“I was takin’ leave of Nancy
Standin out there in the night” (Frontispiece)
“Then I dragged him on the prairie
Through a Turk’s Head cactus bed”
“I am standing by her dug-out,
Open stands the sagging door”
“Bringing back a hat of water,
Through the dim light and the rain”
“Loaded up their prairie schooner,
And vamoosed the ranch, ’fore light”
“He was startled by a stranger’s
Sudden presence and ‘Hello!’”
“Faithful Simon, weak and starving,
Groaned and fell beneath his pack”
“Resting calm in fancied safety
Sat the elder MacIntyre”
“Once again the twisted branches
Of the lone and friendly tree”
“Fiercer with each flying moment
Drove the scorching blasts of death”
“Standing there, a pictured goddess
Sketched against a lowering storm”
“But, instead, I shot, to scare him, All the buttons off his coat”
No use talking, it’s perplexing,
Everything don’t look the same;
Never had these curious feelin’s
Till those MacIntyres came.
Quit my plowing long ’fore dinner,
Didn’t hitch my team again;
Spent the day with these new neighbors,
Getting ’quainted with the men.
Talk about the prairie roses!
Purtiest flow’rs in all the world,
But they look like weeds for beauty
When I think of that new girl.
Strange, she seems so kind of friendly
When I’m awkward, every way,
And my tongue gets hitched and hobbled,
Everything I try to say!
There’s one person, that Jim Johnson,
That there man I can’t abide;
He’s been milling around near Nancy,—
Durn his dirty, yaller hide!
Never really liked that Johnson;
Now, each time I hear his name,
Feel this state’s too thickly settled,—
That is, since that new girl came.
If this making love to women
Went like breaking in a horse,
I might stand some show of winning,
’Cause I’ve learned that game, of course;
But this moonshine folks call ‘courting,’
I ain’t never played that part;
I can’t keep from talking foolish
When I’m thinking with my heart.
Now, those women that you read of
In these story picture books,
They can’t ride in roping distance
Of that girl in style and looks.
They have waists more like an insect,
Corset shaped and double cinched;
Feet just right to make a watch charm,
Small, of course, because they’re pinched.
This here Nancy’s like God made her,—
She don’t wear no saddle girth,
But she’s supple as a willow,
And the purtiest thing on earth.
I’m in earnest; let me ask you—
’Cause I want to reason fair—
What durn business has that rope-necked
Johnson sneaking over there?