Thursday, November 02, 2006

June 1873: A Busy Life

Okay, enough daily journals, my life just isn't that interesting and I'm starting to feel self-centered. So instead I'll give you an excerpt from The Marchioness of Dufferin & Ava, so you'll know what a REAL busy person's life is (was) like:
Tuesday, June 17, 1873 (Quebec City) -- A long day of Viceregal functions. At twelve we ate a hasty lunch and started, with five children and our 'suite,' to the Ursuline Convent, where I was to give away the prizes.

There is a new Lieutenant-Governor here, and as he has a large family, our combined movements on State occasions require a deal of arrangement. The first fact established is, that the Governor-General and I, on public occasions, walk first; His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor and his wife follow. But the five Lieutenant-Princesses have also to be seated in proper positions, and when (as to-day) I take three of my family the aide-de-camps tear their hair! Priests met us at the convent door, and we proceeded to the room where the prizes were to be given, which was filled with people. The nuns did not appear at all. I found in front of me trays full of books, and as the names of the winners were read out, wih an account of their various merits, they walked past, and I presented them with books. There were at least 200 prizes, every girl in the school, I am sure, having gained from one to six 'rewards of merit.' Then I crowned six of the most remarkably virtuous young ladies. The first three wreaths, alas! I put on wrong side foremost, but perceiving that the girls managed to turn them round, I was more careful, and was at the end complimented upon the way in which I placed them on their heads. Between each trayful of books we had music. The ceremony lasted two hours. One lady fainted, but the children bore it admirably, and I took them to a field of cut grass to refresh them when it was over.

We dined at six, for we had to go out early to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the discovery of the Mississippi. 'Why on earth?' you will exclaim. Well, I don't quite know why, but the Laval University has to find some object for a yearly fete, and the discoverers were French-Canadians.

The celebration was a tremendous affair. For three hours I sat on a very hard and stately arm-chair, with my Lieutenant-Governor beside me, on my right an empty space, on the other side of which sat His Ex. and his Lieutenant-Governess.

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