How Betsey and I Made Up
GIVE us your hand, Mr. Lawyer: how do you do to-day?
You drew up that paper—I s'pose you want your pay.
Don't cut down your figures; make it an X or a V;
For that 'ere written agreement was just the makin' of me.
Goin' home that evenin' I tell you I was blue,
Thinkin' of all my troubles, and what I was goin' to do;
And if my hosses hadn't been the steadiest team alive,
They'd 've tipped me over, certain, for I couldn't see where to drive.
No—for I was laborin' under a heavy load;
No—for I was travelin' an entirely different road;
For I was a-tracin' over the path of our lives ag'in,
And seein' where we missed the way, and where we might have been.
And many a corner we'd turned that just to a quarrel led,
When I ought to 've held my temper, and driven straight ahead;
And the more I thought it over the more these memories came,
And the more I struck the opinion that I was the most to blame.
And things I had long forgotten kept risin' in my mind,
Of little matters betwixt us, where Betsey was good and kind;
And these things flashed all through me, as you know things
When a feller's alone in the darkness, and every thing is still.
"But," says I, "we're too far along to take another track,
And when I put my hand to the plow I do not oft turn back;
And 'tain't an uncommon thing now for couples to smash in two;"
And so I set my teeth together, and vowed I'd see it through.
When I come in sight o' the house 'twas some'at in the night,
And just as I turned a hill-top I see the kitchen light;
Which often a han'some pictur' to a hungry person makes,
But it don't interest a feller much that's goin' to pull up stakes.
And when I went in the house the table was set for me—
As good a supper's I ever saw, or ever want to see;
And I crammed the agreement down my pocket as well as I could,
And fell to eatin' my victuals, which somehow didn't taste good.
And Betsey, she pretended to look about the house,
But she watched my side coat pocket like a cat would watch a mouse:
And then she went to foolin' a little with her cup,
And intently readin' a newspaper, a-holdin' it wrong side up.
And when I'd done my supper I drawed the agreement out,
And give it to her without a word, for she knowed what 'twas about;
And then I hummed a little tune, but now and then a note
Was bu'sted by some animal that hopped up in my throat.
Then Betsey she got her specs from off the mantel-shelf,
And read the article over quite softly to herself;
Read it by little and little, for her eyes is gettin' old,
And lawyers' writin' ain't no print, especially when it's cold.
And after she'd read a little she give my arm a touch,
And kindly said she was afraid I was 'lowin' her too much;
But when she was through she went for me, her face a-streamin' with tears,
And kissed me for the first time in over twenty years!
I don't know what you'll think, Sir—I didn't come to inquire—
But I picked up that agreement and stuffed it in the fire;
And I told her we'd bury the hatchet alongside of the cow;
And we struck an agreement never to have another row.
And I told her in the future I wouldn't speak cross or rash
If half the crockery in the house was broken all to smash;
And she said, in regards to heaven, we'd try and learn its worth
By startin' a branch establishment and runnin' it here on earth.
And so we sat a-talkin' three-quarters of the night,
And opened our hearts to each other until they both grew light;
And the days when I was winnin' her away from so many men
Was nothin' to that evenin' I courted her over again.
Next mornin' an ancient virgin took pains to call on us,
Her lamp all trimmed and a-burnin' to kindle another fuss;
But when she went to pryin' and openin' of old sores,
My Betsey rose politely, and showed her out-of-doors.
Since then I don't deny but there's been a word or two;
But we've got our eyes wide open, and know just what to do:
When one speaks cross the other just meets it with a laugh,
And the first one's ready to give up considerable more than half.
Maybe you'll think me soft, Sir, a-talkin' in this style,
But somehow it does me lots of good to tell it once in a while;
And I do it for a compliment—'tis so that you can see
That that there written agreement of yours was just the makin' of me.
So make out your bill, Mr. Lawyer: don't stop short of an X;
Make it more if you want to, for I have got the checks.
I'm richer than a National Bank, with all its treasures told,
For I've got a wife at home now that's worth her weight in gold.
This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.