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.
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.
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.
Harpagon, father toCléante, in love withMariane. Cléante, Harpagon’sson, lover toMarianne. Valère, son toAnselme, lover toÉlise, and “intendant” to Harpagon Anselme / Dom Thomas d’Alburcy, father toValèreandMariane, and Master Simon, broker. Master Jacques, cook and coachman toHarpagon. La Flèche, valet toCléante. Brindavoine, andLa Merluche, lackeys toHarpagon. A Magistrateand hisClerk. Élise, daughter toHarpagon. Mariane, daughter toAnselme. Frosine, an intriguing woman. Mistress Claude, servant toHarpagon.
The scene is at Paris, in Harpagon’s house.
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
a family tyrant
The action takes place in Harpagon’s house in Paris and can be described as genre art, a 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.”
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)
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)
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 alazṓn, prevents 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]
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.”
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.
I have already suggested that Molière uses doubling and fusion of functions. 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 inDom Juan, but all’s well that ends well.
____________________ L’Avare in Maurice Rat, Œuvres complètes de Molière (Paris : Éditions Gallimard, coll. La Pléiade, 1956), p. 968. Will G. Moore, Molière, a New Criticism (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1968 , pp. 69-70.  Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973 ), p. 165. Micheline Bourbeau-Walker, « Le Misanthrope,oula 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
I haven’t posted an article since Epiphany, Ukraine’s Christmas. I was very busy during the last month. John has been evicted, but there is nothing I can do to help him. He requires more than I can offer. A home for seniors could be his best option. John suffers from Ménière’s disease. He is nearly deaf and he hugs the walls.
But today February is foremost in my mind. It has been extremely cold. We missed groundhog day but we did not Candlemas, la chandeleur. La Chandeleur invites longer days. In the Northern hemisphere, each new day is slightly longer than the previous day. Candlemas, is also the day Simeon recognized the child Jesus as the Savior and the day His mother was purified.
Hendrick Avercamp (1585-1634) is a painter of the Dutch Golden Age of painting. He was born in Amsterdam, where he was trained by Danish-born portrait painter Pieter Isaacsz. He moved to Kampen in 1608. Avercamp’s favorite subject matter was winter inhabited by people and their pets going about their everyday activity: working, fishing, or skating and otherwise amusing themselves on the ice. In other words, he was genre artist when genre painting was a new frontier. Moreover, Avercamp lived during a period known as the “little ice age.”
Interestingly, Avercamp painted as though he stood slightly above his subject matter. He used an aerial perspective. He made sketches of his winter scenes which he transformed into paintings in warmer seasons. Hendrick Avercamp was mute and probably deaf, and he is therefore known as “de Stomme van Kampen.”
February was a busy month, but we have almost caught up. The Pagan precursor of St Valentine’s Day was Lupercalia.
When I introduced Félix Lorioux, finding his illustrations was complex. We learned, however, that he had worked for Walt Disney. Matters have changed. The Internet now features several pictures by Lorioux. This will help us read the fables of Jean de La Fontaine, a continuation of an earlier endeavour. Images often lead to reading narratives one would otherwise overlook. Moreover, they facilitate an understanding of “stories.”
Epiphany in Quebec
When I was a child, Epiphany was the twelfth day of Christmas. The next day we returned to school. On 6 January, my mother baked a gâteau des anges (angel cake). Hiding in the cake was a bean. The person who ate the piece of cake containing the bean was crowned King or Queen. The Christmas holidays ended festively. I do not know whether all Quebec families celebrated Epiphany, but my mother did. She was an excellent cook and honoured traditions.
The Winter Solstice
Christmas occurs on or near the Winter Solstice. It is a celebration of the longest night and the winter solstice always leads to a reversal. It had been a feast since antiquity. The world was new. Then came the Carnival season leading to the Spring Equinox (equal day and night).
The Three Kings of the Orient represent all human beings. No race is excluded and Kings honour a child, a little baby. So Epiphany can be incorporated into the upside-down view of the world the Winter Solstice inspires. Félix Lorioux has given Jesus teeth, which is artistic license.
In the Eastern Church, today is Christmas. (See Christmas in Ukraine, Wikipedia.2.) The season ends on 19 January. The word Epiphany also describes a sudden revelation. Moreover, the name Tiffany derives from Epiphany.
