Elia Peattie, an Uncommon Woman


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The Star Wagon: The Memoirs of Elia Wilkinson Peattie

Edited and Annotated by Dr. Joan Stevenson Falcone, Illinois State University


Hitch your wagon to a star.
Let us not fag in paltry works which serve our pot
and bag alone....Work rather for those interests
which the divinities honor and promote,-
justice, love, freedom, knowledge, utility.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1899 Society & Solitude


I am indebted to a number of people who have inspired me, both professionally and personally, through the long, arduous process of editing and annotating this manuscript: the grandsons of Elia and Robert Peattie—Mark and Noel Peattie, for lending the manuscript and family papers, for reading my work and offering critical commentary, and Michael Peattie for lending family photographs and sharing his memories; Alice, David, Caroline, and Peggy Peattie, Dr. Sidney H. Bremer, Dr. Robert Bray, Dr. Ray Lewis White, Betty Doubleday Frost, Bruce Bennett, Vonda Krahn, Dittie Widdicombe, Marilee Shore, Margaret "Mimi" Bartol Pospisil, Christopher Bartol, Andrew Haynes, Tony Roman, the Newberry Library, the Lanier Library, the Chicago Tribune, Max, Pompie, and my husband, Dr. David Nicholas Falcone. Thank you.


This work is dedicated to my husband. David, thank you for your support, guidance, and love.



My initial discovery of Elia Wilkinson Peattie came during my undergraduate days at Illinois Wesleyan University, but during my quest for a dissertation topic, as a graduate student in the Department of English at Illinois State University, I rediscovered her—she was, and remains, the “kindred spirit” for whom I had been searching. Since then my academic pursuits have taken me on an exciting journey. I have written about her, lectured about her, taught her works in my classes, and shared her manuscript with scholars throughout the United States. I have traveled from central Illinois to both the east and west coasts, and I have met, or corresponded with, many of her descendants, as well as children of her friends. Elia’s life-long goals, to raise her family out of poverty and to have them rise to cultural refinement, have been realized.

Peattie simplified my task of editing The Star Wagon because she was an excellent writer. I have retained her sometimes archaic word choices and spellings making minor changes of typographical errors; other changes made for clarification have been indicated by the customary use of brackets. Some information, that would have been of interest only to family, had to be cut from the original manuscript which in book form, would have been unwieldy. The chapter entitled “Barbara” was a separate chapter, apparently, written last; I have placed this chapter in what would have been her birth order, which is how the chapters of the Peattie sons were placed. I have inserted additional material, such as identification of family members and dates which I believe adds clarity and helps the reader to better follow the text. These changes have been noted in the manuscript using the customary documentation procedures of the Modern Language Association.

The real challenge came with the identification of the many people to whom she refers throughout the manuscript; as with all autobiographical writings, the famous and important are mingled with relatives, friends, and even a town drunk. I have attempted to identify the famous and, briefly, the not-so-famous through footnotes. Unless otherwise noted, the footnote information came from well-known reference sources, which, of course, do not require citation; for other sources, according to customary MLA procedure, I have provided an in-text citation and a works cited page. I have also furnished a list of suggested readings for those who would like to know more about Elia W. Peattie within the context of her own time.

My intentions are to present The Star Wagon as true to its original form as possible with little interruption of commentary or analysis; thus, aside from the footnoted information, and the changes made above, I have limited my comments to the introduction and included a time line to help the reader gain a better overall perspective of important events.

Interestingly, as The Star Wagon takes us back to the turn-of-the-twentieth century, we have, ourselves, embarked upon a new century, another milestone upon which women should pause and look ahead. Where do we want our female descendants to be in another century? in another millennium? Where will they be? History has shown us that we can best answer these questions by looking back from where we came. We have made much progress, but, unfortunately, many of the patriarchal issues with which Elia Wilkinson Peattie dealt remain unresolved.

Suggested Reading List

Bremer, Sidney H. Introduction. The Precipice. By Elia W. Peattie. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1989. ix-xxvi.

“Lost Continuities.” Soundings 64 (Spring 1981), 29-51.

“Willa Cather's Lost Chicago Sisters.” Women Writers and the City: Essay in Feminist Literary Criticism. Ed. Susan Merrill Squier. Knoxville: U of Tennessee P, 1984. 210-29.

Bremer, Sidney H. and Joan Stevenson Falcone. “Peattie, Elia Amanda Wilkinson.” Women Building Chicago 1770-1990: A Biographical Dictionary. Eds. Rima Lunin Schultz and Adele Hast. 2001: Indiana UP.

Laughlin, Clara E. Just Folks. New York: Macmillan, 1910.

Morgan, Anna. My Chicago. Chicago: R. F. Seymour, c. 1918.

Raftery, Judith. “Chicago Settlement Women in Fact and Fiction: Hobart Chatfield Chatfield-Taylor, Clara Elizabeth Laughlin, and Elia Wilkinson Peattie Protray the New Woman.” Illinois Historical Journal 88 (1995): 37-58.

Welter, Barbara. Dimity Convictions: The American Woman in the Nineteenth Century. Athens: Ohio UP, 1976.


Over the past few decades, as more and more works by women and about women have been interpreted by women, we have recognized our responsibility to consider women's autobiographical writings, particularly those writing at the turn of the twentieth century, because they are crucial to our understanding of the women who played a pivotal role in shaping women’s rights today. They also serve as a reminder that the twenty-first century finds us still struggling with some of the same issues, and that some rights are very much in jeopardy. While feminists have always been aware of the importance of women’s autobiographies, we still do not dominate the powerful positions that can cause them to be brought to the forefront—even at the university level where male department chairs vastly out number female department chairs. Thus we still struggle to convince the male powers who be that women’s fictional and autobiographical writings ought to play a prominent role in every area of the liberal arts tradition. It is my contention that, for a number of reasons, the work and writing of turn-of-the-twentieth-century women are greatly under-valued.

As feminist critics of women writers have determined, different critical categories have been applied to male and female writers. More often than not, males have been canonized, or at least anthologized as realists, while their female counterparts have been ignored, confirming yet again, “the power of patriarchy to render invisible that which it does not value” (Lane xi). Nowhere is this concept more vivid than in Chicago's turn-of-the-twentieth-century women writers. The critic Sidney H. Bremer has dubbed these women, in an article by the same name, “Willa Cather's Lost Chicago Sisters.” The group consists of Elia Peattie, Willa Cather, Clara Laughlin, Edith Wyatt, Clara Burnham, and Alice Gerstenberg. Bremer's thesis is essentially that women's Chicago novels present the city as part of a life experience that is continuous, embedded in natural forces and in communal ties and conflicts (212). While we have begun to recognize works by women which were previously labeled “regional realism” and even elevated them into anthologies along side male works of realism, we have not yet truly recognized the importance of Chicago's women writers.

Rather, as Bremer points out, we have allowed men to tell the story of Turn-of-the-Twentieth-Century Chicago (Intro xi). The Chicago we have come to know, and to teach, is the masculine city where raw industrial capitalism is the machine that devoured the poor, the amoral city that encroached upon the genteel elites surrounding them with everything that was unnatural (Falcone 71), and the wasteland Chicago where immigrants served as a “cog in the great packing machine” (Sinclair 29). Bremer notes that while these men, “outsiders,”—Henry Blake Fuller, Upton Sinclair, Theodore Dreiser, Hamlin Garland, Frank Norris, and Robert Herrick—have been chosen to represent Chicago, Henry Blake Fuller was the only native Chicagoan; all the others were merely passing through (Intro xi). While Robert Herrick established a residence there, he never became a part of the City; he merely “camped” there “loathing the urban monstrosity” (Aaron viii). Peattie seems to have sensed, too, that the “insider’s view” (Bremer xi) was missing when, in 1903, she said:

No book written about Chicago has ever satisfied me. Certainly poor Frank Norris’ book ‘The Pit,’ does not do so. We have such a fierce old devilfish of a city that it is next to impossible to capture it. [. . .] Suppose a writer gets a pretty firm hold of one tentacle, all the other tentacles wriggle away from him, and the captor can no more say ‘This is Chicago’ than the man who gets the severed paw of a bear in a trap can say ‘This is the bear’ (“Elia W. Peattie on ‘The Pit’” 13).

Bremer chides us for accepting the “outsider's vision” (Intro xi) and neglecting “in a single gendered package [. . .] the insider's view [. . .] (Intro xi) which is presented by these Chicago women writers who “as participants rather than observers” present a “vision of the city as an organic family” (Intro xii). Hugh Duncan makes an important point, too, when he points out that Chicago “women writers were influenced by having seen Chicago destroyed and rebuilt—all in twenty years” (8). They had lived the city from the devastation after the great fire to the Columbian Exposition.

But shouldn’t literature speak the universal truth about human existence? If so, then we need to see the complete story; we need to hear it from the women as well as men. Consider Chicago, for example. Why is men’s work more important than women's work? Why are the packing houses more valuable to study than the settlement houses? It is so because men have determined that it is so. Women’s work and settlement houses reveal far more universal themes—religious, cultural, social, political—than the slaughter houses ever did, and only a fraction of the city's population worked there. Moreover, issues that Chicago's women writers attempted to address, insight into female consciousness, patriarchy, economic dependence of women, gender differences in the work place, still affect over half of today's population.

While fictional works by women have been largely ignored despite the important contributions they make, their autobiographies have been ignored virtually all together. Susan Babbitt tells us that they “used to be considered something less than literature, not requiring the mastery of language required for fiction. But literary critics have since recognized that autobiography is itself the claiming and discovery of self, and that it is also about subjectivity, responsibility, freedom, and autonomy” (215). Only within the last couple of decades, because of critics like Martine Watson Brownley and Allison B. Kimmich, according to Babbitt (215), have these writings been considered any more than a “subliterary genre” that was quite unequal to fictional writings or even autobiographies by men (Brownley and Kimmich xi). Women’s autobiographies have been “excluded from the tradition of autobiography because women’s writing tends not to have the same form as men’s” and because “women’s subordinate social status” was deemed inadequate for “the exercise of authority as writer” (Babbitt 215). So, once again, as with women’s fictional writings, the patriarchal society has rendered these writings invisible because it does not value them (Lane xi).

Indeed, it has been the expected form of a story, not always compelling, about male personal growth in the public sphere that has in recent decades come to be questioned. Many critics now reject the word “story” and all the expectations that go along with what that concept implies. As Babbitt points out, writers in the Brownley and Kimmich collection, depart from the former idea that women’s autobiographies need to be “stories” that “move linearly from youth to old age” (215). According to Caroline Breashers, autobiography is more than a ‘story” of personal growth; she urges us to “recuperate” (a term she borrows from Bonnie Kime Scott) life writings and restore them to “a historical, creative, discursive and economic context” (202). Johnnie M. Stover, too, rejects the term “story” choosing “narrative” instead because autobiography is more than about personal growth—it is “life experiences within a historical context” (135). Likewise, Assiba d’Almeida, in writing about the autobiography of Kresso Barry, points out that Barry does not consider her life a story or even a “tale” but rather a “struggle [. . .] of a woman’s life located in history [. . .]” (69). Likewise, Albert Stone tells us that autobiography is not “simply a story” but writing that has “a complex nature and varied social uses: it is simultaneously historical record and literary artifact, psychological case history and spiritual confession, didactic essay and ideological testament” (2). Rather than “story,” Stone prefers the term “narrative” (3) and contends that “as literature [i.e, story] autobiography is indeed a problematic mode of discourse” (6); he sees autobiography as “the history-making act” representing the “highest and most instructive form in which the understanding of life confronts us” (3). Because each autobiography is a “cultural artifact celebrating individual consciousness, style, and experience,” says Stone, “its readers must learn to adjust critical focus from individual text to social context” (8). This is a very important concept because until this happened, as Brownley and Kimmich point out (xi); works by women just were not to be considered as “real autobiographies” (xii).

Once scholars moved beyond seeing autobiography as a story, its value as historical, cultural, political, and economical record placed it in a more prominent place in the academy and made it even more important to discover autobiographical writings from women of an earlier time and to bring them to the forefront for the sake of our students and women at large. It is absolutely imperative that we have a sense of the American female experience. William Dean Howells was one of the first to recognize the importance of autobiography—again, not because of its compelling story—but because it “indeed mirrors and creates the social, historical, and aesthetic varieties of our national experience” (qtd. in Stone 2). Later, Stone would come to share that opinion:

At any moment, autobiography may be viewed as a collection of such acts of self-performance unified by shared cultural values and fashionable metaphors of self. Women’s perceptions of these crucial stages will differ from men’s, however, just as period, class, economic, and racial factors influence one’s choice of childhood, youth, or maturity as the vital center of a narrative. (3)

Stone, here, captures the essence of what feminists have long contended—that women’s autobiography is more than a “story” that is developed chronologically or in the traditional literary format; it is an essential lesson in the history of women and an important tool for helping women gain equal rights because “a historical consciousness speaks out of singular experience, for some particular social group, to a wiser audience” (Stone 3). Likewise, Robert F. Sayre says, “Autobiographies [. . .] offer the student in American Studies a broader and more direct contact with American experience than any other kind of writing” (11). Those of us from the liberal arts tradition view autobiography as essential to our studies because these narratives are “naturally interdisciplinary” (2). Like d’Almeida, we believe “[t]he object of autobiography is to not only entertain but also to instruct [. . .] since the tale has value only as far as it reveals something of the society to the society” (69) because “memory is linked with history and here autobiography functions as history—even though selective-belonging is not only to an individual but to a people” (67). Elia Peattie, like Irene Assiba d’Almeida’s Barry, reveals “not only an individual life, but also cultural, social, political, and historical elements of life, [. . .]” (67) and while Barry’s revelations are about life in Guinea, the same concepts can be extended to Peattie in Chicago. As with Barry, Peattie, too, has “many facets of the self [that] contradict each other” (67). Stover, who discusses the importance of nineteenth-century black women’s autobiography says that it is “much more than a personal narrative [stress on narrative is mine] that merely remarks on [. . .] personal growth; it is a social discourse” that records “life experiences within an historical context” (135).

Jane Tompkins agrees that earlier works must be studied because “they offer powerful examples of the way a culture thinks about itself” (xi). Further, she says, we need to consider these works “in relation to the beliefs, social practices, and economic and political circumstances that produced them” (xiii). While Tompkins is discussing fictional writings, many feminists would apply it to women’s autobiographical writings as well. Specifically, I would like to extend it to Chicago’s turn-of-the-twentieth-century women autobiographers. It is crucial to scholars and other interested people who want to see a clear, more comprehensive view of the city at that time, for as Tompkins says, herein lies the discovery of “the problem or set of problems specific to [that time and culture] (38), and of the “social reality which the authors and their readers shared” (200).

Clearly, the modern women’s movement is interested in social history and recognizes that social reality was quite different for women and men. As the social reality was different in the fictional writing of Chicago males and females, the social reality reflected in autobiographical writings of men and women is different. As Brownley and Kimmich point out, autobiographical writings by women were unacceptable to the male patriarchy, especially if they wrote “life stories that diverged from the textbook models” (xii). The textbook model has typically been the male reaching self-fulfillment, all on his own, in the public arena.

Women present different models and ground their autobiographies in their personal lives with a private view. Brownley and Kimmich state:

[W]omen imagine new ways to write autobiographies that reflect their experiences. For example, women write autobiographies that emphasize relationships because they are accustomed to thinking of themselves in relation to others as somebody’s daughter, wife, or mother. The focus on relationships also means that women’s life writings typically concentrates on private, or home life in contrast with men’s texts, which often foreground the authors’ activities in the public sphere.(1)

Unlike her male counterpart, Brownley and Kimmich say, “the typical woman writer acknowledges that her life is a part of a larger social fabric [. . .] and may refuse to take credit for her successes by bowing to the social norms that link femininity to self-effacement [. . .]” (1). Those same social norms affected ways in which nineteenth century women confronted and wrote about problems that they faced—some of which were not discussed publicly even under the guise of fictional characters; problems which challenged the patriarchal views of women and their place in society or those vaguely defined as “female troubles” are often found only in personal letters or autobiographies. The critic, Sidonie Smith, reminds us to:

remember that there is no monolithic autobiographical discourse, no one totalized set of policing actions, no one regime of truth operative at particular historical moments, no one location for a reproductive or contestatory practice. There are multiple technologies of autobiographical writings [. . .] self-writing practices are intermingled with other writing practices, and are brought to bear on myriad personal, social, political, economic, physical contests. (45)

For Smith, and many of us, female exclusion, of both fictional and autobiographical works, reveals significant differences according to cultural and historical context (45).

What we generally accept as the first generation of autobiographers was born in the 1860s and ‘70s and had careers between 1895 and 1920 (Sayre 25). Their works reflect the industrial civilization of which they were a part. Their works were usually titled The Autobiography of . . . , and, for these writers, there was frequently a yearning for childhood when they were innocent and free of responsibility. This seems especially true of women who, raised in the “cult of true womanhood,” [1] suffered a loss of Self upon marriage and took upon themselves the rearing of children who would perpetuate the ideals of America.

There are many similar characters among this group of autobiographers, and while Elia Wilkinson Peattie shares some of these general characteristics, she is in many ways very different from other first-generation autobiographers. Peattie titled her memoirs The Star Wagon and wrote solely for her children. She felt that the title “memoir” was “too impressive” for her life, which she felt was only “noteworthy” to her children (1). Because Peattie's austere childhood was stifling, there is no emotional looking back. The things that Elia valued most, books and music, were considered unaffordable or unimportant by her father (Frederick Wilkinson) who viewed them in the same light as he viewed “hired help” for his over-burdened wife. Taken from school in the seventh grade, Elia became the unpaid “hired help” in a world without books or music and assessed life as a “dull business” (40). Unlike many of her female counterparts, Peattie was able to discover her Self through a career and a marriage of equality where she shared the roles of responsibility and leadership with her husband Robert—who was not “prejudice against the work of women” (304). Albeit, throughout the manuscript, she struggles with feelings of guilt and inadequacy as a mother because she sacrificed domestic cares for a professional career that often took her away from home and family for days, weeks, even months at a time. It was not her family, but her writing, that Peattie identifies as “the thing that seemed to justify life” (102).

While Thomas P. Doherty contends that autobiographies are “oddly silent about the political and economic structures” (96), Peattie's memoirs and other writings demonstrate that she was not afraid to challenge male authority: she supported radical suffragists, railed at the tribulations of dealing with male jealousy and sexism in the work place, condemned overbearing men and male politicians who cut important social causes, usually started by women but taken over by men, from their budgets. Peattie, herself, once refused an invitation to be presented to the Pope because she “had no respect for his assumptions of authority” (237) and cautioned a female acquaintance against relinquishing her “intellectual liberty” to the Catholic Church (373). She criticizes the double standards for females and males and calls a small-town woman socially ousted by her community, for what it perceived to be the sexual impropriety of a female (but not an impropriety for her male counterpart!), “a plain fool, a pious, filial fool” because she “stayed with her slayers who slew her daily” (121). Unlike male autobiographers, Peattie clearly was not silent about the institutions or customs that render women invisible.

And, so, it is important to study both women's fictional works and their autobiographical writings as well. While moments of critical importance may not be covered in one area, they may be covered in another, and thus the full picture of these early women can be gleaned only by looking at the entire body of writing. This is especially true for the nineteenth-century woman whom the ideology of gender inevitably silenced in the “cult of true womanhood.” Many were hesitant to discuss issues of great importance, like child bearing or friendships with other women. Even Peattie, who confronted authority and the patriarchal institutions and customs that rendered women invisible, found it difficult, or perhaps inappropriate, to write about “female troubles” and close female friendships in fiction. She was somewhat more open in her memoirs, recalling, or perhaps justifying, that the reason for a wet nurse was because she could not breast feed her child; yet, in her memoirs, she does not write about the loneliness she felt when separated overlong from her dearest friend and fellow author, Kate Cleary. However, in Elia’s personal letters to Kate, the longing is quite clear: “Sunday night and dull as a Henry James novel...If only you were here to chat ... I have ached for you” (June 7, 1891). Later that same year, following the birth of Elia’s third child, she wrote: “The only complication during my illness came from an old trouble with my breast and resolved into drying up of my milk...” (August 21, 1891). Thus, we can only learn about these intimate issues from careful study of various types of autobiographical writings.

While many of these self-effacing women found it difficult to write about subjects like confusion, ambivalence, and gender differences, Peattie did not. However, while her fiction is straight forward and concise, her memoirs and personal letters are not. Kate Barrington, in Peattie’s suffrage novel, The Precipice, meets ambition head on and does not struggle with confusion and ambivalence, nor justify her choice to have a career outside the home. Moreover, she negotiates a marriage that is an equal partnership with a commuter marriage. Conversely, when Peattie writes her autobiography, she relies on the star wagon metaphor to talk about her personal ambition (this issue will be explored in greater length a bit later) and reminds her children repeatedly that it was for them she had worked.

Like other female autobiographers, Peattie has no “obsession with Self” which Mary Mason contends is not a central theme in women's autobiography, as it is in male autobiographies (44). Like other women autobiographers, Peattie does not write a “story” about her personal growth as a writer nor her personal involvement with important people; she does not move “linearly from youth to old age” (d’Almeida 67). She does not exclusively organize her autobiography around the chronology of her own life; rather, as Stone tells us is often the case with women autobiographers she chooses something else “as the vital center of [her] narrative” (3). It is loosely coupled around her children, and she often drops important discussions of her own life to talk about her children. This pattern of loosely coupling her life chronology with vignettes about her children is demonstrated throughout her memoir. A specific example of loose coupling occurs when she digresses from her first meeting with Willa Cather, then a graduate student at the University of Nebraska, to tell a story about her son. While Peattie, on one hand, felt ambiguous about family life and warns about too much sentimentality, her children were her center; her goal in life was to raise them out of poverty. The chapters dealing with her children are titled and placed in the center of the manuscript, but she apparently felt it was not important to title those dealing with her own life.

Thus, in an overall comparison of male and female autobiographies, The Star Wagon is complex, like Peattie herself. At times she writes like a man, at times like a woman; at times she is a product of her culture, at other times she is a leader. She is a conservative and, yet, a liberal; she is acquiescent and defiant; she is a progressive, she is not. Elia recognized these complexities and struggled with them. They often created problems for her, and she struggled with guilt for most of her life. These complexities are an inherent part of her. Susan Babbitt, in reviewing Shari Benstock’s work, finds that these complexities, as I have found in Peattie (and, Peattie found in herself) are understandable; she says: emerging from “the consideration of women’s autobiography is the contradictoriness, or at least the complexity, of self-understanding—in particular, the recognition that self-awareness is not the direct result of one’s perceptions of oneself” (216). Likewise, d’Almeida says of Barry, “many facets of the self contradict each other” (67).

Peattie, like other female autobiographers, linked her female identity, in particular her ambition, to some “other” and it is this “other” that allowed Peattie, as well as others, to write about themselves—what Stone calls “acts of self-performance unified by shared cultural values and fashionable metaphors of self” (3). For Peattie this “other” is the image “star wagon” which serves as a self-assessed metaphor for her aspirations; as her aspirations change, so does the wagon's cargo. She says that long before she had read Emerson, she hitched her wagon to a star (17). Peattie says that her first memory is of a tiny red wagon which she was “drawing” and feeling as if she were “floating” (7). A gifted reader in grammar school, Elia gained self-confidence and began to question the theories of both her books and teachers. “Always within me,” she says, “was the idea that I could do something splendid. [. . .] My little red wagon had become myself” (17). With her newly acquired confidence, the young Elia set forth “bound upon some glorious journey” with an “extraordinary faith” in the wagon's “destiny” (18).

In the austerity of her early years, however, Elia's “floating moments” (7) were few. Her patriarchal father was anxious, irritable, argumentative, excessively pious and felt books and magazines were unaffordable (2, 9, 10); although he, himself, was college educated. He was too often gone from home, “ostensibly to work” (18), leaving Elia's nervous, overworked mother (Amanda Cahill Wilkinson) to run the domestic sphere and care for their six daughters (two sons died in infancy). As the eldest, Elia was taken from school in the seventh grade to help with family responsibilities. Studying her father's old college books and the dictionary, Elia kept “hoping for something glorious to do but couldn't seem to find it” (21); “I could not decide on the star; or no star would hold still long enough for me to hitch to it,” she says (21).

For all of her life, Peattie would value education and, consequently, resent being taken from school, where she claimed that with a little coaching, she would have done very well—her grandmother was a friend of Lucy Stone, one of the first women educators, and her father was a graduate of the Kalamazoo Law School. Interestingly, though, Elia took her own daughter, Barbara, out of school at an early age so that Barbara could serve in the domestic sphere. While Peattie laments that she had placed too many burdens on Barbara when she was too young to bear them, she seems completely unaware of the replication, another of the many inconsistencies in Peattie’s life—an example of d’Almeida’s “many facets of the self contradict[ing] each other” (67).

In those austere early years there was little to enhance the quality of life because Fred Wilkinson saw no use for such things; yet, the artistic side of young Elia was lying just beneath the surface. She relies on the wagon metaphor to describe her awakening to the arts; an awakening, described in rather orgasmic terms, caused by the first violin that she heard: “I was lifted up, near to tears, near to crying out to the player to stop, that I could stand no more. He went on and on. I trembled all over” (7). It was one of those “marvelous floating moments,” she says, “like the one when I had drawn the little red wagon” (7). Another awakening to the arts came when Frederick Wilkinson bought a piano “on time.” Elia “fell upon it with a passion” and it became a “refuge [. . .] a door of escape from monotony [. . .] and ugliness” (36) until Wilkinson failed to keep up the payments and the piano was repossessed. Elia fell in love with Shakespeare, whose works she discovered in her uncle's home, and took elocution lessons—until those payments, too, stopped. Under such stifling conditions, the young Elia experimented with writing and at age eighteen modestly composed “Noontide @ Midnight” an unpublished poem (Attached as Exhibit I). However, under such bleak and stifling conditions, inspiration was difficult, and, despite having the “most extraordinary faith” in the little wagon's “destiny” (18), Elia found life to be “rather a dull business” (35). Life was so dull, in fact, that Elia, like many ambitious women of the era, suffered a breakdown from nervous prostration (57). Painfully relived in her memoirs, Peattie's breakdown closely resembles that of Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

Nevertheless, “the destiny” of the star wagon changed when Elia began attending Sunday school parties at the local Baptist church—an act of direct disobedience against her father who objected because the children wore masks. While Wilkinson forbad prayers and spewed forth pious venom about Elia dooming the family to hell, she danced away the night with Robert Burns Peattie, whom she would later marry. Robert was already earning his reputation as a journalist working for the Western News Company. Fred was not impressed, but Elia was—Robert whistled light operas; his first gifts to her were books, followed by flowers (42-44). Immediately the star wagon became “heaped and running over” with a “shining, iridescent cargo” that “trailed its splendors on the ground” and “flung them to the winds” (44). A tell-tale sign of their relationship, and of Elia's strong personality, is in her recollection of their courting days when “[h]e'd sit on the back seat of the surrey, I on the front seat, driving [. . .]” (52). This event would foreshadow a marriage of equal partnership and shared leadership. Robert was exactly the opposite of her chauvinistic father and grandfather whose absolute authoritarian rule she despised—and condemned at a very young age. Her courtship with Robert brought “much cargo” to the star wagon, and although it was “a commodity without a name” she recognized the “vague stirrings of power” (53).

For a short portion of her life, Elia makes no reference to the star wagon; these are the early years when she and Robert lived in Chicago and for the eight-year period when they lived and worked in Omaha, Nebraska. However, after dealing with jealous, disgruntled males in Omaha's journalistic field, she welcomed a move back to Chicago and again returns to the metaphor: “The star wagon was carrying appropriate freight again, and dumping many miserable things” (142).

The middle years of life for Elia and Robert (1896-1917) were spent in Chicago, many of them in Elia’s childhood home—a house they bought from the Wilkinsons and remodeled with money Elia earned from writing 100 short stories in 100 days for the Chicago Tribune. Elia refers to this time as the “busy years at the House-home” when the star wagon had carried much cargo—“a store of hidden thoughts, of aspirations” (418).

Toward the end of the manuscript, Peattie relies on the metaphor to access her life's accomplishments. She deplores having put “so poor a cargo in the Star Wagon” (363) but later contradicts this assessment as she answers the self-imposed question: “Did I [. . .] have much conscious inner life? Did I put much cargo in the Star Wagon? Secretly yes” she says, adding: “aspirations I would not have named, nor dare I name them now, so pitiably short of them have I fallen” (418). Later, she describes those unattained aspirations in the star wagon's cargo as “only the grasses of a past summer and leaves crisped and shrunken that would not again rustle in the wind” (464). The “poor little Star Wagon” carries “no splendors [. . .] ambition now is for our children” (480), says Peattie.

Yet, if one word can be the key to understanding or categorizing a life, the word “ambition” is most applicable for Peattie. Her son, Donald Culross Peattie, in his autobiography, Road of a Naturalist, acknowledges that his mother “began to be professional in a day and a family [Wilkinson] where talent was acceptable in a woman only as a pretty accomplishment” (53); he recalls being lulled to sleep at night by “the peck of my mother's typewriter [which] sounded from [. . .] early until late” because in his home “publication was [and still is] a merit of character” (116). Clearly, Peattie's ambition was to write; specifically, she wanted to write fiction.

While most students and scholars today have come to know Peattie from her fictional writing (The Precipice was republished in 1989), she began her career in journalism—a job that in 1890 was finally deemed “suitable” for women (Weiner 29). It is difficult to determine exactly when Peattie first began writing for the Chicago Tribune, but she writes of her job as the “first girl reporter” for the Tribune, acknowledging that it made her the “second girl reporter” in the City (66). She first discusses writing short stories for the newspaper after the birth of her daughter, Barbara, in 1885; however, other writers, for example Philip Kinsley and Charles Collins, state that she came in 1884 and that she was the Tribune’s first “girl reporter” and the second “girl reporter” in the city’s newspaper history (82, 17). Her first experience at the Tribune was rewarding: “I proceeded to fill my lungs with life” she says (66).

When the Herald in Omaha, Nebraska offered Robert a position that included a job for Elia, the Peatties moved. In Omaha, Peattie quickly established herself as a writer making life-long friendships with the likes of Willa Cather, Henry Blake Fuller, Hamlin Garland, and William Jennings Bryan. Peattie wrote the first western review of Bryan—whom she considered to be “handsome and good looking” and became involved with the Progressive movement, co-authoring the Populist propaganda tract, The American Peasant. She published “Jim Lancy's Waterloo” in Cosmopolitan and, later in book form where over one million copies were printed and distributed as propaganda for the Populist Party. Donald Culross Peattie recalls how she took on the railroads for exploiting the West and wrote so many letters that the railroads threatened to sue, until, finally the railroads and banks squeezed the newspapers (130). For her hard work and favorable reviews, Bryan dubbed her, “The first Bryan man” (128). Revealing another complexity, Peattie’s progressive agenda waned despite her involvement with various organizations such as education and women’s clubs.

Like many ambitious women, then and now, Peattie was torn between ambition and domestic duties, her greatest and most intriguing complexity. As she enjoyed a marriage that was an equal partnership, traveled, and worked outside the home, her early works advocated the domestic sphere and traditional acquiescence for women, especially the whimsical 100 short stories that she wrote in 100 days for the Chicago Tribune. Her work and work-related travels required that she leave her children in the care of nurses, maids, or family members. Moreover, it was her ambition-driven professional work that gave her life meaning; it gave her, she said, “a sense of eating life and no matter how much I had, I was still unsatisfied” (102).

As indicated earlier, while Peattie must rely on a metaphor to discuss her own personal ambition, she allows her outrageous protagonist, Kate Barrington, a suffragist, in The Precipice (written after Peattie shifted to a more liberal ideology) to speak boldly: “[Ambition] ought to be a credit to me! It's ridiculous using the word 'ambitious' as a credit to a man, and making it seem like a shame to a woman” (137). Meanwhile, Peattie spends a good deal of time in The Star Wagon justifying her own ambition and career. While her memoirs reveal much guilt, especially concerning the domestic duties which she heaped upon her daughter Barbara, Peattie's goal, strongly influenced by her own early life of austerity, was to raise herself and her family out of “poverty and inconspicuousness” (200)—a justification that she repeats many times. While she felt that her first job as society reporter for the Tribune was a “mitigation” (64) because she was “snubbed” (63) in the fashionable houses, and though she “loathed” (63) the injustices, she says, “we had to have more money in the little house and I was getting it” (64). Elia's “juggling act” between the professional and domestic spheres (Falcone 38) began early and is especially evident in the method the Peatties adopted for writing fiction in the evenings: Elia would sew and dictate to Robert while “stirring the cradle” with her foot (63). Her second income added much needed money to the house and growing family. When the Northwestern Railroad Company commissioned her to write a travel guide, she placed her children in the care of family and left for an extended trip to Alaska. She relished the adventures that for the first time made her “free of house-keeping trammels” (73). While Elia might have concentrated on her fiction, she accepted a position as literary critic for the Chicago Tribune—a position that left little time for creative writing. It was this job and the endless reviewing of books, she later claimed, that destroyed her creativity: “My talents were slain, but the bills were paid, the children educated. [. . .] It was for them, after all, that I had worked” (464). And she acknowledges: “I did no end of stupid things to my children. [. . .] They have much to forgive me for” (167). Other parts of the manuscript contradict her contentions here and reveal that it was her ambition, her professional work, not her family, which was “the thing that seemed to justify life” (102).

Peattie's early ambitions, nurtured in Omaha, seemingly were absorbed by osmosis from the city of Chicago, which became one of the most ambitious cities in the world. Turn-of-the-Century Chicago was the epitome of Thorstein Veblen's “conspicuous consumption;” it was for Carl Sandburg and many others, the “City of Big Shoulders,” “wicked”, “crooked,” and “brutal” yet “the heart of the people” “laughing” and “proud” (“Chicago”). Sandburg's description, like Sherwood Anderson's, “the city [. . .] like your own soul,” (395) aptly encompasses Peattie’s “insider”view of Chicago as articulated in her review of Norris’ book. It was the center of literature and architecture, and, in 1893, Chicago displayed all of its accomplishments in the Columbian Exposition. Here, in Chicago's heyday, Elia Peattie spent her prime years, 38 of them, actively engaged in journalism, literature, drama, the woman's club, the suffrage movement, the settlement house movement, and the University of Chicago, which was just opening its doors to women. Well aware of her opportunities, Peattie declares, “A city is a great home” (106 The Precipice). Chicago was, indeed, an exciting place for an ambitious, middle-class woman.

Middle-class women by the 1890s were finding their way into jobs that were both respectable and allowed them to earn a decent living. Lynn Y. Weiner lists those jobs deemed “suitable” for women as: telegraphy clerical, sales, decorating, journalism, and telegraph work (29); yet, she points out that “fewer than one in ten married women worked for wages” (83) with less than 2 percent of them employed in occupations that could be defined as white-collar work (87). According to Mrs. M. L. Rayne, free lance writers were typically paid $1.50 - $2.00 per column—if the woman could give “a quick and comprehensive digest of the news—a tender and pathetic sketch in which are all the elements of a first-class drama [. . .] and a style that will compare with Ruskin (36). Those who were bolder, like Mrs. Fitzgerald, of the Chicago Inter-Ocean, could earn more money. She took the position of “night reporter, and would go into the office at midnight with police news. No one molested her, and she retained her position until something more desirable offered itself. The salary for such work averages about $10 a week” (45). Rayne noted also that Harper’s Bazaar [. . .] is always desirous of receiving good short stories [. . .] and pays from fifteen to twenty dollars for them [. . .] (45). By 1885 Peattie was adding “a hundred a month to our income” (55) and, by the 1890s, her lectures earned “anywhere from $16.00 to $100.00" (117).

It was a unique situation for middle-class couples, like Robert and Elia, to work. Weiner points out that there was an “inverse correlation between family income and the employment of wives” with married women working only when their husbands earned low wages (84); “a minority of wives worked not because of absolute economic need but because of relative economic need—the desire to better the standard of living for their families” (86). It was for this “relative economic need” that Elia worked, and in their professions, as in everything else, Robert and Elia shared an equal partnership and worked together to facilitate each other’s careers. Fanny Butcher, who became a personal friend of the Peatties, acknowledges that the “book columns of the Chicago Tribune really were a husband and wife production” (K16). Robert valued Elia’s career as equally important as his own; he supported her in her many travels which took her to far away places for extended periods of time. Couples with this type of marital partnership were rare, as Barbara Mayer Wertheimer points out in her discussion of Mary Kenney O’Sullivan and her labor-editor husband, Jack O’Sullivan. Jack insisted that his wife keep on working after their marriage, even after the children came, “but he helped her with the work at home to make it possible for her to do so.” (267). Those couples who managed to rise above the proscribed customs of the day to earn two salaries found themselves, as did the Peatties, advancing financially at a rate previously unimagined.

Much of the time, Robert was also earning a tidy sum. At the time of their marriage, when “a regular job was $10.00 a week in a bank or book store,” he says, “I was drawing $25.00 a week as a reporter.” It was this impressive salary that earned him the respect of Fred Wilkinson (20). Even with two salaries, though, the Peatties, often struggled. Robert’s health was precarious, and he was not always able to work. Sometimes, probably due to lack of regulations, people took advantage of them. Once, while he was working in Denver to regain his health, he says his “small salary was not always forthcoming;” meanwhile, back in Omaha, at the World Herald, Elia “was forced to accept, in place of money, orders on advertisers for things [they] didn’t want,” which caused them “to lose a good deal of money” on the house they had purchased (25). But, like Elia, Robert, too, was always looking for ways to add additional money to the family budget; he said that he sometimes earned “bonuses for making improvements on the writing” in the newspaper office and made an “additional $5.00 here or $15.00 there” (68). Robert, who always encouraged Elia to write, to work, to be creative, grew to depend upon her second salary and noted, “For years a pretty certain source of income was Youth’s Companion” [. . .] Elia’s juvenile stories were still bringing in a “small sale many years later” (26). He once went to New York, where for two months he made no effort to look for work, leaving Elia “busy on the World Herald and doing magazine stories to keep the pot boiling” (67).

So, Chicago afforded many opportunities to the hard-working, middle-class woman who could write. In her 1893 book, What Can a Woman Do? Rayne cautions, yet challenges, young women to write: “I urge women to be sure of their ability before they enter the flinty paths of journalism, where it is a sin to be ignorant, and where you are expected to be wise, witty, sensible, poetical, and versatile for very moderate pay [. . .] be versatile enough to write grave to-day and gay to-morrow” (44). “If a woman is born with a talent to write,” says Rayne, “she will write—there is no possible doubt about that” (47). Rayne thought that her modern woman had come a long way from the 1840s (although it seems that “Mrs. M. L. Rayne” could not write without identifying herself under the designated title for married women) when, she reminded her readers, there were only a few industries that were open to them—keeping boarders, setting type, teaching needlework, tending looms, and folding and stitching in book binderies (3). For middle-class women, like Elia, it was time to move beyond domesticity.

Out of this creative, intellectual milieu in Chicago there arose two polar types of literary institutions, the studio and the newspaper. Interestingly, Peattie was generally well respected in both camps. She was one of the early founders of the elite Little Room, where Chicago's literati met. When Hamlin Garland and others formed the all-male Cliff Dwellers Club, Peattie, Clara Laughlin, and Louise Hackney founded the Cordon Club for professional women. Peattie was one of the most celebrated literary critics in the City; Butcher notes that to be invited to the Peattie home for Sunday brunch was the “final literary accolade,” and recalls her own “initiation into that sacrosanct atmosphere” where the literati gathered (K16). Likewise, Kinsley points out that the Tribune ranked its first “girl” reporter with the best authors of the day (82). Peattie's ambition produced astonishing results in both camps. Robert, who included an extensive, though incomplete, bibliography of his wife’s works in his autobiography, points out that she read some 10 books a week with her reviews totaling 5,000 columns; she wrote essays, lectures, poetry, plays, and operas. She published several hundred short stories for newspapers such as, Boston Transcript, New York Evening Post, and Chicago Tribune, as well as in prominent magazines, Cosmopolitan, Collier’s, Harper’s Bazaar, Harper’s Weekly, Lippincott’s, and Youth’s Companion; for a time she ran a department in the Designer and another in the Reader; she published thirty-two books (Unedited 454), and there were a number of unpublished manuscripts.

However, there came a time when Peattie's work floundered, as she was well aware when six manuscripts were returned “like hungry cats” (322), and while there may be several reasons for her inability to meet the public’s expectations, it appears that the primary reason is that she could not adjust her conservative/genteel ideologies to accommodate the new morals of the changing times. When the second wave of the Chicago Renaissance replaced the “genteel tradition,” the populace lost interest in her writings. While early in her career her works had been “too radical” they were now considered “nauseatingly virtuous” (322) in comparison to Theodore Dreiser and others. Not only did Peattie’s writings not reflect the new sexual mores, Peattie took a solid stand against sex in literature in her Tribune book reviews. She held Dreiser’s Sister Carrie in the utmost disdain calling his work “the epic of a human Tomcat [. . .] [a] back fence narrative” (“Gossip” 12). This “vituperative” attack on Dreiser caused her to lose favor with male critics, like Burton Rascoe, who referred to her as a “formidable bluestocking” who “rather ran the literary roost in Chicago” (324). Her strong stand against sex in literature seems to have been viewed as too Puritanical. Interestingly, she protests that Garland had “compromised with the juvenile taste of America,” and, in order to sell his works, had abandoned the “austere and tragic qualities of 'Main Traveled Roads' producing an “innocuous sort of material” that had wasted his “vigorous and heroic talent” (131).

It is evident that Peattie’s professional reputation was floundering. Robert’s memoir offers some insight into the shift of interest in Elia and her writing. He says that she became “hated by the people of the Little Review who were rebelling against the literary bourgeoisies. Elia put a hoax on them to show the crowd that their attitude could be assumed at will by anyone” (26). Elia adopted the pseudonym, Sade Iverson, a young, homeless girl and played on the liberal ideals of the younger group of writers. It appears then that change in the political climate likely caused the lack of interest in her works and their traditional themes. The older, more genteel, women of the era emphasized community and social responsibility; as evidenced in the women’s clubs and Hull House, they were committed to a life with purpose and meaning. The young women of the next generation emphasized the individual.

Perhaps another reason her work floundered was that she lost her zeal to write. Peattie, herself, analyzed the problem: “the eternal reading and reviewing of books for twenty years [had] destroyed my originality and [. . .] vitality” (464). Her work was also affected by the untimely death of her daughter, Barbara, who died at the age of 30 leaving behind unfinished poems and three little boys for her husband and family members to care for. Peattie says that with Barbara's death in 1915 she could no longer give her characters life (252).

In 1917 Robert accepted a position with the New York Tribune, and the Peatties relocated, but never adjusted, to New York. Elia explains that New York with its “days of aching anxiety” and “anguish” was “no substitute for a real home” and hence “could not, in the nature of things, compare in happiness with the life at the House-home in Chicago” (465). Although her professional life had ended, she was made a member of the National Poetry Society, the City Club, and the National Arts; yet, she was as “lonely as a cloud in these places” with “no initiative” and heavy heart (486). While many of the Chicago journalists and literati—the Tafts, Rascoes, Dawsons, Fields, Cather, et al—lived nearby or visited, they seem to have become a rag-tag lot who had lost mates or sons in the war, and Elia laments that while they “had home-like times together” they were “all homesick for the homes that were no more” (469). “In New York there are no neighbors” (471).

Consequently, after only three years in New York, Robert retired, bringing to an end his 40-year journalism career. He had begun as a young man with the Western News Company in Chicago; he would eventually work for the Chicago Times, Daily News, Omaha Herald, World Herald, Denver Sun, Nonpareil, and the New York World, but more than 20 years were spent with the Chicago Tribune—either as a member of the editorial staff or as their New York correspondent, which is where he was working at the time of his retirement in 1920. His pseudonym, as disclosed in “The Story of Robert Burns Peattie,” was Herbert Claxton (75). He was known to be the witty intellectual who was always a perfect gentleman.

The Peatties decided to retire in Tryon, North Carolina where they had visited many times, and where Barbara Peattie Erskine's “Villa Barbara” still stands today. “The beauty of Tryon was like a welcome home” says Elia; again, she notes that she was “free from all domestic care” and returned to her writing—poems, plays, and lectures (472). Peattie became active in the Lanier Library where she had first lectured in 1901 (Falcone “Elia Wilkinson Peattie” 15); the Lanier now served as an outlet for her writings. She helped to form the Drama Fortnightly, a play reading society at the Lanier Library which eventually emerged as the Tryon Little Theater; both institutions remain active today. She wrote plays and the Tryon School Song; she was active in women's activities, but says, “ambition now is for our children” (418). In the earlier years there was “too much stress for philosophy,” and “aspirations [. . . were] as flowers at which one snatches by the wayside, running on some swift and imperative errand” (418).

Peattie, like her Chicago sisters, was committed to a life of purpose and productivity. She valued "intellectual development, independence, and work. Likewise, she both promoted women's comradeship with men (especially when wartime patriotism weighed heavily) and criticized romantic feminine self-sacrifice” (Bremer & Falcone 6). When, in middle age, Peattie turned toward a more liberal ideology, she advocated these values for all women, as evidenced in her memoirs and The Precipice which advocates many different roles for women and urges readers to appreciate ambition in women as we do in men. Thus, the star wagon is an appropriate metaphor for the memoir of this Chicago woman, who, like the other lost sisters of Willa Cather, worked for “justice, love, freedom, knowledge, utility” (Emerson, Society & Solitude).

Works Cited

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Chapter I

The boys want their father and myself to write our memoirs. They are sensible men in other regards, but in this they seem foolish enough, and anyway, "memoirs" is too impressive a word. I can recall many episodes in my life, but the years and months, the weeks and days stretch away illimitable, little blue-grey waves, with sun here and shadow there, and wind blowing, and are lost on the shores of forgetfulness.

I was born in Kalamazoo, January 15th, 1862 of a beautiful and docile young mother whose husband was at the front in that War Between the States which now seems so incredible. I have an ambrotype of myself at two, a smiling, round-faced mite with straight hair on a rotund head beside my luscious-looking mother, and with gold armlets looping back the sleeves of my frock. The first thing I remember is a red wagon. It was a tiny one and I was drawing it and feeling as if I were floating. My mother, when I told her this, said she did not remember that I ever had a red wagon. Perhaps it wasn't mine. Maybe it belonged to some other child and I had it only for that floating moment. Anyway, it is the first thing I remember.

While my father was at the war, mother and I lived with my grandmother. Grandmother Cahill used to tell me some interesting stories about our relatives. Her father, John P. Marsh, had been a merchant in Burlington, Vermont, and had owned a share in some importing ships. One of his brothers, having caught the migratory germ, decided to go West; he thought of settling in Ohio. Along with him went a young nephew who was recuperating from typhoid fever. This convalescent had a way of falling asleep at odd times and in queer places, and it happened that when his uncle was ready to go ashore at Cleveland, the boy was nowhere to be found. Passengers and crew united in an unavailing search for him. The uncle could not proceed without his charge. Luggage was thrown back on board and the ship went on its way. Later, the unconscious boy was found inside a coil of cable, enjoying one of his naps, and that is how it happened that the Marshes settled in Michigan.

My grandmother, Maria Marsh, was a girl of twelve when she, in course of time, stepped off the boat at Detroit, and as she tripped down the gangplank—she always had an eager step—a grave young Virginian who had but recently come to the Midwest, remarked to a friend: "I'd like to marry that girl when she grows up." He was Abram Cahill and he married someone else in the meantime. This lady died, and after a proper interval, he presented himself to Miss Maria Marsh. [...] Abram, certainly, was not the best man in the world. He had a frightful temper and regarded himself with exaggerated respect. Once, when the young bride with experimental fingers, touched his forehead and said: "I love you," he flashed a forbidding look at her. "Never say that again," he warned, "or I shall hate you."

Maria addressed her husband as "Mr. Cahill," even in the intimacy of their chamber. Or perhaps there was no intimacy. There were six children, it is true, and Mr. Cahill was a stern, yet self-complacent father. Grandmother told me a story of how he once came to the house for a midday meal, found it not yet ready, and going into her bedroom snatched from a bureau drawer the baby clothes she had made, washed and ironed for an expected arrival, and throwing them on the floor trampled them with his muddy boots. To my passionate protests that I would have left him then and there and forever, she smiled with a patient pride. "He was very much looked up to," she said. "He was a man among men." "A brute among brutes," I started to say, but I saw that would be blasphemous and discontinued my criticisms of Mr. Cahill. His son, my beloved Uncle Edward, had a touch of this temper, but he learned to hold it well into hand. He could not be unjust long, and he had a spirited wife who saw no reason why she should be railed at.

