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come. Even at factory wages longer hours and harder work had of the house, and equipping the place with machinery. The no appeal to their patriotism! Hence the substitution of soft work went slowly, but at the end of three years they had

put muscled boys bribed by the promise of omission of school exam

three thousand dollars into improvements. A good deal of this inations in return for a summer of farm service. And before went into pulling and blowing out stumps, clearing brush, and harvesting time was at its height these two left to return to the other forms of work which failed to bring immediate returns in city to get ready for school in early September. The Govern- production, although it increased the selling value of the farm. ment has a knotty problem to solve in keeping down the cost of In the spring of 1917 the purchase mortgage of $2,500 fell production so that it will suit the consumer and at the same due, and the holder did not care to renew it. The young couple time to put farm labor where it has never been, in a position to had the place appraised by a real estate dealer, who put a selling offer wages, hours, and labor which will compete with those of value of $9,000 upon it. With this valuation, they went to their other industries.

bank and asked for a $4,000 mortgage. It was refused, on the Next to labor the farmer needs capital. It was not long after ground that the bank did not care to handle farm mortgages

. the appeal to plant more went out that this need was realized. For three months after, those young people went from bank to To meet it various sporadic efforts were made. The operation bank and real estate company to real estate company, and were of the Federal Farm Loan Act was hastened; banks in various refused at every turn. Nobody cared to take a farm mortgage parts of the country offered short-time loans. Some of these. The Federal Farm Loan Act was not then in operation in that were in the nature of a business joke. A group of patriotic State, and had it been it is doubtful whether the actual condi. bankers in a certain part of New York State offered the farm tion of the farm, despite the selling value, would have permitted ers in their district millions of dollars at five per cent on sea a loan large enough to be worth while. One bank finally conson's crops. Very few farmers took advantage of the loans. A sented to place a loan of $2,500, but advised the young people Boston bank official told me that the same thing held true of to try a building and loan association. From this source they New England.

obtained a loan of $3,200 at six per cent, and to obtain this “ The farmers wouldn't take the money,” he said, fairly they had to pay a "premium” of $96. Both of them were spluttering with indignation. “ I took a trip and offered it to bitter over the experience. them, and they wouldn't have it."

" It was humiliating,” said the young woman. “ Here we Why should they on those terms ? Even if, as in some cases, were engaged in a service worth while to everybody as well as no security was demanded, why should a farmer place himself to ourselves—the building up of an old, run-down farm. Yet in debt on a pure gamble in a season where there was a shortage upon a selling value of $9,000, fully justified by the price of in every essential of food production? The patriots who offered farms about us, we could not raise a mortgage of one-third the money had no intention of sharing that gamble. All they without paying a premium over six per cent interest, and this stood a chance of losing was their one per cent of legal interest, was hard to get. No wonder people do not want to farm!" while the honest farmer who would have to repay the loan even There is nothing in Federal machinery as yet for people such in case of failure of crops stood all the chances of losing out. as these. The terms of the Federal Farm Loan Act as it is The markets were unsettled, no prices were guaranteed. The operating at present provide too little capital and demand too money stayed in the banks.

great a security to permit a man with small capital to upbuild The Federal Farm Loan, coming into operation soon after old soils or to break in new ones. the appeal to plant more, has been fairly well taken up. It As far as I know, the Government has taken no definite steps should be. It is the first step towards financing the farmer that in the matter of securing adequate supplies of fertilizer. Yet to is worth while. But it is only the first. As it now stands any produce the amount of wheat the farmer is asked to raise in farmer who wishes to secure a loan must have his farm ap 1918 we need ten times the amount of nitrates now in the counpraised by the local farm loan association and by the Federal try. There is an available supply of nitrates in Chile, but farm appraiser. He can obtain a loan of fifty per cent upon the unless the Government secures transportation at once for this valuation placed upon the land, and twenty per cent upon the supply or discovers some unknown source of nitrogen, the valuation placed upon his buildings. Farmers who are strug. farmer who patriotically tries to raise wheat is likely to fail in gling to get along and to increase the productivity of their the attempt. And the shortage of nitrates is a war shortage, as soils with little capital and small assets in the way of improve is the shortage of bread. ments can only obtain loans so small that improvement of both The fixing of the price of wheat will undoubtedly be followed soil and buildings must proceed very slowly. It is the same old by the fixing of prices on other commodities. For this the story. The Federal Farm Loan, financed by bonds sold to the farmer waits. Hampered by lack of funds, by shortage of seed people at large, secures these bonds so well that the gamble still and machinery-admitted by the Government-by shortage remains the farmer's. Just how difficult it is for a farmer with of fertilizer and of labor, and with one definite act of the Gor. a moderate amount of capital to realize money on a farm was ernment as guidance (the price of wheat), he is making his well illustrated in the case of a young couple in my own neigh- plans for 1918 and waiting to see if anything else will happen borhood. They had taken a worn-out farm, with the intention that will alter them. The Government assures him that the of building it up. With little money, but with an income country stands ready to help him, and he thinks he knows just which insured them against want, they put every available dollar what that means. He knows what it meant in 1917. into the place, clearing stumps and hedges, rebuilding a part New Brunswick, New Jersey.

