavengro” has been called the epic intoxicant which our strong-headed, of ale; but Borrow was no English stout-hearted progenitors drank unrustic, content with the buxom charms scathed. The traditional “heather ale" of malt, and never glancing over her of the Picts, the secret of which died fat shoulder to wilder, gayer loves. He with the race, was a glorified mead. was an accomplished wanderer, at home with all men and with all liquor. He Fra' the bonny bells o' heather could order claret like a lord, to impress
They brewed a drink lang-syne, the supercilious waiter in a London inn. 'T was sweeter far than honey, He could drink Madeira with the old 'T was stronger far than wine. gentleman who counseled the study of Arabic, and the sweet wine of Cypress The story goes that after the bloody with the Armenian who poured it from victory of the Scots under Kenneth a silver flask into a silver cup, though MacAlpine, in 860, only two Picts who there was nothing better to eat with it knew the secret of the brew survived than dry bread. When, harried by the the general slaughter. Some say they spirit of militant Protestantism, he were father and son, some say they peddled his Bibles through Spain, he were master and man. When they were dined with the courteous Spanish and offered their lives in exchange for the Portuguese Gipsies, and found that receipt, the older captive said he dared while bread and cheese and olives com- not reveal it while the younger lived, prised their food, there was always a
lest he be slain in revenge. So the leathern bottle of good white wine to Scots tossed the lad into the sea and give zest and spirit to the meal. He waited expectantly. Then the last of offered his brandy-flask to a Genoese the Picts cried, “I only know," and sailor, who emptied it, choking horribly, leaped into the ocean and was drowned. at a draft, so as to leave no drop for a It is a brave tale. One wonders if a shivering Jew who stood by, hoping for man would die to save the secret of a turn. Rather than see the Christian making milk-toast. cavalier's spirits poured down a Jewish From the pages of history the prothroat, explained the old boatman hibition-bred youth may glean much offpiously, he would have suffocated. hand information about the wine which
Englishmen drank malt liquor long the wide world made and drank at every before they tasted sack or canary. The stage of civilization and decay. If, ale-houses of the eighth century bear a after the fashion of his kind, he eschews respectable tradition of antiquity, until history, there are left to him encywe remember that Egyptians were clopedias, with their wealth of detail, brewing barley beer five thousand years and their paucity of intrinsic realities. ago, and that Heroditus ascribes its Antiquarians also may be trusted to invention to the ingenuity and benevo- supply a certain number of papers on lence of Isis. Thirteen hundred years "leather drinking-vessels," and "toasts before Christ, in the time of Seti I, an of the old Scottish gentry." But if the Egyptian gentleman complimented Isis youth be one who browses untethered by drinking so deeply of her brew that in the lush fields of English literature, he forgot the seriousness of life, and taking prose and verse, fiction and fact, we have to-day the record of his un- as he strays merrily along, what will seemly gaiety. Xenophon, with notable he make of the hilarious company in lack of enthusiasm, describes the barley which he finds himself? What of Falbeer of Armenia as a powerful bever- staff, and the rascal Autolycus, and of age, “agreeable to those who were used Sir Toby Belch, who propounded the to it," and adds that it was drunk out fatal query which has been answered in of a common vessel through hollow 1919? What of Herrick's "joy-sops,” reeds, a commendable sanitary precau- and "capring wine," and that simple tion.
and sincere "Thanksgiving hymn"
which takes cognizance of all mercies? the diary when he visits a hospitable
neighbor, and his coachman is so well Lord, I confess too, when I dine,
entertained in the servants' hall that The pulse is thine,
he falls drunk from the box, and canThe worts, the purslane, and the mess not pick himself up again. Of water-cress.
Poor Mr. Pepys was ill fitted by a 'Tis Thou that crown'st my glittering churlish fate for the simple pleasures hearth
that he craved. To him, as to many With guiltless mirth,
another Englishman, wine was precious And giv'st me wassail bowls to drink, only because it promoted lively conSpiced to the brink.
versation. His "debauches" (it pleased
him to use that ominous word) were The lines sound like an echo of St. very modest ones, for he was at all Chrysostom's wise warning, spoken times prudent in his expenditures. But twelve hundred years before: "Wine is claret gave him a headache, and Burfor mirth, and not for madness."
gundy gave him the stone, and late Biographies, autobiographies, mem- suppers, even of bread and butter and oirs, diaries, all are set with traps botargo, gave him indigestion. Therefor the unwary, and all are alike un- fore he was always renouncing the conscious of offense. Here is Dr. John- alleviations of life, only to be lured son, whose name alone is a tonic for back by his incorrigible love of comthe morally debilitated, saying things panionship. There is a serio-comic
a about claret, port, and brandy which quality in his story of the two bottles bring a blush to the cheek of temper- of wine he sent for to give zest to his ance. Here is Scott, that "great good cousin Angier's supper at the Rose man" and true lover of his kind, telling Tavern, and which
speedily a story about a ke of whisky and a emptied by his cousin Angier's friends: Liddesdale farmer, which one hardly “And I had not the wit to let them dares to allude to, and certainly dares know at table that it was I who paid not repeat. Here is Charles Lamb, for them, and so I lost my thanks." that "frail good man,” drinking more If the young prohibitionist be lightthan is good for him; and here is hearted enough to read Dickens Henry Crabb Robinson, a blameless, imaginative enough to read Scott or disillusioned, prudent sort of person, sardonic enough to read Thackeray, he expressing actual regret when Lamb will find everybody engaged in the great ceases to drink: “His change of habit, business of eating and drinking. It though it on the whole improves his crowds love-making into a corner, behealth, yet, when he is low-spirited, ing, indeed, a pleasure which survives leaves him without a remedy or relief." all tender dalliance, and restores to the
John Evelyn and Mr. Pepys witnessed human mind sanity and content. I am the blessed Restoration, when England convinced that if Mr. Galsworthy's went mad with joy, and the fountains characters ate and drank more, they of London ran wine.
would be less obsessed by sex, and I
wish they would try dining as a reA very merry, dancing, drinking, storative. Laughing, quaffing, and unthinking The older novelists recognized this
most expressive form of realism, and time it was, until the gilt began to wear knew that, to be accurate, they must off the gingerbread. But Evelyn, project their minds into the minds of though he feasted as became a loyal their characters. It is because of their gentleman, and admitted that canary sympathy and sincerity that we recall carried to the West Indies and back old Osborne's eight-shilling Madeira, for the good of its health was "incom- and Lord Steyne's White Hermitage, parably fine,” yet followed St. Chrysos- which Becky gave to Sir Pitt, and the tom's counsel. He drank, and compelled brandy bottle clinking under her bedhis household to drink, with sobriety. clothes, and the runlet of canary which There is real annoyance expressed in the Holy Clerk of Copmanhurst found
secreted conveniently in his cell, and strays into the wine cellar of Seithenyn the choice purl which Dick Swiveller ap Seithyn, he will have a shell-shock. and the Marchioness drank in Miss It may even be that his presence will Sally Brass's kitchen. We hear War- sour the casks, as the presence of a rington's great voice calling for beer, woman is reputed to sour the casks in we smell the fragrant fumes of burning the great caves of the Gironde, where rum and lemon-peel when Mr. Micawber wine ripens slowly, acquiring merit in brews punch, we see the foam on the silence and seclusion like a Buddhist "Genuine Stunning" which the child saint, and as sensitive as a Buddhist David calls for at the public house. No saint to the perilous proximity of the writer except Peacock treats his char- feminine. This ancient and reasonable acters, high and low, as royally as does tradition is but one phase of the Dickens; and Peacock, although British ancient and reasonable hostility bepublishers keep issuing his novels in tween intoxicants and the sober sex, new and charming editions, is little which dates perhaps from the time read on this side of the sea. Moreover, when Roman women were forbidden to he is an advocate of strong drink, which taste their husbands' wine, but were is very reprehensible, and deprives him fed on sweet syrups, like warm sodaof candor as completely as if he had fountain beverages, to the ruin of their been a teetotaler. We feel and resent health and spirits. Small wonder if the bias of his mind; and although he they handed down to their great-granddescribes with humor that pleasant daughters a legitimate antagonism to middle period, "after the Jacquerie was pleasures they were not permitted to down, and before the march of mind share, and if their remote descendants was up,” yet the only one of his stories still cherish a dim, resentful consciouswhich is innocent of speciousness is ness of hurt. It was the lurking ghost "The Misfortunes of Elphin."
