A Cartoonist Looks at Life
A keen observer of Canadian life and affairs, and for more than thirty years a cartoonist whose work has indicated the trend of public thought, A. G. Racey, the Canadian whose work is known throughout the world, looks at life’s frailties and blessings with an understanding smile.
NORMAN REILLY RAINE
SOME years ago, when Sir Sam Hughes, then Colonel Hughes, was traveling from Toronto to Montreal he entered into conversation with a gentleman seated opposite him in the smoker. After generalities had been sufficiently discussed and each had discovered in the other a keen observer and judge of world issues and national affairs, the talk swung to a book recently published: a book of cartoons, entitled “The Englishman in Canada," by A. G. Racey, world famous caricaturist and cartoonist of the Montreal Daily Star. Like flint and steel the subject struck sparks from the colonel, and he passed from that work in particular to a detailed and red-hot criticism of the artist. His companion was responsive and interested, and by skilful questioning drew the colonel to inspiring heights of condemnation, tempered. now and again, by a bit of praise. By the time the soldier had exhausted his oral pyrotechnics Montreal was reached, and the two descended to the platform together. Then, having proven such congenial companions, the stranger suggested that it would not be amiss, mutually to become known.
“I am sorry!” exclaimed the future Minister of Militia, “but I was so intent on discussing that rascal Racey that I did not think.
I am glad to know you, sir. My name is Hughes. Colonel Sam Hughes. And yours—?”
"My name is Racey.”
Good Lord! ’ said the colonel and walked quickly away.
There you have the real A. G.
Racey. then, as now, one of the most interesting and picturesque figures in Canadian public life. A public figure, in the sense that any man who exercises a profound and powerful influence upon the mind of a nation is a public figure: a man who treats life, as a connoisseur does a bottle of old. rare wine—appreciating the body and bouquet, and avoiding the dregs. He is big and bland, and brown of face, with twinkling blue eyes. A friend of lords and premiers and ex-presidents, noted authors and artists and the great and nearly great of many nations, he calls his taxi driver “Colonel” and loses nothing of dignity in so doing. He has personality, for the waiter who serves his restaurant meal may not know who he is, yet will bring him the best without bidding—and that, in a Montreal waiter 3.'ou will allow, speaks volumes.
To meet Racey on the street or in the newspaper office where he works, is to meet a simple, kindly man. with a fund of humor and a hearty laugh; to meet him across
the dinner table is to encounter a man famous in Montreal circles as a raconteur.
“You must come,” said he, when I met him on the Montreal platform, “and have dinner in one of the few places in Montreal where they still know the inner meaning of food,” and the meal at which we were seated a few minutes later substantiated him.
“I stopped in for a few minutes to-day to see Colonel George Ham,” he told me. “There was the dear old man sitting up in bed, surrounded by newspapers as high as his neck. ‘Hello there, Racey,’ he said. ‘I’m just refreshing my alleged intellect’ . . . Refreshing his alleged intellect!” Racey repeated with a chuckle. “Isn’t that typical? Now how do you like your potatoes?”
“Yes, I was born in Quebec City fifty-four years ago,” he said, in response to a question. “Both my parents were Canadian. I went to Quebec High School, St. Francis College and McGill, and then on the staff of the Montreal Witness.”
It developed that while still attending high school he
submitted a cartoon to Dr. John R. Dougall of the Witness. The drawing was not accepted, but the work of the young artist showed so much of promise that Dr. Dougall wrote, commending him and encouraging him to persevere—although, according to Mr. Racey, this had nothing to do with his securing a job there. He remained on this paper for seven years and then went over to the Montreal Star, whose artist he has been for twenty six years.
“Did you say ‘artist’?” Racey commented, at this juncture. “I do not claim to be an artist. I simply express my ideas in bad drawing.”
It is his privilege to say so, but he studied painting under the late Mr. Moss, of Ottawa, and the late Wm. Brymner, R.C.A., and many of his oil and water colors are prize exhibits in private collections.
