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Acadian Reminiscences has 27 ratings and 2 reviews. George said: A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE“The term Acadian was, in those days, synonymous with.
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Kindle Edition , 33 pages. Published March 24th first published January 1st To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Acadian Reminiscences , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Acadian Reminiscences. Lists with This Book. Mar 01, George rated it really liked it Shelves: You might too, especially if you like stories of Acadia. Bradley rated it it was amazing Apr 17, Michelle rated it it was amazing Apr 27, Andy rated it really liked it Oct 20, Brandon Lee rated it really liked it Aug 23, Bitsy rated it it was amazing Oct 21, Brigitte rated it it was amazing Dec 02, Laurel Hicks rated it really liked it May 13, Raymond Rockwell rated it it was ok Jun 12, Tom Hoekenga rated it liked it Jul 24, Michelle Geiger rated it really liked it Apr 02, Becky rated it it was amazing Jun 01, Susan Snyder rated it it was ok May 02, Dennis Kocik rated it it was amazing Aug 29, William J Freschi, jr.

Emily rated it liked it Oct 19, Susan Hoge rated it it was amazing Oct 22, Aug 06, Bitsy marked it as to-read Shelves: Gretchen Paris rated it liked it Jun 11, Sally rated it really liked it Jun 12, Janet Daghri rated it it was amazing Feb 20, Belle Lune rated it really liked it Aug 27, Melissa added it Aug 03, We could hear the cracking of planks tortured by the blaze ; the crash of falling roofs, while the flames shot up to an immense height with the hissing and soughing of a hurricane.

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Petiots, it was a fair image of pande- monium. The people seemed an army of 60 Acadian R emmiscences fiends, spreading ruin and desolation in their path. The work-oxen were killed, and a few among us, with the hope of a speedy return to Acadia, threw our silver- ware into the wells. Oh, the ruin, the ruin, petiots ; it was horrible.

Gabriel numbering about three hundred, whilst the ashes of our burning houses, carried by the wind, whirled past us like a pillar of light to guide our faltering steps through the wil- derness that stretched before us. Alas, we could see nothing but the crim- son sky reflecting the lurid glare of the flames that devoured our Acadian villages. We built no fires and spoke only in whispers, fear- 64 Acadian R emmiscences ing that the blazing fire, that the least sound might betray us incur place of con- cealment ; with hearts failing, oppressed with gloomy forebodings, the events of the day seemed to us a frightful dream.

It was de- cided to reach Canada the best way we could, after which, after crossing the great northern lakes, our journey was to be over- land to the Mississippi river, on whose waters we would float down to Louisiana, a French colony inhabited by people of our own race, and professing the same religious creed as ours.

Acadian Reminiscences 65 "But to carry out this plan, petiots, we had to travel thousands of miles through a country barren of civilization, through endless forests, and across lakes as wide and deep as the sea; we were to overcome obstacles without number and to en- counter dangers and hardships at every step, and yet we remained firm in our re- solve. It was exile with its train of woes and of misery ; it was, perhaps, death for many of us, but we submitted to our fate, sacrificing our all in this world for our religion, and for the love of France. We were in a state of mental anguish so agonizing that the hours passed away without bringing the sweet repose of a refreshing sleep.

We made the least noise possible as we advanced cautiously, our fears and apprehensions increasing at every step.

Acadian reminiscences : the true story of Evangeline (Book, ) []

All at once our column halted; a deathlike silence prevailed, and our hearts beat tumultuously within us. Was it the beat of the drum that had startled us? No one could tell. We listened with eagerness, but the sound had died away, and the stillness of night re- mained undisturbed.

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Our anxiety be- came intense. Was the enemy in pursuit of us? We remained in painful suspense, not knowing what danger lurked ahead of us. The few minutes that succeeded seemed as long as a whole year. We drew close together and whispered our ap- prehensions to one another. We moved on slowly, our footsteps falling noiselessly on the roadway, while we strained our eyes to pierce the shadows of night to dis- cover the cause of our fears.