My kindest wishes to everyone. May the forthcoming year be your best and may Peace return and remain.
I posted many articles on Christmas, New Year, Epiphany, etc. All can be found by clicking Feasts and Liturgy. It’s a page. The Greek kōmos (comedy) and the Roman Saturnalia were Paganism’s celebration of the longest night.
Quand on partait de bon matin When we left early in the morning Quand on partait sur les chemins When we left biking on paths À bicyclette Biking
Nous étions quelques bons copains We were a few good friends (lads) Y avait Fernand y avait Firmin There was Fernand there was Firmin Y avait Francis et Sébastien There was Francis and Sébastien Et puis Paulette And then Paulette
On était tous amoureux d’elle We were all in love with her On se sentait pousser des ailes We could feel wings growing on us À bicyclette Biking
Sur les petits chemins de terre On little dirt roads On a souvent vécu l’enfer We often lived hell (as though in hell) Pour ne pas mettre pied à terre Not to put a foot on the ground (Trying not to put a foot down) Devant Paulette In front of Paulette
Faut dire qu’elle y mettait du cɶur Must say she put her heart in it C’était la fille du facteur She was the mailman’s daughter À bicyclette Biking
Et depuis qu’elle avait huit ans And since she was eight years old Elle avait fait en le suivant She had (biked) just following Tous les chemins environnants All the neighbouring paths À bicyclette
Quand on approchait la rivière When we neared the river On déposait dans les fougères We’d put (our bikes) down on the grass (literally: fern) Nos bicyclettes Our bicycles
Puis on se roulait dans les champs(se rouler: to roll) Then we rambled in the fields Faisant naître un bouquet changeant Creating a changing bouquet De sauterelles, de papillons Of grasshoppers, butterflies Et de rainettes And tree frogs
Quand le soleil à l’horizon When the sun on the horizon Profilait sur tous les buissons Profiled (drew) on all the bushes Nos silhouettes Our silhouettes (shadows)
On revenait fourbus contents We came back exhausted but pleased Le cœur un peu vague pourtant But our heart a little confused (vague) De n’être pas seul un instant Not to be alone a single moment Avec Paulette With Paulette
Prendre furtivement sa main To steal her hand (unseen) Oublier un peu les copains To forget our friends a little La bicyclette The bicycle
On se disait c’est pour demain We’d say, perhaps tomorrow J’oserai, j’oserai demain I will dare, I will dare tomorrow Quand on ira sur les chemins When we go/ride on the paths À bicyclette Biking
I am in Magog. Two posts are ready, including a song I have translated, but I must eliminate spelling errors and repetitions. I repeat entire statements.
My next post is on La Fontaine’s Preface to his three collections (recueils) of fables. It will be published in Magog. Analysing La Fontaine’s Preface was a difficult task because he uses obliqueness. He had offended Louis XIV by pleading mercy for Nicolas Fouquet.
You have no idea how much I worked to make sure the initial rule is reinstated. I had to part with my car because I could not clean it before before 8 o’clock and take it away from the outside parking lot. People who fail to clear their car are fined by the managers. Last year, I took taxis to emergency rooms week after week. My doctor would not treat me. My nephew drives me to Magog for short stays, and my groceries are delivered to my home. I’m managing, but when my little car left, I lost my wings. I do not leave the apartment.
I have searched the web for an apartment for John and found that he would have to pay $2,000 a month for facilities that compare favorably with his current apartment. Retired people often live on a very limited income, about $19,000 per year. In fact, many people do not retire.
As for my audacity with the syndicate, it may turn into a benefit, but not entirely. I pity the owners of two- or three-bedroom apartments who have secured two or more parking spaces in the basement garage. Yet, they have no right to occupy more than one parking space in the garage. The architects should have designed a two-floor basement garage, but they did not and now is too late. The rule is one indoor parking space for each apartment. John cannot clean his car. I watch luxury cars exiting the garage.
Volodymyr Zelensky is in the United States and he has won further support from both parties: the Democrats and the Republicans. The world is threatened.
