Holiday weekend in Montreal

Here is an open introduction to the fascinations of the continent’s most flavorful city, revisited by a famous novelist who once lived, worked and played there

MOBLEY CALLAGHAN August 30 1958

Holiday weekend in Montreal

Here is an open introduction to the fascinations of the continent’s most flavorful city, revisited by a famous novelist who once lived, worked and played there

MOBLEY CALLAGHAN August 30 1958

Holiday weekend in Montreal

Here is an open introduction to the fascinations of the continent’s most flavorful city, revisited by a famous novelist who once lived, worked and played there

MOBLEY CALLAGHAN

A Maclean’s

feature

Holiday weekend in

Montreal

Here is an open introduction to the fascinations of the continent’s most flavorful

city, revisited by a famous novelist who once lived, worked and played there

BY MOBLEY CALLAGHAN

For two years my wife and 1 hadn’t been in Montreal and we were going back for a weekend. On a Friday night at ten-thirty we got off the train and began the long walk into the Windsor Station. "I had forgotten that you walk in from Cornwall.” 1 said. But we hadn’t forgotten how hard it is to get a taxi at the station. You stand there waving pathetically to the taxis that turn into the taxi stand and even slow down, but just to fool you, it seems, tor they are already taken. So we went around to Peel to cut one off. Standing on the cobblestone hill we looked up at the blaze of neon lights with the mountain rising darkly behind and I was filled with nostalgia for all the old places.

In the past friends have complained that Montreal to us is just that metropolitan area stretching from the railroad stations to the mountain and bounded on the west by the Forum and on the east by St. Catherine as far as St. Lawrence, with occasional side trips east to the ball park or dowm to St. James and the city hall in old Montreal, and night visits to Westmount. But it is like complaining that a man doesn't love New York who hasn't a map of the suburbs in his head. In downtown Montreal the two cultures have met and so the environment is not like any other in Canada. The thing about Montreal, and we felt it again standing on Peel looking up at the pattern of lights on the mountain, is that it seems to promise each time some new little twist in your life.

On the way up Peel in the taxi, w'c looked for those barouches that line up at the curb by the square like the fiacres line up at Central Park in New York. At that hour they weren’t there.

Then when we reached Dorchester, changes in the face of the town began to strike us. Over to the right and below, of course, we could see the giant new Oueen Elizabeth Hotel, and that was a change in the skyline, but the real shock came from Dorchester Street itself. The old street with its shabby little shops, its rooming houses, its small restaurants and those places where anything was apt to happen and did, is gone. Those continued over page

In dim bistros and

bright salons the

Callaghans relished jazz, poetry and fine food

Holiday weekend in Montreal: continued

bookie joints and brothels, those . . .

I mean the street even looked too well lighted now. In the old days, leaving Slitkin and Slotkin’s at three in the morning I used to walk east feeling a little apprehensive once I got past Guy. Now the life that was once lived there seemed to have been torn up. The new' wide avenue is a throughway now.

At the Dorchester and Peel corner we w'crc within a few minutes of all the chief Montreal hotels. Since we had allotted ourselves a hundred dollars for the weekend we naturally did a little talking about the price of a double room. At the most expensive hotels we knew we would have to pay fifteen or sixteen dollars a night. There were cheaper and comfortable hotels for much less. Moreover, we had a choice in flavor or atmosphere w'e couldn’t have found in any other city on the continent with the possible exception of New Orleans. If we had wanted a new modern American hotel with a sky view of the mighty river and the mountain then the Elizabeth would have been our haven at the top prices. Since we re from Toronto, you might say that the Mount Royal, being like the Royal York, would have fitted us like a glove, and in the Piccadilly Room, if I had been a businessman, I’d have been bound to see some of my traveling colleagues and felt 1 hadn’t really left home.

