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

News, at last …


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The Ephiphany (detail), by Félix Lorioux (commulysse)

I am still unwell. I believe my illness is pericarditis, the first diagnosis. It may have been a reaction to a Covid vaccine. Vaccines may cause Pericarditis and Myocarditis, but it remains best to be vaccinated.

People suffering from pericarditis are usually prescribed colchicine. I was not. Colchicine may have been all I needed. I was prescribed corticosteroids and morphine in Magog. Pericarditis is extremely painful. So, this medication is appropriate temporarily.

Kind regards to all of you. 💕

Fables by La Fontaine (cover), by Félix Lorioux

© Micheline Walker
16 January 2022

Le Buffon des enfants / Buffon for Children


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Les Insectes de chez nous par Félix Lorioux / Our Insects
Les Oiseaux de chez nous par Félix Lorioux / Our Birds
Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon

Le Buffon des enfants

In his Buffon des enfants, Félix Lorioux followed in Buffon’s footpath. Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, (1707-1788) was a scientist. He classified his animals, and so did Lorioux. However, our second image shows a winged creature. It is a rooster and it may well be the emblematic coq gaulois (as in Gallic), the rooster of France. In 1870, France, under the French Second Empire, attacked Prussia. Self-proclaimed French Emperor Napoléon III was taken prisoner at the Battle of Sedan. The Franco-Prussian War was a bitter defeat for France. When it signed the Treaty of Frankfurt, in 1871, France gave Germany billions of francs in war indemnity, as well as most of Alsace and parts of Lorraine. (See Franco-Prussian War, Wikipedia.) I suspect, therefore, a soupçon of nationalism in Lorioux’s Les Oiseaux de chez nous (Our Birds) and Les Insectes de chez nous (Our Insects). France was again declared a republic, the French Third Republic, which lasted until 1940.

Le Buffon des enfants par Félix Lorioux: Les Insectes
Le Buffon des enfants par Félix Lorioux: Les Insectes
Le Buffon des enfants par Félix Lorioux: Les Insectes


Lorioux’s insects are not only French; they are also anthropomorphic, or humans in disguise. Our insect musician, just above, has a dressed insect audience. Also, look at the image below this paragraph. It also has an audience. If they are dressed like human beings, animals are closer to children. Taming his animals reflects Lorioux’s insight into the nature of children. Here, Lorioux exemplifies a child’s need to identify with the animals of illustrations. One also senses that Lorioux was influenced by the very talented and numerous English illustrators of his age or nearly so.

Le Buffon des enfants par Félix Lorioux: Les Insectes


The Internet has a limited number of illustrations by Loriaux. I will have to purchase books Lorioux published. Le Buffon des enfants was Lorioux’ finest achievement. Consequently, Le Buffon des enfants is a good example of Lorioux’s immense talent. The main, if not the only, source of Loriaux’s pictures featuring birds and insects is:
It is an admirable site. Lorioux’s use of pink is most fortunate. What insects are seeking in blushing flowers is their nectar.

About Illustrator Félix Lorioux (8 December 2021)
Forthcoming: Félix Lorioux (1 December 2021)
The Nineteenth Century in France (28 July 2018)
The Golden Age of Illustration in Britain (30 October 2015)

Love to everyone 💕

My favourite …
Felix Lorioux
Le Buffon des enfants par Félix Lorioux: Les Insectes

© Micheline Walker
4 January 2022

Could it be the war on opioids?


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Sandro Botticelli


Two nights ago, I was in such pain that I thought no law should prevent a doctor from prescribing medication that soothes a patient’s pain. I phoned a friend and my nephew to tell them that I may have to enter a hospital. However, after I took a muscle relaxant, prescribed, and several tablets of Tylenol the pain was more tolerable. However, this morning, the pain had returned.

I can understand that a government would “crackdown” on opioids. There are dealers making a fortune selling opioids and young people who use opioids for recreational purposes. In fact, it kills. But it is difficult to accept that the sick should pay the price for the criminal and abusive use of opioids. There are times when a painkiller is necessary, just as there are times when a doctor must be at liberty to perform an abortion.

