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Anna Howard Shaw

We all had an idea that we were going to a farm, and we expected some resemblance at least to the prosperous farms we had seen in New England . . . . What we found awaiting us were the four walls and the roof of a good sized log house, standing in a small cleared strip of the wilderness, its doors and windows represented by square holes, its floor also a thing of the future, its while effect achingly forlorn and desolate. It was late in the afternoon when we drove up to the opening that was its front entrance, and I shall never forget the look my mother turned upon the place. Without a word she crossed its threshold, and, standing very still, looked slowly around her. Then something within her seemed to give way, and she sank upon the ground. She could not realize even then, I think, that this was really the place father had prepared for us, that here he expected us to live. When she finally took it in she buried her face in her hands, and in that way she sat for hours without moving or speaking. For the first time in her life she had forgotten us; and we, for our part, dared not speak to her. We stood around her in a frightened group, talking to one another in whispers. Our little world had crumbled under our feet. Never before had we seen our mother give way to despair.

Source: Anna Howard Shaw, The Story of a Pioneer, pp. 24 25.


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