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Oct 26 1920
From: Hamilton Spectator Hamilton, Ontario


The quaint simple life of the French-Canadian Habitant was very realistically presented to the large audience at MacNab Street Presbyterian Church last night, when Rev. Calvin McQuesten, through the medium of Dr. W. H. Drummond delighted all with tales of that ancient land. Rev. Mr. McQuesten with his wide and intimate knowledge of the habitant, by reading Dr. Drummond's poems, "The Habitant," "Johny Courteau," "When Albani Sang," "The last Portage," and others, portrayed most vividly the character sketches of the great doctor, reading into the lines a personality that brought each one to life. Rev. Mr. McQuesten told the story of the poet-doctor's life, introducing many little personal incidents that made the story one not only of a noted man, but also one of the most human of men--a man whom, through having lived in the same district,the speaker learned to admire for his manly qualities.


Speaking of the characters depicted in Dr. Drummond's poems, Mr. McQuesten drew attention to the reality of them all and expressed his deep regret that during the war the French-Canadians were so exploited by politicians. "When the English in Quebec did war work the French-Canadian joined in heartily," he said. "The cures [priests] urged the young men to take part in what they styled a holy war. In the little town of 4,000 where I was, more French than British-Canadians enlisted, and had they had the thing properly presented to them throughout the province, they would have responded nobly. In Quebec the parish is the world. Old France is nothing, as she had turned against the Church and caused the religious communities to leave the country. A thrill of horror went through the French-Canadians when they went to France and found religion in the state that it is. I believe from my experience in living in the province of Quebec, and in that town during the war, that if the thing had been put to them right, the war, instead of driving French and English-Canadians apart, would have drawn them closer together. The French-Canadian is intensely loyal to Canada, and we cannot expect people of French origin to grow enthusiastic over British connections: so he is Canadian--that is his country, and he is proud of those Canadians who achieve."

Assisting Rev. McQuesten was Miss Marjory Lyle, who delighted all with piano solos. Mr. McQuesten also have [had] some very interesting moving pictures depicting life in Quebec, Montreal and the Laurentian Mountains.1

1 FN We have been unable to locate these "moving pictures." For more on Calvin's readings of French Canadian Habitant poetry, see, Dr. Drummond's poetry. Calvin developed the ability to imitate Dr. Drummond's "Habitant" poems and did so publicly on several occasions. See W4559, Box 12-159, W-MCP2-3b.060, Box 03-188, Box 03-188a, Box 06-246, Box 03-243.

See Also French Canadian Poem by Joe Picard, pen name for Charles S. FitzSimon and FitzSimon's biography, Box 03-241.

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Copyright 2002 Whitehern Historic House and Garden
The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
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