Page:Poor White.djvu/35

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keepers, a man who had been his father's nearest ap- proach to a friend and companion, and gave him money to bury the dead man. Then he wired to the headquar- ters of the railroad company telling them to send a man to Mudcat Landing to take his place. On the after- noon of the day on which his father was buried, he bought himself a handbag and packed his few belong- ings. Then he sat down alone on the steps of the rail- road station to wait for the evening train that would bring the man who was to replace him and that would at the same time take him away. He did not know where he intended to go, but knew that he wanted to push out into a new land and get among new people. He thought he would go east and north. He remem- bered the long summer evenings in the river town when the station master slept and his wife talked. The boy who listened had wanted to sleep also, but with the eyes of Sarah Shepard fixed on him, had not dared to do so. The woman had talked of a land dotted with towns where the houses were all painted in bright colors, where young girls dressed in white dresses went about in the evening, walking under trees beside streets paved with bricks, where there was no dust or mud, where stores were gay bright places filled with beautiful wares that the people had money to buy in abundance and where every one was alive and doing things worth while and none was slothful and lazy. The boy who had now become a man wanted to go to such a place. His work in the railroad station had given him some idea of the geography of the country and, although he could not have told whether the woman who had talked so enticingly had in mind her childhood in New England or her girlhood

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