The Turmoil. A novel by Booth Tarkington
There is a midland city in the heart of fair, open country, a dirty and
wonderful city nesting dingily in the fog of its own smoke. The stranger
must feel the dirt before he feels the wonder, for the dirt will be upon him
instantly. It will be upon him and within him, since he must breathe it, and
he may care for no further proof that wealth is here better loved than
cleanliness; but whether he cares or not, the negligently tended streets
incessantly press home the point, and so do the flecked and grimy citizens. At
a breeze he must smother in the whirlpools of dust, and if he should decline
at any time to inhale the smoke he has the meager alternative of suicide.
The smoke is like the bad breath of a giant panting for more and more riches.
He gets them and pants the fiercer, smelling and swelling prodigiously. He
has a voice, a hoarse voice, hot and rapacious trained to one tune: "Wealth!
I will get Wealth I will make Wealth! I will sell Wealth for more Wealth! My
house shall be dirty, my garment shall be dirty, and I will foul my neighbor
so that he cannot be clean--but I will get Wealth! There shall be no clean
thing about me: my wife shall be dirty and my child shall be dirty, but I
will get Wealth!" And yet it is not wealth that he is so greedy for: what the
giant really wants is hasty riches. To get these he squanders wealth upon the