Two Solitudes Summary
Two Solitudes Summary Chapter 1-10
Chapter 1: Northwest of Montreal, through a valley always in sight of the low mountains of the Laurentian Shield, the Ottawa River flows out of Protestant Ontario in to Catholic Quebec. where is joins the St. Lawrence, farmland stretches in two narrow bands on both shores. But where the two rivers meet, at Montreal, two old races and religions meet and live their separate legends, side by side as two solitudes.
Chapter 2: One Saturday in October, 1917, Father Emile Beaubien, the parish priest of Saint-Marc-des-Erables, walked back and forth on the porch of his red brick presbytery, contemplating his blessings. The earlier Sunday the new parish church, the largest within miles, had been consecrated by the bishop. This year’s harvest was bountiful, and, owing to the war, farm prices had never been better.
Chapter 3: Protagonist of Two Solitudes, Athanase Tallard, tall, dark, aristocratic, with a large white moustache, his movements quick with nervous vitality, showed his guests in to the library of his home. Beside him was Huntly McQueen, about 40 years old, a bachelor and a great churchgoers, who was rapidly becoming one of the richest men in Canada. The third man, John Yardley, was a retired sea-captain from Nova Scotia. He was Tallard’s age, almost 60, lean and muscat, with twinkling blue eyes. His artificial leg made him limp heavily. Yardley had wanted to inspect the Dansereau farm, and had already made up his mind to buy it.
Chapter 4: In chapter 4 of Two Solitudes, After the weekend, Tallard returned to Ottawa, where he found himself unpopular with the other Quebec members of Parliament because of his support for conscription. Canadian troops under a British commander-in-chief were dying in the mud before Passchendaele. Athanase felt as if the British had let him down personally. No wonder the French-Canadian press roared against conscription. The night the wind blew cold from the Northwest, toward evening the air was flecked with a scud of white specks and it was the beginning of winter.
Chapter 5: Two Solitudes’ other main character, Marius Tallard stood in his father’s library, looking out over the white fields. Because his family had bead rooted here since the first settlements, he felt that all he could see was a part of himself. In the library, Kathleen told Yardley that she believed Marius’ trouble came from ” something away back that he holds against his father. I wish I knew what it was It’s a shame for him to be so unhappy.”
Chapter 6: Marius stood on the platform of a dirty hall in the east end of Montreal, addressing an anti-conscription meeting. Though the was not a practiced speaker and there was nothing new in his message, his pent-up unhappiness burst forth and moved his audience. Drunk with a new knowledge of himself, he pulled emotion out of the crowd and threw it back at them.
Chapter 7: Two Solitudes leading character, As Paul Tallard walked down to the general store on a Saturday morning, he observed many signs of spring geese flying north, the land emerging brown and wet from the snow, crows pecking in the old furrows. He did not like to think of spring, however, because ir reminded him of Holy Week and crucifixion of Christ. He thought instead of autumn, when crimson maple leaves circled silently down from trees and floated in still pools.
Chapter 8: In chapter 8 of Two Solitudes, On the train from Ottawa to Montreal, surrounded by politicians and business, Athanase Tallard was reading two newspapers, one in French from Montreal, the other in English from Toronto. Editorials in each condemned him, for his stand on conscription, He closed his eyes and tried to sleep, but thoughts swirled in his mind. HIs political life was a failure. His stand on the war had done no one any good. It had merely destroys all the pleasures of the old days, the work that filled them. He remembered how he used to enjoy food and drink, how he and Kathleen had gone to horse races and hockey games in 8th chapter of Two Solitudes.
Chapter 9: In 9th chapter of Two Solitudes, The next morning, Athanase decided to begin the real writing of the book on religion that he had planned for six years. The first sentences wrote themselves: to relieve his fear of the dark, mankind invents a system of beliefs. Among primitive tribes, these are called superstitions. Among civilized nations, they are known as religions. God, therefore, is mankind’s most original invention, greater even than the wheel.