“Speaking of Quebec,” said Racey, between courses, “puts me in mind of the time I entertained the late Frederick Villiers, the world-renowned war corresponent and lecturer, during his stay in Montreal in 1908. One day I was in a great hurry to keep an appointment with him for a fishing trip. An American author then collecting notes for a book to be called ‘The Yankee in Quebec’ — ‘Queebek’ he pronounced it—was delaying me in the office. At last I was forced to excuse myself by explaining that I was to meet the great Villiers. ‘And who might the great Villiers be?’ asked the author. ‘Oh,’ I replied in my hurry to get away, ‘he is the champion barbotte (whiskered sucker) fisher of the province of Quebec. He has taken the provincial government’s medal for this three years in succession, and I am now going to meet him and try to beat him out.’ Imagine my horror and dismay, when ‘The Yankee In Quebec’ came from the press, to find that the author had believed me and inserted a portrait of Frederick Villiers, with my facetious remarks quoted underneath. I never worked so hard to keep a man from seeing a book as 1 did then. Moral: Beware of
\ ankee authors who pronounce Quebec ‘Queebek’.”
He is a man of many hobbies, this Canadian cartoonist, whose work has been reprinted in almost every influential periodical in the English-speaking world. He has a most amazing love of animal and bird life, and a fruit and flower garden in his beautiful Westmount home, in which he takes especial pride. He is a lawn bowler, a golfer, an ardent snow-shoer and cu: 1er, and his pets, past and present, have included a small brown bear, black flying squirrels, raccoons, tame crows, homeless cats by the score, an eagle, canaries, guinea fowl, an owl. turtles,
white mice and rats, pigeons, a monkey, thorough-bred fowl and ducks, partridges that he hatched under a hen from eggs rescued from a forest fire, woodchucks, a black Berkshire pig that he trained to drive a cart, toads, rabbits, bantam fowl and a tortoise that earned his keep by filling the office of Racey Household Weather Forecaster.
“He weighed three and three-quarter pounds,” Mr. Racey relates. “When cold weather was due he never failed to climb from the tub I had provided for him, dig a hole in the ground and crawl in, pulling the hole—that is, the leaves and stuff—after him. Next morning there would be frost. He never failed.
For three years he came to live with me,
•skipped the fourth and came back to die •on the fifth. I have his shell as an ashtray.”
Mr. Racey is a life member of the Montreal Art Association, and a member •of the famous St. George Snow Shoe Club, now in its sixtieth year. Captain George Sully, the first president of the club, who is now ninety-five years old and still an active member and regular attendant, took up lawn bowling for his health two years ago, “and,” said Racey with a chuckle, “he informed me in a moment of enthusiasm after making a good shot, that in another five or ten years he hoped to be a crack bowler.”
“When the Prince of Wales visited Montreal?” he went on after a pause, “he was invited to the club. On his arrival the president stood at the top of the steps with a big bouquet of flowers, ready to hand them to the prince as he came in the door. Just as the royal visitor neared the top a dog fight started across the street, and the sporting prince, of course, stopped and turned to watch it. The fight lasted so long that the president was afraid the flowers would wilt,—or, got tired of waiting—so he went inside and put them in a vase, and I guess the prince never missed ’em.”
Racey frequently has contributed to Punch, Life and a number of other publications, and has received many flattering offers to go abroad, all of which he has refused. On one occasion he asked Bradbury, the editor of Punch, whom he was entertaining in Montreal, “Why don’t you reorganize Punch—make it more snappy and up-todate?” to which Bradbury replied:
“My dear old chap, aren’t you aware that the English public is so conservative that if we as much as altered the smell of the paste that Punch is stuck together with we would lose seventy per cent, of our subscribers?” A half hour after making this statement, said Racey with a chuckle, a parrot caught Bradbury by the nose.