N

II-WHAT AN EASTERN FARMER THINKS OF THE FOOD SHORTAGE

BY J. L. DEAN TO reform or progress in farm conditions in this country certain rate for its ordinary help, say thirty cents an hour for can be brought about until we know and recognize what nine hours a day, and proportionately more for skilled workers

. the troubles and difficulties are ; and usually we must The factory has, besides, overhead charges and charges for raw know the cause of any trouble before we can apply remedies. material. These cost items, an allowance for depreciation, an

An article published in The Outlook recently advocated for other for selling costs, and another for profit, are added together the solution of the shortage of food, as the result of inadequate to determine the selling price. If the manufacturer cannot get production, the application of the factory system to farming, a price that covers these items, all of them, he either shuts up

That looks good to people who live in the city, who know that shop or goes into insolvency. In other words, the public must the system works well in the mill or shop, or who are so far pay the cost and the profit. Labor in these lines is sure of its pay. away from the farm that they do not see any reason why it whatever it is the law of the workman's lien guarantees it

, should not work as well if applied to farm production.

The farmer has his plant-land, buildings, tools, and stockTo compare the two: The factory competes for its labor in with certain charges of interest, taxes, and such raw material the labor market

with other

factories and with farms. It pays a charges as those for fertilizers, insecticides, seeds, and upkeep

of plant. He, and in many cases members of his family, plant, and girls who have left the farm to live in the city, and again care for, and harvest the crops. In nearly all cases they work, by the city girls who have, by some queer turn of fate, been not eight or nine hours a day, but twelve, fourteen, or sixteen. obliged to learn to live in the country. They usually have in At the end of the season, or when the market seems most favor the country a small allowance to get along with, and learn how able, the farmer sells his crops for what he can get. Not until

to live that way. then does he get any pay for his work, nor even know what he These farm people are of as high intelligence and character as will receive per hour for his labor. In the average season I workers in the towns and cities, and are entitled to as good affirm that he is fortunate indeed if he finds that he has received living conditions. What has brought them to their pinched ten cents an hour for his labor, while he could have sold his conditions, and what keeps them there? services at the mill or the factory at thirty or fifty cents per There are many things that have contributed, but the largest hour. Once in a while, with favorable conditions, and when single factor in keeping them there, and through these condicrops are not too big, he will get well paid for his work-receiv tions producing the present shortage of food, is our extravagant, ing perhaps nearly or quite as much as if he had worked in a wasteful, and inefficient system of distribution. According to factory; but in few cases does he get his pay every week or figures approved by the New York Department of Foods and know what it will be until he does get it.

