Hamlin Garland and Virgin Land

Here is the Preface to Garland's 1891 collection of short stories, Main-Travelled Roads:

THE MAIN-TRAVELLED ROAD in the West (as every-where) is hot and dusty in summer, and desolate and drear with mud in fall and spring, and in winter the winds sweep the snow accross it; but it does sometimes cross a rich meadow where the songs of the larks and bobolinks and blackbirds are tangled. Follow it far enough, it may lead past a bend in the river where the water laughs eternally over its shallow.

Mainly it is long and wearyful, and has a dull little town at one end and a home of toil at the other. Like the main-travelled road of life it is traversed by many classes of people, but the poor and the weary predominate.

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