Her respect and admiration for her relatives was great. She was one of a family of seven and some of them had made their mark, personally, or by means of marriage. Her next younger sister, Mrs. J. Adams Allen, wife of the distinguished physician of that name, for more than a generation, President of Rush Medical College, was an imposing woman with no little savoir faire, who held a high place in Chicago society at that time. George Marsh and his East Indian born wife, daughter of the celebrated missionaries, [the] Barkers, were also well-known and admired. Then there was Dr. Wells Marsh and Professor Fletcher Marsh and their families.

I had one ancestress who came to Michigan at the time of the migration of the Ransoms and Marshes. Her husband took up a government claim and settled in the wilderness, made a clearing, built a house and expected to become a successful farmer. Then he fell victim to pneumonia and died leaving his wife with eleven children. [...] Upon the death of her husband she let out portions of his grant to farmers who worked it on shares. [...] The children grew up to take a respected place in the early life of Michigan. The fact of one can be seen on the walls of the Supreme Court rooms in the State House at Lansing, Michigan. He bore the impressive name of Epaphroditus. [2]

My grandmother used, on occasion, to act as hostess at the Executive Mansion during the administration of Epaphroditus and she had told me how, at a certain dinner party, wine was served, to her surprise and outrage. When her glass was filled, she lifted it and said: "Is this mine to do with as I please?" "Yours," said the governor, "to do with as you please." "Then," said Maria, "this is what I please to do with it," and she threw it out the window. Even at a very young age, I was unable to think of this as an exhibition of good manners. [...]

Charles Marsh, as brother of my grandmother, was one of the early physicians of Michigan, practicing chiefly among country folk. He was much in favor with the Dutch at Holland Prairie where my grandfather Cahill had had his farm [...] he was a musician as well and could extemporize with the beauty and fervor which held in rapt those who heard him. Music ran in the family. Grandmother and great-grandmother were singers themselves and had singing families. Many a harsh and jangling moment was dissipated by song; even the most sullen child, it appeared, had to yield to its influence. My mother had a rich and lovely mezzo-soprano [voice], but not one of her children could sing. They were tuneless and none of them, save myself, has been interested in fine music.

One of my grandmother's finest virtues was her active interest in the education of the young [...] there was seldom a time when she did not have some young person living with her for his or her "board and keep" that school could be attended. [...] One of her particular friends was Lucy Stone, [3] one of the first educators of women in the Midwest. This was Mrs. Abram Cahill, a widow with six children, and of New England descent.

My mother, however, had little education. Her heart and mind were bound up in her mother's heavy domestic burdens. She was maternal to the core of her [being] and literally could not concentrate upon anything so abstract as lessons while the concrete in life was demanding her attention. So she was her mother's "dear, good daughter," and she became a dear good mother. My mother was the eldest child of her mother and was named Amanda Maria Cahill. She called me Elia after her mother's youngest sister.

My Father was Frederick Wilkinson, [4] born in Birmingham, England but brought to this country at the age of six and an American by passionate conviction. My father also had a passion for education, at least in his youth, but he made no effort to give his five daugthers anything more than a primary education. But as a youth, he had an aspring and eager outlook. He worked in a foundry, sawed wood, cared for yards, and swept out stores to pay his way at the University of Michigan. Finally his elder brother, William, left him money enough to continue his studies. This William recieved from the Wilkinson family the admiration and preference which the English accord to the eldest son, and father, who was constitutionally democratic in his convictions, was outraged by this discrimination. [5] There were two sisters, Hannah, a few months younger than my father and his loyal pal, and Sarah. The former became Mrs. Robert Price, the latter, Mrs. Fred Farnsworth. All of these people lived in Ann Arbor. The hills, the woods, the fields and river were integral parts of father's youth. He and his sister Hannah conducted their juvenile explorations there and loved it and each other.

He had attended the University of Michigan for two years and [went] to Kalamazoo to study at the Law School. As a stump speaker, he won a local reputation, and he began well at the bar. While he was at Law School, he met my mother. She was engaged at that time to a Canadian gentleman named Wilson but there leaped up a flame of love between Frederick and Amanda and she wrote to the other man asking his release. Mr. Wilson—who was a maker of carriage bodies, replied with magnanimity: "To thine own self be true, and it will follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man." [6]

The finding of gold at Pike's Peak delayed the marriage of Frederick and Amanda. He was a poor man and wanted money; also, he was a restless man and wanted adventure. He joined a prairie caravan and traveled three months across the plains, sleeping at night with his musket at his hand, riding by day on his horse, and performing his share of the labors of march and camp. At no time, as it happened, did they encounter any hostile Indians; buffalo they saw by the thousand. He told of being wakened early in the morning by the pounding of hoofs, of springing to his feet and catching sight of the Pony Express as horse and rider thundered by.

"What news?" shouted father.

"Lincoln's elected," came back the answering shout.

I do not know how many months father remained at Pike's Peak, but it was long enough for his vivid personality to make an impression upon his associates; he was sent as one of the delegates to Denver from the territorial legislature. He made no dramatic lucky strike at the diggings, but he was a couple of thousand dollars to the good when Old Abe's first call for troops drove all idea of personal gain out of his head. With a company of men, he started back across the plains. Women and children did not accompany this train. Oxen, which had set the pace for the outgoing company, were left behind. It was a company of great-hearted gentlemen in rough clothes, fired with a determination to live in a country guiltless of slavery, and free from an idle and arrogant aristocracy, that sent them hastening back to the states that had nurtured them, to enlist for war.

There were goodbyes to father's mother and sisters, then, the visit to his sweetheart, the sudden, almost unpremeditated marriage, three weeks of fitful, emotional happiness at the recruiting station at Detroit, and then away to the hard campaign, to more than three years of bitter home-longing, of danger, sickness, wounds, hardship.[...] My father came home from the war quite broken in health, in the care of a colored boy named Thornton Holmes who pawned my father's sword and sash to pay for food on the way home. So we had as souvenirs only his cartridge belt and his cap with the company letter K shot way.

Father had what we have now learned to call "shell shock" and for three months hardly slept at all but lay and sobbed: "The battle fields! The battle fields!" He was a man who shrank from killing anything. They said he had been a red-cheeked, eager young man, more apt to be running than walking, but he came back from the war tense, nervous, often irritable and given to argument. [He was] a changed man. In some ways, a bitter man, often a tender one; yet, on slight provocation, an irritable one.

Then there was Uncle Edward Cahill, my mother's elder brother, who also had been through the war, and came back from the war slender and gay. He snatched me up and tossed my in the air. "So this is little E. Wick!" he cried. He called me E. Wick to the end of his days. [...] He married Lucy Crawford, the daughter of an old-fashioned school-master, dictatorial as a Hohenzollern, [7] but a fine man for all that.

Father and Uncle Edward Cahill, who also had been admitted to the bar, moved to St. Johns, Michigan, a little town surrounded by heavy forests, with nothing particular to recommend it. Father bought a block of land and, in the midst of it, built a modest wooden house which was to be, eventually, an adjunct to a grand, square brick mansion. The Lombardy poplars he set out on each side of the driveway grew rapidly and, to my childish eyes, looked very imposing. There were ornamental trees over half the property and fruit trees over the rest, with a kitchen garden, and wheat or corn or buckwheat were planted in among the trees. We had a cow and hogs and chickens, drew our water from a well and a cistern, and had a woodshed full of odorous pine and oak firewood.

Mother's kitchen had a rag rug on the floor for which she had sewed the rags. There were Boston rockers by the windows and blossoming plants on the window ledges and gay covers on the tables. The sitting room had a what-not with shells, coral and some knickknacks a Missionary named Rose had brought back from India. There was an organ there, and a three-ply capet and lace curtains. Mother's bedroom had a rosewood set in it and looked out on the orchard.

The years when I was growing from babyhood to twelve years of age [1874] are rather blurred. Two boys were born into the family and both died, one soon after birth, the other at twenty-four months. I can still remember this little brother quite well. He was named for father and was a blue-eyed child, smiling and friendly. Father was away on business when the child died and I remember his homecoming—so heart-broken—and mother's broken explanations. Freddie and I had played out in the delusive March sunshine and he had taken his fatal cold. "I thought it was warm enough," poor mother would say over and over again. They buried all that was left of this little laughing boy at the western extremity of our place. The sorrel grew thick there, and I thought it was "sorrow" and was glad it grew there.

Two little sisters came along in time, Gertrude, [8] seven years younger than myself, and Kate [9] two years younger than Gertrude. Father adored Gertrude, partly because she had come after Freddie's death to help heal his grief, and partly because she was so extraordinarily pretty. These sisters were so much younger than myself that, save as responsibilities, they did not much enter into my life for the next few years. They couldn't go berrying in Emmons' woods, or chase butterflies, or go after the cow in the twilight down on the Commons or share my satisfaction in going to Sunday School. Father was superintendent of the Baptist Sunday School and I was the abhorrent pupil who learned the most verses. I would stand up in my figured delaine [10] frock with my copper-toed shoes and speak out loud and clear and feel like a Good Child.

Sometimes my mother's sisters lived with us for a time. There were Jennie and Mary, both with beautiful singing voices and long curls, and there was Lizzie, dark and perverse, who wrung her mother's heart. Jennie became Mrs. Charles Fitch and died young of tuberculosis; Mary became Mrs. John Royce and died of the same disease, leaving three children. Lizzie died unmarried, a wild hawk of a girl with her own sultry secrets. She was the first dead person I ever saw.

I hadn't many friends. We were rather remote on our square of land. Near at hand was a girl older than myself named Edna Bridgman. She had pimples and an aptitude for decoration and she and I loved to make "bowers" of vines and flowers and dress ourselves up. I couldn't think why she was so white—white as the buckwheat blossoms. I admired this pallor very much. We had a great deal to say to each other though I don't know what it was about. She graduated at the head of grammar school and died a month later of anemia and was buried in a bright green dress she had worn on Commencement Day.

Then I had another friend, Della Williams. Della's mother hadn't a very good reputation. She lived in a large square house on the edge of Emmons' woods, and her husband went about the state selling jewelry to retail dealers. Mrs. Williams rouged when nobody else in town was guilty of that cheerful hypocrisy. She and Della were much alone, and there was something clandestine about our acquaintance. Della and I would run through our orchards and meet and chat and giggle, looking about to see that we were not discovered. I think we had an idea my people disapproved of our comradeship.

Once she invited me to her house to hear her uncle, who had come to pay his relatives a visit, play on the violin. I had never heard a violin and knew nothing about music save the church songs and the war-time ballads. Mrs. Williams' brother was a large man, a little past middle age, with a heavy head that drooped something as Beethoven's must have done. We sat out on a sort of roofless porch in the twilight and had lemonade and little cakes and then the musician brought out his "fiddle" as he called it, and began to play. What he played I do not know. It was nothing I knew about. [...] At first I could get no tune and no sense out of the music that came from those strings, but bye and bye I became aware of a new wonder in my world. The stars were coming out, brighter than I ever had seen them; the crickets were calling from the grass, but with a new magic. My heart went dancing after the fireflies that lighted the long slope to the road. I was lifted up, near to tears, near to crying out to the player to stop, that I could stand no more. He went on and on. I felt as if I had never been quite born, as if I were really living for the first time. It was another of those marvelous floating moments, like the one when I had drawn the little red wagon. I trembled all over I thought I should have to run home to hide it from my friends. And then I glimpsed a lantern down the long path.

"It's my mother," I said with a half-sob.

"Maybe she'll stay and listen to the music," suggested Mrs. Williams. But I knew she wouldn't. Mother wouldn't put herself under obligations to a woman who painted her cheeks and was "talked about." I thanked the musicians shyly.

"I think you are meant to be a musician yourself," he said, aware, I suppose, of my palpitations. But he was mistaken. I cannot carry a tune. But as I went with my mother through the star-lit gloom down the long poppy-lined path, I knew that life had a majestic chamber of which I had not known before.

Once the Walker girls gave a party. There were quite grand people [...] Mr. Walker was a congressman [...] they were our glass of fashion and mold of form. We had a game-playing afternoon and a little girl's idea of refreshments as they are in heaven, and then, not knowing how to end our festivities decided to march through the village, dropping each girl at her home. [...] I had an anxious thought, "What if Della should see! What if she should think I had given a party and hadn't invited her." It was as I feared. [...] Mrs. Williams came to our gate and said, "Oh Elia, Della is crying her heart out. She thinks you've given a party and haven't asked her [...] she's crying so dreadfully it frightens me." "I didn't! I wouldn't!" I cried, and sped to the house, to Della's room and Della's arms.

Down below us at some distance from our home, was a tract of land known as the Commons. Anyone who liked might put their cattle or horses to pasture there. The place was lush, with clumps of bushes and young trees and innumerable wild flowers. I used to go down there with my father to get our Brindle, and sometimes, as I got older, and father was out of town, I went alone. Brindle was a pleasant cow and quite ready to come home and be milked, but she had a wandering habit and it was sometimes hard to find her. I remember one night in particular I looked and looked for her and got myself lost among the countless clumps of bushes, and the early darkness came down and the wind rose. I got in a panic, and wept, and decided I would probably die there in the night alone. Then at the depths of my gloom, I heard Brindle browsing and called and got her answer. Her bags were too full and she groaned as we made our way miserable up the hill. She took the road home and I followed. The owls didn't seem so fearsome with Brindle close at hand, and we reached home to find mother, lantern in hand, on the point of starting out for us. The Spring evenings on the Commons were delicious. Such odors and happy croakings, such tender skies, such a feeling of aliveness and earthiness!

One of my choicest possessions was my little trunk. Father had brought it to me from Detroit. It was a minute model Saratoga, that is, it had a rounded top, a tray and a wee hat box. I kept my doll clothes in it and when I was six and journeyed to Uncle Edward's I had my own clothes in it. I used it later for my love letters, and when I had a little daughter I gave it to her for her dolly clothes. She, too, used it for her love letters. She was going to give it to her little daughter, but no little daughter came to her.[...] It is very old and shabby now and no child could care much for it, but I used to think it was wonderful.

Father was a man with periods of excessive piety. I remember one Sunday when it rained and rained. There was nothing in the house to read; I was not supposed to play with my dolls; the grownups appeared to be torpid. I slipped out into the capacious woodshed with its delicious odors and seating myself in the swing began a gentle oscillation which increased to a wide, free swirl and swish out the wide doors and into the air, where the overhang from the roof kept me dry. At the height of my eagle-like swoopings, father appeared. "Elia," he said, "Don't you know it is the Sabbath Day? Come in the house at once." I went in, rebellion black in me, poisoning my very food as I forced it down my throat. There were other episodes as excessive, but I don't think he really believed in such forbiddances. He couldn't have liked himself very well when he was being so disagreeable.

We had plenty of good times together. He used to take me with him sometimes when, as collecting attorney, he went about the country adjusting the claims of wholesale merchants with their retail purchasers. There would be an amenable horse, a top buggy, the old red and blue checked army blankets, a big box of luncheon, a pail of butter milk, and fodder for the horse. We'd drive through forests and past fields and invade little villages. Nobody refused us a meal. Seldom did a villager decline to let us spend the night. Sometimes we slept in good beds, sometimes in shake-downs in the attic of a log house. I liked the attics with their hams and herbs, their strings of quartered apples hanging from the rafters and piles of unhusked corn in the corners. Woodpeckers used to wake me, or squirrels running over the roof, or rain falling.

One night we got into a woodland which seemed to stretch to the end of the world. Night came on, and the poor horse struggled with the deep loam of a horrible road which no sun could reach for the thickness of the trees. We sank to the hubs and the horse simply could not pull us out. For a while Father sat in offish thought while the spent horse groaned and panted. Then Dad said: "We'll spend the night here." He leaped from the buggy, released the horse, followed it as it jumped to solid ground, unharnessed it by the light of the lantern, and tied it to a tree. Me, he carried to safe ground. The trees were magnificent pines, swaying mightily, through which the stars shone and the clouds raced. But the wind did not trouble us down in our sheltered camping place. Father was as happy as I have ever seen him. He was bivouacking again, but now there was no foe, there was no fear of battlefields.

We built a fire and cooked our bacon and coffee; then, rolled ourselves in the old army blankets and slept on red pine needles. The sounds of the woodland were about us. I had no fear. True, I had been reared on tales of timber wolves and their wild work, but no wolf disturbed us that night. Sometimes I woke to stare up at the stars through those swaying tree-tops. Sometimes I felt father's hand on me, tucking in the blankets. It was a long night but a beautiful one. Dawn found us up and full of determination. The stalled buggy was hauled out of the muck and we found an impromptu road through the trees and brush. [11]

I've often told my children about the time when I discovered that father was not infallible. It was a stinging winter day and father took me out for a ride on a hand-sled. I was bundled up properly and told to "hold on." Father started running down the hill. "I'm afraid I'll fall off," I wailed. "No, no," father said with perfect reassurance. "You'll not fall. You're all right." When he spoke like that, I no longer had the shadow of a doubt. So I clung and he ran, and then the sled hit something, the root of a tree, maybe, and off I went, bumping my head and cutting my lip. Seldom have such yells and screechings been heard from a small person. They were not so much for the pain, though there was plenty of that. Life was a ruin about me. I was disillusioned. My father could be mistaken. It was like having the sun fall out of heaven. My Mother was severe with me and demanded what I meant by making such a noise. I couldn't tell her. I knew I wouldn't have been understood.[...]

My beautiful, gentle mother worked horribly hard. Father was one of those men who seem always to have taxes or insurance to pay; or there was a piece of land that it would be positive economy for him to buy, or some public cause requires his subscription. Money spent for service seemed wasted and it was seldom indeed that appropriate garments were provided for mother's lovely form. She did foolish, bitter work like making her own soft soap, or putting down the hogs at killing time, not to mention her own washing and ironing. Sometimes there was no sufficient stove-wood cut and she had to split some herself. She often killed the chickens for our Sunday feast, though she loathed it. Sometimes her face, naturally so gentle and so high bred, grew irascible looking. A nervous affliction assailed her and she suffered from a sort of St. Vitus' dance [12] and, at times, had terrible spasms of jerking which only an administration of chloroform could subdue. She used to give this to herself, or if the attack were so violent she could not, I, young as I was, tipped the chloroform three times upon a handkerchief and held it to her face till she slipped into unconsciousness. She had other painful troubles too, and very, very little help. The promise of her bright and devoted girlhood faded with this toil and poverty. She seemed to make no protest. Father could always intimidate her by walking up and down the floor and saying he didn't see anything but the poor-house ahead. Well, perhaps I ought not to write these things.

In many ways, father was a fine man. He had a peculiar push and egotism and wanted to get on in the world, and he didn't realize the cost. Building houses was his particular vice. We might have been comfortable in our little wooden house and had money for "hired help" and possessed appropriate clothes, but father wanted a grand house. So he erected a brick house with sandstone decorations which he hadn't the money to complete. People from far and near used to come to see this imposing, stark, uncompleted edifice and our family form of entertainment was to show them over the building. It stood loftily above far-reaching meadows, and I used to sit looking out of its western windows and thinking how like a princess I would feel when the house was done. But it never was.[...]

I went to a public school in St. Johns and can still remember some of the teachers and the proud hour when advancement took me to the second floor. I remember the tornado, too, that broke down the chimneys and caved a hole in the walls, and how we all ran out of the building, and the wind got under my petticoats and carried me bodily off the high front steps and landed me in a mud-puddle and beat me down till I thought I should smother. The fathers and mothers came running from every direction, distraught with fear, but no one was seriously hurt; though, there were some bloody heads and broken arms. It was an immensely stirring event from my point of view and I was horrified—and delighted. I understood then that when life became dangerous it was interesting.

School frightened me, rather. The smell of the black-boards sickened me; I trembled at examinations, literally quivered and shook. Not that it was difficult for me to learn my lessons. I did well enough, memorized easily and had my own ideas about things, which were not necessarily those of the text books or the teachers. I could read aloud quite beautifully and often used this to cover up deficiencies. But only when I was reading aloud or reciting to my admiring fellow students did I feel free or mistress of the situation. At other times, I was a mildly-driven lamb as likely to miss the fold as to find it. Always within me was the idea that I could do something splendid, and though I had no idea what this splendor was to consist of, I felt as if only shyness held me back from realizing it. My little red wagon had become myself. I was exhilarated by the thought that it was bound upon some glorious journey, and though I had not heard of Emerson, I hitched this little wagon, my diffident self, to a star. [13] I had the most extraordinary faith in its destiny.

Chapter II

The Chicago Fire occurred in October of 1871, and my father had an idea that our relatives in that city might be among the sufferers. So he hastened to that stricken city, leaving orders behind him for quantities of food which was to follow if he wired for it. As a matter of fact, he was greatly excited over the catastrophe and found it next to impossible to remain quiescent in his little Michigan backwater. Our relatives in Chicago were all on mother's side, and were well-placed, competent and rather satirical people. They did not approve of father and the meager life he had provided for his wife, and I dare say they thought he was ridiculous and impertinent in coming to their aid. But they accepted his overtures politely enough, and he, carried away by the idea of the spectacular rebuilding of the city, and all the openings that would be offered to men of enterprise, decided to remove to Chicago. He came home to talk this over with mother, and she, weary of thinking about the imposing house that was never finished and of nursing her babies alone evenings in the center of a village block, while father went back to the law office, ostensibly to work, but in reality to enjoy the sociability of other bored villagers, consented readily enough. As an initial step, father went to Chicago a second time to make arrangements, and he took me along. I had a limited, but pretty, outfit of clothes and rode away from home and my gently weeping mother with one of the sharpest pangs that has ever come to me. I had been bidden to stay with my great-aunt, Mrs. James [Elia Cahill] Walker for whom I had been named, and was taken at once to her house.

This lofty, narrow, imposing mansion with its facade of veined white marble, stood on Park Row, at that time the quintessence of all that was aristocratic, solid, and socially enviable in the life of the young city. It was late of a Sunday afternoon when we arrived, and the two long drawing rooms with their hangings of vermilion velvet, their glittering chandeliers, paintings, mirrors, and rich carpets, were things to dazzle my country eyes. My aunt was lying on a luxurious chaise lounge suffering from neuralgia, which seemed to me a singularly aristocratic complaint, and every member of the numerous company was at her service. She was slender, tall, peculiarly stately, and looked as queens ought to look. She was kind, but at that period of her life, had more hauteur, perhaps, than affection toward all save her immediate family. Her husband was one of the leading men of the city, an austere, delicately-framed man of few words. His reticence was regarded as something admirable. It was certainly distinctive and awe-inspiring. My three cousins were there: Mary, later Mrs. John Root [14] , and an incredibly brilliant girl, Wirt Dexter [...and] James Ransom.[...] I shall not forget the bewilderment of that day and of those that followed. The ceremony, the servants, the elegant carriage and horses, the receiving of stately visits, myself introduced in the condescending manner which adults, particularly opulent ones, use in presenting children. If I remained silent, I seemed stupidly shy; if I spoke, I heard myself saying something a touch too clever and sounding pert. I wished a thousand times that I was safe back in the little living room at home.

When I visited the home of my Uncle Edward Cahill that was another story. There were struggling not only with poverty but with other troubles, but they always were valiant. Their hospitality was indestructible. [Aunt]Lucy had flashing black eyes and was bewitching.[...] Edward took her away to a tiny town called Hubbardston where he was given the postmaster's position, perhaps on account of his war service, and, on one happy occasion, I went down to visit them. I went by myself, half-way by train, half-way by coach and was handed off with the mail sacks. Seldom has there been a tinier house than the one these lovers lived in, but it was near the milldam and the bridge, and the coaches thundered by, and from my point of view it was wonderful. Auntie Lucy made fairy-like cakes and there were always baked apples to be had by merely popping them in the oven. What better fare could lovers or a little girl want. I slept in the same room with my grandmother [Maria March Cahill] and she confided in me surprisingly, seeing what a mere child I was. We enjoyed talking together. They were all fine people, aspiring, confident and admiring of each other. They bore themselves like people of importance and I confessed they impressed me. I wondered if they were satisfied with what they had done or if they expected to do something yet finer. I kept hoping for something glorious to do, but couldn't seem to find it. The little red wagon was all ready to be hitched to a star, but I could not decide on the star; or no star would hold still long enough for me to hitch to it.

Father and I went back to St. Johns and he closed out his business there, and after he had built us a house in Chicago, we all went on, father and mother and we three girls. Our furniture went along too, but the trees and sloping meadows were left behind. Little Freddie was removed from his grave amidst the "sorrow" and placed in the village cemetery. I suppose his little grave has never been visited since.

Father built half of a "double house" [in Chicago] on the corner of Polk and Robey streets. [...] There were only scattered groups of homes out on this low-lying prairie community and we had, at first, a sense of being in the country. But it was ugly, transitory country. Hideous stores stood along Odgen Avenue, and the street cars ran there. There were almost no trees. Our double house stuck up in the air like a packing-box on end—two stories and basement painted brown and without any manner of grace. The rooms were high and of a good size, and furnished according to the notions of the day. Father's grandiose ideas asserted themselves in a gold and green dining room in the basement, where we had false bronze casts of great Americans—Webster, Clay, Lincoln, and Grant. They looked down on us magnificently as we ate our more than economical meals, mother with a babe on her tired arm, little Gertrude in a high chair, bright and eager as a terrier, father in a perpetual state of worry, myself secretly sullen and dissatisfied, yet loving my people and glad to be with them. So began for us a new life, and not at the time a particularly interesting one.

One of the first pleasant things that happened to me after we were settled in our home at the corner of Polk and Robey Streets was the acquaintance I made with the Henderson girls—Bell and Lizzie Henderson who lived in a row of pleasing new cottages in the next block.[...] Bell played the piano with discrimination and assiduity, and I first heard many of the classics from her. We all went to the Brown School together, a long walk.[...] I should have been kept in that school, but I got to worrying over my lessons, and instead of being helped with judicious coaching, I was taken from school before I had completed the seventh grade [1874]. I never had any more schooling. I became my mother's helper, and worked all day in the house just as she did. I made beds, dusted, cared for the children, ran errands, did the ironing, sewing, mending, did whatever there was to do. I don't know how mother would have got on without this help. That is the only comfort to be had out of it.

No books or magazine[s] w[ere] taken in the house. Father held the idea that he could not afford them. Fortunately, he had some books left from his college days.[...] I devoured them. Zimmerman gave me glimpses of scholarship and speculation that were wonderful.[...] No new books came to the house. So far as I can remember, we were never taken to any places of amusement. Life was rather a dull business, but youth has a way of throbbing without much provocation. I was always expecting something wonderful to happen.

Mr. Kermott, the Reverend, who lived next door, held a pastorate at the Coventry Street Baptist Church near the North Side steel mills[...] father was the superintendent of the Sunday School. I used to go over there with him and was interested in the foreign types I saw there, the children of Welch and English mill workers. We seldom took the street cars. Father wished to save the car fare. Mother preferred that I should not go, for she thought the five-mile walk too far for me, but it represented some sort of adventure or experience. [Here, I met] Enoch Ward, [15] the son of an English peddler, a boy with a lovely singing voice and a talent for drawing. He became a member of the British Royal Academy later.[...]

One of the most memorable hardships of those days was the piano episode—the piano tragedy, it seemed to me. Father bought a piano "on time" and I fell upon it with a passion I can hardly understand seeing how little musical talent I had. Someone gave me a quantity of good music and I proceeded to play it. I think I may have had a few lessons, but lessons were not needed to enable me to play that music. It was my one door of escape from the monotony of my days and the ugliness of my surroundings. Then one day I came home from school to find the piano gone. Father had neglected to keep up the payments. It seemed incredible that it should be gone. I wept in such a manner as to incur the angry disapproval of the whole family. Father promised he would get the instrument back again, but he never did. For months afterward I would say to myself as I came from school: "It will be there tonight. When I open the door of the parlor I will see it there." But it never was.

My Uncle Edward [Cahill] had given up the struggle in Chicago, where it was difficult for a young lawyer to make a living, and had gone to Lansing. He ran his roots in there and became a vital part of the community. Occasionally I visited his home, and no words can tell what it meant to me. The graciousness, the hosptiality, the books and magazines, the genial conversation, and the charming atmosphere Aunt Lucy created, were an inspiration. I felt really normal there—light-hearted, pretty, well-dressed. Auntie always managed to put some touches on my clothes, the clothes my darling mother tried so hard to have right, and which at best were meager. My Uncle Frank Cahill, who lived with his brother, was an ardent student of Shakespeare and imbued me with a passion for the master. I went home from one vist determined to possess a Shakespeare and father bought me the entire works in one volume, price one dollar. Imagine the type! However, I read it away into the night, sometimes till dawn. Then I determined to have elocution lessons. Father gave his permission; a fine reader named Knight was employed to teach me, and then Dad neglected to keep up the payments. Mortified beyond expression, I found a place not far distant where fascinators [16] were made by girls who were permitted to take their work home. [17] I made enough money to pay for my lessons, and what Mr. Knight taught me, I have never forgotten. Elocution lessons are supposed to be ridiculous, but there was nothing ridiculous in what I learned from this gentleman.

Father could not have made much headway with his law business in Chicago. At any rate, he bought a printing office and took me into the shop to set type [1876]. It didn't take me long to learn, and I had a certain satisfaction in the work. I was soon able to produce a good-looking card or folder, and the experience I had in type-setting was a little education in itself. I became devoted to the dictionary, studied definitions, punctuation and observed phrases.

There was a pathetic, terrible old man who lived with us during those days. Father had borrowed money of him and could not pay it back; so, he was taken into the house to "board it out." When he came to us he was so crippled with rheumatism that he had to swing himself along with crutches. He was a filthy old thing and his presence in the kitchen, in the warm corner back of the stove, drove my mother almost mad. Her face used to twitch with nervous misery and exasperation. He was with us for years and was like a curse upon the family. Father thought he was paying him by keeping in the house, but it was mother who paid. In those days I definitely hated life, and, as I look back on it, it still seems unendurably ugly.

When I was fifteen years old my sister Bertha [18] was born. I must have been working at the printing office at that time. I gave it up after that and stayed at home to help mother.[...] Mother felt the coming of this child to be a burden beyond her strength to bear, but my interest in the event was great, and I really think it helped to reconcile her. I made all the little clothes, and when the babe was born took much of the care on myself—and that was another kind of education and a very important one. I taught her to walk and talk and was transported with her cunning little ways. She was a darling, freckled little thing, loving and winning.

Our family saw almost nothing of the south side relatives. Once in a great while my grandmother took me over there, but now, more than ever, there was kindly condescension and I writhed under this. My cousin Mary Walker still seemed to me the most brilliant creature living, and there was no condescension in her kindness. But she was having tutors for each branch of study in which she was interested, and was assimilating languages, science and theories of art with an avidity that was remarkable. It was the sense of my inferiority that tormented me when I was with her, not the consciousness of my poverty or social inexperience. Grandmother was ruthless in a manner in which she drew contrasts between us Wilkinsons and the rest of the family connection. She aroused me to fierce defense of my father. It was, after all, not fair for her to eat his bread while she was trying to prejudice his children against him. Her excuse was that she was tortured by the sight of her daughter being worked to exhaustion, given no amusement and kept in poverty and of her granddaughters growing up without education. She looked on me as a bright but perverse child and from what I heard of her she seemed a singularly interesting person, but I was told that was because I was like her. And to be like her was anathema.

I went to the Centennial Baptist Church which was, perhaps, a mile and a half from our house and here I renewed my acquaintance with some of the likable young people I had known at the Brown School. They were in high school by this time, were fashionably dressed and quite above me in many ways, but they included me in some of their pleasures, and in Sunday school I made some impression with callow arguments and memorizing.

Dad and I had some hard tussles of opinion and will in those days. For example, the Sunday School group of young people used to give parties, and if music was obtainable, they danced. I had had no dancing lessons and seldom accepted an invitation to dance, but when father learned that dancing was a feature of those mild evenings, he was outraged. His indignation reached its height when he learned that we proposed to wear masks on one of those occasions. He said his training of me had all been in vain, that he could see I meant to go to the Devil and that if I went to that party, he would despair of ever training me in the fear of the Lord. He said there would be no more asking of blessing at the table, no more family prayers. Indeed, he achieved a fine case of pious hysterics.

I couldn't see the relation between family prayers, or rather their abolition, and this little neighborhood party. I asked mother if she could and she acknowledged that she couldn't, but she thought I'd better not do anything to displease my father. But the whole matter seemed to me ridiculous. Dad had said something about cursing me, but my sense of humor wouldn't let me take that seriously. I couldn't attach importance to cursing and the whole thing seemed forced and more or less of a sham. So I went to the party, wore my little home-made mask, danced badly and happily and came home. My attudinizing progenitor continued to sulk for some time, and I grew into the habit of secretly smiling at him, which was bad. I don't think we had prayers again for years. I tried to feel appropriately grieved, and failed. I knew that I was working early and late for the family, being a good daughter, and it was patent that father was posing.

It was at one of these parties [1877] that I met a slender, dark young man who seemed from the first attracted to me. I had come with a group of young people and had had some casual youth as an escort. But it was this new acquaintance who walked home with me, and who called a few evenings later, and continued to call once or twice a week for a long time to come. He worked in the Western News Company, and his first gifts to me were books—Meredith's Lucille, Blanche Howe's One Summer, Curtis' Lotus Eaters, and [Charles Dudley] Warner's My Summer in a Garden. Also there followed flowers, formal baskets of roses, lilacs, forget-me-nots. They must have been horribly expensive. At least they were so by the standards of the Wilkinson family. Mother wanted to know where the young man got money to waste in that manner. It was wasteful, but it was also marvelous. He brought me a volume of [Wilhelm Freiherr von] Humboldt's one of Herbert Spencer's, one of [Erasmus] Darwin's poetry, charming little books of fancy and wit. My bedroom began to lose its bare and meager look as books and flowers found their way there. I lived to meet this young man and to talk with him. He enraptured me by taking me to the theatre though father objected to that, too, and sometimes forbade it. He didn't think very highly of this young man and said I'd be ashamed ot introduce him to my South Side relatives. I didn't really see what difference that made, as I seldom saw them anyway—and besides, I wasn't ashamed of him and could imagine no reason for being so. My little sisters adored him, and loved to get into his lap and sit there spell-bound while he whistled light opera tunes to them. They called him Pete. His mother called him Burns. For a while I called him Bert, then, later, Robert. His name was Robert Burns Peattie, and six years later we were married [1883].

The first year of our engagement [1877-78]—for we were engaged tacitly, almost from the first hour we met—was, at last, life as I had imagined it. The little star wagon was heaped and running over with a shining, iridescent cargo. It trailed its splendors on the ground, it flung them to the winds. It was not love alone, though that would have been priceless; it was that countless doors seemed to be opening into rooms of knowledge, thought, experience, amusement, creativeness. We talked of plays and operas, of stories and histories. We adored wit: we were enamored with the idea of evolution. Father continued to grump, mother to doubt. They didn't know what to make of this slender, delicate-looking young man, so tidy in his best blue diagonals, who reproduced songs and dances from Gilbert and Sullivan operas, from "The Chimes of Normandy" and "Manon". They were bewildered by his pyrotechnic and sometimes ill-timed jokes. But the children were mad about him and to me he seemed as sparkling as a fairy fête.

It was late before he could reach our house the evenings he came to call. He had to go home from his work, eat his dinner, dress, and journey by horse car the twelve miles to our house. Perhaps nine o'clock would be striking before I would see him hastening from the street car. That was official bedtime for our family, and father and mother were scandalized. He stayed too late—too late, and reached home at one or two in the morning. His parents [Elizabeth Culross and John Peattie] were angry and thought me a frightful sort of girl. I was taken to see them and found them, an old Scotch couple, living in a workman's cottage and according to workmen's ideas. They thought me pretty and amiable, but hadn't much respect for me I think. I was not at all the sort of person they were used to. Neither were they what I was used to. I felt like the Lady of Lyons visiting the cot of Claude Helnott, the gardener. [19] Nothing could have been funnier than my reactions. The pride of our family, based on next to nothing, but forever renewing itself like a self-seeding plant, bloomed luxuriantly at that time. But nothing could exceed my politeness to the parents and other relatives of my sweetheart. They must have detested it and me.

It took years for me to learn to appreciate them. They were stalwart and enduring souls whose honesty was rooted in inherent character, which they passed on to their descendants. They talked broad Scotch and held what might be termed broad Scotch ideas. [Robert] Burns, [Charles] Dickens, [Sir Walter] Scott, [Thomas] Campbell and the metrical Psalms were their intellectual diet. John Peattie had been a Chartist, [20] and he was an American by conviction. He was already stricken with a fatal disease, which carried him off some time before we were married.

Mother Peattie was a small woman with smooth hair, a tiny waist of which she was frankly proud, a great fund of stories, deliciously Scotch and racy of the soil and an energy which was as the four winds of heaven. She loved John Peattie when they were both young. They were engaged and their troth was symbolized by a number of silver coins welded together with a brass heart, which John had fashioned at his forge. Robert was born when his mother was forty-two and who was astonished and dismayed at his arrival. His [three older] sisters cared for him in his babyhood. He was never robust; he was allowed to fatigue himself too much during adolescence and was too exhausted to do well at school. He went to work early and had to carry too many responsiblities; he had depressing recollections of his childhood and acquired rather a pessimistic outlook on life, mitigated by wit, sudden, delicious gaiety, and the most generous gestures of which any gentleman could be capable. The work-day qualities of his family were absent in him. Though he always retained some Scotch characteristics, he seemed curiously French in temperament. He liked French books, French history, and I used to say that he walked down our stupid South Shore Drive as if he were going down the Champs lyses. It was a curious thing. I used to tease Mother Peattie about it—tell her there must have been a wandering Frenchman among the Scotch braes. "Hoots, lassie," she would say indignantly. "Dinna be making fun about serious matters.[...]"

The little house on Pearson Street (the street was an untidy cul-de-sac) was but two rooms deep. The front room had a certain refinement with its black horse-hair furniture, steel engravings and books. The large, homelike kitchen was the room where the family forgathered. There was a practical, plastered attic, a basement for washing and summer cooking, two good-sized bedrooms. The place was crude, a workman's house, but it had absolute cleanliness, and nothing was apologized for. My ideas were all different. We had been poor but we lived like people of the professional class. There really was a wide chasm between the two ways of living and the ideas back of them.

My father grew tired of the city. The neighborhood where we lived was building up rapidly with commonplace houses. All the pleasing sense of being on the country's edge was disappearing. Taxes increased as the streets were leveled, and gas, water, sewers and paving put in. Somehow, Dad heard of a house in the country, practically on the Lake Shore, for sale at a mere fraction of its value.[...] Father was enterprising enough to look up this place, which really was no easy undertaking. He came home with the most enthusiastic reports and fired us all with a sense of adventure and romance. (These were always just under the surface with him. It was the hard conditions of life that kept them down.) We were preparing to move when I fell quite desperately ill with erysipelas [21] of the face, and this plague has appeared at irregular intervals to torment me ever since. It was then I learned how father really loved me in spite of our conflicting ideas. He was anxious beyond measure and would have been glad to put off the moving. But others had been promised the Robey Street house, movers engaged and the family was ready to flit. Robert's mother had kindly invited me to her house till the new place should be settled, and I was made most comfortable there. By this time, Robert had left the Western News Company and was working as a reporter on the Chicago Times. [22] This meant night work and I had a foretaste of what my married life was to be with a man who slept till noon, breakfasted and went to his office, returing for a six o'clock meal and hastened back to work. It was a dismal and arduous programme, but neither of us then realized its far-reaching consequences. He was interested in his work and had some congenial associates.

Our furniture could not be got through to Windsor Park in one night's moving over the muddy roads, so Father and Mother and the three girls had to spend the first night in an empty house. They fed on picnic-fare and were put to bed on the floor with blankets the neighbors provided. That night a storm broke which crashed down branches of the trees and seemed to send the lake howling about the very doors. Father and mother lay there listening to these raging elements and wondering into what mad wilderness they had brought their family. But morning brought lifting clouds. The lake was in exhilarating activity, the trees in their spring-time beauty, and the whole party, like the Swiss Family Robinson, thrilled to the unknown. They ran down to the lake, over the bluffs which then edged it, and raced and yelled and laughed. In course of time, the furniture came; the kitchen stove and the beds were set up. And then mother and the children wandered in the woods. For the first time in mother's life of passionate domestic service, she made housework secondary to enjoyment. She explored woodland paths, carried home stones in her apron, picked shells from the sand, flowers from the bluffs and longed for warmer days when she could go bathing in the lake. There were few neighbors and they did not intrude. It was apparent that their own code of living was happy-go-lucky. Father and mother were happier on the whole than they had been since he returned, a broken man, from the war and took up the dull burden of making his way in life.

He had to go to town each day; to do this, he walked three miles to Grand Crossing, caught a train and rode to the city, then walked to his office. He reversed this journey at night and reached home almost exhausted. After a time he bought an old, plodding horse and a two-seated surrey.[...] The dignified old house was much out of repair, but it was essentially sound and soon became a really charming home. It was to mean much in the lives of all of us.

I was to know some deep loneliness there, as well as much pleasure. We were no longer amid ugly surroundings, but on the other hand, I was about eighteen when we went there [1880]; I was twenty-one when we married. During those palpitating years I was almost without young society. Robert could come out but seldom. At one time, I think three months passed without a visit from him. Then, after all that heartbreaking waiting I would drive down to meet him and we'd somehow be tongue-tied and shy. He'd sit on the back seat of the surrey, I on the front seat, driving, while the neighbors grinned at us. The visit was over almost before it had begun. He'd go back to his night work, his pensive home. I would remain with the woods, the lake, the family, my own vague stirrings of power. The star wagon was carrying much cargo, but I could not have denominated it. It seemed to be very precious, but it was a commodity without a name.[...]

It was while we were living in Windsor Park that my sister Hazel [23] was born. She was twenty years younger than I and mother hardly knew how to endure this addition to her cares. However, we all hoped that since a child was to come, it would be a boy. But it was not to be. Father came down to me in the dawn after an anxious night and said, "Well Dedie," (his pet name for me) "It's another girl. But it's all right, since mother is doing well." But we wept together on each other's shoulders.

And mother wasn't doing well. She couldn't seem to get back her strength. Grandmother Cahill was there and took care of her after the nurse had gone and I tried to do the housework with the help of my sisters. But it was too much for me. Father was anxious and irritable; the weather blistering; the little girls wayward. I worked and fretted and kept on feverishly. After a while mother was down stairs again, but from that time on there was always too much to do—too much house-cleaning, ironing, cooking, sewing, baby-tending. I lost all sense of expectation. Robert's father was dead and his sister Christina; then, his sister Mary died and his sister Lizzie. His home was submerged in sorrow, and there seemed no prospect of our marriage.

Another year passed, almost unmitigated by amusement. The work in the house was dull and monotonous. Sometimes I tried to write a little, having the recollection of a story and a poem which had been published and for which I recieved money. (The poem was "Ode to Neptune" and was published in the Chicago Times. It brought me $12, with which I bought a pair of shoes, a hat and the material for a dress!!!) But I was too weary to write. There were too many demands in the household.[...]

It must have been November 1882 that a peculiar experience came to me. We had been shut up in the house by cold weather, and were all crowded into the "back parlor" for a number of days, sewing. The mending was endless, it seemed, and there was much making over of garments, some of them heavy and beyond my powers to manage well.[...] I could see nothing engaging or interesting in life and a weariness beyond words weighed on me. Then suddenly I could not lift my hands. Tears began to pour down my cheeks and strange pains darted all over my body. I was helped up stairs and to bed, where I lay weeping and weeping, still unable to move my hands and with a feeling that my head was growing larger and larger, and that I was floating, a balloon of pain and bewilderment in a sky that ached with light. Father called a retired physician who lived near us and he pronounced my trouble nervous prostration. He said I must get away from home, where over-work and monotony had broken me. Mother wrote Lizzie Chase, and she came out in her lovely garments, her face as lovely to me as anything I have seen on this earth, and invited me to visit her until I was well. So in a few days I was taken in to the city, and crept into bed in Lizzie's pretty bride flat with a feeling that I never, never wanted to go back home. And indeed, I have not, save for a very short time before my marriage.

It was marvelous to be able to lie in bed in the morning, to live in quiet and peace without the noisy riot made by my four little sisters, or to hear father's nervous complainings. I tried not to think how heavy the work would be for my poor mother. I think the girls began to help her more, and that some help was hired. Probably some things went undone. No doubt mother was glad in a way, to be relieved of my depression and my moodiness. I began to improve almost at once. The little home was pleasant, the host and hostess cordial, there were dainties to eat, I could see Robert oftener.[...] Life was lifted out of its ruts. I could look off at the landscape of the world.

Chapter III

Robert and I had agreed finally, that whatever happened, we would be married. It was six years since that instantaneous, youthful engagement. I was not twenty-one, and he almost five years older. His family had been engulfed in tragedies and he was about as poor as a young man could be, but he had his work on the newspaper, his mother's little cottage was ours for the using, and we made up our minds that we wouldn't endure the separation any longer and that if more troubles were coming we would take them together. So, May 10th, 1883 we were married. It was a day of showers with bright interludes and the woods about us were lovely. Edward and Lucy Cahill came from Lansing, Gertrude Price, my cousin, from Ann Arbor; Aunt Elia Walker was there and various other folk.[...] There were wedding presents looking very opulent to me who had had so little. My wedding dress was a peacock blue silk with many pleatings. I had a chip hat trimmed with crushed raspberry ribbons. My other frocks and my underclothes I made myself. It was a queer little trousseau, but rather gay, too. I was a depleted little thing, but eager for life. Robert was thin and pale, borne down with family sorrows, but after all, he wanted me; I wanted him; we were getting married and we were convinced life was going to be interesting.

It was cheerlessly cold when we reached the little cottage on Pearson Street that May evening. With a magnificent feature, so characteristic of him, Robert had paid the clergyman $15.00 and, as he had the carriages to pay for too, he was possessed when we reached home, of precisely 5 cents. I do not think I had a cent in my pocket. Mother Peattie was away caring for the children of her dead daughter Lizzie, one of whom had lost both his legs while catching on a train the day of his mother's death. So there was no one to greet us.[...] We were so aghast at being alone, actually married in a world that suddenly seemed of appalling dimensions, that we begged some friendly neighbors next door to come in and talk with us. They were surprised but amiable, and talked of this and that till our nerves were a little steadied.

The next day we began living the new life very briskly. I decided with the ruthlessness of a bride, to make the house—which really was Mother Peattie's—seem a little more like my own place. The dissolution of the honest-workman's atmosphere was begun and something was evolved which was a gauche imitation of Oscar Wilde, and which I am sure would have caused that esthete acute pain. A check came to me from somewhere and I bought art draperies, Japanese fans and parasols; the Kitchen sink was painted black—the ugly, sensible, consistent house was turned into a most amazing mass of yellowy-greenery artiness. As our outlook was squalid, we put colored glass in our windows; the yard, which had been a mass of cinders, was converted into a lawn with flower gardens; lattice hid from our view in an objectionable alley. The house was preposterous, but it was gay. Robert was always bringing home books, or paper-bound plays. Meantime I was cooking atrociously, but I decorated my atrocities with parsley, had flowers on the table and used the delicate art glass that had been given me. My home frocks were flowery things that resembled Little Buttercup's [24] bouffant regalia. Sometimes we had friends in; sometimes we went to the theatre. I can't imagine how, almost at once, we became acquainted with so many charming people as we did. They loved to come to the little house and they appeared not to notice the bad meals I served them. At least I knew how to cook a steak, toss up a salad and make coffee. There was much laughter and what we thought was wit. We may even have been right.[...]

Mother's Scotch and Irish friends came to visit her and I could hear them asking: "And how does Bob's wife treat you?" Mother's report was good, but I knew it was all she could endure to see a strange American girl with ideas so different from her own, going around the house changing everything, and assuming that her's was the first right in her "Burns"—almost literally the only person left to her. It was difficult for me to understand her Scottish speech and, as she was hard of hearing, I had difficulty in making her understand me so our intercourse was not free. But I loved to listen to her stories and I told her all the news when I came back from a walk or a visit, and we managed to get along. We were both well-meaning women and we were sorry for each other. In the years to come she was often ill and I nursed her well. Whenever I was ill she was devotion itself. She could be a terrible kill-joy when all was going well with us, but the minute we got in trouble, she helped us in every way she knew how.

February 6th [1884] our boy Edward Cahill was born, a few weeks before he was really due. He was a fine, handsome, noble-looking fellow, disproportionately large for his little mother, such as I was then. But I weathered it well and so proud of him that I could hardly live. I couldn't nurse him, however, and, poor as we were, we had to hire a wet nurse, or a series of them, all queer women. They watched to see if I could be jealous of Ned's preference for them, but I knew I could afford to wait for his favor. I made a little nursery for him in the attic and we bought extravagant things for him in the way of a perambulator, a bed, and clothes. But we couldn't bring ourselves to give him anything inferior. [Edward C. Peattie is discussed further in Chapter VII.]

