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The Story of my Life
     

The Story of my Life

by Clarence Darrow
 

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It may seem absurd that I should be sitting here trying to write
about myself in an age when only a mystery story has any chance as
a best-seller. I can think of nothing about myself to distort into
any such popular fiction. If I tell anything it will be but a
plain unvarnished account of how things really have happened, as
nearly as I can

Overview

It may seem absurd that I should be sitting here trying to write
about myself in an age when only a mystery story has any chance as
a best-seller. I can think of nothing about myself to distort into
any such popular fiction. If I tell anything it will be but a
plain unvarnished account of how things really have happened, as
nearly as I can possibly hold to the truth.


First of all, I have noticed that most autobiographers begin with
ancestors. As a rule they start out with the purpose of linking
themselves by blood and birth to some well-known family or
personage. No doubt this is due to egotism, and the hazy,
unscientific notions that people have about heredity. For my part,
I seldom think about my ancestors; but I had them; plenty of them,
of course. In fact, I could fill this book with their names if I
knew them all, and deemed it of the least worth.

I have been told that I came of a very old family. A considerable
number of people say that it runs back to Adam and Eve, although
this, of course, is only hearsay, and I should not like to
guarantee the title. Anyhow, very few pedigrees really go back any
farther than mine. With reasonable certainty I could run it back
to a little town in England that has the same name as mine, though
the spelling is slightly altered. But this does not matter. I am
sure that my forbears run a long, long way back of that, even--but
what of it, anyhow?

The earliest ancestor of the Darrow family that I feel sure
belonged to our branch was one of sixteen men who came to New
England the century before the Revolutionary War. This Darrow,
with fifteen other men, brought a grant from the King of England
for the town of New London, Conn. He was an undertaker, so we are
told, which shows that he had some appreciation of a good business,
and so chose a profession where the demand for his services would
be fairly steady. One could imagine a more pleasant means of
livelihood, but, almost any trade is bearable if the customers are
sure. This Darrow, or rather his descendants, seemed to forget the
lavish gift of the King, and took up arms against England under
George Washington. So far as having an ancestor in the
Revolutionary War counts for anything, I would be eligible to a
membership of the D. A. R., although I would not exactly fit this
organization, for, amongst other handicaps, I am proud of my rebel
ancestors, and would be glad to greet them on the street, should
they chance my way.

But it is not for love of looking up my ancestry, or a desire to
brag, that I am setting all this down, but for a much more personal
reason. All of it had an important bearing upon me, and shows the
many, many close calls I had when I was casting about for an
ancestral line and yearning to be born. The farther back I go, the
more unlikely it seems that I am really here, and I sometimes pinch
myself to make sure that it is not a dream; but I assume that I am
I, and that I really came all the way from Adam, with all the
vicissitudes of time and tide that are so entwined with mortal
life.

Did you, who read this, ever figure what a scant chance you had of
getting here? If you did come from Adam, you must have had
millions on millions of direct forbears, and, if one ancestor had
failed to come into the combination, you would not be you, but
would be some one else entirely, if any one at all. So I do not
allow myself to worry about the long-lost trail, but am content
with thinking over the slight chance my father and mother had to
meet, and hence my own still lesser chance for life after I had
jumped all the hurdles between Adam and my parents.

Product Details

BN ID:
2940014068505
Publisher:
WDS Publishing
Publication date:
01/28/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
779,450
File size:
414 KB

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