They make house calls…



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Flowers and Fruit, 1899 - Louis Valtat
Flowers and Fruit par Louis Valtat, 1899 (

I apologize for not posting more frequently. First, someone is reading my posts as I write them. He or she may have the best intentions. Still, I have always worked alone. Although I have read and continue to read books and articles on Molière and insert quotations in learned articles, I usually present a significantly personal analysis of Molière.

It seems, however, that I may henceforth publish shorter posts. Last Wednesday, I tried to do some online banking. However, the company has created a new and safer version of its online tools. I followed the instructions, and a message appeared confirming that all was well. However, I could not log in.

So I phoned the company and waited for a few minutes until someone was available, but I started to cry when a young man answered. Technologies are a genuine obstacle, and technical problems may trigger a vulnerability. At any rate, within a few minutes, two large policemen were inside my apartment. I put on my mask, and we spoke.

I mentioned that my cat had died on 29 November 2019 and that it would soon be a year since he died. Moreover, I had been inside my apartment since March, avoiding the coronavirus. As well, in the space of three years, I had failed to settle in my apartment. Finally, Sherbrooke is now a red zone. One cannot call a carpenter, until a degree of safety has been reached. Who would help during a pandemic?

One of the policemen suggested I adopt a cat, and one offered to remove a heavy box from the hallway. They were good persons. I thanked them because I felt much better. It had been an accident.

One returns to life as usual, a narrower life because of Covid-19, but life.

However, I reflected that in the days of the coronavirus, if a citizen of Sherbrooke, Quebec, feels distraught, his or her best help could be the police. They are available twenty-four hours a day and they make house calls.

Love to everyone 💕

Afficher l’image source
Anemones and Green Jug by Louis Valtat, ca. 1926 (courtesy Art Resource, NY)

© Micheline Walker
20 November 2020

Chronicling Covid-19 (7): The Plan



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I would invite you to reread the article I posted yesterday.

I have not changed my mind. I believe that we have to test people and let the healthy return to the workplace. Self-isolation alone will not keep us safe. Not if we can no longer work and earn a living. There is no overnight miracle, but testing may allow the economy to recover more quickly.

Testing is much easier than discovering a vaccine. As I mentioned yesterday, there is an American group who is working with doctors and scientists and would send the healthy back to a safe workplace. Testing would be needed.

A vaccine will be produced, but it may not be produced in the foreseeable future, luck being a factor. Who will come up with the brilliant idea that will allow a cure and also allow the world to be as it should be. We can now see the magnificent Himalayan range of mountains.

Leaders, doctors and scientists must work together, but expertise must inform decisions made by elected officials. Mr Trump is ready to send people back to work to save the economy. But we cannot allow people who test positive to return to work. They must still self-isolate, or the pandemic will continue.

A Triage: Testing

What I am suggesting is a triage that would separate the healthy from the sick and allow those who test negative to return to work. The sick would be treated, but the healthy would keep the economy alive. We have new tools: Skype, etc. Although humanity has been scourged for millennia, it has survived.

I have a healthy nephew whose employees are healthy, but they are not allowed to work. So why do we not test them? Testing was carried out in Germany quite successfully.

We cannot close the future down. We cannot let massive unemployment follow the pandemic. That is a grim scenario. Scientists would continue to search for a vaccine, but the economy would not crumble. Testing may be difficult to organize, but it has to be organized. There is no other way.

Expertise is what world leaders need. I do not wish to trivialize world leaders, but they need guidance from doctors, scientists and economists, which is leadership in the days of the novel coronavirus.

Streets would still be disinfected as well as the workplace, but we would ensure economic stability and lift the world’s morale. Can we truly justify the self-isolation of my nephew and his healthy employees?

I am not a medical doctor, a scientist, or an economist. I am quite simply civic-minded. If we test and test, we will find those who test negative. I’m scared, because this virus may be airborne. Hence cleaning the workplace. But why isolate people who would test negative and create a new nightmare.


The Creation
, Die Schöpfung, by Joseph Haydn


Jerome Adams, Surgeon General of the United States.

© Micheline Walker
12 April 2020








Molière’s “L’Avare:” Doublings



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L’Avare by François Boucher (drawing) and Laurent Cars (engraving) (Photo credit: Pinterest)


  • Plautus (c. 254 – 184 BCE)
  • commedia dell’arte
  • French 17th-century misers: sources
  • Hellenic (ancient Greek) sources
  • French medieval farces and fabliaux
  • translations into English

As indicated in a previous post, Molière‘s L’Avare, The Miser, was first performed on 9 September 1668 at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal. It is a five-act play, in prose, inspired by Roman dramatist Plautus‘ (254 – 148 BCE) Aulularia, the Pot of Gold. As we have seen, it is also rooted in the commedia dell’arte as well as Italian comedies and tales, and in France’s own medieval farces and the largely scatological fabliaux.

However, Molière also drew his material from La Belle Plaideuse (1655), by François le Métel de Boisrobert, which features a father-as-usurer, and Jean Donneau de Visé‘s La Mère coquette (1665), where a father and son are in love with the same woman.[1]

L’Avare is one of Molière’s better-known comedies and it was translated into English by Thomas Shadwell (1772) and Henry Fielding, the author of Tom Jones. However, it was not a huge success in Molière’s own days. It has been speculated that Molière’s audience expected a play written in verse, the nobler alexandrine verse (12 feet or syllables), first used in the twelfth-century Roman d’Alexandre.


L’Avare (

The dramatis personæ is:

Harpagon, father to Cléante, in love with Mariane.
Cléante, Harpagon’s son, lover to Marianne.
Valère, son to Anselme, lover to Élise, and “intendant” to Harpagon
Anselme / Dom Thomas d’Alburcy, father to Valère and Mariane, and 
Master Simon, broker.
Master Jacques, cook and coachman to Harpagon.
La Flèche, valet to Cléante.
Brindavoine, and La Merluche, lackeys to Harpagon.
A Magistrate and his Clerk.
Élise, daughter to Harpagon.
Mariane, daughter to Anselme.
Frosine, an intriguing woman.
Mistress Claude, servant to Harpagon.

The scene is at Paris, in Harpagon’s house.

Act One

We will be focusing on the manner in which the young couples featured in the Miser, L’Avare, manage to overcome the obstacle to their marriage. Short of a miracle, they are condemned to do as their father’s greed dictates. All the elements of L’Avare’s plot are introduced in the first act of the play, which reflects the Græco-Roman origins of comedy and tragedy. As a five-act play, Molière’s L’Avare is a ‘grande comédie,’ not a farce (Molière wrote both), and its plot is the archetypal struggle, also called the agôn, between, on the one hand, the alazṓn of Greek comedy, or the blocking character, and, on the other hand, the eirôn, the young couple and their supporters: valets, maids, zanni. In other words, it is a traditional blondin-berne-barbon plot. The young couples will succeed in marrying.

A Comedy of Manners and A Comedy of Intrigue

  • doublings: two young couples and two fathers
  • Harpagon is the father of Élise and Cléante
  • Anselme is Valère and Mariane’s father, which we do not know until the fifth act (V. v) of the comedy

L’Avare is both a comedy of manners, a form we inherited mostly from Greek dramatist Menander, and a comédie d’intrigue, a comedy where the plot prevails. As the portrayal of a miser, L’Avare is a comedy of manners (see the full text in Wikisource and eBook #6923). Harpagon’s greed constitutes the obstacle to the marriage of Cléante (Harpagon) and Mariane as well as the marriage of Valère and Élise (Harpagon).

