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Afterword At this point I make an end of this chronicle,the story of two families whose wanderings and vicissitudes (as I conceive them) are typical of thousands of other families who took part in the upbuilding of the Middle Western States during that period which lies between the close of the Civil War and the Great War of Nineteen Fourteen. With the ending of the two principal life-lines which bind these pages together my book naturally closes. In these two volumes over which I have brooded for more than ten years,I have shadowed forth,imperfectly,yet with high intent, the experiences of Isabel McClintock and Richard Garland, and the lives of other settlers closely connected with them. For a full understanding of the drama—for it is a drama, a colossal and colorful drama—I must depend upon the memory or the imagination of my readers. No writer can record it all or even suggest the major part of it.At the end of four years of writing I go to press with reluctance, but realizing that my public, like myself, is growing gray,I have consented to publish my manuscript with its many imperfections and omissions. My Neshonoc is gone.The community which seemed so stable to me thirty years ago,has vanished like a wisp of sunrise fog.The McClintocks,the Dudleys,the Baileys,pioneers of my father’s generation ,have entered upon their final migration to another darkly mysterious frontier. My sunset World—all of it—is in process of change, of disintegration, of dissolution. My beloved trails are grass-grown.I have put away my saddle and my tent-cloth,realizing that at sixty-one my explorations of the wilderness are at an end. Like a captive wolf I walk a narrow round in a city square. With my father’s death I ceased to regard the LaCrosse Valley even as my summer home. I decided to make my permanent residence in the East, and my wife and daughters whose affections were so deeply inwound with the Midland, loyally consented to 325 Garland_Daughter_to press 10/20/06 3:44 PM Page 325 follow,although it was a sad surrender for them.As my mother,Isabel McClintock,had given up her home and friends in the Valley to follow Richard Garland into the new lands of the West, so now Zulime Taft,A Daughter of the Middle Border,surrendered all she had gained in Illinois and Wisconsin to follow me into the crowded and dangerous East.It was a tearing wrench,but she did it.She sold our house inWoodlawn,packed up our belongings and joined me in a small apartment seven stories above the pavement in the heart of Manhattan. The children came East with a high sense of adventure,with no realization that they were leaving their childhood’s home never to return to it.They still talk of going back to West Salem, and they have named our summer cabin in the Catskills “Neshonoc” in memory of the little pioneer village whose graveyard holds all that is material of their paternal grandparents. The colors of the old Homestead are growing dim, and yet they will not permit me to deed it to others.We still own it and shall continue to do so.It has too many memories both sweet and sacred,—it seems that by clinging to its material forms we may still retain its soul. We think of it often, and when around our rude fireplace in Camp Neshonoc in a room almost as rough as a frontier cabin,we sit and sing the songs which are at once a tribute to our forebears and a bond of union with the past,the shadows of the heroic past emerge. David and Luke, Richard and Walter, and with them Susan and Lorette—all—all the ones I loved and honored My daughters are true granddaughters of the Middle Border. Constance at fourteen, Mary Isabel at eighteen, are carrying forward ,each in her distinctive way,the traditions of the Border,with the sturdy spirit of their forebears in the West.To them I am about to entrust the work which I have only partially completed. Too young at first to understand the reasons for my decision, they are now in agreement with me that we can never again live in the Homestead.They love every tree,every shrub on the old place. The towering elms,the crow’s nest in the...

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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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