My Road to Rotary by Paul Harris

* Chapters from Paul's early adult years
Chapter 30 - Farewell to Grandmother

After the passing of grandfather, I finished the year at Princeton and then returned to spend the summer in the home with grandmother. As might be expected, she was pensive at times. I knew that she was terribly lonely but I did not know it from anything she said; it was more from the things she did; she wandered about the house at times as if in a maze.

On occasions she would ask me to walk with her in the orchard as the sun was sinking low; grandmother always loved to see the sun as it sank behind West Hill; she spoke of the changing colors of the clouds from pearl to pink, to roseate hue and then, to fiery red.

"That's a grand panorama, Paul. Could anything be more majestic? It's the work of a kindly and omnipotent hand. Sunsets always give me a feeling of comfort, repose and confidence. Nothing ill can come from the hand of one who loves beauty so and brings it to his children."

She seldom spoke of grandfather though I knew that over and above all of her words was the ever-present consciousness of him. On one occasion she did speak of him as we were walking down the path in the orchard together. As near as I can remember, her words were:

"I feel that I have been fortunate, Paul, far beyond my due in having had the unwavering love of your grandfather for more than sixty years. No woman can be blessed by anything to compare with the love of a good husband, the father of her children. Our lives haven't been easy; in fact, it has been a constant struggle from beginning to end and we have had our full share of sorrow. We lost three children and they were all very dear to us. We used to wonder at times whether anything in life was worth while but there were still duties and tasks to do; there were the living as well as the dead. There can never be anyone so near to a woman as her husband. My thoughts have been Pa's thoughts and his have been mine. It seems to me that part of me is living and part of me is dead."

"Paul, I wonder at times if you realize how much you meant to Pa. At times, it used to seem to him that his life had been a failure. As you know, he had high hopes for your father. He spent money freely for his education and his disappointment almost broke his heart. And then you came to us quite providentially and Pa fastened all his hopes on you. Paul, you must not fail him. Work hard and live honorably for your grandfather's sake."

After another lingering look at the fast fading color in the west, grandmother turned and I followed her down the hallowed pathway to our house.

This is not primarily a story of grandfather and grandmother except as it serves to illustrate the character of the folks who lived in New England during the days of my boyhood, and, to a considerable extent, the character of the folks who live there still. It is not primarily an autobiography, though the facts revealed were seen through my eyes. The eyes of most of the companions of my boyhood have long been closed in death.

Instead of returning to Princeton in the autumn, I began a year's employment in the office of the Sheldon Marble Company in West Rutland. All I had to do was to get up at 5:00 AM., breakfast, walk a mile to the office, attend to all the stoves, sweep and dust in readiness for the arrival of the officials and office men, and then do my day's work with the others-and find things to do when not told. Before the year closed I graduated from office boy to more important positions. It was a valuable experience. After that it was grandmother's decision that her grandson should go west to study law.

During my last days in the valley, I had a feeling that I was standing on the threshold of life and that the future was all uncertainty. Would I be able to cope with the destitution and privation which I must inevitably encounter or would I be driven back, bruised and beaten as my father had been?

There was this difference between my father's case and mine; there was still a home in which my father could find shelter; in my case, there soon would be none. The old home, sacred to the memory of grandfather and grandmother, was before long to be closed never to be opened again as a home for our family. Grandmother was to spend the remaining days of her life in the comfortable home of her daughter, Aunt Mellie Fox, Uncle George and their family.

My father was dependent on the trust created by grandfather and such further assistance as might be given him by grandmother. Quite clearly the time was not far distant when I would be on my own.

Perhaps the saving clause in my grandfather's will was that which left me to my own resources, except for some little help from grandmother. I did not regret it; my life was to be an adventure; what more could a live, energetic boy have asked. I have always felt considerable pride in the fact that grandfather felt I would be able to take care of myself. My inheritance was far more enduring than money could have been; the munificence of my hard-working, self-sacrificing grandparents gave me the advantage of a formal education in preparatory schools, college and the university but far more important they gave me the advantage of their example in their well-ordered home where love abode.

I think I inherited something of grandfather's broad spirit of tolerance. Grandfather was an ambassador of good-will in the eyes of the youngster who sat at his table during his impressionable years; he never spoke evil of any man nor of any man's religion or politics.

