VICTORIA UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
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W. E. Baubie
Written and Illustrated
WILLIAM EDWARD BAUBIE
NINETEEN HUNDRED AND SEVENTEEN
written and illustrated
William Edward Baubie
The Lakeside Press
William Edward Baubie
To my most respected
WILLIAM ALEXANDER MCLAUGHLIN
of Chicago, Illinois,
these verses are dedicated
with sincere admiration
THESE French-Canadian poems were selected from a number that the author has written from time to time and are those that are more easily read and understood by the average English- speaking person. There is really no such uniformity of dialect among the “habitants” that could be followed with any degree of certainty. Every French-Canadian has his or her own peculiar method of expression in the use of the English language. Some have difficulty in the use of the pronoun, some again speak the English fluently and almost faultlessly, and it is only on rare occasions that a slight misuse of a word or expression exposes their origin to the close observer; but the remaining and more numerous class go battling along through the verbs, pronouns, and adjectives at will—unaffectedly but ruthlessly. These verses are, therefore, not offered as a criterion of the French-Canadian dialect, but merely the English used by some of the types that the writer has observed and known. Many years of the writer’s life were spent in old Quebec and Montreal, where he was thrown in personal contact with the “habitants”, young and old; and his close association with them ripened from mere acquaintance into friendship, and, later, [page xv] into affectionate regard. It was, however, in the rural districts and upon the lakes, rivers, and marshes of Canada and the bordering territories, where the writer has fished and hunted, that he has heard the real Canadian patois spoken, as only one may hear it, and these humble efforts are mainly the result of such travel. Many of the characters about whom these stories are told existed in real life, and the old inhabitants of the localities mentioned will recall them; and many of the occurrences related have in reality happened. The writer begs to say, in closing, that these verses are furnished by him as a means of entertainment and amusement, and it is not his desire or intention to ridicule or discredit those of the old French-Canadian blood.
LEGEND OF THE
ROSIE BELLE TEENEAU
DE Rosie Belle Teeneau was wan vere fine batteau, Was steam barge hon de reever, good many year ago. She always looked so neat, wid de beeg moskeeto fleet, An Ah’ll tole you, mah boy, she was hard boat to beat. Down de reever if you geev her a good chance to go From Isle au Peche above, to Pointe Peelee below, An if de wind she blow hon her stern fropm behaind Shees beat all de vassalle an de boat you can faind. Jean Batteece DuChene was de captaine of dat barge; Hees not so vere small, an hees not so vere large. But hees tick-set an chaunkay, he go two hunnard poun, An way it in de stocken, if hees got som stocken hon. Batteece wife, an bote hees boy, an Angelique hees dauter, Was de bes crew of de Rosie Belle, wen she go hon de water. Each wan dat crew could maike de cook, or trow de hank also, Could run de hengine down below, or maike de wissel blow. From summer tam up to de fall, Batteece dont wear no shoe at all; [page 1]
JEAN BATTEECE DU CHENE
Som-tam for style he wear som pant, som-tam som overhaul. An when he prominade de deck, wid hees uniforme all hon, Mon Dieu! dat’s grande! he look joust laike de great Napoleon. “Mah bes crew is mah familee,” Batteece he always say, When all de work was finish, hon de hind end of de day. “Ah smoke de pipe so ezay, as Ah’m laying hon de bed; For Ah know if we lose monay hon de Rosie, we’re ahead.” [page 2] Wan naight dey stoip at Druiliard’s dock, for taike wan barl away; It might be feesh, it might be pork, no wan on board can say. Was tickette hon dat barl wat say she go to Pete Marcotte Wat keep de sailor boarding-hous at Ecorse near Wyandotte. Dere’s no plaice hon de water, every sailor man will say, Where de wind she blow, an blow so hard, as hon de Ecorse Bay. De naight he taike dat barl hon board, she blow an blow som more; It look joust laike beeg tornadeau was coming doun de shore. Batteece aint got de educate, but he notice raight-away Hees hav wan hell-of-a-tam dat naight in crossing Ecorse Bay. “How many man we got hon board?” he ask de hengineer. “Dere’s tree below”; an Batteece say, “Send haf-a-dem up here.” “Clar de deck!” Batteece he spik. “Taike doun de smok-stack too, An trow de hank as fas you can, dat’s de bes ting you can do.” “We got no tring,” de mate he sing, “so de hank aint work so well.” Den Batteece yell, “Sai, who de hell is de boss of dees vassalle?” [page 3]
De naight was black wen de storm attack de Rosie Belle Teeneau; She hit her hard above, below, she hit her in de mid also. De lightning flash an hit dat barl, an maike de noise much louder, For de barl bust up de Rosie Belle,—it’s chock-full of gun-pauder. Batteece was sitting hon dat barl, when she got off for fair. He hav no tam for shew de rag, for he fly up in de air; An de wind she blow hon Ecorse Bay, she blow lackell som more, And de Rosie Bell, she don feel well, shee’s half mile from de shore. Madame DuChene she go insane, an jaump doun hon de water; De only life preserve was grab by Angelique, hees dauter, An bote de boy was dive away from de Rosie Belle Teeneau. Dey joust hav tam for save its-self before she sink below. Jules Tourangeau, wat spear de frog, an leeve doun hon de mash, Was bring hees yawl, he hear de call, he also hear de splash; He find de wife an bote de boy, he also find de dauter; An soon he can grab hold-o-dem, he pull it out de water. [page 4]
Now if you go to Ecorse Bay, de ole tam habitant will say Dat if som of de skeetow fleet was sailing doun dat way, Dey pass a long, long way around de Rosie Belle’s last sleeping ground: De sailors fear, from wat dey hear, dat Batteece goste she proul around. An wen de naight was dark down dere, all de fisherman dey swear Dat Batteece an de Rosie Belle was sailing hon de air; You can see mirage, also de barge, an you also see de wreck Wile Jean Batteece geev two-tree cheer, as he prominade de deck. Wen dees mirage was pass away, it’s quiet roun de Ecorse Bay; De naight wind moan, de bull-frog groan, in de vere sam ole way; De snap an maud-hen trai to rest in de weed longside de shore; Dey hav no fun, for de potter’s gun was maike dem fly som more. Dey look for Batteece high an low, for two-tree year or more, But no wan find hees boday or de clothes de captaine wore, Till wan fine day hon Ecorse Bay, Joe Lozon it was pass day way— Find Batteece spendaire an hees pants joust at de break of day. [page 5] Lozon he plants poor Batteece pants in de sand long-side de shore, He put de spendaire in also, for he can’t find notting more; Hees got no stone for monument, so he use a feeshing stave, An wid som paint, an paint-brush too, hees decorate de grave. Joe Lozon spell som word hon dere, for eppitaffe he say; Ah aint’ can read or write messef, Ah ain’t brot up dat way. But if you geev attention, Ah’ll tole you all de rest, So please excoose mah Englishe, Ah try to do mah best.
