Canadian Notes & Queries: Hey Porter

Canadian Notes & Queries: Hey Porter

Most of us recognize them from the odd period movie clip, bedecked in their black-and-white uniforms, special caps, and pocket watches; their ever-present, mile-wide smiles. They flit in and out of these shots like shadows: here helping a passenger to climb aboard a train; there serving a drink from a tray; acting as tourist guides by pointing out features of the landscape to the family entrusted to their care. They are always the happiest faces on the train. “Just these two bags, porter, and there’s a dollar for you. What merry, merry fellows these darky porters are, anyway!” Canadian humorist Stephen Leacock wrote in his 1917 book, Frenzied Fiction.

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