WITH PIPE, PADDLE, AND SONG: A Story of the French-Canadian Voyageurs Circa 1750 by Elizabeth Yates

WITH PIPE, PADDLE, AND SONG: A Story of the French-Canadian Voyageurs Circa 1750

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A l'amour tour with a dreamy-eyed chanteur hero and a verbose narrator for companions. At sixteen Guillaume Puissante signs up for M. Benedict's canoe caravan to bring back furs from the pays d'en haut. With a sash from his patron's granddaughter Tina, Guillaume rhapsodizes ""je suis un voyageur"" and he joins his fellow travelers as they set out with paddies in their hands and songs in their hearts. . . and mouths. They sing--usually in French-to pass the time, and the words of each song, the narrator repeatedly insists, are a conscious extension of each man's thoughts. Guillaume and his ""burgeoning manhood"" spend a brief interlude with Old Woman and young Willow Wand, an unplucked flower, but Puissante postpones puissance: ""He could have seized her then as the buck the doe, so near they were, so remote in the forest, and she would have yielded; but something there was that came between him and his desire."" Sacre bleu! He catches up with the bilingual boatmen, dreams a (not erotic) dream ""of one particular maiden whose eyes saw only him."" If his memory had been better he would have remembered Tine but he has to get a few furs first. Then It's Maurice Chevalier for grandfather: Tina has become Celestine. The fact that he's a half-breed is a token enabling him to mix freely with Indians and Frenchmen but this virgin forester doesn't pull it off, and he doesn't get on with it either.

Pub Date: May 3rd, 1968
Publisher: Dutton