As a matter of fact we could have got out of the taxi right there at the Dorchester corner and had a choice of the old and new, for there the Windsor and the Laurentien confront each other—the old Windsor, having its face lifted after a fire, and the Laurentien, new and bright. The Windsor, I daresay, still has its air of grandeur, its big rooms and its fine food, and its Embassy room w'here we used to feel we were drinking with Montreal people rather than with visiting firemen. It’s the hotel royalty goes for. At least they seem to hold their banquets there. Well, we weren’t royalty.

Some smart friends of mine who like the same kind of atmosphere that we do sometimes say, "Why don’t you go to the La Salle and save three or four dollars a night?” Well, we often have. It’s a smaller French place, a little hotel with a big restaurant over on Drummond. At some time or another everyone you know seems to have stayed there and 1 remember once rubbing shoulders with that fabulous stripper, Lili St. Cyr, a Montreal legend, in the lobby. Anyway, you can get just about what you want in hotels to suit your purse. I haven’t tried the old Queen's, hut I know it is dear to Montreal gourmets. And up on Sherbrooke there’s the reasonably priced Berkeley, with its street café, where you can sit in the summer evenings and kiti yourself you are in Paris.

Then why were we in our taxi going beyond Dorchester and St. Catherine and up to the Ritz on Sherbrooke Street where we would pay sixteen dollars a night? Old memories. 1 suppose. It's truly French, it has a kind of opulence and ease, and besides I can't look at the elevator in the Ritz without remembering those characters I've found myself alone with mounting slowly. Herbert Marshall, Ray Francis, Joel McCrea and Mayor Houde; the stars of that vintage used to head for the Ritz and still do.

We have always liked that first glimpse you get of Sherbrooke as you step out of the taxi at the hotel, the handsome street with its old stone mansions, the lighted windows of the elegant little shops, and the trees; nothing here had changed at all.

A man and his wife coming into a hotel at that hour might be expected to unpack, relax, have a cup of coffee and be out brightand early in the morning to look the town over. No sooner had we sat down, though, than the telephone rang. It was an old friend, Ken Johnstone, with Denise Pelletier and her husband, who said he w'as in the Au 400, a w'ell-known restaurant just around the corner and down the street, where members of the cast of the Plouffe family often go for a bite after their television show. Denise Pelletier is called the first lady of the Montreal theatre. We had heard that the theatre w'as booming in Montreal. We wanted to hear about it. We wanted to see a play during the weekend. Off we were then to meet Ken and Miss Pelletier and her husband, the photographer Basil Zarov.

"It’s a good idea to talk to French people as soon as you get into Montreal,” my wife said going down the street.

Too many people visit Montreal and never have a word with the Frenchspeaking citizens. It is easy to do too. You can visit your friends in Westmount, keep to the strictly Englishspeaking restaurants, read the Star and the Gazette and forget that people of another language are all around you; forget, too, as a friend of mine in his cups said one night, sitting in a little bistro, “Whatever flavor this town has got. the pea soupers give to it because they know' how to laugh.”

A lack of French, though, is no handicap to the visitor. French-Canadian Montrealers all seem to speak serviceable English. Even the street signs are bilingual; French on one corner and English on the other. If you tell a taxi driver or a FrenchCanadian policeman that you want to get to Guy Street he knows you mean Gee Street. Even in the east-end beer halls below the Main where the patrons are all French the waiters, if you speak continued on page 42

Where the money went

Friday evening

Taxi to hotel .................................. .60

Meeting people at Au 400, drinks, then a snack at Ben’s.

Cost for the evening......................... 8.00

$8.60

3.50 12.00 22.00 1 1.00 3.00

$51.50

Sunday

Breakfast at Childs............................. 1.60

Lunch at Dinty Moore’s ........................ 3.50

Dinner at Ritz ................................ 7.00

Theatre tickets ................................ 8.00

Taxi to Westmount and return.................... 2.75

Taxi in the morning to Bonsecours

and another one to return.................... 2.00

Saturday

Breakfast in Ritz café and tip , Lunch and drinks at Desjardins

Dinner at Café Martin ......

Dunn's night club ...........

Libation afterwards .........

