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1 My First Winter in Chicago “Well, Mother,” I said as I took my seat at the breakfast table the second day after our Thanksgiving dinner, “I must return to Chicago. I have some lectures to deliver and besides I must get back to my writing.” She made no objection to my announcement but her eyes lost something of their happy light.“When will you come again?” she asked after a pause. “Almost any minute,” I replied assuringly.“You must remember that I’m only a few hours away now. I can visit you often. I shall certainly come up for Christmas. If you need me at any time send me word in the afternoon and I’ll be with you at breakfast.” That night at six o’clock I was in my city home, a lodging quite as humble in character as my fortunes. In a large chamber on the north side of a house on Elm Street and only three doors from Lake Michigan, I had assembled my meager library and a few pitiful mementoes of my life in Boston. My desk stood near a narrow side window and as I mused I could look out upon the shoreless expanse of blue-green water fading mistily into the north-east sky,and,at night,when the wind was in the East the crushing thunder of the breakers along the concrete wall formed a noble accompaniment to my writing,filling me with vaguely ambitious literary plans. Exalted by the sound of this mighty orchestra I felt entirely content with the present and serenely confident of the future. “This is where I belong,” I said.“Here in the great Midland metropolis with this room for my pivot, I shall continue my study of the plains and the mountains.” I had burned no bridges between me and the Island of Manhattan ,however! Realizing all too well that I must still look to the East for most of my income, I carefully retained my connections with 5 Garland_Daughter_to press 10/20/06 3:43 PM Page 5 Harper’s, the Century and other periodicals.Chicago,rich and powerful as it had become,could not establish—or had not established— a paying magazine, and its publishing firms were mostly experimental and not very successful;although the Columbian Exposition which was just closing, had left upon the city’s clubs and societies (and especially on its young men) an esthetic stimulation which bade fair to carry on to other and more enduring enterprises. Nevertheless in the belief that it was to become the second great literary center of America I was resolved to throw myself into the task of hurrying it forward on the road to new and more resplendent achievement. My first formal introduction to the literary and artistic circle in which I was destined to work and war for many years, took place through the medium of an address on Impressionism in Art which I delivered in the library of Franklin Head, a banker whose home had become one of the best-known intellectual meeting places on the North Side.This lecture, considered very radical at the time, was the direct outcome of several years of study and battle in Boston in support of the open-air school of painting, a school which was astonishing the West with its defiant play of reds and yellows, and the flame of its purple shadows.As a missionary in the interest of the New Art, I rejoiced in this opportunity to advance its inspiring heresies. While uttering my shocking doctrines (entrenched behind a broad, book-laden desk), my eyes were attracted to the face of a slender black-bearded young man whose shining eyes and occasional smiling nod indicated a joyous agreement with the main points of my harangue. I had never seen him before, but I at once recognized in him a fellow conspirator against “The Old Hat” forces of conservatism in painting. At the close of my lecture he drew near and putting out his hand, said, “My name is Taft—Lorado Taft. I am a sculptor, but now and again I talk on painting. Impressionism is all very new here in the West, but like yourself I am an advocate of it, I am doing my best to popularize a knowledge of it, and I hope you will call upon me at my studio some afternoon—any afternoon and discuss these isms with me.” Young Lorado Taft interested me, and I instantly...


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