Cléante gambles and wins, which allows him to buy elegant clothes and court Mariane, but he does not have sufficient money to marry and must therefore go to a moneylender. Ironically, the moneylender happens to be Harpagon himself who demands no less than the now metaphorical “pound of flesh” (Shylock) as repayment. The moneylender episode—act two, scene two (II. i) [II. 2]—shows to what extent Harpagon’s greed is an obstacle to the marriage of our young couples. The plot advances in that Cléante cannot obtain a loan that might enable his marriage. Another “trick” must be devised. However, plot and manners (greed) are inextricably woven.

Obstacles to Two Marriages

  • “genre” art
  • a family tyrant

The action takes place in Harpagon’s house in Paris and can be described as genre arta depiction of ordinary people engaged in ordinary activities. Will G Moore has remarked that Molière’s characters

“[a]re concerned with everyday life; the stuff of which it was made was by tradition the doings of ordinary people in ordinary surroundings.”[2]

L’Avare is a five-act comedy, but it is written in prose, not verse, and Harpagon, our blocking character, is an enriched bourgeois. Although he does not feed his horse properly, he owns a carriage and he has servants. As depicted by François Boucher, the interior of his house is rather elegant. However, he is extremely greedy and he behaves as though he owned his children. He is a domestic tyrant. In act one, Harpagon states that he has arranged for his children to marry, but has not consulted them. Cléante will marry a “certain widow,” our tyrant has just heard of, and Élise will be “given” to Mr. Anselme, a gentleman who will not request the customary dowry, or “sans dot

Quant à ton frère, je lui destine une certaine veuve dont ce matin on m’est venu parler; et, pour toi, je te donne au seigneur Anselme. (Harpagon to Élise, [I. iv])
[As to your brother, I have thought for him of a certain widow, of whom I heard this morning; and you I shall give to Mr. Anselme. [1. 6] [eBook #6923]

Élise does not know Mr Anselme and refuses to marry him, threatening to commit suicide. As for Harpagon, he plans to marry Mariane, who loves his son (Cléante). For Harpagon, Mr Anselme is a perfect choice because Élise will marry at no cost to the miser: “sans dot.” (I. iv FR) (I. 6 EN) 

Harpagon’s Rigidity

Valère will attempt to save Élise from a marriage to a person other than himself. Valère, Harpagon’s “intendant,” begs Harpagon to free Élise. However, the objections he presents are followed by Harpagon’s “sans dot” (without a dowry). Molière’s blocking characters are inflexible or rigid. This rigidity is the feature Henri Bergson (18 October 1859 – 4 January 1941) attached to the comical or comedic in his Laughter. Valère’s objections having been rebuked by a litany of “sans dot,” he is literally speechless. He simply repeats what the Harpagon, the miser, has told him:

Lorsqu’on s’offre de prendre une fille sans dot, on ne doit point regarder plus avant. Tout est renfermé là-dedans, et sans dot tient lieu de beauté, de jeunesse, de naissance, d’honneur, de sagesse, et de probité. (Valère à Harpagon, I. v)
[When a man offers to marry a girl without a dowry, we ought to look no farther. Everything is comprised in that, and “without dowry” compensates for want of beauty, youth, birth, honour, wisdom, and probity.] (I. 10[eBook #6923]

But there is some hope. As the story goes, Valère’s father, Dom Thomas d’Alburcy, is believed to have drowned when he and his family (his wife, Valère and Mariane) were fleeing Naples. It appears, however, that Dom Thomas has survived and that he is a man of means. Valère was looking for him when he met Élise. At her request, he decided to stay near her and made himself Harpagon’s “intendant,” but someone else is looking for Valère’s father.

Mais enfin, si je puis, comme je l’espère, retrouver mes parents, nous n’aurons pas beaucoup de peine à nous le rendre favorable. J’en attends des nouvelles avec impatience, et j’en irai chercher moi-même, si elles tardent à venir. (I. i)
[However, if I can find my parents, as I fully hope I shall, they will soon be favourable to us. I am expecting news of them with great impatience; but if none comes I will go in search of them myself.] [I.1]

The curtain will then fall on an anagnorisis  (V. v) [V. 5], a recognition scene. However, when Anselme enters Harpagon’s house and hears that there is opposition to the contract he has come to sign, he tells Harpagon that he will not coerce a woman into a mariage, which frees Élise. He also remarks that he will not “lay claim to a heart which has already bestowed itself,” thereby allowing Mariane, his daughter, to marry Cléante, Harpagon’s son, rather than Harpagon.

Ce n’est pas mon dessein de me faire épouser par force, et de rien prétendre à un cœur qui se serait donné ; mais pour vos intérêts, je suis prêt à les embrasser ainsi que les miens propres. (Anselme to Harpagon [V. v])
[It is not my intention to force anybody to marry me, and to lay claim to a heart which has already bestowed itself; but as far as your interests are concerned, I am ready to espouse them as if they were my own.] (V. 5) [eBook #6923]

Anselme seems a fine gentleman whom the anagnorisis (V. v) [V. 5], the dénouement (see Dramatic Structure, Wikipedia), will identify as Valère and Mariane’s father. A greedy Harpagon has chosen Anselme as the perfect groom because Anselme would marry Élise without requesting the customary dowry, or at no cost to the miser: “sans dot.” (I. v) [I. 5]


Qu’il faut manger pour vivre, et non pas vivre pour manger. (III. i)

A Comedy of Intrigue

  • a plot or intrigue
  • a chiasmus (a mirror image in a sentence)
  • a quiproquo (a misunderstanding)
  • the doubling of the father figure (mirror image)

Harpagon’s greed is enormous, so students are taught that Molière concentrates on manners rather than the plot. He does, but in L’Avare, although the plot is mainly episodic, manners and plot (intrigue) are inextricably linked. For instance, when Harpagon is having a meal prepared to celebrate the marriage(s) that are to take place that very day, Harpagon hears Valère say that il faut manger pour vivre and not vivre pour manger, that one should eat to live and not live to eat, Harpagon so loves Valère’s witty chiasmus, that he wants these words engraved in gold and placed above his fireplace. (III. i) [III. 1] It is unlikely that Harpagon would use gold to celebrate greed, but it is true to character and comical. A meal often ends comedies and may solemnize a wedding.

Moreover, it is a quiproquo, a comical misunderstanding which, in L’Avare, leads to the anagnorisis. When Harpagon realizes his cassette has disappeared and may have been stolen, he loses his composure and accuses Valère, at the instigation of Maître Jacques. Maître Jacques resents the trust Harpagon has placed in Valère. If he could, Harpagon would have Valère drawn and quartered. Valère has not stolen Harpagon’s cassette, but he and Élise have signed a promise to marry another. Valère has ‘robbed’ Harpagon, but it is Élise he has taken, not a cassette. (V. iii & iv) [V. 3 & 4] [eBook #6923]

Anselme first steps foot on the stage as the battle rages. Given Élise’s promise, he cannot and would not marry her. However, Valère stands accused of a theft and wants to tell his story. The anagnorisis has now begun. To give himself credibility, Valère says that he is the son of Dom Thomas d’Alburcy, which Anselme hesitates to believe because he is a friend of Dom Those and, to his knowledge, all members of Dom Thomas’ family drowned as they were trying to flee Naples, which is not the case.Valère says that he was rescued by Pedro, a servant, and later adopted by the captain of the ship he and Pedro were allowed to board. He can prove his identity. As he speaks, Mariane realizes that Valère is her brother.

