Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
monde, avec Adam et Ève devant le pommier. Toute l'histoire du monde
s'est mise à recommencer à cause d'un homme et d'une femme plantés en
terre nouvelle. [76-7; Is it so difficult then to make a garden in the middle
of the forest, and to surround it with a palisade like a treasure-trove? The
first man was called Louis Hébert, the first woman Marie Rollet. They
sowed the first garden with seeds that came from France. They laid out the
garden according to the notion of a garden, the memory of a garden, that
they carried in their heads, and it was almost indistinguishable from a
garden in France, flung into a forest in the New World. Carrots, lettuces,
leeks, cabbages, all in a straight line, in serried ranks along a taut cord,
amid the wild earth all around. When the apple tree brought here from
Acadia by Monsieur de Mons and transplanted finally yielded its fruit, it
became the first of all gardens in the world, with Adam and Eve standing
before the Tree. The whole history of the world was starting afresh be-
cause of a man and a woman planted in this new earth. [59-60])
In addition to the opposition of nature ('en pleine forêt') and culture ('le
jardin'), examined in the introduction, we witness the role of memory
('ce souvenir de jardin') in soldering links between the present and dif-
ferent periods of the past. Raynald Leclerc invokes the same sense of
cultural ancestry, embodied by a tree in a garden, situated in the left fore-
ground of his painting Regard d'un parc tranquille. Le parc Montmorency
(figure 9.2), where now stand neighbouring statues of Louis Hébert
(sowing seeds) and Marie Rollet (with her children), behind the vantage
point chosen by the painter.
The importance of the past and its link to place is evident in Leclerc's
commentary on the painting: 'ce fut notre première terre, celle que Louis
Hébert a ensemencée, puis celle de notre premier évêque: Monseigneur
de Laval, puis en 1792, le lieu du premier parlement du Canada …
aujourd'hui c'est un parc où vont flâner les amoureux.' (23; Our first
tract of farmland, seeded by Louis Hébert; then the building of our first
bishop: Monseigneur de Laval; then, in 1792, the site of the first
Parliament of Canada; today, a park where lovers stroll [23].) Not only
is Leclerc's expression 'première terre' remarkably similar to the title of
Hébert's novel, but the image is similarly laden with layers of the past,
not only those now visually absent but mnemonically present, recalled
by Leclerc's caption, but those that extend beyond the park in the fore-
ground and beyond the eighteenth century. From the striking tree in the
left foreground the eye moves diagonally to the elegant Empire-style
building in the right middle ground, the post office - erected in 1871 on
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