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officer of high standing and an Indian mother from the Beaver tribe of
the Algonquin Nation.
As a daughter of the forest, Caroline is able to lead Bigot back to his
country home, where the renowned womanizer convinces her to stay on
as his mistress, much to the dismay of his absent wife, who, upon learn-
ing of the situation, decides to visit the intendant on the night of July 2.
Suffice it to say that, during the night, Caroline is assassinated by a mys-
terious woman, perhaps the jealous wife, perhaps Caroline's irate mother,
and we learn, as the friend's tale ends, that it is the intendant himself who
has the gravestone erected as a memorial to the Amerindian maiden.
We return to the young narrator, who, during the homeward-bound
leg of the trip, promises himself to never forget the memory. Six years
later, he writes: 'Puisque l'occasion s'en est présenté, j'ai préféré en
coucher le récit sur le papier, toujours plus sûr et plus fidèle que la meil-
leure mémoire' (85; Since the occasion arose, I preferred setting the tale
down on paper, always safer and more faithful than the best memory).
Indeed the 'memory' ( la mémoire ) becomes a memoir ( le mémoire ) and
thus a memorial ( lieu de mémoire ) commemorating a significant part of
Canada's national identity, not only because of the characters but espe-
cially because of their races, here again joined together through their
link to a particular place, at once geographical and textual.
Most puzzling, perhaps, for Papineau - an avid patriot, son of Parti
patriote leader Louis-Joseph Papineau, and co-founder of the Fils de la
Liberté (Sons of Liberty) - whose implication in the rebellions was so
strong that he had to leave Canada for the United States until 1843, is the
relatively anodyne treatment of Bigot, whose fraudulent misuse of
funds was a huge factor in the loss of New France to the British, the very
subject of several nationalist novels later in the century. Far from vilify-
ing Bigot, the narrator lends him the very traits most prized by French
Canadians and possessed by the Amerindians: 'Il y avait peu de chas-
seurs plus habiles et plus intrépides: léger comme un sauvage, il parcou-
rait les forêts, escaladait les rochers … aussi expert à tirer qu'à courir.'
(82; There were few hunters more skilful and more intrepid: light like a
native, he roamed the forest, scaled rocks … as expert a shot as he was
an explorer.) Bigot is also depicted as 'éperdu' (distraught) by Caroline's
death, and it is he who memorializes her by erecting her tomb, albeit
now crumbling and nearly forgotten. Maurice Lemire, in a chapter on
works devoted to Bigot's ignominy, queries Papineau's intentions:
'Quand en 1836, Amédée Papineau écrivit Caroline , il ne fit que tran-
scrire une légende orale qui circulait dans le peuple depuis combien
 
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