Excerpt from “Walk Y” in “St. Catharines A-Z” by Junius, originally published in the St. Catharines Journal on December 25th, 1856.
On this second last walk with Junius, I have noted that he took a rather long break before publishing his last article, “Walk X”, which was on October 30th, 1856. It turns out that this little hiatus was not simply for an extended Christmas break, it looks as though Junius may have been discouraged by some feedback he was getting in regards to his writing:
“After an interregnum of several weeks, we again resume our “Walks around Town,” believing that the many are amused thereby, while the few cry out lustily stop thief! In all of our various scribblings at different times, we have never set down aught in malice, sought praise, or courted frowns. By some we have been ironically styled, “Junius the Janias of the Journal;” by others our “Walks” have been called “a conglomeration of unmeaning words; by some a libel on old Junius; by others a writer whom the schoolmaster is looking for. What we have written heretofore we have penned for our own amusement, as well as for the gratification of the numerous readers of the St. Catharines Journal. If anyone has liked our “Walks,” well; if not, we don’t complain. Of one thing we are tolerably certain, and that is, that they have been pretty generally read; for some universal growlers have told us of their contents, while they have affected to not read them. Some, we say, are gouty, crusty and grumbling at their hints, while others have spoken to their praise. With this exordium, we perge modo!”
Lucky for us, Junius did not prolong his silence in order to heal his bruised ego. In this walk, Junius went on to criticize the local Water Works and its less than adequate service, especially during house fires. He then jumped to sharing information about churches and church sermons and then to gripe about politicians, which I will spare you the details. But, it did seem as though he was back to his typical self again!
Oddly enough, I find the first paragraph of this article to be one of the most thought-provoking in all of his writing. It gives readers so much insight into the personal feelings of the writer and the criticisms he had faced during this publication journey he endeavoured to take. This type of information is not always common for researchers to have the pleasure of interpreting. We have learned that people had strong opinions about his writing, just as I and I’m sure most of you have today. We have also learned that, as much as Junius portrayed himself as a sort of larger than life, untouchable critic of all things, all people, and all places, he still was affected by public opinion.
Return next week for my final post “Walk Z” where I will share with you more about who Junius really was.