Thanks Neal, you’ve got it. I checked « ringside seat » in my dictionary and found the figurative sense used here : « to have a ringside seat » = « être aux premières loges » (in st. French). The character in the story had parked his buggy right in front of the dancehall : "il avait un ringside seat".
I’m still curious about « baleine » (makes no sense here). Maybe « bas de laine » (woollen stockings).
A few other possibilities on your transcription.
Baleine can be whale, but I think it also means rib of a vessel, as in maybe the ribs of a wagon that would make the wagon fall apart when used without them.
I think that where you have "Neil", it may be "neg", and where you have "ils ont figure' maintenant", it might be "ils ont figure' "mais la" ". Where you have "le job de ses cornes", I think is "le diable et ses cornes" meaning "everything **** thing". Dont know about the word before that phrase, I'll have to ask dad, he remembers the good old buggy days, he'll probably recognize it.
Thank you for the story and the transcription.
Still guessing but I looked at a French English dictionary and baleine was also a stiff collar. It makes me think maybe he means a yoke for his horse. That would be something that the people who played des niches could steal, more likely than something having to do with the frame of his wagon.
Talked to dad, he say's a baleine is a buggy whip, but doesnt know what the "lampereau" thing is, I'll try to get him to listen to it, we might be hearing it wrong.
Ah, bien merci à tous les deux.
So « le diable et ses cornes ». I had never heard that expression to mean that. Very colorful, I like it. And it’s more logical of course since it’s a horse that draws a buggy (I had imagined that maybe he had harnessed an ox though it seemed strange).
So « baleine » is a whip. Then it makes me think of the word « badine », still used here today for a long and pliable rod. It could sound like « baleine » if pronounced quickly like he does.
Thanks anyway for plaguing your dad with my questions.
Ca cetait pas rien, il aime ca, et moi aussi.
You've got my curiosity up about "badine", there could easily be a mispronounciation handed down through the generations of ear to ear communication. I'll quiz him a little more on it. He is easily intrigued by cajun word origins.
Dad thinks he is saying "laproll" (used to cover legs when cold), which makes sense since he is rolling his whiskey jug in it. He says if it is not that, he doesnt know any french word that sounds like that, that would fit that context. The english words are sometimes hard to pick up in the middle of the cajun french. Moi j'connais pas.
D'accord, on va garder ça pour l'instant.
Interesting little article about other kinds of tricks that the "joueurs de niches" could sometimes play on people at dances.
It's # 10 ("Joueurs de niches")
Another interesting one is # 12.
And it gives me the words I wanted to know. Dowell, you had given us the right word : "BALEINE" is the buggy whip. The other one is "LAP ROBE".
baleine is normally a whale, so many something made of whalebone?
but what does "il a fige aux coups" mean?
figer means to freeze up, right?
ps: do you have more stories like this? maybe audio?