Monday 19 March 2012

March 21, 1876 - Part One

On March 21, 1876, the Spectator carried a long column concerning a sad observation concerning a man, looking forlornly for his estranged daughter .
The column is quoted in full as follows :
“Yesterday there arrived in this city a tall gentlemanly looking old man upon whose fine intelligent features the hand of grief had drawn deep lines.  He was very lame with rheumatism and leaned upon a beautiful young girl about fifteen years of age who accompanied him. When they got off the train, they instantly drew the attention of all the people on the train. The girl was
                   CRYING BITTERLY
And the old man looked the image of dignity and despair. They secured a cab and drove at once to one of our best hotels. Before leaving the cab, the old gentleman told the cabman to come up to his hotel inside of half an hour.  At the time appointed, the hack driver went up and was closeted with the gentleman, who gave his name as Robert Morse, for some time. Mr. Morse immediately commenced to question the driver with regard to the variety show which was held in the old Canterbury Hall some weeks ago. The diver, of course, knew all about it, and at the request of Mr. Morse, described the different woman who took part in the entertainment. Mr. Morse was particularly anxious to know about a woman who went by the name of
                   ETTIE LE CLAIR
And who had been billed to do straight jig business at the theatre. When the cabman stated that the girl was represented to be the wife of one of the variety men, Mr. Morse and his wife were completely overcome and burst into a
The hack driver, Bob Callahan, shrewdly guessed that the young girl, Ettie Le Clair, was Mr. Morse’s daughter and intimated as much. Mr. Morse acknowledged the fact, and immediately engaged Callahan to help discover the girl.  Callahan informed the old man that Le Clair was in a Variety Theatre in Toronto, and this morning by the nine o’clock train, Mr. Morse and his daughter departed in search of her. It appears that six months ago, the girl Le Clair was living a happy and virtuous life with her parents in Bay City, Michigan. She was educated in a convent in Chilloothe, Wisconsin, and all the luxuries that wealth could bestow were heaped upon her. About three weeks before Christmas, she went to visit a friend in Cleveland and was taken by a cousin to one of the great Variety theatres there. It was something the girl had never seen before, and she became almost frantic in her admiration of the ballet, and
                   THE SONG AND DANCE
From Cleveland she went to Rochester, where she unfortunately met with a young man whose “essence” clog made him a great favourite in this city. The two arranged private meetings, and the consequence was that the two ran away together, and a few weeks afterwards the wretched girl was dancing straight jigs in a Variety Theatre in Hamilton to the tune of “The Old Folks at Home.” It is to be hoped that Mr. Morse will be able to bring his daughter away as if she persists in staying she will some day meet with a greater misfortune than being a variety girl.”

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