The Unknown Country, Canada and Her People

By Bruce Hutchison | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ONE
Chez Garneau

A song awakened us before daylight. A man was singing lustily in French below our window. In the darkness we could hear the jingle of sleigh bells along the village street as he drove past and, above the bells, the mellow voice, booming out of a mighty chest. It was an old French song, such a peasant song as the troubadours must have sung in the lost France where these Quebec people came from, long ago. Slowly the song faded with a dying tinkle of bells, far down the Island of Orleans, towards the St. Lawrence.

We lay there in our huge, carved bed, under the eaves, and listened to the last faint sound, trying to picture the unseen man on the sleigh, whose fathers had sung carelessly like this, here on their Island, for three hundred years; trying hard to forget that this was 1941 and no songs in the world any more.

Then the great, cranky bell of the church clanged out, suddenly, fiercely, with sharp tongue and morning temper, rousing the villagers to worship. The priest would be there in the freezing church, pulling the bell rope as it had been pulled regularly every morning, without fail, since 1717. When the clanging ceased, grudgingly, we could still hear the thin sound of sleigh bells, far off, and a last frail shred of song.

Now Madame Garneau was moving about downstairs, lighting the new, white-enameled stove, just shipped on mail order from Quebec and the finest on the Island. In a little while we could feel the heat of it, ascending through the big trap door

-6-

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The Unknown Country, Canada and Her People
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Contents ix
  • My Country 3
  • Chapter One - Chez Garneau 6
  • Mother of Canada 21
  • Canadian Spring 43
  • Chapter Three - The Wood Choppers 46
  • Letter from Montreal to Young Lady With Violets 61
  • Chapter Four - Ville Marie 64
  • The Tower 77
  • Chapter Five - Three O'Clock, Ottawa Time 79
  • Leaves Falling, Dead Men Calling 107
  • Chapter Six - Made in Canada 110
  • The Ready Way to Canada 129
  • Chapter Seven - The Wedge 132
  • Mrs. Noggins 155
  • Chapter Eight General Brock's Bloody Hill 158
  • Winter 179
  • Chapter Nine - Wood, Wind, Water 182
  • The Names of Canada 209
  • Chapter Ten - Sailors' Town 211
  • The Queer Lady 219
  • Chapter Eleven - The Home Town 222
  • The Trees 231
  • Chapter Twelve - Fundy's Children 234
  • The Geese 247
  • Chapter Thirteen - The Frontiersman 249
  • The Canadian 269
  • Chapter Fourteen - The Men in Sheepskin Coats 272
  • Father's Plow 289
  • Chapter Fifteen - Drought and Glut 292
  • Never Go Back 309
  • She's Quiet Tonight 329
  • Chapter Seventeen - The Lotus Eaters 332
  • The Buckskin 351
  • Chapter Eighteen - Cariboo Road 353
  • Index 375
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