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

71. Mrs. Williams

I WAS the milliner

Talked about, lied about,

Mother of Dora,

Whose strange disappearance

Was charged to her rearing.

My eye quick to beauty

Saw much beside ribbons

And buckles and feathers

And leghorns and felts,

To set off sweet faces,

And dark hair and gold.

One thing I will tell you

And one I will ask:

The stealers of husbands

Wear powder and trinkets,

And fashionable hats.

Wives, wear them yourselves.

Hats may make divorces—

They also prevent them.

Well now, let me ask you:

If all of the children, born here in Spoon River

Had been reared by the County, somewhere on a farm;

And the fathers and mothers had been given their freedom

To live and enjoy, change mates if they wished,

Do you think that Spoon River

Had been any the worse?