The last time I was in the Emergency Room, the doctor spoke to me aggressively. I left with a prescription for medication that could not alleviate the pain I experienced. So it could be that doctors are afraid. Given the fight against opioids, they hesitate to prescribe them. However, having to suffer needlessly at this stage in my life seems an offence. In the past, I have taken codeine to relieve the pain of migraines, but codeine will no longer be prescribed to me by my new doctor. He had negative comments about codeine. A few days from now, I will know whether my illness is a degenerative musculoskeletal condition, which it may not be. But if it is, and the pain is not constant, i. e. every minute of the day, I will not qualify for genuine relief.

Moreover, a good relationship with my new doctor has now been jeopardized. How can I trust a man who has already shown indifference to the pain I was experiencing. He told me to buy Voltaren and to pay for the services of a physiotherapist. He claimed that my neck was the problem. However, the X-rays did not show damage to the neck. In Magog, I was prescribed Prednizone (cortisone) and morphine, a short course of each medication. That kind of prescription could not be renewed, but it had helped me. Besides, the problem was first diagnosed as pericarditis.

I hope that my next test does not reveal a degenerative musculoskeletal disease. What would I do?

Grief has affected my health adversely, … I was talked into selling my home in Antigonish, and my family bought an apartment in Sherbrooke. I had seen the apartment. It was large, and it had an office. They refused to have the condo inspected, which is a mistake, and, although I hired a notary fearing my father may not read the documentation about the building, I learned, too late, that the apartment could not be sold to a person who needed a mortgage. I could not sell that apartment. So, I lost my equity. Nearly all that my career had earned me. Besides, I was selling the Antigonish house on the condition that my application for disability benefits was approved. I was told that it had been approved, but it hadn’t. The person who bought my house died, but I did not have the money to repurchase it. Colleagues had already fooled me into relinquishing my tenure, but I would have liked to return to my home. What had I done?

It is all incredible. I often wonder why I have retained a youthful face and figure. It seems a lie.

It appears I suffer from a musculoskeletal condition. The pain is genuine, but which condition is it?

My smartphone just informed me that a curfew is effective now. No one can leave home between 10 in the evening and 5 in the morning, which means that New Year’s celebrations had to be cancelled.

But let us hope for the best. Covid hasn’t ended, but a new year brings promise. Life starts anew. It has always done so.

Love to everyone and a Happy New Year 💕

Claude Debussy La Fille aux cheveux de lin (The Girl with the Flaxen Hair)
Résultat d’images pour Sandro Botticelli Paintings
Birth of Venus, Sandro Botticelli

© Micheline Walker
31 December 2021

Happy Holidays


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Livre d’images de madame Marie Hainaut, vers 1285-1290 Paris, BnF, Naf 16251, fol. 22v. La naissance du Christ est annoncée aux bergers, aux humbles. “Et voici qu’un ange du seigneur leur apparut [.] Ils furent saisis d’une grande frayeur. Mais l’ange leur dit : “Ne craignez point, car je vous annonce une bonne nouvelle[.](The Birth of Christ announced to the Shepherds) (Photo credit: the National Library of France [BnF])

This image is delightful. The animals resemble speaking animals. One is seeking the attention of a shepherd in the same way a domestic cat or dog tries to attract the attention of its humans. It is not an anthropomorphic animal or a human in disguise. As for the angels, they look like human beings, but they have wings. They are zoomorphic. Zoomorphic beings combine the features of a human being with the features of an animal. In fact, they may combine the features of many animals. Zoomorphic creatures may be anthropomorphic, or humans in disguise, but I have yet to find a proper classification for Angels, except zoomorphism. They may be zootheistic, but they are not gods.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Christmas is a commemoration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, or Jesus Christ. Jesus never founded a religion, but the Christian religion was founded in his name at the first council of Nicaea, by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325/CE 325. The Christian Church is the second Abrahamic religion. The first is Judaism and the third, Islam. The three Abrahamic religions overlap. The story begins with the fall of Man. Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the Forbidden Tree (the Tree of Knowledge) in Paradise. They were led out of Paradise. Christ is the Redeemer in the Christian Church. He was transubstantiated, or made into flesh, and died on the Cross redeeming Mankind. Islam chose Arab leader Muhammad (c. 570 – 8 June 632 CE) as its prophet, but Islam reveres Jesus. Jesus was a Galilean Jew. (See Jesus, Wikipedia.)

The Winter Solstice

Christmas is also the feast celebrating the winter solstice, the day of the longest night. In this regard, Paganism entered Christianity very discreetly. In Ancient Rome, the longest night was celebrated by upending reality. During Saturnalia, the master was a slave. The world was upside down.

Ancient Greece had a god of festivity, named Comus or Komus. The Winter Solstice, the longest night, authorised drunken and disorderly festivities. In earlier times, an old King was killed and a young King, crowned. Comedy is associated with the Comus. The young couple overcomes the heavy father opposing their marriage, which is the basic plot of all comedies. In order to rehabilitate society, a pharmākos (scapegoat) was ousted. (See 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Comus). I wrote my PhD thesis on the pharmākos in Molière’s theatre. In Tartuffe, Tartuffe, a character, is a pharmākos, he is “neither innocent nor guilty” (See Northrop Frye‘s Anatomy of Criticism).[1] His relationship with Orgon, the father, is nearly symbiotic, but as the curtain falls on a comedy, it should include a family in its entirety.


Attached to Christmas is a wealth of information. The above is brief. More information can be found on a page entitled Feasts and Liturgy. My illness has turned into episodes of intense pain. My heart feels as though it will fail me (psasms and convulsions). Doctors suspect a musculoskeletal illness that could be related to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I will undergo a test on 6 January. 

[1] I am in Magog, where my friend John is looking after me. My copy of Anatomy of Criticism is in Sherbrooke. I cannot indicate the page containing this quotation. If I recover from my current illness and obtain some financial support, I will update and publish my thesis. I may write a summary in English.


Wishing all of you Happy Holidays 🎄💕

The end of this post differs from the end of the post I first published. Something went wrong. Apologies.
“The Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel‘s Messiah
Evelyn De Morgan, Flora, 1894

© Micheline Walker
25 December 2021

Do not Blame the Vaccine


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La Messe de Minuit par Clarence Gagnon, 1933 (


My last post may have confused certain readers, which is very sad. I was fully vaccinated but, during a visit to an emergency room, I was diagnosed with Pericarditis. Pericarditis and Myocarditis may be caused by a vaccine, including the vaccine protecting us from Covid-19. I would like to make it very clear that I was vaccinated against Covid-19 too early for the vaccine to be associated with the onset of Pericarditis or Myocarditis. Moreover, my diagnosis was not clear. Therefore, my illness was not associated with the vaccine against the Covid-19 virus.

During two visits to an emergency room in Sherbrooke and Magog, I was diagnosed with inflamed muscles in the rib cage and with a degree of deterioration of my left shoulder. The pain goes from the shoulder to the wrist. Doctors now suspect a musculoskeletal condition. I caught the H1N1 virus 46 years ago and never recovered. It caused Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). Although my heart still feels as though it was squeezed by a powerful hand, I suspect a mere continuation of ME/CFS.

In short, the vaccine did not cause Pericarditis.

Please listen to Dr Fauci, the CDC, the WHO, and top doctors in various countries. Since the beginning of this crisis, the words of politicians have been deemed truer than the words of experts.


Above, we see Clarence Gagnon’s depiction of Midnight Mass. Traditionally, Quebecers used mass as the weekly get-together. Christmas was no exception. They then walked home for the réveillon.

Kindest regards to everyone 💕

Clarence Gagnon Intermezzi Brahms
Laurentian Village by Clarence Gagnon (

© Micheline Walker
23 December 2021

On Pain: Mid-December


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Lawren S. Harris (Pinterest) Group of Seven, Canada


Winter has come. There is very little snow, but it is cold. Storms devastated many American states. I grieve for those who have lost a loved one and their home.

Medical Tests

I went for tests on the 14th and 16th of December. On the 14th, I was in considerable pain when I arrived for the tests. So, afterward, I returned to the Emergency Room. The doctor who looked after me told me, somewhat aggressively, to dismiss all previous diagnoses. She also stated that we did not have a firm diagnosis concerning my illness and that she would not prescribe medication. If my memory serves me well, my doctor also said that she was a young emergency-room doctor and that she did not have the authority to prescribe medication. Other emergency-room doctors had prescribed medication.