My year of work passed quickly and the day so long anticipated came at last. Grandmother and I were entirely alone except for the presence of an elderly woman who had taken most of the housekeeping cares from the worn and weary shoulders of grandmother. For one reason and another, it had been planned that grandmother and I were to spend these last few hours together, possibly because Aunt Mellie and Uncle George knew that grandmother would prefer it that way. They were to drive to Wallingford later in the day, lock up the house and take grandmother with them to return no more.

It was early in the month of September and the morning was bright and cheerful although our hearts were heavy-laden. The parting hours were spent in the dining room; grandmother and I sat on the horsehair sofa facing the table, where for years we all had eaten good wholesome food, and where, long before my time, father had eaten his meals.

The banjo clock hung on the north wall where it had been for at least three generations and we were within hearing of the sitting room clock not far away. In fact there had been no change in the dining room since the night of the feast of bread and milk and blueberries, served to father, Cecil and me years ago.

While the kitchen was the center of the house so far as activities were concerned, and the sitting room the place for rest, reading and reflection, it was the dining room where important discussions took place; the dining room was the scene of the alpha and omega of my New England home life.

When grandmother could control her emotion, she said:

"This seems not new to me, Paul; I have lived it over and over again. I have even thought of what my last words should be but they have all gone from me now. I must not, however, talk about myself; it is of Pa and his high hopes for you that I must talk. You do know, Paul, how Pa's thoughts centered on you, don't you?"

I answered, "Yes, I am conscious of it and I hope that I shall not prove entirely unworthy of his trust but he has set a high mark to live up to."

"It is indeed a high mark," she resumed, "but you are capable of living up to it; you must, Paul. I know how anxious you are to see the world. Pa and I talked that over and he was not opposed to it if you can accomplish it without neglecting your studies. Where there's a will, there's a way, Paul, and you will have to work it out.

It won't be easy but it can be done. The night you and Cecil and your father entered this house is still as fresh in my mind as if it were yesterday. Some folks said that we were making a great mistake in assuming the responsibility of raising you, Paul. We were getting along in years and had already raised a family. You may have heard some such talk, Paul," looking at me inquiringly.

I answered, "Indeed I have, Grandma, indeed I have and I thought that it was probably true."

"There's not a word of truth in it, Paul. Banish it from your mind; instead of shortening our lives, I think it has lengthened them. Folks who have raised families and seen their children go out into the world are generally pretty lonely. When the fountains of love dry up there isn't much to live for so your coming to us seems now to have been Providential; we had to have someone to lavish affection upon; there were worries enough, of course, but that is life. I have thought sometimes that it may have been an injustice to you to have been tied up here with two old folks; children need brothers and sisters to round out their lives; however you soon found companions of your own selection and that helped some.

With these words grandmother had told me all that had been pent up in her heart.

Glancing up at the banjo clock, I was alarmed to note that the hands pointed to eleven o'clock; I had fifteen minutes only to catch my train. When I arose to go, grandmother, for the first time in her life, so far as I knew, burst into a flood of tears. I threw my arms about her frail body and said, "Never mind, Grandma, I shall be back to see you soon." Her answer was a shake of her head; she spoke no words.

On my way past the home of Judge Button, I stopped to tell Ellen to please go in and comfort grandmother and that service she was more than glad to render.

Around the corner, down Depot street and alongside the white fence where the shadows of grandfather's lantern had danced in fantastic figures, down to the railway station, prim and tidy as it had always been, I made my way. There was the usual flurry of excitement as the eleven-fifteen train came in and went out. As I went with it my heart was tumultuously beating as familiar objects faded in the distance. I was alone and terribly lonely. Grandmother was the last guard; the key would soon be turned in the door.

I received frequent letters from grandmother, all of which have been carefully preserved. She kept me posted as to the events in her new home. For instance; Cousin Mattie was enjoying a trip to Europe in the company of good friends and the incidents of her travels were of great interest to grandmother; it was wonderful to have a granddaughter in Europe; grandmother had never thought of such a thing and Mattie would never be the same girl again after having had a trip to Europe. She wrote also of the kind thoughtfulness of other members of the family; everything was being done for her comfort.

One year and one month from the date of my departure from the old home, I, then a student in the law department of the University of Iowa, received a telegram from Uncle George stating that the spirit of grandmother had flown in the night. There had been nothing to indicate that the time was near; grandmother simply went to sleep and did not awake.

