Some reminiscences of old Victoria

Some Reminiscences of Old Victoria, by Edgar Fawcett.  Toronto: William Briggs.  1912.

Some reminiscences of old Victoria 1

A nicely told personal memoir by Fawcett (1847-1923, immigrated to Victoria 1859).  I read his words as accurately detailed, and they contain details of Jargon use that we don’t have from other sources.

Some reminiscences of old Victoria 4

Native infants are referred to as “tenass man”.  

Some reminiscences of old Victoria 3


In the context of these Chinook Wawa memories, it may be significant that the Songhees children are referred to as “papooses”, a word I’ve seen in actual Jargon use by Aboriginals in the Interior.

Also recalled are items sold to whites by the Native population: “gumstick” [pitchwood kindling] is one, and that’s interesting for its use of the English loan “gum” rather than the often recorded Jargon “lagom”.  

Native vendors are remembered as crying their wares this way: “Ah!  Culla Culla” (grouse and ducks), “Mowich” (venison), “Oolally” (berries), and three phrases you might take as English but are Jargon: “Sooke Oysters”, “Salmon”, “Cowichan potatoes”.  Nearly anything, it is said, could be bought [from the Aboriginal merchants] for “Ick quarter” or a phrase new to me, “King George quarter” (twenty-five cents).

Some reminiscences of old Victoria 2The chief of the Songhees Indian band, King Freezey, is remembered: “Ict [sic] micaa name?”  [“What is your name?”]  “Nica name, King Freezey, nica hyas tyee.”  (“My name is King Freezey, I am a great man.”)



Some reminiscences of old Victoria 5

The copy of this book that I read bears an inscription from T.N. Hiben & Co. publishers to the Spokane Public Library.