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

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, 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.

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, 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.

Hachette: a Publishing House

Design spread. As noted above, Lorioux first worked for Citroën and then joined Hachette, a publishing house. He was entering a profession that dated back centuries or longer. 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 focus on his illustrations of the Fables of La Fontaine. 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 Anr (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, if the readers are children, some of whom cannot read. They will be told about 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. Children may in fact prefer the improvident animal to a brighter companion. They do not like to be scolded when they make foolish mistakes.

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 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 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. Illustrating le Comte de Buffon will not yield detailed portraits of animals. It will be Le Buffon des enfants (Buffon for Children). The moral of our fable is located at the end. 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.

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 short video.
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

On Quebec’s Language Laws


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Grey Day, Laurentians, 1928 - A.Y. Jackson
Grey Day Laurentians by A. Y. Jackson, Group of Seven (


I have been in Magog, very close to Sherbrooke, but despite the effort, I have not been able to complete a post on Quebec’s Language Laws. The muscles of my left arm are still very sore, which keeps me away from the computer. Moreover, I have been taking medication. It affects one’s concentration.

I wanted to write a post about Quebec’s language laws. Such an endeavour is a little ambitious. I may, however, express my main thoughts.

Unfortunately, to a very large extent, the language laws that bedevil Canadians to this day are the result of John A. Macdonald‘s refusal to allow the children of French-speaking families to be educated in the French language outside Quebec. Bilingualism in Canada ended at the time of the Confederation. Although we cannot determine to what extent Canada would have been genuinely bilingual, there can be no doubt that had children been educated in French outside Quebec after Confederation, more Canadians would have been bilingual. Immigrants to Canada learned English.

Therefore, it could be argued that Prime Minister A. J. Macdonald created the Quebec “question,” and put French-speaking Canadians on the defensive. Quebec’s first nationalist was Pierre-Stanislas Bédard. Bédard founded the Parti Canadien and, in 1806, he founded a French-language newspaper: Le Canadien.

So Quebec uses laws to maintain the French language. I do not think these laws serve a purpose other than deepening the rift between French-speaking and English-speaking Canadians. But the arrival in future Canada of thousands of United Empire Loyalists (UEL) had changed the demographics of Britain’s new colony in North America and had also led to the Constitutional Act of 1791. The Constitutional Act divided the former Province of Quebec into anglophone Upper Canada and the mostly francophone Lower Canada. Should the two Canadas be united, Canadiens could be assimilated.

The two Canadas were united in 1840, but the Premiers of the Province of Canada, Robert Baldwin in Canada West and Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine in Canada East fashioned a bilingual Canada. John Ralston Saul has written a fine book on Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine. I agree with John Saul that Canada was born before 1867, the year four provinces confederated.

As we have seen in earlier posts, it appears that John A. Macdonald sewed the seeds of a long conflict. In 1867, the year four Canadian provinces entered Confederation, the population of the Red River Colony, a territory bought by the Earl of Selkirk, consisted of an equal number of French-speaking and English was a bilingual and multicultural location. Once the Métis moved to Saskatchewan in search of river lots, the Red River Colony ceased to be bilingual.

A Bilingual Canada

Other than the Red River Colony, and, earlier, the great ministry of Baldwin and LaFontaine, we have no model of a bilingual and multicultural community. Confederation rolled back Canadian history to the Age of Discovery when explorers claimed as theirs the territory they had “discovered” and displaced or destroyed the people living on the newly-discovered territory.

By 1848, the “great ministry” was granted the responsible government Canada had sought since the Constitutional Act of 1791. I agree with John Ralston Saul. Canada was born long before 1867.

Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine et Robert Baldwin – Saul John Ralston – 9782764621264 | Catalogue | Librairie Gallimard de Montréal (


John A. Macdonald took his inspiration for shaping Canada from the increasingly large and successful British Empire. He, therefore, subjected Canadians to an Age of Imperialism. Yet, in 1774, under the Quebec Act, the French in Canada governed themselves and did not have to include a religion when pledging allegiance to their new Monarch. As noted above, matters changed with the arrival in the current Canada of United Empire Loyalists. Their world was British. In the case of John A. Macdonald, the world spoke English and consisted of Orangemen.