The gentleman whose photograph sits at the top of this post is Steve Nicklen. Steven is married to my niece Susanne Lebrun and they have two married children: Jacob (Jocelyn Evans), an engineer, and Jessica (Dustin Smart), an artist and a photographer. They live in British Columbia‘s Fraser Valley (Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, etc.) and in Vancouver. My family moved to British Columbia when I was a High School student. I have a sister, a widowed brother-in-law, and five nieces who live in British Columbia, where I studied and married. I cannot afford to go back to the West Coast.
Steve Nicklen repairs old bicycles and gives them to migrant workers who would otherwise have to walk several kilometers to get their groceries. My nephew met Dr Roger Page who “spends his evenings visiting farm workers and writing their needs.” (See “Under the Helmet” below).
These migrant workers are excellent people, but they must travel a long distance, dangerously, to earn a meagre living. They are at times separated from their families for a long time. My nephew fears for the safety of these workers and wishes for them to be part of the community. The Migrant Workers remind me of the voyageurs. In fact, Steve is a Nicklen (Scandinavian) and a Dicaire (French-Canadian). There were Dicaires among the voyageurs. When these men lacked a waterway, they carried the fur, their supplies, and their canoes on their back. They hated portages (carrying) and jumped the rapids to avoid them.
Steve studied computer science and worked for nearly three decades in this area. Sensing the approach of a burnout, he discussed matters with his family and they agreed that his resigning was not unrealistic. It hasn’t been. He loves his new life. He works for the Coquitlam Public Library, but his main occupation is restoring bikes and providing migrant farm workers with a means of transportation.
Other volunteers, in Calgary (Canada), the United States, the United Kingdom, also collect bikes for workers elsewhere, but Steven specializes in repairing bikes. Moreover, Fraser Valley migrant farm workers are provided with a helmet, reflectors and “needs written” in Dr Page’s notebook.
I am not providing several links to Steven. The links I have provided lead to other links that tell the whole story. Steven has both a public and a private life. In fact, I barely use social medias. I have been the victim of an international group of hackers. The bank saved me locking my account. It is still locked. It was a devastating and paralyzing experience. So, I am now afraid of using the internet. Besides, remembering passwords is difficult. There are so many.
These are difficult times. Russia has attacked Ukraine and Vladimir Putin will not negotiate. European countries need Russian oil: that is dangerous. The price of everything is rising everywhere. We must try to stay away from the unrelenting soap opera featuring members of Britain’s Royal family. Finally, Liberal members of parliament are trying to help Quebec’s anglophones. Canada is a bilingual country.
I will go to Magog and create passwords. Sadly, John must leave his lovely apartment. He was renting. He cannot come here unless I move to a larger apartment that has a basement garage space. There was only one per apartment. Mine was sold. John suffers from Ménière’s disease. He drives short distances and very slowly. His car must be inside, not outside, so driving is not a source of stress. I still have a valid driver’s licence. Don’t worry. John is a very good friend. I will make sure he has a home, privacy, care, and a warm place for his car.
As you know, I wrote posts on every play Molière wrote. Molière is a major writer. In fact, the French language is often referred to as la langue de Molière. Quotations were in both French and English, and each one was followed by a link taking readers to the entire play.
Toutmolière.net / Molière 21 has been removed from the internet. So, links following my quotations no longer lead to the complete play. I believe a few of my posts are entries.
However, I hope sincerely that the toutmolière.net/ Molière 21 site will be reintroduced among necessary entries. I so enjoyed using these toutmolière.net.
English translations of my quotations were taken from an Internet Archive‘s translation of the plays of Molière. I had chosen Henri van Laun. The print is small but it can be enlarged. The full texts of certain plays is available courtesy of the Gutenberg Project, Wikisource, and other sources, but most of my Molière posts no longer have a link to the French text and I fear readers will not “run around.” A teacher’s presentation of a work is a key source of learning. Illustrations are also very important.
Many people are confined to their home or bed. They cannot go to a library or a bookstore, because there is no convenient transportation. Some are blind or have poor eyesight, so audio books are important. Henri van Laun was an excellent moliériste and translator. The print was small, but it could be enlarged.
I hope toutmolière.net /Molière 21 will reinsert Molière’s plays on the internet so people reading my 82 posts will be able to read more than its short quotations.
My doctoral thesis has been published on the internet by the University of British Columbia. However, the copy that was used has many spelling and surface errors. I will correct these.
Messieurs, je vous en prie, rendez-nous toutmolière.net.
