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The objective of the Willa Cather Scholarly Edition is to provide to the readers—present and future—various kinds of information relevant to Willa Cather's writing, obtained and presented by the highest scholarly standards: This edition is distinctive in the comprehensiveness of its apparatus, especially in its inclusion of extensive explanatory information that illuminates the fiction of a writer who drew so extensively upon actual experience, as well as the full textual information we have come to expect in a modern critical edition.

It thus connects activities that are too often separate—literary scholarship and textual editing. Editing Cather's writing means recognizing that Cather was as fiercely protective of her novels as she was of her private life.

She suppressed much of her early writing and dismissed serial publication of her later work, discarded manuscripts and proofs, destroyed letters, and included in her will a stipulation against publication of her private papers.

Yet the record remains surprisingly full. Manuscripts, typescripts, and proofs of some texts survive with corrections and revisions in Cather's hand; serial publications provide final "draft" versions of texts; correspondence with her editors and publishers helps clarify her intention for a work, and publishers' records detail each book's public life; correspondence with friends and acquaintances provides an intimate view of her writing; published interviews with and speeches by Cather provide a running public commentary on her career; and through their memoirs, recollections, and letters, Cather's contemporaries provide their own commentary on circumstances surrounding her writing.

In assembling pieces of the editorial puzzle, we have been guided by principles and procedures articulated by the committee on Scholarly Editions of the Modern Language Association. Assembling and comparing texts demonstrated the basic tenet of the textual editor—that only painstaking collations reveal what is actually there. Scholars had assumed, for example, that with the exception of a single correction in spelling, O Pioneers!

Collations revealed nearly a hundred word changes, thus providing information not only necessary to establish a critical text and to interpret how Cather composed, but also basic to interpreting how her ideas about art changed as she matured.

Cather's revisions and corrections on typescripts and page proofs demonstrate that she brought to her own writing her extensive experience as an editor. Word changes demonstrate her practices in revising; other changes demonstrate that she gave extraordinarily close scrutiny to such matters as capitalization, punctuation, paragraphing, hyphenation, and spacing.

Knowledgeable about production, Cather had intentions for her books that extended to their design and manufacture. For example, she specified typography, illustrations, page format, paper stock, ink color, covers, wrappers, and advertising copy. To an exceptional degree, then, Cather gave to her work the close textual attention that modern editing practices respect, while in other ways she challenged her editors to expand the definition of "corruption" and "authoritative" beyond the text, to include the book's whole format and material existence.

Believing that a book's physical form influences its relationship with a reader, she selected type, paper, and format that invited the reader response she sought.

The heavy texture and cream color of paper used for O Pioneers! By the same principle, she expressly rejected the anthology format of assembling texts of numerous novels within the covers of one volume, with tight margins, thin paper, and condensed print. Given Cather's explicitly stated intentions for her works, printing and publishing decisions that disregard her wishes represent their own form of corruption, and an authoritative edition of Cather must go beyond the sequence of words and punctuation to include other matters: The volumes in the Cather Edition respect those intentions insofar as possible within a series format that includes a comprehensive scholarly apparatus.

For example, the Cather Edition has adopted the format of six by nine inches, which Cather approved in Bruce Rogers's elegant work on the Houghton Mifflin Autograph edition, to accommodate the various elements of design. While lacking something of the intimacy of the original page, this size permits the use of large, generously leaded type and ample margins—points of style upon which the author was so insistent. In the choice of paper, we have deferred to Cather's declared preference for a warm, cream antique stock.

Today's technology makes it difficult to emulate the qualities of hot-metal typesetting and letterpress printing. In comparison, modern phototypesetting printed by offset lithography tends to look anemic and lacks the tactile quality of type impressed into the page.

The version of the Caslon typeface employed in the original edition of O Pioneers! Instead, we have chosen Linotype Janson Text, a modern rendering of the type used by Rogers. The subtle adjustments of stroke weight in this reworking do much to retain the integrity of earlier metal versions.

Therefore, without trying to replicate the design of single works, we seek to represent Cather's general preferences in a design that encompasses many volumes. In each volume in the Cather Edition, the author's specific intentions for design and printing are set forth in textual commentaries.

These essays also describe the history of the texts, identify those that are authoritative, explain the selection of copy-texts or basic texts, justify emendations of the copy-text, and describe patterns of variants.

The textual apparatus in each volume—lists of variants, emendations, explanations of emendations, and end-of-line hyphenations—completes the textual history.

Historical essays provide essential information about the genesis, form, and transmission of each book, as well as supply its biographical, historical, and intellectual contexts. Illustrations supplement these essays with photographs, maps, and facsimiles of manuscript, typescript, or typeset pages. Finally, because Cahter in her writing drew so extensively upon personal experience and historical detail, explanatory notes are and especially important part of the Cather Edition. By providing a comprehensive identification of her references to flora and fauna, to regional customs and manners, to the classics and the Bible, to popular writing, music, and other arts— as well as relevant cartography and census material—these notes provide a starting place for scholarship and criticism on subjects long slighted or ignored.

Within this overall standard format, differences occur that are informative in their own right. The straightforward textual history of O Pioneers! The Cather Edition reflects the individuality of each work while providing a standard of reference for critical study. O NE January day, thirty years ago, the little town of Hanover , anchored on a windy Nebraska tableland, was trying not to be blown away. A mist of fine snowflakes was curling and eddying about the cluster of low drab buildings huddled on the gray prairie, under a gray sky.

The dwelling-houses were set about haphazard on the tough prairie sod ; some of them looked as if they had been moved in overnight, and others as if they were straying off by themselves, headed straight for the open plain.

None of them had any appearance of permanence, and the howling wind blew under them as well as over them. The main street was a deeply rutted road, now frozen hard, which ran from the squat red railway station and the grain "elevator" at the north end of the town to the lumber yard and the horse pond at the south end.

On either side of this road straggled two uneven rows of wooden buildings; the general merchandise stores, the two banks, the drug store, the feed store, the saloon, the post-office. The board sidewalks were gray with trampled snow, but at two o'clock in the afternoon the shopkeepers, having come back from dinner, were keeping well behind their frosty windows.

The children were all in school, and there was nobody abroad in the streets but a few rough-looking countrymen in coarse overcoats, with their long caps pulled down to their noses. Some of them had brought their wives to town, and now and then a red or a plaid shawl flashed out of one store into the shelter of another.

At the hitch-bars along the street a few heavy work-horses, harnessed to farm wagons, shivered under their blankets. About the station everything was quiet, for there would not be another train in until night.

On the sidewalk in front of one of the stores sat a little Swede boy, crying bitterly. He was about five years old. His black cloth coat was much too big for him and made him look like a little old man. His shrunken brown flannel dress had been washed many times and left a long stretch of stocking between the hem of his skirt and the tops of his clumsy, copper-toed shoes.

His cap was pulled down over his ears; his nose and his chubby cheeks were chapped and red with cold. He cried quietly, and the few people who hurried by did not notice him. He was afraid to stop any one, afraid to go into the store and ask for help, so he sat wringing his long sleeves and looking up a telegraph pole beside him, whimpering, "My kitten, oh, my kitten!

The boy had been left at the store while his sister went to the doctor's office, and in her absence a dog had chased his kitten up the pole. The little creature had never been so high before, and she was too frightened to move. Her master was sunk in despair. He was a little country boy, and this village was to him a very strange and perplexing place, where people wore fine clothes and had hard hearts.

He always felt shy and awkward here, and wanted to hide behind things for fear some one might laugh at him. Just now, he was too unhappy to care who laughed. At last he seemed to see a ray of hope: His sister was a tall, strong girl, and she walked rapidly and resolutely, as if she knew exactly where she was going and what she was going to do next. She wore a man's long ulster not as if it were an affliction, but as if it were very comfortable and belonged to her; carried it like a young soldier , and a round plush cap, tied down with a thick veil.

She had a serious, thoughtful face, and her clear, deep blue eyes were fixed intently on the distance, without seeming to see anything, as if she were in trouble. She did not notice the little boy until he pulled her by the coat. Then she stopped short and stooped down to wipe his wet face. I told you to stay in the store and not to come out. What is the matter with you? A man put her out, and a dog chased her up there.

Did n't I tell you she'd get us into trouble of some kind, if you brought her? What made you tease me so? But there, I ought to have known better myself. Alexandra turned away decidedly. Somebody will have to go up after her. I saw the Linstrums' wagon in town. I'll go and see if I can find Carl. Maybe he can do something. Only you must stop crying, or I won't go a step. Did you leave it in the store? Hold still, till I put this on you. She unwound the brown veil from her head and tied it about his throat.

A shabby little traveling man, who was just then coming out of the store on his way to the saloon, stopped and gazed stupidly at the shining mass of hair she bared when she took off her veil; two thick braids, pinned about her head in the German way, with a fringe of reddish-yellow curls blowing out from under her cap. He took his cigar out of his mouth and held the wet end between the fingers of his woolen glove.