For their part, Mariane and her mother were also saved, but their helpers were corsaires, pirates, who enslaved them. Following ten years of enslavement, they were released and they returned to Naples where they could not find Dom Thomas d’Alburcy. They therefore picked up a small inheritance in Genoa and moved to Paris. Mariane’s mother is Valère’s  mother and Dom Thomas d’Alburcy’s wife. As he watches this scene, Dom Thomas learns that no member of his family died leaving Naples. He has just found his children and his wife. He would not stand in the way of Valère and Mariane’s marriage who wish to marry Harpagon’s children. Le sieur Anselme knows le sieur Harpagon.

Le Ciel, mes enfants, ne me redonne point à vous, pour être contraire à vos vœux. Seigneur Harpagon, vous jugez bien que le choix d’une jeune personne tombera sur le fils plutôt que sur le père. Allons, ne vous faites point dire ce qu’il n’est point nécessaire d’entendre, et consentez ainsi que moi à ce double hyménée. (V. v)

[Heaven, my dear children, has not restored you to me that I might oppose your wishes. Mr. Harpagon, you must be aware that the choice of a young girl is more likely to fall upon the son than upon the father. Come, now, do not force people to say to you what is unnecessary, and consent, as I do, to this double marriage.] [V. 5] [eBook #6923]


Molière’s L’Avare has an intrigue which resembles the intrigue of most comedies. A young couple wishes to marry, but a blocking character, or alazṓnprevents their marriage. However, Molière has doubled the young couple who are a brother and sister wishing to marry a brother and a sister, so Molière has therefore doubled the father figure which happens during the anagnorisis. As Dom Thomas d’Alburcy, Anselme is the eirôn who allows the young couples to marry.

The anagnorisis, the recognition scene, does not take place unannounced. As mentioned earlier, as he despairs,Valère tells Élise that he hopes to find his father who may still be alive. Act one (I. i) [I. 1] has prepared the reader or spectator:

Mais enfin, si je puis comme je l’espère, retrouver mes parents, nous n’aurons pas beaucoup de peine à nous le rendre favorable. (Valère à Élise, I. i)
[However, if I can find my parents, as I fully hope I shall, they will soon be favourable to us.] [I. 1] [eBook #6923]


Der Geizigue, Harpagon & La Flèche by August Wilhelm Iffland, 1810 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


In L’Avare, Molière does not use a deus ex machina. He simply introduces a second father figure who will allow the young couples to marry and will pay all costs. L’Avare‘s young couple are in fact very resourceful, but one cannot marry without money. Mariane (Dom Thomas) recoils at wishing Harpagon’s death, feelings that are reciprocated by Cléante (Harpagon).

Mon Dieu, Frosine, c’est une étrange affaire, lorsque pour être heureuse, il faut souhaiter ou attendre le trépas de quelqu’un, et la mort ne suit pas tous les projets que nous faisons. (Mariane à Frosine, III. iv)
[Oh, Frosine! What a strange state of things that, in order to be happy, we must look forward to the death of another. Yet death will not fall in with all the projects we make.] [III. 8] [eBook #6923]

Que veux-tu que j’y fasse ? Voilà où les jeunes gens sont réduits par la maudite avarice des pères ; et on s’étonne après cela que les fils souhaitent qu’ils meurent. (II. i)
[What would you have me do? It is to this that young men are reduced by the accursed avarice of their fathers; and people are astonished after that, that sons long for their death.] [II. 1] [eBook #6923]

When his father falls, accidentally, Cléante is worried:

Qu’est-ce, mon père, vous êtes-vous fait mal ? (III. ix)
[What’s the matter, father? Have you hurt yourself?] [III. 14] [eBook #6923]

Critic Northrop Frye states that “[t]he tendency of comedy is to include as many people as possible in its final society: the blocking characters are more often reconciled or converted than simply repudiated.”[3]

As for Harpagon, although he may he has been tyrannical, when Dom Thomas and the young couples leave to bring good news to Dom Thomas’ wife, Harpagon is off to see his dear cassette. His cassette, a casket, his vital to Harpagon.

Et moi, voir ma chère cassette. (I. vi)
[And I to see my dear casket.][1. 6] [eBook #6923]


I have already suggested that Molière uses doubling and fusion of functions.[4] Harpagon is a miser and will remain a miser ready to sacrifice his children. It is a sad reflection on humanity but perhaps less sad than the intervention of a deus ex machina. Dom Thomas d’Alburcy is a  major member of the play’s society, the intervention of a second father figure allows the happy ending the play demands. An anagnorisis may not be as dazzling a dénouement as the intervention of a deus ex machina, the prince in Tartuffe and a godlike figure in Dom Juan, but all’s well that ends well. 

Love to everyone



Commedia dell’arte


Sources and Resources

The Miser is a Wikisource eBook (Charles Heron Wall, translator)
The Miser is an Internet Archive publication EN
The Miser is a Project Gutenberg publication [eBook #6923] EN
The Miser, Henri Fielding is an eText EN
L’Avare is a publication FR
Molière21 is a research group
Le Salon littéraire FR
The Miser is a LibriVox text publication (YouTube)
Laughter, Henri Bergson is an Internet Archive publication EN

[1] L’Avare in Maurice Rat, Œuvres complètes de Molière (Paris : Éditions Gallimard, coll. La Pléiade, 1956), p. 968.
[2] Will  G. Moore, Molière, a New Criticism (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1968 [1949], pp. 69-70.
[3] Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973 [1957]), p. 165.
[4] Micheline Bourbeau-Walker, « Le Misanthrope, ou la comédie éclatée, » in David Trott & Nicole Boursier, eds. L’Âge du théâtre en France (Edmonton, Alberta: Academic Printing and Publishing, 1988 ), 53 – 63. (papers from a conference held in Toronto, May 14 – 16, 1987) ISBN 0-920980-30-9 — PQ527.A33 1988

The Miser


L’Avare by Jean Degrassi, 1955 (

© Micheline Walker
1 December 2016

Mistakes and a Serenade



Once again, I made mistakes. I’m ageing and, perhaps, exhausted.

I wrote “learning English as a second language” instead of “learning French as a second language.”

My text should read:

In this respect, I would like to repeat that, in Quebec, learning French as a second language should be in the curriculum. Moreover, I would not prevent French-speaking students from enrolling in an English language CEGEP, a two-year post-secondary programme, or similar institutions. Finally, I would recommend improvements in teaching French as a mother tongue.

Micheline Bourbeau-Walker was my name for a very long time.


