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Title: The American Country Girl
Author: Crow, Martha Foote, 1854-1924
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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THE AMERICAN COUNTRY GIRL


[Illustration: The American Country Girl. An abundance of sunshine,
fresh air, good water, and healthful exercise in the open permit
wonderful young life to reach its highest development.]



THE AMERICAN

COUNTRY GIRL


BY

MARTHA FOOTE CROW

AUTHOR OF
"ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING," "HARRIET BEECHER STOWE," ETC.


_WITH FIFTEEN ILLUSTRATIONS FROM PHOTOGRAPHS_


NEW YORK
FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY
PUBLISHERS


_Copyright, 1915, by_
FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY


TO THE
SEVEN MILLION COUNTRY LIFE GIRLS
OF AMERICA
WITH THE HOPE THAT THEY
MAY SEE THEIR GREAT PRIVILEGE
AND DO THEIR HONORABLE
PART IN THE NEW
COUNTRY LIFE ERA



CONTENTS


          CHAPTER                                                   PAGE
       I  THE COUNTRY GIRL--WHERE IS SHE?                              1
      II  THE HEART OF THE PROBLEM                                    13
     III  IS THE COUNTRY GIRL HAPPY ON THE FARM?                      23
      IV  A CALENDAR OF DAYS                                          31
       V  WHAT ONE COUNTRY GIRL DID                                   45
      VI  STORIES OF OTHER COUNTRY GIRLS                              59
     VII  THE OTHER SIDE                                              73
    VIII  THE INHERITANCE                                             83
      IX  THE DAUGHTER'S SHARE OF THE WORK                            97
       X  THE HOMESTEADER                                            107
      XI  THE NEW ERA                                                121
     XII  THE HOUSEHOLD LABORATORY                                   135
    XIII  EFFICIENT ADMINISTRATION                                   145
     XIV  AN OLD-FASHIONED VIRTUE                                    155
      XV  HEALTH AND A DAY                                           167
     XVI  THE COUNTRY GIRL'S WAGE                                    179
    XVII  THE DRESS BUDGET                                           193
   XVIII  FOUNDING A HOME                                            205
     XIX  THE FARM PARTNER                                           219
      XX  THE COUNTRY GIRL'S TRAINING                                231
     XXI  A GREAT OPPORTUNITY                                        241
    XXII  THE ILLS OF ISOLATION                                      253
   XXIII  THE SOLACE OF READING                                      265
    XXIV  THE SERVICE OF MUSIC TO THE COUNTRYSIDE                    277
     XXV  THE PLAY IN THE HOME                                       289
    XXVI  PAGEANTRY AS A COMMUNITY RESOURCE                          303
   XXVII  ASSOCIATIONS, ESPECIALLY THE YOUNG WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN
                ASSOCIATION                                          315
  XXVIII  THE CAMP FIRE                                              329
    XXIX  THE COUNTRY GIRL'S DUTY TO THE COUNTRY                     341
     XXX  THE COUNTRY GIRL'S SCORE CARD                              349
          INDEX                                                      359
          BIBLIOGRAPHY                                               363



ILLUSTRATIONS


  The American Country Girl. An abundance of sunshine,
  fresh air, good water, and healthful exercise in the open
  permit wonderful young life to reach its highest
  development                                             _Frontispiece_

  The Country Girl is the life of the home. She is a companion
  for the parents and a playmate for the little brothers and
  sisters                                                             26

  The Country Girl and Her Pets. "The quietness of the country
  permits a greater spiritual and mental growth, with its
  abundance of life, plant and animal, which challenges the
  mind to discover its secrets"                                       27

  The Country Girl takes a pride in her chickens that makes
  their care a pleasure to her                                        86

  The Inheritance. The Country Girl, working cheerfully beside
  her mother, will learn much that will be of value to her in
  her effort to make the housework of to-day a joy and not a
  burden                                                              87

  A happy homesteader in front of her "soddy." The vastness
  of the country does not daunt her. She learns to love the
  quiet, broken only by the roar of a river at the bottom of a
  canyon or the howl of a coyote on the great sandy flats            118

  A Knitting Class at an Agricultural School. Note the splendid
  poise of the Country Girl in the background--how naturally
  and yet perfectly she is holding herself                           119

  This Tennessee girl is a member of a Gardening and Canning
  Club. She won the cow and calves as premiums for having
  the best exhibit at the State Fair                                 190

  Springtime in the country. City children may well envy their
  little country cousins the free life in the open and the
  companionship with animals                                         191

  A lesson in household economics, at Cornell University             236

  Children in a country school scoring corn. Everywhere the
  country is responding to the call of Progress, and these
  members of a new generation are striving to reach the best         237

  The swiftly awakening artistic energies of the Country Girl
  are finding an outlet in the new national interest in
  pageantry. The farm, meadow or field makes an ideal
  stage                                                              306

  One of the many Eight Weeks Clubs organized throughout
  the country by the Y. W. C. A.                                     307

  This photograph of a Camp Fire Girl shows the opportunity
  country life affords for good sport                                336

  A school garden where the children are taught to love and
  understand the growing things as well as to cultivate
  them                                                               337



NOTE


The author acknowledges with gratitude the kindness of her friends among
the members of her fraternity, and among the graduates of Wellesley
College, of Northwestern, Syracuse, and Chicago Universities, and of
Grinnell College, who carefully found Country Girl correspondents for
her in all parts of the country; and especially of Professor Martha Van
Rensselaer of Cornell University who generously shared with her some of
the results of a questionnaire on _The Young Woman on the Farm_, which
was sent out by the Home Economics Department of that University.

It would be impossible to name here all the helpers that this book has
the honor to claim; the many specialists who have been good enough to
advise the author; the enthusiasts whose fire has sustained her courage;
and above all the many friends who have entertained her in their country
homes and talked over with her their problems. The author would,
however, acknowledge her special indebtedness to the Honorable John T.
Roberts, the well known lover and sympathetic critic of country life,
who gave valuable time to reading her manuscript and made some vital
suggestions; and to Miss Mary L. Read, head of the School of
Mothercraft, who gave some of the chapters a studious criticism.

While acknowledging many sources of inspiration the author alone is
responsible for the opinions expressed in the book, opinions sometimes
maintained against valued authority. All quotations from Country Girl
experiences are made with direct personal permission of the writers; the
kindness of the girls, who for the sake of other girls have given these
permissions, is here mentioned with special appreciation.

For illustrations the author is indebted to the Home Economics and other
Departments of the Agricultural College at Cornell University and to the
Home Economics Department of the School of Agriculture at Alfred, N. Y.;
also to Mr. S. H. Dadisman of the Agricultural College at Ames, Iowa; to
Mr. O. H. Benson of the United States Department of Agriculture; to Mr.
A. A. Allen of the Cayuga Bird Club, and to Mr. James M. Pierce of the
_Iowa Homestead_ of Des Moines, Iowa. The list should also include Mr.
R. M. Rosbrugh of Syracuse, N. Y., and Mrs. Mabel Stuart Lewis,
efficient homesteader, of Fladmoe, South Dakota. Other names are
mentioned in the text and need not be repeated here. To these and other
helpers, great thanks are due.

This book has been written about the Country Girl and for the Country
Girl; for her mother and father, and for everybody else as well; but
especially for the Country Girl herself. It will reach its aim if some
father says, "Why, here now, somebody has written a book about my little
gal there. I should not have thought it was worth while to make a book
about her. Well, now, perhaps she is of some account. Guess I'll give
her a little more schooling; guess I'll let her go to that institute she
was asking to go to; guess I'll let her have some music lessons, or buy
her a piano, or send her to college." Or if some mother says wistfully,
"My daughter is going to have a better chance than I had!" Or if the
Country Girl herself should say, "I see my opportunity and I will arise
and fulfil my mission."

The book will reach its aim, too, if another thing should happen. This
is the first book about the Country Girl. There have been tons of paper
devoted to the farmer; reams filled on the farm woman; not a line for
the girl. May this first book be followed by many, correcting its
misconceptions, rectifying its mistakes, directing its enthusiasms into
the best channels for the welfare of the six and three-quarters
millions of Country Girls of this land! By that time there will be seven
millions--unless in fact these six millions shall have run away to build
their homes and rear their children in the hot, stuffy, unsocialized
atmosphere of the town, leaving the happy gardens without the joyous
voices of children, the fields without sturdy boys to work them, the
farm homes without capable young women to--shall I say, to _man_ them?
No, let us say to _woman_ them, to _lady_ them, to _mother_ them, and so
to make them centers of wholesome interesting life that, if the girls do
their part, shall be the very heart and fiber of the nation.

The author is sorry that she cannot write to all the Country Girls who
have written her either through the questionnaire or through other means
of communication in the groups with which she has been so happily
associated; but she wishes that every Country Girl who reads this book
would write to her (using the address below) and tell her where she
thinks the book has spoken truly and where mistakenly. She trusts the
judgment of the Country Girls of America absolutely, if they can but be
induced to speak in unison and after careful thought.

  MARTHA FOOTE CROW.
  Tuckahoe, New York City
  August, 1915.



CHAPTER I

THE COUNTRY GIRL--WHERE IS SHE?


     Woman will bless and brighten every place she enters, and she will
     enter every place on this round earth.

  _Frances E. Willard._


  _O Woman, what is the thing you do, and what is the thing you cry?_
  _Is your house not warm and enclosed from harm, that you thrust the
      curtain by?_
  _And have we not toiled to build for you a peace from the winds
      outside,_
  _That you seek to know how the battles go and ride where the fighters
      ride?_

  You have taken my spindle away from me, you have taken away my loom;
  You bid me sit in the dust of it, at peace without cloth or broom;
  You have shut me still with a sleepy will, with nor evil nor good
      to do,
  While our house the World that we keep for God should be garnished and
      swept anew.

  The evil things that have waxed and grown while I sat with my white
      hands still,
  They have meshed our world till they twined and curled through my very
      window sill;
  Shall I sit and smile at my ease the while that my house is wrongly
      kept?
  It is mine to see that the house of me is straightened and cleansed
      and swept!

  _Margaret Widdemer._



CHAPTER I

THE COUNTRY GIRL--WHERE IS SHE?


The clarion of the country life movement has by this time been blown
with such loudness and insistence that no hearing ear in our land can
have escaped its announcement. The distant echoes of brutal warfare have
not drowned it: above all possible rude and cruel sounds this peaceful
piping still makes itself heard.

It has reached the ears of the farmer and has stirred his mind and heart
to look his problems in the face, to realize their gigantic
implications, and to shoulder the responsibility of their solution. It
has penetrated to the thoughts of teachers and educators everywhere and
awakened them to the necessities of the minute, so that they have
declared that the countryside must have educational schemes adapted to
the needs of the countryside people, and that they must have teachers
whose heads are not in the clouds. It has aroused easy-going preachers
in the midst of their comfortable dreams and has caused here and there
one among them to bestir himself and to make hitherto unheard-of claims
as to what the church might do--if it would--for the betterment of
country life.

And all of these have given hints to philanthropists and reformers, and
these to organizations and societies; these again have suggested
theories and projects to legislators, senators, and presidents; the
snowball has been rolled larger and larger; commissions have sat,
investigations have been made, documents have been attested, reports
handed in, bills drafted and, what is better, passed by courageous
legislation; so that now great schemes are being not only dreamed of but
put into actual fulfilment. Moreover, lecturers have talked and writers
have issued bulletins and books, until there has accumulated a library
of vast proportions on the many phases of duty, activity, and outlook
that may be included under the title, "A Country Life Movement."

In all this stirring field of new interest, the farmer and his business
hold the center of attention. Beside him, however, stands a dim little
figure hitherto kept much in the background, the farmer's wife, who at
last seems to be on the point of finding a voice also; for a chapter is
now assigned to her in every book on rural conditions and a little
corner under a scroll work design is given to her tatting and her
chickens in the weekly farm paper. Cuddled about her are the children,
and they, the little farm boys and girls, have now a book that has been
written just about them alone--their psychology and their needs. Also,
the tall strong youth, her grown-up son, has his own paper as an
acknowledged citizen of the rural commonwealth. But where is the tall
young daughter, and where are the papers for her and the books about her
needs? It seems that she has not as yet found a voice. She has failed to
impress the makers of books as a subject for description and
investigation. In the nation-wide effort to find a solution to the great
rural problems, the farmer is working heroically; the son is putting his
shoulder to the wheel; the wife and mother is in sympathy with their
efforts. Is the daughter not doing her share? Where is the Country Girl
and what is happening in her department?

It is easier on the whole to discover the rural young man than to find
the typical Country Girl. Since the days of Mother Eve the woman young
and old has been adapting herself and readapting herself, until, after
all these centuries of constant practise, she has become a past master
in the art of adaptation. Like the cat in the story of Alice, she
disappears in the intricacy of the wilderness about her and nothing
remains of her but a smile.

There are some perfectly sound reasons why American country girls as a
class cannot be distinguished from other girls. Chief among these is the
fact that no group of people in this country is to be distinguished as a
class from any other group. It is one of the charms of life in this
country that you never can place anybody. No one can distinguish between
a shop girl and a lady of fashion; nor is any school teacher known by
her poise, primness, or imperative gesture. The fashion paper,
penetrating to the remotest dug-out, and the railway engine indulging us
in our national passion for travel see to these things. Moreover, the
pioneering period is still with us and the western nephews must visit
the cousins in the old home in New Hampshire, while the aunts and uncles
left behind must go out to see the new Nebraska or Wyoming lands on
which the young folks have settled. We do not stay still long enough
anywhere in the republic for a class of any sort to harden into
recognizable form.

New inhabitants may come here already hardened into the mold of some
class; but they or their children usually soften soon into the
quicksilver-like consistency of their surroundings.

