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Naught but tradition remains of the beautiful
village of Grand-Pré.
Ye who believe in affection that hopes, and
endures, and is patient, Ye who believe in the beauty and strength of
woman's devotion, List to the mournful tradition still sung by the
pines of the forest; List to a Tale of Love in Acadie, home of the
PART THE FIRST.
In the Acadian land, on the shores of the Ba
sin of Minas, Distant, secluded, still, the little village of
Grand-Pré Lay in the fruitful valley. Vast meadows
stretched to the eastward, Giving the village its name, and pasture to
flocks without number.
Dikes, that the hands of the farmers had raised
with labor incessant, Shut out the turbulent tides; but at stated
seasons the flood-gates
Opened, and welcomed the sea to wander at
will o'er the meadows.
West and south there were fields of flax, and
orchards and cornfields
Spreading afar and unfenced o'er the plain;
and away to the northward Blomidon rose, and the forests old, and aloft on
Sea-fogs pitched their tents, and mists from the
Looked on the happy valley, but ne'er from
their station descended.
There, in the midst of its farms, reposed the
Acadian village. Strongly built were the houses, with frames of
oak and of chestnut, Such as the peasants of Normandy built in the
reign of the Henries. Thatched were the roofs, with dormer-windows;
and gables projecting
Over the basement below protected and shaded
the door-way. There in the tranquil evenings of summer, when
brightly the sunset Lighted the village street, and gilded the vanes
on the chimneys, Matrons and maidens sat in snow-white caps
and in kirtles
Scarlet and blue and green, with distaffs spin
ning the golden Flax for the gossiping looms, whose noisy shut
tles within doors
Mingled their sound with the whir of the wheels
and the songs of the maidens. Solemnly down the street came the parish
priest, and the children Paused in their play to kiss the hand he ex
tended to bless them.
Reverend walked he
among them; and
up rose matrons and maidens,