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 SPEEDING that night toward Bayport, through the dark and the stars, Simeon Tetlow’s thoughts were often on the hoy. He was haunted by the wreck. It was shattered glass, and charred wood, and blood everywhere, and trampled grass and leaves.... But across the face of the wreck moved the hoy’s eyes as they had turned to him, following his train into the night.  
With the boy again, he could do all that he had ever planned—and more. In spite of his harsh words, flung back as the train started, his heart was aglow. John was coming back to him and together they could work out the plan that held him.... He could not have told the plan to any one; it was hardly articulate, even to himself. He paced up and down the tawdry car, his hands, tense at his sides, opening and closing with the swift thought that crowded upon him. It had been coming to him through the months, while he had groped and wrestled alone. Slowly it had been forming deep below—shaping itself out of life—a vision of service. And today he had seen it stretching before him, unrolling its web of thought as the train tracked the fertile country. All day he had looked out upon wide fields, scarred and broken by late frosts, on orchards and meadows and stretches of plain, half-tilled; and always, in the distance, the mountains, filled to the brim with ore. It was a rich country, but starved, straitened—and no one knew better than the President of the “R. and Q.” road the cause of its poverty. Across its length and breadth stretched the road—like a great monster that sprawled, sucking its lifeblood. He had known it, always,—and he had not cared. Let the country take care of itself. There was always enough for the road—and for dividends. He had put them off, when they had come to him begging better rates—leniency in bad seasons. There was not a farmer, up and down the region, that did not know Simeon Tetlow. He had a name among them. “The road was not there for its health.” They knew his face as he said it, and they hated it. As he sped through the night, he seemed to feel it closing in upon him—a cloud of malevolence settling upon him from the hills, rising from the valleys, shutting in on every side—and he, alone in its midst, tracking the great country—his hand reaching out to grasp its wealth.... But not now. He had seen it in the slow days that lay behind—a new vision. Sitting alone in his high office, he had watched the great system stretching out—not to drain the wealth of the country, not the huge monster that battened on its strength, but a vital necessity—a thing of veins and arteries, the highway of its life current—without which life itself must cease altogether or run feeble and clogged. The great imagination that could think a railroad into existence had brooded on the picture, sitting alone in its high office, watching the system stretching away, branching in every direction, lighting up the surrounding hills. And today, when the Boy had said he would come back, the man had known that the picture would come true.
The porter had brought in his supper, placing it noiselessly before him on the table, but the president of the road had pushed it from him, leaning a little forward, gazing at the picture that glowed and filled the horizon. He drew his hand hastily across his eyes and the porter moved forward.
“Supper, sah.”
“Yes—yes.” But he did not stir. His eyes were fixed on the dark window, staring into the night.
The porter reached out a hand to draw down the blind, but the president stayed him with a smile.
“Let it he, Sam. I am ready now.”
He ate with quick, nervous motion, his eyes still on the window. Glimmers of light from the hills struck across it—towns glinted and sparkled and slipped into the night. The eyes followed them eagerly—each gleam of light, each flash of power. It was a new country—his country. It should Be what he chose to make it—a fertile land.
The supper had been removed and the porter had set down the box of cigars on the table and withdrawn to his own place. The train rumbled through the night with swift shrieks and long, sliding rushes of sound. The president of the road reached out for a cigar. But the hand that held the lighted match trembled and whirred. He threw it aside, with an impatient sound, and struck another, taking the light with quick, tense puffs. It caught the spark and glowed. He dropped the match upon its tray. There was a look in his eyes that was half fear. He had been a man of iron—but the iron was shaken, shattered.... They threw the worn-out engine on the scrap-heap.... But not yet—Give him a year, two years, to make the dream come true. He saw the country bud and blossom and fling its promise on the air. In the ground he heard the grass grow, creeping. The grain beneath the mold could not move its silken filaments so lightly that his ear did not catch the sound; and from the mountains the ore called, loud and free, knocking against its walls. The mountains opened their great sides, and it poured down into the valleys—wealth for all the world—It should come true.... Time and strength—and John!
The cigar had gone out and he tossed it aside, throwing himself on the red cushions and staring at the ceiling that swayed to the swift run of the engine. Then he closed his eyes and the boy’s face was before him, smiling. He slept fitfully. The train rumbled and jarred through his sleep, but always with its song of iron courage.

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