There is also no subdividing of notions on the basis of residence,
whether as townsman or as rural citizen. The wind bloweth where it
listeth in this land. It whispers its free secrets into the ears of the
city dweller in the flat and of the rural worker of the cornfield or the
vine-screened kitchen. The rain also falls on the just and the unjust
whether suburbanated or countrified. There is no rural mind in America.
There has indeed been a great deal of pother of late over the virtue and
temper of "rural-minded people." This debate has been conscientiously
made in the effort to discern reasons why commissions should sit on a
rural problem. Reasons enough are discernible why commissions should
sit, but they lie rather in the unrural mind of the rural people, as the
words are generally understood, than in some supposed qualities imposed
or produced in the life of sun and rain, in that vocation that is
nearest to the creative activities of the Divine.

And if there is no rural mind, there is no distinctive rural
personality. If the man that ought to exemplify it is found walking up
Fifth Avenue or on Halstead Street or along El Camino Real, he cannot be
discovered as a farmer. He may be discovered as an ignorant person, or
he may be found to be a college-bred man; but in neither case would the
fact be logically inclusive or uninclusive of his function as farmer.

The same is almost as exactly true for his wife and his daughter. If one
should ask in any group of average people whether the farmer's daughter
as they have known her is a poor little undeveloped child, silent and
shy, or a hearty buxom lass, healthy and strong and up to date, some in
the group would say the latter and some the former. Both varieties exist
and can by searching be found along the countryside. But it is nothing
essentially rural that has developed either the one set of
characteristics or the other. To be convinced of this, one who knows
this country well has but to read a book like "Folk of the Furrow," by
Christopher Holdenby, a picture of rural life in England. In such a book
as that one realizes the full meaning of the phrase, "the rural mind,"
and one sees how far the men and women that live on the farms in the
United States have yet to go, how much they will have to coagulate, how
many centuries they will have to sit still in their places with wax in
their ears and weights on their eyelids, before they will have acquired
psychological features such as Mr. Holdenby gives to the folk of the
English furrow.

A traveler in the Old World frequently sees illustrations of this. For
instance, in passing through some European picture gallery, he may meet
a woman of extraordinary strength and beauty, dressed in a style
representing the rural life in that vicinity. She will wear the peasant
skirt and bodice, and will be without gloves or hat. A second look will
reveal that the skirt is made of satin so stiff that it could stand
alone; the velvet bodice will be covered with rich embroidery; and heavy
chains of silver of quaint workmanship will be suspended around the
neck.

On inquiry one may learn that this stately woman was of what would be
called in this country a farmer family, that had now become very
wealthy; that she did not consider herself above her "class"--so they
would describe it--no, that she gloried in it instead. It was from
preference only that she dressed in the fashion of that "class."

Now, whether desirable or not, such a thing as this would never be seen
in America. No woman (unless it were a deaconess or a Salvation Army
lassie or a nun) would pass through the general crowd showing her rank
or profession in life by her style of dress. And that is how it happens
that neither by hat nor by hatlessness would the country woman here make
known her pride in the possession of acres or in her relation to that
profession that forms the real basis of national prosperity. Hence no
country girl counts such a pride among her inheritances. Therefore if it
is not easy to find and understand the country girl as a type, it is not
because she is consciously or unconsciously hiding herself away from us;
she is not even sufficiently conscious of herself as a member of a
social group to pose in the attitude of an interesting mystery. She is
just a human being happening to live in the country (not always finding
it the best place for her proper welfare), just a single one in the
great shifting mass.

Although it may be difficult to find what we may think are typical
examples of the Country Girl as a social group, yet certain it is that
she exists. Of young women between the ages of fifteen and twenty-nine,
there are in the United States six and a half million (6,694,184, to be
exact) who reside in the open country or in small villages. This we are
assured is so by the latest Census Report.

By starting a little further down in the scale of girlhood and advancing
a trifle further into maturity this number could be doubled. It would be
quite justifiable to do this, because some farmers' daughters become
responsible for a considerable amount of labor value well before the age
of fifteen; and on the other hand the energy of these young rural women
is abundantly extended beyond the gateway of womanhood, far indeed into
the period that used to be called old-maidism, but which is to be so
designated no more; the breezy, executive, free-handed period when the
country girl is of greatest use as a labor unit and gives herself
without stint (and often without pay) to the welfare of the whole
farmstead. The American Country Girl is not by any means behind her city
sister in her ability to make the bounds of her youth elastic, though
the girl on the farm may go at it in a somewhat different way. Then,
perhaps, too, the word "youth" may, alas! have another connotation in
the mind of one from what it has in the dreams of the other.

If we should, however, thus enlarge the scope of our inquiry, we should
increase but not clarify our problems. Moreover it is the Country Girl
that interests us, the promise and hope of her dawn, the delicate
swiftly changing years of her growth, the miracle of her blossoming.
There is something about the kaleidoscope of her moods and the
inconsistencies of her biography that fascinates us. The moment when she
awakes, when the sparkle begins to show in her eyes, when we know that a
conception of her mission and of her supreme value to life is beginning
to glow before her imagination--that is the crisis to work for and to be
happy over when it comes. As for us, we ask no greater happiness than
once or twice to catch a glimpse of that.

That great host of six million country girls is scattered far and wide;
they are everywhere present. A certain number of millions of them are
working industriously in myriads of unabandoned farms all over the
Appalachian plateau, and on the wide prairies to the Rockies, and
beyond. In thousands of farmsteads they are helping their mothers wash
dishes three times a day three hundred and sixty-five days in the year,
not counting the steps as they go back and forth between dining-room and
kitchen. They are carrying heavy pails of spring water into the house
and throwing out big dishpanfuls of waste water, regardless of the
strain in the small of the back. They are picking berries and canning
them for the home table in the winter; they are raising tomatoes and
canning them for the market; they are managing the younger children;
they are baking and sewing and reading and singing; they are caring for
chickens and for bees and for orphan lambs; they ride the rake and the
disc-plow and sometimes join the round-up on the range. Moreover they go
to church and they go to town and they look forward to an ideal future
just as other girls do. The Country Girl is a human being also.

It has been intimated that young women living on remote secluded farms
have not, with all their singing, been always able to dispel the
monotony of a thousand inevitable dishwashings a year; they are said
nowadays to have opened their ear to the lure of the town and to have
started out, keeping step with their brothers, to join what some one has
called, "the funeral procession of the nation" cityward. If we could, in
fact, get them to confide in us, we should find that they have longings
and aspirations, many of which are unsatisfied; and that is the reason
why it seems to be high time for their voice to be heard.

Some of the younger farm women are showing themselves equal to the
larger burdens in the business of agriculture. They are running their
own farms in Michigan and their own automobiles in Kansas. They are
taking up claims. They are developing them and proving up in the Dakotas
and through Montana and Wyoming. From four to six in the morning they
till an acre; then they ride twenty miles to the school and teach from
nine to four; after that they ride back and work in their cornfields
till the stars twinkle out. They stay alone in their shack and are happy
and fearless and safe.

Moreover some thousands of the girls are laboriously teaching schools in
thousands of one-room schoolhouses, where they provide almost one
hundred per cent. of the common instruction for fifty per cent. of the
population.

Besides this, there is no one of all the gainful occupations in which
young women of this country engage which has not drawn upon the
reservoir of country strength for supplies. Among those women
blacksmiths and engineers, those clerks, secretaries, librarians and
administrators, those lawyers, doctors, professors, writers, those
nurses, settlement workers, investigators and other servants of the
people in widely diverse fields, there are many whose clearness of eye
and reserve of force have been developed in the wholesome conditions of
the open country. The Country Girl has no reason to be ashamed of the
part she has borne in the non-rural world. It has been said that about
eighty per cent. of the names found in "Who's Who in America" represent
an upbringing in the rural atmosphere. The proportion of women in this
number or the special proportion of grown-up farm girls to be found
among those women cannot be stated; but the number must be large enough
to justify a belief that to spend a childhood in the open country or in
the rural village will not, in the case of women any more than in the
case of men, form an impassable barrier to eminence.

From this great rural reserve of initiating force, sane judgment, and
spiritual drive have come, in fact, some of the most valued names in
philanthropy and literature. Among them we find the leader of a great
reform, Frances Willard; the inaugurator of a world-wide work of mercy,
Clara Barton; the president of a great college, Alice E. Freeman; the
wise helper of all who suffer under unjust conditions in city life,
Jane Addams; and the writer of a book that has had a national and
world-wide influence, Harriet Beecher Stowe.

It heartens us up a bit to name over examples like these. They give us a
vista and a hope. But now and then there is a Country Girl who would
rather have, say, a better pair of stilts over the morass or a stronger
rope thrown to her across the quicksand, than a volume of "Who's Who"
tossed carelessly to her in her difficulties. For all the Country Girls
on their farms do not sing at their work. They are not idle, heaven
knows!--but their work does not invariably inspire the appreciation it
deserves.



CHAPTER II

THE HEART OF THE PROBLEM


  New times demand new measures and new men;
  The world advances and in time outgrows
  The laws that in our fathers' day were best;
  And, doubtless, after us some purer scheme
  Will be shaped out by wiser men than we,
  Made wiser by the steady growth of truth.

  _Lowell._



CHAPTER II

THE HEART OF THE PROBLEM


The reason why the American people care so much for the ideals that are
presented to us in the Country Life Movement is that there is something
very deep-seated and permanent within us to which these motives can
appeal. We are a country-life people. The bogy of the overshadowing
city, threatening to spread and spread until, like a great octopus, it
should suck all the sweet fields into its tentacles and cover the green
areas with a compact blackness, has given us a definite fright. The
result of our terror is the "Country Life Movement." It is not that we
were actually approaching an imagined danger-point; it was only that a
vision of life constantly fed and inspired by the pure unadulterated
influences of the country was before the eyes of a country-bred people,
and was of so great preciousness that we must guard it at the first hint
of peril. There are indeed grave dangers threatening some fundamental
interests in the agricultural realm; to these the nation is now well
awake. The republic has many problems but on the whole it is prospering,
and perhaps one reason why this is so lies in the fact that the
profession of agriculture is still the backbone of our national life.

The so-called Country Life Movement, then, is not a sudden onslaught
upon our consciousness by an alien influence, as if we were fish
suddenly commanded to go and live on the land. It is more as if a band
of mountaineers with lungs adjusted to a height of several thousand
feet, had been trying to breathe the air in a close and stuffy valley
far below their proper levels, but who had now returned to their native
height and were feeling the glow and triumph of their original energy;
or who perhaps, being frightened lest they should be imprisoned in that
low valley, were making frantic efforts to escape this doom and to reach
their mountain homes where they could breathe freely and grow normally
again. The Country Life Movement is not the despairing gasp of expiring
effeteness; it is an exclamation of robust joy in the possession of a
life healthily adapted to our needs.

At present there are well-nigh six million farmsteads in this country.
They form what we may untechnically call the agricultural group, and
represent roughly, but of course vitally, the great business of farming.
In our consideration we have to include also the small rural villages,
because the United States Census Reports include under the word "rural"
both people living in the open country and those living in villages up
to twenty-five hundred inhabitants in size.

In the agricultural group the unit is the farmstead. By that term is
meant the whole complex organization of the farm, including the land and
its products, the stock, the barns and the sheds, the whole family
together with whatever houses it, the corps of workers, farmer, farmer's
wife, sons, daughters, maiden aunts, working people unhired and
hired--in fact, everything "animal, vegetable or mineral," as the
children say when they play "Forty Questions," that ministers in any way
to the success of the farm as a business and to its ultimate object, the
happiness of the family living thereon. So when we say "farmstead" we
mean not only fodder for beasts but also food for the human beings; but
inasmuch as the human being is soul-endowed and has imperative appetites
in the æsthetic and spiritual realm as well as in the physical, the
farmstead covers the matter of the piano as well as of the hoe. A
wealthy farmstead is indeed one that has cattle upon many hills, or that
sends many carloads of milk to the city; but it can scarcely be called a
wholly prosperous farmstead unless it has an unrestricted view of the
scenery from its living-room windows, a public reading room within reach
of its buggy's wheels--that means, say, within twelve or fifteen miles
at most--or of its automobile--which may mean within forty or one
hundred miles according to the roads and the car; and, we may add,
unless it takes advantage of this and other cultural privileges.

It may be said that the ultimate end of the whole farm business is the
happiness of the family; yet the minds of many do not travel to the
ultimate--they pause at some one of the possible stopping places along
the way and fashion that subsidiary idea into the fiction of an ultimate
end. For instance, one may make the fattening of stock or the purchase
of a certain additional strip of land into an ultimate end, and work for
that, sacrificing much that is of immediate happiness value, or perhaps
even of supreme happiness value, to gain that minor object. Meantime the
real end, the one that if we should penetrate to the heart of our
ideals, we should find seated in the most sacred place: namely, the
welfare and happiness of the family group for which we live and labor,
has been neglected, and nearer, more direct means to attain it have been
overlooked.

This, then, is the heart of the matter. The farmstead is an intricate
organism with many parts working wonderfully together. The object, the
reason for the existence of every item and strain of it and for the
thing as a whole, is that there should be at the center of it a radiant
core of joy in which every human member of the little cosmos may have a
share and so reflect back to the others a still greater brightness. In
this farmstead world, each individual member must therefore be made
happy. A tricky word--that word "happiness!" Perhaps it cannot be
defined, but Americans are entitled to pursue it, whatever it may mean!

The wise ones, however, say that the one condition that can and will set
alight a vigorous flame of happiness at the heart of any human farmstead
is that there should be found there the opportunity for growth for
every individual in the circle, for the development of his or her latent
powers, so that each life may find that whatever it was intended to be,
it has been fully able to become; that none of its God-given abilities
have gone to waste for want of notice, furtherance, food, or
inspiration. It would be a pity to find that there was one social
structure among the devices of our high civilization that was stubbornly
inhospitable to the entrance of that messenger, "Growth," who precedes
and announces the heavenly visitant, "Happiness." The farmstead must not
be accused of being such a structure as that unless it is absolutely
necessary.