Although one cannot read into the future, one can suppose that Canada would have grown into a more bilingual and multicultural land had John A. Macdonald created equality between provinces. We are uncovering the body of Amerindian children molested in Residential Schools and we are facing the probable passage of yet another language law: Bill 96, An Act respecting French the official and common language of Quebec.


French-speaking Canadians have a right to protect their language. It has been made into the language of a threatened minority by John A. Macdonald, a Father of Confederation who was a narrow-minded and prejudiced member of the Orange Order. French-speaking Canadians find their origin in one of the world’s finer cultures.

I oppose language laws. They are the business of accountants. Yet, as distasteful as they are, language laws exist because of persons such as Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau who, in early November 2021, addressed the Montreal Chamber of Commerce in English only. The Quiet Revolution occurred in the 1960s and the Official Languages Act (Canada) was passed in 1969. Yet, more than half a century later, in 2021, there are CEOs such as Michael Rousseau who have yet to realize that Canada has two official languages.

How long will it take for the CEO (PDG) of senior corporations to acknowledge the bilingual status of Canada, the country they inhabit? And how long will it take for the truth to be told and understood? French-speaking Canadians outside Quebec were not given the opportunity to be educated in their mother tongue. They may have been destined to be a minority, but they were also forced into that position. John A. Macdonald himself separated Quebec.

I am a bilingual Canadian and my ancestry is diverse: European, British and Amerindian. During the course of my career, I have worked as a University Teacher of French and have served as President of the Canadian Association of University and College Teachers of French, l’APFUCC.

Members of l’APFUCC teach French but they do not, to my knowledge, advocate universal bilingualism in Canada. However, French-speaking Canadians expect respect on the part of English-speaking Canadians and so do English-speaking Canadians on the part of French-speaking Canadians. That is a minimum.

Language Laws

Let me state again that I oppose language laws, but I also bemoan the arrogance Air Canada CEO (PDG) Michael Rousseau displayed in early November when he addressed the Montreal Chamber of Commerce in English. He ignored the Official Languages Act (Canada) of 1969.

Michael Rousseau’s mistake does not justify putting language laws into place, nor do John A. Macdonald’s prejudices, but both cases show why Quebec passes language laws hindering rather than promoting knowledge of French in Canada, which is sad.

Michael Rousseau is the gift that keeps on giving for François Legault – The Hill Times

Michael Rousseau is a lost cause, and it seems there are too many Michael Rousseaus: arrogant, insensitive, etc.

Would that Confederation had not separated the people of Quebec from other Canadians and would that a degree of courtesy led prominent Canadians to act as Canadians should. Why didn’t monsieur Rousseau invite a French-speaking Canadian to join him when he addressed the Montreal Chamber of Commerce? More importantly, why did the executive of Air Canada, the largest airline company in this country, not take into account that Canada is an officially bilingual country and accommodate this reality. In Canada, French is not a foreign language.

Would, moreover, that French-speaking Canadians devoted more time to promoting in Canada a richer brand of French, it goes both ways, despite the odds. The world speaks English.

We cannot undo the past, but the future is for us to determine, which we can do humbly…


Love to everyone 💕

Canada’s Group of Seven
Autumn Splendour by Franklin Carmichael (

© Micheline Walker
18 November 2021

Medicine in Quebec (1)


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Mont Owl’s Head | Anse Skinner | Lac Memphrémagog | Cornelius Krieghoff, 1859.


We will be returning to a question I have not been able to answer. I have been wondering if separate schools from sea to sea (A Mari usque ad Mare) had been created west of the Red River Colony, would French communities have flourished from the Atlantic to the Pacific, therefore making Canada more bilingual. In 1867, the year the British North America Act or Canadian Confederation was signed, half the citizens of the Red River Colony were anglophones and half were francophones. As a member of the Orange Order in Canada, John A. Macdonald opposed separate schools based on language mainly. Confessional schools would be created, but they would be private schools. According to Articles 93 and 133 of the BNA Act (Canadian Confederation), schools would be uniform schools. After the Red River Rebellion (1869-1870), Louis Riel (22 October 1844 – 16 November 1885) would oppose such schools, but John A. Macdonald had little tolerance for Catholics, and, less so for Catholics who were also French. Moreover, many émigrés priests who had fled to England to escape the French Revolution accepted to serve in Canada, where they revived the waning Catholicism of the French in North America.