Kindest regards to all of you 💕

Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté, The Magog River, 1913

© Micheline Walker
2 October 2022

Language Laws in Quebec: la Patrie littéraire, the Literary Homeland


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Marc-Aurèle de Foy Susor-Coté, Coin de mon village, Arthabaska, 1914 (Musée des Beaux-Arts du Canada. NGA)


I made changes to my last post. There were little mistakes, “surface errors.” I’m ageing. However, I would like to add that, in my opinion, Canadians have not paid sufficient attention to the findings of the Royal Commission of Bilingualism and Biculturalism (1963-1969) and Canada’s Official Languages Act. It was passed in 1969 and amended in 1988. The effort provided by Canadian Parents for French has led to the creation of French immersion schools. Canadian Parents for French is an organization that needs members and support.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms may be the better tool for promoting bilingual education. It guarantees minority rights when numbers warrant. I suspect that l’École acadienne de Pomquet owes its existence to Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In this respect, I would like to repeat that, in Quebec, learning French as a second language should be in the curriculum. Moreover, I would not prevent French-speaking students from enrolling in an English language CEGEP, a two-year post-secondary programme, or similar institutions. Finally, I would recommend improvements in the teaching of French as a mother tongue.

Moreover, Harvard’s new course on North America’s francophonie may prove an excellent initiative. Canada’s founding nations were France and Britain, but the French opened the North American continent. Francophonie overrides the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. It also overrides the expulsion of the Acadians, many of whom live in Louisiana. Moreover, 900,000 French Canadians moved to the United States between 1830 and 1930. They could not find work in Canada. They may no longer speak French, but they are part of North America’s francophonie.

La Patrie littéraire, the Literary Homeland

I could not write my book on Molière during my last sabbatical leave because I was asked to prepare two new courses: Animals in Literature and a course on contemporary Quebec literature. That year, however, I lectured in Stuttgart, Germany. One of my lectures was on la patrie littéraire, the literary homeland. In his Report on the Rebellions of 1837-1838, Lord Durham stated that French Canadians had no history and no literature.

They are a people with no history, and no literature. The literature of England is written in a language which is not theirs; literature which their language renders familiar to them, is that of a nation from which they have been separated by eighty years of a foreign rule, and still more by those changes which the Revolution and its consequences have wrought in the whole political, moral and social state of France.

Lord Durham’s Report on the Affairs of British North America, Sir C.P. Lucas, K.C.B., K.C.M.G. pp. 294-295 (Internet Archive)

I have noted elsewhere that denigration of French Canadians sparked the creation of two literary schools: l’École littéraire de Québec and l’École littéraire de Montréal. Moreover, François-Xavier Garneau wrote an Histoire du Canada depuis sa découverte jusqu’à nos jours.

As my sabbatical drew to a close I wrote an article entitled La Patrie littéraire: errance et résistance, published under my professional identity, Micheline Bourbeau-Walker. Bourbeau is my mother’s family name. La Patrie littéraire is a term used by René Dionne in his section of Gilles Marcotte‘s Anthologie de la littérature Québécoise. It is a fine description of the works written by French Canada’s two early literary schools. French Canada became a literary homeland. Its writers were French Canadians.

My contribution to this concept is an analysis of Antonine Maillet‘s Pélagie-la-Charrette, the above-mentioned La Patrie littéraire: errance et résistance. Pélagie-la-Charrette is a novel which earned its author, Antonine Maillet, the prestigious Prix Goncourt 1979. The novel features Pélagie, the narrator, and a group of Acadians travelling up the east coast of the United States pulling a cart, la charrette. They are returning to Acadie. Pélagie presents her characters as “the son of” or “the daughter of:” le fils à or la fille à: “Bélonie à Bélonie,” providing a lineage for her characters. Our ancestors are larger than we are. They validate us. So, Pélagie-la-Charrette is an anamnèse and a creation of things past. The term anamnèse is used in medicine where it lists the medical antecedents of a patient, but Pélagie-la-Charette is also une anamnèse. Pélagie builds a past.

I am mentioning la patrie littéraire because much of the literature produced by members of the Quebec and Montreal literary schools gave an identity to French Canada. Pamphile Lemay translated Henry Wadsworth Longfellow‘s Évangéline, a Tale of Acadie. Évangéline is a fictional character, but she lives forever. Historian Mona Ozouf also created une patrie littéraire: Récits d’une Patrie littéraire (Paris, Fayard), the literary works of women writers.

I will close here, concluding, first, that French should be in the curriculum in Quebec’s English-language schools and that the teaching of French as a mother tongue could be revised. I also wish to emphasize that a nation may be une patrie littéraire. French Canada will always be a sum of its literary works and other achievements.


My kindest regards to all of you. 💕

Alan Mills sings Un Canadien errant
Marc-Aurèle de Foy Susor-Coté L’Automne (Pinterest)

© Micheline Bourbeau-Walker
2 October 2022

Quebec’s Language Laws, a Preface


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Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-CotéWet Snow, Arthabaska (detail), around 1919, oil on canvas. Gift of Mrs Ruth Soloway, 2012 (55-004.45) Photo: Bernard Clark


I apologize for not posting an article for a very long time. I lost my Microsoft password and could not answer one of the questions related to the password. Not in a million years would I have used the name of my first pet, one of the three questions I had to answer to retrieve my account. I could not spell that word. I knew the elements of my password and ended up recovering it. But I lost it again. I spent a week putting together a phone number and “chagrin.” What elements of “chagrin” had I used? I knew my “code,” but I had accidentally erased it.

It was a nightmare, so I went to Magog to be with my friend John. He knows “numbers.” He couldn’t help until I remembered my password. After a few days, I wrote the correct shortened version of “chagrin,” the word I had used. This accident was compounded by a loss of money. The moment Putin invaded Ukraine, my pension fund started to melt. I lost a substantial amount of money, so the fund was transferred to my bank’s top managers. I have not regained a penny. It is frightening.

A Sad Remnant of Imperialism and Colonialism

I wrote a long post on the background of Quebec’s “Language Laws.” These laws will not yield a positive result. If a new language law is passed, Anglophones are perturbed, and many leave Quebec, which hurts Quebec. Several Quebec anglophones are the descendants of United Empire Loyalists. The Eastern Townships of the province of Quebec were given to them. It became their home. They may not know that John A. Macdonald, the foremost father of the Canadian Confederation, would not allow instruction in the French language in provinces outside Quebec, which was consistent with imperialism and colonialism.

In the 19th century, the British Empire was at its apex. So, Thomas Babington Macaulay recommended that the language of higher instruction in India be English. His policy, called Macaulayism, spread to other British colonies. Thomas Babington Macaulay was a fine man, but Britain’s success in accumulating colonies led to a belief that English was a superior language. Such a belief is understandable but it is not necessarily accurate. Thomas Babington Macaulay was a product of his time.

I would recommend that language laws be abolished and that anglophones study French. However, if the teaching of French became compulsory, anglophones may think their rights and values would have been scorned. Quebec has bilingual areas. The Eastern Townships of Quebec are bilingual, and many Montrealers are anglophones. Bill 96 further restricts the use of the English language in these areas.

As well, Bill 96 affects francophone students. French-speaking Québécois often enrol in an English-language Cégep to learn English. Cégeps offer a two-year programme following secondary school. Access to English-language Cégeps will be restricted.

The number of students in English-language CEGEPs, as a proportion of overall students, can’t be higher than it was the school year before and cannot surpass 17.5 per cent of the overall student population in Quebec.


The shortened version of my long article is that John A. Macdonald favoured schools where the language of instruction was English. French Canadians had to remain in Quebec to be educated in the French language. Therefore, immigrants and refugees who arrived in Canada, the prairies mostly, attended “uniform” schools or schools where the language of instruction was English. This created an imbalance that may remain and which is reflected in Quebec’s language legislation. The term “uniform” is not mine, but it was used in the literature I read.