To what extent, then, does the farmstead offer opportunity for such
growth? Is it too much to ask that the ultimate joy of living, the joy
of growth, should be brought very near to the eyes of the people living
on the farmsteads, that their imaginations should be touched even more
keenly than they now are to a consciousness of the real possibilities in
their environment? What can we do to create an atmosphere that will give
its own enthusiasm to the people, that will bind each member of the
farmstead indissolubly to the place; one in which there shall be so
swift a certainty that it will seem like magic; that must so charm the
mind and the heart of each one that the tie will hold against any kind
of onslaught?

But the claim is being made in some quarters that the countryside home
does not live up to its possibilities in this respect, and if not in
this respect then the country life movement has a real pang behind it as
well as an uprising of renewed life. If the father in the home, who is
the farmer and head of the homestead, does not find happiness according
to his needs, it may from all the signs be concluded that the government
and the universities and the newspapers and the legislators are busying
themselves to the greatest possible extent to relieve his disabilities;
he may be left in their care for the present. Of the farmer's wife, who
is the head of the home and the partner with her husband in the farm
business, the government has lately in a group of letters addressed to
fifty-five thousand farm-woman correspondents, asked the question, What
do you wish to have done that your life may be more filled with content
and that your disabilities may be relieved? It is safe to presume that
the longings of their hearts will be by some means satisfied in longer
or shorter meter. The sons are sharing the fortunes of the fathers, but
if they are not, numbers of them may go out from the home valley and
easily seek what they believe will be a better fortune along the outer
avenues of a man's activities. And the daughter? While that ship comes
slowly in that is to bring something comforting to her mother, while her
father is giving the farm the benefit of his fast accumulating
scientific information and lessening the daily labor by up-to-date
machinery, what is happening to her? Is she having her share of content?
Has she the chance to grow and fill full the possible round of her own
personal development? Is the Country Girl happy on the farm? Or is she
in her heart dissatisfied and glowering? Is she suppressed and sodden in
mood? Is her face expressionless and too old for her years? Is she
round-shouldered and heavy of step? Is she listless and suspicious and
sensitive?

[Illustration: The Country Girl is the life of the home. She is a
companion for the parents and a playmate for the little brothers and
sisters.]

Or is she full of spirit and enthusiasm, a perfect dynamo of energy? Is
she the life of the home, with a word and a joke for everybody and is
she a perfect mischief among the other children? Is her face full of
expression, with smiles and dimples all the time? Is she full of love
and affection toward each member of the family, and endless in her
devices for their comfort and entertainment? Is she a veritable steam
engine to get the work done and equally a master hand at all kinds of
games and plays, able to get up something in no time and carry out any
kind of a scheme with nothing to do with? Does she sleep the very sleep
of the dead the whole night long, and is she all day the widest awake
being that can be found for miles around? Has she an appetite to startle
one fully three times a day and even more often, if something good to
eat is being made? In fine, is she receiving her share of possible
growth? Is she having her chance to show all that she is able to become?
And thus is she being happy? And also thus is she making the rest of the
circle in the home that is at the center of the farmstead, happier than
it could ever have been if she had not been there and had not been the
fully developed girl that she is?

This is the question that seems most important at just this time. This
is the problem on which light must be thrown.

It seems to be an important question for several reasons. It is said
that the young men are showing their dissatisfaction with farm life by
going away in large numbers to find occupation in the city; that the
best and most energetic of the young men, those who would have been
leaders for betterment in the general countryside, are found among those
who desert the countryside, and that thus the farm community is depleted
and deprived of good elements that it cannot well spare. The wind of
destiny for woman that has swept through the country and the world
during the last two decades or so, has penetrated the valleys where in
seclusion the Country Girls have grown up, and has now whispered
inspiration and courage into their ears, so that if they are
dissatisfied with the conditions of their lives they will have the
daring to go forth also, following their brothers, and to take up some
industrial fortune in the city whither the bright star of independence
beckons them. They are doing this already; and the news of it should
make thoughtful people bestir themselves. There seems to be a great
problem here, and the Country Girl seems to be at the heart of it. For
if the rural question is the central question of the world, and if the
social problem is the heart of the rural problem, and if the failure of
the daughter's joy and usefulness threatens the farmstead,--then once
more in the history of the world has the hour struck for woman; then
does the welfare of the world depend upon her as much as did the life of
the bleak New England shore depend on the health and survival of the
Pilgrim Mothers?

Of course no one would wish to claim that the young woman in the
farmstead is of more importance than other members of the home; but as a
chain will break if one link fails, so the farmstead will be ruined if
it lacks the cooperation of the daughter. She has, at least, a function
all her own; and the happiness that comes through normal growth must be
hers in order that she may fulfil her mission. The farmstead girl must
take her place in the farmstead or the farmstead unit will lack one of
its component parts and fall to pieces. It is her patriotic duty; it is
her home and family duty; and it is her greatest happiness. The young
woman on the farm must grow up with the idea that she is essential to
the progress of country life and therefore of the national life, and
that a career is before her just as much as if she were aiming to be an
artist or a writer or a missionary. This purpose makes her life worth
while. She must conserve her health for this; she must develop her
powers for this; she must train herself heroically for this.

We are, then, face to face with the question, so important to us at the
present moment, whether the daughter in the farmstead family is having
her own full meed of happiness in her farm home or not. Has she the
opportunity that is her right to grow and develop all her latent powers
and to become the person that by all the gifts of nature she is capable
of becoming?



CHAPTER III

IS THE COUNTRY GIRL HAPPY ON THE FARM?


  Let the mighty and great
  Roll in splendor and state!
  I envy them not, I declare it.
  I eat my own lamb,
  My own chicken and ham,
  I shear my own sheep and I wear it.

  I have lawns, I have bowers,
  I have fruits, I have flowers.
  My lark is my morning's charmer;
  So you jolly dogs now
  Here's God bless the plow--
  Long life and content to the farmer.

  _Inscription on an old English pitcher._



CHAPTER III

IS THE COUNTRY GIRL HAPPY ON THE FARM?


The young women who read this book will surely believe that no mere
curiosity inspires the question at the head of this chapter, but a fully
fixed idea that much depends on the answer. If it is not to be possible
for the young women to be made happy in the rural environment, they
surely are going to turn in great numbers and follow the beckoning
finger of industries and engagements townward. And if multitudes of them
do this, it will be increasingly difficult to keep that composite thing,
the farmstead, in perfect balance; and in that balance the daughters
have every year a more important part. Their share, in fact, is
constantly growing more vital, more indispensable to the welfare of the
whole.

There is also an even more important consideration. It is this. The
daughters in the homes of to-day are the home-makers of to-morrow; if
they are estranged irrecoverably from the countryside, what is to become
of the countryside in the days that are to come? Can we entertain the
hope that the city cousins will come to the rescue? Can we reply upon
the inrush of new families from across the seas to enter our widespread
fields and valleys and support for us the burden of scientific
housekeeping, and high-minded home making, and modern education in the
spirit of American institutions?

These are some of the thoughts and some of the fears that students of
the situation entertain. The result is that a strong interest is felt to
know if possible exactly how the country girl herself does feel about
her life on the farm, whether she is dissatisfied with the conditions
that surround her, whether she suffers from a deep-seated sense of
neglect and suppression, and whether she is attentive to some distant
call of the metropolitan lure.

Many conversations and a wide and representative correspondence leave
the impression upon the author that the Country Girls of America,
however far apart in geography and condition, are alike in one
characteristic--the sincerity and soberness of their testimony. The
young woman on the American farm is thoughtful, well balanced,
dignified. She takes herself seriously, and she is developing powers
that promise well for the future of American life.

The first unthinking impulse of many country girls is their love for
their country homes. Some are optimistic enough to claim that the
farmer's family can enjoy all the advantages of village or city life
without any of the disadvantages, and with the added enjoyment of the
country itself. Now that books, pictures, and music are so easily
accessible to the farm, now that the telephone puts one into
communication with friends in city or country, and modern traveling
conveniences make it possible to secure such urban benefits as lectures,
church, lodge, post office, etc., they feel that they have all
grievances done away with. Girls in thickly-populated New York and in
wide-awake, modern Idaho give the same testimony. There is a large group
who will even exclaim as one Missouri girl did that she never had had a
single reason for wishing to leave the farm; that she knew of no other
place which offered so much help in physical, mental, and spiritual
growth and development.

A young woman with an ear to economic values suggests that on the farm a
great part of the food can be produced at home and can thus be kept free
from adulteration. This is not by any means a minor consideration.
Another who perhaps has at some time known stringency in the city and
can look at the problem from another angle, thinks that in the country
it is rather a relief not to have to count the cost of each separate
meal.

The opportunities on the farm sometimes appeal to the fun loving
propensities of the young girl. One has, or nearly always can have, they
say, space for games, such as tennis, basket ball, etc. Many think that
there is more real fun in the distinctive exercises of the farm than in
those of the town; for there they have nutting, riding down hill, going
berrying, riding on loads of hay;--all these are thoroughly appreciated.

In the varied business of the farmstead the daughter may see her love of
animals gratified. On the big Iowa farm where one Country Girl lives the
farm stock is to her the chief attraction. They make pets of nearly all
their creatures, and she herself assigns the fanciful and literary pet
names.

Some times the more mature country girl has reached the height where she
finds the good of country life to consist in its liberty, its leisure,
its varied interests, its fresh air and nearness to nature, and its
distance from the pettiness of the towns people and their limited
outlook. On the farm time may be devoted to the really big things of
life without petty distractions. One gains there a wholesome, sane view
of life. There may be plenty to do on the farm but what you do is of
consequence.

[Illustration: The Country Girl and Her Pets. "The quietness of the
country permits a greater spiritual and mental growth, with its
abundance of life, plant and animal, which challenges the mind to
discover its secrets."]

Some of the more spiritual aspects are gathered together in this
transcript of a Country Girl's thoughts and dreams. In trying to
describe the charm that the country has for her, she mentions "the
quietness and peace which permit of one's greater spiritual and mental
growth, the abundance of life, plant and animal, which challenges the
mind to discover its secrets; the rocks and streams which call out to
one for study and discovery, the beauties of the sunrise, the clouds,
the sunset, the moonlight, and the far off stars,--these call to our
spirits to penetrate their mystery and lift up our souls to those levels
above the commonplace where we commune with the Maker; the hills and the
wide expanses make us reverent and teach us to walk humbly and
patiently; the clean sweet air gives us health and strength of body and
soul; and the freedom from restraint by formalities and
conventionalities permits the development of the person in a sane and
natural way."

Another thoughtful mind writes this: "Farming is creative; being
experimental, it is interesting. On the farm both body and mind are
exercised, therefore both are kept nearer a normal level. We have
fresher, purer food and air; freedom from foolish forms and ceremony. We
are nearer to God."

An aspect that many country girls have keenly felt is shown in this
passage from the letter of a loyal girl of the countryside: "I fail to
find the hardships of farm life, and it always makes me indignant to
hear about them. Save as all life has its hardships, these special
hardships are a bugaboo that does not exist. A few weeks ago I was
hostess to fourteen of the girls from a large drygoods store in the
city. I was grieved to see what undersized, ill-nourished little people
they were. They ranged in age from sixteen to twenty, and every one was
prepared to despise the country and to look upon it with contempt and
the people with pity because they do not live in the city. Their
prevailing idea seemed to be that they had come to another race of
people whom they regarded with a tolerant pity and contempt. I heard
them telling my cousins, honest manly fellows, how very different they
were from boys in the city. Ah me! the simplest things about nature
which they did not know would fill many a book."

This delightfully peppery communication may be followed by one that
gives that feeling of joyousness that we believe should always be found
in real country life, and at the end strikes clearly the most important
note of all: "The attractiveness of farm life lies in as many, diverse,
and wonderful things as the breadth of the individual girl's mind can
comprehend and enjoy. To some the sense of freedom in country life is a
large means of happiness. The feeling of exultation in the far sweep of
vision, the glorious sunsets, and the movements of the clouds in the
wind and the coming storm. Then there is the pleasure in seeing and
helping things grow, in the frolic of the lambs in the spring, of the
colts at play, and in the young plants sprouting and growing in the
summer showers and sunshine; especially if you have pulled the weeds and
hoed about them yourself. Frequent outings to the lake or river for an
afternoon or evening holiday with bathing and canoeing in the afternoon
and a bonfire in the evening with a group of friends to toast
marshmallows or roast corn, and later with stories and songs, add much
to the pleasure of farm life. Then there is the quiet and peace of the
country where one may be alone at times and think. In the country there
is a more compact home life than anywhere else, for each member of the
family is working together for the home." This most important point
might receive further emphasis.

The young women in our farm homes, are, with true American spirit,
appreciating the possible play in rural life of freedom and
independence. Young women of the rural communities seem to be at one
with the time spirit of the whole country. Nothing has set them askew,
not even a world-wide women's movement! It delights them that country
life fosters individuality; but they absolutely identify themselves with
the welfare of the farmstead as a whole. The idea that their good could
be separated from the good of the family and business group in which
their life is embedded, does not seem to influence the minds of our
country girls, north, south, east, or west. And they have their far
thoughts; they look ahead and see that life on the farm furthers the
unity of the family; that it is the best place to rear children; that
family life and affection are more successfully fostered in a country
town than in a city flat, hotel or mansion. They find that simplicity of
living is easier to attain in the farm home and they believe that this
is favorable to the welfare of the family. Moreover, the coordinating
spirit of the age has touched the minds of some. They see now that the
farmstead is closely knit up with the larger unit of the farm community.
They find along the countryside greater friendliness among neighbors
than is found in the crowded city; they realize that the farmer's family
can set its own standards without losing social recognition; and they
prize the informality of social intercourse which is found in the rural
world.

