Verse > Edgar Lee Masters > Spoon River Anthology

Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950).  Spoon River Anthology.  1916.

206. Hannah Armstrong

I WROTE him a letter asking him for old times’ sake 
To discharge my sick boy from the army; 
But maybe he couldn’t read it. 
Then I went to town and had James Garber, 
Who wrote beautifully, write him a letter;         5
But maybe that was lost in the mails. 
So I traveled all the way to Washington. 
I was more than an hour finding the White House. 
And when I found it they turned me away, 
Hiding their smiles. Then I thought:  10
“Oh, well, he ain’t the same as when I boarded him 
And he and my husband worked together 
And all of us called him Abe, there in Menard.” 
As a last attempt I turned to a guard and said: 
“Please say it’s old Aunt Hannah Armstrong  15
From Illinois, come to see him about her sick boy 
In the army.” 
Well, just in a moment they let me in! 
And when he saw me he broke in a laugh, 
And dropped his business as president,  20
And wrote in his own hand Doug’s discharge, 
Talking the while of the early days, 
And telling stories. 



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