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom deals with minority language rights. One has the right to be educated in French, but numbers count. A school will not be created for a handful of French-speaking Canadians, but

[t]he school is the single most important institution for the survival of the official language community, which is itself a true beneficiary under section 23 of the Charter (Arsenault-Cameron at paragraph 29; (CSF de la C-B 2016, at paragraph 367).

Section 23

I will publish my long post, but the above suffices. In my opinion, language laws deepen the rift between francophones and anglophones. The alternative to language laws is bilingual education. Anglophones could encourage their children to learn French. Learning a second language benefits a child. However, anglophones cannot be compelled to have their children educated in a language other than English. It will not work. Ideally, one should wish to know French.

French is one of Canada’s two official languages, which does not mean that every Canadian should know the two languages. But Quebec anglophones cannot ignore Canada’s officially bilingual and bicultural status. I no longer want to hear someone boast that his or her nephew or niece studied at Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Quebec, and managed not to learn a word of French. One does not boast about such a relative. Failure to learn French while living in Quebec is not an achievement. I took courses in musicology at Bishop’s. It’s a fine school.

Harvard University will now offer a course on francophonie. This, I believe, is a step in the right direction. A similar approach could be offered in Quebec’s English-language universities. It may lead to an understanding of Canada’s Official Languages Acts.

Yes, anglophones in Quebec have a right to live in English. I suppose that during the decades I lived outside Quebec, I also had the “right” to speak French, but English was my everyday language. In Antigonish, Nova Scotia one speaks English. Fortunately, I was a university teacher of French, which allowed me to express myself in my mother tongue.

Let me quote Lord Durham (John Lambton, 1st Earl of). John Lambton was asked to investigate the Rebellions of 1837-1838 and to present a report and recommendations. He wrote the following:

I entertain no doubts as to the national character which must be given to Lower Canada; it must be that of the British Empire; that of the majority of the population of British America; that of the great race which must, in the lapse of no long period of time, be predominant over the whole North American Continent. Without effecting the change so rapidly or so roughly as to shock the feelings and trample on the welfare of the existing generation, it must henceforth be the first and steady purpose of the British Government to establish an English population, with English laws and language, in this Province, and to trust its government to none but a decidedly English legislature.
Lord Durham's Report, the University of Victoria


The article may be listed on the right side of the page.


Kind regards to everyone 💕

Susor-Coté, discussed in Québec French
Le Vieux Fumeur par Marc-Aurèle de Foy Susor-Coté (NGA)

© Micheline Walker
29 September 2022

Elizabeth II has died …



Queen Elizabeth
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth


After a life of unremitting service to her people, our dear Queen has died. Elizabeth II was always there for us. Such devotion is legendary is so is her love for her husband and family. She and Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, will remain a model to the world. We were the privileged witness of an unwavering love story.

As a young woman, Elizabeth promised unflinching commitment to her subjects, but her love for Philip of Edinburgh was as constant as her love for her people. Theirs was the love story of a century. We are privileged to have been the subjects of a Queen whose stability comforted her people, despite a multitude of trials. Elizabeth’s reign was exemplary in so many ways.

Her death saddens us, but she will live in the memory of all who loved her.

Rest in peace, Elizabeth. You will never be forgotten.

Love to everyone 💕

Elizabeth II with her corgis

© Micheline Élisabeth Walker
9 September 2022



A. J. Casson
Group of Seven

Yesterday I discarded an article that posted itself without my consent. I am still rather sick. Most anti-Covid vaccines are safe, but my second anti-Covid vaccine triggered Acute Pericarditis. Recovery is prolonged. This is the 10th month.

The post I discarded is a continuation of Le Patriote. It was rather long, but it will be shorter. I will attempt to post it again later today.

This Summer, heat, dryness and floods have been frightening. Until now, my area of Quebec has not suffered, but I doubt that this will last. In Quebec, summers may be merciless, but we have been spared this Summer. O doubt that this cannot continue. The entire planet is suffering: extreme heat, floods, and dryness. It is frightening, but some politicians will not invest in remedial measures.

However, Quebec has its language laws, to which we return.

A. J. Casson, Group of Seven (W. A. Mozart – Violin Concerto No. 3 in G-Major, K 216, Mouvement I)
Farm House by A. J. Casson (Pinterest)

© Micheline Walker
23 August 2022

Le Patriote


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Le Vieux de ’37 (The Old Man from ’37) par Henri Julien

An Introduction

I am writing posts on Quebec’s Language Laws, but I am stepping in gently. French Canadian nationalism begins with Pierre-Stanislas Bédard. (See also Pierre-Stanislas Bédard, fr Wikipedia.) French Canadian nationalism also dates to the Rebellions of 1837-1838, a painful memory.

Bill 96

Although Bill 96 was passed in May and came into effect in June 2022, it has already led to the creation of a new political party in Quebec. The new party’s name is Le Parti canadien du Québec. It is the name, or nearly so, Pierre-Stanislas Bédard gave to his nationalist party in the early 1800s. Bédard was elected to the Assembly of Lower Canada in 1792, a year after the Constitutional Act was passed, and he created his Parti canadien, the very first Canadian party, at the turn of the 19th century. In 1806, Bédard also started a newspaper, Le Canadien.

The Constitutional Act of 1791 responded to the arrival of United Empire Loyalists in Sir Guy Carleton‘s Province of Quebec. (See The Quebec Act, Wikipedia.) The Quebec Act had perturbed the citizens of the Thirteen Colonies before the American Revolution and also disturbed United Empire Loyalists. The Rights of Englishmen was a popular concept which gained ground as the British Empire was nearing its apex.

The motivation to secede was informed by the “Rights of Englishmen,” but it also justified leaving the independent United States, no longer ruled by Britain. After the fall of Nouvelle-France, citizens of the Thirteen Colonies could move north to Britain’s new colony, the former New France. These individuals did not differ substantially from secessionists. Canadiens were not equal to Englishmen. They spoke French, the language of Britain’s main rival, France, and France had lost the Seven Years’ War. Moreover, the French in North America were Catholics.

The Constitutional Act of 1791 divided the vast Province of Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada. Upper Canada would be home to English-speaking Canadians, but United Empire Loyalists settled the Eastern Townships of Quebec, where I was born. The Eastern Townships is a bilingual area of Quebec, within limits. Bill 96 further narrows the limits determined by Bill 101, passed in 1977. Bill 96 also restricts access to English-language Cégeps. Many Québécois attend English-language Cégeps, a two-year pre-University programme, to learn English. English is the current lingua franca, the language of success.

Quebec towns protecting right to serve residents in English after new language law

Le Patriote

The above image is Henri Julien‘s depiction of a French Canadian patriote. Le Vieux de ’37, was created to illustrate Louis-Honoré Fréchette‘s « Le Vieux Patriote », a poem Fréchette published in La Légende d’un peuple, an internet publication at Le Vieux Patriote can also be read in French, at Un Jour Un Poème (click on title). The poem’s theme is exile, a theme expressed in Antoine Gérin-Lajoie‘s poem and song, Un Canadien errant. Un Canadien errant and its translation are a Wikisource publication.

In Fréchette’s poem, we sense a solid will to remember the Rebellions of 1837-1838. (Les Rébellions de 37). The Rebellions took place in both Canadas, where patriots sought responsible government. They attacked the state: Britain. The rebellion was more intense in Lower Canada than in Upper Canada, and repression was more severe. Most convicted patriots were hanged or exiled to Australia, and some, to Bermuda.

