Back in Cambridge, a week later, the news was not so good. Again, Henry was in his study, pouring over his translation work when the newsboy's bell sounded and the newsboy's voice rang out the headlines: “Lincoln shot at Ford's Theater. The president is shot. Read all about it.” Again he sent Charles for the paper, and again practically tore it from his hands as he entered with it. Henry then slumped down in his chair as he slowly read the entire story of Lincoln's assassination and John Wilkes Booth's escape. Then, sighing, he said to Charles, “I thought it was all over. Now this! What IS the world coming to?”
Charles sighed as well. “I know, it's bad, Father.”
“It's terrible—the best president we had—shot dead.” Henry started rifling madly through some of his desk drawers, saying as he rifled, “It's no use, Son, it's just no use!”
“What are you looking for, Father?” asked Charles.”
“Oh, that poem I wrote last Christmas.” He pulled out a piece of paper. “Ah! Here it is!” He was holding the poem in his right hand and he placed his left hand on top of the paper as if to start to tear up the poem.
“Father, what are you doing?” yelled Charles. He caught Henry's arm just as he was about to tear the paper. “You can't destroy your masterpiece, just because some lunatic takes a shot at the president.” Charles squeezed Henry's arm and pried the poem free. “And this poem IS a masterpiece—And it was through writing this poem, actually, that you got saved. I think I'll just keep it for now. In fact, I think I'll make some copies and submit it for publication. I don't know why you didn't submit it before this.” He folded the paper and placed it in his shirt pocket.
Henry smiled. “I didn't think it was that important.”
“I think it's a very important piece of writing—one that just may change history.”
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