As for the woman, I write with greater hesitation. I can tell of her in this place but in vague outline. She was slender, not tall, brown-haired and with eyes like those of the deer or Jersey heifer, save that they had the accompanying expression of thought or mood or fancy which mobile human features with them give. She was a woman of the city, with all that gentle craft which is a woman’s heritage. She was good. She was unlike all others in the world to one man—no, to two.
I have but tried to tell what these two people appeared to me. I can see them as they were, but cannot tell it as I should. I have not succeeded well in expressing myself in words. Even were I cleverer, I should fail. We can picture characters but approximately.
Close to nature.
The great forest belt, oak, ash, beech and maple, sweeps southwestward from New England through New York and trends westward and even to the north again till one sees the same landscape very nearly reproduced in Wisconsin wilds. Not far from where its continuity is broken by the southern reach of Lake Huron was a clearing cut in the wood. The land was rolling, and through the clearing ran a vigorous creek, already alder-fringed—for the alder follows the chopper swiftly—and glittering with countless minnows. In the spring great pickerel came up, too, from the deep waters, miles away, to spawn and, sometimes, to be speared. From either side of the creek the ground ascended somewhat, and on one bank stood a little house. It was a house pretentious for the time, since it was framed and boarded instead of being made of logs, but it contained only three rooms: one, the general living-room with the brick fireplace on one side, and the others, smaller, for sleeping apartments. So close to the edge of the forest was the house that the sweep of the wind through the tree-tops made constant music, and the odd, squalling bark of the black squirrel, the chatter of the red one, the drumming of the ruffed grouse, the pipe of the quail and the morning gobble of the wild turkey were familiar sounds. There were deer and bear in the depths of the green ocean, and an occasional wolverine. Sometimes at night a red fox would circle about the clearing and bark querulously, the cry contrasting oddly with the notes of whippoorwills and the calls of loons. The trees were largely oak and beech and ash and birch, and in the spring there were great splashes of white where the Juneberry trees had burst into bloom. In summer there was a dense greenness everywhere, and in autumn a great blaze of scarlet and yellow leaves.