Plank Road Ball

The Plank Road Ball – Streetsville Review 11th January 1851

This brilliant affair, which will ever form a notable epoch in the festival annals of “this Canada,” to use the Globe’s classical expression, came off at Norval on Friday week. Rough and unpropitious as was the weather, the attendance was very large, no fewer than 120 persons having made their way through the fast falling snow to the place of tryst.

The ball room was erected for the occasion by William Clay, Esq., and justice constrains us to say that the spaciousness of the apartment, and the tastefulness of its decorations, reflected the highest credit upon that gentleman.

Searl’s band from Toronto occupied the Orchestra, and acquitted themselves in a manner so excellent, that had Neil Gow, or Apollo been present, they must needs have given the right hands of fellowship to the leader and his long-winded associates!

It is hardly necessary for us to observe that under such favorable circumstances, the dancing was every thing which the most devoted admirer of “the light fantastic toe” (we love quotations which are not common place), could desire. The far famed Cutty Sark, would have been apt to have hanged herself for spite, in her garters, had she witnessed the bounding agility of the fair dames who honoured Norval with their presence, on that never to be forgotten night!

Quadrille, Polka, Waltz, and Reel followed in unflagging succession till 2 o’clock A.M., when the company, with appetites sharp as one of Mechi’s razors, adjourned to the adjoining supper room, which was fitted up with a splendour reminding one of the Arabian Nights. Here a banquet awaited the revellers which Gunter, of London, might possibly have equalled, but certainly never could excel. As a gastronomical friend of ours, who had the felicity to be present, remarked, “It would create an appetite under the ribs of Death!” The table, literally and not metaphorically, groaned under a plethora of the luxuries and delicacies of the season, and the guests gave substantial indications that they appreciated the efforts of Cook, Confectioner, and Butler. Champaign flowed as freely as the contiguous waters of the Credit, and other wines were as plentiful as the promises of a Candidate for Parliamentary honours!

After full justice had been rendered to the spread, and the mangled remains of the devoted phalanx of geese, turkeys, chickens, &c., had been removed, the Chairman, Mr. W.H. Paterson, Esq., proposed the health of the Queen. As a matter of course the toast was received with anenthusiasm befitting the subject, and was followed by the National Anthem, which was given with great effect by our new Councilman, Benjamin Switzer, Esq.

Next came a libation in honour of the Ladies, which, like the preceding toast, met with a reception which caused the shingles of the ball-room to vibrate. John Duggan, Esq., in the name of his fair clients, thanked the company in gracefully fitting terms for the compliment which had been so emphatically paid them. — Sir Philip Sidney himself could not have discoursed more dulcetly on the theme, and many a fair cheek flushed with gratification at the allusions of “teeth of pearl,” and “locks of jet” which fell from the speaker — “Thick as leaves in Valambrosa.”

Success was next drunk to the “Streetsville, Toronto and Guelph Plank Road Company; and responded to in appropriate terms by James Cotton, Esq.,

In proposing the health of William Clay, Esq., Mr. Young took occasion to compliment that gentleman for the excellent arrangements which he had made for the reception and entertainment of the company, who, by the manner in which they received the toast, gave token that they fully endorsed the well-merited eulogium. The song which appropriately followed, viz., “He’s a right good hearty fellow,” was joined in by the whole of the merry party.

Several other toasts and sentiments succeeded, which want of space (the chronic pest of Editors!) alone prevents us from recording, after which the company returned to the ball room which they did not evacuate till a late, or rather we should say an early hour.

Amongst the visitors were several parties from Toronto and Hamilton, including J.C. Morrison, Esq., the member of this County.

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