[6 blank pages]
BY WILLIAM HENRY DRUMMOND
The Habitant, and Other French-Canadian Poems.
The Voyageur, and Other Poems.
Johnnie Courteau, and Other Poems.
The Great Fight.
G. P. Putnam’s Sons
New York and London
[unnumbered page, includes illustration: “De house is shake lak’ beeg eart’quake.” – The Great Fight. (Page 59)]
THE GREAT FIGHT
By William Henry Drummond, M.D.
Edited, With a Biographical Sketch, by May Harvey Drummond
With Illustrations by Frederick Simpson Coburn
New York and London
G.P. Putnam’s Sons
The Knickerbocker Press
MAY HARVEY DRUMMOND
Entered at Stationers’ Hall, London
BY G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS
The Knickerbocker Press, New York
TO THOSE THREE BROTHERS
WHO WERE HIS PRIDE AND JOY WHILE HE LIVED, AND
NOW THAT HE HAS GONE REMAIN A STRONG
TOWER OF DEFENCE TO HIS FAMILY
IN MEMORY OF WILLIAM HENRY DRUMMOND
BY S. WEIR MITCHELL, M.D., LL.D.
PEACE to his poet soul. Full well he knew To sing for those who know not how to praise The woodsman’s life, the farmer’s patient toil, The peaceful drama of laborious days. He made his own the thoughts of simple men, And with the touch that makes the world akin A welcome guest of lonely cabin homes, Found, too, no heart he could not enter in. The toilworn doctor, women, children, men, The humble heroes of the lumber drives, Love, laugh, or weep along his peopled verse, Blithe ‘mid the pathos of their meagre lives. While thus the poet-loved interpreted, He left us pictures no one may forget— Courteau, Batiste, Camille mon frère and best, The good brave curé, he of Calumette. With nature as with man at home, he loved The silent forest and the birches’ flight Down the white peril of the rapids’ rush, And the cold glamour of your Northern night. Some mystery of genius haunts his page. Some wonder secret of the poet’s spell Died with this master of the peasant thought. Peace to your Northland singer, and farewell! [page v]
IN offering to the public this short biographical sketch of William Henry Drummond, I do so with the utmost diffidence. The task of portraying a many-sided character such as his could only be successfully accomplished by one more gifted with the pen than I, and therefore for a novice like myself it remains but to be faithful to facts without any attempt at a literary effect. This has been my endeavour, and Dr. Drummond’s friends must judge if the picture bears any resemblance to the original.
When a merry mood was upon him, William would keep us all in roars of laughter with his witty nonsense. At these times he would turn to me with mock severity, saying: “If you were the right kind of wife, you would run for your note-book and take down [page vii] these ‘words of wisdom’ as they flow from my lips. But a man is never a hero to his valet or his wife.” And I would answer back that in my mind there was a store of notes which would some day be published under the title of “Side-Lights on the Author of The Habitant” —a book which would astonish the public and out-sell any of his. Little did we dream that his merry jesting would so soon be hushed, and that I should indeed be left to keep the promise so lightly made.
To those who knew William Henry Drummond and his life-work at all intimately, the title of this book, The Great Fight, will appeal not only in its relation to the poem bearing the title, but infinitely more to his whole-hearted “fight” for national unity. The poems written by him, and published in previous volumes, viz: The Habitant, Johnnie Courteau, and The Voyageur, did perhaps more than anything else to bring into sympathetic touch the French and English races in Canada. Of [page viii] his purpose he wrote in the preface to his first volume, The Habitant:
“Having lived, practically, all my life, side by side with the French-Canadian people, I have grown to admire and love them, and I have felt that while many of the English-speaking public know, perhaps as well as myself, the French-Canadian of the cities, yet they have had little opportunity of becoming acquainted with the habitant, therefore I have endeavoured to paint a few types, and, in doing this, it has seemed to me that I could best attain the object in view by having my friends tell their own tales in their own way, as they would relate them to English-speaking auditors not conversant with the French tongue.”
The poems and prose sketches contained in this volume were written at various times, but mainly since the publication of his last book, The Voyageur. Some are connected with his life at Kerr Lake, in the now famous Cobalt District, where he died; some are in dialect, and deal with French-Canadian [page ix] life; and others relate to his own people, the Irish.
It has seemed to me advisable to write a few words of explanation and comment concerning some of the poems and prose pieces contained in this volume, which may be of interest to the reader. First, then, a word as to “The Great Fight.” This poem will be better understood, if the reader is in possession of the following information. Every good “Canayen” has his own particular patron saint, but one and all unite in allegiance to the patron saint of Quebec, Saint John the Baptist, or St. Jean Baptiste, or again as he is familiarly known “The Leetle Jean Bateese.” On the Saint’s Feast Day, throughout the Province, processions take place, and he is represented by a small boy clad in sheep-skins, bearing a cross in his hand, who is driven throughout the city. It is a proud day for the chosen boy, but the pleasure he may get out of it depends very largely upon the weather.
You will find in the home of almost every [page x] habitant a print of the saint, and sometimes the more fortunate one is the possessor of a plaster cast, and he has a natural and personal pride in his own particular statuette. So in “The Great Fight,” the fact that the giddy young Joe Beliveau kisses Camille’s pretty wife is passed over, but on the first word of disparagement of his “Leetle Jean Bateese” the battle begins.
In “The First Robin” is brought out the old superstition that the first robin of spring brings good crops and good luck to the farmer with whom he makes his first home. The Doctor, in his practical humorous way, makes the old belief come out true, just as “good luck” is generally attained, by the hard daily work of the farmer with whom the robin makes his first home.
Among the Doctor’s dearest friends was the Honorable Peter White, of Marquette, Michigan, a pioneer of the northern peninsula. Hence “Pierre LeBlanc,” which will be appreciated by the many by whom Mr. White has known and loved, not only [page xi] in Michigan, but throughout the United States and Canada.
As for “Boule” —well, what “hunter man” has not had or known a dog like “Boule”?
In “Chibougamou” we hear of the habitant class when afflicted with the northern gold and silver fever. Some few have been successful, but “Chibougamou” tells the tale of one of the many who failed. But mark the happy touch in the home-coming, and the contented feeling that after all he has in Louise “the bes’ of all.”
The subtle sarcasm of “Deer Hunting” will appeal to healthy-minded lovers of the sport, and pray Heaven it may appeal to others too. I am reminded that the poem tells the general experiences and feelings of the “deer slaughterer” so truly that men of that class may not realize the sarcasm, or understand, but I think they will. If the shaft shot in this poem alone finds its mark, this book will have justified itself.
The short head-note that accompanies “The Tale of a Cocktail” makes further [page xii] explanation unnecessary, at least to male readers. We have all suffered.
“The Spanish Bird” was written in the Laurentian Club House at Lac la Pêche. The Doctor found the chief of the chicken clan one morning in a seemingly discontented mood. Hence the lay.
“The Godbout” is also connected with the Laurentian Club and should appeal to members of that organisation. The “Commodore” all members know and love. They know, too, his love of the Laurentides, and the leaping trout of its myriad lakes. But once the Commodore lapsed, or seemed to lapse, from grace, and sought a salmon stream, the Godbout. His closest friends were heartbroken at his fall, but one short season sufficed the errant sportsman, and he returned to his old love, if possible, more ardent than ever.
Most cities have within their limits a square or park, especially attractive to the “bummer” population. In Montreal it is Victoria Square, and while the verses bearing [page xiii] that title have special interest to Montrealers, they will still be appreciated by citizens of other towns where similar resting-places exist.
William Drummond was perhaps above all an Irishman, warm-hearted and whole-souled, with an impulsive love for all things Irish. Hence his “He only Wore a Shamrock.” The motive of the poem is tersely explained in a head-note. The Doctor, it may be here remarked, was very much pleased, a few years later, when, after a visit to Ireland by Her late Majesty Queen Victoria, a special order was issued allowing the men in the Irish regiments to wear their native emblem under certain conditions.
“We’re Irish Yet” speaks for itself. It was written specifically for, and was read by the author himself at, the Annual Dinner of the St. Patrick’s Society, in Montreal, on St. Patrick’s Day, 1907, a few days before the author’s death. It rings simple and true and will touch the hearts not only of Irishmen, but of men of other lands. [page xiv]
“Silver Lake Camp” will bring back memories to those who love the life in the open. No need of further words.
Of the poems connected with the Doctor’s life in the Cobalt District of Ontario, “Marriage” is, I think, as perfect in quiet humour as one would wish. If you read it once, you read it again and again, and always with the quiet pleasure that true humour brings, and you grow to sympathize with the rogue, who has, as the Irish put it, “a rag on every bush.”
In “Bloom,” the soft flower-like pink of a Cobalt vein, known as a Cobalt Bloom, gives promises of riches to the prospector, and in that District is certainly the only bloom for him.
Mining men will naturally appreciate “The Calcite Vein” more than others, but those—and they are many—who have only dabbled in mines will understand, too, that if the vein does not “go ‘way down” things generally will “go ‘way up.”
The “stranger man wit’ hees hair all [page xvi] w’ite,” referred to, is a well-known mining engineer, one of the best authorities on things Cobaltish, whose white hair, however, denotes experience, not age.
In a mining camp like Cobalt, typhoid fever is apt at times to rage, especially in the early days of the settlement, and the simple tale of “The Boy from Calabogie” was, alas! applicable to many a bright young life that ended there. But, most of all, now, it seems to tell of the passing of the poet himself. He went to Cobalt in seeming health and strength, when duty called, and only a few days later, came back, and like Dannie, at the train, “we lifted up the long box, without a word to say.”
“Philorum Abroad” was the beginning of a series of letters which the author, after his return from the “Old Country,” had in mind to write, but he hated to express himself in prose, and these two letters are all that he accomplished.
The poems now offered in this volume are [page xvi] the last from the author of the Habitant. Some of them have not received his finishing touches, and he perhaps, always modest, always underrating his own work, might have held some back, but they all ring true and clean and healthy, and in them, whether humorous or sad, there are simplicity and a direct appeal to the heart. And so we let them all go, just as we have found them, that the people, who have loved their author’s work, may have all, even to little scraps like “The Doon,” with its gentle touch, revealing the reverence and love for thing our forefathers knew and loved, just as his French-Canadian verses revealed the love and esteem he bore towards the people and land he knew so well himself.
In conclusion I offer my heartfelt thanks to those friends who have so kindly contributed material for this sketch, and copies of poems which had long since passed from my possession. And I would here make a special acknowledgement of my indebtedness[page xvii] to one friend, Mr. E. W. Thomson, for his kind encouragement and advice, without which the work might have never been accomplished.
MAY HARVEY DRUMMOND.
[illustration]The Drummond Plot in Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal. The Doctor is buried under the square stone at the right of this Celtic Cross.[page xviii]
|IN MEMORY OF WILLIAM HENRY DRUMMOND||
|By S. Weir Mitchell, M.D.|
|WILLIAM HENRY DRUMMOND||
|A Biographical Sketch, by May Harvey Drummond|
|WILLIAM HENRY DRUMMOND||
|A Poem, by E.W. Thomson|
|THE GREAT FIGHT||
|WE’RE IRISH YET||
|THE FIRST ROBIN||
|THE BOY FROM CALABOGIE||
|THE CALCITE VEIN||
|SILVER LAKE CAMP||
|THE TALE OF A COCKTAIL||
|THE LAND WE LIVE IN AND THE LAND WE LEFT||
|“HE ONLY WORE A SHAMROCK”||
|THE SPANISH BIRD||
|THE MONTMORENCI ELECTION||
|‘DE HOUSE IS SHAKE LAK’ BEEG EART’QUAKE”||
The Great Fight
|“THE WHITE-WALLED HUTS THAT STREW THE SHORE FROM CASTLEGAL TO OLD BELLEEK”||
|BELLEEK CASTLE, IRELAND||
|WILLIAM HENRY DRUMMOND||
From a photograph by Hayes
|STEPPING-STONES IN FRONT OF THE OLD DRUMMOND HOME IN IRELAND||
|“DEN A MAN HE COME ALONG AN’ HE SAY TO ME, ‘LOOK HERE—DON’T YOU KNOW THAT PLACE DEY CALL CHIBOUGAMOU?’”||
|“OH! DE PULLIN’ AN’ DE HAULIN’, TILL I’M FEELIN’ PURTY SORE”||
|“AN’ SOON I WAIT AN’ LISTEN, FOR I TINK I HEAR DE SONG OF DE FIRSE, DE EARLY ROBIN, AS HE JUS’ BEGIN TO SING”||
The First Robin
|“SO OFF ON DE WOOD WE ALL MUS’ GO”||
The Calcite Vein
|‘AFFER W’ILE DUCHARME COMMENCE TALK DE POLITIQUE WIT’ ALPHONSE”||
The Montmorenci Election
WILLIAM HENRY DRUMMOND
WILLIAM HENRY DRUMMOND
At sunrise on Holy Thursday, 13th April, 1854, in Currawn House, near the village of Mohill, County Leitrim, Ireland, where his father, George Drummond, was then stationed, William Henry Drummond, “Poet of the Habitant”, was born. That same evening the baby’s grandmother, going into the garden, found there his father, studying intently the bright scroll of heaven. Turning to greet her he said: “I have been reading the boy’s destiny in the stars; he is born to great things”—a prediction which caused the grandmother to smile indulgently, but the young mother treasured the saying in her heart, and lived to see its fulfillment.
Mr. Drummond was at this time an officer in the Royal Irish Constabulary, and two years later, with his family, was removed to Tawley, a little village which nestles on the [page 3] side of one of that triumvirate of mountains known as the “Three Sisters,” which stand sentinel over the beautiful Bay of Donegal. Here in Tawley Manor House, the birthplace of his three brothers, William Henry passed the impressionable days of early boyhood, absorbing the poetry and romance of surroundings redolent of both. Tawley was a spot not famed for beauty alone, but steeped in the glamour of heroic days and the struggle of men for their birthright. In the poem “Child Thoughts,” written in October, 1900, to commemorate the birthday of his youngest brother Tom, he has himself given us a perfect picture of this place and a clear record of its effects upon his boyish mind, an effect which endured to the end, and to which his last completed poem is a touching tribute. It may have been this earliest association with Nature, in all her most appealing aspects, among a clean, wholesome-minded peasantry, that fostered the boy’s inherent love of honest, upright simplicity, and gave to his mind that perfect balance and sanity of outlook for which, as a man, he was never conspicuous. [page 4]
[illustration] “The white-walled huts that strew the shore from Castlegal to Old Belleek.” [unnumbered page] [blank page]
At the head of the village school, of this date, at Tawley, was one of the old-time “hereditary scholars” of Ireland, a man poor and obscure it may be like most of his class, but with the intellectual and moral attainments so rare in quality as to indelibly impress all who came in contact with him. To learn of this man, William Drummond went at the age of five, and proving an apt scholar from the first, was not infrequently left in charge of the class-room during any unavoidable absence of the master. On one of these occasions when Mr. and Mrs. Drummond happened to pay an unexpected visit to the school, they found their son the centre of an eager group of scholars, all clamouring for help from the lad, in many cases years their junior. “My faith,” remarked the proud father, “the boy is more like master than pupil here!” It is no wonder, then, that between this learned old man and his bright pupil there grew up a friendship [page 5] which was to outlast not only years, but separation also, a fact many amply proven by the poet’s wish, expressed so often in later years, that he might find the grave of Paddy McNulty—such was the master’s name—and acknowledge his gratitude by erecting thereon a suitable monument.
It was at Tawley, too, that the boy first became a disciple of the immortal Isaak, and his first fly was cast upon the waters of the River Duff, which flowed by the very doors of the old Manor House. Here one day came Lord Palmerston to fish, and, finding the son of his friend, Mr. Drummond, sitting patiently with worm-baited hook waiting for a bite, the great statesman, who was also a keen fisherman, with a hatred of anything but what he considered clean sport, undertook to initiate the lad into the gentle art of fly-fishing, and at the same time to imbue the youthful mind with his own lofty ideals. So well did he succeed that this highest branch of the piscatorial art was ever after William Drummond’s favourite [page 6] recreation, and his scorn of the baited hook a byword among fishermen.
After about seven years spent in this romantic spot, Mr. Drummond, senior, with his wife and family, returned to Mohill for a while, before removing to Canada, where they had been only a few short months, when he passed away, leaving the brave little mother to face the New World with her four boys, the eldest barely eleven, and the youngest only five. With the slenderest of means at her command, the struggle was one that might well have crushed the bravest spirit. Mrs. Drummond’s first consideration was the education of her boys, and she was firm in the determination that they should always be united and self–reliant, and that whatever the future might bring forth, they should be able to at least say that the little family owed everything, under God, to their own efforts. Her motto, like David Livingstone’s, was ever, “Fear God, and word hard.” Her simple faith carried her through difficulties again and again, and she lived to [page 7] see the fruition of her hopes for her boys, passing away in her eighty–third year, happy in the admiring love and devotion of her sons and their respective families.
