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First F. V.: Oh, we had graham gems! We're going to have roasting ears for dinner.
Third F. V. (breaking in; evidently some one else is listening, too): So are we.
Second F. V.: Ours aren't ripe yet.
Third F. V.: We've got lots. Send Sammy over after them and I'll give you some.
Fourth F. V. (another listener): Say, Mary, how is the baby?
First F. V.: Not very well. He is teething.
Fourth F. V.: Have you tried that medicine I gave you?
First F. V.: Not yet.
Fifth F. V. (still another listener): Say, Florence says she is going to have old Ben's tail docked. [Universal gig. glement. This is evidently a neighborhood joke, intelligible only to the initiated.]
Third F. V.: Say, next Sunday's quarterly meeting. Who is going to have the elder for dinner? [I do not think that she meant that there were cannibals in the neighborhood.]
Fourth F. V.: He has promised to come to our house.
And so the conversation ran on for ten or fifteen minutes; and I pre ct that the opportunity for just such neighborhood visiting by telephone will do more to break up the retiring habit among farmers than any other agency now at work.
sign of affluence. Today they are found in many of the poorer houses, while pianos are common than organs were then. Twenty-five years ago church-goers uniformly rode in farm wagons, the younger members of the family sitting on boards laid across the wagon-box, and considering themselves fortunate if they had a quilt folded up for a cushion. There were a few spring wagons, but covered carriages were rare indeed. Today conditions are exactly reversed; buggies and carriages are the rule, and farm wagons are rarely used as a means of conveyance.
On the other hand, there are opposing forces at work. A high standard of living is expensive, and frequently fails in competition with a lower standard. Those who have acquired these expensive wants sometimes have to give way before a class whose lower wants enable them to live more cheaply. This is noticeably the case in many parts of the country, and especially in the West. I heard many bitter complaints on the ground that foreigners were buying up all the best land and displacing native Americans with their two centuries of social and economic development. Foreign immigrants, with their low standard of liv. ing, could afford to pay a price for land which would bankrupt a native Ameri
Since it costs them so much less to live, they have a large surplus left with which to pay for their land. А settlement of Hollanders, Germans or Swedes will almost invariably spreail over the surrounding country by this process of buying out the native Americans.
An illustration of what can be don with a low standard of living combined with great industry may be found in the case of Mr. Z a farmer in southwestern Iowa. He is a native of Switzerland, arrived in this country sixteen years ago, absolutely without means, began working as a farm hand, saved his wages, bought a team and farming implements, and began as a renter. He now owns 120 acres of first-class land, lying mostly on the Nishnabotany River bottoms, and worth close to $100 per acre. But there is an unpaid mortgage of $2,700; to partly offset this, however, he has two good teams of workhorses, thirty or forty shoats, and about twenty head of cattle, and a full equipment of farm implements. He has two children, both girls, aged nine and five; complained that he had hard luck with his children, there being no boys, but said
DIFFERENCES IN THE STANDARD OF LIV
Two opposing tendencies of the profoundest interest to the economist are visibly at work in the corn belt. On the one hand, there is going on constant improvement of the population in the standard of living, in culture, and in all that makes human life superior to brute life. On the other hand, there is a constant displacement of that part of the population which has shown the most marked improvement in these particulars by a population whose standards are lower. A quarter of a century is not a very long time in the development of a people, but the last twenty-five years have witnessed remarkable changes in the agricultural population of the central West. Twenty-five years ago upholstered furniture was found in the houses only of the most well-to-do farmers. Today it is found in the majority of the houses of the native Americans. Twentyfive years ago a cabinet organ was
that the girls would have to work in the fields when they got old enough. . The manner of living of the family is simple in the extreme, there being very little furniture in the house, and that of the plainest sort, and the food being almost entirely raised on the farm and in the garden. His wife tends the garden in addition to doing the housework. The clothing, likewise, was of the coarsest and cheapest sort, but Mr. Z and his wife are both very hard workers, and he is a skilful farmer, having been trained to intensive cultivation in his native country. He uses the very latest and most
ing, or must the land continue to pass into the hands of a population with a low standard of living but great industry? This is a question which goes to the very foundations of American civilization. Upon its answer depends the question whether the rural districts-the great seedbed of our population, or of any population, for that matter-shall be the home of a cultured, progressive, liberalminded people, or of a peasant-minded” people whose interest in life, aside from the instinct of acquisition, is bounded by three elementary wantshunger, thirst, and sex.
MORAL AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT.
improved farm machinery, including a gang plow, riding cultivators, a corn harvester, a hay loader, etc. In short, though he is exceedingly parsimonious in supplying his own wants and those of his family, he does not scruple to spend money in any way which will add to the profits of farming.
As applied to the country districts, the great question is, therefore—and it is by far the most important and far-reaching question relating to rural life in America—Can we ultimately develop a rural population with high standard of liv
Closely akin to the question of the standard of living is the question of the moral and social development of the corngrowing population. As a traveler even profanity of the language which he hears in public places. This impression, however, is due partly to the fact that the ordinary traveler only sees and hears what goes on about railway stations, hotel corridors, and similar places, and the class of people who infest such places are by no means representative. When
he gets away from beaten lines of travel, out into the rural districts, this impression is by no means so vivid. Nevertheless, it remains, and it is undoubtedly true that there is more rough language used in the West than in the East. At the same time, if he takes the trouble to attend country churches and to form some idea of the popular interest in religious matters, he is impressed with the piety of the people. It will usually take him some time to reconcile these two apparently contradictory impressions, but the explanation is that as one moves west
one of his trips through the West almost every man he met and spoke with used profanity; but finally he found one man who talked to him for twenty minutes without using an oath. As they were about to separate, my friend shook hands with the stranger and said:
“You don't know how glad I am to have a chance to have a talk with a man like you. You are the first man I have met for three days who could talk for five minutes without swearing."
The stranger was so surprised and shocked at this deplorable state of af
ward through the agricultural districts he meets fewer and fewer of that class which is so numerous in cities and also in the rural districts of the East, who are neither pious nor wicked-simply indifferent. In other words, it seems that throughout the West, especially beyond the Missouri River, every man is either pious or profane, and the prevailing type of piety is of the Methodistic sort, just as the prevailing type of impiety is of the turbulent, swearing sort. Both are demonstrative.
A friend of mine, a clergyman and a very close observer, told me that upon
fairs that he instantly and innocently ejaculated:
“Well, I'll be damned!”
Another friend, an unusually handsome and venerable-looking farmer, told me of a delicate compliment he once received from a cattleman. Meeting several drovers, he inquired the road to a certain place and engaged in a few minutes' conversation. As he rode on he overheard one remark to another: “Say, that was a damned fine-looking old devil, wasn't it?',
However, as the country grows older and more settled, and the population
"An Ounce of Fact outweighs a Ton of Guess."
Do Farmers BUY
involving months of labor and large expenditure of cash we are furnish to the manufacturers and merchants of the country definite informa to what farmers buy and use, both in their homes and on their farms. T! was obtained from 2,621 voluntary answers to a list of 50 questions, prir one issue of the NORTHWESTERN AGRICULTURIST. A booklet of covers, containing fifty tables like the following:
Question No. 1
“WHAT MAKE OF BAKING POWDER DO YOU USE?”
Of the 2,621 letters received, there were 1,894 which answered the above question and 727 which ignored it.
The other questions cover Breakfast Foods, Substitutes for I Soap, Washing Powder, Scouring Soap, Stove Polish, Mail Ord Cream Separators, American Made Watches, Medicines for Pe. Machinery and Implements.
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