An American Idyll eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 188 pages of information about An American Idyll.

This was in October, 1914, after just one year as Executive Secretary.  We were over in Contra Costa County then, on a little ranch of my father’s.  Berkeley socially had come to be too much of a strain, and, too, we wanted the blessed sons to have a real country experience.  Ten months we were there.  Three days after Carl resigned, he was on his way to Phoenix, Arizona,—­where there was a threatened union tie-up,—­as United States Government investigator of the labor situation.  He added thereby to his first-hand stock of labor-knowledge, made a firm friend of Governor Hunt,—­he was especially interested in his prison policy,—­and in those few weeks was the richer by one more of the really intimate friendships one counts on to the last—­Will Scarlett.

He wrote, on Carl’s death, “What a horrible, hideous loss!  Any of us could so easily have been spared; that he, who was of such value, had to go seems such an utter waste. . . .  He was one of that very, very small circle of men, whom, in the course of our lives, we come really to love.  His friendship meant so much—­though I heard but infrequently from him, there was the satisfaction of a deep friendship that was always there and always the same.  He would have gone so far!  I have looked forward to a great career for him, and had such pride in him.  It’s too hideous!”


In January, 1915, Carl took up his teaching again in real earnest, commuting to Alamo every night.  I would have the boys in bed and the little supper all ready by the fire; then I would prowl down the road with my electric torch, to meet him coming home; he would signal in the distance with his torch, and I with mine.  Then the walk back together, sometimes ankle-deep in mud; then supper, making the toast over the coals, and an evening absolutely to ourselves.  And never in all our lives did we ask for more joy than that.

That spring we began building our very own home in Berkeley.  The months in Alamo had made us feel that we could never bear to be in the centre of things again, nor, for that matter, could we afford a lot in the centre of things; so we bought high up on the Berkeley hills, where we could realize as much privacy as was possible, and yet where our friends could reach us—­if they could stand the climb.  The love of a nest we built!  We were longer in that house than anywhere else:  two years almost to the day—­two years of such happiness as no other home has ever seen.  There, around the redwood table in the living-room, by the window overlooking the Golden Gate, we had the suppers that meant much joy to us and I hope to the friends we gathered around us.  There, on the porches overhanging the very Canyon itself we had our Sunday tea-parties. (Each time Carl would plead, “I don’t have to wear a stiff collar, do I?” and he knew that I would answer, “You wear anything you want,” which usually meant a blue soft shirt.)

Project Gutenberg
An American Idyll from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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