M'Sieu Smit

A poem by William Henry Drummond


Wan morning de walkim boss say "Damase,
I t'ink you're good man on canoe d'ecorce,
So I'll ax you go wit' your frien' Philéas
An' meet M'sieu' Smit' on Chenail W'ite Horse.

"He'll have I am sure de grosse baggage,
Mebbe some valise, mebbe six or t'ree,
But if she's too moche for de longue portage
'Poleon he will tak' 'em wit' mail buggee."

W'en we reach Chenail, plaintee peep be dere,
An' wan frien' of me, call Placide Chretien,
'Splain all dat w'en he say man from Angleterre
Was spik heem de crowd on de "Parisien."

Fonny way dat Englishman he'll be dress,
Leetle pant my dear frien' jus' come on knee,
Wit' coat dat's no coat at all, only ves'
An' hat, de more stranger I never see!

Wall! dere he sit on de en' some log
An' swear heem in English purty loud
Den talk Français, w'ile hees chien boule dog
Go smellim an' smellim aroun' de crowd.

I spik im "Bonjour, M'sieu' Smit', Bonjour,
I hope dat yourse'f and famille she's well?"
M'sieu Smit' he is also say "Bonjour,"
An' call off hees dog dat's commence for smell.

I tell heem my name dat's Damase Labrie
I am come wit' Philéas for mak' de trip,
An' he say I'm de firs' man he never see
Spik English encore since he lef' de ship.

He is also ax it to me "Damase,
De peep she don't seem understan' Français,
W'at's matter wit' dat?" An' I say "Becos
You mak' too much talk on de Parisien."

De groun she is pile wit' baggage, Sapré!
An' I see purty quick we got plaintee troub,
Two tronk, t'ree valise, four-five fusil,
An' w'at M'sieu Smit' he is call "bat' tubbe."

M'sieu Smit' he's tole me w'at for's dat t'ing,
An' it seem Englishman he don't feel correc'
Until he's go plonge on some bat' morning
An' sponge it hees possibill high hees neck.

Of course dat's not'ing of my beez-nesse,
He can plonge on de water mos' ev'ry day,
But I t'ink for mese'f it mak foolishness
An' don't do no good w'en your bonne santé.

W'en I tell 'Poleon he mus' mak' dat job,
Dere's leetle too moche for canoe d'écorce,
He's mad right away an' say "Sapré diable!
You t'ink I go work lak wan niggerhorse?

"I'm not manufacture dat way, bâ non,
Dat rich stranger man he have lot monee,
I go see my frien' Onésime Gourdon,
An' tole heem bring horse wit' some more buggee."

Wall! affer some w'ile dey'll arrange all dat,
'Poleon an' hees frien' Onésime Gourdon,
But w'en 'Poleon is tak' hole of bat',
He receive it beeg scare immediatement!

Dat chien boule dog, I was tole you 'bout,
I am not understan' w'at good she's for,
Eat 'Poleon's leg w'it hees teet' an' mout,
'Poleon he is feel very mad, by Gor!

Of course I am poule heem hees tail toute suite
But I don't know some reason mak all dis troub',
W'en I hear me dat Englishman, M'sieu Smit'
Say 'Poleon, w'at for you took my tubbe?

"Leff 'im dere, for I don't low nobodee
Walk heem off on any such way lak dat;
You may tak' all de res', an' I don't care me,
But de man he'll be keel who is tak' my bat'."

"I will carry heem wit' me," say M'sieu Smit',
"W'erever dat tubbe she mus' go, I go,
No matter de many place we visite,
An' my sponge I will tak' mese'f also."

Philéas say "Damase, we mus buil' some raf'
Or mebbe some feller be sure get drown";
Dis geev me plaisir, but I'm scare mak' laf',
So I'll do it mese'f, inside, way down.

At las' we are start on voyage, sure nuff,
M'sieu Smit' carry tubbe on de top hees head,
Good job, I t'ink so, de lac isn't rough,
Or probably dis tam, we're all come dead.

De dog go wit' Onésime Gourdon,
An' Onésime afferwar' say to me,
"Dat chien boule dog is eat 'Poleon
Was de more quiet dog I never see."

But fun she's commence on very nex' day
W'en we go camp out on de Castor Noir.
Dat Englishman he'll come along an' say
"I hope some wil' Injun she don't be dere.

"I have hear many tam, dat de wood be foule
Of Injun w'at tak' off de hair your head.
But so surely my name she's Johnnie Boule
If I see me dem feller I shoot it dead."