I did not return for the funeral but father, mother and other members of the family were present. According to the current issue of the Rutland Herald:

"A small funeral party drove down the Creek Road to Wallingford with the mortal remains of Pamela Harris, widow of the late Howard Harris of Wallingford and mother of Mrs. George Fox of this city. The attendance was limited to members of the family and near relatives. No more beautiful day could have been selected; the colors of the mountainsides had arrived at the point of perfection as the funeral party wound its way along the valley of Otter Creek to Green Hill cemetery in Wallingford where the remains were laid beside the body of the husband of the deceased.

The Herald extends sympathy to Mrs. George Fox and her family and such felicitations as may seem proper because of the fact that the closing chapter of the long and beautiful life of her mother was written on one of Vermont's most beautiful autumn days."

So grandmother was returned to the soil from which she sprang; it would have seemed a desecration to have laid the bodies of grandfather and grandmother anywhere else, All of her life and the best part of grandfather's life had been spent in the valley. Their children were born and brought up there and there three of their children had died. During the days of her childhood grandmother had tramped over the hills in and above Green Hill cemetery; she had picked buttercups, daisies and spring violets on Cemetery Hill and in its protecting soil the bodies of generations of loved ones had been laid.

The small family lot lies on the hillside not so far up as to be beyond hearing of the tinkle of water as it falls from the ever-flowing fountain in Cemetery Pond. In this lot, the bodies of Frances number one and Frances number two, as well as the bodies of the eldest daughter, Mary Reed and her husband, had been laid.

Grandmother seldom spoke of past bereavements; possibly I never would have known of Frances number one and Frances number two had it not been for their graves in the cemetery lot and two tiny leather shoes which I discovered in a drawer of the kitchen table; grandmother's thoughts were mostly centered on her every day duties.

On all sides of the Harris lot there were the lots of our neighbors, the Martindales, Buttons, Munsons, Childs, Batchellers, Scribners, Hills, Kents, Ballous, Ainsworths, Marshes, Millers, Townsends, Newtons, Coles, Staffords and scores of others whose names were well known in our valley. Yes, Green Hill cemetery had a rightful claim to the bodies of grandfather and grandmother; to have turned deaf ears to it would have seemed unjust. Our valley was grandmother's idea of Paradise.

Grandmother believed in the resurrection and, it always having been difficult for her to meet strangers, it would be a great blessing to be surrounded by home folks when the horn of Gabriel sounded. A most welcome sight to grandmother on the morning of resurrection day would be Judge Button with his little gray shawl thrown over his shoulders and his customary salutation, "Good morning, Mrs. Harris; this is going to be a fine day."

I have frequently tried to picture to my mind the events of that October day. The funeral procession moving slowly down the valley, along lazy, winding Otter Creek, lit up by the flaming colors of the hillsides and mountains. I have recalled the last view which our folks had of the mortal remains of grandmother almost as vividly as though I had been present. I could see grandmother's worn hands lying on her breast and the never-to-be-forgotten swollen bone of her lame wrist, her supreme badge of honor. Nothing which manicurists and beauticians have ever been able to accomplish with the hands of mothers and grandmothers has ever seemed comparable in beauty with the artistry of love and duty as wrought on grandmother's worn hands and lame wrist. Of the eighty-nine pounds which composed grandmother, every pound and every ounce was dedicated to loving service, the ingredient which makes home life sublime.

For more than fifty years the warm spring suns have brought back to life the grass and wild flowers in the little cemetery lot; summer suns have brought them to maturity and autumn winds have in due course directed to the graves of grandmother and grandfather myriads of maple leaves which also had spent their life courses and needed only a quiet place to lie down and rest. The icy blasts of more than a half-century of winters have sent snowflakes by the millions to form downy blankets to protect the graves of grandfather and grandmother.

More than sixty years the aged couple had carried their rugged cross together; so long, in fact, they could not have done without it; they did not loathe it, they loved it. A merciful Providence had arranged that grandmother was to be the one to bring up the rear guard; there were so many little things to be done and grandmother was the one to do them. Grandfather would have been helpless without her and I doubt whether he would have lived the year out. Scores of times during each day he would have reached his trembling hand out for her, forgetful of the fact that she had gone, and scores of times each day the wound would have been reopened. No, it was a blessing that big, strong grandfather went on ahead and that little frail grandmother remained to finish up the odds and ends that had to be attended to.

