each of the stories in this collection, these notes
serve three purposes: first, to identify the original
place of publication; second, to provide a general context
for approaching the story; and third, to explain obscure
references and identify allusions. In compiling these
notes, I have found the following sources particularly
helpful: The Canadian Encyclopedia; The
Canadian Oxford Dictionary (C.O.D.); Alan
Rayburn, Dictionary of Canadian Place Names;
The Encyclopaedia Britannica; The Oxford
Dictionary of Quotations; The Oxford English
Dictionary (O.E.D.); The New Strong’s
Concordance of the Bible. For the bibliographical
references for the original publication of these stories,
I am indebted to Laura Groening.
The Ducharmes of the Baskatonge
first published story, “The Ducharmes of the Baskatonge”
appeared in Scribner’s Magazine 1 (Feb.1887):
236-43. It was the first of Scott’s eleven stories
in this prestigious American journal, including seven
of the stories that constitute In the Village of
Viger (1896) and “The Triumph of Marie Laviolette”
(included in this collection). As in “At the Cedars,”
Scott uses a Quebec wilderness setting to tell a story
of heroic sacrifice, and that setting must have helped
him secure publication in Scribner’s
(see Doyle 105). Both the refrain in the opening and
closing paragraphs and the scenic details themselves
anticipate the techniques and themes of his later poems.
Title: The Baskatonge is a reservoir “along
the Gatineau River, about 150 km north of Hull”
“the haunts of men seem as far away as
stars”: See “The Height of Land,”
“silence”: See the emphasis
on “Something . . ./ Deeper than peace”
in “The Height of Land,” ll. 17-18, 49-59,
152-57. See also the reference to “a silence deeper
than silence” in “The Forsaken,” ll.
the St. Joseph: E.K Brown describes
the Joseph as “a small river full of obstructions”
in the Gatineau (xix). [Page 149]
boom: Barrier to “guide floating
the Baskatonge: See the note to the
the Gatineau: See the note to the title.
the Bras d’Or . . . the Castor:
Although many of these are common names in Quebec, I
cannot locate particular places in the Baskatonge region.
Castor (French for “beaver”) is the name
of one of the twins born to Leda and Zeus.
the Ruisseau: Stream (French).
in The Globe (Toronto) 23 Nov. 1889: 11, this
story had the following words after the title: “A
Tale of Love and Sorrow / Strong and Original Writing
/ Duncan Campbell Scott’s Latest Production /
The Woods in a Storm / The Lair of the Counterfeiters—Presentiments
Fulfilled—A Desperate Resolve—No Life Within
and Death Without.” At the end of the story, the
word “Ottawa” appears below the last line.
As the heading suggests, the story is sensational, with
many of the conventions of Gothic fiction, from the
“riot and tumult” of the opening storm to
the haunted house and the demonic enchantress.
sooth: Truth (archaic).
Scantleberry, Working Merchant Tailor, Great Specialty
This story appeared with illustrations in The Dominion
Illustrated Monthly (Feb. 1892): 37-45. This study
of abnormal psychology in an oppressive urban setting
is remarkable for its restraint. John Scantleberry is
an anti-social tailor with “no imagination”
and almost no memory, except for the one glimpse of
his childhood. While his affection for the little girl
in the courtyard is redemptive, it does not lead him
to any great change. Instead, [Page 150]
he loses his obsession when Dagon dies, and he sinks
Scantleberry: As a noun, “scantle”
means “small portion”; as a verb, it means
“to make scarce” (New 47).
Pantaloons: New suggests that the word
derives “from the Italian ‘mask-wearer,’
Pantaleone” (47). Pantaleone is a character in
Italian comedy, “represented as a foolish and
vicious old man, the butt of the clown’s jokes,
and his abettor in his pranks and tricks” (O.E.D.)
imp: A mischievous spirit.
“Remember sinful youth . . .”:
Traditional Christian injunction. See Ecclesiastes 12:
1: “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy
youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw
nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.”
yorker: Inhabitant of Toronto (“York”
was the former name of Toronto).
surbase: Lower border.
Dagon: Deity worshipped by the Philistines
before his image is destroyed (Judges 16: 23; I Samuel
5). Dagon was conventionally depicted as, in Milton’s
words, “Sea monster, upward Man / And downward
Fish” (Paradise Lost I.462-63).
Scantlingberry: Dagon’s corruption
of Scantleberry’s name plays on “scantling,”
which can mean a beam, a sample, or a small amount.
goose: A “tailor’s flatiron,
having a handle like a goose’s neck” (C.O.D.).