Reverting for a moment to those early days of struggle, William Drummond went for a few short terms to a private school, and then, realizing at an earlier age than would most boys that his devoted mother sorely needed his help, he insisted upon shouldering his share of the burden. Taking up the study of telegraphy, he soon obtained an appointment, and became one of the most expert telegraphers of the time. In the initial days of his work he was located at Bord-à-Plouffe, a little village lying on the banks of the beautiful Rivière des Prairies, at the back of Mount Royal, and at that time a great centre of the lumber trade. Here it was that he first came in contact with the habitant and voyageur, and listened to their quaint tales of backwoods life; here that he heard from the lips of the old Gédéon Plouffe the tragedy retold at “The Wreck [page 8] of the Julie Plante,” a poem of which he himself thought little, and never cared to recite, but which had made its way through the length and breadth of the American continent before ever his first book of poems was published. It was the old lumberman’s reiteration of the words, “An’ de win’ she blow, blow, blow!” which rang so persistently in his ears that, at the dead of night, unable to stand any longer the haunting refrain, he sprang from his bed and penned the poem, which was to be the herald of his future fame.
[illustration] Belleek Castle, Ireland. [unnumbered page][blank page]
In a letter dated May 12, 1903, and written to a dear friend of these times, he says:
I often think of the B.P. days of 1869, the first time I saw the old place, and even yet memory can summon up the wild gladiators of the “saw log” and “square lumber” raft, and I can hear them sing: “Trois beaux canards” and “Par derrière chez ma tante.”
I did love those days, and I do so yet, intensely. One of these days I will write a story of the Rivière des Prairies, and dedicate to you.
There was a little wild strawberry plant [page 9] that grew in July, 1869, on the right-hand side of the road leading to the river and whenever I had a message to deliver to a raft-foreman I usually found a fresh young berry waiting for me. This happened on several occasions during the month I speak of, and is n’t strange that I never forgot the incident? But it is just such sweet little memories as this that fasten Bord-à-Plouffe deep down in my heart.
“Bord-à-Plouffe is on de reever, Bord-à-Plouffe is on de shore, An’ de family of Plouffe dere all aroun’, On some house dey got twenty, On some house only ten, But w’ere you get such a girl And such fine young men?”
A few years of productive work, and then, in brighter days, William Drummond turned again to his interrupted studies, and we find him a pupil at the High School, passing thence to McGill College, and on to Bishop’s Medical College, from which he graduated in 1884. His first medical appointment was that of House Surgeon of the Western Hospital, a position which he filled to the satisfaction of all concerned. [page 10]
Of the boy’s school days there is little record left us, save the impression made by his personality on his fellows, an impression of strength and integrity, which deepened with age and further acquaintance, but never changed, and to-day we find one of these school friends writing thus of him:
At the High School, I remember the Doctor as being much bigger and stronger than any other pupil. There was a certain reserve about him at first acquaintance which gradually melted and enhanced the friendship which followed later. One felt that his confidence was not to be lightly gained, and it was valued accordingly. He was slow to anger and magnanimous as befitted his strength. Even as a youth he had a remarkable sense of justice, and would not permit any bullying when he was present.
Throughout his college career, “Bill Drummond” was better known as an athlete than as a student. The exact sciences never appealed to him, the labour involved in working out a mathematical problem being all too slow for a mentality as swift as his. Conclusions were more often reached by the [page 12] rapid bounds of intuition than by any analytical method, and, while to this very rapidity of intellect he owed much of his success in after life, both as a physician and poet, yet in college examinations they were of less account than the more homely gifts of the steady plodder. He has therefore left us no record of scholarships taken nor gold medals won, save on the University campus, where his splendid physique and immense strength gained for him many honours. In snow-shoeing, hammer-throwing, putting the shot, and fast walking, he had few equals, and was for a time Canadian amateur champion of the last-named exercise.
In August, 1883, in company with another medical student, William went to visit Dr. George Nelson, grandson of Wolfred, of Rebellion fame, who was then medical practitioner at Marbleton, in the township of Dudswell. The party took a tent with them, camping out on an island in Silver Lake, a picturesque sheet of water situated about two miles from the village. Here also [page 12] were camped many other residents of the Marbleton, among them being the Rector and his family, who took a kindly interest in the young strangers and made them welcome to their hospitable circle. The Rev. Thos. Shaw Chapman, who is still living, is one of that old-time band of pioneers who did not go forth into the wilderness only to get from it all they could of material benefit, but also to give unsparingly of their time and strength to the betterment of things material as well as spiritual. This grand old man, on his first coming to Marbleton, built, literally with his own hands, churches and houses, surveyed railroads, and there being at this time no doctor in the vicinity, even cared for the sick among his parishioners. “From early morn till dewy eve,” his spare form might be seen toiling up the steep hillside on which the village stands. It might be to the bed of death, or to a social at the home of a friend. In both cases his welcome was sure, for his sympathy was unlimited and his counsel wise. Between men with so much in common [page 13] a friendship was soon established, which the Doctor carried to his grave, and the “Pastor of the Uplands” still holds as a sacred treasure in the hidden recesses of his heart. These were happy days for William, and in March, 1900, we find him writing thus to Mr. Chapman:
God bless you for a man who is always thinking of his friends! Time goes on, and naturally many things and incidents slip from our memory, but never shall I forget the few days we spent together in camp at Silver Lake. I feel now that your quiet, calm, philosophical nature and loving temperament influenced me more than I was conscious at the time. If we can ever manage to come together again, I trust it will be under the same conditions and circumstances.
[illustration] William Henry Drummond. From a photograph by Hayes. [unnumbered page] [blank page]
MY DEAR MR. CHAPMAN:
It gives me great pleasure to know that you and yours are well, and the knowledge, too, that camping and various other schemes [page 14] are still engaging your active attention affords me delight. Dear me, how Father Time will persist in running along at the same old gait! It has often been a matter of surprise to me that the “Pastor of the Uplands” has not written something of his life among the township’s hills; you who have seen so much of the Nature ought to give us a volume equal to anything John Burroughs ever wrote. I am engaged in collecting together the verse that I have from time to time been guilty of penning, dialect and otherwise, and the book ought to be published for Christmas of this year.
By-the-by, do you remember a little piece on “Silver Lake Camp”? I don’t think there was much in it, but if you have a copy I wish you would send it to me. I enclose a ballad of “Ye Ancient Régime,” a tale told by an Old-Country Frenchwoman to her Canadian-born granddaughter. In the early days of our country, as you know, the Seigneurs were, as a rule, men who had earned their possessions by the sword on the Continental battle-fields, and these were the days when a gentleman was a gentleman in something more than name. The ballad has been set to music, and Madame Albani will include it in her repertoire.
When the weather became too cold for camping under canvas, the two students [page 15] moved on to Clear Lake, a spot situated high up among the hills, about five miles from Marbleton. Here by the shore of the lake dwelt Major John Weyland, with his brother Charles, and a sister. The two young men established themselves in a little shanty owned by the Major, which stood in the midst of a group of dark fir-trees, not many yards distant from the home of the brothers. In this lonely and romantic spot they spent many pleasant days, fishing and strolling about the country, and when the twilight fell, sitting with the soldier brothers on a fallen fir-tree discoursing on many things. Major Weyland was a brilliant conversationalist, and it is said that the sallies of wit between the middle-aged soldier and the young medical student were sparkling and memorable.
With William Drummond a friend once was always a friend, and Charles, the only surviving one of the trio, received the following letter from the poet on his last Christmas on earth. [page 16]
December 14th, 1906
MY DEAR MR. WEYLAND:
I often think of my old friend in your home by the lake, where we all had such happy days many years ago; Aunt Fanny, your brother, the bluff old soldier, always ready with his merry joke, yourself—preux chevalier. Ah dear me, it is hard to see through the mist, yet the inner vision is keen, and coming towards the holy season of Christmas, once more there you are in my mind again, the whole of you, and I wish you all the very happiest of the season’s greetings.
In the fall of 1907, while on a flying visit to Marbleton, I was privileged to visit Clear Lake also, being driven thither by my venerable host, Mr. Chapman, on a wild October morning, when little remained of the beauty of the lake save its limpid waters and those same dark fir-trees, under which lay the ruins of the little shanty-camp of years gone by. The “preux chevalier” met us, and with courtly Old-World grace, strangely unexpected in this lonely spot, escorted us into the house. Here by the side of the stove I sat and warmed my numb [page 17] fingers, while the two old men talked of bygone days, when the handsome Charlie Weyland wooed and won Isabelle, his wife, in the face of many difficulties—of a letterbox hidden in the hedge; of stolen meetings, and the final elopement of the pair, who crossed the bridge at Niagara in disguise, passing, en route and unrecognized, the relentless father; and of the hurried marriage over the border, and the building of this lonely home in the wilderness, where neither poverty nor privation had had power to tarnish the pure hold of their love.
It was a picture not to be forgotten, these two old men glowing and thrilling over those days of long ago, days past but not dead since they still had power to bring to faded cheeks the blush of youth and the shimmer of the love-light to eyes already dim with age.
At last it was time to go, and in reply to my request for reminiscences of his student friend, Mr. Weyland answered that, while there must be many such stored away in his [page 18] mind, just now he could remember only one thing,—that is, said he, “that your husband was the finest man I ever knew!”
“Come into the other room,” he continued, “and I will show you the photograph he sent me after his stay out here.” There it stood in the place of honour on the little book-shelf, and beside it the picture of our “little Billy,” the baby boy whose death almost broke the father’s tender heart. “He wrote to me when the little lad died,” said Mr. Weyland, “and I can never read that letter without the tears coming to my eyes.” The thought came to me then that perhaps it was this faculty of taking his friends into the sacred places of his sorrow, this judging of their sympathy by his own overflowing measure, which had endeared him to so many, and which, since his death, had drawn from many a manly heart the touching tribute, “I lost my best friend when the Doctor died.”
In the fall of 1883 William wrote to Mr. Chapman relative to the possibility of [page 19] establishing a practice in Marbleton, a place which he through suitable because, as he said: “My three brothers will probably always make Montreal their home, and my mother is anxious that we should all be as close together in life as possible; so you see the choice would please everyone concerned.” But it was not to be, and he arrived in Marbleton to find the vacancy filled. Much disappointed, he would have returned to Montreal defeated, had not his kind old friend offered to drive him over to Stornoway, a little village near Lake Megantic, which suggested possibilities of an opening such as he sought. On the way they met someone driving in haste to procure in Marbleton medical aid for a little girl who lay desperately ill with scarlet fever in Stornoway. He stopped to greet the passersby and tell of his errand. “Why, here is your man!” exclaimed Mr. Chapman, pointing to his companion. The case was a desperate one, but the young Doctor “won out,” and established not only a practice in the little [page 20] village, but himself in the hearts of the people, though to obtain this latter place be was obliged to thrash into proper respect for a college education one “Red John,” the bully of the place, a brawny Scot, of gigantic proportions, and hair and temper alike fiery.
At Stornoway he remained two years, moving at the end of that time to Knowlton, where he bought the practice of the retiring physician.
From a letter that came to me from one of his warmest Knowlton friends, I subjoin a passage. Unfortunately this friend was unable to obtain a copy of the verse to which he alludes.
Among the mountains and valleys, the lakes and forests of Brome, his ardent love of nature had full scope, and when his duties to his patients permitted leisure, he was always to be found revelling in the natural beauties of the place. He is fondly remembered in this community, where everyone hailed him as friend and the children as companion as well—loved alike for his devotion to the sick and distressed, his cheery disposition, and his splendid nature. [page 21] I shall never forget the real sorrow of our people when he announced his intention of returning to Montreal. The leave-taking of his friends was almost pathetic, and while his patients bade him farewell with genuine sorrow, yet no one could make a parting more pleasant than he, leaving lingering memories of happy intercourse and inspiring hope and cheerfulness.
One of the patients from whom he parted here was a young girl upon whom consumption had fastened its fatal fetters. “Have you an album?” Dr. Drummond asked her, and it was brought. He wrote therein one of the most beautiful verses I have ever read, leaving his patient a treasure of delight while life lasted. Such was the man and the physician we knew and loved.
These four years of country practice gave William Drummond the reality from which to draw his pictures of “The Canadian Country Doctor” and “Ole Doctor Fiset,” pictures painted with the pigment of his own experience, and all unconsciously to the author, making a very faithful portrait of himself. However, while fully alive to the benefits which might accrue from “de prayer [page 22] of poor man” and the usefulness of even “wan bag of oat” to a hard-driven horse, the Doctor, after four years of absence, felt the longing for home tugging at his heartstrings in a way not to be resisted, and in the fall of 1888 he returned to Montreal, and started practice at the family residence on St. Antoine Street.
He had been resident in Montreal about four years when I first met him, and in the manner of this meeting there was much of romance, and, it would seem, the finger of Fate also. My father and I had left our West Indian home for a trip to Canada, armed with a letter of introduction to a college chum of my brother’s who resided in Montreal. This young doctor had promised to procure for my father, through the good offices of a confrère having interests in various sporting clubs, all the fishing he wanted, and, on our arrival in Montreal towards the end of July, would have persuaded us to go at once to the Laurentian Club, where his friend was then staying. [page 23] But we had other plans, and it was not until the end of August that we arrived at the Club, to find that, through some mistake, no letter of introduction had preceded us. The situation was awkward, but the genial manager and host, after some rather embarrassing questions regarding the health of his friend and our sporting sponsor, Dr. Drummond, whom as yet we had not seen, made us welcome. At the end of two weeks, feeling we had trespassed long enough on the hospitality of the Club, we announced our intention of leaving, a determination from which we were easily turned by the invitation of our host to remain yet a while longer. “Only till Monday, then,” said my father, but in a journal which I kept during this trip, under the date of “Sunday, Sept.18th,” there is this entry: “Introduced to our unknown friend, Dr. Drummond.” Here was another and very tangible object in the way of our departure, and it being impossible to refuse the earnest request of this man to whom we owed so much, we stayed yet [page 24] another day, the afternoon of which I spent fishing under the guidance of the no longer “unknown” friend. The far-reaching events of that day were thus tersely though all unconsciously summed up in my little diary: “Went to Trout Lake fishing—caught my first ‘big fish.’ That, in so doing, I had myself fallen into deep waters is not recorded, but then what true fisherman, or fisherwoman for that matter, ever makes mention of the price paid for his or her ‘big fish’?”
Another day of sunny memories we spent together in visiting the Shawinigan Falls, driving from his brother John Drummond’s home at Radnor Forges to the Falls and back. “Dat’s geev good chances get acquaint,” but of the many topics of conversation which occupied us throughout the long drive I can recollect only one. We had driven along for some time in silence, when my companion asked abruptly, “What’s your hobby?” “I have n’t one,” I replied. “Why, you must have,” he returned; “every [page 25] healthy-minded person has a hobby. Mine is dogs!” “Dogs!” I echoed incredulously, having expected that he would name some literary pursuit of great magnitude. “What kind of dogs?” “Irish terriers, of course,” he answered, almost indignantly, as though the inquiry was an insult, “and when I want some fellow to do something for me, I promise him a pup. It’s a mean man that wouldn’t promise a pup!”
Then he offered to show me his dogs on our arrival in Montreal, where we had expected to remain for a few days, but the news of the death of my father’s only brother hurried us back to the West Indies without further delay, and my acquaintance with his “hobby” was not made until nearly a year later. In the spring of 1893, the Doctor made a flying trip to Jamaica, during which we became engaged, and the next year, accompanied by his brother George and wife the “Commodore” (our host of the Laurentian Club), he returned, as he said, “like the pirates of old,” to carry off his bride. [page 26]
On the 18th of April, 1894, we were married in the humble little church at Savanna la Mar, which had also seen my baptism, and which has since been demolished to make room for a much finer edifice.
On our way home after the ceremony, I remember how amused and pleased he was when a buxom negro girl from among the long line of darkies who stood to see the procession, threw into our carriage a bunch of flowers, accompanied by a string of compliments and good wishes. “These people have warm hearts, have n’t they?” he said, and to him this was the first requisition of excellence.