When Thoreau saw the woodsman's axe destroying the forest, he exclaimed:

"Thank God, they cannot cut down the clouds!

"There are some eternal things that the destructive powers of men, in all their fury, cannot destroy. To think on these things is to achieve an inward quiet and peace even in a war-torn world. The stars still shine. The sun still rises and sets. The mountains are not moved, Birds sing. Little streams dance merrily on their way. Flowers bloom and give off their perfume. The world goes right on being an everlastingly beautiful place."

There are indestructible qualities of human spirit, too. Mother love is immortal and though crushed to earth it will rise again. Courage and sacrifice glow with a new light in the midst of the black-outs of hope. Faith gallantly rides the whirlwind sweeping the earth.

"You cannot cut down the clouds! The spirit of man cannot be destroyed! The finest things of life are immortal . . . they will survive!" - Friendly Adventurer

Chapter 31 - Five Years of Folly

As I sadly went on with my university studies, awaiting news of grandmother's funeral and reflecting upon the scenes and events of my boyhood, I felt homesickness as few of my age would have felt it. I longed for the quiet orderly home in the valley and the loving solicitude of my grandparents. I dreamed of my Vermont mountains, and when I eventually saw those of the West tears welled to my eyes.

"I am homesick for my mountains
My heroic mother hills,
And the longing that is on me
No solace ever stills."
-Bliss Carman

While enroute to Iowa a year earlier the boy from a Vermont village had spent a week in Chicago where the unrest and wickedness of the bustling Western City possessed him with a weird fascination. It was all so different from his Valley. But he sensed something vital in it all. It was a place to study the ways of men. Was there some place to which men flocked? If so, what was the attraction? What were the underlying motives which influenced the lives of men? Why were some good and other bad? Why did some make sacrifices? Did they pay? If so, how? Why were others wasteful in their physical, mental, and moral resources? What did they get out of it? Was there wisdom in grandfather's precepts-or was he simply a well-meaning but deluded old fogey?

During his first year in Iowa the boy read law in the office of St. John, Stevenson and Whisenand in Des Moines; but when the summer months came he spent them at Lake Okaboja where be fished and enjoyed outdoor life in general, reading law when there were no more urgent demands upon his time,

In the autumn he entered the law department of the State University in Iowa City and graduated in June of the year 1891. In the Iowa University he encountered conditions quite different from any he had met before. The students were older than those in the University of Vermont and at Princeton. Most of them came from Iowa farms and many had taught school as a means of raising the money necessary' to the completion of their education. They were earnest men who had, for the most part, passed their play period. The atmosphere was wholesome and groups of law students frequently spent their evenings in their rooms, conducting quizzes and discussing the theory and practice of law.

As the writer now looks back at his experiences in the various educational institutions, he is prone to question himself as to what, if anything, he got out of them; what, if anything, was there to justify his grandfather's sacrifices and hopes? Was it worthwhile?

The best thing that the writer got from his experiences in educational institutions came from his contacts with other students. In scholastics he cannot lay claim to have gotten much except, perhaps, a love of good books by writers of many lands.

During his last days at the University of Iowa the boy had one absorbing interest and that was to know the ways of men; those of his own country first and then the ways of the men of other countries. But could he accomplish his purpose? In his heart of hearts he knew it was a mad adventure. It would be a serious matter to violate the rules of conventionality. All of the other members of his class would be sane and sensible. Every one of them would be practicing law in a town of his choice within sixty days of graduation. Folks back home would think that he had gone stark crazy.

At that juncture an incident occurred to bolster his faith. One of the lecturers on the commencement program of his graduating class, a practicing lawyer who had graduated from the University ten years earlier, stated that it might be a wise plan for each graduate to go first to some small town and make a fool of himself for five years, after which he could go to the city of his choice and really begin his practice.

This advice resolved all doubts in the mind of the boy; he would set aside five years to make a fool of himself, not in any small community but in all parts of the world to which he could manage to make his way. What an adventure! After having had his fling, he would hang up his shingle in some great city, Chicago perhaps, and settle down and be regular. So the boy embarked on his fool's errand and never once turned back. His sustaining hope was that his absorbing interest in folks at home and abroad would carry him through.

Why did races of men differ so in their ways of life? He had read much literature in university libraries by English, French, German, Russian, and Scandinavian writers but his curiosity was whetted merely. Only visits to foreign lands could satisfy his desires to know the ways of men.