Heeled for Bear
“T TELL you a most entertaining A fellow,” he continued, sawing away at his steak. “Harry Furniss, the famous artist of Punch. He is dead now, but when he was in Montreal I took him out one evening to see the city. Just as we left the hotel the fire reels passed, and I thought a fire-fighting scene would be a good start for the evening’s entertainment. But when I turned round Furniss had disappeared. He came back in a few moments with his coat tightly buttoned, and a large bulge showing on each side.
‘What have you got there?’ I asked.
He unbuttoned his coat and displayed two huge army revolvers and a belt of cartridges. Fear of arrest forced me to request him to leave his artillery behind. ‘But look here,’ says Furniss, ‘is it safe to go about Montreal unarmed, what?’
Later I found he had a regular arsenal in his room, as well as fur coats and so on. They were for use in August and September in Canada.
“Furniss expressed a wish for some hunting and fishing in the north woods, so a friend and I took him up the Saguenay to the Shipshaw River, up which we went for a hundred miles or so. We left Chicoutimi and drove fourteen miles with our guides and canoes to Dufour’s farm, which was the last in civilization. His house was too full to accommodate us, so we set up our tents nearby and soon were fast asleep in our blankets. Very early in the morning I was awakened by Furniss, who was sleeping next to me. He was
THE WOLF AND THE LAMB.
» Injustice leagued with strength and power,
No truth nor innocence can stay,
In vain they plead when tyrants lower,
And seek to make the weak their prey,
No equal rights obtain regard,
When liassions fire, and BDOÍIS reward.”
Mr. Racey's first published cartoon.
poking me excitedly in the ribs. ‘What’s up?’ I asked. In a tense strained voice he answered, ‘For heaven’s sake, Racey, look and see if it’s a bear!’ Cautiously turning I beheld Dufour’s calf with its face inside the tent flap vigorously licking the top of Furniss’ very bald head. Furniss illustrated this incident several times on hisreturn to England. He, and Captain Emerson Neilly, Y.C., of Boer War fame, who came to spend August in Montreal, also armed for bear and Indian and zero weather, suggested the book of cartoons, ‘The Englishman in Canada’ which I published in 1907.”
Mr. Racey’s first few years on the Witness provided some amusing incidents. He says:
“When I first went on the paper, Forrest was the editor. He was a man with somewhat austere ideas, and did not approve of certain things, among them, smoking. One day, while sauntering blithely along the street with a cigar in my mouth I met Forrest. I whipped the cigar behind my back, prayed that he had not seen it, and he passed by with no greeting beyond a nod. I learned, long afterward, that he was concealing a pipe from me in a similar manner.”
On another occasion when Cardinal Merry Del Yal, the representative of the Pope, was visiting Montreal, Racey was sent to do a sketch of him. He found the
cardinal affable and interested, and inclined to chat. Racey secured his sketch and returned to the Witness only to discover to his consternation that, instead of bringing back his sketch pad, he had taken the cardinal’s prayer book. He returned and made apology, but Merry Del Val enjoyed the joke.
“There were two men in Montreal in those old days,” Mr. Racey related, “named Owen Murphy. One was a senator, with whiskers, and the other was a thug and jailbird with none. The thug died, and the Witness set up his obituary, but accompanied it with a picture of the other Owen Murphy, the senator with the whiskers. When the mistake was made there was panic, but it was too late to provide a picture of the defunct Mr. Murphy, so they chopped the whiskers off the cut they had, and printed that. Next day the rival paper, the Star, fairly chortling with glee at such a chance, ran three pictures, one of the Owen Murphy with the whiskers, one of the dead one without and one with whiskers chopped off, and labelled it, ‘Great Strides in Journalism Made By the Witness.' Doesn’t your opposition paper just love to get an opportunity like that!”
This incident reminded him of another. Everything reminds Racey of another story.
