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

164. Felix Schmidt

IT was only a little house of two rooms—

Almost like a child’s play-house—

With scarce five acres of ground around it;

And I had so many children to feed

And school and clothe, and a wife who was sick

From bearing children.

One day lawyer Whitney came along

And proved to me that Christian Dallman,

Who owned three thousand acres of land,

Had bought the eighty that adjoined me

In eighteen hundred and seventy-one

For eleven dollars, at a sale for taxes,

While my father lay in his mortal illness.

So the quarrel arose and I went to law.

But when we came to the proof,

A survey of the land showed clear as day

That Dallman’s tax deed covered my ground

And my little house of two rooms.

It served me right for stirring him up.

I lost my case and lost my place.

I left the court room and went to work

As Christian Dallman’s tenant.