Affray at the Music Hall - The Music Hall Fight [1879]

MDLLE FANCHON FOLLY TROUPE
Row at the Music Hall on Saturday Night - our Constables rotten-egged
Councillor Hagerman acts the part of a 'Bully',
and will answer for it at the Police Court to-morrow

After a deal of difficulty the above named company produced the burlesque of 'Our Babies' before a large audience, composed altogether of men and boys, in the Music Hall here on Saturday evening. It will be remembered that a few weeks ago one of the most immoral shows perhaps that ever disgraced any community, was given in the same hall by Mdlle Fanchon Folly Troupe - a very similar name - and so great was the indignation of our citizens that the authorities were freely censured for not interfering and arresting the whole crowd for indecent conduct. Whether or not the course could have been legally pursued may be a question; however, the present visitors on their entry into town on Saturday were believed by many, including the Mayor and the Police officers, to be part and parcel, if not the whole, of the same company who were here before, and they almost immediately proceeded to take steps to prevent the show taking place. The manager explained that the Fanchon Company had fallen to pieces while in Montreal the other week, and that this company was composed of the most respectable members, who proposed to give a moral burlesque, to which the most fastidous could not take exception, - and that they had paid for the hall in advance.

A perusal of the program, however, was sufficient to create grave doubts as to the truth of the manager's representations, and accordingly in the evening the Constable and a re-inforced posse of police guarded the doors of the Hall and stationed themselves on the steps to keep the crowd back. Long before eight o'clock the main streets surrounding the Hall were completely filled with a surging and excited crowd of men and boys, eager for fun and ready for a fight. When the managers of the troupe approached and demanded the opening of the doors they were repulsed and driven back by the police.

War then waged fiercely, and among other things the guardians of the peace were pelted with one or two dead cats, which first emanated from a back yard on the other side of John street. The crowd appeared to be in sympathy with the troupe, and for a time the result of the scrimmage seemed doubtful: but at length shouts were heard down the street, and soon appeared Councillor Hagerman on the scene. Cheer after cheer rent the air as the crowd beheld help was near. The now famous Christopher at once demanded the doors to be opened, and meeting with refusal, they were burst open. The constables were then greeted with a shower of rotten eggs and other missiles from some roughs inside the Hall. Chief Marshall got an egg in the whiskers, while a deceased cat wound itself lovingly around the neck of Constable Gamble. The guardians finding themselves worsted, were obliged to allow the excited crowd to pass upstairs, more especially after listening to the following address delivered by Councillor Hagerman:

GENTLEMEN, - We have assembled here to see a moral entertainment, and we find the doors of this Hall closed against us; but we have opened them, and you can now pass up and see the performance. Gentlemen, no two men can run this town yet, and I know you will uphold me when I say that the Chief Constable has exceeded his authority to-night. It is not for Mr Marshall or Mayor Randall to dictate to the Lessees of the Music Hall to whom they are to let it. All we ask is our rights as free and independent citizens of Port Hope, etc, etc.

In the meantime the Hall had become filled with a yelling and hooting crowd, but at the request of Councillor Hagerman the inmates retired to the street below, and when they again entered, paid their way at the door. Subsequently Councillor Hagerman, who was seized with another desire to to air his oratorical powers, had the curtain raised for him while he discoursed to his admirers as follows:

GENTLEMEN, - I am again before you. I have taken a stand to-night against the Chief Constable and I am sure you will say that I have done nothing but my duty. Gentlemen, I was born and brought up in this town, I am proud of it, and I am one of you. You have returned me year after year to represent you at the Council Board, and I have always tried to do my duty. You will now see a first class moral show, and if the performers do anything on this stage to-night that is wrong, let Marshall come up and arrest them. There is no -

Just then the ladies (?), who, it appears, owing to the row at the Hall, were afraid to leave their hotel, appeared in the doorway, and as they proceeded thru the crowd to the dressing-rooms they were lustily cheered. Councillor Hagerman then 'stepped down and out', and shortly afterwards the performance was commenced.

A CHARGE AGAINST COUNCILLOR HAGERMAN
Chief Constable Marshall has sworn out an information against Councillor Hagerman, charging him with insulting and abusive language. He has subpoenaed three witnesses and the case comes up to-morrow (Tuesday).

The conduct of the constables evidently had a salutary effect upon the members of the troupe, for they omitted, in their performance to repeat the exhibition of 'living art pictures' and the 'can-can' dances. Altogether the show was a wonderful improvement on the last one given here.