“It was some years ago, (he said) during Laurier’s first election. Sir Charles Tupper was speaking in the old Windsor Hall, and, as a tremendous crowd was expected, he was scheduled to address the overflow in Dominion Square. I was detailed to draw sketches of both crowds. I had had a most strenuous day, and experienced difficulty in keeping awake. I made the first sketch of the crowd at Windsor Hall, all right, but fatigue was too much for me and, instead of going to the overflow meeting I clipped a proof of my first crowd and pasted it on a picture of Dominion Square. As luck would have it, both pictures were published facing each other on opposite pages. The opposition paper next day reprinted them with the remark: ‘The Montreal public is most accommodating. It went from Windsor Hall to the base of Sir John Macdonald’s statue in Dominion Square last night and constituted itself an overflow meeting, without moving a step.’ ”
About twenty-eight years ago the Duke of Aberdeen visited Montreal, and was scheduled to call at the offices of the Witness and there receive an illuminated address which, after infinite labor, had been prepared by Mr. Racey. It was to be presented to the Duke by the late James Harper, a great stickler for accuracy. Racey finished the address and turned it over to the secretary, James Mitchell. Returning to the office some hours later he was met by Mitchell in a state of great excitement. “Here, Racey, you’re in a fix,” he exclaimed. “There’s a letter missing in that address and Harper has spotted it. What will we do?”
“V here is it?” asked Racey. Mitchell handed him the address and without a word the cartoonist took it upstairs, and in a very few minutes made good the omission in such a way that it was impossible to detect that it had been touched. He then returned it to Mitchell and awaited the advent of Harper, who came in shortly afterward.
“Look here. Racey, we're in a deuce of a hole," he said. “You've made a mistake in that address."
Racey stared uncomprehendingly at him. "I never make a mistake." he said blandly.
"Oh! You don’t? Well, you've made one now."
"I never make a mistake" repeated Racey.
"Where's that address. Mitchell?" snapped Harper. "I'll show him! "Now then! What do you call ?" his eyes traveled slowly then incredulously over the vellum. “Now where the Hmph'.
That's funny. 1 would have sworn that . . It's darn funny!" he
ended, and handed the address back.
"I never make a mistake." said Racey for the third time and it was many moons before Har: er solved the mystery of the missing letter.
"There seems to be something about distinguished visitors which incites certain P'-ures to mimicry," the cartoonist commented with hi:booming laugh. "I remember when the present king visited Canada as Prince of Wales, during the Tercentenary Celebration at Quebec. At address, and wherever he was received, the prince had a certain stock phrase, which he
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was certain to inject somewhere in his speech. An invitation was extended to a number of newspapermen, of which I was one, to attend one of these functions, and with us was a reporter who was an irrepressible wag. Toward the end of the affair this reporter arose from his seat in the carriage, and, addressing the crowd bowed profoundly, and said, in an excellent imitation of the rather pompous tones of the royal guest — T will tell my dear father, the King . . .’ ‘Sit down, you fool!’ somebody hissed, and kicked his shins. The orator turned to find the Prince of Wales a smiling spectator.”
Many of Mr. Racey’s reminiscences throw interesting side-lights on wellknown Canadians. For example, one of the strongest characteristics of Dr. Drummond of “Habitant” fame, was his sportsmanship. Racey and Fabien, the artist, were alongside a wharf, some years ago, when the artist’s eye was caught by the beautiful iridescence on the scales of some freshly caught suckers. Fabien bought some and took them at once to his studio, where he painted them before the colors had a chance to fade. Some time later, when this picture was hanging in Montreal, Drummond visited the exhibit.
“What do you think of it?” asked Racey.
“Oh, it’s all right, I guess,” snorted the doctor, “but imagine painting suckers, when he could have painted good game fish like salmon or trout!”
Mr. Racey read “The Habitant” in original manuscript form, and was asked by its author to illustrate it, but he refused. “I know my limits,” he said. He did illustrate Stephen Leacock’s “Sunshine Sketches of aSmallTown,” however, and it was productive of an amusing sequel. Racey told it, over his cigar.
