Hands so soft and strong and tender,
When I shook a “how de do,”
They was loaded sure with something
Seemed to thrill me through and through;
Hair as black as fire-burnt prairie;
Eyes that dance and flash and flirt;
Every time she smiled she showed you
Teeth as white’s my Sunday shirt.
Baked us biscuits light as cotton;
I can’t eat mine any more,—
I must get some better breeches,—
Kind o’ ’shamed of those I wore;
But I’m goin’ there to-morrow,
Like enough I’ll stay all day,
Seems to me too dry for plowing—
Durn that Johnson, anyway!
I ain’t much on deep-down thinkin’,
Reasoning out the way things go,
So I s’pose I’ll keep on foolin’
Till in time I get to know.
I’ve had chills and fever ‘n’ ague;
Suffered till their course was run.
Maybe love just keeps on runnin’,
Till a man has lost—or won.
One thing certain: I have got it;
Seems to struck in good and hard.
Makes me sometimes soft and tender;
Next thing I would fight my pard.
Appetite is surely failing,
Sometimes I don’t eat a bite;
Dream of Nancy all the daytime,
That durn Johnson, half the night.
I’ve just got to get to plowin’,
Break a fire-guard ’round my shack,
Plant my sod corn, fix my garden;
Everything is goin’ to rack.
I can’t work the way I used to;
Got to quittin’ early now,
Since a little thing that happened,
I can’t just remember how.
I was takin’ leave of Nancy,
Standin’ out there in the night,
And I put my arms around her—
Heart stopped beatin’, just from fright.
Can’t express the kind of feelin’,—
Words wa’n’t never made for this,—
As I drew her face up closer,
And I stole my first sweet kiss.
Things have moved along some smoother
Since a week ago to-night,
Seems my blood turned all to p’ison—
Me and Johnson had a fight.
Caught him twice up there to Nancy’s;
Told him plain to stay away;
But he didn’t seem to notice
Anything I had to say.
Caught him settin’ there and talkin’
’Bout the things that he had done—
Durndest liar on the prairie—
Laughing like he thought ’twas fun,
Settin’ there beside o’ Nancy—
Settin’ down is all he does,
Good for nothin’, bug-eyed, loafin’,
Wrinkled, yaller, meddlin’ cuss!
I just let him keep on settin’
All the whole long evenin’ through;
When he started off I follered,
Told him what I meant to do.
“Why,” says he, “now, don’t git foolish;
I ain’t skeered o’ your light breeze;
I’ll go thar and set by Nancy,
Spite o’ you, when I blame please.”
Well, I don’t just clear remember
All the doin’s that took place,
But you’ll know the story better
If you’ll look at Johnson’s face.
As we rode we clinched and wrestled,
Then we tumbled to the ground,
Tore the bunch grass up, and cactus,
For a hundred yards around.