She stabbed him with a glance of Amazonian fierceness and drew in her lower lip—most unnecessary severity. It gave the little clothing drummer such a start that he actually let his cigar fall to the sidewalk and went off weakly in the teeth of the wind to the saloon. His hand was still unsteady when he took his glass from the bartender. His feeble flirtatious instincts had been crushed before, but never so mercilessly.

He felt cheap and ill-used, as if some one had taken advantage of him. When a drummer had been knocking about in little drab towns and crawling across the wintry country in dirty smoking-cars, was he to be blamed if, when he chanced upon a fine human creature, he suddenly wished himself more of a man? While the little drummer was drinking to recover his nerve, Alexandra hurried to the drug store as the most likely place to find Carl Linstrum.

There he was, turning over a portfolio of chromo "studies" which the druggist sold to the Hanover women who did china-painting. Alexandra explained her predicament, and the boy followed her to the corner, where Emil still sat by the pole. I think at the depot they have some spikes I can strap on my feet. He was a tall boy of fifteen, slight and narrow-chested.

When he came back with the spikes, Alexandra asked him what he had done with his overcoat.

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Hogs do not like to be filthy. The boys outside the door had been listening. Lou nudged his brother. Let's hitch up and get out of here. He'll fill her full of notions. She'll be for having the pigs sleep with us, next. Oscar grunted and got up. Carl, who could not understand what Ivar said, saw that the two boys were displeased. They did not mind hard work, but they hated experiments and could never see the use of taking pains.

Even Lou, who was more elastic than his older brother, disliked to do anything different from their neighbors. He felt that it made them conspicuous and gave people a chance to talk about them. Once they were on the homeward road, the boys forgot their ill-humor and joked about Ivar and his birds.

Alexandra did not propose any reforms in the care of the pigs, and they hoped she had forgotten Ivar's talk. They agreed that he was crazier than ever, and would never be able to prove up on his land because he worked it so little. Alexandra privately resolved that she would have a talk with Ivar about this and stir him up. The boys persuaded Carl to stay for supper and go swimming in the pasture pond after dark.

That evening, after she had washed the supper dishes, Alexandra sat down on the kitchen doorstep, while her mother was mixing the bread. It was a still, deep-breathing summer night, full of the smell of the hay fields. Sounds of laughter and splashing came up from the pasture, and when the moon rose rapidly above the bare rim of the prairie, the pond glittered like polished metal, and she could see the flash of white bodies as the boys ran about the edge, or jumped into the water.

Alexandra watched the shimmering pool dreamily, but eventually her eyes went back to the sorghum patch south of the barn, where she was planning to make her new pig corral. F OR the first three years after John Bergson's death, the affairs of his family prospered. Then came the hard times that brought every one on the Divide to the brink of despair; three years of drouth and failure, the last struggle of a wild soil against the encroaching plowshare.

The first of these fruitless summers the Bergson boys bore courageously. The failure of the corn crop made labor cheap. Lou and Oscar hired two men and put in bigger crops than ever before. They lost everything they spent. The whole country was discouraged.

Farmers who were already in debt had to give up their land. A few foreclosures demoralized the county. The settlers sat about on the wooden sidewalks in the little town and told each other that the country was never meant for men to live in; the thing to do was to get back to Iowa, to Illinois, to any place that had been proved habitable.

The Bergson boys, certainly, would have been happier with their uncle Otto, in the bakery shop in Chicago. Like most of their neighbors, they were meant to follow in paths already marked out for them, not to break trails in a new country. A steady job, a few holidays, nothing to think about, and they would have been very happy.

It was no fault of theirs that they had been dragged into the wilderness when they were little boys. A pioneer should have imagination, should be able to enjoy the idea of things more than the things themselves.

The second of these barren summers was passing. One September afternoon Alexandra had gone over to the garden across the draw to dig sweet potatoes—they had been thriving upon the weather that was fatal to everything else. But when Carl Linstrum came up the garden rows to find her, she was not working. She was standing lost in thought, leaning upon her pitchfork, her sunbonnet lying beside her on the ground.

The dry garden patch smelled of drying vines and was strewn with yellow seed-cucumbers and pumpkins and citrons. At one end, next the rhubarb, grew feathery asparagus, with red berries. Down the middle of the garden was a row of gooseberry and currant bushes. A few tough zinnias and marigolds and a row of scarlet sage bore witness to the buckets of water that Mrs.

Bergson had carried there after sundown, against the prohibition of her sons. Carl came quietly and slowly up the garden path, looking intently at Alexandra. She did not hear him. She was standing perfectly still, with that serious ease so characteristic of her.

Her thick, reddish braids, twisted about her head, fairly burned in the sunlight. The air was cool enough to make the warm sun pleasant on one's back and shoulders, and so clear that the eye could follow a hawk up and up, into the blazing blue depths of the sky.

Even Carl, never a very cheerful boy, and considerably darkened by these last two bitter yeas, loved the country on days like this, felt something strong and young and wild come out of it, that laughed at care. Let's sit down by the gooseberry bushes.

We are really going away. She looked at him as if she were a little frightened. Louis, and they will give him back his old job in the cigar factory. He must be there by the first of November. They are taking on new men then. We will sell the place for whatever we can get, and auction the stock. We have n't enough to ship. I am going to learn engraving with a German engraver there, and then try to get work in Chicago. Alexandra's hands dropped in her lap.

Her eyes became dreamy and filled with tears. Carl's sensitive lower lip trembled. He scratched in the soft earth beside him with a stick. But it is n't as if we could really ever be of any help to you. We are only one more drag, one more thing you look out for and feel responsible for. Father was never meant for a farmer, you know that. And I hate it. We'd only get in deeper and deeper. You are wasting your life here. You are able, to do much better things. You are nearly nineteen now, and I would n't have you stay.

I've always hoped you would get away. But I can't help feeling scared when I think how I will miss you—more than you will ever know. Alexandra smiled and shook her head. It's by understanding me, and the boys, and mother, that you've helped me. I expect that is the only way one person ever really can help another. I think you are about the only one that ever helped me.

Somehow it will take more courage to bear your going than everything that has happened before. Carl looked at the ground. He makes me laugh. When anything comes up he always says, 'I wonder what the Bergsons are going to do about that? I guess I'll go and ask her. You were only a little girl then, but you knew ever so much more about farmwork than poor father. You remember how homesick I used to get, and what long talks we used to have coming from school?

We've someway always felt alike about things. And we've had good times, hunting for Christmas trees and going for ducks and making our plum wine together every year. We've never either of us had any other close friend. And now—" Alexandra wiped her eyes with the corner of her apron, "and now I must remember that you are going where you will have many friends, and will find the work you were meant to do.

But you'll write to me, Carl? That will mean a great deal to me here. I want to do something you'll like and be proud of. I'm a fool here, but I know I can do something!

They always come home from town discouraged, anyway. So many people are trying to leave the country, and they talk to our boys and make them low-spirited. I'm afraid they are beginning to feel hard toward me because I won't listen to any talk about going. Sometimes I feel like I'm getting tired of standing up for this country. They'll be talking wild, anyway, and no good comes of keeping bad news.

It's all harder on them than it is on me. Lou wants to get married, poor boy, and he can't until times are better. See, there goes the sun, Carl. I must be getting back. Mother will want her potatoes. It's chilly already, the moment the light goes. Alexandra rose and looked about. A golden afterglow throbbed in the west, but the country already looked empty and mournful.

A dark moving mass came over the western hill, the Lee boy was bringing in the herd from the other half-section. Emil ran from the windmill to open the corral gate. From the log house, on the little rise across the draw, the smoke was curling. The cattle lowed and bellowed. In the sky the pale half-moon was slowly silvering. Alexandra and Carl walked together down the potato rows. But I can remember what it was like before. Now I shall have nobody but Emil.

But he is my boy, and he is tender-hearted. That night, when the boys were called to supper, they sat down moodily. They had worn their coats to town, but they ate in their striped shirts and suspenders. They were grown men now, and, as Alexandra said, for the last few years they had been growing more and more like themselves. Lou was still the slighter of the two, the quicker and more intelligent, but apt to go off at half-cock. He had a lively blue eye, a thin, fair skin always burned red to the neckband of his shirt in summer , stiff, yellow hair that would not lie down on his head, and a bristly little yellow mustache, of which he was very proud.

Oscar could not grow a mustache; his pale face was as bare as an egg, and his white eyebrows gave it an empty look. He was a man of powerful body and unusual endurance; the sort of man you could attach to a corn-sheller as you would an engine.