“In the book I depicted a canon with gaiters. After the book came out I had a letter from Bishop Carmichael—what a dear old man he was—which read: ‘Dear Arthur; I thought you understood that a Church of England clergyman does not wear gaiters.’ Of course I sent the letter on to Leacock, and got thefollowing characteristic reply: ‘My dear Racey: If you and I wish to make a Church of England canon wear gaiters, he’s jolly well got to wear ’em.’ ”
Racey stopped to scratch a match, then went on, his brown face shining through the smoke wreaths:
“It’s rather a jump from book illustrating to scene painting, but in my early newspaper days I acquired histrionic ambitions, and on one occasion, when the Montreal Dramatic Association of which I was an active member put on ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ with houn’s ’n Liza, 'n ice, ’n everythin’ b’gosh, I painted an ambitious pink cloud piece of scenery amidst which Little Eva in company was to point the way to glory to the expiring Uncle Tom, as a grand finale.
“I was behind the scenes as the curtain rose upon this piece de resistance and was holding a step-ladder upon which one of the angels was perched, when the theatre cat with whom I had become very friendly chose that moment to demonstrate its affection, and jumped onto my
shoulder from a fly. The shock made me shake the ladder, and the large and fashionable audience which had turned out for sweet charity’s sake was treated to the spectacle of a fallen angel in the act of falling, the other angel and Little Eva screaming at the tops of their lungs and with anything but heavenly expressions on their faces and the expiring Uncle Tom suddenly taking a renewed interest in life in an attempt to rescue the angel. This scene made a tremendous hit.
“It seems to be my fortune always to be on the spot when anything funny turns up,” he resumed, smiling. “The late John Knight, president of the Montreal clearing house, and well-known in banking circles as one of the best after-dinner speakers in Canada, was given a revolver to carry for personal protection, while at his office at the headquarters of the Bank of Montreal. Knight detested revolvers, and always handled his in a most gingerly and lady-like fashion.
“One day, while in conversation with some friends, he stooped to recover some papers. The revolver slipped from his pocket, struck the tiled floor of the rotunda and exploded. The bullet lodged in the arched ceiling, where the mark can be seen to-day. On looking around the rotunda not a soul was in sight. Clerks, tellers, cashiers, stenographers, messengers, all had ducked beneath counters or behind desks, and the customers had taken refuge behind pillars. ‘There you are, Racey,’ said Knight triumphantly when the excitement had subsided, ‘I have given a working demonstration of the president of a clearing house in action. Did you ever see a house cleared more quickly?’ But he never carried a revolver again, much to the relief of the bankofficials.”
Mr. Racey appreciates a practical joke, even when the turn is on himself. He was introduced to golf by John Lewis, once editor of the Montreal Star, and later killed in action at Passchendaele. They went out to the links together—this was many years ago—and, to Racey’s amazement, the caddies positively fought for the privilege of carrying his clubs. Veneration—nay. adoration, almost, shone in their eyes a.s they regarded him, and it was finally settled among the boys that two of them should accompany him. Gratified at this sudden popularity, but utterly at sea as to the reason, he questioned Lewis upon their return to the club house. “Oh, that!” said Lewis with a grin. “I told them you were Tracy the prize-fighter, from Boston."
“To show you that even cartoonists have their troubles, though, I’ll tell you about the time I made use in a cartoon for some political purpose, of Tam O’Shanter racing over the Brig’ o’ Doon with the witches in hot pursuit. The following day a dour red-headed Scotsman by the name of Dougald McDougald called on me and bitterly complained that I should study Burns more carefully. ‘What have I been guilty of now-, McDougald?’ I asked nervously. ‘Mon,’ said he, his tones ringing with indignation, ‘ye’ve made Tam ridin’ frae east tae
west, when he rode over the Brig’ o' Down frae west tae east! Dinna ye ken better at a’?’ Since then I have been most careful not to take liberties with Scottish history. Have you finished? Then let’s find an easy seat.