Bohemian: From Bohemia, the “region
forming the Western part of the Czech republic”
trim it and water it: see Blake’s
“A Poison Tree” 11.5-6: “And I waterd
it in fears, / Night & morning with my tears”
shoddy: An “inferior cloth made
partly from the shredded fibre of old woolen cloth”
basted: Loosely stitched.
Triumph of Marie Laviolette
“The Triumph of Marie Laviolette” appeared
with illustrations in Scribner’s Magazine
12 (Aug. 1892): 232-41. (On Scott’s appearances
in this journal, see the head note to “The Ducharmes
of the Baskatonge.”) Again Scott uses a Quebec
setting, though here the mundane but happy lives of
[Page 151] the Laviolettes are violated
by the predatory Tim O’Mara and Black Donald McDonald.
The author’s sympathies are clearly with Gabriel
and Marie, whose “triumph” has less to do
with their virtues than with the courage of Maggie O’Mara.
diaphanous: “almost transparent”
phosphates: Increasingly used as a
fertilizer in the last half of the nineteenth century.
Lievres: According to Michael Gnarowski,
this river, now known as the “Rivière du
Lièvre,” “flows into the Ottawa northeast
of the Capital at Masson, Que.” (107). It serves
as the setting for one of Archibald Lampman’s
most famous poems, “Morning on the Lièvres,”
and for Scott’s “The Winning of Marie-Louise”
(in The Witching of Elspie).
St. Anne: Mother of the Virgin Mary.
St. Nicholas: 4th century Bishop; patron
saint of sailors, merchants, and children. According
to legend, he saved three children who had been pickled
in a tub of brine.
Desiré: In “Tete-Jaune,”
Père Dugas has this to say about the name: “He
wasn’t wanted. Why call him Désiré?
That’s a girl’s name” (Circle
38). I have changed the concluding accent in the name,
which is consistently reversed in the Scribner’s
hollyhock: Tall plant with large flowers.
Paltimore: Quebec town north of Ottawa
(now spelled Poltimore).
“Sur le pont d’Avignon”:
Traditional French song about the bridge at Avignon
built by St. Bénézet in 1177-88. The song
begins as follows: “Sur le pont d’Avignon
/ L’on y danse, l’on y danse.”
This story appeared in Scott’s Mermaid Inn
column in The Globe for May 6 1893: 7, and
May 13, 1893: 11; and in Barrie Davies’ edition
of these columns (303-05, 309-11). The Mermaid Inn
was a literary and general interest column that Scott,
William Wilfred Campbell, and Archibald Lampman wrote
for The Globe from Feb.6, 1892, to July 1,
1893. In “Sister Ste Colombe” (which is
contemporary with the stories of In the Village
[Page 152] of Viger), Scott
places more emphasis on Catholic spirituality than usual
in his stories of Quebec.
the Blanche: French for “white.”
Blanche is also the name of the river in In the
Village of Viger.
Ste Colombe: The name means “dove”
dove-cote: Shelter for doves.
wimple: A nun’s headdress.
vesper: Evening prayer.
Mystery of The Red Deeps
story appeared in Massey’s Magazine in
two parts: (April 1896): 232-40; and (May 1896): 309-15.
Massey’s Magazine was established by
the philanthropist Hart Almerrin Massey (1823-96); it
merged with the Canadian Magazine in 1897.
As Carole Gerson notes, the use of Quebec “as
a setting for gothicism and mystery” was common
in nineteenth-century Canadian fiction (Purer
111). “The Mystery of the Red Deeps” (the
longest of the uncollected stories) is Scott’s
most ambitious use of the conventions of detective fiction.
It is the story of Oliver Arahill’s “first
case” and the end of his apprenticeship.
Denham, in Mississiquoi: There is town
called Dunham, south of Cowansville, in the county of
Brome-Missisquoi in southern Quebec. Scott set “Recompense”
(in The Witching of Elspie) in Dunham.
sciatica: Pain in the area of the hip.
cameo: Stone “carved in relief
with a background of a different colour” (C.O.D.).
cassock: Clerical garment.
Hypnotism: Scott wrote an ironic column
on the vogue of hypnotism for the Mermaid Inn,
Sept. 3 1892.
shewed: Showed (archaic).
dormer windows: Upright windows on
a sloping roof. [Page 153]
“Auld Robin Grey”: Scottish
song written in 1771 by Lady Anne Barnard in which the
speaker explains the distress that caused her to marry
Robin Grey in the absence of her beloved Jamie.