He would turn it all day, without hurrying, without slowing down. But he was as indolent of mind as he was unsparing of his body. His love of routine amounted to a vice. He worked like an insect, always doing the same thing over in the same way, regardless of whether it was best or no. He felt that there was a sovereign virtue in mere bodily toil, and he rather liked to do things in the hardest way. If a field had once been in corn, he could n't bear to put it into wheat. He liked to begin his corn-planting at the same time every year, whether the season were backward or forward.

He seemed to feel that by his own irreproachable regularity he would clear himself of blame and reprove the weather. When the wheat crop failed, he threshed the straw at a dead loss to demonstrate how little grain there was, and thus prove his case against Providence.

Lou, on the other hand, was fussy and flighty; always planned to get through two days' work in one, and often got only the least important things done. He liked to keep the place up, but he never got round to doing odd jobs until he had to neglect more pressing work to attend to them.

In the middle of the wheat harvest, when the grain was over-ripe and every hand was needed, he would stop to mend fences or to patch the harness; then dash down to the field and overwork and be laid up in bed for a week. The two boys balanced each other, and they pulled well together.

They had been good friends since they were children. One seldom went anywhere, even to town, without the other. To-night, after they sat down to supper, Oscar kept looking at Lou as if he expected him to say something, Alexandra herself who at last opened the discussion.

The old man is going to work in the cigar factory again. At this Lou plunged in. There's no use of us trying to stick it out, just to be stubborn. There's something in knowing when to quit. Lou reached for a potato. You see, Lou, that Fuller has a head on him. He's buying and trading for every bit of land he can get up here. It'll make him a rich man, some day. We'll live longer than he will. Some day the land itself will be worth more than all we can ever raise on it.

Why, Alexandra, you don't know what you're talking about. Our place would n't bring now what it would six years ago. The fellows that settled up here just made a mistake. Now they're beginning to see this high land was n't never meant to grow nothing on, and everybody who ain't fixed to graze cattle is trying to crawl out.

It's too high to farm up here. All the Americans are skinning out. That man Percy Adams, north of town, told me that he was going to let Fuller take his land and stuff for four hundred dollars and a ticket to Chicago. He's feathering his nest! If only poor people could learn a little from rich people! But all these fellows who are running off are bad farmers, like poor Mr.

They could n't get ahead even in good years, and they all got into debt while father was getting out. I think we ought to hold on as long as we can on father's account. He was so set on keeping this land.

He must have seen harder times than this, here. How was it in the early days, mother? Bergson was weeping quietly. These family discussions always depressed her, and made her remember all that she had been torn away from. If the rest of you go, I will ask some of the neighbors to tale me in, and stay and be buried by father.

I'm not to leave him by himself on the prairie, for cattle to run over. The boys looked angry. Alexandra put a soothing hand on her mother's shoulder. You don't have to go if you don't want to. A third of the place belongs to you by American law, and we can't sell without your consent. We only want you to advise us. How did it use to be when you and and father first came? Was it really as bad as this, or not?

Much worse," moaned Mrs. My garden all cut to pieces like sauerkraut. No grapes on the creek, no nothing. The people all lived just like coyotes. Oscar got up and tramped out of the kitchen. They felt that Alexandra had taken an unfair advantage in turning their mother loose on them.

The next morning they were silent and reserved. They did not offer to take the women to church, but went down to the barn immediately after breakfast and stayed there all day. When Carl Linstrum came over in the afternoon, Alexandra winked to him and pointed toward the barn. He understood her and went down to play cards with the boys.

They believed that a very wicked thing to do on Sunday, and it relieved their feelings. Alexandra stayed in the house.

On Sunday afternoon Mrs. Bergson always took a nap, and Alexandra read. During the week she read only the newspaper, but on Sunday, and in the long evenings of winter, she read a good deal; read a few things over a great many times. She knew long portions of the " Frithjof Saga " by heart, and, like most Swedes who read at all, she was fond of Longfellow's verse,—the ballads and the "Golden Legend" and "The Spanish Student. She was looking thoughtfully away at the point where the upland road disappeared over the rim of the prairie.

Her body was in an attitude of perfect repose, such as it was apt to take when she was thinking earnestly. Her mind was slow, truthful, steadfast. She had not the least spark of cleverness. All afternoon the sitting-room was full of quiet and sunlight. Emil was making rabbit traps in the kitchen shed. The hens were clucking and scratching brown holes in the flower beds, and the wind was teasing the prince's feather by the door. Because I am going to take a trip, and you can go with me if you want to.

The boys looked up in amazement; they were always afraid of Alexandra's schemes. I'm going to take Brigham and the buckboard to-morrow and drive down to the river country and a few days looking over what they've got down there.

If I find anything good, you boys can go down and make a trade. Maybe they are just as discontented down there as we are up here. Things away from home often look better than they are. You know what your Hans Andersen book says, Carl, about the Swedes liking to buy Danish bread and the Danes liking to buy Swedish bread, because people always think the bread of another country is better than their own.

Anyway, I've heard so much about the river farms, I won't be satisfied till I've seen for myself. Don't agree to anything. Don't let them fool you. Lou was apt to be fooled himself. He had not yet learned to keep away from the shell-game wagons that followed the circus. After supper Lou put on a necktie and went across the fields to court Annie Lee, and Carl and Oscar sat down to a game of checkers, while Alexandra read " The Swiss Family Robinson " aloud to her mother and Emil.

It was not long before the two boys at the table neglected their game to listen. They were all big children together, and they found the adventures of the family in the tree house so absorbing that they gave them their undivided attention. Alexandra and Emil spent five days down among the river farms, driving up and down the valley. Alexandra talked to the men about their crops and to the women about their poultry. She spent a whole day with one young farmer who had been away at school, and who was experimenting with a new kind of clover hay.

She learned a great deal. As they drove along, she and Emil talked and planned. At last, on the sixth day, Alexandra turned Brigham's head northward and left the river behind. There are a few fine farms, but they are owned by the rich men and could n't be bought.

Most of the land is rough and hilly. They can always scrape along down there, but they can never do anything big. Down there they have a little certainty, but up with us there is a big chance. We must have faith in the high land, Emil. I want to hold on harder than ever, and when you're a man you'll thank me. When the road began to climb the first long swells of the Divide, Alexandra hummed an old Swedish hymn, and Emil wondered why his sister looked so happy.

Her face was so radiant that he felt shy about asking her. For the first time, perhaps, since that land emerged from the waters of geologic ages, a human face was set toward it with love and yearning. It seemed beautiful to her, rich and strong and glorious. Her eyes drank in the breadth of it, until her tears blinded her.

Then the Genius of the Divide, the great, free spirit which breathes across it, must have bent lower than it ever bent to a human will before. The history of every country begins in the heart of a man or a woman. Alexandra reached home in the afternoon. That evening she held a family council and told her brothers all that she had seen and heard. Nothing will convince you like seeing with your own eyes. The river land was settled before this, and so they are a few years ahead of us, and have learned more about farming.

The land sells for three times as much as this, but in five years we will double it. The rich men down there own all the best land, and they are buying all they can get.

The thing to do is to sell our cattle and what little old corn we have, and buy the Linstrum place. Then the next thing to do is to take out two loans on our half-sections, and buy Peter Crow's place; raise every dollar we can, and buy every acre we can.

He sprang up and began to wind the clock furiously. I'll never do it. You'd just as soon kill us all, Alexandra, to carry out some scheme!

Oscar rubbed his high, pale forehead. Alexandra looked from one to the other and bit her lip. They had never seen her so nervous.

Well, with the money we buy a half-section from Linstrum and a half from Crow, and a quarter from Struble, maybe. That will give us upwards of fourteen hundred acres, won't it? You won't have to pay off your mortgages for six years. By that time, any of this land will be worth thirty dollars an acre—it will be worth fifty, but we'll say thirty; then you can sell a garden patch anywhere, and pay off a debt of sixteen hundred dollars.

It's not the principal I'm worried about, it's the interest and taxes. We'll have to strain to meet the payments. But as sure as we are sitting here to-night, we can sit down here ten years from now independent landowners, not struggling farmers any longer. The chance that father was always looking for has come.

Lou was pacing the floor. You'll have to take my word for it. I know , that's all. When you drive about over the country you can feel it coming. Oscar had been sitting with his head lowered, his hands hanging between his knees.

It would just lie there and we'd work ourselves to death. Alexandra's eyes filled with tears. She put her hand on his shoulder. The men in town who are buying up other people's land don't try to farm it. They are the men to watch, in a new country. Let's try to do like the shrewd ones, and not like these stupid fellows.

I don't want you boys always to have to work like this. I want you to be independent, and Emil to go to school. Lou held his head as if it were splitting. It must be crazy, or everybody would be doing it. No, Lou, I was talking about that with the smart young man who is raising the new kind of clover. He says the right thing to do is usually just what everybody don't do. Why are we better fixed than any of our neighbors? Because father had more brains.