‘‘One time during the Jubilee celebration some years ago,” said Racey from the comfortable depths of his after-dinner chair, “the Montreal Star ran a publicity stunt to mark the event. Every little girl who sent ten cents and her photograph would have her picture in the paper, and the money so gained was to be turned into some fund or other, to buy a present for the Queen. I’m not sure of the details now; anyway, that was before the days of modern engraving, and every picture had to be drawn from the blue print, blocked and etched by hand. How those photos did pour in! We artists were simply swamped with them. One day I had an engagement for a game of golf, when, almost at the last moment, a big batch came in. They had to be done, so another chap and I divided them and buckled down to work. The last of my lot of forty was little Mary Murphy, and I’ll confess she got sketchy treatment. Next day someone came pounding up the stairs in a whale of a hurry. ‘Get out of here quick, Racey!’ he yelled, ‘There’s a raging mother coming upstairs with a club, and looking for the man who drored Mary Murphy’s fice!’ I didn’t linger.”
He puffed contentedly. “Another time when one of my drawings aroused alittle bit of resentment was when I sketched the heads of all the bald members in the House of Commons from the Press Gallery. You could recognize every one of them, too. A few days later I got a pretty hot letter from an old French-Canadian member stating that I had misrepresented him, as he was not bald. Perhaps he was right. He did have ten or twelve hairs, all told, but certainly not any more.”
A cartoon of which Mr. Racey is proud, not because of its craftmanship or subject but because of the sequel, was published at a time when the United States was having trouble with a Filipino insurrection. The drawing represented Uncle Sam saying to England, “Won’t you please lend us Lord Roberts for a few months?” The famous little soldier wrote and asked Racey for the original. He wished it to frame and hang in his smoking room.
The cartoonist’s friends are to be found in all walks and grades of life. He mentioned a detective for whom he had great admiration—a man named McCaskill. “He came into a place where I was having dinner one night,” Racey relates. “He was tired and overwrought, just having brought to a successful conclusion the sensational Nulty Rawdon murder case, and we could see that his nerves were on edge. It became necessary to telephone, and the person at the other end experienced difficulty in hearing him. ‘Ye can’t hear me?’ McCaskill roared into the instrument. ‘No! Ye can’t hear me! Can ye hear this, then?’ and taking out his pistol he fired it point blank into the mouthpiece. Later, he was given the job of finding the man who had fired the pistol.
“Another time, this same chap was pestered by a reporter who was ambitious to become a detective. Night and day he pursued McCaskill and asked to be given a trial. Then one day the detective consented. T am taking some men out,’ said he, ‘to capture an Indian murderer who has taken refuge in a swamp. Ye may come, now, and see what ye can do.’ They went out to the scene, a wild and desolate spot, and the detective stationed his men in the brush. After a long time he saw a movement in the bushes ahead. He moved cautiously around and after some i little maneuvering discovered that this I figure, whom he immediately took to be ; the fugitive, was stalking him. Around j and around they circled, each watching a I favorable moment for a shot. Then for a I second the other man exposed himself, j and in the nick of time McCaskill removed his finger from the trigger. It was the reporter. That was the last time he played detective.”
Above all things the famous cartoonist loves an election battle, or an issue that demands every ounce of fighting ability;
: something he can absolutely sink himself in, and devote all his thought and energy to. This, perhaps, explains why his cartoons during the reciprocity issue of 1911 were such a powerful factor, and . why they were reprinted all over the Empire and the United States. After the
elections Racey received a letter from Robert Borden in which he said: “The recent campaign was a most interesting and eventful one, and your own splendid work contributed not a little to the re-
in the United States one of his most bitter critics was President Taft, who later became a close personal friend of the cartoonist. He seems to have the faculty of making personal friends of his political enemies, and of others, too, who do not approve of his work, as for instance, the late Sir Sam Hughes, who, despite the encounter related in the beginning of this article, conceived a warm and lasting friendship for him. .
