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For All Nails #105:  Do You Know the Way to Millinocket?

"I see the play so lies that I must bear a part."

  -- Perdita in _The Winter's Tale_, Act IV, Scene 4 [1]

Millinocket, Nova Scotia
26 July 1974

Abigail Adams Bartlet had chosen Millinocket for her new
job on a whim.  She was a skilled secretary among her other
talents, and would have had no trouble finding work in any
of the lumber mills or other businesses that dotted the North
Woods of the Associated Federal Province.  But she'd heard of
Millinocket, mostly because the strange heathen sound [2] of its
name fitted naturally into a slew of jokes about asking one
of the notoriously taciturn Nova Scotian woodsmen for directions:

"Do you know the way to Millinocket?"
"You can't get theah from heah."

"Does this road go to Millinocket?"
"Road don't go nowheah.  Stays right heah."

"Does it matter which road I take to get to Millinocket?"
"Not to me it don't."

And finally, her favorite touch of literary-mindedness:
"Do you know the way to Millinocket?"
"Ayuh."

Given the proverbial difficulty of finding the place, she supposed, 
it was no surprise that most of the men around her in the Cathedral
Mountain [3] pub were workers from the paper mill, enjoying their
Friday fish fry whether Catholic or not.  There were few women and
fewer still without partners, making Abigail a clear center of 
attention.  The black halter top she wore, showing off her shoulders
and an inch above her navel, didn't hurt her popularity at all.  She 
was too old for a Tania-top, but then Tania Monroy herself was getting 
too old for a Tania-top and (at least according to the dime papers) 
was having her publicity photos retouched.

Abigail had spent her first week on the job making sure that her
interest in matters Mexican, and in the history of the Rebellion,
was well known.  She had come to the Cathedral Mountain tonight 
specifically to strike up a conversation with a similarly inclined
man.  Unfortunately her bait had attracted the wrong fish, and she
was now engaged in conversation with an Acadian separatist.  Pierre
Turgeon's Lost Cause was that of the _Patriotes_ rather than the Patriots,
though he drank in its honor with the fervor of any Yank.  At least
the lightly batter-fried cod and locally-pressed cider were far better
than she'd expected.  What was the silly man on about now?

"This mill, it is owned by Tory bankers in New York.  The shops in the
town, all English.  The lobsters [4] answer to the English Assembly 
in Halifax.  Meanwhile we French produce the paper that makes the 
bankers rich, spend the money that keeps the shops open, choose between
two English candidates every election, read English on every signpost --
I tell you we are oppressed and it cannot go on much longer!"

"You want your own Rebellion?  Where Jefferson and Papineau both failed?"

"Both Jefferson and Papineau challenged the united might of the British
Empire, though that Empire is not so united these days.  We can be more 
clever.  Our first goal should be a separate French-speaking colony of 
the CNA.  Will the Tories fight to keep _l'Acadie_ part of Nova Scotia?  
I am not so sure.  And are you so sure that your Jefferson and my Papineau 
_were_ failures, in the eyes of history?  Jefferson's name is revered in 
that great nation you so admire.   Papineau was another martyr, yes, but 
Quebec has the measure of independence it enjoys today because _he_ kept 
the fire of nationhood alive--"

"Excuse me, Miss, your drink's getting low, may I buy you another?"
A young man, maybe twenty, sleeveless leather jacket and heavy pewter 
jewelry in the Yank style.  Eyes and smile mostly predatory as he checked 
her out, but with a definite hint of intelligence behind them.  Not to 
mention more than a hint of physical power.  Already Turgeon seemed to
sink back into his seat, unwilling to challenge this new arrival.

"Why, thank you, I'd appreciate that.  My name's Abby."  

"Adam LaDuke."  He motioned to the bartender.  "Two pints of draft
cider, please.  You new in town?"

"Yes, I just started as a secretary in the mill.  You?"

"Oh, I move around, Maine mostly.  Where'd you move here from?"

"Hanover, New Hampshire.  Nice place to be from, but hard to stay
there as a townie -- the Dartmouth [5] kids get all the jobs."  She
noted that Adam had diverted attention from what, if anything, he
did for a living while "moving around".  A lot of Yanks "moved around"
the potent potato liquor distilled illegally in the St. John valley
just east of here.

"Damn Tories.  We could've kept'em outta here in the first place,
you know.  You ever hear of Benedict Arnold?  Wicked fine man, a sort
of hero of mine..."

Abigail's bait had _now_ hooked the fish she wanted.  This _might_
even be the same man who had led the St. Georges-de-Beauce robbery -- 
the 1967 Conquistador she'd spotted through the window was a different 
color, but how long did it take to paint a loke?  That Haytian had given
her a description that matched this Adam LaDuke, at least as far as it 
went.  Of course the Haytian had talked to Detective-Serjeant Clarissa 
Forster of the CBI, not to Abby Bartlet, a woman who had not existed a
fortnight ago...

Funny how back at Yale she'd considered the theatre a hobby, and the law
her real work.  She'd laughed _at_ the implausibility of Shakespeare's
disguises and intrigues even as she laughed _with_ his four-century-old
wordplay.  Well, was this theatre or law right now?  If she went off
with Adam tonight, on the track of whatever organization lay behind 
him, her success and in fact her life might depend on maintaining her
character.  Whereas the law that Clarissa Forster was sworn to enforce
would mean very little in the middle of the North Woods.

Notes:

[1] I just finished playing the Shepherd in Hampshire Shakespeare 
    Company's production of this play -- I can be seen second from 
    the left in the bottom picture here:
    http://hampshireshakespeare.org/gallery/WT-2002.html

[2] Indian-derived place names are very rare in the CNA and its
    dependencies (Quebec and the Associated Federal Province of 
    Nova Scotia), as is clear from Sobel.  Given the far more 
    violent history of Indian relations in the CNA's 19th century, 
    I find this somewhat creepy.

[3] Cathedral Mountain is OTL's Katahdin, the highest peak in Nova
    Scotia.  Recall that the Northern Confederation province of 
    Maine includes only those parts of OTL Maine west of the
    Penobscot valley.  The highest peak in the Northern Confederation
    is Mount King George in New Hampshire's White Mountains.

[4] The red-uniformed Nova Scotia Provincial Police, long called
    "lobsterbacks" by the Rebellion-obsessed Yanks.  It seems the
    nickname is beginning to gain wider usage. 

[5] Founded in 1769 by Eleazar Wheelock, Dartmouth kept operating
    through the Rebellion without being forced to take sides.
    Governor Daniel Webster of the Northern Conferation was an
    1801 graduate and defended the college's royal charter in court
    against an attempted takeover by the NC administration in 1816.

Dave MB