In the accomplishment of his ambition it was necessary for the boy to accept any and all forms of service, whether of hand or brain. He walked many hundreds of miles in the mountains and he tramped the streets of great cities. He slept in the open country and in cheap city quarters, and even went hungry at times. Thousands of times his thoughts drifted back to his Valley and the comforts of his grandparents' home. When hungry, what in good conscience did he think of most frequently? It was not the buckwheat cakes smeared with butter and maple syrup, nor ham and eggs, nor New England pork and beans . . it was something he really thought very little of in his boyhood days . . it was his grandmother's "riz" doughnuts. Sometimes, when ill in distant lands, it was grandmother's catnip tea or hot foot baths and her tender solicitude that haunted him.

While his few remaining dollars lasted hunting and fishing in the northwest was a grand vacation. Before long he arrived in San Francisco, his money spent. He was on his own at last. A college friend doing newspaper work on The Chronicle, owned by M. H. De Young, got him a job as a reporter on that paper with payment only for what one could produce but times were hard and competition was keen. Another reporter also near the bottom of the list on The Chronicle was Harry C. Pulliam from Louisville, who later became president of the National Baseball League.

Harry and Paul became chums and decided to work their way through the state of California. Within three days they were doing manual labor on a fruit ranch in Vaca Valley. After making a "stake" there, they set out from the Calaveras big trees on a three hundred mile hike across the Trailless Mountain ranges. They explored now famous but then little known Yosemite Valley. Their next engagement was in the raisin-packing industry in Fresno. Finally they landed in Los Angeles where Paul became a teacher in the L. A. Business College.

After nine months in California Paul's next location was Denver, Colorado, where he demonstrated his versatility by "play-acting" in a stock company at the Old Fifteenth Street Theater. This adventure attracted more publicity than he desired. He received letters from old friends who were sure he had "gone wrong." He climbed Pike's Peak and convinced himself that the stride, which he had developed in the Green Mountains and tried out in the Sierra Nevadas, would also work in the Rockies. He got a position on the reportorial staff of the Rocky Mountain News where he remained until he got a chance to try the life of a cowboy on a ranch near Platteville, riding the range alone frequently for days searching for stray cattle. Returning to Denver he worked on The Republican where he encountered some of his San Francisco newspaper friends drifting back eastward.

Florida was another land of romance which appealed to Paul and as the fortunate beneficiary of a railroad pass he landed in Jacksonville and became night clerk at the St. James, the best tourist hotel in Jacksonville at that time. He found the hotel business prosaic and soon left it to become a traveling salesman through Florida for George W. Clark who dealt in marble and granite, a business of which Paul had gained a slight knowledge while working for the Sheldon Marble Company in Vermont. George Clark was a great influence in the life of the vagabond. Employer and employee soon became fast friends. Years later George organized and became the first president of the Jacksonville Rotary Club.

In March 1893 Paul departed for Washington to observe the inauguration of Grover Cleveland as President of the United States. While there he had a temporary job on The Washington Star. From there he went to Louisville to which Harry Pulliam had returned, hoping Harry could get him on The Courier or The Commercial. This hope was dashed. So Paul got a position with another marble and granite house which gave him the opportunity to travel through Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia.

On arrival at Norfolk, Virginia, he resigned his position and took the boat for Philadelphia. From the period when Tom Brown of Rugby had first won his admiration down through the days when the pen-folks of Dickens, Thackeray and Scott had held him captive, Paul had longed for a sight of the British Isles. For this he was willing to endure any hardship. In the want-ad column of a Philadelphia newspaper he found a notice that cattlemen were wanted by a Baltimore house making a shipment to England. Before dawn the following day a ship was plowing the seas and the young man who aspired to learn something of the practical side of life was on board. It was a rough voyage. The privation and suffering on that ship were unbelievable. The food scarcely deserved to be called that. The crew and the cattlemen included some of the most depraved and vicious characters one could imagine. It was a most trying experience.

Liverpool and its suburbs were all Paul got to see before he had to return on another ship of the same line. Great was his disappointment at not being able to see London and he resolved to endure again even such hardships that he might visit the British metropolis. The return voyage was not so bad-but no mattresses, blankets or eating utensils for the cattlemen. "Scouse" composed mostly of potato and water, with sometimes small fragments of meat, and mouldy sea biscuits constituted the principal food. Vermin were plentiful. Immersions in cold sea water were frequent.