Markets, of the average dollar paid by the ultimate consumer Now, then, I assert that this is the condition, and I ask you the farmer receives thirty-five cents and the distribution system to admit this for the sake of seeing how it works out as a fact. sixty-five cents. Suppose our farmer, under pressure of the needs of the country, The reader has only to look around him and follow a few the appeals of our President, or ambition, does hire labor in examples back to the farm to verify these figures so that he competition with the factory, paying for the same the minimum will believe them. price of, say, thirty cents per hour. We will assume that the I will not claim here that the average individual in the sysfarmer has two sons, each representing nearly a man power, tem of distribution gets too big pay for his labor. But all along and actually worth more to him than the hired help. If the the line from the farm to the consumer there are unnecessary farmer and his sons each work three hundred days of fourteen expenses. There is unnecessary transportation, with high charges. hours, and sixty-five days of four hours, and their hired man The goods go through an unnecessary number of hands before works three hundred days of nine hours, at thirty cents per they get to the retailer. The retail stores are unnecessarily duhour—though, as I have asserted, the farm help would really plicated. These stores duplicate delivery routes. They duplicate make only about ten cents an hour under favorable conditions stocks of food in every neighborhood, and instead of competition the labor of these four men will amount to $1,608. But from to keep the price down there is collusion so that the buying this amount the hired man must have been paid every week, price may be low enough and the selling price high enough to and it is found that the hired man has taken out from this sum enable all these unnecessary duplicating agencies to live on the $810, leaving for the other three men, who have worked much business. longer hours and

have done the necessary work on Sundays and In my neighborhood there are fifteen provision stores doing holidays, only $798, or just a little less than the hired man the work that three could easily do and should do. I believe secured. This gives the farmer and his boys only 5.09 cents per that the distribution of provisions in my neighborhood could be hour. They would have received a larger amount, ten cents per easily and efficiently and satisfactorily effected at one-third the hour, if they had not hired the extra man.

present expense, and perhaps less. These figures make it look as if the farmer and his boys Now, then, all these unnecessary people in the system of dis worked one-third of their time for the hired man. And, further, tribution, all these unnecessary stores, are parasites on the if the farmer had not had the help of the boys he would not farmer. He has to support them-not the worker in the town. have been able, with the help of the hired man, to earn enough The latter nearly always gets wages enough to live well and money to pay the man, if he took nothing out for himself. have some money for amusement, and perhaps to save. The

Now, I assert that the above is a fair example of farm condi- farmer makes up the balance by getting along on what is left tions; that the figures given are not harder than the usual facts for him. except that the average farmer does hire his help below the There seem to be several possible ways to remedy this congoing wage of the city factory if he hires at all. I assert that dition, and it certainly must be remedied if food is to be pro the average Eastern farmer does actually and in fact work for duced in abundance. The Government, which is supposed to be his hired men if he has any.

by the people and for the people, but often seems to be for the Last spring, at planting time, four of the seven farm teams big interests instead, can and ought to reorganize this system in my neighborhood worked out for contractors, mills, and on and make a better and more efficient one. the highway the greater part of the time, when they should have The working people in the country, the farmers—and the been at work on the land putting in the crops. Why? Because working people in the city, the faetory and commercial workthe remuneration was better. It did not pay the men to work ers, on their part can unite to organize a system of distribution the land when they could work their teams for days' wages. for themselves that will be efficient and economical. If this is

Does not the foregoing indicate why the occupation of farm done (and I do not believe that the farmers alone can do it or ing in the East is at such a low ebb, why there is a shortage of that the town workers alone can do it), then the balance between production ?

labor in the towns will be struck, and the farmer can employ The Eastern farms are not worked to one-quarter capacity laborers on his farm, and can usually get back the money he because it does not pay to work them. No ordinary man can pays them, although this can never be certain, for weather concontinue to do business at a loss, and farmers are no exception. ditions, rain or drought or frost at both ends of the season, may That is why more hired help is not employed and more produce interfere at times to spoil the results of the best laid and raised in the Eastern States.

executed plans. Also, an overproduction of perishable crops Perhaps you ask: If this is all true, why or how do they farm always tends to reduce returns, so often the best years for crops at all? Why can any one be found to farm ? How are they able are the poorest years of remuneration for farm labor. to live if they receive so low a price for their labor?

