1986-396 | Longfellow's Evangeline
Felix Octavius Carr Darley
1883, 19th century
2 x 31.6 x 40.3 cm
Gift of Élide Albert
This artefact belongs to : © Musée acadien of the Université de Moncton
Keys to History
Grand Pré, a village surrounded by greenery and vast tracts of grazing land, is inhabited by Acadian peasants who lead a simple life, raising crops and livestock. Honesty comes so naturally to them that they do not bother putting locks on their doors. They live in "homes of peace and contentment."
This peaceful place is where 70-year-old widower Benedict Bellefontaine, the wealthiest farmer in the area, lives with his daughter, Evangeline. This weatlhy Acadian family is well liked and respected by all.
Evangeline, "the pride of the village," is beloved by all of Grand Pré. Everyone admires her beauty and generosity. During the blazing hot days of harvest time, for instance, she brings the workers "flagons of home-brewed ale." Aged 17, she is admired by all the young men in the village and courted by many of them. Her kindness and piety earn her the nickname "Sunshine of Saint Eulalie," an indication that she will bring joy and prosperity to her future husband. Evangeline is the personification of the virtues so admired in the romantic age in which Longfellow lived: gentleness, modesty, kindness, honesty, fidelity and, as she will demonstrate, heroism.
This engraving shows Evangeline on her way home from church. The title reads: "Down the long street she passed, with her chaplet of beads and her missal."
The artist was born in Philadelphia in 1821. His ink drawings were published in many books and magazines throughout his career.
This engraving, originally published in 1881, was included among the illustrations of the book Longfellow's Evangeline, published in 1883.
The artist, Felix Octavius Carr Darley (1821-88), is recognized for his many illustrations of the works of great writers such as Edgar Allen Poe, Washington Irving, Charles Dickens and Nathaniel Hawthorne.