Here lies de last, also de hend, of Jean Batteece DuChene; Hees got blow up hon Ecorse Bay, while sailing hon de main. He don’t expect to go so quick, to taike hees seat in heaven, For he made de trip hon stannard tam, from nine to haf-pas leven. An when de good Ange Gabrielle, will maike de trompette blow Batteece he will be boarding dere, an hees familee also. Hees troub dey was all ovaire now, hees pants he’ll lose no more, For de captaine of de Rosie Belle has found a peaceful shore. [page 6]
You sailor man wat hav som wife, an have to leeve awhile, Steer clear away from Ecorse Bay, at least for two-tree mile, An keep your eye hon any barl, if you don’t know heem firsrate, An taike no chance to spoil your pants by sitting hon de freight. Som-tam dat barl hav feesh inside, an som-tam flour from de mill, Som-tam it’s Walker wiskay too, wat com from Walkerville. De wiskay she don’t hurt you much, but she don’t do you much good, De flour she is de staff of life, an feesh de finest food; But if gun-pauder’s in dat barl, be careful wat you do: Put out your pipe an cigarette, if you know wat’s good for you. For de faudere of me was tole me so, an Ah beleeve mah fadere Deres noting can raise hell so quick as de ole tam gun-pauder. [page 7]
DE pauvre leetle mush-rat wat leeve hon de mash, Wid hees fonnay black nose an hees fancay moustache, In hees good coat of fur, he jaump roun so freeskay You tink dat hees ballay was choc fule of wheeskay. He don’t do no harm, when hees com roun de farm, Only borrow few ting, joust for keep hessef warm; For de wintaire will com, an hees dere in hees shaintay, Where hees saving de grub, an he always have plaintay. If dey let heem alone, dat poor leetle felleure, Hees mind hees own beesness, an leeve in hees celler, [page 8]
But som laike to shoot heem, for mak up de stew; Ah tink it’s too bad for to keel heem, don you? Le bon Dieu was maike heem so purtay an fat, He geev heem more style dan de rest of hees rat; An He want heem to leev widdout troubel or fear An raise all hees familee, in two tree year. But som son of a felleure wat carries a gaun Hees sneak hon de mash, joust for hav it som fun, An he chase it an shoot it wid buck-shot an pauder An cook it wid honnion, for maike up de chaudere. Dere ain’t much societay down where he go, Of course dere’s de maud-hen de fraeg, an shipeau, But dere vere poor companie, a leetle too slow Not in de same class, wid our mush-rat, you know. De maud-hen’s gran-fadere was voyageure dock. Hees modere a chicken, wat play in hard luck, De fraeg an de shipeau was stupid an slow, De mush-rat don’t mix wid de companie so low. So de mush-rat he leev wid hees own familee; Don’t run roun at naight, for dere’s noting to see. An if some bull-fraeg or shipeau hees meet, He joust wink hees eye, as he pass doun de street. He carry som musk, but it don smell so bad, For he don play dose trick, like de skaunk wen he mad. Hees clean leetle beast, an he work all he can, An behave hessef better dan good many man. Wen you take off de skin of dat leetle mush-rat, An scrape off de musk an forget about dat, [page 9]
Wat a beautifule fur, mon Dieu! dat is fine,
She sell for two dollar, at any ole time.
De mink an de seal an de beaver also
Was cousin wid our leetle mush-rat, you know,
An offen swell laday, wat buy seal skin saque,
She paying for mush-rat, to put hon her back.
Everting in dees worl hav som kind of smell: Som smell of de may-flower, an som smell lackell, But if you wash offen, an try to leev clean, You’re sure to be sweeter dan most king or queen. De fine citay laday put de musk hon for style, But offen shees go widdout bath for a while; But le bon Dieu was maike de poor mush-rat day way, So he carry hees musk, but he wash every day. [page 10]
MY OLD CANOE
AH see you befor me, mah faithfule canoe, Your getting so ole dey don use you no more; But dere’s no-bodday knowns you as well as Ah do, For we traveled togedder, along many shore. You was born in de vere sam contray as me, Hon de farm of mah fadere, so long, long ago; You com from de stock of de virgin pine tree, Wile Ah’m of de habitant stock, as you know. We grew up togedder, as tam passed away, But we never was getting acquaint, not at all, Till de tam wen dose felleure was chop you dat day— You made de bush ring wid de sound of your fall. An dey maike a canoe wid de bes part of you, You were healthy an young, de purest of pine;[page 11] No wrinkles was dere, you were solid an true. Dere’s no wood to-day in de markette so fine. If dose felleure was leev you alone where you grew You could stay in de bush, an be much beeger tree, But still you have traveled, an only a few Could hav such a good tam as you had wid me. As we drifted in moonlaight, so soft an so clear, Wile Ah lay hon mah blanket to tak a good rest, Den Ah feel satisfy, for dere’s noting to fear; For Ah’m sleeping in you, an Ah’m dreaming de best. By de clear pebble beach, as Ah paddle along, Ah can see in de wataire de blue of de sky; De bird from de shore was singing dere song, Den Ah tink it’s too bad we all hav to die. Only wanse in a while you tipped over wid me An geev me mah bath for de week in advance; Den Ah’m mad an Ah’m tinking how crankay you be, An Ah swear nevaire more will Ah geev you de chance. Den Ah’m tinking once more of de evening before: Ah was out wid de boys till de hour was so late, An we had a few drink, an we had a few more, Perhaps it’s mah fault if you don’t go firsrate. Mah faithfule, mah silent ole friend of de past, It’s only de good Ah remember in you; You was mah ole pal, from de first to de last,— It’s hard for to spic, should Ah tell you adieu.[page 12]
You’ve been in de dry dock for more dan a year; Lak messef, you are weary, an out of de race. Your beauty an courage was leev you, Ah fear, But surely de ole age is not a deesgrace. So Ah’m leeving you dere, in de mud an de clay, In de plaice where you com from, mah poor ole canoe; An when Ah lay quiet, hon de ole farm som day, We’ll begin at de starting post, both me an you.[page 13]
THE OLD TOWN
DOWN IN OLD QUEBEC
A Habitant’s Story
IN seventeen honnard an feeftay-nine, It’s de early fall an de weddere’s faine, De soldat Français was in line Down in ole Quebec. Dere in de camp, wid de great Montcalm, Up by de Plains of Abraham, For Englande de French don care a dam— Down in ole Quebec. But in de darkness of de night, Creeping softly up de hight, Dose Redcoat com on de hill to fight— Down in ole Quebec. [page 14]
It’s joust befor de break of day, As de bugle sound de reveiller, Dere’s a courrier wat com our way, Down in ole Quebec. De news was travel everywhere Dat Wolfe an all hees men was dere. Montcalm joust smile, for he don’t care, Down in ole Quebec. “Aux-Armes! Avancez!” We sound de call An de soldat Français wan an all Taike hees plaice to faight or fall, Down in ole Quebec. De mistey sun rose up dat day To shed it’s light along de way An lead Montcalm to victory, Down in ole Quebec. De sparkling ray from dees saime sun Shines hon de Redcoat every-wan. Laike stars of steel hon de Englishe gun, Down in ole Quebec. De cannon roar an de grape shot fly, De smoke was folding to de sky, De ole flint muskette maike reply, Down in ole Quebec. Each side com on, de faight’s begun, We quickly maike dose Redcoat run Wid de sabre an de gun— Down in ole Quebec. We charge de Redcoat raight away. It was too hot for dem to stay, [page 15] But we hear bad news: dere’s hell to pay Down in ole Quebec.