Again, the present system of distribution is largely to blame To answer the last question first. They are able to live by for this condition, for it uses the fact of surplus production to being economical. They cannot spend that which they have not, hold down the price to the producers, but takes good care that and they learn to get along accordingly. The laborer in town the consumer does not get advantage of the lower price. It has a groceryman coming to his door every day, and in many carefully avoids stimulating consumption of the product that is cases twice or more. He and his family dress much better, they in over supply. spend in some cases as much for car rides and amusements as The cry is often heard in print and otherwise that the reason the farm family spend for food and clothing. The farmer gets his the laborers leave the country is because the wages are so low rent on the farm, and he gets his food and fuel from the farm and living conditions for help are so poor. And this is said as at wholesale prices. He lives largely out of the flour barrel, and if it were something that employers in the country were to blame nearly always under less expensive conditions than the city for, and as if these employers could remedy this if they only worker. This you can confirm by the thousands of country boys would. But it is a fundamental principle of business that it

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must pay. The farmers can get along, and do get along, on what application of the factory system to agriculture have done si, they get out of their work, very much as a one-legged man in not by cheapening production to any extent, but by improving the city can get through the streets in a way. But if the farmer the price received. They have been able to do this by sendinga is to run a farm business, hire help, work his farm up to capac- large product to market, and then passing their goods over the ity, it must be done on business principles. That is, the hired heads of a lot of men in the system who help themselves from help must produce enough so that its product will sell for suffi the ordinary farmer as he passes his products along. cient to pay the wages and other expenses and show a profit. If the reforms herein suggested were carried out, there would Under the present conditions, this can be done only in a few 'be no shortage of food. Our President would not have to call exceptional cases, just enough to prove the rule. If the system on farmers to produce more. The supplies would come of distribution can be reorganized and made so efficient that of a greatly increased rate, and there would be a large reserve on the consumer's dollar sixty-five cents will go to the farmer and hand, carried on the farms. Under the present conditions the only thirty-five cents be taken by the system, then the farmer reverse of this is the rule. can compete with the factory in the labor market, and an Our President and the Food Administration do not seem to army of parasites maintained by the present system would be realize that the farmer must increase production as a business liberated for really productive work. The existing farm plants proposition if at all. They call upon him to do it regardless of could multiply their production from four to ten times the his conditions, and the call has gone out to the farmer to be present output. Prices of farm property, from being in a con patriotic, to speed up, to plant more, to hire help, to increase dition in which many of the farms can be bought to-day from production. Then, after he has made his plans to comply as fully one-half to one-fourth the amount it would require to replace as possible with these calls, the word goes out, “ Everybody the buildings, might be raised so that new land would be taken plant a garden! plow up the lawns! plant potatoes in the tower up and new buildings built. The Eastern States would, I be

beds!" -- in short, “scab” the farmer's job in every way possible. lieve, under the encouragement of a proper system of distribu And after the crops are harvested, the Food Administration tion, feed themselves. Tenements for farm laborers would be steps in and so regulates things that in many cases the farmers built on all the larger farms, population in the country would suffer serious loss, if not ruin. multiply, and such a wave of prosperity would sweep over the If the Food Administration would cut out the parasites in country sections that they would be the places where the good the system of distribution, make that efficient and economical, things in life would go to instead of to so large an extent being the farmers

would not feel so bad if their profits were occasionmerely the places where the good things come from.

ally small. But it makes the farmer feel like " laying down" to I have called your attention to the way in which the factory receive half wages or less, while at the same time he sees an system works in the mill and shop. If we now try to apply it to army of duplicated workers, who do no real social service, living farming on a large scale and with conditions as they are at off the products of his labor, and in most cases living so much present, one of the first things the management would do would better than the farmer himself. be to arrange a selling system. It would have to devise ways to No system for increasing farm products can be a success "get by” the present system of distribution, to get its products without an improvement in the system of distribution. That is to the ultimate consumer cheaper than it is now done, before it a big job; but this is a time for beginning big jobs. conld even pay expenses. Those who have made a success in the Waterville, Maine.

III-WHAT AN AGRICULTURAL ENGINEER THINKS OF OUR

FARMING SYSTEM

BY ELWOOD MEAD FORMERLY STATE ENGINEER OF WYOMING AND NOW PROFESSOR OF IRRIGATION IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AND CHAIRMAN OF