These are some of the things that the young woman in the rural realm
will set down in her brief for country life. Her voice is an
even-tempered voice; there is self-control in it and there is a dynamic
element behind it that will compel a hearing. Talking with many Country
Girls and reading long letters from them, one gains an impression that,
like the composite photograph, reveals a country girl personality whose
sanity and thoughtfulness win our respect, and whose serious facing of
the facts bodes ill for such country life leaders as may in the future
neglect the resources to be found in the sagacity, alertness, and powers
of execution stored up in the young womanhood of our rural life.



CHAPTER IV

A CALENDAR OF DAYS


  A country life is sweet!
  In moderate cold and heat,
    To walk in the air how pleasant and fair!
  In every field of wheat,
    The fairest of flowers adorning the bowers
  And every meadow's brow;
    So that I say, no courtier may
    Compare with them who clothe in gray,
  And follow the useful plow.

  They rise with the morning lark,
  And labor till almost dark;
    Then, folding their sheep, they hasten to sleep,
  While every pleasant park
    Next morning is ringing with birds that are singing
  On each green, tender bough.
    With what content and merriment
    Their days are spent, whose minds are bent
  To follow the useful plow.

  _Anon._



CHAPTER IV

A CALENDAR OF DAYS


The wisest find life a difficult thing to classify; therefore young
girls must not be blamed if they do not critically analyze the causes
and the effects that appear in their personal environment. When asked,
however, to give pictures of their daily experiences they do not fail
us. Such glimpses of the real life of some Country Girls in their farm
homes will be afforded by the partial recitals given in this chapter. To
other Country Girls or to those to whom the welfare of the country girl
is dear, or even to those urbanized city residents who consider the
dwellers in the open country as a sort of alien race whose ways must be
made a matter of study before they can be comprehended--these and
perhaps others will surely be interested in these fresh and vivid
accounts of the everyday doings in the farm homes of our country.

A fortunate country girl when asked to write a description of a
representative working day of her life, sends the following joyous
account. She is fifteen years old. Her life is under the protection of
highly educated parents and the safeguards of right home training, taste
and refinement. They come from magnificent stock and work a farm of
medium size in the Northwest. She said:

"I get up at about half-past six in the morning, and have breakfast at
seven. Then I help Mother what I can before I start for school. Mamma
puts up my luncheon while I get ready. About a quarter past eight I
start on my two mile walk to school. For about three quarters of a mile
I follow the road, then I turn off into woods. By following a
half-beaten trail for a ways, I come to a bridge made of wire. The
sides and bottom are of wire; on the bottom are laid rows of planks with
cross pieces to keep them where they belong. The bridge sways when you
walk on it and sometimes it sags quite a little. Across the river I go
through more woods. The schoolhouse is set on the top of a little hill.
There are about twenty pupils in the school. At recess and noon we often
play baseball. We have a fine teeter and swing. At noons all of the
girls and sometimes the boys take their dinners and go out and find some
pretty spot in the woods to eat. In the spring-time we often go flower
hunting. I never get home in the afternoon until about half past four.
After school I play, sew, or help in the garden till supper time. After
supper I do the supper dishes, then we all have a nice time sewing,
reading, or playing games around the fireplace."

A rest-breathing idyl like this shows that it is possible for bits of
heaven to appear here upon earth now and then! The picture is made still
more vivid by this little note:

"Several times we took lunch to an unworked mine near by and enjoyed the
beautiful view and amused ourselves by picking gold out of the crevices
in the rocks." The final touch of romantic beauty!

A roseate story like this should be followed, for contrast's sake, by
one picturing the harder side. The following, written by a girl of
sixteen, a description of a day in haying time, shows how a blithesome
spirit can make work light and joyous:

"Haying time is a very busy season for all on the farm. At 5.30 o'clock
Mother comes to our room, saying, 'It is going to be a good hay day,
girlies. You must get up now; the men are nearly through milking.' She
is forced to call several times, but finally we are up and dressed; we
help finish getting breakfast, feed the chickens, and drive the cows to
pasture. After breakfast my sister and I take the milk to the milkman
who carries it to the milk station. Father hitches our horse and loads
the milk for us, and then hurries away to begin his mowing so that the
hay will have time to be well cured in the afternoon. We drive a half
mile to the milk stand where our milk is unloaded by the milkman;
exchange good-mornings with him and perhaps with a neighbor or two, and
drive back home. We take care of our horse and wagon and then help with
the morning housework. About half-past eight my sister and I start out
after huckleberries in a near-by field. It is a beautiful morning and we
enjoy the walk. We pick enough berries for a pie and for supper that
evening and a few more. But we hurry back in order to have a little rest
before half-past ten, when I must start raking. At half-past ten, then,
I hitch my horse to the rake and ride off to the lot to work. I rake
until dinner time and have perhaps a third of the raking done. I
unharness my horse, water him, and put him in the barn. I go to dinner
with an enormous appetite and a feeling of anticipation, both of which
are soon appeased.

"Soon after dinner I begin raking again and rake until six o'clock.
Father and the hired man draw in six large loads of hay. The haying for
the day is done and it is pleasant to lie in the hammock and read a
paper or book while the men finish unloading their last load. But before
I enjoy this I must take care of my horse and carry him a drink of water
from the well. After supper my sister and I help with the dishes and
then run off to play in the swing while the men finish milking. When the
milking is done we take the cows and the horse to pasture. Then we feed
the calf, Claire by name, who is a very dear little creature and always
greets us with great joy when she sees us coming. We shut up the
chickens also. Then there is about a half-hour or more left for play,
and we have a good time, forgetting that we ever worked.

"All our days are not so busy as this one; and when the haying and
summer sewing are done, we have a chance for good times. Our haying was
done this summer in eight days or perhaps less. At quarter of nine we go
to bed. I read a chapter or two in some book I am reading, but by ten
o'clock we are both asleep with the starlight and the moonlight shining
in on us through the open screen."

If our sixteen-year-old girls can be completely satisfied to have but
half an hour a day for recreation and to spend all the rest in
unintermittent and heavy toil, and then can come out of it not only with
unbroken courage but also with buoyancy and a poetic mood, then our
respect for the country girl's character and nerve ought to be enhanced.
This one ends her story thus:

"Indeed my sister and I love the farm very much and have no desire to
leave it. We often declare that we would not live in the city for
anything."

Perhaps the above letter will be recognized in some mysterious way as
belonging to one of the Middle States; the following delightfully
individual letter can come only from a big ranch in the Northwest. One
feels the personality of the writer, like a dynamo, through all she
writes. A Rocky Mountain breeze blows through her words; and her day, we
know, is only one among many equally dramatic and interesting.

"This morning I was wakened by the sun as it first shone in at my
window. As it was only a quarter of five I covered my eyes for one more
nap. We have cool nights, but yesterday it was 104 in the shade. Soon I
heard Papa get up, so I did likewise. I built a fire in the kitchen
range and cooked my own breakfast. 'Cookie Sis' was not up and Papa does
not eat breakfast.

"I thought the rest had slept long enough, so I turned on the water near
the house and began to carry wash water. That got them up. While my
water was heating, I gathered the clothes, swept four rooms, irrigated a
little on the garden, and picked up chips. Then I washed--they call me
the 'family laundry.' I must be somewhat Irish, too, for I must have
everything in the house and on me washed clean.

"At noon I was still washing. While waiting for dinner, one of the hired
men struck a bargain with me. He is to bring down his spring and summer
collection of seventeen dirty shirts; I am to show him how to wash them
and then I may iron them. I promised because I believe in helping my
neighbor, because this fellow sometimes takes my sister riding in his
new buggy, and because he and I have red hair.

"Dinner was good even though served on our decrepit ranch dishes. We are
running three kitchens. We have good meals always. We eat well and work
hard for what we get here in the West.

"In the afternoon I finished the washing, helped clean the house, and
mended. After three o'clock I sat here in a cool room by an open window
watching Papa mow alfalfa and the men stack grain. The children were in
swimming. By and by one of my chums drove by on her way home from town.
We visit thus mostly.

"Supper at six. I ironed before and after, as long as the irons were
hot. Now at sunset my work is done. But Papa is irrigating--that takes
twenty-four hours a day.

"This was a typical working day; but it would have been as natural for
me to have described one of the six days last week when I spent ten
hours a day hoeing corn. To-morrow we girls will put on overalls and
shock hay. Don't let it shock you--we live in the West!

"The trouble with farming is that the days are not long enough for work
or the nights long enough for sleep."

The writer of the following "typical day" has become early the possessor
of husband and child; but we shall not omit her story on that account.
She lives sixty miles from the railroad station and has wonderful
mountains about her horizon. Her account of one of her marvelous days
may be commended to all country people wherever they may be found. The
joy of work and the joy of living, here reach a climax together:

"It is dusk. The children and I have just come in from the corral,
where I milked seven cows. I am so in love with life that I find a day
very short to hold its allotted joys.

"First, I awoke a little earlier than usual this morning and lay
thinking over the 'had-to-be-dones.' It was baking day; but that is a
glad-to-be as well as the other, because I love to experiment outside of
the cookbooks. At half-past five I arose and by half-past six had
breakfast on the table and my bread set. By eight o'clock we had
breakfasted and I had the seven cows milked. How I love my gentle cows!
What an inspiration their calm patience is! And I love to get out at
that hour. At this altitude the mornings are always chilly but by eight
it is pleasant. At half-past eight I had the three larger children
dressed and at breakfast, while I ran the milk through the separator.
While the children finished, I went again to the barnyard, where I fed
my little chicks and turkeys and looked after the rest. I have two rows
of flowers between the barnyard and the house, so I stopped a few
minutes to smell the sweet-peas, to admire the gorgeous colors of the
poppies, and to pull a few weeds. By ten I had baby Robert bathed and
all his little wants attended to, the breakfast dishes and the milk
things washed, my bread in the oven and my dinner started. So I sat down
to churn and to read while I churned. I use an old-fashioned dash churn,
therefore I have an excuse for sitting down. I am glad of it, for I can
read then. By twelve I have my sweet golden butter printed, have heard
Jerrine's lessons and have dinner ready. By half-past one we have had
dinner and I have the kitchen in order and we all lie down for a rest.
At two I begin making the beds, by three the whole house is
straightened, so I have two hours for myself. I read a little story for
the kiddies and then send them all to play while I read a little. I
write a couple of letters and then go out to hoe and pull weeds a while.
I cook most of my supper while I cook dinner so I can prepare supper in
a few minutes. So I feed my biddies, and the children gather the eggs,
until we hear the men coming in from the field. By seven o'clock we have
had supper, and Baby is put to bed. Jerrine helps me put the kitchen to
rights. Then comes the goodest part of the day. We go to milk. Jerrine
and Calvin sit in the wagon out of harm's way and I milk. Jerrine lets
the cows in for me and empties the milk. We all enjoy the beauties of
the sunset, the beautiful colors, the crisp little mountain breeze. By
nine the kiddies have had their bath and are in bed. Daddy-man is
playing the phonograph so they can go to sleep lulled by _Annie Laurie_,
_Bonnie Doon_ and _The Sword of Bunker Hill_. Now that I have that line
written I see it is rather an odd thing to be lulled by a sword, but I
reckon you can figure out the meaning. At ten o'clock my day will be
finished. I shall finish this paper and read a little with Daddy-man and
then it will be my bed-time. As I finish I see I have left out many
little joys. I have kissed little hands to make hurts well perhaps a
dozen times. I matched some colors and cut some blocks for Jerrine's
patch work; I made a finger-stall for the hired man. I have answered the
'phone a few times and-- Now if some university can help me to make my
days more elastic so that they can encompass all my joys comfortably, I
shall be glad. There's so much I want to do but-- Good-night."

The writer of the following story goes beyond the one typical day and
for the sake of a more accurate treatment of her program includes a
whole week. Thus is recorded the general plan of the American housework
system as it is carried on to-day. She says:

"A representative week of my life at home in the summer is easier to
describe than one day, for each day is individual to itself. To begin
with the most interesting occupation of the morning, I get up at about
five-thirty in time to toast the bread for breakfast. After breakfast I
take care of the milk and then Mother and I wash the dishes. Sweeping,
dusting and putting in order the kitchen, dining-room and living-room
comes next. The hard-wood floor in the kitchen is mopped twice a week.
Next the bedrooms are put in order. This regular morning work takes from
an hour to an hour and a half. On Monday we always do the family
washing, which generally takes me about three hours and a half when
Mother hangs up the clothes. Mother bakes the bread, prepares the
vegetables for dinner and plans the desserts. If she needs me I
sometimes help with these. She lets me bake the cake and what extra
bread is needed for variety, such as brown bread, graham, cornbread,
etc. Monday afternoon we generally iron for an hour and a half to start
on Tuesday's work. After the ironing is finished I sweep and dust the
bedrooms, unless something extra comes up, such as indoor painting,
varnishing hard-wood floors, cleaning of cupboards, etc. Tuesday
afternoon is open for sewing. On Wednesday and Thursday after the
morning work is completed Mother and I sometimes go visiting, but
generally I spend these days sewing. On Friday there is the weekly
sweeping of the living-room, the lamp chimneys to be washed, the windows
to be polished and the porch to be cleaned. Sometimes there is company
expected Saturday or Sunday, so that I do part of this work Thursday.
Saturday morning there is a cake to be iced and in the afternoon we
often have callers or else we go somewhere.

"Sunday is a day looked forward to all the week. We sleep a little later
Sunday morning and after the morning work is done all the family,
consisting at present of Mother, Father, my two brothers and I, get
ready for church. In the afternoon we sometimes either go away or have
company, but the kind we like best is the good old fashioned kind that
we enjoyed when we were children, just to read a favorite book or story
for the two or three short but precious hours before chore time. In the
afternoon after their naps Mother and Father always enjoy a walk back on
the farm. The evening we either enjoy quietly at home or if it is fair
weather we attend the evening meeting at the church.