Joust in de triumph of de fight, Montalm was die right in our sight, An de morning sun turned into night, Down in ole Quebec. Dat’s true, de good Montcalm was fall. Mon Dieu! dat news com laike a pall; It hit each Frenchman wan an all, Down in ole Quebec. De Redcoat cheer; dey know dat sign, An quickly too dey form in line: Montcalm was gone an dere feeling fine, Down in ole Quebec. De Englishe faight laike hell dat day, An dearly too our armey pay; L’espris Français was pass away— Down in ole Quebec. Dose Redcoat wun de battle fair: Step by step dey faight us dere. Montcalm was gone; an de French don’t care, Down in ole Quebec. De Englishe raise dere flag on high; De battle’s wun, when we hear de cry Dat Wolfe was falling down to die, Down in ole Quebec. De genral Wolfe was dying fast, Saint George’s cross was hon de mast, So he say he die content at last, Down in ole Quebec. [page 16]
An befor Montcalm was pass away He want to die raight off, he say, Before de Redcoat win de day Down in ole Quebec. De French an Englishe leeve dere still, De Englishe up on top de hill An de French down in de ole Bas-ville, Down in ole Quebec. De Englishe own de town to-day But dey leave our good religion stay An de ole French Code we all obey, Down in ole Quebec. Dere in de Haut-ville dees story’s told: Of Montcalm de brave an of Wolfe de bold; De monument’s built in de days of old, Down in ole Quebec. Faithfule unto death each wan, Never known to turn or run, Each contrey lost a noble son, Down in ole Quebec. [page 17]
(Old-time Mail Carrier)
WHEN de wind from de north she was blowing and blowing, An from de dark cloud she was snowing and snowing, De habitant know it’s de wintaire dat’s round, For many long month dere’ll be snow hon de ground; An he stay in de house, so quiet all day, An smokes hees ole pipe wid de Canaday grey. De snowbird she come wid de cold an de blow; Along wid de storm, in de cloud she will go; At de break of de cloud, wen de snow start to fall, Dat petit oiseaux she will whissel an call. Dere’s a man in de storm wat she meets every day, Dat man is de postman, de brave courrier. [page 18] Laike de snowbird, for wind or for storm he don care: Hees tuff an hees healty, he’ll go anywhere Hees “bottes au sauvage” will keep hees leg warm, An hees “capuchon coat” will keep off de storm. Ah, here he comes now hon hees lively snowshoe; Hees waving hees hand,—dere’s a letter for you. [page 19]
A STRANGE ROMANCE
MAMZEL Elizay Tatreault she was looking for a man, Was in de markette twentay year; she do de bes she can For faind som felleure wat was hav it plaentay of de cash; She’s doing all her possibel for try to mak de mashe. Wen Mamzel Lizay she go out into de companie, Her voice was always soft an sweet, lak honey she can be; But dat’s de bluff wid Lizay, dat voice ain’t hon de square, For eef she mak her temper go, you’d faind de dev’ was dere. She’s beeg laday, dat Mees Lizay, an every-boday knows She’s coming from de contray, where de vegetable grows. But now she wears de dress so short, de bronze was hon her shoe, An she’s looking laike a poulette, an a fancay poulette too. She’s sitting dere an waiting in de park alone wan day Wen Pete Soleau was happen to com along dat way. Dat Soleau’s looking quite as well as any felleure roun, But hees de beegest liar wat’s leeving in de town. [page 20]
Mamzel Tatreault was dress just so, all in de first class style, So Pete was look her ovaire, for quiet a leetle while. To heem she looked lak millionaire wid plaentay propertay, So hees kneel raight down before her an dees is wat he say: “Oh Mees Tatreault, eef you could know how much Ah tink of you! De only ting is murdere, Ah would not do for you. Ah’m rich, Ah’m fit, Ah must admit, Ah’m quite good looking too, Ah’ve house an lot an cash hon hand, an mortgage quite a few.” Mees Lizay she was soffen up, wen she hear wat he was say; [page 21] She almost faint wen Pete Soleau was name de wedding day. She’s positiv her ole naightmare was surely coming true, An she kees heem two-tree tam or more, as any gal would do. Raight after dat beeg love affair was pulled off in de park, Soleau was keeping vere quiet, hees always in de dark. Dey don’t wait long for marry, an de wedding it was swell— A justice of de peacefule town he operate it well. But all de cash he brag about was just som borrow gold, It don’t tak Lizay vere long to see de lie hees told: Hees got no house, or lot, or cash, but it’s all de odder way, An de mortgage wat he brag about, was de wans he had to pay. Wen Lizay Tatreault know de fact about dat Pete Soleau She call heem “skaunk” an “pollison,” an a few more name also. She sai, “You go, you Pete Soleau, Ah can’t stand you no more!” An she put de bromstic hon behaind, as he pass tru de door. So Pete he mak it up hees mind dat soocide de best; He ting he will go drown hessef, an geev de town a rest. [page 22] So every naight at twilaight in de mash he tak hees seat— Hees trai so hard to get de brace; de sand don’t com to Pete.
Wan naight hees down dere all alone, hees feeling sad an sore. He fills hees pant wid brickbat, so he can’t float any more; He try to tink of wan good ting, he do in all hees laife, But de best wan he remembers was de tam he cheat hees waife. De wind was softly moaning along de mash dat naiht, De bull-frog he was groaning, an he groan wid all his might; De maud-hen cackel all de tam, she always do her best— It’s de evening of wan lovely day, an nature was at rest. De tam was com to drown hessef, if he only had de sand; Dere’s no wan dere to hold heem, hees long way from de land, It up to heem to maike de jaump, or maike wan leetle fall, An say, “Here goes Pete Soleau, here goes notting at all.” He feels dat wataire wid hees hand: “Mon Dieu!” dat wataire’s cold!” Hees tinking of de bath he took, back in de days of old. [page 23] He hesitate a leetle bet, hees tinking of hees fate— Dat’s de only tam de man was saved, wat do de hesitate. An ole maud-hen she cackel first, an den begin to scream, A shi-peau try to mock heem, wile flying down de stream, A beeg bull-frog, wats hon a log, he bark at Pete Soleau, He wake up all de odder frog, an every-wan let go. Baptême! such lively musique, he never hear before; So Pete was hesitate again, den he hesitate some more. He trow de brick-bat from hees pant, an in de mash dey rolled, An he say, “To hell wid soo-cide—de wataire’s too dam cold!” Mees Lizay do de washing now, she also do de scrub, Pete’s working hon de wringer, an somtam hon de tub; But shee’s de boss of Pete Soleau: hees got no more to say, For he don’t forget de evening of dat quiet lovely day. [page 24]
Wen you was go get marry, don’t start off wid a lie, For de dirt is hon de surface, fore de washing she was dry. Don’t figure for de cash alone, remember wat Ah say, For to marry joust for hav a home will never, never pay. Don’t marry joust becos your fokes was laike you pardner well, For de wan wat’s fit to do de job’s de bes wan wat can tell; But if you have som good respect for de wan engage to you, Dat is de bes way to begin, you’ll faind mah word was true. For dat’s de love wat’s true an pure, an dat’s de love will stay, An le bon Dieu is de only wan can taike your love away; An when you raise som familee, in de coming bye and bye, You’ll know for sure your marriage ain’t started wid a lie; An de blossom in de springtam, an de fruit from such a tree, Will be de best, an sweetly smell for all eternity. [page 25]
DINNER À LA CARTE
DE week behainde las week Ah go hon de toun For haul load of wood and taike a look roun, Wen a man he was ask me to go to dinnaire At fancy café where dey hav beel-o-faire. Dat felleure was fossay about dat dinnaire, But he don’t care for money—he hav it to spare; So he order some cock-taile of wiskey an gin For fix up de ballay before we begin. Hees name was Joe Cannarde, hees well educate: He can read in de French an de Englishe firsrate, So he say it’s de style for to eat à la carte, An would read of de beel joust to geeve me de start. Wael, he read hoff each ting hon dat programme to me— Ah ain’t very strong hon dat beasness, you see: Dere was all kind of grub, all de joint, all de cut, Dere was everting dere from bouillon to nut. Dere was roasbeef, an mouton (dey call it spring-lam), Dere was maud-hen an codfeesh, an sugar-cured ham, Dere was cornbeef an cabbauge, an goose liver fat, So Ah say, “pleese” excoose me, Ah’ll taike som mush-rat. Hees got a beeg plaice for to hold all hees food An he don mind de price, for dere’s noting too good, But he only likes game wat was ripe, he tole me; So he calling for wood-cox an spark burgandie. [page 26]
Dey bring heem dat bird hon a vere large plate; Shees dead a long tam, but she suit heem firsrate, But de plate was so large, de wood-cox so small, Ah’m tinking mah fren would get notting at all. Mon Dieu! Dat ole wood-cox she hav a long beel. Ah see by de smell dat a long tam shee’s keel, But her beel ain’t so long as de beel hon de card Wat de waitaire was passing to mah fren, Cannarde. Mah mush-rat shees cook, “à la maître d’ôtele,” But any hole Frenchman can cook it as well, For we use plaentay honnion, for baste dem joust so; Den de rat maike de honnion more pleasant, you know. Ah’m not used to burgandie wine wid de food. Dat drink it’s too fancay an rich for mah blood. Dat cock-taile was bad to begin wid, you know, But mah fren he won’t lissen wen Ah tole heem so. Ah can drink wiskey blanc, an lauger beer too. Of “Jean Collin fiz” me—Ah’ve had quite a few, But wen Ah eat mush-rat an taike dose drink too, Ah never can tell wat dat mush-rat will do. Wael, we split a few quart of de spark burgandie, It’s fizzay an livelay, an too strong for me, Wen Ah pass a few drink of dat wine hon mah moute Ah talk of dose ting Ah know notting about. Cannarde hees taike two tree bite at dat bird, He eat bones an all, an he don’t say a word; Den he orders more wine, for a “chaser,” he say— It’s dose chaser wat chase me an catch me dat day. [page 27]
TAKING THE CHASERS
Den Ah say “Au revoir,” for Ah must find mah way Back to de stabe, for to taike mah ponay. Dat wine an dat mush-rat ain’t mix vere well, So de rest of mah story Ah ain’t goin to tell.
