Out Here In California

To Correspondents.

G.W.F.: — Sends a transcript of a letter from an affectionate husband in California to his devoted wife:


Could you only see
The way I’m pestered with the flea,
I know that you would pity me,
And come to California.

At first they crawl and then they bite,
and then I scratch with all my might,
And that’s the way I pass the night,
Out here in California.

I have a friend here you must know,
Who says they troubled him just so,
Until his wife came from Saco
Out here in California.

He says now, when the days grow dim,
The fleas bite her instead of him,
And he don’t have to scratch a limb,
Out here in California.

But often in the darkest night
She cries aloud with all her might,
‘Dear husband, how the fleas do bite,
Out here in California!’

Then he gets up with smiling face,
And holds the light while she does chase
The fleas away from their hiding place,
Out here in California.

Now, Nancy, if you’ll come out here,
The nimble fleas you need not fear,
For I will hold that light, my dear,
For you in California.

I’ll light the candle with a match,
And try the naughty fleas to catch;
If I don’t succeed I’ll help you scratch,
Out here in California.

My dearest Nancy, I have got
A little home in a quiet spot;
Now come and share my lonely cot,
Out here in California.

Dear Nan, good-bye, Remember me
To all our friends in Beverly,
And don’t forget to come and see
Your John in California.


Dear John, your letter I’ve just read,
And only wonder you ain’t dead,
A tossin’ on your lonely bed,
Out there in California.

I am coming out there right away,
For here I can no longer stay;
I long to drive those fleas away,
Out there in California.

You friend out there must loving be,
To hold the light and catch the flea;
And I hope you’ll do as much for me,
Out there in California.

You know I cannot sleep at night
When things around me crawl and bite;
So be prepared to strike a light,
When I come to California.

I hope that you have got the knack
Of catching fleas way down my back,
And won’t we laugh to hear them crack,
Out there in California.

I think it’s very kind of you
To promise me so much to do —
To hold the light and scratch me too,
Out there in California.

But your kind offer I decline,
For fleas don’t always bite behind;
And I shall scratch myself sometimes,
Out there in California.

I’ve sold the house and sold the lot,
And now I leave this lovely spot,
To go and share your lonely cot,
Out there in California.

Dear John, good-bye. I still remain
Your loving wife, your Nancy Jane,
You need not write to me again —
I’m off for California.


There’s one thing that consoles me quite:
That if you sleep so sound at night
As not to hear me cry with fright,
‘Dear husband, how the fleas do bite!’
Your friend out there can hold the light
For me in California.

The Golden Era (San Francisco, California) Aug 26, 1866

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