|About the Book|
Clayton was attending a German university because his father had recognized his scientific aspirations and encouraged his curiosity of the arts. But as Clayton groomed his talents his family encountered an unexpected financial disturbance thatMoreClayton was attending a German university because his father had recognized his scientific aspirations and encouraged his curiosity of the arts. But as Clayton groomed his talents his family encountered an unexpected financial disturbance that compelled him to return to New York. Even in this calamity there was still a resource available after the familys economic collapse--ownership of mineral land in the South. After Clayton spent some unendurable days of insolvent conditions and tolerating the suspected antipathy of former friends, he directed himself eagerly to hard work in the Kentucky mountains. As he traveled to the Cumberland Range his newly found independent zeal left no time for despondency. He settled in at the mining camp and became inspired by the changing magnificence of the mountains. His acquaintance with a young woman, Easter Hicks, changed the way he responded to his new circumstances. He saw that she summoned his sense of responsibility, per example, to improve her reading and writing skills. But he also discovered what she already knew--how to plow the fields to plant corn, how to chop wood for the stove, how to ride a bull as other mountaineers rode horses and donkeys. She lived with her mother on Wolf Mountain, but her father (Bill Hicks) had left after he was suspected of killing a moonshine raider and was thought to still be in the mountains. Sherd Raines, a mountaineer studying for the ministry, was also attracted to Easter. He told Clayton her father had seen Easter and Clayton walking together in the hills. Clayton said that if his presence was causing a growing animosity, he would leave and told Sherd to take care of Easter. But she followed him as he walked away and told him of her love, and their fate was sealed. Clayton returned to New York to see his mother and sister as his father had gone to England to reassess his fiscal duties. When he arrived back in America he told Clayton that he could resume his studies in Germany. Suddenly his idyllic Cumberland life now seemed dispirited and uncomfortable. Memories of his studies and scholarship and the cultural attributes available to him rushed over him, and he was determined to explain this to Easter. But on his Cumberland arrival he realized that he must be sensitive to his promises as one human being to another. The wedding was quickly arranged, and Easters father was the director of the whole event. What happens in the final paragraphs of the last chapter are as searing an argument for a philosophical definition of selfishness and unselfishness as even existed.