Our first home together in Montreal was an old-fashioned house on Mountain Street, where two of our children were born. The first boy lived only a few hours, owing to the fact that at the time of his birth I was myself, from a complication of causes, hovering near to the borderland. It was during my convalescence from this illness that “Le Vieux Temps” was written, and its first [page 27] public reading was at a dinner of the Shakespeare Club of Montreal, of which the Doctor had once been a member. On this occasion, being asked to reply to one of the toasts, he would have refused the invitation, declaring that speech-making was not in his line; but finally a compromise was effected by his diffident suggestion that perhaps he might read the new poem instead of making a speech. When the night of the dinner arrived he was with difficulty prevented from running off somewhere on the plea of professional duty. However, he went, and was bewildered by his own success. “It’s the strangest thing in the world,” he said, “but do you know they simply went wild over that poem!”
This was the beginning of a long series of triumphs of a like nature, triumphs which owed little to elocutionary art, much to the natural first of a voice rare alike in strength, quality, and variety of tone, but most of all to the fact that the characters he delineated were not mere creations of a vivid imagination. [page 28] They were portraits, tenderly drawn by the master hand of a true artist, and one who knew and loved the originals.
Apropos of William Drummond, a contemporary Canadian writer says:
It requires but little talent to set the foibles of a people to metre, but it calls for genius in touch with the lowly and divine to gather up the spiritual facts in a people’s lives and give these facts such artistic setting that the poems will live forever.
Another Canadian littérateur, after having heard him for the first time recite his own poems, wrote thus:
You must have genius or you could n’t transport people and make them see and hear and feel what you will. The old, old title given to Spenser, or some other early writer, is yours by right, and no greater, sweeter title need the soul of man desire: “Poete by the Grace of God.”
Here in the old house on Mountain Street, which had been the home of Jefferson Davis during the closing years of the war, most of the pieces which comprise The Habitant were written. Many a morning his mother [page 29] and I waited to begin breakfast until he had written out the first copy of something composed overnight, and then, when the brothers George and Tom came in to pay their daily visit to the beloved mother, a custom which almost seemed like a consecration of the day, and was continued to the end of her life, the poem would be read aloud and criticised with a freedom possible only in a Celtic family.
When there was almost enough material to form a volume, a compact was made between Tom and myself to see it published, and it is with the tender recollection of a pleasure forever past that I look back upon the awful haste with which, one Sunday afternoon, I glued the type-written sheets, with photographs of Mr. Coburn’s immortal pictures in between them, into a book, and handed the sticky compound to poor Tom, as he called at our door on his way to the train for New York. I well remember, too, his humorous description afterwards of how he had to sit up all night to keep the precious book from becoming one solid mass! [page 30]
Advice was sought as to a likely publisher, and, after offering the manuscript to two or three firms without success, we took it to the Putnams. This firm recognized the true value of the poems and their illustrations, and accepted them. The first edition of The Habitant proved inadequate to the demand of Canada alone, and the great vogue of the poems was a delightful surprise to Dr. Drummond.
The late Dr. Louis Fréchette, Poet-Laureate of Canada, whose death a few weeks ago came as a shock to his numerous friends and admirers, did much to encourage this new “pathfinder in the land of song,” and the exquisite preface from his pen which The Habitant contains was a strong contradiction of the erroneous idea entertained by a few of the French-Canadian people of Quebec, namely, that these verses were written in a spirit of mockery. Such was by no means the case, and I have been told many times of good plots or ideas offered to Dr. Drummond, and rejected [page 31] because they contained a suggestion of ridicule. “I would rather cut off my right arm than speak disparagingly of the French-Canadian people,” he remarked to a confrère. And of Dr. Drummond’s attitude this same confrère writes:
Drummond’s point of view was rather sympathetic than critical, preferring always to discover goodness, even though it were flavoured at times by human weakness. You will therefore look in vain in the three volumes of verse from his pen for a false note. He is ever true to the life and character of the French-Canadian habitant in his every relation, civic, social, and religious.
Before this first book had left the hands of the printer, a second son had been born to us, a sturdy little fellow, who now, in his twelfth year, gives promise of physical development along the same generous lines as his father, and we had gone to live in another house. Our residence this time was on busy St. Catherine Street, where we spent six happy years. January, 1901, marked the advent of another little boy, [page 32] William Harvey, and in the same year Johnny Courteau, a second volume of poems, was published. The book is still a living monument to the genius of its dead author, but the little boy stayed with us only three short years, and in September, 1904, passed to the other side, there to await the coming of his beloved father. The death of this child threw a lasting shadow over the poet’s bright spirit, and on the Christmas Day following the sad event, when, according to custom, the entire family dined at the house of one of the brothers, it was noticeable that William, usually the life of the party, sat through the meal in almost absolute silence. Shortly after our return home that evening, he brought to me the finished copy of “The Last Portage,” and I learned for the first time of the dream or vision which it portrays, and which, the night before, had been an actual experience. In the baby girl who had come to us just six weeks before the death of her brother, William found his greatest [page 33] comfort, though his darkest hours often brought an added pang in the fear, so often expressed to me, that he might not live to see her grown up.
For several years he occupied the Chair of Medical Jurisprudence in his Alma Mater, in which position he earned and kept the respectful regards of students and professors alike.
“He was a clever physician, who detested sham and all forms of hypocrisy, yet, when a serious case came under observation—and he had many of them—he gave the best that was in him, and that was much.”
Many of his patients declared that just to see Dr. Drummond did them good, and grumbled at the scarcity of his visits, but he, never dreaming that he had anything other than a prescription to bestow, said: “What’s the use of paying professional visits to people for whom I can do nothing more? I might just as well steal the money out of their pockets.” On the other hand, if the case was a serious one, it absorbed [page 34] him, and his attention to it was unremitting. At such times he was with difficulty persuaded to take proper rest or food, and would often leave the dinner-table to search his book-shelves for yet another authority on the disease he was fighting; then he would return with the book to the table, and, if it contained what he sought, his plate would be pushed aside, and, in spite of remonstrances from the rest of us, he was off and away to his “case” once more. If all went well he would return about midnight, and I would smile to hear him say, “Gee, I’m hungry!” No need to ask if the patient was better, for here was evidence enough. He was certainly no respecter of persons, the rich and the poor sharing alike his consideration. It is related of him that on one occasion, when two calls came simultaneously, one to a wealthy man of good standing, the other to a poor carter, from whom a fee might scarcely be expected, he chose to attend the latter, saying: “The rich can get any number of doctors, but poor Pat has only me.” [page 35] But this is only one instance of many that make the memory of him dear to the poor.
With children he was particularly successful, and one little sick boy probably voiced the reason when he said: “Doctor Drummond is just like a big Newfoundland dog; one feels so safe when he is near.”
In the summer of 1902, he made a brief trip to England and Scotland, with the intention of also revisiting the scenes of his childhood in Ireland, but this idea was never carried out. The reason for this failure is given by Dr. Drummond’s friend, Neil Munro:
He got as far as Dublin, and here something came to him, an apprehension, I fancy, of the fact that the actual Ireland was not the Ireland of his warm imagination, that the “first, fine, careless rapture” of his childhood in Leitrim could never be recaptured—the saddest of discoveries for middle age. He came back to Glasgow, and went home to Canada without accomplishing the purpose that had brought him three thousand miles.
That same year—1902—William Drum-[page 36]mond received from the University of Toronto the degree of LL.D. “Very nice of them, and I am quite proud of the honour,” he wrote, and it is true that nothing touched him more deeply than the appreciation of his own countrymen.
Subsequent to this, he had been elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature of England, and later on of the Royal Society of Canada also, which, with the degree of the D.C.L. from Bishop’s College, Lennoxville, made up the sum of his literary honours. His literary taste was always for simplicity and directness; the modern psychological novel reading, he declared, like the annals of an insane asylum.
Of history, both Irish and Canadian, he was an ardent student, following the growth of his adopted country with the keenest interest. But, though more than once flattering offers were made him he could not be tempted into the realm of active politics, a career for which he felt himself unfitted, and his vote was always cast for [page 37] the cause without question of party. He had a fine appreciation of the literary gifts of others, and was fond of reading aloud from the works of some favourite author. The novels of Neil Munro, with the poems of Moira O’Neill and Henry Newbolt, were most frequently his choice, and to the listeners these readings were a pleasure not easily forgotten. The “Songs of the Glens of Antrim” he knew by heart, as also many of Newbolt’s, notably “Vitai Lampada,” from which he took the motto of his later life—“Play up, play up, and play the game!” there are few of us to-day but can remember a time when, in the midst of our despondency, that strong right hand of his came down on our shoulder, and the deep rich voice rang out those stirring words, and even in his letters we find the same refrain:
God bless me, how the years go by! “A few more years shall pass” with the best of us. But we must stand up in the ranks shoulder to shoulder, and “play the game,” yes, “play the game,” until the dark comes on when no man can play. [page 38]
So, when that great darkness which heralds the dawn had come upon him, lovingly we inscribed upon his casket those brave words, thinking he would have liked to have it so.
As in literature so with music, his choice lay not with the magnificence of Wagnerian opera, but rather in those “heart-deep songs of a people,” to be found in the folk-music of all countries.
The national airs of Ireland, Scotland, and French Canada, well rendered, moved him to an intensity of feeling, and some among us can recall the delight with which he listened to the beautiful expression of such songs from the lips of his friend and favourite singer, Amy Murray. And his ear was perfect, a false note causing him absolute pain, which, truth to tell, he took no care to conceal, no matter by whom the mistake had been made.
The fall of 1905 saw the publication of his last completed work, The Voyageur. This book met with the same warm reception [page 39] accorded its predecessors, and the three volumes have had a vogue almost unparalleled in the history of modern verse.
For the success of these books, much credit is due the artist and illustrator, Frederick Simpson Coburn, for whom the Doctor ever entertained a cordial friendship. These pictures, breathing, as they do, the very spirit of his poems, were a source of unending delight to the poet, and when the illustrations for The Habitant were brought to him, he looked them over in silence, then turning to the artist with outstretched hand, said, “Fred, you and I can never be parted,” and certainly neither pictures nor poems would be complete, one without the other.
Recently I asked Mr. Coburn for some reminiscences of Dr. Drummond, and this is how he replied,
I have to smile as I sit here and look back to some of those hurried visits to the country, which almost invariably marked the occasion of my trips to town to see him with reference to my illustrations. What a great big boy he was, and how he loved to get out to the [page 40] woods or onto the water, and I have a sort of secret, sneaking idea that he was sometimes afraid that you would spoil one of these caprices of his—perhaps by objecting that such and such a visit or duty, or something—just anything practical—ought to be done. Once when we went out to St. Bruno I felt this, and I was in mortal terror that anything—this something practical or everyday-ism—might crop up while this desire was on him. I had just come in from Richmond, and the smell of the country must have been in my clothes, for no sooner had he seen me than he suggested St. Bruno, and St. Bruno (among other things) meant fields and water, and water meant fishing; so, in less than ten minutes (without ever thinking of the illustrations I had brought) the fishing-tackle was out, and we were on the car to Bonaventure. I, of course, had to carry the fishing-rod on the car and on the train (just as if I were going out fishing and did n’t know the Doctor at all—I did n’t touch the fishing-rod again till we got back to town). That was the day that Mrs. George Drummond drove us down to the station, and only after she had got out of sight on her return, did we find that there had been an accident on the line near St. Hyacinthe, and that there would be no train for three hours. There were only three cigars in all St. Bruno, and we sat on a rail-fence in front of the station and smoked [page 41] these cigars (not Havanas, just domestic—very domestic—kitchen-garden like) up to within one-eighth of an inch of the end.
I made a sketch, which I have here, of an old barn from the same rail-fence, while the Doctor told stories in townships’ dialect while waiting for the freight train, which bravely kept up the record of that branch of service for speed. We landed somewhere in St. Lambert in the dark—climbed fences and over waste ground, through whole fields of tomato cans, I with the fishing rod, and the Doctor—for all the world like returning from “an errand of mercy” in Griffintown—no fish!
When the country was out of the question, and the season was propitious, there was a little oyster place on St. Catherine St. (just at the foot of the hill on the right-hand side going down past Bleury St.) which was also very dear to his heart. I used to have to reconnoitre to see if the ground was clear first.
These were the worst of his escapades—this breaking away from dignity and restraint—feeling like a “kid.” I wonder if I inspired this sentiment, or whether he felt safe in my company? The funny part is that I don’t care a bit for the country, and still less for oysters.
He had kept all the illusions of youth, and in these stolen trips, found his greatest pleasure. “It is n’t the fish we catch,” he said, “but just everything that goes to make up [page 42] the trip—the freedom, the trees, the water, the little birds singing away—Oh, there’s a great fascination in it all.”
It was the love of the country, to which Mr. Coburn alludes above, that prompted the writing of stanzas like the following:
“Have you ever heard the mountains calling to the spring? Have you ever seen the rivers flashing by? Have you ever paused to listen to the mallards whirring wing, Or marked the grey goose column on the sky? “Have you ever spied the drummer strutting near the bend, Where the alders shade the tiger of the stream? Have you ever kicked yourself all over, my dear friend, When you woke and found alas ‘t was but a dream? I have, so have I!”
Dr. Drummond was an expert fisherman, and no one could “play” a fighting fish with more skill and enjoyment than he, but for the methods of the “fish hog” who [page 43] reckoned his sport by the extent of the slaughter, he had only contempt or amusement, according to the degree of the offence.
For hunting, he had little taste, declaring that deer were such innocent-looking animals, and such an ornament to the forest, that he could not bear to destroy them, and when the news came, as it sometimes did, of the wilful and lawless slaughter of these forest creatures, his anger blazed forth. It was an occasion of the kind which drew from his pen the poem “Deer Hunting,” all bristling with the keenest satire. And a close friend of the Doctor’s, talking with me the other day on this subject, said: “It was after a talk that I had with the Doctor, that I realized I had shot my last deer. He put the thing in an entirely new light, and made me feel like a murderer.”
But in spite of these sentiments, Dr. Drummond would often join friends in hunting expeditions, when his ready wit and humour charmed and delighted the entire party. [page 44]
If the wild creatures claimed his protection so also did the domestic animals, and shortly before his death he actually thrashed a coal-carter who was abusing his horse.
It was during the summer of 1905 that, in company with his brothers, he became interested in Cobalt, and, undertaking the surveillance of the Drummond Mines, spent most of his time in that district. The climate of northern Ontario delighted him, and his interest was not confined to the harvest of shekels alone, but embraced the lakes and forests of that region, and the hordes of rough miners that infested it. Since his death, it has been suggested that the wealth might have spoiled him, but we who knew him best believe that to “simple great hearts” such as his wealth brings no alloy. However, to use his own words, “Enough money to own a strip of salmon water, and the best Irish terrier going, and to be able to help a friend in need,” was all he craved.
During his last stay in Montreal, he attended the annual dinner of St. Patrick’s [page 45] Society, and read to the charmed company his last completed poem, “We’re Irish Yet,” which had been specially written for this occasion. In the midst of reading, the light failed; “but I just kept on till it came back again,” he told me afterwards. And to me it seems that, though, in the midst of his usefulness, the light of his life went out, his voice will continue to be heard far down the ages.
It had been his intention to spend Easter Day of 1907 with us in Montreal, but hearing that smallpox had broken out in the camp at Cobalt, he hurried away a week earlier. The night of his departure from Montreal he seemed possessed by a strange and overwhelming reluctance to go. “I don’t know why I hate so much to go away this time,” he said; and I, thinking that his health was not as good as usual, would have persuaded him to stay at home, but no, his duty lay there with the sick of the little camp, and bidding us an unusually solemn good-bye, he left the home he was never [page 46] more to enter. It was just a week from this time that he was stricken with cerebral hemorrhage, and on the morning of April 6th, after five unconscious days, passed to the beyond. A broken-hearted little band, we brought our Chief back to Montreal, and his mortal remains were taken to St. George’s Church, where, amid countless floral offerings, they lay, while his friends, the rich and poor alike, came with streaming eyes to look their last on this man who had so justly earned the title of “everybody’s friend.” The church was crowded, and even out in the streets, with the heavy snowflakes drifting down on them, the people stood to do him this last honour.
On the side of Mount Royal, where but a year before his mother had been laid to rest, he now lies himself, with “little Billy” close beside him, and all around the perfect beauty of the Canadian scenery. “What a place for a man who loved Canada to lie!” were his own words on visiting this spot for the first time, and truly the man who lies there now [page 47] loved Canada, and fought not only for the unity of her differing races, but for all that was purest and best in her moral and intellectual progress.
On the plain flat headstone which marks his resting-place, these words, from his favourite poetess of the Glens of Antrim, are engraved:
Youth’s for an hour,
Beauty’s a flower,
But love is the jewel that wins the world.
