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"I will never forget his next words. "We must not forget them. We must remember those who have gone on before us. We are proud of what we are, you and I, mademoiselle—Scot, Abenaki, French and Canadian. We have lost much, but it cannot touch what we are." Thinking back, I believe I have been given a gift after all."
Geneviève Aubuchon talks to Andrew Doig[2]

The Death of My Country: The Plains of Abraham Diary of Geneviève Aubuchon is a historical fiction book written by Maxine Trottier. It is the fourteenth book released for the Dear Canada series. The book was published in September 2005 and was followed by Julie Lawson's No Safe Harbour.

The story follows Geneviève Aubuchon, an Abenaki orphan, living in Québec during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham of the Seven Years' War.

Dedication[]

"For Jeanette Murray-Pastorius, who has stood at Culloden and who will never forget who has gone before her."

Book description[]

"Le 13 mai 1759
"We must leave this place," Chegual said when we walked alone by the river. He would take me from Québec and back to the Abenaki mission at St. Francis so that I would be safe. When I insisted that we were safe here, that the city is well fortified, he made a rude noise. He has heard stories of the British army, of its size and strength. He knew what the capitaine of the ship had said, that France had abandoned its people here. "I will not abandon you," he told me. "I am your brother."
What he says about France may be true. But how can I leave Mme Claire and Mère Esther after what they have done for me?
My brother's answer turned my blood to ice.
"Then you may be choosing death, sister. If that is so, I will die with you."

"Le 13 mai 1759
« Nous devons quitter cet endroit », a dit Chegual tandis que nous marchions au bord du fleuve, ce soir. Il disait qu'il allait me faire quitter Québec et me ramener chez les Abénaquis de la mission de Saint-François où je serais en sécurité.
Quand je lui ai objecté que nous étions en sécurité ici, que la ville était bien fortifiée, il a fait « pfuit ». Puis il a dit qu'il avait entendu parler de l'armée britannique, de sa taille et de sa puissance. Et qu'il savait ce que le capitaine de la frégate avait dit, que la France avait abandonné ses gens d'ici.
« Je ne t'abandonnerai pas, Miguen, m'a-t-il dit. Je suis ton frère. »
Ce qu'il disait de la France était sans doute exact. Mais comment pourrais-je abandonner madame Claire et mère Esther après tout ce qu'elles ont fait pour moi? Sa réponse m'a glacé les sangs jusqu'à la moelle.
« Alors, tu iras vers une mort certaine, petite sœur. Et s'il en va ainsi, je mourrai auprès de toi. »
"

Plot[]

Geneviève Aubuchon, whom is around twelve-years-old, receives a diary from her adoptive mother Claire Pastorel to celebrate the anniversary of her arrival in Québec. She writes about her older brother Chegual, whom ran away two years previously to join their people, the Abenaki, with his best friend, Étienne L'Aubépine. Unlike her brother, she has found a life in New France. In April 1759, Chegual and Étienne return to Québec after a long absence. Chegual presents Geneviève with a pet rabbit named Wigwedi. Now that the war between France and England is heating up, Chegual wants Geneviève to leave the city with him. She refuses to leave behind Mme Claire and her other loved ones.

Chegual never quite gives up on convincing Geneviève to leave, though she stays firm in her decision. In late June, British warships arrive up river of Québec and Geneviève soon sees ships from her balcony. Chegual and Étienne are often away fighting with a group of other Abenaki, causing Geneviève constant worry. The British start attacking the city with bombs two weeks later. Chegual and Étienne arrive just in time to help Geneviève and Claire evacuate to the Ursuline monastery. However, the monastery soon has to evacuate as well. Claire decides to head to her other house located in a different part of the city. Sometime later, Geneviève adopts a Newfoundland dog named La Bave.

In September, Chegual makes one final attempt to take Geneviève to the St. Francis mission. Étienne, however, convinces him to stay and fight for his sister. That night, the British win a decisive battle against the French and Québec surrenders within a few days. Geneviève volunteers at Hôtel-Dieu, hoping to see Chegual and Étienne. Chegual is brought there a few days later with an injured leg. Geneviève diligently cares for his wound. A few days later, they learn of Étienne's death. After telling Chegual the sad news, she sees a strange Scotsman mouth something to her. Later, the Scotsman has to have his hand amputated. Geneviève refuses to assist at first, but reluctantly does so anyway.

Geneviève confesses her hatred towards the British to Père Segard, who assigns her penance. She must nurse the Scotsman, whom he reveals is named Andrew Doig and an officer in the army. Geneviève resents her penance at first, especially when Andrew is billeted at her home. However, after reading his journal, her opinions of him start to change. She later confesses to reading it, which starts a dialogue. They gradually become closer and decide to be friends. She asks him what he said the day she told Chegual about Étienne's death. He replies with words in Gaelic, which translate to "Remember the people from whom you came." On New Years' Day, when the hawthorn tree blooms, Geneviève takes it as sign from Étienne.

