Home  »  Spoon River Anthology  »  141. Lambert Hutchins

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

141. Lambert Hutchins

I HAVE two monuments besides this granite obelisk:

One, the house I built on the hill,

With its spires, bay windows, and roof of slate;

The other, the lake-front in Chicago,

Where the railroad keeps a switching yard,

With whistling engines and crunching wheels,

And smoke and soot thrown over the city,

And the crash of cars along the boulevard,—

A blot like a hog-pen on the harbor

Of a great metropolis, foul as a sty.

I helped to give this heritage

To generations yet unborn, with my vote

In the House of Representatives,

And the lure of the thing was to be at rest

From the never-ending fright of need,

And to give my daughters gentle breeding,

And a sense of security in life.

But, you see, though I had the mansion house

And traveling passes and local distinction,

I could hear the whispers, whispers, whispers,

Wherever I went, and my daughters grew up

With a look as if someone were about to strike them;

And they married madly, helter-skelter,

Just to get out and have a change.

And what was the whole of the business worth?

Why, it wasn’t worth a damn!