Our people were better people than these in the old country. We ought to do more than they do, and see further ahead. Yes, mother, I'm going to clear the table now. The boys went to the stable to see to the stock, and they were gone a long while.

When they came back Lou played on his dragharmonika and Oscar sat figuring at his father's secretary all evening. They said nothing more about Alexandra's project, but she felt sure now that they would consent to it. Just before bedtime Oscar went out for a pail of water. When he did not come back, Alexandra threw a shawl over her head and ran down the path to the windmill. She found him sitting there with his head in his hands, and she sat down beside him.

She waited a moment, but he did not stir. What makes you so discouraged? Oscar shook his head. I've thought a good while there might be. We're in so deep now, we might as well go deeper.

But it's hard work pulling out of debt. Like pulling a threshing-machine out of the mud; breaks your back. Me and Lou's worked hard, and I can't see it's got us ahead much.

That's why I want to try an easier way. I don't want you to have to grub for every dollar. Maybe it'll come out right. But signing papers is signing papers. There ain't no maybe about that. Alexandra drew her shawl closer about her and stood leaning against the frame of the mill, looking at the stars which glittered so keenly through the frosty autumn air. She always loved to watch them, to think of their vastness and distance, and of their ordered march. It fortified her to reflect upon the great operations of nature, and when she thought of the law that lay behind them, she felt a sense of personal security.

That night she had a new consciousness of the country, felt almost a new relation to it. Even her talk with the boys had not taken away the feeling that had overwhelmed her when she drove back to the Divide that afternoon. She had never known before how much the country meant to her. The chirping of the insects down in the long grass had been like the sweetest music. She had felt as if her heart were hiding down there, somewhere, with the quail and the plover and all the little wild things that crooned or buzzed in the sun.

Under the long shaggy ridges, she felt the future stirring. I T is sixteen years since John Bergson died. His wife now lies beside him, and the white shaft that marks their graves gleams across the wheatfields. Could he rise from beneath it, he would not know the country under which he had been asleep. The shaggy coat of the prairie, which they lifted to make him a bed, has vanished forever.

From the Norwegian graveyard one looks out over a vast checker-board, marked off in squares of wheat and corn; light and dark, dark and light. Telephone wires hum along the white roads, which always run at right angles.

From the graveyard gate one can count a dozen gayly painted farmhouses; the gilded weather-vanes on the big red barns wink at each other across the green and brown and yellow fields. The light steel windmills tremble throughout their frames and tug at their moorings, as they vibrate in the wind that often blows from one week's end to another across that high, active, resolute stretch of country.

The Divide is now thickly populated. The rich soil yields heavy harvests; the dry, bracing climate and the smoothness of the land make labor easy for men and beasts. There are few scenes more gratifying than a spring plowing in that country, where the furrows of a single field often lie a mile in length, and the brown earth, with such a strong, clean smell, and such a power of growth and fertility in it, yields itself eagerly to the plow; rolls away from the shear, not even dimming the brightness of the metal, with a soft, deep sigh of happiness.

The wheat-cutting sometimes goes on all night as well as all day, and in good seasons there are scarcely men and horses enough to do the harvesting. The grain is so heavy that it bends toward the blade and cuts like velvet. There is something frank and joyous and young in the open face of the country. It gives itself ungrudgingly to the moods of the season, holding nothing back. Like the plains of Lombardy , it seems to rise a little to meet the sun.

The air and the earth are curiously mated and intermingled, as if the one were the breath of the other. You feel in the atmosphere the same tonic, puissant quality that is in the tilth, the same strength and resoluteness.

One June morning a young man stood at the gate of the Norwegian graveyard, sharpening his scythe in strokes unconsciously timed to the tune he was whistling. He wore a flannel cap and duck trousers, and the sleeves of his white flannel shirt were rolled back to the elbow. When he was satisfied with the edge of his blade, he slipped the whetstone into his hip pocket and began to swing his scythe, still whistling, but softly, out of respect to the quiet folk about him.

Unconscious respect, probably, for he seemed intent upon his own thoughts, and, like the Gladiator's , they were far away. He was a splendid figure of a boy, tall and straight as a young pine tree, with a handsome head, and stormy gray eyes, deeply set under a serious brow.

The space between his two front teeth, which were unusually far apart, gave him the proficiency in whistling for which he was distinguished at college. He also played the cornet in the University band. When the grass required his close attention, or when he had to stop to cut about a headstone, he paused in his lively air,— the "Jewel" song ,—taking it up where he had left it when his scythe swung free again.

He was not thinking about the tired pioneers over whom his blade glittered. The old wild country, the struggle was destined to succeed while so many men broke their hearts and died, he can scarcely remember. That is all among the dim things of childhood and has been forgotten in the brighter pattern life weaves to-day, in the bright facts of being captain of the track team, and holding the interstate record for the high jump, in the all-suffusing brightness of being twenty-one.

Yet sometimes, in the pauses of his work, the young man frowned and looked at the ground with an intentness which suggested that even twenty-one might have its problems. When he had been mowing the better part of an hour, he heard the rattle of a light cart on the road behind him.

Every year I discover a few products that, while they may only be new to me, add something to my enjoyment of the outdoors. What better time than the new year could there be to tell you about them? What it does is make skinning a squirrel as easy as that particular job is going to get. All pulling is in a downward direction, beginning at eye level with very little bending required.

The inventor is the only source I know of for this product. Go online to squirrelcleaningbuddy. Admittedly, it has taken — and still is taking — a lot experimenting to position the camera where it sees what I want it to see.

Aaron Velcros his camera to the right side of his caps, a position that works great for him. But side mounting gives me fits, trying to keep the camera angle parallel with the horizon.

My camera happens to be a Midland p HD, but there are many other models. Full body safety harnesses and the Spider Descent System, for use when I was actually in the stand hunting, are. But while I was headed in the right direction, I was still unprotected while climbing to and from the stand and while transferring from the climbing device to the stand — the maneuvers during which a large majority of treestand accidents occur. I was shopping for something else one day this fall, when I noticed a product called the Safe-Line, marketed by Muddy, Inc.

The Safe-Line is 30 feet of half-inch rope with an exceptionally nonslip surface. A closed loop of. In fact, a quick Google search hinted that every retailer in cyberspace either sells or claims to sell miniature video cameras. The prussic knot is the key to the whole system. The Safe-Line must first be affixed to the tree as far above the stand as possible by running the rope around the tree and through the loop.

Make sure one of the prussic knots stays near the top of the main rope. To use it, attach your safety harnesses tether to the prussic knot immediately after removing it from whatever mechanism is holding it to the tree. Transfer to the climbing sticks or other access means and move the prussic knot down as you descend, keeping it above your head.

Reverse the process to return to the stand. I know I did. Just as a musical instrument gives life to a musician, so does a flower to a butterfly. It goes through four distinct stages. In the first stage, the female monarch butterfly lays one egg at a time on a leaf. By the time she is finished, there will be approximately deposited on the leaf. The genius of this butterfly knows that only one in 20 will make it to adulthood.

The eggs — the size of a pinhead — are placed under a leaf, preferably a milkweed leaf. This provides a protective covering from the sun, elements and predators. However, milkweed is also attractive to spiders and ants. The young larva and eggs are an invitation to these insects for a tasty meal.

After five days, a caterpillar or larva will hatch from the egg. This worm-like creature has a unique patterned appearance of patches or stripes. The growing stage requires a great deal of eating. It first devours the leaf it is hatched from at birth. This eating frenzy will cause the caterpillar to rapidly develop and become large.

Research shows that in the fourth shed, a new skin begins to develop, the old skin starts to split, and a lighter yellow area is exposed behind the head. The old skin is discarded, allowing for the new skin and the head to darken and become larger.

The third phase is the chrysalis or pupa phase. The caterpillar is fully grown. It seeks out a place to rest on a branch, twig or leaf. While there, the larva begins creating and perfecting a silk anchor-hold, which takes hours of preparation. When this feat is accomplished, the caterpillar is eager to move. It crawls towards the silk button, securely attaching itself with claspers. As the chrysalis begins to form, a brown or. It hangs upside-down, flapping the wings in an effort to straighten and dry them.

They are soft and folded against its body. This phase also requires Midland Blvd - Overland , MO the butterfly to rest so it will become energized and visits a coneflower along a mo trail at strengthened for flying.

After A monarch vfw butterfly post overland, the monarch rests, it works its the Missouri Department of Conservation Nature Center, wings, allowing blood and Springfield, MO.

The audience ing is apparent. With time, listens in great anticipation BUTTERFLY the chrysalis sends cues to to the waves of changes EMERGES the caterpillar to carefully as the music unfolds with In the fourth and final stage, resonating instruments and dislodge the claspers, one at a time, and then it will let the chrysalis transforms into voices. The music gradually Saturday: This action causes it to a butterfly, or imago.

