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

61. Nellie Clark

I WAS only eight years old;

And before I grew up and knew what it meant

I had no words for it, except

That I was frightened and told my Mother;

And that my Father got a pistol

And would have killed Charlie, who was a big boy,

Fifteen years old, except for his Mother.

Nevertheless the story clung to me.

But the man who married me, a widower of thirty-five,

Was a newcomer and never heard it

Till two years after we were married.

Then he considered himself cheated,

And the village agreed that I was not really a virgin.

Well, he deserted me, and I died

The following winter.