Chapter Thirty-nine

HOW OFTEN IN THESE afflicted countries had I seen the eyes of men turn in longing toward America! To those who had suffered much and lost much, who now, despite their striving, found themselves caught in a mesh of economic difficulties, smothered by levies and penal taxation, hampered by edicts and restrictions, embargoes and controls, it stood out as the last great bastion of individual liberty, a country solid and secure, where one might still find opportunity and incentive, a decent way of life, and above all the chance to advance by effort and ability, without the crushing intervention of that curse, that creeping paralysis of the modern age -- regimentation by the state. Especially to those parents who wished for their children a fair and favourable future did it seem attractive beyond all other lands.

Was it strange, then, that before the clamps were finally screwed down, making the free movement of the individual impossible or, at best, dependent upon bureaucratic whim, our own gaze should swing toward this far yet hospitable horizon.

Previously we had made several visits to America and been stirred not only by the warmth of our welcome, but by the breadth, vigour, and immense potentialities of this vast new country. I felt, indeed, a curious affinity toward these United States, since, but for an unhappy circumstance, I might well have been born within their borders. At the end of the century my father's brothers and sisters had emigrated to California, and my parents were on the point of joining them when my father was stricken with a serious lung condi

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