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22 The Old Soldier Gains a New Granddaughter For nearly two years I did not even see the Homestead. My aversion to it remained almost a hatred.The memory of those desolate weeks of quarantine when my little daughter suffered all the agonies of death, still lingered over its walls, a poisonous shadow which time alone could remove.“I shall never live in it again,” I repeated to my friends, and when some one wanted to rent it for the summer I consented—with a twinge of pain I must confess,for to open it to strangers even for a few weeks seemed an act of disloyalty to the memory of my mother. Meanwhile I remained a moderately happy and very busy citizen of Chicago.Not content with esthetic conditions and in the belief that my home for years to come must be somewhere in the city’s confines,I had resolved to establish a Club which should be (like the Players in NewYork) a meeting place for artists and writers ,a rallying point for Midland Arts.Feeling very keenly the lack of such a rendezvous I said to Lorado,“I believe the time has come when a successful literary and artistic club can be established and maintained.” The more I pondered on the situation, the greater the discrepancy between the Chicago of my day and the Boston of my father’s day became. “Why was it that the Boston of 1860, a city of three hundred thousand people,should have been so productive of great writers, while this vast inland metropolis of over two million of people remains almost negligible in the world of Art and Letters?” Fuller,who refused,characteristically, to endorse my plan,was openly discouraging.To him the town was a pestilential slough in which he, at any rate,was inextricably mired, and though he was not quite so definite with me, he said to others,“Garland’s idea is sure to fail.” Clarkson, Browne and Taft, however, heartily joined my committee , and the “Cliff Dwellers,” a union of workers in the fine 265 Garland_Daughter_to press 10/20/06 3:43 PM Page 265 arts, resulted. As president of the organization, I set to work on plans for housing the club, and for months I was absorbed in this work. On the eighteenth of June,1908,in the midst of my work on the club affairs, another daughter was born to us, a vigorous and shapely babe,with delicate limbs, gray eyes, and a lively disposition ,and while my wife,who came through this ordeal much better than before,was debating a choice of names for her, Mary Isabel gravely announced that she had decided to call her sister “Marjorie Christmas,” for the reason, as she explained, that these were the nicest names she knew.Trusting first born!—she did not realize the difference which this new-found playmate was about to make in her life,and her joy in being permitted to hold the tiny stranger in her arms was pathetic. My own attitude toward “Marjorie Christmas”was not indifferent but I did not receive her with the same intensity of interest with which I had welcomed my first child.Her place was not waiting for her as was the case of Mary Isabel. She was a lovely infant and perhaps I would have taken her to my arms with keen paternal pride had it not been for the realization that in doing so I was neglecting her sister whose comradeship with me had been so close (so full of exquisite moments) that it could not be transferred to another daughter, no matter how alluring.A second child is— a second child. To further complicate our problem, Constance (as we finally called her), passed under the care of a nursemaid, and for two years I had very little to do with her. I seldom sang this child to sleep as I had done countless times with Mary Isabel. She did not ride on the crook of my elbow,or climb on my back,or look at picture books with me, until she was nearly three years old.We regained her, but we could not regain the hours of companionship we had sacrificed.This experience enables me to understand the unhappiness which comes to so many homes, in which the children are only boarders, foundlings in the care of nurses and governesses . My poverty, my small dwelling have given me the most precious memories of my...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780873516662
Related ISBN
9780873515665
MARC Record
OCLC
835517518
Pages
352
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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