Revs John Shaw, pastor of the Methodist church, and R J Beattie, of the First Presbyterian church, emphatically denounced the show from their pulpits, yesterday (Sunday) evening. The first named gentleman expressed his pleasure at noticing that such shows had been unmistakably denounced by the respectable press of the whole Dominion.



from the Daily Guide  April 7, 1879
A LAY OF MODERN PORT HOPE, WRITTEN SPECIAL FOR 'THE EVENING GUIDE',
BUT NOT BY LORD MACAULAY

But our *Peter's brow was sad -
Yes, His Worship's speech was low -
For come unto our moral town
Was Fanchon's Folly Show:
"Their bills are pasted on each wall,
It fills my soul with fright,
And if they once get in the Hall
'Twill be a shameful sight."

Then out spake quick our gallant Dave,
Chief of Police was he:
"Your Worship may rest satisfied
This thing shall never be;
For what could I do better
Than to win me great renown
By putting down a beastly show
In this our moral town.

"For the sake of Port Hope mothers,
Who never scandals tell,
For Port Hope wives who dote upon
The husbands but too well,
And for our Port Hope virgins
Who promenade the street,
With mincing gait and simpering air
And such tremendous feet.

"Specials swear in, Your Worship,
With all the speed you may,
I, with two more to help me,
Will hold that show at bay.
At yonder door a thousand
May well be stopped by three;
Now who will stand on either hand
And keep that Hall with me?"

Then out spake Gamble, sleek and snug
Him of the market fee :
"Lo! I will stand at thy right hand
And 'hold the fort' with thee."
And out spoke long A B Maguire,
A gallant figure he:
"I will abide on thy left side
In the coming jamboree."

And Ellis, too, was not behind
To help his valiant Chief:
Saith he: "This fat hath ever been
To me a cause of grief;
But I will help you all I can
Throughout the threatened fray.
Though if the crowd press me too hard
I'll have to get away."

"Brave Marshall," quoth His worship,
"As thou say'st so let it be."
And forth to hold the great Hall door
Went straight the dauntless three -
Or rather four, I should have said,
But all the truth I'll tell;
Four doesn't rhyme as well as three,
And I think that 'tis as well

They all were for morality,
Their object it was good,
So they did not mind - they fondly thought
To shed a little blood;
For the cause of spotless purity,
For maidens high and low,
They'd put down with a mighty hand
That horrid Folly Show.

Now while the three were hurrying fast
Up to the John street door,
His Worship swore the specials in,
A score of men or more,
Who'er they were it matters not,
Their hearts were good and true,
For morals and for purity
In men and maidens too.

Meanwhile the rowdies of the town
On John street might you spy,
Gathered on that fair moonlight night,
While the red glare of battle light,
Flashed from each ruffian's eye;
Four hundred voices sounded,
The cheer of Briton's free,
As that great host with horrid roar
And voices wild and throats quite sore,
Surged madly 'gainst the great hall door,
Where stood the dauntless Three.

The Three stood calm but fearful,
And looked upon their foes -
A very Pandemonium there,
And ominous of blows.
Now through the crowd shrill cries were heard,
As of approaching storms,
And through the ranks there might be seen,
With gallant step and noble mien,
Three valiant heroes' forms.

And hark! the cry is "Christopher,"
And lo! the crowd divides,
And Port Hope's chief - I won't say what -
Comes puffing out his sides.
Beside him stands the gallant,
The Music Hall's lessee,
And HALL, chock full of legal lore,
Comes forth against the three.

Chris looked on those bold constables,
With Civic Father's frown,
And eyed them o'er as though he'd like
But feared to knock them down.
Quoth he: "Now, Rose, you ope the door
And get the Chief away,
And when there's nothing left to fear
We'll fight and win the day."

The door was burst, the Chief then thought
He'd better clear, and so
He whispered to his followers bold,
"I think we'd better go,
For now the eggs fly through the air
And dead cats, too. I smell,
And if an egg should smite me fair
I should not like it well."

So saying, off the step he got,
As did his followers three,
Naught more said he to lank Maguire, 
To Gamble naught spake he;
But he saw the crowd was gath'ring fast,
And soon he'd be o'ercome,
So a prayer he prayed to his Patron Saint
Before he started home.

"Oh, William, good King William,
Who fought the good Boyne fight,
The Master of Ontario East
Take Thou in charge to-night."
So he prayed and grasped his trusty stick
And with main strength and action quick,
Through breaths enough to make him sick,
He fought his homeward way.

And now my story's done, but oft
In years to come, I ween,
Port Hopers will with anguish deep
Recall the wretched scene;
With sorrow will hang down their heads,
That any one should know
How blackguardism won the fight,
Setting aside all law and right,
On that disgraceful, wretched night
Of Fanchon's Folly Show.

*The Mayor at the time was Peter Rice Randall  July 7, 1822 - Feb 7, 1906
 
 
 

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