“There was a lad was born in Kyle”:
Song written in 1787 by Robert Burns to the tune of
“Dainty Davie.” The tone is clear from the
opening stanza: “There was a lad was born in Kyle,
/ But what na day o’ what na style / I doubt it’s
hardly worth the while / To be sae nice wi’ Robin.
/ Robin was a rovin’ Boy, / Rantin’
rovin’, rantin’ rovin’; /
Robin was a rovin’ Boy, / Rantin’
rovin’ Robin”” (Burns 137-38).
“The Rover of Loch Ryan”:
According to John Stuart Blackie, “The Rover of
Lochryan” is “the real glory and crown of
the Scottish sea-song of Lowland origin” (353).
It was written by Hew Ainslie, and it ends as follows:
“When landsmen sleep, or wake an’ creep,
/ In the tempest’s angry moan, / We dash through
the drift, an’ sing to the lift / O’ the
wave that heaves us on” (Blackie 356).
Neapolitan: From Naples.
motley: Multi-coloured outfit (like
that worn by a jester).
grewsome: Gruesome (archaic).
claret: Dry red wine.
Seven Sleepers: In legend, seven Christians
who fled Roman persecution and slept in a cave for two
phial: Small bottle.
The Wheel of Fire: King Lear says,
“I am bound / Upon a wheel of fire, that mine
own tears / Do scald like molten lead” (King
appeared in Massey’s Magazine (July 1896):
30-34. (See the head note to “The Mystery of the
Red Deeps” for information on this journal). Like
most of the other five stories that Scott published
in this journal, “John Greenlaw’s Story”
uses the conventions of detective fiction. In this case,
the narrator’s services are requested by Basil
Mannix, but the emphasis is less on detection than on
witnessing a mystery that cannot be solved. [Page
Westbrook: The name of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s
first wife. She committed suicide in 1816, after Percy
left her for Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin.
plover: Plump-breasted bird (C.O.D.).
snipe: Marsh bird.
Velasquez: Diego Rodriguez de Silva
y Velázquez (1599-1660), Spanish painter known
for his portraits.
“nothing in heaven or earth, or the waters
under the earth”: See Deuternomy 5:8:
“Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or
any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or
that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters
beneath the earth.”
Nest of Imposture
appeared in Massey’s Magazine in two
parts: (Aug. 1896): 102-06; (Sept. 1896): 203-08. (See
the head note to “The Mystery of the Red Deeps”
for information on this journal.) For the second part,
Scott is identified as “Author of ‘In the
Village of Viger’”. As in “The Mystery
of the Red Deeps,” Scott uses the conventions
of detective fiction in a Quebec setting, but now his
emphasis is more on the intrigue in the Savona family
than on the abilities of the detective.
gait: Erroneously printed as “gate”
St. Pierre Miquelon: Saint Pierre and
Miquelon are French islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence
20 miles off Newfoundland.
Lacolle: Quebec town just north of
the New York border.
Richelieu River: River that flows from
Lake Champlain to the St. Lawrence.
Bonaventure Depot: The old train station
Longueil: City on the St. Lawrence
east of Montreal.
Rouse’s Point: Town in northeastern
New York state, on the Quebec border.
wraithlike: Ghostly. [Page
cinnabar: Bright red.
Blomidon: A “hooked peninsula
on the northwest central coast of Nova Scotia”
Uclulet: Town of the west coast of
Vancouver Island (now spelled “Ucluelet”).
Bastile: Famous Paris prison (usually
Brahmin: The highest Hindu caste.
Sherbrooke Street and the Cote de Neige Road:
Area just east of Westmount. South of Sherbrooke, Cote-des-Neiges
(as it is now spelled) becomes Guy.
appeared in Massey’s Magazine (Oct. 1896):
276-82. (See the head note to “The Mystery of
the Red Deeps” for information on this journal.)
On the first page, Scott is identified as “Author
of ‘In the Village of Viger,’ etc.”
