BETSY AND I ARE OUT
A Recitation-By Will. II. Carleton.
Draw up the papers, lawyer, and make 'em good and stout,
For things at home are cross-ways, and Betsy and I are out,;
We who have worked together so long as man and wife,
Must pull in single harness the rest of our nat'ral life.
"Whats the matter," says you! I swan! it's hard to tell I
Most of the years behind us we've passed by very well;
I have no other woman-she has no other man;
Only we've lived together as long as ever we can.
So I have talked with Betsy, and Betsy has talked with me,
And weve agreed together that we can never agree,
Not that. we've catched eaeh other in any terrible crime;
We've been a gatherin' this for years, a little at a time.
There was a stock of temper we both had, for a start;
Although we ne'er suspected 'twould take us two apart;
I had my various fallings, bred in the flesh and bone.
And Bei sy, like all good women, had a temper of her own.
The first thing I remember whereon we disagreed,
Was something concerning heaven-a difference in our creed ;
We arge'd the thing at breakfast- we arg'ed the thing at tea -
And the more we arg'ed the question, the more we couldn't agree.
And the next that I remember was when we lost a cow;
She had kicked the bucket, for certain-the question was only-How?
I held my opinion, and Betsy another had;
And when we were done a talkin', we both of us was mad.
And the next time that I remember, it started in a joke;
But for a full week it lasted, and neither of us spoke.
And the next was when I fretted because she broke a bowl;
And she said I was mean and stingy, and hadn't any soul.
And so he thing kept workin', and all the self-same way;
Always somethin' to arg'e and somethin' sharp to say.
And down on us came the neighbors, a couple o' dozen strong.
And lent their kindest service to help the thing along.
And there have been days together-and many a weary week-
When both of us were cross and spunky, and both too proud to speak;
And I have been thinkin' and thinkin', the whole of the Summer and Fall
If I can t live kind with a woman, why, then I won't at all.
And so I've talked with Betsy, and Betsy has talked with me,
And we have agreed together that we can never agree;
And what is hers shall be hers, and what is mine shall be mine;
And I'll put it in the agreement, and take it to her to sign.
Write it on the paper, lawyer-the very first paragraph-
Of all the farm and live stock, she shall have her half;
For she has helped to earn it, through many a weary day.
And It's nothin' more than justice that Betsy has her pay.
Give her the house and homestead; a man can thrive and roam.
But wo nen are wretched critters unless they have a home.
And I have always determined, and never failed to say,
That Betsy never should want a home it" I was taken away.
There's a little hard money besides, that's drawin' tol'rable pay,
A couple of hundred dollars laid by for a rainy day.
Safe in the hands of good men, and easy to get at; ,
Put in another clause there, and give her all of that.
I see that you arc smiling, sir, at my givin' her so much;
Yes, divorce is cheap, sir, but I take no stock in such ;
True and fair I married her, when she was blithe and young.
And Betsy was always good to me, except in' with her tongue.
When I was young as you, sir, and not so smart, perhaps,
For me she mittened a lawyer, and several other chaps;
And all of 'em was flustered, and fairly taken down,
And for a time I was counted the luckiest man in town.
Once, when I had a fever-I won't forget it soon-
I was hot as a basted turkey, and crazy as a loon-
Never in hour went by me when she was out of sight;
She mined me true and tender, and stuck to mc. day and night.
And if ever a house was tidy, and ever a kitchen clean,
Her house and kitchen was tidy as any I ever seen ;
And I don't complain of Betsy, or any of her acts,
Exoeption' when we've quarreled, and told each other facts.
So draw up the paper, lawyer; and I'll go home to-night.
And reiki the agreement to her, and see if it's all right;
And then in the mornin' I'll sell to a tradin' man I know-
And kiss the child that was left to us, and out in the world I'll go.
And one thing put in the paper, that first to me didn't occur:
That when I am dead at last she will bring me hack to her,
And lay me under the maple we planted years ago,
When she and I was happy, before we quarreled so.
And when she dies, I wish that she would be laid by mc;
And lyin' together in silence, perhaps, we'll then agree;
And if ever we meet in heaven, I wouldn't think it queer
If we loved each other the better because we've quarreled here.