Page:Poor White.djvu/33

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

Feuds started among them and they killed each other to express their hatred of life. When, in the years preceding the Civil War, a few of them pushed north along the rivers and settled in Southern Indiana and Illinois and in Eastern Missouri and Arkansas, they seemed to have exhausted their energy in making the voyage and slipped quickly back into their old slothful way of life. Their impulse to emigrate did not carry them far and but a few of them ever reached the rich corn lands of central Indiana, Illinois or Iowa or the equally rich land back from the river in Missouri or Arkansas. In Southern Indiana and Illinois they were merged into the life about them and with the infusion of new blood they a little awoke. They have tem- pered the quality of the peoples of those regions, made them perhaps less harshly energtic than their fore- fathers, the pioneers. In many of the Missouri and Arkansas river towns they have changed but little. A visitor to these parts may see them there to-day, long, gaunt, and lazy, sleeping their lives away and awaken- ing out of their stupor only at long intervals and at the call of hunger. As for Hugh McVey, he stayed in his home town and among his own people for a year after the de- parture of the man and woman who had been father and mother to him, and then he also departed. All through the year he worked constantly to cure him- self of the curse of indolence. When he awoke in the morning he did not dare lie in bed for a moment for fear indolence would overcome him and he would not be able to arise at all. Getting out of bed at once he dressed and went to the station. During the day there was not much work to be done and he walked