1 All night long the water is crying to me.
2 As the water all night long is crying to me.
3 I remember well when the shadow swept across me.
4 The strong, hard face of the mother, with its wilderness of hair, rose before me.
5 We splashed and waded, and the merry boy, perched behind me, chattered and laughed.
6 Josie told me of it; she was a thin, homely girl of twenty, with a dark-brown face and thick, hard hair.
7 Little Doc, the boy born since the time of my school, took me horseback down the creek next morning toward Farmer Dowell's.
8 The story reminded me again of the Burkes, and an impatience seized me to know who won in the battle, Doc or the seventy-five acres.
9 He showed me where Simon Thompson had bought a bit of ground and a home; but his daughter Lana, a plump, brown, slow girl, was not there.
10 I trembled when I heard the patter of little feet down the dusty road, and saw the growing row of dark solemn faces and bright eager eyes facing me.
11 Between me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: unasked by some through feelings of delicacy; by others through the difficulty of rightly framing it.
12 Then it dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others; or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil.
13 At last we spoke of the neighbors, and as night fell, Uncle Bird told me how, on a night like that, 'Thenie came wandering back to her home over yonder, to escape the blows of her husband.'
14 And now what I have briefly sketched in large outline let me on coming pages tell again in many ways, with loving emphasis and deeper detail, that men may listen to the striving in the souls of black folk.
15 Then the father, who worked Colonel Wheeler's farm on shares, would tell me how the crops needed the boys; and the thin, slovenly mother, whose face was pretty when washed, assured me that Lugene must mind the baby.
16 But to me neither soldier nor fugitive speaks with so deep a meaning as that dark human cloud that clung like remorse on the rear of those swift columns, swelling at times to half their size, almost engulfing and choking them.
17 As I lingered there in the joy and pain of meeting old school-friends, there swept over me a sudden longing to pass again beyond the blue hill, and to see the homes and the school of other days, and to learn how life had gone with my school-children; and I went.
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