It was with dismay that we found that another baby was coming [1885]. We didn't see how we were going to provide for it. But the baby didn't care about that. She came right along, fourteen months after Ned, and was the quaintest darling little thing. She was our own Barbara—our Bab—and she made a specialty of being as little trouble as possible.[...]

Expenses were getting too heavy, however. There had to be help in the house. I couldn't do the work alone, and we had always to be watching to see that mother Peattie didn't over-work. Robert was on the Daily News at this time and had day work, which put a different complexion of the face of the world. Mother went early to her bed, Ned was tucked in his nursery and Bab in her cradle in the living room with us, and somehow we fell into the way of writing short stories. We would watch the papers for suggestions, then mull over the possibilities of giving them proper form and length, and I would sew and dictate, stirring the cradle now and then, and Robert would write down what I dictated in his swift, efficient way. We were untaught, knew little about organization, but we were reading the best short stories by the French and American masters and when we got ready to tell our tale we went ahead and did it. The stories sold. Seldom, indeed, missed fire.

Mr. Robert Patterson, [25] on the strength of some of this work, asked me to do art and society for the Chicago Tribune. If Robert and I shook our domestic skies with ribald laughter over this conjunction of society and art and of myself, absolutely ignorant of both, no one knew it. We needed money. This added a hundred a month to our income. I was said to be the worst society reporter ever known to Chicago. And I loathed it—going around to dances and weddings and asking names, invading the caterers' shops to learn about future events, being snubbed at the doors of fashionable houses and putting up with the cold refusals of servants. But I managed to laugh about it. I couldn't feel myself contemptible because these people who didn't know me thought I was. The point was, we had to have more money in the little house and I was getting it. What harm if tears used to squeeze themselves out under my lids? it was a mitigation too, to "do" the art.

In pursuit of news I went around to the studios and made the acquaintance of the painters. They were generous and charming, and one of the most courteous was Mr. Alfred Payne whose gentle, kindly manners stayed in my memory longer than his pictures. He was later to be the great-grandfather to the children of which I was grandmother. He was Emma Payne Erskine's [26] father. But I knew nothing of her for many years to come. I became friends with Lorado Taft [27] then, a friendship still warm and glowing and I fell once more into association with Enoch Ward, the boy who had sung so sweetly over at the little church by the steel mills. He was frankly an artist by that time, as poor as need be, but he had already studied in London and Paris, had met an English girl he loved, and to whom I persuaded him to write asking her to marry him.[...] They were married before long and when I was in London years later I visited them at their beautiful little home at Northwood outside of London.

Fred Richardson [28] was one of my great friends too, and I used often to go to his studio for luncheon, carrying part of the little feast with me. Fred illustrated a number of my stories and articles, and Enoch illustrated The Story of America, [29] a history for children which I wrote. I was frightfully ignorant, but I had some odditites which saved my writing from being utterly banal, and I was surrounded with brilliant men—Edward McPhelim, [30] Vance Thompson, [31] Harry B. Smith, [32] Paul Potter, [33] Eugene Field, [34] Dr. Frank Reilly, [35] Slason Thompson, [36] George Bell, [37] Fred Hall, [38] and plenty more. I was, I think, the second woman reporter in Chicago, the first being Nell Cusack, so the men were delightfully kind to me. Some of them fell in love with me; I fell in love with some of them, too, but only with an upper, airy, senseless part of my mind—some part that was like a tricksy pigeon house on top a substantial barn stored with good fodder. I had known almost no one in my gravid, meager youth, and I proceeded to fill my lungs with life. But all my real devotion was to the little home on Pearson Street and the precious babes there and every cent I earned went then and always, to my true comrade.

I did some criticism of plays and won some kudos for that and enjoyed a little celebrity as the result of my interviews with such persons as General Ben Butler, [39] Ellen Terry, [40] Emma Goldman, [41] Kate Field, [42] Rosina Vokes, [43] Dion Boucicault [44] and heaven knows who all. Mostly actors. I did some night reporting, going wherever I was sent, never encountering any trouble and receiving help from the best unexpected sources.

Forenoons, I washed my babies, put them away for their naps, bought the food, ordered the meals, helped about the house, did some sewing, and whisked down to the office. The nurse took the children out in the afternoon and grandmother supervised their care. She and the nurse did the cooking and kitchen work together.

One summer [1886] the Tribune sent me to summer resorts to write them up. I took Ned and Bab out to their grandmother Wilkinson's with a fine young woman from Iowa to care for them, and I visited the resorts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Iowa, and then went on to Newport, Narragansett, Saratoga and various other places, incidently getting my first glimpse of New York. When I came home Robert and I took our first journey together. We went to Colorado on tickets bestowed by our papers, and for the first time saw Nature in her sublimities. Again we reached home with five cents to spare, but a vast accession of knowledge and emotion. I began to write of the West.

The following summer [1887] the Daily News sent me to the western resorts, and I was accompanied by Ray Brown, a young man I had never seen till then. He was a droll, lovable boy, and a great story-teller. Though he afterward became a successful commercial artist, at that time his drawings were even more experimental than my writing, but we muddled through, and became great friends. Later on, when Robert became editor of the Omaha World-Herald, he sent for Ray to become artist of the paper.

Meantime, our increased income had made it possible to buy a lot in Woodlawn [1887] and build a house there. It brought much trouble to us, inexperienced as we were. We were strangely beset by dishonest people, but somehow we got into it. Mother Peattie sold the house we had been living in—the ground was rented, merely—and she generously gave us the money to furnish our new place. Heavens, how we adored that badly-built little home [...which] we named "The Spider Web" (Enoch Ward painted a spider web and the name on the chimney of the outside wall near the front door.) Woodlawn had not many families in it at that time, but such as were there were both interesting and friendly. Robert and I passed, socially, from aspiring bohemia to aspiring suburbia. We were invited to little parties and literary meetings and made some heart-warming social relations.[...] We became acquainted with Mary Little [Kinkaid] [45] and her sister, Hannah Fisk [Elliot]. The newspaper work that brought me in contact with Mary Little also made me acquainted with Clara E. Laughlin, [46] now enjoying her well-earned celebrity, and who came then, a girl of fifteen, with her first manuscript in her hands to submit it to me in the contest I was conducting with Mary Little's help.[...]

A time came when I did not do well in my work. I had no regular position on any newspaper and my energies were more or less absorbed with the children, with helping with the housework, with sewing and with Mother Peattie's melancholy moods. Then Robert was offered a position in Omaha, an offer which included me [1888]. This meant moderately good salaries for both of us, and though we had occupied the Woodlawn house only a year, we decided to go.[...] We left Mother Peattie, Lucy [Lucy is the daughter of Robert's dead sister, Mary Watson] and the children behind us, went to Omaha, lived in the rear bedroom of a miserable boarding house and threw ourselves into the new life. I always say Omaha was where we grew up. We found the place raw but exhilarating. The city was still in the making, and it was wonderful to have a hand in the new benevolent, educational and social enterprises. The high, bright sunshine was in great contrast to the grey gloom of the Lake region, and it stimulated us. There was still the tang of sagebrush in the air, if not literally, at least figuratively. Our associates at the office were typically Western, original, kind and humorous. We found a tidy house in the Western part of town, our furniture was brought on and we settled in. I enjoyed my writing on the paper, and was given a free hand, putting the fictional touch on most of the things I did and being permitted to sign my articles. At that time Nebraska had no writers of celebrity and it did not take long to make a gay little reputation. There were great fights on, too, and it was the fun of the world breaking lances against established trends and misbehaving folk.

Robert and I got our heads together and wrote a mystery story called, "The Judge," [47] a delineation of a horrible creature who sat on the beach and enjoyed the respect of his neighbors, while he was indulging himself in a homicidal mania. I had begun to reel off short stories and ideas were buzzing in my head like a swarm of bees. Robert was doing brilliant work on the paper, and was always spurring me on and giving me his ideas to use and taking no credit for them. He was then and always has been, absolutely, unselfish in his attitude toward my work.

Mr. Hyde, a gentleman living next door to us, gave me a letter of introduction to the passenger superintendent of the Northwestern Railroad, which in addition to its road, running from Minneapolis to Seattle and Tacoma, owned the steamship line to Alaska, and wanted a travel book prepared which should acquaint the world with its routes. Mr. Hyde knew how I wanted to see something of the world, and thought maybe I could get a commission to write this book. I was in Chicago at the time with Ned and Bab, both of whom had the whooping cough, and for whom a change had been prescribed.[...] I went up to Minneapolis, spent an hour with the passenger superintendent, and, mysteriously, was given the commission to write the guide book. [48] Back I went to Chicago, bought what I required for my trip, recovered my babes, took them back to Omaha and was off, leaving the children in the care of their grandmother, Lucy and a good domestic.

That journey was a very liberating experience. For the first time in my life I was free of house-keeping trammels. I felt a zest beyond description. The passengers on the boat were friendly, widely traveled, of many places and kinds of culture. I returned to the United States to be met at the dock with letters and telegrams. One bore the news that "The Judge," my bloody yarn, had been awarded a prize of $1,000 by the Detroit Free Press, and that a poem of mine "Written on the Flyleaf of the Marble Fawn" had been accepted by The Century. Life seemed an admirable contrivance. I still had much work to do on my guide book, but though I stopped at every town of importance along the line, I reached home in time for Thanksgiving.

This seems a good place to tell about Sarah Hall [and my travels]. I met her at Vancouver when I returned to my ship after visiting the island. We, the passengers of the Elder, bound for Alaska, had been permitted to wander about the beautiful, English-like city with its lovely gardens. I had had tea with some of my fellow passengers—for we had sailed from Seattle and so had already formed some ship-friendships—and I was wandering if I was to have my cabin to myself or to share it with some other woman, when the answer to my question came in the form of Miss Hall, an Englishwoman of refinement and many virtues.

Miss Hall drew her income, which appeared to be more than generous, from a large department store in Birmingham, founded by her father and now conducted by her brothers. She had been making a trip around the world alone, had been in Japan, China, Ceylon, and many of the islands of the Pacific. Three shipwrecks had added to the dangers of her journey[...] but during the entire time she had never failed to serve tea at four-fifteen o'clock from her faithful tea basket[...].

She and I were the most intrepid of the ladies on board and whenever we put into harbor and anchored until the salmon were loaded on [...] the passengers were permitted to go ashore.[...] On one occasion the captain announced that he was going to climb a certain mountain which held a beautiful little green lake at the very tip of it.[...] "The walk there and back is twelve miles. Anyone who wishes may go with me." About twenty men announced their eagerness, but Miss Hall and I were the only women who did so.

We climbed up and up through gigantic brakes, sinking ankle deep in moss, passed beneath towering oaks and pines and came at length to the gap in the mountain crest. A crater, probably, and holding water green as an emerald, clear as the most pellucid sky and deep beyond imagining. After we had feasted our eyes and eaten our lunch we started down, but by another path, and all went well till we came to a log that crossed a roaring cataract. Though an inexperienced mountain climber, I had not faltered till then. I sat down and regarded that foaming, steaming cataract and the slippery, moss-covered log that crossed it. "I can't do it," I announced. The twenty men regarded me with mingled amusement and dismay. Then Miss Hall surprised me by joining in my declaration of inefficiency. "I can't either," she said. "I [...] have some hot tea in a thermos bottle in my pack and shall do nicely for the night. Tomorrow I can go back the way I came." "Tomorrow," remarked the Captain, "the ship will be gone."

The men consulted.[...] "We are going to carry you across," announced the Captain. "Miss Hall, you are to ride pick-a-back on this gentleman." He pointed to a colossal Englishman. Sarah turned a brilliant red. I doubt if she had ever put her arms about a man's neck. Desperately, as a choice between that and death, Sarah put her bony arms about the man's neck, and he drew her chaste legs around his bulky form, tested his boot spikes and strode across the log in the wake of some of the sailors, who were the first to go.

The Captain had me by the arm and waited till the others were over. Then he said: "Up you go, Madam." So I clasped my arms about the splendid Swedish neck and [...a]cross the log we went [...] the cataract roaring in our ears, the spray half-blinding us, and so safely to the other side where our party awaited us with some anxiety. (For the benefit of my children, who will remember me as of rather copious proportions, I will say that at that time I weighed about a hundred and ten.)

After I had my feet once more upon the chaparral, I sat down and roared with laughter and the twenty men joined in the chorus. Even Miss Hall, not given to laughing, could not resist the infection.[...] We were all tired as dogs but somehow we got down that mountain, slipping and sliding. At four-fifteen Miss Hall and I had tea from the thermos and the men had something they regarded as more cheering from their pocket flasks, and so at last we found ourselves in the small boats, staring up at the lighted steamer as she rode at anchor in the shallow bay.

Then there came the day we landed in Portland. We had been held up for twenty-eight hours beyond the bar at the mouth of the Columbia River by a terrific storm. We were forbidden to leave our cabins, and in fact, were locked in them. Water and sea-biscuit were handed in to us through the cabin windows. [...] Sleep was impossible, and Sarah and I, finding we both knew reams of Scott's poetry, repeated it by the hour.

Mr. Hammond, who had been on the ship with us, and who was the president of a gold mine up back of Judith Basin, kindly came to call, bringing with him his secretary, a young Mr. McDonald, a graduate of Edinburgh University. They had been many months at the mine, and were glad to be back in civilization. Miss Hall was very much embarrased when these two gentlemen called on us, after sending us bouquets of American beauties. They came to invite us to dinner and to a musical comedy, but it was not easy to get Sarah to accept. She was afraid Mr. Hammond was married, as indeed, he was, and, as I pointed out to her, so was I. I finally succeeded in persuading her that Mrs. Hammond, if she had any sense at all, would be grateful to two fellow-travelers who helped her husband to have a pleasant evening after his long exile.

So then Sarah began to concern herself about clothes. Dressing was not a simple matter that night. After my refreshing bath in a real tub I was soon in my nice little wine-colored satin, but Sarah took her toilet seriously, and it was a difficult matter to hook her into the Worth costume, purchased three years previously, and even then, I should think, a sort of historical piece.[...] Her gloves, white and wrist-length, at a time when we were all wearing the exquisite Suedes to which Bernhardt [49] had introduced us, left an awkward hiatus between themselves at the sleeves. She had forgotten slippers and wore the heavy brogan-like boots with which she had so valiantly tramped the chaparral. I had some slippers of a tan suede to match my long gloves. We wore no hats and had to content ourselves with steamer coats. Mine was the long enveloping cape which Lily [sic] Langtry [50] had so admired the shape of that once, when I was lunching with her, she asked permission to have her maid cut a pattern of it. Mrs. Langtry was at that time setting fashions for London and New York, and I was more than amused when I saw the replica of my cape, in shape but not in material, appearing in the first act of "Lady Clancartly.[...]" We were taken to a Chinese restaurant [...] given woodcock, champagne and American ices of incomparable deliciousness. Sarah resigned herself to a happy evening and was charming.

The next day we parted, I go to the Big Timber Country and to see San Francisco, she to continue her way across the continent. She bore with her letters of introduction from her fellow-passengers on the Elder to many American homes.[...] Mother Peattie and Robert were delighted with her. We used to hear from her for years afterward.

One of the stories I brought back from Alaska was what may be called the Russian Ghost story. Lying out to sea beyond Sitka [51] was the Baranov [52] "castle," the rude stronghold of that little Napoleon of Alaska. At low tide it was possible to reach it by means of a causeway, but at high tide its site became an island on rugged, wave-beaten rocks. I was eager to see this, and left my friends who were concerned with other things and went over there alone. The place was fascinating, with a wild history, never fully written, and I wandered about it some time, then climbed the wide stairs to the second and third stories, and went up a narrow ladder-like flight to a sort of cupola from which I could see the islands, lying purple in the darkening bay, with the sun setting in a beautiful, tenebrous sea.

I did not realize how the dark was increasing or how the tide was coming in, till I turned to go down the stairs and found the attic pitchy dark.[...] I had, fortunately, a package of matches and I lit my way down and reached the third story safely. There was some thing that made me pause. It seemed to be the sound of heavy foot-steps. They began slowly, then broke into a run and the sound ended in what seemed to be the fall of a body. Before I could reach the bottom of the stairs, the same thing was repeated. It was more than strange. It was eerie—weird. However, there was nothing to do but to go ahead. I went on to the long ball room which occupied one entire half of the second story and from which the sounds had seemed to come. And then, the thing occured again.[...] I sped out of the darkening place. The waters were lapping the causeway. I raced across the stones and back to the mission. That night at dinner I told my tale. The Mission folk smiled knowingly at each other. "That is the castle's ghost," they said.[...]

The next night with the rising of the tide I again visited the castle. I found I could hear the noises even plainer when I was out of doors. The castle stood on porous lime rock with cavernous holes and I think it was the tide, rushing into and expelling itself from these holes that caused the strange and haunting sounds.

If I have said nothing about Alaska it is not because I failed to be impressed, but I have written about it in a guide book which can be read at the Congressional Library at Washington, if [...Peattie names grandchildren] or any unborn grandchild should feel any curiosity about the matter, which I'll take my oath they will not.

I was asked to make an address at the Mission House at Sitka to the Indians, and committed a faux pas by bidding them to remember and carry on the ancient beauty which was their inheritance, when as it transpired, that was precisely what the missionaries were trying to induce them to abandon. I was permitted to sit in the house of an Alaskan in the circle around the fire with wives, sons, daughters, servants and dogs, each in his or her appointed place. I ate Tlingit food. I was told the stories of totems. I saw the long, sad fiords with their melancholy shores. I saw the Glacier of the Muir, [53] saw Northern Lights that looked as if they would consume the ship and were of so celestial a beauty that you would have been willing to be borne up by them into a Nirvana of light and become a part of that darting radiance. Then I came home to the United States and loved the very dogs that ran along the wharf and looked so intelligent and above-board, after the secretive and sly aspect of the Alaskan huskies.

On my way out from the Midwest I visited the Yellowstone Park, [went] with a party to see the Big Trees [...] stop[ped] at every town along the Northern Pacific and gather[ed] statistics concerning it. I would visit the local chamber of commerce, be driven about by some banker or leading citizen and take the train on, twenty-fours hours later. As my pass permitted me to ride only on a certain train, No. 10, let us say, I was often delayed unnecessarily, so occasionaly I found some way of "doing" a second town within the twenty-four hours. Sometimes I was driven to the next town, but the villages were not near together and this was before the day of motors.

On one occasion I decided to ride on a freight. I got permission from the Division Superintendent and went to the station armed with my permit. It was dusk and there was a confusion of backing and shifting freight trains and no one to give directions, but I knew the number of the engine which was to draw my particular freight, and finally located it and darted across the tracks to it. A dim light burned in the caboose and I swung myself up on the difficult steps and stuck my head in the door.

Two Irishmen were there, tidying up their car, and more surprised men it would be difficult to find. I told them the whole story and they made me welcome as only Irishmen can. We closed the door against the chill and were as cozy as railroad men could be. I was to reach my destination at Ellen[sburg] [54] at four in the morning, and I felt and looked very weary, I know. "Lie you down, madam, on the long seat," said one of the my companions. "Here's my coat for a pillow.[...]"

I did precisely as my friend recommended without a thought or a care. At four I was called and alighted in the chill freight yard, but not alone. My new friend went with me, lantern in hand and saw me up to the one commodious hotel in the place. But it was filled! "And now what shall I do?" I asked my friend with the lantern. "You'll come along with me, ma'am, and you'll find yourself well-served," he said. We retraced our steps and come to an unpainted frame building opening immediately on the street. My guide turned the doorknob and went in. There was no one in the room. Why should there be at half-after-four in the morning? But there was a bright fire burning in the stove, a light on the desk, and in a sewing basket a baby's dress, half-made.

"It's a young man and his wife who live there," explained my friend. "They're taking in boarders to help along a bit. No need to be disturbing them, I'm thinking. I'll light you up to a room and in the morning you'll make yourself known." We tiptoed up the stairs, found an open door and I slipped into a bleak, clean little bedroom. I gave my friend something to help with his Thanksgiving feast for the children he had told me about and a few minutes later was asleep. The next morning "did" my town and was on my way again by nightfall.

It certainly was a journey of pleasant episodes. I made many pleasant acquaintances in the towns and on the train. In those days the reserve and caution of the East had not spread to our genial Western country and people were not afriad to make a friendly adventure of their journeys. I remember one delightful young man who got on somewhere in the Coeur d'Alene country. [55] He saw me sitting rather bleakly alone and offered me some magazines. One of the them was The Century in which was appearing a fascinating serial by Mary Hallock Foote, [56] illustrated by herself. I was devoted to her stories, which gave a feminized interpretation of the West—plenty of dash but not much wickedness—and soon lost myself in its exciting but innoculous pages. Presently I looked up. The profile of the young man was presented to me. I leaned forward and touched his shoulder.

"Excuse me," I said, "but you are the living image of Mary Hallock Foote's hero." He laughed heartily. "That's because I'm the man," he declared. "I'm an engineer like her husband, and a great friend of his. I've posed for Mrs. Foote innumerable times but I can't of course, live up to all the virtues of her heroes. They are too much for me."

We had an interesting two hours together and he tried to get me to go with him to spend the week-end at Mrs. Foote's. He said she was horribly lonely and would bless him for bringing me. I would have ventured if it had not been for those waiting ones back in Omaha. But I've always been sorry I couldn't go.

There were two episodes of my journey which I deeply regretted. One I have told in my book of short stories The Mountain Woman. I called it "Up the Gulch." [57] It happened at a grandiose hotel at Helena. A resplendently dressed man with diamonds in cuff links, in his ring and on his tie, wandered about, lonely as a coyote. He saw me sitting on the veranda looking out at the treeless town beneath its dazzling sky and asked wistfully if he might sit down and talk. I consented, of course, and we chatted of the growing town and the climate and mining. He had, it seems, after twenty years of bitter labor up a gulch, which received direct sunlight only two hours a day, "struck it rich." I told him about my life, too—about the children and my home and my writing, and the various struggles and diversions of my life. I did not for a moment mislead him or have an idea of doing anything but helping to pass a dragging afternoon. We ate dinner together and wandered down the street in the moonlight, I only too glad of an escort that I might get a glimpse of the wide open life on the town where miners and stock men gambled and drank in bright, friendly saloons. Imagine my astonishment when he made a proposition for me to stay with him. "We'll go down to the bank tomorrow morning, ma'am," he said, "and make over $50,000.00 to you and you can buy yourself seal skins or diamonds or anything you want. If you can get a divorce, we'll get married. If you can't, you'll come with me anyway. I'll be good to you, honest I will." I couldn't be so stupid as to take offense. He was too pitiable. I knew it wasn't me in particular that he wanted; it was any friend, any woman, any living creature to help him ward off the engulfing loneliness. I explained gently how impossible it was.[...] I couldn't bear to wound his poor struggling self-esteem. I hope he didn't go back up the gulch as he threatened.

The other regrettable incident was one of life and death and concerned a young colored porter who let me in the Pullman car where I had my reservation before the hour when it was officially opened. This was because the station at Astoria [Oregon] junction was filled with drunken miners and I was there alone. The purser of the car rebuked the boy violently and profanely for having admitted me. I heard the two men go away, heard pistol shots but thought nothing of it, noticed that another porter served us, and still was not distrubed. But the morning paper which I bought on the train, said the purser and porter had quarrelled, that the porter had drawn a revolver and fired, hitting a young lad near at hand and killing him. The poor colored boy fled to the mountains, but a fortnight later, half-frozen and nearly starved, came down and gave himself up. They tried and convicted him [and sentenced him] to prison for life. I wrote letters to Portland to The Oregonian, to the judge and jury. They availed nothing. I never like to think of the price that poor boy paid for his chivalry to me. Passengers should have been admitted to the comforts of the coach instead of spending three hours in the filthy station frequented by drunken miners.[...]

I had an interesting time in San Franscisco, saw its harbor and wharves, saw Chinatown under the guidance of a policeman I got to conduct me and everyone was most kind. A genial stranger, whom I met in a Joss house, took me to look on at a banquet where Chinese importers were holding a sort of Harvest Festival. It was a gorgeous sight with the guests in embroidered silk robes. The master of ceremonies sent us over dishes of delicious sweetmeats. I do not remember who the genial stranger was or why he had access to that banquet hall. He saw me to my hotel and accepted my word of appreciation as sufficient recompense for amiability. Great men, the Americans!

So, richer in experience, with my mind filled with splendid pictures, I came home meaning to write a novel about Baranov, the Russian ruler of Alaska. I had gathered much material. I was in the mood. But events crowded fast and one of them changed our lives entirely and forever. [58]

Chapter IV

The money for the mystery story came from the Detriot Free Press soon after I reached home and I decided to use it as first payment on a home. Near where we were living was an attractive new house with a beautiful outlook across wild lands which have since been made into a picturesque park. The house had a nice living room, a dining room and excellent kitchen, a good basement, four bedrooms, an attic with a servant's room, a fine porch and a yard with trees. I paid down my thousand and we moved in. The furniture looked twice as well in this house and we were immensely gratified. I wrote my guide book and was paid for it.

Robert was doing splendidly with the paper. He had plenty of difficulties and fights on his hands but he seemed to enjoy them and his abilities were developing day by day. There was a bright future in prospect. Then one day he went out to cut down a little tree. He came in shivering and inexplicably ill. It was pneumonia—soon double pneumonia with complications. He never was really well and strong again. At the time we thought him dying. I begged my parents to come, which they did and all one long, desolate night father and I kept watch with him, dropping brandy down his throat every few minutes. In the morning, to the astonishment of the doctor and the nurse, he was still alive. That was thirty-eight years ago [1891]. He is here at this moment "going on" seventy-two, peacefully sitting by a fire of olive wood in the ancient town of Vence in the Alpes Maritimes, well content with life. But he has never been able to meet life on terms that matched his real abilities. He has been ill innumerable times; his family has struggled and endured as a result of that breakdown.

We half-emerged from the dark waves that seemed about to engulf him and at length I took him to Colorado Springs to recuperate [1891]. He looked a living ghost and none of those who saw him staggering into the hotel there thought he would ever go home again. There were horrible nights when the sweats came upon him and his clothes, wringing wet, would have to be changed, and the cough would rack him. A residue of congestion remained in his lung which gradually hardened and atrophied, so that his lung-power was greatly reduced. I have often watched his breathing and it seems to be about three times as fast as mine, which is normal. However, sick as he was, he found Colorado Springs entertaining. He contrived to be witty and original even in the midst of his depletion. He could be, what he often has been called, "A good dinner man" on the verge of the grave.

I think I must tell the incident of the black and silver dress. It came into existence in this manner. I possessed at the time Robert fell ill, two good frocks other than work dresses. One was a leaf-green broadcloth, the other a wine-colored satin. When the doctor said there was no chance of my husband's recovery, my practical mind confronted the fact that I had no dress suited to the role I expected to be forced to play. There was no money to waste, so during the days I sat beside him, I steaded myself by sewing, and what I sewed was a black cashmere frock. When it transpired that I need not wear this as a symbol, I naturally wanted it as a mere dress, but I didn't see how I was to wear so melancholy a garment without betraying the use for which it was designed. Then along came an old friend, Mamie Ostrander, an actress and a delicious person. "I'll arrange that," she said, and purchased for me quantities of silver braid which we made into rosettes and which decorated the frock in a very chic manner. The dress won Robert's surprised commendation when I wore it down to dinner at the hotel. Not till long after did I tell him the circumstances under which it was fashioned.

I went back to Omaha after a time [1891] and left my poor boy to struggle alone with night sweats and heart-breaking weakness but even so he was, I heard, the life of the party. One curious, interesting, neurotic woman fell in love with him and told her husband of it, and after Robert returned to Omaha this idiotic deacon of his church had Robert shadowed, and the devil being in it, Robert led the detective a great dance in and out of hotels and offices. It was fun for Robert, but I dare say it was excrutiating for the grey-bearded, suspicious husband. If he hadn't worn so many whiskers maybe his wife wouldn't have given him so much cause for jealousy. Well, we were young then and in spite of sickness and anxiety had a good laugh at life.

I worked enthusiastically on the paper and also began to write fiction and there were the children and the rest of the family, and friends, and enemies, and public things to do, and politics on the paper to combat. I found the air of Omaha exhilarating. It seemed to me as if something astonishing was going to happen the first thing I knew. So I enjoyed life in spite of troubles. We had no end of friends in Omaha and my writings began to bring responses from many sources—men in penitentiaries, on lonely ranches, women in convents, distinguished people in the East, cultivated people over the state. Editors were more than kind.

People in Omaha were sometimes proud of me, sometimes annoyed by me. There were Mr. and Mrs. Hitchcock who included us most graciously in much of their social life. Moreover, through the troubles that came to us, Mr. Hitchcock [59] stood by us as well as he could. He would pay half of Robert's salary when he was forced to take a vacation from the paper, and while it was true that his attitude on the paper was conservative, it has to be remembered that he had grown up in Omaha, and that he had many ties which modified his actions. He gave me a wonderful opportunity for individual work and I felt a strong friendship for both him and his beautiful wife. There was [...] Bessie Higgons Sullivan, [60] an erratic, wistful, willful, more or less frustrated woman [...] and there was Miriam Ford, [61] now Mrs. Henry James Forman. She was and is, the most fascinating friend I ever had, the nearest to being thought of my thought.

What pleasant homes were opened to us—some rich and fine, some simple and unpretentious. Sunday mid-day dinner was an institution there as in all friendly American communities and it was seldom indeed that Sunday did not find us at some friend's table or without guests.[...] People used to stop off to see us between trains—strangers who knew we were there.

We were invited to interesting homes out in the state—to [James] Canfield's, Chancellor [of the University of Nebraska,] Lincoln, to Judge Lambertsone, to the Honorable J. Sterling Morton's [62] (he was the father of Arbor Day), and to many a home to which I cannot now append a name. I had a sense of eating life and no matter how much I had, I was still unsatisfied. To write about it all was the most intense satisfaction. Not the heart's satisfaction precisely, but the thing that seemed to justify life, that gave content to the part of it that was not exclusively affectional.

A great influence in our lives then was Father Williams. He was a courageous, militant Episcopal priest, an absolutely convinced Christian, and his fiery zeal impressed us deeply. He and I used to help each other out in many ways, though one of his chief diversions was to attack some editorial of mine in the paper. One would have thought to read our controversies that we were bitter enemies. As a matter of fact we were loyal friends but we liked to debate; I knew our discussions were good for the paper and they certainly exhilarated me.

Once he came to me saying that a woman was dying alone in a little house out on the prairie.[...] Could I come out and care for her till that time? He took me to the place, a strangely lonely spot amid towering sunflowers, and on the way he told me she was dying of cancer, that she had been a prostitute for years and that her friends, owing to their resentment at her leaving them as the result of his influence, would not come to her.[...] The abject creature there on her hard bed, sometimes rent the air with her screams and curses, sometimes prayed to die.[...] I said, "It's up to you to show your grit. You're a Western woman and I'll bet you've fought no end of battles. You show your grit." "That's the stuff," she agreed. "I'll try. And don't you mind my cussing." "Not a bit, I told her. I wouldn't know how to do it as well as you but I'm sure I'd try my hand at it." I gave her some stupefying medicine as ordered, gave her water from a spoon, wiped the reeking sweat from her pain-ravaged face and she sank at last in to a kind of coma. [When] Father Williams [...] took me home, some of the scorpions who lived to sting, saw us and started a scandal about us. But we could stand that.

He was always doing something for the working people: adjudicating strikes, representing the men to the employers, or explaining the employers to the men. Other Protestant churches might be pious clubs, but St. Barnabas was one where the poor, the sinning, and unclean found friends; it held, too, in its membership, some of the most interesting and cultivated people of the town.

At one time when I was away from home, I was nominated for the school board, and though I ran far ahead of the ticket I was not elected. The Catholics defeated me. Many stories were started about me, the most amusing being that I was a frequenter of wine halls and that I adopted my children for campaign purposes. They must have started from one occasion when Robert and I went with the Hitchcocks to hear the brother of Cson [sic] Frank [63] conduct an orchestra in a hall where beer was sold. I often suffered criticism and lies but we were brave out in that part of the world and we taught oursevles to stand up under hard knocks.

Reporting used to bring its compensations as well as its trials and fatigues.[...] It was an amusing life, reporting. In those days we were allowed to write sympathetically. We could give an individual touch to our work. Consequently, it brought returns in friendship, or animosity, or interest. Take, for example, little Fay Mills. He was a colored foundling at the Open Door, a home for "erring girls." Fay, named after a celebrated evangelist, was a laughing, handsome, chocolate-hued baby, but no parents could be found for him. This was not because colored folk are reluctant to adopt children. On the contrary, the kindliness of their natures makes them prone to do so. But no one came to the Open Door who wanted Fay.[...] So I wrote up Fay and told the difficulty under which, as a potential child of the house, he labored. [...] It chanced that the porter of a Pullman train away out near Ogden read the story.[...He and his wife were interested in adopting Fay and arrangements were made for them to take him home.] At the end of three months, as one of the board of directors at the home, I went to look up Fay, a formality required before the papers of adoption could be signed. I found him in a cozy cabin, his dimples were deeper, his smile wider, and his great eyes brighter than ever. The next time his "father" came to town the papers were signed. I had the happiness of knowing that twenty-eight little homeless ones were place in appropriate homes by means of the articles I wrote about them.

There were other episodes, if that is the word, relating to colored folk which were not so happy. One of those strange ravaging monsters, which appall both races, made his way to Omaha and raped and murdered a little white girl of twelve—a happy child in a happy home. The fiend was lodged in [the local] jail, unfortunately, instead of being taken at once to a distant point, as he should have been. Fevered rage spread over the town like the plague. It was in the very air. There were few telephones in those days, and no explanation save that of telepathic psychology could explain the manner in which people began surging in to the town and surrounding the jail. There was no speech-making that I know of, and little conversation, but a low-toned, menacing murmur came up from the mass of men and women that penetrated even into the theater where I was. After a time, people began to leave the theater. I made myself stay on till the end, though I had no idea what the play was about, and when I came out what seemed to be the whole population of the city was gathered about the place where the poor gorilla shuddered in his cell. I could not endure the sound of that menacing, swelling vocal sound, the strangest I had ever heard from human throats, and caught a street car and went home. What happened within the next hour was inevitable. The savage was dragged from his cell and hanged and some of the finest men in Omaha helped pull the rope. It was a perfectly understandable thing. The crime was understandable,the monster being what he was; the punishment was understandable, the populace being offended in its most sacred ideals. Nebraska was, of course "disgraced." All the Eastern papers said so. I wrote an article about the terrible thing that night after I got home; someone at the office suppl[ied] me over the telephone with the concluding facts and scenes of the tragedy. The article was much quoted. I know I suffered terribly over the whole thing; as I wrote, waves of inexpressible anger and disgust rolled over me like the surges of a dark sea.

Another time that stands out in my memory was connected with a journey out into the state to organize a woman's club. It was somewhere in the sand-hill country.[...] Women had come from far out in the country to attend this meeting. I loved to effect these organizations. They were the American women's clubs filling their finest purpose—reaching out toward knowledge and beauty and social pleasure in the midst of toil and hardship, uniting women who needed the unity, putting the social factor in lives that would have been sordid and heart-breakingly dull but for this deep impulse toward education and friendship and service. I used to prize with the best part of me, the opportunity of lighting the flame on these crude altars—indeed, of making the very altars themselves. I made many friends on these excursions and loved the making of them.

I remember well the episode of the dress-that-hooked-in-the-back. On that occasion, I went, I think, to Beatrice [Nebraska]. I was to organize a club the following day, [64] and on the evening of my arrival the leading citizens were giving a banquet for me. Again the train was late, and when I reached the hotel the people were already gathering. The long tables gleamed in the parlors and voices arose in a fine hub-hub. I ran down to my room, my dress-box in my hand, made a quick toilet and slipped into a lovely new frock of myrtle green trimmed with Turkish embroidery. I never had worn the frock, and it was much boned, high-necked and tight-fitting. Also it hooked in the back. I could no more fasten that dress than I could fly around the cupola of the hotel. There was no bell. Every chambermaid was busy with the feast. I stood helplessly in the hall. Then a large, genial, Babbitish man appeared. I stopped him.

"You hear all those people down there?"

"Couldn't help myself, ma'am."

"Well, they're waiting for me."

"I want to know!"

"And I can't fasten my dress."

"My dear lady," he said in accents of kindliness and efficiency, "turn right around. I've taken a post-graduate course in the fastening of dresses."

He had me done up in two minutes.

"I shall always think of you with a full heart," I told him.

"Madam," he said, bowing humorously. "The pleasure is mine. And I hope you have a fine time. You look something grand."

I walked down the corridor with the calm of one who knows no turmoil and had a happy evening, sitting between the mayor and the banker. Human ambition could ask for no more.

Then there was the time I went to organize a club in some large town south of Omaha; I do not remember the name. It was, I recall, a beautiful Spring day and the lilacs were in bloom outside the church parlors where our meeting was held. I asked for the names of the most capable women of the place, proposing them as officers pro tem, till we should get in working shape, and as I went on, snatching at a name or a face to help me, my eyes fell on one countenance so still and remote, so intense and peculiar that for a moment I was stunned into silence. Here was someone who had stepped out of silence into social countenance—like a nun at a ball.

"I would very much like to know the name of this lady," I said, indicating her. "Perhaps she would serve on one of our committees." Instantly a curious and voiceless wave of protest swept over the gathering, and the woman's face grew even whiter. "I don't mean to join," she stammered. "I'd no thought of joining. I just came to look on. I've read about women's clubs and I wanted to look on. I never thought of joining."

"I wish you might help us," I said. "You look as if you could."

"No, no," she gasped, and in a few minutes slipped out. I saw that in the excitement of the hour I had been stupid and made some bad mistake, and that instead of bringing the woman in to the association with the others, I had only cast her out further. I felt terribly about it and asked my hostess what the woman's story was. It proved to be a tragedy. She was thirty-five years of age; she cared for her paralysed father, and they lived to themselves on the rents of their modest properties, not poor but exiled. When she was sixteen years of age she was found in a barn in the embrace of a young man. Her fault had never been condoned. "And the man?"

"Oh, he is cashier of the bank and married to a fine young woman."

"Not ostracized?"

"No, indeed, one of our most popular young men."

"Is the woman bad?"

"Not that I know of. No one says anything against her now. She lost out, that's all."

"And will you tell me why she stays here when she might have begun over somewhere else?"

"Her father's property is here. She had to stay."

"She didn't, she didn't," I protested. "She could have begun over somewhere else. She could still."

"It's too late I'm afraid," said my hostess. "She is morbid now, afraid of people. This is the first time I've seen her in a public gathering."

"Why don't you ask her to join the club—make a crusade for her?"

"It would deflect all the purposes of the club. We'd talk about nothing else and she wouldn't be happy. She wouldn't want to come. It's too late."

I could have broken the china before me in my indignation. But it was indeed, too late. The poor creature had stayed with her slayers who slew her daily, though they were kind women. But the situation was too much for them. And the woman had been a plain fool, a pious, filial fool.

I was first drawn into club work by Frances Ford, [65] a very enterprising woman who came to Omaha from East Orange, New Jersey, and who came to see me, suggesting that we start a club. [66] She was accustomed to clubs, and the women of the city [Omaha] were held together only by neighborhood ties, or the church, or social groups of a fashionable sort.

I thought the idea of bringing all classes of women together for social, literary and musical entertainment a most excellent idea, and wrote up our plan in the World-Herald. A German-American family, in Liningers, who had an art gallery, permitted us to meet in their fine room, and we had no difficulty in forming the Omaha Woman's Club, [67] which has increased in membership and usefulness through the years, and which I had the great pleasure of visiting not long ago after thirty years of absence, reading some of my little Southern plays to them and recieving a most heart-warming reception. Many of my old intimates were dead, and most of my hostesses were not my contemporaries, but Barbara's.

One of the best things about the Omaha Woman's Club did in those early days was the starting of a [traveling] State Library. [68] It was our aspiration to make it possible for everyone in the state, no matter on how remote a ranch they might live, to have an opportunity to borrow a book. We actually achieved this, and for a quarter of a centuy these books were mailed to the most remote and out-lying communities. But foolishly, the Federated Clubs gave over the charge and possession of the books to the State of Nebraska, which, when it decided to economize, calmly deleted the library, which now lies useless in the basement of the State House. [69] I do not believe in giving disinterested social service into the hands of politicians, and do not trust men in such matters, since it seems, as a general thing, their instinct to push themselves or their party to success regardless of other considerations.

We had two marriages in our Omaha house. One was [...] that of a woman who worked in the composing room of the Omaha World Herald. She had education and refinement, but her circumstances were desperate [...] and she had a growing son and daughter to care for. I'm afraid they knew actual hunger at times. Then I ran across an advertisement in the paper of a widower who wanted a woman to look after his house on a ranch somewhere out in the state. I showed this to my friend and she answered the advertisement.

The man came to see her—a stolid German, amiable enough and not too stupid. He had eight children, but all were out in the world; his wife was dead but he longed to retain a home.[...] Within a week a letter came asking her to marry him. She came to me in trepidation. I said: "The children would be cared for. Do you think you would loathe him?" "No," she said thoughtfully, "I don't believe I would. He's not offensive to me. He seems kind. I don't want to hear the children crying with hunger again." We looked at each other thinking unspeakable things. "I'll do it," She said at last. Robert wired to the newspaper correspondent in the county where the man lived and got a good report of him. He was honest, respected, well-off, quite all right. He sent my friend money and she bought a little wedding outfit and new clothes for the children.

The wedding was held at our house. Father Williams declined to perform the ceremony. It lacked the elements of a sacramental marriage he said. But my friend had heard her children crying for food and wasn't thinking about sacraments.[...] The woman wrote me a few times. She liked her home. The man was just to the children and they were getting their schooling and more than they could eat. She was not unhappy. Her heart was buried with the young Canadian editor who had died of pneumonia a few years before. But she said the new life wasn't too hard. She said her husband brought her bunches of wild violets. After that I didn't worry.

Chapter V

We went to Omaha in 1888. In 1890 William Jennings Bryan [70] came up to the city at the invitation of Mr. Hitchcock who had met Mr. Bryan at Lincoln where he was practicing law, and where Mr. Hitchcock had heard him make a speech. Robert and I were asked to the Hitchcock's for dinner and afterward to the Exposition Building to hear Patti [71] sing. When the evening's programme was over, and Robert had gone back to his night's work at the office, Mr. Hitchcock drove me home.

"What do you think of him?" Mr. Hitchcock asked, meaning, of course, Mr. Bryan.

"He looks like a Roman Emperor," I said. "He has the right kind of head for carving on a coin."

"He's very eloquent," Mr. Hitchcock added. "He makes the best extempore speech I ever heard. I was wondering if we couldn't run him for the vacancy in Congress. There's no telling how far a man like that might go."

"No telling," I agreed. "Perhaps as far as the Presidency. Someone has to be President."

"We'll write an editorial about him in the morning," Mr. Hitchcock said. "We'll propose him for the Congressional term."

In the morning I wrote the editorial and submitted it to Mr. Hitchcock. He liked all but the last paragraph, which he rewrote. That was, I am sure, the first editorial ever written about Mr. Bryan. He called the next day to thank us and said to me: "I feel very strongly about the tariff and I know what I think about it. But there are some things, like the currency, for example, and the demonetization of silver, that I don't understand." "I know a man who has made a study of it. He thinks he understands it. Would you like to meet him?" Mr. Bryan said he would very much like to meet him; so, I introduced him to Mr. Tibbles, [72] a deep-eyed raw specimen from the West, with a colossal brow and a habit of deep if not correct thinking. Mr. Tibbles believed in Free Silver [73] and, during the next few days, he convinced Mr. Bryan of the inerrancy of his ideas. They intrigued me, too, and I helped Mr. Tibbles write a pamphlet on the subject, entitled "The American Peasant [: A Timely Allegory]," [74] by T.H. Tibbles and Another; I was the Other. The West was hard-pressed at that time. Railroads and Eastern investors were milking the hard-working and inexperienced West and causing bitter hardship. Under the influence of Mr. Tibbles' description of what was endured on those desolate prairie farms, I wrote "Jim Lancy's Waterloo" [75] which was published in the Cosmopolitan and of which the Populist Party printed a million copies and distributed as propaganda.

The World-Herald was enlisted in the Bryan campaign to the fullest extent, and we all enjoyed the fervor of our advocacy and the hard hits of our adversaries. Mr. Hitchcock came back from the Chicago convention thrilled with Mr. Bryan's "Cross of Gold" speech and we all believed we were marching in the ranks of a great leader. We did not then dream how, in time, vanity would mar his idealism, or how inadequate were the ideas we held as a solution of the distress about us. It all passed, a perfervid but not ignoble dream, and Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Wilson adopting the best of those ideas rode to victory on them. If a real valuation of Mr. Bryan is ever written, and in spite of a recent biography by Mr. Werner, that has not yet been done, he will be recognized as the source of much social and political inspiration. But his country has been grudging to him, though six million men voted for him in 1896. In relation to us, his first sponsors, on the Omaha World Herald, it was our crusade and it was the passion that went with it, that made it memorable and to a degree glorious for us, and it was the exploiting of the wrongs of the West which our paper and hundreds of others did, that made the world aware of them. Mr. Bryan gave me a full set of our not too luminously inspired poet, William Cullen Bryant inscribed to: "My friend, Elia W. Peattie, the first Bryan man, with the warm regards of William Jennings Bryan."

Just a word more before dismissing this subject. Mr. Bryan was without question, one of the most magnetic orators this country ever produced, though it has been rich in orators. He was handsome, and he was good looking; he meant to be on the side of the angels and his audiences felt that he was so. His voice had a deep beauty in it, a range of organ-tones, which he used with skill, at first unconsciously but later, in all probability, [with] calculation. His audiences were uplifted by his enthusiasms, and in his moments of indignation or declaration of faith, he presented the very triumph of oratory. He took defeat without bitterness; he resigned from his high position under President Wilson as Secretary of State because he did not believe in war and emphatically, because he did not believe we had any call to participate in that particular war. He died while he was defending what seemed to scientists an absurd proposition, in which he claimed for the Bible its divine source and obvious meanings. He was at once ridiculous and right. It is true that to breach the dikes of faith is to let in the sea of independent speculation and disbelief in the old mores. He was consistent, therefore right. He was absurd because the change has already come. He was fighting a battle for a lost cause over the bodies of men already slain.

The most notable thing that happened to us in Omaha was the birth of our son Roderick on the first night of August, 1891. I mention this here because, of course, his little presence on this large earth, from that point on, influenced in every way the course of our lives. He came on a night of breathless heat with not a leaf stirring, and doctor and nurse exhausted with the stress of the occasion. But it ended somehow and Robert and I were possessed of a very beautiful babe, who has grown to be a cultivated, loving and brave man and has never been anything but a source of comfort and pride.

My nurse, who stayed with me for three weeks, cost me seventy-five dollars, and this seemed a terrific sum to pay for our funds were low, though I had worked at the office up to within three weeks of his birth. The nurse was a good story-teller and to while away the time those sultry weeks she told me of her Western experiences. I wrote up one of these, calling it "The Three Johns" and sold it to Harper's Weekly for just the amount I paid her for her services. Then I took her to our fashionable restaurant for dinner and we had a delightful time. I remember writing to Richard Harding Davis in the note that accompanied the story that my work had lagged, rather, owing to the birth of my little boy, and he wrote charmingly in reply saying that if he was still editor of a magazine when my boy came out of college, he could apply to him for a job.

Rod must have still been feeding on his bottle when Hamlin Garland [76] came to our house as a guest at the time of the Populist Convention. He had written to me in appreciation of a review I wrote of Sidney Lanier's [77] poems; then afterward, of my warm praise of his own "Main Traveled Roads." His own experience in the West had been so stark that he could hardly credit it that a person living in Omaha could appraise Lanier—or himself. We were very happy to recieve him at our home, and he seldom sees me without referring to his amuseument at finding me at one hour reporting a convention, and at the next giving the bottle to my baby or busying myself with the details of a dinner.

Garland had come to the Convention as a delegate from the Henry George faction [78] and instead of a speech he was to read his powerful story "Under the Lion's Paw," setting forth the Single Tax ideas. I do not forget the whirlwind of applause that greet him, the whole audience rising and fluttering their handkerchiefs, white being the insignia of their faith, that and the head of a cat worn in the button hole. I was sitting in the wings of the theater reporting for my paper and noticed near me a sturdy old man who stared incredulously at this demonstration. Then, as the hall rang with the cries: "Garland! Garland!" he dropped his head on his arms and his body shook with sobs. It was Garland's father who had come down at Hamlin's invitation to be present at the Convention. The story of this old man's grim and determined life is told in "A Son of the Middle Border" in which Garland redeemed himself after many volumes of little significance. It was not, however, his fault that he compromised with the juvenile taste of America. The publishers would not take his work while it retained the austere and tragic qualities of "Main Traveled Roads." He was compelled to write the innocuous sort of material for which the lady writers of New England had set the example, and he lacked the indubitable charm which they gave to their work. A really vigorous and heroic talent was wasted on the inane properties.