Pass bye de burgandie-wine wid de spark If it’s served in de bright light, or served in de dark; For you feel, wen you drink it, you own de whole toun, But youre broke de next day, an dey don’t see you roun. An don taike no chance wid de wine wat was red, But stick to straight wiskey an lauger instead; For dose are de drink you can hold wen you eat, An you’ll hold your grub also, an stand hon your feet. [page 28]
JOE LOZON, THE POT-HUNTER MAN
YOU read of de bes fighting man of de day— Dere’s beeg Kaisaire Beel, of de Prusse, He want everyboday to do wat he say. It’s de sam way wid Nick of de Russe. Dat Beel is de felleure wat hav de good tam, De man on de horse wat drew de good pay, An he’ll start up a war, an he don geev a dam If he taike all your brodder an cousin away. Beeg Beel was de bes faighting man, dey all say; It’s hard to maike dat felleure run, For he knows de war baesness in all kind of way From de Zeppoleen bumb to de gaun. [page 29]
Den you read of dose writer wat hav de good brain, Dose man wid de fine educate: Dere’s Laurier Wilfred, an also Mark Twain, An som laike Beel Shakespeer firsrate. Dere’s de swell cavalier—Mon Dieu! hees so grande! Hees dressing so gai an so fine; De duelle he’ll faight, wid de sword in de hand, Wen hees chock-full of wiskey an wine. Den you read of de artiste, de musical man Wat play hon de flute or de fid, Or hon de French horn, or de babey pianne Or de man wid de stick in de mid. Wael, all dose faine felleure was good in dere way; Each wan do de most wat he can, But de bes all-roun felleure wat Ah know to-day Is Lozon, de Pot-hunter man. Dat Lozon’s de boy wat know how to faight, De beeg man don’t scare heem at all; He’ll clean a saloon hon any ole naight: De longer dey go, de harder dey fall. An Joe hees de man can shoot hon de wing, He can trap any skaunk or mush-rat, An all de ole feesherman song he can sing— He’ll paddle you naicely all over de Flat. Wael, Joe he don hav it so good educate, But can read an can write wen he wish: He’ll write wid a pencil, in Français firsrate An wid de sam pencil he’ll write de Englishe. Wen Joe’s in hees store clothes an fancy plog hat For go out at naight to de dance [page 30] At de plaice of ole Calimin, up at de Flat, Hees look laike a cavalier, coming from France.
Wid plaentay of bear grease all over hees hair An white paper collar an fancay necktie, De ladays wat Josef was meeting up ere Was crazay for get interduce, bye an bye. An if de musician was drink too much beer An can’t play de wals for de gal at de ball, Den Joe’s at de fid, an dere’s two tree cheer, Dat Pot-hunter Man is an artiste, dat’s all. If de warden for gam he was coming along When Lozon was hunt hon de mash any day, Dat Joe he just smile, an he whissel a song, An de warden he don’t ever ask heem to pay. Wael, Joe he go marry wid Julie Soleau And dey have a few children in saight. Joe feed it all well an he clodid also, An he don maike de habat to run round at naight. So you see, mah fine frend, wat Ah tole you was true: Dat Pot-hunter Joe is de bes man of all. Now you know all de ting wat dat bouillon can do, Just show me de man wat can answer dat call.
De man hon de horse, if wid gold he be crowned, Wid all hees fine jewel an manners so swell, Is built de same way as de man on de ground Wat le bon Dieu was maike and was love heem so well. [page 31] Dose Zarr an dose Kaisaire will soon pass away, An de’ll get no more chance for to start up a faight; Den de poor common man will have something to say An de man of de people is sure to be raight. Written in September, 1915. [page 32]
GENEALOGY OF BATTEECE TOURANGEAU
AH’LL tell you of de story about mah famalee; Mah educate shees not so good, so geeve excoose to me. Ah got no records from de book of wat Ah’m goin to say, But Ah geeve it as Ah hear it, in de vere saime ole way. To start wid, Ah will say mah name is Batteece Tourangeau, Mah blood shee’s Français Canayen on both de side, you know; No Tourangeau was king or queen, so far as Ah can tell, But maybe dey was hav some job, dey laike it joust as well.
Wael, Pierre Tourangeau, wat was die in de year eighteen-fifteen, Was sojer in de ole French Guard, dere’s many faight hees seen; Was wid de great Napoleon, was brave ole man an true, But dey shoot heem an dey keel heem hon de field at Waterloo. [page 33] Wael, dat ole man’s de first we know of all de Tourangeau, An de recorde of dat sojer was de best ting we can show; He was de fadere of de fadere of mah ole dad, you see,— Ah’m proud dat such a sojer he could belong to me. Wael, de next wan we was hear about was de grandfadere of me— Dat’s Antoine Poleon Tourangeau, wat com to dees contree, Was charpentier wat build de ship from spring-tam to de fall, Was hon de dock wid ole Joe Beef, way down in Montreal.
De next is Pete, mah fadere, as down de line you come; If you can trot wid mah ole man, ba gosh! You was go some. Hees captaine of de scow “Noel,” hees haul de sand and freight, He’ll dance, he’ll sing, he’ll play de fid, an taike hees wiskey straight. [page 34]
CAPITAINE PETE TOURANGEAU
Den come raight down to baesness, and taike a look at me: Ah’m Batteece Tourangeau, mon Ga! Ah pass de life so free. Ah spear de cat-feesh and Ah trap de beaver and mush-rat; But better man den me, Ah hear, shees doing worse as dat.
An wid mah good wife, Angelique, Ah leeve down hon de mash, Ah’m potter too and do mah best for maike de hones’ cash. Ah got four gal an seven boy, and som more coming yet, So de Tourangeau dey ain’t was die for a long, long tam you bet. [page 35] Some tam Ah geeve de storey of mah moddere’s famalee, But dere’s only wan of modere’s crowd wat is de frend of me. You know de habitant, mah frend, wat keel it all de skaunk? Dats modere’s brodder, Joe Moffron. You know it? She’s mah hunk! But it’s a fac, wen you look back, from de head wan to de tail, You hain’t can find no Tourangeau wat’s leeving in de jail. We dress laike all de habitants, no style was in de gang, But Ah can show no Tourangeau was ever got de hang. So you can see mah famalee was maike de start firstrate, But we must work; we have no chance to get de educate. So wan by wan we drift along, we leeve de best we can— We go to mass on Sunday, too, and don’t rob any man. An now you know mah story; dere’s nothing more to tell, But dere’s mah home, and dere’s mah wife, wat cook de grub so well. Now if you faind me good nuff for be a frend wid you, “Nevez cher nous ce soir, mon vieux,” we have som mush-rat stew. [page 36]
OLE CHENEAU AH’LL NEVAIRE GO HUNT FOR DE MUSH-RAT NO MORE
OLE CHENEAU go hunt for de mush-rat wan day; He tak hees dog Ponteau, to show heem de way, He got soaken wet, in de wataire he fall, Ah he don faine no game or no mush-rat at-all. Hees feeling deesgust, for hees not satisfy; Hees wet an hees getting so mad bye an bye Dat he say to hessef, as he cussed an he swore: “Ah’ll nevaire go hunt for de mush-rat no more!” He wade tru de mash an he wade tru de hay Till he get purtay close where de mush-rat he lay; Hees dog’s hon de point for dey all smell de game, So he up wid hees muskette an tak a good aim. As he pull hon de trig den he maike a beeg sneeze, An down in de wataire he go to hees knees. [page 37] Den he say it out loud as he jaump hon de shore: “Ah’ll nevaire go hunt for de mush-rat no more!”
A beeg mallarde dock shes was sitting close by. Dat’s luckay, for Cheneau’s no good hon de fly, So he tak a good aim, but de gaun she don’t go: De bullette she’s wet an de pauder also. He ript an he cussed at de gaun an de pauder, Hees voice she go higher—an den she go lowder, Den he sai it all ovaire, more loud as before: “Ah’ll nevaire go hunt for de mush-rat no more!” But de ole mallarde dock she sits hon de creek, So he sai, “Mistaire mallarde Ah’ll show you de trick. Ah’ll pass a few salt hon your fedder behaind— Ah’ll fix you so easay dees tam, you will faind.” But de dock smell de salt in Cheneau’s tin pail, She hawl off her main sheet, an den she maike sail. De ole man he yelled, an he ript, and he swore: “Ah’ll nevaire go hunt for de mush-rat no more!” Den he jaump in hees boat, hees mad an hees wet, Hees using som vere strong langage, you bet. He sai to ole Ponteau, “Ah want you to know Ah’m de boss of dees mash, an mah name is Cheneau!” Wile he paddle so lively hees baump hon a log An ovaire goes Cheneau, de gaun, an de dog. Den he holler lackell an he holler encore: “Ah’ll nevaire go hunt for de mush-rat no more!” He climb hon de bottome, for help he was call, He sai, “Ah go drown wid mah muskette an all.” Som habitant hear all de noise an de splash An Batteece, hees son, he com down to de mash. [page 38] He pull out de dog an he pull out Cheneau, But he loos hees ole gaun in de channel below. Batteece sai, “pawpaw, your so safe hon de shore— Don’t hunt hon de mash for dose mush-rat no more!”