A Third Visit to an Emergency Ward

On Sunday morning, 7th November 2021, I asked my friend to call an ambulance. The pressure on my heart barely allowed me to breathe. He decided to take me to the hospital because it was a short drive and he wished to be with me. When we arrived at the emergency room, I was so weak and in such pain that I simply lied on the floor. My friend and other men lifted me and sat me in a wheelchair. Pericarditis and inflammation made it difficult to breath and medications quickly lose their effectiveness. I was given strong Tylenol and a kind doctor with experience saw me as soon as possible. My friend wheeled me from test to test, but the diagnostic was consistent with diagnostics determined during my two earlier visits to the emergency room. However, my condition had deteriorated. After various tests and a study of my computerized file, the doctor came back. He prescribed a potent anti-inflammatory to be taken immediately and a less aggressive anti-inflammatory to be taken for two years. He also prescribed a supply of hydromorphine and asked me not to leave my friend’s home until this crisis was over. Everything else could wait.

Medical Studies in Quebec

My adventure, which is not finished, made me reflect on the education provided future doctors. After Grade XI, Quebec students enter a Cegep. After completing two years of study, they obtain a diploma allowing them enter medical school. I do not know if they write an entrance exam, but medical tuition fees in Quebec are inexpensive which means the province can train a large number of doctors. About five years after they enter medicine, they graduate, except specialists.

The doctor I saw on Sunday was an experienced doctor who had accumulated competence working in an emergency ward. But I had never met my personal doctor because the pandemic kept me indoors. He was very young. He prescribed a mild anti-inflammatory and suggested I had sustained a neck injury, unconsciouly. He wanted my neck to be ex-rayed, but my nephew was waiting to take me to Magog. So, I was tested on Sunday, in Magog.

Pemier Legault, the “doctors,” and the doctors’ syndicate. 

Premier François Legault of Quebec is currently trying to give more work to doctors, i.e. a few more patients, so everyone has a doctor.

Pour accroître l’accès à un médecin de famille: Legault menace de brandir le bâton (

Opinion: Quebec wants to force family doctors to see more patients. Is that the way to fix primary care? – The Globe and Mail (caption only)

Lazy doctors? Legault’s attack on family physicians doesn’t add up (Part 1) – QCNA EN



I cannot provide a definitive and absolutely correct conclusion to this post. Some Quebec doctors are excellent doctors despite brief training. They gain experience. But, in Quebec, medicine appears one of the fastest ways to a plump income and a privileged life. Doctors are protected by powerful sindicates, labour unions. Syndicates provide medical professionals with the best possible working conditions and, at times, they may also eliminate the hours a doctor should work in a hospital and shorten their work week considerably. Such conditions, i.e.very little general education, rapid training, and the best of salaries will unavoidably travel outside Quebec and lessen the quality of the care patients receive. Pressured by syndicates, doctors make more money forcing governments to eliminate resources previously covered by a citizen’s income tax dollars. For instance, persons injured in an automobile accident and requiring physiotherapy will have to pay for that service

Once again, Francisco Goya’s “the sleep of reason produces monsters” applies. Unjustified privileges may cause patients to medicate themselves and harm themselves. It would also be my opinion that the relationship a patient grows with a devoted and consciencious doctor reduces stress and promotes healthy communities. Just how many yachts should a doctor own, not to mention luxury cars and the very best of everything. Not to mention that, in the United States, a doctor’s wife simply travels to another state to get an abortion in the case of a pregnancy that could have been avoided. I have never undergone an abortion.

Love to everyone 💕

I plan to continue my blog but devote more time to the fine arts in Canada nnd to current events.