Guest Book notes: "No need to descant upon Hamlin. A good friend to me [although] he and Robert [were] not so congenial. Garland later married Zulema [sic], [79] sister to Lorado Taft, a sculpturess [sic] but gave up her work when she married. Fine woman and great civilizer of Hamlin" (427). Zulima insisted that her hsuband should conform to the social amenitites, against which he had in the old days been a passionate rebel. Garland's wife has been a great help to him. She was in marked contrast to Mrs. Bryan, [80] a woman of studious habits, good brain and shy, austere manners who had no winning social qualities. At a reception given to her husband and herself at Lincoln, their home town, after his first nomination for the presidency, she received in a shirt waist and walking skirt, not from lack of money to buy the correct thing but because she was ignorant of requirements, or stupidly democratic. Nobody liked it. The poorest there thought she was wrong not to rise to the occasion.

At Garland's suggestion I went to Chicago in company with himself and a number of the homeward bound delegates, and Garland introduced me to Mr. and Mrs. Hearn who were then playing in "Shore Acres" perhaps the first successful play of the American realists and a protest against artificial drama and the echoing of European life and ideas. It was felt to be "native."

Rod [our 3rd child born 1891] must have been a year or two old when I gave my first lecture. I did it at the suggestion and invitation of Dr. Newton Mann, a brilliant Unitarian minister whom I sometimes went to hear. He called and asked me to give a talk on Sidney Lanier at his church before a literary society connected with his congregation. I was quite paralysed at the notion but finally consented to do it and wrote a paper which I afterward read many times, perhaps fifty in all.

I was so frightened that my knees continually threatened to double up under me, but I kept on somehow and seemed to please the fair-sized audience. Miriam Forman sang some of Lanier's songs to Mrs. Hitchcock's accompaniment, and a number of the most interesting people in Omaha were present. After that I read many papers—at the Woman's Club and clubs out in the State, at private homes, and one at the University at Lincoln. Mrs. Canfield, wife of the Chancellor entertained me—and Ned, whom I took with me, and gave a dinner at which Willa Cather, [81] then an undergraduate was present. So also, was little Dorothy Canfield, now Mrs. Fisher, [82] who, her mother said, wanted to write short stories sometime. She certainly had her wish, and Miss Cather has become the foremost woman fictionist of our country. She had then as now, simple and downright manners. She has written about the things that interested her and done it without any manner of affectation. Owing to the vitality of her intellect and the depths of her human sympathy and to her instinctive literary taste, which has kept her from all forms of sentimentality, she has achieved an excellence which wins the respect even of the professional scoffers. [...]

Rod was over two when I took him to Chicago to meet his grandparents and other relatives. I was going on to visit the World's Fair and to read [...] papers at a couple of the Congresses and was proud to have the chance to show my people my second son.

The Chicago's World's Fair [83] is said by all who saw it and who have the right to make comparisons, to be the most beautiful and significant of any that history has seen. I truly believe this to have been the case. The hidden sense of beauty which lurked in the heart of America burst into sudden and exquisite flowering. America had made, for many generations, the gestures of industry; its most talented men along the lines of the arts were inventors, engineers, ingenious artisans. Now, with swift and amazing splendor, it presented to the world a large group of indubitable artists.

One of the men whose genius helped to produce the heroic beauty of this great Exposition was associated with our family. This was John Root, the architect, and the partner of Mr. Burnham. [84] He married my cousin Mary Walker, a brilliant and wonderful creature who was fatally ill at the time of her marriage. The wedding was a celebrated one, as weird as some [G]ermanic legend. There was a great company in the old Prairie Avenue home, and the bride, most evidently espoused to Death, received the faltering congratulations of the guests, seated in a great carved chair, the distinguished young groom standing beside her. Her friend and bridesmaid, Dora Monroe, was glowing in health [and] beauty beside her. Mary died six weeks after her wedding, and was, so far as I can estimate, the most brilliant person in the whole family connection. A few years later John Root and Dora Monroe were married.

Dora's sister was Harriet Monroe, [85] for many years the editor of "Poetry." She wrote "The Columbian Ode" a poem of noble simplicity, which opened the World's Fair. The review I wrote of this brought about a friendship between us which has always been maintained. I read papers at three of the "Congresses" and met many distinguished persons—Mrs. Potter Palmer, [86] Mr. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, [87] and others. My dear friend Clara Doty Bates [88] , a gentle poet, presided at one of these meetings at which I read along with Eugene Field and James Whitcomb Riley. [89]

While these Omaha days are still in my mind, I must speak of adventure in Ned's life. Mr. Tibbles was married to a Pawnee woman, "Bright Eyes," [90] daughter of "Standing Bear" [91] an Indian of much intelligence, whose eloquence procured the "rights in severalty" for the Indians. Bright Eyes was a remarkable woman with no little beauty. She had gone to Boston in behalf of her people and there Mrs. James Fields [92] had shown her marked courtesy and Longfellow had said: "At last I meet my Minnehaha." [93] Her husband and herself had also gone to Great Britain and had received much attention. They had a more or less civilized home on the Pawnee Reservation, or near it, and Tibbles thought it would be a fine experience for Ned to visit them and to see the Indian life. As I was always jumping at any experience either for the children or myself, I let him go. He played with the little Pawnee boys and they lent him ponies to ride and taught him their games. [...Peattie relates a lengthy story about Bright Eyes taking Ned on a harrowing winter journey to "draw her quarterly allowance from the government."]

Never shall I forget the appearance of my boy when I went to the station to meet him at the close of his visit. I had always thought of him as handsome, singularly aristocratic-looking and particularly neat. But it was a veritable [?] who descended from the train. His hair hung in his eyes and over his shoulders; he had seen little soap and water and what he had, evidently had not been applied; his nails were long and ebonized at the edges; his clothes almost in tatters. [...] Moreover, he was bored with Omaha. Life had been much more spectacular among the Pawnees. Bright Eyes visited me on more than one occasion and was always entertaining, quick of wit, and entirely self-appreciative. We always gave the children a chance for adventure or travel when we could. [...]

But for Robert's precarious health, life would have proceeded delightfully, but he had a constant struggle to keep in working condition. He had been forced to leave the paper a number of times and go away for his health and the day came when he had to be superseded. He took over some work on a Council Bluffs paper and went about his uninspiring task with courage but no enthusiasm. At last it became too intolerable and he went on to New York, accepting the hospitality of his old friend, Harry B. Smith, the librettist, until he could find work.

I continued my work on the World-Herald and was doing no end of stories which were finding publication in many magazines, so that I could at least, pay the grocer, the coal man and buy the clothes, but I was unable to keep up the payments on our pleasant but much-mortgaged house. Naturally, I was much worried about what was going to happen to the family. There were Grandmother Peattie, Sister Bertha, Ned, Bab and Rod. Then I could see that the men on the World-Herald would be glad to get rid of me. Some of my best friends were gone elsewhere, I made some mistakes in tact, I was becoming celebrated in a small way and I suppose they must have been jealous. Some of those Robert had been the kindest to and had helped to positions in Washington, or on the paper in Omaha, were the meanest to me. I grew very tired of the atmosphere and determined to get from under.

At this time my first volume of short stories "A Mountain Woman" was brought out in Chicago by Way and Williams, and these young men wanted me to come on and meet them. I went and was much entertained. Luncheons, dinners, teas, meetings at the office with young writers, were the programme. Mrs. Coonley, later Mrs. Coonley-Ward [94] gave me a reception at which I met many persons who were later to be my friends such as Mr. Franklin Head [95] and his daughters, Mrs. Sarah [Chatfield-Taylor] Gane and her family, Mr. Irving Pond the architect and his brother Mr. Allen Pond, Mrs. Madeline Yale Wynne, [96] the most delightful human being of her generation. Miss Bessie Potter the sculptor, now Mrs. Vonnah, Ralph Clarkson, [97] the portrait painter, and his wife, Francis—essential persons in the artistic life of Chicago and faithful guardians of the Camp at Oregon, Mr. John McCutcheon [98] and Mr. George Ade, [99] then just coming into their celebrity, Mr. Henry Fuller, [100] the most meticulous of our Chicago writers and [...] I was entertained at Mr. and Mrs. Chauncey Williams' [101] beautiful River Forest house, [102] and at the book-lined apartment of Mr. and Mrs. Irving Way. [103]

After the burdens, the tears, the struggle that had been my lot in Omaha for many months, this fine little furore of happiness and success was like heaven to me. Many amusing things occured, and I had releasing riots of laughter. I don't know that in all of my serious life I had really laughed before, though I had been amused often enough. [...]

Back to Omaha I went with hope once more high in my heart. The star wagon was carrying appropriate freight again, and dumping many miserable things—my own mistakes in a semi-public life, the grudgingness and meanness at the office, the burdens of debts which I could not meet, the separation from Robert and the deep depression of Mother Peattie as the result of his absence. To be sure I was leaving behind me some thin[gs] I deeply prized. Never again would I shake hands with Standing Bull, [104] the great commander of the Sioux and compliment him upon his generalship; never again would Dr. Miller, a surviving pioneer of genius invite me to a Council of the Indians of six tribes, to hear a pow wow important to them, and to be transmitted by him to the government; never again would I know such appreciation as came in to me from the women all over Nebraska in return for the column I wrote for them daily. I was leaving behind me warm and rare friends, opportunities for enduring good. Robert and I had started the Organized Charities; we had helped with the formation of a Day Creche for the babies of working women; I had helped to organized the Omaha Woman's Club and was at the time its president; I had set before the people the poetry of their own lives. But I was very weary. I was glad I was leaving. Robert wanted me to come on to New York, but literally, I had not the money to take me there. Mr. Hitchcock gave me transportation for my family to Chicago. Mr. Charles Marple, a delightful Philadelphian practising law there, who later married our friend Nora Balcombe, negotiated with the men who came out from the East to foreclose the mortgage on the house, putting a few hundred dollars in my pocket; I sold a part of the furniture, got Grandmother, Bertha, the children and myself tidied up as to clothes, and left the town where for eight years I had known a vivid and palpitating life [1896].

My going-away brought me some delightful surprises. A public reception was given in a large hall to which everyone was invited, and all manner of people came, the mayor, several clergyman including a Catholic priest, representatives of the old, quiet, exclusive families, a boot-black, school teachers, the newspaper people even of our rival paper, the neighbors, the club women, members of the Sunset Club, which Robert had started, folk from Council Bluffs, literally all sorts. I was presented with a chest of table silver, very elegant, which is still serving me and is always much admired. Many were down at the station to say goodbye. [...]

Robert, leaving behind him the intriguing novelty of New York and returning to the too familiar ways of Chicago, had secured a position on the Chronicle and had rented a new apartment on Erie Street in the same building with our good friends the Hudsons, who had come on from Omaha a short time before. [...]

The new apartment was charming. I brought a few interesting new things for it and kept it shining even in that abominably dirty neighborhood. I had no regular work but did odd sketches for the Daily News, prepared the rather quaint little book, The Shape of Fear, [105] and continued with magazine work.

Then, one June night in 1898 along came Donald Culross Peattie, our third son, a child "with old eyes" as our Theosophist friend Mrs. Gane said. He was a delicate babe and it was not easy to keep him. I could not nurse him, and a beautiful Chilean woman, who had an apartment in the same building, hearing of this, and having a babe of the same age, took him to her breast with her own little one. [...] I got a wet nurse for him for a time; then put him under the direction of Dr. Sarah Hackett Stevenson, [106] the first really distinguished woman physician of Chicago.

The winter after Don was born; Grandmother Peattie died [1898]. It was the day before Christmas at nine o'clock in the morning, and by a curious coincidence that was to be the day of the year and the hour of the day that our Barbara, many years later, passed into the Great Silence. Grandmother had been showing alarming signs of senility and it was well that she went. She had in some ways, a lovely mind [...] she did not believe in the absolute authority of the Bible; she detested the vengeful psalms, but loved and knew in their Scottish, metrical form, the beautiful and beneficent ones. In her last semi-delirious days she lay calling softly: "John Peattie! John Peattie!" We buried her one wild and blustering December day. [107] The sharp snow whirled in wild gusts over the tomb-stones. Her son could not be there. He was too ill.

A part of my duty toward her was to make her clothes. The clothes she desired had been out of the mode for fifty years. The waist was a tight-fitting basque, no matter whether of cloth or calico. Silk she positively would not have. There was no collar but a soft piece of lawn was worn fischu[sic]-fashion. The sleeves were hooked about the wrist and must be made so that they could be rolled up. The skirt was to her ankles, full at the bottom, but close-fitting about the hips. Mother liked a "neat waist" and never took off her corsets while carrying her babies. She hasn't the remotest idea that there was anything culpable about this. She only thought of it as "tidy." [...]

I always placed her at her son's right hand at table, no matter what guests we had, and one of Robert's many faithful attentions to her was to hasten to her room the moment he entered with the evening paper in his hand. [...] I, too, always went to her room when I came in from a visit of a walk to tell her of any interesting happenings, and long after she was gone, this habit clung to me, and it would be with a sharp pang that I realized the little old Scotch mother was not in her rocker by the window.

Chapter VI

Ned had been left in a wretched condition by the grippe. He was in no condition to go back to school again, and not only was depleted with sickness, but I think the death of his grandmother had been hard on his nervous system. He was her favorite grandchild, and this was his first acquaintance with death. At any rate, it was decided that I was to take him South. Lizzie Chase, my old friend, was going to Alabama with her two girls, for life in Chicago was proving too much for her. She was divorced from her husband and trying unaided to care for her children. So we went to a sort of deserted village a relative of hers had told us about, where we could take a house for nothing and let our children have the benefit of the gentle climate and run in the woods.

So leaving [Sister] Bertha in charge of the home, with Rod and Bab in school and my fragile Don with a wet nurse, I took Ned South. The soft air soon began to heal the poor boy's bronchial ills and I was able to leave him with my friend and to return to my home, where I was terribly needed. [T]he first glance at Don told me that he was simply dwindling away. It was then I put him on a formula prescribed by Dr. [Sarah Hackett] Stevenson and he began to thrive.

The winter brought some fresh interests. Mrs. Milward Adams [108] called and surprised me by asking me to write a paper of Kipling for The Fortnightly. [109] That consciously august society of ladies, was, still is, I think, the very cap and feather of fine lady hood in Chicago, at once the oldest and the most exclusive of the city's feminine coteries. It had no utilitarian reason for being, and it was as gauche to refer to it as a "club" as to call Harvard's Yard a campus. Its members were serviceable and benevolent outside of the Fortnightly; within it they conducted a co-operative salon. Mrs. Adams' request therefore surprised me, for she herself was a most accomplished person, studying abroad during vacations with M. Got of the Comedie Francaise, teaching expression and dramatic art in the winter, a penetrating Shakespearean scholar, etc. Then, as Mrs. Charles Hutchinson was chairman of the programme committee I was asked to call on her and make the final arrangements for my paper. This I did, presenting myself at the beautiful Hutchinson home on Prairie Avenue, which was to become so happily familiar to me, and meeting Frances Hutchinson, with whom I enjoy a friendship of peculiar and enduring sympathy.

The Kipling paper went well and was the beginning of that odd little career of lecturing which was a part of my life for many years to come, and by means of which I made many, many friends, became acquainted with the life of many communities, briefly, after a fashion, and made a good income. I think I do not exaggerate when I say that I must have read that Kipling paper nearly a hundred times, often in Chicago, and in the neighboring states. I was said to be the first woman, not a foreign celebrity, asked to read a paper before the Fortnightly without enjoying a place in its membership.

I mention this to explain an amusing incident involving Mary Bartlett. [110] Mary, always a loyal friend, was heard to say in the dressing room after the paper: "Can you explain why Mrs. Peattie isn't a member of this club?" "Propose her," said several. "We'll second her." Aunt Elia Walker overhead these remarks and gave an incoherent ejaculation. Mary said it was a snort, but Mary sometimes exaggerated. "You know her, Mrs. Walker?" asked some one. Aunt Elia gave a distinct toss of her head. "I ought to," she said with a peculiar combination of annoyance and pride, "she's my niece." So at the next board meeting my name came up from two sources, and as Aunt Elia was a "Founder," etc. it was as her candidate that my name went in. She said to me afterward: "I understand that Mrs. Bartlett proposed your name. She should have realized that it was my place and my pleasure to do it." From that time on she became not only an affectionate relative but a social companion. She was many times at our home; she invited me to luncheons and Robert and myself to her unforgettable family dinners.

She proposed me for the Colonial Dames, and was invariably present at any of my lectures that came within her periphery, and was lovingly always, though she did not regard it as good form ever to join in any applause and never complimented me on what I did. She would stand around with those who had come up to make their manners after the paper, but all she ever said was, "WELL, my dear!" As the years passed, she became more and more the benevolent Doyen[ne] of her far-flung family, and was recognized by almost countless relatives, many of whom did not know each other, as the head of the family. To the last she wore sweeping, silk-lined trains and handsome bonnets and made a magnificent rustling when she swept into an assemblage. At the opera she wore a purple velvet cape, ermine lined, and her regal head rising above this, made her an imposing figure. I wrote the poem for the celebration of her seventieth birthday, but she lived many years after that. [...]

The same winter that I became a member of the Fortnightly, I was asked to join the Little Room. This casual, yet not too inclusive, institution was named for a society of Madeline Wynne's regarding a room which now was visible and now was not. This was an informal organization which met every Friday during the social months, at Ralph Clarkson's [111] studio in the Fine Arts Building. We appeared there after the Symphony concert, stepping from outer gloom into the fragrant dimness of the studio, our nostrils assailed by tea, charcoal and rum and our eyes eagerly picking out the forms of friends amid the dim monotones of the place. The antique chairs and sofas were covered with artistic rags and tags from Spain and France, the walls interestingly covered with Mr. Clarkson's copies of Valasquez or his own portraits, and among all this Mr. Clarkson himself, a delicate, graceful, somewhat detached yet friendly host. Clara Laughlin, Anna Morgan, [112] or Eve Summers [113] would be presiding at the samovar; any celebrity related to the arts, would pretty certainly be present—Boutet de Monvel, [114] Mabel Taliarferro [sic], [115] Granger, [116] the Bents [117] —Oh, anyone. I was always sure to see some of my more intimate friends: Madeline Wynne, Henry Fuller, the Ponds, Anna Morgan, Martha Crow. [118] Some of the members were: Hobart Chatfield-Taylor, [119] Fanny Bloomfield Zeisler, [120] Lorado Taft, Maude Radford Warren, [121] Ottelie Lillien Krantz, [122] Rex Beach, [123] George Ade, Henry Webster, [124] Oliver Dennett Grover, [125] Bertha Jacques [126] —so many and many more.

Robert wasn't very keen about it and ceased to be a member. There was a rarefied bohemianism about it that tempted him to unwonted profanity. He said he was a newspaper man and didn't belong with artists and, anyway, they appeared to such an inveterate reader, as he, of the biographies of the great and their coteries as singularly minute potatoes. But I took what [was] offered, and enjoyed the affectionate friendliness of the place. It wasn't my fault that the studio was not in Paris or Rome or that its membership numbered only our genial Midwestern group.

I was invited too, to join the Chicago Woman's Club, which I regard as the most effective organization of women in the world. I did much work there of one kind and another, but I did not devote a disproportionate amount of time to this side of life. I did not play cards, or have much social life in my own neighborhood, especially after we moved to Windsor Park. But I now began to be invited to homes of social importance, the Wallers', [127] the Stirlings', the Gregories', [128] Mrs. Potter Palmer's, Mrs. Alexander Stevenson's, [129] Mrs. John Root's, [130] the list would be interminable. The long, elaborate luncheons would wear themselves away to the accompaniment of vivacious and barbarously noisy conversation. Or I toiled out to teas, great crushes, most of them, at which flower-burdened debutantes were presented to nobody in particular. The blur of conversation, the heavy odors of flowers, the hot rooms, the white gloves, the ever-sweet food, the delicious coffee, the red carpet down which I ran to reach the street and the nearest bus past the long line of carriages, and, later of motors, all come back, assailing my memory. I knew it wasn't the doing, but I half-liked it, like the sense of luxury, of popularity, perhaps, subconsciously, the feeling that I was the only newspaper woman with the entree to such homes and, when I went to live at Windsor Park, the only woman in that whole section who went to these places. So childish! And I make myself coarser than I was. Really the whole truth is, these pleasures offered themselves and I accepted them. And I loved my own home best, always.

As Don's second summer [1900] approached we all began to question if he could survive it in the city. Ned needed the country, too. He was worn down from the effects of the flu, his school was uncongenial, his watch and his wheel [131] had been stolen, and he was in one of those depressions that come even among the pleasant hills of Youth. Then, too, in spite of careful economy, our city life was costing us more than it should. So we decided to give up our Erie street apartment, and go over to South Haven [Michigan] to "Wildwood" my father's place. He needed money to finish the new house he was putting up, and Robert agreed to give him a certain sum each month. I was to buy the food for all the family, father to provide for horse and chickens, and I was to have the old log house on the place for my use.[...] It stood in a sunny spot near great trees above the lake. [...] Near it was the point from which we used to watch the lake, and we swung hammocks there, and there we would all hasten after our early supper to see the glory of the sunset over the Michigan sea. Mother adored those hours. Her weary body and anxious mind were rested and uplifted by this beauty. Afterward we would go back to the large living-room-kitchen with its flowers and white curtains, its easy chairs and carpeted floor and do the dishes. Ned, perhaps, would be out helping his grandfather with the horses and chickens.

Robert was sleeping in the room in the apartment building on Erie Street, eating at restaurants and coming to us for weekends. He must have been very lonely, but he didn't complain. He was too thankful to see the children improving, which they at once began to do.

We were short of money this year. There were Mother's funeral expenses, we had had a nurse for Don, I had taken Ned South, the doctor's bills were heavy, and there were the moving expenses. I had been obliged to borrow money and I now set about paying this back. I was working regularly for the Reader in Indianapolis, doing a series of articles for Good Housekeeping, contributing to the Atlantic, the Youth's Companion, the Boston Transcript, Harper's various publications and so on. And I wrote that summer "The Beleaguered Forest," a formless thing, but with some beauty and impulse. It was a semi-wild summer. We kept clean and tidy but were privileged to be as informal as we please. There were creeks to the north and south of us; there was the lake and the beach. We loved the days after a storm when the sea had thrown up the drift-wood and the old horse would haul down the wagon to the sands, and we would all go to gather driftwood. We liked, too, to visit the old lumber towns, now deserted and all but submerged by the sands, and Dad and I loved to walk out through the orchard lands of our neighbors. Father knew how to take an epic view of life and nature, and he loved to envisage our great land with its plenty and its peace—a peace which he had given his young strength to help preserve. "This is a land of plenty, Dedie," he would say to me, his eyes swimming. He and I used to go to South Haven Saturdays to buy supplies and would come back in the dusk, with a laden wagon, and mother and the children would come out and help us carry in the things. It was a sweet time. [...]

We got the superintendent of the South Haven schools to tutor Ned that summer. He used to wheel down each day to study with him for a couple of hours, for Ned was, at his Uncle Edward Cahill's suggestions, preparing for the Michigan Agriculture College in Lansing.

I did something that summer for which Ned found it hard to forgive me. He had killed, and with infinite pains, skinned a woodchuck. The skin was soft and nicely marked and I nailed it on the door of the log cabin. Ned objected. He said it would be spoiled. But my decorative instinct appeared to be stronger than my materal sympathy on that occasion, and the same torrential rain I have described, did spoil it. Ned's reproachful eyes were hard to bear. I knew I had been a mean cuss. [...] I went to Lansing with him in the early autumn for him to take his examinations at the M.A.C. He was too young for the place, and he was not well prepared, yet he managed to pass the examinations and passed the winter with his cousin Margaret Bartholomew and her husband in their genial home. Naturally he saw much of his uncle Edward Cahill, which was one of the most agreeable ways of learning to be the ideal American gentleman. Ned looked immensely handsome in his grey uniform, and he never told me that he was mortified at having no other good suit.

I did no end of stupid things to my children, but it was usually because I didn't understand. They cannot realized how uninstructed I was. They have much to forgive me for, and I'll admit that everyone of them gave me, at one time or another, some exasperated rebukes. I sometimes felt them unjust, but I wouldn't permit myself to feel insulted. I had always preached the republic of persons, and that the accident of a biologic relationship or priority of age was not significant. I hope I lived up to my theory.

The summer wore away busily. I wrote and wrote and wrote. Bab and Sister Bertha took care of Donald and Rod, helped grandmother, bathed daily in the lake, sewed, etc. Some of my friends came over and lived at farm houses near by and spent the evenings with me. And then the cabin burned [...] there was some brush wood left on the floor which must have caught from a spark. We had eaten our supper happily and I strolled to the door [of my parents' home] to look out at what seemed an unusually brilliant sunset. But it was the little log cabin, a mass of flames. I called out to father and mother and then sped through the woods. The flames blinded me and I dashed into a tree so violently it threw me down and cut open my brow above the right eye. My hair came down with the impact and the flying hair and face streaming with blood, a fearsome sight, I sped on. Father followed and stopped me from going in the cabin. "It's death to go in there," he said. I raced over to the neighboring farm houses and the men came with crowbars and pitch forks and tore the cabin down. If they had not, father's beautiful woodland, dry as tinder from a long drought, would have burned, as well as his two houses. We lost much, our piano, rugs, the typewriter, easy chairs, the manuscript of "The Beleaguered Forest" which I then rewrote, and all my scrap books containing the record of many years' work, and father's fine old cabin which he greatly prized.

The next morning, with my face bandaged, I went to South Haven, rented a typewriter and wrote a story for the Youth's Companion. I had to make some gesture of enthusiasm. I really was afraid of what Robert would say, for he had asked me to have the place insured and I had not done so. But he spoke no word of reproach. Many, many letters of sympathy came to me as has invariably been the case when any misfortune came. I realized that I was at a fresh parting of the ways. Father and mother agreed with me that a continuation of our present way of living was not feasible. The winter would be too hard on all of us. Father could not drive back and forth through the cold; life would be too dull and too intimate. Ned and Bab were away at school, but Rod would miss his schooling for he couldn't go a mile and a half through the damp cold of the Lake Michigan winter.

So Father and I fell to talking of his old home on Bond Avenue out at Windsor Park. It had been used as flats ever since the World's Fair and was greatly run down; the porches and outside steps were sagging, plaster was falling, the roof leaking. It was finally agreed between us that the $1,000.00 Robert and I had advanced father on his South Haven house should apply for our benefit on the old Windsor Park place and that he should give me $2,000.00 value in it at his death and that we should make payments semi-annually until the value he set on it, which was, I think, $7,000.00, should be paid. Robert approved although the journey to the city would be hard on him, but he realized it was a chance to get a foothold again. Our goods—what were left of them, were moved over, save those I left to help father and mother make their new house pleasant. But they moved into the village of South Haven for the winter. The old place was, indeed, almost a ruin, but it had inherent staunchness. We moved in up stairs, took our meals for a year with our old neighbors the Fairs, drew up plans for changing the house into something picturesque and started to pay the piper. I wrote a hundred stories in as many days for the Chicago Tribune and met the expenses of building while Robert swung the expenses of living, and at the end of a year we had as lovely a home as we cared to have. During the summer Ned had torn down the old barn—no easy task—and we made a tennis court where all the young people in the neighborhood played.

Edward Cahill Peattie [132]

Chapter VII

We lived twenty years in the old House-home as Rod named it. Twenty years, and Ned grew into a man, passed indeed, beyond his earlier manhood. He had one summer up in Wisconsin with George Huss, the best and closest friend his father had had as a young man. Mr. Huss had become a railroad engineer of success and authority, helping in the construction not only of roads in his own country but as far afield as the road from Joppa to Jerusalem. Ned came back from that summer with him and said that he wanted to be an engineer. So as that seemed a fine, manly, American sort of vocation, we gave our approval. For two years he went to the South Side Academy, and then entered the University of Michigan. The Engineering course there is a stiff one, and it was hard on Ned. Perhaps not only did he lack in concentration—the great fault of American students—but it may [be] that something inherently poetic in him struggled against the hard practicality of engineering. He longed, I think, to study astronomy, with its immensities and grandeurs, and took a short course in that science, adoring the silence of the observatory and the great glasses and what they revealed. (His grandfather Wilkinson had had the same enthusiasm, and he had looked through the glass of the same observatory.) But Ned felt the need to be practical, and an engineer he became. He was popular at once, both with the young men and young women and went into many, probably too many, college activities; he helped to edit one of the college papers, belonged to committees, etc. and in due time became a member of the Psi U Fraternity, to which he is still enthusiastically loyal and for which he has performed some signal services. I think Uncle Edward Cahill was the cause of Ned's joining of this particular fraternity.

A beautiful and fascinating girl dawned on Ned's view soon after he went to the University, Frances Caldwell of West Virginia, whom I came to know well in later years. She occupied more of Ned's thought than was good for him, and this, united with an inadequate preparation for so heavy a course, brought Ned out with marks that caused him much anxiety. Ned worked the following summer, then returned to the University for a second year, and the summer after that went to work building a road down in Indiana. As autumn came on, he asked permission to continue his work instead of returning to college. The truth was he was in debt, a condition not hard to understand, for we were able to give him only a small allowance, and his impulse was to be rather splendidly generous with this young girl. He didn't take us into his confidence, but we had a notion of how things were and if we regretted this prodigality, we also admired his pluck and honesty.

Once more he went back to the University but things were not going well at home. His dad's health was wretched and another breakdown seemed inevitable with all it would mean in the the reduction of income. After much consultation, we reluctantly decided that Ned would better go to work, particularly if he could get something in the engineering line. This was finally achieved through the kindess of Mr. George Bartlett, the son of my very particular friend, Mary Bartlett. Ned came back from the University and I saw him off on the North Western special, standing young—so young, so untried, so gallant—on the rear platform of the observation coach, smiling that smile with which youth conceals its trepidations. He was bound for Plumas County, California, and the building of the Western Pacific. We did not see him again for three years.

As for the longings for him which his father and I felt during those three years, words cannot tell of it accurately. We wondered and wondered if we had made a mistake. But I don't think we did. I don't think Ned thinks we did. He grew up in the West. It shaped and reinforced him. And it was there he met and married Margaret Shelton [November 1906, Ogden, Utah]—the daughter of a genial Western stockman. [...Peattie relates a long story of Margaret's unfortunate childhood where she lost her father, mother, and only sister. She was raised by a court-appointed guardian, educated at an Episcopal school in Seattle, Washington, and spent the majority of her childhood in Kellispell, Montana.]

Life in a box car [where Ned lived while working for the Western Pacific] didn't look very good after [his marriage]. Moreover, the Western Pacific work was finished and the only other thing that offered at that time was in Alaska. I suggested to Ned that he should try for some other work. He was willing, but so far removed from manufacturing centers that he didn't know how to proceed. A gentleman, a connection of mine, had told me that the Deere Plow Company was looking for a young man to learn the business. I knew the name of the man at the head of the department in question [and] wrote him a friendly letter telling him about Ned.[...] A telegram came in reply asking me to meet this gentleman [...] which I did [and] at the close of the conversation he asked me to have Ned call on him in Moline. For Ned was coming home. We had to see each other. We had to meet his bride. So they came on together over the road Ned had helped to build, through bitter weather, stopping at Moline and concluding arrangements with Mr. Peake to return to Moline within a fortnight.

A fearful blizzard came up the afternoon Ned and his Peg left Moline for Chicago, and their train was many hours late. No taxi or carriage could have got through the drifts, and I didn't see how the children were going to walk. [...] Ned stood out on the platform of the car in that bitter storm watching for landmarks that told him he was nearing home, and he would let nothing stop him. A little before midnight the telephone rang and there was my Ned speaking to me after three years of silence. Then came Peg's voice saying: "Is that you, mother?" Well, that was what I meant to be, what I have always tried, since that hour to be and all the more because I was the only mother she had.

They were with us within the hour. The servants who had counted much on seeing them, had gone to bed; Don was indisposed and could not come down to greet them; Bab far away in her own home. But the rest of us were there. The old flag was flying for them throught the storm—for it had been our habit from the time the house became our home to hang out the flag for each birthday or for the arrival of guests from afar, and, of course, for all national holidays. Ned saw the flag, saw every window lighted, could glimpse the fires on the hearths, and was in our arms. Peg looked beautiful but bewildered and was half sick from all the long journey and the bitter weather. Indeed she came down with an attack of tonsillitis the next day and it would not have been easy even had she been well to be launched into a family circle which, with all of my sister's households, must have numbered twenty-five persons. [...] All of the relatives were good to her—Aunt Elia Walker, the Allens, everyone. But it took her a good while to feel at home with us all.

When he came back the dew of youth had gone from his face. He was a man, tried by hardship, by friendships and enmity, by loss of love and by new love won, by nights when he worked alone on the mountains, getting his location by the stars, by days when he worked in tunnels, by heat and cold, the mountains and the deserts, loneliness and those strange panics that come when one is tested to the limit of strength. He had not been very strong when he left us, but he came back deep of lung and vigorous of limb, and this strengthening had been to no small content, the result of his deliberate determination to make a fine phyiscal man of himself. In addition to the practical training he got from his work, he had taken a correspondence course in railroad and bridge building. He had seen a bridge of his own design and supervision stand firm in a flood of the Feather River when every other bridge over the river went out. He had known the insolence of ruthless overseers, the menace of dangerous friendships, and had kept himself pure and fine and honorable.

But now the two were to start their house-keeping [in Moline, Illinois]. They were very poor and had to meet life under stern conditions. Ned was given work [at the Deere Plow Company] beyond his strength and would come home so tired sometimes that he couldn't sit up at the table to eat, and Peg would put his meal beside the couch where he rested. She, too, had to work hard. She did her own washing, marketed wherever she could get good food for the least money, cooked skillfully, and did her own sewing. From the first, however, they had interesting and cultivated friends. Sometimes we went down to visit them; sometimes they came to us. They presently moved into a better place; then, into a very charming one. Then Ned was sent to Toronto where he worked for about two years.

In some ways this Canadian experience was an interesting one. The children saw a civilization similar to our own, yet with many differences. Ned's Psi U affiliations brought him a group of fine men friends, almost all of whom were later swallowed up in the World War. But the women were very chary of their friendship. Hardly a woman crossed the threshold. The Canadian reticence and social caution took on the aspect of cruelty and I know Peg was glad to get back into the United States. They had a pleasant home in Indianapolis after that and charming friends. And then, on Christmas [1915], as they were taking the train to come to us, the telegram saying that Barbara had gone was placed in Ned's hands. That was to change the whole course of their lives.

Ralph wanted Ned—needed him. He wanted him to come on and be with him in business, and he longed for the comfort of his presence. He wanted Peg, too, to hold his home together. Emma Erskine and I were taking turns for a time after Babbie went, going back and forth to be with the little boys, but that was unsettling for all of us. So, courageously, but with misgivings, Ned and Peg went into the new life. I urged it strongly for more reasons than it is necessary to recount here but, after the first paramount reason that I wanted Bab's home held together, came my desire for Ned to be with a business concern that would prize him personally, not only for what he could do for them, but because of his integrity, and his abilities not yet tested. I wanted him appreciated.

They moved East; Ned went into his new work; Peg into the stricken home. She had the three little boys, two servants, Ned in the nervousness of his unfamiliar work; Ralph in all the anguish and caprice of his loss, to oversee. For two years they had their domicile together with occasional interruptions, for Ralph was restless and tried first this plan and then that. Finally he set up a little home, almost a camp, by himself, and Ned bought the home in which they now live. After a time which brought me to more anxiety than could be measured, with the little boys in the care of servants, seeking their comfort in queer little boy ways, so heart-breakingly brave, Ralph married Margaret McCullar, a fine New England young woman of excellent parentage and education, and we soon saw that our anxieties for Robin, Malcolm and little Ralph were at an end. Ralph's home is beautiful, hospitable and gracious and no one is more welcome in it than Ned and Peg. They are proud to belong to each other; they all feel life to be richer because of their relationship. I had told Peg that if she would go to our little boys in their great need I would take the first opportunity that offered, of doing her a service. I meant this to the bottom of my heart, but did not know then of what the service would consist. But it transpired that Ralph moved out of Ned's house at the time Robert and I broke up the old House-home and came on to New York, so I was able—since I retained only furniture sufficient to clothe our two-room apartment—to place the furniture from the old home in Peg's house—the linen, a part of the books and pictures, the piano and grandfather clock and the furniture for the living room and two of the bedrooms. A part of this they sent on to me later. They have now a home most exquisitely furnished with the fine product of the Danersk factories, [133] but they have retained enough of the old things to make me feel a tightening of the heart as I open the door and enter this perfectly-kept home. The bust of Dante frowns at me from above the books as it did in the old library at Windsor Park; the tall iron firedogs are still at their task; the familiar pictures are on the walls. The old clock tells me the hour.

Ned is a person who has to have a philosophic justification for his activities and enthusiasms. When he was in the business of building railroads he used to feel that he and his fellow laborers were more essential to civilization than men in any other employment.

"Why, what makes a civilization?" He used to demand. "Transportation! Men may raise fine crops and make fine things but if they can't carry their food to the men who want to eat it, what good is it all? Their labor goes for nothing. They remain barbarians. If you want to be a part of the foundation of civilization you have to be in the transport business, one way or another. The real civilizers are the men who put railroads across the continents. I tell you, I'm proud to be helping along the job."

It sounded most convincing; indeed we were convinced.

Then, in good time, he got into the agricultural implement business. "I tell you," said Ned, "I'm so proud to be in on this work. It makes me feel a part of history. It's really the fundamental, bedrock thing. The first thing the cave man set himself to do after he'd made all the improvements he could think of on the sling-shot, was to get up a plow. They're still using the first plows he made in some parts of the world, and the truth is, the first plows the Deere Company made weren't so very different, except that they had steel points and were turned out every few seconds instead of one every twelve months. And now look at the plows we're giving the men who want to scratch up the ground! Fourteen blades ripping through the earth and driven by motor. Yer sir, weren't [we] in the forefront of civilization down in the Deere Plow Company. It makes me feel fine to be there, keeping hunger at bay for the world."

It seemed almost cruel to have any part in severing the boy from a vocation that seemed the twin-sister of religion and we felt some anxiety about how he would regard the highly sophisticated furniture of the Danersk Company. [...]

"A man likes to get beyond the first, primitive demands," he said—or words to that effect. "Food, of course, man must have.[...] But when you get to the interior out-fitting of a home, to making the home noble and beautiful, then you're well along the way that it's man's destiny to travel. I tell you, I feel privileged to be in the furniture business and not only in the business of making furniture, but of making the most significant furniture created today. Furniture with [a] DOCUMENT in it. [...]

Ned has a reputation for drollery that extends farther than he knows. His grandfather Wilkinson was a good story-teller and he was whimsical, and Ned's dad, R.B.P., is a wit by birth and cultivation, but Ned has a drollery all his own and can leave his parlor audience in a state of exhaustion from laughter. [...]

Such a casual sketch of two fine lives! But it must be realized that it is, after all, only a very little part of the lives of their grown children that parents can know.[...]

Barbara Peattie Erskine [134]

Chapter VIII

Barbara was born May 5th, 1885 and she was so tiny that sometimes we could hardly find her as she lay rolled in the sofa blankets in her cradle. The cradle stood in our little living room, near the "art" stove with the blue tile, for it was a cold May and I was glad to keep to the warmth of the little house, and to hold my wee girl and rock her there by the fire. In those days we did things like that, held babies and rocked them. [...] After a little the warm weather came, flowers bloomed out in our patch of ground, and I took my two babies riding every morning, facing each other in the good sized carriage. Then I slung a strong hammock in the rear room, and put my treasures in it, feet to feet, the hammock had to be swung with much decision, but soon, they, too, were singing a "sleepy song" and the gentlest oscillations at last put them over the brink. [...]

The peculiarity of Barbara was that she never made any trouble.[...] I nursed her—the only one of my children I did nurse—and took her out to her grandmother Wilkinson's on the Lake Shore to wean her. Her grandmother superintended the operation while I lay in the room which had been mine as a girl, and wept the night through. But it was a good job. Once the little thing understood that new things were required of her, she met the change with the funny little wisdom and patience she showed even when she was quite tiny.

She could have been no more than two or three months old when I began the happy process of writing while she slept. We were a growing household. There were Babbie's father and myself, her grandmother [Peattie], and the nurse, and Ned. That made six of us, and all dependent on the salary of a young newspaper man. Although we quite took it for granted that we must live with the greatest economy, and permitted ourselves no luxuries, still it was difficult to make the salary reach. I have always felt sorry for men, for the burdens they had to bear, for the way they are forced to toil for their families. Life traps them no less than it traps women. So I decided to do what I could to help and there were immediate compensations for the extra toil. I found it exhilarating to create even the mild stories of early Chicago life or the juvenile tales which Robert and I devised together. The fundamental idea for the story usually came from him. I dictated the story as it came from my noodle, meanwhile sitting by Babbie's cradle, joggling it when she stirred, and sewing on something for her or her brother. They were very happy days. I doubt if I ever had happier, and Robert loves to look back to those days, too.

My stories went so well, that presently I was offered a newspaper position [1884]. Mr. Patterson [135] of the Chicago Tribune sent for me and, as the salary almost doubled our income, I thought it best to take it. I managed to be with my babies all morning, but during the afternoon and evening they were with their grandmother and the nurse. Then Lucy Watson, a niece of Robert's came to live with us [because her mother was dead], and she helped with them, too. For two successive summers I was away writing up summer resorts, both east and west, and then my babies were put out at the Beach House, as we then called their grandfather's Wilkinson's place. A good nurse accompanied them, and they had the delight of the woods and the shore, and of Grandmother Wilkinson's judicious training.

Presently we were out at Woodlawn at the "Spider Web" the funny litte house we had built there. The children had a beautiful room there and plenty of fine children's books and toys. [...] We had a year of mingled happiness and anxiety there at Woodlawn.

Then we moved to Omaha [1888]. Robert and I were there several months before we could send for the family. We were away from them one Christmas, but sent them everything we could afford to make them happy, and by and by Robert went on to move out our furniture. Lucy and Bab came on ahead of the others, and I went down to the station to meet them. It was a shining Omaha day, and Lucy, looking very pretty and gay, as youngsters are at a change, came down the platform holding Babbie the hand. I remember how the little thing literally danced toward me, and of the way my heart sang. It wasn't alone that I had my little daughter with me. She was my adorable little friend, too, something lyric and responsive, something different from all the rest of the world.

In the third-rate boarding house where we were living, room was found for Lucy and herself. [...] In a very short time we were all settled in a pleasant rented house, and I was much wrapped up in newspaper work. But the family got on well. The neighbors were friendly; there was money for our simple needs; Robert was doing brilliant work; I was writing with a dashing spontaneity and we had a happy and exciting time. Then the two children caught the whopping cough. [...] I did much of my work at home so as to be near them and slept with them every other night. I say slept! Lucy would take them one night, or their father, or grandmother. Somehow, we managed to get along. They were both white as chalk, large-eyed, with no appetite, and the doctor said they should have a change. So I took them to my mother's out at the old Beach House, and she and I saw them back into convalescence.

Then the opportunity came for me to go to Alaska [1889]. I took the children [who had been recuperating in Chicago], now quite well, back to Omaha, and went off to Alaska, determined to do something in a literary way that would count. [...] I had just completed a mystery story called "The Judge" and was in full swing creatively, and wild to lift the family up out of comparative poverty and inconspicuousness. [136] To my eye, the children were of rare quality. I wanted them to have a chance in the world, not grow up in a casual manner, educationally speaking, that their father and I had.

I was gone three months, and had such heartaches of longing and anxiety as only a parent can have, but when I reached Seattle and letters, I found good reports of them, and word that the mystery story had taken a thousand dollar prize. So I hastened home as fast as I could, having, however, to stop at each town along the Northern Pacific to gather data for the railroad guide book I was writing, and reached home the day before Thanksgiving.

There was a charming new house about two blocks from us, with a south frontage and a view of the western fields, and I determined to pay my thousand dollars on this and have a permanent home. So it was pleasantly decorated, and our things were moved into it. Grandmother was given a delightful up-stairs sitting room, and we all had a feeling that life was moving along beautifully. I meant to set about writing my Alaska novel. And then came Robert's terrible illness, and a long attack of pneumonia, which left a portion of one lung solidified, and himself permanently at a disadvantage. It really was the first year of the flu, I think, for thousands were ill all over the country. Both Ned and Bab were ill, and so was poor Lucy. The house was small. We could afford only one nurse, and these three sick children were put in a room together, the medicine set beside them, and they were left to themselves pretty much. Why they didn't die I don't know. I would go in and bathe their poor hot hands and faces, give them a little warm milk or broth, see to their medicines, put on clean nighties and go and leave them alone. Well, they got well, somehow. I think they lay in a stupor some of the time, but they were up and about presently, and their father went away to Colorado Springs, and I took up the work alone.

The little house was not so gay now. But the house was warm, there was plenty to eat, we made good friends and with the approach of spring, Ned was put in school and Bab in kindergarten [1890]. At any rate, they used to get on the huge street cars by themselves and do down into the town somewhere. It was utterly reckless of me to let them do it, but in those days Omaha was a small, friendly city, and the car conductors, and other people, too, used to look after them. The Peattie family had to fend for itself and succeeded in doing it very well.

On more than one summer the children were taken to Michigan to the place their grandfather now had near South Haven. We had free railroad passes in those days and the habit of traveling which most westerners have, and it meant nothing for us to go for a journey. [...] Time wore along and presently they were both in public school and would go away in the morning hand in hand, so clean that it was almost depressing. [...]

The first of each summer I used to make up her dresses for her, seven or eight little French ginghams and two white frocks. As soon as she was old enough she used to go on little visits to my dear friend Kate Cleary, [137] out at Hubbell Nebraska. Kate would come to visit me and take Bab home with her and keep her for a few weeks till I went to fetch her back. The Cleary home was out on the plains, and Babbie adored them and the rides over them after the heat of the day was gone. The little ponies would be hitched to the family carryall; the Clearys would pile in and a loose rein laid on the backs of the strong, gay little beasts, which would race up and down the hills of the rolling plain, gather sufficient impetus as they went down one hill to dash up another. It was a mad sort of sport, and what would have happened if a wheel came off, I shudder to think. But it did not. [...]

Kate Cleary played no small part in the intense love of poetry which Babbie developed. She would read to the little child, or recite, calling upon her phenomenal memory, [while] Jim, Kate's eldest son, sat with them in the friendly sitting room there in that lonely town, the prairie wind howling around the house, and the deep stars of the plains looking in through the windows. Kate wrote a beautiful poem to Babbie. [...]

It goes without saying that Barbara was surrounded with books. Any child of Robert Peattie would have that privilege. He or she might go a bit short of clothes, get along without table luxuries, and walk when others rode, but books there would be. And Barbara ate them up. There was little restriction placed on what she read. I thought it was the best and wisest, the widest and most agreeable way of educating anybody. I was astonished after she was a woman to have her reproach me with not having told her more about life. I over-estimated what she had learned about the realities from books. I failed her there as I failed her in many ways. There was nothing, however, that she missed of the sublimities. She had a mind that lifted like wings. Her poems must be read if one would understand her and, yet, they are but a gentle and almost timid part of what she was. Oh, my little girl!

She was not christened as a babe, but when she was—I think—about seven, we all came under the influence of that militant saint, the Rev. John Williams, and were baptised and confirmed [1892]. Mrs. Hitchcock acted as her god mother—the wife of Senator Hitchcock [138] —and she wore a little white frock Mrs. Hitchcock had made for her by hand, and rode happily in the carriage the Hitchcocks sent for us. After that she was always devout, though for a few years before she went, her thoughts ceased to be churchly and became liberal and suffused with human interest in people of all creeds and forms of aspiration. But for years, her devotions were those of the "High" Episcopal Church, and her love of beauty and talent for worship, found deep expression through this. [...] Mrs. Hitchcock's fine musical ability, her imaginative piano playing, her cold, deliberate courtesy and sudden bursts of friendliness and affections, went into the matrix of our child's imagination and education. She had not a few friends among women, chief, perhaps, that of Miriam [Chase Ford] Forman, [139] the most interesting and adorable of women, who, having no children of her own, poured forth her affection upon Bab. [...]

