Mr. Garland, in this story of his own life, seems hardly to be writing a confession, unless it be a confession or rather avowal of faith. He does not read like a man who has anything to recant or even abate; he lays down his cards very assuredly; he gives the reader, without reserve, not a finished and consequently more or less inscrutable product, but himself the artist, together with the material of his art.
His own boyhood had been both hard and short. Born of farmer folk in Oxford County, Maine, his early life had been spent on the soil in and about Lock's Mills with small chance of schooling. Later, as a teamster, and finally as shipping clerk for Amos Lawrence, he had enjoyed three mightily improving years in Boston. He loved to tell of his life there, and it is indicative of his character to say that he dwelt with special joy and pride on the actors and orators he had heard. He could describe some of the great scenes and repeat a few of the heroic lines of Shakespeare, and the roll of his deep voice as he declaimed, "Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York," thrilled us--filled us with desire of something far off and wonderful. But best of all we loved to hear him tell of "Logan at Peach Tree Creek," and "Kilpatrick on the Granny White Turnpike."
He was a vivid and concise story-teller and his words brought to us (sometimes all too clearly), the tragic happenings o