Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 34 > Page 50 - Yvon LeBlanc, Architect Fortress of Louisbourg

Page 50 - Yvon LeBlanc, Architect Fortress of Louisbourg

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1983/8/1 (438 reads)

iss!' im ''B'm'''p' ing for clients who have long been dead. In order to try to make up my mind about how their house was. This was one of our latest buildings. It's called the de la Plagne house. He was the nephew of one of the officers here, de Pen- sens, who owned this land. And maybe it was his uncle who built it, we're not sure. We found the foimdations. Very soon after it was built, there was a lawsuit. A sol? dier came and stole something from it, and he went in front of the court. It's a very sad kind of story. Most of our stories are rather sad. This one was a young soldier who was on guard one night, not long after the house had been built. And he came out for--as he calls it--his necessities. And he was right at the comer of that fence we see here today. There was a latrine there, we think; we're not absolutely sure it was still there at that time. Anyway, he was there,* doing his thing, and he saw this house; and he remembered that he had worked here earlier as a servant, and he knew they were fairly rich. This all comes out at the interrogation. He climbs over the gate on the other side, comes inside, lifts one of the window panes, puts his hand inside, unhooks and goes in. And he steals some money and a pair of white gloves. The next morning, the Negro slave, the servant in this house, came down and saw the pane hanging out. That's how the theft was found out. And he was reported and he was caught. He was in a tavern. He wasn't a very bright fellow. I think he was a very young man, an orphan, about 20 years old. Then, of course, the outcome of the story is very sad. There's a first account. And then there was another .account of it, which says this: that after he went through the first trial, he was sentenced, and some people thought the sentence was not hard enough--so the whole thing started again. All through the whole inter? rogation and everything. And in the course of one of the interrogations, a very touch? ing scene happened. The judge was making a review of the information, of the testimo- (50) The de la Plagne House, above nies, and he interrogated Mrs. de la Plagne. And he asked her if she had any? thing to add to her testimony of before. She said something like, "Yes. On a cer? tain date, I was in front of my house, and a young soldier went by with guards. He broke away. He came and threw himself on his knees in front of me, and said he would never do it again--asking me to par? don him." And then, that second time, he was hanged. So, we have the whole series of questions and answers. We could put that on the stage as it is and make a beau? tiful play out of it. A touching story. As far as the building itself (the de la Plagne house), we had, when it was sold, mention of this: it was boarded inside and out. It was a wood frame building, gar? nished, as they call it, with stone and brick. In other words, stone and brick be? tween the frame, inside the wall. We pre? sume it's that. That's all we can do. Then boarded inside and out. That is why, on the inside, where we see one of the walls, we filled the bottom part with stone and the upper part with brick--presuming when they said with stone and brick, maybe they went one floor stone and the other floor brick. And then we sort of deduced things from that, assuming that that was it. For instance, in the archeological work, we had found in the foundation some traces- of the wood plate on top of the foundation-- not very very strong, but some trace. It seemed to be about 12 inches thick, 12 pouces--which was the old French--a pouce is about l/16th more than our inch. So from that, we deduced that probably the ground floor framework of the wall was 12 pouces by 12 pouces, as we knew some oth? ers were, by documentation. And that's a good thickness for stone. And at the upper part--it often happened that the upper floors of buildings were thinner, making that, say, 8 inches or so--and so we filled that with brick. So it's a lot of detective work, really. We also know that the glass of the window panes was held in with points, and then on the outside there were strips of blue pa? per. In the 1720s, there's an account in
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