Black Bear and Moose Hunts! As the wind is howling, the wind chimes are providing random, soothing music tuned to the pentatonic scale. The woodstove is chugging along, keeping us warm and the woodpile is shrinking.

With spring far from sight, I have to keep my thoughts away from those precious morel mushrooms and focus on enjoying other favorite cold-weather foods. Some do like it hot, but some do not. It will set even the most macho hot-lovers not hot, macho lovers on fire.

It is on my list of comfort foods. I would, however, recommend that you exercise caution the first. Unless you have survived those extreme hot wing challenges and enjoyed the experience, consider cutting the cayenne, hot pepper sauce and chili powder in half. While I could have done that for you here, my preference is to offer recipes in their original form and let you do the tweaking.

Since the recipe does not specify which hot pepper sauce a. Personally, I like the stuff made by a guy named Pete who lives in Texas. Mountain Man favors a guy named Frank. They vary from one part of the country to the other, much like barbecue varies from St.

The most basic hot sauces are made mainly of hot peppers and vinegar. Some are more or less vinegary than others. There is usually some salt added and possibly a few additional seasonings.

Apparently, white pepper is much hotter than black but lacks the flavor. Mountain Man always asks how you can taste anything when your tongue is on fire. Some flavor variations are the result of how the pepper was processed e. For those with peanut butter allergies, almond butter can be used in its place. The flavor will be slightly different, but pleasant. For either one, unless you enjoy pieces of nut in your soup, sticking to a creamy rather than a crunchy version is best.

When thinking about sides to cool the heat, you have many options; these are just a few. This dish would be nicely complemented with dinner rolls and honey butter — sugar and fat help the heat. The fat in sliced avocados does the same job. Celery sticks with cream cheese, dairy-based dip and ranch dressing have proven themselves at most hot wing establishments. Add the garlic for about one minute and then add the crushed tomatoes.

Add peanut butter and mix well. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Cook until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Use a stick blender to puree to a smooth consistency.

Sport in America has a rich and wonderfully varied literature. Yet the pick of the literary litter from upwards of threescore columns, all of them top drawer stuff, appear in The Old Man and the Boy. But at heart he was a wise, gentle figure of great humanity with a shrewd mind and uncanny knack for sharing his accumulated knowledge.

I made up my mind right then that someday I would learn to be a writer and write some of the stuff the Old Man had taught me.

In all of them, however, the Old Man dispenses his wit and wisdom, tinctured by ample doses of practical philosophy, on the outdoors and life in general. The stories are and will ever. Each of the 28 stories comprising The Old Man and the Boy stands alone, and the subject matter ranges widely across the hunting and fishing spectrum. Always though, the tales inform and entertain, evoking all that is good and gracious, endearing and enduring, about the sporting life.

The Old Man and the Boy stands in a class by itself as outdoor literature. Those who have never read the book have a rare treat awaiting them, while others who have repeatedly sampled and savored its irresistible fare know that Ruark gave us a literary treasure beyond measure. You may view the auction items and register by going to our website. Lots of hunts and guns. The grill is equipped with a inch stainless steel grate — just the size for a few thick ribeyes or several fish fillets.

Weighing about 4 pounds, with a powder-coated body and heat-resistant carbon steel fire box, the grill folds in seconds to 4 inches thick and stores in its carrying bag. It uses 12 to 15 charcoal briquettes at a time. The grate and fire box are dishwasher-safe. Outdoor Edge introduces the ChowPal, an innovative approach to outdoor eating utensils that incorporates multitool functionality.

The all-in-one utensil set combines a fork and folding knife-spoon with a can opener, bottle opener, flathead screwdriver and wrenches. Crafted of stainless steel, ChowPal set weighs just 2. The knife-spoon has a single-bevel blade that folds flat against the spoon. The fork has the wrenches, in 8, 10, 11 and 13mm, plus the can opener, bottle opener and screwdriver.

It all comes in an orange nylon pouch. ChowPal is available from retailers or online at outdooredge. Law Shield, which already has a program providing legal defense for gun owners. Sportsmen will be provided with up-to-date legal information and education. In case of trouble, such as unintended trespassing or misidentification of game, attorneys will support hunters and anglers through the legal process. Members will have access to: Hunter Shield is active in 20 states and working to add more.

Among them are Missouri, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arkansas. For more information or to sign up, call or go online to huntershield. Outdoor Edge introduces two Cut-N-Cue barbeque sets, piece and piece, that will make impressing friends and family with grill-master skills easy and affordable. Both come in hard-shell carrying cases.

The new Cut-N-Cues are available from retailers or at outdooredge. How many hunters or hikers have found themselves on a trail or crossing a field with the best guns, packs or clothing that money can buy, only to find their day ruined by boots that leak, chafe, slip on uneven terrain or just plain make their feet hurt? Lowa can prevent this scenario with handcrafted, European-made boots built to deliver comfort, performance and durability for anyone spending long days on the trail or in the field.

Waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex lining keeps feet dry and comfortable while the rugged NXT sole provides sure-footed traction, great for moving quickly with a heavy pack. The 4S Draw is a high-intensity, longdistance attractant with twice the protein and fat of corn plus added vitamins and minerals.

It can typically draw deer within one to five hours. Pro20 has a carefully formulated blend of high quality ingredients to support overall herd health in a long-lasting, compressed design that lets a hunter offer supplemental nutrition without contaminating the hunting area. Both products can be found at retailers or the at website 4swildlife.

The new Maratona gear bag was designed as a cycling-specific travel bag for weekend riding trips and races but is versatile enough to be used as a general travel bag. The Maratona becomes even more useful after an event when riders want to keep ride-day kit separate from clothing and weekend essentials.

Key features include a vented shoe bag with both internal and external access, a vented damp garment bag and water bottle holsters. The bag unzips to lay flat to form a small work area or place to sit. The bag meets airline size regulations for carry-on luggage and has three external handles and stowable shoulder straps that allow it to be a duffel bag or a backpack. GSI Outdoors introduces the Santoku Knife Set that does it all — slicing, dicing, chopping, cutting, prep and paring for camping, in the RV or the kitchen.

A durable cloth case keeps everything organized. The blades easily slice through meat, fish, chicken and veggies and even the crustiest of bread loaves.

Ergonomic rubber handles provide a sure grip. Protective safety covers ensure safe handling and preserve sharpness. The quick-drying, microfiber cleaning cloth has a soft, non-abrasive side for more delicate items and a rough scouring side for scrubbing.

The design gives shooters a more consistent shot pattern, more distinctive and shortened shot stream and better knock-down power for longer shots. The chokes can handle steel, lead, bismuth and any other shot and are available in gauge, with gauge and gauge to come soon. To see it and other models, go online to jebschokes. Water everywhere, but not a drop to drink? The Liberty holds 14 ounces. Its inline filter removes virtually percent of bacteria, cysts and viruses.

The bottle is easy to fill. Just unscrew the base and pull it out, then scoop in water, keeping the top closed to block contamination. Screw the base back on and pump it twice to remove contamination. Then unscrew the lid, open the flow valve and drink. It filters out chlorine, bad tastes and odor, too.

The holster can be used with or without an optic, and it accommodates either right-hand or left-hand shooters in low-ride or high-ride. It is the only Ruger Mark holster that is injection-molded, ambidextrous, and with an open-top design to keep optics installed. For more information, go to tacticalsol. QT Dog has partnered with Mossy Oak, outdoor industry leader in camouflage design and outdoors lifestyle brands, to offer a new line of dog chews and toys.

QT Dog includes long-lasting, natural deer antler chews, water buffalo horn chews and cotton rope tugs. The QT Dog chews and toys are available from brake-fast. The Infinity Zero Gravity Chair from Caravan Sports is an affordable way to enjoy a suspended, double bungee relaxation system.

The Infinity features fingertip locking, adjustable headrest and lumbar support, with long-lasting Textilene fabric on a powder coated steel frame. It support up to pounds, folds down to 6. It has the latest RFID blocking technology and longlasting materials to make it one of the most durable, secure wallets available. Made with either titanium, aluminum or carbon fiber, Ridge is incredibly light and fits perfectly in a front pocket, so users can ditch their bulky leather bifolds for a sleek, minimalist wallet that can be added to hiking gear without compromising space or weight.

The wallet also slips into a windbreaker pocket or the breast pocket of a fine suit. The Ridge wallet is available at ridgewallet. They let hunters stay connected and hear weather alerts. Specifically designed for hunters, they have two push-totalk ear buds with microphones, reliable two-way communications up to a mile range, hands-free capability, NOAA weather channels, 20 call tones and dual power.

The radios comes equipped with two micro-USB wall charging cables and a handy camo carry case. Croix, from Park Falls, WI, describes its new Legend Tournament Inshore rod series as a blend of the sensitivity, power and durability of Legend rods with components and technology designed for saltwater use.