Epilogue[]

After Andrew returned to his duties, Geneviève volunteered at the Ursuline school and often assisted at the hospital, where she treated anyone regardless of nationality. Andrew's regiment disbanded in 1763 after the Treaty of Paris was signed, making Canada a British possession. The same year, Andrew headed to Paris to settle his grandfather's affairs. He asked for Geneviève's hand in marriage before leaving. They married on June 7, 1765 at the Ursuline chapel. Andrew used some of his grandfather's inheritance to build a home on the site of Geneviève's childhood home, which Claire gifted them. Her pets, Wigwedi and La Bave, were "contented" and "pampered" for the rest of their days.

Chegual, being restless, found work as a voyageur. He never returned to the ruined St. Francis mission. Andrew's cousin, Jonathan Alexander Stewart, married Claire once their regiment had been disbanded. The two men later established a publishing business, "Doig & Stewart." Andrew's account of the war was the first book they published. Geneviève and Andrew had their first child, Étienne, in 1767. They had four more sons. Québec fell under siege in late 1775 by American forces. Andrew and Jonathan helped the British soldiers defend Québec. The hawthorn tree died in 1785, the same year Geneviève gave birth to her final child, Jeannette. Chegual made her a cradle out of hawthorn wood.

Over the intervening years, Geneviève lost many of her loved ones. Her love for Andrew was all that "kept her from despairing at these losses." Andrew left the publishing business to their eldest son in 1807, before he and Geneviève set sail for Scotland. Her last letter to her children was dated April 2, 1808. Three months later, a distant relation wrote to relay that Geneviève and Andrew both died of pneumonia on April 14. He passed along her last words "Cuimhnich air na daoine o'n d'thainig thuí." Two plaques were made with her final words with one being set at Geneviève's and Andrew's resting place in Scotland.

Historical Note[]

The French and Indian War, or the Seven Years' War, began in 1754. It was fought not only in North America, but also in Europe, the Caribbean, and India. The war dragged on as both the French and British were successful in turn. William Pitt sent thousand of troops to North America, hoping to "bring the war to a rapid close." The colony of New France was governed by Governor Vaudreuil who was not happy about the French general Montcalm being put in charge instead. Vaudreuil was confident that the colony would survive the British offensive, but Montcalm was not so optimistic. The other side was commanded by Major General James Wolfe, whom was in poor health and sometimes clashed with his subordinates.

On September 13, 1759, the British were victorious at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. It lasted only about fifteen minutes and the French "had not stood much of a chance." Both Generals Wolfe and Montcalm died of wounds sustained in the battle. The historical note also discusses the St. Francis Raid, the Abenaki people, medicine in the 18th century, and the Ursulines of Québec. A timeline of the French and Indian War is included along with sixteen illustrations, a glossary of French and Abenaki words, and two maps of North America at the time.

Characters[]

Main article: List of The Death of My Country characters
  • Geneviève Aubuchon, an Abenaki orphan around twelve-years-old. She was raised by a Frenchwoman, Claire Pastorel. Unlike her brother, Geneviève adjusted well to life in Québec.
  • Chegual is Geneviève's older brother. He ran away two years earlier to join his people, the Abenaki. In 1759, he returns after along absence to protect his sister from the ongoing war.

Author[]

Main article: Maxine Trottier

Maxine Trottier is an children's author who previously taught elementary school for over thirty years. She primarily writes books about Canada's history. Trottier has penned three books in Dear Canada, including Alone in an Untamed Land and Blood Upon Our Land. Her book, Storm the Fortress from I Am Canada, is also about the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. Trottier is a member of a unit called Le Détachement that reenacts the Seven Years' War. In the "About the Author" section, she says "My family fought in that war, and so this story has great personal meaning for me."

Editions[]

Awards[]

  • Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People (2006) - shortlisted[6]
  • Canadian Children's Book Centre, Our Choice (2006) - commended[7]

Acknowledgements[]

"My thanks to Barbara Hehner for her careful checking of the manuscript, as well as Andrew Gallup, historian, writer and co-conspirator in re-enacting, for the same thoughtful work. My appreciation to Charlotte Picard and her husband John Ashley Sheltus, upon whom I based the characters of Mme Claire and Lieutenant Stewart. And as always, my thanks to my husband Bill for his endless patience and support."

Notes[]

  • The portrait on the cover is a detail of Karen Noles's painting Emergence. The background is a lightened detail of the 1789 engraving Mort de Montcalm.[8][9][10]

References[]

See also[]


Dear Canada

Orphan at My Door | A Prairie as Wide as the Sea | With Nothing But Our Courage | Footsteps in the Snow
A Ribbon of Shining Steel | Whispers of War | Alone in an Untamed Land | Brothers Far from Home | An Ocean Apart
A Trail of Broken Dreams | Banished from Our Home | Winter of Peril | Turned Away | The Death of My Country
No Safe Harbour | A Rebel's Daughter | A Season for Miracles | If I Die Before I Wake | Not a Nickel to Spare
Prisoners in the Promised Land | Days of Toil and Tears | Where the River Takes Me | Blood Upon Our Land
A Desperate Road to Freedom | A Christmas to Remember | Exiles from the War | To Stand On My Own
Hoping for Home | That Fatal Night | Torn Apart | A Sea of Sorrows | Pieces of the Past | A Country of Our Own
All Fall Down | Flame and Ashes | A Time for Giving | These Are My Words


External links[]

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