One of these consisted simply in the endless repetition — after the manner of certain college songsof the mysterious line,--
Rain fall and wet Becky Lawton. But who Becky Lawton was, and why she should or should not be wet, and whether the dryness was a reward or a penalty, none could say. I got the impression thaBecky Lawton was, and why she should or should not be wet, and whether the dryness was a reward or a penalty, none could say. I got the impression that, in either case, the event was posthumous, and that there was some tradition of grass not growing over the grave of a sinner; but even this was vague, and all else vaguer.
The other song I heard but once, on a morning when a squad of men came in from picket duty, and chanted it in the most rousing way. It had been a stormy aestion, then just beginning, and to the more mercenary aims they attributed to the white soldiers.
But Hangman Johnny remained always a myth as inscrutable as Becky Lawton.
As they learned all their songs by ear, they often strayed into wholly new versions, which sometimes became popular, and entirely banished the others.