A Parody on “Curfew Shall Not Ring Tonight.”
Slow the Kansas sun was setting,
O’er the wheat fields far away,
Streaking all the air with cobwebs
At the close of one hot day;
And the last rays kissed the forehead
Of a man and maiden fair,
He with whiskers short and frowsy,
She with red and glistening hair,
He with shut jaws stern and silent;
She, with lips all cold and white,
Struggled to keep back the murmur,
“Towser shall be tied to-night.”
“Papa,” slowly spoke the daughter,
“I am almost seventeen,
And I have a real lover,
Though he’s rather young and green;
But he has a horse and buggy
And a cow and thirty hens,—
Boys that start out poor, dear Papa,
Make the best of honest men,
But if Towser sees and bites him,
Fills his eyes with misty light,
He will never come again, Pa;
Towser must be tied to-night.”
“Daughter,” firmly spoke the farmer,
(Every word pierced her young heart
Like a carving knife through chicken
As it hunts the tender part)—
“I’ve a patch of early melons,
Two of them are ripe to-day;
Towser must be loose to watch them
Or they’ll all be stole away.
I have hoed them late and early
In dim morn and evening light;
Now they’re grown I must not lose them;
Towser’ll not be tied to-night.”
Then the old man ambled forward,
Opened wide the kennel-door,
Towser bounded forth to meet him
As he oft had done before.
And the farmer stooped and loosed him
From the dog-chain short and stout;
To himself he softly chuckled,
“Bessie’s feller must look out.”
But the maiden at the window
Saw the cruel teeth show white;
In an undertone she murmured,—
“Towser must be tied to-night.”
Then the maiden’s brow grew thoughtful
And her breath came short and quick,
Till she spied the family clothesline,
And she whispered, “That’s the trick.”
From the kitchen door she glided
With a plate of meat and bread;
Towser wagged his tail in greeting,
Knowing well he would be fed.
In his well-worn leather collar,
Tied she then the clothesline tight,
All the time her white lips saying:
“Towser shall be tied to-night,”
“There, old doggie,” spoke the maiden,
“You can watch the melon patch,
But the front gate’s free and open,
When John Henry lifts the latch.
For the clothesline tight is fastened
To the harvest apple tree,
You can run and watch the melons,
But the front gate you can’t see.”
Then her glad ears hear a buggy,
And her eyes grow big and bright,
While her young heart says in gladness,
“Towser dog is tied to-night.”
Up the path the young man saunters
With his eye and cheek aglow;
For he loves the red-haired maiden
And he aims to tell her so.
Bessie’s roguish little brother,
In a fit of boyish glee,
Had untied the slender clothesline,
From the harvest apple tree.
Then old Towser heard the footsteps,
Raised his bristles, fixed for fight,—
“Bark away,” the maiden whispers;
“Towser, you are tied to-night.”
Then old Towser bounded forward,
Passed the open kitchen door;
Bessie screamed and quickly followed,
But John Henry’s gone before.
Down the path he speeds most quickly,
For old Towser sets the pace;
And the maiden close behind them
Shows them she is in the race.
Then the clothesline, can she get it?
And her eyes grow big and bright;
And she springs and grasps it firmly:
“Towser shall be tied to-night.”
Oftentimes a little minute
Forms the destiny of men.
You can change the fate of nations
By the stroke of one small pen.
Towser made one last long effort,
Caught John Henry by the pants,
But John Henry kept on running
For he thought that his last chance.
But the maiden held on firmly,
And the rope was drawn up tight.
But old Towser kept the garments,
For he was not tied that night.
Then the father hears the racket;
With long strides he soon is there,
When John Henry and the maiden,
Crouching, for the worst prepare.
At his feet John tells his story,
Shows his clothing soiled and torn;
And his face so sad and pleading,
Yet so white and scared and worn,
Touched the old man’s heart with pity,
Filled his eyes with misty light.
“Take her, boy, and make her happy,—
Towser shall be tied to-night.”