It was with love that he won the heart of his adopted country, and now that his work for her is done, love is the tribute she lays at his feet.
“A great fight, and a good death,*** Trust him, he would not fail.”
WILLIAM HENRY DRUMMOND
(The following verses were written by Dr. Drummond’s old friend, E.W. Thomson, of Ottawa.)
LANDLORD, take a double fee, and let the banquet slide, Send the viands, send the wine to cheer the poor outside, Turn the glasses upside down, leave the room alight, Let the flower-strewn tables stand glittering all the night. Everybody’s friend is gone, hushed his gentle mirth, Sweeter-hearted comrade soul none shall know on earth Burly body, manly mind, upright-lifted head, Viking eyes and smiling lips—Dr. Drummond’s dead! [page 49] For the Club, for the feast, and for the busy street Primal natural airs he brought, Oh, so fresh and sweet! Brattling rivers, gleaming lakes, wild-flower forest floors, To heal the City’s weary heart with balms of out-of-doors. But where the camp-fire-litten boughs swing swaying overhead, And wondering wolf and lynx shrill wild the boding of their dead, And strangely through the moony night the hooting owlets roam, His tones would yearn in gladsome talk about the doors of Home. In sympathy with every pain of all who bear the yoke, There was a natural piety in all he wrote and spoke, He warmed with Irish pride in deeds defying Might’s strong host, Yet ever shared the Saxon sense for ruling at the roast. [page 50] He bore the poet’s shifting heart that puts itself in place Of every humble kindly soul it knows of every race, He felt their sorrow as their joy, but chose the strain to cheer And help the differing breeds to share one patriot feeling here. There was no better loyalist than this whose humours played In pleasant human wise to serve the State two races made— O Landlord, turn the glasses down, and leave the room alight, And let the flower-sweet silence tell his shade our grief to-night. OTTAWA, April 9, 1907. [page 51]
The Great Fight
BAD luck to fight on New Year’s night An’ wit’ your neighbour man, But w’en you know de reason w’y I hit heem hard on bote hees eye, An’ kick heem till he nearly die, I t’ink you’ll understan’. If you could see ma wife an’ me At home on Pigeon Bay, You’d say, “How nice dey bote agree! Dey mus’ be firse-class familee An’ go de sam’ as wan, two, tree,” I know dat’s w’at you say. An’ New Year’s Day on Pigeon Bay, You ought to see us den, W’it parlor feex it up so fine, Spruce beer an’ w’iskey, cake an’ wine, Cigar—an’ only very bes’ kin’ For treatin’ all our frien’. [page 55] But on de las’ New Year is pas’ De win’ begin to rise, An’ snow she dreef in such a way, W’en mornin’ come, ma wife she say, “Dere won’t be many folk to-day, Or I’ll be moche surprise.” We never see, ma wife an’ me, So quiet New Year Day, But very happy all de sam’, An’ talk a lot about de tam’ Before she come to me, ma femme, W’ile kettle sing away. An’ as we talk, de good ole clock Go tick, tick on de wall, De cat’s asleep upon de stair, De house is quiet ev’ry w’ere, An’ Jean Bateese, hees image dere, Is smilin’ over all. I buy dat leetle jean Bateese On Market Bonsecour, Two dollar an’ your money down, He’s fines’ wan for miles aroun’, Can hardly beat heem on de town, An’ so I love heem sure. [page 56] W’at’s dat I hear, but never fear, Dere’s no wan on de door? Yass, sure enough, Joe Beliveau, An’ nearly smoder wit’ de snow. Entrez! We’re glad to see you, Joe— W’y don’t you come before? “Bonjour, Ma-dame—Camille, your femme, She ’s younger ev’ry day; I hope de New Year will be bright, I hope de baby feel all right, Don’t wake you up too moche at night?” An’ dat’s w’at Joe he say. He ’s so polite it ’s only right We wish heem ev’ry t’ing Dat’s good upon de worl’ at all, An’ greev heem two tree w’at you call Dat fancy Yankee stuff, “high ball,” An’ den he start to sing. You dunno Joe? Wall, you mus’ know He ’s purty full of life, An’ w’en he ’s goin’ dat way—Joe, Mus’ tak’ heem leetle easy, so I don’t say not’ing w’en he go For start an’ kiss ma wife. [page 57] An’ up an’ down dey dance aroun’ An’ laugh an’ mak’ de fun, For spree lak’ dat, on New Year’s Day, Is not’ing moche on Pigeon Bay, Beside he ’s frien’ of me alway, An’ so dere’s no harm done. I lak’ to know jus’ how it go, Dat w’en we feel secure Not’ing at all is goin’ wrong, An’ life is lak’ a pleasan’ song, De devil ’s boun’ to come along, An’ mak’ come trouble sure. For bimeby, Joe cock hees eye, An’ see poor Jean Bateese, An’ say right off, “If I can’t show A better wan at home, I’ll go An’ drown me on de crick below,” So dat’s de en’ of peace. Dis very day along de Bay, Dey tell about de fight. Never was seen such bloody war, On Pigeon Bay before, ba gor’! An’ easy understan’ it, for De battle las’ all night. [page 58] So hard we go, dat me an’ Joe Get tire soon, an’ den We bote sit down an’ tak’ de res’ For half a secon’, mebbe less, An’ w’en de win’ come on our ches’, We start her up again. De house is shake lak’ beeg eart’quake, De way we jump aroun’, An’ people living far away, Dey lissen hard an’ den dey say, “It’s all up, sure, wit’ Pigeon Bay— She ’s tumble to de groun’.” ’T was bad enough, de way we puff, But w’en de stovepipe fall, An’ all de smoke begin to tear Right t’roo de house, an’ choke de air, An me an’ Joe can’t see no w’ere, Dat ’s very wors’ t’ing of all. It’s not a joke, de maudit smoke— Dat ’s w’at I ’m tellin’ you— But sure enough it stop de fight; It ’s easy killin’ Joe all right, But w’at about de wife all right An’ mebbe baby too? [page 59] A man dat ’s brave, should always save De woman she ’s hees wife; Dat ’s firse t’ing he mus’ do an’ wen I open de door, Joe’s runnin’ den, As hard as he can lick, ma frien’, So all han’s save hees life. An’ since de fight, dey ’re all polite, Dey smile an’ touch de hat, An’ say, “I hope you ’re feelin’ purty gay, An’ no more fight on Pigeon Bay, Or else you ’ll kill a man some day.” So w’at you t’ink of dat?
OH! we are a band of bummers, and for many joyous summers On the Square that ’s called “Victoria” we have sported on the green. “Evan’s Corner” erstwhile knew us, but the blooming coppers flew us, So we sought the kind of protection of Her Majesty the Queen. Her Majesty the Queen! Lord bless the big bronze Statue of Her Majesty the Queen. Ah, it ’s there we love to linger till what time the rosy finger Of Aurora paints the heavens with golden rays serene, An altho’ our lives are “checkered,” yet we’ve always held the record For strong unchanging fealty to the Statue of the Queen. [page 61] To the Statue of the Queen! Oh! we’re the Guard of Honour to the Statue of the Queen. Sitting round the sun-kissed fountain, situate between the mountain And the river gently flowing, oh! ’t is a pleasant scene. For alternately the breezes from both sources come to please us, As we linger round the Statue of Her Majesty the Queen. The Statue of the Queen! As we worship round the Statue of Her Majesty the Queen. Like veterans in the trenches, we occupy the benches, Where we watch the busy sparrows as they flutter round their nests; And the new wild-eyed bacteria we have introduced, would weary a Wyatt Johnston, for he ’d find them unresponsive to his tests. Unresponsive to his tests! Oh! we think we see them smiling ’neath his pathologic tests. [page 62] We are born of many nations, we have rules and regulations Which if any member fracture, we arise in all our wrath— Then you ought to hear him holler, as we seize him by the collar, For well he knows his punishment necessitates a bath. Necessitates a bath! Oh! the agony inflicted by the order of the bath! Oh! the scientific lacin’ we applied to Billy Mason, And submerged him in the basin while the coppers were away, And before the coppers found him, we had very nearly drowned him ‘Cause he wore a laundered night-shirt on Victoria’s Natal Day! On Victoria’s Natal Day! Tho’ he said he only donned it just in honour of the day. For there ’s one thing we take pride in, ‘t is the shadow we abide in Of the glorious law of freedom, unchangeabilitee; [page 63] Then let us range unfettered, tho’ we may be unlettered, For we furnish picturesqueness and true simplicitee. And true simplicitee, As we camp around the Statue of Her Glorious Majestee! [page 64]
There ’s a girl at Calabogie an’ another at the Soo, An’ with sparkin’ and colloguin’, I ’ve been foolish with the two; But I’m foolish now for ever, an’ worst of all it come From a girl I thought was dacint when I used to live at home. She could dance to bate the fairies that my gran’mother ‘ud tell Over there in Ireland ha’nted what they call the “holy well.” She was purty as a wood-duck whin you see him on a tree, But so proud and independint that she ’d never look at me. [page 65] So it made me feel onaisy, an’ I drifted far away, An’ I wint to Calabogie a workin’ by the day. Of any kind of money the place is mighty bare, But a girl that took my fancy happened to be livin’ there. Still the other down the river—how I ’d dream of her at night! Spite of all the times I ’d wish her gone completely out o’ sight, For she used to spile the comfort with the new wan that I had, An’ a little consolation sure I needed purty bad. Thin the times begin to slacken, an’ I ’m gettin’ hard up too, So good-bye to Calabogie, an’ I started for the Soo; An’ the girl I left behind me? Lord knows, it ’s hard to tell, But another came between, an’ she liked me just as well. [page 66] Whin you speak of bad luck comin’, mine is worse nor any man’s— Think of all the good intintions an’ with two o’ thim on my han’s! One of thim at calabogie, an’ the other at the Soo, An’ engaged to both, it ’s hard to say exactly what to do. The Cobalt-silver fever was the worst that ’s ever known, An’ it came in purty handy in cases like my own; Besides of all the chances, ’t was the one I fancied best, So I had to go prospectin’ jus’ the same as all the rest. An’ the girls, of course, they suffered, for I had n’t time to write, Divil a thing but pick an’ shovel, an’ workin day an’ night,— Till a dacint wild-cat claim I sold for fifteen thousand too— Now I sez, “It ’s all a toss-up—Calabogie or the Soo?” [page 67] Calabogie won it aisy, but, the next thing that I heard, She got tired o’ waitin’ for me whin she never got a word; So she married John Mahaffy—“little John” that runs the farm, An’ the only thing she wished me was, “I’d never come to harm.” An’ the Soo girl done the same thing—took a brakesman on a freight; An’ in Winnipeg they ’re livin’, so I come a trifle late; But I’m not afeared to visit Calabogie or the Soo, For I ’ve tried to do my duty, an’ sure ayther wan ’ud do! Well, I stood it for a little an’ thin home agin I wint, For with fifteen thousand dollars, any man should be contint, An’ the girl that used to give me many a beautiful heartache, Sure I wasn’t back a fortnight, till I seen her at a wake. [page 68] Quiet now! No palpitation! Watch yerself, my laddy buck, Take your time—don’t get excited—maybe you ’ll have better luck. Then she said her darlin’ mother missed me for a year or more, ’T would have saved some trouble if her mother spoke like that before. “Wan thing leadeth to another” sez the poet—dunno who, But we purty soon got married, so the prophecy come true; An’ whinever all my fortune’s settled on the daughter sure, Some wan seen the mother dance a sailor’s hornpipe on the floor. It ’s no wonder I ’m distracted whin the two o’ thim ’ll say, “Oh! Patrick, mind the baby, sure you got out yesterday”— Lord forgive me, I’d be happy if the ould wan only died, But she ’s healthy as a tom-cat, an’ she could n’t if she tried. [page 69] I suppose I ’m doin’ penance for the sins of airly youth, Tho’ I blame it on the women—they betrayed me—that ’s the truth. But for all I know about thim, ’t would have been the same thing too, With the girl from Calabogie, or the other at the Soo. [page 70]
We ’re Irish Yet
What means this gathering to-night? What spirit moves along The crowded hall, and, touching light Each heart among the throng, Awakes, as tho’ a trumpet blast Had sounded in their ears, The recollections of the past, The memories of the years? Oh! ’t is the spirit of the West, The spirit of the Celt, The breed that spurned the alien breast, And every wrong has felt— And still, tho’ far from fatherland, We never can forget To tell ourselves, with heart and hand, We ’re Irish yet! We ’re Irish yet! And they outside the clan of Conn Would understand, but fail, The mystic music played upon The heart-strings of the Gael— [page 71] His ear, and his alone, can tell The soul that lies within, The music which he knows so well, The voice of Kith and Kin. He hears the tales of old, old days Of battle fierce by ford and hill, Of ancient Senachie’s martial lays, And race unconquered still. It challenges with mother’s pride And dares him to forget That, tho’ he cross the ocean wide, He ’s Irish yet! He ’s Irish yet! His eye may never see the blue Of Ireland’s April sky, His ear may never listen to The song of lark on high, But deep within his Irish heart Are cloisters, dark and dim, No human hand can wrench apart, And the lark still sings for him. We ’ve bowed beneath the chastening rod, We ’ve had our griefs and pains, But with them all, we still thank God, The Blood is in our veins, [page 72] The ancient blood that knows no fear, The Stamp is on us set, And so, however foes may jeer, We ’re Irish yet! We ’re Irish yet! [page 73]
[illustration]Stepping-stones in front of the old Drummond home in Ireland.[unnumbered page]
Did you ever see an air-hole on the ice Wit’ de smoke a risin’ roun’ about it dere? De reever should be happy w’ere it ’s feelin’ warm an’ nice, But she t’ink she ought to get a leetle air. An’ she want to be a lookin’ on de sky, So of course de cole win’ hit her on de nose— “I’ll come up again,” she say, “on de spring tam, bimeby, But I ’m better now below,” and off she goes. Dat ’s de way I feel mese’f on de farm a year ago, W’ere ev’ryt’ing should be a pleasan’ dream; Lak de foolish reever dere, I ’m not satisfy below, So I got to let me off a leetle steam. [page 74] [illustration]"Den a man he come along an' he say to me, 'Look here— Don't you know what place they call Chibougamou?'"[unnumbered page][blank page] Den a man he come along an’ he say to me, “Look here— Don’t you know that place dey call Chibougamou W’ere de diamon’ lie aroun’ like de mushroom on de groun’, An dey ’re findin’ all de gole an silver too? “W’at ’s de use of stayin’ here den? Did n’t Johnnie Drutusac Lif’ de mor’gage off hees place an’ buy a cow? Only gone a leetle w’ile—hardly miss heem till he ’s back; He ’s easy workin’ man too, an’ look at Johnnie now? “Well enough, ma frien’, you know I can never tell de lie W’en I say de gole is comin’ t’ousan’ ounces on de ton, An’ de solid silver mak’ you feel funny on de eye, Lak de snow-blin’ on de winter w’en it shine de morning sun. [page 75] “I s’pose you won’t believe, but you know dat gravel walk Ma fader got it facin’ on hees house at St. Bidou— But w’at ’s de use of spikin’, w’at’ s de use of talk? Dat ’s de way you see de diamon’ on dat place Chibougamou. “Course you got to go an’ fin’ dem quickly, or de stranger man Come along wit’ plaintee barrel—an’ you ’re never knowin’ w’en Couple o’ Yankee off the State, he was buyin’ all de lan’; Affer dat an’ w’ere ’s your gole an’ silver goin’ den? “So, Bateese, get up an’ hurry, sell de farm, mon cher ami, Leave de girl an’ bring provision, pork an’ bean, potato too, Leetle w’isky, an’ I ’ll put heem on de safe place under me W’ile I sit an’ steer you off to dat place Chibougamou.” [page 76] Oh! de day an’ night we ’re passin’, me dat never was before On de bush, except w’en heifer go away an’ den got los’; Oh! de pullin’ an’ de haulin’, till I ’m feelin’ purty sore, But of all de troub an’ worry, de skeeter, he ’s de boss. Beeg? lak de leetle two-mont’ robin. Sing? lak a sawmill on de spring. Put de blanket roun’ your body an’ den he bite you troo. Me, I never tak’ hees measure, but I t’ink across de wing He ’s tree inch sure—dem skeeter, on dat place Chibougamou. De man he ’s goin’ wit’ me, never paddle, never haul, Jus’ smoke an’ watch an’ lissen for dat ole Chibougamou; I s’pose he can’t be bodder doin’ any work at all, For de feller tak’ you dere mus’ have not’ing else to do. [page 77] T’ousan’ mile we mak’ de travel—t’ousan’ mile an’ mebbe more, An’ I do de foolish prayin’ lak’ I never pray at home, ‘Cos I want a chance to get it, only let me see de shore Of Chibougamou a little w’ile before de winter come. No use prayin’, no use climbin’ on de beeg tree ev’ry day, Lookin’ hard to see de diamon’, an’ de silver, an’ de gole— I can’t see dem, an’ de summer she begin to go away, An’ de day is gettin’ shorter, an’ de night is gettin’ cole. So I kick an’ raise de row den, an’ I tole ma frien’ lookout— Purty quick de winter’s comin’ an’ we’ll hurry up an’ go; Never min’ de gole an’ silver—diamon’ too we’ll go widout, Or de only wan we ’re seein’, is de diamon’ on de snow. [page 78] [illustration]"Oh! de pullin' an de haulin', till I'm feelin' purty sore." Chibougamou.[unnumbered page] [blank page] Mebbe good place w’en you get dere, w’at you call Chibougamou, But if we never fin’ it, w’at ’s de use dat place to me? Tak’ de paddle, for we ’re goin’, an’ mese’f I ’ll steer canoe, For I ’m always firse-class pilot on de road to St. Elie. Oh! to see me on de mornin’, an’ de way I mak’ heem sweat, You can see de water droppin’ all aroun’ hees neck an’ face; “Now, Chibougamou,” I tell heem, “hurry up, an’ mebbe yet You ’ll have chance again to try it w’en you leave me on ma place.” So we have a beeg procession, w’en we pass on St. Elie, All de parish comin, lookin’ for de gole an’ silver too, But Louise, she cry so moche dere, jus’ becos she ’s seein’ me She forget about de diamon’ on dat ole Chibougamou. [page 79] Affer all is gone an’ finish, an’ you mak’ a fool you’se’f, An’ de worl’ is go agen you, w’at ’s de medicine is cure Lak de love of hones’ woman w’en she geev it all herse’f? So Louise an’ me is happy, no matter if we ’re poor. So de diamon’ may be plaintee, lak de gravel walk you see W’en you ’re comin’ near de house of ole Telesphore Beaulieu, But me, I got a diamon’ on ma home on St. Elie Can beat de pile is lyin’ on dat place Chibougamou. [page 80]