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Cornelius Krieghoff

The Woodcutter by Cornelius Krieghoff (Wikimedia Commons)

© Micheline Walker
11 November 2021

Autumn in Orillia & other Canadian Paintings


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Autumn in Orillia by Franklin Carmichael, 1924 (

After posting October Gold (1922), I wondered why I did not speak about the Group of Seven. They left an unforgettable heritage. They were active during the 1920s and were based in Toronto. However, they painted Ontario’s north and west. They are also known as the Algonquin School. (See Group of Seven, Wikipedia.)

October Gold by Franklin Carmichael, 1922 (
Frederick VarleyA. Y. JacksonLawren HarrisBarker Fairley (not a member), Frank JohnstonArthur Lismer, and J. E. H. MacDonald. Image ca. 1920, F 1066, Archives of Ontario, I0010313.


Emily Carr

British Columbia artist Emily Carr, who lived in Victoria, has been associated with the Group of Seven. Still, she wasn’t sitting with other group members at a table in a Toronto restaurant. I remember sitting with colleagues at a table in a Toronto restaurant. That conversation, a unique conversation, will never end.

Emily Carr was also part of my life. My husband and I honeymooned on the west coast of Vancouver Island, where she worked. She lived in Victoria, which was home to me for ten years. I thought I would retire in Victoria, but it didn’t happen.

Tree Trunk by Emily Carr, 1932 (


Cornelius Krieghoff

Quebec’s most iconic artist is Dutch-born Cornelius Krieghoff (19 June 1815 – 5 March 1872). Krieghoff depicted Quebec’s people, “habitants” and several Amerindians (North American Indians), and the land. Members of the Group of Seven painted nature mostly.

Cornelius Krieghoffs painting of a wild crowd in front of a mid-19th Century bar in the early hours of the morning.
Breaking up of a countryball in Canada, early morning: a closer look, by Cornelius Krieghoff, 1857 (The Thomson Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario.)
The Woodcutter by Cornelius Krieghoff (Wikimedia Commons)


This post is a mere glimpse of Canada’s artistic heritage. The painters I featured in this post are classics. Krieghoff was born in Holland, but he is a “genre” artist who depicted everyday life in Quebec.


Love to everyone 💕

Group of Seven
The Jack Pine by Tom Thompson. 1916 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
5 November 2021

October Gold


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October Gold by Franklin Carmichael, 1922 (

Franklin Carmichael was a member of the Group of Seven (Art, Canada)

Dear Readers,

I have not published a post for several days. I was diagnosed with pericarditis earlier in the month of October and got better after taking anti-inflammatory medication. However, the diagnostic was not entirely correct. The pain came back. I therefore returned to the Emergency Room. The muscles of my rib cage and part of my left arm are inflamed. I can barely use my left arm. Doctors performed an electrocardiogram today. My heart is fine, but the inflammation is very real.


I had returned to the subject of Canadian confederation. Canadian scholar and thinker, John Ralston Saul, wrote an excellent book on the “great ministry” of Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin. The book is entitled Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin. The book was published in 2010. Other extraordinary Canadians are Gabriel Dumont and Louis Riel. We have a post entitled A Métis Leader, Gabriel Dumont. Joseph Boyden wrote a book on Dumont and Louis Riel. Extraordinary Canadians: Gabriel Dumont and Louis Riel

Confederation played itself out around Winnipeg (the Earl of Selkirk’s Red River Colony). Louis Riel formed a government and intended for Manitoba to remain bilingual and multicultural. His government condemned to death a violent young man, Thomas Scott, an Orangeman, from Ontario. Louis Riel’s government would not be recognized. So, the execution of Thomas Scott would cost Riel his life. As for the Métis of Manitoba, many had moved west to Saskatchewan hoping they could build lots on each side of a river. Gabriel Dumont had moved west, but he and other Métis could not settle along a river. Dumont went to see Louis Riel, who then lived in the United States. He sought his help. Dumont did not know Riel.   

Louis Riel’s view of Canada is not unlike to John Ralston Saul. Saul does not ignore John A. Macdonald, the main father of Confederation, but Canada was not born in 1867, when Confederation was signed. It was the product of the “Great Ministry” and that of a unified country longing for a responsible government, which it was granted in 1848.