Monday morning

Breakfast at cafeteria............

Gifts: two shirts at eleven-fifty apiece

Hotel bill for three nights ........

Taxi to station ..................

$24.85

1.60

23.00

51.60

.60

$76.80

Total expenditure $161.75

The things we won’t forget

BEST MEAL: We had it at the Café Martin, although it was a conventional meal of roast beef with French pastry. But there was an air of well-being about it that we liked.

BEST SIGHTSEEING: Our favorite glimpse of Montreal has always been the line of the mountain against the night sky as you suddenly look up, and see the pattern of lights on the shadow against the sky. But if you fly in from the Maritimes, the lighted mountain with the gleaming cross at night is impressive. Now. everybody agrees that the best view is from the sky-deck of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, from where you can see the mighty river and the mountain.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Our first glimpse of the Queen Elizabeth, driving toward it from the east; it just suddenly looked like a big grain elevator.

BIGGEST SURPRISE: The willingness with which citizens accepted the curfew on night life while making the easy explanation that a few months would change the situation. Moreover, the saloonkeepers seem to take this curfew far more seriously than they took the closing hour in the old days.

SECOND BIGGEST SURPRISE — SHOPPING: Frankly, in the hurried rushing around we did we were surprised that you couldn’t seem to buy much in the Montreal stores that you couldn't buy in Toronto stores and at pretty much the same price. So there was no best buy. We bought what we wanted, a couple of shirts for our boys.

Holiday weekend in Montreal continued from page 15

“The shops tell you whether a city is a man’s town or a woman’s. Montreal is a woman’s town’’

to them in English, will answer in that language.

Soon we were laughing a lot with Miss Pelletier as she told us about the transformation that had taken place in the Montreal theatre world. The two commercially successful French companies, Théâtre du Nouveau Monde and Gratiën Gelinas’ Comédie Canadienne, had so much vitality now they were reaching out for the English-speaking audience.

The weekend visitor wanting to see a play was no longer dependent on what might be showing at Her Majesty’s or the Montreal Rep, or in the summer the Theatre on the Mountain. The point was that the vitality and confidence was all coming from the French side of the cultural fence.

When our party broke up it was about two-thirty; my wife and I found ourselves alone on Peel. Has anyone ever visited Montreal who hasn't found himself alone on this street late at night with the hotel entrance throwing its great light and the music no longer coming from the night club across the road, and the street, just a little way up. seeming to come to a dead stop against the wall of the mountain?

“I was just thinking." I said.

“What?" my wife said.

“Why hasn't someone written the Peel Street Blues?"

"I'm hungry," she said.

In that neighborhood there seems to be one convenient open-all-night spot, if you just want a bite and no fuss and feathers. This is Ben's, just behind the Mount Royal. It is a big crowded place, not too expensive, its patrons a very mixed bag indeed. You are apt to see anyone there at that hour; the pale redeyed businessman from out of town who can’t bear to go to bed. newspapermen who have wandered up from the Press Club in the Mount Royal, show girls with their make-up still on and the boys with the leather jackets and sideburns too.

When we were eating our pastrami sandwiches a young fellow of twenty-five, black haired with a pleasant voice, came over and introduced himself. He was Leonard Cohen, the Montreal poet who was reading his poems to a background of jazz music in a nightclub called Dunn's on St. Catherine Street. I had read of the nightclub poets of San Francisco and Greenwich Village. Well, I told Cohen we'd come around and hear him the next night.

