Lavender and rosemary soap
Freely adapted from “La Chasse-galerie,” by Honoré Beaugrand
At a time when rivers were the fastest form of transportation, each fall the lumberjack Yvan Beauchemin left his native home in the Eastern Townships to clear and log in the upper reaches of the Gatineau River. Timber was an extremely important commodity for the many major construction projects of the day. Beauchemin and his workmates felled, cut and piled trees from dusk to dawn.
The winter months were long and hard. As Christmas neared, the men began to pine for their families. On New Year’s Eve, when their boss passed around the rum, spirits lifted and the men allowed themselves to let loose. At the chime of midnight, they all climbed aboard a birch bark canoe buried in the snow. Making a pact with the Devil and with a few magic words, the bewitched canoe lifted from the ground and they were off the Eastern Townships to celebrate the New Year with their families until dawn. Remembering their pact as they whisked through the air, they took care not to mention God’s name or fly into the cross of any church steeple lest they go straight to Hell. And so, fearing neither God nor Devil, the lumberjacks ventured everything for a warmth as sweet as maple syrup – that of their Township girls.
But there was one thing they would not leave to chance. Before leaving the logging camp, they took time to wash with this exfoliating soap that made their skin irresistibly soft and smooth...