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Belle of Batoche

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144 pages
Belle, an 11-year-old Metis girl, and Sarah both want the coveted job of church bell ringer. An embroidery contest is held to award the position, and Sarah cheats. Before Belle can expose her, the two are caught up in the advancing forces of General Middleton and his troops as they surround Batoche in the 1885 Riel Rebellion. The church bell disappeared that day and remains missing to this day.
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Belle฀Batoche of
Jacqueline฀Guest
Orca฀Book฀Publishers
Copyright © 2004 Jacqueline Guest
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
National Library of Canada Cataloguing in Publication Data:
Guest, Jacqueline Belle of Batoche / Jacqueline Guest.
(Orca young readers) ISBN 1-55143-297-8
1. Batoche (Sask.), Battle of, 1885--Juvenile fiction. I. Title. II. Series.
PS8563.U365B44 2004
 jC813’.54
 C2004-905172-5
Library of Congress Control Number: 2004112452
Summary: Belle must put aside her struggle to become the church bell ringer when those she loves are threatened during the battle of Batoche, part of the Riel Rebellion.
Free teachers’ guide available.
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Book Publishing Industry Development Program (BPIDP), the Canada Council for the Arts, and the British Columbia Arts Council.
Cover design and typesetting by Lynn O’Rourke Cover & interior illustrations by June Lawrason
In Canada: Orca Book Publishers 1016 Balmoral Road Victoria, BC Canada V8T 1A8
In the United States: Orca Book Publishers PO Box 468 Custer, WA USA 98240-0468
07 06 05 04 • 6 5 4 3 2 1
Printed and bound in Canada Printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper, 100% old growth forest free, processed chlorine free using vegetable, low VOC inks.
For the grade three and fourTime Twistersof Louis Riel Elementary School, Calgary: students who really did make history come alive!
And for their extraordinary teachers, Sandy Langford, Tim Shoults and Jane Spratt.
A real class act! Spring 2004.
I would like to acknowledge the Canada Council for the Arts and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts for their support while I was writing this book.
Village of Batoche
Table of Contents
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Unexpected Competition Stepping in It Beautiful Bells and Stinky SmellsPerfect Stitches and Hidden Ditches Butter Papers and Soapsuds Judgement Day Suspicious Kindness Setting a Trap to Catch the Truth Belle’s Plan Secrets Uncovered! Attack on Batoche! Hide Out! Belle Takes Charge Living in a Gopher Hole
1 11  21 28 36 44 52 60 69 74 85 91 100 113 Battle’s End and a Friendship Begun124 134
Author’s Note
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1 Unexpected Competition
Belle emerged from the warm blackness of the old chicken coop into the blinding April sunshine. “Belle Tourond, where are you, ma fille?” Belle had stopped to watch an early robin busily building a nest in a poplar tree and now she was late again. Spring was very late coming this year, and Belle felt sorry for the birds trying to make nests in the leafless trees. Sighing, she blew a puff of air up into her straight black hair and watched as a feather came loose, drifting down onto the frosty early morning ground. Time had a
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way of slipping away from Belle; at least that’s what her mama always said. Grown-ups had a different idea of how time should be spent, Belle thought. Instead of stopping to enjoy the first crocus of the year or to watch a fish jump in the river, adults were always rushing here and there with chores. Today, Belle had spent a short time, she was sure it had been only a very short time, spying on a sweet little robin building a nest. What harm could there be in that? She set the basket of eggs she’d been gath-ering onto a fence post where it teetered while she wiped her grimy hands on the apron of her long dress. “Coming Mama!” she called, grabbing the basket just in time. Belle lived in the small town of Batoche in the area of the North West Territories called Saskatchewan. The town was on the Carlton Trail, the main trade route between Fort Garry and Fort Edmonton. She glanced up at the wide-open prairie sky. It was like looking into a vast blue ocean, or at least what she imagined an ocean
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would look like. She had never seen any-thing bigger than the South Saskatchewan River, which she thought was very impres-sive, especially during spring run off. Batoche was built on the banks of the South Saskatchewan and boasted a real ferryboat that took people and freight from bank to bank. “It took me a little longer than usual today, Mama. I had to wrestle a couple of those hens before they’d give up their darned old eggs!” Belle said as she hustled into the back porch. “Oui, I think it took a little longer because you stopped to watch a tree growing leaves! I swear your head is so far in the clouds that one day you’ll be struck by lightning! You’re eleven now, Belle, and should be more responsible.” Her mother shook her head. “Actually, it was a bird in the tree,” Belle mumbled, looking down at her basket of eggs. “I’ll wash these right away.” She could feel her mother staring as she busied herself gently scrubbing the dirty eggs. This was the third time this week her mother had
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