The Frontenac Hotel was our destination, the old city of Québec with its old world mystique top-heavy fronts and tarnished copper roofs and turrets; statuary, carriages, dignitaries and redcoats and rebels and tourists; its outdoor cafes and squares.
The boardwalk above the precipitous shore and beneath the high city, the yet higher battlements with cannon sending forth its smoking charges and celebration, cannonading with thrilling power. As a decade before, landing on Loyalists Day in St. John, New Brunswick, quite by accident, so it was with this day; with our rising into the city in our pickup truck on Canada Day.
Just in time for the solemnities and all its panoply of bearskins and redcoats marching and dignity speaking and crowds standing to attention, flags fluttering, the maple leaf rising: the stately fleur-de-lis, stylized lily and cross, the royal blue and white of the Québécois, pointed in charge as though defiant missiles ready to leap out of the hands of the rebels.
We stood for a moment on the edge of forces confronting on another: not a line of martial red against the ragtags but a determined line of dark blue, the police checking their advance.
Then we skipped away beyond and into the crowd to watch the solemnities beneath the windows up the historic Frontenac, the flag rising above the sloping field of green.