Agnes: The Biography of Lady Macdonald by Louise Reynolds

By Louise Reynolds

Agnes Macdonald's deepest papers are used for the special examine of Canada's "first lady," who grew to become Sir John A. Macdonald's moment spouse at the eve of Confederation. The author's well-researched telling of Agnes's tale paints an image of a politically astute, clearly adventurous girl who needed to swap her type as a result of her place within the public eye, yet who however retained her personal reviews and lived her existence with braveness and integrity.

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Confirmed by the Bishop of Toronto on the 27th of May - Whitsunday - 1855. '38 By this time she had studied the differences between the Protestant and the Roman Catholic religions and had been enrolled in the Christian Knowledge Society by her 'affectionate Mother'. Her grounding in religious beliefs was as good as her mother could make it. Still there were traces of rebellion. On one of the pages of her notebook, perhaps in exasperation at all this study, she scribbled: '855 pages — 855 Sundays'.

Once more came the sadness of saying good-byes. Theodora, now in her fifties, must have found it no easy matter to part with her newfound relatives and friends; only the thought of being reunited with her two sons would have comforted her in this, as well as in the prospect of another long sea voyage. Agnes had also to leave new friends, but, for a girl still in her teens, the idea of a totally different life in Canada was probably intriguing. Hewitt's letters had told them much about Barrie and his friends there, and the move undoubtedly seemed a great adventure.

But the Reformer was 'king' for only two days, after which he suddenly found himself being referred to as one who had been Prime Minister. During all this confusion, Agnes could see that John A. maintained a very detached air. When the time came, he calmly cleared out his desk and moved to the Opposition side, seemingly unaffected by the upheaval around him. (He was detached, and, had Hewitt known him better, he might have guessed at the reason why and been alarmed. John A. was thinking of retiring.

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