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de nouveaux défricheurs faisaient leur apparition à Louiseville, considérée
d'un commun accord comme le chef-lieu du canton. La rumeur de la
confection prochaine d'un chemin public s'était répandue avec la rapidité
de l'éclair dans toutes les anciennes paroisses du district des Trois-Rivières,
et des centaines de jeunes gens, des familles entières, s'établissaient avec
empressement au milieu de ces magnifiques forêts. Dans l'espace de quel-
ques mois, la moitié des lots du canton furent vendus, quoique le prix en
eût d'abord doublé, puis triplé et même quadruplé dans la partie dont
l'Honorable Robert Smith était le propriétaire. Un grand nombre de fa-
milles n'attendaient que l'ouverture du chemin pour se rendre sur leurs
lots.' [174-5; Jean Rivard's cabin became too small for the group that fre-
quented it, because it must be said that the Bristol canton was being settled
with a rapidity unprecedented in the annals of colonization. Each day new
land-clearers appeared in Louiseville, commonly considered the county
seat of the canton. The rumour of the impending construction of a main
road was spreading like wildfire in all the old parishes of the Trois-Rivières
district, and hundreds of young people, entire families, were settling zea-
lously in the middle of these magnificent forests. Within the space of seve-
ral months, half the lots in the canton were sold, although the price had first
doubled, then tripled and even quadrupled in the part owned by the
Honourable Robert Smith. A large number of families were awaiting only
the opening of the road to get to their lots.]
Although far from visual or painterly, the description is highly reveal-
ing in terms of Gérin-Lajoie's style as well as the ideologies it embodies.
Certainly the narrator's pretensions of documentation as well as his
propensity towards hyperbole are readily apparent in the first sentence:
'sans exemple dans les annales de la colonialisation.' Moreover, the
very sentence structure, like the structure of the novel itself, is based on
the principle of inclusion and expansion, which defines the ideal rela-
tionship between the individual and the nation. The first sentence, for
example, expands easily from Jean Rivard's cabin to the group of neigh-
bours that gather there to the entire canton of Bristol; much as Louiseville
(as he baptized his property) is the central place ('chef-lieu') for the
entire area circumscribed by the canton. One notes also that the 'place'
('lieu') is less a site of memory than a promise for the future, both per-
sonal (his upcoming marriage to Louise) and collective ('des familles
entières'); indeed, the past ('les anciennes paroisses') is specifically fled
by the young, who eagerly await future possibilities ('n'attendaient que
l'ouverture'). On a final note, the only anglophone character in the
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