Philéas den pray harder, more quick he can
Mebbe he's t'ink dat's hees las' portage
De moder hees fader, she's Injun man
Derefore an' also, he is wan Sauvage.

I say "Don't mak' it some excitement;
Saison she is 'close' on de spring an' fall,
An' dem peep dat work on de Gouvernement
Don't lak you shoot Injun dis mont' at all."

Nex' day M'sieu Smit' is perform hees plonge
We see heem go done it, Philéas an' me,
An' w'en he's hang up bat' tubbe an' sponge
We go on de wood for mak' Chasse perdrix.

An' mebbe you will not believe to me,
But w'en we come back on de camp encore
De sponge of dat Englishman don't be see,
An' we fin' beeg bear she's go dead on shore.

Very fonny t'ing how he's loss hees life,
But Philéas he'll know hese'f purty quick,
He cut M'sieu Bear wit' hees hunter knife,
An' sponge she's fall out on de bear stummick.

Day affer we get two fox houn' from Boss
Dat's good for ketch deer on de fall an' spring,
Den place Englishman w'ere he can't get los'
An' tole heem shoot quicker he see somet'ing.

Wat's dat leetle deer got no horn at all?
She'll be moder small wan en suite bimeby,
Don't remember mese'f w'at name she's call,
But dat's de kin' start w'en de dog is cry.

We see heem come down on de runaway
De dog she is not very far behin'
An' w'en dey pass place M'sieu Smit' is stay
We expec' he will shoot or make noise some kin'!

But he's not shoot at all, mon cher ami,
So we go an' we ax "Is he see some deer?"
He say "Dat's long tam I am stay on tree
But I don't see not'ing she's pass on here."

We spik heem once more, "He don't see fox houn'?"
W'at you t'ink he is say, dat Englishman?
"Yes, I see dem pass quickly upon de groun',
Wan beeg yellow dog, an' two small brown wan."

He's feel de more bad I don't see before
W'en he know dat beeg dog, she's wan small deer,
An' for mak' ev'ryt'ing correc' encore
We drink I am sure six bouteilles de bière.

Nex' day, dat's Dimanche, he is spik to me,
"Damase, you mus' feel leetle fatigué,
You may slep' wit' Philéas w'ile I go an' see
I can't get some nice quiet tam to-day."

So for keep 'way skeeter, an' fly also
Bouteille from de shelf M'sieu Smit' he tak',
Den he start wit' his chien boule dog an' go
For nice quiet walk on shore of lac.

We don't slep' half hour w'en dere's beeg, beeg yell,
Lak somet'ing I'm sure don't hear long tam,
An' we see wan feller we cannot tell,
Till he spik it, "Damase! Philéas!! dam dam!!!"

Den we know it at once, mon cher ami,
But she's swell up hees face, hees neck an' han'!
It seem all de skeeter on w'ole contree
Is jump on de head of dat Englishman.

Some water on poor M'sieu Smit' we'll t'row,
An' w'en he's tranquille fin' out ev'ryt'ing;
Bouteille he's rub on, got some nice sirop
I was mak' mese'f on de wood las' spring.

Dere was jus' 'noder t'ing he seem for care
An' den he is feel it more satisfy,
Dat t'ing, my dear frien', was for keel some bear,
If he'll do dat wan tam, he's prepare for die.

Philéas say he know w'ere some blue berree
Mak' very good place for de bear have fonne,
So we start nex' day on morning earlee,
An' M'sieu Smit' go wit' hees elephan' gun.

Wan woman sauvage she is come be dere,
Mebbe want some blue berree mak' some pie,
Dat' Englishman shoot, he is t'ink she's bear,
An' de woman she's holler, "Mon Dieu, I'm die!"

M'sieu Smit' he don't do no harm, becos
He is shake hese'f w'en he shoot dat squaw,
But scare he pay hunder' dollar cos'
For keel some sauvage on de "close" saison.

T'ree day affer dat, we start out on lac
For ketch on de water wan Cariboo,
But win' she blow strong, an' we can't get back
Till we t'row ourse'f out on dat canoe.

We t'ink M'sieu Smit' he is sure be drown,
Leetle w'ile we can't see heem again no more,
An' den he's come up from de place go down
An' jomp on hees bat' tubbe an' try go shore.

W'en he's pass on de bat', he say "Hooraw!"
An' commence right away for mak' some sing;
I'm sure you can hear heem ten-twelve arpent
'Bout "Brittanie, she alway mus' boss somet'ing."

Dat's all I will tole you jus' now, my frien';
I s'pose you don't know de more fonny case,
But if Englishman go on wood again
I'll have more storee w'en you pass my place.

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