Page:Poor White.djvu/40

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days away in the grass on the river bank. Boys from the town came sometimes to spend an hour wifh him, but in their presence he was embarrassed and a little annoyed. He wanted to be left alone with his dreams. One of the boys, a sickly, pale, undeveloped lad of ten, often stayed with him through an entire summer after- noon. He was the son of a merchant in the town and grew quickly tired when he tried to follow other boys about. On the river bank he lay beside Hugh in sil- ence. The two got into Hugh's boat and went fishing and the merchant's son grew animated and talked. He taught Hugh to write his own name and to read a few words. The shyness that kept them apart had begun to break down, when the merchant's son caught some childhood disease and died. In the darkness above the cliff that night in Burling- ton Hugh remembered things concerning his boyhood that had not come back to his mind in years. The very thoughts that had passed through his mind during those long days of idling on the river bank came stream- ing back. After his fourteenth year when he went to work at the railroad station Hugh had stayed away from the river. With his work at the station, and in the garden back of Sarah Shepard's house, and the lessons in the afternoons, he had little idle time. On Sundays however things were different. Sarah Shepard did not go to church after she came to Mudcat Landing, but she would have no work done on Sundays. On Sunday afternoons in the summer she and her husband sat in chairs beneath a tree beside the house and went to sleep. Hugh got into the habit of going off by himself. He wanted to sleep also, but did not dare. He went along

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