The blue rods are made of SCIV graphite and use Integrated Poly Curve tooling technology to eliminate transitional points, which fosters smooth action, increased strength and sensitivity. The rods are equipped with a Fuji TVS blank touch reel seat on spinning rods and a PTS blank-touch reel seat with built-in hoods on casting models. The bags are designed by women for women and come with a one-year warranty. They also have products for men including briefcases, duffel bags, shoulder holster bags and shoulder saddlebags.

See them at the website guntotenmamas. It was dark when we got there, and the horses needed a breather. Mountains seem to have got steeper in recent years. The Old Man just nodded at us as we climbed down. Never said a word, just nodded and stared at the back at the flames. He had a good fire built and was just studying the flames. No lantern lit, it was just hanging behind him. I misdoubt he even heard me. The others made do with a log out on the edge of the dark. Doubt if he knew or cared.

He could have filled his tag the first day, most likely, was he just after winter meat. He was that good in the mountains. With Clark, it had become an obsession with just one elk. He spoke to me about it a few months ago. At first I thought he was talking about his oldest son, lost in a big snowslide some years ago.

But no, he was. Reckon most likely it will be my last elk hunt. Scary thing is, I knew how he felt. Never had a thought or desire to talk him out if it. Truth told, I was of a mind to go with him.

Dead dark and still two hours to go to hit the main camp. I still remember what he said, that day in late summer. Reckon he always will be. Reckon he figured it. I hope he made his final kill. We left his teepee standing the way we found it, everything in it but his bow and quiver. Brought his horse out but that was all. Sometimes, always late of a night, I get up and go look out the windows toward the Crags or open the door and smell.

Couple times I thought for sure I heard a bull bugle near the timberline. Sloan of Lebanon, TN, has been writing about the outdoor life since For the best in Celebrity interviews, hunting, fishing, outdoor news Meramec Station Rd. On the way to Reelfoot Lake only 35 miles away from the hottest bream fishin' in the mid-south. Nearly every lever link design. When you join us you can participate in our outings, meetings, and other fun social events. We collaborate with other angling and conservation organizations, federal, state, and local agencies in order to help conserve and improve our Missouri Ozark river and stream smallmouth fisheries.

Join us and help educate the general public and yourself about our wonderful and unique smallmouth fisheries by participating in our education and outreach activities. Children 15 and under half-price. Then he took his bull on the seventh evening of a nine-day hunt, hunting with the Weimer hunting camp. This majestic elk came off the mountain and filled the brisk mornings with the sound of elk bugling to go along with the scent of spruce and aspen in the air. It was the largest he has taken.

The coal miner is a former U. Marine who served in combat in Iraq. He reconnoitered the hunting area and has many images of the deer, which carried a point mainframe rack with two additional kicker points on the left base. The spread was nearly 22 inches at the tips of each main beam. Whether maneuvering along a weed bed for bass or skirting the shoreline in a protected bay, the better contact you have with your boat, the more effectively you can direct the power of your paddle stroke from the water — and minimize the stress it puts on your body.

As the paddler, you are pulling your kayak through the water by passing the resistance against your paddle blade up the shaft, through your body and out to the boat to make it move forward. The more spread-out and balanced those contact points are between your body and the boat, the more effective your power stroke — and the less demand on any one point on your body.

Sit-ontop kayaks have the option of a thigh strap similar to what canoeists use to provide a firm but easy-to-release strap that the paddler can slip a knee under. If you constantly have a sore lower back after paddling, start using your feet as a primary contact point. An adjustable seat makes a big difference, too. Even with proper paddling posture you may still be tired after a day of kayak. Tom Watson is an awardwinning writer, former Alaska kayak tour operator and a past president of the Trade Association of Sea Kayaking.

Our family trips to Africa provided an opportunity to experience things that a country boy from Missouri would likely never have been exposed to — things like proper dining, professional hunters, wildlife conservation, native trackers and the unique animals and natural wonders of.

Buyers who have leased hunting ground for the past few years are tired of leasing, ready to buy a farm and are on the prowl. Sellers who just wrapped up one last hunting season on the farm are now willing to move on to other things. Not to mention this is the best time of year to walk hunting properties because, if whitetails call a tract home, the sign is easy to spot.

Allow me to explain. The economics classes you took in school are front and center as the law of Supply and Demand kicks in. Supply is down while demand increases, and. There was also time to read, and for deep, critical thinking, during the long hours tracking elephant and buffalo — with nothing to do on the track but think and walk. All of these things, and more, allowed Africa to change my life.

Serving the ladies first, eldest to youngest, and then the gentlemen creates a bit more order around the dining table. Waiting until the eldest lady has started her soup,.

Africa gave me an entirely new way to think about dining. The natural world of Africa includes some interesting trees, plants and animals, along with spectacular sunsets and awesome views of the moon and stars.

One cannot help but spend more time appreciating and thinking about nature. Earning the respect of others and developing a high level of confidence are two of the most basic characteristics of leadership. Hunting dangerous game in Africa and developing a larger perspective of the world have been instrumental in my development as a leader — further changing my life. Right now, there are significantly more buyers in the market for farms than there are landowners willing to part with their cherished ground.

First, when the demand is high and sellers can command top dollar for their farm is when many of the really good farms hit the market. Secondly, when you consider the cost of borrowing money is likely to go up in the coming months, a buyer could be better off paying a premium for the land and locking in at a solid rate today versus getting a better deal on the land next year at a higher rate.

What it does mean is there will be demand for your property. This will allow sellers to market their farms at the upper end of market value and expect to hold reasonably firm on the asking price.

A word to the wise … buy-. Once they were on the homeward road, the boys forgot their ill-humor and joked about Ivar and his birds. Alexandra did not propose any reforms in the care of the pigs, and they hoped she had forgotten Ivar's talk. They agreed that he was crazier than ever, and would Alexandra privately resolved that she would have a talk with Ivar about this and stir him up.

The boys persuaded Carl to stay for supper and go swimming in the pasture pond after dark. That evening, after she had washed the supper dishes, Alexandra sat down on the kitchen doorstep, while her mother was mixing the bread. It was a still, deepbreathing summer night, full of the smell of the hay fields. Sounds of laughter and splashing came up from the pasture, and when the moon rose rapidly above the bare rim of the prairie, the pond glittered like polished metal, and she could see the flash of white bodies as the boys ran about the edge, or jumped into the water.

Alexandra watched the shimmering pool dreamily, but eventually her eyes went back to the sorghum patch south of the barn, where she was planning to make her new pig corral. IV For the first three years after John Bergson's death, the affairs of his family prospered.

Then came the hard times that brought every one on the Divide to the brink of despair; three years of drouth and failure, the last struggle of a wild soil against the encroaching plowshare. The first of these fruitless summers the Bergson boys bore courageously. The failure of the corn crop made labor cheap. Lou and Oscar hired two men and put in bigger crops than ever before.

They lost everything they spent. The whole country was discouraged. Farmers who were already in debt had to give up their land. A few foreclosures demoralized the county. The settlers sat about on the wooden sidewalks in the little town and told each other that the country was never meant for men to live in; the thing to do was to get back to Iowa, to Illinois, to any place that had been proved habitable. The Bergson boys, certainly, would have been happier with their uncle Otto, in the bakery shop in Chicago.

Like most of their neighbors, they were meant to follow in paths already marked out for them, not to break trails in a new country. A steady job, a few holidays, nothing to think about, and they would have been very happy. It was no fault of theirs that they had been dragged into the wilderness when they were little boys. A pioneer should have imagination, should be able to enjoy the idea of things more than the things themselves.

The second of these barren summers was passing. But when Carl Linstrum came up the garden rows to find her, she was not working. She was standing lost in thought, leaning upon her pitchfork, her sunbonnet lying beside her on the ground. The dry garden patch smelled of drying vines and was strewn with yellow seed-cucumbers and pumpkins and citrons. At one end, next the rhubarb, grew feathery asparagus, with red berries. Down the middle of the garden was a row of gooseberry and currant bushes.

A few tough zenias and marigolds and a row of scarlet sage bore witness to the buckets of water that Mrs. Bergson had carried there after sundown, against the prohibition of her sons.

Carl came quietly and slowly up the garden path, looking intently at Alexandra. She did not hear him. She was standing perfectly still, with that serious ease so characteristic of her. Her thick, reddish braids, twisted about her head, fairly burned in the sunlight. The air was cool enough to make the warm sun pleasant on one's back and shoulders, and so clear that the eye could follow a hawk up and up, into the blazing blue depths of the sky. Even Carl, never a very cheerful boy, and considerably darkened by these last two bitter years, loved the country on days like this, felt something strong and young and wild come out of it, that laughed at care.

