This section is from the "The New Student's Reference Work Volume 5: How And Why Stories" by Elinor Atkinson.
Very near Holland lived other children who came to America. They were French. Their names were Louis and Jeanne. French people did not like to live alone, on separate farms. When the day's work in the fields was done, they liked to visit each other. So they lived in farm villages. The stone cottages and barns, the cow sheds and chicken yards, and the kitchen gardens of twenty families, were all mixed up together in the friendliest way. Tall, slim poplar trees grew in the door yards. On a rock-cliff, above the village, was a gray stone castle with many pointed towers. In French it was called a chateau (chat-o). A noble lord lived there. He owned the farms and the village. Everybody had to pay rent to him. Farmers who went to America could own their land and houses.
When Louis and Jeanne said goodby to their playmates their little faces were pale, their black eyes filled with tears. They kissed people, first on one cheek and then on the other. And they said: "Adieu, cher ami!" That was French for "goodby, dear friend, we will never see you again." French children were polite. Politeness means both kind feelings and pretty manners.
Louis and Jeanne came to America in one of a fleet of ships. On the big sailing vessel that led the fleet, was a company of the king's soldiers, in gay uniforms. They had a band of music. A white flag with golden lilies on it floated from the mast. The soldiers were going to build a fort. On the other ships were miners to dig for gold, workmen and farmers. There were noble lords and ladies too, and black-robed priests, and nuns to teach the children.
The French fleet sailed far south; south of Virginia, south of the rice and cotton fields. Then the ships turned west until they came to the wide mouth of the Miss'is-sip'pi River. Soon they passed a French town on the river bank. Its name was New Orleans. The fleet did not stop there. It sailed up the river hundreds of miles. The fort was built of lime stone from the high bluff that ran along the wide, brown flood of the Miss'is-sip'pi.
Cannon were set up on the walls. Soldiers watched by the cannon. They did not watch for Indians. The Indians and the French were good friends. They were friendly because the French were so polite. Louis called Eagle Heart his "wild brother." Jeanne kissed Laughing Water on both cheeks, and gave her a red ribbon for her hair. The soldiers in the fort watched the Spanish people who lived on the western bank of the Miss'is-sip'pi. The French and the Spanish people both claimed the big river, and they quarrelled about it. They did not need to. There was plenty of room for both.
In the shelter of the fort the farm village was built. The houses were not made of stone, as in France, but of squared logs, set on end and the cracks filled with plaster. The roofs sloped out over porches. Above the porches dormer windows jutted from the sloping roof. Roses and honeysuckles climbed the porches. There were cherry trees and peas in the garden, and tall slim poplar trees in the dooryards. In the evening there was gay talk and dancing. On St. John's eve, in June, a bonfire was built. They could see other bonfires, of other French villages, along the river. This was a part of New France in America.
The French built forts and towns on the St. Lawrence River, far to the north of the Puritans, in Canada. They called two of these towns Que-bec and Mon-tre-al. They built Detroit and other places on the Great Lakes. All along the waterways, far in the deep heart of America, you can today find places the French people named after their kings and saints. But the French soldiers went back to France long ago, and the forts crumbled. The French farmers and traders stayed in America.
Louis and Jeanne learned to speak English, but they did not forget French. Today, thousands of people in Canada speak both English and French. Our warm, southern city of New Orleans is almost as French as many cities in France. If you should ever go to New Orleans you might come to know some pale, black-eyed, polite French children. When you go away they will kiss you on both cheeks, and say goodby. But sometimes they seem to forget that they are Americans. Then they say: "Adieu, cher ami."