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Hannah Armstrong


I wrote him a letter asking him for old times' sake

To discharge my sick boy from the army;

But maybe he couldn't read it.

Then I went to town and had James Garber,

Who wrote beautifully, write him a letter;

But maybe that was lost in the mails.

So I traveled all the way to Washington.

I was more than an hour finding the White House.

And when I found it they turned me away,

Hiding their smiles.  Then I thought:

"Oh, well, he ain't the same as when I boarded him

And he and my husband worked together

And all of us called him Abe, there in Menard."

As a last attempt I turned to a guard and said:

"Please say it's old Aunt Hannah Armstrong

From Illinois, come to see him about her sick boy

In the army."

Well, just in a moment they let me in!

And when he saw me he broke in a laugh,

And dropped his business as president,

And wrote in his own hand Doug's discharge,

Talking the while of the early days,

And telling stories.


Edgar Lee Masters

Background by
Yu's Diner

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