He spread hon de grass hees shirt an hees pants— Dey dry in de sun if you geev it de chance, But a beeg hurricane she was passing close by: She pick up dose pants an she blow it sky high. Wen Cheneau he notice hees pants in de air, He sai, “We’ll go home while de wind she be fair. Au diable wid de mash! Ah’ll keep hon de shore! Ah’ll nevaire go hunt for de mush-rat no more!” Hees waife grab de hole man an put heem to bed Wid two-tree flat iron hon top of hees head, She pass hon de shin bone som muster plastaire, She rub heem wid kerosine oil everywhere, She geev heem som sassaperell wid de spoon, Den he sai as he open hees eye purtay soon: “Such luck hon de mash, Ah don’t hav it before To hell wid de mush-rat! Ah’ll hunt heem no more!” [page 39]
A STORY OF THE MARSH
IF you go hon de mash, at de edge near de weed, Where de mud she was black an de cow com to feed, If it’s joust befor sun-set an twilight was near De Henglishe jack-snap he was sure to appear. He don’t sing a song like de rest of de bird, But he hav a sharp whissel as ever you heard, Like de squeak ho de hinge of de ole kitchen door When you com in so sofly, between tree an four. He hav som long beel, an long leg as well, Wid hees eye hon de top of hees head he can tell If som-boday com to de mash from de shore, For he see joust as well from behind as before. If de wind she was blow from de nort in de fall, Dat petit oiseaux he don’t care, not at all. When hees done wid hees slow prominade hon de mash He’ll fly trou dat heavy north wind like a flash. Baptême! hees fly crooked, an up an doun too; If you watch, you can’t tell wat dat felleure will do. Do you tink you’re a good man to shoot hon de fly? Wael, load up your shot-gun, an wait dere an try. You point de gun strait, wid de bead hon de bird— But perhaps of dat job, you already hav heard— An joust when you’re sure dat you’ve got heem for fair, You pull hon de trig,—but de snap she ain’t dere. In all de beeg citay, Joe Lozon tole me, In de fines hotele in de town, you can see, [page 40]
THE SNIPE HUNTER
If you look hon de programme, dey call beel-a-faire De name of de Henglishe jack-snap she is dere. Joe say, in dose plaice, if you like snap to eat, Two dollaire dey charged you for wan hon de plate. De price she go high, in de spring an de fall, But dere charging you only for style, dat is all. But remember, mah fren, dat de fool ain’t all dead (Ah tink dat’s de lanquage, Beel Shakspeere he said); But de man wat will pay such a price for wan bird Hees gone off de nut, you will pardon de word. But why should a man want a bird wat’s so lean When for mouch cheaper price he can hav pork an bean, Or corn-beef an caubage, or galette or pie? But Ah guess dere’s no tam when a man’s satisfy. [page 41]
Each felleure hav som kind of grub wat he like: Dere’s som like de cat-feesh, de bullhead, or pike. A few like de Shipeau and maud-hen also, An a good many man like de leetle crapaud. But if you feel hongray, an want a good meal; Please take mah advice: it’s joust how Ah feel— Joust pass by de feesh an de frog an all dat, An order mah leetle ole fren, de mush-rat. [page 42]
MY DEAR OLD DAD
ON your cheeks the lines of care, Your eyes have lost their radiance rare, And dimness shades the lustre there. It makes me sad To see you wave and bend at last, A storm-subdued and withered mast Wrecked by the tempests of the past— My dear old Dad. Long since the dawn has passed away, The mid-day sun has shed its ray, And night is closing on the day. It seems too bad That such a perfect work of clay Should blossom only for a day And end in pitiful decay— My dear old Dad. Oh, God! Let nothing part us now; To serve his every whim, please tell me how. In humble supplication, thus I bow With only this to add: That in return for all his love of me Staunch and faithful to the last I’ll be. He shall not end in lonely misery— My dear old Dad. [page 43]
THE OLD-TIME FISHING ON DETROIT RIVER
DE hole tam fisherman hees gone, We ain’t see it no more; We loose dem slowly wan by wan, Dere passing from our shore. Doun below from Sandweech toun, Way doun to Petit Cote, So many you could see aroun De hole tam shaintay an de boat. Up to de fall of seexty-hate De feeshing it was all O.K. Along de Reever of de Strait, Dere feeshing all de naight and day. [page 44] Dey catch de tourgeon and doré An de whitefeesh all de tam An wat you spose dat cost you, eh! Wan poisson blanc for haf a dime. An dere’s de hole tam shaintay. An de man wat set de float, De capstaine an de ponay, An de man wat pulls de boat. An dere dey go at sunset; Dere’s four man at de oar: Dere’s Covion and Joe Payette, Dere’s Nadeau and Bedore. Pete Valliquette hees at de stern, Hees passing out de net, Drouilliard hees at de capstaine Wid hees French ponay, you bet. So softly up de stream dey row Tree hunderd yard or more, Dey make de turn an roun dey go Raight past de shaintay hon de shore. De seine is set, you see de float, De trip for shore it won’t take long. An den dose Frenchman in dat boat Dey sing dees hole French song: [page 45]
Voix seule, puis la reprise en chœur.
Count de stroke as you hear de song, Keep up de tam, hole man; You’ll like de tune, it won’t take long. Now sing wid me, Ah’m sure you can. Wan, two, tree, and wan, two, tree, And den agan and den some more. Den wan, two, tree, de song’s finis— Dere landing at de shore. Agan dere at de shaintay, Dere jaumping from de yawl; Dere sure to faind it plaentay Of whitefeesh in dat hawl. An den you see de chaudière, In de shaintay always hot; All dose fisherman was dere To eat de bouillon from de pot. [page 46]
Dey light de pipe, an taike a drop, Den Covion was geeve de call. We ain’t gat tam for long to stop— Look sharp, mah boy, for nodder hawl! Helas! dose tam she com no more, For dose good man she’s pass away. Ah hope dere hon som odder shore Where de feeshing’s good to-day. If fisherman wat’s in de ciel Can hear our voices down below, No musique dey would love so well As dees ole song of long ago. Voix seule, puis la reprise en chœur.
Lake Ste. Clair
THE MAN AT THE BOW
WAN scow com sail down de reever Saint Clar, Timber an cordwood her deck load waer, An she sailed so merrily over de barre Into de waters of Lac Saint Clar. Twilaight shees falling, de sky was at rest, Softly de wind she was blow from de west, An de scow break de ripple of water in two Wile she skipping raight over dat lac so blue. In de mist dere’s a man can be seen hon de scow: Hees leaning raight over de rail at de bow, Wile hees singing a song of de long tam ago Wat he learn in Quebec, in de Bas-ville below. [page 48]
Den a man from de mash he was paddle dat way: Hees a potter wat’s been in hees canoe all day. An de song from de scow it was fall hon hees ear An it takes heem way back to hees modder so dear. Dat’s a Frenchman wat’s singing dat sweet melodie, An he sings it so true, an he sings it so free; An de man from de mash hees a Frenchman also, So he follows de song in a voice soft an low. Den de potter he taikes hees ole hat from hees head, Hees paddle no more, an hees drifting instead; An agan it’s de voice dat he hears from afar As it floats hon de waters of Lac Saint Clar. Dose two Canayen wat was drifting apart Are from de saime contree, an have de saime heart, An de poor potter smile wid hees eye full of tear, An dees was de song wat de potter man hear:
De scow it was fading away from hees sight, For de twilaight shees falling fas into de night; But de pottere’s still dere wid hees hat in hees hand An hees drifting an drifting away from de land. Hees been dreaming of all dose dear one of de past, An hees waking up slow from hees vision at last. Still he hears de faint voice of de man at de bow, Den de song is a memory, it’s gone wid de scow. “Au revoir, mon garcon,” de poor potter-man say, “Dat song tak me back for a vere longe way.” Den hees waiving hees hat in salute to de scow An hees wish heem “Bon voyage,” dat man at de bow. [page 50]
A LESSON IN TABLE MANNERS
PETE RABIDEAU get marry wid a waife from off de state, Shee’s Yankay gal, wid plaentay style, he laike dat gal firsrate; Shee’s blue ballay from Massachu, shee’s educate quite well, Poor Pete was joust de habitant, hees waife was vere swell. Pete bring her back to Canadaw, to leeve in Montreal; Dey get dere ting togedder for keep house in de fall; Hees proud about de way she look, an de way she cook also, For she can maike de best bake bean of any wan he know.
