Mademoiselle Honee is a French Cou-nu du Forez hen who works as Mr. Hollingsworth’s secretary, administrator, office manager and “gatekeeper.” She is very efficient and relishes her job: especially the gatekeeper part. It is virtually impossible to get past her to Mr. Hollingsworth without an appointment… or a hand grenade. Or both. Unless you’re Strouse. And still she gives him a hard time.
That’s because she can barely stand “zee little peepsquick,” as she refers to him. Oddly enough, Strouse is genuinely fond of Babette; fond enough to want get under her skin a little. So, he’ll playfully shorten her first name to “Babe,” or call her “Honey” instead of “Oh-Nay,” the proper pronunciation of her last name. When he’s really on his game, Strouse can get Babette really steamed by referring to her as “the ol’ Canoe,” which he claims in mock innocence, is short for Cou-nu du Forez.
“It eez Cou-nu! Not ‘canoe.’ Not a leetle boat, you irritating rodent!”
“Cou-nu? What’s it mean, if not ‘little boat?’” Strouse baits her.
“Eet means ‘naked neck’ you leetle kitty biscuit!”
“Oh, yeah. I see now. You got no feathers over there. Probably lost ‘em sticking your neck out for your favorite Note Hunter. You can admit it, Babe. You love me.”
Yep, theirs is a classic love-hate relationship. Much as Babette would like to resist such repartee, when it comes to T. W. Strouse, she simply cannot. Strouse isn’t mean with his teasing. He’d never push Babette to the point where she’d bust a blood vessel or anything. But she might involuntarily lay an egg.
Even though she can be exceptionally testy, Honee is highly valued by Mr. Hollingsworth for her loyalty, efficiency and her ability to protect him from distractions. He may be eccentric, but if she wasn’t so good at her job, he wouldn’t have her around.