But we did have a diagnosis. I had been diagnosed with pericarditis, inflamed muscles in the rib cage, a deteriorating left shoulder, and arm, etc. In rare cases, the vaccine can cause pericarditis and/or myocarditis. However, Covid-19 is the greater evil. Therefore, one gets vaccinated.

However, after my heart was examined and tests performed, this doctor wanted to send me home unmedicated. Pain may sound the alarm, but it can grow into a medical issue. I told her that I could not tolerate this level of pain and needed medical help. I could not understand what had happened to me.

Another doctor walked by and asked, jokingly, if I was the lady with the sick shoulder. How did he know? I said that I was indeed the lady with the sick shoulder and told him that the pain had become so intense that it was crippling. Something had to be done. He said he would look at the papers. In the end, the doctors, or my doctor, phoned the pharmacy to prescribe barely effective painkillers, but painkillers.

However, I still wonder why I was not prescribed effective medication. I am small, but I am not a child. The doctor also said that the pain I felt was not always constant. It could stop for a few minutes and then recur. Therefore, it did not warrant medication. My friend Paulina arrived, caught a few words, and said that for the last few weeks, I had not been the same. I was not at my computer.

One is asked to provide a number from one to ten to describe the intensity of one’s pain, but that is very difficult. I was not being burned alive, yet I was experiencing considerable pain.

Reality has changed, but has it changed to the point where taking a few tablets of codeine is considered harmful? Moreover, although Covid-19 has exerted an influence on everyone, the medical use of morphine for a few days is still acceptable. In rare cases, Covid-19 vaccines can trigger pericarditis and myocarditis which in no way lessens the benefits of the vaccine. This may have led my doctor to a degree of analysis paralysis.

This little post is not under “Medicine in Quebec.” But I am worried. Will I be left to age and die in pain as though I were the epitome of nothingness? It comforts me to think that if there is a God, and there is a God, God knows me.


This is the month of Christmas and the day of the longest night. The Winter solstice, is very near in this hemisphere.

We are going back to Félix Loriaux. Would that I could find more pictures of his Buffon pour les enfants, One site does show illustrations of the Buffon pour les enfants, but are short of images. So, I may have to order the relevant books, if they are affordable. As you know. Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon was a naturalist. The animals he discussed were animals, not animals in disguise.

Below the video, you will find a page from an illuminated manuscript belonging to madame Marie Hainaut (1285). I love this naive depiction of an angel telling the shepherds that Christ is born.

A picture on our video features anthropomorphic humans, humans disguised as animals.

As for the related articles, they are the story of a Czech gentleman, John Amos Comenius, who may well have been the first educator to state that illustrations helped students to remember. A picture is worth a thousand words.


Bardcore/Modern Medieval Christmas Editon | Medieval Instrumental Music Compilation
Livre d’images de madame Marie Hainaut, vers 1285-1290 Paris, BnF, Naf 16251, fol. 22v. La naissance du Christ est annoncée aux bergers, aux humbles. “Et voici qu’un ange du seigneur leur apparut [.]. Ils furent saisis d’une grande frayeur. Mais l’ange leur dit : “Ne craignez point, car je vous annonce une bonne nouvelle [.]” (The Birth of Christ announced to the Shepherds) (Photo credit: the National Library of France [BnF])

© Micheline Walker
18 December 2021
revised 19 December 2021

About Illustrator Félix Lorioux


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Les Deux Nigauds par la Comtesse de Ségur, illustration de Félix Lorioux. (Pinterest)


The cover of la Comtesse de Ségur‘s Les Deux Nigauds (The Two Silly Kids) is shown above, illustrated by Félix Loriaux. It has been on my bookshelves for about 70 years. It is a book intended for children written by La Comtesse de Ségur (1 August 1799 – 8 February 1874). La Comtesse de Ségur was Russian by birth. Sophie Rostophchine’s father, Count Fyodor Rostopchin, Saint Petersburg, reportedly set Saint Petersburg ablaze when Napoléon invaded Russia, in 1812. Rostopchin was accused of arson. La Comtesse and her family left Russia in 1814. They were aristocrats and, given her marriage to le Comte de Ségur, Sophie Rostopchine became a French countess. My copy shows Innocent, brother to Simplicie, wearing green pants and an olive jacket. The colours on photographs may not correspond to the original image. Lorioux is known for his use of colour. La Comtesse de Ségur‘s most famous book was Les Malheurs de Sophie (Sophie’s Misadventures), published in 1858.

