Travel Reference
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et épais qui sont particuliers à notre climat, complétait ce tableau qu'on
n'embrassait pas d'un seul coup d'œil, mais qu'un léger mouvement de
la tête faisait parcourir tel que nous venons de le peindre.' (A sky of
pale blue, especially on the horizon, hidden in several places by those
thick and heavy, brown and white clouds that are so particular to our
climate, completed this painting, which couldn't be grasped at a single
view, but which a slight movement of the head could scan as we have
just painted it.) Chauveau ends the scene by again referring to his de-
scription as a canvas ('tableau') that he has just painted ('que nous
venons de peindre'), and it is indeed worthy of his friend Joseph Légaré,
whom Chauveau praises in a lengthy footnote: 'M. Légaré, qui a un
mérite reconnu comme paysagiste, s'est formé lui-même et sans maître:
c'est un artiste indigène dans toute l'acceptance du mot.' (368; M Légaré,
who has received recognition as a landscape artist, formed himself,
without a teacher: he's a native artist in every sense of the word.) Along
with the undeniable painterly qualities of the description, however, the
narrator notes that there are several clouds gathering on the horizon
('quelques-uns de ces nuages bruns et blancs, lourds et épais') and adds
that, unlike a painting, his landscape could not be grasped from a sin-
gle perspective; in effect, the novel itself will require several shifts in
perspective to dissipate the clouds that dot the blue horizon.
Charles and Pierre both leave for Quebec City to seek employment,
and the first change in perspective is marked by a change in voice in the
form of a letter from Pierre announcing he is leaving Canada since 'le
commerce anglais nous exclut de ses comptoirs, et nous nous fermons la
seule porte qui nous reste ouverte, une honnête et intelligente industrie'
(70; English business excludes us from its counters, and we ourselves
have closed the only door remaining open to us: honest, intelligent in-
dustry). While reading the letter during a violent storm, Charles, at
home for a few days, his mother, and his sister Louise hear a frightening
sound announcing the destruction of the family elm (74), accompanied
by a second detonation caused by a shipwreck (which Charles presumes
to be Pierre's ship), both suggesting the precarious nature of human in-
stitutions, like the family itself, and ventures, like travel, when pitted
against the force of nature. Moreover, these twin omens, each reinforced
by the landscape description, foresee the disintegration of a family al-
ready weakened by the absence of the father and reflect, perhaps, the
precarious situation of the French-Canadian nation.
The narrator next presents a law student in a cluttered room in
Quebec, and by virtue of the surrounding objects alone, like so many
 
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