Chapter 14: Marshalls Folly, 1829
The Marshalls Folly chapter in "Ananias" is extensive and covers a considerable number of situations that are essential to have the story flow logically on into the “Flathead” chapters that ultimately depict the married life of Ananias and Grace and the birth of their three children. Despite the chapter’s moniker, the scenes and locations are quite varied – Marshalls Folly simply being the place of residence for Ananias during the course of his life in 1829.
Marshalls Folly at the turn of the 20th century from a sketch prepared by a local resident.
(I expect it is Stan Deering in Flatrocks. I have been meaning to check in with him.)
Marshalls Folly today
The name Marshalls Folly has always been somewhat of a mystery to me. In my time, I have also heard it called Marsha’s Folly and Mashes Folly. I go so far as to have a bit fun with this in the story when Ananias indicates to Will that it is a rather odd name for a community (a relative point in the context of Newfoundland settlement nomenclature). Will’s response is blunt: he has no idea who Marshall is/was and why it was his folly. He concludes that it’s a “stunned” (local vernacular for “stupid”) question anyway.
Dirt track down to Marshalls Folly
The beach at Marshalls Folly
Somewhat appropriately a small boat (a rodney) has washed ashore.
This past summer (long after the novel had made its way to the printer in Montreal) the lady who owns the only summer home in Marshalls Folly told me that she had it on good authority that a gentleman named Rose married one of the Marshall girls from Freshwater and they were the first to settle here. Apparently, Mr. Rose had a sense of humour.
For me, as a child, Marshalls Folly was a magical place. The photographs included with this post will hopefully convey that sense of wonder.
And, lest I forget (only to be reminded) this chapter has what some have called “the sex scene”. Now whether it really constitutes a sex scene or not is up to you Dear Reader. I hope that the scene in question offers up more of an innocent exploration that most young people confront at some point as they grow into adulthood – a coming of age as the say nowadays.
The scene is based on an innocent enough stroll up to Guvniks Pond on a warm summer's day. Although the name of the pond is not mentioned in the novel, the description is very true, especially with regard to the clarity and distinctiveness of the echo from the hill opposite.
Cart track to Guvniks Pond