To James Branch Cabell
and Joseph Hergesheimer
This is America--a town of a few thousand, in a region of
wheat and corn and dairies and little groves.
The town is, in our tale, called "Gopher Prairie, Minnesota."
But its Main Street is the continuation of Main Streets
everywhere. The story would be the same in Ohio or Montana, in
Kansas or Kentucky or Illinois, and not very differently would
it be told Up York State or in the Carolina hills.
Main Street is the climax of civilization. That this Ford
car might stand in front of the Bon Ton Store, Hannibal
invaded Rome and Erasmus wrote in Oxford cloisters. What
Ole Jenson the grocer says to Ezra Stowbody the banker is the
new law for London, Prague, and the unprofitable isles of the
sea; whatsoever Ezra does not know and sanction, that thing
is heresy, worthless for knowing and wicked to consider.