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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 92


WISCONSIN'S BELGIAN COMMUNITY
    stride approaches his audience. He is clothed in
    the blue capot of the Belgian military, brass but-
    tons resplendent in the afternoon sun. With that
    bouyant Belgian spirit again in evidence, radiant
    smiles break through the tears and with a mighty
    shout the assemblage gives utterance to that un-
    quenchable spirit of a liberty-loving people, fairly
    drowning out our friend Lebut's beloved instru-
    ment.
              Aux Armes. Citoyens!
              Formez vos bataillons!
              Marchons! Marchons!
              Qu'un sang impur
              Abreuve nos sillons!
         ("I knew Theophile Lebut well," Louis
    Rubens told me. "He was a splendid musician and
    he gave freely of his time and talent. He had a
    flair for the dramatic too. I recall distinctly when
    he passed away. He had a crony, a fellow musi-
    cian, living down near Bottkols, by the name of
    Bernard Steinbach. Herr Steinbach played the
    requiem mass for his friend on the clarinet. It
    was very impressive: so much so that it stands
    clearly in my memory even today.")
        And now Monsieur Lebut is among his friends
    and he is receiving their salutations and acclaims.
    His sympathies and thoughts are with the young
    folks though and when he sees them pairing off,
    he halts the greetings quickly and signals his fel-
    low musicians to be ready. With apparent satis-
    faction his glance rests on stalwart young August
    Delfosse2 and he walks over to confront him.
         "Bien Gustin! Why do you keep us waiting?
    Has your right arm lost its cunning or think you,
    you can still wield the flag baton ?"
         August blushes modestly and haltingly con-
    sents to try, and instantly an American flag ap-
    pears, apparently from nowhere, and is thrust
    into his waiting hand. His bearing changes. He
    is no longer one of the merrymakers. He is their
    leader. His spine stiffens. He orders the young
2 This should probably be Jean B. Delfosse. August was
not born until 1851.-H.R.H.
92


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