An American Idyll eBook

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


At the end of August the little family was united again in Seattle.  Almost the clearest picture of Carl I have is the eager look with which he scanned the people stepping out of our car at the station, and the beam that lit up his face as he spied us.  There is a line in Dorothy Canfield’s “Bent Twig” that always appealed to us.  The mother and father were separated for a few days, to the utter anguish of the father especially, and he remarked, “It’s Hell to be happily married!” Every time we were ever separated we felt just that.

In one of Carl’s letters from Seattle he had written:  “The ’Atlantic Monthly’ wants me to write an article on the I.W.W.!!” So the first piece of work he had to do after we got settled was that.  We were tremendously excited, and never got over chuckling at some of the moss-grown people we knew about the country who would feel outraged at the “Atlantic Monthly” stooping to print stuff by that young radical.  And on such a subject!  How we tore at the end, to get the article off on time!  The stenographer from the University came about two one Sunday afternoon.  I sat on the floor up in the guest-room and read the manuscript to her while she typed it off.  Carl would rush down more copy from his study on the third floor.  I’d go over it while Miss Van Doren went over what she had typed.  Then the reading would begin again.  We hated to stop for supper, all three of us were so excited to get the job done.  It had to be at the main post-office that night by eleven, to arrive in Boston when promised.  At ten-thirty it was in the envelope, three limp people tore for the car, we put Miss Van Doren on,—­she was to mail the article on her way home,—­and Carl and I, knowing this was an occasion for a treat if ever there was one, routed out a sleepy drug-store clerk and ate the remains of his Sunday ice-cream supply.

I can never express how grateful I am that that article was written and published before Carl died.  The influence of it ramified in many and the most unexpected directions.  I am still hearing of it.  We expected condemnation at the time.  There probably was plenty of it, but only one condemner wrote.  On the other hand, letters streamed in by the score from friends and strangers bearing the general message, “God bless you for it!”

That article is particularly significant as showing his method of approach to the whole problem of the I.W.W., after some two years of psychological study.

“The futility of much conventional American social analysis is due to its description of the given problem in terms of its relationship to some relatively unimportant or artificial institution.  Few of the current analyses of strikes or labor violence make use of the basic standards of human desire and intention which control these phenomena.  A strike and its demands are usually praised as being law-abiding,

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An American Idyll from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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