Trapped in 1867

Chap­ter 8: Do­min­ion


Gauri goes through a rough spell dur­ing the harsh win­ter: Sickness, de­pres­sion, death in the house. How­ever, Thomas’s mother sends Gauri and Ben to school and they fi­nally get to visit the Par­lia­ment build­ings—but the mys­te­ri­ous girl ap­pears again.

To do list:

1. Re­search Odawa First Na­tions

peo­ple 2. Find out what’s both­er­ing Ben 3. Find out if or when sham­poo has been in­vented yet (if not, find out what to use to wash my stinky hair).

April 17th, 1867 Af­ter­noon

“Who are you?” I ask the girl. I step up onto the bench be­side Thomas. The horse is pa­tiently wait­ing for its or­der to re­turn to the Mc­Gre­gor house.

The girl’s black hair is in one long braid which dan­gles down her back. She smiles at me—what a beau­ti­ful smile—she hands over a small beaded bracelet. Her hands clasp mine for a mo­ment be­fore she steps away again. She wears a long brown dress, with some sort of fur around her neck, like a scarf.

“She’s an Odawa girl,” Thomas says to me. “She lives in a re­serve nearby.”

“Hello,” I say to her, plac­ing the bracelet around my wrist. It’s of a bird—the same bird she wears on her dress. “This is very pretty.”

The Odawa girl nods her head and replies. “You’re wel­come. Re­mem­ber, Pin-di-gayo.”

“What does that mean?” I ask, but she just smiles and slips away into the trees.

June 21st, 1867 Morn­ing

I haven’t seen the Odawa girl since that day in town. I hear her voice in my head from time to time, say­ing the same words, Pin-di­gayo, pin-di-gayo, pin-di-gayo.

I learned from Thomas that Pin-di-gayo means ‘come in’, but why would she say that to me? Does it have some­thing to do with the sym­bol of the bird? I also didn’t ex­pect her to speak English so well. What is her name? Why was she there?

I play with the bracelet on my wrist. It’s filled with colour­ful beads, weaved into a rain­bow-like pat­tern.

Why did she give me this gift?

July 1st, 1867 Early Morn­ing

I barely slept last night. The bells of all the churches ev­ery­where rang out all night and day.

I spent most of the evening star­ing at the rug on the floor with the strange bird-like pat­terns. It kind of looks like the sym­bol on my bracelet I re­ceived from that Odawa girl.

10:30 AM

It’s a beau­ti­ful sunny day. I love sum­mer.

Mrs. Mc­Gre­gor al­lowed our en­tire class to take the day off of school and travel up to Par­lia­ment hill. It is only a twenty minute walk, if you move re­ally fast. But, with all the lit­tle kid­dies with us, it took an hour. But who cares, we’re here.

The first thing I no­tice is the flag on the top of the Par­lia­ment build­ing. It’s not red and white with a maple-leaf like I was ex­pect­ing. It’s hard to see from where I stand but it looks like there is a union jack with a shield in the cen­tre, sur­rounded by a wreath.

“The shield bears the arms of each of the four prov­inces,” Mrs. Mc­Gre­gor an­nounces as we shift through the crowd of peo­ple.

12:45 PM

Wow, I mean, like, wow. This place is packed with peo­ple. Ev­ery­one is wav­ing rib­bons around and cheer­ing. There is bunt­ing all over the houses and build­ings. The church bells keep ring­ing out all over the place. There are even gun­shots and can­nons blast­ing out into the air, but it’s all for cel­e­bra­tion.

Even the horses are dec­o­rated with rib­bons, and the car­riages are pol­ished and shiny.

“I don’t hate you,” Ben says to me sud­denly as we weave through a crowd of for­mally dressed men in top hats and black suits.

“What?” I re­ply as a white bearded elderly man bumps past me. “What did you say?”

Ben looks at me, like re­ally looks at me. He grabs my arm and pulls him­self for­ward. “I don’t hate you.”

He grips my arm hard be­fore eas­ing off—like he doesn’t know his own strength. His eyes are welling up—a glim­mer from the sun re­flects off his tears.

“Then why are you so mean to me?” I ask.

Ben chokes up a bit and wipes the salty drips from his cheeks. “I don’t know why I’m so mean to you. I can’t help it.”

I pull away and shake my head. “What­ever Ben. I thought for a sec­ond you were gonna apol­o­gize.” “I’m try­ing,” he says. “You’re not do­ing a good job,” I say.

An ac­ro­batic girl does cart­wheels be­side us as a trum­peter proudly blurts out some pow­er­notes. A band starts play­ing to our left, blast­ing out ‘God Save the Queen.’

I guess ‘Oh Canada’ hasn’t been writ­ten yet.

I fol­low Mrs. Mc­Gre­gor and the rest of the kids onto a side­walk lead­ing up to the Par­lia­ment build­ing. From where I’m stand­ing, I’m pos­i­tive I see that man from our ten dol­lar bill.

It’s gotta be him. I won­der if he’s been sworn in yet.

“I’m sorry.” Ben hus­tles up and steps in front of me. “I’m sorry for be­ing mean to you.”

I don’t know what to say to the guy. I feel like it’s an empty apol­ogy and his tim­ing is hor­ri­ble. To­day is the rea­son why we’re here. To­day is the rea­son why we trav­elled through time and all he can think about is apol­o­giz­ing to me?

We need to em­brace this mo­ment. We need to take in ev­ery­thing. Our project is go­ing to be more than just a his­tor­i­cal ac­count of the birth of Canada, our project is go­ing to be about how it felt to be here, what we see, what we hear, what we smell—I mean come on, we can even de­scribe how this day tastes.

“Potato?” A lit­tle boy dressed in a grey suit and jacket tugs on my arm. “Ex­cuse me, Miss, would you like to buy a potato?” I smile and shake my head. “No thanks.” He nods and smiles back. “Happy Do­min­ion day,” he says.

“Happy Do­min­ion day to you too.”

10:45 PM

Ap­par­ently the guy from the ten dol­lar bill was made a Knight Com­man­der of Bath by or­der of Queen Vic­to­ria (she’s the great-great grand­mother of Queen El­iz­a­beth the sec­ond—our cur­rent Queen— Cool eh?)

Any­way, the cel­e­bra­tions went on all evening. Ben got thrown up onto a stage and was asked to dance with the acro­bats. His face was bright red for hours.

I’m fi­nally back at the Mc­Gre­gor house and I have the big­gest headache ever! What a day.

11:00 PM

OMG. There are fire­works blast­ing out over the hori­zon right now. All sorts of colours ex­plod­ing into the night sky. I can still hear the mu­sic and drums and we’re a few kilo­me­tres away too.

Across the land­scape, be­tween the rows of houses and build­ings, I see bon­fires scat­tered about as peo­ple cheer on the light show.


I’m just about to doze off when Ben taps on my door and pushes it open slightly.

“Good night,” he says. He shyly smiles and closes the door again, dis­ap­pear­ing into the ad­join­ing room.

“Good night,” I whis­per back, but I don’t think he hears me.

I close my eyes again only to be star­tled by an ex­plo­sion out­side. At first I think it’s just the fire­works from Par­lia­ment hill. But when I see the flames shoot up in front of my win­dow, I re­al­ize some­thing is wrong.

Some­thing is se­ri­ously wrong. To be con­tin­ued Wed­nes­day. Next Time: Fire

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