Page:All quiet along the Potomac and other poems.djvu/49

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43
BY THE COTTONWOOD TREE.

Till her forehead was burned, and her poor little
hand,
Through its hardships, got rugged and rough!

But many a time, when I come in the door
Quite sudden, I've found her just there,
With eyelids all red an' her face to the East—
You see, all her own folks was there.

I cheered her, an' told her we'd go by and by,
When the clearin' and ploughin was through;
And then came the baby—he wa'n't very strong—
So that Hetty had plenty to do.

But after a while she got gloomy again;
She would hide in the cornfield to cry;
We hadn't no meetin' to speak of, you see,
No woman to talk to was nigh.

An' she wanted to show little Joe to the folks;
She was hungry, I s'pose, for the sight
Of faces she'd seen all the days of her life:
That was nat'ral, stranger, an' right.

But just when she thought to go over the Plains
The devils of Sioux was about;
So poor Hetty waited a harvest or two,
Through the summer of locusts and drought.

That left us poor people. The next coming spring
Such a wearisome fever come round;