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Avril Hayes, an attractive black woman is cleaning the upstairs of a lavish house, helped by her ten year-old daughter, Belle. The girl is asking her mother questions about their way of life. The owner of the plantation, Adley Cobb, arrives home. He gestures for the small girl to leave and for Avril to follow him into the bedroom. Belle returns to the landing and looks into the room where her mother is having sex with Cobb. Avril sees her daughter watching. Afterwards, although dismissing the event, almost as a way of life, she gets her daughter to swear not to tell her father. The following day the little girl is sitting in church, listening to her father preach, unable to understand why white people treat black people so cruelly.

6:Lower Fort Garry, Canada. July 1848

For the eleven year-old Jean-Paul Goulet, this is the most exciting day of his life. He is to take part in the summer buffalo hunt. Not as a child, helping his mother and aunts prepare the food and skin the animals, but as a proper hunter. Jean-Paul is a Metis, a half-breed of people who live on the North American prairie. For the following three months the boy is taught the customs and rules of Metis hunting. He enjoys nature at its most brutal. On returning to the village he finds his maternal grandfather, Andrew Patterson, a Scot, who is the local Governor for the Hudson Bay Company, has summoned him. Jean-Paul has had a distant relationship with his grandfather. For nearly 200 years the Metis have had to trade with the Hudson Bay Company, who enjoy a monopoly in Canada, granted to it by the British Government. Patterson is about to retire and return to his native Edinburgh. He wants his grandson to accompany him and enjoy a British education. Thereafter Jean-Paul will be given a job with the Hudson Bay Company. Jean-Paul talks to his parents, who reluctantly feel that it would be best for the boy. His father points out that in 10 years time Jean-Paul can decide what he really wants to do with his education.   

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