While waiting at Baltimore for another and better ship Paul walked to Ellicott City and soon found opportunity to exercise his muscles in a hayfield. It was heavy work for him. He did the best he could at it but soon shifted to chores around the farmhouse in exchange for his board and lodging. A job in a corn-canning factory paid him $1.50 a day. While on this job he learned to his delight that another cattleship of a better line was soon to sail. Returning to Baltimore he got a job as sub-foreman on the "Michigan" whose destination was the Tillhury docks in the Thames about thirty miles from London. Oh happy day!

Paul and a friend he had made on board were soon walking the streets of London gazing at the Houses of Parliament and all the famous places of history and fiction. However, the best accommodation they could afford was a cheap boarding-house in the Whitechapel district although this was a locality of exceptional interest to the embryonic sociologist from Vermont. As the ship returned via Swansea for cargo Paul improved the chance to see something of Wales.

Arriving back in the United States Paul immediately took the train to visit the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. Enjoyment of that beautiful Columbian Exposition was a happy interlude in his vagabondage. There he found confirmation of his faith in the future possibilities of that fascinating metropolis. He had enough money for train fare and no more. He found and became the guest of a college friend who was working at the Fair. One day when entering the Vermont building to his astonishment he observed his cousins, Ed and Mattie Fox of Rutland, inspecting the exhibits. Instantly Paul turned on his heel and left the building. The impecunious young man was in no mood to reveal himself to his relatives.

One city of all American cities was alluring; it was New Orleans, differing in so many respects from other American cities. How to get there was the question. It might be stated at this point that throughout his travels Paul stole no rides; he either paid his fare or worked his way and he always carried luggage. He was always willing to undertake any kind of work by which he could earn a livelihood and he always gave the best that was in him and if he failed it was because of physical or mental limitations and not because of indifference. Borrowed money was always repaid.

A loan from his college friend in Chicago got him to New Orleans. While there he discovered a want-ad for "a dozen men to pick and pack oranges in Plaquemine parish." The next day a gang of men including Paul, crossed the Mississippi river and were on their way to the grove and warehouse of S. Pizatti in the delta not far from where the Father-of-Waters empties into the sea. The business of picking, packing, boxing and shipping proceeded satisfactorily for several days. But suddenly a storm blew up. It became a hurricane and a tidal wave. Paul and his fellow orange-pickers in the darkness of the night waded and swam through the swirling waters carrying women and children from their homes to the one place of safety-the Pizatti warehouse. Then with axes and crowbars thcy endeavored to cut the dike to let the waters into the river. When the storm subsided the top of the levce was covered with dead horses, cows, hogs, hens and birds. That coast storm of 1893 took hundreds of lives and the property loss was enormous. Although many years have elapsed the horror and suffering of that episode still remain in the memory.

A return was made to New Orleans. Efforts to find employment on newspapers was fruitless. There was much to see and study in that historic city but the avidity of the traveler's longing for adventure had somewhat slackened. His thoughts turned to the cordial hospitality of his friends in Florida,

Paul's old position with the marble company in Jacksonville was still open to him and he returned to it. George Clark gave him territory over which he had not yet traveled. He covered the Southern States, Cuba and the Bahamas Islands. His visits at the home of the Clarks in Jacksonville were truly high times. The employer and his salesman were most intimate of chums. After a twelve month period Paul notified George of his intended departure. George said; "Is there nowhere else you care to go?" Paul answered: 'Yes, there is one more place but I doubt your willingness to send me." "Where is it?" inquired George. "Europe," said Paul. Two weeks later the wanderer was once again on the high seas, under orders of his employer-chum to visit the granite-producing regions of Scotland and the marble-producing regions of Ireland, Belgium and Italy for the purpose of making arrangements for buying the products of foreign quarries.

The writer could enjoyably consume a great deal of space in the relation of wonderful months spent in Great Britain, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany, Belgium, and Holland. As a visitor in the home of S. A. McFarland of Carrara, Italy, Paul was the recipient of courtesies little to be expected from comparative strangers. Among other things Mr. and Mrs. McFarland insisted on lending him funds with which to extend his travels on the Continent. The loan was accepted, and repaid in due course.

