Sunday, 3 July 2011

1902-05-10 Saturday Musings

Saturday Musings Spectator May 10, 1902
        It is a cheering sight, on a Saturday night, to see the crowd of men and women, the majority of them being in the morning of life, going in and out of the savings banks in Hamilton. They have received the wages for the week’s work, a potion of which is laid by for the proverbial rainy day which is almost sure to come in everyone’s life. Fortunate is he or she if there’s a comfortable nest egg laid aside in the bank, for while money is said to be the root of all evil, it is a powerful factor in brightening the lives of its possessors, if they know how to use it judiciously. The man or woman who forms the habit of laying by something, be it ever so little, on pay day, may always be relied upon to put it good use. The faculty for saving induces thrift and economy, and one may safely bet his last penny that such persons will never end their days in the house of refuge, or any other home of charity. There is an air of independence about the young people as they range in front of the bank counters and hand in their books and the small amount of their deposit. They have no great sums to lay by, but there is a satisfied smile on each face as they look at the figures, and in time the bottom will be reached and the total carried over to the top of the next page. To do this each pay day means self-denial, but the time may come when they will be thankful that savings banks were established to help the industrious and the frugal. What a contrast there is between the young man coming out of the savings bank on Saturday, and that other young man who makes a break for the saloon as soon as he draws his week’s pay. They may be of the same age and of equal skill in the workshop. Follow them on down through the years and see where they come out. The one that began life by making regular visits to the savings bank has some capital, be it little or much, to start him in business, while the one who tarried too long at the high ball emporium or spent the evenings in developing his muscle in punching billiard balls is preparing for the time when his employers will have no further use for him because he has passed the allotted time in this new century, when men are condemned to starve or be shot when they pass the age of forty-five. Try the savings bank, boys, in the morning of life, and when the years come upon you, there will be no mourning because of misspent days.


          Those who love  real vocal music, without any trembling in the voice that denotes chills cultivated in the Dundas swamps, had rare treat in the Westminister Abbey choir that sang so sweetly in Association hall last Tuesday evening. It was not a large audience that greeted the singers, but it was an appreciative, judging from the clamorous encore after almost every number on the program. There was melody and harmony in the voices that the old English songs ring out, and not in the rendering of the entire program was there a dissonant note. Each voice was so well balanced that the listener could hardly distinguish the alto from the tenor, and even the bass, usually a part that stands out prominently, was so softly modulated that the whole setting of the songs blended grandly. Such singing is rare nowadays, for so many fads have been introduced that the natural tones seem lost in the wobbling. Many of Hamilton’s young singers have sweet voices, and it would be pleasing to hear them were it not for the tremolo that creates discord when two or more try to sing a duet or quartet. The really good singers never attempt any such fads.


          Speaking of singing brings up the new fad that is being introduced in Methodist churches – surpliced choirs. Wouldn’t that jar the old fathers of Methodism? Fancy a denomination that was founded by Wesley as a protest against the ritualism of the Anglicans now forgetting its early simplicity and bedecking its singers in surplices and mortar board hats. One of the reasons given for the change is that young ladies in the choirs are becoming so vain that they try to outdo each other in the creations of the milliner’s art and in the gay colours of the gowns they wear. To suppress this tendency to frivolity and pride, the official boards decrees that surplices must be worn so that there will be no rivalry in dress. From the organ loft to the pulpit is only a step, so the next thing Methodists can prepare for is to see their minister robed in a black gown while he is preaching of the humility of the early Christians who planted the seeds of Methodism in Canada.

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