"This is the frame-work of the program of the summer days on the farm. I
have said little of the heat because our kitchen is cool, nothing of the
work because nothing is worth while which isn't hard work, made emphatic
with backache and punctuated with drops of sweat. Gathering the berries,
early apples, etc., was omitted because they come in just any time and
are fun. Driving on the horse fork, canning fruit, etc., all come in
their time, making every day full of busy little tasks."

The following gives the experience of three sisters in an opulent home
on the western slope of the Catskills. It seems likely that the writer
depreciates her own share in the work and in the success of the
systematic household. She says:

"It is difficult to select any one day for a representative farm day
program. The work changes with each day in the week and also changes
very much with the seasons. In the spring there is the gardening, house
cleaning and the raising of chickens, besides the shipping of many
crates of eggs to New York. All this is done in the house and, although
it is done all the year, in the spring when there are more eggs the work
is heavier.

"The chickens are hatched out by incubators in a small house built for
that purpose and when hatched they are moved to the brooder house. Here
they are cared for until strong enough to be put out doors in brooders.
Later they are sorted and put into larger colony houses out in the
field. The entire responsibility and work of this is taken by my sister
Isabell, so it is needless to say that her program through the spring
months would show days that were more than busy.

"In the creamery, from which butter in pound prints is shipped twice a
week to private families, the work of wrapping, packing and marking is
also done by Isabell. There is more of this work to be done during the
winter months than in the summer because so many of the people who take
the butter go abroad for the summer months.

"The management of the house, the cooking, and to a large extent the
management of the business fall to my oldest sister, Elizabeth. We have
two dining-rooms, one for the men, of whom there are sometimes as many
as eight--and the other where we eat. For the housework we have no
outside help except a woman who comes in once a week to bake for us and
who also does the washing for the men. Our own washing is done by
Elizabeth, with the aid of a power machine and steam which is piped from
the creamery to the laundry.

"During the summer Elizabeth cans berries, fruits, beans, corn and
tomatoes in as large amounts as our garden may produce for winter use.
Ham, bacon and sausage are also made on the place. Even soap is made in
the big iron kettles in just the same way that our grandmothers used to
make it. Many people marvel at the amount of work which is done here
without any apparent confusion, and the reason for this is to a large
extent due to my sisters' management. We have electric lights and steam
heat and the kitchen is arranged in every way to save unnecessary labor.

"As for social life, we are not able to have as many guests here or to
go to as many things in town as when we had sufficient girls in the
kitchen. Most of our friends live in town six miles distant. This is due
probably to the fact that we all went to High School there. We have a
driving horse and go to most of the social things in town which occur in
the afternoon. We rarely go down at night unless there is some
exceptional event. My sister belongs to several clubs in town and
recently has organized a study and social club among the farm women of
this immediate vicinity. I think if one asked my busy sister what kind
of recreation she enjoyed most, she would answer horseback riding and
shooting. Most of the time we are too busy and interested in things here
to complain about being far away from things in town. Sometimes,
however, when the roads are bad, it becomes monotonous to be shut away
from the outside world, and I can easily see how this phase of farming
is often the reason for great discontent.

"My part in the community is rather small. I just help, and when the
other members of the family go away, I fill their places. The year
Isabell was at Cornell I had charge of the chickens. Now the bees occupy
a great deal of my time.

"I don't know as it is necessary after writing all this to add a program
of a day, but I will simply put down the things I do in a day which
isn't especially rushed.

"I get up at about 6:15 or am supposed to. My sisters get up earlier.
After I have eaten my breakfast I prepare the potatoes for dinner. By
that time all the men have had their breakfast and I wash the dishes and
clean up things in general. Then there are beds to be made and perhaps
rooms to be cleaned. After that some mornings I go to the creamery and
wrap butter, but recently I have worked for an hour or so fixing bee
equipment. About 10:30 on some mornings, I put on my bee togs and work
with them until nearly dinner time, when I set the table and help get
dinner. After dinner I wash the dishes and, unless there is garden
picking or preparing of something for canning to do, as there often is,
I am free until about four-thirty. If I go to town I leave directly
after dinner and get back about six. We don't go down a great deal
however. During the afternoon the mail comes bringing the daily paper
and at the end of the month the magazines. The entire family take turns
reading the paper, and the magazines are read at the first opportunity.
We sew, do little odd things, and are never at loss as to how to spend
the time. Supper is at five, so the men can milk after it. I wash dishes
or gather eggs after supper and unless something turns up to do am
free. We often pick garden things for the next day because it is cool
then."

The itinerary of the American Country Girl might thus be followed from
the energizing cool of the morning when the impact of the day's work is
so buoyantly met to the quieting cool of the evening when rest is so
joyously welcomed. So far in our investigation there has always been
some source of hope and enthusiasm to be discovered. If the margin of
unbearable drudgery seems to be reached, there is the solace of music at
evening when the whole family join in an orchestra of violin, cornet and
piano. If the days seem to grow unendurably monotonous, a pageant looms
on the horizon to capture the interest and to make life fascinating at
once. A fourteen-hour day of hard labor is broken by a recess in the
midst to write a letter and send it out to some girl friend in the great
big world that shall keep the secluded spirit in some touch with the
outside currents of life. At the stroke of eleven the daily paper comes;
at the twentieth of the month the magazine. A French or an organ lesson
is possible; and life, though burdened is kept enlivened on every side.
In such homes, work is not drudgery and the word "monotonous" has no
fatal meaning.

Perhaps it may be said that there is always something that can be found,
if it is looked for searchingly enough, to make a life of hard work
bearable. Work is good; all of us write that down on paper and believe
that we believe it. But when the principle is illustrated in a practical
form many things are required to sustain our conviction. There must be a
meaning, a hope, a definition, a goal. Each life is a system set in with
other systems. To make one of them a success, all must move on right
lines toward the chosen end. Other letters from these sensible young
women in the rural realm will perhaps make us feel this more keenly than
the foregoing.



CHAPTER V

WHAT ONE COUNTRY GIRL DID


THORN APPLES AND SWEET ACORNS


I love the taste of thorn apples and sweet acorns and sumac and
choke-cherries and all the wild things we used to find on the road to
school.

And I love the feel of pussy willows and the inside of chestnut burrs.

I love to walk on a country road where only a few double teams have left
a strip of turf in the middle of the track.


And I love the creaking of the sleigh runners and the snapping of
nail-heads in the clapboards on a bitter cold January night.

In the first cool nights I love the sound of the first hard rainfall on
the roof of the gable room.


And I love the smell of the dead leaves in the woods in the fall.

I love the odor of those red apples that grew on the trees that died
before I went back to grandpa's again.

I love the fragrance of the first pink and blue hepaticas which have
hardly any scent at all.

I love the smell of the big summer raindrops on the dusty dry steps of
the school house.

I love the breath of the great corn fields when you ride past them on an
August evening in the dark.


And I love to see the wind blowing over tall grass.

I love the yellow afternoon light that turns all the trees and shrubs to
gold.

I love to see the shadow of a cloud moving over the valley, especially
where the different fields have different colors like a great
checkerboard.

I love the little ford over Turtle Creek where they didn't build the
bridge after the freshet.

I love the sunset on the hill in Winnebago County, where I used to sit
and pray about my mental arithmetic lesson the spring I taught school!

  _Elisabeth Wilson._



CHAPTER V

WHAT ONE COUNTRY GIRL DID


It may be interesting to some of the Country Girls who read this book to
see not only some pictures here and there from the life history of girls
but also to look over several more detailed accounts, so that they may
realize more fully what the new era in country life means to a young
woman on the farm who takes hold of her problem with vigor and
enthusiasm. To gratify this desire there will be given in this and the
following chapters, with the kind permission of the writers, a number of
sketches in some detail of the experiences of several girls, who though
they represent widely separated regions of the country, still seem to be
moved by a like impulse toward an advance in efficiency and power of
service.

The first of these accounts expresses the great awakening of southern
womanhood in the new activity of the "beloved southland." This story is
especially interesting because it shows what one girl has done just with
what she had, and how she found that she had a great deal more to work
with than she had dreamed. The writer of the many letters from which the
account is framed, is a little over twenty years old, and lives on a
farm of two hundred acres, twenty-five of which are cleared. The nearest
village, which consists of just a score of houses, is three miles from
her farm. The land is not productive without fertilizer, but at the best
produces a fair crop of corn and sweet potatoes.

This is the way the farm looked when she first saw it: "Around the house
was an old-fashioned flower garden planted years before. The woods and
creek were beautiful. The day we arrived, after we had crossed the creek
and were inside the clearing, what we saw made us forget the long drive
through black stumps and fallen trees. The oaks were just coming into
leaf. The dogwoods formed a semi-circle around the place and were white
with bloom against the green of the pines, while the wisteria hung in
great clusters and the bridal wreath was one heap of white flowers."

This was the first entrancing glimpse. But any one who knows about farm
work, realizes that this view of a run-down, neglected old place means a
long struggle. Nature has reached out hands to pull the whole
cultivation back into the wilderness. In that tangled fragrant clearing
was waiting a severe test for a trained farmer, not to say, for a
beginner. But this girl was determined to live on the farm, and she
stood ready to face all difficulties in the attainment of her desire.
That neglected garden was typical. She soon had it cleaned and the bulbs
reset, and it was not long before there were flowers for every month in
the year. All difficulties seem to have been met with a spirit of
determination and of cheer. "We were crazy," she declares, "to live on a
farm and determined not to fail; but as soon as one problem was solved,
another would bob up. There was never a day without some unexpected
happening, and adventures were plentiful."

She would have amply proved that she appreciated the attractiveness of
farm life if she had not classified her thoughts and set them down so
neatly. To her the charm of life on the farm consists, first, in the
fresh air and wholesome food, with plenty of fruit and vegetables,
together with the pleasure of helping to produce and prepare the food.
In her opinion having to depend upon one's self to decide courses of
action as much as you do in farm life, gives one backbone and trains one
to rely upon self and to be an effective leader. She has, as most true
country people have, an ineradicable and fundamental passion for
independence. In town one may have the advice of the minister, the
doctor and the lawyer; but in the country, she says, it is the Lord and
I. Again, it takes much less time and less expense to keep up
appearances in dress in the country; one is freer from interruptions
than in town, and ties of kinship are stronger among people of the
country. No, the farm is not monotonous; one acquires a liberal
education just by being alive; nature study, the work in the flower
garden, affords constant variety; and there are new interests and
adventures every day.

This girl has also thought on the other side of the question, and she
can see that there may be reasons why one may prefer to leave the farm.
One may feel the lack of companionship near one's own age and the lack
of recreation. Too much importance may be placed on field work to the
neglect of the garden; unkind criticism by neighbors may be the only
recreation available; and not paying the women of the family for their
aid in the household service, may be in her mind sufficient reasons for
desertion. These, in short, are some of the things she emphasized.

An average day of her life on the farm is a busy one. She says:

"The sun wakes me up in the morning, or maybe it is the mocking-birds
singing. I work in the garden gathering the vegetables, picking the
flowers, or cultivating, until breakfast time. After breakfast I make
the beds and straighten the bedrooms; then I work in the garden again
until about 9:30 or 10:00 o'clock. Then I come in and help with the
dinner or sew or study or write, and if it is bread-baking day I always
knead the bread and prepare it for the oven. As we have breakfast about
five-thirty o'clock we get so hungry we have dinner about 11:30. After
dinner we rest a half hour either by reading or by lying down. In the
afternoon after a bath I study or sew until it is cool enough to work in
the garden. For supper we only make coffee and warm over something left
from dinner. We have supper at five o'clock, but usually have a bowl of
clabber or a glass of milk before going to bed. I work in the garden
until dark; then we talk a while and go to bed about nine o'clock. In
the winter we talk or read after supper until bed-time. However, in
canning time the study, the sewing, and a good part of the reading are
put aside."

It is evident that her share in the housework is not a small one. She
does the sewing and much of the gardening, taking entire care of the
flower-garden. She does marvels of canning; she keeps the accounts; she
straightens out the rooms, and helps with the cooking. She runs the
errands, waiting on the father, who is permanently disabled. To
facilitate her work she has a sewing machine, an oil stove, a pump near
the door, and a wheel-hoe. What she desires in the way of equipment in
order to make her housekeeping easier are these only--her thoughts for
herself have not flown very high!--a kitchen cabinet and a clothes
wringer. Since they eat a great deal of cream cheese and lots of fruit
and vegetables raw, she does not feel that they need a fireless cooker;
but she does greatly need a canner. Since the canner is so frequently
offered as a prize, this need will no doubt be soon supplied.

The recreations of this hard-working girl consist of reading, going
visiting, walking, studying nature, making a flower garden, and writing
letters. She also naïvely includes going to Sunday School among her
recreations. She takes an excursion to the shore once in a great while;
but only seldom has she the time for that. She can have the use of a
conveyance at convenience, and on Saturday she and her mother drive to
town and occasionally on Sunday to church. Has she no games? No, she is
an only child and has never had any playmate in the home. Besides the
flower garden and nature study form her recreation. But she thoughtfully
encloses in one letter a list of games that she thinks girls may like to
know about and gives a bibliography of articles on games for young folks
in the woman's paper they are accustomed to take in her home. In her
community there are perhaps twenty-five young people. They have a dance
once or twice a month and a picnic twice a year; and there is a school
social every two months. The social life of the village centers about
the school as much as anywhere. Perhaps they could attract more interest
to the church if the members of the church choir only had tact and
facility enough. They have no resident minister and therefore the church
lacks a centralizing element. But the village has a hall with a
platform, a two-roomed school house, and a tennis court, as facilities
for a social center. There is also a rest room at the ice cream parlor
and back of the church there is another hall. One would say that there
was no excuse for this town if it did not have a thriving social life
and a good time for everybody on the highest lines. And ought they not
to overcome all separating difficulties, if there be any such, and
establish a regular pastor and begin to have a real community life? For
how can a town with all those advantages hold up its head among the
towns of America if it has a church building and no church therein?
Certainly though one girl can do much, she cannot do all.