It was about half past three when we walked slowly up the hill and along Sherbrooke, but we were up in the morning by ten, wondering where we would have our breakfast. In the old days we used to walk out for breakfast, just for the sake of the walk, and end up eating bacon and eggs and toast at a Dominion Square cafeteria. That kind of fare is pretty much the same in any clean place if the coffee is good. Besides, it is cheaper. Feeling too lazy for brisk walking we went downstairs to the café and took our time. Then we went back to the room for our coats and came along the corridor to the elevator. I stood at the end window looking east on Sherbrooke and down the slope toward the old city. Suddenly Montreal reminded me of an aging actress 1 was to meet one time in Sardi's in New York. I stood in the restaurant looking around vaguely; a woman

waved to me. It was my actress friend. I didn’t know her. She had had her nose bobbed and her face lifted. Well, along Sherbrooke at Peel was a handsome, luxurious new apartment building, and looking farther south you could just see the new Queen Elizabeth Hotel, both buildings of that white limestone so native to Montreal. New buildings in that metropolitan area seemed to be sprouting up like spring flowers; and to the left up there on the mountain above the apartment houses, a seat of secluded wealth, there was now a throughway. McTavish had been cut through and across the face of the mountain. Old Montreal seemed to be bristling and changing and growing and becoming something else, just as Dorchester Street had.

Out on Sherbrooke Street we wandered along looking in the shops for presents for our two sons. The big department stores, of course, Eaton's, Simpson’s,

Morgan's, Ogilvy’s, are down on St. Catherine, but the little luxury shops on Sherbrooke always fascinate my wife. Montreal is the Canadian centre of the fashion industry and my wife always studies the store windows for some sign of a high style she might have missed at home. If there is a Montreal fashion centre or high style that’s distinctive, I must say we've always missed it. Aside from the smaller luxury stores, shopping in Montreal has become like shopping in Toronto. The only department store that feels a little different now is Ogilvy’s. They say that you can tell by the shops whether a city is a man’s town or a woman's. London is a man's town, Paris a woman’s, and New York both male and female. You’d have to say Montreal was a woman’s town, although along St. Catherine there are any number of gents’ furnishings stores but few to suggest that the male is an elegant dominating figure. “Has it ever struck you," I said to my wife, “what an undistinguished street St. Catherine Street is? It’s actually a pretty shabby-looking thoroughfare.” It was well past the lunch hour now. My wife spoke of dropping into the little art galleries on Sherbrooke. A friend had said, “Don’t miss these little galleries. Painting is alive in Montreal these days and everybody is aware of it." But I was hungry. So we went back to the hotel to see if there were any phone messages, then we sat down to decide where to have lunch. Here again the visitor in town is torn between a sense of adventure which might send him seeking new places, and those good memories of places where he had once dined and guzzled well. The choice for us narrowed down to three places; first, La Tour Eiffel over on Stanley Street. Stanley, just a couple of blocks along St. Catherine from Peel, is an interesting street; at night its little places are the hangouts for the Bohemians, the boys with the beards and the girls with the straight hair. But La Tour Eiffel always seemed to me to try a little too hard to capture the atmosphere of Paris. Montreal is not Paris. Then there was the old reliable La Salle Hotel. Or, if I had a business friend with me. I would have taken him to Drury's for good wines. It’s a great place for those luncheons where deals are done. While we were talking I had been thinking of whisky sours and oysters and clams at Desjardins and I drew a lush picture of the succulent sea food. I can remember when Desjardins was just a little place on Dorchester, very unpretentious and plain too, where we used to eat lobster thermidor on the cold winter nights. Now it is built on the style of a white ranch house. I ate my oysters and clams, and it took two hours. With drinks the tab was about twelve dollars. As soon as we were back at our hotel, my wife called one of her old friends, Peg Carroll, the wife of Dink, the sports editor of the Gazette. Mrs. Carroll said that her husband had gone to some trouble and had got us tickets for the hockey game that night at the Forum. When we told her that we didn't want to go to the game, we were going out on the town, she was shocked. Imagine visitors to Montreal turning down a chance to see the Canadiens play on their home ice! But she agreed to meet us with her husband at the hotel at eight.

