Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
signs for the trained decipherer, the narrator hopes that 'nos lecteurs
n'ont pas manqué de deviner que c'était notre héros' (77; our readers
haven't failed to guess that it's our hero). Charles is soon joined by two
friends, Jean Guilbault, a patriotic medical student, and Henri Voisin, a
young lawyer and partisan of anglicization, and the three debate the
future of Canada in a chapter dominated by dialogue, yet another form
of verbal presentation.
If Pierre's escapism, Jean's determination, and Henri's corruption are
responses to the present condition of educated French Canadians (see
Lemire, 17), then so is Charles's ennui, which his patron Dumont tries
to cure by sending him to stay at his wealthy brother-in-law's farm near
Montreal, which begins part two of the novel. When Charles saves the
farmer's daughter, Marie Lebrun (called Marichette), from a near disas-
trous fall into an abyss on a snowy night, another reminder of the perils
of the wilderness, they don't fail to fall in love and vow to marry.
As Charles, still a minor, prepares to ask his mother for permission to
marry, he gazes over the same landscape that began the novel, although
here from a viewpoint along the shore of the cove (170). Despite the
slight shift in perspective, the beautiful landscape ('l'admirable pay-
sage') remains essentially the same due to the familiar landmarks: the
mountains in the distance, the island in the middle, framed by the two
points of land on each side of the cove, between which Charles is now
situated. The only changes are ones of lighting, brought on by the time
of day (dawn) and the season (spring), which Chauveau records in
some detail and, as usual, in terms of contrasts: 'Une neige éblouissante
tranchant avec l'azur du firmament … De larges taches blanches …
contrastaient avec les noirs sapins et l'herbe nouvelle.' (Dazzling snow
standing out against the azure heavens … large white spots … con-
trasted with the black firs and new grass.) The overall scene is one of
perfect harmony in nature (underscored by the use of personification),
which seems to bode well for Charles's projects. What is most remark-
able is that the narrator openly uses the description to structure his long
and complex story by invoking the reader's memory - 'ce qui nous fait
souvenir' (which makes us remember) - just as he does the character's
memory: 'rappeler en foule' (remember in masses). Among the objects
in the scene, only the fallen elm represents a change, but since the tree
stands for the family itself, the change in Charles's role is substantial, as
is the addition of a new element to the landscape several pages later. As
Charles's attention is drawn to a spectacle at the Wagnaër's home, the
painting becomes 'un tableau de genre des plus charmants, encadré
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