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Farmer Whipple–Bachelor
by [?]

It’s a mystery to see me–a man o’ fifty-four,
Who’s lived a cross old bachelor fer thirty year’ and more–
A-lookin’ glad and smilin’! And they’s none o’ you can say
That you can guess the reason why I feel so good to-day!

I must tell you all about it! But I’ll have to deviate
A little in beginnin’, so’s to set the matter straight
As to how it comes to happen that I never took a wife–
Kind o’ “crawfish” from the Present to the Springtime of my life!

I was brought up in the country: Of a family of five–
Three brothers and a sister–I’m the only one alive,–
Fer they all died little babies; and ’twas one o’ Mother’s ways,
You know, to want a daughter; so she took a girl to raise.

The sweetest little thing she was, with rosy cheeks, and fat–
We was little chunks o’ shavers then about as high as that!
But someway we sort o’ suited-like! and Mother she’d declare
She never laid her eyes on a more lovin’ pair

Than we was! So we growed up side by side fer thirteen year’,
And every hour of it she growed to me more dear!–
W’y, even Father’s dyin’, as he did, I do believe
Warn’t more affectin’ to me than it was to see her grieve!

I was then a lad o’ twenty; and I felt a flash o’ pride
In thinkin’ all depended on me now to pervide
Fer Mother and fer Mary; and I went about the place
With sleeves rolled up–and workin’, with a mighty smilin’ face.–

Fer sompin’ else was workin’! but not a word I said
Of a certain sort o’ notion that was runnin’ through my head,–
“Someday I’d mayby marry, and a brother’s love was one
Thing–a lover’s was another!” was the way the notion run!

I remember onc’t in harvest, when the “cradle-in'” was done–
When the harvest of my summers mounted up to twenty-one
I was ridin’ home with Mary at the closin’ o’ the day–
A-chawin’ straws and thinkin’, in a lover’s lazy way!

And Mary’s cheeks was burnin’ like the sunset down the lane:
I noticed she was thinkin’, too, and ast her to explain.
Well–when she turned and kissed me, with her arms around me–law!
I’d a bigger load o’ heaven than I had a load o’ straw!

I don’t p’tend to learnin’, but I’ll tell you what’s a fact,
They’s a mighty truthful sayin’ somers in a’ almanack–
Er somers–’bout “puore happiness”–perhaps some folks’ll laugh
At the idy–“only lastin’ jest two seconds and a half.”–

But it’s jest as true as preachin’!–fer that was a sister’s kiss,
And a sister’s lovin’ confidence a-tellin’ to me this:–
She was happy, bein’ promised to the son o’ farmer Brown.”–
And my feelin’s struck a pardnership with sunset and went down!

I don’t know how I acted–I don’t know what I said,
Fer my heart seemed jest a-turnin’ to an ice-cold lump o’ lead;
And the hosses kindo’ glimmered before me in the road.
And the lines fell from my fingers–and that was all I knowed–

Fer–well, I don’t know how long–They’s a dim rememberence
Of a sound o’ snortin’ hosses, and a stake-and-ridered fence
A-whizzin’ past, and wheat-sheaves a-dancin’ in the air,
And Mary screamin’ “Murder!” and a-runnin’ up to where

I was layin’ by the roadside, and the wagon upside down
A-leanin’ on the gate-post, with the wheels a whirlin’ round!
And I tried to raise and meet her, but I couldn’t, with a vague
Sorto’ notion comin’ to me that I had a broken leg.

Well, the women nussed me through it; but many a time I’d sigh
As I’d keep a-gittin’ better instid o’ goin’ to die,
And wonder what was left me worth livin’ fer below,
When the girl I loved was married to another, don’t you know!