It was now the hour when the weekend visitor usually retires to his room to rest a little and read the papers before dinner. But we had heard that an innkeeper of the old days, Jack Rogers, was running a steak house on Peel called the Black Angus, just above the hotel. Who was Rogers? Well, a few years ago there was a legendary pair of saloonkeepers in Montreal called Slitkin and Slotkin. With their clowning and jovial insults they had built up a weird following running from politicians and poets to fight managers and strippers. Rogers had been Slotkin. When we dropped into the Black Angus and I looked at him, thinner and more thoughtful, that time of ten years ago all came back to me; the hot summer nights when I used to go out to the ball park and on the way along Ontario Street were all those houses with the outside staircases and the balconies jammed with half-naked children and men in their undershirts and the women in low dresses sitting there waiting for the first puff of the cool night air. Those were the days when Jackie Robinson, the great negro ball player, was breaking in with the Royals and the whole town was crazy about baseball. Houde was the jolly mayor; Johnny Greco, the middleweight, was a local hero, Lili St. Cyr was at the Gaiety, and Gratiën Gelinas. as Fridolin, was the idol of the theatre. What a time it was! The French Canadians were discovering their love of football and the Alouettes; Frank Scott of McGill and his friends were printing their poetry in little magazines, and the lovely Pat Page, the poet who married Arthur Irwin, our Ambassador to Brazil, was around; and Mavis Gallant, quite lovely too, was on the old Standard, wanting to write stories for the New Yorker, which she did. Outside on Peel Street the upstairs night club that used to be the Samovar, then became the Carousel, always had stringed music floating through the open windows. And, as I say, for us who went to the fights and the ball games and didn't want to go to bed at night, there was always Slitkin and Slotkin’s when the shutters were drawn. We called ourselves the Earbenders’ Club. But a taxi sounded out on Peel Street and I looked up at Mr. Rogers, now the host at the Black Angus, not Slotkin anymore. Those days were all gone. We left Slotkin with our memories; on the way back to the hotel to pick up the Carrolls we had to decide where we would have dinner. Saturday night was to be our night out. Montrealers manage to give you the impression that they like eating and drinking and that their public restaurants are as important to them as their homes. People eat out a lot. especially on the weekends. Of a Sunday evening you can see French families, children and all. eating in the La Salle. Family groups also come to the Ritz for Sunday supper. Montreal is a little different from Toronto or Vancouver in that you can be pretty sure to find what you want if you are willing to pay for it. If you like a small quiet intimate place, Chez Stien on Mackay may be your dish. There is a restaurant just below the Ritz on Drummond, the Colony, where I have eaten, a nice place if you want to feel intimate and crowded at the same time. Or if you like a place without an elaborate decor, concentrating simply on wines

I picked up a newly filled glass and drained it. An incredible thing happened. I became sober. Nothing like it ever happened to me before or since. So I suggested to my wife that we go to the Café Martin.

We ate in the downstairs dining room. The service was excellent; the help has the fine old trick of knowing just when to swoop at a table swiftly between courses without standing and waiting, breathing down your neck. The sporting editor told me about sport in Montreal: football is now about as solidly popular as hockey, he said, but as for baseball. Montrealers have been told so often that a place is being found for their city in the big leagues that they have come to believe that the town has outgrown minor-league ball.

With dinner over the rest of the evening was ahead of us and 1 won't say that price was no consideration: our Café Martin bill for four was twenty-two dollars. but this included the drinks, which was really better than we could have done in a comparable place in Toronto.

Night life in the dogdays

There was a time when night life in Montreal was spoken of in other cities as something so sinful and offering such a variety of temptations to the traveling salesman that his wife quailed when he told her where he had to go. Years ago a Montreal alderman told me that fathers used to say to their sons, “Don't go below the Main, my boy.” But sin. swirling gaiety, heartbreaking laughter, girls beckoning from doorways and wild bacchanalian revels are all about in the same state in Montreal as they are in New York; simply not on show any more. There is not even a burlesque house in Montreal. The old Gaiety where Peaches Allen and Lili St. Cyr used to bedevil the college boys, the farm boys, and the businessmen from out of town with their exotic dances, is gone. I he new Gaiety is a house for legitimate drama. Of course night life in Montreal at this moment in history is in the dog days of the two-o'clock curfew. However, in a month of two who knows?

