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Adventures and Letters

Mount Kisco
During my brother's life there were four centres from which he set forth on his travels
and to which he returned to finish the articles for which he had collected the material, or
perhaps to write a novel, a few short stories, or occasionally a play, but unlike most of the
followers of his craft, never to rest. Indeed during the last twenty-five years of his life I
do not recall two consecutive days when Richard did not devote a number of hours to
literary work. The centres of which I speak were first Philadelphia, then New York, then
Marion, and lastly Mount Kisco. Happy as Richard had been at Marion, the quaint little
village, especially in winter, was rather inaccessible, and he realized that to be in touch
with the numerous affairs in which he was interested that his headquarters should be in or
near New York. In addition to this he had for long wanted a home of his very own, and so
located that he could have his family and his friends constantly about him. Some years,
however, elapsed between this dream and its realization. In 1903 he took the first step by
purchasing a farm situated in the Westchester Hills, five miles from Mount Kisco, New
York. He began by building a lake at the foot of the hill on which the home was to stand,
then a water-tower, and finally the house itself. The plans to the minutest detail had been
laid out on the lawn at Marion and, as the architect himself said, there was nothing left
for him to do but to design the cellar.
Richard and his wife moved into their new home in July, 1905, and called it Crossroads
Farm, keeping the original name of the place. In later years Richard added various
adjoining parcels of land to his first purchase, and the property eventually included nearly
three hundred acres. The house itself was very large, very comfortable, and there were
many guest-rooms which every week-end for long were filled by the jolliest of house-
parties. In his novel "The Blind Spot," Justus Miles Forman gives the following very
charming picture of the place:
"It was a broad terrace paved with red brick that was stained and a little mossy, so that it
looked much older than it had any right to, and along its outer border there were bay-trees
set in big Italian terracotta jars; but the bay-trees were placed far apart so that they should
not mask the view, and that was wise, for it was a fine view. It is rugged country in that
part of Westchester County--like a choppy sea: all broken, twisted ridges, and abrupt
little hills, and piled-up boulders, and hollow, cup-like depressions among them. The
Grey house sat, as it were, upon the lip of a cup, and from the southward terrace you
looked across a mile or two of hollow bottom, with a little lake at your feet, to sloping
pastures where there were cattle browsing, and to the far, high hills beyond.
"There was no magnificence about the outlook--nothing to make you catch your breath;
but it was a good view with plenty of elbow room and no sign of a neighbor--no
huddling--only the water of the little lake, the brown November hillsides, and the clean
blue sky above. The distant cattle looked like scenic cattle painted on their green-bronze
pasture to give an aspect of husbandry to the scene."
 
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