Upon his return to his native land the vagabond spent several months in helping George Clark in a subdividing and building project near Jacksonville and then turned his sights northward to Chicago. George pleaded with him to remain in Jacksonville, saying among other things: "Whatever the advantages of settling in Chicago may be, I am satisfied you will make more money if you remain with me." To this Paul replied: "I am sure you are right but I am not going to Chicago for the purpose of making money; I am going for the purpose of living a life."

Paul knew little of New York City and desired to learn something of the great eastern metropolis before settling down in Chicago. George made one more manifestation of his friendship by recalling his New York manager to Jacksonville and putting Paul in temporary charge of the New York office.

You were a real friend, George Clark, a grand and generous friend!

Chapter 32 - A Shingle is Hung

THREE MONTHS SHORT of the period of five years allotted to his fool's errand the vagabond arrived in Chicago ready to take up the practice of law. His boyhood was past. Travel and work are maturing experiences. Frequently after men have turned their backs on every other opportunity of gaining wisdom they gain it through toiling over the stony, tortuous, uphill pathway of experience.

At last my life settled down in earnest during the early spring of 1896 when the sap was in the maple trees back in my valley.

The vision of a world-wide fellowship of business and professional men had not yet come; there were experiences of a different nature yet to be had; but a wonderful foundation had been laid. Is it any wonder that an impressionable mind which had found so much good in the midst of evil, so much friendliness in places that might have been barren, so much reason for confidence and faith in business men, should be receptive to such a vision?

Chicago was experiencing hard times. I had anticipated hard times but I could not see how they could be harder than the period of my vagrancy; I considered myself a specialist in dealing with hard times. I made my meager resources stretch as far as I could but to get started in the practice of law was more difficult than I had expected it to be. To "hang up my shingle" was a simple matter and while I had not expected it to attract many, on the other hand I had not thought that it would be completely ignored; so far as I can remember, the immediate results were zero.

I spent considerable time about the Courts in order to familiarize myself with their practices and I read law cases and precedents into the late hours of the night but as for clients, there continued to be none. I conferred with other young lawyers but learned little of benefit to myself; some of them had means of their own; some had influential relatives and friends and others, like myself, were struggling. How I managed to get a small law practice started, which eventually grew into a partnership and later other partnerships of which I was always the head, is a long story and I need not go into it here, but, in course of time the wheels began to turn, at first slowly then more rapidly. In due course I became a member of the Bar Association, the Press Club, the Bohemian Club, and was active in the Association of Commerce.

However, after five years of folly it was difficult at first for the boy, now a young man, to settle down and become wise. He was dreadfully lonesome particularly on holidays and Sundays. He pondered the question of finding a way to increase his acquaintance with young men who had come to Chicago from farms and colleges, who knew the joys of friendliness and neighborliness without form or ceremony but it took a long while for his thinking to produce results.

The impulse to review the scenes of his boyhood became pressing and I finally set a day for my departure. Uncle George, to whom I owed so much, met me at the railway station in Rutland and drove me to his home in a phaeton drawn by a successor of bay Billy. Uncle George was still continuing his practice but his heyday had passed; he was taking things easier at last. The impressive enclosed station had burned and in its place had been built an unimpressive open station. The voices of the porters of the three leading hotels, the Bates House, the Berwick and the Bardwell, extolling the merits of their respective hostelries in stentorian tones and bewildering jargons, were conspicuous in their absence and Merchants Row and Center Street were like streets of Goldsmith's deserted village to the young man from Chicago.

Cottage Street where Uncle George's house, three storied with mansard roof, was located was not nearly so wide as I had pictured it. The welcome extended me by Aunt Mellie and Cousin Mattie was genuine though subdued. Many changes had taken place in the Fox family; the ring of laughter was no longer heard and most of the children had gone out from the family roof. Uncle George spent hours on the side veranda away from the street apparently indulging in meditation; he was as kind as ever but seldom spoke except in response to remarks of others.

When I mentioned bay Billy, however, he did show interest and said, "I have owned many a horse in my day, Paul, and I can't recall ever having had a bad one but the nearest thing to a human being I have ever seen in horseflesh, was Billy. He had as much affection as any child and much more obedience; he had ideas of his own but he was not headstrong. He would follow my orders even though he knew they were wrong but not without manifesting his disapproval. It was not difficult for me to read his mind, though not so easily as he read mine. Eventually I got to the point of taking his judgment in preference to my own unless there were some facts in the case which he didn't know. I wouldn't trust Billy to treat any patients of mine, but as for matters within his jurisdiction, he was generally the final word."