Studies & Employment

Félix Lorioux (1872–1964) was born in Angers. He studied at l’École des beaux-arts de Paris, not knowing what he would design. First, it would be cars, publicity for cars, but he would work as an illustrator. He was employed by Hachette, a French publishing house, and became a notorious illustrator. Lorioux befriended Walt Disney, who hired Lorioux to illustrate Mickey and The Silly Symphony. Lorioux and Walt Disney parted ways in 1934. (See Félix Lorioux, Wikipedia). It may be that Félix Lorioux did not wish to move to the United States. By 1934, La Bande dessinée, often known as the Comics, quickly developed in France and Belgium, and thousands of Japanese prints flooded Europe. A man of his time. Félix Lorioux was therefore influenced by le Japonisme, Japanese woodblock prints, and Art nouveau. Moreover, illustrations were required when the fashion industry blossomed. They adorned La Gazette du Bon Ton and, later, fashion magazines. Artists also made posters, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is our best example. As for interior designers, they also became more numerous. Consummate artist Bernard Boutet de Monvel, of the Boutet de Monvel dynasty, was often employed by affluent citizens of Manhattan. Bernard Boutet de Monvel died in the Azores in the plane crash that also took the life of violinist Ginette Neveu and boxer Marcel Cerdan, Édith Piaf‘s lover. Finally, Félix Florioux was first employed by Citroën, a car company. Félix Lorioux lived in a world where design and publicity were combined and where design mattered. Cars are designed. So are aeroplanes. Moreover, the Arts and Crafts Movement swept the globe, bringing art to humbler homes.


Design spread. Yet, after working for Citroën, Lorioux joined Hachette, a publishing house, and became an illustrator. He was now entering a profession that dated back centuries or more. We have looked at medieval Books of Hours that celebrated the labour of the months, seasons, solstices, and equinoctial points. These are linked to the Canonical Hours. Hesiod‘s Works and Days is an almanach.

Fables de Jean de La Fontaine

Félix Lorioux illustrated a large number of books. However, we will start by focusing on his illustrations of the Fables of Jean de La Fontaine  (8 July 1621 – 13 April 1695). His first fable is La Cigale et la Fourmi (The Cicada and the Ant).

La Cigale et la fourmi (I, 1)

La Cigale, ayant chanté
     Tout l’été,
Se trouva fort dépourvue
Quand la bise fut venue.
Pas un seul petit morceau
De mouche ou de vermisseau.
Elle alla crier famine
Chez la Fourmi sa voisine,
La priant de lui prêter
Quelque grain pour subsister
Jusqu’à la saison nouvelle.
Je vous paierai, lui dit-elle,
Avant l’août, foi d’animal,
Intérêt et principal.
La Fourmi n’est pas prêteuse;
C’est là son moindre défaut.
Que faisiez-vous au temps chaud ?
Dit-elle à cette emprunteuse.
Nuit et jour à tout venant
Je chantais, ne vous déplaise.
Vous chantiez ? j’en suis fort aise :
Et bien! dansez maintenant.

La Cigale et la Fourmi (I, 1)
The Cicada and the Ant (I, 1)

The Cicada and the Ant (I,1)

The gay cicada, full of song
All the sunny season long,
Was unprovided and brought low,
When the north wind began to blow;
           Had not a scrap of worm or fly,
Hunger and want began to cry;
Never was creature more perplexed.
She called upon her neighbour ant,
And humbly prayed her just to grant
Some grain till August next;
“I’ll pay,” she said, “what ye invest,
Both principal and interest,
           Honour of insects –and that’s tender.”
           The ant, however, is no lender;
That is her least defective side;
“But, hark ye, pray, Miss Borrower,” she cried,
“What were ye doing in fine weather?”
“Singing . . .  nay, ! look not thus askance,
To every comer day and night together.”
“Singing! I’m glad of that; why now then dance.”


