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Title: Phil-o-rum's Canoe and Madeleine Vercheres
Author: Drummond, William Henry, 1854-1907
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Phil-o-rum's Canoe and Madeleine Vercheres" ***

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[Illustration: Cover]

[Illustration: "O ma ole canoe, wat ’s matter wit’ you, an’ w’y was you
be so slow?"]

                       [Illustration: Title page]




                              Two Poems by


                             Author of "The
                            Habitant," etc.

                             Illustrated by


                          G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS
                          NEW YORK AND LONDON
                        The Knickerbocker Press

                            COPYRIGHT, 1898
                          G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS
                  Entered at Stationers’ Hall, London

                   The Knickerbocker Press, New York

[Illustration: headpiece]

                          PHIL-O-RUM’S CANOE.

    "O ma ole canoe, wat ’s matter wit’ you,
      an’ w’y was you be so slow?
    Don’t I work hard enough on de paddle, an’
      still you don’t seem to go--
    No win’ at all on de fronte side, an’ current
      she don’t be strong,
    Den w’y are you lak’ lazy feller, too sleepy for
      move along?

    "I ’member de tam, w’en you jomp de sam’
      as deer wit’ de wolf behin’,
    An’ brochet on de top de water, you scare
      heem mos’ off hees min’:
    But fish don’t care for you now at all, only jus’
      mebbe wink de eye,
    For he know it ’s easy git out de way, w’en
      you was a-passin’ by"----

    I ’m spikin’ dis way, jus’ de oder day, w’en I ’m
      out wit’ de ole canoe
    Crossin’ de point w’ere I see, las’ fall, wan very
      beeg caribou,
    Wen somebody say, "Phil-o-rum, mon vieux,
      wat ’s matter wit’ you youse’f?"
    An’ who do you s’pose was talkin’?  W’y de
      poor ole canoe shese’f.

    O yass, I ’m scare w’en I ’m sittin’ dere, an’
      she ’s callin’ ma nam’ dat way.
    "Phil-o-rum Juneau, w’y you spik so moche,
      you ’re off on de head to-day:
    Can’t be you forget, ole feller, you an’ me
      we’re not too young,
    An’ if I ’m lookin’ so ole lak’ you, I t’ink I
      will close ma tongue.

    "You should feel ashame, for you ’re alway
      blame, w’en it is n’t ma fault at all,
    For I ’m tryin’ to do bes’ I can for you on
      summer-tam, spring, an’ fall.
    How offen you drown on de reever, if I ’m
      not lookin’ out for you
    W’en you ’re takin’ too moche on de w’isky,
      some night comin’ down de Soo.

    "De firse tam we go on de Wessoneau, no
      feller can beat us den
    For you ’re purty strong man wit’ de paddle,
      but dat ’s long ago, ma frien’,
    An’ win’ she can blow off de mountain, an’
      tonder an’ rain may come,
    But camp see us bote on de evening--you
      know dat was true, Phil-o-rum.

    "An’ who ’s your horse, too, but your ole
      canoe, an’ w’en you feel cole an’ wet,
    Who was your house w’en I ’m upside down,
      an’ onder de roof you get,
    Wit’ rain ronnin’ down ma back, Baptême! till
      I ’m gettin’ de rheumateez,
    An’ I never say not’ing at all moi-meme, but
      let you do jus’ you please?

    "You t’ink it was right, kip me out all night
      on reever side down below,
    An’ even ’bon soir’ you was never say, but
      off on de camp you go,
    Leffin’ your poor ole canoe behin’, lyin’ dere
      on de groun’,
    Watchin’ de moon on de water, an’ de bat
      flyin’ all aroun’?

    "Oh, dat’s lonesome t’ing hear de grey owl
      sing up on de beeg pine tree!
    An’ many long night she kip me awake till sun
      on de Eas’ I see,
    An’ den you come down on de morning for
      start on some more voyage,
    An’ only t’ing decen’ you do all day, is carry
      me on portage.

    "Dat ’s way, Phil-o-rum, rheumateez she
      come, wit’ pain ronnin’ troo’ ma side,
    Wan leetle hole here, ’noder beeg wan dere,
      dat not’ing can never hide,
    Don’t do any good feex me up agen, no matter
      how moche you try,
    For w’en we come ole an’ our work she ’s
      done, bote man an’ canoe mus’ die."

    Wall, she talk dat way mebbe mos’ de day till
      we ’re passin’ some beaver dam,
    An’ wan de young beaver, he ’s mak’ hees tail
      come down on de water Flam!
    I never see de canoe so scare, she jomp nearly
      two, t’ree feet,
    I t’ink she was goin’ for ronne away, an’ she
      shut up de mout’ toute suite.

    It mak’ me feel queer, de strange t’ing I hear,
      an’ I ’m glad she don’t spik no more,
    But soon as we fin’ ourse’f arrive over dere on
      de ’noder shore
    I tak’ dat canoe lak’ de lady, an’ carry her off
      wit’ me,
    For I ’m sorry de way I ’m treat her, an’ she
      know more dan me, sapree!

    Yass, dat ’s smart canoe, an’ I know it ’s true,
      w’at she ’s spikin’ wit’ me dat day,
    I ’m not de young feller I use to be, w’en work
      she was only play,
    An’ I know I was comin’ closer on place w’ere
      I mus’ tak’ care,
    W’ere de mos’ worse current ’s de las’ wan too,
      de current of Dead Riviere.

