By Invitation Only: Dance, Confederation and Reconciliation exhibit

Added 25th Jun 2021 by Amy Bowring / Last update 25th Jun 2021

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By Invitation Only: Dance, Confederation and Reconciliation exhibit
Curators: Amy Bowring, Troy Emery Twigg

Panel for diary excerpts from Lady Frances Monck and Miss Mercy Coles
Photos: DCD
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M , Canadian Leaves : A. Otcountefo Vailte Consta in 2004-2005 Reminisencs of Canada in 1864 in By Lady Frances Monck By Mercy Coles Lady Frances Monck was the sister of Sir Charles Stanley Monck , the Governor General of Canada prior to and following Confederation . She visited her brother at the time of the Confederation talks and recorded a journal that was published by Richard Bentley and Son in 1891. During her travels through the British North American colonies , she attended several balls including those during the Confederation conference in Quebec City . Mercy Coles , daughter of PEI delegate George Coles , attended the Grand Ball in Charlottetown on September 8 , 1864 and then accompanied her parents to Quebec City for the conference there . She nearly fainted while getting ready for the Governor's Ball on October 14. She was attended to by Dr. Charles Tupper , premier of Nova Scotia , who treated her sore throat and fever , it is believed she had diptheria . She missed several of the festivities but received visitors who kept her well informed . Colonel Grey is gentlemanly . I like Dr. Tupper . Mr. Coles asked to be introduced to me , and when I said we were going away , he got introduced to Dick , and said to me , " Silence means assent , so come and dance . " He does steps , and gives you his hand with a bow of the head and a shake of the body . He said to me , " I'm a sort of fellow who talks away and forgets to dance . " He said , " We gentlemen don't know how to decide between Mrs. Dundas and Lady M. , they are both so pretty and nice . " ... To - morrow night is the Bachelors ' Ball , given by six rich bachelors in the Parliament House - they are lumberers and merchants . It is to be " select . " The invitation has on it " Quadrilles nine , " which does not mean only quadrilles . Monday afternoon , October 17 The Ball I believe was rather a failure as far as the delegates are concerned . The Quebec people never introduced the ladies nor gentlemen to any partners nor never seen whether they had any supper or not . The Col. Grays are both rather indignant at the way their daughters were treated . Miss Gray and Miss Tupper came to see me this morning then came to the conclusion I had not missed very much yet . Saturday , October 15th - The Delegate's Ball , Quebec - In wind and rain we set off for the ball ... This ball , you know , was given in the Parliament House by the Ministry to the delegates from the Maritime Provinces , who are come here to arrange about a United Kingdom of Canada It was arranged that I was to follow the G.G. with the Prime Minister , Sir E. Taché , and to dance the first quadrille with him , but Sir E. is so very old that he can't dance , and he would not take me in for fear of having to dance with me , so he walked in first alone ; then came the G.G. , then John A. with and then Cartier and Mrs. Godley ... Between their being late and old Sir E. hiding behind a screen to escape from me , the first quadrille was upset . The G.G. danced with Madame Cartier , and I with a New Brunswick Minister , Colonel Grey by name . The Ministers were very angry about my being left without my proper partner , and made apologies ; but poor Sir E. is about seventy , so I think he was right to hide ! ... I danced with Dr. Tupper , Prime Minister of Nova Scotia . The 25th string band played in one of the rooms ; it is a lovely band ... After supper I danced a quadrille with Sir R. He talked a good deal about the French element , " which , looking at Madame Duval dancing , he said it was delightful to see ... Sir E. Taché is the only non - dancing old man here - wigs , spectacles , and grey hairs don't hinder people from dancing me , Thursday morning , October 20 In bed yet . Dr. Tupper says if I lie in bed today I should be quite well tomorrow . I hope to be able to go to church on Sunday . They had a great Ball last night at Mde . Tessier's . Papa came home with every stitch of clothes wringing wet with perspiration , he said he never had such a time . The French ladies all the very mischief for flying around . John A. and he saw Mde . Duval home . Mrs. Alexander chaperoned the young ladies . Me , Mrs. Tupper nor Mrs. Archibald did not go . Saturday morning , October 29 I feel quite well this morning . I went down to the Ball last night , such a splendid affair . Mr. Crowther danced with me the first quadrille . Sir Fenwick Williams was here looking as well as ever , he called on us all in the afternoon . I did not stay very late at the Ball . I was engaged for every dance but I was afraid of being knocked - up . " " Knocked - up " was a Victorian phrase meaning " tired " . Saturday , October 22nd Yesterday evening after dinner we went to the Bachelors ' Ball at the Parlia ment House . At the door there was a guard of honour of volunteers . We were received by ladies in the ballroom , mothers of the bachelors , who themselves never came near any one the whole night . The G.G. opened the ball with Mme Duval . There were forty bachelors , not six , as I was told . The attractions of the two rooms were supposed to be equally divided . One room had the G.G. and party , and the other the 25th string band . I only danced quadrilles as I feared to tear my lace . Amongst others I danced with Mr. Cartier ( Attorney General East ) , and with Mr. John A. Macdonald ( Attorney General West ) . I went to supper with Judge Caron ( or Caw - Ron , as they say here ) , father of a bachelor . Madame Duval says she is going to give a ball for Colonel Monck . John A. is very agreeable . I asked John A. what the kingdom of Canada is to be called - some say " Canadia . " He said that in some speech he had said that , to please the Nova Scotians , it should be called “ Acadia , " Ottawa should be called " Evangeline , " and Mr. Brown shall be " our Longfellow ” – he is very big and tall . There were several pretty people at the ball , and the dresses were some of them very good . Mercy's party travelled to Prescott , then Ottawa . She writes about seeing the Parliament Buildings and a model of what the library will look like . She visited the Rideau Canal , the locks and where ne barracks were being built . Then to luncheon ... Thursday , October 20th We drove after lunch yesterday to hear the 25th band play on the esplanade . After dinner , Dick , Captain Pem , and I drove to Madame Tessier's ball in the open wagon M. Tessier is the orateur of the Upper House . I opened the ball with him , opposite to Madame and Dick . At French parties there are no fast dances , all quadrilles and lancers ; it seems so odd . The R.C. Bishop won't allow " round " dances . Six of the 25th string band played so well . So many old people I don't think I ever saw , and the older they were , the more they danced . No officers but Capt . Webber , the 17th , and Colonel Hassard , R.E. -- they were in uniform , because this is considered an official week . Amongst others I danced with Dr. Tupper , Premier of Nova Scotia , and with Honourable Mr. Coles , leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of Prince Edward's Island . new Wednesday , November 2nd It was a grand affair ( lunch ] . Mr. Henry , Mr. Johnston and Papa made speeches . John A. was to have made a speech but he was tight or had a palpitation of the heart and could not go on . Mr. Galt got up and excused him very well . We went to the Ball in the evening it was a very grand affair . I had to refuse six gentlemen the first quadrille . I danced it with Mr. Bridges ; his brother Mr. Dudgeon ( actually his brother in laww ) had askad me to dance but I had been engaged the day before . I have kept my card which has all the names of my partners written by themselves . I had to come away with a half dozen men not danced with