It is a little early to comment, but I must close this post. Loriaux’s illustrations of the fables of Jean de La Fontaine are anthropomorphic. Animals inhabiting fables are humans in disguise and, by and large, they are likeable, especially if the readers are children. Children who cannot read will be told about and shown an improvident animal and may say the animal is short-sighted or “silly.” However, they are unlikely to identify with the cicada or grasshopper. She should have prepared for the cold days of winter. Yet, children may prefer the improvident animal to a brighter companion. They do not like to be scolded when they make foolish mistakes and may not like the moral of our fable. It is located after the exemplum. This makes it an epimythium. The moral is a promythium if it precedes the myth or exemplum. The moral may also be the fable itself. In La Fontaine, ignoring the consequences of a certain action is a prominent lesson.

Le Buffon des enfants

Buffon, however, was not an illustrator. Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (7 September 1707 – 16 April 1788) was a French naturalist, mathematiciancosmologist, and encyclopédiste. (See George-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, Wikipedia.) His animals are depicted faithfully. However, in illustrations of animals intended for children, animals be may be turned into humans. They may wear clothes, carry a watch or an umbrella, and seem disguised. Children are often attracted to camouflaged but recognizable animals. They may also expect the lion to be king and the fox to play his archetypal work as a trickster. Moreover, illustrators may give animals whose beak is long a longer beak and animals whose eyes are large, more prominent eyes, as do cartoonists. Illustrating le Comte de Buffon would not yield detailed portraits of animals who have made a mistake. It would be Le Buffon des enfants (Buffon for Children).

This conversation will be continued.

One can no longer copy texts contained in the Château-Thierry site. So, I have been very careful and I thank my colleagues.

Love to everyone 💕



Batany, Jean, Scène et Coulisses du « Roman de Renart », Paris : Sedes (1989).
Ziolkowski, Jan, Talking Animals: Medieval Latin Beast Poetry 750-1150. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press (1993).
Zipes, Jack (ed.), The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales, Oxford: Oxford University Press (2000).

Félix Lorioux is the first artist discussed in this video. It is a brief excerpt.
Granville‘s (1803-1847) The Grasshopper and Ant
Afficher l’image source
Le Buffon des enfants de Félix Lorioux

© Micheline Walker
8 December 2021

Forthcoming: Félix Lorioux


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«Le Corbeau et le Renard » by Félix Lorioux (Pinterest)


We are leaving language laws and medicine in Quebec. My next post is about French illustrator Félix Lorioux (1872–1964).

I wanted to publish it today, but my current illness is stubborn. I must spend a week or so in Sherbrooke, but I will be returning to my friend’s home. The company of friends and readers is precious. So is the magic of this season.

Love to everyone 💕

Cendrillon by Félix Lorioux
“The Fox and the Crow” by Félix Lorioux (Pinterest)

© Micheline Walker
1 December 2021

Greetings to everyone


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Micheline on 23 November 2021 (Photo: J. Prosnick)


I am still sick, but my friend took this picture of me yesterday. I wanted to smile, hoping it would make me look healthy. I thank John for taking care of me during this illness and for staying with me as I went from test to test at the hospital in Magog. He did not leave me.

Kindest regards to all of you. ❤️

M. A. Suzor-Coté, R.C.A. (1869-1937)
“Still Life with Lilies”, 1894
Oil on canvas 25.1/2  x 32 in.  (SOLD)
(Galerie Eric Klinkhoff, Montreal)

© Micheline Walker
25 November 2021

Medicine in Quebec (2)


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Nature morte avec oignons par Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté (Fine Arts Canada)


The above is a copy of a Susor-Coté of still life entitled Nature morte avec oignons (Still life with onions). It is the work of Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté, a prominent Canadian artist and a friend of my grandfather’s family. The legend goes that my grandfather met my grandmother when she was an employee of Suzor-Coté. She was an artist. Would that I could interview her. She died many years ago.

