The fall is a busy time in a farmer’s household—with the gathering of grain, clearing up of fields, and making all due preparations for the coming winter; and it is beautiful also. This year, however, the many colored leaves had sought the ground unnoticed by me; for my days had been absorbed in thought and, instead of looking at things about me, if I had a spare moment I wandered in the realms of feeling.
November had come to us with Louis’ departure, and the weeks between his coming and going seemed, as I looked back, like a few hours only, crowded together as a day before me with the strange events, and stranger thoughts, whose existence from that time onward has forced me to own their supremacy and power. Hal’s artist friend, Professor Benton, was coming to see him—and I wished it were May instead of November, for it seemed to me the outer attractions of our country home were much greater than the inner, and I could not see how he was to be entertained. Clara’s side (as we called the four rooms she had added) would be the only attraction, and since Hal was domiciled there, that would be the right place. Many paintings adorned the walls, and to me there was such a contrast between our middle room and its belongings, and the sunny chamber occupied by Hal, that whenever I looked on the massively-framed pictures there, they seemed out of place. Clara was fond of having them in sight, and labored hard to have her loves ours. Every other evening we were forced to occupy that side of the house and I wonder, as I look back, that my father could have been so obedient to her wishes. She would sit on an ottoman between him and my mother and often with her head resting against the arm of his chair, talking with us of our farm, the plans for winter, and the fences to be built with the coming spring; and she was never satisfied unless allowed to be really one of us. The building she had done was accredited to my father, for she would not have it otherwise, and when his spirit of independence prompted him to refuse her board-money afterward, she looked at him with tears in her eyes and said: