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Holand, Hjalmar Rued, 1872-1963 / Wisconsin's Belgian community : an account of the early events in the Belgian settlement in northeastern Wisconsin with particular reference to the Belgians in Door County
(1933)

Chapter VII: Belgian characteristics and customs,   pp. [81]-97 PDF (4.0 MB)


Page 89


   BELGIAN CHARACTERISTICS AND CUSTOMS
events pass off smoothly, he tried to be everywhere
at once and to oversee all personally.  Once he
thoughtlessly invaded the kitchen to see how things
in that important quarter were progressing. The
day was warm and his face was flushed and there
was a singular brightness to his eye that to you
or me would simply denote extreme agitation.
    "How then, chere Amie?" he addressed his
wife. "Is all in readiness?"
    It had been a busy week for her, and I believe
she was ready to give him a verbal broadside for
his intrusion when she noted that telltale gleam in
his eye.
    "Listen to me," she said slowly and emphati-
cally, with a touch of that suspicion that somehow
lurks in every wifely breast. "Listen to me, Mon-
sieur Macceaux.  Because they have nicknamed
you 'Mouchons', a bird, must you then choose to
become a boiled owl? I don't ask or need instruc-
tions from you on my job; see to it that you do as
well on your end and-remember what I say-
stay sober !"
    A shout outside provided timely interruption
to our host and out he went, glad to retreat. The
guests were arriving-and what a hubbub. All the
pent-up emotions of two years' suppression ex-
ploding in a joyous acclaim at this public reunion
or friends and countrymen. Clad in wide trousers
and the loose fitting 8aurot or blouse are the men,
while the women and girls wear the tight bodice
and voluminous skirts of the period, with always
a white apron added on holidays.
    We will just walk over quietly and stand near
the committee and try to catch some of the names
of those settlers as they arrive. I don't believe
there is another nationality that is so prone to
nicknaming friends as the Belgians are, so we will
have to ask some one to decipher the names or
identify the parties as they come. We will have to
depend on our ears now to interpret the syllables
into English.
    "Bon jour 'Katchet' and 'Mustok', and Pierre
and John 'Del Fronsee' and 'Mee an sha sha' -
well, well-this will be a day". And in order named
89


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