The Duke of Kent, fourth son of King George III, was an urgent, stubborn, and prolific young man. He lived for years with a lady of his choice and without any legal recognition of his household. He married, and begat Queen Victoria. He scattered fortresses and defense works from Quebec to Gibraltar like a farmer sowing seed. But his most notable job of work, the thing he enjoyed best, was the city of Halifax. It looks, somehow, exactly like its godfather.
He did not build Halifax, of course, but this last of the great Georgians seemed to leave not only his own image, but the stout, dingy, and genial image of a whole age upon this Canadian city, so far from home. It has a Georgian look of square old brown stone houses and fanlight windows, and narrow Georgian streets, and neat little squares and parks laid out with the stiff precision of a Georgian nosegay, and fine old churches, where eminent worshipers used to sit in long coats and skin-tight pants, graciously accepting God into the very best society.
Halifax looks like a Georgian countess living in reduced circumstances in a run-down mansion, still fond of a touch of gin and a pinch of snuff. It looks like the spirit of Madame Julie de St. Laurent, Kent's faithful paramour (long dead of heartbreak), brooding there on the shore, waiting for the royal lover to come back to her.
But that is Halifax only in its domestic life, in its over-