Chapter 10: Setting out for the sugar house in the maple grove up the hill, Athanase and Paul met Blanchard in the upper field, at the end of which stood the cottage where he lived with his wife and seven children. To reward him for his years of faithful service, Athanase proposed to make over this field to Blanchard for a token payment. Blanchard makde no reply, and his lined brown face continued to brood over the land. Athanase felt the communicon close between his man and himself. It made the world seem worthwhile.
Two Solitudes Summary Chapter 11-20
Chapter 11: In Two Solitudes’, As Huntly McQueen stepped into the elevator of the bank building on Saint James Street, he was struck by the thought that, if a fatal accident occurred now, half a million men would have lost their masters. The men who surrounded him were the economic giants of Canada: Sir Rupert Irons, who collected enterprises as other men collected stamps; McIntosh, who controlled three metal mines, two chemical factories and had various international interests; Masterman, of Minto Power; Chislet, nickel, copper and coal. They were Presbyterians to a man, they went to church regularly, and Irons was known to believe quite literally in predestination.
Chapter 12: Kathleen found a house in Montreal that she thought Athanase would like. Though most of the neighbors were English-speaking, and the restrict vaguely reminiscent of London, it stood only a little west of Bleury Street, which divides the English from the French half of the city as the significant theme of Two Solitudes.
Chapter 13: Athanase spared half an hour to look at the new house, and the lease was signed. The rest of the time had been spent with McQueen. He had converted his bonds into company stock and would arrange for a mortgage on his property in Saint-Marc. Financial control and management would be in Montreal; the technical managers would live in Saint-Marc.
Chapter 14: As spring leaped into full summer, Yarley’s farm was doing well, and he was preparing for the visit of his daughter and his two granddaughters. Athanase worried about Marius, from whom nothing had been heard since spring. Father Beaubien worried, too, about the problem of Tallard’s attitude toward the church, and the proposed factory. Though the priest was aware that his background and education had not equipped him to deal with a man such as Tallard, he paid a call, saying he wanted to talk about Marius. He said that, if Marius were taken for the army, it would mean a horrible life among unbelievers, and would be all his father’s fault because of the enmity between them.
Chapter 15: Early in July, Janet Methuen, standing in Poly-carp Drouin’s store, received an official letter announcing the death of her husband. She fell on the bed, her whole body racked by dry shaking sobs. Her father came in, uncrumpled the letter on the bed beside her, then took her in his arms. She did not want to look at him.
Chapter 16: In 16th chapter of Two Solitudes, The country had now been four years at war, and names such as Ypres, Vimy, Cambrai, Arras and the Somme had become as familiar as Fredericton, Moose Jaw, Sudbury or Prince Rupert. Perhaps in Quebec the serene permanence of the river itself helped to confirm the people in their sureness that the war was a product of English-American big business. And, besides, there was the matter of faith all through the Laurentian country. Thousands of parish priests , seminary students and members of religious orders worked on in the unbroken tradition of the Middle Ages.
Chapter 17: In August, financial arrangements for the power dam were completed, and Tallard received word from Ottawa that the government would build a railway spur as soon as foundation of the factory was laid. He had calculated the political side of the project perfectly, as McQueen had expected. The government had no wish to see him lose his seat, and the railway spur would be put down to his credit in the next election.
Chapter 18: Marius Tallard was waiting in the Montreal station for a train to Saint-Marc, eating a sandwich what Emilie had brought him. Emilie sensed that Marius was frightened. As he boarded the train, he stopped, looking irresolute, almost pitiful. He bent and kissed her fiercely, without affection. Emilie walked slowly back to the concourse. She decided to give her savings of seven dollars to the church and pray to the Virgin to make Marius kinder and happy.
Chapter 19: In 19th chapter of Two Solitudes, Paul got up before dawn, dressed quietly and walked to Yardley’s house, where the captain and his granddaughters Daphne and Heather, were having breakfast before going fishing. Daohne was sleepy and red-eyed. Paul wondered if she had cried on account of her father. Yardley got into the boat to skull at the stern, the girls sat in the middle, and Paul shoved off. By sunrise, Paul and Heather had caught two fish each but the captain had four for him. Daphne had not taken any, though she had lost two.
chapter 20: Father Beaubien had not slept all night. Marius had come after dark, and, after several hours’ talk, the priest had given him a bed in his spare room. The priest prayed for the soul of Athanase Tallard and for Marius because of his bitterness. Finally, he prayed for himself, asking for grace and wisdom to protect the parish. Then he called on Tallard.