I said to my wife that if 1 were a visitor seeking a little novelty on a Saturday night, and that's what most visitors are seeking. I'd do a little pub crawling in the east-end beer halls to catch the flavor of the city down St. Lawrence way. She said, why don’t we, and I said I had done it too many times.

Well, then, we reviewed what the night had to offer. There was predictable nightclub fare on Stanley Street; the big Chez Paree and the Esquire. There was also the El Morocco, or the Bellevue Casino for a more elaborate display of girlish charm. The acts in these places are in the main brought in from out of town, and some of them are bound to be first-rate headliners. If we had been in the mood for the European touch of class we needn’t have left the hotel. The Ritz Café likes to feature some lovely lady from Erance. And there was the Windsor Steak House with its Penthouse where we could have eaten and listened and leered, or squirmed at the lyrics with piano accompaniment. Or there was Lindy’s Elégante room for sitting around and listening to Eckstein and the piano.

Price enters into it, of course. We wouldn't venture into any of these places without counting on spending at least a modest fifteen dollars, and at that no one would mistake us for big spenders. On this sum we would not be eating in the particular club, just drinking and in some spots paying a cover charge. If you have allowed yourself

a hundred dollars for the weekend your Saturday night for two on the town will take about thirty-three dollars of it, what with dinner and entertainment afterwards: throw in a couple of taxis, and if you arc weak as we are and like a bite to eat before going to bed, then you have spent thirty-six dollars.

On these nights friends say, "What do you do about clip joints?" In all candor we are not sure what a clip joint is. If there is an exorbitant cover charge you know about it before you go in so you are not clipped. I used to judge these places by what they charged for a drink. Any visitor to Montreal who drops into a bar for a rye and finds himself being charged ninety cents ought to walk out. And how much should a steak cost you? I took up the matter with a restaurateur acquaintance who insisted with great sensitivity that you couldn't get a first-class steak anywhere in Montreal under $3.75 (his own are $4.50). In all fairness to him his price doesn't compare badly with prices charged in the good places in Toronto. The thing to remember is that any visitor to Montreal has to protect himself in the night-life clinches. Well, we remembered that Dunn’s on St. Catherine had its poet with the jazz background, Leonard Cohen, who had spoken to us in Ben’s. We went there. What more could a poet ask? Dunn's is a kind of triple-decked club, something for the boys on each floor, and naturally the poet is in the attic. We had a ringside table: in fact, I was practically sitting on a drum. I was much too close to enjoy the Maury Kaye band's progressive jazz. Then a waiter placed a high stool near the band stand and the young poet, Leonard Cohen, black haired and pale, perching himself on the stool, bantered a little with the customers to get everyone and himself cool and relaxed; and at the piano the band leader too made nice cool sounds. The poet began to read and he read well, just like a pro. In the main he read love poems and the jazz rhythms seemed to give them a little edge and impact. I was watching the faces of the customers. You might say that of all people those in a night club are the least likely to become candidates for listening at a poetry recital. Yet, when you sit around in a night club you are ready for anything, disillusioned, often a little beat. As the boys say. you are down enough to get with it. The poetry mixed with the jazz hits right at the bottom of your spirit. When Cohen sat down with us he said that business had been good or he wouldn't still be there. Even the waiters listened to him. he said. What more could any poet ask in a night club. Anyway, we liked it. And so, after a long while, home to bed. In Montreal, city of the morning bells, the chances are you will wake up early of a Sunday morning. Some of those monasteries must start ringing their bells at four in the morning, just a gentle tolling. mind you, but every hour from then on others join in. The church I wanted to go to was Bonsecours, the Mariners' Church. The Mariners' Church is in old Montreal with its legendary St. James Street, the city hall and the historic landmarks, and all those old grey limestone buildings from the early nineteenth century. One fact should be pointed out. People like to make jokes about downtown Toronto on a Sunday. Obviously these people have never taken a taxi to the financial section of Montreal of a Sunday. Anyway, I wasn't disappointed in Bonsecours. Not that it is remarkable architecturally. But it has the