One may judge any girl by the books she sets down as her favorite
reading matter: This farm girl mentions The Bible, Shakespeare, _Silas
Marner_, _Days Off_, _The Calling of Dan Matthews_, _Alice in
Wonderland_, _Little Women_, _John Halifax Gentleman_, _Lorna Doone_,
_David Harum_, _The Little Minister_, _Distractions of Marietta_, _The
Chimes_, _Treasure Island_, _Josephus_, _Lady of the Lake_, _Rose and
Ring_, _Prince Otto_, _Red Badge of Courage_, _Poems of All Great
Poets_, Idylls of the King, Department of Agriculture Bulletins,
Botanies and School books. To this list she adds the name of the woman's
paper she and her mother had taken, the file of which she has preserved
for some years. Those she underscores as the ones she reads with most
delight are these: _Little Women_, _Little Minister_, _Alice in
Wonderland_, and all the stories in her woman's paper. The serial story
appeals to her most, because she has to wonder how it is going to come
out.

She does not let anything interfere with reading an hour or so every
day. She and her mother read together a great deal. She reads to her
mother articles in the woman's paper, and the poetry of Lewis in the
Houston _Post_. They take several weekly papers, three monthly
magazines, and a daily city paper. She herself took two of these, the
woman's paper and one of the most vital of the national weekly journals.
She likes these two best--one because it gives the home view and the
other because it gives the world view. They supplement each other, she
thinks, and help one to develop a well balanced mind and character.

Her other cultural interests, however, are centered in the household
tasks and in helping in the Sunday School, and she finds these so
interesting that the days are all too short. The Sunday School must mean
a great deal to her for she mentions it as a cultural as well as a
recreational resource. It was about four years ago that the Sunday
School was started. They had good music for about two years, one family
playing all the instruments. Through the librarian she loaned her books,
bringing them as they were called for. The librarian saved her the
trouble of asking for the return of the books and in five years only one
was lost. They also had a plan for passing their magazines about. Every
Sunday when she went to church she would take armloads of flowers to
give away; and if any one wanted plants or bulbs she brought them on
request. This seems so delightfully practical. Why should not the church
door be a place for the exchange of free will offerings of all kinds?

There seems on first view very little opportunity for a girl in some
secluded farm to learn much about the great fields of classic art. This
girl is one to whom art subjects have a great appeal though she feels
the lack of opportunity to develop this interest. She draws enough to
have some appreciation of form and tone and she studies reproductions
of famous paintings; she enjoys especially watching the sunrise and the
sunset, and the stars on a clear night. Nothing in nature is alien to
her. Trees, birds, ferns, wild flowers and garden flowers, all are
beloved. She has the scientific spirit as well as the artistic. She has
made collections of pressed wild flowers, and the expert consulting
botanist of the United States Department of Agriculture Bureau of Plant
Industry names them for her. She made two sets of specimens, numbering
them, keeping one and sending the other to Washington.

With delightful frankness this efficient Country Girl recounts her
financial endeavors. Her chief way of earning money is by raising
vegetables for the table and by cutting down expenses by careful
planning of the diet. During one year the family had only to pay out $71
for bought groceries, and the eggs helped to pay for that, so that the
bought groceries were only $1.50 apiece per month for the four members
of the household. Circumstances have thrown a load of responsibility
upon this young girl, but unconsciously she was being trained for the
work. She was already a unit in the complex structure of the farmstead
before she was so acutely needed. In her earlier girlhood her father
paid her a salary of ten dollars a month for her household assistance.
In doing this he was enlisting her interest in an enterprise to the
success of which she was led to feel that she was essential. She
responded to this educational method by being ready when the need came
to plan wisely and efficiently and to carry out these plans
successfully. That first money she earned she was permitted to save. She
let it accumulate for a time and when she had a good opportunity she
bought a lot with it. After a while she moved a house upon the lot and
fixed it up. The family lived there for about a year and then she sold
it, making a good profit. During that time they owned a garden and a
cow. The garden was held to be her own special property; but her
enthusiasm for the whole farm project was no doubt to a good extent the
result of the training in responsibility she had received at the hands
of her wise parents.

When she found that she could obtain government publications on farming
problems, she promptly availed herself of this means of help. Almost as
soon as she moved to the farm, her Congressman at her request sent her
the publications of the Department on Agricultural Education. There she
read about the correspondence work at the Pennsylvania State College;
and by the time she had been on the farm four months, she had begun
correspondence courses in domestic science and agriculture under that
patronage. She completed thirteen subjects: Principles of Cooking,
Heating and Ventilation, Canning and Preserving, House Furnishing,
Butter-making, Dairy, Breeds of Cattle, Vegetable Gardening, Dressing
and Curing Meat, Stock Feeding, Principles of Breeding, Farm Manures,
Commercial Fertilizers, and Farm Bookkeeping. For this work she received
two certificates. The tuition was free and no books had to be specially
purchased for these subjects.

For her home library and text-book facilities for these studies this
energetic and persevering girl had at command, besides the bulletins of
the United States Department of Agriculture, only the file of that
household journal that she had taken since 1893. Added to this was the
constant advice of her mother, who had had opportunity to observe the
work in a large hotel where her husband had once occupied some position
that gave her the entrée to the kitchen laboratory. This aid came in
well on the household side of the problem.

As one would certainly expect, it is found that this correspondent takes
part in all meetings and movements to promote better housekeeping that
are at hand. She has the Girls' Canning Club and The United Farm Women.
For information in regard to clubs and societies she sent to the
colleges receiving federal aid as listed in Circular 971, Office of
Experiment Stations. By this means she has begun a thriving
intercommunication by letters with many other girls, with whom she
exchanges items of information as to what they find out in their canning
and gardening experiences. After a little the Bureau of Plant Industry
asked her to report the blossoming and ripening of fruit for the region
where she lives; in return for this they sent her a whole mail sack of
bulletins. These bulletins and others from the Department, together with
the household journal which she and her mother had taken for several
years, she used in studying the lessons in her correspondence course,
making a list of references for each lesson.

The Girls' Canning Club meets at her house, and she prepares the
questions for them. She has copied over two hundred recipes on canning
for the Department of Agriculture. She hopes to get the National Plant,
Flower and Fruit Guild started in her vicinity so that she can send
things to the Orphans' Home in the nearest city. For two years she has
sent an exhibit of canned products to the Fair--twenty-one varieties in
1912. She read in the papers about the Girls' Tomato Club in an
adjoining State and she wrote at once to the professor in charge of the
Extension Department of a Polytechnic Institute in her own State, asking
him to help start some clubs for girls. This professor soon journeyed to
her county to look the situation over and to see what could be done. He
became enthusiastic about it and won the interest of the County
Superintendent; thus the clubs were soon started under the patronage of
the school teachers. At present there are 165 girls in the Canning Clubs
of that one county alone. In the Club in the one little village there
are seventeen members, nine girls and eight women. They have four
meetings and a Canning Party annually. At the last meeting the founder
read a paper on _The Uses of Tomatoes_; she also asked forty questions
on tomatoes, five on berries, five on beans and cabbage, and five on
jelly. The club is now working on a Tomato History; they will send their
exhibits to the Fair where they stand a good chance to win one of the
five prizes offered.

The Canning Club also belongs to the United Farm Women. By this
organization programs for suggested meetings are sent and at the time
for the meeting various bulletins and booklets on the subjects chosen
also come. The girls consider those in the _Better Babies_ group a
valuable collection. The Club asked the storekeeper in the village to
hand out the bulletins on the _Care of the Baby_ to the country
customers wherever he hears of the arrival of new babies. He says the
people are very thankful for the bulletins.

Among other resources of various kinds that this girl and her friends
can call upon is the Daughters of the American Revolution, who through
their Conservation Committee offer seven canners as prizes to the
Canning Clubs of that State. The members of the Club also receive
magazines from the Church Periodical Club, and they pursue extension
courses in agricultural subjects. Certain colleges that have
correspondence courses on subjects connected with the farm home have
been called upon for aid by some of the young women who belong in the
realm of this girlhood endeavor. When the girls began to feel the need
of beautification about the Church surroundings, they asked the
Landscape Gardener of the Bureau of Plant Industry for aid and he drew a
blue print plan for setting out the trees and shrubs; now they are
asking the same favor for the country school houses in their vicinity.

Community spirit has reached such a height now that effective meetings
in the interest of Good Roads are being held. Many people think that
this is the final stage in community success, for all things become
possible if the roads are good. Says this young enthusiast: "When we
have as good roads as they have across the line in the next State, we
shall have to move to a pioneer country to find some new problems."

This concludes the report of a wonderful young life--a life full of
promise, one that seems to be developing through service, making
economical gain and keeping economical balance as she goes along.
Nothing greater could be asked, as far as ultimate good is concerned.



CHAPTER VI

STORIES OF OTHER COUNTRY GIRLS


  Well then, I now do plainly see
  This busy world and I shall ne'er agree;
  The very honey of all earthly joy
  Does, of all meats, the soonest cloy;
    And they, methinks, deserve my pity
  Who for it can endure the stings,
  The crowd, and buzz, and murmurings
    Of that great hive, the city!

  _Cowley._



CHAPTER VI

STORIES OF OTHER COUNTRY GIRLS


The first of the three stories in this chapter represents the work of a
young woman who spends more than half of her time with her mother and an
aunt upon an ancestral home in a mountain region of New England. Again
we discover what a girl can do who looks about her to see what the needs
are and then stands ready to help in any way she can. The ways that are
opening before her are many and her life seems likely to be marked by
the most joyous of fulfilment in helpfulness and radiating energy.

The farm where she lives has about nine hundred acres and is situated in
the edge of a village of some four hundred inhabitants. The place is
full of historic interest, and has wonderful views over the mountains in
every direction. Such a home as this naturally makes a great claim on
the attachment of the open-eyed young woman who writes about it; but she
possesses also a pure straightforward love for the simple country
wherever found. Watching the growth of plant and animal life has a charm
for her. The fresh air, the good water, the abundance of fresh
vegetables, and the freedom from the noise and hurry of the city, make a
strong appeal. Yet she sees that there might be reason in some
complaints against the country system as it is. An absence of cash
results for work done by members of the family in the home or in the
field; a lack of interesting recreation; a longing for freedom; the
narrowness and spirit of criticism in village life: any of these may
justify a young woman in going away. As for herself she has no
grievance.

Her share in the work on the farm and in the home consists of a good
part of the cooking, cleaning, canning and gardening, but it is not too
much for her. They have many household conveniences: running water in a
barrel, a blue flame oil stove, a bread-mixer, and a carpet-sweeper. She
would like a kitchen cabinet, electric lights, a furnace, a vacuum
cleaner run by electricity, and a system of plumbing. But these, in that
thickly populated region, will doubtless come in the near future.

In the summer her regular work is the care of the garden, and bringing
in the vegetables. When they have no hired girl, she washes all the
dishes, fills the lamps and the wood-box, and does most of the sweeping
and cleaning. She does a great deal of sewing and is occupied with
everything from upholstering chairs to making posters for lectures and
plays. During the canning season she cans string beans, corn, swiss
chard, spinach, beets, carrots, pears, plums, cherries, berries, etc.,
and makes astrachan jelly enough to supply the church suppers for the
whole year. She seldom has a chance to sit down unless it be to prepare
the vegetables for dinner. Her afternoons are taken up with club work,
or with other outside activities, with time for an occasional walk with
her mother, or an informal call. Evenings there is either choir
practise, Christian Endeavor meetings, Grange, church suppers, Club
work, or plays, with business letters and sewing to fill up whatever
time remains.

Yet room is made for a little music. There is a piano in the home and
they sometimes have hymns and old standard songs in the evening. When
sewing is to be done, some one always reads aloud. The house is well
supplied with books. There are most of the standard books though few
novels and little light reading. The newspapers and magazines are read
aloud evenings. The table is well supplied with periodicals: they take
the _Outlook_, the _Independent_, the _Geographic Magazine_, the
_Atlantic_, the _New York Times_, the _Hampshire Gazette_. For herself
alone she takes _Wohelo_, the Camp Fire magazine, and if she should add
another it would be the _Survey_. That would help her most, as her
reading at present is along the lines of sociology. To be sure, her
reading is somewhat interfered with by housework, sewing, and occupation
with outside interests. Besides she has too much physical vitality to
sit still long. But if she does need more books than her own house
supplies, there is a public library a quarter of a mile away. She is a
trustee of this library and goes there twice a week. She helps the
librarian catalog the new books, obtains loan agricultural library
books, exchanges books with other towns, and obtains agricultural
bulletins,--thus making herself an invaluable helper to the whole
region. She sees to it that the library gives help to those that are
interested in nature study. She herself has an interest in birds and
wild flowers. In her home they have a stuffed collection of fifty or
more species of birds. She modestly says that she "knows ferns
somewhat." Thanks to her ministrations the town library has books on all
those subjects. The chief sources of culture in the village, she says,
are the library, the Grange, the stereopticon lectures, and a good
pastor.

In order that she may do her full share in helping to promote the
general welfare, she has become Guardian of a Camp Fire Club and in that
group does all she can to encourage efficiency among the girls. She
takes a vital interest in all the organizations for young people. There
cannot be a girl in that region who does not know that if she wants any
good thing this older girl stands ready to help her. She is herself a
Unitarian but she has no sectarian prejudice against working in the
Christian Endeavor Society and she shows this by taking part in the
meetings every Sunday evening. She owns the only stereopticon in town
and generously sees to getting the slides for the monthly lectures. She
sings in the church choir. She keeps more or less in touch with the
school superintendent who is very responsive to suggestions and she
tries to help him and the five district school teachers in every way she
can. She is medical temperance superintendent in the Women's Christian
Temperance Union. In this connection she puts up posters and prepares
charts for the school children. She is Guardian not only for the Camp
Fire Girls but also for the Bluebirds, which is organized for the girls
under twelve.

As to earning money, she is so happy as not to have to work for that at
present. However, "on the place," she says, "I think I could earn by
making jelly, if I could find a market. In the past, when we were living
elsewhere, I was given seventy-five dollars a month to pay my share of
the housekeeping accounts (which I ran) and to lay aside. Now on the
farm, I do not have any set sum, but I own a share in the farm."

Asked if this sharing in the ownership made her more enthusiastic for
the success of the farm, she answered that she thought it did. She would
like to know of more ways of earning money that she might recommend them
to her Camp Fire Girls. She has had no special education for farming as
a business or for home-making; but she follows the suggestions of an
agricultural teacher in a high school in the next town, and she reads up
on various lines of home work in connection with the judging of the work
of the girls in the Camp Fire, and she has taken two courses at a
college in household chemistry.

A life of such incessant activity must have a great deal of joy in it.
There are, however, some special forms of recreation accessible to her.
There is a Fourth of July celebration with floats and a parade; there
are athletic contests; there is baseball, and there is an entertainment
consisting of a play, and other exercises. There are occasional school
picnics, and plays are given by the Grange or by the Camp Fire Girls.
Sunday evening stereopticon lectures are run by the Christian Endeavor
Society. She attends the baseball games, the W. C. T. U. parties; the
Cradle Roll parties, the Camp Fire parties, and the Bluebird parties for
the little club girls.

Social life centers about Church and Grange. There are enough girls to
have societies of their own and though they live widely apart, it seems
that this girl with the spirit of a leader is able to draw them
together. Though she is very modest about her part of the attraction,
she could doubtless say, if she would, "a great part of it I was!" There
are about a dozen young people in about a dozen houses in her village
and there is something going on once a week or oftener which is
specially for the girls.

There is a great deal more that might be said about this faithful and
enthusiastic worker. Her loyal following in the path that first opened
before her has led her into a special field of moral education where her
efficiency and fine spirit are making her useful not only to her own
region but to a much wider circle. She has been trained for a service
which it is a joy to render.

The second record in this group represents the great bounding life of
the Northwest, and is as full of the new elixir of country life as the
other accounts given.

The writer says: "I could tell you volumes about our Western rural
life," and if there were room, those "volumes" should be included. She
is twenty-one years old, and is one in a family of ten children. The
farm she refers to is one owned by her grandfather and there she spends
a great deal of her time and lavishes a great deal of work. There are
eighty acres; forty of them are hilly, unirrigated lands, while five
acres are still in sage-brush. The rest is irrigated by electric pumped
water. The nearest town is six miles away and has twenty-two hundred
people.

Many charming glimpses are given of the home this girl represents. She
is an enthusiast for the possibilities of farm life. She prizes it
because she finds that freedom of action is possible there in matters of
dress and in the choice of companions. All desired urban benefits--such
as lectures, church, organizations and social events, seem to have
become accessible to her. She thinks, too, that the farm realizes
outdoor life at its best. There is plenty to do--this she rates as one
of the great advantages--and she adds this pregnant sentence, "what one
does is of consequence."

She acknowledges that parents might desire to go away from the farm in
order to put children in a town school. But she adds: "I'd rather take
them to a good centralized country school. I have taught in town and
country both, and am now teaching a country school under town
supervision with ten pupils and every advantage. As I keep house for my
grandfather on a dry homestead two miles from school, I have the fun of
walking to and from the schoolhouse."

Again she says that people may go to the town in order to spend their
money; town, she says, is a good place to go for that purpose. She adds
this caustic note: "But my father made money in town and spent it in the
country--as long as he kept tenants on his farm!"

Her share in the housework is ample and joyous. She says: "Myself and
two grown sisters, both younger than I, take turns about doing the
entire housework. The rest work in the garden and the field, irrigating,
hoeing, etc. I prefer outside work too, but I always wash and iron, even
when I am working outside." Her home conveniences are a washing-machine,
a pump in the house, running water at the door, a telephone, the daily
weather reports, a typewriter, a sewing-machine, screened windows and
doors, and homemade soap. Who but a girl of the great untrammelled
Northwest would call the weather reports a home convenience, or think of
including homemade soap? Of course she is not satisfied: she would like
electrically pumped water, electric lights, ice, and a gasolene stove.
Some of these she hopes to have next year, and the electric stove will
doubtless come too and other new and important things.

Opportunity for recreation is not wanting. There are fishing on the
place, swimming in the large irrigation canal, and buggy riding. In
winter there is dancing at farm homes; visits are made over the 'phone.
Sewing and sewing bees are recreation; so are reading and writing
letters. Caring for small brothers and sisters seems to come under the
same head; water-color painting, hunting jack-rabbits and grouse, taking
kodak pictures, going to picnics and celebrations, camping in the
mountains, lectures, lodge, and socials in town, horseback riding and
day dreaming do not seem so difficult to include. She harnesses and
drives, hitching up to the buggy, the democrat, or even the jockey cart;
she rides the bicycle and expects to drive an auto--"some day." All the
games they play in that large and varied family are "to work, and to
tease one another." Evidently here is a place on the planet where work
and play run into each other and become one and the same thing! She
says: "There seems to be no necessity for games." She adds: "We older
ones often amuse and watch the three children play."

As to the number of young people in the vicinity she says that there are
about twenty "within this natural district." During the school year they
have about six social gatherings; in summer there are informal picnics
and Sunday visits with refreshments. Social life centers about the
school and the doings in the adjacent town. Among some of the neighbors
there is a German Club. As facilities for a social center, they have the
schoolhouse (but with stationary seats), a playground, any number of
natural groves and of fishing holes, and the big ditch for swimming. For
the girls alone they have swimming parties and visiting parties; and
they help one another during haying and threshing. This she puts down
among the social gatherings for girls in her neighborhood!

In the house there is a library of about two hundred and fifty volumes.
Lack of time is the only thing that prevents reading. There is a public
library in the nearest town and she goes there every week in winter. In
summer however she is too busy with farm work to go so often. In the
family evenings either she or her mother reads aloud: also on Sunday
afternoon. The books that they have thus read together of late are
_Lorna Doone_ and one by Wason called _Friar Tuck_ which she marks an
underscored "Good."

They have a piano and the favorite songs are such old favorites as
_Annie Laurie_ and _Juanita_. Also they sing church songs, and popular
tunes, such as _The Trail of the Lonesome Pine_. They adapt the music to
the different tastes in the ten-children family.

Besides the daily evening paper and the local weekly paper, they take
_Successful Farming_, _Better Fruit_, _Scientific American_, _American
Magazine_, _Cosmopolitan_, _Epworth Herald_, some law papers, the
government bulletins and reports, _Current Opinion_, etc. For her own
interests she is going to take _Epworth Herald_, _Primary Education_,
_Youth's Companion_, _American Geographical Magazine_, _Current
Opinion_, _Stock Reports_, _Successful Farming_. Her other cultural
interests are these: Music; school, especially high school
entertainments, correspondence with normal school friends; teachers'
institute, each fall, one week; water-coloring; making beautiful clothes
and fancy work; Rebecca Lodge; Church in town; amateur photography; and
reading, underscored again. It is fascinating to see what a girl like
this will include under the head of "cultural interest."

On the question of earning and using money, she says: "From the time we
were very small we earned all our spending money by being paid for extra
work. I have been absolutely independent, even to buying my clothes,
since I was seventeen years old. I figure that my work more than pays my
board." First among the ways of earning money, she names hoeing corn;
next she mentions teaching school. "I teach school nine months of the
year. Before I began that and ever since, I have earned money. I put
myself through the Normal School. I packed prunes (at four cents an
hour), sold garden truck (twenty-five cents a day, average--did no
peddling), and sewed for others at usual rates." No special sum is set
apart for her use but she has all she earns. In teaching she receives
sixty dollars a month. She has taught for this salary for two years and
with this she has paid two hundred dollars she had borrowed for her
school expenses. She has four hundred dollars remaining. Most of this is
now in interest-bearing notes on farm securities. She adds: "I buy my
clothes, go one-half on board with grandfather on the homestead, and am
beginning a 'hope-box.'" She is to have a share in the corn crop. "When
I am married," she says, "I expect to invest some in cattle for beef."
The vital question as to whether her sharing in this ownership makes her
have more enthusiasm for the success of the farm, receives this answer:
"Certainly; you should have seen me top the corn when it got frosted
June 6. It's doing fine now; I think we saved it, for it was frozen to
the ground." She has read all on the subject of farming that she could
find. She took some work in the Normal School--enough, she says, to make
her realize that she knew very little; she believes she could do much
through correspondence. Her interest is now about equally divided
between farming and home economics: but, she is good enough to confide,
"I expect to make home-making predominate some day." Ah, then this is
the true meaning of that "hope-box"! This efficient girl is to be a
farmer's wife and she wishes to know how to do her part in helping run a
grain-haystock ranch of a thousand acres successfully. So she has taken
one year at the Normal School in Home Economics and some studies in
agriculture also; she studied family sociology in a forty weeks' course;
and she has given some study to the laws governing women's property. May
her hope-box overflow! May she in time run her own car, and may all her
schemes work out perfectly!

Is there room to put down just one more story? This one has been sent by
a friend who for years has been teaching in the Idaho Industrial
Institute, a school where they train boys and girls for farm life. The
writer of the paper, a girl of nineteen, interested her especially and
she asked her to write a brief record. The farm where this girl lives is
in a hilly region and is productive; they have from it oats, wheat,
clover, timothy, and potatoes. There are 160 acres, and they are six
miles from town.

"Farm life to me is attractive," she says, "because on the farm one has
the freedom that cannot be gained anywhere else in the world. One learns
the habits of birds and animals and one comes in touch with nature and
hence with the Creator himself. Children raised on the farm grow strong
in body and spirit, and they store their minds with more venturous
thoughts. By living on the farm one gets all the fresh vegetables,
fruits, butter, milk, eggs and meat that one desires. But of course
there may be reasons why one might desire to leave the farm. One may get
the idea that one has to work harder for less pay than elsewhere. One
may think that the pleasures are few and that farm life is not
respectable enough, and that if one could only leave and go to the city,
one would be contented. But any one leaving the farm will never be happy
while away and will soon learn that there is no place in life like the
farm."

This young woman shows the usual picture of work and of small
opportunity for social enjoyments. These are her books: The Bible,
_Stephen_, _Soldier of the Cross_, _Jesus of Nazareth_, _The Coming
King_, _Tempest and Sunshine_, _The Broken Wedding Ring_, _Sweet Girl
Graduate_, _Daddie's Girl_, _Wild Kitty_, _Girls of the Forest_, _Ruby
or a Heart of Gold_, _Taking Her Father's Place_, _Now or Never_. She
was very much delighted, she says, with all in this list. She has the
long winter's evenings to read in but the additional work in summer
interferes somewhat with her reading. They have no musical instrument in
the home but they have many of the best hymn-books and country songs,
and they sing hymns together. She is very much interested in ways of
making better homes. She herself takes the _Mother's Magazine_ and _The
Christian Endeavor World_, and is pursuing a course in Home Economics at
the present time.

A single working day of her life is thus described:

"One bright morning in early July I was awakened by my mother who told
me that it was half-past four. I arose immediately for I had had a good
night's rest and did not feel sleepy. I dressed in my riding habit and
went to the barn and waked my brother who was sleeping in the hay-loft
and asked him to come and saddle my pony, 'Daisy.' He saddled her and I
mounted and went to the timber for the cows. The air was fresh and cool.
It filled me with joy and seemed to affect Daisy the same, for she threw
her ears forward, listened a second for the cows, and hearing the tinkle
of the bell she started out on a gallop. After about a half hour's ride
I found the cows and drove them home. When I had taken the saddle from
Daisy and given her her breakfast and a few loving caresses I left her
and went to the house, arriving just in time for breakfast. After
breakfast I told my two sisters I would do the housework myself while
they washed. I had an early start, was in high spirits and ready for the
day's work before me. It did not take me long to plan my dinner, which I
decided should consist of baked potatoes, creamed carrots, greens, and
radishes, all fresh from the garden. For dessert I made blanc mange with
cocoa sauce. I had plenty of fresh butter, cream, and light-bread at my
disposal. The first thing I did on entering my kitchen was to mix up my
light-bread. It did not take me long to clear off the breakfast table
and put the dining-room in order. When I came to the kitchen I did not
find it so easy; but my greatest delight being to set a kitchen in order
I did not mind the task before me; but before starting it I did up the
milk work which only took me half an hour, there being no churning that
morning. I had my kitchen in order and the bread molded by ten o'clock.
I then cleaned myself up and read a short story in the Sunday School
paper before starting my dinner which I did at ten-thirty. My dinner was
a success or at least my father pronounced it so when he had finished
eating a not small portion of it. After I had the dinner work cleared
away, everything in order and my bread baked, I made my small brother a
suit and had it done by the time that my mother had supper ready. After
supper again I saddled Daisy and went for the cows while my sisters
washed the supper dishes. That evening as we gathered around the kitchen
table and my father read a chapter from the Bible, I think I was one of
the happiest girls in the world even if I was tired. As I went to bed
that evening I thanked the dear Father that I had a father, mother,
brothers and sisters to love and help care for. This is only one day out
of many that I have spent in this way."

When one reads this account, one pictures the strong vivid life of this
sound generous-hearted girl. It seems glorious to be so able and so
willing. What, then, will be the surprise when on looking down the page
a little farther one sees in the handwriting of the friend who had asked
her to write an account of one of her working days, a paragraph like
this: "The writer of the above is a cripple, getting about with the aid
of a crutch. She entered the Institute this fall and pays half her
expenses by working more efficiently than most pupils." After reading
this, what words of praise would not sound futile!



