Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Biographical > A Book About Myself > CHAPTER LXV
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
 As one looks back on youth so much of it appears ridiculous and maundering and without an essential impulse or direction, and yet as I look at life itself I am not sure but that indirection or unimportant idlings are a part of life’s method. We often think we are doing some vastly important thing, whereas in reality we are merely marking time. At other times, when we appear to be marking time we are growing or achieving at a great rate; and so it may have been with me. Instead of pushing on to New York, I chose to return to St. Louis and grasp one more hour of romance, drink one more cup of love. And whether it profited me save as pleasure is profit I cannot tell. Only, may not pleasure be the ultimate profit?  
This trip to St. Louis was for me a most pivotal and thing, probably a great mistake. At that time, of course, I could not see that. Instead, I was completely lost in the grip of a passion that subsequently proved or . The reality which I was seeking to establish was a temporary contact only. Any really beautiful girl or any scene could have done for me all the things that this particular girl and scene could do, only thus far I had chanced to meet no other who could displace her. And in a way I knew this then, only I realized also that one beautiful was as good a key to the lock of earthly delights as another.... Only there were so many locks or to which one key would fit, and how sad, in youth at least, not to have all the locks, or at least a giant illusion as to one!
This return began with a long hot trip in July to St. Louis, and then a quick change in the union Station there at evening which brought me by midnight to the small town in the backwoods of Missouri, near which she lived. It was hot. I recall the wide hot fields and small wooden towns of Southern Ohio and Indiana and this Missouri landscape in the night—the frogs, the katydids, the summer stars. I ached and , not so much over her as over youth and love and the evanescence of all material fires. The spirit of youth cried and sang at the same time.
The little cottages with their single yellow light shining in the fields through which this dusty train ran! The perfumed winds!
At last the train stopped and left me at midnight on a wooden platform with no one to greet me. The train was late. A liveryman who was supposed to look after me did not. At a window sat the telegraph operator, station-master, baggage-agent all in one, a green shield shading his eyes. Otherwise the station was bare and silent save for the katydids in some weeds near at hand and some tree-toads. The agent told me that a hotel was a part of this station, run by this railroad. Upstairs, over the baggage and other rooms, were a few large barn-like sleeping chambers, carpetless, dusty, , the windows curtainless and broken in places, and save for some all but slatless unshielded from the world and the night. I placed a chair against my door, my purse under my pillow, my bag near at hand. During the night several long freights thundered by, their headlights the room; yet, lying on a of straw and listening to the frogs and katydids outside, I slept just the same. The next morning I tied a handkerchief over my eyes and slept some more, arising about ten to continue my journey.
The home to which I was going was part of an old decayed village, once a point on a trail or stage-coach route, once the capital of the State, but now nothing. A courthouse and some tree-shaded homes were all but lost or islanded in a sea of corn. I rode out a long, hot, dusty road and finally up a long tree-shaded lane to its very end, where I passed through a gate and at the far end came upon a worn, faded, rain-rotted house facing a row of trees in a wide lawn. I felt that never before had I been so impressed with a region and a home. It was all so simple. The house, though old and decayed, was exquisite. The old French windows—copied from where and by whom?—reaching to the grass; the long rooms, the cool hall, the before it, so very Southern in quality, the flowers about every window and door! I found a home in which lived a poverty-stricken and yet spiritually impressive patriarch, a mother who might serve as an American tradition so simple and gracious was she, sisters and brothers who were reared in an atmosphere which somehow induced a gracious, sympathetic idealism and consideration. Poor as they were, they were the best of the families here. The father had been an office-holder and one of the district leaders in his day, and one of his sons still held an office. A son-in-law was the district master of this entire congressional district, which included seven counties, and could almost make or break a . All but three daughters were married, and I was engaged to one of the remaining ones. Another, too beautiful and too to think of any one in particular, was teaching school, or playing at it. A farm of forty acres to the south of the house was tilled by the father and two sons.
Elsewhere I have indicated this atmosphere, but here I like to touch on it again. We Americans have home traditions or ideals, created as much by song and romance as anything else: My Old Kentucky Home, Suwanee River. Despite any willing on my part, this home seemed to the spirit of those songs. There was ............
Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved