HER name was Elsie Leander and her girlhood was spent on her
father's farm in Vermont. For several generations the Leanders had all
lived on the same farm and had all married thin women, and so she was
thin. The farm lay in the shadow of a mountain and the soil was not
very rich. From the beginning and for several generations there had
been a great many sons and few daughters in the family. The sons had
gone west or to New York City and the daughters had stayed at home and
thought such thoughts as come to New England women who see the sons of
their father's neighbours slipping, away, one by one, into the West.
father's house was a small white frame affair, and when you went out at
the back door, past a small barn and a chicken house, you got into a
path that ran up the side of a hill and into an orchard. The trees were
all old and gnarled. At the back of the orchard the hill dropped away
and bare rocks showed.