Bab must have been about seven when her brother Roderick became a handsome and interesting addition to the family [1892]. For over two years he had a nurse; then, pretty hard times came upon us again. Robert had to go away for his health. So Babbie used to take him out in the wild fields west of the house and play with him, and she used to wash his grubby little hands, and dress him for afternoon. I did not at the time suppose this to be too much of a burden for her, but I found afterward that it had seemed so to her. Life was not easy for any of us at that time and she had to take some of the burden on her slender little shoulders. I think the worst of it was that the sense of responsibility was too much. She was almost exaggeratedly conscientious. It made a mother of her too soon. That, as I look back on it, seems to have been the chief injury. [...]

[Barbara went] with me to the Bahamas, Jamaica and Cuba. [...] An agent of the Florida railroads, Colonel Elliott [...] asked me to go [...] on a privately hired steamer which had been engaged by the two railroad magnates, Mr. Plant and Mr. Flagler, [140] who were looking about for a desirable site for an ultra fashionable hotel which they proposed building. To pay expenses and make the trip more interesting they were offering opportunities to about fifty persons to sail with the, and they wanted someone to oil the social wheels, so to speak—start games, make introductions, get up little entertainments, etc.

Colonel Elliott invited me to fill this odd but pleasing position and told me I could take my little girl with me. [...] I soon had my simple preparations made, and Colonel Elliott took us on the train with him to Florida. We stopped at Jacksonville, went to St. Augustine, and finally settled at Winter Park where we spent a few weeks.

There was one incident at Winter Park that she never forgot. It was the habit of some ladies to wear little live chameleons chained to their wrists by tiny gold chains fastened to wee collars which were fastened about the necks of the little unhappy animals. I didn't like the fashion, though I dare say it was not especially cruel. One day one of these little creatures, with his collar about his neck and tiny chain dangling after him, ran up on our window sill. It had, no doubt escaped from some one's room. Bab cried out in delight and put out her hand to catch it, but impulsively I said, "No, no, you don't want the poor little thing, daughter. Don't catch it." She obeyed, but it appeared that she did want it most terribly. She ached and mourned over it and always remembered it. The little escaping chameleon represented a lost joy. I've been sorry a thousand times that I said, "No."

We went to Tampa Bay [...] then we embarked for the Bahamas, and sailed along quietly through seas that seemed almost enchanted, and came to the beautiful isle, rising, many-colored out of the water. Nassau was so brilliant and beguiling after our harsh American winter that we could hardly believe in its reality. She saw Jamaica and Cuba. [...]

The years slipped by so busily that it seems strange I cannot remember more of them. [...] I used to punish my children when they were naughty. Usually, I had a spot on the carpet called "the naughty spot" and the culprit was told to stand on that for ten or fifteen minutes while no one looked at him or saw him. He became invisible and non-existent—off the planet. Maybe it was a horrible punishment. Perhaps all punishments are horrible. The children used, even in their happy and innocent moments, to walk around this spot as if the mere contact with it were painful. Sometimes I spanked them briskly and lightly, but they almost never were inflicted with anything that even resembled a whipping.

Little Bab was never spanked seriously and with deep reformatory intent but once, and I never understood the rights of that. She always said I had made a mistake, but she chouldn't explain the cause of the misunderstanding. [...] I found years later that there had been a number of misunderstandings between her and me of which I had not dreamed at the time...

She was twelve [1897] when we moved back to Chicago. [Records indicate the Peatties moved in 1896.] It had been necessary to put glasses on her and I was tortured at this disfigurement of her quaint, delicate face, and I knew it was nothing less than a grief to her, but she bore it bravely. Ned was put in the public school, but he said and we all thought, it was no place for Bab, so by hook and crook we got money enough together to send her to the Scott School, where the instruction was well adapted to the quality of little ladies [...] she slipped quite naturally and easily into the really choice social groups of Chicago.

Father Williams had wished us to go to [the] Ascension Church, which was near us and represented the "High Church" fervor in Chicago. Father Larrabee was the pastor, a devout, democratic aristocrat. [...] Babbie soon became of interest to the Larrabees and visited often at their beautiful old mansion on Dearborn Street. Sometimes she stayed there for a few days in an atmosphere of social servatism and religious estheticism. [...] With the autumn [1899] Ned went to the Agricultural College in Lansing, Michigan and Bab transferred to the Dearborn Seminary, a fine school of honorary history on the South side, and a new life began. [Following the log cabin fire, the Peatties renovated the old Wilkinson home on South Shore Drive]

[Barbara] had begun to do illuminating, which she did with charming taste and a delicate touch. She illuminated several privately printed editions of preciosities for The Blue Sky Press, and bought with some of the money a quaint table and bench for her room. The table mysteriously survives, and has been made exquisite by the decorative artists of the Danersk Furniture Company and is one of the most prized pieces in Ralph Erskine's beautiful home.

And now I come to Ralph, [141] my son through my love for him, and through Barbara's love for him. I was giving a good many lectures in those days, before women's clubs, colleges, schools, etc., and the Wisconsin Federation of Women's Clubs, which was meeting at Racine, asked me to lecture before them [1898]. I do not now remember the subject, but I think it had to do with the education of children. Something of the sort. As usual, I was to be "entertained" at some home, and I found myself apportioned to the home of Mrs. Charles E. Erskine [142] , I had, in the beginning, been allotted to another home, and a very distinguished lecturer been sent to the Erskines', but it transpired that they were having a new heating plant put in and that the house was not very warm, and the distinguished lecturer had a sensitive throat. [143]

I was met at the station by a very pleasant, grey-bearded gentleman who told me his name was Erskine and that his wife was busy at the Federation meetings and so he had come for me. He drove me up to his home, a large, rather rambling frame house sitting in a fine park of trees. [144] There were many rooms in the house, all furnished in our comfortable Middle West manner, and among them was one room of genuine beauty. This was the music room, built at the extremity of the house. [...] At one end was an organ with gilded pipes. A fine grand piano stood near, and on it was an old viola, and near by a gold harp. In the cabinet were violins and a 'cello. A mezzanine looked down upon the room, the walls of which were lined with books, and this was the favorite place for listeners to sit.

Mr. Erskine played the organ with feeling and taste; his wife played the harp and so did Susan, [145] his youngest daughter [...], his elder daughter, Violet, [146] and her four brothers, Alfred, Harold, [147] Ralph, and Malcolm, [148] all played some instrument. All this I learned later, of course.

I did not meet my hostess until we gathered for dinner. There was a large dinner party, for she was entertaining a number of the ladies who had come to attend the [State] Federation meetings, and had invited congenial Racine friends to meet them. She was beautifully dressed, and her geniality and happy facility of converse, kept the conversational ball rolling. My lecture was in the evening, and it went off well, and I came home in that contented frame of mind which follows the successful performance of a thing one has dreaded.

I was determined that my acquaintance with her should not end with my visit to her home and a few weeks later I asked her down to my house to attend the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and The Fortnightly with me. She came, lovelier than ever and was at once at home in our family group. But at any rate, she declared that what fascinated her with the absorbed gaze of Babbie, watching her from across the table. At Christmas time she asked Ned and Bab up to Racine to spend a few days. That was the beginning of as genuine and sweet a love story as any of which I know. I think they corresponded with each other from then on. Ralph went to Europe, and the correspondence continued. When he was at home during the vacations he came down often and Babbie went to Racine. [...]

Then the darling old "House-home" [on South Shore Drive] as Rod used to call it, burned [1903]. Babbie's lovely room was utterly destroyed; the rest of the house was gutted. We, Bab, [Sister] Bertha, Rod and Don, went down to Tryon [North Carolina] and lived in a cottage of the Mimosa Hotel [149] and took our meals at the hotel. I had been to Tryon before and spent a part of a winter there with Don, and as the guest of Mrs. Erskine at the charming old Lynncote. [150] Bab and Ralph were engaged now. [...] The winter went by happily in spite of our genuine agony over the loss of the lovely home we had worked so hard to create. I was almost crushed at first, but I knew it was not a great sorrow. That the loss of THINGS could not be a great sorrow. Dad and I devised the idea of sending Babbie abroad with Mr. Erskine and Violet, who were going to Great Britain and Europe with a party of friends. We took a part of the insurance money which we received for the loss of the house and gave it to her, and while I wrote stories and articles and book reviews, and Babbie copied them and got them ready for the press, Bertha worked at the sewing machine making Babbie's outfit for going abroad, and her own trousseau. The director of the hotel told me on my leaving that we had injured the prestige of the place by working as we had, that no one could go near our cottage without hearing the sound of the type-writer or the sewing machine and that we had lost caste by it. [...] The Spring of Tryon, so tender, gay and perfumed was at its height; the moon at the full. It was a time of adorable serenity and loveliness. Some of her dear poems celebrate it.

Then Babbie went abroad. She visited England, Scotland, France, and Italy. She devoured her experiences. Always, as long as she lived, what she saw then, influenced her life. She came back all rosy and plump, very girlish and darling. [...] The old House-home had been rebuilt. Indeed, the greater part of it had only been gutted. Madeline Wynne, that perfect artist in all she undertook, had supervised the redecoration of it, and it was very lovely. [...]

Babe didn't go back to school. She didn't care to. She was helping me a great deal at home. Bertha had married while Bab was in Europe, and Bab now helped with the housekeeping, the ordering, shopping, the dusting and tidying, the care of Don, the sewing, the copying of the stuff I wrote. She was beginning to write charmingly herself and wrote one story on Leonardo da Vinci, which got as far as Spring, and which I have. She did poems and kept them to herself and she helped with the collection of poems printed under my name called "Poems You Ought to Know." I tried to get the publisher to put her name on it, but he would not. All I could do was to turn the royalties over to her and for years she derived something from them. [...]

There were friends who needed our help, and I think, in giving to them, I may have done some injustice to Barbara. I put too much on her, deprived her of the solitude and peace she should have had. I am sorry. If I had it to do over again I would be more intelligently selfish for my family's good.

In the very early Spring, I went out to California with Mrs. Erskine to attend the General Federation of Women's Clubs. [151] It was a journey of absorbing interest and I could tell many stories about it. All I mean to tell at this point was that I was bewitched with the Mexican opals which I saw for sale at all the lapidary's and made a collection of some rosy and yellowish ones for a necklace for Bab. It was soon made up, by Mrs. Wynne, and was her father's wedding gift to Bab.

Ralph was lonely at Mr. Tibbett's school where he was teaching English and certain other studies and he wanted to get married. Again, I did my girl an injustice. She was too young. I should have insisted that she have another year at home. But her father's health was again miserably poor, I could not tell what was ahead, she was bearing many unselfish burdens at home, and with my conviction that joy ought to be grasped when the opportunity came, I consented. There was a very short time before our decision and the date of the marriage. And what a busy household we were. We were low in purse, too, but some stories I had written brought in the needed "extras" and Bab and I went shopping for the simple little trousseau. Still, we had not enough, for I wanted her to have her outfit of linen, blankets, a sewing machine, etc. So I sold such little diamonds as I had and some odds and ends of jewelry and a very nice outfit of practical bed and table linen was secured. The machine I paid for in installments long afterward. Three dress makers were engaged; I worked evenings hemming table clothes and napkins.

Then there were the arrangements for the wedding. My sisters all held back in some mysterious way and offered no aid. I never knew why. Strange things happen in families. Relatives become offended or estranged and one cannot guess why. Even Bertha seemed withdrawn. Well, anyway, I went on with the preparations. I would waken early in the morning to think over the invitations, the decorations, the refreshments. Father Williams came on from Omaha to perform the ceremony. Father Larrabee was present. The dear Gane girls played the music. Aunt Mary Bartlett contributed East Injy to go on the ice cream. We had a dinner party the night before. [...] Aunt Elia Walker was present at the wedding, and all the relatives from Racine [...] Dorothy Stirling and May Stirling and Lucy Raymond and Martha Foote Crow, [152] her beloved teacher was present, and Madeline Yale Wynne and Henry Fuller and ever so many more. And, of course, all of my sisters and their families.

Babbie had, with wisdom, cast off thoughts of old duties, that day. Early in the morning she had gone to church with Ralph. I think perhaps [...] rector had a special service for them. She had been more than faithful in his church. She and Ralph were together all day, showing each other their clothes or their wedding presents. Then the hour came. She drifted down the stairs in her simple white with the floating veil (I still have it) and the lovely flowers in her hands. Around her neck was the dear butterfly necklace with its soft hued Mexican opals. Astonishingly, our child belonged to someone else.

I shall never forget when she came down the stairs in her dark red going-away costume, with the becoming red hat and the dark brown furs. She looked radiantly happy, but tearful, too. Don cried out: "Will you be back soon, Babbie?" That almost undid me, but I kissed her gaily and almost pushed her out the door. She went away in the winter twilight—it was early in January. I went upstairs to her room. Her wedding dress and veil and the little slippers lay there on her flowery swinging bed. I seemed for a moment to turn to stone. But one has to go on. No matter what happens, one has to go on. She was with the man she loved. Only they were so young—so young. We [ate] our dinner, then sat around the fire, missing her horribly. Afterward she said to me: "Why didn't you ask Ralph and me to spend the evening with you? We went to that barren hotel room and didn't know what to say or do. We were frightfully homesick." Again, I was obtuse. We should have been all together that evening. She should have gone from her house in the morning. I simply didn't think. It was a great stupidity. The next morning I went down to the station and saw them on the train, these young, rather bewildered married lovers. My Babbie went away into her new life. Then began those letters from her which were, for eleven years, among the chief delights of my life. I seldom had more than one a week, but I could rely upon that. [...]

In the Spring I was able to visit her, and found the little house filled with lilacs, and the whole New England country side in flower. She was not well, but she was happy. [...]

Then came the summer when her first babe was expected. She came home for a while, then went up to Racine, where Charles Robert was born July 31st, 1908. [153] She was so young, so tiny, so sensitive, that we all had fears for her. But they were unnecessary. She made a good recovery, and presently she went home to her own little house. [...]

She asked me to come on to be with her when Malcolm [154] was born. I had "signed up" for a course of lectures, two a week for the whole winter, and could not go. I grieved over this, but there was no help for it. The brave little thing bore her child in the sharp New England winter.

Ralph [...] decided to move to Tryon, which both he and Babbie loved. [...] Ralph wished to build and have a home that would represent his taste and give his wife the background he fondly desired for her. So he found a beautiful piece of land, a promontory jutting out into the Pacolet Valley and created the Villa Barbara. [155] It took him a year, but it realized a dream. He built the house after a villa he had seen on the slopes of Fiesole. It was smarter, but the module was the same and he made it distinctive with splendid sixteenth century pillars which Mr. Watson secured for him from Italy. [...]

[T]he house seemed too large and unwieldy for our little girl, for help was poor and uncertain. The stairs were hard to climb, and there were always the heavy babies to be toted. [...] Bab learned to make bread and brioche and scones and to cook almost everything. She adored her beautiful home and her garden and the outlook down the valley. Charley Jackson, the colored boy-about-the-place had much to do with her satisfaction. He care for the livestock, which included a cow, chickens, a pig and, of course, the horses, and he helped with the garden, etc. And then Ralph Junior [156] was born one September day [1914], and the happiness and responsibility, the burdens and complications of life increased. [...]

Ralph had started his furniture manufactory in Tryon and that was demanding his time and attention. He was making beautiful things, but under great difficulties, and the enterprise was simply eating up money. This caused him great anxiety and took away something of the light heartedness which had always been one of his greatest charms. I used to see him coming home, worried and wearied from his work, the first bloom of youth gone, and think of the gold haired boy, all rhythm and joy, who had led the cheering of his college at the Williams football game, and grieve over the way that youth flitted.

The time came, however, when it seemed necessary to leave Tryon and go North. There was, indeed, nothing else for it. What it meant to Ralph and Barbara to leave their beautiful home, where they had hoped to rear their children, the home whose hearthstone they had dedicated with prayer, no words can say. They had established themselves not only in the home, but in the community. [...] Ralph was becoming an important business man, he was foremost in all civic activities, he was in the dramatic club, he sang at church. Babbie was president of the Lanier Club, the youngest president it ever had had. [...] She went about her beloved home, notebook in hand, making out her lists, never weeping, never sentimentalizing, simply doing what she had to do, head up and mind steady. It had been, in many ways, a perfect home. The quiet and retirement were what Barbara needed. Here she had written her exquisite Christmas and Easter cards, had caused them to be illustrated and had illuminated them. The money she received for these was devoted to exceptional uses. She gave Ralph his 'cello, she bought the victrola and the records, and Ralph's carved music stand. She set up a loom in the upstairs porch and learned to weave. There are beautiful pieces of her work still in existence. She was seldom idle, never, unless she was exhausted or thought that she owed it to her family to rest. She had begun to write with a sureness of touch and a sort of wild, free, beauty that was inimitable.

I shall never forget how lovely she was at the farewell party her friends in Tryon gave her and Ralph at the Lanier Club. [...] Mrs. Wynne made a moving and characteristic farewell speech, and spoke of the tear vases that were needed by those who loved Ralph and Barbara. And then, next day, they were gone, Ralph and Babbie and the three precious boys. I saw them as they drove away from the villa, looking back at it and looking back. Ralph tells me Babbie had a premonition she would never see it again. But she got on the train unfalteringly, her beloved ones all about her. She looked very darling in a smart little dark blue traveling suit with white collars and cuffs, and a small black hat with white gardenias. She hoped she was going to a fuller life; she believed she was helping Ralph. But she was always so prescient, that there is no telling what she foresaw. [...]

I seem not to have mentioned her sewing. [S]he made darling things for her boys, often copying them out of the Kate Greenaway Book which she had. Long, long after she was gone, these little garments with their quaint ruffles and fancy stitchings lasted [...] I don't know how she did it all. I used to take hand when I was there, but so often I was not there, and when I was I didn't help her enough. I was writing, trying to get on, trying to put the boys through school, to do this and that. I was not as good to her as I should have been. If I had it to do over—but we never have it to do over. What is done is done; what is omitted is omitted. The chance does not come again.

Then came letters inviting [D]ad and me to meet Ralph and Bab at Williamstown and motor with them over the Mohawk Trail and to Boston, thence back to Stamford through the bright October Hills. Seldom have we had an invitation that so delighted us; never have we had one which subsequent events, made us so thankful that we accepted. We snuggled into the car and for two weeks enjoyed life to the full. [...] The last I saw of my girl was in the New York Central station. We parted with great hopes of frequent meetings. At last Ralph was really prospering and his fine ideas were being executed. Babbie seemed to be over the delicacy that had come upon her with the bearing of children and all the early cares of married life. She was gay and confident, entering, it seemed to me, upon the middle period of her life, with beautiful confidence and a consciousness of her own personality, her wit, her indefinable charm. I had never felt so content about her.

And followed charming letters. At last, graver ones as [the] New England winter settled in. At last the recital of a terrible storm. An elfin storm. Ralph could not get home. She watched its wild course from the windows and shuddered at it. She wrote me before she went to bed that night. There followed hard days. The car could not be take over the snow-clogged roads, the street cars did not run. Bab took the "hired boy" and went to town for supplies, and came back glowing and happy. She played with the little boys in the snow; she built them a fort. Rod was to spend Christmas with them—he and Margaret Rhodes, and Nana Erskine, who was already there. The house was trimmed for Christmas, all the gifts to friends ready, little verses, according to her custom on each one. The pudding was made, everything in readiness.

Then a sudden illness, trivial at first, sweeping on to tragedy. Medical ignorance and stupidity, a strange conflict of purposes, some intervention of Christian Science, unavailing—everything unavailing—and the flame that was Barbara was quenched. When Rod, white-faced, met me at the train twelve hours late, I saw at the first glance, that she was already gone. Even her little body was gone. Only a handful of calcined mortality. It was all over. Ralph, almost distracted, was left to go on with his life. The little boys were to grow up without their mother. Ned came on to be with Ralph, Peg to be with the boys [...] Nanna Erskine was back and forth. It changed everything for us all. I no longer cared to write—could not make my characters seem real. The dear old house-home looked strange and alien to me when I returned to it. The thought that her feet would no longer cross the threshold, seemed somehow to end its significance.

Her urn is in the little Episcopal Chruch at Tryon and the tablet Ralph put there. In the Lanier Library is the book case filled with books, the memorial Ralph, Ned, her father and I made possible. It is the kind of a monument she would have chosen. [157] Something living, something with a beautiful story to tell.

What her going meant to her father and me can no more be told than what her memory means. They are the mystic warm and woof of life and emotion. We would not exchange even the sorrow associated with her for the joy that others know.

Roderick Peattie [158]

Chapter IX

We were in the House-home twenty years, and Roderick was a young boy when we went there. He left it to go to [the First World] War and when he came back from France the place was ours no longer. It was a part of the bewilderment and sense of unreality with which the war left him, that this home which he had loved should be there no more; the library of six thousand books divided among several homes; the greater part of the familiar possessions at Ned's. We were living in two rooms in New York. [159] Nothing was the same. [...]

We sometimes say that Rod never was at home any birthday save his first one. Several were spent at South Haven, Michigan, at his grandfather's place, one at Roaring Brook, Michigan, perhaps one at Racine, Wisconsin, two at Eagle's Nest Camp, Oregon, Illinois, [160] maybe one on Lake Michigan, perhaps two at Lake Geneva, Wisonsin, maybe two at Lakeside, Michigan, four in Europe, one in Williamstown, one in Evanston at the northwestern University, one at the University of California, one in Canada, getting material for his thesis, one at Arlington, D.C. working for the government, one at Pelican Lake, Wisconsin, one or two in Tryon, one in Oklahoma, one at Lake Geneva, New York, one in Colorado—heavens, how old am I making him?

He went to the Myra Bradwell public school for a time after we moved into the House-home; but before that he had gone to kindergarten, first at Omaha between his brother and sister whom he exasperated with his desire to stop and look at an interesting world; then in Chicago where he used to stop to stare at a green stone house sitting on the curb opposite till he was found by a rescue party. And there had been the short experience at what his grandfather called the "Rod College" at South Haven. I don't think he enjoyed the Mary Bradwell School particularly and we were glad to be able to take him out and send him on to the Hoosac School for Boys where Ralph was teaching. His dad and I long remembered his little wistful face looking out of the car window at us as he started on his long journey alone. He was met, where so many thousand have been met, at Hoosac Falls [New York] by Bab and Ralph and initiated into a new life.

There was much picturesqueness there and Rod adored it—adored the hockey, the skiing down the New England hillsides, the evensong with the boys in their white surplices singing in the beautiful little chapel; he adored the hut he built on an island in the Hoosac River and the bringing in of the boar’s head at the Christmas celebration and the shouting of “Good King Wencelas;” loved to go up to Le Grand Tibbetts’ mansion, and home with nice boys for the holidays; he loved the long refectory tables lit with the green lamps, loved the splendid manners of the rector! But though he was accounted a fine influence in the school, the Rector was critical of him. He didn’t quite fit in to the Brahmin atmosphere of New England and there seemed to be an idea that he was too independent. He didn’t mean to be. But we took him out and put him in the Harvard School in Chicago, where, with no picturesqueness at all about him, he settled down to prepare for college.

Almost before we realized it, he was a freshman in the University of Chicago. The first day he came home from there he said: "Mother, I saw the cunningest little girl in class today. [. . .] Her name was Margaret Rhodes, and he took her to the first freshman party. This was the first occasion on which he wore a dress suit, and his father dressed him with the same pride a mother feels in frocking a girl for her debutante ball. I remember perfectly how he looked, how handsome we thought him, and how he tried to push up out of the way the little curl that always hung down over his forehead, and which war and marriage, a Ph.D. and parenthood have been unable to exterminate. I laughed to myself this last summer at the Isle au Moines, to see it dancing out in the wind of the Atlantic.

Margaret was a brilliant pupil. She went through her four years with flying colors, also playing the part of a tremendously popular "Mortar-Board" girl, and winning a Phi Beta Kappa key. [. . .] Rod did not particularly interest her at first. She had a number of suitors, very interesting fellows. Rod did not live at Hyde Park or Kenwood; she had never been out to Windsor Park—he was out of her periphery. I gave Rod a party and invited [. . .] Margaret. She was telling me not long ago of the impression the old House-home had on her. When she saw its individuality, its book-lined rooms and color harmonies she thought: “Well, perhaps this young man is somebody!” I served the supper on the lawn [. . .] but the occasion was not what I expected it to be. These young people were all notable members of their classes and of the social life at the university. But they passed the evening jumping off and on an iron wagon, drawn by two of their members, and that the ambulance was not called was the merest luck. It was my first violent contact with the new generation and left me breathless.

Rod was not a brilliant student, but he was a vital human creature, a golden youth though a penniless one. He was in everything, magazines, dramatics, tennis, libretto contests, social life, and [r]ead Booth Tarkington [161] for elucidation. [. . .] His physique did not fit him for strenuous athletics. [. . .]

One summer Rod worked in the Forestry Department of the South Side Parks, chiefly, so far as I could see, killing caterpillars, and out of the corner of his eye seeing his friends in summer regalia go to the tennis courts and golf grounds. Another summer he helped with the construction of Lorado Taft's colossal, "Black [H]awk" [162] on the Rock River at Eagle's Nest Camp. Willard Dickerson, still his close friend, was at work on the statue, too.

Rod and Don went abroad one year on a tramping trip that took them through England, into Wales and Scotland and over into Normandy. They were very young, but they came to no grief. [. . .] The boys kept a record of their journey which we at home devoured. [. . .]

Rod's fraternity affiliations were fortunate. He became a member of Alpha Delta Phi, and enjoyed it greatly while he was there, though it has played no such part in his life as the Psi U. has in Ned's. One of his close friends was Donald Breed, who collaborated with Rod in the writing of two Blackfriar Librettos, one of which was produced, and who roomed with him in Harvard where they both went for graduate work.

For it transpired that Rod was not to be satisfied with his four years of study at Chicago. He had not much disposition for the business world nor any prospect of entering it on advantageous terms, so he announced one night that he'd like to get a doctor's degree at Harvard. His father and I all but collapsed. We had been holding Don back and saying: "Just a little patience and your turn will come. Let brother get on his feet first." And then "brother" decided on a graduate course! We argued the point; he would be poor all his life; many people didn't respect professors, etc. Rod said a moderate amount of money would content him, that he would have refined surroundings, cultivated friends, long vacations, a chance to travel. I finally told him if he would help me with a serial for the Youth's Companion I would give him half the proceeds. This he did faithfully and with no little ingenuity and the check for $1,200. was presently divided between us. Mr. Ryerson had secured a scholarship for him covering his tuition, and he was soon settled in chambers at Harvard with Don Breed and Handy, the anthropologist, now celebrated in his profession.

Rod's life was disarranged during the years he was in college by the need for three operations but somehow he emerged from these, passed his examinations for his Ph.D. and was working on his thesis when the United States went into war. So he and Margaret were married. [. . .]

Rod was in training camp at Harvard for a time and Margaret lived near him. Then he was sent to making military maps in Illinois, then to Arlington, then to a military school; finally, tired of all this, he enlisted as a private in the ranks, and I went to Columbus, Ohio where he was being outfitted, to say goodbye to him [. . .] I saw my boy go away into that catastrophic blunder, the war. Later, Rod's father went up to Fort Devens in Massachusetts, to bid him goodbye, and contracted pneumonia and barely lived. And old Rod, sailing away at dawn after working all night as sergeant, looked back at the lighted windows of The World office, not knowing his dad was in the hospital, sending out his silent farewells.

The apprehension concerning submarines had become acute and the first duty of the officers commanding the crowded transports was to guard against them. Roderick, the Sergeant, standing in the crow's nest, watching the waves of the Atlantic lift themselves with wild menace, thrilled to the splendor. He was not unhappy. [. . .] He was no more sure than millions of other men, why he was summoned to fight. But Liberty seemed to write itself upon those stormy skies. And Liberty had been threatened. A murk of world-tyranny had obscured the thought of the most powerful, dominating and aggressive nation in the world. And Liberty was the one shibboleth to which America responded. Fighting was the passionate need of the hour and the countless men, who, in many countries were to fight for this deep impulse of resistance to the old-time enemy, lacked nothing of determination. They were fighting for a dreamed-of-world-peace. Having a war to end war. The Americans were the most intense, the most passionate of all the combatants. Something had outraged their ideals. They wanted civilization to continue as they had known it.

Civilization! Plum-duff is a part of civilization as the sailor knows it. Two huge cartons of it had been tipped over by the tossing of the ship and dumped down the companionway into the bunks of the boys—horrible, messy, soppy stuff, destined to turn sour and loathsome. Roderick the Sergeant told off twelve men with shovels to get it out. In ten minutes they were back, vomiting on the deck, some fainting. [. . .] The Sergeant tried to look ruthless. He told off twelve more men. They were back in less than ten minutes and sick as dogs. [. . .] Twelve more men told off—and mutiny. [. . .] “Look here,” he shouted. “I’m going down. I’ve had a lot done for me and I’ve got a chance to square things. Who’ll come with me?” It was an appeal to gentlemen, to willing conscripts who had had “a lot done for them.” To boys from aspiring homes and universities, a call to play the game. A troupe of them, volunteers, scuttered down at Roderick’s heels and out of the slimy cabin rose the songs of Cornell and Michigan, of Chicago and Harvard, Yale and Ohio. Great songs for saving the day. [. . .] The filthy bread pudding was carried up in cartoons, the floor swabbed, and the boys lay on the deck, their job done and roared out the songs still, triumphant over their own stomachs. Their first victory.

Roderick [was] cheerful and efficient all the way over seas, landing at Brest, going to the front, being at Chateau Thierry, [163] writing: "I suspect you know where I am.” [. . .] [He went to] school at Longres [to] study "Sound and Flash" the peculiar new science originated by Kreisler [164] in the German trenches, which, by estimating the interval between the sound and the flash of distant guns, revealed their location. [. . .] [He took] his afternoons of leave for “hikes” after the fashion beloved of his boyhood, going away to think deliberately of his Margaret and the babe that was coming [. . .] Margaret [was] fighting for her life in the hospital in Chicago. Bad complications [. . .] Victory at last. A boy. Roderick Elia. [165] Then the cable [. . .] Rod’s old whoop. No need for interpretation. Frenchmen could understand it, or Russians, even Prussians.[. . .A]t Christmas [he saw] the modeled hand of the babe he had not seen, proof positive of its existence, made by its mother—the perfect little hand that Lorado Taft keeps in his studio. [. . .]

Armistice Day [1918] it chanced that Rod was on leave. He was somewhere, somewhere in the Valley of the R[h]one [166] hiking with a friend. A sound startled them. The ringing of bells, church bells. The bells had not rung in the churches of France for four years. [. . .] And then months and months of waiting. All the glory dimmed. [. . .] Ship after ship went home, the detachment up beyond St. Nazaire appeared to be forgotten.

For five months hundreds of men, somehow side-tracked, waited. [ . .] and infected each other with influenza. Rod found refuge with an old French woman, Mrs. Guibert. [. . .] When he fell ill and lay with fever, she gave him cabbage soup—made with unskimmed milk. That was for her boy. It was she who ate the coarse rations sent him from the mess. She saved him, beyond question.

[He . . .] visited her last summer. [. . .] He had forgotten the name of the tiny village, but he walked till he found it, then opened the door and looked in. There she sat, the kind old creature, before the tiny fire in the huge fireplace. [. . .] He filled her cupboard; he bought her shoes, left her money.

To go back to those heart-breaking days of waiting when the spirit of the men broke, when they ceased to hope, Robert and I both wrote to the War Department. We told them they had lost the tag ends of several regiments, engineers, good and loyal men, forgotten and dropped them in a submerged cabbage field where they were dying of flu and pneumonia. Did the letters reach anyone in authority? Not impossible. At any rate one day I called up a newly created bureau of information in New York and said: "Can you tell when to expect the return of the 125th Engineers?" "Day after tomorrow, Madam," came the crisp reply. Day after tomorrow! He was really coming—he was living. Rod and Margaret came on to New York to see us for a few days, and we had the happiness of fitting our boy out in civilian clothes, and thanked God the habiliments of war were off his back. He had not been wounded; he had been gassed but not very badly, though he has, and perhaps always will have, a teasing cough as a result. But he was distrait, not able to fix his mind long on any subject and was easily fatigued by conversation.

Back at the University of Chicago, they were very good to him. He was urged by Dr. Salisbury and others to attend the lectures and to slip out whenever he felt fatigued. Presently he was well. He went surveying in Oklahoma, taught in Williams College during somebody's Sabbatical year, finished his thesis, got his Ph.D. from Harvard, then, went to Columbus to the Ohio State University. He has been there ever since teaching a summer at the Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois, another at the University of California, in Berkeley, another at Clark University, Worcester, Mass. He has written a College Geography which is doing well and has material for other books along allied subjects. A full professorship is now his and he is esteemed highly in the University. . . . Little Anne, [167] now seven years of age, [came] along to add to the piquancy of life.

A wonderful year of travel, study and pleasure abroad was concluded only a short time ago. Rod devoted himself to a survey of environment as related to high altitudes, or some such thing. (My sons are too learned for me.) All the family was benefited. It was really their first care-free time. Sickness and war had shadowed them up to this time. [. . .] They saw something of Spain, much of France, not a little of Italy and had a glimpse of Northern Africa. [. . .] Now they are home in their delightful house. Margaret has begun to write; she has also launched upon a greater and more significant enterprise—another child is to be in the house. [. . .] A happy household, never too material, going on to its various, unknown destinies, always upward.

And now there is another paragraph which must be written. It is about a dream come true. Roderick and Margaret had the dream and the realization is named Michael Ransom Peattie. He began his conscious life August 26th, 1929. [168] He stands, God bless him, a marvelous chance of being very happy, completely spoiled, highly educated and utterly adorable. Michael was born in a propitious time when peace is the highest aspiration of the best men and women, and when friendliness between nations of the world is promoted by countless conditions, inventions and experiences. His grandfather and myself spend much time talking about him. He bears the name of one so mighty [169] that he can hardly help but be on the side of the angels, and also of the pioneers who first established his father's family on the shores of America—the only country to which any of us would willingly belong.

Donald Culross Peattie [170]

Chapter X

We lived in the old House-home twenty years, and when we went there Donald was a babe, long, thin, with teeth like grains of rice, an adorable smile and a sensitive disposition. It was not easy to keep him alive in that climate where the winters were so severe. He was certain to contract some bronchial trouble that would bring a hacking cough with almost every breath. I formed the habit of getting him South as the cold strengthened. [. . .] 1902, at Mrs. Erskine's invitation he and I went to Tryon, passing several months at Lynncote. From the first, Don loved the little town. [. . .]

In the winter of 1903 the house was partly burned, and Bertha, Barbara, Rod, Don and I went to Tryon, while Robert accepted the hospitable invitation of Mrs. [Lydia Avery] Coonley-Ward to stay at her home. I rented a cottage in the yard of the Mimosa Hotel and we took our meals at the inn. [. . .] It was a very busy winter. [. . .] Don was the only leisurely member of the party. But he found his own vocations; among other things he had developed architectural enthusiasms and was forever building castles and gateways with his great box of stone building-blocks. [. . .] He was developing his own particular talent. Where other boys were mechanical, he was imaginative and was seeing everything in the light of stories.

Perhaps the next winter was spent at home, but in the Spring, Babbie, the little boys and I went to Ralph's graduation. Don was fascinated by the quaint, tree-shaded streets of Williamstown [Massachusetts], and he was now getting old enough to appreciate the social amenities. He had heard us commenting on a certain house being that of the President [and] one day he ambled off alone and called on the stately president of the college, Dr. Hopkins. [171] He had taken a bit of cardboard and printed his name on it and sent it up to the president. We were not a little mortified when we learned that Dr. Hopkins had come down to see what he wanted. Don said he had come to see the President. "I am the President," said Dr. Hopkins. "Oh no," said Don, "Teddy Roosevelt is the President." Fancy then, our surprise when, the following day, the stately chestnuts with the presidential carriage stopped in front of our lodgings and the card of Dr. Hopkins was sent to Master Donald Peattie with the compliments of the President. Don seemed to think it was all in the course of events. Were they not both gentlemen?

The following winter was a severe one on all of us. The Lake looked like the end of the world; the sky was continually grey and the usual grippe and its train of evils afflicted the family. We were in despair about Don; but suddenly he took the matter into his own hands. He had heard of Christian Science, and knowing that we had a valued neighbor who was an enthusiastic follower of that cult, he determined to get a glimpse of the light she followed. He dressed himself secretly, and with blond hair dripping with water and face shining from a too generous application of soap, called on Mrs. Gillies. He made his errand known at once, and she slipped away to the telephone to tell me about it and ask if she had my permission to talk with him about it. I said she had, and from that time on for months he went to her almost every day while she talked to him about goodness, faith, poetry, architecture, travel, the New Testament, health and happiness. There is no question but that she had a great effect upon his life and character. He had set his feet on a new road and moved with a fresh determination. His health improved tremendously.

Later his ideas along this line were strengthened by his association with Mrs. Stevenson, [172] the Landlady at Log Cabin Inn on the top of Tryon Mountain [173] where we went two winters later. This almost mystic woman was the close friend of Olive Tilford Dargan [174] and is perhaps the only person living who can understand all that Mrs. Dargan writes. It was while we were at Log Cabin Inn that Don made the acquaintance of Mr. Fiske, a gentle old gentleman who gave Don a copy of Keats, and who loved to take the boy on long walks. In fact he almost ran the legs off the poor little boy, taking him to see the sunset from this point, or the sunrise from that, or to see a tawny river rushing over mossy shallows, or to walk down the long reach of sloping mountain side to the "Elysium Fields." [175] He learned many exquisite poems during that time, and I was moved to alternate tears and laughter at the sound of his almost baby voice repeating the verses of Keats, Shelley, Thomas Buchanan Read [176] and others.

The essence of souls is a curious thing. It is present from the moment of birth. Nothing ever really alters it. Energy may be turned in this direction or that, may be deflected from destructive to constructive channels. But the thing we call personality, the mysterious aura, the invisible, unmeasurable yet distinctive quality of the spirit, are forever there. There was something peculiar about Don. [. . .] Some dream of old, strange things held him in thrall and he was no more than six years old when he began to write really lovely child poems. His subjects were such as the Dead City, meaning Pompeii; some jade-green, half-forgotten thing in India. [. . .]

I hated to put my little lad in public school, yet decided it was the best and quickest way of beating him up into the omelet of humanity. So off he went, the little abstracted, delicate, unconsciously haughty creature, seen over the railway tracks by sister or aunt or cousin, and began his study among Poles, Huniaks, Swedes, Irish, largely the children of the rolling-mill workers. The teachers were in despair over him. [. . .] Don must have gone to the Myra Bradwell School six or seven years. He sometimes had to be out on account of his health, and once we tried the experiment of sending him to the Harvard School with Rod. But mathematics was the most imperative study there and Don was almost a total loss where [it was] concerned.

The summer he was fifteen [1913] he went to Europe with Rod and O'Hara and other friends. He was the youngest of the party, yet it was he who knew about church architecture, who was acquainted with the maps of London and Paris, and had ideas about where one should go in Wales, Scotland and England. His culture, procured from the home library—it numbered about six thousand volumes at that time—was put to practical application. He came home from this illuminating voyage prepared to enter high school with enthusiasm. And then for the first time in his life he met friends who were congenial [. . .] friends, I mean of his own age. There were Robert [177] and Louise Redfield, [178] Charles Breasted, [179] Carlin Crandall, Barrett Spach [180] and others. Suddenly life, with which he had been more patient than pleased, opened up for him. He was almost trembling when he told of these social discoveries. Robert Redfield invited him to his home and there he met Mrs. Redfield. [181] This was a shining hour for him and for her, too, I think. One of the crafts taught at the University High school was printing, and Don was allowed to set up his own poems of which he now had quite a collection and to make them into a booklet to which he gave the title Blown Leaves. Louise Redfield also made her poems into a book and the work these young things did together in this way and as fellow-contributors to the high school magazine, made them feel co-operative.[ . . .] Mr. and Mrs. Redfield gave their children many pleasures, and Don was included in most of these. They took the young people to the best entertainments, gave them dinners at hotels, and asked Don, and finally Robert and myself, to their wonderful Christmas Eve dinners, long an established custom in the family. [. . .] Several nationalities were represented at these dinners, for the Redfields had international associations.

Mr. Redfield [182] was a descendant of John and Priscilla Alden and through his mother, of the Kennicotts and Ransoms, the later being our forebears. The Kennicotts and Ransoms married in two instances and settled on a tract of land granted them by the Government and bearing the transfer from the Pottawattamie. This settlement, known as "The Grove" then accommodated nearly thirty families of their descendants. My mother's family [the Cahills] had, like the Ransoms of "The Grove" descended from the Ransoms of Colchester, Connecticut in the 17th century and there was some curious resemblance and sympathy between Don and the young Redfields. [. . .]

Don entered the University of Chicago in 1916 on a scholarship he had won in a competitive examination in English literature, his essay being on Wuthering Heights. He was bidden for Rod's fraternity, the Alpha Delta, but would not be separated from his friend Redfield, and with him joined the Phi Gamma Delta. [. . .] He had not chosen a subject in which to specialize, but began almost at once to take an interest in his botany classes and his work in cultural courses was always good. [. . .] Don tried his hand at reporting on the Tribune. He loathed it. [. . .] To the surprise of Mr. Beck [183] and the other men in the office he "quit."

The year America went to war [1917] Robert had an offer to go to New York. We had been longing, ever since Bab died, to go there and be near her little boys. So Robert went, and Don and I were left alone in the House-home. It had once been full of happy life, but now it seemed austere and forbidding. Don and I rattled around in it. We were finding it difficult to get coal enough to keep it warm on the meager war allotment, and service was costing disproportionately. At last we decided to close it. [. . .] So one night Don and I said farewell to the old house where we had lived for twenty years—all the conscious years of his life. We made the beloved library as beautiful as we could that night, lighted the fire, arranged the lights at their best, played our loveliest records on the Victrola; wound the tall clock on the landing; then went to bed and let the fires die out. [. . .]

[Don] tried to get into the service, but neither the Army nor the Navy would have him. He was, for his height, thirty-five pounds below weight. He then tried to join the Y.M.C.A. in its Army work, but they asked if he read the Bible every day of his life. He said no, but he would. They were not convinced of his fitness and declined his services. So then I went to Mr. Doran, [184] who had brought out one or two books of mine and asked if he would take him in his publishing company. He consented, and Don read manuscript, wrote "blurbs," did a hundred and one things, made some good friends and had his moments of elation as he joined the great tide of workers morning and evening and felt the first thrill of "financial independence"—at $12. a week. [. . .]

We had Christmas out at Ted's that winter, and thought of Rod, wondered about Rod, prayed, not believing in prayer, for Rod. The little Erskine boys and myself, going in churches to pray for Rod. Me reading the terrible casualty lists each morning. Little Margaret in Chicago reading them. Don hating his supine life; having secret torments; weeping, cursing maybe, when he was alone in the apartment; detesting his lack of privacy. [. . .] All he could do to help in his country's time of stress was to work evenings in some kind of bureau. He grew pale and nervous, partly because of lack of exercise; partly because Louise seemed to care nothing for him, and he loved her with a boy's first devotion, and, as it transpired, with a man's final fealty. It was thought best for him to go to Tryon, and his good aunt Gertrude received him in her crowded house. [. . . B]otany became his resource. The deep loneliness from which he suffered and the feeling that he was not "fitting in" combined to direct him to Nature, more beautiful in Tryon than in most places in the world, for comfort and enlightenment. Aunt Gertrude's orderly house saw weeds, flowers, parts of trees, heaven knows what of woodland debris, brought in, studied and catalogued till midnight. [. . .] The marvels of Nature engrossed and steadied him; made him, in a way he had not dreamed of, a citizen of the world. [. . .]

I had not been well for a long time—gastric ulcers—and didn't know what to do. No doctor seemed able to help me and I could hardly go on climbing the many stairs to our apartment, doing most of the work in it myself, going out to restaurants for dinners, etc. I was glad when an invitation came from dear Sarah [Chatfield-Taylor] Gane to visit her at Wonalancet, New Hampshire [. . .] Don and Barrett Spach had gone tramping in the White Mountains, and it was agreed that they were to end their hike at Wonalancet, Barrett to spend the week end, Don to stay for a fortnight. [. . .]

Don was much depressed, very much at loose ends. He had sent early in the summer, his University of Chicago credits on to Williams College in the hope that he might be admitted there, but at the very close of vacation word came that the credits were not so grouped as to admit him. Then came a letter from his father advising him to stop off on his way back from Wonalancet and see the glass flowers at Harvard. "Glass flowers!" said Don disdainfully, "What do I want with glass flowers?" However, he wanted to do whatever his dad suggested, and we stopped for that purpose. That the scorned glass flowers, the perfect imitation of Nature's most delicate performances, filled him with astonishment and admiration goes without saying. I wanted to look at the famous stairway in Phillips Brooks' Hall and Don came with me. As we sat there, regarding this beautiful thing we could see the young men going into the registrar's office.

"Why don't you go in and tell the registrar about your credits," I said. "It might be that you could be admitted."

"Oh, it's no use," Don said. He had got into one of those sloughs which spread themselves before the feet of youth before they have found themselves. Nobody, in his opinion, seemed to want him.

"No harm to try," I urged. "The man won't bite you." Don wasn't so sure about that. He had been snubbed pretty badly back in New York, by his government, by his employer, by life in general and by one Beloved Particular Person. However, he went in. I could hear his young voice saying: "I don't suppose I could possibly be admitted to Harvard." "Why not?" came the crisp enquiry. In a few minutes Don came out, his face illumined and I saw his long legs eating up the Yard as he fled to consult with the Lowells, the Cabots, the Winthrops, Bradeleys, and Bowdens, or whoever made up the august body of Trustees, who were at that moment in session. And now he stood among men who did not require a standardized personality; men who understood that there was more than one successful kind of human being in the world; gentlemen, recognizing a gentleman. Don came back breathless. "I'm to wire to Chicago for my credits," he said. A few days later he was established at Harvard. He attended the University for three years, specializing in botany and graduating cum laude. Robert and I went up to his graduation. [. . .]

After Don's graduation I made a delightful round of visits, going to see Kate Merrill at Camden, Margaret Erskine's [185] mother, Mrs. McCullar at Grafton, Mass, Janet Sullivan at the Out Door Player's Camp at St. Petersburg, N.H., and Louise Redfield at Marblehead, Mass. Each visit held its own particular charm for its own individual reason. But the most memorable was the visit with Louise.

The concussion of her father's death [. . .] had been too much for Louise's always delicate nerves. She had been obliged to escape from the collective grief of her family and to go East alone to apply the terms of a philosophy which she had been forced to learn too harr[i]edly. While I was visiting her, for psychological reasons not necessary to explain, came the termination of her engagement with Rowland Allen. [. . .]

Her visit was to coincide in part with a visit from Don. [. . .] She and Don were delighted to be together again. [. . .b]ut Don left without the word he wanted. [. . .] The next day she called him up on the long distance telephone [. . .] and [they] became engaged by telephone. [ . . .] Don and she were married May 23rd, 1923, in a lovely little church with Bertha Redfield and Wilson Poponoe, the botanist, looking on. The organ played, there were lovely roses, the rector was impressive and sacerdotal and Donald and Louise were motored away by botanist Poponoe into some secret place where there was an old garden and peace.

So they came into the new life. Shining happiness, days of work and content, of anxiety and achievement, of high hope and deep sorrow [186] were to come. [. . .]

The second year of his marriage, Don, finding there was no apparent opportunity for promotion in the Department of Agriculture, resigned and courageously took up free lance writing. In this Louise joined him. They have had success beyond their expectations; their stories and articles being published in the Nature Magazine, the American Boy, the Ladies Home Journal, Holland's Magazine, the North American Review, the Saturday Evening Post and others. For five years Don has contributed to the Washington Star short articles on the flowers, trees and birds of the locality. With Louise, he has written a charming book culled in part from these articles and supplemented with fiction, called Bounty of Earth. The latest book also was a collaboration, Down Wind: or Tales of Hoof, Paw and Wing. Don has done scientific sketches for various specialized journals and a large number of biographical sketches, chiefly of naturalists for the Dictionary of American Biography.

Although it was their untoward destiny to lose that lyric little first child, Celia Louise, whose memory must live in the hearts of those who knew her, as the gayest and most imaginative of children, they have one noble little piece of collaboration remaining called Malcolm Redfield, [187] the high hope of his parents and grandparents. He is a person of indescribable charm but limited vocabulary whose smile, however, is international, and whose loving nature looks out of a pair of mischievous blue eyes.

Chapter XI

It is not easy to recall the details of the days of the third of a century ago, although the significance may remain in the mind. Much of what happened to us has been told, inevitably, in the stories I have written of the children. What went on [in] the minds and hearts of us all is another matter. No one can know what another one thinks, save in rare moments. I can only say that while Robert and I do not for a moment look on ourselves as exceptionally good parents, yet by some grace, the children grew up as we wished them to. They are different, distinctly individual, yet alike in their more essential ideals, with integrity and loyalty, love of gracious living and genial associations, taken as a matter of course. Superficially, they are different. Fundamentally, they are of one pattern. Not one of them has ever given us deep anxiety through any fault of his own. They were and are, loving and devoted. Robert and I loved to make them happy. If they showed interest in any subject, Dad would come home with an armful of books on the subject till they were almost afraid to mention any casual enthusiasm lest they should be smothered in literature upon the subject. If they indicated the slightest athletic interest, the balls and bats, masks and gloves, rackets and nets were given them. But they were not greatly inclined to strenuous athletics.

