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Short poem

William Henry Drummond (1854-1907)

How Bateese Came Home

              1W'en I was young boy on de farm, dat 's twenty year ago
              2I have wan frien' he 's leev near me, call Jean Bateese Trudeau
              3An offen w'en we are alone, we lak for spik about
              4De tam w'en we was come beeg man, wit' moustache on our mout'.

              5Bateese is get it on hees head, he 's too moche educate
              6For mak' de habitant farmerre--he better go on State--
              7An' so wan summer evening we 're drivin' home de cow
              8He 's tole me all de whole beez-nesse--jus' lak you hear me now.

              9"W'at 's use mak' foolish on de farm? dere 's no good chances lef'
            10An' all de tam you be poor man--you know dat 's true you'se'f;
            11We never get no fun at all--don't never go on spree
            12Onless we pass on 'noder place, an' mak' it some monee.

            13"I go on Les Etats Unis, I go dere right away
            14An' den mebbe on ten-twelve year, I be riche man some day,
            15An' w'en I mak' de large fortune, I come back I s'pose
            16Wit' Yankee famme from off de State, an' monee on my clothes.

            17"I tole you somet'ing else also--mon cher Napoleon
            18I get de grande majorité, for go on parliament
            19Den buil' fine house on borde l'eau--near w'ere de church is stand
            20More finer dan de Presbytere, w'en I am come riche man!"

            21I say "For w'at you spik lak dat? you must be gone crazee
            22Dere 's plaintee feller on de State, more smarter dan you be,
            23Beside she 's not so healtee place, an' if you mak' l'argent,
            24You spen' it jus' lak Yankee man, an' not lak habitant.

            25"For me Bateese! I tole you dis: I 'm very satisfy--
            26De bes' man don't leev too long tam, some day Ba Gosh! he die--
            27An' s'pose you got good trotter horse, an' nice famme Canadienne
            28Wit' plaintee on de house for eat--W'at more you want ma frien'?"

            29But Bateese have it all mak' up, I can't stop him at all
            30He 's buy de seconde classe tiquette, for go on Central Fall--
            31An' wit' two-t'ree some more de boy,--w'at t'ink de sam' he do
            32Pass on de train de very nex' wick, was lef' Rivière du Loup.

            33Wall! mebbe fifteen year or more, since Bateese go away
            34I fin' mesef Rivière du Loup, wan cole, cole winter day
            35De quick express she come hooraw! but stop de soon she can
            36An' beeg swell feller jomp off car, dat 's boss by nigger man.

            37He 's dressim on de première classe, an' got new suit of clothes
            38Wit' long moustache dat 's stickim out, de 'noder side hees nose
            39Fine gol' watch chain--nice portmanteau--an' long, long overcoat
            40Wit' beaver hat--dat 's Yankee style--an' red tie on hees t'roat--

            41I say "Helloe Bateese! Hello! Comment ça va mon vieux?"
            42He say "Excuse to me, ma frien' I t'ink I don't know you."
            43I say, "She 's very curis t'ing, you are Bateese Trudeau,
            44Was raise on jus' sam' place wit' me, dat 's fifteen year ago?"

            45He say, "Oh yass dat 's sure enough--I know you now firs' rate,
            46But I forget mos' all ma French since I go on de State.
            47Dere 's 'noder t'ing kip on your head, ma frien' dey mus' be tole
            48Ma name 's Bateese Trudeau no more, but John B. Waterhole!"

            49"Hole on de water 's" fonny name for man w'at 's call Trudeau
            50Ma frien's dey all was spik lak dat, an' I am tole heem so--
            51He say "Trudeau an' Waterhole she 's jus' about de sam'
            52An' if you go for leev on State, you must have Yankee nam'."

            53Den we invite heem come wit' us, "Hotel du Canadaw"
            54W'ere he was treat mos' ev'ry tam, but can't tak' w'isky blanc,
            55He say dat 's leetle strong for man jus' come off Central Fall
            56An' "tabac Canayen" bedamme! he won't smoke dat at all!--

            57But fancy drink lak "Collins John" de way he put it down
            58Was long tam since I don't see dat--I t'ink he 's goin' drown!--
            59An' fine cigar cos' five cent each, an' mak' on Trois-Rivières
            60L'enfant! he smoke beeg pile of dem--for monee he don't care!

