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