The sound Acadian Reminiscences 67 that had startled us was no more heard, and somewhat encouraged, our uneasiness grew less. Petiots, our doom was sealed. We were in a narrow path surrounded by the enemy, without the possibility of escape, How shall I de- scribe what followed. The women wrung their hands and sobbed piteously in their despair. The children, terrified, uttered shrill and piercing cries, while the men, goaded to madness, vented their rage in hurried exclamations, and were deter- mined to sell their lives as dearly as pos- sible.

You are traitors and you should be treated as such, but in his clemency, the king offers his pardon to all who will swear fealty and allegiance to him. Gabriel, "our king is the king of France, and we are not traitors to the king of England whose subjects we are not. If by the force of arms you have conquered this country, we are willing to recognize your supremacy, but we are not willing to submit to English rule, and for that reason, we have aban- doned our homes to emigrate to Louisiana, to seek there, under the protection of the French flag, the quiet and peace and hap- piness we have enjoyed here.

To Acadian Reminiscences 69 Louisiana you shall go, and seek in vain, under the French flag, that protection you have failed to receive from it in Canada. Soldiers," he added, with a smile that made us shudder, "escort these worthy patriots to the seashore, where transporta- tion will be given them free in his majesty's ships.

They treated us most brutally, and had no regard either for age or for sex. They drove us back through the forest to the sea shore, where their ships were an- chored, and stowing the greater number of our party in one of their ships, they weighed anchor, and she set sail. The balance of our people had been embarked on another vessel which had departed in advance of ours. Is it necessary that I should describe the horror of our plight, our sufferings, our mental anguish during the many days that our voyage on the sea lasted?

We were huddled in a space scarcely large enough to contain us. The air rarefied by our breathing became un- wholesome and oppressive ; we could not lie down to rest our weary limbs. With but scant food, with the water given grudgingly to us, barely enough to wet our parched lips ; with no one to care for us, you can well imagine that our suffer- ings became unbearable. Yet, when we expostulated with our jailers, and com- plained bitterly of the excess of our woes, it seemed to rejoice them. They derided us, called us noble patriots, stubborn Acadian Reminiscences 71 French people and papists ; epithets that went right to our hearts, and added to our misery.

Rude scoffs and sharp invec- tives were their only answer. We were disembarked with the same ruthless brutal- ity with which we had been dragged to their ship. They landed us on a precip- itous and rocky shore, and leaving us a few rations, saluted us in derision with their caps and bidding farewell to the noble patriots, as they called us. Our anguish, at that "moment, can hardly be conceived.

We were outcasts in a strange land ; we were friendless and penniless, with a few rations thrown to us as to dogs. The sun had now set, and we were in an agony of despair. Never was a more heart- felt prayer wafted to God's throne. When we arose, hope, once more smiling to us, irradiated our souls and dispelled, as if by magic, the gloom that had settled in our hearts.

We felt that none but noble causes lead to martyrdom, and we looked upon ourselves as martyrs of a saintly cause, and with a clear conscience, we lay down to sleep under the blue canopy of the heavens. Our hearts fluttered with emotion. The incident, simple as it was, proved to be of great im- portance to us. We felt as if Providence Acadian Reminiscences 73 had not forsaken us, and that the two horsemen, heralds of peace and joy, were his messengers of love in our sore trials.

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When the cavaliers alighted, they addressed us in English, but in words so soft and kind, that the sound of the hated language did not grate on our ears, and seemed as sweet as that of our own tongue. They bowed gracefully to us, and introduced them- selves as Charles Smith and Henry Brent.

See, we number over two hundred persons, and it would be taxing your generosity too heavily ; no one but a king could accomplish your noble design. We have everything in abundance at our homes, and this abundance we are willing to share with you. Accept our offer, and the Brent and Smith families will ever be grateful to God, who has given them the means to minister to your wants, assuage your afflictions and soothe your sorrows.

It was impossible for us to find words expressive of our gratitude. Unable to utter a single word, we shook hands with them, but our silence was far more eloquent than any language we could have used. Chapter Seven 8 3 '5 1 a Sfssisted by Tneir Generous Friends The Acadians become roserous, lut yearn to rejoin tneir friends and relatives in Louisiana IHE same day, we moved to T their farms, which lay near by, and I shall never forget the kind welcome we received from these two families.

