There have been many Christmases in Mazo de la Roche’s novels, too: not quite a hundred, but several.
“Ninety-nine Christmases had been celebrated at Jalna. In its first Christmas Philip and Adeline Whiteoak had been young people and their three children infants. Now all those five were in their graves and the youngest to join in the celebration was Victoria Bell, who arrived in her father’s arms, and the unborn Whiteoak, still curled up in his mother’s womb. Victoria Bell, strong of back and bright of eye, sat upright, enthralled by all she saw. Boughs of spruce and hemlock made every doorway seem the entrance to a bower. Evergreens and holly were entwined on the banister. Mistletoe was not forgotten.”
In a series rooted in tradition (fledgling traditions in Canada based on more established traditions in the Old Country), these holidays were important for family members and readers alike.
But here, in the final volume written for the series, just three years before the author’s death, with only one other volume written afterwards (the second, in story-order, Morning at Jalna), the preoccupation is with time passing.
“Through the open doorway she could see the falling leaves, some dun-coloured, some still green, but mostly varied in scarlet and gold. They were, she thought, as the minutes in the hour, the hours in the day, the days in the year, the years in a lifetime.”
As a conclusion, a celebration of the government’s centenary is suitable.
“This is an occasion. We shall never see its like again. It’s seldom that the same family lives in the same house for a century. Of course that’s not long in the Old Country, but it’s a long while here.”
And there are many recurring themes and motifs for devoted readers: