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him away after Boy welcomed him so joyfully.

March 22, 1923

I have been ill, and it is hard for me to write, but I must thank you for the reading matter which you so kindly sent. I can't tell you how much I appreciated it. First I had flu and then quinsy. I am writing this down on the prairie. At home I could n't write. I had no peace. Daddy is poorly, and I'd drag out and milk and feed up, and I'd get so tired I was all in. I've run away to-day and left it. The cow won't be milked or fed, poor thing, till tomorrow. The roads are so bad I can't get back the same day. It is six weeks since I have had any mail, six long weeks, and we had the worst blizzard in forty years in this six weeks. For three weeks we could n't get to the barn. It drifted as high as the second story of the house. The north and south roads are muddy and heaving; the east and west roads I could hardly get through, as the drifts are piled up so sidling. I slid and tumbled once in a while, but managed to arrive at last.

March 23. After a good sleep I feel more like tackling the road back than yesterday. Last Saturday we — that is, a dozen women who live in the woods around me and on the slopes of the mountains-gathered at the schoolhouse. I wrote the posters and sent them out to be tacked on trees on trails that I thought would catch some eyes. For the first time we have a teacher with a vision. Why could n't we have had one before? She is forty-five, I guess, and born in Ireland, which accounts for it. She called on me and we warmed up to each other and she said, 'Let's start something.' 'Call a meeting of the mothers and I'll come and talk to them,' I said. She did, and we organized a club, and they made me the Queen Bee, as none of the others

had ever belonged to a club. We decided on a box social to raise some money. In a poverty-stricken community a few Idollars can do much when there are births and deaths or forest fires wipe out a homestead. So Saturday we had our box social. We each brought a box with food in it. We made coffee. I brought cream, as my cow is fresh, and the teacher brought coffee. One woman brought bread, another meat, and so forth. The lumberjacks poured in till the little room was crowded (even the standing room) and you could n't get in. The programme was just stunts. The teacher played the organ, and anybody in the audience who could sing a solo came up and did his best. Some of the men had good, though untrained voices. Everybody brought a lantern, so we had plenty of light.

The teacher sang "The Wearing of the Green 'till our hearts were breaking, and the men stamped and whistled till she had to do it all over again. One fellow did handsprings and one played an accordion with his back to the audience, he was so nervous, but he played 'Marching through Georgia' real well. It was not a critical audience.

The programme lasted three hours and then the boxes were auctioned off. The auctioneer would hold up a box trimmed up with a bit of colored paper. I cut clover leaves and pasted them all over mine. And he'd say, 'Only a dollar for this box! Why, just see the purdies on it!' And somebody would offer a little more and get it. Those that did n't get boxes could buy a plate with a sandwich, a piece of cake, and coffee for twenty-five cents. We took in $28.75 and I thought that was pretty good. You'll wonder why I did it. Just one instance. In a shack a few years ago a dainty, well-educated woman gave birth to twins. They had had bad luck, there was no doctor, there were three other little ones, and the

neighbor woman who stepped in had to wrap the babies in a dish towel. One died. I'm sick of seeing it and doing nothing. These I. W. W.'s who work in the camps are hungry for a good time and won't miss a dollar or two. We are going to repeat it later in the spring maybe.

I must close now, and walk back again. Daddy and I enjoyed the magazines, all of them, but the Atlantic the most.

October 11, 1923

I am sorry to have delayed so long answering and thanking you for the good reading you sent, but I have to work all the time. It's work, work, until I feel as if I had only a body and the soul is gone. Then night is the happiest, when I can lose consciousness for a short time. To-day I cut cornstalks for fodder. They are very short, but there is an acre of them, and I'm glad I had them to cut. Winter is almost upon us. I am worried about the prunes. They are so nice this year, and a black freeze is liable to come any time. Shall or shall I not get them picked in time? I picked one pailful to-day, but will devote every spare minute to them from now on. We have never seen a year like this since we came here. It has rained and rained. I have never seen such prunes before and I'm almost sick with fear I won't get them in on time. Winter will be here any day, and I still have some carrots and potatoes out.

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November 10. The prunes are well under way. Two more weeks will finish them. Boy and Daddy are both sick with the whooping cough. The ground is frozen a little, not deep yet. I keep digging away at the potatoes, and get a sack most every day. I have fifteen sacks in the cellar now, and I went over to T.'s and picked apples and have ten sacks in the cellar. Culls, but good eating.