Two Solitudes Summary Chapter 21-30
Chapter 21: That same afternoon in Two Solitudes’ chapter 21, Paul worked hard with Blanchard hoeing potatoes. He had moved into Marius’ room the week before and now he lay awake looking at Marius’ sport equipment and the little altar. his mother came in , carrying the cat, and stayed until he fell asleep. In a dream, he saw a vision in the sky of Christ crucified, and two soldiers fighting. The soldiers were his father and Marius. In his dream, he looked up and the eyes of Christ rolled. Then he awoke to find Marius’ hand clamped on his mouth. Lighting a lamp, Marius undressed quickly. Paul noticed how thin he had become.
Chapter 22: Marius sat on a log outside the sugar cabin and smoked his pipe, listening to the sounds of the night. He looked down through the trees at the fields pale with moonlight, and beyond the parish spread below him like a map. The peace and familiarity of the scene eased the soreness caused by three months of worry and scheming. He had never wished to have this hatred in his life, this battle he was doomed to wage. He remembered the words of his father’s note.
Chapter 23: The next morning, the whole parish knew that Marius had been arrested. At the store, gossip was rife as usual. At noon, Father Beaubien met Athanase Tallard coming for his mail. He swung round and brought the whip down on his horse’s flank.
Chapter 24: Late that afternoon in chapter 24 of Two Solitudes, John Yardley returned from the village and went directly to his daughter’s room, where he found her reading a story in THE SATURDAY EVENING POST. She looked old and withered in her black mourning clothes. He demands to know whether she had told the policemen where the Tallard boy was.
Chapter 25: Paul and his father were going to Montreal on the train. At home, everything had been upset, his mother crying, his father shouting. He felt there had been a disaster. At last, Athanase laid down his newspaper and tried to speak reassuringly. Paul pointed out that Marius didn’t want to be a soldier. Realizing that Paul did not understand, he explained that there many churches in the world.
Chapter 26: During the next week, while Athanase remained in Montreal, Kathleen and Paul found that the villagers shunned them, and most refused to speak to them. On night, a stone was thrown through a window. On the second Sunday, when Kathleen went to Mass as usual, she found the Tallard pew occupied by another family.
Chapter 27: Tow Solitudes’ chapter 27, The war had been over for six months, and now the first battalions were coming home. The old familiar sights and smells of Canada seemed good to them just because they were familiar. They saw, as if for the first time, how empty the country looked, how silent it was. As they paraded through the streets of Montreal, they were returning to the human race. The war was becoming what their minds made it, slipping back into pictures, almost into the same pictures the civilians and advertisers made of it.
Chapter 28: After three years at Frobisher School, Paul had become Anglicized, a natural boxer and a good hockey player. The school was run like an English prep school and the masters, mostly young Englishmen, were people, agreeing in little except the danger of proximity of United States culture, from which they tried unsuccessfully to shield their students.
Chapter 29: The time of day had no meaning for Athanase. He laid in his bed listening, as if from a great distance, to the rattle of his own breathing. He had a heart attack. As Kathleen laid her hand on his forehead, he struggled to speak, and finally managed to utter Paul’s name.
Chapter 30: After the death of Athanase, Kathleen moved out of their large house and, taking Paul with her, she rented a small apartment. She had no choice in the matter, for Athanase had died bankrupt, the mortgage on the house and land at Saint-Marc had been foreclosed, and some of the furniture of the town house had been sold to pay off debts. Although there was still a lot of furniture left, only the books had been carefully selected by Yardley for Paul’s future benefit. One of them, about the siege of Troy, interested Paul greatly, for he had fallen under the spell of Homeric Greece in the last part of Two Solitudes.