Letters to Grandfather

Submitted by Cecilia on Wed, 09/12/2018 - 19:16

September 23, 1680
My dearest Grandfather,
I am currently onboard the ship known as Le Bonne Chance. It has taken us seven and a half weeks to arrive at our destination, and, as I look over the rail I am sitting beside, I wish we could turn right around and return home. The people on shore act as if they haven’t seen a ship in years. They shout and run about, waving caps and bonnets, and almost trample the man bringing out the sack of letters and packages. Father says the ships come only once a year, but still, I’d expect at least a little self-control from the so called citizens of France. If I can force myself to look beyond the colonists the landscape is not much better. Quebec is a large rock trying unsuccessfully to hide behind several scattered shrubs and a wilting tree or two. How I long for my little garden behind our house. Do you remember how you found a plant for each season? My corner was a patch of color all year round. A bit of color might brighten up this dreary place. I wish Father’s bank had not closed down. Then we would still be home in France. Now Father is calling me so I must put down my pen and embark upon my new life. I wonder if I’ll ever get used to it.
Your loving granddaughter,
Anne Marie D’Chanceux

September 29, 1680
My dearest Grandfather,
While Father builds our house we will stay with the Accueil family. They have four children and the eldest is a girl of twelve. Her skin is brown and tough, almost like that of a native! I am sure I will never allow my complexion to go to ruin like that.
Somehow or another it was decided that the girl, I suppose I must include her name: Claire, was to be my companion. She took me around the town, not that there was anything to see, and, having nothing better to do, we fell to talking. I asked her of her family in France and she replied that she had never met them. She was born here. And her mother came for no reason other than to wed some strange settler she had never met. Can you imagine! I may despise it here, but at least I didn’t live in such barbaric times.
Father has been talking to the various fur traders, selling their wares in the marketplace. I remind him that he is a farmer, but I don’t think he really listens. He seems drawn to the danger of the mountains. I hope he will forget all about it when the traders leave again.
Your loving granddaughter,
Anne Marie D’Chanceux

October 5, 1681
My Dear Grandfather,
I have been in New France for a year now. The leaves on the trees have begun to turn beautiful shades of red and gold. I think they almost gorgeous than the trees in France. Mother and the twins have arrived, as planned. Our little house is all ready to be lived in, and we have more than enough seeds, but Father is being pulled more and more to the fur trade. I believe he will be off in the woods, come winter, but I am not worried. I see now your wisdom in suggesting I go with Father the first year. I am more than able to keep house while he is gone.
I received your packets of seeds in the mail. Thank you ever so much Grandfather! I will plant them by our door so the entire town will be able to see our colors. Claire and her mother were almost as excited as I was. Mrs. Accueil remembered some of them from when she was a girl in France. Did you know, Grandfather, I think Mrs. Accueil is the bravest person I’ve ever met? She crossed an entire ocean on her own, with no one to greet her but strange men, one of whom was to be her husband. Maybe that’s why she is so welcoming to the new colonists when they arrive.
Your loving granddaughter,
Anne Marie

September 30, 1682
Dear Grandfather,
Another summer has gone by. I spent days with Claire, looking for the summer fruits, and collecting seedlings to add to our garden. Just last week Mother said I was as brown as an Indian, but I don’t care. Sunbonnets can be such a bother, don’t you think?
The ships came back today. It was almost like a holiday, nobody was in the stores, we all stood on the wharf waiting for the first of the ships to round the bend. When the first sail came into view a cannon fired, and we started to cheer. We rushed over to the edge of the dock before the ship even moored, waving and shouting. It was exhilarating.
Two ships arrived today. The other three are expected tomorrow, or the day after. The mail is still being sorted, so I have not read your latest letter, but I look forward to it greatly.
I am writing to you hidden away behind my favorite old tree for a bit of quiet. Autumn has arrived and the tree looks like it caught fire, the leaves are such vivid colors. When I look out from around it I see the entire colony covered in the same beautiful reds and oranges. I wish I could stay forever in this moment, writing to you and surrounded by the rugged beauty that is Quebec. But I can’t. I see Claire running toward me, she says the mail has come. So I must put down my pen for now. I remain always:
Your loving granddaughter,

Author's age when written


I love the sweet simplicity of this. Well done! And I love the gradual shift in Anne Marie’s outlook on her new life.

I don’t thrive off of chaos: chaos thrives off of me.