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The craftsman
Volume XXX, Number 2 (May 1916)

Roberts, Mary Fanton
One man's story,   pp. 188-200 PDF (3.7 MB)


Page 188


ONE MAN'S STORY: BY MARY FANTON
ROBERTS
MAN sat alone in a small room in a great city build.
ing, his world had fallen in around him, hope had
flown past, her wings brushing him but for an instant.
    For thirty years this man had worked with a single
purpose-that this new kind of civilization in which
he found himself might, through his efforts, become a
              more sane, reasonable, beautiflU one. tie had not
preached merely by words, but by deeds. He had expressed his
belief in the value of honesty and sincerity in his architecture; his
desire for greater strength and beauty, in his furniture; he had ham-
mered copper and planted gardens; he had brought back the fireplace
into the home to increase social happiness; he had woven romance
into lighting fixtures and peace into ample couches; he had brought
sunlight through picturesque casement windows and had increased
the health of the nation by creating the outdoor sleeping porch.
   But he had dreamed too fast for the world, and suddenly in the
midst of his accomplishment he found himself alone-broken, sad,
with tragedy all about him in the little room in his great building.
   But the building was no longer his. His friends opened the doo
of the little room occasionally to ask him "why he had been in suc
a hurry."  "Their methods had been slow and sure, and now look
a
them."   He did, but alas! he derived no consolation whatever the
from. And then advisors came more cheerfully than the frien
"You must become more practical," they said. "Give up all
the
foolish dreams. Wake up, put your gift into money-making channe
study the times. Give the people what they want, keep your ey
on the only real goal." And they pronounced the word as though i
were gold.
   The man was not helped by this advice; he was only bewildere
"I cannot go back," he told them. "If I have failed, it is
not becaus
I have planned too high, it must be that I have not given the peopl
enough. I must find something better. Perhaps I have not realize
how deep in the heart of the whole world is the real desire for beauty
I shall not discredit the people or myself. I will rather aim to find
something more significant, more worth while, more permanently
beautiful. It will be possible I know to find it, and if I find it the
world will forget my first failure."
   Through months, months of sorrow, of seeming failure, of isolation,
the man struggled, not to readjust past misadventure, but to find
somewhere in the great storehouse of nature's gifts for humanity
something better than he had ever dreamed of before. For the time
he stopped building houses, he stopped devising new comforts for the
home, and gave all his attention to the study of woods, of stains, of
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