The Tar Baby and the Tomahawk: Race and Ethnic Images in American Children's Literature, 1880-1939


The Wanderers

IT bein' then our watch on deck,
Says Bill, he says to me:
"It 's goin' on this many years
We're sailin' on the sea—
"A-sailin' on the sea," he says
"An' goin' up an' down,
Without a month of quietness
An' livin' in a town.

"'A-sailin' on the sea,' he says, 'an goin' up an' down.'"

"We've et such things as human teeth
Ain't never et before;
We've knuckled down to mates-es-es
As walked us like a floor;
[illustration - "'An' comes across the cannibals, an' s' pretty nearly et.'"]
"An' we've met up wi' cap'ns-es
As treats us like a horse.
Why, several times we runs away,
An' goes from bad to worse."
Says Bill: "The ways of human life
From me is mostly hid;
I can't account for all," he says,
"Of what we ups an' did.
"At Mozambique we runs away
As fast as we could get,
An' comes across the cannibals,
An' 's pretty nearly et;
"An' then again at Calla-o
We skips without designs,
An' 's took up by the gove'ment,
An' set to work in mines
"Oh, pretty was them mountain-tops
An' valleys where we hid,
but we most died of hungriness,"
Says Bill—"that 's what we did.
"I'm thinkin' of these things," says Bill,
"An' wonderin' more an' more;
It makes my mind quite set," he says,
"To live a spell ashore;
"Once let me see the lights," he says,
"The lights o' Boston Bay,
I don't go sailin' out no more
For any cap'n's pay."
Then Bill he sighs tre-men-jous-lee;
The lookout gives a shout;
The cap'n comes upon the deck,
An' orders us about;
The waves is sloppin' of her sides,
The harbor lights we see,
An' tears is dewin' of the cheeks
Of Bill an' likewise me
Says Bill: "Oh, see them lights," he says;
"Out yonder now is home!
This here 's a lesson to us both,
A lesson not to roam—
"To go an' live like lan's-folks does,
All quiet-like an' still,
An' have a little garden-place
Alongside of a hill."

[illustration - "We clasps each other on the wharf."]
We clasps each other on the wharf,
An' lookin round we see
The ol' familiar places that
Is known to Bill an' me.
[illustration - "Out yonder now is home!"]
But meetin' up wi' Cap'n Banks
While wanderin' along,
A'most before we knowed 't was done
We'd both shipped for Hongkong!