They vied with each other in their kind offices toward us, and ministered to our wants with so much grace and affability, that it gave additional charm and value to their already boundless hospitality. Our party had prospered, and plenty smiled once more in our homes. We lived as happy as exiles could live away from the father- land, ignorant of the fate of those who had been torn from us so ruthlessly. In vain we had endeavored to ascertain the lot of our friends and relatives, and what had become of them; we could learn nothing. Many parents wept for their lost children; many a disconsolate wife pined away in sorrow and hopeless grief for a lost husband; but, petiots, the sad- dest of all was the fate of poor Emmeline Labiche.

Who was Emme- line Labiche? We had never heard her name mentioned before, and our curiosity was excited to the highest pitch. How sweet-tem- pered, how loving she was!

Acadian reminiscences : the true story of Evangeline

She had grown to womanhood with all the attrac- tions of her sex, and, although not a beauty in the sense usually given to that word, she was looked upon as the hand- somest girl of St. Her soft, transparent hazel eyes mirrored her pure thoughts; her dark brown hair waved in graceful undulations on her intelligent forehead, and fell in ringlets on hershoul- 82 Acadian R emmiscences ders; her bewitching smile, her slender, symmetrical shape, all contributed to make her a most attractive picture of maiden loveliness.

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Their mutual love dated from their earliest years, and all agreed that Providence willed their union as man and wife, she the fairest young maiden, he the most deserving youth of St. Emmeline had wit- nessed the whole scene. Her lover was carried on board of one of the ships, the Acadian Reminiscences 83 anchor was weighed, and a stiff breeze soon drove the vessel out of sight. Emme- line, tearless and speechless, stood fixed to the spot, motionless as a statue, and when the white sail vanished in the dis- tance, she uttered a wild, piercing shriek, and fell fainting to the ground.

Gradually its violence subsided, but the sadness of her countenance betokened the sorrow that preyed on her heart, never to be con- taminated by her love for another one. Thus she lived in our midst, always sweet tempered, but with such sadness depicted in her countenance, and with smiles so sorrowful, that we had come to look upon her as not of this earth, but 84 Acadian Reminiscences rather as our guardian angel, and this is why we called her no longer Emmeline, but Evangeline, or God's little angel. I will now tell you what became of poor Emmeline," and after remaining a while in thoughtful revery, she resumed her narrative.

She was, as I have told you, my adopted child. She dwelt with me, and she followed me in my long pilgrimage from Maryland to Louisiana. I shall not relate to you now the many Acadian Reminiscences 85 dangers that beset us on our journey, and the many obstacles we had to overcome to reach Louisiana; this would be anticipating what remains for me to tell you.

When we reached the Teche country, at the Poste des Attakapas, we found there the whole population congregated to welcome us. As we went ashore, Emmeline walked by my side, but seemed not to admire the beautiful landscape that unfolded itself to our gaze. She lived in the past, and her soul was absorbed in the mournful regret of that past. For her, the universe had lost the prestige of its beauties, of its freshness, of its splendors.

The radiance of her dreams was dimmed, and she breathed in an atmosphere of dark- ness and of desolation. All at once, she grasped my hand, and, as if fascinated by some vision, she 86 Acadian Reminiscences stood rooted to the spot. Her very heart's blood suffused her cheeks, and with the silvery tones of a voice vibrating with joy: Have you forgotten me? I am still your Emmeline, your betrothed, and I have kept pure and unsullied my plighted faith to you.

Not a word of welcome, Louis? I can love you no longer; I have pledged my faith to an- other. Tear from your heart the remem- brance of the past, and forgive me," and with quick step, he walked away, and was soon lost to view in the forest. I took her hand; it was icy cold. A deathly pallor had overspread her countenance, and her eye had a vacant stare.