The First Robin
Oh! it’s bad to be unlucky in ev’ryt’ing you do, An’ worse if you can’t help it, ’cos I’m de torteen chile, An w’en you play for number wan, an’ den you ’re number two, I wonder w’ere ’s de feller he don’t feel a leetle rile? Few mont’ ago it happen dat I ’m goin’ walk aroun’, Gettin’ ready for de ploughin’ is comin’ on de spring, An’ soon I wait an’ listen, for I tink I hear de song Of de firse, de early robin, as he jus’ begin to sing. It was very, very lucky w’en de firse wan come along— An’ you see upon your farm dere is de place de robin stop, [page 81] Settle down to feex hees fedder, an’ commence to mak’ hees song— For o’ course it ’s always makin’ beeg difference wit’ de crop. So I sneak aroun’ so quiet, t’roo de orchard on de hill, T’roo de fence, along de crik too, w’ere de snow is lyin’ yet— Ev’ry kin’ o’ luck agin me as I travel dere until Ba de tam de job is finish, golly, I was feelin’ wet! W’at ’s de matter wit’ dat robin, dat he isn’t comin’ here, ‘Stead o’ goin’ half an acre jus’ to tak’ de luck away? No Siree!—I don’t forgive heem, if he leev a honder year, For dere’s hees singin’, singin’ on de farm of Joe Lahare. Joe hese’f is sittin’ dere too, lookin’ happy on hees face, For de way dat bird is yellin’, is enough to scare de dead; [page 82] An’ he ax me, “W’at you doin’ sneakin’ all aroun’ ma place? Don’t you know I own dat robin he was singin’ overhead? [illustration]"An' soon I wait an' listen, for I tink I hear de song Of de firse, de early robin, as he jus' begin to sing." The First Robin.[unnumbered page][blank page] “Mebbe he was work for not’ing, my leetle boy Louis, W’en he ’s startin’ out dis morning’ for milkin’ on de cow, An’ he fin’ dat robin flyin’ purty near your apple-tree, An’ he shoo heem up, an’ bring heem on de place you see heem now. “Did n’t get heem off too early, for anoder minute more An’ I bet dat robin ’s singin’ among your apple-tree; But de boy’s too smart to let heem, an’ he scare heem here before He begin to mak’ de music—so dat bird belong to me. “Talk about your lucky season! Wait an’ see de wan I got; Should n’t wonder if I ’m needin’ anoder waggon sure. [page 83] How I wish de fall would hurry, for de crop your uncle get, It will mak’ dem all go crazy on de market Bonsecours. “Me—I lissen many robin, an’ de fines’ of de crowd Is de wan dat ’s sittin up dere, workin’ w’at you call de charm; Dat ’s de robin for ma money, he can holler out so loud, But o’ course de res’ was alway on some oder feller’s farm. “Only sorry ma ole women is n’t comin here to see, For she can’t help feelin’ happy w’en de firse bird of de spring Mak’ hees choice upon our tree dere, jus’ so natural an’ free, Non! She would n’t tak’ a dollar ev’ry tam dat feller sing.” An’ he sit an’ smoke away dere, Joe Lahaie, an’ talk hees fill, He ’s all right, an’ he don’t bodder how de res’ de parish go; [page 84] Never hear a man so foolish, mak’ me feelin’ mad until I could kill dat maudit robin, an’ Jo-seph Lahaie also. An’ den bimeby de summer come along, but w’at ’s de use Call it summer, for de fine day is w’at we seldom get. So I tak’ it purty easy, for de man mus’ be a goose If he don’t kip nice an’ quiet, w’en de wedder she’s so wet. But Joe Lahaie, dat feller, he was t’ink so moche, ba gum, About hees poor ole robin, he forget about de rain; Ev’ry day you see heem workin’, an’ w’en de fall is come He got de fines’ crop upon St. Polycarpe de plaine. An’ me—Wall! I could bet you, w’en de springtam’ melt de snow, I’ll never go to bed unless I ’m sleepin’ on ma pants; [page 85] Den w’en I hear de robin, hoopla! off she go, An’ he ’ll never lef’ ma garden, so I ’ll have anoder chance! [page 86]
(A Song of Cobalt)
Oh! the blooming cheek of beauty, tho’ it ’s full of many a peril, Where ’s the miner does n’t love it? for he thinks he knows the girl, While the bloomer! Oh! the bloomer! of emancipated She, May it bloom and promptly wither every seventh century. Oh! the early bloom of blossom on the apple tree in June, Is there mortal having seen it, can forget the picture soon? And the wine of red October where Falernian juices flow, I have sipped the blooming beaker (in the ages long ago!). Oh! the bloom along the hill-side, shining bright among the trees, When the banners of the autumn are flung out to every breeze, [page 87] How it blazes—how it sparkles, and then shivers at a breath: What is it when all is spoken but the awful bloom of death? Oh! I ’ve watched the rose’s petals, and beheld the summer sun Dipping down behind Olympus, when the great day’s work was done; But to-day I ’m weary, weary, and the bloom I long to see, Is the bloom upon the cobalt—that ’s the only bloom for me. [page 88]
THE BOY FROM CALABOGIE
He was twenty-one in April—forty inches round the chest, A soopler or a better boy we ’ll never see again— And the way we cheered the lad when he started for the West! The town was like a holiday, the time he took the train At Calabogie. “Are ye ever comin’ back with the fortune, little Dan, From the place they say the money ’s like the leaves upon the tree?” “If the minin’ boss ’ll let me, as sure as I ’m a man, The mother’s Christmas turkey won’t have to wait for me At Calabogie.” And the letters he was writin’ to his mother from the West, Sure ev’rybody read them, and who could see the harm? [page 89] Tellin’ how he ’d keep the promise to come home and have a rest; And the money that was in them was enough to buy a farm At Calabogie. What is it that makes the fever leave the weak and kill the strong, And who ’d ’a’ thought our Dannie would ever come to this? When the Sister had to raise him, and say, “It won’t be long Till it ’s home, my lad, you ’re goin’ to receive a mother’s kiss At Calabogie.” So we met our little Dannie, Christmas morning at the train, And we lifted up the long-box without a word to say; Och! such a boy as Dannie we ’ll never see again, God forgive us! ‘t was n’t much of a Merry Christmas Day At Calabogie! [page 90]
THE CALCITE VEIN
(A Tale of Cobalt)
I used to be leevin’ on Bonami, Fines’ place on de lake, you bet! An’ dough I go off only wance sapree! I t’ink I will leev’ dere yet; Wit’ tree growin’ down to de water side, W’ere leetle bird dance an’ sing— Only come an’ see you don’t shout wit me Hooraw for Temiskaming! But silver “boom” an’ de cobalt bloom, Play de devil wit’ Bonami, So off on de wood we all mus’ go, Leavin’ de familee— Shovel an’ pick, hammer an’ drill, We carry dem ev’ryw’ere, For workin’ away all night an’ day Till it ’s tam to be millionaire. So it ain’t very long w’en I mak’ de strike, W’at dey ’re callin’ de vein cal-cite, Quarter an inch, jus’ a leetle “pinch,” But she is come all right [page 91] An’ widen out beeg: mebbe wan sixteen, An’ now we have got her sure; So we jump on our hat w’en she go like dat, Me an’ Bateese Couture! Early in de spring we see dat vein, W’en de pat-ridge begin to drum, De leaf on de bush start in wit’ a rush, An’ de skeeter commence to come— Very nice time on de wood for sure, If you want to be goin’ die, Skeeter at night till it ’s come daylight, An’ affer dat, small black fly! Couple o’ gang like dat, ma frien’, ’Specially near de swamp, An’ hongry too, dey can bite an’ chew, An’ keep you upon de jomp; But never you min’, only work away So long as de vein is dere, For a t’ing so small don’t count at all, If you want to be millionaire! “An’ dis is de price,” Bateese he say, “T’ree million or not’ing at all.” An’ I say, “You ’re crazy, it ’s five you mean, An’ more if you wait till fall. [page 92] An’ spose de silver was come along, An’ cobalt she bloom an’ bloom, We look very sick if we sole too quick, An’ ev’ryt’ing ’s on de boom. [illustration]"So off on de wood we all mus' go." The Calcite Vein.[unnumbered page] [blank page] De cash we refuse w’en dey hear de news— W’en I t’ink of dat cash to-day, I feel like a mouse on a great beeg house, W’en de familee move away: One million, two million, no use to us, Me an’ Bateese Couture, So we work away ev’ry night an’ day, De sam’ we was alway poor. An’ den one morning a stranger man, A man wit’ hees hair all w’ite, Look very wise, an’ he ’s moche surprise W’en he ’s seein’ dat vein cal-cite. An’ he say, “Ma frien’, for de good advice I hope you ’ll mak’ some room— From sweetheart girl to de wide, wide worl’, Ketch ev’ryt’ing on de bloom. “Keep your eye on de vein, for dere’s many a slip Till you drink of de silver cup, An’ if you ’re not goin’ to go ’way down, You ’re goin’ to go ’way, ’way up.” [page 93] “Now w’at does he mean?” Bateese he say, Affer de ole man lef’, “Mebbe want to buy, but he t’ink it ’s high, So we ’ll finish de job ourse’f. Purty quick too.” An’ den hooraw! We form it de compagnie, An’ to give dem a sight on de vein cal-cite, We work it on Bonami. Can’t count de money dat ’s comin’ in, Same as de lotterie; Ev’ry wan try, till bimeby Dere ’s not many dollar on Bonami; An’ de gang we put onto de job right off, Nearly twenty beside de cook, Hammer an’ drill till dey ’re nearly kill, An’ feller to watch de book. Too man man, an’ I see it now, An’ I ’m sorry, ’cos I ’m de boss; For walkin’ aroun’ all over de groun’, Dat ’s reason de vein get los’. Easy enough wit’ de lantern too, Seein’ dat vein las’ night, But to-day I’m out lookin’ all about, An’ w’ere is dat vein cal-cite? [page 94] Very curious t’ing, but you can’t blame me, For I try very hard, I ’m sure, Helpin’ dem all till de vein is gone, Me an’ Bateese Couture; So of course I wonder de way she go, An’ twenty cent too a share, An’ I can’t understan’ dat stranger man W’at he mean w’en he ’s sayin’ dere: “Keep your eye on de vein, for there ’s many a slip Till you drink of de silver cup, An’ if you ’re not goin’ to go ’way down You ’re going to go ’way, ’way up.” [page 95]
(Dedicated to the Hon. Peter White)
Ev’ry State upon de Union, w’en dey write her up to-day, Have so many kin’ of story not many understan’; But if you lissen me you can very quickly see How it ’s easy t’ing remember de State of Michigan. An’ me I know it ’s true, ’cos ma fader tole me so, How dat voyageur dey ’re callin’ Père Marquette Come a-sailin’ hees canoe, wit’ de Injun from de Soo, On de year so long ago dat I forget. But wan t’ing I can say, w’en Marquette is reach de shore W’ere w’at you call hees statue is stickin’ up to-day, Dere ’s a leetle French boy dere say, “Comment ça va, mon père, [page 96] You been so long a-comin’ I hope you ’re goin’ to stay?” An’ he show heem safes’ place w’ere he put hees birch canoe, An’ de way he talk an’ boss de Injun man— Wall, it ’s very easy to see dat between you’se’f an’ me, Dat leetle feller’s born to comman’. An’ Marquette he ’s moche surprise at de smart boy he has got, W’ere he come from, w’at ’s hees name, an’ev’ryt’ing; But de boy he go ahead feexin’ up de camp an’ bed, For he alway treat hees frien’ jus’ lak de King. Marquette he den fin’ out w’at de leetle feller know, An’ w’at he never see, an’ all de Grosse Point law; How itb’s mixit up so moche ev’rybody ’s scare to touch, An’ de nam’ he call hese’f is Pierre Leblanc. Wall, Marquette he ’s not a fool, so he ’s sayin’ “Au revoir,” For leetle Pierre Leblanc’s too wide awake. [page 97] No chance discoveree, so far as he can see, Less he fin’ some newer place upon de lak’. So dere he stay upon de shore, de leetle Pierre, An’ buil’ de fines’ log house he can get; Purty soon he have a town on de place he settle down, An’ call it for hees frien’ M’sieu Marquette. But de folk he ’s bringin’ dere fin’ it hard w’en winter come An’ ev’ry place is pilin’ wit’ de snow; Den who is volunteer bring de letter ’way up here, From de countree lyin’ off dere down below? Was it feller six foot high is on de job, Carry letter all de way from Canadaw, Wit’ hees fourteen-dog-traineau, bangin’ t’roo de ice an’ snow? No siree! It ’s only leetle Pierre Leblanc. But de way he treat hees dog dey say is very bad, Many folk is talkin’ all about it yet. So of course dey ’re comin’ back lak de racer on de track, [page 98] For hees dog, dey don’t get not’ing till dey ’re passin’ on Marquette. Wall, I s’pose he ’s very poor, Pierre Leblanc, An’ de pay he ’s getting’ for it ’s purty small, An’ he got to eat hese’f, or mebbe he was a lef, So we never get our letter affer all. An’ den he start to grow, an’ de way he work, dey say, For de folk on ole Marquette an’ all aroun’, Mak’ heem very populaire on de contree ev’ryw’ere, Till he t’ink he was de beeges’ man in town. Den hees head begin to swell, ’cos ma fader tole me so, An’ firse t’ing he was puttin’ on de beeges’ style he can; But he ought to be ashame for de way he change hees name To Peter White, an’ try to pass for only Yankee man. Mebbe leetle Injun too, can’t say for dat mese’f, For he always spik sauvage de sam’ as Ojibway An’ w’en he want to swear it ’s enough to raise de hair [page 99] To hear heem sayin’ “Wabigoon ah—goozah—goozah—gay.” An’ lak’ de Injun, too, very hard to tell hees age, For he mus’ be over honder, dough he ’s lookin’ forty year; An’ he ’s always on de rush, you can’t lose heem on de bush, An’ hees eye is lak de eagle, strong an’ clear. An’ he ’s leevin’ wit’ us now, Pierre Leblanc dit Peter White, But we won’t say not’ing more about hees name; Let heem try it if he can, makin’ out he ’s Yankee man, But never min’, for Pierre Leblanc he ’s good man jus’ de sam’. So if you want to know de State of Michigan, Very easy to remember—in case you might forget— Only two man mak’ her go, ’cos ma fader tole me so, An’ wan is M’sieu Pierre Leblanc, de oder Père Marquette. [page 100]
Silver Lake Camp
The bleak wind sighs thro’ the leafless trees Like a spirit’s wail, and the white snowflake Drifts silently down with the fitful breeze, On the lonely camp at Silver Lake. Yet the ruddy glow of our camp-fire bright, Not long ago, when the fall was young, Illuminated the gathering shades of night, And the forest rang with the songs we sung. But the song is hushed, and the merry jest Is heard no more, when the shadows fall; For gone is each well-remembered guest, And the snow like a mantle covereth all. Full oft, while the bright September moon Beamed down, did the startled camp awake [page 101] From its slumbers deep, as the wizard loon Pealed its wild cry from the neighbouring lake. But the loon has taken his airy flight, And far away neath the southern cloud He rests his wings, while the Frost King’s might, Has wrapped the lake in an icy shroud. No longer our light bark ploughs the wave, No longer we tempt the treacherous flood, No sentinels watch o’er the old camp, save The guardian genii of the wood. [page 102]
THE TALE OF A COCKTAIL
DEAR MR. EDITOR,
It has always been my camping experience that the oldest among us, especially if he be a grey-haired patriarch, is invariably the greatest “alcoholic tempter” of the party. He it is who generally paralyses the energies of his more youthful brethren with the matutinal cocktail; hence my “Tale of a Cocktail”:
The Patriarch rose at the break of day, Ere the mists from the mountain had fled away, And loudly his merry roundelay, Rang over the hill and vale: “Spirit of morn, we greet thee! Gladly we rise to meet thee, Difficult ’t is to beat thee, Matutinal Cocktail!” A shudder ran thro’ the listening throng, For many a time we had heard that song, And feared, alas! he was making it strong, This sour cocktail. But the sage went on with his morning lay, And no man dared to utter nay— Ah! little recked he what we might say, This Patriarch hale. [page 103] Thus he spake with deep emotion: “Trust me, ’t is a soothing potion, For your stomach’s sake; To reject what heaven had sent us Is to be non compos mentis— How much aqua bullientis Will you take?” We fell on our knees with despairing cry, And prayed that for once he would pass us by, For we felt that should we that cocktail try, ’T would be our ruin. King Canute, ’t is written on history’s page, Endeavoured the billows wild to cage— ‘T were easier task than restrain the Sage, Who still kept brewin’. While his happy gladsome singing, Set the hills and valleys ringing, We were kept “ingredients” bringing, Much against our will: Lagavulin, Angostura, Which he told us would ensure a Sound digestion, also cure a Sudden cold, or stop a chill. [page 104] The hills re-echoed our solemn chant, “Te morituri salutant; Grant us some mercy, however scant, This awful hour!” But sterner and colder his visage grew, No pity, alas! the Patriarch knew; Hope shrieking fled as we watched him brew His cocktail sour. “Let none escape,” was his dire command, “For I swear to-day, by my good right hand, That all who refuse their cocktail stand On death’s cold brink.” The Patriarch’s awful accents fell On our frightened ears like a funeral knell, So bidding, each other a last farewell, We took our drink. **** The lusty salmon in vain may “rise,” The merry troutlets may gaily play, But the green, green sward where our white tent lies Is good enough for us to-day. For we ’re tired—so tired—and weary too, As we sink into dreamy reverie, And we feel that our dreams are not all true, [page 105] The world is n’t just what it seems to be. **** The tides may ebb, and the tides may flow, And the river gleam in the valley below, But never again shall we fishing go, Till the Sage’s hour Has come,—and he goes to the golden shore, Where we trust he ’ll be happy for ever more, But we fear he may meet us at the door With a cocktail sour! [page 106]
THE LAND WE LIVE IN AND THE LAND WE LEFT
Written for the menu of the Irish Protestant Benevolent Society’s annual dinner. March 18, 1895.