Exile is an essential theme in 19th-century French-Canadian literature. In the mind of Quécébois, the Rebellions of 1837-1838 may be a more traumatic event than the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, the last battle of the French and Indian War (the Seven Years’ War).

After Canadiens read Lord Durham’s Report on the Rebellions of 1837-1838, they founded two literary schools, one in Quebec City and, the other, in Montréal. Louis-Honoré Fréchette (1839-1908) was a prominent member of l’École littéraire de Montréal. I have found an ebook edition of Jean Charbonneau‘s L’École littéraire de Montréal. Louis-Honoré Fréchette was in favour of annexation with the United States.

The Atlantic Revolutions

I have already mentioned the Atlantic Revolutions. The Rebellions of 1837-1838 are currently considered one of several attempts to create republics. A Patriot War was waged within the Rebellions of 1837-1838. It took place between December 1837 and December 1838. The Patriot War was an ideological war mostly. It promoted republicanism. William Lyon Mackenzie proclaimed the Republic of Canada on December 5, 1837, but the Patriot War started in Vermont, and the Patriots were defeated.

Lord Elgin granted the Province of Canada, a united Canada, a responsible government under the “great ministry” of Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine in 1849.


I believe the survival of the French language in Canada is threatened. Confederation led to the creation of “uniform” schools in every province of Canada, except Quebec. When immigrants arrived, they attended “uniform” schools. This policy originated in Macaulayism. Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859) was a fine gentleman, but the sun never set on the British Empire which could lead people astray. The English Education system would be used in Britain’s colonies. Moreover, English would be the language of instruction in higher education in India and in post-Confederation Canada. The French could not be educated in French outside. They had to stay in Quebec. Immigrants who arrived in Canada were educated in “uniform” schools. It created an imbalance, that cannot be redressed easily and it should not demand that every Canadian learn French and English. That would be unrealistic. However, it should be possible to learn a second language in schools. Following the passage of the Official Languages Act of 1969, French immersion schools were established.

Ottawa has a Commissioner of Official Languages, and Pomquet is not the only Acadian village to boast une école acadienne. I taught Second Language Didactics at McMaster University and served as President of l’Apfucc, l’Association des Professeurs de Français des Universités et Collègues canadiens or Canadian Association of University and College Teachers of French. I also served on the board of directors and the executive of the Fédération canadienne des Études humaines, now renamed Fédération canadienne des Sciences humaines. These were my better days. I have investigated second-language teaching/learning.

I will close by saying that language policies protecting the French language in Canada should not lead to chicaneries and threaten Canadian unity. (to be continued)


Under History

Sources and Resources


Kind regards to everyone 💕

Paul Robeson sings Un Canadian errant. His interpretation is the finest I have heard.

Un Canadien (source unknown)

© Micheline Walker
16 August 2022

Pope Francis apologizes for the Residential School Tragedy in Canada


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Pope Francis
Pope Francis visits the Lac Ste. Anne pilgrimage site in Alberta, Canada, Tuesday, July 26, 2022. Pope Francis travelled to Canada to apologise to Indigenous peoples for the abuses committed by Catholic missionaries in the country’s notorious residential schools. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (



  • The Indian Act of 1876
  • Reserves and Residential Schools 

Pope Francis was in Canada for six days on a reconciliation mission. He has now returned to the Vatican.

In 1876, a few years after the Canadian Confederation (1867), the government of the Dominion of Canada passed the Indian Act (1876). Amerindians had to live on Reserves, and their children were forcibly taken to “Residential Schools.” The goal of Residential Schools was to assimilate native children into Euro-Canadian society, which, according to Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald, required withdrawing them from the Reserves where their parents, “savages,” lived. The children were to be put in “central training industrial schools.”

When the school is on the reserve the child lives with its parents, who are savages; he is surrounded by savages, and though he may learn to read and write his habits, and training and mode of thought are Indian. He is simply a savage who can read and write. It has been strongly pressed on myself, as the head of the Department, that Indian children should be withdrawn as much as possible from the parental influence, and the only way to do that would be to put them in central training industrial schools where they will acquire the habits and modes of thought of white men.
Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future, Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (Introduction, p. 3) 
(Wayback Machine.)



According to the documents I have read and supplied, the story of Residential Schools begins in New France. At first, I did not understand how residential schools originated in New France. I now believe the reference to New France is about its missionaries. Conversion to Christianity was a form of acculturation. But the French married Amerindians.

So, to my knowledge, there were no Indian Reserves before Canadian Confederation and children were not forcibly removed from their parents to attend Residential Schools. These events unfolded after the passage of the Indian Act of 1876. Residential Schools dated to 1880 and were not closed until the last quarter of the 20th century.

However, legislation transforming Amerindians into Euro-Canadians precedes the Indian Act of 1876, but it was not implemented. A list of relevant legislation is included in the Indian Act of 1876 (precursors and amendments). Therefore, by 1876, after Canadian Confederation, the ground was laid for the Indian Act. The Province of Canada (1841-1867) passed the Gradual Civilization Act of 1857, but the Gradual Enfranchisement Act of 1869 followed Canadian Confederation (1967). The Indian Act of 1876 differed from earlier legislation because it was imposed rather than negotiated. Treaties were negotiated.

Assimilation & Abuse

  • Devaluation
  • Neglect
  • Programmed assimilation as genocide

Children who lived in Residential Schools were to be assimilated into the dominant Euro-Canadian culture. First, they were not allowed to speak a native language. If they did, they were punished. As a result, they viewed their language as inferior to Euro-Canadian languages, mainly English, which was a devaluation of their person.

The assimilation of native children into Euro-Canadians was objectionable, but abuse, including sexual abuse, was devastatingly harmful. These children had been separated from their parents and had no one to go to, so it was all too easy for the staff of Residential Schools to use their wards to gratify sexual urges unpunished and remorselessly. Sexual abuse is an egregious invasion of one’s privacy.

In fact, neglect alone can cripple a child. No one looked after these children if they had a headache, toothache, flu, or chapped lips. Many died and were buried in unmarked graves as though they had never lived.

The Science of Neglect, Harvard University


On the plane taking him back to Italy, Pope Francis spoke of a “genocide.” The Pope had not used the word “genocide” when he was in Canada, but on the plane, looking back, the word came to his mind. There had been a genocide, and most schools were administered by the Catholic clergy. Children were born in Residential Schools. What happened to these babies? As noted above, neglect during childhood may harm a child permanently. Moreover, after Confederation, many indigenous women were forcibly sterilised. It also became easy to lose one’s status as an indigenous. A list of policies can be found under the Indian Act of 1876. However, the Indian Act itself aimed to eliminate Amerindians, and many died.

Documents, including hundreds of photographs, implicating the Oblates have been found at the Vatican.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission

  • Phil Fontaine
  • Royal Proclamation of 1763

Phil Fontaine has been a leader in the movement that ended Residential Schools. Phil Fontaine negotiated a massive settlement for the victims of a major violation of human rights. Canada’s Indigenous population used the Royal Proclamation of 1763, the appropriate document. When Nouvelle-France fell to Britain, citizens of the Thirteen Colonies and would-be settlers rushed west with land grants. Chief Pontiac and other Amerindians push them back. Pontiac’s War was merciless and understandably so. Jeffery Amherst was attempting to spread smallpox, and disease that could have eliminated North America’s aboriginals. George III of England created a large reserve to protect Amerindians and settlers. Canada’s natives are using the Royal Proclamation of 1763 to validate their claims. That document is entrenched in the Constitution of 1982.