            61I s'pose meseff it 's t'ree o'clock w'en we are t'roo dat night
            62Bateese, hees fader come for heem, an' tak' heem home all right
            63De ole man say Bateese spik French, w'en he is place on bed--
            64An' say bad word--but w'en he wake--forget it on hees head--

            65Wall! all de winter w'en we have soirée dat 's grande affaire
            66Bateese Trudeau, dit Waterhole, he be de boss man dere--
            67You bet he have beeg tam, but w'en de spring is come encore
            68He 's buy de première classe tiquette for go on State some more.

            69You 'member w'en de hard tam come on Les Etats Unis
            70An' plaintee Canayens go back for stay deir own contrée?
            71Wall! jus' about 'dat tam again I go Rivière du Loup
            72For sole me two t'ree load of hay--mak' leetle visit too--

            73De freight train she is jus' arrive--only ten hour delay--
            74She 's never carry passengaire--dat 's w'at dey always say--
            75I see poor man on char caboose--he 's got heem small valise
            76Begosh! I nearly tak' de fit,--It is--it is Bateese!

            77He know me very well dis tam, an' say "Bon jour, mon vieux
            78I hope you know Bateese Trudeau was educate wit' you
            79I 'm jus' come off de State to see ma familee encore
            80I bus' mesef on Central Fall--I don't go dere no more."

            81"I got no monee--not at all--I 'm broke it up for sure--
            82Dat 's locky t'ing, Napoleon, de brakeman Joe Latour
            83He 's cousin of wan frien' of me call Camille Valiquette,
            84Conductor too 's good Canayen--don't ax me no tiquette."

            85I tak' Bateese wit' me once more "Hotel du Canadaw"
            86An' he was glad for get de chance drink some good w'isky blanc!
            87Dat 's warm heem up, an den he eat mos' ev'ryt'ing he see,
            88I watch de w'ole beez-nesse mese'f--Monjee! he was hongree!

            89Madame Charette wat 's kip de place get very much excite
            90For see de many pork an' bean Bateese put out of sight
            91Du pain doré--potate pie--an' 'noder t'ing be dere
            92But w'en Bateese is get heem t'roo--dey go I don't know w'ere.

            93It don't tak' long for tole de news "Bateese come off de State"
            94An' purty soon we have beeg crowd, lak village she 's en fête
            95Bonhomme Maxime Trudeau hese'f, he 's comin' wit' de pries'
            96An' pass' heem on de "Room for eat" w'ere he is see Bateese.

            97Den ev'rybody feel it glad, for watch de embrasser
            98An' bimeby de ole man spik "Bateese you here for stay?"
            99Bateese he 's cry lak beeg bebè, "Bâ j'eux rester ici.
          100An if I never see de State, I 'm sure I don't care--me."

          101"Correc'," Maxime is say right off, " I place you on de farm
          102For help your poor ole fader, won't do you too moche harm
          103Please come wit' me on Magasin, I feex you up--bâ oui
          104An' den you 're ready for go home an' see de familee."

          105Wall! w'en de ole man an' Bateese come off de Magasin
          106Bateese is los' hees Yankee clothes--he 's dress lak Canayen
          107Wit' bottes sauvages--ceinture fléché--an' coat wit' capuchon
          108An' spik Français au naturel, de sam' as habitant.

          109I see Bateese de oder day, he 's work hees fader's place
          110I t'ink mese'f he 's satisfy--I see dat on hees face
          111He say "I got no use for State, mon cher Napoleon
          112Kebeck she 's good enough for me--Hooraw pour Canadaw."


2] Bateese: Baptiste.

6] Unknown.

13] Les Etats Unis: The United States.

18] de grande majorité: to 21 years old (voting age).

19] borde d'eau: waterfront.

20] Presbytere: the parish priest's house.

23] l'argent: money.

30] Central Fall: Central Falls, Rhode Island?

34] Rivière de Loup: city on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River east of Québec City.

39] portmanteau: large travelling bag.

41] Comment ça va mon vieux? How are you my old friend?

48] Waterhole: translates "Trudeau" (="trou d'eau").

57] Collins John: a "Tom Collins"?

65] soirée: evening party.

97] embrasser: the kissing, the hug.

98] bimeby: by and by.

99] Bâ j'eux rester ici: Boo-hoo I'll be staying here.

103] Magasin: store.

107] bottes sauvages: moccasins, soft leather boots or shoes worn by native peoples--"bottes molles, ordinairement sans semelles" (Louis-Alexandre Bélisle, Dictionnaire Nord-Américainde la Langue Française (Montréal: Beauchemin, 1979).
capuchon: hood.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: William Henry Drummond, The Habitant and other French-Canadian Poems, intro. Louis Frechette (New York and London: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1897): 24-33.
First publication date: 1897
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1997.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/17

Rhyme: aabb

Other poems by William Henry Drummond