John A. Macdonald sent Amerindians to reserves and their children to Residential Schools where many were molested and died. As for French-speaking Canadians, after Confederation, they could not be educated in their mother tongue outside Quebec. John A. Macdonald attempted to assimilate both Amerindians and French-speaking Canadians.

At the time of Confederation, the Red River Colony was bilingual and multicultural. It was a miniature portrait of what Canada could have been and became, officially, after the Official Languages Act of 1969. The Red River Colony, or Fort Garry, the future Winnipeg, had been bought from the Hudson’s Bay Company by the Earl of Selkirk, Thomas Douglas 5th Earl of Selkirk. It was not part of Rupert’s Land. When Confederation was signed, half the people of Manitoba were francophones and the other half, anglophones. However, one hundred and two years after Canadian Confederation (1867), most Canadians living west of Quebec spoke English only. Fortunately, there are realities of the mind that override a seemingly more verifiable “reality.” There have been extraordinary Canadians. They shaped Canada. 

John A. Macdonald wanted Canada to stretch from East to West and built a railroad. He was able to do so after Canada purchased Rupert’s Land from the Hudson’s Bay Company.

But Canada started earlier than Canadian Confederation. It started during the “great ministry” of Baldwin and LaFontaine and may have started earlier. In other words, there were extraordinary Canadians who took Canada forward despite colonialism and/or imperialism, and Confederation. French Canadian nationalism dates back to the early 1800s and it had English-speaking supporters. The Rebellions of 1837-1838 occurred in both Upper Canada and Lower Canada. 


Sources and Resources

Extraordinary Canadians: Louis Hippolyte Lafontaine and Robert Baldwin : Saul, John Ralston: Livres
Extraordinary Canadians: Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont: A Penguin Lives Biography : Boyden, Joseph: Livres
Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine et Robert Baldwin – Saul John Ralston – 9782764621264 | Catalogue | Librairie Gallimard de Montréal (

Love to everyone 💕

© Micheline Walker
28 October 2021

To WordPress: Seniors and the Forgetful Count


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In the Street: Woman with Muff,
par Félix Vallotton, 1892 (


I have noticed that one can no longer “show likes.” It may be a temporary problem and a problem intended at progress. If I cannot see who liked at post, I will lose my community of readers.

Moreover, I cannot be interrupted when I write a post because I lose my train of thought. In fact, after writing a post, I am tired and must rest a little. So, I have writing days and reading days. I am growing old.

It may therefore be a good policy to re-enter the “like shows,” if a permanent change is contemplated. It would also be very convenient of all gravatars led to a page of a pose. One would click on the page. It is extremely usually. Remember proverbs: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it (Wikipedia). The French say « Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien » (The best is the ennemy of the good.) This proverb has been anglicized, but it is not necessarily understood.

I have also notice that I lost 1000 readers overnight. The number was 3000 +.

I thank you very much for keeping posting on one’s blog possible.


Love to everyone 💕

Félix Vallotton (1865-1925)
Au Marché (1895), Félix Vallotton (

© Micheline Walker
16 October 2021

Nonsense, said the Editorial Board


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In Richard Westall‘s Sword of Damocles, 1812, the boys of Cicero‘s anecdote have been changed to maidens for a neoclassical patron, Thomas Hope. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hope this post is my last post on the perennial debt ceiling impasse in American politics. The decision to raise the debt limit cannot be entrusted to feuding, vindictive, and, at times, uninformed politicians. Too much is at stake. One does not jeopardize intentionally the welfare of a nation and the world, which seems to be the case.

Had the debt ceiling not been raised, albeit temporarily, seniors would not have received their Social Security cheque. Veterans, the disabled, the unemployed, and other citizens would not have received the benefits to which they are entitled. Affordable health care would have been suspended. People who have contracted Covid-19’s Delta variant would not have received the care they need, the Military would not have the resources it requires, nor would law-enforcement agencies…

A Game of Chicken

Yet, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas calls the deal a “defeat” for the Republicans. Senators would be playing a “game of chicken.”