I clasped her in my arms. Her mind was unhinged; this last shock had been too much for her broken heart; she was hope- lessly insane. Is it true, then, that the beloved of God are always visited by sore trials? Was it that Emmeline was too ethereal a being for this world, and that God would have her in his sweet paradise? It does not belong to us, petiots, to solve this mystery and to scru- tinize the decrees of Providence; we have only to bow submissive to his will. Her beautiful countenance was fitfully lightened by a sad smile which made her all the fairer. She never recognized any one but me, and nestling in my arms like a spoiled child, she would give me the most Acadian Reminiscences 89 endearing names.

As sweet and as amiable as ever, every one pitied and loved her. She fancied herself still the girl of sixteen years, on the eve of marrying the chosen one of her heart, whom she loved with such constancy and devotion, and imagin- ing that her marriage bells tolled from the village church tower, her countenance would brighten, and her frame trembled with ecstatic joy. And then, in a sudden transition from joy to despair, her coun- tenance would change and, trembling con- vulsively, gasping, struggling for utter- ance, and pointing her finger at some Acadian Reminiscences invisible object, in shrill and piercing ac- cents, she would cry out: And uttering a wild, unnatural shriek, she would fall senseless in my arms.

Our hearts swelled also with emotion, and sympathetic tears rolled down our cheeks. We withdrew softly and left dear grand- mother alone, to think of and weep for her Evangeline, God's little angel. This news which threw us in a flutter, engrossed our minds so completely, that we spoke of nothing else.

It gave rise to the most extravagant conjectures, and the hope of seeing, once more, the dear ones torn so cruelly from us, was revived in our 94 Acadian Reminiscences hearts. This news was deficient, however, in one respect: The more timid among us represented the temerity and folly of such an undertaking, but the desire to seek our brother exiles grew keener every day, and became so deeply rooted in our minds, that we con- cluded to leave for Louisiana, where the banner of France waved over true French hearts.

Acadian Reminiscences 95 "Our friends used all their eloquence to dissuade us from our resolve, but we re- sisted all their entreaties, although we were deeply touched by this new proof of their friendship. We disposed of the articles that we could not carry along with us, and kept our wagons and horses to transport the women and children, and the baggage. In all, we numbered two hundred persons, and of these, fifty were well armed, and ready to face any danger. Ten of the bravest and most active of our young men took the lead a short distance ahead of the column, and formed our advance guard.

Our forces were distributed in this wise, petiots, for our safety, as the road lay through moun- tain defiles, and in a wild and dreary country inhabited by Indians. We had occasion, more than once, to find how for- tunate we had been to secure their services. We set out on our journey with sorrow. We were parting with friends kind and generous; friends who had relieved us in our needs, and who had proved true as steel, and loving as brothers.

We were parting from them, lured with hopes which might prove illusory, and when we grasped their hands in a last farewell, words failed us, and our tears and sobs told them of our gratitude forthe benefits they had, so gen- erously, showered upon us. They, too, wept, touched to the heart by the eloquent, though mute, expression of our gratitude.

Their last words, were words of love, glow- ing with a fervent wish that our cherished hopes might be realized. We again felt that we were, once more, poor Acadian Reminiscences 97 wandering exiles roaming through the world in search of a home. We encountered deep and rapid streams that we could not cross for want of boats; we traveled through moun- tain defiles, where the pathway was narrow and dangerous, winding over hill and dale and over craggy steeps, where one false step might hurl us down into the yawning chasm below.

We suffered from storms and pelting rains, and at night when we halted to rest our weary limbs, we had only the light canvass of our tents to shelter us from the inclemency of the weather. That radiant hope illumined our pathway; it shone as a beacon light on which we kept our eyes riveted, and it steeled our hearts against sufferings and privations al- 98 Acadian Reminiscences most too great to be borne otherwise. The people were generous, and supplied us with an abundance of provi- sions. But when the white population grew sparser and sparser, and when we reached the wild and mountainous country which, we were told, bore the name of Carolina, then, petiots, it required a stout heart and firm resolve, indeed, not to abandon the attempt to reach Louisiana Acadian Reminiscences 99 by the overland route we were following.

We could see them with their tattooed faces and hideous headgear of feathers, frightful in appearance, lurking around in the forest, and watching our movements. We were always on the alert, expecting an attack at any moment, for we could distinctly hear their whoops and fierce yells. Our nights were sleepless, and, careworn and on the verge of starvation, we moved Acadian Reminiscences steadily onward, the very picture of dejec- tion and of despair. Thus we toiled on day after day, and night after night, during two long weary months on our seemingly endless journey, until, disspirited and dis- heartened, our courage failed us.

God tempereth the wind to the shorn lamb. The hope of finding our lost kindred stimulated our drooping spirits. We had been told that Louisiana was a land of enchantment, where a perpetual spring reigned. A land where the soil was extremely fertile; where the climate was so genial and temperate, and the sky so serene and azure, as to justly deserve the name of Eden of America.

It smiled to us in the distance like the promised land, and toward that land we bent our weary steps, longing for the day when we Acadian Reminiscences would tread its soil, and breathe once more the pure air in which floated the banner of France. Its banks were rocky and precipitous, falling straight down at least fifty feet, and we could see, in the chasm below, its waters that flowed majestically on in their course toward the grand old Meschacebe.

It was out of the question to cross the river there, and we followed the roadway on its banks around the mountain, advancing cautiously to avoid the danger that threatened us at every step. At dawn of day we resumed our march, and as we advanced, the country became more and more level, and after four days of toil and fatigue, we halted and camped on a hill by the river- side, where a small creek runs into the Acadian Reminiscences river. We met there a party of Canadian hunters and trappers who gave us a friendly welcome, and replenished our store of provisions with game and venison.

They informed us that the easiest and least wearisome way to reach Louisiana was to float down the Tennessee and Meschacebe rivers. The plan suggested by them was adopted, and the men of our party, aided by our Canadian friends, felled trees to build a suitable boat. We experienced a great loss in the death of Rene Leblanc, who had been our leader and adviser in the hours of our sore trials. Old age had shattered his con- stitution, and unequal to the fatigues of our long pilgrimage, he pined away, and sank into his grave without a word of com- plaint.

He died the death of a hero and of a Christian, consoling us as we wept beside him, and cheering us in our troubles. His death afflicted us sorely, and the night during which he lay exposed, Acadian Reminiscences preparatory to his burial, the silence was unbroken, in our camp, save by our whis- pered words, as if we feared to disturb the slumbers of the great and good man that slept the eternal sleep.

We buried him at the foot of the hill, in a grove of walnut trees. We carved his name with a cross over it on the bark of the tree sheltering his grave, and after having said the prayers for the dead, we closed his grave, wet with the tears of those he had loved so well. We stored in it our baggage and supplies; we sold our horses and wagons to our Canadian friends, and taking leave of our Indian guides, we cut loose the moorings of the boat.

We floated down stream, our young men row- ing, and singing Acadian songs. During the day, we traveled, and at night, we moored our boat safely, and encamped on the banks of the river. At last we launched on the turbulent waters of the Mississippi and floated down that noble stream as far as bayou Plaquemines, in Louisiana, where we landed. Once more we were treading French soil, and we were freed from English dominion. Grasping their hands, with hearts too full for utter- ance, we wept like children. Many a sor- rowing heart revived to love and happi- ness on that day.


Many a wife pressed to her bosom a long lost husband. Many a fond parent clasped in rapturous embrace a loving child. Shortly afterwards, we left for the Teche region, where lands had been granted to us by the government. We wended our way, to our destined homes, through dismal swamps, through bayous without number and across lakes until we reached Portage Sauvage, at Fausse Pointe. The next day, we were at the Poste des Attakapas, a small hamlet having two or three houses, one store and a small wooden church, situated on bayou Teche which we crossed in a boat.

No, petiots, it required the nerve and persever- ance of your Acadian fathers to settle there. Although beautiful and picturesque, Acadian Reminiscences it was a wild region inhabited, mostly, by Indians and by a few white men, trappers and hunters by occupation. Its immense prairies, covered with weeds as tall as you, were the commons where herds of cattle and of deer roamed unmolested, save by the hunter and the panther.

Such was the region your ancestors settled, and which, by their energy, they have trans- formed into a garden teeming with wealth.