Travel Reference
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cellule du lac Huron' [30; The manuscript he kept as a holy relic; and
that which fell into the hands of our traveler at the cottage of the
Canadian peasant, was a copy he had made to transmit to France. The
original was written by Pere Mesnard whose blessed memory had con-
secrated the cell on Lake Huron (46)]).
The contents of Mesnard's manuscript are then recounted by the
third-person narrator, presumably based on the peasant's memory of
his grandfather's tale. Like Bouchard's story, Mesnard's tale is also
dominated by the coupling and uncoupling of nature and culture.
Pursuing his mission to propagate his religion, Mesnard adopts two
Iroquois maidens, captured by the Ottawas, the tribe he seeks to 'civi-
lize.' The maiden baptized 'Rosalie' takes immediately and completely
to Christianity, whereas 'Françoise,' while showing definite signs of
devotion, also remains faithful to her natural origins, a phenomenon
Mesnard captures through a simile drawn from nature: 'Françoise res-
semblait à une plante qui étend ses fleurs de tous côtés' (31; Françoise
resembled a luxuriant plant, that shows out its flowers on every side
[50]). Her actions also link her to nature - 'elle aimait à se promener
dans les bois, à s'asseoir au bord d'une cascade' (31; she loved to rove
in the woods - to sit gazing on the rapids [50]) - gestures borrowed no
doubt from characters like Chateaubriand's René, who was based on
the image of the Amerindian injected into French Romantic iconogra-
phy. During a clandestine visit to lure Françoise back to her Iroquois
origins, her mother, Genanhatenna, underscores the contrast between
the confines of culture and the freedom of nature - 'on te renfermera
dans les murs de pierre où tu ne respiriras plus l'air frais, où tu
n'entendras plus le chant des oiseaux, ni le murmure des eaux' (33;
they will shut you up, within stone walls where you will never again
breathe the fresh air - never hear the songs of birds, nor the dashing of
waters [52, 54]). Françoise is on the point of returning, but stops when
she learns she can't also practice Christianity, and eventually, true to
the suggestion of her given name, marries a French officer, Eugène
Brunon, who had saved her from the Indian party accompanying her
mother (and who is none other than Mesnard's nephew). Françoise,
who is Iroquois but also Christian and French, thus maintains her hy-
brid status as native yet cultured. In fact, all of the characters form
contrasting pairs, which, albeit loosely, can be said to represent culture
and nature: The French versus the Indians; the Ottawas versus the
Iroquois; Rosalie versus Françoise; Françoise's Christian (and French)
ties versus her Iroquois origins.
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