Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
drawn ('se dessinaient') against a background ('fond') rendered by
qualities of colour ('doré') and light ('étincelant de lumière'). The vast-
ness of the setting ('l'horizon') is soon narrowed, and the narrator's
solitude is ended by the appearance of an old man standing before a
stone, both of which, like the breaking dawn, launch the telling of
the tale. For the old man, the stone, located at a precise spot at Coteau-
de-Sable on the northwest part of the île de Montréal, is a memorial, 'un
monument sacré' (51), just as the tale itself will become so for the reader.
By adeptly reading visual signs, the young narrator is able to identify
the old man as an Iroquois - 'Son large front sillonné de deux énormes
cicatrices annonçaient assez un de ces fiers enfants des forêts … C'était
le vrai type Iroquois.' (52; His wide forehead furrowed with two enor-
mous scars announced one of those proud children of the forest … He
was the archetypical Iroquois.) The old man then narrates his own
story, transporting the reader yet another level into the past, through an
authentic witness account, in typical memorializing fashion.
Louise is an Algonquin maiden who lives with her father, the tribe's
chief, on the banks of Lake Nipissing. So wild and beautiful is Louise
that the Iroquois narrator is led to describe her by a metaphor borrowed
from European culture and visual art: 'Vous l'eussiez prise pour Diane
Chasseresse, si vous l'eussiez vue seule.' (53; You would have taken her
for Diana the Huntress if you had seen her alone.) Caught on the lake
in a storm, she is rescued by the Algonquin brave Saguima, who then
saves her a second time when her father is killed and their tribe is dis-
bursed in a raid by a Mohawk ( Agniers ) tribe of the Iroquois nation led
by Canatagayon, who tries to carry her off, only to be thwarted by
Saguima, whose wild passions are then relayed by a comparison to a
natural phenomenon, molten lava (59). As the distraught Louise,
Saguima, and an old Algonquin ('le vieux de la forêt') make their es-
cape down the Ottawa River, they reach an isolated island where they
stop, as does the first part of the story.
The story's second part, untitled, continues to display Boucher de
Boucherville's highly visual style, as in the following landscape descrip-
tion: 'La lune, assise sur un groupe de nuages qui se découpent sous
toutes formes dans l'azur du firmament, verse paisiblement sa pâle lu-
mière sur les plaines, qui s'étendent jeunes et fleuries.' (61-2; The moon,
seated on a group of clouds cut out in many shapes against the azure of
the firmament, peacefully pours its pale light on the plains, which stretch
out young and flowering.) The description is painterly in its insistence on
planes defined by light, yet nature is highly personified, as exemplified
Search WWH ::

Custom Search