One thing which they all three did, conscientiously and persistently was to look after the garden at the old House-home. [. . .] Flowering shrubs, gracefully planted, outlined the place along the sidewalk; in the rear was high trellis dripping with wild grape vines, in front of this a row of Lombardy poplars, and in front of that some tropical-looking staghorn sumacs. We had planted birch, hard maples and other graceful trees. [. . .]

I often used to recall, as I sat on the lawn watching the motors roll in a double line each way, the days when my father would look out at the winding Woodlawn road and say to mother: "Well, if there don't go John Bushell again with his team. That's the third time he's gone past today!" And probably John would be the only person to break the shade-dappled solitude of the South Shore Road. For a long time this was Bond Avenue, named for one of the early governors of Illinois, [188] but eventually, with the paving and the beautiful lighting, it became the South Shore Drive. [189] We paid our heavy assessments and taxes uncomplainingly, but the convenience was for motorists, and we never had a car.

My own life was happy and busy. Like my grandmother Cahill, I never enjoyed life more than when I was "as busy as I could spring"—a phrase I often heard her use. Sometimes I had one servant in the house, sometimes two; always a good laundress who could give us an extra day now and then. The house was well kept, the fine linen beautifully ironed, the silver shining. We were busy and far from rich but we made the finer gestures of our American social life. Moreover, we had no "company manners" or almost none. The conversation at table was the best we could make it; no one was rude to anyone else. The children had no serious quarrels, though sometimes I could see they needed a rest from each other and usually contrived to give it to them. In addition to my writing, [. . .] I had many lectures or papers which I read, or stories of my own which provided entertainment in some drawing room or club hall. I received anything from $16. to $100. for these entertainments, and gave many for some charitable purpose. Once a year I would read at Hull House, [190] the Northwestern Settlement, [191] and other community centers. Jane Addams [192] and Mary McDowell [193] were among my very good friends, and I was invited to these places on social occasions also.

My papers took me to Lansing, Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Flint, in Michigan, to Indianapolis and Michigan City, Indiana, to Tuscaloosa, Dubuque, Davenport and perhaps other places in Iowa, to St. Louis and Columbia, Missouri, to Milwaukee and Racine, Wisconsin, to Omaha, Nebraska, to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Freeport, Peoria and other towns in Illinois, and to all the suburbs around Chicago. Of course I talked over and over again in Chicago, now at the celebrated "castle" of Mrs. Potter Palmer, where she served supper in my honor on her gold service, now for some little group of foreign women at South Chicago. The journey to the suburbs was the most exhausting. It would be necessary to take a bit of luncheon before the rest of the family was served, to travel on the Illinois Central to town, take a street car or a taxi across town, then another train, and already fagged, read my paper to a group of women, who, as a general thing were present for the purpose of having an afternoon of sociability. Their elaborate hats hid their faces; their costumes were charming, but seldom were they "able" to pay me more than $10. or $15.

Perhaps I would not have time to stop for their refreshments but would have to scutter for the train and would reach home after the family had dined. But Oh, the comfort of that home! Bertha or Barbara, and later, the boys, would have the bed turned down for me, my dinner kept hot, and amid this luxury and affection I found a balm for my exertions. Of course my family objected to these fatiguing exploits, but the extras for these talks of mine helped us out of many a little squeeze. They meant new shoes, or a suit for one of the boys, or helped with the grocer's bill which mounted with the years, not owing to extravagance but because of increased prices. There were always taxes and interest, insurance, coal and other dismal necessities.

However, these [necessities] did not corrode our lives nor deeply depress them. We lived in a fine excitement: "Would this story be taken, that serial, this essay?" We went in groups to mail the manuscripts. We groaned or whooped in unison as the results became known. I am sure now, that I dramatized the whole thing too much, and that Bab, at any rate, took it all too much to heart. Books poured in for review. Robert, poor packhorse, brought them home. It was he who guarded me against mistakes, who edited my writing, who stayed down late one night a week to see the book page to press. It was he who conducted the correspondence regarding the books, who got specialists to review scientific and highly philosophic volumes, who saw that the most interesting and stimulating books came to me and who let me have all the credit.

Jeannette Gilder [194] reviewed books for the Tribune also, and for many years our weekly contributions were published side by side. She entertained me delightfully once when I went to New York. It was with deep regret and respect that I, at last, wrote an obituary notice at the head of what had been for a decade, her column.

Whether it was the compulsory reading of so many books—often a dozen a week—or the lack of fresh impressions, or my inability to change with the changing times, I do not know, but my work began to lose its popularity. My manuscripts were returned, not occasionally but frequently, at last almost invariably. I had once been thought too radical for a woman writer; I was now regarded as too discreet for anybody. I never felt tepid; I don't think my conversation was so; but my writing was regarded as nauseatingly virtuous, amiable, and reminiscent. I became very weary and reached that climax of weariness where one cannot rest. I remember well a summer spent at Eagle's Nest Camp. Robert was out of health and had been given a three-month's vacation on part pay, and he went in town only once a week to edit the book supplement. We lived in the picturesque, but frightfully hot, little cottage of Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Dennett Grover. I wrote and wrote and my manuscripts came back like hungry cats. I remember one noon when Harold Hammond, our Mercury, brought back six fat returned manuscripts in the mail. I knew, however, that I was not the only one in that group of hard-working artists at the Camp who suffered disappointment and chagrin. We all had our troubles and hid them as courageously as we could.

Saturday nights we indulged in orgies of an innocuous, but side-splitting, sort and this escape valve saved us from emotional explosions. Even if we irritated each other during the week, as was almost unavoidable with people living, so to speak, in each other's pockets, all was forgotten and forgiven on these nights when we became children and romped and played with an intensity that children might well have envied us.

Perhaps it was Professor Breasted [195] who was to be the guest of honor at the week end, coming out soon after his return from Egypt. He dined with Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Heckman [196] —they were the angels of the Camp, in their properly conducted and elegant home. Then, as the dusk gathered, he was taken out to the avenue through the grove, half a mile in length, that ran between the Heckman house and the Camp. There, to his astonishment, he saw down the leafy avenue, equi-distant from each other, flaring torches, each one revealing a white sphinx. An awesome and weird sight and a unique tribute to this distinguished Egyptologist. Alert gentleman that he is, he bowed three times to the ground and let out the wild desert cry, thrice three times, the far-carrying sound echoing back from the hills across the river.

Or perhaps it was Mr. and Mrs. Hobart Chatfield-Taylor who were coming out, and various other friends who had not been there before. The driver of the Camp carryall was instructed to bring them by way of a rough road that climbed a rocky hill by an old quarry. On a bench of this quarry, and in the hollow below, a group of hastily-created brigands arrayed themselves [. . .] according to traditional Pirate style [. . .] men were sharpening knives; old crones were tending rag babies; groups of armed men stood here and there. On a particular night I have in mind, we were ready and waiting when we heard the rumble of a heavy wagon and horses' feet, undoubtedly the Camp chariot bringing the guests. The Greek fire was lighted, everyone sprang to action and the fiercest of the brigands, now wearing black masks, leaped into the road crying: "Hands up!" Horses were lashed to gallop, hands of passengers went up, but the horses were the heavy plow horses of a neighboring farmer and the raised hands, those of his honest sons. There was no chance for apology. We awaited our legitimate prey which finally arrived, and the stately Rose Chatfield-Taylor [197] and other equally dainty ladies as well as their escorts, marched with hands bound behind them, up a stony road into deep woods and so on to the friendly Camp House, where supper awaited them. Mr. Heckman presently came over to ask what in the dickens we had been doing. He said he had a telephone [call] from the sheriff at Oregon saying that some farmers had reported an attempted hold-up. "Oh, that's some of the Camp nonsense," Mr. Heckman told the sheriff. "Jes' what I said, agreed the guardian of the law. I tol' 'em it was some of the Tom-fool goings on of them artist folks."

The first time Anna Morgan came out with half a dozen other guests, we staged a Hopi dance for them. The long Camp House was dimly lighted, and Fanny Bloomfield-Zeisler, who was there, played a desert tune. Thompson-Seton [198] was an occasional guest at the Camp and had taught us the tune and the dance. [. . .] Our faces were painted in many colors. [. . .] He had contrived costumes which we hoped were Hopi. Anna Morgan said afterward that she never was so disconcerted in her life. She had expected to be greeted by friends; she had met with this wild and savage exhibition and felt as if she were in a strange and menacing land. We told Anna she had given us many dramatic entertainments and deserved one in return. [. . .]

Lorado's dignity was a potent element in the Camp's morale. We once had a drunken yard man there who tried to rape the cook and beat up the defending artists. A general meeting was called to decide what to do with this ravening hireling. Finally Ada Taft's gentle voice was heard saying: "Just let it go till tomorrow. I'm sure the poor man won't get drunk again today and in the morning I'll have LORADO speak to him." According to Ada, this was the thundering of high Jove. [. . .]

We used to have "The Mosquito Orchestra" particularly if we had any distinguished musicians visiting us. [. . .] There would be someone, perhaps Mrs. Taft [199] at the piano, half a dozen mouth organs, a 'cello, a zither, a banjo. [. . .] The musicians would agree on a tune and play it with variations, Rod leading, now with his hands, now with his whole body, now standing on his hands and waving his feet. Our guests, who, I remember on one occasion, included the Honorable and Mrs. Frank Lowden, [200] President and Mrs. Judson [201] and Mr. and Mrs. Martin Ryerson, would leave the hall limp and worn with laughter. [. . .]

Once a year the Lowdens entertained all of the Camp people at their beautiful home a few miles distant, an estate with twenty-six miles of private drive within its borders. Mrs. Lowden was Florence Pullman, daughter of the railway magnate and an inheritor of much of his brains and executive ability. The village she built for her farm workers was a charming and picturesque affair and much more popular than the town of Pullman her father built for his workers. The Lowden estate was built at one of the most beautiful points of the Rock River, on the spot chosen by a French refuge[e], a gentleman of title, who had erected a chateau there and endeavored to reconstruct the serenity of aristocratic French life in that crude wilderness. It could not have been much of a success. Parts of the old chateau were incorporated in the fine home which Irving and Allen Pond designed for the Lowdens. [. . .]

The entertainments we used to have at Eagle's Nest were of various and sundry sorts, a different one for each Saturday night. We put on "Midsummer Night's Dream" and it was really very lovely, and "The Yellow Jacket" with beautiful Emily Taft [202] in the leading part. (She afterward went on the stage. [203] ) Many were the guests who came on these occasions but perhaps the happiest times were when the busy Camp people were by themselves, resting after their working day. Sometimes, as the hot days drew to a close and the exquisite nights came on, we lay in a row on the roof of the Camp House to watch the stars, identifying them, counting the meteors, watching the bats, listening to the sounds of people passing below on the river. Sometimes we, too, went on the river, rowing along in the dusky coolness, and stopping to drink at the Ganymede Spring. This was a spring of cold and delicious water, named for Margaret Fuller's poem, "Ganymede to his Eagle" which she wrote sitting on the headland above. We liked to skirt the three islands which lay below our domain—the Fullers, as we called them; one for Margaret Fuller, one for Henry B. Fuller, our gentle satirist, and one for Loie Fuller, [204] who was born a little way down the river at Fullersville and became the famous dancer. Lorado Taft erected his heroic statue of Black Hawk on a promontory a short distance from the camp. It is fashioned of concrete, with a hollow center, and the idea of a statue so constructed is, I think, original with Mr. Taft. It is a noble figure standing at a natural place for reconnaissance, where Black Hawk must have stood in the bitter time when he fought unavailingly for the land of his fathers. [205]

When the statue was dedicated, I was asked to write a poem for the occasion. President Judson, Senator Lowden and Hamlin Garland, with an educated Indian woman whose name I have forgotten, and Eastman, the Indian who married the poet Elaine Goodale, [206] were the others on the programme. I also read a poem in the last surviving pine forest on an occasion when a patriotic lady of Oregon gathered a committee appointed by the State Legislature to view the forest and secure its preservation. This she succeeded in doing and the [White] Pine Forest of Illinois is now a part of the State Preserves. [207]

Chapter XII

The first time I went as a delegate to the General Federation of Women's Clubs was when I lived in Omaha and went as the President of the Club. The meeting was held at Philadelphia [1894], and I was entertained by a delightful and conservative family who lived in a typical Philadelphia house. A pleasant gentleman named Adams, whom I had met on shipboard when Bab and I visited the West Indies, was good enough to show me about the historic city. The Federation was a revelation to me in politics, and I was rather agast [sic] to see how little there was that was spontaneous about the nomination and election of officers. However, it was gratifying to me to see my good friend, Mrs. Ellen Henrotin [208] elected president. She had been vice-president of the Woman's Board at the World's Fair, with Mrs. Potter Palmer as President, and had stood faithfully by Mrs. Palmer through many trials, not the least of which was the vast reception Mrs. Palmer gave at her mansion to the Spanish Princess Eulalia [209] which the Princess refused to attend when she found that her host's husband kept an "inn." At the last moment, and in deference to the prayers of her suite who thought they could resume their hauteur when they returned to Spain but advised amiability while among the proletariat, the Princess came and remained precisely five minutes. The most distinguished visitors at the Fair were present that evening, and all of Chicago's leading citizens. Mrs. Palmer bore herself with quiet dignity but retired before her guests had departed, unable to endure the deep affront before their amused, yet sympathetic, eyes. It was not a very admirable exhibition of Spanish politeness. Mrs. Henrotin was then, as always, accustomed as she was to foreign diplomatic life, an ameliorator of circumstance. I had a friend over in Dubuque, Iowa, named May (was it Anderson?) who was a delegate from her state, and like myself sat on the platform because of being on the nominating committee. She had a deep voice and the manners of a judge of the Supreme Court, and she used to say when we met at any dinner or reception given me in Dubuque when I went there to lecture: "Mrs. Peattie, do you recall the time we sat on the platform in Philadelphia with Susan B. Anthony, [210] Agnes Ripplier, [211] Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, [212] and Louise Chandlier Moulton?" [213] Every one in the room would hear the query as they were meant to do. [. . .]

The second time I attended a General Federation of Women's Clubs was at Los Angeles [214] and I was sent as a delegate by the Chicago Woman's Club. Also, the Hearst papers asked me to report the proceedings and the Santa Fe gave me a pass for no better reason than that I was a writer and they hoped I might make references in my fiction to their picturesque land. Nothing forced, only casual references. This I knew I would do and was grateful for the ticket. Emma Erskine and I were both to make addresses.

These were rather stirring times for me, for I had as many enemies as friends in the Woman's Club owing to the question of the admission of colored women's clubs to the Federation, which I opposed. Many humanitarian, splendid women were for their admission, and my friends, and my father, were astonished at the opposition I made to it. My reasons were two in number: I felt that the friendship which the clubs had established between the white women of the North and South, and which was uprooting the unspeakable bitterness caused by the Civil War, would be absolutely shattered if we insisted upon such a coalition. It seemed to me that such a catastrophe could not be offset by the embarrassed and embarrassing presence among us of the aspiring but usually bewildered colored women. My second reason is indicated in the last sentence. I believed everyone concerned would be unhappy. Even my idealistic friends, such as Mrs. Wooley, long the encourager of education and social intercourse with colored folk, would be miserable when she saw how poorly her plan worked. Standing with me in this opposition was Alice Bradford Wiles, [215] a descendant of Governor Bradford of Massachusetts, a member of the Colonial Dames, the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Chicago Woman's Club.

Mrs. Wiles had a manner which did not easily win friends for her, and she became the victim of as cruel a cabal as ever was put on a gentlewoman. A respected member of the Woman's Club became the recipient of anonymous letters accusing her of dishonest and treacherous acts and promising to disgrace her before the Club. She gave the letters into the hands of the Executive Board which made it its business to discover the culprit. Detectives were employed and experts decided that Mrs. Wiles had written the letters. A horrible "trial" followed and Mrs. Wiles was the subject of violent discussion. The newspapers printed columns about her and the general public believed her to be guilty. It was supposed that she would resign from the Club. She refused to do so and valiantly attended the meetings that interested her. I was one of her warmest advocates; not that I liked her particularly, but I couldn't see her as the writer of anonymous letters and I thought the movement against her was the Club's expression of dislike for her position in the matter of the colored clubs.

The mortification of the expos broke her husband's heart and he died without resistance to an illness from which he should have recovered. Their son and daughter were in the University and much thought of till this matter threw a cloud over them. It transpired, and the revelation came only two or three years ago, that the anonymous letters were written by a much valued woman named Clark, a member, as was Mrs. Wiles, of the Philosophy department. [216] She had purposely imitated the writing of Mrs. Wiles and had let her rest under shameful suspicion for many years. When she found herself dying of cancer she made confessions to a woman lawyer, also a member of the Club with the stipulation that the revelation was not to be made public until after her death. When that time came Mrs. Holt, the lawyer, had Mrs. Clark's confession printed in all the Chicago newspapers, but by that time most of the readers did not know what it was all about. Mrs. Wiles sent me a copy of the confession.

I resigned from the Club because of the continuing animosity shown between members and I was bitterly condemned for doing so. I was regarded as one who turned her back on her duties and responsibilities, but I said openly that I could see nothing sacred about a club, that I had joined in the hope of associating myself with a group of cultivated gentlewomen and that I seemed to have landed in a detective bureau. These and other phrases which I used, had much to do, I really think, to the feverish investigations with which the Club was tormenting itself. Years afterward I was asked to rejoin the Club as an honorary member and did so. But when Emma [Erskine] and I went to California that time, I was out of favor with some of my friends. [. . .] The journey was a delightful one. Emma and I stopped at the Grand Canyon, were fascinated by the desert through which we passed, and reached Los Angeles to be met by friends and to separate for a few days. [. . .]

After the first few days, which preceded the meeting of the Federation, and which Emma and I devoted to our relatives, we became the guests of General and Mrs. Harrison Gray Otis [217] the owner and publisher of the Los Angeles Times, a formidable man politically, and detested by all laborites, but a genial host and the tender husband of an invalid with literary proclivities. While I was at his home I received letters from members of the Labor Union recounting his offenses against working people and begging me to repudiate his hospitality. This I could not bring myself to do, particularly in view of the fact that the delicate Mrs. Harrison was as sweet as she was frail, and that she seemed to find the presence of Emma and myself a break in her quiet days. Years later the Los Angeles Times was blown up [1910] by the I.W.W. killing twenty-three pressmen and reporters.

Emma and I attended many of the entertainments given to the members of the Federation. They were lavish affairs in splendid homes or beautiful gardens and we were personally entertained also. One of these latter occasions was at the home of the late Charles Lummis, [218] writer and authority on the Incas, the Central American Indians and our own desert tribes. He spoke several Indian tongues, had served on the Indian Commission, was the friend of T[eddy] R[oosevelt], and a man of extraordinary fascinations [who owned all of Peattie's books and asked her to autograph them. Among those] present, were a genial neighbor, Mrs. Strowbridge, [219] a writer and Mary Austin, [220] [also a] writer, just then entering upon her career as an expositor of the West, and of beauty in general. [. . .]

We were presently seated at the long table, which was, I think, a convent refectory table. Our service plates were the ancient hammered silver of the Incas. Our drink was poured from antique pitchers by Mohave servants, who padded about in their moccasins, all in their native dress. The cups from which we drank were little tankards of silver. And also glass wine cups. Our Mexican drink was evidently a mixture, cold and delicious, and several wines, all of [excellent] years and high title were served. But there was no water to relieve palates startled by the Mexican meal which Mrs. Lummis had cooked, and with a skill for which she was famed. I sat by Mr. Lummis, who heard, unmoved, my supplications for water to console my throat for the arresting deliciousness of chile concarne.

"No one is reduced to drinking water at my dinners," he boasted, and told me the romantic story of each wine as it was served. "I shall be incoherent soon," [I] warned him. "I seldom drink wine." "Everyone should be incoherent at least once in a lifetime," he retorted blithely. "Perhaps this is your time."

Mary Austin's cryptic eyes regarded me across the way. She had just come from a reservation on the edge of Death Valley where her husband was [an] Indian agent, and where she had been the friend, sometimes even the midwife, the teacher and the student of the tribe. She had learned their legends and their songs and was entranced with the indescribable beauty of the desert. All the people at the supper were avowed lovers of the desert. It would hardly have been safe to have criticised it, at least it would have been super-Philistine to have done so. Mr. Lummis had spent his two honeymoons there, both of which had apparently, been felicitous. (His first wife, who divorced him, was a fine, up-standing woman, highly educated, and now married to a Professor Moore. In time Lummis and the gentle Eve, who was our hostess that day, separated and he married someone else. I dare say he took her to the desert also.) He talked to me about the Spring on those far-reaching sands, of the glory of the flowers, the splendor of the stars, the changing beauty of the distance, of all the exotic and mystic loveliness. He had countless enthusiasms, scientific, anthropological, poetic and musical.

Between each course at the supper, indeed, there was music, the guests playing on stringed instruments and singing old, rare Spanish ballads. [. . .] Emma and I wanted to hear the Indians sing but they were shy and it took all of their master's persuasiveness to persuade them to do so. At last they retired from the room and at Mr. Lummis's bidding, we all sat in silence. After a time came the measured, fitful beating of a sad drum, then the lift of wistful, strange voices. "It is a song of home-sickness," explained Mr. Lummis. "It is a great compliment on their part to sing such an intimate song." This was followed by a love song of aching loveliness, then by a sterner song the nature of which was not told us. There was more wine, strange sweets, and in the moonlight Emma and I were escorted up the trail, put on the last tram and made our way home. It was almost a shock to find ourselves presently in General Otis' very contemporary home.

My "twin cousin," Mary Farnsworth, banished in her early womanhood from the too severe climate of the Midwest, had met a life of strenuous vicissitudes with no little courage and spirit, and now, the second time married, was living up on the San Jacinto plain above Pasadena, and one of the chief purposes of my Western trip was to visit her. [. . .] She had inherited the energy of the Wilkinsons [and] was in business for herself. She ran a little bakery and restaurant, the bread, cakes and pies being sent up to her each day on the train from Los Angeles. She [is] now a leading member of the San Jacinto Woman's Club and a pillar of society. [. . .] The day I was to go to Mary's I went first to a luncheon in the splendid garden of a Mrs. Hooker, a writer whose books on Italy had gained her a pleasant renown. [221] It was a charming occasion and left a memory of flowering terraces, dripping fountains and shaded retreats. [. . .]

Mary saw to it that I met her pleasant friends. We went to one Woman's Club meeting away out on the plateau. The women came from all directions, their heads covered entirely by thick veils, wearing dust coats and gauntlets, but when they had emerged from these cocoons, appeared all fresh and dainty beneath. Years afterward I met, at the Chicago Woman's Club, a woman who had been at that meeting, and who had lived on a wheat ranch near there. One house we visited was famous for its ollas of cold water. They were fine, antique ollas, and were kept wrapped in thick cloths and frequently soaked, so that the evaporation was constant and the water most welcome in that thirsty land. It was at the service of whoever might be passing and was an active beneficence. [. . .]

Emma Erskine and I had a gorgeous journey home. We were determined to stop off in the desert and chose Laguna as the place for doing so. The Indian agent there was a blue-eyed Maine man named Marvin, married to an Indian wife, and they had a comfortable house with a real sitting room in it with an organ and crayon portraits of the family. We were made quite welcome there and rejoiced in the green grass and the cottonwood trees around the residence made possible by irrigation. The ancient town was on the hill top and looked over a vast expanse of iridescent desert. It was a pueblo of intricate chambers inhabited by a tribe that kept to its old handicrafts but submitted to American instruction. I shall not forget the high, terrible voice in which the school teacher from Kansas, who seemed herself only one remove from a barbarian, taught these obedient and far from stupid children. Emma painted a number of excellent pictures there, one of the best of which decorates the walls of "Dunwandrin.” [222] [. . .]

Marvin seemed to exercise his authority over the people in a kindly way; he had, indeed, to some extent "gone native" and I wondered what his Maine forbears would have thought of it. Laguna had great beauty, standing pallid, and ancient on its hill with the people forever going and coming along the twisting paths their moccasined feet had worn deep in the lime stone, bearing their ollas on their heads. For the spring from which they drew the water was at the foot of the hill, but the town, naturally, had been built on the height where it could offer defense against its enemies. The Indians dressed in native fashion, almost everyone with a touch of scarlet flaming above the ocher monotony of their costumes, and they wore fine ornaments of beaten silver and turquoise. All the hill side was pitted with depression into which the rain settled and remained supplying them with water for washing, and no doubt giving its name to the place. Far off high purple dunes broke the grey-pink stretch of atmospheric iridescence, and the yellow sands took on, in the course of the day, a thousand indescribable hues. [223]

One afternoon Emma was busy painting, and as it was rather cloudy that day and there was no need for me to hold the umbrella over her, I wandered down along the railroad track for the sake of exercise, when an excursion train came in and deposited its eighty or a hundred tourists down below the town. I was wearing a blue gingham dress and a sunbonnet of the same color and looked like a poor-white hanger-on, so I tried to avoid the visitors, but one man, more excursive than the rest, overtook me and asked where he could find a curio store. I directed him, keeping my face turned away, but he said sharply: "You don't belong here." "No?" "Certainly not," he said severely. I didn't answer and he said: "You arn't in trouble, are you?" "Thank you, no. No trouble of any sort." "Where are you living?" I didn't think it any of his business, and anyway he was too mandatory, but I said: "In one of the abodes." "How long have you been here?" "One so soon loses track of time. I'd have to think back." "Not married to one of these Indian bucks?" His tone was contemptuous. "Not yet," I said. "You don't mean you think of being?" "I never thought of it till you mentioned it." "Teaching school here?" "No." "When are you leaving?" "I don't know." "Well," he said. "I don't like it. I don't like it a bit." "Thank you, brother, I said. "Where are you from?" "Chicago," he told me. "Well, so am I," I told him. He was quite incensed. "Why didn't you say so in the first place?" he demanded. "Because it really wasn't your affair, was it?" I said the unpleasant words as pleasantly as possible. "I suppose not." "And besides," I added, "I thought you seemed to need some amusement." "I don't know that I'm amused," he said with a severe look, "I must say, I don't like it." I was frightfully glad I wasn't related to him. But by the time the train pulled out, Emma and I were beside the track and laden with her easel, umbrella, canvasses, and paint boxes and probably I ceased to be enigmatic to my Puritanical and anxious follow citizen.

One glorious memory must be added. There had been a terrific sand storm blowing for thirty-six hours, and we could do nothing but sit in the closed and stifling sitting room, eat our eternal steak and apricots and wait for its decline. Then, suddenly, about sunset of the second day, the wind fell and the sun came out. It came out beyond the world of swirling, granular sand-motes. All was suffused with radiance. We stood in the midst of a sunset transfiguration, not looking at it from afar, but in the heart of it. Great wings of orange, gold, scarlet and purple seemed to sweep about us. Drifting garments of glory lifted with exquisite undulations as if they clothed ascending spirits. Spirits of more exalted creatures than any we had known. We could not speak nor think. It seemed as if we could ask nothing better of life than to be carried away in this spectacular and changing magnificence to some unimagined glory. With the twilight, it deepened, became somber, though still splendid, and turned purple-black through which a few stars shone.

This, with the aurora Borealis at Taku Harbor in Alaska, the setting sun above the golden cataract in their Gothic pinnacles at the Yellowstone, that mad dream of the Ultra Architect, the Grand Canyon of Colorado, the jeweled crevasses of Muir, the amazing spectacle of Etna in sinister action, Venice at dawn, these are the sublimities. There are dearer, more treasured pictures, but these are the Memories Magnificent. In sickness, or at the beginning of dull days, in the midst of sorrow and when bowed with deep disappointment at myself—who, after all, put so poor a cargo in the star wagon—these marvels come back to me and remind me that life is, after all, a revelation and an immeasurable privilege. That any day seems dull is a confession of personal limitation.

Chapter XIII

It was at the close of that unusual summer [1907] at Eagle's Nest Camp, with its companionship, irritations, disappointments and compensations [. . .] that [. . .] a number of my friends were dining together and spoke of me, of my book reviewing and of various things I had tried to do and some one said it was a shame that I had never been abroad. They knew something of the effort I was making, that I was very weary, that my work kept on relentlessly, and perhaps they guessed, too, that it was no longer possible for me to place my stories with ease. At any rate, they decided that I should have a change and they would give it to me. They were people accustomed to conferring scholarships and to sending painters, sculptors and singers abroad, and there was in the generous act to which they committed themselves only that distinguished and distinguishing form of patronage which any artist may accept without humiliation. So far as I remember, these friends were Mr. Wallace Heckman, Mr. Charles Hutchinson, Mrs. Wilmarth, [224] Mr. Allen Pond, Mr. Martin Ryerson and perhaps others. (All gone now save Mr. Ryerson!). Aunt Elia Walker added a hundred dollars for cab fare. Robert Park placed a serial story of mine at no small disadvantage to himself, and the Tribune paid my salary all the time I was gone and required no work from me. Mr. Hutchinson saw to my tickets, letters of credit, and passports and, extremely jaded and not in the best of health, I sailed in April of 1908 leaving Harry and Bertha Horlock [Elia’s sister and her husband] in my house to look after my family.

Having a lecture at Grand Rapids, Michigan, I was seized with a desire to stop off at St. Johns and see my childhood home. It was rather a disappointing visit. The little town had lost its country charm and not acquired anything notable in the way of village dignity. The square, on which my father had set out a fine variety of ornamental and fruit trees, was now built up with commonplace houses. The brick portion of our house had been torn down, and the wooden part of the structure, in which we had lived, had been moved in among a congerie of slovenly homes and sagged on its foundations. Emmons Woods, which I had so longed to see once more, was sodden with melting snows and not at all attractive. [. . .] I was glad to hasten on to Lansing and to my darling Cahill family.

That, too, was changed. Margaret and Harry Bartholomew were now the heads of the house and Uncle [Edward] and Auntie [Lucy] had gently relinquished the labor and authority of housekeeping, though they sat in the same chairs, and smiled the same kind smiles. [They were] perfect examples of the cultivated, kindly American provincials. Well read, hospitable, of unconscious integrity, open minded, self-respectful. [. . .] Their influence upon my life is not to be measured. They taught me innumerable things, from manners to Shakespeare.

From there I went on the Hoosac to say goodbye to Ralph, Bab and Robin. [. . .] As ill luck would have it, I fell ill with grippe and it was with difficulty that I summoned strength enough to travel in time for my sailing. Ralph went to New York with me; I spent a night with Mariam Ford, not yet married to Harry Forman, and went to the ship to find a fine array of flowers, fruit, gifts and letters sent me by many friends. By happy chance I made a number of friends on shipboard, and much benefitted by the two weeks of rest was capable of being lifted to that fine elation which must come to all who, for the first time, enter the Bay of Naples. I saw the matchless blue of sky and sea, the menacing splendor of Vesuvius, the little red fishing boat sails, and heard "Napoli" dinned into our ears by the smiling and nefarious vendors of unconsidered trifles. Some of my new made friends were of my mind as to the beginning of their travels, so in good company I saw Capri, Sorrento, Amalfi, Pompeii and other notable places, and then took a boat alone for Sicily.

I landed at Messina, that imposing city which was a year later to be all but extinguished by one of the most disastrous earthquakes of modern times, [December 28, 1908] and then went on to Taormina where Mrs. Gane and Marjory gave me a loving welcome. The pension which I had selected was delightfully placed. It was part of an old wall of defense against the Saracen and flanking it was a noble arch though which ran the road that came up from the wide valley that lay between our lofty town and the vast bulk of Aetna. An ancient Madonna smiled her broken smile from a niche in this archway, and here every man, woman, child and donkey stopped to pay devoirs to the Mother of Sorrows, who certainly, in this instance, looked the part. To my delight I found that there were several persons in Toarmina at that time whom I knew, or who were friends of mine, and I had not been long in this loveliest of ancient cities before I bade them over to tea. This was served on one of the terraces overlooking the valley and Aetna and as I sat there my eyes kept turning to the plume of smoke that forever floated from its immemorial crater, and which seemed strangely tinged by the setting sun. The sunset was a deep blood red, and the whole aspect of Nature was strange. I would have said it was menacing but no one else seemed to notice anything unusual, and I laid my sensation down to the fact that my rearing on the pleasant prairies of the Midwest had not fitted me for intimacy with volcanoes. To my self I said as I looked at this splendid specimen of the terrible tribe: "I don't want the monster to erupt. Not by any means. No, no, not on any account. But if it should, if it should, I would like it to do so while I am here."

I awoke in the night with a sense of breathlessness and of a deep and ceaseless throbbing. At first I thought I was ill and had a fever, but this was not the case as I discovered. That terrible pulsation was not from my body nor could it be from the train, for we were miles above the track and at that time no automobiles climbed the steep road. While I was still wondering, the maid burst into the room letting in a sulphurous and sinister sunrise; she threw my wrapper about me and dragged me to the window and there, from three great craters, Aetna was hurling dark streams of lava, smoke, and flame at the darkened heavens. The mountain was in action, as it had not been for two generations, and I realized then that the fiery glow I had seen in the smoke plume the evening before was not the sunset but the first indication of this dramatic exhibition. I stood for a moment transported by the grandeur of it, with not even room in my mind for thankfulness at the valley, with its ancient olives, that separated Toarmina from this belching monster. Then an Italian gentleman on the terrace below seeing me on the balcony offered his field glass. The servant brought it and when I had adjusted it to my eyes, I beheld to my dismay, little figures, almost like ants, running frantically down the sides of the mountain. They were the dwellers on the mountain sides fleeing from this fiery visitation. An appalling sight! I turned sick with the thought of what their fate might be.

Later I learned that though many hundred humble homes were covered with lava and ashes, that no lives were lost. But I was told that no sooner would the lava be cooled than these people would go homing back to their familiar places. They would rebuild their homes of the black lava rock and in that indescribably ugly soil plant their little gardens. Later, I took a ride up the mountain and saw villages built of this gloomy stuff, and never have I seen anything in the way of human habitations so depressing. [. . .]

There were some perfect moments in that Southern journey. There was the moment at Paestum when I c[a]me out upon the lonely champaign and saw the Temple of Neptune. I had known what Greek temples were like, everyone knows. Yet, its beauty pierced me like a sword. I found the tears streaming down my cheeks and could not stop them, though in those days I seldom wept. They were as the spate of the spirit and for the time swept away all that was ugly or common or mean in my spirit. A wind seemed blowing from the sacred places of Beauty and brought with it something so like recollection that I could not but feel it was Memory offering me one of her noblest gifts. Mrs. Gillies had once said to me that one must go to Italy to discover one's soul and at that moment it seemed quite true. [. . . ]

Another superlative moment came in the Greek Theatre at Taormina. Vast, ancient of days, it broods over its own memories and whoever stands amidst its fallen greatness, looks down upon the site of Naxos, once a city of a hundred thousand beings and now only a stretch of sallow sand. [. . .] I grieved that Babbie had not seen Sicily when she was abroad. She, who so loved Theocritus, would have found especial beauty in it. [. . .]

Rome came next. I settled myself in a pension where the proprietress taught school by day and at night in garments of a brevity and brilliance quite startling, presided vivaciously over her table. Next me sat a woman from Texas, a hunchback. Her father had been a pioneer and she had fallen heir to three great cattle ranches. Her intelligence was astonishing considering her crudity, and her appetite for beauty left me panting far behind. All day long she was out in the churches and galleries, or at lapidaries or dealers in lace. She had been brought up almost a pagan but now she was completely enamored with the Catholic Church and had secured the privilege of visiting the Pope's garden and certain special rooms at the Vatican. She had been presented to the Pope and had made generous contributions to the church.

It seemed probable that she would be made one of the Papal countesses after she had become a communicant, as she was desirous of becoming as soon as her instruction was completed. She had no relatives, no earthly hope of a marriage and she wanted to love something. Why not the church? I spoke to her about the regret she might feel at relinquishing her intellectual liberty, but she said she had had nothing but liberty every since she was born and that she wanted something else—something rich and dark, close and disciplining, old and beautiful and terrible, something not to be found on her sunny Texan plains. She found all this in the history and the complicated ceremonial of the Catholic Church. The groups of priests thronging the streets of Rome were more interesting to her than the gangs of cowboys she had known. She wanted me to be presented to the Pope [225] but I couldn't bring myself to intrude since I had no respect for his assumptions of authority. I left the privilege of meeting him to the faithful. Nor would I go with my friend to the Vatican gardens, since that was the only bit of earth the old man could call his own. I did, however, go with her to see the treasures of St. Peter's and looked at them for two solid hours. There were hundreds we declined to view; two hours of sanctified satins and ecclesiastical embroideries were enough for me. [. . .]

Mr. George Breck, [226] the son-in-law of Mr. Franklin Head was the President of the American Academy at Rome at that time, and he and Mrs. Breck were more than courteous to me. I dined at the Villa Hillefleur with them on two or three occasions and they dined with Mr. Allen Pond and myself on the Pincion Hill. [. . .] The Brecks took us one day to the studio of Elihu Vedder [227] and we had an interesting talk with the grandiose old veteran. He gave me a signed copy of his "Angel of the Darker Drink." We also went to the studio of Roger Fry, the sculptor who had just finished his statue of "The Trinity," father, mother, and child. It was very noble and moving. I wrote a poem and sent it to him anonymously. [228] The poem, of course, was anent his statue. It appeared in some magazine but I cannot now recall what one.

Almost as much as the ancient glories of Rome did the continuing character of the city impress me. It was still a vital and ambitious city, elegant, efficient, opulent. I could not have enough of its wide streets and beautiful fountains. Mr. Pond, and an American physician, with whom we had become acquainted, usually called for me in the morning and took me to galleries and churches. This made the sight seeing immeasurably easier for me. [. . .].

Florence was the next stop I made. I had no one to go to the hill towns with me, and having nothing of the language, dreaded going away from the main streams of travel. I had a letter to Miss Ruth Inglis, a friend of the Ganes, and we went about together in Florence. I made other friends there too, and Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Dennett Grover of Chicago were living there and were very kind. They took us to a tower, once a stronghold of the Pitti family, where Mrs. Grover's brother, an artist, Mr. Rolshoven [229] was living. He had furnished it in consistent thirteenth century style, and felt the place to be his discovery, since he had redeemed it from its condition as a granary and had scraped off many coats of calcimining to come upon the elegant, faded frescoes which adorned his walls. [230] [. . .]

I went on to Venice. Mr. Pond was there, fortunately, and some other friends whom I had made, and we saw the strange and storied town and the out-lying islands. Venice is so much a dream of love, so provocative, so haunting, that a middle-aged woman travelling alone can extract from it only a few drops of its abundant essence. However, it is something to have an imagination and I did the best I could and the mental picture of it, as I left at dawn in a light that turned the canals from grey to rose, will be with me while I live.

I went through the Simplon to Paris, sat, or stood up, all night to see the Alps and knew an hour of that curious passionate recognition of a beauty not hitherto seen but long desired, as I rode beside the Seine to a charming pension not far from the Arc de Triomphe. I had something more than a fortnight of that rich and palpitant city. Here, as in Rome and Florence I had a grateful cat-may-look-at-a-queen sort of feeling. Paris meant history to me rather than amusement and it meant victorious democracy, which is the abstraction to which Americans most deeply respond. The French Revolution had been both Robert's and my favorite period of history. Not that we could approve, or even face in thought, its atrocities but its benefits had exceeded its evils, and I had a profound happiness in seeing the people in possession of the beauties and privileges which had once delighted only kings and their intimates. Still, I realized the debts owing to those deposed kings. They had utilized their magnificent selfishness and left behind them monuments the common people would not have been able to create. The grand gesture must needs go with the grand circumstance.

Mrs. Hutchinson was in Paris at that time and she took me for some fascinating excursions. I dined with her and Mr. and Mrs. Ryerson in their private dining room at one of the more elaborate hotels and enjoyed it all, particularly the talk with these friends. Katherine Merrill had come over from England to join me and her enthusiasm for beautiful things, united to the ever palpitant romance of her Catholicism, was the urge that took us to many ancient, pious and noble places. She and I traveled together to London where she had been living for several months studying etching with [Sir] Frank Brangwyn. [231] She had lodgings in South Kensington and a little room was found for me there.

We had a third in our company, Sallie [later spelled Sally] Widdlemore, daughter of a member of Parliament, also an art student, and a girl as dainty in her beauty, as soft of voice and as retiring of manner as "Florence Dombey." [232] Indeed, to her amusement, I called her by that name. I couldn't understand why my pet name for her caused her so much diversion until one day circumstances revealed the reason. I wanted to go [to] the home where Robert Browning had passed his boyhood and the chapel where he "worshipped", if he did such a thing, and I had the pleasure of meeting his brother who was at the head of the settlement that bloomed as a social and intellectual oasis in a sordid neighborhood. On the way home Sally proposed (Sally had conducted me on this excursion) that we stop off at Westminster Place. [. . . where] we saw a group of women trying to force their way into St. Stephen's Hall. "I suppose they wish to see the Prime Minister," Sally said in her sweet voice. "They are Suffragists, you see." The gates of St. Stephens were, however, clanged in their faces, and the police came in great numbers to compel them to move on. This was found to be impossible, for the women had chained themselves to the great iron fence and thrown away the keys to their padlocks. A great crowd was collecting, women by the scores and hundreds, workmen, men from the offices, delivery boys, coachmen—many manners and conditions. And then, up from the Embankment, came a platoon of mounted police who were absolutely reckless in the way they pushed their horses into the crowd.

The crowd was not very sympathetic with the Suffragists. A butcher's boy in his wide apron and cap who stood near me said: "Hi don't old with them," indicating the women contemptuously. "Hi believe in keepin' to the law myself." [233] As I quite believed in what the women were doing, I replied: "But you notice that [there] is only one statue in Westminster Square? It is Oliver Cromwell, your greatest law breaker." "Oh, E's been dead a long time, hasn't he, Miss?" I had no time to enjoy this reply for the horses were on us, and I not only had no fancy for being trampled myself, but I felt responsible for the gentle, flower-like girl beside me. So I begged a policeman to hail a cab, which he did, putting Sally and myself in and directing the cabman to drive on at once. "Oh, Sally," I gasped, "How terrible it would have been if you'd been hurt. What would your father have said?" "Nothing," she fluted, smiling at me with childlike blandness. "I should have told him that I was on the committee that planned the raid. We let the police know, too, in a round about way. We have to have a few martyrs. We draw lots, you know. I rather hoped I [would] draw one this time, but I didn't." "But Florence Dombey dear," I cried, "I never dreamed you were a Militant!" "It isn't worth while being any other kind," she smiled. And it wasn't. [234]

Sally was a gentle and fascinating companion and kindly went about with me. Among others, she went with me to call on Miss May Sinclair. [235] I believe I was the first person in the United States to write a long, favorable review of "The Divine Fire" and had, in consequence, received a letter of appreciation from Miss Sinclair. Also, I bore a letter of introduction to her from our mutual friend, Mr. Harry Forman. Sally and I found her living up a mews in an apartment in a made-over stable. The living room was spacious and imposing with fine wood carving, pictures and brass in it, and into this finally came a nervous little woman wearing a sad lid-like black hat. I did not know that it was the fashion to serve tea in one's own house with a hat on, and I asked her if we had mistaken the hour and if she was going out. She explained politely. I had hoped for a brilliant conversation, but Miss Sinclair talked rather heavily about ghosts and colds. She said she preferred living alone because one's family so frequently brought home colds, didn't they? And colds were frightfully contagious. I couldn't make out all she said about ghosts, but she kept looking about nervously as if she thought some were concealed in the room and Sally and I were glad to get out where we had nothing worse to fear than the congestion of the London traffic with its familiar and unceasing roar.

Robert and I had two personal friends in London. One was Charles Roche, a newspaper man and writer, who had married an American and returned to his native land. His sister was the wife of Sir Henry Dickens, son of Charles Dickens, and the amiable Roche and his wife introduced me to this family. Lady Dickens courteously entertained me at luncheon and I was amused to find that all the poor Dickens children knew about American history they had gleaned from my "Story of America." The descendants of Charles had inherited his love for private theatricals and in their drawingroom, as at Gad's Hill, there was a stage ready for use when the spirit prompted.

Our other friend was Enoch Ward, now Esquire and a member of the National Academy, the artist whom I had known as a boy over at the little Baptist Mission Sunday School near the West Side Rolling Mills. He had illustrated my Story of America, and the illustrations had so pleased Mary Catherwood [236] that she had asked him to illustrate her Story of Tonty which he did excellently. [. . .] Mrs. Ward was kindness itself but seemed rather at a loss to know what to do with an American. She was reserved and even suspicious, at first, but I finally won her confidence. Enoch and I went walking one afternoon talking over the old days and how he saved the money he had earned in the chemical department at Rolling Mills that he might study painting in Paris. He used up most of his money there and came over to London to study at the Kensington Art School and also to do some work on Black and White. He lived almost rent free in an attic that was frigid in winter and torrid in summer and where the rats bothered him at night so that he stole an old piece of wire from the zoo and framed himself in like a lion. He picked up old pots and pans from the alleys and scoured them, cooking his meals over a one-piece oil burner. Cold nights he used to walk the streets to keep up his circulation, and would buy two roasted potatoes and put them in his pockets, plunging his hands in after them to keep them warm, then, when the potatoes began to cool he would eat them. It was a long time before his work appeared with sufficient frequency to keep the avid little wolves from the door.

Now he had a charming home, exquisitely furnished and in the midst of the fields beyond London which he had most admired during the days of his poverty. He gave me one of his paintings which I greatly prize. [. . ] We felt like children all the time we were together and I parted from him with regret. [. . .]

At the close of my visit to England, Katherine Merrill, like the darling she is, went with me to Liverpool and saw me on shipboard. Katherine is a painter and etcher; widowhood found Kate, already an elderly woman, under the necessity of doing something to earn money and to fill her life. She utilized her talent for writing club papers and has become one of the best lecturers on current affairs as well as on literature in the country. She can study till dawn, lecture in the afternoon, and ride all night on the train to keep a distant appointment and suffer no exhaustion. A woman of passionate friendship and marvelous insight. Shall I forget how she has served me in times of bewilderment? I was at her house when word came to me of Madeline Wynn's death. I went to her, crying out for help. [. . .] Kate the Catholic. Madeline the Pagan. Both perfect friends.

I landed in Boston, spent one sweltering night there, and took the train for HOME. [. . .] The old flag was flying its welcome. The faces of my kin were all about me: my sisters, their husbands, my mother, my nephews and nieces, my own children. I can never have such a home-coming again. The sights and experiences of that journey enriched my life and the memories have lived with me. I did not suppose that I would ever cross the Atlantic again, and it was a deep distress to me that Robert, who had lost no chance to give the rest of us opportunities for travel or pleasure, should never have seen "the rich, dark old world." Now, quite unbelievably we are here together in a strange, historic old town of the Alpes Maritimes, and from my window I can see, miles away, the bright blue of the Mediterranean. But the story of that must come at the end of this tale.

Chapter XIV

Twenty years we spent in the House-home. Too much happened there for me to remember or recount. Most of the happenings were immaterial, as is the way with the pleasantest events of life. They consisted of resting in our pleasant bedrooms, going down to breakfast in the blue and white dining room, seeing the children settle themselves for study at night, lighting the fires on the hearth, happy days when the children came home from some journey, the Sunday dinner with welcome guests, the hanging out of the flag for high days and holidays, gathering of friends.

And once a ghost came! Such a gentle ghost and one who, in the flesh, would have been greeted with so warm a kiss. It was Mrs. McPhelim, the gracious, lady-fine mother of Kate Cleary. Poor Kate was in the Asylum for the Insane at Elgin [Illinois] and her husband refused to take her out. The superintendent wrote me, as Kate's nearest friend, that he had done all he could for her, that he regarded her as sane but that she certainly would not remain so if she had to stay in the asylum. He explained that he could not discharge her unless a responsible person would guarantee her parole for three months. I hesitated. I didn't know what her family would think of my interference, and I feared what the result of her release might be. It troubled me deeply and I wrote begging for a few days to think the matter over. I was walking over to the stores at Windsor Park one noon, nothing on my mind at the moment but my commissions at the grocery, when someone came softly behind me. Nay, the approach was more than soft, it was silent. Yet I was aware that some one had come beside me, and turning to look, I saw there at noon-day, quite clearly, for a few second[s] only, the sweet and beseeching face of Kate's mother, long since in her grave. It was piteous, imploring, as healthful, however, and glowing as in the days when she bade me welcome to her home or to Kate's. Then, while I gasped, she was gone. That same night I was sitting in my library, late, reading before the fire. I was absorbed in my book and had no other thought. Then the door opened noiselessly and some one came in to stand beside me. I thought it might be Babbie come to ask me why I worked so late, but when I looked up, there again stood Margaret McPhelim, her dark hair parted and rippling away from her low brow, her face maternal, sweet and, as before, imploring. I started to my feet, not in fear, but with a gesture of welcome. And she was gone. She died on the impalpable air and was no more. "I'll take her out, dear," I promised. I did, and Kate was faithful to her parole.