Although it is about a crime, this is less a detective
story than a study in guilt, and the father dies before
he makes the confession that his daughter demands. His
son has died as well, and only his sister will ever
know of his innocence. So the conclusion suggests that
whatever “divinity” shapes his ends is inscrutable.
title: The title is an allusion to
Hamlet’s speech (5.2. 10-11): “There’s
a divinity that shapes our ends, / Rough-hew them how
we will . . .”
nonplussed: Perplexed (though the word
can also mean “unfazed”).
gunwale: Top edge of a boat.
euphuistically: In an elevated manner.
deal: “Fir or pine timber”
the fabric of her vision: In a famous
speech in The Tempest (4.1.151), Prospero speaks
of “the baseless fabric of this vision.”
“There’s a divinity that shapes
. . . ”: See note to the title. [Page
to confess and not to confess: An echo of Hamlet’s
famous question, “To be, or not to be” (3.1.57).
expiation: Payment or act to make amends.
Wedding Eve: A Story of the War of 1812
appeared with illustrations in the Christmas number
of The Globe (1898): 14-16. It was the first
of five stories that Scott published in this annual,
including “A Sacred Trust: A Story of the Upper
Ottawa” and “How Uncle David Rouse Made
His Will” (both included in this collection).
As Carole Gerson notes, the Christmas issue of The
Globe had become by 1897 “a large, lavishly-illustrated,
festive publication with a colourful cover and many
photographs (“Christmas” 10). Other notable
authors who appeared in these issues include Archibald
Lampman, Charles G.D. Roberts, Pauline Johnson, Marjorie
Pickthall, and Lucy Maud Montgomery. Scott’s interest
in Canadian history is the source of many essays, poems,
and stories, and of his work (with Pelham Edgar and
William Dawson LeSueur) as general editor of the “Makers
of Canada” series (20 vols, 1903-08; Scott wrote
the book on John Graves Simcoe). The romantic qualities
of “Their Wedding Eve” lead Scott to contrast
the heroism of the British and their allies with the
villainy of the opposing forces. For a discussion of
other representations of the War of 1812 in Canadian
fiction, see Carole Gerson (Purer 106-07).
Amherstburg: Ontario town near Windsor.
Pottowattamie: The Potawatomi tribe
lived on the eastern shores of Lake Michigan until they
were driven west in the seventeenth century. Although
they had helped Pontiac fight the English in 1763-64,
the tribe sided with the English in the War of 1812.
drugget: Coarse fabric.
Berenice: The name of the wife of the
ancient Egyptian king, Ptolemy Euergetes; her hair was
vowed to Venus and assumed into the heavens after her
Pelee Island: Island in Lake Erie,
Malden: British fort at Amherstburg.
Fort George: British fort near Niagara
that was briefly captured by the Americans during the
War of 1812.
Colchester: Loyalist town on the north
shore of Lake Erie.
leviathan: Biblical sea beast of great
cutlass: Short sword with curved blade.
Stratagem of Terrance O’Halloran
was published in The Canadian Magazine of Politics,
Science, Art and Literature 22 (Jan. 1904): 283-86.
This journal was founded in Toronto by J.G. Mowat in
1893 and ran until 1939. As in “How Uncle David
Rouse Made His Will,” Scott uses dialect for humorous
purposes, although here the humor depends on ethnic
(Irish and French-Canadian) types. Scott’s friend
E.W. Thomson often used such ethnic humor in his stories
(Gerson, “Piper’s” 141).
Stag Creek: The Stag River flows into
the Gatineau just south of Low and Paugan Falls.
Township of Low: There is a township
of this name near the confluence of the stag and the
drugget: Coarse fabric.
bushel basket: See Christ’s words
in Luke 11: 33: “No man, when he hath lighted
a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under
a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come
in may see the light.” See also Matthew 5: 15.
like a tief in the night: See I Thessalonians
5: 2: “For yourselves know perfectly that the
day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”
potheen: Illicit liquor (usually poteen).
Sacred Trust: A Story of the Upper Ottawa
appeared with illustrations in the Christmas number
of The Globe (1906): 40-41, 43. (For information
on these Christmas numbers, see the head note to “Their
Wedding Eve: A Story of the War of 1812). This [Page
158] fireside tale relies heavily on dialect,
coincidence, and the colourful lives of the woodsmen.
the Upper Ottawa: Forming the border
between Ontario and Quebec, this river was important
to the timber trade in the nineteenth century.
Havana: Cuban cigar.
runway: Incline down which logs descend
Kazubazua: Quebec town north of Ottawa.
rollway: Incline down which logs descend
Achigan: Lake in Laurentian mountains;
Scott uses it for the setting of “In the Year
1806” (in The Witching of Elspie) and
“Clute Boulay” (in The Circle of Affection).