THE CALIFORNIA LAND SETTLEMENT BOARD

T

THE time has come for a sweeping agrarian reorganization of this commission, which have only begun, already show what

regardless of war needs. While the huge totals of our valuable results can be secured by having science go hand in

agricultural production and our immense aggregate wealth hand with adequate financing and practical direction in the in lands have made farming our most stable and prosperous development of our agricultural resources. The lands which are industry, there are many tendencies which, if not corrected, being purchased have been examined by the soil experts to must lead in the near future to disastrous results. A study of determine the size of farm units and the kind of crops which what would be needed to give the returning soldier a reason can be grown. The water supplies and health conditions also able chance to succeed will reveal the fact that for over half a have been looked after. Co-operative organizations are being century a sort of anarchy has characterized all our dealings in created for the purchase of live stock and equipment and for natural resources, including land. It is not the kind of anarchy the marketing of products, and the settlers in their early years that waves red flags and resorts to physical violence, but a will have the benefit of competent business and agricultural more dangerous kind growing out of a pernicious carelessness advice. The opportunity to buy land for speculative purpose wherever the protection of the public welfare runs counter to is entirely eliminated. None but actual settlers are accepted

. individual interest or greed.

and those who enter these new communities have a confidence If we are to provide for the returning soldier we must create and a feeling of permanence which have been lacking in the for him opportunities which in many sections do not now exist development of recent years. and which will not be created except through Government aid It is along these lines that provision should be made for the and direction; and if we are to maintain the independence and returning soldiers, and now is the time for the Nation to begin hopefulness of the American character we must create broader

to prepare. And we shall only be following the enlightened opportunities for land-ownership by its cultivators regardless preparations of other countries if we enter at once on this must of the war.

important work of preparatory reconstruction. The State of California has come to believe this and has

Nearly every country engaged in the war has made or is passed an Act which is likely to exercise a profound influence making provision to provide farms for returning soldiers

. This on future progress. A board, created by the Act, is authorized is being done as the surest means of ending the semi-starvation to buy, subdivide, improve, and sell ready-made farms to actual which now exists and to enable soldiers drawn from shops and settlers on long-time payments. The educational facilities of the offices, who have broken with established habits and acquired Agricultural College have been mobilized to aid in the selection a liking for outdoor life, to gratify this desire within the bor of the land, in the purchasing of live stock and equipment, and ders of their own country. France and Germany will have only in the subsequent direction of settlers. In no other way can this to continue the methods and policies for financing farmers whirt educational equipment be so effectively used as during the were in existence before the war. The same is true in a low pregnant years when institutions are forming. The operations degree of Italy, where the Government during the past ten

years has provided large sums for the purchase and subdivision

of agriculture, and the terms of sale had no relation to what of feudal estates and for financing settlers in the newly acquired people could earn from the profits of cultivation. What they lands of Tripoli.

sought to do was to present schemes which would attract the In none of these warring countries is it expected that return largest number of people, and they looked for customers among ing soldiers will be content with the drudgery and meager clerks, stenographers, miners, and professional men as well as rewards of tenants under the conditions which formerly existed. among real farmers. Many bought land which they had never Free farms for free men is one of the results already foreshad seen, which they never expected to farm, and which they purowed by this great conflict. The Russian peasant is likely to chased to enable them to share in the profits of community return a landed proprietor. An able commission has been at development. They were petty speculators who bought farming work three years in Great Britain gathering information as to land exactly as they bought corner lots in boom towns. Many land suitable for subdivision into small farms and formulating of those who entered on the cultivation of these lands did not the legal procedure which will transform England from a land seek to create permanent homes which should be a heritage for of great estates farmed by tenants into a land cultivated by their children and children's children. They sought instead to small farm owners.

make a stake and move on, and this delayed the adoption of The Commonwealth of Australia, regardless of the huge scientific methods or pride in community progress. American indebtedness created by the war, has voted one hundred million rural life has lacked a sense of social solidarity essential to dollars to buy, subdivide, and improve land, so that soldiers attractive and permanent civilization. may return to ready-made farms. The Australian states have Disregard by the National and State authorities of the require not only arranged to finance soldiers in buying farms but have ments of rural development in the disposal of land deadened attempted to visualize the other needs of beginners, and are the understanding of the whole Nation as to the ruinous consearranging to provide schools of practical instruction and train quences of what followed. We watched without concern the ing farms where the work of inexperienced men can be super. slashing away of primeval hardwood forests and the growing vised by expert practical advisers.

