February 4, 2014
To celebrate Dickens’ 202nd birthday, 25 of us gathered in the lovely back room (called “Place Dickens”) of the l’Usine de Spaghetti in Old Montreal. It was a sunny, relatively mild day (-7 C.). The quaint cobblestone streets were snow-covered. Inside it was roast toasty. Dickens is said to have written notes for his works at this very site during his visit to Montreal in 1842. His portrait hangs at the entrance. The stone-walled room, decorated with antiques and collectibles from Montreal’s past and lined with shelves and shelves of antique books, was the perfect venue for our festivities.
Our tables were arranged in a large “U”, with our guest reader Andrew Macdougall at the top and center, near Ellie (our president), Sylvia (vice-president and webmaster) and Louise (secretary and photographer). Programmes, bookmarks and chocolates graced each place setting. Costumes (a variety of Victorian hats and gloves) were provided for those who wished to dress up. Ellie began by recapping the years events. She announced that this spring (April 5) the London’s Dickens Fellowship Council will formally be considering our application for official status. Louise then gave a toast to Charles Dickens.
As we munched on crusty rolls and garlic toasts, salads from the salad bar, complementary meatballs and then our individual meals (all served quietly and most efficiently), we settled in for Andrew’s reading of “Dr. Marigold’s Prescriptions”. Dressed in Victorian attire, in the persona of Dickens himself, Andrew gave a spirited and emotional reading of this short story which appeared in the Christmas edition of Dickens’ journal “All the Year Round” in 1865. His performance was amazing and we all enjoyed it very much.
For desert we were treated to a wonderful birthday cake decorated with a marvellous image of Dickens. Many thanks to Louise for ordering the cake (it was from Patisserie Brossard). It was delicious!
Sylvia then gave a toast to “The Immortal Memory” and to Ellie for her enthusiastic leadership.
We then raffled off 6 prizes raising $65.00 for the Tiny Tim Fund of the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
Our delicious luncheon ended with a lively discussion of “The Invisible Woman” which we had recently viewed as a group.
All in all, it was a lovely afternoon. Thanks to everyone who attended. Special thanks to Andrew, Ellie, our toasters Sylvia and Louise (who arranged the venue and the cake), all our lift providers and the excellent staff of the “L’Usine de Spaghetti” who made us very comfortable with their excellent service!
Please view the photos of the event in our photo gallery: Dickens’ Birthday Luncheon Feb. 4/14