We will survive. I was going through my Molière’s plays because I would like to present more fables by Jean de La Fontaine. Molière and Jean de La Fontaine were good friends and the same age. Both were influenced by Rabelais.
Belaud was three months old when he entered my life, but he died in 2019. When I first saw him I thought there could not be a lovelier kitten.
However, for the first two weeks, Belaud was in mid-air. He was flying. I think he was nervous. He didn’t know me and he had just left his family. I could not go and meet Belaud, but the breeder sent me a picture of his father, Tennessee, and she told me Belaud would look like Tennessee. His mother was an aristocrat. She had a very long name.
Belaud was my second chartreux. There was a previous Belaud: Belaud I. Chartreux look almost the same, but my first Belaud was more dependent on me. Everytime I left the house, he looked worried. Fortunately, he was with Mouchette. They played together. They were lovely to watch. My house was not very large, but it had more space than we needed.
This is a strange time in history. There is not a single chartreux available in Quebec. I would have to fly to France to find Belaud III, but even French breeders have been affected by Covid and I could not afford to fly to France, not at this point. The markets are fluctuating.
The above photograph was taken in Magog. Magog is less than a half-hour drive from Sherbrooke. Chartreux enjoy cars. The law demands that cats be inside their carrier, but with chartreux, the carrier protects the chartreux, not the driver.
I did not live in this building when Belaud was adopted. I wanted to move, but decided not to do because I was not feeling well. I lost the former apartment to a dishonest realtor and an unconscionable lawyer. I asked the lawyer to phone the realtor and explain that I wasn’t feeling well. It ruled out moving to a new home. I didn’t pay his bill. It was the beginning of emphysema. It causes shortness of breath, but it is not a great obstacle.
This building I live in is perfect for an aging woman, but it is a smaller apartment and it needed and still needs renovations. Moreover, it could not accommodate hundreds of books. So, I have missed my former apartment. And now I miss Belaud.
I am looking for a third Belaud, but I may not find one.
The war in Ukraine has not ended, so I believe this will be a humble Christmas. The days are getting shorter and the light will return.
December brings the longest night and promise for a better year. I’m still here. My eyes have returned to their normal color. Both are hazel, and I see perfectly well. However, my ability to concentrate has lost ground. It started declining when I developed chronic fatigue syndrome/ME. That is a very long time ago.
The word for Magpie, une pie, is not flattering, but Monet had yet to see this landscape. I’m working, but time passes so quickly.
I heard rumors that Canada’s Province of Alberta wants to renegotiate its relationship with Ottawa. Quebec has language laws, but separatism is no longer seen as the best option.
Alberta is a rich province, and the Rocky Mountains begin in Alberta. However, the Rocky Mountains have several ranges.
May the new season bring peace and chase away viruses.
I am a few minutes away from publishing a post on La Fontaine., but …
The events of the week kept away from you. A vein broke near my eyes. My eyes were filled with blood and one eye went from deep green to blue, but I’ve recovered. It didn’t hurt and I am recovering.
The Project: no Language Laws
I will first get in touch with Champlain-Lennoxville, the Advantage programme. Reforms are necessary, and French-speaking students have been enrolling in English-language Cégeps for several decades. It’s their English-language immersion finishing schools and there is no tuition fee. I must then talk to Justin Trudeau and François Legault. Attending a Cégep after grade eleven does not threaten a student’s knowledge of French.
The more difficult step is convincing French-speaking students to have anglophones as their classmates. A few changes are needed. As a university teacher of second-language acquisition, four years at McMaster University, and I wrote articles on the subject, I have the necessary background. I have also edited books on this subject.
Interestingly, people have realized that Internet Archives, Gutenberg, Wikisource have published a wealth of free books including audio texts. I have used these to write articles of every play Molière wrote. Henri van Laun is a scholar.
I am returning to the fables of La Fontaine, but I will be busy working on a better relationship between English-speaking and French-speaking Quebecers. There has to be trust that the French will not lose their language. The Battle of the Plains of Abraham took place a long time ago. We are now a free people, and our official languages are French and English.
The conversation begins. Cégeps are the starting point. French-speaking students themselves have used Cégeps. We keep this alive.
Wherever I phone, I hear: English will follow.
Here is an introduction to Lori Weber. She speaks four languages and is an author.