The children of the Western Gael Are gathered here this Patrick’s night, To pledge the dear old Innisfail, To drink her health in bumpers bright. ’T is true we may not see her more, Still we ’re not likely to forget, And though we ’ve sought another shore, We ’re Irish yet! We ’re Irish yet! [page 107]
(By an expert)
You see I was there on the run-way, Just near where it enters the lake, Could n’t get better place if I tried it, For the deer would be certain to take To the water the moment he saw it, And then I could pump in the lead At ten or a dozen yards distance, Till I could n’t help killing him dead. (Oh! ’t was great sport!) (And the excitement!) There I sat watching and waiting, For maybe an hour or two, I could hear my poor heart go a-throbbing, And once, when a chipmunk drew Near to my trembling ambush, I had almost pulled trigger, when He ran up a silver birch tree, And I saw ’t was a chipmunk then. (But ’t was great!) [page 108] I could see the bright leaves of the autumn, Sprinkling the forest floor, Each leaf all bespattered with crimson, As if dipt in the blood of more Than a thousand innocent victims. But, pshaw! ’t was the frost and rain, So I said to myself, “Old fellow, Brace up! Be a man again!” (And I braced.) Then suddenly, over the hill-side, Where the hounds killed a fawn last year, An echo kept ringing, ringing, ’T was the baying of “Chanticleer.” “He ’s got him at last,” I murmur, “And the old dog will make him jump,” So my hold on the rifle tightened, While my heart went thumpity-thump. (Holy murder!) Here he comes down the pathway, Good Lord! how he must have run! But with “Chanty” let out on the homestretch, Don’t suppose he enjoyed the fun, [page 109] Hardly able to bring his legs with him. Well! don’t get excited yet! Just wait till he reaches the water, Then fill him before he gets wet. Keep still! Why! I can hear him breathing, And now he has passed so close, The point of the rifle could touch him, And easily give him a dose. Just see how he jumped when he smelt me, And look how he struggles and pants, But I ’ll wait till he gets to the water, And give the poor devil a chance, (That ’s right, is n’t it?) And now he has entered the water, And when he has gone ten yards or so, I bang away, bang! with the Marlin Till I find I ’ve killed a doe. But a nice little doe I can tell you, Is better than nothing at all, So if Providence only spares me, I ’ll try it again next fall. (D.V.) [page 110]
“HE ONLY WORE A SHAMROCK” 1
He only wore a shamrock On his faithful Irish breast, Maybe a gift from his colleen oge, The maiden whom he loved best; But the emblem of dear old Ireland, Tho’ worn on a jacket of red, Was the emblem of rank disloyalty. And treason most foul, they said. Had he put but borne the heather, That grows on the Scottish hills, A rose from an English garden, Or a leek from the Cambrian rills, Then he might summon his comrades, With trumpet, and fife, and drum, And march through the breadth of England, Till trumpet and fife were dumb. But he only wore a shamrock, And tho’ Britain’s most gracious Queen Had pinned her cross on his bosom, [page 111] Yet the little trefoil of green Might not nestle down beside it, For the colour, alas! was banned, And the Celtic soldier was made to feel That he trod an alien land. Oh! poor little modest symbol, Of the glorious Trinity, Rather bloom on your native hill-side, Than cross the dark Irish sea; Rather rest on the loving bosom, Of the Mother that gave you birth, For even your virtues can’t chasten The ungrateful English earth. [page 112]
OH! pilgrim from the Godbout’s shore Where broad Atlantic billows roll, Speak! hast thou seen the Commodore, Whose brave unconquerable soul, Athirst for wilder, fiercer game Than haunt the calm Laurentian streams, Burned to achieve a greater fame, And realise his fondest dreams? Speak! hast thou seen his grizzled locks, By ocean’s vagrant breezes fanned, Where Weymahegan’s giant rocks Keep watch and ward o’er sea and land? Hast seen him where the currents lave Fair Mistassini’s silver shore, On river—sea—by land or wave, Speak! hast thou seen the Commodore? The pilgrim spoke—while down his cheek The salt, salt tears coursed grievously: “Good Sir, I feeble am and weak, Yet I my tale may tell to thee— I saw the veteran’s wasted form, That form we used to mark with pride, Lie prostrate mid the wrack and storm Of Weymahegan’s awful tide. [page 113] Small strength, alack! of wind or limb Had he upon that fearful day; But, tho’ his eagle eye was dim, He still gazed o’er the hills where lay The Laurentides, where he had spent So many happy, happy hours, Safe from the storms of life, content Amid the Pêche’s tranquil bowers. ’T was thus he spoke: ‘Oh! why was I By youthful traveller’s tale beguiled To quit the pleasant Pêche and die In this inhospitable wild? What lured me on to cast aside The simple pleasures of my youth, Until I longed for Godbout’s tide— And cared no more for trout, forsooth! Oh! rash was I to lend an ear, To all the legends of the sea, To bring my faithful legion here— Does this reward their constancy? I cannot say, but this I know, That should I view the Pêche again, Could I but see its waters flow, I ’d be the humblest of the train That worships there; no more I ’d roam In search of other piscine fields; Contented with my humble home, With all that old Laurentian yields [page 114] I ’d gladly live and cheerful die.’ But here his accents ’gan to sink; He thought his hour had come, till I Administered a generous drink. The Veteran gasped, but when the flask He saw—tho’ feeble as a child— Bravely essayed the pleasant task Of trying to empty it, and smiled. Yes, tho’ he ’d almost passed away In one brief moment from our ken— Yet wondrous ’t was to see that day His rapturous look, as he smiled again. New strength came back to the wasted limbs, The roses bloomed in his cheek once more, And the sound of our glad thanksgiving hymns Rand out o’er Weymahegan’s shore; He prayed us to pardon his misdeeds, He wept when the legion embraced his neck, And swore by the sacred Laurentides, He ’d never more venture below Quebec. So gently we bore the repentant Chief, Tenderly placed him that awful day On board of the gallant ship Relief And swiftly to westward sailed away.” The Pilgrim ceased—his mournful task Was ended at last, and all was well—[page 115] Then raised to his lips the magic flask, And silently bade me a last farewell.
Joy! Joy at the Pêche—let the cariboo dance, Let the fatted oxen at last be slain, Let the men get full, and the bull moose prance, For the Commodore has come home again! [page 116]
TO me, whose paddle-blade has cleft The wave where great St. Lawrence flows— To me, whose ears have heard the scream Of eagle, high above the snows, Where Fraser darts among the hills— What is this tiny stream to me? And what the little melody My soul with rapture fills, Like some old half-forgotten croon? A cradle song of long ago— A mother’s song so sweet and low— Hush! It is the Doon! [page 117]
THE SPANISH BIRD 2
TELL me, O bird from the land of the Cid Why do thy tail feathers droop so low; Why art thou mute that was wont to bid Fiercest defiance to every foe? No longer thy clarion voice rings out, Pealing like thunder from earth to sky, Waking the Pêche with thy joyous shout, Till rival roosters were forced to fly.
The Rooster Loquacious.
“Once I was youthful and passing fair, Captured first prizes at many a show, Could lick all the birds ever flew in the air, And beat record time on the heel and toe. Proud was I then of my martial past, Vain was I too of my gay topknot, Successful in war and skilled in court, Gallinaceous beauties my favours sought. [page 118] But family cares when I settled down Made the gallant topknot droop day by day, The white wings faded—my ruddy crown Disappeared, till those charms had all fled away. Pardon these tears, by emotion stirred, But keenest sorrow of all to know Is that once I was known at the “sacred bird,” And now they call me “sacré oiseau!” [page 119]
WAY back on de woods I know a man, Was very good hunter too; No bodder at all to understan’ De moose an’ de cariboo. An’ wedder you ’re meetin’ heem on de bush, Or trampin’ de hills aroun’, You always t’ink he was sayin’, “Hush!” For he never mak’ de soun’. De fox w’en he ’s seein’ dat hunter’s track Jus’ shiver hese’f an’ go, An’ say, “De noise dat hunter mak’ Is de noise of de fallin’ snow— Don’t geev me a chance, an’ dat ’s de way I pity de poor ole bear, Never hear not’ing on stormy day, W’en danger is ev’ry w’ere.” Is dere an otter along de creek, Or mink on de beeg savanne, Don’t jomp on de water purty quick, W’en he ’s hearin’ dat hunter man? [page 120] Now! an’ w’at ’s de reason he get so cute, Till hees luck is de devil’s own? Wall! It ’s only becos’ w’en he mak’ de shoot, He travel aroun’ alone. But ev’ry t’ing change, an’ so I’m tole, Affer a long, long tam, De hunter man change, for he ’s comin’ ole, Dough he tell us he ’s jus’ de sam’; An’ bimeby w’en he ’s sittin’ dere, Wan day on a tamarac log, He say to hese’f, “I wonder w’ere I can get me a leetle dog? “Nice leetle dog wit’ stan’-up tail, Follow me t’roo de wood, Stick to me close along de trail, An’ me, I will treat heem good: Train heem up right, an’ dere won’t be need Havin’ heem play de fool.” So he ’s buyin’ a dog—I dunno de breed— An’ de nex’ t’ing he call heem “Boule.” So he train dat dog till he ’s nearly dead, Or wishin’ hese’f in jail— W’en to lie down, never show hees head, W’en he can wag hees tail; [page 121] Show heem de very bes’ way to smell On de bush, if he ’s passin’ t’roo, An’ out on de lake he can do so well, He never upset canoe. Wonderful dog! an’ now an’ den, Affer he finish up, He ’s takin’ heem off to show hees frien’ How he was train de pup. “Come along, Boule, kip close to me, Steady, an’ watch de groun’, Wait till I tell you go an’ see If anyt’ing’s lyin’ aroun’.” An’ to see heem walk, dat hunter man, An’ to hear heem talk also: “Easy, ma frien’, de bes’ you can, Easy, an’ nice an’ slow. Dis is de heart of de game countree, Partridge on ev’ry log, Tranquillement! for de leaf, saprée, Was never so dry—but w’ere’s de dog? “Boule! Boule! Boule! Boule!” (Den he would raise de row!) “Boule! Boule! you ole fool— W’y do you leave me now?” [page 122] ’Way on de right, w’ere de bush is t’ick, Dere ’s a rush, an’ we see a tail, Long enough too to mak’ us sick, An’ a cariboo go full sail, Flyin’ along wit’ de pup behin’, Yellin’ hees head off sure— Maudit! if dat dog he was only mine, I very soon work de cure! Yass! if to-morrow will ketch nex’ wick, Or ma gran’moder ketch de moon, He ’s gettin’ some chance if he travel quick For ketchin’ heem jus’ as soon. An’ affer he ’s scarin’ dat cariboo, Back he was come encore, Lookin’ so proud of de job he do, An’ de hunter man start some more. ‘Careful now—don’t mak’ a noise, Creep on your han’ an’ knee; Some of you men are jus’ lak boys Comin’ from school—saprée. Don’t you see de dog? for he ’s gone again, Off to I dunno w’ere”— An’ den lak a rushin’ railway train We ’re hearin’ a beeg moose dere. [page 123] Tearin’ along across de hill, Up w’ere de pine tree grow, Poor leetle Boule a’ follerin’ still, An’ hollerin’ as he go! Mebbe de hunter’s not gettin’ mad W’en he commence to say, “Sorry I be, but dere ’s somet’ing bad Wrong wit’ de dog to-day. “Boule! Boule! Boule! Boule!” (Oh, how he raise de row!) “Boule! Boule! you ole fool— W’y do you leave me now?” “Very fine way to hunt de wood!” Dat ’s w’at we tell heem den; “Nice leetle dog”—it ’s all no good,” An’ he say: “I dunno, ma frien’, Mebbe you ’re right—w’en a man he ’s ole, Can’t learn heem a trick is new, An’ jus’ as soon as de dog is sole, I ’ll hunt as I used to do.” So he ’s sellin’ hees dog on Joe Laflamme, Kip de toll on de bridge below, Never have dog he lak de sam’, Dat ’s w’at he ’s sayin’, Joe. [page 124] Now he ’s beginning for feelin’ well, Now he can sleep on de chair all day, For Boule’s commencin’ to mak’ a yell, W’en customer’s less dan a mile away. Dat ’s all right—an’ de hunter man Travel agen as he used to do, All alone, an’ I understan’ Gettin’ de ole tam luck also. [page 125]
Poor little Tommy Cod Took his best fishing-rod, Cunningly fashioned of split bamboo; Likewise his tackle, Of red and brown hackle, To venture down stream in his bark canoe. Tommy had registered, Solemnly, I have heard, Promised and vowed, that ere evening fell, Doré and speckled trout, Black bass and bull-pout, Would cheerfully yield to his magic spell. Since time immemorial, In things piscatorial, Tho’ Magog be framed among knights of the rod; Yet, making due limit For what may be in it, Little Tommy might know it was no plaice for Cod. [page 126] Now, in the buoyant sea, There ’s so much buoyancy A Cod if he wishes can easily float; But in the swift Magog, Why, even a bullfrog, Would much rudder perch on the side of a boat. I told him the dangers That all who are strangers Might meet with, in case they should venture below; For the mill-dam ’s so turbot No mortal can curb it, As those who have tried it must certainly know. O Tommy, take care of Your life and beware of The treacherous mill-dam you shortly shall view! But Tommy was vain and He quitted the mainland, And put out to sea in his frail canoe. The craft like an arrow Sped down the long, narrow, And turbulent channel, where wild billows rave; [page 127] Then past Point MacFarlane, Like shot from a marlin, Poor Tommy swept on to his watery grave. When Tom struck the mill-dam, The mill-dam, the mill-dam, When Tom struck the mill-dam, he dam’d the dam’d mill; Why should he strike it, When there ’s nothing like it To test all the best of a mariner’s skill? I saw the craft flounder, As fiercely around her The hungry waves leapt on the ill-fated prey; And each time they struck her Poor Cod cried for sucker, But sucker was scarce on that terrible day. To throw in the river, Some oil of cod liver, And thereby the grim foaming waters becalm, Was Tom’s next endeavour, But he found that his lever Was all out of order, and not worth a dam (mill-dam). [page 128] At last he went under, And, faith! ’t was no wonder, For a Cod should n’t go where he does n’t belong; “Requiescat in pace” I murmur, in case he Should rise and object to this mournful song. **** We found him next morning— A sorrowful warning; The short line we chartered, and shipped him by rail To distant Atlantic, By way of Megantic, And so I ’ve arrived at the end of my tail. [page 129]
THE MONTMORENCI ELECTION
Wall! I dunno about tolin’ you dat story, for I don’t t’ink it ’s good wan, an’ de young man w’at ’s mak’ dat funny beez-nesse, dey ’re very bad young man; but if I don’t tole you, I s’pose you go off mad, an’ of course dat ’s not pleasan’ t’ing, so hooraw, away she go!
