Barrington Passage, Acadia - 1665
His shoulder pained as he leaned against the rough sawed door frame. Silently he watched his old friend slowly making his way towards the shore to his awaiting boat. His walk was no longer jubilant and carefree as in years past, it was now slow and guarded.
Charles de LaTour's mind began to drift as his gaze remained fixed on his comrade and former co-governor. Half a century came to mind. His body now ached and his old tired eyes shown the betrayal, loneliness and despair he had endured. His heart felt heavy as he stood there realizing, perhaps for the first time, that he was in the winter of his life, and at the end, all that was important were those who were near him.
His eyes drifted from the figure of his friend to a small rose bush, where three pink roses were still blooming, even at this late time of year. These, along with a few books, were all that was left to remind him of her, a love he would never forget.
As he remembered Francoise, his Queen of Acadia, he felt his eyes moistened. He could still hear her voice as she would scold him, and he would tease her in return. Taking a deep breath, he raised his thick fingered hand to his face, slide it across his eyes, turned around and walked back into the small modest cabin.
"Charles, Denys looks tired". Jeanne was looking at him as though she could read his mind.
"Yes", he replied, "it has been a long and difficult life for him".
"It has been a difficult life for you too, Charles", she answered, as she embraced him and softly whispered, "je t'aime..."
As he held her, his mind continued to wander....to la Riviere St. Jean and Francoise. If only he knew where she rested, at least then he would have something, a place he could call hers. He had not even had the chance to say good bye to her, to look into her eyes one last time, to gently put his hand under her chin, lift her head back and softly kiss her warm lips as he always did when he would leave her merely for a few days.
But now was not the time to ponder about such things. Jeanne was here and she cared very much about him and he loved her too. She had become his life and years ago...his reason to continue. She had given him four children and was now in a family way with yet another, even if she was not in the prime of her life, there again, neither was he.
Stepping back, he looked at the woman standing in front of him. "It has indeed been difficult at times," he said, more as an after thought to himself then to her, "and I fear that for some it may not yet be over..."
Halifax - End of May 1755
It had been raining for several days. "Damn", thought the officer. His boots which his valet had just finish polishing were already soiled with mud. He disliked Halifax at the best of times. "Mud, grog shops and whores...that's Halifax", he mumbled to himself.
"Enter", was the reply from behind the thick wooden door. As he entered the small darken office, the officer seated stood up, smiled and reached his hand out in welcome. It was an old comrade at arms.
"It has been a long time my friend", the officer said, breaking into a smile. "How have you been Robert ?"
"Times have been good for the most part, however, I have a feeling in my gut that you are about to change that."
"Perhaps. I have been informed that Lawrence will soon be officially appointed Governor of Nova Scotia."
"Good Lord, have they lost what little minds they have in England. He has already created hostilities with the German settlers by removing them from this area. His self serving character and lack of judgement will certainly create more problems for England in this province then be of any benefit."
"I agree, nevertheless, we are here to serve our King and our Governor."
"You still use the rhetoric of service after all these years", Monckton smiled
"I only wish to fore warn you...not as a fellow officer, however, as a friend. If you see fit to request a transfer, this would be the appropriate time", which was stated more in jest that in fact.
"Thank you John, that's very kind of you. I will consider your suggestion" he replied, acknowledging his friend's attempt at humour with a nod and a grin.
As he left his friend's office, Colonel Robert Monckton wondered why the English establishment would name someone like Colonel Charles Lawrence as Governor of Nova Scotia. He saw him as no more than a low, crafty tyrant who used flattery to his end. If that failed, he used brute force without mercy. And if he had any doubts whether Lawrence would be true to his character, he was soon to get his answer.
Governor's House - Halifax - Beginning of June 1755
No one spoke. Lawrence stood at the window gazing towards the harbour, surveying the ships at anchor. Without turning he began, "Gentlemen, we have in our mist a group of popish inhabitants who consider themselves French Neutrals. This is a facade. They are not neutral, they are enemies of our Most Britannic Majesty and England. I am hereby issuing orders to have all the arms in their possessions seized. I am furthermore issuing a proclamation stating that any Acadians found bearing arms will be treated as criminals."
"Your Excellency, are we to understand that we are to remove all arms in their possession ?"
"Was I not clear in my statement, Colonel Monckton ?"
"Your Excellency, this will leave them with no means of self protection against the savages which are now being enticed to raid both the English garrisons and the Acadians. And their cattle, they also..."
"Colonel Monckton, are you questioning my orders...perhaps my authority or judgement ?", Lawrence interrupted.
"I beg your forgiveness, Your Excellency, I would never be so contemptuous..."
"Gentlemen," Lawrence continued, "this great deed which we are about to undertake will be a noble act which will no doubt cast you in a favourable light in the eyes of our great and sovereign King. You are the sabre which protects that which rightly belongs to England. These inhabitants will surely turn against our King and us, it's only a matter of time. They have no loyalties to England, they will serve their French King, regardless the promises they make. They refuse to sign the Oath of Allegiance...Colonel Monckton, you will have control of Beausejour shortly I trust ?"
"Yes your Excellency, within a few days our forces will be in possition for the final offensive."
The writing was on the wall. Monckton looked around the room and it all began to make sense. The officers present were all commanding officers of the main Acadian districts. Winslow from Grand- Pre, Murray from Pisiquid and Handfield from Annapolis Royal.
And with Lawrence's final words, "Gentlemen, in these pouches are your orders...", the die was cast as was the fate of the Acadians.
The master plan of eradicating the Acadian population from Nova Scotia , which had been discussed so many times by the English establishment for so many years had begun...