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

76. Nancy Knapp

WELL, don’t you see this was the way of it:

We bought the farm with what he inherited,

And his brothers and sisters accused him of poisoning

His father’s mind against the rest of them.

And we never had any peace with our treasure.

The murrain took the cattle, and the crops failed.

And lightning struck the granary.

So we mortgaged the farm to keep going.

And he grew silent and was worried all the time.

Then some of the neighbors refused to speak to us,

And took sides with his brothers and sisters.

And I had no place to turn, as one may say to himself,

At an earlier time in life; “No matter,

So and so is my friend, or I can shake this off

With a little trip to Decatur.”

Then the dreadfulest smells infested the rooms.

So I set fire to the beds and the old witch-house

Went up in a roar of flame,

As I danced in the yard with waving arms,

While he wept like a freezing steer.