One night I worked four hours on Daddy, putting compresses on his chest until he could breathe properly. Twice I have smoked both my invalids so they could get a little rest.

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Monday. Boy is still in bed. He has bronchial pneumonia now, and Daddy is worse. I am more afraid for Daddy than for Boy. I was up nearly all night, but got a little rest in the morning. It would be a comfort to have a doctor, but that is impossible with six months of winter ahead. Queer that doctors are prohibited to the poor. Out here the women get their babies without them, just their husbands doing for them. I have several sad stories laid away in my brain about them, and now I am in the same class. I must struggle on. I have no woman to talk to, so I will write to ease my brain.

Conditions are very hard. The struggle for bare existence is awful, but one gets used to it. Every penny should be used for at least a dozen such urgent needs that I have carried a dollar with me for days, laid it in front of me when I ate, debating what it should go for. Time passes, we live on, and get through somehow. If I accept money it burns me, it seems to lower me somehow. I will never accept any of it any more, for now I see I can never pay any back. This is my diary. It is true, and not written for money. The brain forgets, so I will write down each day.

(To be continued)



THERE is a lost fatherland for which the modern world goes homesick. Yet not always lost, for at odd times, in obscure places, it lives again. And this was the distinction (for the high gods delight to visit the humble) which befell a poverty-stricken academy in a Middle-Western small town. Queerly disguised this ancient fatherland was, but exiles know home when they see it.

History tells us that Periclean Athens was the Great Age. A great age it assuredly was, but not the only one. The years of youth between sixteen and eighteen are another, and the place to spend them is in a boys' school. There is a fine chapter in a fine English novel - the fifteenth chapter of Middlemarch — in which George Eliot relates the awakening of an intellectual passion in boyhood. Such was the passion which this out-at-elbow transplantation of Periclean Athens enkindled in a handful of young barbarians at play. It was the miracle which the whole world of education goes forever seeking. For, once wrought, it transforms youth, and youth thus transformed transforms the world.

So I tell the story of this harassed school as it was a quarter of a century ago, a story with an ending which, had it been predicted to us then, would have sounded like the most extravagant of poets' dreams. Yet poets' dreams, let us remember, have a way of coming true.


September was minting its gold coinage on the campus elms when Hardcastle Academy opened its doors for the seventy-fifth time — and opened them with misgiving. It was a question whether the school could weather the year. Two decades earlier, when its parent college moved away to the city, one fourth of the college income was allotted to the academy, along with full possession of the grounds and buildings which it had formerly shared. Impecunious, even under the wing of the college, the school had always been. But could it live on next to nothing a year? And little did anyone guess what a stormy year it was to be.

But the normal weather at Hardcastle was one of storms. If you doubt it, ask any new boy after he has been there twenty-four hours. Oh, it opens peacefully enough! Here in the chapel room beside a fireless stove a shy youngster quakes inwardly. His hour has come, the hour when the world must be faced alone. The world? Eighty boys and four schoolmasters - a world ardently desired yet acutely dreaded, for out of it have trickled tales to freeze young blood. It is a boys' world of rough-and-tumble that gives no quarter and asks none. Plunge into it, and be bare fists and wits your only weapons.

Into this chapel room tramps a burly, handsome youth, affable as a Saint Bernard puppy, a dozen lads at his heels. He spies the newcomer, offers

a huge paw, and accosts, 'I'm Newbury. Who're you?'

The dozen are introduced. They step forward, friendly and courteous, to shake hands. They make shy efforts to put the stranger at his ease. How it warms the cockles of the heart! What is so very dreadful about this world? It has been slandered!

It has other pleasant surprises. pleasant surprises. Dinner at the clattery boarding house tastes good. This is clear gain, for, being kept by a Mrs. Slaughter, it is naturally called 'the Slaughter House,' and the 'Slaughter House yell' is not reassuring:

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Likewise, the first evening in the gaunt dormitory beside a green-shaded student lamp which Uncle Horace used in this very room thirty years before; an ancestral lamp and very learned, for it has already gone through this academy four times and through college twice. Roommate? A necessary evil, somewhat arbitrarily chosen by one's father because he and the other boy's father happened to have been comrades in the Civil War. If roommate wants civil war let him start it! At any rate, here you are, in a room with windows looking on the noble elm grove of the back campus, and your own boss. On your own at last! This is the life!