Let's sit down by the gooseberry bushes. We are really going away. Louis, and they will give him back his old job in the cigar factory. He must be there by the first of November. They are taking on new men then. We will sell the place for whatever we can get, and auction the stock. We haven't enough to ship. I am going to learn engraving with a German engraver there, and then try to get work in Chicago.

Her eyes became dreamy and filled with tears. Carl's sensitive lower lip trembled. He scratched in the soft earth beside him with a stick. But it isn't as if we could really ever be of any help to you. We are only one more drag, one more thing you look out for and feel responsible for. Father was never meant for a farmer, you know that. And I hate it. We'd only get in deeper and deeper. You are wasting your life here. You are able to do much better things.

You are nearly nineteen now, and I wouldn't have you stay. I've always hoped you would get away. It's by understanding me, and the boys, and mother, that you've helped me. I expect that is the only way one person ever really can help another. I think you are about the only one that ever helped me. Somehow it will take more courage to bear your going than everything that has happened before.

He makes me laugh. When anything comes up he always says, 'I wonder what the Bergsons are going to do about that? I guess I'll go and ask her. You were only a little girl then, but you knew ever so much more about farm work than poor father. You remember how homesick I used to get, We've someway always felt alike about things.

And we've had good times, hunting for Christmas trees and going for ducks and making our plum wine together every year. We've never either of us had any other close friend.

But you'll write to me, Carl? That will mean a great deal to me here. I want to do something you'll like and be proud of. I'm a fool here, but I know I can do something! They always come home from town discouraged, anyway. So many people are trying to leave the country, and they talk to our boys and make them low-spirited. I'm afraid they are beginning to feel hard toward me because I won't listen to any talk about going.

Sometimes I feel like I'm getting tired of standing up for this country. They'll be talking wild, anyway, and no good comes of keeping bad news. It's all harder on them than it is on me.

Lou wants to get married, poor boy, and he can't until times are better. See, there goes the sun, Carl. I must be getting back. Mother will want her potatoes. It's chilly already, the moment the light goes.

A golden afterglow throbbed in the west, but the country already looked empty and mournful. A dark moving mass came over the western hill, the Lee boy was bringing in the herd from the other half-section. Emil ran from the windmill to open the corral gate. From the log house, on the little rise across the draw, the smoke was curling. The cattle lowed and bellowed. In the sky the pale halfmoon was slowly silvering.

Alexandra and Carl walked together down the potato rows. But I can remember what it was like before. Now I shall have nobody but Emil. But he is my boy, and he is tender-hearted. They had worn their coats to town, but they ate in their striped shirts and suspenders.

They were grown men now, and, as Alexandra said, for the last few years they had been growing more and more like themselves. Lou was still the slighter of the two, the quicker and more intelligent, but apt to go off at half He had a lively blue eye, a thin, fair skin always burned red to the neckband of his shirt in summer , stiff, yellow hair that would not lie down on his head, and a bristly little yellow mustache, of which he was very proud.

Oscar could not grow a mustache; his pale face was as bare as an egg, and his white eyebrows gave it an empty look. He was a man of powerful body and unusual endurance; the sort of man you could attach to a corn-sheller as you would an engine.

He would turn it all day, without hurrying, without slowing down. But he was as indolent of mind as he was unsparing of his body. His love of routine amounted to a vice. He worked like an insect, always doing the same thing over in the same way, regardless of whether it was best or no. He felt that there was a sovereign virtue in mere bodily toil, and he rather liked to do things in the hardest way. If a field had once been in corn, he couldn't bear to put it into wheat.

He liked to begin his corn-planting at the same time every year, whether the season were backward or forward. He seemed to feel that by his own irreproachable regularity he would clear himself of blame and reprove the weather. When the wheat crop failed, he threshed the straw at a dead loss to demonstrate how little grain there was, and thus prove his case against Providence.

Lou, on the other hand, was fussy and flighty; always planned to get through two days' work in one, and often got only the least important things done. He liked to keep the place up, but he never got round to doing odd jobs until he had to neglect more pressing work to In the middle of the wheat harvest, when the grain was over-ripe and every hand was needed, he would stop to mend fences or to patch the harness; then dash down to the field and overwork and be laid up in bed for a week.

The two boys balanced each other, and they pulled well together. They had been good friends since they were children. One seldom went anywhere, even to town, without the other. To-night, after they sat down to supper, Oscar kept looking at Lou as if he expected him to say something, and Lou blinked his eyes and frowned at his plate. It was Alexandra herself who at last opened the discussion.

The old man is going to work in the cigar factory again. There's no use of us trying to stick it out, just to be stubborn. There's something in knowing when to quit. Lou reached for a potato. You see, Lou, that Fuller has a head on him. He's buying and trading for every bit of land he can get up here. It'll make him a rich man, some day. We'll live longer than he will. Some day the land itself will be worth more than all we can ever raise on it.

Why, Alexandra, you don't know what you're talking about. Our place wouldn't bring now what it would six years ago.

The fellows that settled up here just made a mistake. Now they're beginning to see this high land wasn't never meant to grow nothing on, and everybody who ain't fixed to graze cattle is trying to crawl out. It's too high to farm up here.

All the Americans are skinning out. That man Percy Adams, north of town, told me that he was going to let Fuller take his land and stuff for four hundred dollars and a ticket to Chicago. He's feathering his nest! If only poor people could learn a little from rich people! But all these fellows who are running off are bad farmers, like poor Mr.

They couldn't get ahead even in good years, and they all got into debt I think we ought to hold on as long as we can on father's account. He was so set on keeping this land.

He must have seen harder times than this, here. How was it in the early days, mother? Bergson was weeping quietly. These family discussions always depressed her, and made her remember all that she had been torn away from. If the rest of you go, I will ask some of the neighbors to take me in, and stay and be buried by father. I'm not going to leave him by himself on the prairie, for cattle to run over.

The boys looked angry. Alexandra put a soothing hand on her mother's shoulder. You don't have to go if you don't want to. A third of the place belongs to you by American law, and we can't sell without your consent. We only want you to advise us. How did it use to be when you and father first came? Was it really as bad as this, or not?

Much worse," moaned Mrs. My garden all cut to pieces like sauerkraut. No grapes on the creek, no nothing. The people all lived just like coyotes. Oscar got up and tramped out of the kitchen. They felt that Alexandra had taken an unfair advantage in turning their mother loose on them. The next morning they were silent and reserved. They did not offer to take the women to church, but went down to the barn immediately after breakfast and stayed there all day.

When Carl Linstrum came over in the afternoon, Alexandra winked to him and pointed toward the barn. He understood her and went down to play cards with the boys. They believed that a very wicked thing to do on Sunday, and it relieved their feelings.

Alexandra stayed in the house. On Sunday afternoon Mrs. Bergson always took a nap, and Alexandra read. During the week she read only the newspaper, but on Sunday, and in the long evenings of winter, she read a good deal; read a few things over a great many times.

She was looking thoughtfully away at the point where the upland road disappeared over the rim of the prairie. Her body was in an attitude of perfect repose, such as it was apt to take when she was thinking earnestly. Her mind was slow, truthful, steadfast. She had not the least spark of cleverness. All afternoon the sitting-room was full of quiet and sunlight.

Emil was making rabbit traps in the kitchen shed. The hens were clucking and scratching brown holes in the flower beds, and the wind was teasing the prince's feather by the door.

That evening Carl came in with the boys to supper. Because I am going to take a trip, and you can go with me if you want to. I'm going to take Brigham and the buckboard to-morrow and drive down to the river country and spend a few days looking over what they've got down there.

If I find anything good, you boys can go down and make a trade. Maybe they are just as discontented down there as we are up here. Things away from home often look better than they are.

You know what your Hans Andersen book says, Carl, about the Swedes liking to buy Danish bread and the Danes liking to buy Swedish bread, because people always think the bread of another country is better than their Anyway, I've heard so much about the river farms, I won't be satisfied till I've seen for myself. Don't agree to anything. Don't let them fool you.

He had not yet learned to keep away from the shell-game wagons that followed the circus. After supper Lou put on a necktie and went across the fields to court Annie Lee, and Carl and Oscar sat down to a game of checkers, while Alexandra read "The Swiss Family Robinson" aloud to her mother and Emil.

It was not long before the two boys at the table neglected their game to listen. They were all big children together, and they found the adventures of the family in the tree house so absorbing that they gave them their undivided attention. V Alexandra and Emil spent five days down among the river farms, driving up and down the valley.

Alexandra talked to the men about their crops and to the women about their poultry. She spent a whole day with one young farmer who had been away at school, and who was experimenting with a new kind of clover hay. She learned a great deal. As they drove along, she and Emil talked and planned. At last, on the sixth day, Alexandra turned Brigham's head northward and left the river behind. There are a few fine farms, but they are owned by the rich men in town, and couldn't be bought.