Mr. Racey has a quick and fertile mind, as his work through the years has shown. An instance of its functioning occurred at the time Arthur Meighen came into power. Racey and another cartoonist were called into conference with the Conservative leaders, who wished some illustrated publicity. Next day, after Racey had returned home he sent forty to fifty ideas for cartoons and the following day an equal number, and followed them up until he had turned out nearly two hundred ideas, numbered consecutively.
“Just send me a list of the numbers, you want,” he wrote, “and I’ll do the rest.”
As a result he got orders which kept him busy for a month. After waiting for some considerable time the other cartoonist wrote the party leaders, asking why he was not getting any of the work. He had been waiting for them to suggest the ideas. Racey has done the illustrated publicity for the Conservative party in the last three elections.
During the war, although too old to go to the front, Mr. Racey performed valuable services in Canada. He made a lecture tour of the Dominion, with his war cartoons, and before wildly enthusiastic audiences demonstrated events and the progress of hostilities, and succeeded in collecting over $45,000 for patriotic purposes. Many Canadians will remember his visits to their home towns in those hectic days. Racey says:
“I was lecturing one night in a small town not far from Montreal. The train was late and by the time I had gone to the hotel, changed my clothes and found the lecture hall I was late, too. The audience was a large one, but when the cause of my delay was explained, it was accepted with great good nature. Then, just before I commenced, I discovered that there was no high table or desk, such as I used to hold my notes. I asked for one, but there was none. ‘Have you any soap boxes, then?’ I said. Yes, there were
plenty of soap boxes. But when the soap boxes were piled up before me they did not look very inspiring for a patriotic meeting, so I asked for a flag to cover them. There were plenty of flags in the decorations, but none loose. However we scouted around, and at last I found something that would do, stowed away in the corner. It was a beautiful Union Jack, sewn together with a lot of other cloth. I soon ripped the stitches out, and throwing the rest away, draped my stand in its glowing colors amid great applause.
“When I was finished, the remainder of the program commenced. The next number was a selection of patriotic songs by one of the local young ladies in costume. But something was wrong. Her costume had disappeared. I thought furiously. ‘What was it like?’ I asked tremulously, though foreboding by now had turned to certainty. ‘It was a Union Jack with bunting trimming,’ she answered, ‘and I put it right there in that corner.’
“I asked the host of the evening what time the next train left for Montreal.”
Mr. Racey has been the associate and friend for twenty-six years of Lord Atholstan, owner of the Montreal Star. “They have been the most pleasant years of my life,” said he, “with not one tiff nor harsh word to mar them. Lord Atholstan is a real, human character, with many lovable qualities. Every man of prominence comes in for criticism and misunderstanding, but I want to tell you this—it makes a great difference in your estimate of a man if you are on the inside, looking out,” and that might well stand for A. G. Racey’s whole life philosophy.
He reflects himself in his work. It contains more than smartness and cleverness of execution. Thereiscarefulthought, conscientious weighing and a real punch behind every cartoon he draws. With him the idea is what counts. Ridicule is a weapon that can prick the most pompous bladder, and Racey is master of it. His every picture is an editorial. First, last and all the time, he is an ardent Canadian and a thousand per cent. Imperialist. Listen to him:
“I am a Canadian and an Imperialist, and damn these people who prattle of annexation or secession. Patriotism _ is something we should teach and practise with our religion, and the man who cannot fit his business and everyday existence in with the ideals of Canadian nationhood does not deserve the good fortune of living in this country!”
If I could draw, and was asked to do a cartoon of A. G. Racey, I would depict him sitting on a bank labelled Tolerance, with his feet touching the Stream of Life and his face turned toward the stars.