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Edgar Lee Masters - Children Market Place

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Edgar Lee Masters - Children Market Place
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  CHILDRENOF THEMARKETPLACE by  EDGAR LEEMASTERS  A P ENN  S TATE E LECTRONIC  C LASSICS  S ERIES P UBLICATION  Children of the Market Place   by Edgar Lee Masters   is a publication of the Pennsylvania State University. ThisPortable Document file is furnished free and withoutany charge of any kind. Any person using this documentfile, for any purpose, and in any way does so at his orher own risk. Neither the Pennsylvania State University nor Jim Manis, Faculty Editor, nor anyone associated with the Pennsylvania State University assumes any responsibility for the material contained within thedocument or for the file as an electronic transmission, inany way. Children of the Market Place   by Edgar Lee Masters ,  thePennsylvania State University, Electronic Classics Series  , Jim Manis, Faculty Editor, Hazleton, PA 18202-1291 isa Portable Document File produced as part of an ongo-ing student publication project to bring classical worksof literature, in English, to free and easy access of those wishing to make use of them.Cover Design: Jim ManisCopyright © 2008 The Pennsylvania State University  The Pennsylvania State University is an equal opportunity university.  3 Edgar Lee Masters  CHILDREN OFTHE MARKETPLACE by  EDGAR LEE MASTERS 1922TO GEORGE P. BRETT CHAPTER I I  WAS   BORN  in London on the eighteenth of June, 1815. The battleof Waterloo was being fought as I entered this world. Thousands were giving up their lives at the moment that life was being be-stowed upon me. My father was in that great battle. Would he everreturn? My mother was but eighteen years of age. Anxiety for hissafety, the exhaustion of giving me life prostrated her delicate con-stitution. She died as I was being born.  4 Children of the Market Place  I have always kept her picture beside me. I have always been boundto her by a tender and mystical love. During all the years of my lifemy feeling for her could not have been more intense and personal if I had had the experience of daily association with her through boy-hood and youth. What girlish wistfulness and sadness there are in her eyes! What a gentle smile is upon her lips, as if she would deny the deep forebod-ing of a spirit that peered into a perilous future! Her dark hair fallsin rich strands over her forehead in an elfin and elegant disorder.Her slender throat rises gracefully from an unloosened collar. Thispicture was made from a drawing done by a friend of my father’sfour months before I was born. My old nurse told me that he wasinvalided from the war; that my father had asked him to make thedrawing upon his return to London. Perhaps my father had omi-nous dreams of her ordeal soon to be.They pronounced me a fine boy. I was round faced, round bod-ied, well nourished. The nurse read my horoscope in coffee grounds.I was to become a notable figure in the world. My mother’s peopletook me in charge, glad to give me a place in their household. HereI was when my father returned from the war, six months later. Hehad been wounded in the battle of Waterloo. He was still weak andill. I was told these things by my grandmother in the succeeding years. When I was four years old my father emigrated to America. Iseem to remember him. I have asked my grandmother if he did notsing “Annie Laurie”; if he did not dance and fling me toward theceiling in a riot of playfulness; if he did not snuggle me under my tender chin and tickle me with his mustaches. She confirmed theseseemingly recollected episodes. But of his face I have no memory.There is no picture of him. They told me that he was tall and strong,and ruddy of face; that my beak nose is like his, my square forehead,my firm chin. After he reached America he wrote to me. I have theletters yet, written in a large open hand, characteristic of an adven-turous nature. Though he was my father, he was only a person inthe world after all. I was surrounded by my mother’s people. They spoke of him infrequently. What had he done? Did they disapprovehis leaving England? Had he been kind to my mother? But all the
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