Ben McKeever was the first to come. Owen Toller and the two Stanley boys were chopping cotton in the bottomland below the Toller house when the first silver notes of the triangle came to them. Owen frowned, resting on his hoe. Now, why would Elizabeth be ringing the triangle this time of day? He shouldered the hoe as though it were a rifle and walked up the gentle slope until he could see the house. A tall, big-boned man, he did not walk like a sodbuster. His was the toe-and-heel, almost mincing, stride of a horseman. Working the land had not yet rounded his big shoulders, and he walked erect, head back, with the unconscious pride of a soldier. And yet there was something of the land about him, in the way he smiled at the green young cotton plants, as though they were children. A few years back, when he first moved to the farm, he had felt out of place at times, and not very comfortable. But that was in the past. His cotton was good. The corn was thriving. He had never been happier or more comfortable in his life
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