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maisonnettes'), with a church, whose steeple is highlighted literally
('étincellait') by the sun and which is linked by a small road to the
house of M Wagnaër.
Paragraph eight, the penultimate and longest of the description, de-
scribes the surrounding landscape beginning with the left point of the
cove, which is itself primarily a sandbar, flanked by the rivière aux
Écrevisses, which runs through Madame Guérin's property, suggesting
its potential as the future location of a mill. Beyond this small river, as
the land curves into the Saint Lawrence, the view is staggering in its
variety ('une chaîne variée'). The landscape initially appears as sets of
contrasting elements, its geometrically traced fields set off by colours of
various crops - 'jaunes, rousses ou vertes' (yellow, auburn, or green) and
set against groves of maples marked by autumnal colours: 'teintes vio-
lettes, rouge feu, orangées' (tints of violet, fire red, orange). Juxtaposed
in the early sentences, the cultural phenomena espouse natural forms in
later sentences, as the royal highway follows the topography of the ter-
rain, 'suivant toutes les sinuosités de la grève' (following all the curves
of the river bank), and villages are 'suspendus au flanc des montagnes
éloignées' (suspended on the flanks of distant mountains) to the point
that they appear superimposed onto the land masses ('superposés dans
toute l'étendue des terres'), including those that bear the imprint of
civilization and the name of ' concessions ' (Chauveau's italics). While
some church steeples, the very symbols of culture, appear in villages,
others are depicted in natural surroundings: 'Les autres s'élevaient
isolées sur le rivage ou sur quelque coteau lointain.' (Others arose iso-
lated on the bank or on some distant hill.) While some coves, the very
embodiment of natural geographic formation, remain wild ('sauvages'),
others, basins for boats, serve a social, even commercial purpose ('indi-
quant l'existence d'une certaine activité commerciale'). Thus, while this
vast painting ('vaste tableau') may end with a visual comparison of the
Saint Lawrence to two contrasting natural phenomena - 'l'effet d'une
vaste mer … l'apparence d'un lac ou d'un golfe profond' (the effect of a
vast sea … the appearance of a lake or a deep gulf) - it is primarily an
amalgam of the natural and the cultural, joined together in perfect har-
mony, the only tensions, perhaps, resulting from the contrasting desires
of the two brothers and the conflicting interests of the Guérin and
Wagnaër families.
Paragraph nine brings this immense description, a clear tour de force ,
to a close: 'Un ciel d'un bleu pâle, surtout à l'horizon, caché en plu-
sieurs endroits par quelques-uns de ces nuages bruns et blancs, lourds
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