Out in the stone-pile the toad squatted with its glowing jewel-eyes and, maybe, its memories. I don't know if you'll admit a toad could have memories. But I don't know, either, if you'll admit there was once witchcraft in America. Witchcraft doesn't sound sensible when you think of Pittsburgh and subways and movie houses, but the dark lore didn't start in Pittsburgh or Salem either; it goes away back to dark olive groves in Greece and dim, ancient forests in Brittany and the stone dolmens of Wales. All I'm saying, you understand, is that the toad was there, under its rocks, and inside the shack Pete was stretching on his hard bed like a cat and composing himself to sleep.("Before I Wake...")
Whether or not, he felt very much at home in this state. It was to places like this that they had sent him all over the world in defense of New York, until he had come almost to believe that the concrete caverns and towers he seemed dimly to remember, the pale people themselves, were no more than childhood fantasies he had dreamed for himself. He had felt little urge to try to find them again. Hopefully he had followed the Cat out to the new coast, only to find there the same grotesque imaginary cities already erected and fanatically maintained by old children. It was his loss alone that he could not play at their game with them, but he could not. He had been born in New York, taught the rules in New York and New England, yet it seemed to him that he had been holding his breath until he reached Arivada, New Africa. Here the dream cities, no matter whether adobe or gold, had long ago been abandoned, thus had collapsed, and all that remained was the earth. It spread around him as drab and coarse as an old army blanket, inviting only those weary with fighting or dying, overlooked by the children. If still in one piece the whole world would look like this in old age - Arivada was ready, but could Manhattan support mesquite?
Washington, Franklin, Madison, Hamilton, Adams, and Jefferson had imagined the American experiment coming to all sorts of bad ends. They never imagined the Federal City overrun by frontiersmen who cared nothing for history and loved only cheap land and credit, whiskey, tobacco, guns, fast women, fast horses, and Jesus. Not necessarily in that order.
If there is a country in the world where concord, according to common calculation, would be least expected, it is America. Made up as it is of people from different nations, accustomed to different forms and habits of government, speaking different languages, and more different in their modes of worship, it would appear that the union of such a people was impracticable; but by the simple operation of constructing government on the principles of society and the rights of man, every difficulty retires, and all the parts are brought into cordial unison. There the poor are not oppressed, the rich are not privileged. Industry is not mortified by the splendid extravagance of a court rioting at its expense. Their taxes are few, because their government is just: and as there is nothing to render them wretched, there is nothing to engender riots and tumults.