How Bateese Came Home

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.
1W'en I was young boy on de farm, dat 's twenty year ago
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
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.
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
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,
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
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
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
40Wit' beaver hat--dat 's Yankee style--an' red tie on hees t'roat--
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
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!--
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--
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.
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
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
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. Back to Line
6] Unknown. Back to Line
13] Les Etats Unis: The United States. Back to Line
18] de grande majorité: to 21 years old (voting age). Back to Line
19] borde d'eau: waterfront. Back to Line
20] Presbytere: the parish priest's house. Back to Line
23] l'argent: money. Back to Line
30] Central Fall: Central Falls, Rhode Island? Back to Line
34] Rivière de Loup: city on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River east of Québec City. Back to Line
39] portmanteau: large travelling bag. Back to Line
41] Comment ça va mon vieux? How are you my old friend? Back to Line
48] Waterhole: translates "Trudeau" (="trou d'eau"). Back to Line
57] Collins John: a "Tom Collins"? Back to Line
65] soirée: evening party. Back to Line
97] embrasser: the kissing, the hug. Back to Line
98] bimeby: by and by. Back to Line
99] Bâ j'eux rester ici: Boo-hoo I'll be staying here. Back to Line
103] Magasin: store. Back to Line
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. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1997.