’Fore I go an errand for her any time
I jest make her coax me, and give me a dime;
But that great, big silly—why, honest and true—
He’d run forty miles if she wanted him to.
Oh, gee whiz!
I tell you what ’tis!
I jest think it’s awful—those actions of his.
I won’t fall in love, when I’m grown—no sir-ee!
My sister’s best feller’s a warnin’ to me!
* * * * *
“THE WIDDER CLARK”
It’s getting on ter winter now, the nights are
crisp and chill,
The wind comes down the chimbly with a whistle sharp and shrill,
The dead leaves rasp and rustle in the corner by the shed,
And the branches scratch and rattle on the skylight overhead.
The cracklin’ blaze is climbin’ up around the old backlog,
As we set by the fireplace here, myself and cat and dog;
And as fer me, I’m thinkin’, as the fire burns clear and bright,
That it must be mighty lonesome fer the Widder Clark ter-night.
It’s bad enough fer me, b’gosh, a-pokin’
round the place,
With jest these two dumb critters here, and nary human face
To make the house a home agin, same as it used ter be
While mother lived, for she was ’bout the hull wide world ter me.
My bein’ all the son she had, we loved each other more—
That’s why, I guess, I’m what they call a “bach” at forty-four.
It’s hard fer me to set alone, but women folks—’t ain’t right,
And it must be mighty lonesome fer the Widder Clark ter-night.
I see her t’ other mornin’, and, I swan,
’t wa’n’t later ’n six,
And there she was, out in the cold, a-choppin’ up the sticks
To kindle fire fer breakfast, and she smiled so bright and gay,
By gee, I simply couldn’t bear ter see her work that way!
Well, I went in and chopped, I guess, enough ter last a year,
And she said “Thanks,” so pretty, gosh! it done me good ter hear!
She do’n’t look over twenty-five, no, not a single mite;
Ah, hum! it must be lonesome fer the Widder Clark ter-night.
I sez ter her, “Our breakfasts ain’t much
fun fer me or you;
Seems’s if two lonesome meals might make one social one fer two.”
She blushed so red that I did, too, and I got sorter ’fraid
That she was mad, and, like a fool, come home; I wish I’d stayed!
I’d like ter know, now, if she thinks that Clark’s a pretty name—
’Cause, if she do’n’t, and fancies mine, we’ll make ’em both the same.
I think I’ll go and ask her, ’cause ’t would ease my mind a sight
Ter know ’t wa’n’t quite so lonesome fer the Widder Clark ter-night.
* * * * *
Oh, the Friday evening meetings in the vestry, long
When the prayers were long and fervent and the anthems staid and slow,
Where the creed was like the pewbacks, of a pattern straight and stiff,
And the congregation took it with no doubting “but” or “if,”
Where the girls sat, fresh and blooming, with the old folks down before,
And the boys, who came in later, took the benches near the door.