I thought about mentioning their laziness, but their laughter dissuaded me. There was no sense in dampening their good mood. I knelt and coaxed a flame from the pulsing orange logs. Maman shook her head, but she was smiling. How could I have forgotten? Then Claire will have her own home and her own children, and I will be an aunt! But I suppose it is all right.
After the harvest we can enjoy it even more. You are seventeen already.
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When will you choose a husband? I simply had not met anyone with whom I could imagine spending the rest of my life.
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When I thought about the hours in a day, then those in a night, I knew my husband would have to be more than just strong and hard-working. He would have to be someone with whom I could talk about anything, and no one in our village had yet reached my standards. The men in my family have never pressured me to find a husband.
Marriage was important, I knew, but they seemed to understand that nagging would do no good. Maman will have breakfast ready soon. I realized I had accidentally interrupted their conversation, and I perked up, listening for clues to the topic. Anything would be more interesting than discussing marriage. Mali will be fine. The petition? What did he hear about that? I dragged a stool to the cow and leaned my shoulder against her warm, bristled side, letting her know I was there.
My fingers closed around her and tugged in a familiar rhythm. Instead he ordered everyone assembled—all one hundred men—to swear an oath of allegiance to the British Crown, promising to take up arms against the King of France. Would they have to fight against us? It hurt to imagine it. They said such an oath would rob us of our religion and everything else we believe in. So Governor Lawrence arrested them all and sent them to a prison near Halifax! A tyrant! Does your friend know what they plan next? He ran when he thought the soldiers had discovered him there.
Even as a child he had been particular and precise in everything he did. His expression was often difficult to interpret, since he deliberately hid his feelings. This morning he was surprisingly easy to read. Tents have been picketed all around the area for the soldiers. The English flag now flies over our church, Papa, and they are tossing out sacred items as if they are nothing more than a nuisance.
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What did this mean? What could have prompted the British to behave so? The act of seizing our church was an insult to all of us. We were not a warring people; if they declared war on us, what would we do? By the time I had been born in , the British and the French had battled over this land many times, but my people had not been part of the fight.
It had never mattered to me which country believed they were in charge, because we Acadians lived independently of them all. I was not a Nova Scotian; I was an Acadian. Politics had never touched my life before now. I set the full bucket outside the barn, then gazed across the land toward our church. The shapes of men moved among the straight white rows of tents where they slept. Certainly I had seen them before, but they had not seemed so menacing until today. Reading Group Guide. About The Author. Photograph c Janice Bray. Genevieve Graham.
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Promises to Keep
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