JOE LA BAFF
Wen Pete was hon de French Reevaire he push de lumber raff An get acquaint wid wan bouillon, hees name was Joe LaBaff. Wan day he ask heem to hees house to hav de good dinnaire, Hees sure hees waife will hav de bean, for firsclass beel-a-faire. Hees waife she learn in Boston to maike de Boston-bean; She maike it soft, she maike it brown, she also make it clean, So Joe LaBaff he taike hees seat, raight wid de familee, An everyting she go all raight, as far as Pete can see. She bring de bake bean hon de tabe. L’enfant! dat was look fine! Pete say de grace an few ting more; dey dring a leetle wine. An every wan was hongree, wid de best of appitite, An Pete he do hees possibel to treat dat Joe polite. But wat you spose dat Joe he do? He can’t wait for de rest— He don’t use knife or fork at all, he laike hees own way best, So he grab dose bean wid both de hand, to push it down dat way; Of course dat gal from Boston was quickly faint away. [page 52] Dat Joe La Baff, of de lumber raff, still gobbel at dose bean, He push it in hees face so fast, de worse you never seen. De bean she disappear so quick dere was no odder way, So Pete he hav to call heem, an dees is wat he say: “Mah waife she maike as good bake bean as any boday’s waife, But she never see your style for eat befor in all her laife, So if you ain’t quite satisfy, an need dose bean encore, You use your knife, you ain’t can pass your hand on it no more. Ah see som lumber-jack befor, also som deck-hand too, But Ah never see a Cnayen wat eat so bad as you. Ah spose you was too ignorante to know joust wat Ah mean, But your spoiling all de companee, an your spoiling all de bean.” For long tam after dat affaire, Pete Rabideau hees try To maike excoose for Joe La Baff, but hees waife ain’t satisfy. She com from Boston, Massachu, where dey breed de etiquette; She ain’t forget dat insult for long long tam, you bet! [page 53] But Pete was always good to her in every odder way, Hees try to please her after dat, but still dere’s hell to pay, Till wan faine day he bring her home a diamonde carrotte ring, An now she’s happy an content, an all de tam she sing. [page 54]
THE RACE AT PETIT COTE
DID you ever saw mah ponay— De wan wat win de race? She’s hon de cutter every day, She maike de rack an pace. She’s only fair French ponay, She hav no padda-gree; Her color was de ches-not bay But shee’s good nuff for me. “Catin” was mah ponay’s name (De saime as ba-bee doll); Across de Grande Marais she came, She’s five year hole las fall. Gouleau’s got a pacing horse, Ban Butlaire was hees name; He bring it over from Ecorse, From Meechegane he came. Gouleau he always maike de blow About hees gait an paddagree; Dat felleure try it hard to show Hees plog could maike de two-tortee. He say hees modder was a dam, De fadere was a sire Wat win de race mos every-tam, Was full of blood an fire. He hav a ceefecate to show Hees fadere it was de Pilot R. An also dat hees dam could go, For dat was Floray Temp de star. [page 55]
We ain’t see Floray for long tam, An Pilot long ago was die. Ba gosh! Ah tink dat dam an sire Was Gouleau’s dam beeg lie. Mah fren Cicotte from Wyandotte Was tole me hon de sly De record wat dat plog hees got— You’ll hear de finish by an by. He say dat some wan was a liar; For he sees racker long ago— He pull de hengine to de fire In de good ole citay of Munroe. Hees gallop for de fire brigade, De force was like heem well; Hees hon de job, so Cicotte said, Till some-wan rings de bell. An den he say de dev’s to pay, Dat bell was change hees mind: He’ll turn an go som odder way— An leave de fire brigade behind. For he was hongrey all de day, Hees hongrey all de naight— De corn, de bean, de bran, de hay, Hees gobble everting in sight. Hees appetite she can’t be beat, For hees always feel so well. Hees sure dat was de tam to eat Wen some wan rings de bell. [page 56]
Gouleau was start agan to holler Dat Ban, hees pacing horse, Would beat mah ponay for tree dollar— Ah cover up de bet, of course. Dat was to be de two-mile race At Petit-Cote, along de shore. No trot, no gallop, joust de pace, Tree dollar cash, an notting more. You know de road by Jeem MacKee? At de bank shee’s turning round. Dat’s de plaice, we was agree, Would be de starting ground. Den doun de reever we must go For two mile straight, no more, To Louie Youngeblod’s plaice below— De poplaire tree was hon de shore. De week behind las Saturday We fix it for de go. De wedder she was frostay De hice was cover wid de snow. We bring de ponays to de scratch, All de habitant was dere. Dey put dere monay hon de match; Dere betting freelay hon mah mare. “Dees be de race for pace an rack,” Joe Covion, de judge, hees say. “So clar de way! Gott off de trak! We start de ponays raight away.” [page 57]
Den neck an neck we start to go, But de judge say, “Start wance more!” We off agan, hees calling “Whoa! Start off agan, same as before.” We’re off at last, an hon de speed. L’enfant! dat was som pace! Ah’m trying hard to take de lead, But ole Ban still was in de race. De snow she fly as we pass by, Mah ponay try to show de way, But to see dat ole Ban Butlaire fly You’d tink dere was a fire dat day. Neck an neck we’re pacing fast, We’re hon de plaice of Tom MeLoche; Ah do mah best, Ah can’t get past Dat ole-tam hengine horse. De habitant call from de shore An geeve de cheer, as we pass bye. “Avance, Catin!” “Avance, encore!” “Wake up! wake up, ole Ban!” dey cry. Ba gosh! Ah never see such race— Raight togedder side by side Dey go two-tortee hon de pace; For taike de lead each ponay tried. De Taverne Rouge we’re going past, Neck an neck, an all was well; Ban Butlaire he was going fast Wen de cook she ring de bell. [page 58]
Den Ban he break, he break some more, “Whoa donc!” hees driver yell. He turn an gallop for de shore An still de cook she ring de bell. Wid me, Ah finish hon de pace; Dey cheer as Ah pass by. De judge decide Ah win de race For ole Ban was deesqualify. “Dat’s put op job,” Gouleau he say, “Cicotte’s de wan can tell— Dat’s heem wat pay de cook dat day To ring dat dinner bell.” [page 59]
MY DOG FRANCOIS¹
AH miss mah dog Franswa, in town yesterday, An Ah wait for heem all tru de naight. So Ah put advertise hon de pape raight away; Ah hope purtay soon dat he’ll com back all raight. De notice below dat’s about mah Franswa— Jules Bondie was write it in Englishe firsrate; So Ah wait for de news an Ah wonder pourquoi Dat Franswa ain’t meetin me now at de gate.
THE NEWSPAPER NOTICE
Ah loos it mah dog, or hees stole in de street, In de crowd at de court-house at noon; Hees full toro-bred an a hard dog to beat, Ah’ll pay de man well wat will bring heem back soon. Hees smart leetle felleure, wid white shaggy hair, Wid a ring running roun hon de hend of hees tail;
If you call heem Franswa he will go anywhere, Hees a gentleman dog, an not a female. Ah’m poor habitant wid no monay to spare But de man wat will bring it dat dog back to me, Ah’ll pay for hees keep, an Ah’ll pay de car-fare; Ah’ll ask heem no question, whoever he be.