Phil Fontaine is

[a]n advocate for human rights, and a survivor of residential school abuse, Fontaine’s crowning achievement to date is the residential schools settlement. At $5.6 billion in individual compensation, Fontaine negotiated the largest settlement in Canadian history – for the largest human rights violation in Canadian history – arising out of the 150-year Indian residential school tragedy. (See National Speakers Bureau.)

A Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established to compensate survivors and initiate a new and healthy relationship between natives and the nations that settled in Canada.

Between 2007 and 2015, the Government of Canada provided about $72 million to support the TRC's work. The TRC spent 6 years travelling to all parts of Canada and heard from more than 6,500 witnesses. The TRC also hosted 7 national events across Canada to engage the Canadian public, educate people about the history and legacy of the residential schools system, and share and honour the experiences of former students and their families. (See Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Canadian Government.)

Pope Francis in Canada

  • An Act of Charity

Although most Residential Schools were administered by Catholics, Pope Francis did not have to come to Canada on a penitential mission. Residential Schools were created by John A. Macdonald’s government. However, Phil Fontaine and other Amerindians went to the Vatican to invite him, and Pope Francis, who understood the importance of travelling to Canada, accepted the invitation. He recognised the wrongs committed by the Catholic administrators of Residential Schools. He apologised everywhere he travelled and used the word “genocide” to describe a tragedy.

The Pope is the leader of the Catholic Church, yet he spoke directly and informally with people who have suffered immensely. He mingled with Canada’s Natives and its Métis people, which was more than a formal apology. Pope Francis may have played the most significant role in a process favouring a dialogue that would lead to reconciliation. It was to that end that Canada established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. There simply could not be a more exemplary gesture than Pope Francis’s visit in a process called Truth and Reconciliation. The Pope, an older gentleman losing his mobility, apologised humbly in the name of the Church and he showed compassion. We witnessed an act of charity.


In the 19th century, many Euro-Canadians would have looked upon North American natives as “savages” who should be civilised. However, Canada did not begin in 1867. The French would not have survived without the help of Amerindians. They provided snowshoes and canoes to the legendary voyageurs. The French could not otherwise harvest furs, New France’s gold.

The way Sir John A. Macdonald implemented Confederation was a throwback to the Age of Discovery. He acted like a conquistador. Canada’s indigenous population, its “savages,” were sent to Reserves, and their children were forcibly taken to Residential Schools. However, Sir John A. Macdonald lived in the 19th century. At that time in history, the British Empire was the mightiest. Britain’s might led to concepts such as the “rights of Englishmen” and considerable self-entitlement. Cecil Rhodes wanted to paint the world “red,” the Empire’s colour and India‘s Thomas Babington Macaulay favoured instruction in the English language. It was called Macaulayism. (See An Analogue, at the foot of this post.)

I cannot think of a nobler and more charitable mission than Pope Francis’s visit to Canada. Canadians were blessed.


Sources and Resources

Image(s) from Vatican News (go to YouTube Vatican News)

Love to everyone 💕

Pope Francis in Canada (go to YouTube and type Vatican News)


An Analogue

In India, Thomas Babington Macaulay (1900-1859) advocated a system of education consistent with Britain’s in nearly every way, including the training of teachers and the use of English as the language of instruction:

India's Macaulayism, by which indigenous Indian educational and vocational customs were repressed, included the replacement of the Persian language with the English language as the official language of instruction in all schools, and the training of English-speaking Indians as teachers. (See Macaulayism, Wikipedia.)

England had a “civilising mission.”

We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect. To that class we may leave it to refine the vernacular dialects of the country, to enrich those dialects with terms of science borrowed from the Western nomenclature, and to render them by degrees fit vehicles for conveying knowledge to the great mass of the population.
(See Macaulayism, Wikipedia.)

According to professor Kapil Kapoor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, India‘s educational system still “marginalise[s] inherited learning.”

© Micheline Walker
6 August 2022

From Cats to l’École acadienne de Pomquet


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Perronneau : Magdaleine Pinceloup de La Grange.


I have been unable to write for the last few days. Nothing could be done. I have long suffered from what is now called “long Covid.” It developed when I caught a virus that caused Chronic Fatigue Syndrome /Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, an illness I never recovered from. It could have been depression.

My siblings and I had a dog and several cats during our childhood. We learned to love animals. But as an adult, I kept a cat or two until Belaud’s death. I have been looking for another Chartreux, but there does not seem to be a breeder in Quebec. Chartreux are difficult to find. Belaud was Belaud II. He was my second Chartreux. Having a cat alleviates depression.

My most intelligent cat was not a Chartreux but a brown tabby who was an Einstein in the cat world. Mouchette was a small cat born in the dead of winter and had lost part of an ear and part of her tail to frost. She never grew into a full-size cat, but I could not see the slightest imperfection in her. I was amazed when she picked up a mushy ball and brought it to me so we could play ball. I have been thinking of her. Dear petite Mouchette.

My students knew I had a cat and were pleased to hear that I was not alone in the blue house. Teachers do not tell about their private life, but students like to hear that their teacher has a cat. They called her my sidekick.

L’École acadienne de Pomquet

I am still thinking about language laws. Outside Quebec, there are no language laws. Students living in large cities may enter a French immersion school. These schools are often described as “private schools within the public system.” They reflect the work and findings of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism and the ensuing Official Languages Act of 1969. The Official Languages Act of 1969 was revised in the Official Languages Act of 1988. These acts do not address education, but the passage of the Official Languages Act of 1969 led to the development of publicly funded French immersion schools and summer immersion programmes. Canadian Parents for French is an association that has encouraged learning French from coast to coast.

Education is a provincial portfolio, but there is federal coordination in this matter, and the University of Toronto is home to the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). The development of Acadian Schools in Nova Scotia reflects recommendations of both Official Languages Acts. One of these schools is the Pomquet Acadian School, L’École acadienne de Pomquet. Pomquet is an Acadian village with a Mi’kmaq name. It is located a few minutes from Antigonish, where I taught French at St Francis Xavier University. I will continue to discuss Quebec’s Language Laws offering education as a more promising alternative.


Love to everyone 💕

Federico Colli plays Domenico Scarlatti: Sonata in G minor K30 (L499) “cat’s fugue”
A male Chartreux in Helsinki

© Micheline Walker
25 July 2022

The Battle of Jumonville Glen and …


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Madeleine Jarret de Verchères, The Canadian Encyclopedia


Descendants du Régiment de Carignan-Salières
Louis Coulon de Villiers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some filles du roi/roy married disbanded soldiers of the Régiment de Carignan-Salières. These soldiers were offered a seigneurie and could defend their seigneurie and the colony. Madeleine de Verchères was born to a soldier of the Régiment de Carignan-Salières.

Madeleine de Verchères

Madeleine Jarret de Verchères was the daughter of François Jarret de Verchères, who remained in Canada after his tour of duty was over. He was given a seigneurie and married 12-year-old Marie Perrot. They lived in a fort. On October 22, 1692, when François and Marie were away getting supplies for the winter, 14-year-old Madeleine Jarret de Verchères, the couple’s fourth daughter, defended the fort. She was working outside the fort when an Iroquois grabbed her by her scarf, which she untied. Madeleine fled to safety and held the fort for eight days. She is a Canadian heroïne. At the foot of this post, you will find an article on Madeleine Jarret de Verchères.