E.K. Brown notes that it has “an important role”
in Scott’s Untitled Novel, and calls
this lake “one of the special places for his imaginative
the Pickanock: River (now spelled Pikanok)
that empties into the Gatineau at Gracefield, Quebec
dunnage: “Miscellaneous baggage”
pannikin: Small can.
demijohn: “Bulbous narrow-necked
a mask of peace: See “At Gull
Lake,” I.127: “After the beauty of terror
the beauty of peace.”
Uncle David Rouse Made His Will
appeared (with illustrations by Albert H. Robinson)
in the Christmas number of The Globe (1907):
32-33. (For information on these Christmas numbers,
see the head note to “Their Wedding Eve: A Story
of the War of 1812.”) Both the dialogue and the
deceptions of Uncle David and Dr. Passmore recall the
antics of the King and the Duke in Mark Twain’s
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Mutton Corners: In “Expiation”
(in The Witching of Elspie), Mutton Corners
is “one of the stations on the Dunham circuit”
for Methodist preachers. [Page 159]
County of Leeds: County near Kingston.
Minerva: Roman name for Athena, goddess
shad: A kind of herring.
gormed: Foolish (gormless).
hyperdermott: Injection from hypodermic
sweetbreads: “Pancreas or thymus
of an animal used for food” (C.O.D.).
Cataraqui Cemetery: Kingston site of
John A. Macdonald’s tomb.
Marythin race: Marathon; long distance
Straits Settlement: British colony
in southeast Asia.
Works Cited in the Editorial Notes
Bernard. Lexique des noms indiens du Canada: Les
Montreal: Leméac, 1996.
Blackie, John Stuart. Scottish Song: its Wealth,
Wisdom and Social Significance.
Edinburgh: Blackwood and Sons, 1889.
Blake, William. The Poetry and Prose of William
Blake. Ed. David V. Erdman. New
York: Doubleday, 1965.
Brown, E.K. “Memoir of Duncan Campbell Scott.”
Selected Poems of Duncan Campbell
Scott. Ed. Brown. Toronto: Ryerson, 1951. xi-xlii.
Burns, Robert. Selected Poems. Ed. Carol McGuirk.
Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1993.
Davies, Barrie, ed. At the Mermaid Inn: Wilfred
Campbell, Archibald Lampman,
and Duncan Campbell Scott in The Globe 1892-93.
Canada: Poetry and Prose in Reprint. Toronto: U of Toronto
Doyle, James. “Duncan Campbell Scott and American
Literature.” The Duncan Campbell
Scott Symposium. Ed. K.P. Stich. Reappraisals:
Ottawa: U of Ottawa P, 1980. 101-09.
Gerson, Carole. “The ‘Christmas Globe.’
Lampman, Scott, Wood, et. al.” Canadian
Notes and Queries 36 (1986): 10-12.
——. “The Piper’s Forgotten Tune:
Notes on the Stories of D.C. Scott and a Bibliography.”
Journal of Canadian Fiction 16 (1976): 138-43.
——. A Purer Taste: The Writing and Reading
of Fiction in Nineteenth- Century
Canada. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1989.
Gnarowski, Michael. “Notes and References.”
Selected Poetry of Archibald Lampman.
Ed. Gnarowski. Ottawa: Tecumseh, 1990. 106-11.
Groening, Laura. “Duncan Campbell Scott: An Annotated
Bibliography.” The Annotated
Bibliography of Canada’s Major Authors. Vol.
8. Ed. Robert Lecker
and Jack David. Toronto: ECW, 1994. 469-576.
Milton, John. Paradise Lost: A Poem in Twelve Books.
A New Edition. Ed. Merritt
Y. Hughes. Indianapolis: Odyssey, 1962.
New, W.H. Dreams of Speech and Violence: The Art
of the Short Story in Canada
and New Zealand. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1987.
Scott, Duncan Campbell. The Circle of Affection
and Other Pieces in Prose and
Verse. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1947.
——. The Poems of Duncan Campbell Scott.
Toronto: McClelland and Stewart,
——. Untitled Novel, ca. 1905. Ed.
John Flood. Moonbeam ON: Penumbra, 1979.
——. In the Village of Viger. Boston:
Copeland and Day, 1896. Toronto: McClelland
and Stewart, 1996.
——. The Witching of Elspie: A Book of
Stories. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart,
Shakespeare, William. The Complete Works of Shakespeare.
4th ed. Ed. David
Bevington. New York: Longman, 1997.