Medicine in Quebec

I have gone to a hospital emergency room five times. I did so whenener I felt I would go into cardiac arrest because my heart was queezed as in a vice and my blood pressurce was climbing rapidly. I am suffering from pericarditis, from inflamed muscles in the rib cage as well as a musculoskeletal condition on the left side of the rib cage including a damaged schoulder and pain from the shoulder to the fingers. Using a computer is well nigh impossible, but I will try to carry on as soon as I can use my left arm again. I am left handed.  

My visits to Emergency Rooms gave me the opportunity to see that medicine in Quebec was facing great difficulty. At the time of the Quiet Revolution, a prosperous Quebec planned to be a Welfare State (un État-Providence). Canada could be described as a Welfare State. It should be noted that Welfare States cannot sustain their programmes without levying taxes, nor can Welfare States afford extremely high fees. When Quebec declared it would be unilingual, Bill 22 (1974), and passed Bill 101, the Charter of the French Language (1977), affluent English-speaking citizens of Montreal left Quebec. I may be wrong, but I believe Quebec’s status as a unilingual province inside a bilingual Canada and ensuing laws caused well-to-do English-speaking Quebecers to leave. There cannot be a unilingual province in a bilingual Canada. It makes no sense.

My visits to the Emergency Room in Magog’s hospital provided me with an opportunity to witness what  could be the impending breakdown of the medical system in Quebec. For instance, it surprised me not to be asked to remove my earrings and necklace when X-Rays were performed. Only one radiologist asked me to take off my jewellery. I could not lift my arms, so he helped me. I was also surprised that very scant attention was given to the severe pain I felt. If my mother had been subjected to this much pain at the age of 77, I do not think she would have survived. I have aged more slowly.

Yet, my worst experience was watching an old lady who had taken her number and was waiting her turn. At one point, she went to the wicket to ask when she would be seen. She was told that she would have to wait for her number and her name to be called. She sorrowly returned to her chair. Never in my life had I seen so immensely sad a face. What, in Canada? There are no doctors in Magog. The clinic closed when the doctors retired. If one is unwell, one must go to a hospital Emergency Room, take a number, and then wait, however dire one’s needs.

Leaving Quebec

It could be that some doctors will attempt to leave Quebec, but one wonders whether doctors who do not hold a Bachelor of Science degree would be hired elsewhere. French-language universities do not require a Bachelor of Science degree for admission to a medical school. Future doctors spend two years in a Cegep: Grades XII and XIII, and then enter medical school. Yet, there are excellent doctors in Quebec, but many, if not most, are good technicians. They know how to send a patient for a test and probably count on the test to determine a diagnostic. They also have a book listing medications. As well, outside Quebec, a pregnant woman may not be delivered by her obstetrician. In Quebec, one goes to a humble birthing-room, however complicated the pregnancy and childbirth. 

I should also note that when a patient enters a hospital, he or she will not be treated by his or her doctor. Doctors do not leave their office. I have already mentioned that medicine is more successful if there is a trusting relationship between a doctor and his or her patients. One must be able to reach one’s doctor if a crisis occurs, such as the death of a child. There is no center in my depiction of medicine in Quebec.  

Premier Legault

Quebec’s Premier François Legault is trying to get doctors to work a little more, but they are protected by powerful syndicates and command very large salaries. I fear the premier will not succeed. It has been about fifty years since doctors worked under the best possible conditions.

I do not know what caused my sudden heath problems. It could be solitude and my not finding help to remove books from my apartment and settle comfortably. It has been a very stressful time in my life. 

I wish to thank you for being my community. I hope to continue operating my weblog, but I will not be at the computer for as many hours as I used to. Lying down and using the swimming pool will now be more important. I will also require help performing household tasks. Everything has to be simplified.  

Love to everyone  💕

Suzor-Coté (FR)
Galerie Eric Klinkhoff, Canadian Art Dealer & Gallery in Montreal
M.A. Suzor-Coté, R.C.A. (1869-1937)
“Still Life with Lilies”, 1894
Oil on canvas 25.1/2  x 32 in.  (SOLD)
(Galerie Eric Klinkhoff, Montreal)

© Micheline Walker
24 November 2021