Cousin Mattie and I drove to Wallingford the day following my arrival in Rutland. We took the Creek Road and every turn of it was reminiscent of days of long ago. It was the same road over which the family funeral party had taken the remains of grandmother that October day; the same road I had tramped frequently. As we approached Wallingford landmarks became more and more frequent. We passed the Jay Newton, the Robert Marsh and the Hudson farms, the fork factory, the fair grounds, the Catholic church, the Hull farm house, the Stafford house, and finally drew up before the old home, the beloved home of my boyhood. Of course we visited the cemetery next and spent reverential moments by the graves of our grandparents.

Within a day or two I had taken up quarters in the Inn at Wallingford and was renewing my acquaintance with old friends and familiar places. My Sabbath School teacher, Anna Laurie Cole, was my most efficient and available assistant in my efforts to build a bridge between the pulsating present and the dreamy past; happily she still lives and still constitutes my connecting link between the two periods.

One after another I visited favorite spots. The swimming hole in Otter Creek near the covered bridge where naked youngsters had disported themselves within plain sight of passing vehicles, plunging from the rocks into the creek, not so much from a modest desire to cover their nakedness as from a more immodest desire to impress passing home folks with the belief that they were imps of Satan turned loose. I was sorry to note that new growths of underbrush had intruded themselves in places, which in other days had been reserved for the use of the feet of graceless youngsters. In other respects, Otter Creek had not changed.

Next in order was Fox Pond of the glamorous past. In summer, autumn, winter or spring, Fox Pond was the piece de resistance, except when it had to give way to the even more romantic charms of Little Pond.

The "ice bed," Childs' brook, hillsides and mountains all were visited in turn. During the days of my visit to the valley of my heart's desire, I had ample opportunity to bring back to memory incidents of my boyhood which had been obscured by the turbulent events of the years which followed. In moments of quiet reflection on hillside and mountain, I looked down into the valley through which Otter Creek flows so peacefully and during such tranquil moments, I was astonished at my resemblance to the boy out of whom I had grown; amazed at times in the realization of the fact, how few changes had taken place. Fundamentally, I was the same. The two old folks whose bones were resting peacefully beneath the soil of the cemetery down in the valley, had fashioned me as definitely as an artist could fashion clay. Their ideals had become my ideals and the process had come about so gradually and so naturally that neither grandparents nor grandchild were aware of it. Surely I had fallen far short of living up to these ideals but the ideals were still there. The principles of my grandparents had been made crystal clear; they could not have been made more clear if the words integrity, frugality, tolerance and unselfishness had been carved in gargantuan letters on the bare face of majestic White Rocks.

There were moments while indulging myself in daydreams on the mountainside when my conscience rebuked me for not being up and doing; so many things needed to be done in this busy world and there was so little time in which to do them, and then the thought came to me that perhaps men had to dream and where could there have been a more lovely dreamland than this very mountainside.

One day while resting from my climb on the top of a stone and rail fence which separated two pastures, I looked down the mountain, beyond pasturelands where cows were grazing, to the meadowland along the creek where the hay crop was being harvested. The click of the mowing machine was sweet music to my ears. The frugal farmer was rhythmically swinging his scythe along the borders and in the corners to save the few remaining wisps of timothy and clover with voluntary crops of daisies and buttercups thrown in. The hired men were loading cured hay of previous cuttings on hayricks for transfer to barn lofts for use during the long winter months when deep snow would blanket the meadows and bring nitrogen to the soil to maintain its fertility. I was too far up the mountainside to enjoy the exquisite odor of the new mown hay but I drank in the peace and tranquility of the scene and stored it up in my museum of happy memories.

I recalled the fact that somehow many of my dreams had come true. I had visited the land of Tom Brown of Rugby and Oxford; the land of Shakespeare and Dickens; Burns and Scott; I had realized the witchery of the Lakes of Killarney, the glory of the sunset on the Alpine Mountains and the soft shading of Italian skies.

These and many other wonders in many countries I had been privileged to see, without the aid of grandfather but at the cost of years of unstinted toil, danger and even hunger at times. Perhaps dreaming is not so bad if one dreams good dreams and makes them come true; all too soon my vacation would be ended and I would be back in the grind again.

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