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Hazing, though bad for the hazers, may be good for the hazed. I do not see how any self-respecting boy can join with a dozen to pick on one. All the same, it is a satisfaction to have taken one's dose without a whimper. The first night comes blanket-tossing. The next, rooms are stacked. The night following we are taken out on a country road and run behind a horse and cart. Poor Andy Dwight has a close squeak. They did n't know he had a weak heart. The night after that comes ducking under the chapel pump; then a course in humiliation, singing and speech-making to a jeering audience. Next, run the gauntlet of barrel-stave paddles, drink a brew of asafoetida, and be shut in a room with a smudge of burning red pepper.

In retrospect this may be amusing. To adolescents it is grim. And the inevitable followed. Homesickness. It swept the school like an epidemic. Boys went down before it in windrows. Did you ever have a good stiff dose of it? If so, you have been at pains to forget. Allow me to remind you. First symptom: an all-gone feeling in the pit of the stomach. Second symptom: dull ache in the region of the heart. Third symptom: this ache travels to the head, where it becomes an acute pain. Queer results follow. Food ceases to taste. Music, once a delight, becomes torture. Try to study: two streams of thought go on at once. With one you learn the Greek alphabet; with the other you ache. It is curiously exhausting. People around you become unreal shadows. They speak: you can hear your own voice make answer. But the whole transaction is a dream, and a most unpleasant one. Sunlight looks strange. There is darkness in its glitter. You are sick, dreadfully sick, and you don't dare tell a soul. The queerest part is that, long for home as you may,

not for anything would you go home. That would be defeat. No; stay where you are and sweat it out.

On goes the hazing. The hours after 10 P.M. are a world of paw and claw. Is there no end to this ingenuity at inventing uncomfortable antics? None! 'On your own,' remember! So this is what it means to be one's own boss? It has its drawbacks.

Suddenly it stops. The whole hazing system collapses overnight. The fellows who officiated at these amateur Inquisitions slink into chapel slackjawed and hangdog. What has happened? It appears that the faculty know everything - names, events, dates, places, down to the last detail. How did they find out? No one has the least idea. But their bland omniscience strikes a chill of superstitious awe into the whole school. The culprits are closeted, quizzed, and outfaced. They confess. Their penances are far from enviable.

The landscape turns right side up again. 'And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.' Now at last it is possible to draw a quiet breath and look about you at your world. And behold! it is very good.


An oddly romantic little world it was. 'More like New England than New England itself,' travelers from the East used to tell us. We boys always supposed this remark twaddle. It was not. That transplanted academic village amid the rolling richness of Middle-Western woodland and farming country was what New England had been half a century before and would have remained but for the invention of machinery and the importation of Southern European mill hands.

It was, that autumn, just a hundred

years since Connecticut farmers had begun jolting over the Alleghenies with their pewter dishes and grandfather's clocks stowed in canvas-covered oxcarts. Hardly had they felled the oaks and planted their corn when they set about founding a baby Yale. A rugged infant it had to be. All told, the founding of this college in the pioneer wilderness took twenty-five years. First, it burned to the ground. Next, it barely survived the War of 1812. Then its location had to be changed. Finally, David Judson, a farmer in the village of Hardcastle, outdid John Harvard. He gave the college 160 acres and $7500. These scholar-axemen designed their own buildings, following Yale's Bastille architecture. The first fifty thousand bricks crumbled. They bought a brickyard and made their own. The better brick for chimneys was hauled by oxcart from the Great Lakes port twenty-five miles away. For professors they shanghaied young Yale graduates. The judgment of the press gang was excellent. This backwoods college for fifty years was a breeding place of great scholars: a Barrows in Hebrew; a Loomis and a Young in astronomy; a Morley in chemistry; the two Seymours, father and son, in Greek. It sent presidents to Dartmouth and Williams. It sired authors, senators, governors, and chief justices.

Neither was it only and merely a tranquil seat of academic learning. Through these halls blew great winds of life, brusque and bracing. Missionary zeal swept the college like a forest fire. Antislavery rocked and rent it. What wonder, with John Brown living in Woolwick only eight miles away? So notorious a station on the Underground did it become that professors' wives left pies cooling on window sills for runaway blacks to filch. Trustees were conservative.

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