    You can only steer, an’ if rock be near, wit’
      wave dashin’ all aroun’,
    Better mak’ leetle prayer, for on Dead Riviere,
      some very smart man get drown;
    But if you be locky an’ watch youse’f, mebbe
      reever won’t seem so wide,
    An’ firse t’ing you know you ’ll ronne ashore,
      safe on de ’noder side.

[Illustration: tailpiece]

[Illustration: headpiece]

                          MADELEINE VERCHERES.

    I’ve told you many a tale, my child, of the
      old heroic days,
    Of Indian wars and massacre, of villages ablaze
    With savage torch, from Ville Marie to the
      Mission of Trois Rivieres;
    But never have I told you yet of Madeleine Vercheres.

    Summer had come with its blossoms, and gaily
      the robin sang,
    And deep in the forest arches, the axe of the
      woodman rang;
    Again in the waving meadows, the sun-browned
      farmers met
    And out on the green St. Lawrence, the fisherman
      spread his net.

    And so through the pleasant season, till the
      days of October came
    When children wrought with their parents, and
      even the old and lame
    With tottering frames and footsteps, their
      feeble labors lent
    At the gathering of the harvest le bon Dieu
      himself had sent.

    For news there was none of battle, from the
      forts on the Richelieu
    To the gates of the ancient city, where the flag
      of King Louis flew;
    All peaceful the skies hung over the seigneurie
      of Vercheres,
    Like the calm that so often cometh ere the
      hurricane rends the air.

    And never a thought of danger had the Seigneur,
      sailing away
    To join the soldiers of Carignan, where down
      at Quebec they lay,
    But smiled on his little daughter, the maiden
    And a necklet of jewels promised her, when
      home he should come again.

    And ever the days passed swiftly, and careless
      the workmen grew,
    For the months they seemed a hundred since
      the last war-bugle blew.
    Ah, little they dreamt on their pillows the
      farmers of Vercheres,
    That the wolves of the southern forest had
      scented the harvest fair.

    Like ravens they quickly gather, like tigers
      they watch their prey.
    Poor people! with hearts so happy, they sang
      as they toiled away!
    Till the murderous eyeballs glistened, and the
      tomahawk leaped out
    And the banks of the green St. Lawrence
      echoed the savage shout.

[Illustration: Like tigers they watch their prey.]

    "O mother of Christ, have pity!" shrieked the
      women in despair;
    "This is no time for praying," cried the young
      Madeleine Vercheres;
    "Aux armes! aux armes! les Iroquois! quick
      to your arms and guns,
    Fight for your God and country, and the lives
      of the innocent ones."

    And she sped like a deer of the mountain, when
      beagles press close behind,
    And the feet that would follow after must be
      swift as the prairie wind.
    Alas! for the men and women and little ones
      that day,
    For the road it was long and weary, and the
      fort it was far away.

    But the fawn had outstripped the hunters, and
      the palisades drew near,
    And soon from the inner gateway the war-bugle
      rang out clear,
    Gallant and clear it sounded, with never a note
      of despair--
    ’T was a soldier of France’s challenge, from
      the young Madeleine Vercheres!

    "And this is my little garrison, my brothers
      Louis and Paul?
    With soldiers two, and a cripple? may the
      Virgin pray for us all!
    But we ’ve powder and guns in plenty, and
      we ’ll fight to the latest breath,
    And if need be, for God and country, die a
      brave soldier’s death.

    "Load all the carabines quickly, and whenever
      you sight the foe
    Fire from the upper turret and loopholes down below,
    Keep up the fire, brave soldiers, though the
      fight may be fierce and long,
    And they ’ll think our little garrison is more
      than a hundred strong."

    So spake the maiden Madeleine, and she roused
      the Norman blood
    That seemed for a moment sleeping, and sent
      it like a flood
    Through every heart around her, and they
      fought the red Iroquois
    As fought in the old-time battles the soldiers
      of Carignan.

    And they say the black clouds gathered, and a
      tempest swept the sky,
    And the roar of the thunder mingled with the
      forest tiger’s cry,
    But still the garrison fought on, while the lightning’s
      jagged spear
    Tore a hole in the night’s dark curtain, and
      showed them a foeman near.

    And the sun rose up in the morning, and the
      color of blood was he,
    Gazing down from the heavens on the little
    "Behold, my friends," cried the maiden,
      "’t is a warning lest we forget,
    Though the night saw us do our duty, our
      work is not finished yet."

    And six days followed each other, and feeble
      her limbs became
    Yet the maid never sought her pillow, and the
      flash of the carabine’s flame
    Illumined the powder-smoked faces, aye, even
      when hope seemed gone,
    And she only smiled on her comrades, and told
      them to fight, fight on.

    And she blew a blast on the bugle, and lo!
      from the forest black.
    Merrily, merrily ringing, an answer came
      pealing back.
    Oh, pleasant and sweet it sounded, borne on
      the morning air,
    For it heralded fifty soldiers, with gallant De
      la Monnière.

[Illustration: "Saluted the brave young captain."]

    And when he beheld the maiden, the soldier of
    And looked on the little garrison that fought
      the red Iroquois
    And held their own in the battle, for six long
      weary days,
    He stood for a moment speechless, and marvelled
      at woman’s ways.

    Then he beckoned the men behind him, and
      steadily they advance
    And with carabines uplifted the veterans of
    Saluted the brave young Captain so timidly
      standing there,
    And they fired a volley in honor of Madeleine

    And this, my dear, is the story of the maiden
    God grant that we in Canada may never see
    Such cruel wars and massacre, in waking or in
    As our fathers and mothers saw, my child, in
      the days of the old régime!

[Illustration: tailpiece]

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