My name is Henri Lauson and I am 25 years old. I am what is called an “engagé” (contract labourer). I am a farmhand and have been hired by the Compagnie des Cent-Associés to come and work in Canada. I signed a three-year contract, like most of my friends. In exchange for my work, I receive a small salary, room and board, and transportation by boat.

At the end of my contract, I will have the choice of returning to France or staying here to clear the land where I can build a home and farm. Life is hard in New France. The winters are long and I miss France and my family. Almost all my friends return to France when their contract ends. If I cannot find a woman to marry and start a family with, I will leave too.

Author: Alexandre Lanoix

See also – Traces of the past:

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