The legend, the rather obscure motive of which is to emphasize the saintly virtues of Pere de La Brosse, is believed even to this day by many simple people, hundreds of whom know it by heart. But some are skeptical. “I should have been able to give more certainty to this tradition,” says M. Mailloux, the historian of Isle aux Coudres and also its cure, “had I been able to make more extended investigation. Meanwhile,” he adds naively, “my investigations suffice to give a high idea of the virtues of this admirable missionary.”
There is little to record of the careers of cures at Malbaie subsequent to M. Compain. Often the annals of the good are not exciting and this is eminently true of these virtuous teachers. M. Charles Duchouquet was cure of Isle aux Coudres and served Malbaie in 1790. In 1791 he was succeeded by M. Raphael Paquet who lived at Les Eboulements. The first cure resident at Malbaie was M. Keller who came in 1797. When he went away in 1799 M. J.-B.-A. Marcheteau who was cure of Les Eboulements and lived there, served Malbaie. In 1807 M. Marcheteau was succeeded by M. Le Courtois, the second resident cure, a French emigre who remained at Malbaie until 1822 and was, as we have seen, an intimate friend of the Nairne family. For a long time M. Le Courtois carried on missionary work among the Indians. In 1822 M. Duguay became cure; he went to Malbaie after being cure at Isle aux Coudres. In 1832 he was succeeded by M. Zepherin Leveque who, in 1840, was followed by M. Alexis Bourret. This cure was something of a scholar. He read the Greek fathers in the original which is, I fancy, very unusual among the priests of Canada. In 1847 M. Beaudry became cure and in 1862 he was followed by M. Narcisse Doucet. It was under M. Doucet that the great influx of summer visitors began. Naturally they desired to have their own Protestant service on Sunday and M. Doucet did all he could to prevent their getting a place of worship. Protestantism having disappeared from Malbaie the cure was not anxious to see it revived. But the last Mrs. Nairne, a Protestant, then ruled at the Manor House, and she gave for the purpose of Protestant worship the admirable site of the present Union Church. M. Doucet was a man of considerable culture. The parish church, first built in 1806, was remodelled in his time as also was the presbytere; he built, too, the convent for girls. In 1891 M. B.-E. Leclercq became cure—a good man of the peasant type, who retired in 1906 and died at Malbaie in the following year. The present energetic cure is M. Hudon.
[For Pere de La Brosse, see Casgrain, Oeuvres, Vol. 1, “Une Excursion a L’Ile aux Coudres”; Mailloux, “Histoire de L’Isle aux Coudres” (Montreal, 1879). M. Mailloux has particulars about some of the cures named above. The dates for the successive cures are found in the registers at Malbaie.]
Abraham, Plains of, 30, 69, 74, 81, 123, 258, 262.