of cultivated crops, which had no binding material in their roots, The programme of Canada is less comprehensive, but the on our cleared-off hillsides, and which caused the stored-up ferDominion has thirty million acres of public land available for tility of centuries to be washed away in a few years. We have 160-acre soldiers' homesteads, and is arranging to provide up to seen over great areas of country an unremitting production of $5,000 to finance soldiers in the building of houses and pro cereal crops and cotton and tobacco, with no rotation or fertilividing needed equipment.

zation to maintain soil fertility. This is the most destructive All of these countries have recognized that they cannot leave kind of agriculture known to man, and the consequences are the meeting of food requirements when peace comes to the un everywhere manifest in our diminished yields. From the disaided or undirected efforts of private enterprise. They are pre- posal of lands to the final un-coordinated, unorganized commuparing to supplement this by direct and purposeful action. The nity there has been an anarchy of carelessness

. If every house, need in this country will be not less urgent, and if we are to be barn, and building in the farming areas of the United States had ready there is no time to be lost. We cannot, as we did after been burned, the National loss would have been less than what the Civil War, or as Canada is proposing to do, give public we have sustained by the unchecked destruction of soil fertility. land homesteads, because the fertile lands have all passed into Not less injurious has been our indifference to the social danprivate ownership. We can, at large expense, provide for the gers growing out of speculative acquirement of great landed reclamation of some irrigable public lands, but the cost will estates and consequent growth of non-resident ownership of average more than one hundred dollars an acre and the total farm land. This now has reached a magnitude which can be area will be small. The solution of this problem with us, as with no longer ignored. Forty per cent of the land is cultivated by England, Germany, Italy, and Australia, is through the pur tenants, and the percentage is steadily increasing. Less than two chase of private land and its subdivision and sale to soldiers in thousand firms and individuals, many of them foreigners, own living areas. The mere suggestion of such a scheme of state a farming area greater in the aggregate than Great Britain and aided and directed settlement is so opposed to past methods and Ireland. Much of this land is passing into corporate manage policies that at first it is calculated to make the hair of our ment, and these corporations are ceasing to subdivide and sell laissez-faire statesmen stand on end.

and are looking instead to a permanent income from tenants. But, as outlined above, California has actually taken hold of This is worse than the tenantry of Europe, because the personal the problem on the lines suggested. A brief review of the course relation which mitigates tenantry evils there does not exist here. which land-disposal has taken in our country will be helpful in Furthermore, the tenants of a European country are of one showing the necessity for such action.

nationality and have an interest in both local and national The disposal of the public lands was the most important affairs. Our tenants are being drawn together from the Orient, responsibility intrusted to our Government. It was a task re southern Europe, and the Balkan States. They are preferred to quiring the highest statesmanship. What was needed was a Americans because they are accustomed to a low standard of kind of land tenure which would for all time enable the culti- living and waste no time nor money in looking after community vators of the soil to become its owners. The Nation also needed affairs. As a result we are building up a rural life composed of to have created a kind of agriculture which would maintain soil a welter of diverse nationalities with no common ideals, no fertility, so that the growth in the future would not be stopped. unity of purpose or civic consciousness. In California one JapaNothing of this kind was attempted. The public domain was nese now rents twenty-five thousand acres of lands, which he subsold largely to speculators or frittered away under land laws lets to Japanese, Chinese, Italians, Portuguese, and Mexicans. which ignored the purposes of buyers or the ultimate results of The owner of a million-acre tract has just established a tenant the transfer of land to private ownership. An area equal to colony on five thousand acres where all of the tenants are Orienfour-fifths of the German Empire was given to railways and tals. Many of these landowners now refuse to accept Americans other corporations; a still larger area was given to the different as tenants because they are too independent, and we are buildStates, and these State lands were frittered away because the ing up an intensive cultivation based on a degraded civilization. changing policies and politics of State legislatures prevented These conditions lessen the power of our agricultural educa the adoption of any definite policy. For nearly half a century tional institutions because men cannot follow the advice given we had the unhappy spectacle of the Federal Government, the them." What is the use of telling me to feed my hay to steers," railways, and the States vying with one another in disposing of said an exasperated tenant, “ when I have no money and not the resource which, more than any other, is destined to shape credit enough to buy a pair of overalls ?” our civilization.