Most of the land is rough and hilly. They can always scrape along down there, but they can never do anything big. Down there they have a little certainty, but up with us there is a big chance.

We must have faith in the high land, Emil. I want to hold on harder than ever, and when you're a man you'll thank me. When the road began to climb the first long swells of the Divide, Alexandra hummed an old Swedish hymn, and Emil wondered why his sister looked so happy. Her face was so radiant that he felt shy about asking her. For the first time, perhaps, since that land emerged from the waters of geologic ages, a human face was set toward it with love and yearning.

It seemed beautiful to her, rich and strong and glorious. Her eyes drank in the Then the Genius of the Divide, the great, free spirit which breathes across it, must have bent lower than it ever bent to a human will before. The history of every country begins in the heart of a man or a woman. Alexandra reached home in the afternoon. That evening she held a family council and told her brothers all that she had seen and heard. Nothing will convince you like seeing with your own eyes. The river land was settled before this, and so they are a few years ahead of us, and have learned more about farming.

The land sells for three times as much as this, but in five years we will double it. The rich men down there own all the best land, and they are buying all they can get. The thing to do is to sell our cattle and what little old corn we have, and buy the Linstrum place.

Then the next thing to do is to take out two loans on our half-sections, and buy Peter Crow's place; raise every dollar we can, and buy every acre we can. He sprang up and began to wind the clock furiously.

I'll never do it. You'd just as soon kill us all, Alexandra, to carry out some scheme! Alexandra looked from one to the other and bit her lip. They had never seen her so nervous. Well, with the money we buy a half-section from Linstrum and a half from Crow, and a quarter from Struble, maybe. That will give us upwards of fourteen hundred acres, won't it? You won't have to pay off your mortgages for six years. It's not the principal I'm worried about, it's the interest and taxes.

We'll have to strain to meet the payments. But as sure as we are sitting here to-night, we can sit down here ten years from now independent landowners, not struggling farmers any longer. The chance that father was always looking for has come. You'll have to take my word for it.

I KNOW, that's all. When you drive about over the country you can feel it coming. It would just lie there and we'd work Alexandra's eyes filled with tears. She put her hand on his shoulder. The men in town who are buying up other people's land don't try to farm it. They are the men to watch, in a new country. Let's try to do like the shrewd ones, and not like these stupid fellows. I don't want you boys always to have to work like this. I want you to be independent, and Emil to go to school.

It must be crazy, or everybody would be doing it. No, Lou, I was talking about that with the smart young man who is raising the new kind of clover. He says the right thing is usually just what everybody don't do. Why are we better fixed than any of our neighbors? Because father had more brains. Our people were better people than these in the old country.

Yes, mother, I'm going to clear the table now. The boys went to the stable to see to the stock, and they were gone a long while. They said nothing more about Alexandra's project, but she felt sure now that they would consent to it. When he did not come back, Alexandra threw a shawl over her head and ran down the path to the windmill.

She found him sitting there with his head in his hands, and she sat down beside him. She waited a moment, but he did not stir.

What makes you so discouraged? I don't want you to, if you feel that way. I've thought a good while there might be. We're in so deep now, we might as well go deeper. But it's hard work pulling out of debt. Like pulling a threshingmachine out of the mud; breaks your back. Me and Lou's worked hard, and I can't see it's got us ahead much. That's why I want to try an easier way. I don't want you to have to grub for every dollar. Maybe it'll come out right. But signing papers is signing papers.

Alexandra drew her shawl closer about her and stood leaning against the frame of the mill, looking at the stars which glittered so keenly through the frosty autumn air. She always loved to watch them, to think of their vastness and distance, and of their ordered march. It fortified her to reflect upon the great operations of nature, and when she thought of the law that lay behind them, she felt a sense of personal security.

That night she had a new consciousness of the country, felt almost a new relation to it. Even her talk with the boys had not taken away the feeling that had overwhelmed her when she drove back to the Divide that afternoon. She had never known before how much the country meant to her.

The chirping of the insects down in the long grass had been like the sweetest music. She had felt as if her heart were hiding down there, somewhere, with the quail and the plover and all the little wild things that crooned or buzzed in the sun.

Under the long shaggy ridges, she felt the future stirring. His wife now lies beside him, and the white shaft that marks their graves gleams across the wheat-fields. Could he rise from beneath it, he would not know the country under which he has been asleep. The shaggy coat of the prairie, which they lifted to make him a bed, has vanished forever. From the Norwegian graveyard one looks out over a vast checker-board, marked off in squares of wheat and corn; light and dark, dark and light.

Telephone wires hum along the white roads, which always run at right angles. From the graveyard gate one can count a dozen gayly painted farmhouses; the gilded weather-vanes on the big red barns wink at each other across the green and brown and yellow fields.

The light steel windmills tremble throughout their frames and tug at their moorings, as they vibrate in the wind that often blows from one week's end to another across that high, active, resolute stretch of country. The Divide is now thickly populated. The rich soil yields heavy harvests; the dry, bracing climate and the smoothness of the land make labor easy for men and beasts. There are few scenes more gratifying than a spring plowing in that country, where the furrows of a single field often lie a mile in length, and the brown The wheatcutting sometimes goes on all night as well as all day, and in good seasons there are scarcely men and horses enough to do the harvesting.

The grain is so heavy that it bends toward the blade and cuts like velvet. There is something frank and joyous and young in the open face of the country. It gives itself ungrudgingly to the moods of the season, holding nothing back. Like the plains of Lombardy, it seems to rise a little to meet the sun. The air and the earth are curiously mated and intermingled, as if the one were the breath of the other.

You feel in the atmosphere the same tonic, puissant quality that is in the tilth, the same strength and resoluteness. One June morning a young man stood at the gate of the Norwegian graveyard, sharpening his scythe in strokes unconsciously timed to the tune he was whistling. He wore a flannel cap and duck trousers, and the sleeves of his white flannel shirt were rolled back to the elbow. When he was satisfied with the edge of his blade, he slipped the whetstone into his hip pocket and began to swing his scythe, still whistling, but softly, out of respect to the quiet folk about him.

Unconscious respect, probably, for he seemed intent upon his own thoughts, and, like the Gladiator's, they were far away. He was a splendid figure of a boy, tall and straight as a young pine tree, with a handsome head, and stormy gray eyes, deeply set under a serious brow. The space between his two front teeth, which were unusually far apart, gave him the proficiency in whistling for which he was distinguished at college. He also played the cornet in the University band.

He was not thinking about the tired pioneers over whom his blade glittered. The old wild country, the struggle in which his sister was destined to succeed while so many men broke their hearts and died, he can scarcely remember.

That is all among the dim things of childhood and has been forgotten in the brighter pattern life weaves to-day, in the bright facts of being captain of the track team, and holding the interstate record for the high jump, in the all-suffusing brightness of being twenty-one.

Yet sometimes, in the pauses of his work, the young man frowned and looked at the ground with an intentness which suggested that even twenty-one might have its problems. When he had been mowing the better part of an hour, he heard the rattle of a light cart on the road behind him. Supposing that it was his sister coming back from one of her farms, he kept on with his work. The cart stopped at the gate and a merry contralto voice called, In the cart sat a young woman who wore driving gauntlets and a wide shade hat, trimmed with red poppies.

Her face, too, was rather like a poppy, round and brown, with rich color in her cheeks and lips, and her dancing yellow-brown eyes bubbled with gayety.

The wind was flapping her big hat and teasing a curl of her chestnut-colored hair. She shook her head at the tall youth.

That's not much of a job for an athlete. Here I've been to town and back. Alexandra lets you sleep late. Lou's wife was telling me about the way she spoils you. I was going to give you a lift, if you were done. Please wait for me, Marie," Emil coaxed. Just wait till I finish off the Kourdnas'. By the way, they were Bohemians. Why aren't they up in the Catholic graveyard? It's made an awful row. They still jaw about it in history classes. Marie Shabata settled herself in her seat and watched the rhythmical movement of the young man's long arms, swinging her foot as if in time to some air that was going through her mind.

Emil mowed vigorously and Marie sat sunning herself and watching the long grass fall. She sat with the ease that belongs to persons of an essentially happy nature, who can find a comfortable spot almost anywhere; who are supple, and quick in adapting themselves to circumstances.

After a final swish, Emil snapped the gate and sprang into the cart, holding his scythe well out over the wheel. Lou's wife needn't talk. I never see Lou's scythe over here. I wish I had an athlete to mow my orchard. I get wet to my knees when I go down to pick cherries. Better wait until after it rains. Oh, there's a good boy! He felt it rather than saw it. Indeed, he had looked away with the purpose of not seeing it. Amedee will be a handsome bridegroom.

Is anybody but you going to stand up with him? Well, then it will be a handsome wedding party. Maybe the supper will tempt him.

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