Town House, Country House

Town House, Country House

Recollections of A Quebec Childhood

eBook - 1990
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Baker & Taylor
Relates the childhood adventures of the author's mother and her brothers and sisters living with their large family in late nineteenth-century Quâebec.

McGill Queens Univ Pr
In Town House, Country House, Hazel Boswell delightfully recounts many adventures from her mother's childhood more than a century ago. Her mother, Julie, is fourteen at the time of the story and the eldest of seven children: Edmond, Tilly, Alain, Mic, Ethel, and six-year-old Henri. Among those we meet are the children's father, Sir Henri Gustave Joly de Lotbinière, who later became premier of Québec; Oncle Édouard, brother to Henri Gustave and an officer in the British army, who supplied the element of high romance in the children's lives; Mary Ann, their very Irish nurse; and of course Beau Charles, the handsome butler who liked to have his petit coup and whom the children simply adored.

The story begins in autumn 1872 with Julie's school days and takes us through Christmas and the building of a snow fort at the foot of the Citadel in Québec City. During Easter week there is the marvellous annual sleigh trip to the sugar bush near Montmorency where the children eat fresh maple syrup, cooled by being poured onto the snow. In early spring, Henri joins a log drive and sees a log jam freed by dynamite. Come summer, the family goes by river boat up the St Lawrence to their summer home near Pointe Platon on the Seigneury de Lotbinière, sixty kilometres north of Québec City. While on the family seigneury the children find an old-fashioned flat-bottomed boat which they name the Rancid Butter because of the smell it has before they clean and fix it. They visit their father's sawmill and take an exciting trip on a huge raft which had come down from Trois-Rivières in a storm. Summer is brought to a close with a thrilling climax during the return trip down the St-Lawrence. Town House, Country House will charm all who pick it up, whether young or old. For younger readers, the story is clear and wonderfully intriguing. For those of us who are not so young, it has a fine sense of rhythm and a story so enchanting as to make us almost forget, despite the rich and vivid detail of post-confederation Québec, that we are looking into history. Jean François Bélisle's line drawings, which accompany the text, are splendidly evocative of the mood and setting of Town House, Country House.

Publisher: Montreal : McGill-Queen's University Press, c1990
ISBN: 0773507213
Characteristics: xii, 136 p. : ill


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