For the three months she lived with me, she did not touch the drug that was her ruin but the day after the expiration of her parole, she returned to it. But once gone with the frailties of her wracked nerves forgotten, she came back into her own. Her husband lived in happy memories of her; her children treasure what she wrote and the stories told of her. She is again Robert's and my dear friend, witty and gay and unique. [. . .] She died miserably, the source of heartache to all who loved her.

One time I asked the people of the Little Room out to supper. Many of them had never seen my home and I was grateful to it for wearing its most benign aspect [on this occasion. . . .] Our pictures were nothing wonderful; they were interesting reproductions, or the paintings of friends, but they were good. They suited. But the great charm of the house was its bookishness. Bookcases surrounded the library, filling every inch of space not occupied by doors and windows, up to about the height of my head. One book case in the hall was tucked in under the turn of the stairs; another set on the stairway itself in a deep niche, and the open cases ran down the upper hall and were slipped into recesses in the bedrooms. Yes, my Little Room friends loved it that night. The fires were burning; the lights were soft; candles blossomed beside the flowers. I can close my eyes and see it now. It is a fair design in this elaborate tapestry of memory. [. . .]

The most enjoyable times of all were when choice friends would come out to dinner and we would sit by the fire and talk, Robert so wittily, telling his inimitable stories which, someway, cannot be reproduced. They began with the lighting of a cigarette, and they ended with the toss of the cigarette into the ashes. [Peattie retells delightful but lengthy stories told by Madeline Wynne and Walter Hines Page. [237] ] Page [was] the editor of the Atlantic, as I knew him, later, Ambassador to England, a man so broad in his humanity that the narrow minded sometimes suspected his patriotism. Full of deep sympathy and delicate humor.

The best story-teller, perhaps, of all those who sat before our fire, was Mary Knowles Bartlett [. . .] But Mary Bartlett's long, involved stories [. . .] cannot be indicated by the written word. Her voice is stilled. She met her death through the recklessness of a drunken truck driver as she was going to the Blackstone Library to draw the books that comforted the loneliness of her last years. "God bless the story tellers," she would say fervently, pointing to her pile of novels. "They are the true waters of Lethe." She did not complain because her health was broken and her home empty. She remembered that her life had been rich with love. [. . .]

Robert Herrick, novelist and professor of English at the U[niversity] of C[hicago] came out quite frequently for a time but took offense at one of my reviews, which he thought revealed too intimate a knowledge of his temperament. He was supposed to be somewhat scornful of human beings in general and students in particular. May have been a mistake. [Peattie's Guest Book note on Herrick is interesting:] "I once saw the Snubber snubbed. This was at the MacDowell Colony in N[ew] H[ampshire]. [238] Edwin Arlinghton Robinson [239] was among the guests on this particular day and Herrick was pleased to meet him. Herrick was very agreeable, but all Robinson would say was 'Huh,' like a bored Englishman. Herrick told Robinson many agreeable things but Robinson never got beyond the 'Huh' stage, which, seeing the innumerable times Herrick had done this to others, was amusing. I had, with John Erskine [240] and Witter Bynner that very day accorded to Robinson the annual prize of the Poetry Society for the best poem of the year. Robinson did not know this, of course. He only got as far a 'Huh' with me, too" (415-16).

The old House-home, owing to our book reviewing activities, always held the newest books. We bought the best new records and saw to it that the children went to good entertainments—the opera and theater now and then, concerts, movies, etc. None of the children was extravagant. They were content with a reasonable amount of wearing apparel. It was only when they were away from us that they got shabby. They wouldn't let us know their condition and we wouldn't realize it. However, they were never pinched in their living and they all did what they could to help themselves. [. . .] Not one of them had the vitality which enables young men to make their own way unaided through college. Nor do I think one in a thousand should do it. It is too depleting.

Usually I had good servants. Some of them were very quaint characters. Perhaps Anna Klefbohm was the most valued. She was with me for years, a superlative helper and a good friend. She taught Don Swedish and he helped her select books to read. She cared for nothing but good literature. [. . .] She and I saw each other through sad and happy days. [. . .] She and Theresa Fugen, the children's nurse, were indeed faithful to their responsibilities. Sometimes I had two servants. I was obligated to have two after I got those horrible gastric ulcers, for I could do no housework, and had to have some one to look after me.

My mother was much thought of in Windsor Park, and when she came back there, a widow and white-haired, she was regarded as the pre-eminent pioneer of the locality, at least by those who knew anything about the early days of the South Shore. She entered into the privileges of enfranchisement with a quiet dignity. She always had believed in votes for women, and it was interesting to see her being led up to the platform at political meetings by some of father's old friends. She would sit there, a smile on her sweet, motherly face, a living argument for the trustworthiness of women and an asset to the Republican Party. One incident I must not fail to relate. At the time of the Great War when we were all buying Liberty Bonds, mother said: "I think I ought to be buying some. I've some money just now that isn't invested. I could use that." But the sons-in-law objected. "You've done enough for your country, mother," they said. "You let the rest of us buy Liberty Bonds. Your money can be put out at eight per cent, and the Liberty Bonds will only bring 3 1/2." Mother said nothing, but when, a few days later she happened to be left alone in the house, she got on the street car, a thing she had been forbidden to do, and went to South Chicago, drew out all available cash and invested it in Liberty Bonds. She came home and exhibited these quietly. "I have just as much right as anybody to be a good American," she said. Mother was much esteemed in Tryon, too, and though she was reticent and not out-going, people saw her for what she was, a woman of fine life and unselfish devotion.

A number of friends shared our home with us at different times. Katherine Ostrander, who was in welfare work, the daughter of my old friend, Judge Russell Ostrander [241] of Lansing, lived with us for a year. She was the model physically and otherwise for my "Kate" in The Precipice. [242] Miss Caroline Crinbell, teacher at the Myra Bradwell School, must have been with us for two years. The money she paid us helped to keep Don in college at the time Rod was in Harvard and the drain on us was heavy. [. . .] Then Anita Parkhurst [243] took refuge with us after her father was dead, her home broken up and her mother abroad. It was I who insisted that this talented child should go to the Art Institute instead of to a domestic science class, and the result has been a rich life, a happy and prosperous marriage, four fine children and continued activity along artistic lines.

My relatives thought of me as a creature rather apart from themselves in those busy days when I was forever rushing from one thing to another, and they were keeping to their home ways. I tried again and again to include them in some of my social and literary activities, but it could not be done. They didn't hit it off with my friends and thought my friends negligent. It is true that my friends, although courteous, seemed more or less oblivious. I would be distressed but powerless. It seemed, after many futile experiments, best not to try to make any such coalition.

I certainly had plenty of activities. There was the Chicago Woman's Club, The Colonial Dames, The Fortnightly, The Cordon, [244] The Every Day Club, a luncheon club for discussion, The Little Room, the Windsor Park Woman's Club, the Church Guild, sometimes the Community Club at South Chicago, lectures here and there, in town and out, the Art Institute, the Symphony Concert, the Midway Studios, [245] Anna Morgan's studio, [246] the theater, luncheons, teas, occasional dinners, no end of visiting week ends. Sometimes we went to the Hutchinson's at Geneva Lake, or to Mrs. [Henry] Wilmarth's at the same place, or to visit the Chatfield Taylors at Lake Forest, or the Richard Aldis, or the Horace Martin's, [247] or the Tiffany Blake's [248] there, or Anna Morgan or the Robert Hydes at Highland Park. Sometimes we went to Dr. and Hannie Elliott's [249] at South Haven or to Harry and Irene Chamberlin's at St. Joseph, or down to the Mott's at Michigan City or the Charles Brown's [250] at Hinsdale, or Frank and May Kelley's at Geneva, Illinois, to the Redfields, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Beck's at Glenview, the Keeley's [251] at Wheaton. [. . .]

It was a simple life for all of its diverse activities. I never was ashamed of the fact that I tried to improve my condition, socially as well as any other way. I couldn't see what America was for, if not for expansion, and I certainly didn't mean to let my family stop where I left off. I never catered to anybody but I used such social talents as I had with people I liked, and the results took care of themselves.

Life was good enough. It had restrictions and trials but it was good enough. And then our Barbara died. The European War was on and our happy illusions about the increased wisdom and neighborliness of man, crashed to the ground. Rod went to the war. All the pleasing picture dissolved in something very like chaos. We didn't like the world as we had. The old House-home suddenly seemed merely a place to house things. Too many motors passed. There were too many mosquitoes in the garden. In the secret lane, where Babbie used to hunt for [g]entians, were now horrid bungalows. The Lake Shore swarmed with foreigners. We agonized over what might be happening to Babbie's motherless boys. Robert loathed riding up and down on the Illinois Central. The very waves of the lake seemed hackneyed to him. [. . .]

A short time before we left the House-home [. . .] I was in a bad motor accident. I was giving a little dinner for young people at The Cordon, and Mrs. Redfield had sent her beautiful car to take Don and myself down. [. . .] It was a foggy, rainy night, very obscure, and on the Midway in front of the Del Prado Hotel, a truck crashed into us, turning our car over. The fine car was nearly wrecked and we all were badly knocked up. No bones were broken, however, and the injuries were not serious. My eye which had already suffered in two accidents was cut for the third time and my legs were bruised. [. . .] However, I came out all right—a bit more disfigured.

I had long ceased to worry about my looks, though I confess that some of the photographs gave me a shock. I had never cultivated the beauty specialists. I had grown too heavy with advancing years, a fault with most of the women of my family. It didn't matter to me especially. I thought it made me look rather cordial and grand-motherly and I was perfectly willing to look that way. I have always cared about color and picturesqueness and pleasantly hued clothes, rather distinctive than fashionable. I never "let down" even in sad and isolated days, and have always enjoyed making an agreeable impression but extreme fashionableness has never been my ambition. I never really had the money to dress as I would have liked. The money was always needed for something more important.

Did I, all these busy years at the House-home, have much conscious inner life? Did I put much cargo in the star wagon? Secretly, yes. A store of hidden thoughts, of aspirations I would not have named, nor dare I name them now, so pitiably short of them have I fallen. There was too much stress for philosophy, or such as I gathered, was as the flowers at which one snatches by the wayside, running on some swift and imperative errand. But those were the full years—not so full of achievement as of activity, of love, of friendliness. I did not always succeed in making friends. Though when I went back to Windsor Park a few years ago, the neighbors gave me a gorgeous welcome; in the old days, they were not very warm admirers of mine but I could understand why. I liked them better than they did me. The women at the Tribune were courteous but not friendly. My own sisters were not intimate, save, of course, Bertha. The[ir] own lives were very quiet, mine semi-public. In some dim way, it wounded them. But I understood that, too. Let it all pass. It is not quite forgotten, but it is forgiven long since.

[In her manuscript, Peattie includes a letter written by Robert Peattie to his sons which includes a bibliography of her works, although, it does not include her 100 short stories written for the Chicago Tribune. Regarding Robert’s comments, she says:] My dear R.B.P. has written much more about my work, but I have myself written so much that I think we may let his record end here. His encouragement never faltered; nor was I the only woman who felt the benefit of his generosity of mind. He had absolutely no prejudice against the work of women, and always helped them when he could, either as editor or friend.

One episode in the latter years at the House-home gave me a sense of fun. The Little Review, edited by a much liberated young woman, Margaret Anderson, [252] came into existence and the young rebels of the Midwest began to write for it. They simply loathed my reviews and what I had chosen to stand for in the way of proprieties and reticences. So, in an exhilarated mood, I created one Sade Iverson, a little milliner who wrote poems of the tragedy of life. She lived, according to my fancy, in a miserable room back of her little shop; she hadn't enough food, no friends, no hope; yet, she possessed a flaming soul. The young people at the rooms of The Little Review up in the Fine Arts Building were deeply moved. Not only did they print Sade's poems, but they wrote about her, invited her through the columns of the magazine, to come to their office, offered to be her friend. They looked in the telephone directory for her address and not finding it rode up and down the avenues where they thought she might be—Milwaukee, Cottage Grove, Archer avenues—looking for her name. Max Bodenheim [253] penned a poem to her. And then the truth slipped out in some way and the feelings of The Little Review people must have been rather hurt, for Sade had appealed to their young pity and generosity. I had not intended to do anything like that, but only to show them how easy it was to be unrestrained. They had great difficulty, I understand, in fitting her into the mould [sic] of the discreet E.W.P.

One day I took it into my head to call on Margaret Anderson and explain that I was not intentionally a minx, but she was not in her office, which was filled with pallid young men leaning against door jambs, or sitting on desks. They asked my name. I gave it. There was profound silence. Then, as my heels clicked down the corridor, the door was flung open and a mocking voice called: "Hullo, Sade." I let my particular chuckle float back to them. I knew it went hard with them who were at the romantic age to find their combustible Sade embodied in a middle-aged person, considerably over weight. It was a gay little interlude. I got fun out of it. Harry Hansen [254] mentions Sade in his book on the writers of the Midwest but says nothing about my many years of honest work, which, apparently, did not commend itself to him.

I have not mentioned the trip I took up to North Dakota to the Icelandic settlement there for Scribner's Magazine, taking with me a photographer of their selection, Ralph Pentreath of Minneapolis, a pleasant young Canadian. We visited the five towns of the settlement, seeing a little civilization still quaintly Islandic [sic], and traveling in sledges through biting, blue, crystal-clear air that registered at times twenty degrees below zero.

One of my pleasant experiences in Chicago, not very long before I left, was my interview with Arnold Bennett. [255] Mr. George Doran, the publisher was conveying Mr. Bennett around the country and he requested me to interview him for the Tribune. I had half an hour of uninterrupted conversation with him, and wrote the thing in something the same manner that Mr. Bennett himself might have written it. I heard that he said it was the best interview he ever had had, and later he made a reference to it in his comment upon his American journey. I met him socially at Frances Hutchinson's where he made a very agreeable dinner guest, frankly turning over his beautiful service plate, with a murmured apology and crying: "As I thought, this plate is made by my brother. He designed and executed it in one of the Five Towns where we lived."

The destination of the first copies of many of my manuscripts was amusing, and I always like to think of it. One of the village characters at Windsor Park was Red Nosed Bill, a professional tender of furnaces, a genial Irishman, who no matter how drunk he might be, was always polite to women, kind to children and swift of barbed repartee to men. I became so burdened with manuscript that I used to lay the first copies away in barrels in the basement, and at the time of our fire, Billy, who was one of the foremost helpers, salvaged these, then, thinking he might as well have them as anybody, bore them off to his hole, which was a den he had made for himself and his side partner among the piers of a wharf or breakwater in the lake. Here, by the light of a kerosene lamp, these two wastrels would sit and read my stuff. Billy told me about it. "I said to my side partner that you was a frind of mine," said Bill, "but he wouldn't belave me. He don't know me very well. I told him he didn't understand my social position. 'She's a frind of min,' I told him flat. Say, here he comes now. Would you do me the favor to tell him the t'rute to his face?" It was the least I could do for a trusted if quite unwashed and somewhat intoxicated friend. The first day that I, as a woman, was permitted to vote, I was coming out of the booth, when I was accosted by Bill, more highly stimulated and less purified than usual. He held out a very soiled hand in congratulation. "Well, Mrs. Peattie," he said thickly, "You're as good as I am now."

My fortunes began to decline before we left the House-home. My books didn't go well, though they almost invariably received fine reviews from the critics and my short stories were more often returned than accepted. I concentrated on the Youth's Companion, until even it declined my contributions. Working for it had helped to ruin my style, but still it had been a good friend. It was the eternal reading and reviewing of books for twenty years that destroyed my originality and ate up my vitality. However, it brought in thousands of dollars. My talents were slain, but the bills were paid, the children educated. Robert made good money and devoted every cent of it to the family but our ambitions had made us live in a way beyond what he could have managed alone. We wanted the children well educated and we meant they should live in comfort and a degree of beauty. My talent wasn't anything remarkable anyway, but such as it was, it brought me most of my friends and opportunities.

So here's to it! Never mind if it did droop and fade away: never mind if at last the star wagon held only the grasses of a past summer and leaves crisped and shrunken that would not again rustle in the wind. There was love still and gratitude in the hearts of my children. It was for them, after all, that I had worked.

Chapter XV

The New York life could not, in the nature of things, compare in happiness with the life at the House-home in Chicago. Babbie was gone; Roderick in the war; Robert back at night work and too old for such work; myself chronically ill with terrible, sudden attacks and the constant need of diet; the capacious home replaced by a two[-]room flat, which, though picturesque and even luxurious, could be no substitute for a real home. But we attained to that only after several melancholy experiments in hotel life and so on. [. . .]

There were days of aching anxiety for me as I saw my little Erskine boys given into the hands of nurses and housekeepers, and some poignant experiences which I will not retell. They are part of an old anguish. But at last Margaret McCullar [. . .] already a genial acquaintance of mine, became engaged to Ralph. [. . .] They were married, and while my anxieties for the little boys were not entirely over, I knew that she was a well-born, well-educated, conscientious and aspiring woman, and that their chances with her were excellent, both in the matter of happiness and of training.

There had been one episode of my New York life which caused me a good deal of thought. This was the writing of the play with Peg Franklin. We had taken it from one of my Azalea books and had sold it at once to Smith and Golden who sent an artist down to Tryon to paint the scenery, and to secure proper accessories in the way of "kivers," baskets, pottery, rugs, etc. We had good actors and the play would have appealed to lovers of simple American life had it not been ruthlessly changed by these Broadway men and made farcical, coarse and inconsistent. Nor would they listen to one protest or accept one suggestion. In fact both Peg and I were treated with contempt by them as if we were criminals. It was an amazing experience. It brought Peg and me a few thousand dollars each but was, on the whole, more of a mortification than anything else.

The critics were very severe with it, only a few of them seeing the silver thread of gentle humanity that ran through it. Had we been permitted to reconstruct it ourselves, it would have been as popular as "Sun-Up" [256] and similar plays. We wanted to call our play that, but were overborne. Oh well, what did it matter? Rod was home from the war; he had a precious little daughter; my Babbie's boys had a kind mother. [. . .]

When we went to New York not a few courtesies were shown us. The Johansens, who lived across the street from us in their beautiful home and studio, often extended social courtesies to us. The Garlands were more than good. Eve and Lee Summers were very gracious, had us out to their country home and came often to see us. Robert and Clara Park were living in New York at that time and it was sweet and home like to be with them. Juliette Wilbur Thompson, Peg Franklin, Fred Richardson, Harry and Miriam Forman, Frank and Leonie Danforth, Harry and Jenny Meeker, my cousins, a number of former Fortnightly friends. Harold and Rosealee Erskine, all were kind. Chicago friends would visit us. Mrs. Gane stayed near us. Mrs. Coonley-Ward always included us in her New York parties. Katherine Merrill was our intimate, and when her mother came to visit us, she was our guest, too. [. . .] But I was too ill to enjoy anything very much. I did a part, sometimes all, of my own cooking, but more and more we went out to restaurants. Then I grew too subject to seizures to go on the street alone. [. . .] We used, by way of social diversion, to go together to a studio in the neighborhood belonging to Mrs. (Sally Green) Wise, a sculptor. [. . .] We used to meet very interesting people in her studio. [. . .]

I tried several highly recommended physicians in New York but got but slight attention and no relief from them and, finally, after a sharp attack at Ralph's was borne off by him early one morning to the Stamford Hospital, and after a few days was operated upon, somewhat reluctantly, by Dr. Sherrill, who removed a tattered gall bladder and I struggled toward health but could not quite attain it.

New York life which had stretched over a term of three, not very happy years, held no temptations for me. It was true that I had been treated [well] there, made a member of the National Poetry Society, of The City Club and the National Arts, but I knew no one and was as lonely as a cloud in these places. Had I been well, I could have made acquaintances but I had no initiative and my heart was heavy. [. . .]

Really, as I look back on it all, I realize that many friends climbed the three flights of stairs that lead to our fourth-floor back at 17 West 9th Street. Lorado Taft, fresh from his lectures to the men over seas, came there in resplendent uniform, his little Ada with him. Burton and Hazel Rascoe [257] came up, Rolin Lynde Hart, too, Martha Bruere, [258] Edward and Grace Beck [259] Willa Cather, who lived near by.[. . .] I made some friends in the apartment building and we had home-like times together—all homesick for the homes that were no more. We exchanged breakfast, luncheon, tea and dinner courtesies. [. . .] We were far from friendless. [. . .]

Well, let us go away from that proud city where we played no small part. We were wise to leave it. Even my tailor, my grocer, my dressmaker told me so. "No, no," said my Jewish tailor, "this city is not for you, madam. You are too gentle. You are not well. In New York there are no neighbors. Go you to a little kind place. Yes. Where there are neighbors." [. . .]

Indeed, I could face the city no longer. I induced Robert to hand in his resignation to the Tribune and to ask to be retired on the pension which fell to all employees at their desire after twenty years of service. I said we would go to Tryon and forget the world. [. . .] I was still a miserably sick woman when I started for the South. [. . .] Several months were to elapse before Robert could come down. [. . .]

I was at [Sister] Gertrude's for months and received from her, and every member of her family, the most loving care and consideration. I was ill the whole time, sometimes acutely so. Sometimes the family would be up nearly all night with me and, white-faced and patient, would go back to their work the next morning. Mother was there, but frail and changed. She had already had her first stroke but had somewhat recovered. Emma Erskine had had a terrible stroke and was much crippled in her movements. I did not try to look ahead— though I knew that I must face the realities but I thought one of these might be my demise. My friends and family thought so too and were unspeakably good to me. There was much to think about. Robert no longer had to do night work; the condescension of the New York literary fold no longer had to be endured and the city-loneliness was a thing of the past.

At Christmas that year [. . .] I was having one of my acute attacks; Dr. Grady was with me and I said to him: "Give me the largest dose of morphine you can." He did it, and as my pain slipped away I knew not only the usual relief but some indescribable relaxation of my body. [. . .] It was enough that I could have a peaceful day with my people. And then came the psychological mystery. The adhesions were loosed. The operation I had feared, or the death by starvation which I had dreaded yet more, sank into the limbo of unrealized troubles. Though I often have had very bad attacks since, due to the inability of a mutilated digestive apparatus to take care of itself, my days of real torment were over. I began to come back into life.

The beauty of Tryon was like a welcome home. It was at once familiar and new and lying there on my bed, free from all domestic care, I wrote much—all the Tryon poems, many letters, and little plays. Robert and I wanted a little home in Tryon. We knew it would have to be a small, inexpensive one and one easy to care for. We wanted trees and a garden. We hoped for a spring. As mother was living at [Sister] Gertrude's and as G. was away at her shop, the Mountain Industries, all day, it seemed essential that our home should be near Gertrude's on Godshaw Hill. [. . .] It had chanced that one day when I was able to walk a little way, I had come across a grey stone wall dripping with January jasmine; a flight of stone steps had invited me up to an unoccupied bungalow, and that I had strolled about this little house with its pleasant over-hang and its wide porches, my means of as beguiling a path as one could wish to find. Always a devotee of little paths, I followed it, to love at once its homeliness, its ferns and roses, its ivy and violets. I found a way to enter the friendly, humble little house. It was crude, but somehow lovable. It could have two small rooms, the living room and the dining room thrown into one. There were two bedrooms, a bath, a kitchen, a copious attic. [. . .] It had been vacant for a year but the rose bushes, the mimosas, the chestnut oaks and dogwood, the buddleia and spirea had kept its faith and welcomed me. Robert loved it too, when he came, and he wanted me to have anything I desired that we could afford. Some concessions were made to us and we moved in, and have passed more than ten years there with intervals of absence.

For a time, when Robert was recalled to New York to do editorials temporarily on the Illustrated Daily News I rented the house and joined him and we lived at Forest Hills. [. . .] I [traveled] and saw [. . .] many of my old friends. At the close of [Robert]'s work in New York, we went to Columbus [for the winter] so that [Robert] could help Rod with his geography.

Then we had one year with Donald and Louise and Celia in the little home at Lee Heights. [. . .] We had our year with baby Celia [. . .] before she took that sudden and amazing flight into some less clouded altitude than we may breathe in. [. . .] She died in Paris [. . .] I see, in dreams, Barbara's welcome to her; see her snatched to that little, faithful heart which failed no one, finding at last the daughter for whom she longed. Don and Louise are in France [. . .] and are living now at the Villa La Roselire, above Vence in Provence. Life must arrange itself along new lines for them.

I shall not write much of the life at Tryon. It has been full of friendliness, of simplicity; we have worked, played, gardened, written, rested, lived as the old should, without too much stress. [260] We shall go back, we hope in April 1930 [Peattie writes her memoirs while in France] to the simple charming rooms, to the lovely garden, to the friends we prize. (We pray that not too many of them will have gone beyond our reach.) The activities, which diverted us and made [us] seem of some value in the community, will not be resumed. We shall be "old people" courting the economics, loving the peace. Such a poor little star wagon, carrying no splendors now save love. Love for husband and children, grandchildren, self—the sacred self which cannot be explained to anyone, which dwells alone and is nourished by manna which has no name.

Robert, who was the stay-at-home, always working for the rest of us, is resting now, seeing strange and beautiful lands. He had worked when his family played, been ill when they were well. Now we have seen Paris, Brittany, Normany, Provence, Italy. Robert is seventy-two. I am sixty-seven. We are still explorative. Anticipation is not dead in us but ambition now is for our children, not ourselves.

Has it been too long a story for you to read, dear Sons? The telling was longer, and the living longer still. It has given me happiness to write it and I hope it will give you, and the women you love, some pleasure to read it.

Vence, Alpes Maritimes, France, January 12 1929 [261]

Exhibit I

Noontide @ Midnight

By Elia Wilkinson

All day, from out a sky of dazzling blue,
The summer sun, with face of brazen hue,
Relentlessly upon the earth had glared.
And no retreat but he had entrance dared
No nook so hid’n his way he hath not make,
And at each step had scared the timid shade.
O’er every living thing, each shrub, each flower
He threw the spell of his malignant power.
The heated sigh that stirred the drooping trees
Was more like breath of hunted beast, than breeze.
The farmer wrung the toil drops from his brow
And in the smoking furrow left the plow.
Beneath the spreading maple’s shelt’ring shade
Their fev’rish limbs the weary cattle laid.
The sun cast down his glance of hut disdain,
Upon the fields of gently rustling grain,
And on the seas of yellow tasseled corn,
That drooped its thousand heads, like maids forlorn.
All stilled, the tiny streamlet’s purling note,
That slyly crept along the hollow throat
Of yonder vine-clad, willow-fringed ravine
[?]t baked and pebbly bed alone was seen.
Upon the hill side—angular and brown,
Seeming to court the sun’s relentless frown—
The farmhouse stood, with ample portico
On which a grave house dog paced to and fro,
And lolled his great tongue out. Thus, unsubdued,
The conqueror Sol, the weary earth pursued.

And now ‘tis midnight, and a holy hush
Is o’er the world, and on the woods the flush
Of the calm moon beams with a light serene,
And gilds the mossy sides of the ravine.
The flowers fill high their chalices with dew,
The trees, with sweet love tales, the zephyrs woo,
The happy birds, low rustling in their nest,
With twittering chirrup turn themselves to rest.
Reclined at length, all wrapped in pal[l]id sheen,
The weary cattle lie with peaceful mien,
And even the rude farm house seems to wear
A softened look—more picturesque and fair,
O’er all the scene there broods a quiet joy,
A restful calm, a peace with out alloy.

Please don’t show this to anyone. I should not like to have my poetical power judged by such a criterion.

E.W. January 1880.

Exhibit II

Return of the Highlander

By Eugene Field

He lóuted low and véiled his bonnet
When that he kénned his blushing Elia—
“Gude feth,” he cried, “my bonnie bride,
I fáshed mesel some man wad steal ye!”

“My bonnie loon,” the gude wife answered,
“When náne anither wad befriend me,
Gainst míckle woes and míckle foes,
Braw Donald Field did aft forfend me!

“Of all the bonnie heelán chiels
There’s nane sae braw as this gúd laddie—
Wi’ siké an arm to shield fro’ harm—
Wi siké a heart beneath his plaidie!

“Gín Sandy Knox or Sawney Dennis
Or Dougal Thompson take delight in
A-fashing me wi’ ghoulish glee—
Braw Donald Field wad do my fightin’!”

Then Robert Peattie glowed wi’ pleasure:
“I wad no do the deed o’ Sunday,
But Donald Field shall be well mealed
Tomorrow, which I ken is Monday!”

Then Robert took his gude wife háme
And spread a feast o’ Finnan Haddie;
In language sáft he praised her aft,
And aft she kissed her bonnie laddie.

    Scottish terms translated from Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 1933 by Mark R. Peattie

  • braw: brave
  • chield: fellow, chap
  • flash: to trouble, vex, bother
  • gin: if
  • gude: good
  • hame: home
  • heelan: Field’s spelling of highland
  • ken: to see, descry, recognize
  • lout: to bend, bow, make obeisance
  • nane: none
  • mickle: a great quantity or amount of
  • veil: to render less distinct or apparent
  • sfae: soft
  • sike: Fields spelling of such

Exhibit III

The Fortnightly Toast

By Elia Peattie

May 1, 1913

To the Fortnightly:

That meeting place of quiet friends, that rendezvous of those who love the social hour and the gently art of the Essay! May its traditions of courtesy, serenity, and aspiration continue for generations. May the intellectual still find here a delicate delight, the lonely discover friends, the sad sympathy, the elderly love and deference, and the young a rich background against which to play their eager dramas.

May this society continue to be what it ever has been, a school for the cultivation of efficient womanhood, staunch to the given word, faithful in performance of duties, reverent of memories, careful of the present, expectant of new unfoldings in events, ideas, and temperaments. May dignity, generosity, and devotion to the best continue to be its ideals. May it live still in the influence of those noble gentlewomen, once its members, who have passed into the membership of the Silent Majority. May it see gathering about it younger gentlewomen fitted by inheritance of soul to carry on that modest yet valorous campaign for righteous, beautiful, and faithful things.

May it be to all women a sign of social grace and of open mind—of service to elegant letters and to choice associations. And when it falls short of the realization of its own aims, may it have heart of grace to forgive both others and itself.

To The Fortnightly! Mellow with memories, true to an unwritten creed, confident of abiding fealty. May all who are her [sic] today be present to celebrate its golden birthday.


These lines were considered to be so perfect an expression of the society's character and purpose that they have been printed ever since in Fortnightly yearbooks. On the occasion of their first delivery, the minutes say that "a graceful response was made by Mrs. John N. Jewett, followed by Mrs. Henry M. Wilmarth, Mrs. J. M. Walker, and Mrs. Ralph Emerson.

Beadle, Muriel and the Centennial History Committee. The Fortnightly of Chicago The City and Its Women: 1873-1973. Ed. and with a Foreword by Fanny Butcher. Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1973. 117-18.


Picture #1:

Elia Wilkinson Peattie, her choice photograph for The Star Wagon

Picture #2:

An older Elia Wilkinson Peattie (front view)

Picture #3:

An older Elia Wilkinson Peattie (side view)

Picture #4:

A young Elia Wilkinson Peattie

Picture #5:

Elia Wilkinson Peattie with grandson

Picture #6:

Elia Wilkinson Peattie in Washington day dress

Picture #7:

Elia in the garden at Dunwandrin, Tryon, NC

Picture #8:

Dunwandrin, Peattie retirement house, Tryon, NC

Picture #9:

Robert & Elia Peattie (left) with Tryon friends, 1928

Picture #10a:

Elia Peattie gravestone: Elia Peattie (1862-1935) She ate of life as if twere fruit

Picture #10b:

Robert Peattie gravestone: Robert Peattie (1857-1930) Journalist, Wit and "Gentleman Unafraid"

Picture #11a:

Lanier Library, Tryon, NC

Picture #11b:

Lanier Library, Tryon, NC

Picture #12a:

Mimosa Inn, Tryon, NC

Picture #12b:

Mimosa Inn, Tryon, NC

Picture #13a:

Robert Bray, Alice & Mark Peattie, and Max

Picture #13b:

Alice Peattie and Joan Falcone in Falcone home, Normal, IL

Picture #14:

Black Hawk Statue, Oregon, IL

Picture #15a:

Villa Barbara c. 1914, Ralph Erskine, Jr. in yard

Picture #15b:

Villa Barbara c. 1914

Picture #16a:

The Villa Barbara, 1994, note the columns Ralph Erskine imported from Tuscany

Picture #16b:

The Villa Barbara, 1994

Time Line Elia Wilkinson Peattie

Historical Personal
1860 Beginning of Industrialization, mechanization, and urbanization 1862 Elia Wilkinson born, Kalamazoo, MI
1863 Women’s National Loyal League founded to encourage suffrage and abolish slavery 1864 Brother Freddie Wilkinson born
1866 Unnamed Wilkinson brother born and dies
1868 Brother Freddie Wilkinson dies
1869 Sister Gertrude Wilkinson born
1870 Depression and financial crash 1871 Wilkinsons move to Chicago live on Polk and Robey Streets; Sister Kate Wilkinson born
1871 Chicago Fire Charles Darwin publishes Origin of Species
1870-1890 US population doubles; Rapid growth in newspapers: daily newspapers quadruple; numbers sold increased sixfold; circulation totals for all daily publications rose from 2.6 in 1870 to 15 million in 1900 weekly newspapers tripled from 4,000 to 12,000 1877 Sister Bertha Wilkinson born; Wilkinsons buy home in Winsor Park on Bond Ave, to later be called the “House-home;” Elia meets Robert Burns Peattie who then worked for the Western News Company
1880 Illiteracy declined from 20% to 10% of population bigger and faster presses developed to print more newspapers; rapid growth in magazines—Scribners, Century, Ladies Home Journal appear; spread of Carnegie Libraries; Rise of the city begins—Chicago doubled in size passing 1 million to become 2nd largest city; rapid growth of the railroads: 93,000 miles of track in 1880 to 193,000 in 1900. 1880 Elia composes first poem “Noontide @ Midnight”
1882 Sister Hazel Wilkinson born; Elia suffers breakdown from nervous prostration
1883 Elia marries Robert Burns Peattie and they move into the Peattie house on Pearson Street; Robert works for the Chicago Tribune
1884 Elia joins the Chicago Tribune staff as their first “girl reporter;” first child, Edward Cahill, born
1885 First skyscraper in Chicago 1885 Second child, Barbara, born; Robert works at the Daily News
1886 Haymarket Riot 1887 Peatties move to Woodlawn Street; Elia begins writing for magazines; sent by Daily News to tour Western resorts.
1889 Hull House opened by Addams and Starr 1888 Peatties move to Omaha, NE; both have jobs on the World Herald; Elia signs articles for the first time, meets Willa Cather, travels to Alaska
1889 Elia publishes The Story of America
1890 National Women Suffrage Assoc. merges with American Women Suffrage Assoc. to form National American Woman Suffrage Assoc. 1890 Peattie meets William Jennings Bryan and is dubbed “first Bryan man;” Robert goes to Colorado to recuperate from what will be a recurring lung problem; Elia publishes A Journey Through Wonderland and The Judge
General Federation of Women’s Clubs founded; Florence Kelley founds National Consumers’ League to organize women workers; Governor Altgeld investigates Chicago Sweatshops and establishes 8-hour work day for women 1891 Third child, Roderick, born; Elia begins correspondence with Kate Cleary
Yellow journalism appears, and political cartoons offer commentary on news
1892 First elevated rapid transit line, Chicago 1892 Elia meets Hamlin Garland at People’s Convention in Omaha; co-authors, with Henry Tibbles, The American Peasant; active in the women’s club movement
1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago; Frederick Jackson Turner publishes Significance of the Frontier in American History 1893 Peattie reads three papers at the Exposition; Helps organize the Omaha Woman’s Club; Wilkinsons move to South Haven, MI and the “House-home” is divided into rental apartments
1894 General Federation of Women’s Clubs meets in Philadelphia 1894 Elia attends the Philadelphia meeting and appears on stage as part of the nominating committee and vice-president of the Omaha Woman's Club
1895 Peattie helps organize a “traveling library” for rural Nebraskans
1896 National Assoc. of Colored Women is founded 1896 Elia meets Henry Blake Fuller; Problems develop at the Omaha World Herald; Robert accepts position with New York World, spends winter in Denver recuperating, then becomes correspondent for New York Times in Chicago; Peatties relocate, living on Erie Street
1898 General Federation of Women’s Clubs meets in Racine, WI 1898 Peattie joins the Chicago Woman’s Club, Little Room, and Fortnightly; attends the Wisconsin General Federation of Women's Clubs at Racine and stays in the Charles and Emma Erskine home; fourth and last child, Donald Culross, born; Elizabeth Culross Peattie, Robert's mother, dies; burial in Chicago's Graceland Cemetery
1899 National Consumer’s League established with Florence Kelley named General Secretary; Thorsetein Veblin publishes Theory of the Leisure Class 1899 Peatties move to “Wildwood,” her parents' cabin on Lake Michigan, where fire destroys many of her works; Peatties purchase the old family home on Bond Avenue; Elia writes 100 stories in 100 days to pay for renovations of the "House-home"
1901 Peattie becomes literary critic for the Chicago Tribune
1902 Elia takes Donald to Tryon, NC to recuperate, staying at the Erskine estate, the Lynncote; Elia attends the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, 6th Biennial Convention in Los Angles as Chicago delegate; reports proceedings for the Hearst papers.
1903 Women’s Trade Union League founded to organize women workers and feminists 1903 “House-home” is gutted by fire—Robert lives with a friend and Elia takes the children to Tryon where she rents a cottage at the Mimosa Inn
1907 Marshall Field opens world’s largest department store; United Press Assoc. and International News Service compete with Assoc. Press 1904 Barbara goes to Europe with the Erskines on insurance money from the “House-home” fire
1905 Barbara marries Ralph Erskine; Frederick Wilkinson, Elia’s father, dies in California
1906 Edward marries Margaret Sheldon
1907 Elia attends the Eagle’s Nest writer’s camp at Oregon, IL and winters in Tryon, NC
1908 Elia helps to found the Cordon Club and travels to Europe with expenses paid by friends and admirers
1911 Peattie delivers dedication speech for Lorado Taft’s Black Hawk statue in Oregon, Il
1914 Chicago’s Wrigley Field is built 1915 Barbara dies on Christmas Eve
1916 Margaret Sanger establishes clinic for birth control in Brooklyn, NY 1916 Peatties spend summer at Barbara’s home in Tryon, the Villa Barbara
1917 Robert accepts position with New York Tribune; Elia’s working career ends; “House-home” is closed and Peatties relocate to West 9th Street in New York City; Roderick marries Margaret Rhodes and serves in war effort in France; Elia spends summer at the Villa Barbara
1920 Women gain the right to vote; radio and movies begin to compete with newspapers and magazines 1920 Robert retires from the Tribune after 20 years of service; Peatties relocate to Tryon living on Broadway Street at a house they call "Dunwandrin"
1930 Gossip columns appear 1922 Elia’s mother, Amanda Cahill Wilkinson, dies; Elia and Diana Nash start the Drama Fortnightly, a play society, at the Lanier Library which will later evolve into the Tryon Little Theater
1923 Donald marries Louise Redfield; Peattie elected President of the Lanier Club and writes the Tryon School Song
1925 Peattie elected President of the Lanier Club and attends the State Federation of Women’s Clubs in Pinehurst.
1926 Peattie attends the North Carolina League of Women Voters and takes up cause of working conditions for women in NC
1928 Donald and Louise Peattie join other expatriates in France where daughter, Celia, dies; Robert and Elia join them in Vence, France
1929 Elia and Robert write their memoirs
1930 Robert Burns Peattie dies in Tryon and is buried in Tryon's Markham Cemetery
1935 Elia Wilkinson Peattie dies in Wellingford, Vermont at the home of her son, Roderick. She is buried in Tryon's Markham Cemetery.



  • Adams, Mildred
  • Addams, Jane
  • Ade, George
  • Allen, J. Adams
  • The American Peasant
  • Alexeyevich, Baranov Aleksandr
  • “The American Peasant”
  • Anderson, Margaret C.
  • Anderson, Sherwood
  • Anthony, Susan Brownell
  • Austin, Mary Hunter

  • B

  • Bartlett, Mary Knowles
  • Bates, Clara Doty
  • Beach, Rex
  • Beck, Edward Scott
  • Bell, George
  • Benet, Stephen Vincent
  • Bennett, Arnold
  • Bernhardt, Sarah
  • Black Hawk dedication speech
  • Black Hawk statue, monument
  • Black Hawk war
  • Blake, Tiffany
  • Bloomfield-Zeisler, Fanny
  • blue stocking
  • Bodenheim, Maxwell
  • Bond, Shadrach
  • Boucicault, Dion
  • Boutet de Monvel, Louis Maurice
  • Brangwyn, Frank
  • Breasted, James Henry
  • Breck, George William
  • Bright Eyes
  • Bremer, Sidney H.
  • Brown School
  • Browne, Charles Francis
  • Bruere, Martha Bensley
  • Bryan, William Jennings
  • Bryant, William Cullen
  • Burnham, Clara
  • Burnham, Daniel Hudson
  • Butcher, Fanny
  • Butler, General Benjamin Franklin

  • C

  • Cahill, Abram
  • Cahill, Amanda Maria
  • Cahill, Edward
  • Cahill, Lizzy
  • Cahill, Lucy Crawford
  • Cahill, Maria
  • Campbell, Thomas
  • Canfield, Chancellor
  • castile
  • Cather, Willa
  • Catherwood, Mary
  • The Century
  • Chartist
  • Chase, Lizzie
  • Chatfield-Taylor, Hobart
  • Chatfield-Taylor, Rose Farwell
  • Chateau Thierry, France
  • Chicago’s World Exposition
  • Chicago Fire
  • Chicago Renaissance
  • Chicago Tribune
  • City Club
  • Clarkson, Ralph
  • Cliff Dwellers Club
  • “The Columbian Ode”
  • Cordon Club
  • Crow, Martha Foote
  • “Cult of True Womanhood”
  • Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
  • Columbian Exposition
  • Cooley-Ward, Lydia Avery
  • Cordon Club
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Crawford, Lucy
  • Crow, Martha Foote

  • D

  • Daily News
  • Danersk Company
  • Dargan, Olive Tilford
  • Darwin, Charles
  • Darwin, Erasmus
  • The Detroit Free Press
  • Dombey, Florence
  • Doran, George Henry
  • Drama Fortnightly
  • Dreiser, Theodore
  • Dunwandrin

  • E

  • Eagles’ Nest
  • Eastman, Elaine Goodale
  • Ellensburg, Washington
  • Elliott, Arthur
  • Elliott, Hannah Fisk
  • Elysium fields
  • Emerson, Ralph Waldo
  • Erskine, Barbara Peattie
  • Erskine, Charles Robert
  • Erskine, Emma Payne
  • Erskine, John
  • Erskine, Margaret McCullar
  • Erskine, Malcolm Edward
  • Erskine, Malcolm Edwin
  • Erskine, Ralph Child
  • Erskine, Ralph Child, Jr.
  • erysipelas
  • Eulalia, Princess Infanta

  • F

  • Falcone, Joan Stevenson
  • Farnsworth, Fred
  • Farnsworth, Sarah Wilkinson
  • Field, Eugene
  • Field, Kate
  • Fields, Annie Adams
  • Fine Arts Building
  • Fisher, Dorothy Canfield
  • Fitch, Charles
  • Fitch, Jennie Cahill
  • Flagler, Henry Morrison
  • Ford, Francis M.
  • Forman, James
  • Forman, Miriam Chase Ford
  • The Fortnightly
  • Foote, Mary Hallock
  • Franck, Cesar Auguste
  • Free Silver
  • Fuller, Henry Blake
  • Fuller, Loie

  • G

  • Ganymede Spring
  • Garland, Hamlin
  • Garland, Zulime Taft
  • General Federation of Women’s Clubs
  • George, Henry
  • Gerstenberg, Alice
  • Gilder, Jeannette Leonard
  • Gilman, Charlotte Perkins
  • Goldman, Emma
  • Granger, Alfred Hoyt
  • Gregory, Stephen Strong
  • Grover, Oliver Dennett

  • H

  • Hackney, Louise
  • Hall, Fred
  • Hall, Sarah
  • Hanson, Harry
  • Head, Franklin
  • Heckman, Wallace
  • Henrotin, Ellen Martin
  • Herrick, Robert
  • Higginson, Thomas Wentworth
  • Hitchcock, Gilbert Monell
  • Holmes, Thornton
  • Hooker, Katherine Putnam
  • Hopkins, Dr. Henry
  • House-home
  • Hull House

  • I

  • Inshtatheamba
  • Iverson, Sade

  • J

  • Jacques, Bertha Evelyn
  • “Jim Lacy’s Waterloo”
  • A Journey Through Wonderland
  • The Judge
  • Judson, Harry Pratt

  • K

  • Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • Keesley, James
  • Kinkaid, Mary Little
  • Kipling paper
  • Krantz, Ottelie Lillien
  • Kreisler, Fritz

  • L

  • Lady of Lyons
  • Langtry, Lillie
  • Lanier Club
  • Lanier Library
  • Lanier, Sidney
  • Laughlin, Clara
  • Lincoln, Abraham
  • Little Buttercup
  • Little Review
  • Little Room
  • Log Cabin Inn
  • loosely coupled
  • Lowden, Frank Orren
  • Lummis, Charles Fletcher
  • Lynncote

  • M

  • McCutcheon, John Tinney
  • MacDowell Colony
  • McDowell, Mary Eliza
  • McPhelim, Edward
  • McPhelim, Kate Cleary
  • Mann, Dr. Newton
  • Marsh, Charles
  • Marsh, Professor Fletcher
  • Marsh, George
  • Marsh, John P.
  • Marsh, Maria
  • Marsh, Dr. Wells
  • Martin, Horace Hawes
  • Mason, Mary
  • Main Traveled Roads
  • Midway Studios
  • Midwest Portraits
  • Monroe, Dora
  • Monroe, Harriet
  • Morgan, Anna
  • Morton, Julius Sterling
  • The Mountain Woman
  • Moulton Louise Chandlier
  • Muir Glacier

  • N

  • National Arts
  • National Poetry Society
  • New York Tribune
  • “Noontide @ Midnight”
  • Norris, Frank
  • Northwest Settlement
  • Northwestern Railroad Company

  • O

  • Omaha, Nebraska
  • Omaha World-Herald
  • Oregon, Illinois
  • Ostrander, Mamie
  • Ostrander, Russell
  • Otis, Harrison Gray

  • P

  • Pacolet valley
  • Palmer, Bertha Honore
  • Palmer, Potter
  • Page, Walter Hines
  • Parish-Watson, Violet Erskine
  • Patterson, Robert
  • Patti, Adelina
  • Peattie, Anne
  • Peattie, Celia Louise
  • Peattie, Christina
  • Peattie, Donald Culross
  • Peattie, Elizabeth Culross
  • Peattie, Edward Cahill
  • Peattie, John
  • Peattie, Lizzie
  • Peattie, Louise Redfield
  • Peattie, Malcolm Redfield
  • Peattie, Margaret Shelton
  • Peattie, Mary
  • Peattie, Mary Alice
  • Peattie, Michael Ransom
  • Peattie, Peggy
  • Peattie, Robert Burns
  • Peattie, Roderick Elia
  • Peattie, Mark Robert
  • Peattie, Noel Roderick
  • Peattie, Roderick
  • Peattie, Roderick Elia
  • Phelps, Elizabeth Stuart
  • The Pictorial Story of America
  • Pine Forest
  • The Precipice
  • Pope St. Pius X
  • pony express
  • Potter, Paul
  • Price, Gertrude
  • Price, Hannah Wilkinson
  • Price, Robert
  • Populist Party

  • Q


  • Ranson, Epaphroditus
  • Rascoe, Burton
  • Read, Thomas Buchanan
  • Redfield, Bertha Drier
  • Redfield, Robert
  • Reilly, Dr. Frank
  • revolution
  • Rhone River
  • Riley, James Whitcomb
  • Ripplier, Agnes
  • Robinson, Edwin Arlinghton
  • Rodgers, Susan Erskine
  • Rolshoven, Julius C.
  • Root, John Wellborn
  • Root, Mary Ransom
  • Royce, Mary Cahill

