Page:Poor White.djvu/43

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banks and swept over the land, uprooting trees and forests and towns. The white faces of drowned men and children, borne along by the flood, looked up into the mind's eye of the man Hugh, who, in the mo- ment of his setting out into the definite world of strug- gle and defeat, had let himself slip back into the vapor- ous dreams of his boyhood. As he lay in the wet grass in the darkness on the cliff Hugh tried to force his way back to conscious- ness, but for a long time was unsuccessful. He rolled and writhed about and his lips muttered words. It was useless. His mind also was swept away. The clouds of which he felt himself a part flew across the face of the sky. They blotted out the sun from the earth, and darkness descended on the land, on the troubled towns, on the hills that were torn open, on the forests that were destroyed, on the peace and quiet of all places. In the country stretching away from the river where all had been peace and quiet, all was now agita- tion and unrest. Houses were destroyed and instantly rebuilt. People gathered in whirling crowds. The dreaming man felt himself a part of something significant and terrible that was happening to the earth and to the peoples of the earth. Again he struggled to awake, to force himself back out of the dream world into consciousness. When he did awake, day was breaking and he sat on the very edge of the cliff that looked down upon the Mississippi River, gray now in the dim morning light. The towns in which Hugh lived during the first three years after he began his eastward journey were all small places containing a few hundred people, and