Ah tink mah fren Bondie was tole wan beeg lie Wen he sai in dat notice mah dog’s toro-bred, So Ah ask heem de reason an he tole me why An dees is exactly wat Bondie he said: “De breed of a man don’t show trou hees clothes. If dere made of de broadcloth or Canaday grey, He can look vere well an dere’s nobodday knows; So you geev heem de benfit—dere’s no odder way. For de real gentile-homme he don have to blow To prove wat de fadere of heem use to be. If hees hon de square dat’s de bes breed to show, Den you don’t waste de tam, for to look up hees tree.” An Bondie he sai wid a dog it’s de same: No sign hon de fur of de breed you can see Or wedder hees fadere or modere’s to blame, For all kind of dog have de same kind of flea. Ah believe dat is true wat Bondie tole me, An Ah’m glad for to know dat Ah am wat Ah am. Dere’s many good point in mah dog, Ah can see. Ah’ll bet hon Jule Bondie, hees raight every tam. [page 61]
Mah dog has no modere to show heem de way Ah no politish for to fix heem a plaice, So if Ah should leev heem in trouble today An nevaire could look dat poor dog in de face. It’s a long tam, mah, fren, dat Ah’m waiting to hear, Twilaight shees coming to close out de light; He must be wid stranger or he would appear. Ah wonder if Franswa will come home to-night? Stop! Wait a minnet! who’s dat at de door? Who’s pushing it open an jaumping raight in? It es—it es Franswa who! Crawls hon de floor; Hees trying to tell me just where he has been. “Enough my dog Franswa, don’t spik any more,” For now Ah am happy an satisfy too. No more will you wander away from mah door, An nevaire agan will we part, me an you.”
The poor friendly dog so faithful and true Is willing to share all your troubles with you; At your slightest affront he will growl, he will fight, He’ll follow your footsteps from morn until night. It’s not for the gold, nor for glory or pride, That he’s wistfully wagging his tail by your side: He’s craving for just a slight notice from you; A pat on the head or a soft word will do. [page 62] He’s more than repaid for his kindness and care With the bone or the crust that will fall to his share, And he meekly and silently bows to the frown With sorrowful eye and with tail hanging down. But his troubles are over as soon as you smile, He’s watching the look on your face all the while, For friendship so rare, for affection so true, Just give him a smile—it’s the least you can do. [page 63]
A LEGEND OF DETROIT RIVER
BOUT fortay, feeftay year ago, dey run a side-wheel ferry Along de Strait wat separate Lac Saint Claire from Lac Erie. Ask som ole-tam habitant, if your knowing som of dem, Dey’ll tell you bout dees story of de leetle steamer Gem. She hav som fancay smok-stac, an a pilot house also, Dere’s wheel inside de paddle box to mak dat vassalle go. Widdout a skip, she mak de trip from Detroit, Meechegane, Across to Wainsorr, Canaday, an com raight back agane. Captaine Tom, of de leetle Gem, was wan good sailor too, Could run de hengine, trow de rope, dere’s nothing he can’t do. An any gal wat’s looking well, don’t hav to pay som fare— Hees laike de laday, Captaine Tom, an for de cash don care. About dees tam de ole Barnam was com trou Canaday, De ciercass leeve Belle Reever, because de job don pay; So down de hill in Wainsorr Town ole Barnam bring hees show; He want to pass across de creek as fast as he can go. [page 64] Hees geeve salute to Captain Tom: “Cap, how she go wid you?” “Ah feel O. K.,” de Captain say, “an Ah’m going firs-rate too!” “Wat you charge for bring mah show across to Meechegane?” “For twentay dollar Ah will move de whole dam caravane.” Captaine Tom call to hees mate—hees name was Billideau— To load de hanimal hon de Gem as fast as he can go; So he drive de caravane hon board, wid de ringman an de clown, An Billideau get much excite, as he roll hees eye aroun. For you must know dat Billideau was only common mate, Could handle horse or cow or goat, an do de job firsrate; But when he see dat ciercass wat’s hon de Gem dat day Hees sure before dey mak de shore de dev will be to pay. Dere’s el-fante wat was white lak snow, dere’s zebera an geeraff, Som lion an som tiger too, an golden-headed calf, He see som clown, also som mule, also som buffalo, An he see dose lovly laday too, wat’s acting in de show. [page 65]
But de most expenseeve hanimal wat’s hon de Gem dat day Is de first an only hippopot wat com to dees contrey. He com dees way from Africay, wid Barnam long before, An Barnam say dat felleure way ten thousand poun or more. De Gem she tak dem half-way cross dat beautiful reever, Where de wataire she was clear and blue—but maybe you was dere— When de tiger scratch de lion behainde, dat scare de buffaloo, An de el-fante blow hees trompette, an bust up all de show. [page 66] Dat hippopot, since he was brot from de mash in Africay, Don’t hav no tam for wash hessef since he left home dat day. He see de fight, an get excite, while de caravane she roared, An de wataire looked so good to heem, he jaump raight overboard. Hees grunt was lak de tondaire, for dey feel it hon de shore, He shake hees tail, an mak de dive, an don’t com up no more. Ole Barnam swear an pull hees hair, he almos mak de fit, But Captaine Tom laugh hon hees face, an mak de ole man quit. When de leetle Gem she reach de foot of Woodward Avenue, Ole Barnam pull wan roll of beel, de first ting dat he do. Wan tousand dollar he will geeve, an a bran new coat an pants, O de man wat catch dat hippopot, but no wan tak de chance. Dose gennelmans about de dock, dey com down to de shore— Dere’s Captaine Pridge, an Beel E-nasse, an also Artaire Gore, Dere’s Beeg Tom Reath an Captain Horn, an Connay Scanlan too, An Captain King wid a new plog hat, in a fancay suit of blue. [page 67] Wael, all dose felleure know de reever and de currant wael, But how to trap dat hippopot, dere’s none of dem can tell. Den Barnam buy a glass for spy, from Mistaire Fox down dere, An de ole man’s looking up an down de reever everywhere. Tree day was passing since dat hip was jaumping from dat boat An Pete Nadeau was sitting hon de shore at Petit Cote, Dat’s joust below ole Sandweech, hon de side of Canaday, Where dey raise de finest radishe wat’s in dees whole contray. Nadeau was hon hees capstaine he fix hees catfeesh line; Hees feel content an satisfy, for de feeshing dere was fine, But when he lift hees eyebrow to look out hon de reever Ba gosh! mah fren, he see somting wat mak dat bouillon sheever. He hear a grunt wat’s sounding lak a cannon shot close by, An de reever rise, de reever fall, de wave shees running high; An purtey soon, lak beeg balloon, wid uglay eye an nose, Dat hippopot expose hessef, an from de wataire rose. [page 68]
Wael, Pete’s so scare, he cross hessef, but dere’s no tam to pray; For hees sure de dev’ shees com at last to tak heem raight away. An while dat dam ole hippopot was making for de shore Nadeau was making for de bush, for he ain’t stay dere no more. Som of de ole tam habitant wat’s leeving down dat way Dey see dat ugley hanimal while he prominade round dat day. Dere sure de world com to de hend an finish up for fair, An dere off for Reever au Canard, to find de priest down dere. When de hippopot was satisfy dat he scare dem all away, He find de plaice de radishe grow, an dere he spend de day. He eat de radishe wat was ripe, an de radishe wat was green, Befor he finish up de job, he eat de radish clean. You know, mah fren, de radishe, dat’s not for steady meal— You eat a few, and dat will do, an den de gas you feel. An when dat hongrey hippopot eat all de radishe dere, He swell so fas from all de gas he can’t move anywhere. [page 69] He cloes hees eye, hees hon de ground, he won’t got up so soon, For de gas from all dose radishe would fill a beeg balloon. Was dat de sound of hurricane? Wat’s coming down de shore? Wael, no. Dat’s joust de hippopot, hees letting go de snore. Down comes de ole man Barnam wid a doctaire of de horse,— It’s Doctaire Rippe, de vetrenaire, de best man in Ecorse. He use a pump, he use a saw, he also use a truss, For de doctaire faind hees much congest inside hees soffacuss. So Barnam get hees reever horse, an start back for de show, He cross de creek wid Captaine Forbe hon de ferry boat Argo. Dose habitant wat get excite, dey all com back next day, An since dat tam no hippopot was coming down dat way. Poor Pete Nadeau, away she go, from good ole Petit Cote, No more feeshing net for Pete, an no more feeshing boat. Hees hon de inland farm, dey say, bout twelve mile from de shore, Hees satisfy to tak no chance hon de reever bank no more.