Dere was beeg election on country Montmorenci some year ago, an’ crowd come on de church door ev’ry Sunday mornin’ for learn all ’bout how de habitant mus’ mak’ hees vote on de las’ day an’ sam’ tam’ please ev’ry body; but long before dat, dem feller on Kebeck dey want to know if de Habitant on our place was go en bloc for de Rouge, dat ’s de Laurier man, or for de Bleu, dat ’s de Toppeur [Tupper] Conservateur. An’ it ’s not easy job fin’ out, for de habitant he ’s poor man, an’ don’t lak’ tole ev’ry body jus’ how he vote. So affer some talk [page 133] on de meeting dat ’s call for want to know ’bout dem habitant, dere was young feller his nam’ Ducharme (maudit! He ’s bad young man!) stan’ up on de meeting an’ say, “Look at me—here I am, an’ I bet you I can go on dat Montmorenci—yass sir, an’ two t’ree week I ’m back on Kebeck wit’ all de news ’bout dem habitant on de contree: w’at dey say, w’at dey t’ink, an’ how dey vote—an’ if you want tak’ up dat bet, now ’s your tam’, yass sir!” Den some wise ole man was on de meeting, get up an’ say: “Young feller, we got plaintee experience on dat beez-nesse for many year, an’ we know dis, w’en de stranger go roun’ ’mong de habitants an’ say he’s Laurier, de habitant say, ‘Dat ’s me too’; an’ w’en he say, ‘I ’m for de Bleu,’ de habitant say he ’s bleu also. Oh, yass! de peep’ on de contree was very polite, tak’ off de hat an’ so on, an’ alway say, ‘Oui, oui,’ or ‘Non, non,’ jus’ lak’ de stranger man, an’ you t’ink dey ’re all right, but wait till she come ’lection day. Oh! Dat ’s diff’ren’ t’ing! [page 134] So, young man, w’at you goin’ to do fin’ out how de cat jomp on de fence?”
An’ de young man say: “Very quick I tole you how de cat jomp on de fence. Dere ’s no use goin’ dere wit’ spring suit, lak’ man from de Unite State. I feex up lak’ de beggar-man on church door roun’ de cornerre—I get w’at you call de crutch, too, wit’ rheumateez, an’ some bad cole on de lung; den I will travel for ma healt’ on Montmorenci; affer dat you will see me on de meeting speciale extraordinaire, wit’ full report on de politique of Montmorenci—dat ’s w’at I do; an’ ma frien’ Alphonse Beauchemin, was study law sam’ place wit’ me, he will come too, an’ we will be de firse prize beggar-man double team on de contree.”
So all de wise ole man say, “Dat ’s purty smart t’ing, we never t’ink of dat,—you ’re goin’ to be great lawyer sure!”
Wall! off dey go, dem bad young men, along de road, and bimeby pass on de county of Montmorenci. If dere ’s wan place on Canadaw, w’ere de poor hongry man stand [page 135] good chance for somet’ing to eat, dat ’s w’ere I leev on Montmorenci, an’ well dem young feller know dat. So w’en dey see nice house of riche habitant on de roadside, an’ it ’s ’bout tam’ for milk de cow on de evening, Ducharme say: “Alphonse, I go dere firse, me, an’ you can sit on de fence leetle w’ile for geev me chance get all right wit’ de ole man, den bimeby you can pass on de sam’ place an’ we will have good talk ’bout ’lection.” All right, so Ducharme he come along, can hardly walk at all, an’ rap on de door wit’ hees stick. “Hello! Who ’s dere?” “It ’s me, poor man from Rivière du Loup, been sick all winter on de Hos-pee-tal Kebeck, an’ doctor he say can’t cure me no more, so out I go. Mebbe you got leetle somet’ing for eat an’ place on de barn for sleep to-night, an’ I pray for you all I can?” An’ de habitant say, “Come in, come in,” an’ tole hees wife bring some black bread, sirop d’erable [maple syrup], new milk an’ fresh onion, dat ’s good for bad cole on de lung, an’ hooraw! It ’s bully tam’ for dat [page 136] maudit Ducharme. Den affer w’ile, bimeby dere ’s anoder rap on de door an’ in come Alphonse, l’autre maudit cochon, an’ de ole habitant say, “W’at’s day? some more beggar-man from Rivière du Loup?” An’ down he sit lak’ his frien’ Ducharme, an’ have de good tam’ also, an’ bote dem feller eat, an’ talk an’ smoke lak’ dey never meet before; an’ purty soon Ducharme begin to sing, and de ole habitant and hees wife Azilda, dey sit dere lak’ two fool, an’ laugh an’ cry an’ hol’ each oder de han’, jus’ de sam’ as w’en dey ’re boy an’ girl togedder. Oh! dat Ducharme, he have no heart at all, an’ mak’ de good lawyer sure. Wall! by de tam’ de lamp he ’s lit, ev’ryt’ing’s goin’ firse-class, an’ mebbe ten twelve de neighbour come in for hear de story an’ lissen de song, an’ affer w’ile Ducharme commence talk de politique wit’ Alphonse. Oho! Dat ’s w’en de fun begin! Ducharme he say, “Toppeur was de mos’ bes’ man for de contree, ’cos w’y, he wear de ole bleu overcoat of John A. MacDonal’,” an’ Alphonse, [page 137] he say, “Non, non, Laurier was de mos’ bes’ man—he ’s Canayen comme nous autres; ’sides dat he tak’ de job run de Gouvernment for t’ousan’ dollar a year, an’ Toppeur won’t do not’ing less dan twelve honder dollar. So w’at you t’ink of dat?” An’ Beauchemin he say: “W’at I t’ink of dat? I tole you purty soon. Dat ’s true, Toppeur he ax twelve honder dollar, but he only kip t’ousan’ dollar he’self, an’ pay de res’ on hees boy, so you get two smart man work hard for twelve honder dollar, an’ I t’ink dat ’s better trade dan t’ousan’ dollar only wan man. ’Sides dat, all de pries’ an’ de wise ole habitant, dey vote for Toppeur an’ hees boy, an’ I t’ink dey ought to know somet’ing ’bout de bes’ kin’ of politique for de contree.” But dat ’s good chance for Alphonse, an’ he say: “I don’t care—w’en I was habitant mese’f on Chateauguay, I mak’ wan mistake on de farm, an’ dat ’s de reason I ’m poor man, an’ walk de road to-day, an’ glad for sleep on de barn to-night. I don’t kip not’ing but de ole blood on ma place—never [page 138] no new blood on de live stock. I see it now, but she ’s too late, so I say dis; w’at ’s bad for de farm is bad for Canadaw, an’ w’at ’s good for de farm is good for Canadaw. So, if you excuse me, I say we mus’ have new blood on de Gouvernment, an’ Laurier he arrange for all dat, an’ only t’ing I’m sorry for now, I got no vote—me—an’ can’t mak’ de cross for de new blood.”
[illustration] “Affer w’ile Ducharme commence talk de politique wit’ Alphonse.” The Montmorenci Election. [unnumbered page]
Mon Dieu! Dat ’s mak’ Ducharme mad, an’ he say, “We ’ll tak’ de vote on dis house, dat ’s bes’ way.” So some vote rouge for Laurier, an’ some vote bleu for Toppeur an’ hees boy, but Laurier he have de majorité on dat place. Ducharme preten’ he ’s very sorry, but he say, “We ’re all good frien’ togedder, an’ dere ’s no use makin’ de row.” So he sing de leetle song some more, an’ ev’rybody go home on hees bed moche please’ wit’ de beggar-man. Wall, sir! two week dey work lak’ dat, an’ all de news dey hear, down she go on de book; but bes’ place on de while con-tree, an’ dat ’s w’at I don’t lak’ talk ’bout, is Ste. Anne de Beaupré, w’ere dere ’s [page 139] beeg crowd come on de church for get cure ev’ryt’ing,—dat ’s w’en dey ’re busy dem two bad young man. Walk roun’, sing outside de hotel, get plaintee monee, hear all ’bout how de peep’ was goin’ to vote on de ’lection, an’ mak’ friend’ wit’ ev’rybody. So wan night Ducharme he say: “Alphonse, I t’ink we get all de news we want, de book ’s full now, an’ if I don’t come off dat crutch purty soon, I can’t walk at all. To-morrow morning I see good chance get away from dem ole stick, an’ den hooraw for Kebeck!”
“How you do dat?” Alphonse is ax. “Ev’ry wan know you ’re lame man, an’ if you ’re lame to-day and jomp roun’ tomorrow lak’ spring lamb get loss on de bush, you can look out for row on de camp sure, beeg row too!”
“Wall! wall! Alphonse, I alway s’pose youn’re smart an’ mak’ de good lawyer, but now I see you ’re sapree fou; you watch me on de morning, dat ’s all!”
So very nex’ day w’at you tink he do, dat [page 140] cochon Ducharme? He pass wit’ de grande procession right on de church—yass sir, an’ affer leetle w’ile w’en it ’s come good chance, he holler out, “I ’m cure! I ’m cure!” So of course all hees frien’ come quick an’ feel heem here, an’ feel heem all de place, an’ sure enough Ducharme he stan’ up straight lak’ de sojer man w’en he ’s off for de war. “Hooraw! tak’ heem out on de fresh air.” “No sir, you don’t tak’ me no fresh air, not till I leave behin’ dis ole crutch, was carry me so long!” An’ down he t’roo it on de floor. Wall, sir, affer dat you can bet he ’s de mos’ populaire young man on Montmorenci, don’t care he never sing an’ tole de story no more—an’ dere was two t’ree peep’, smart man too, want to run heem for de politique, but no use, he ’s boun’ for go on hees place near Rivière du Loup an’ work on de farm, now he ’s cure on de lame leg, de bad lung, an’ de rheumateez.
W’at happen affer dat? Jus’ wait a minute: Ducharme, w’en he ’s ready start for Kebeck, say to hees frien’, “Alphonse, [page 141] it ’s fonny t’ing how I ’m homesick for dat ole crutch I t’row on de church, an’ I mus’ get it back before I leave de place; ’sides dat I want show it on my Kebeck frien’ or dey won’t believe me.” Alphonse say: “You tole me yesterday I ’m sapree fou, now I tole you to-day you ’re de bigges’ fool I never see. Dat ’s not your crutch now—soon as you work de cure, dat crutch belong on de church, an’ if you mak’ troub’ ’bout leetle t’ing lak’ dat not wort’ ten cent, look out for some more row on de camp.”
But Ducharme got de beeg swell on head, an’ won’t lissen no advice; so nex’ night, w’en de moon ’s behin’ de cloud, w’at you t’ink he do, dat wicked feller? He wait till de bedeau, w’at you call de sexton, go asleep on de church porch; den he sneak roun’, open some winder, pass inside on de church, w’ere purty soon he fin’ hees ole crutch, an’ back he come on de winder once more. But I ’m glad I arrive on dis part of de story, for dat ’s de tam’ de moon commence for shine an’ all de beeg dog an’ leetle dog too, start [page 142] off to bark; de bedeau on de church wake up an’ dere ’s dat maudit Ducharme on de winder wit’ hees crutch look lak’ gun kill somebody, an’ so of course he get ketch right off, an’ very nex’ morning de judge place heem on de jail for six mont’ ’cos he steal hees own crutch off de church. Yass sir! an’ it ’s good t’ing too, bad young man lak’ dat! An’ dat ’s how dem politique feller on Kebeck know ’bout de vote on de contree; but affer dat, an’ specially near ’lection tam’, de poor beggar-man don’t have such good tam’ on Montmorenci—no, sir! [page 143]
On board de ship, goin’ down de reever.
MA DEAR JOHNNIE,
I feel well dis morning, t’ank you, an’ I hope you feel well too. Wall! Johnnie, it ’s bes’ t’ing never happen me, w’en Pierre le Duc, mon oncle, mak’ w’at you call “kick de bucket,” on Ste. Flore, ’cos’ if somet’ing lak’ dat don’t come roun’ soon, how you expec’ I can do de grande tour on Englan’, on Scotlan’, an’ Irelan’? No sir, if mon oncle don’t die on Ste. Flore jus’ affer he sole wan hees farm for good cash price, I can’t tole you not’ing about dem contree noder side de sea, an’ ma frien’, w’en dey meet on Hotel du Canadaw some cole night nex’ winter, won’t have so moche for talk about, now dere ’s no election, unless I start off lak’ I ’m doin’ now for mak’ de beeg voyage, an’ write an’ tole you ev’ry- [page 144] t’ing since I buy ma couronnement (dat ’s coronation) tiquette on Montreal.
Wall, mon oncle Pierre le Duc was de ole bachelor, you know, so w’en he die an’ lef’ me on hees will, over t’ousan’ dollar, an’ nice leetle farm near de village, no mortgage, no not’ing. everyt’ing clear, so I say, “Here ’s ma chance to see de worl’,” an’ now dis morning, hooraw! I ’m off on ma travel sure.
Here we are passin’ Sorel, w’ere I use to have nice girl few year ago, but if you see Angelique to-day, you won’t know dat girl, for she got ten children an’ weigh honder an’ eighty, good! Poor Angelique! wonder how she get along wit’ Joe Boucher, dat feller she marry on T’ree Reever? But Joe ’s purty well off, even if he only mak’ wan cent on all de cow hide he sell; he buy dem five cent a poun’ an’ sole dem for six cent.
