Page:Poor White.djvu/51

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on the railroad with the section hands, Hugh did not know what to do with himself. That he did not go to bed immediately after the evening meal was due to the fact that he looked upon his tendency to sleep and to dream as an enemy to his development; and a pe- culiarly persistent determination to make something alive and worth while out of himself the result of the five years of constant talking on the subject by the New England woman had taken possession of him. " I'll find the right place and the right people and then I'll begin," he continually said to himself. And then, worn out with weariness and loneliness, he went to bed in one of the little hotels or boarding houses where he lived during those years, and his dreams returned. The dream that had come that night as he lay on the cliff above the Mississippi River near the town of Burlington, came back time after time. He sat upright in bed in the darkness of his room and after he had driven the cloudy, vague sensation out of his brain, was afraid to go to sleep again. He did not want to disturb the people of the house and so got up and dressed and without putting on his shoes walked up and down in the room. Sometimes the room he oc- cupied had a low ceiling and he was compelled to stoop. He crept out of the house carrying his shoes in his hand and sat down on the sidewalk to put them on. In all the towns he visited, people saw him walking alone through the streets late at night or in the early hours of the morning. Whispers concerning the mat- ter ran about. The story of what was spoken of as his queerness came to the men with whom he worked, and they found themselves unable to talk freely and nat- urally in his presence. At the noon hour when the men