“We were on the verge of victory, but we turned that victory into defeat,” Mr. Cruz said in a lengthy speech on the Senate floor, calling it a “strategic mistake by our leadership.” But, he added, “Chuck Schumer won this game of chicken.”
Debt Ceiling Bill Approved by Senate – The New York Times (

The deal is temporary. It ends on 3 December 2021. By then, the deal may be repeated, which invites a comparison with the Myth of Sisyphus. The deal is not a solution, it is a stopgap and will remain a stopgap until reforms place the decision concerning raising the debt ceiling out of the hands of vindictive politicians. Meanwhile, the financial safety of Americans and the world will seem and be precarious. It will be a predicament inviting a comparison to the anecdote of the Sword of Damocles.

The Sword of Damocles

“Damocles, is a legendary courtier who extravagantly praised the happiness of Dionysius I, ruler of Syracuse. To show him how precarious this happiness was, Dionysius seated him at a table with a sword hung by a single hair over his head. The sword of Damocles is now used to refer to a precarious situation.”

(See Damocles, The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, Oxford University Press, 2000)

“The anecdote apparently figured in the lost history of Sicily by Timaeus of Tauromenium (c. 356–260 BCE). The Roman orator Cicero (c. 106-43 BCE) may have read it in the texts of Greek historian Diodorus Siculus. Cicero used it in his Tusculanae Disputationes, 5. 61, by which means it passed into the European cultural mainstream.”
(See Damocles, Wikipedia)

This comparison is helpful. Although Dionysius I ruled, in his quest for power, he had offended others and made errors. He may even have committed crimes. So, he feared revenge.

Americans and the world are in a precarious position because of frightful partisanship. The United States has never defaulted, but it could. The Republicans are threatening the Democrats and former President Donald Trump is on the campaign trail. Stability is essential. Therefore, as noted above, the matter of the debt ceiling could be handled by economists employed by the United States. Moreover, the public pot of gold could be deeper. Certain reforms are necessary, and the wealthy should pay their fair share of taxes. If one pays his or her taxes, honest governments use the money to provide services. Let me tell a short story.

A Story

Last week, acute chest pain and feeling unwell forced me to go to a Hospital’s Emergency Room. I thought that everyone would be busy looking after Covid patients, but doctors and staff were available. The information they needed was in their computer, including proof of vaccination. I was wheeled to a small room, and after several tests, a doctor and health workers diagnosed pericarditis and medicated me. They phoned my pharmacy so medication would be delivered to my home. In the evening, a young man helped me get into a cab, so I could return home. The next morning, the pharmacy delivered the medication I required, and I have started to feel better.

So, paying my taxes afforded me the care which, in my eyes, only royalty receives. But that care is available to everyone and it is not jeopardized by a “game of chicken.” Shame on Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and perish vindictiveness. This kind of behaviour is dangerously irresponsible. My neighbours to the south deserve the care I am receiving.

3 December 2021

The debt ceiling had to be raised by 18 October 2021 and the deal is enabling Americans to stay afloat until 3 December 2021. The United States has excellent economists and there is an élite among Democrats. Chuck Schumer is an élite Senator. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, knows Washington inside out.

Moreover, although there may be a degree of dissent among members of a party, when the country needs them, the citizens of the United States usually rally. President Biden has a good team. The debt ceiling issue has been misused by both parties. It must be eliminated. The next dreaded deadline is 3 December 2021.


I hope that reforms will put the decision to raise the debt ceiling into the hands of experts who will be called upon to help an administration manage the economy. It may be best to remain as optimistic as possible. Motivation and solidarity are needed. First, Republicans must agree to raise the debt ceiling, for their own good, which they do not seem to know. Afterwards, one re-examines certain fiscal policies and updates priorities. The planet is endangered. 

What everyone must remember is that Republicans would be the first to suffer from refusing to raise the debt ceiling. They have seated themselves in Damocles’ chair and should know they have. If the ship sinks, they too will sink and they will be blamed. This is nonsense. Therefore, “stop the nonsense.” 


Love to everyone 💕

A scene from Joseph Keppler‘s Puck showing Damocles, wearing a crown labeled “Industry,” stands beneath a large sword, labeled “Coal Strikes,” which hangs above him by a thread, suggesting that the coal strikes at the beginning of the 20th century were the modern day sword of Damocles (1903) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
14 October 2021