little ships hanging from the roof and in each ship burns a votive light and. best of all, 1 suppose, you get the feeling that many people have prayed there. Coming back to the hotel in the taxi we caught a glimpse of the new Queen Elizabeth Hotel, and decided in surprise that it looked, from that angle, like one of those big grain elevators you see in the west. We had lunch at Dinty Moore's on St. Catherine Street—three dollars and tips —then went back to the hotel, and. for the first time in the two days, we sat

down in our big room where we hadn't spent a waking hour and relaxed and read the newspapers. Sunday afternoon is the proper time, of course, for a little cheap sight-seeing. We could have gone to Brother André’s shrine or along the street to the art gallery, or up the mountain out to Westmount to see the new real - estate development. If I weren’t played out. and if I were a stranger in town, do you know what I'd do? Well, remember our friend from Toronto? It may sound corny, our friend said, but

she had taken a sight-seeing bus that took her through the slums and to Notre Dame Cathedral where she made her three wishes and through the old part of the town and then high on the mountain where she had been awed by the splendor ot the homes. For the first time, she had said, she had realized what a beautiful city on a mighty river Montreal was. All laid out under your eyes in a view from the mountain it can look beautiful, we agreed. But w'e sat and read the Gazette and the Star, which after all are a part of the town, till three thirty, when I left by myself and drove down to the Gaiety Theatre, east on St. Catherine, to have a talk with Gratiën Gelinas. Sitting in the front office talking to the little Napoleon of the Montreal theatre I suddenly had a strange feeling. This was the front office of the old burlesque house and I could close my eyes and imagine a fabulous Lili St. Cyr sitting there with the management. That night we saw the Gelinas Company doing, in French. Anouilh's Alouette, the story of Joan of Arc. On Sunday nights the curtain rises as early as seven, so the patrons can go out afterwards on their Sunday night visiting. We had eaten at six in the hotel and taxied to the theatre in a rush. A little thing bothered me at the theatre. As the usherette took our stubs she spoke to me in English. It was a French-Canadian audience. the play was in French, I hadn't opened my mouth, neither had my wife, yet the girl spoke to us in English! The play, a handsome production playing to a full house, was warmly and enthusiastically received. Frankly, though, granting the barrier of the language, I couldn't believe that the sweet and feminine Mile. Letondal was Joan of Arc. An interesting little cultural point is involved here. They tell me that the French Canadians in their school books get this sweet saintly view of Joan right from the start, so I suppose, from this point of view, only a dope like me would have been blind in the 15th century to the fact that she was a sweet and saintly soul. After the theatre we took a taxi to visit at last some friends out in Westmount. slept in late Monday morning, and went out to buy two presents for our sons. Knowing we couldn't go wrong on two nice shirts we tried the elegant men’s shops west of the hotel. The Italian shirts they showed us were beautiful and they certainly know how to display shirts on the counter. But we weren't paying twenty dollars for a shirt for a boy at college. Wandering back to Peel and at loose ends we came upon a little shirt shop between St. Catherine and the Mount Royal. In this store they were having a sale. We went in and all I can say is that we got two for the price of one on Sherbrooke and they looked pretty good to me.

One last little complication. We had been unable to get chairs on the afternoon train, but we wouldn't take no for an answer. Twice we went back to the Windsor station. The amiable French Canadian at the wicket, who incidentally knew how to laugh, finally got us chairs as far as Kingston, and we knew we could sit in the lounge beside the door and have some drinks the rest of the way. Tired out, we ate right there in the dining room at the station. We hadn't done it for a hundred dollars but then we had stayed over for Monday. Everything had gone too fast. Saturday and Sunday hadn't been long enough. As we got on the train we were full of remorse, thinking of the people we ought to have seen and couldn't. One other weekend in Montreal was stored up in our memories as the train pulled out. ★