of a dead tyranny which impelled an Now, to the logically minded, "The American woman to write to President Misfortunes of Elphin” is a temperance Roosevelt, reproving him for having tract. The disaster which ruins the proposed a toast to Mr. John Hay's country-side is the result of shameful daughter on her wedding day. "Think," drunkenness. The reproaches leveled she said, “of the effect on your friends, by Prince Elphin at Seithenyn ap on your children, on your immortal Seithyn are sterner and more deeply soul, of such a thoughtless act.” deserved than the reproaches leveled by Nomadic tribes—the vigilant ones King Henry at Falstaff; yet the tale who looked well ahead—wisely forbade rocks and reels with Seithenyn's pota- the cultivation of the vine. Their tions. There are drunkards whom we leaders knew that if men made wine, can conceive of as sober, but he is not they would want to stay at home and one of them. There are sinners who drink it. The prohibition-bred youth, can be punished or pardoned, but he is if he is to remain faithful to the cusnot one of them. As he is incapable of toms of his people, had better not cultireform, so is he immune from retribu- vate too sedulously the great literature, tion. Out of the dregs of his folly ooze smelling of hop-fields and saturated the slow words of his wisdom. Nature with the juice of the grape. Every step befriends him because he is a natural of the way is distracting and dangerous. force, and man submits to him because When I was a school-girl I was authorihe is fulfilling his natural election. The tatively bidden-only authority could good and the wicked fret about him, have impelled me—to strengthen my and grow old in the troublesome proc- errant soul by reading the "Areopagitess; but he remains unchangeably, ica." There I found this amazing senimmutably drunk. “Wine is my medi- tence: “They are not skilful considerers cine," he says with large simplicity, of human things who imagine to remove “and my measure is a little more." sin by removing the matter of sin.” If ever
the young prohibitionist But, then, Milton wrote “L'Allegro."
Life and Letters of Sir Wilfrid
By OSCAR DOUGLAS SKELTON
This great statesman's service in cleansing Canada's political life of sordidness and sectionalism can be appreciated only after reading such an account as this of public life as Laurier found it when he entered the arena back in the sixties.
III. PARTY CONFLICT
The stage was not a large one. The
province of Canada was just emerging In the Canada of the sixties a young from its years of pioneer struggles and man's fancies lightly turned to thoughts backwoods isolation. Its scant million of politics. Public life dominated the people seemed to count for little in the interest of the general public and work of the world. Neither Great stirred the ambition of the abler men Britain nor France nor the United in far greater measure than is true in States gave them more than a passing these days, when business makes a rival thought. Even with the other provinces appeal. Particularly in Lower Canada of British North America they had lita political career was the normal and tle contact; no road or railway bound expected objective of the majority of them. Until well on in the union perithe young men of education and ca- od each region had closer relations with pacity.
the adjoining States than with its sisFrom boyhood days Wilfrid Laurier ter provinces, Upper Canada with had been keenly interested in public "York" State, Lower Canada with New affairs. His student apprenticeship and Hampshire and Vermont, and the Marihis first years of practice in Montreal time provinces with Maine and Masgave an opportunity for forming po- sachusetts. litical connections and taking a part in Yet if it was not large, the provinpublic controversies which strongly con- cial stage witnessed its full share of the firmed his early leanings. Now as edi- dramatic motives and moments of potor of the chief democratic journal of litical life. Here experiments were the Eastern Townships, he was a char- worked out in the organization of govtered guide of public opinion. His law ernment and of parties, in the relation practice brought him into close contact of race with race, in the connection bewith all parts of the district, and be- tween church and state, and in the linkfore five years had passed he was ing of colony and empire, which deeply marked as the destined standard-bearer influenced the development of the fuof the Liberals of the county.
