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 Disheartening as this village and country life might seem as a permanent field of endeavor, it was pleasing enough as a spectacle or as the scene of a vacation. Although it was late February when I came and there was snow on the ground, a warm wind came in a day or two and drove most of it away. A full moon rose every night in the east and there was a sense of approaching Spring. Before the charming old flowed the wonderful little Maumee River, dimpling over stones and spreading out wide, as though it wished to appear much more than it was. There is madness in moonlight, and there is madness in that chemical compound which is youth. Here in this simple farming region, once free of the thought that by any chance I might be compelled to remain here, I felt strangely renewed and free as a bird, though at the same time there was an undercurrent of sadness, not only for myself but for life itself, the and decay of things, the impossibility of tasting or knowing more than a fraction of the glories and pleasures that are everywhere outspread. Although I had not had a vacation in years, I was eager to be at work. The greatness of life, its possibilities, the dreams of which might come true, were calling to me. I wanted to be on, to find what life had in store for me; and yet I wanted to stay here for a while.  
Mich’s father, as well as his mother and wife, interested me intensely, for they were simple, , believing. They were good Baptists or Methodists or Presbyterians. The grizzled little old farmer who had built up this place or inherited a part and added the rest, was exactly like all the other farmers I have ever known: , , fairly tolerant, curious as to the wonders of the world without, full of a great faith in America and its destiny, sure that it is the greatest country in the world, and that there has never been one other like it. That first night at supper, and the next morning at breakfast, and all my other days here, the old man questioned me as to life, its ways, my beliefs or theories, and I am positive that he was delighted to have me there, for it was winter and he had little to do besides read his paper.
The newspaper of largest circulation in this region was the Blade of Toledo, which he read assiduously. The mother and daughter-in-law did most of the work. The mother was forever busy cooking breakfast or dinner, cleaning the rooms, milking, making butter and cheese, eggs from a nearby hennery. Her large cellar was stocked with jellies, preserved fruit, apples, potatoes and other vegetables. There was an ample store of bacon, salt pork and beef. I found that no fresh meat other than chicken was served, but the meals were and , delicious biscuits and jelly, fresh butter, eggs, ham, bacon, salt pork or cured beef, and the rarely absent fried chicken, as well as some rabbits which Mich shot. During my stay he did nothing but idle about the barn, practicing on a cornet which he said had saved his lungs at a time when he was threatened with consumption. But his playing! I wonder the cure did not prove fatal. I the intense interest of Mich’s father in what the discovery of gas in this region would do for it. He was almost certain that all small towns hereabout would now become prosperous manufacturing centers. There would be work for all. Wages would go up. Many people would soon come here and become rich. This of course never came true at all. The flow of natural gas soon gave out and the oil strikes were not even rivals of some nearby fields.
All this talk was alien to my thoughts. I could not fix my interest on trade and what it held in store for anybody. I knew it must be so and that America was to grow materially, but somehow the thing did not interest me. My thoughts leaped to the spectacle such material prosperity might subsequently present, not to the material phase of the prosperity itself. Indeed I could never think of the work being done in any factory or institution without passing from that work to the lives behind it, the crowds of commonplace workers, the great streets which they filled, the bare homes, and the separate and distinct dramas of their individual lives. I was tremendously interested by the rise of various captains of industry then already bestriding America, their opportunities and pleasures, the ease and skill with which they organized “trusts” and combinations, their manipulations of the great railroads, oil and coal fields, their control of the telegraph and the telephone, their sharp and domination of American politics; but only as drama. Grover Cleveland was President, and his every deed was paining the Republicans quite as much as it was gratifying the , but I could already see that the lot of the underdog little with the much-heralded changes of administration—and it was the underdog that always interested me more than the upper one, his needs, his , his . Here, as elsewhere, I could see by talking to Mich and his father, men became vastly excited, paraded and all but wept over the results of one election or another............
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