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Poor White

CHAPTER XXI
It was a summer night in Ohio and the wheat in the long, flat fields that stretched
away to the north from the town of Bidwell was ripe for the cutting. Between the
wheat fields lay corn and cabbage fields. In the corn fields the green stalks stood
up like young trees. Facing the fields lay the white roads, once the silent roads,
hushed and empty through the nights and often during many hours of the day,
the night silence broken only at long intervals by the clattering hoofs of
homeward bound horses and the silence of days by creaking wagons. Along the
roads on a summer evening went the young farm hand in his buggy for which he
had spent a summer's wage, a long summer of sweaty toil in hot fields. The
hoofs of his horse beat a soft tattoo on the roads. His sweetheart sat beside him
and he was in no hurry. All day he had been at work in the harvest and on the
morrow he would work again. It did not matter. For him the night would last until
the cocks in isolated farmyards began to hail the dawn. He forgot the horse and
did not care what turning he took. All roads led to happiness for him.
Beside the long roads was an endless procession of fields broken now and then
by a strip of woodland, where the shadows of trees fell upon the roads and made
pools of an inky blackness. In the long, dry grass in fence corners insects sang;
in the young cabbage fields rabbits ran, flitting away like shadows in the
moonlight. The cabbage fields were beautiful too.
Who has written or sung of the beauties of corn fields in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, or
of the vast Ohio cabbage fields? In the cabbage fields the broad outer leaves fall
down to make a background for the shifting, delicate colors of soils. The leaves
are themselves riotous with color. As the season advances they change from
light to dark greens, a thousand shades of purples, blues and reds appear and
disappear.
In silence the cabbage fields slept beside the roads in Ohio. Not yet had the
motor cars come to tear along the roads, their flashing lights--beautiful too, when
seen by one afoot on the roads on a summer night--had not yet made the roads
an extension of the cities. Akron, the terrible town, had not yet begun to roll forth
its countless millions of rubber hoops, filled each with its portion of God's air
compressed and in prison at last like the farm hands who have gone to the cities.
Detroit and Toledo had not begun to send forth their hundreds of thousands of
motor cars to shriek and scream the nights away on country roads. Willis was still
a mechanic in an Indiana town, and Ford still worked in a bicycle repair shop in
Detroit.
It was a summer night in the Ohio country and the moon shone. A country
doctor's horse went at a humdrum pace along the roads. Softly and at long
intervals men afoot stumbled along. A farm hand whose horse was lame walked
toward town. An umbrella mender, benighted on the roads, hurried toward the
lights of the distant town. In Bidwell, the place that had been on other summer
nights a sleepy town filled with gossiping berry pickers, things were astir.
Change, and the thing men call growth, was in the air. Perhaps in its own way
revolution was in the air, the silent, the real revolution that grew with the growth
 
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