It is to remedy these radical ills of our agricultural life that The result was that settlement became migratory and speci California has begun its work of reconstruction under the Land lative. Those who acquired great areas of railway, State, and Settlement Board. The movement is one that deserves considerGovernment lands organized selling syndicates, which sought ation and action everywhere, for on the restored prosperity of buyers or colonists in all countries and in all walks of life. the farm depends the life of the Natiou. Their plans of subdivision were not based on the requirements Berkeley, California.

See urticles bearing on the food problem entitled " (ju poleniny mnd the Ilir,on pogo.550

BY HERMANN HAGEDORN

Between the windy dusk and the first pale light,
Spring came with breezes and fragrance. Tiptoe through the night
Into the city she came. The city lay dumb.
Its millions of eyes saw not the light Spring come.
They saw not the light feet dance with quick, sharp tread,
They saw not the twinkling fingers, the arms outspread,
The eyes half open, the lips half open, the hair
Blown back and about on the frolicsome April air.
The millions slept with their tumult of hammers and wheels.
They saw not the Spring nor the troop that danced at her heels,
Singers and fiddlers and pipers and children with lyres,
Painters with brushes and colors, and kindlers of fires,
Maidens with lutes and citherns and youths with barps,
Clowns with parody-melodies' flats and sharps,
Men with horns and boys with trumpets that rang,
Babies with bells that tinkled and twinkled and sang,
Spring with her orchestra, Spring with her rollicking choir,
Spring with her band fluting to dead desire,
Fiddling to hope past hoping, piping to pain,
“Love, laugh, and sing ! Spring, Spring has come again !"
The millions slept. They saw not the blithe rout sway
With the flutes' high twiddledeedee up stern Broadway.
The towers looked down, the windows stared in surprise,
The arc-lights sputtered and winked their soulless eyes,
For wherever the stony desert showed a tree
Spring and her covey stopped, and ardently
Spring blessed the boughs and bade the cold sap run;
And at each tree, in parting, at each one,
She left a fiddler or a cithern-player
To lure the leaves out with some magic air.
Ah, but the parks were scenes of revelry!
The crocus buds threw back their quilts to see,
The grass awoke, the worms and beetles heard,
And down the corridors sent the wonderful word,
Down the corridors winding through cool brown earth
They sent the echoing, rapturous gospel of mirth.
“ Heigh-ho !" cried Spring. “Lay your ear to the ground, and hark |
The grubs are stirring and stretching down there in the dark.
Listen! The voice of the slug-king, calling to war:
* Awake, O slugs ! and pillage the world once more !'”
" Awake!" echoes the hollow, “ Awake !" the sky,
“ Awake!" cries Spring, and “ Awake!” her minions cry.
“Awake!” sing the fiddles in music richer than words,
“Awake !" to the sparrows chirp the returning birds;
And the sparrows that hate themselves and despise their kind,
Cheep, hop, and turn in the warm, low, cleansing wind.
“Ai-ah !” cries Spring, and “ Ai-ah!” echoing purr
Rebeck and fife and gittern and dulcimer.
And “ Ai-ah !" in swelling murmur, first soft,
“ Ai-ah !" then louder, “ Ai-ah!" surges aloft.
“ Ai-ah! Oh, earth, forget the pain and the storm!
Ai-ah! Ai-ah! Oh, cold, white stars, grow warm !
Ai-ah!" What music of psaltery, oboe and flute,
What rapturous risings and fallings of viol and lute,
What calls of one to another, what jubilant hails,
What sparkling of eyes and teeth, what flowing of veils,
What bendings of bodies in laughter, what impudent skips,
What jubilant cartwheels, undulant snap-the-whips,
What rushing of feet, what flame-like blowing of hair,
What rampant revel let loose in Madison Square !
The millions slept. The millions were deaf and blind.
But into their turbulent dreams the new warm wind
Brought far-off flute notes and faint echoings
Of tremulous, bewitching cithern strings,
That traveled strangely into their dreams' waste places,
Waking new hope, old love, and dear lost faces.
All night the fiddles poured clear, silver streams
Across a weary city's arid dreams,
And when the last note fell, all quavering,
The millions woke, tingling, and whispered, “Spring!"

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