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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 91


   BELGIAN CHARACTERISTICS AND CUSTOMS
and brave the dangers of a new land. It is true
that America had an abundance of natural re-
sources, but remember that she also got the men
and women that were capable of developing them.
It was the combination that made her great.)
    They are getting ready for the first dance
now - that grand march in the open that tradi-
tionally opens the festivities. Joe Lumaye has his
cornet out. Carle Massey is giving a few prelim-
inary slides on his trombone, Francois Legreve
works the keys on his bass horn and Norbert Mig-
non is testing out the strings on his violin.  I
notice though a worried look on the faces of sever-
al of the committeemen and Amia Champaign tries
to calm their misgivings.
    "Theophile Lebut?" he says, "No, friends, he
never disappoints. He and his clarinet will be here
presently. You may depend on that."
    As if in answer, there comes from the forest,
apparently afar off, the faint, clear notes of a
familiar melody. A hush falls on the assemblage
then as the strains of "La Brabanconne" come
softly floating on the late summer air - "La
Brabanconne"- the national song of the valiant
little homeland - "La Brabanconne" with its age
old, gripping appeal to all faithful Belgian hearts.
         Apres des siecles d' esclavage,
         Le elge, sortant du tombeau,
         A reconquis, par son courage,
         Son nom, ses droits, et son drapeau.
    As I watch those young people in an alien
land, manfully struggling to control the flood of
emotions that surge up within them, there is an
unexpected tightening of my own throat in re-
sponse. True enough they are exiles from choice,
but the severing of family ties, (to many it meant
forever), was none the less poignant. The song
ends and the music slowly dies away in the dis-
tance. There is a pause while faces remain avert-
ed and then, abruptly, there comes again from the
forest another tune, this time that zestful, inspir-
ing, marching song of Republican France - the
"Marseillaise". Out from behind a tree steps Mon-
sieur Lebut, clarinet to lips, and with soldierly
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