Apocalypse 10 lives - Learning resource files

Louise Masson

  • Nationality: Canadian (Quebec)
  • Birth date: August 26, 1894
  • Family/social situation:

    Adopted daughter of a wealthy family in Quebec City. Of Huron origin maternally. Has two brothers, André and Claude, the biological Masson children.

  • Occupation:

    Student, then nurse.

Biographical elements of the character
Elements of the historical context
  • September 20, 1914

    The Masson’s house in Quebec City, Canada.
    Louise has just finished her studies at the Ursuline Covent. At home, she frets in boredom. The family is sitting in the living-room. Her brothers read and comment on the newspaper report that Maréchal Joffre has stopped the Germans at the Battle of the Marne.

  • Writers and the pacifist stance: Spinoza (1900) by French philosopher Alain (1868-1851).

    September 6, 2014: Maréchal Joffre asks for reinforcements to stop the Germans’ advance on Paris (the Shlieffen plan). Général Gallieni requisitions 630 Paris taxis to take troops to the Ourcq front in the Marne region, more of a morale-booster than a strategic success.

  • March 22, 1915

    In Montreal, Louise is hired as a nurse by the French-Canadian military hospital and sent in an ocean convoy to France.

  • Creation of the French-Canadian volunteer hospitals (Henriette Casault, Dr. Mignault).

  • May 8, 1915

    The Atlantic Ocean.
    Louise is travelling to France on the SS Metagama, which is attacked by a German U-Boat.


  • SS Metagama; first U-Boats.

  • February 6, 1916

    The volunteer hospital set up in the Hippodrome de Saint-Cloud, outside Paris.
    Louise works there as a nurse.

  • Volunteer hospital No. 11 bis at the Hippodrome de Saint-Cloud, France. 

    Medicine and war surgery.

  • August 26, 1916

    The volunteer hospital of Saint-Cloud.
    Louise tends to Émilien, who is suffering from the effects of poison gas.


  • Advances in wartime medicine (Marie Curie).

  • April 18, 1918

    The park at Saint-Cloud.
    Louise and Ismaël get to know each other better. By chance, they meet Nicolai Gumilev.


  • Nicolai Gumilev: man of letters and historian married to and later divorced from poet Anna Akhmatova; leader of the Poets’ Guild. Enlists in the Russian Expeditionary Corps in France in 1914; openly opposed to the Bolshevik regime.

  • November 10, 1918

    The volunteer hospital of Saint-Cloud.
    Louise is looking after patients suffering from the Spanish influenza; she learns of Apollinaire’s death.


  • Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918): Poet, author of the Calligrammes. Weakened by war injuries, he succumbs to the Spanish influenza.  The Spanish flu pandemic kills 30 million people in 1918-1919.