It ’s very pleasan’ t’ing see de nice clean, w’ite, ole-fashion house along de reever side, an’ ev’ryt’ing look lak’ fine crop on de fall. Bimeby dere ’s de beeg rock of Kebeck w’ere [page 145] ma broder-in-law kip de Hotel Temperance, dat ’s hotel got not’ing to drink; but de ship won’t stop, only long enough tak’ on anoder pilot, an’ den away for Fader Point an’ de beeg, beeg sea; an’ purty soon, Johnnie, I ’m de sickes’ man on boar’ dat ship—oh! dat firse morning! An’ I only tak’ leetle pork an’ bean too, wit’ seven or eight sausage, for breakfas’. I never want to be alone so moche before, don’t want nobody come bodderin’ me, so I go upstair an’ pass behin’ on de ship. But de Captain fin’ me workin’ away over de side, an’ he say, “Ma poor Philorum, you don’t got no very strong stomach”; an’ I say, “Wall! I dunno ’bout dat; you notice how far I trow on dat las’ shot dere?” Never min’, I was all right secon’ day, an’ eat all de pork an’ bean on dat ship, an’ den I begin look aroun’. You know, Johnnie, I alway lak’ for do somet’ing mak’ leetle money sam’ as oder folk, so w’en I fin’ out de ship carry beeg pile of cattle, for de market on Lon-don and Glas-gow, I tak’ ’long t’ree, four cow, an’ dat beeg black [page 146] steer Narcisse, was near kill Jimmie Boudreau las’ fall w’en he ’s comin’ ma place; an’ dere was nice young cow too, half Jersey shorthorn, an’ she ’s jus’ full of milk as cheese factory, w’en she arrive on board. Wall sir, in less dan two day, dat cow go dry, don’t geev not’ing at all, only small jug of milk, an’ I begin t’ink dat ’s funny beez-nesse, mus’ be somet’ing wrong, sure; so wan morning ’bout de sunrise I happen to be aroun’, for you know I ’m ole-style habitant an’ get up early every day, an’ I meet wan dem fireman on boar’ de ship comin’ along wit’ fine beeg pail of milk, an’ I say to mese’f—“Ha! ha! Philorum, I t’ink dat ’s your cow, sure!” So nex’ night, w’en ev’ryt’ing ’s nice an’ quiet, w’at you t’ink I do? I pass on de stall w’ere ma beeg steer is stay, an’ I wissle leetle bit, an’ I s’pose dat wissle mak’ Narcisse feel homesick, an’ tak’ heem back on Ste. Flore w’en he was small feller runnin’ ’roun’ on de farm, an’ he ’s jus’ as quiet as de sheep affer he los’ hees hair on de spring; so I tak’ Narcisse an’ put [page 147] him on de place I kip ma Jersey shorthorn, an’ put dat cow on stall where Narcisse is alway stay, an’ den I wait. Wall, sir! affer w’ile I hear tin pail rattle an’ long come dat fireman was t’ink he ’s smart feller. I dunno if I tole you we got plaintee fog dat night, wit’ de horn blow, blow all de tam’, w’at de Captain call “dirty night,” an’ dat fireman pass on de stall w’ere he expec’ to fin’ de cow all ready for de milk; an’ Narcisse he was lyin’ down dere for res’ hese’f, so dat fireman he say, “Get up, get up, lazy bone,” an’ Narcisse get up. Wall! Johnnie, I know you hear plaintee beeg noise on your tam’—me too, but w’en Narcisse get up! excuse me—you ’member w’en Adelard Champagne got treed by de moose an’ de man on de camp hear heem over two mile away? Dat was beeg row. You ’member w’en Laurier become de boss man on de Gouvernment an’ de crowd is wait for de news on de post offeece, geev wan yell, an’ den hooraw for de hotel, an’ de ban’ play “Vive la Canadienne” an’ “Oh! Canadaw mon pays, mes amours”? [page 148] Dat was beeg row too. Yass, I ’m sure you don’t forget, dough you vote de oder way yourse’f; but, Johnnie, dat ’s not’ing at all wit’ de roar of Narcisse w’en he ’s insult by dat fireman. I s’pose too he ’s cage up so long he ’s glad to get some excuse for exercise hese’f, for de way he kick dat fireman, an’ de way de fireman yell! Oh! dear Johnnie, I wish you be dere, it would mak’ me so glad. Of course de Captain on de bridge t’ink dat ’s ’noder steamer comin’ along, so he telegraph engine man “stop de ship,” den he blow de horn some more. Wall sir! every tam’ dat horn go off, Narcisse answer back, an’ dat ’s mak’ t’ing worse dan before, an’ all de tam’ dat fireman is lyin’ dere outside de stall, an’ if he is n’t dead yet, it ’s only ’cos’ Narcisse can’t get at heem no more. An’ den de sailor man begin to shout, “Hooraw for de life boat,” an’ ev’rybody is very moche excite; so w’en dey ’re all lak’ dat, “Back her up,” “Go ahead! dat ship mus’ be purty close now,” an’ so on w’ile Narcisse is makin’ hees [page 149] leetle duet wit’ de foghorn, I t’ink dat ’s good chance for me, so I wissle Narcisse some more, an’ den I tak’ heem back on hees ole place, an’ put ma Jersey shorthorn w’ere she belong to. Dat ’s all right, an’ purty soon Narcisse is quiet enough, an’ w’en de Captain don’t hear no more strange foghorn, he tole de engine man “Correc’! go ahead! de ship was safe” an’ off we start again. Bimeby it ’s daylight, an’ somebody fin’ de poor fireman lyin’ dere, an’ w’en he ’s come aroun’, he tole de Captain all about de row: how he go asleep on de leetle cowstall ’cos’ it ’s so warm downstair, an’ bimeby w’en he ’s waking up de leetle cow is gone, an’ dere ’s black devil almos’ fill de stall, he ’s so beeg; so de fireman begin say hees prayer, but no use—de black devil yell, an’ roar, an’ jomp on heem an’ eat dat fireman up till he don’t know not’ing more. Mebbe you don’t believe me, but ev’rybody believe heem, for dey say only devil can bus’ a man dat way, till nobody can mak’ out even wan of dem w’at you call tattoo on de body of dat poor fireman, an’ [page 150] de Captain say, “Dat ’s good joke on de devil ’cos he ought to know de fireman ’s too tough for stay on hees stomach,”—but anyway I ’m satisfy he ’s got vaccinate leetle bit, an’ won’t steal no more milk dis trip, sure! Wall, Johnnie, w’en I look aroun’ an’ see dem poor cow all pile up togedder so close you might expec’ affer a w’ile to get condense milk, I feel dough it ’s hard enough sometam’ for be a man, still it ’s worse to be a cow; for all dose animal, soon as dey get fat enough on Canadaw, off dey go to Englan’, w’ere dey ’re kill right away, mak’ beef for de Englishman. Dat ’s purty hard, an’ specially too on nice Canadian cow, so I mak’ some song about dat las’ night, an’ I call it
DE LEETLE COW OF STE. FLORE
Oh! It ’s sailin’ away on de sea we go, Dat ’s song de engine is sing below— Bringin’ us nearer to Angleterre, W’ere every wan ’s waitin’ to eat us dere. [page 151] **** ’T was only leetle small place Ste. Flore, But de grass is green by de reever shore, An’ de clover was grow on de medder goun’ Is de sweetes’ clover for miles aroun’. De barn on de winter you ’d hardly see— But cosy an’ beeg enough too for me— An’ oh! w’en de summer sun is hot, I can show you many a nice cool spot. So I jomp, an’ run wit’ res’ of de cow, Get fatter, an’ fatter—jus’ look at me now! But de harder to squeeze t’roo de stable door, De beeger de chances for leave Ste. Flore. An’ many a tam’ ma gran’moder say, “If you don’t look out you ’ll be goin’ away— So eat an’ drink de leetle you can, Or you ’ll mak’ some beef for de Englishman!” Foolish young heifer! not moche I care— For I t’ink she ’s only an ole gran’mère— But if Ste. Flore ever see me back, She can boss me aroun’ any way she lak’. An’ I’d tak’ her advice, an’ I would n’t get fat, Ma compatriot frien’, you can bet on dat. But if I can’t help it, some Canayen Better eat me instead of sapree Anglais! [page 152] If dey geev me a chance, an’ leave me untied, Quickly you ’ll see me jomp over de side, But dey watch me an’ feed me an’ water me too, So w’at can de leetle Ste. Flore cow do? Not’ing at all only night an’ day T’ink of de ole place far away— De reever, de medder, I ’ll see no more— Oh! ma heart is breakin’! Good-bye Ste. Flore! Wall! Johnnie, w’at you t’ink ’bout dat for de poesie?
Glasgow on de hotel.
MA DEAR JOHNNIE,
Dat ’s t’ree week since I arrive on dis contree, but I can’t write you not’ing at all before I settle dat beez-nesse about ma Jersey shorthorn, an’ affer I finish tolin’ you de w’ole story, den I ’ll be able to geev you some news of de many t’ing I see no Scotlan’.
Wall, sir, jus’ so soon we begin unload [page 153] dat ship, an’ I ’m lookin’ aroun’ for get smart feller help me drive dem cattle on de market, along come Scotch man wit’ some brass button, an’ he say I mus’ go on de quarantine wit’ ma cow! I say, “W’at, for? Dat ’s good healthy Canadian cow jus’ fresh off de pasture”; an’ he say he don’t care not’ing for de pasture, dey got be very strict about Canadian cow, an’ he ax me ma nam’’, an’ I say Philorum Juneau from Ste. Flore, dat ’s me, an’ I try heem wit’ fifty cent let me pass, but no use; it ’s not enough I s’pose, or mebbe de p’leeceman’s watchin’, so off we go, everybody, an’ soon we ’re on beeg place w’ere dere ’s w’ole lot cattle: poll Angus, Hereford, Jersey, an’ some I never see before, but I can’t fin’ not’ing wrong wit’ dem at all. Wall, w’en ma turn come, de secon’ boss man look at me an’ say, “Philorum, I s’pose your cow never have de pleuro new money?” An’ I say: “Mebbe dey have de pleuro, but I ’m sure dey ain’t got de new money, ‘cos’ I got dat mese’f from mon oncle Pierre le Duc, [page 154] ‘t was ole money for heem, but it ’s new money for me.” Johnnie, dey say Scotch man never see not’ing funny w’en you mak’ w’at you call de joke, but ba gosh! dis feller laugh an’ laugh away, lak’ bes’ t’ing he never hear, w’en dere ’s no joke at all, an’ dat ’s very funny, so I mak’ leetle laugh mese’f too. Den affer he ’s finish wit’ ma Jersey shorthorn, he commence talk lak de judge w’en he ’s put on de black cap for hang some poor man on de long speech,—“Philorum, your cow have two wart on de nose.” An’ I say, “I know ma cow have two wart on de nose, how many dem t’ing you want?” An’ he speak wance more lak’ de same judge, “I ’m very sorry for you, ma frien’.” Den he bring de head boss man, an’ dat feller look at dem wart wit’ small spy glass, an’ he say to de oder man “Mister MacTavish, I see t’ree wart on de nose, two beeg wart, an’ ‘noder leetle wan was come bimeby.” “Wall,” I say, “w’ats matter wit’ dat? I can show you cow on Ste. Flore wit’ four wart on de nose, an’ all beeg wan too.” An’ de head boss man say, [page 155] “I can’t help dat, your cow got de bad disease, an’ I ’m scare de Gouvernment mus’ kill dat cow an’ burn her up right away!” “No siree! you don’t kill dat cow, not before I write ma frien’ Wilfrid Laurier, an’ tole heem how you treat good Canadian cow.” An’ dey say, “Excuse me, you ’re frien’ of Sir Wilfrid Laurier?” “Yes, I ’m de bes’ frien’ he have on de worl’, an’ he mak’ beeg row about dis job sure.” Oh! dear Johnnie, mebbe dem feller don’t be scare! “Wall, M’sieu’ Juneau, de rule on de book say, all Canadian cow wit’ wan wart only on de nose, she mus’ quarantine for t’ree mont’, two wart, six mont’, an’ t’ree wart, mus’ kill dat cow right away. We can’t help dat we ’re sorry, but it ’s not our fault. Now for de reason you ’re de bes’ frien’ Sir Wilfrid Laurier have on de worl’ we won’t count dat number t’ree wart; anyhow it ’s not dere yet, ‘less you look wit’ de spy glass, but if dere ’s t’ree wart now to-day, not even Sir Wilfrid Laurier, accordin’ to de book, can save dat cow; so [page 156] de bes’ we can do is to place your Jersey shorthorn on quarantine for six mont’, an’ den if she ’s all right you can sole her on de market any tam’ you lak’.” “Wall, gentlemen, I tole you w’at I do—I write on ma Ste. Flore frien’, an’ dey ’ll feex it all up about dat cow, so jus’ kip her dere on quarantine for leetle w’ile, till I come back here bimeby.” Dat satisfy dem Scotchman an’ off I go. Dat ’s t’ree week ago, Johnnie, an’ w’ile I ’m wait for letter from Ste. Flore, I mak’ de visite all roun’ here an’ dere, every place, an’ I ’ll tole you about dat on nex’ letter, but to-day I receive news from de ole place, an’ w’en I go on de quarantine, dis is w’at I show dem feller—
BUREAU DE J. B. VALIQUETTE,
Office Hour. Notaire Publique,
All de tam’. St. Flore, Province de Quebec.
“We hereby certify, an’ swear dat de cow known as Jersey shorthorn cow tak’ away by Philorum Juneau, w’en said Philorum Juneau sail for Englan’, is born wit’ two wart on de nose, an’ if said [page 157] cow got some more wart on de nose, it is certainly for de reason she was ketch dem wart affer, an’ not before she leave de Parish of Ste. Flore. Also an’ notwit’standing, an’ furdermore, on behalf of de Chambre de Commerce of Ste. Flore, we protes’ very strongly agains’ de Gouvernment of Angleterre w’en dey want to kill de good Canadian cow only because she have t’ree wart on de nose.
“(Signed) TELESPHORE BONEFANT, J.P.
“J.B. VALIQUETTE, N.P.
“JEREMIE PELOQUIN X mark.”
[illustration]House at Cobalt where Dr. Drummond died.[page 158]
A Selection from the Catalogue of
G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS
Complete Catalogues sent on application.
By WILLIAM HENRY DRUMMOND
And Other Poems
ILLUSTRATED BY FREDRICK S. COBURN
Uniform with the earlier work.
Popular edition. Crown octavo, gilt top, illustrated. (By mail, $1.35)
Photogravure edition, with 16 full-page photogravure illustrations. Octavo, gilt top, in a box.
(By mail, $2.65) . . . net $2.50
“Dr. Drummond in his former volumes of verse has interpreted for us the simple life of the Canadian folk. In the present volume the same theme is pursued, but there is endless variety. One is convinced that the author saw the places he describes, laughed with his characters, mourned with them, but above all, that he loved them and took a virile joy in their lives and in making them his companions.” — The Outlook.
And Other French-Canadian Poems
With an Introduction by the French-Canadian Poet-Laureate LOUIS FRECHETTE.
ILLUSTRATED BY FREDRICK SIMPSON COBURN
Popular edition. Crown octavo, gilt top, illustrated. (By mail, $1.35)
Photogravure edition, with 13 full-page photogravure illustrations and text cuts from original designs. Octavo, gilt top, in a box.
(By mail, $2.65) . . . net $2.50
“Unconventional, captivating.” — New York Tribune.
“Plenty of true humor here.” — New York Sun.
“Fresh and racy in flavor and deftly rhymed.” — Chicago Dial.
“There is nothing to equal it in fun-making.” — Boston Globe.
The Great Fight
Poems and Sketches
Edited, with a Biographical Sketch, by MAY HARVEY DRUMMOND.
ILLUSTRATED BY FREDRICK SIMPSON COBURN
Popular edition. Crown 8vo, gilt top, illustrated. (By mail, $1.35)
Photogravure edition. 8vo, with Illustrations in Photogravure. Bound in Quarter Calf, gilt top, in a box.
(By mail, $2.65) . . . net $2.50
“Both author and artist enter most heartily and symphathetically into the life of Lower Canada, and portray its humor and pathos, its spirit and legends, in a way that is finding a world-wide audience.” — Christian Gaurdian, Toronto. [unnumbered page]
And Other Poems
ILLUSTRATED BY FREDRICK SIMPSON COBURN
Popular edition. Crown octavo, gilt top, illustrated. (By mail, $1.35)
Photogravure edition, with 17 full-page illustrations in photogravure, and text cuts from original designs. Octavo gilt top in a box.
(By mail, $2.65) . . . net $2.50
“Johnnie Courteau” and “The Habitant”
2 vols., ¼ calf. Sets only . . . . . . net $5.00
“It is not his clever manipulation of the patois alone that has brought him popularity. He knows the kindly, simple people that speak it to the core; he is master of a telling minor touch of pathos, he has humor, and wide sympathy with the French country folk of the Dominion. He has worthily earned a place in the literature of Canada. He has the human touch.” — Mail and Express.
Autograph Edition, “Johnnie Courteau” and “The Habitant”
Limited to 1000 numbered sets. Each volume contains the author’s autograph and a facsimile of the original manuscript.
Two volumes, with illustrations in photogravure from original designs by F. S. Coburn. In a box. net $10.00
AND MADELINE VERCHERES. Two poems. With five photogravure illustrations by Fredrick Simpson Coburn.
Crown octavo. . . . . . 75 cts
“In ‘Phil-o-Rum’s Canoe’ Dr. Drummond opens up the founts of tears and laughter, and touches the simpler things of life, so as to stir the depths of human tenderness.” — Montreal Gazette.
“Breathes throughout the odors, and pulses with the life of the primeval forest.” — Evening Post, Chicago. [unnumbered page]