ture dominion and were not without inWilfrid Laurier was born in the year terest to the world beyond. that Upper and Lower Canada were In the words of Mr. Laurier, in an yoked together in uneasy fellowship. unpublished fragment of a work he long He had just begun the practice of law planned to write had fate given him at Arthabaskaville when the union of leisure, the political history of Canada the two Canadas was dissolved and the under the union: wider federation of all the mainland provinces was achieved. It was in the A new era began with the union. In this Canada of the union era that the stage new era there was found nothing of that was set and the players trained for the which had given the past its attraction, comedies and the tragedies, the melo- neither the great feats of arms to save drama and the vaudeville, of confedera- the native soil from invasion, nor the intion politics.
trepid journeys of the explorers led on and
On this question of responsible government the conclusions of Mr. Laurier, embodied in the same pregnant fragment, are of particular interest because of his early relations with the Rouges and the exponents of the Papineau tradition, and his own long experience of the working of the system:
on by an unquenchable thirst for the unknown, nor the journeys, more intrepid still, of the missionaries, everywhere marking the path for the explorers with their blood. The very parliamentary battles on which henceforth the attention of the nation was to be concentrated no longer bore the striking impress which had been stamped on the parliamentary struggles after the conquest by the prestige of those who took part in them, the greatness of the cause which was defended, and the bloody catastrophe which was their outcome.
These pages may be colorless, but they are not barren. They recall an epoch which, in spite of failures, was
on the whole fruitful, and in which the patriot's eye may follow with legitimate pride the calm, powerful, and salutary influence of free institutions.
The primary task of the forties was the winning and consolidation of responsible government. Governor after governor and tenant after tenant of Downing Street sought to set narrow bounds to the concession that had been found unavoidable, but in vain. Robert Baldwin, “the man of one idea," leader of the Upper Canada Reformers, and Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine, leader, in Papineau's enforced absence, of the Lower Canada Liberals, or Patriotes, stood firm in their insistence that complete control of the domestic affairs of the province must be conceded to a body of ministers responsible to parliament and chosen from its dominant parties. Sydenham fought their demands, but by making himself the leader of a party majority in the Assembly played into the hands of those who insisted that party majorities should rule. Bagot, less assertive in temper, made some concessions of intention and more through the accident of illness. Metcalfe, sent out by the Colonial Office as the last bulwark of authority, breasted the tide with success for a year or two, but at last was compelled to recognize his failure.
Elgin, the last of the governors of the forties, gave formal recognition of the victory of the upholders of selfgovernment by summoning La Fontaine and Baldwin to form the ministry of 1848.
Thus Lord Durham's idea had been realized, but it had been realized, only gradually. The theory of Lord John Russell continued to be the theory of Lord Sydenham, of Sir Charles Metcalfe, and of the Colonial Office, until Lord Elgin, who, to the generous spirit of Lord Durham added a capacity perhaps more solid, grasped the great reformer's idea and applied it with as much freedom as he himself would have done.
If, to the England of 1840, the idea of ministerial responsibility appeared incompatible with the colonial status, the colony on this point was more advanced than the mother country.
In Upper Canada a large group, more important even for talent than for numbers, had long been demanding the responsibility of ministers to the Assembly. The men of this party had found in Lord Durham's Report the expression of the ideas which they had been professing for so long. They had voted without hesitation for the proposal for union, because they had hoped that Lord Durham's Report would be followed in its entirety. Nevertheless, it was not in Upper Canada, nor in the British population (of Lower Canada) that the idea of ministerial responsibility applied to the government of the colonies had seen the light for the first time. The man who was the first to affirm the principle of ministerial responsibility in the government of the colonies was Pierre Bédard, and that as early as 1809. Nevertheless, this pregnant suggestion had not been followed. A few years later, Bédard had withdrawn from the arena and Mr. Papineau had entered it. The idea enunciated by Bédard was set aside, to give place to another much bolder.
In all the long struggles that Mr. Papineau carried on with the government, he does not seem ever to have dreamed that the concession of constitutional govern. ment might be a sufficient reform and that he himself might become the minister in