  • S

  • Sandburg, Carl
  • Sinclair, May
  • Sinclair, Upton
  • Sitka, Alaska
  • Smith, Harry B.
  • Spach, Barrett
  • Spencer, Herbert
  • The Shape of Fear
  • Sitting Bull
  • Standing Bear
  • Standing Bull
  • Stevenson, Alexander
  • Stevenson, Dr. Sarah Hackett
  • Stone, Lucy
  • Strowbridge, Ide Meachams
  • Sullivan, Bessie Higgins
  • Summers, Eve Brodlique H.
  • Sun-Up

  • T

  • Taft, Ada Bartlett
  • Taft, Emily Douglas
  • Taft, Lorado
  • Taliarferro, Maybelle Evelyn
  • Tarkington, Newton Booth
  • Terry, Dame Ellen Alicia
  • Thompson-Seton
  • Thompson, Slason
  • Thompson, Vance
  • Tibbles, Thomas Henry
  • “A Toast for the Fortnightly”
  • Tompkins, Jane
  • Tryon Little Theater
  • Tryon, North Carolina

  • U

  • University of Nebraska

  • V

  • Vedder, Elihu
  • Villa Barbara
  • Vokes, Rosina
  • Von Humbolt, Wilhelm Freiherr

  • W

  • Waller, James
  • Waller, Sarah J. Given
  • Walker, Elia Cahill
  • Walker, James
  • Ward, Enoch
  • Warren, Maude Radford
  • Way, W. Irving
  • Webster, Henry
  • Welter, Barbara
  • Western News Company
  • Wiles, Alice Bradford
  • Wilkinson, Amanda Cahill
  • Wilkinson, Freddie
  • Wilkinson, Frederick
  • Wilkinson, Gertrude
  • Wilkinson, Hazel
  • Wilkinson, Jennie
  • Wilkinson, Kate
  • Wilkinson, Lizzie
  • Wilkinson, William
  • “Willa Cather’s Lost Chicago Sisters”
  • Williams, Chauncey
  • Wilmarth, Mary Jane Haws
  • Windsor Park
  • Wisonsin Federation of Women's Clubs
  • women's clubs
  • "Written on the Flyleaf of the Marble Fawn"
  • Wynn, Madeline

  • X



  • Zeisler, Fanny Bloomfield


1 Cult of True Womanhood Barbara Welter examines writings of the 19th Century and discovered that "true womanhood" was a term used to define ideal womanhood. The attributes by which the True Woman was judged were piety, purity, submissiveness, and domesticity.   [back to text]
2 Epaphroditus Ransom (1797-1859) Practiced law in Vermont; served several terms in Vermont's House of Representatives before emigrating to Michigan in 1834. Governor of Michigan 1848-50. Regent of the University of Michigan 1850-54. Served in Michigan House of Representatives for 1853-54 term (Sobel and Raime 745).   [back to text]
3 Lucy Stone (1818-1893) Reformer and editor. Founded Woman's Journal 1870 and served as its editor from 1872-93.   [back to text]
4 Frederick Wilkinson (1831-1905) Studied for the ministry; graduated from Kalamazoo School of Law; 1854 served as a delegate to the Republican Convention at Jackson, Michigan; member of the first legislature of Colorado; served in the Civil War as 1st Sergeant and Lieutenant of Company “K”, Second Michigan Infantry.   [back to text]
5 Peattie is referring to primogeniture, whereby the exclusive right of inheritance belongs to the eldest son.   [back to text]
6 Shakespeare's Hamlet I, iii, 75.   [back to text]
7 Hohenzollern: The ruling family of Germany, 1871-1918; characterized as enlightened despots who possessed overwhelming ambition. The Franconian lines of the family ultimately led to the unification of Germany and to the creation of the German Empire.   [back to text]
8 Gertrude Wilkinson Stone (1869-?) Teacher. Gertrude spent time in Chicago, Omaha, Nebraska, and Tryon, North Carolina. She and Elia had a very close relationship; both sisters had retirement homes on Godshaw Hill in Tryon.   [back to text]
9 Kathleen C. Wilkinson Trask (1871-1943). Kate assisted her father in his publishing business; she and her husband lived in Chicago before retiring in Saugatuck, Michigan. Elia and Kate did not have a close relationship; Elia indicates that Kate was jealous because of their different lifestyles.   [back to text]
10 delaine: a lightweight dress fabric of wool or wool and cotton made in prints or solid colors.   [back to text]
11 This incident is also discussed in Peattie’s autobiography, Painted Windows, published by George H. Doran Company in 1918.   [back to text]
12 St. Vitus' dance: A nervous disorder having as common features involuntary uncontrollable purposeless movements of body and face and marked incoordination of limbs.   [back to text]
13 From Ralph Waldo Emerson's Society and Solitude "Civilization" 1870.   [back to text]
14 John Wellborn Root (1850-1891) American architect. A partner of D. H. Burnham in Chicago.   [back to text]
15 Enoch Ward (1854-1925) Illustrator. Ward illustrated The Queen, Black and White, The Ludgate Monthly, and The Pall Mall Magazine to name a few of his British associations. He and Elia remained life-long friends.   [back to text]
16 fascinators: a woman's light head scarf usually of crochet or lace.   [back to text]
17 A variation of the putting-out or giving-out system whereby individuals, usually women, worked at their homes for piece-work rates. Cott says this changed the economical status of New England women of the 1800s (25).   [back to text]
18 Bertha Wilkinson Horlock (1877-?). Bertha often lived with the Peatties and helped to care for the children and run the house; she is especially visible during the years the Peatties lived in Omaha, Nebraska. She and Elia had an intimate sisterly relationship throughout their lives.   [back to text]
19 The Lady of Lyons: 1838 romantic comedy by Bulwer Lytton in which a beautiful socialite is duped into marrying the gardener’s son. It is a story about the vanities and pretensions of class.   [back to text]
20 Chartist: Refers to Chartism, the principles and practices of a body of 19th century English political reformers advocating better social and industrial conditions for the working classes.   [back to text]
21 erysipelas: An acute inflammation of the subcutaneous tissues.   [back to text]
22 Elia’s father did not approve of Robert quitting the Western News Company and when he heard that he had become a reporter, he asked, “What’s the matter? Can’t he get a regular job? While a “regular job” was $10.00 a week in a bank or book store, Robert recalls gaining his respect with a salary of $25.00 as a reporter. (The Story of Robert Burns Peattie, Ed by Mark Peattie et al 20).   [back to text]
23 Hazel Wilkinson Pratt (1882-?). Little is known about Hazel; she and Elia did not have a close relationship, probably due to the differences in their ages.   [back to text]
24 Little Buttercup: From Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore, 1878. Poll Pineapple was given ironically the nick-name by the crew because she did not look like a buttercup--she dressed outlandishly and sold ribbons, laces, and other luxuries on board the ship.   [back to text]
25 Robert Wilson Patterson (1850-1910) managing editor of the Chicago Tribune.   [back to text]
26 Emma Payne Erskine would later become Peattie’s friend and mother-in-law to her daughter Barbara.   [back to text]
27 Lorado Taft (1860-1936) Sculptor, lecturer, and author. He studied in Paris before returning to Chicago; one of the first to hire women sculptors. His book History of American Sculptor was the first survey published.   [back to text]
28 Fred Richardson First instructor of illustration and advertising at the School of Art Institute, Chicago. Trained at the St. Louis School of Art and in Paris, he was also an illustrator for the Chicago Daily News.   [back to text]
29 The Pictorial Story of America: Containing the Romantic Incidents of History, From the Discovery of America to the Present Time (1890) published in Chicago by National Publishing Company.   [back to text]
30 Edward McPhelim (1861-?) A member of the Tribune staff who worked as reporter and drama critic; brother to writer Kate McPhelim Cleary.   [back to text]
31 Vance Thompson (1863-1925) Author, playwright.   [back to text]
32 Harry B. Smith (1860-1936) Librettist, book collector, author; sometimes co-authored with Robert Burns Peattie at the Tribune.   [back to text]
33 Paul Potter (1853-1921) Dramatist, playwright; joined the Tribune staff in 1888.   [back to text]
34 Eugene Field (1850-1895) American poet and journalist. He served as best man at the wedding of Elia and Robert Peattie and wrote for Elia a poem, "Return of the Highlander" to commemorate the occasion (attached as Exhibit II.)   [back to text]
35 Dr. Frank Reilly (1863-1932) Publisher.   [back to text]
36 Slason Thompson (1849-1935) A conservative journalist, author, and press agent. One of the founders of the Chicago Herald 1881.   [back to text]
37 George Bell (1879-1948) Agriculturist.   [back to text]
38 Fred Hall City Editor for the Tribune.   [back to text]
39 General Benjamin Franklin Butler (1818-93) American politician, Union general, and Republican Congressman.   [back to text]
40 Dame Ellen Alicia Terry (1848-1928) English actress and Shakespearean lecturer; made Dame of the British Empire in 1925.   [back to text]
41 Emma Goldman (1869-1940) American anarchist born in Russia. She helped to publish the anarchist paper Mother Earth; imprisoned in 1916 for advocating birth control, and in 1917 for obstructing the draft.   [back to text]
42 Kate Field (1838-1896) Wrote editorials for the Times of London before joining the New York Herald staff as a reporter and critic.   [back to text]
43 Rosina Vokes (1858-1894) One of a family of comedy actors in Britain.   [back to text]
44 Dion Boucicault (1822-1890) English dramatist, actor, and writer of farce, comedy and melodrama. Of Irish descent, he came to the United States in 1853.   [back to text]
45 Mary Kinkaid was a journalist who lived frequently with the Peatties; sometimes they stayed with her.   [back to text]
46 Clara Elizabeth Laughlin (1873-1941) American writer. Laughlin and Peattie along with Clara Burnham, Willa Cather, Alice Gerstenberg, and Edith Wyatt have been dubbed "Willa Cather's Lost Chicago Sisters" by Sidney H. Bremer. Guest Book notes: "Together with Louise Hackney we formed the Cordon, the society for professional women which has not attained enduring success…[h]er industry and adaptability are enormous" (431). Chicago women writers were denied membership in the Cliff Dwellers Club, the all male club started by Hamlin Garland.   [back to text]
47 The Judge (1890) Published in Chicago by Rand McNally. The heroine is caught in a conflict between her fiancée and father; country isolation is contrasted to a working-class Chicago neighborhood.   [back to text]
48 guidebook: A Journey Through Wonderland: or, The Pacific Northwest and Alaska, With a Description of the Country Traversed by the Northern Pacific Railroad. Chicago: Rand McNally & Co, c., 1890.   [back to text]
49 Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) French actress, painter, poet, sculptress, and playwright. "The queen" of the French stage in romantic and classical tragedy.   [back to text]
50 Lillie Langtry (1852-1929) English actress known as the Jersey Lily. Toured the U.S. in 1882. One of her memorable roles was in The Lady of Lyons, mentioned earlier.   [back to text]
51 Sitka City in SE Alaska, in the Alexander Archipelago, on the west side of Baranof Island. It was founded in 1799 as New Archangel by Aleksandr Baranov who later changed the name to Sitka. Sitka remained the capital of Alaska until 1900.   [back to text]
52 Baranov Aleksandr Alexeyevich (1746-1819) Russian trader, chief figure in the days of Russian control in Alaska. He was known for his firm rule in discouraging situations, his keen business sense and his dogged, albeit melancholy, determination.   [back to text]
53 Muir Glacier: Part of what became in 1925 the Glacier Bay National Monument. Among the most famous of the glaciers in the bay is Muir Glacier, c. 2 mi. wide and c. 265 ft. high.   [back to text]
54 Ellensburg: City in central Washington.   [back to text]
55 Coeur d'Alene: Located in Northern Idaho. Famous for its connection to the Western Federation of Miners which possessed a reputation for violent strikes and militant action, Coeur d'Alene may provide the setting for the miners' strike in The Precipice.   [back to text]
56 Mary Hallock Foote (1847-1938) American author who wrote novels and stories of life in the West, many of which she illustrated, including Coeur d'Alene (1894).   [back to text]
57 “Up in the Gulch” tells the story of the invalid Kate, who goes West with her father-in-law to regain her health. Left alone, she is rescued from a large dog by Peter Roeder, a rough miner, who has struck it rich up in the gulch. Roeder, now bejeweled and decked out in his finest, albeit not so tasteful, clothing, falls in love with Kate. Upon learning that she is married and has children, he offers her $200,000. to stay with him. Kate rejects his offer telling him, “we are not the same.” Roeder declares that he will return to the gulch and is last seen, as Kate’s homeward bound train departs, waving his monogrammed handkerchief.   [back to text]
58 The death of her daughter Barbara.   [back to text]
59 Gilbert Monell Hitchcock (1859-1934) Owner of Omaha's Evening World. Shortly after the Peatties went to work for the Omaha Herald, Hitchcock purchased the newspaper and combined the two papers into the World Herald.   [back to text]
60 Bessie Higgins Sullivan (1876-?) Journalist, author, horticulturist. Nebraska born, she worked as department editor and special feature writer for the Omaha Bee and later wrote for several Chicago daily papers and published articles on horticulture. She wrote short stories, such as “Out of the West,” often under her maiden name, and was active in the suffrage and settlement house movements.   [back to text]
61 Mariam Chase Ford Forman married Henry James Forman, the editor and author.   [back to text]
62 Julius Sterling Morton (1832-1902) American cabinet officer who settled in Nebraska in 1854. He founded the pioneer Nebraska City News and became territorial secretary (1858-61). In 1872 he originated Arbor Day for tree planting. Morton served as secretary of agriculture (1893-97) under Grover Cleveland. The Morton home site in Nebraska City is now a state park and consists of the mansion, the Arbor Day Farm, and Lied Conference Center.   [back to text]
63 Csar Auguste Franck (1822-1890) Organist, composer, and music teacher of Belgian origin. One of the great figures in classical music in France.   [back to text]
64 The Woman’s Club of Beatrice was organized September 29, 1894.   [back to text]
65 Frances M. Ford (1854-1956) Editor of the North-Western Monthly, a publication produced by the professors at the University of Nebraska in conjunction with the Woman’s Club; elected to serve as the first President of the Omaha Woman’s Club, 1893. Active in the General Federation of Women's Clubs, Ford was elected to serve on the nine-member board of directors in 1896 and 1897.   [back to text]
66 start a club: the formation of the Omaha Woman’s Club. According to J. C. Croly, the movement began with a few women in the spring of 1893; at the April 9th meeting, Ford discussed the work of the Orange [New Jersey] Woman’s Club and Peattie discussed the work of the Chicago Woman’s Club (785). In November 1894, in Stromsburg, a small town south of Omaha, Peattie, was the guest of honor and gave a “parlor talk” which “proved a great help and inspiration in the club work” (788).   [back to text]
67 According to Croly the club movement in Nebraska grew rapidly, and in December, 1894, a convention was held in Omaha to organize a State Federation, auxiliary to the General Federation. Peattie read a paper entitled “The Moral Utility of Federation” and was elected vice-president with Mrs. James Canfield elected to serve as president (773). The following year, when the State Federation held its annual meeting at Lincoln, Peattie presided over the meeting in the absence of Canfield (776).   [back to text]
68 Croly notes that in 1895 “an important committee, that on the ‘traveling library,’ was appointed” and the following year the library received “a considerable enlargement” (776). She says, in 1898, “A federation library, under the management of Mrs. Elia W. Peattie, is of great advantage to those clubs which do not have access to public libraries. Its well-chosen books are sent out on the travelling-library plan, circulating from club to club as soon as read,” By 1898, there were 70 clubs in the State Federation. (776, 779).   [back to text]
69 Cindy Steinhoff Drake, Library Curator for the Nebraska State Historical Society, states: "It is unfortunate that Mrs. Peattie thought in 1929 that the books were not being used since even in the 1960's the Commission was rotating three month loans of books from the basement of the Capitol to libraries all across the state" (Letter to Joan Falcone, Aug 22, 1997).   [back to text]
70 William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925) Political leader. An Illinois native, Bryan graduated from Illinois College in Jacksonville and studied law at Union Law College in Chicago. He practiced law in Jacksonville from 1883-1887 when he moved to Lincoln, Nebraska. Although he lost the 1894 election, he would run two more times as the Democratic Party nominee for President; he was known for his good looks, deep, commanding voice and oratory skills. From 1894-96 he worked as Editor in Chief of the Omaha World-Herald.   [back to text]
71 Adelina Patti (1843-1919) Famous 19th Century operatic coloratura. Born in Italy but raised in New York, she was known for her good looks and pure voice; she performed all over the world causing popular frenzy wherever she went, although she was known for singing the same songs. She also took on acting roles.   [back to text]
72 Thomas Henry Tibbles (1840-1928) Abolitionist, circuit-riding preacher, newspaper correspondent; became assistant editor Omaha's The Herald in 1879; founded The Independent at Lincoln, Nebraska, the national organ of the Populist Party. Arranged for a writ of habeas corpus to be brought by Standing Bear against Brigadier General George Crook--the result was that for the first time Native Americans were established as persons under the terms of the Fourteenth Amendment.   [back to text]
73 Free Silver: The free coinage of silver became a popular proposal in the United States soon after the panic of 1873. Inflationists failed to secure paper-money expansion and turned to silver believing its free coinage would serve their purpose as well as greenbacks so long as a silver dollar was worth intrinsically less than a gold dollar.   [back to text]
74 "The American Peasant" (1892) deals with the problems of the Western farmers. It became the mouthpiece for the Populist cause.   [back to text]
75 “Jim Lancy’s Waterloo” tells the story of a young idealistic Nebraska farmer, Jim, who brings his Chicago bride, Annie, to the farm. They might have been able to survive the natural disasters but cannot survive the railroads and banks who take more of their profits every year. Defeated by hard work and the loss of their child, Annie, no longer innocent about life on a Nebraska farm, returns to Chicago; a broken Jim ends up the town drunk who carries Annie’s silver thimble in his pocket as a reminder of what might have been.   [back to text]
76 Hamlin Garland (1860-1940) Author of several books and essays and a biography of U.S. Grant. Garland's 1899 novel, Rose of Dutcher's Coolly, is about Chicago.   [back to text]
77 Sidney Lanier (1842-81) Southern poet. The Lanier house can still be seen in Tryon, NC. In his honor, the women of Tryon started a club to support and fund a library, which evolved into the Lanier Library (Lanier Library 2). Today, it houses many of Lanier's works, and is the oldest civic organization in continuous operation in Tryon.   [back to text]
78 Henry George (1839-1897) Economist, founder of the single-tax movement, and newspaper man.   [back to text]
79 Zulime Taft Garland was better known for painting than sculpting; the couple had two children, Mary Isabel and Constance.   [back to text]
80 Mary Baird Bryan (1867-1930) Lawyer. Married William Jennings in 1884 and collaborated with him on his writings.   [back to text]
81 Willa Sibert Cather (1870-1947) Novelist and short-story writer. Born in Virginia, she moved to the Nebraska frontier when she was nine; many of her works deal with pioneering life in the Midwest during the 1880s and 90s. Like Peattie, she, too, worked as a journalist; Cather and Peattie would remain life-long friends.   [back to text]
82 Dorothy Canfield Fisher (1879-1958) American novelist and juvenile writer.   [back to text]
83 World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago, May-Nov 1893, in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.   [back to text]
84 Daniel Hudson Burnham (1846-1912) American architect and city-planner. With John W. Root he established in Chicago a partnership (1873) which gained many of the most important architectural commissions of the day.   [back to text]
85 Harriet Monroe (1860-1936) American editor, critic, and poet. Her founding in 1912 of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, which paid and encouraged both established and new poets, was a landmark in American literary history. Guest Book notes: she was a "poet, and encourager of poets and fine critic…Rather aloof, but a good friend" (417).   [back to text]
86 Mrs. Potter Palmer Bertha Honore Palmer (1849-1908). She became engaged to Potter Palmer when she was twenty-one and he was forty-four; their home, designed by Henry I. Cobb, was known as “the Castle” and served as the social center for Chicago. Bertha was Chair of the Board of Lady Managers for the Columbian Exposition.   [back to text]
87 Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823-1911) Author, scholar, Unitarian minister; one of the early leaders in the abolitionist movement. His Army Life in a Black Regiment (1870) recounts his experiences as colonel of the first regiment of African Americans in the Civil War.   [back to text]
88 Clara Doty Bates (1838-1895) especially known for her poems for children.   [back to text]
89 James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916) American poet known as the Hoosier Poet, also worked as a newspaperman; wrote poems in 1875 for the Indianapolis Journal under the pseudonym Benjamin F. Johnson of Boone.   [back to text]
90 Bright Eyes (INSHTATHEAMBA) (1854-1903). She was the daughter of Iron Eye, former head chief of the Omahas and second wife of Thomas Henry Tibbles. Her eyes mesmerized people: “They could smile, command, flash, plead, mourn, and play all sorts of tricks with anyone they lingered on,” says Tibbles (211). She traveled extensively lecturing about the plight of Native Americans. She illustrated Oo-Mah-Ha-Ta-Wa-Tha, a book about the Omaha Tribe.   [back to text]
91 Standing Bear (1868-1939) Author. Luther Standing Bear, a Lakota Sioux, attended the Carlisle Indian School; he is especially remembered for his criticism of a white man's "translation" of Sitting Bull's rendition of the Little Bighorn in My People the Sioux.   [back to text]
92 Annie Adams Fields (1834-1915) Author. Along with many other books, Fields published The Life and Letters of Harriet Beecher Stowe (1897) and Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett (1911). Married James Thomas Fields (1817-1881) Editor, publisher, and poet.   [back to text]
93 Minnehaha the mythic Native American woman, the lover of Hiawatha, from Longfellow's poem "The Song of Hiawatha (1855).   [back to text]
94 [Lydia Avery] Coonley-Ward (1845-1924) Author and poet; provided patronage for a number of artists. In 1903 she married Henry A. Ward, author.   [back to text]
95 Franklin Head (1835-1914) One of the officers and partners of Dole & Company, operated grain elevators; part of what had originally been Armour, Dole & Company.   [back to text]
96 Madeline Wynne (1847-1918) Author. Peattie wrote a poem, "To M. Y. W." in memory of Wynne. Guest Book notes: "She was beautiful to the day her death and more fascinating at nearly seventy than most women at twenty-seven" (403).   [back to text]
97 Ralph Clarkson (1861-1942). Studied art in Boston, traveled abroad, and came to Chicago in 1896 where he became famous. He was especially known for his portrait of Governor John Peter Altgeld. He was an instructor and governing member of the Art Institute, a founder of Eagle’s Nest Colony in Oregon, Illinois, and was one of the first to begin restoration of old homes in Chicago. His wife was Fanny Rose Calhoun.   [back to text]
98 John Tinney McCutcheon (1870-1949) American cartoonist. He was associated with the Chicago Record and Record-Herald and was with the Chicago Tribune from 1903-1945.   [back to text]
99 George Ade (1866-1944) Newspaper columnist, American humorist, and dramatist best known for Fables in Slang (1899). Worked at the Chicago Morning News where McCutcheon worked and wrote a column which McCutcheon illustrated.   [back to text]
100 Henry Blake Fuller (1857-1929) Novelist. Best known for his realistic studies of life in Chicago. He also wrote short stories, essays, and book reviews for the Chicago Record-Herald and book reviews for the Chicago Evening Post. Guest Book notes: " the most accomplished writer the Midwest has produced, a delicate satirist, a friendly, yet detached, man--always proud of our children, a constant attendant through all the years; he was a gentle ornament of many a dinner in the blue and white dining room" (403).   [back to text]
101 Chauncey Williams (1860-1936) A Wisconsin native and former advertiser, he became a partner in Williams and Way Publishing Company, which was established in 1895. Since there were a number of book sellers in Chicago at that time, Williams and Way set out to produce the finest books by the finest authors. The partnership dissolved in 1898.   [back to text]
102 The River Forest house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is Queen Anne style with a steeply-pitched roof and dormers; its rock foundation is made of boulders, said to have been hauled up from the river by Williams and Way.   [back to text]
103 Washington Irving Way (1853-1931) of Williams and Way Publishing Company. A Canadian by birth, Way was a railroad executive who loved books and began selling them in 1892 in his company, W. Irving Way, Publisher and Seller of Books. When Williams and Way dissolved, he returned to his original firm.   [back to text]
104 Standing Bull perhaps Peattie means Sitting Bull; Standing Bull was killed earlier in a battle with the Flatheads (Vestal 122). Further, Donald Culross Peattie discusses his mother going, as a reporter, into the prison tent of Sitting Bull (90).   [back to text]
105 The group of ghost stories centers around a story called “The Shape of Fear” where Tim O’Connor, a poet and enthusiast at birth, is designed for the priesthood by his mother. Despite looking physically like the Apostle John, he began associating with men who “talked of art for art’s sake” and drew him into a life of debauchery. Then, he began seeing a shape, of soft, pure white as “mild as mother’s milk.” It was the shape of fear--“compounded of the good” that O’Connor might have done. It followed him to the “mad house” where he died “patiently and sweetly.”   [back to text]
106 Dr. Sarah Hackett Stevenson (1841-1909) Graduated 1863 from the State Normal University in Normal, Illinois and studied in London with Thomas Huxley. She began her Chicago practice in 1875 becoming the first woman appointed to the Illinois State Board of Health by Gov. Altgeld, 1893. She served as president of the Chicago Woman's Club during the World's Fair, 1893, and advocated the admission of African Americans into the movement. In an 1895 interview with the Chicago Tribune, Stevenson publicly prescribed bicycling for "nervous" women along with a proper costume, like bloomers, which she said should not be considered "immodest or immoral" (39).   [back to text]
107 Elizabeth Culross Peattie and John Peattie Sr. are buried in Chicago's Graceland Cemetery.   [back to text]
108 Milward Adams Manager of the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago which opened under his management in December 1889.   [back to text]
109 The Fortnightly: Founded 1873. Peattie joined in 1898. Her 1913 “Toast to the Fortnightly” is often repeated. (Attached as Exhibit III.)   [back to text]
110 Guest Book notes: Mary Knowles Bartlett [was] a vivid creature, the inimitable teller of tales, one who ate of life "as if t'were fruit," and a friend to the end (403-04). Peattie's epitaph reads: "She ate of life as if t'were fruit."   [back to text]
111 Ralph Clarkson (1861-1942) Portrait painter. Married to Fanny Rose Calhoun. Born and reared in New England, Clarkson traveled abroad before coming to Chicago in 1896. The Clarksons kept a summer home in Oregon, Illinois.   [back to text]
112 Anna Morgan (1851-1936) Author. Her most notable work, My Chicago 1918, includes a discussion of both Elia and Robert Peattie. Guest Book notes: "a friend to the end, one of the first teachers of dramatic art in Chicago, and a valorous innovator…still a picturesque figure in Chicago life though she has given over her teaching" (403).   [back to text]
113 Eve Brodlique H. Summers (1867-1949) Dramatic Critic.   [back to text]
114 Boutet de Monvel Louis Maurice (1851-1913) French painter, writer, illustrator; author of Jeanne d'Arc.   [back to text]
115 Maybelle Evelyn Taliaferro (1887-1941) Actress and author. She toured the United States, England, and Australia. Taliarferro came to Chicago starring in The New Henrietta (1914) and in The Banker's Wife (1915).   [back to text]
116 Granger Probably Alfred Hoyt Granger (1867-1939) Architect. He formed several Chicago partnerships including Charles S. Frost 1898 and Granger & Bollenbacher 1919. Among his many projects were La Salle Street and C&N.W. railway terminals.   [back to text]
117 Bents Probably Stephen Vincent Bent (1898-1943) Author. His poetry John Brown's Body (1928) and Western Star (1943) won Pulitzer prizes. Married Rosemary Carr.   [back to text]
118 Martha [Foote] Crow (1854-1924) Author, Assistant Professor of English Literature, University of Chicago 1892-1900, and Dean of Women at Northwestern University 1900-05.   [back to text]
119 Hobart Chatfield-Taylor (1865-1945) Author. Married Rose Farwell, who died in 1918, and Estelle Barbour Stillman.   [back to text]
120 Fanny Bloomfield Zeisler (1863-1927) Pianist. Zeisler played in principal American cities and toured Germany, England, Austria and France.   [back to text]
121 Maude Radford Warren (1875-1934) Author. War correspondent 1916-19; Special Correspondent for the Saturday Evening Post in Near East 1919-20.   [back to text]
122 Ottelie Lillien Krantz Author.   [back to text]
123 Rex Beach (1877-1949) Author. Married Edith Crater Beach.   [back to text]
124 Henry Webster (1875-1932) Novelist.   [back to text]
125 Oliver Dennett Grover (1861-1927) Artist. He kept a studio in Chicago and was especially known for his mural paintings. In 1892, he received the first Yerkes Prize for his painting "Thy Will Be Done."   [back to text]
126 Bertha Evelyn Jacques (1863-1941) Author, poet--especially known for children's poems.   [back to text]
127 Wallers Probably James and Sarah J. Given Waller who lived on N. Astor Street. James Waller was a lawyer who joined his father in the real estate business. He was chair of the board for Waller & Beckwith Realty Co and President of Waller Co-operative Bureau. Waller also served as city committeeman and alderman.   [back to text]
128 Gregorie Probably Stephen Strong Gregory (1849-1920) Lawyer. He was a member of various law firms in Chicago and eventually formed Gregory and McNab. He served as special counsel for the city of Chicago before the Supreme Court of the United States in the Lake Front case; he defended the conspiracy case against Eugene Debs.   [back to text]
129 Alexander Stevenson perhaps the republican representative in the state legislature.   [back to text]
130 Mrs. John Root Dora Monroe.   [back to text]
131 wheel: bicycle   [back to text]
132 Edward Cahill Peattie (1884-1963) Engineer, entrepreneur.   [back to text]
133 Danersk Company Ralph Erskine’s furniture company.   [back to text]
134 Barbara Peattie Erskine (1885-1915) Lecturer and poet. Barbara's poems were collected and published by her husband under the title The Little Poems of Barbara Erskine, 1916. Peattie seems to have excluded this “chapter” from the rest of the manuscript and simply entitled it “Barbara”. For continuity, I am placing it in the position of her birth order.   [back to text]
135 Patterson has now become editor in chief of the Chicago Tribune.   [back to text]
136 Both works that Peattie discusses here, “The Judge” and A Journey Through Wonderland: or, The Pacific Northwest and Alaska, With a Description of the Country Traversed by the Northern Pacific Railroad were published in 1890 by Rand McNally and Company.   [back to text]
137 Kate McPhelim Cleary (1863-1905) Novelist and poet. Like Peattie, Cleary moved to Nebraska (1884) from Chicago and added extra money to her large family’s budget through writing. She, too, would later return to Chicago (c. 1898) and would write stories influenced by her Western experience. The two women shared a close friendship for the remainder of their lives.   [back to text]
138 Senator Hitchcock: Probably Senator Gilbert Monell Hitchcock.   [back to text]
139 Now married to Henry James Forman (1879-1966) Author, reporter, and staff correspondent for New York Sun, editor for Literary Digest, North American Review and Colliers. Reviewed books for the New York Times.   [back to text]
140 Henry Morrison Flagler (1830-1913) American financier who organized the Florida East Coast Railway and built the Flagler Hotel, now the campus of beautiful Flagler College in St. Augustine.   [back to text]
141 Ralph Child Erskine (1881-1956) Entrepreneur, founder and owner of the Danersk Company which made furniture. Husband to Barbara Peattie; they would have three sons.   [back to text]
142 Emma Payne Erskine (1854-1924) Novelist and clubwoman.   [back to text]
143 According to the unpublished autobiography of Susan Erskine Rogers, lent by R. Anderson Haynes, the distinguished guest was "Mrs. Charlotte Perkins Statson Gilbert." Erskine Rogers remembers that her father asked who was coming and upon learning the name of the guest proclaimed: "I won't have a woman who advocates divorce in this house" (30).   [back to text]
144 The Erskine estate was known as The Oaks.   [back to text]
145 Susan Erskine Rodgers (1889-1983) married Carroll Rodgers; her unpublished autobiography is well written and insightful.   [back to text]
146 Violet Erskine Parish-Watson Married Mac Parish-Watson. Her home "The Castle" still in Tryon, as does the Fine Arts Building which she donated to the city.   [back to text]
147 Harold Perry Erskine (1879-1951).   [back to text]
148 Malcolm Edwin Erskine (1888-?)   [back to text]
149 Mimosa Hotel: Still in operation in Tryon.   [back to text]
150 Lynncote: The beautiful estate remains in the Erskine family.   [back to text]
151 The General Federation met in Los Angeles for its Sixth Biennial Convention, May 1-8, 1902.   [back to text]
152 Martha Foote Crow (1854-1924) Educationist.   [back to text]
153 Charles Robert Erskine (1907-?) married Elizabeth Andrea Law.   [back to text]
154 Malcolm Edward Erskine (1910-1932) married Sallie Fuller.   [back to text]
155 The Villa Barbara is still beautiful and remains in the Erskine family.   [back to text]
156 Ralph Child Erskine, Jr. (1912-?).   [back to text]
157 It was my delight to be invited to give a lecture at the Lanier Library and to find that the Barbara Peattie "monument" still exists.   [back to text]
158 Roderick Peattie (1891-1955) University professor and author. His autobiography, The Incurable Romantic, was published by Macmillan in 1941. He describes Elia's peaceful death and the family's celebration of her life.   [back to text]
159 New York: Robert accepted a position with the New York Tribune in 1917.   [back to text]
160 Eagle’s Nest Camp was, from 1898-1942, a gathering place where artists could read, write, collaborate, and enjoy each other’s friendship. It was established on land belonging to Wallace Heckman.   [back to text]
161 Newton Booth Tarkington (1869-1946) American author. His most notable works are novels dealing with life in small Middle Western cities. Several novels deal with boyhood and adolescence.   [back to text]
162 Black Hawk statue: Unveiled July 1, 1911 at Eagle’s Nest Camp, Oregon, Illinois, the massive monument stands 60' high above the Rock River. The statue itself is 44' high and was designed by Lorado Taft who used Hamlin Garland for his model. Elia Peattie delivered the dedication speech.   [back to text]
163 Chateau Thierry: town in Northern France, in Champagne, on the Marne. During the second battle of the Marne (1918), in which the last German offensive was stopped mainly by U.S. troops, Chateau Thierry was one of the focal points.   [back to text]
164 Kreisler Probably Fritz Kreisler. Austrian-American who studied medicine, art, and the violin. He served briefly in the Austrian army in the First World War.   [back to text]
165 Roderick Elia Peattie (1918- ).   [back to text]
166 Rhone River: flows 500 miles through Switzerland and France.   [back to text]
167 Anne Peattie (1921- ).   [back to text]
168 Michael Ransom Peattie (1929- ). The original manuscript was finished in January 1929, and Peattie is updating it. This is the same Michael who, along with his wife Mary Alice, has generously shared his photographs. Michael’s daughter, Peggy, is also a journalist and author.   [back to text]
169 See Chapter 2, Eraphroditus Ransom.   [back to text]
170 Donald Culross Peattie (1898-1964) Botanist, naturalist, author. In his autobiography, The Road of a Naturalist, Donald recalls awaking in the middle of the night to hear the endless clacking of Elia's typewriter. Donald married another prolific writer, Louise Heegard Redfield, whose unpublished memoirs provide a wonderful picture of early Chicago.   [back to text]
171 Dr. Henry Hopkins (1837-1908) President of Williams College 1902-1908.   [back to text]
172 Mary Elizabeth Sandifer Stevenson managed the Inn from 1903-1909.   [back to text]
173 Log Cabin Inn: built prior to 1903 by Frank Stearns of Cleveland, Ohio, the Log Cabin Inn, was a retreat for several prominent people. Tyron Mountain served as the subject for one of Peattie's poems, "These Be the Mountains That Comfort Me."   [back to text]
174 Olive Tilford Dargan (1869-1968) Playwright from North Carolina.   [back to text]
175 Elysium or Elysian fields: In Greek religion, happy otherworld for heroes favored by the gods.   [back to text]
176 Thomas Buchanan Read (1822-1872) Poet, artist, portrait painter, and sculptor.   [back to text]
177 Robert Redfield (1897-1958) Anthropologist, sociologist, and author.   [back to text]
178 Louise Redfield Peattie (1900-1965) Author; wife of Donald Culross Peattie.   [back to text]
179 Charles Breasted Son of James Henry Breasted, Egyptologist, orientalist, and historian.   [back to text]
180 Barrett Spach (1898-?) Pianist.   [back to text]
181 Bertha Drier Redfield wife of Robert Redfield, Sr. who later married Paul Willer Peterson.   [back to text]
182 Robert Redfield, Sr. (1870-1921).   [back to text]
183 Edward Scott Beck (1868-1942) Journalist. Held many positions with the Chicago Tribune including managing editor and assistant editor-in-chief.   [back to text]
184 George Henry Doran (1869-1956) Publisher.   [back to text]
185 Margaret McCullar Erskine married Barbara Peattie Erskine's husband, Ralph, after Barbara's death in 1915.   [back to text]
186 Refers to the death of their daughter, Celia Louise (1924-28).   [back to text]
187 Malcolm Redfield Peattie (1927- ). Donald and Louise Redfield Peattie would have two other sons: Mark Robert Peattie (1930- ). Professor, author. Dr. Peattie currently works at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University, and Noel Roderick Peattie (1932- ). Librarian, publisher, and author. Retired from the University of California, Davis.   [back to text]
188 Shadrach Bond first governor of the State of Illinois, 1818-1822.   [back to text]
189 The term “South Shore” came into usage after the turn of the century and was used, for commercial and real estate purposes, to designate the amalgam of several old neighborhoods, among them Windsor Park, where the Peatties lived, and this previously undeveloped land became premium real estate, according to “South Shore Community Records, 1839-1978.”   [back to text]
190 Hull House: Settlement house founded in 1890 by Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Star. They purchased and renovated a house in the center of Chicago’s tenement district that had once belonged to Chicago pioneer Charles J. Hull. It was the model for the 100 settlement houses that would follow by 1900.   [back to text]
191 Northwestern Settlement: Established 1891 by Dr. Charles Zueblin.   [back to text]
192 Jane Addams (1860-1935) Social reformer, lecturer, and author.   [back to text]
193 Mary Eliza McDowell (1854-1936) Reformer. Head of another settlement house, the Chicago University Settlement.   [back to text]
194 Jeannette Leonard Gilder (1849-1916) Editor, critic, and playwright. Founded The Critic, New York, 1881 and served as its editor 1881-1906.   [back to text]
195 James Henry Breasted (1865-1935) Egyptologist, orientalist, and historian.   [back to text]
196 Wallace Heckman (1851-1927) Chicago attorney; married Caroline Howe.   [back to text]
197 Rose Farwell Chatfield-Taylor (1869-1918) Author, bookbinder, suffragist.   [back to text]
198 Thompson-Seton Ernest Thompson Seton (1860-1946) Naturalist, artist, and author.   [back to text]
199 Ada Bartlett Taft (1869-1950) wife of Lorado Taft.   [back to text]
200 Frank Orren Lowden (1861-1943) American political leader. He practiced law in Chicago after 1887; gained extensive land holdings in Illinois; served in the U.S. House of Representatives (1906-11), and as Governor of Illinois (1917-21).   [back to text]
201 President Harry Pratt Judson (1849-1927) Educator, historian. Served as President, University of Chicago from 1907-1923.   [back to text]
202 Emily Taft Douglas (1899-?) Congresswoman-at-large for Illinois; at the end of the war, she served as the only woman on a “seven-man” committee to study UNRRA in Europe.   [back to text]
203 Taft Douglas was active in amateur theatricals at the University of Chicago and, after graduation, toured the South and Midwest as the lead in "The Cat and the Canary" and continued until she reached Broadway.   [back to text]
204 Loie Fuller (1862-1928).   [back to text]
205 Black Hawk War of 1832.   [back to text]
206 Elaine Goodale Eastman (1863-1948) Poet and author.   [back to text]
207 The White Pine Forest is located near Oregon, Illinois.   [back to text]
208 Ellen Martin Henrotin (1847-1922) Feminist and author; presented papers at several congresses of the Columbian Exposition of 1893; served as President of the General Federation of Women's Clubs 1894-1896; served as a delegate to the Paris Exposition in 1900; and was made honorary president of the G.F.W.C. in 1904.   [back to text]
209 Spanish Princess Eulalia Known as "the cigarette-smoking" Infanta Eulalia, this incident is discussed in Notable American Women's article on Bertha Palmer.   [back to text]
210 Susan Brownell Anthony (1820-1906) American reformer and leader of the woman-suffrage movement.   [back to text]
211 Agnes Ripplier (1859-1950) Essayist.   [back to text]
212 Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (1844-1911) Author.   [back to text]
213 Louise Chandlier Moulton (1835-1908) Poet and prose writer.   [back to text]
214 General Federation of Women's Clubs, Los Angeles was the Sixth Biennial Convention, May 1-8, 1902. Education was a primary interest.   [back to text]
215 Alice Bradford Wiles Strong advocate for better education from kindergarten to the university level.   [back to text]
216 Woman’s Clubs were each comprised of several departments, and members served in at least one department.   [back to text]
217 General Harrison Gray Otis (1837-1917) Brigadier General in the Civil War.   [back to text]
218 Charles Fletcher Lummis (1859-1928) Author; founder and editor of Out West Magazine 1894-1909; librarian of Los Angeles Public Library 1905-1910.   [back to text]
219 Ide Meachams Strowbridge (1855-?) Author.   [back to text]
220 Mary Hunter Austin (1868-1934) Essayist, novelist, playwright.   [back to text]
221 Katherine Putnam Hooker (1849-?) author. The books of which Peattie speaks are: Wayfarers in Italy, Byways in Southern Tuscany, and Through the Heel of Italy.   [back to text]
222 Dunwandrin: The Peattie retirement home in Tryon, SC.   [back to text]
223 This western landscape, and the early people who peopled it, influenced several of her works but are especially reflected in The Precipice. It is the strength of the West that inspires the protagonist, Kate Barrington, while standing on a precipice, to demand equal rights in her forthcoming marriage. Kate demands her own religion, politics, taste, and direction of self-development—above all her own money (208).   [back to text]
224 Mary Jane Hawes Wilmarth (1837-1919) One of the first trustees of Hull House, active in the women's club movement.   [back to text]
225 Pope St. Pius X 1903-1914.   [back to text]
226 George William Breck (1863-1920) Author and children's poet.   [back to text]
227 Elihu Vedder (1836-1923) Author, painter, and illustrator.   [back to text]
228 “The Trinity” was published in Harper’s Bazaar in July 1909.   [back to text]
229 Julius C. Rolshoven (1858-1930) American portrait and landscape painter.   [back to text]
230 Rolshoven's estate was known as Viale Michelangelo.   [back to text]
231 Frank Brangwyn (1867-1956) English author and painter.   [back to text]
232 Florence Dombey the children's poet.   [back to text]
233 This scene likely influenced The Precipice, where Chicago suffragists marched advocating a “new revolution” (91).   [back to text]
234 Similarly in The Precipice, when English suffragists demonstrate violently, Kate reminds her audience that it is “decent women” who are revolting: “Revolutions have got us almost everything we have that is really worth while in the way of personal liberty...” (203).   [back to text]
235 May Sinclair (1863-1946) Children's poet and author.   [back to text]
236 Mary Catherwood (1847-1902) Novelist.   [back to text]
237 Walter Hines Page (1855-1918) Journalist and diplomat from North Carolina.   [back to text]
238 MacDowell Colony, Petersboro, New Hampshire; founded 1908 by Marian Newins MacDowell as a workshop for musicians and writers.   [back to text]
239 Edwin Arlinghton Robinson (1869-1935) Poet.   [back to text]
240 John Erskine (1879-1951) Educator, critic, novelist, and poet.   [back to text]
241 Judge Russell Ostrander (1851-1919).   [back to text]
242 In The Precipice dark haired, spirited Kate Barrington is described as physically strong and agile at five feet ten inches, unafraid, and “beautiful but not related to sex.” She expects “to play a straight game” (13). Having just finished her degree in psychology, she describes herself as “like a runner who has trained for a race. . .” (16).   [back to text]
243 Anita Parkhurst (1892-1984) Known for her beautiful prints and posters.   [back to text]
244 The Cordon Club: Peattie and other Chicago women founded this club when women authors were denied membership in the all-male Cliff Dwellers Club.   [back to text]
245 Midway Studios: Known for attracting the intellectual thinkers from nearby University of Chicago.   [back to text]
246 Anna Morgan's Studio: Morgan taught elocution and dramatic art, and the studio was used for play rehearsals.   [back to text]
247 Horace Hawes Martin (1855-1925) Chicago attorney; trustee of the Newberry Library and, for many years, a member of its book committee.   [back to text]
248 Tiffany Blake (1870-1943) Editorial writer for Colliers Weekly.   [back to text]
249 Dr. Arthur Elliott Author and chemist.   [back to text]
250 probably Charles Francis Browne Chicago author, member of The Little Room.   [back to text]
251 probably James Keeley (1867-1934) Editor of the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Herald.   [back to text]
252 Margaret C. Anderson (1892-1973) Editor. Founded The Little Review in Chicago which she later moved to New York, then to Paris.   [back to text]
253 Maxwell Bodenheim (1893-1954) Poet and novelist.   [back to text]
254 Harry Hansen (1884-1977) Literary editor, at the Chicago Daily News and the New York World, and author of eleven books. The book to which Peattie refers is Midwest Portraits, published 1923.   [back to text]
255 Arnold Bennett (1867-1931) English novelist, dramatist, and playwright. He also edited the magazine Woman and wrote literary reviews and articles.   [back to text]
256 "Sun-Up": A 1923 play by Lulu Vollmer which deals with a widow's conflict with legal authorities in the mountains of North Carolina.   [back to text]
257 Burton Rascoe (1892-1949) Editor and author. While his 1937 autobiography, Before I Forget, gives favorable and insightful discussion of Robert, both personally and professionally, he devalues Elia's accomplishments and her criticism of Theodore Dreiser as being “shrill, vituperative, and vindictive.” His sexist characterization of her as a "formidable bluestocking" who "ran the literary roost in Chicago," provides a glimpse into the male world of journalism at the turn of the century (323-24).   [back to text]
258 Martha Bensley Bruere (1879-1953) Author and children's poet.   [back to text]
259 Edward Scott Beck (1868-1942) Assistant editor in chief at the Chicago Tribune; married Grace Kennicott Redfield.   [back to text]
260 Peattie remained very active in her Tryon years; she lectured regularly at the Lanier Library, and throughout the state, worked on educational and health issues, and continued to write. Her poems still appear in the Tryon Daily Bulletin to commemorate special occasions: “These Be the Mountains That Comfort Me,” “Trade Street,” and “The Song of Tryon” (The Tryon School song written in 1923).   [back to text]
261 The place and date appear at the end of the “Barbara” chapter which was originally a separate manuscript and much longer than the other chapters on the Peattie children; the date may indicate that Peattie wrote that chapter last.   [back to text]

Cott, Nancy Falik. The Bonds of Womanhood: Woman’s Sphere in New England, 1780-1835. New Haven: Yale UP, 1977.

Croly, Mrs. J[ennie] C[unningham]. The History of the Woman’s Club Movement in America. New York: Henry G. Allen & Co., 1898.

“Discuss the Bloomer: Prominent Women of Advanced Ideas Give Their Opinions.” Chicago Tribune. 8 Sep. 1895, Sunday ed. 39.

Drake, Cindy Steinhoff. Letter to Joan Falcone. 22 August 1997.

The Lanier Library 1890-1965. Tryon, NC: Privately Printed, 1965.

Peattie, Donald Culross. The Road of a Naturalist. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1941.

Peattie, Robert Burns. “The Story of Robert Burns Peattie.” Unpublished memoir, 1929. Lent by Mark R. Peattie.

---. “The Story of Robert Burns Peattie.” Unpublished memoir, 1929. Edited and Annotated by Mark R. Peattie, Noel R. Peattie, Alice R. Peattie. Lent by Mark R. Peattie.

Rascoe, Burton. Before I Forget. New York: Literary Guild of America, 1937.

Rogers, Susan Erskine. “The Autobiography of Susan Erskine Rogers.” Unpublished memoir, 1929. Lent by R. Anderson Haynes.

Sobel, Robert and John Raime, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States 1789-1978. Westport: Meckler Books, 1978.

“South Shore Community Records, 1839-1978.” Chicago Public Library. 01 Feb 2007 http://www.chipublib.org/008subject/012special/sscc.html.

Tibbles, Thomas Henry. Buckskin and Blanket Days: Memoirs of a Friend of the Indians. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1957.

Vestal, Stanley. Sitting Bull: Champion of the Sioux. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1957.

Welter, Barbara. Dimity Convictions: The American Woman in the Nineteenth Century. Athens: Ohio UP, 1976.


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