Life in Canada was complicated. For instance, when the soldiers first arrived, they had no snowshoes (des raquettes). Many died frozen, and scurvy remained a plight. Yet, among the soldiers who survived, several accepted the King’s offer. They stayed behind, and most married. The King sent hundreds of women to New France. These women have been described as “filles de Joie,” which they were not. They were women who did not have a dowry and lived in convents and orphanages. The future looked grim, so they crossed the Atlantic, often packed like sardines. None were coerced into leaving for Canada, but some had little choice. There were deaths, but the survivors did not spend a long time learning to be housekeepers. Orders were to marry as soon as possible. They quickly found a husband and turned to one another for help managing a home.

Joseph Coulon de Villers de Jumonville 

Interestingly, French captain, Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville[1] (Joseph Coulon de Jumonville) was born in the Verchères seigneurie. He was the son of Nicolas-Antoine Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville[2] and married Angélique de Jarret de Verchères, Madeleine de Verchères‘s sister. (See Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville , Dictionary of Canadian Biography.) Two families had blended: the Jarret de Verchères and the Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville.

We have met Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville. He and his half-brother, Louis, were born at the Verchères seigneurie. Both were soldiers. The two were sent to Ohio country to chase the British away. Joseph was killed at the Battle of Jumonville Glen, a suspicious death.

The Battle of Jumonville Glen took place on May 28, 1754, in Ohio country. Jumonville Glen wasn’t a battle but an ambush. Yet, it is considered by many as the first battle in the Seven Years’ War, a global conflict. The North American theatre of the Seven Year’s War was called the French and Indian War, and hostilities lasted nine years. It is believed that Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville was killed at Jumonville Glen by Tanacharison, the Half King. Still, Tanacharison was with George Washington, a young officer, and the two were alone.

We may never know whether the Half King, Tanacharison, was ordered to kill Jumonville or acted singly. Suspicion was cast on George Washington, who was with Tanacharison when Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville died. The incident is known as the “Jumonville Affair,” which may be the event that started the Seven Years’ War.

Louis Coulon de Villiers,[3] Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville’s half-brother, was convinced Joseph had been murdered. Louis avenged Joseph’s death by defeating Washington at the Battle of Fort Necessity on July 3, 1754. George Washington, who could not read French, surrendered to Louis Coulon de Villiers, signing a document according to which Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville’s death was an assassination.

The terms of Washington's surrender included a statement (written in French, a language Washington did not read) admitting that Jumonville was "assassinated."(See Battle of Jumonville Glen, Battle of Fort Necessity and George Washington, Wikipedia) 
"It was in the Ohio Country where George Washington lost the Battle of Fort Necessity to Louis Coulon de Villiers in 1754, and the subsequent Battle of the Monongahela to Charles Michel de Langlade and Jean-Daniel Dumas to retake the country [in] 1755. The Treaty of Paris ceded the country to Great Britain in 1763." (History of Ohio)


We will never know whether Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville was assassinated. No one witnessed his death, and it seems that George Washington could not read French.

The fact remains that the “Jumonville affair” was described by Horace Walpole as:

a volley fired by a young Virginian in the backwoods of America [that] set the world on fire.” It proved to be the opening shot in the Seven Years’ War.

(See Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville, Dictionary of Canadian Biography.)

We also know that Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville was the son of Nicolas-Antoine Coulon de Villiers who married Angélique Jarret de Verchères, Madeleine Jarret de Verchères‘s sister. Both are daughters of François Jarret de Verchères who was a member of the Régiment de Carignan-Salières.

A few years later, when New France fell to Britain, the Thirteen Colonies‘ citizens rushed into Ohio, hoping they would occupy new land. Chief Pontiac fought back as Amerindians had lived undisturbed in this part of North America. New York governor Jeffery Amherst attempted to poison North American Indians, giving them smallpox-infected blankets. Landrushes were not rare in what became the United States. Settlers wanted a better life. George III’s Royal Proclamation of 1763 created a reserve protecting Amerindians, but restraining immigrants was difficult.


François Jarret de Verchères, Régiment de Carignan-Salières, and Marie Perrot are Madeleine de Verchère’s parents. Angélique Jarret de Verchères is Madeleine Jarret de Verchères‘s sister.
Nicolas-Antoine Coulon de Villiers married Angélique Jarret de Verchères. They are the parents of
Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville and Louis Coulon de Villiers.

RELATED ARTICLES,ceded%20the%20country%20to%20Great%20Britain%20in%201763.

Battle of Jumonville Glen (May 28, 1754)
Battle of Fort Necessity (July 3, 1754)

Love to everyone 💕


[1] W. J. Eccles, “COULON DE VILLIERS DE JUMONVILLE, JOSEPH,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed July 18, 2022,

[2] Jean-Guy Pelletier, “COULON DE VILLIERS, NICOLAS-ANTOINE (1683-1733),” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 2, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed July 18, 2022,

[3] W. J. Eccles, « COULON DE VILLIERS, LOUIS », dans Dictionnaire biographique du Canada, vol. 3, Université Laval/University of Toronto, 2003– , consulté le 18 juill. 2022,

George Washington in the French & Indian War on Vimeo

George Washington, by Charles Willson Peale, 1772

© Micheline Walker
July 18, 2022

Vive la République …


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La Liberté guidant le peuple, Eugène Delacroix, 1830


Mes meilleurs vœux à mes amis et lecteurs de France.

La plupart des ancêtres des Canadiens francophones ont quitté la France pendant le XVIIe siècle, bien avant la Révolution. Toutefois, nous n’avons rien oublié. Ma sœur me dit que la famille de notre grand-mère maternelle remonte à Alix de France, fille du roi Louis VII et d’Aliénor d’Aquitaine. Je n’ai rien vérifié, mais c’est possible. Plusieurs filles du roi ont été recrutées dans des couvents. L’argent de la famille ayant servi à doter une fille aînée ou plus jolie, l’autre, ou les autres, risquai[en]t de passer une vie entière dans un couvent. Mieux valait la Nouvelle-France qu’un “cul de couvent.” Parmi les filles du roi, se trouvaient également des veuves dont on peut soupçonner qu’elles étaient désargentées. Louis XIV les a dotées.

À leur arrivée à Montréal, entre 1663 et 1673, des religieuses de la communauté fondée par Marguerite Bourgeoys ont enseigné aux filles du roi à gérer un ménage. Celles-ci ont ensuite trouvé mari. Certaines ont épousé des soldats démobilisés. Au début de son règne, Louis XIV avait songé non seulement à peupler sa colonie de Nouvelle-France, mais aussi à la protéger. Les soldats du régiment de Carignan-Salières avaient pour mission la défense de colons assaillis par les Iroquois, tribu alliée à l’Angleterre. Il y a lieu de croire que c’est ainsi que les seigneurs ont commencé à assurer la défense de l’actuel Québec, l’une des deux provinces constituant la Nouvelle-France. L’autre, c’était l’Acadie.


—ooo —

My kindest regards to all of you. 💕

La Marseillaise, Rouget de l’Isle et Hector Berlioz
Le Tricolore, drapeau de France

© Micheline Bourbeau-Walker
14 July 2022