NOTE.—It is true that in the sixties, while a wild-beast show was being transported across Detroit River, a hippopotamus plunged from a steamer and remained in the river for three days. [page 70]
THE HABITANT’S LAMENT
HON de farm of mah fadere, at de marais below, Dat’s de plaice Ah was born me, a long tam ago. De ole house she stands hon de side of de hill— Ah wish de ole crowd was all leeving dere still. Ah see de ole home as Ah close up de eye: Mah modere so dear, an mah fadere clos bye, But none of dose dear wan was roun me today; It’s too bad de ole tam she’s all past away. Wen we husk it de corn, or to dance we would go, Wid de ponay we drive in de cart or traineau. De boy an de gal dey would spark at de gate, Dere singing of love till de hour she was late. All mah brodder an cousin an friend was aroun, Every wan was acquaint wid de odder in town, An we smoke de clay pipe wid de Canaday Grey— Ah’m sorry de ole tam she’s all past away. Wen we go to de citay, for tak in de show, At de Hopperaw House, or de ciercasse you know, De citay she’s quiet, lak de peep way you meet; You can drive you’re French ponay all over de street. An if you walk roun, you can be your own boss— De cop of de traffic don’t pull you across. Wid your pant in your boot, you’re walking all day; It’s too bad de ole tam she’s all past away. Dere’s no motor-ceeke for to mak your jaump roun— Dose felleure wat go lak de dev’ trou de town. You cross de street offen, it’s joust how you feel, An you don’t hear de bark from de automobile. [page 71]
A CALL ON RABIDEAU
No lectricetay she was hon de street car, But de car wid de ponay will pull you as far; Ah tink, as Ah’m looking aroun me to-day, It’s too bad de ole tam she’s all past away. An now wen Ah tak mah good ponay wid me An drive to de citay, mah frend for to see, Ah always mak visit to Pete Rabideau, Wat keep a saloon, an a hotele also. Den we have a few drink of de Walkerville Rye An hees read me de news from de pape bye an bye, But Ah’m not satisfy. In mah ole fashion way, Ah’m sorry to see all de change, Ah must say. De tam she was change, an changing for fair, Dey say dere’s som felleure wat fly in de air For two tousand mile, to de New York Citay, An finish de trip fore de close of de day. [page 72] Dere’s de diving boat “U,” she don’t com up at all, She traval below, from de spring to de fall. Wat’s going to becom of de peep? Ah should say— It’s too bad de ole tam she’s all past away. Dere’s dose picture wat’s moving aroun at de show, A man wid a crank he can start dem to go; An dey walk an dey talk, and dey laugh an dey smile, An som of dem sing in de very best style. An wen dose man die, dere voice is still strong An at dere own funeral, can sing dere own song. Baptême! dere was noting you’re sure of today— It’s too bad de ole tam she’s all past away. Dey say if som felleure in Sout-Africay Was hav a few dollar in monay to pay He can spic to hees gal in Detroit, Meechegane, An de gal she can spic to it, raight back agane. Dose voice hon de air, trou de windmill she go Dat’s seex tousand mile, mah good frend, you know. Mon Dieu! Wen Ah hear such a news, Ah must say, It’s too bad de ole tam she’s all past away. Pete tole me som cannon can trow out de ball Wat go tortay mile before she was fall; An if dat ball bust, an you’re standing close bye, You’re gone for dey don geeve you tam for to die. Dere’s a very bad war, where tree million or two Was loose all dere life, joust for noting, dat’s true. An de poor common man, she hav noting to say— It’s a shame dat de ole tam she ain’t here today. [page 73] Ah’ve no educate, an mah brain is too slow, Or maybe Ah don’t understand it, you know; But it makes me feel bad, an Ah’m also excite, De world she is changing from day tam to naight. She’s going so crazay, she’s going so fast, Le bon Dieu, will stop de whole beesness at last. So Ah’ll stay hon de mash, dere’ll be hell to pay— It’s too bad de ole tam she’s all past away. [page 74]
THE WRECK OF THE SCOW JULIE PLANTE
(A Legend of Lake Ste Claire)
As Recited and Sung About Detroit in 1870
Revised and Illustrated by Wm. E. Baubie
TWAS wan dark night on Lak Ste Claire, De win’ she blow, blow, blow, When de crew of wood scow “Julie Plante” Got scair’t an’ run below— For the win’ she blow lake hurricane Bimeby she blow some more, An’ dat scow bus’ up on Lak Ste Claire Wan arpent from de shore. De Capitaine walk hon de fronte deck An’ he walk hon de hin’ deck too— He call de crew from up de hole An’ he call up de cook also. De cook shee’s name was Rosie, She come from Monreale, Was chamber maid hon a lumber barge, Hon de beeg Lachine Canal. De win’ she blow from nor’—eas’—wes’,— And de sout win’ she blow too, When dat Rosie gal cry “Capitaine, Mon cher, w’at will I do?” Den de capitaine t’row de beeg ankeere, But still de scow she dreef, De crew she can’t pass hon de shore, Becos’ shee’s los’ her skiff. [page 75]
De night was dark lak’ wan black cat, De wave roll high an’ fas’, W’en de capitaine grab dat Rosie gal And tie her to de mas’. An’ hen hee’s tak’ de life preserve, An’ hee’s jaump off hon de lak, An’ say “Good bye, ma Rosie dear, I go drown for your sak’”. Nex’ morning, very earlay, ‘Bout Ha’f-pas’ two—t’ree—four— De capitaine—scow—an de poor Rosie Was corpses hon de shore” For de win’ she blow lak. hurricane, Bimeby she blow some more, An’ dat scow bus’ up hon Lak Ste Claire, Wan arpent from de shore.
Now all you good scow sailor man, Tak’ warning from dat storm, An’ go an’ marry som nice French gal, An’ leev hon wan beeg farm. Den de win’ can blow some more, You can’t get drown on Lak Ste Claire, So long as you stay on shore. [page 77]
PHILOSOPHY OF POLEON NADEAU
(“There’s No Good Time to Die”)
I WOULD not die in de spring-tam, W’en de grass is fresh an green, W’en you see de morning sky so blue Wid’ de air’s so pure and clean. Your pulse ees strong, you feel alive, De glou-glou’s hon her nest, De trout hee’s waking slowly From hee’s cold an’ silent rest. Each wan you meet ees bright an’ gai, De children run an laugh an’ play, It’s de beautiful ole spring-tam— An’ I could not pass away. I would not die in summer-tam, Dat’s de poor man’s tam of year, De twilaight ees so peacefule, De moonlight soft an’ clear, Dere’s no wan feels lak working, Dere’s no wan seems to try, But dose evening you’ll remember In de coming bye and bye. De corn she’s waving in de field, W’ile de breeze will gently blow, Dat ees de grande ole summer-tam— An’ I don’t care den to go. I would not die in de fall-tam, Dat’s de best tam of de year, De mash and field shee’s fule of gam, W’ile de hunter’s gaun you hear, De snape an’ plovaire prominade Along de mash an’ shore, [page 78]
De grey-dock an’ de mallarde, De’re knocking at your door. De black-bass an’ de doré De’re looking for de bait, I could not go in de fall-tam— Some odder tam—I’ll wait. I would not die in winter-tam, W’en de snow was hon de ground, W’en you race de ponay hon de hice, Wid’ de habitant all around. Most every naight som soiree— You dance an’ sing so free— You husk de corn an smoke de pipe, An’ spark de gal till wan, two, tree. De snow she’s fly as you pass by, Wid’ your ponay an traineau, It’s de magnifique ole winter-tam— Dat’s no good tam to go. Dees life shee’s pass so vere fast, Down in dees plaice below, Dere’s hardly tam to turn aroun’ Before you have to go. Your visit’s only for a day, You come, you breathe, an’ you’re away, Joust like de foolish shad-fly, You aint got long to stay. I find no hour, no tam to go, In dose season of de year, For each wan ees more beautifule, An’ each wan is more dear. De spring’s de sun-rise of dat day, De summer ees de noon, De fall ees joust de twilight— De naight ees coming soon. [page 80] W’en winter wid her snow an’ hice, She lays de shadow hon de laight, Dat day of life down here below, Shee’s closing softly wid de naight. So take de journey eazay, Be content an’ satisfy, You’ll find each hour de best to live— But der’s no good tam to die. I hope I’m sleeping an’ at rest, W’en Le Bon Dieu geeves de call, I hope I’m dreaming of de best W’en I must go—dat’s all. I hope som breeze will com an blow An’ find me as I lay, An’ lift me from dees plaice below, An’ blow me far away. An’ if no wan will wake me, Maybe I’ll reach de sky, Den I’ll be happy an’ content— For den I will not die. [page 81]
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