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the site of the legendary Hôtel du Chien d'Or (whose original bas-relief
is embedded on one of the building's frontals as a reminder of its heri-
tage) - now named for Louis-Stephan Saint-Laurent, prime minister of
Canada from 1948-57. Led now diagonally from right to left by the
building's facade and upward by the path and stairway banister, the
eye ascends in the vertically ordered and intricately conceived picture
space to the far ground, where it encounters the imposing Château
Frontenac, a luxury hotel constructed in 1893 and since then the visual
emblem of Quebec City. The building's chateau style (originating in the
French Renaissance) has influenced numerous other structures, includ-
ing the Gare du Palais railroad station vacated at the time of Flora's re-
turn to Quebec. Named for the Count of Frontenac, a governor of New
France famous for his defiance of the British during the siege of 1690,
the present hotel occupies the site of Champlain's Fort Louis (1620) and
Frontenac's residence (1692), traces of which were unearthed in an ar-
chaeological dig begun in 1985. One might even say that the archaeo-
logical site is an apt analogy for both Leclerc's painting and Hébert's
novel. Leclerc's compression of a series of past events into the same
place, ultimately leading to the present ('aujourd'hui') in his text -
along with the superimposition of landmarks from various points in
the past in his intricate painting - not only correspond with Gérard
Namer's description of the process of commemoration (chapter two)
but also mirror the movement of the novel, in which the 'premier jar-
din' episode from the seventeenth century, conflated with the story of
the garden of Eden from the biblical past, brings out issues of origins
and maternity ('elle est la mère du pays,' 79; she is the mother of the
country [61]) that reflect both Flora's past, as motherless orphan, and
present, as momentarily childless mother.
This obsessive thematic cluster in the novel of sexuality, maternity,
and origins recurs in an episode involving the filles du Roy (King's
daughters), a cargo of young women of poor means dowered by King
Louis XIV to leave France for the New World in order to marry and
populate the colony. For Flora, the filles du Roy are not only duly ad-
opted daughters (of the king no less) but also further mother figures,
fostering a nostalgia for her own personal and cultural origins, not only
national but mythical: 'En réalité c'est d'elle seule qu'il s'agit, la reine
aux mille noms, la première fleur, la première racine, Ève en personne
(non plus seulement incarnée par Marie Rollet, épouse de Louis
Hébert), mais fragmentée en mille frais visages.' (99-100; In reality, it
concerns her alone, the queen with a thousand names, the first flower,
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