CHAPTER VII

THE OTHER SIDE


  I cannot bear to think what life would be
  With high hope shrunk to endurance; stunted aims
  Like broken lances ground to eating knives;
  And low achievement doomed from day to day
  To distaste of its consciousness.

  _George Eliot._



CHAPTER VII

THE OTHER SIDE


The experiences related in the last chapters have been purposely laid
before the reader with little comment. They make their own impression.
They may help to dispel an apprehension lest the girls on the farms
should be having too hard a time, or lest when the work in which they
are asked to join is closing somewhat too strongly upon their young
strength they should be weighed down with the sort of dullness that
comes from continued pressure on one nerve. They seem to give an
assurance that the country girl's day in many, perhaps the majority, of
cases, affords some time for reading and for music; there is a concert
in the evening or a spare afternoon hour for the village guest. They
encourage us to believe that when the point of joylessness approaches
there will be ready a new supply of energy for rejuvenation and
refreshment. As long as this state of things exists the case is not so
bad.

Into this serene atmosphere a bomb must be thrown; for both sides have a
right to be heard. The testimony of the Country Girl when she is
speaking in favor of country life has been accepted; the same courtesy
must be given her when she tells us more or less frankly--frankly when
she can be brought to speak at all--what objections some may have to a
life which it seems to many ought to be good for any one, and which, if
it is not, surely can very easily be made so.

It is no more than right that a system should be judged not only by the
most fortunate example of its working, where factors that have little to
do with its essential principles may have crept in to modify the
outward appearance, but also by the less known cases, by flagrant
examples of what is possible under the existing plan. What wrongs can be
found? What sufferings to certain individuals? What must be rectified in
order that the machinery may be wholly approved? Is the system, which
was evidently designed to foster justice and happiness, accomplishing
this end for a reasonable majority? These are very natural questions to
those who listen to the testimony of the girl of the rural districts
when she discloses her problems almost without knowing that she is doing
so. What about exceptional cases? What about a vital minority?

The following description of a Country Girl's working day is taken from
the life of a fourteen-year-old girl, who lives on a farm of medium
size, so fortunately or so unfortunately placed as to be not very far
away from a summer colony. There is no mother in this farmstead.

"Description of my average working day? Here it is. I rise shortly
before five o'clock and dress hurriedly. Father is calling me to come
and strain the milk and get his breakfast. Go down cellar and strain the
milk into pans, set them on a large stone table, and skim the milk for
cream for the campers along the lake. Measure out ten to twenty quarts
of milk and put them into separate pails to be sent out to customers
encamped on the lake. Take cream up stairs and put it in a warm place to
ripen for churning. Get breakfast, call the children, and after the
others have eaten and the boy has started on his morning delivery, I eat
breakfast and clear away the dishes. While sister washes them, I mix
bread and set it away to rise. Stir the cream, and then sweep three
floors and make five beds. By this time it is nine o'clock. Then there
are berries to pick, and vegetables to be got ready for market and I go
out to help till about half-past ten, when I come in and make three or
four pies and a cake or a pudding. While these are baking I clean the
vegetables for dinner and put them on to cook, set the table and put
the dinner on, meanwhile watching the baking pies, the rising bread, and
the ripening cream. In the course of the morning ten or a dozen persons
have come in for milk, eggs, butter, or something else, and I have to
wait on them and keep their accounts up in my book. After dinner the
bread is ready to make into loaves and is then set to rise again before
baking. While the bread is rising I scald out the churn and rinse with
cold water and then put in the cream and churn it by hand. After the
butter has come and gathered, I remove it from the churn, rinse the
buttermilk out and work the butter; salt and work again and set it in
the cellar till the next day, when it must be worked again and put into
pails or jars. Then I pour the buttermilk from the churn into a jar and
set it away for future use, clean and scald the churn, setting it out in
the sunshine to dry. By this time the bread is ready to bake and must be
watched rather closely and the wood fire also. I begin to get things
ready for supper, going out into the garden to pick berries, gather
vegetables, dig potatoes, etc. Meantime I wait on more people. After
straining milk and skimming other milk, I eat supper and then measure
out milk for evening delivery, get vegetables and bread ready to be
delivered also and start the boy on delivery. Wash dishes and meanwhile
wait on milk customers who are transients. When boy returns from
delivery, I wash milk cans and put them out in the air, write up books
of accounts, plan out next day's work, make list of groceries, etc.,
that must be bought to replenish our slender stock. By this time it is
ten o'clock; I am weary and my hair is a sight. After taking off a
little of the dirt with a sponge in the wash basin I tumble wearily into
bed until the next morning."

An account like this arouses a perfect hornets' nest of question-marks.
It cannot be well for the nation, and especially for those that are to
bear the burden of the day in decades to come that the girls of the
present time should in any large numbers be required to endure such
strain as this sixteen-hour-day of unremitting, heavy and exacting work
imposed upon a young girl between the age of thirteen and seventeen, in
one of the largest and most prosperous farming States of this country.
Fortunately she has had phenomenal strength and physical persistence,
and the baneful conditions have not caused her absolute break-down.
But--she has run away! Otherwise she probably would never have gained
the development that gave her a voice to speak out for herself as she
has spoken in this letter.

More laconic, and yet expressive of a more deadly blight, was the letter
from a girl of fifteen in another State. This girl lives on a prosperous
seventy-five acre farm, three miles from a good-sized town. There is a
public library in that town but she never uses it: and there is no home
library to give her any aid. There are no contests, no prizes that are
accessible to her to awaken her ambition; and there is no association or
society of any kind for girls in her vicinity. There is no music in her
family, no games are played, and no magazines are taken; she has no
share in any part of the farm business except to work tirelessly as
directed; nothing on the farm can she call her own; and no sum of money
is set apart for her use. She has no enjoyments, no encouragement; she
is hard at work all the time. She neither knows why any one should find
the farm attractive nor why one should desire to leave it. Time and
interest for her have ceased.

It is news from such a girl as this that most startles us. But such a
Country Girl exists, hushed, unexpressive, unresponsive, undeveloped.
She is the blind gentian in the country garden. Are there many of these?
Who can tell? If diligent search is made for them they are found upon
the most remote farms where no newspapers ever penetrate, where the
roads are bad and the neighbors are far away or are beyond forbidding
hills, where the deadly round of dishwashing or the weight of work too
heavy for the years of the girl are exhausting her strength, stifling
her exuberance, and deadening all the power of expression she may have
been capable of having. The least fortunate girl is the one that has her
power to express developed to the least extent; she does not now know
her own wants; but yet when told she too will begin to live and to do
her lovely part in the rooms of life.

One of the group who has thus begun at last to live voices a part at
least of the inwardness of the reason why the young women and young men
of to-day will not be satisfied with the ways of their farming
ancestors. She says: "There exist on many farms conditions which make
life there almost unbearable, to young people particularly. One of them
is lack of congenial companionship; which may be due to lack of
material, or to the thoughtlessness of the parents, which makes it
impossible for the young people to have their friends come to their
homes. Then in many farm houses there is a woful lack of books,
magazines and papers of the best sort; again due to the lack of
education or of interest on the part of the parents. So also with
pictures, music and recreation. But perhaps greater than any other,
excepting perhaps the first named, is the dull weary succession of
duties following each other day in and day out without rest or respite,
and without any or with few of the modern conveniences to lighten the
work. So many farmers, of the old school at least, understand little of
the reasons for the why and wherefore of the things they do. They were
taught of their fathers who were taught of their fathers and who did
things in such a way because they proved expedient. By trial, or
accident, one may have discovered something to be more expedient some
other way, but the wonderful process and reason back of it, they
understood little or not at all. This also is true of the farmer's wife.
This blind way of doing things suits the young folks not, for the
unrest, that spirit of the times which is forever questioning things, is
within them, filling them with nameless longings even though they know
it not. In their ignorance they believe they will find something better
in the city, something more beautiful, more interesting, more thrilling.
Were these young people taught the reason for things and the
possibilities of experimentation to find a better way, were they given
conveniences with which to work, so that there might be some leisure for
books, music and friends, there would be, I believe, little discontent."
Again we find our Country Girl closing with a hopeful note.

The gentle critical comments of those that in spite of their love for
country life reject its claims as a mode of living favorable to human
development and content, are based upon motives that are sometimes
vocational and sometimes social in character. When they deny to the
country their allegiance it is because they fail to find in rural life
as they know it, those boasted possibilities and opportunities. Farming
seems to them drudgery, which means labor without inspiration or
acknowledgment. They have no interest for the work. They may have taste
and fitness for some other occupation; but there is the fact--they do
not take to farming. They feel intensely the monotony of farm life, the
stagnation of the rural community. The sameness, the humdrum tediousness
of the everyday life drives them to the city.

In the work of the farmstead, the Country Girl of this disheartened
group plainly sees that the subsidiary, detail work, which has no
intellectual and very little social stimulus will be assigned to her.
She knows that the monotony of this heterogeneous drudgery will daily
leave her too tired to go out, even if she has somewhere to go; and too
destitute of initiative to seize upon any form of pleasure unless she
has already a mind trained to find delight in books; and she sees no
prospect of being able to gain the training that will open fields of
intellectual enjoyment to her. She keenly feels the lack of recreation.
She comes to believe that if she were in the city she would not have
such late hours of labor. She does not see the twelve and fourteen hour
days of work in that rosy dream of good wages and leisured evenings in
town. On the farm it is from five in the morning till nine at night; the
work is not only too heavy for her, but it is closely confining. She has
not the strength for it; and the enforced toil exhausts her energy
prematurely. She now sees that the methods used in her household
workshop are laborious and out of date; her task is unnecessarily
difficult; and who can blame her if under such circumstances her
enthusiasm for her work fades away? There is resentment in the remark of
the young girl who said: "If we always have to work in an awkward
kitchen with rusty old pans, if we do not go anywhere and never have any
company, we do certainly want to leave the farm." When the blind gentian
speaks out like that the emphasis must be multiplied a hundred fold.

From the work of girls like these, incentive has been removed, or else
it was never there. This sort of Country Girl may not reason it out to
the point of clearness, but the lack of acknowledgment of her labor in
the farmstead as an industry, as an essential part of the business,
makes her toil seem hopeless; it renders her feeling toward whatever
charm the country may have for her permanently callous; and it takes all
the vibrancy out of her spirit. All this makes her alert to find
deep-seated defects in rural life in conditions that, but for her
disaffection would seem but difficulties easily overcome.

The look cityward is not always caused by the incitement of an uneasy, a
commercial, or an ignoble impulse. It is sometimes the call of the best
and noblest part of the soul. To such as recognize this higher purpose
the passion for education, for free access to libraries, for association
with intellectual people, form a part of the city's lure. They desire to
see more of life, to have more and closer contact with one's fellows, to
gain valuable companionship, to get more and broader pleasures, to have
greater opportunities to make something of one's self. The young women
who are thinking such thoughts as these are full of the energy of
youth; they are at the moment of opening ambitions and developing
personality; they are making plans for the future. They are not the
women who in long years have grown accustomed to their burdens and have
either learned how to bear them or have become sodden with the despair
of ever finding any relief from their load. The brightness of young hope
has not faded out, and the buoyant spirit still stands up underneath
whatever is to be done or borne. Youth feels equal to anything.
Therefore the slightest deflection of their courage from the norm should
have the closest attention.



CHAPTER VIII

THE INHERITANCE


  We men of earth have here the stuff
  Of Paradise--we have enough!
  We need no other thing to build
  The stairs into the Unfulfilled--
  No other ivory for the doors--
  No other marble for the floors--
  No other cedar for the beam
  And dome for man's immortal dream.

  Here on the path of every day--
  Here on the common human way--
  Is all the busy gods would take
  To build a heaven, to mold and make
  New Edens. Ours the stuff sublime
  To build Eternity in time!

  _Edwin Markham._



CHAPTER VIII

THE INHERITANCE


This, then, is the indictment of country life as it now is, by the
Country Girl who is now living in the midst of it.

It is depressing, it is terrible, that a concourse of country girls will
stand up before The Fathers and declare that while they love the
country, and prefer to remain there all their days, yet they cannot,
because life there is intolerable to them. They say this in all
sobriety; no one can accuse them of speaking in haste; their mood is
most judicial. The young woman in the farm life of to-day has a
deep-seated love for country life; many things about it command her
affection and give her delight; but there are also some things that she
does not feel called upon to endure. If it were not for them, for these,
and these, and lo! all of these, objections to it, she would be
perfectly content and satisfied to live on the farm all her days; but as
it is, well, she can only join that funeral procession of the nation
cityward.

It is true that the Country Girl does not enjoy a house with no music
under its roof-tree, a house where no games are played, where no stories
are told or read about the lamp in the long winter evenings: a house, in
short, with nothing she calls happiness in it; but this is a small part
of her indictment.

She does not enjoy trudging back and forth a million times a year over
the same square yards of floor-space; but that, too, is immaterial to
her. In fine, she does not object to the work itself, but she cannot
endure that heterogeneous, unsystematized, objectless drudgery, the
enforced character of the toil, the out-of-date methods, the absence of
acknowledgment of any economic value in her contribution to the
business--this is what grinds her soul.

She is not wanting in appreciation of the possibilities in farm life and
the farming business; but, to quote with variations, she says to
herself:

  If they be not fair for me,
  What care I how fair they be?

She sees the beauty of the changing seasons, and she enjoys the
companionship of animals, naming them one by one after all her favorite
heroes and heroines of fairyland; but the fact that she has nor chick
nor lambkin for her own is as

  The little rift within the lute
  That by and by will make the music mute.

[Illustration: The Country Girl takes a pride in her chickens that makes
their care a pleasure to her.]

If the struggle to pay the mortgage is long and the work heavy, she does
not especially enjoy spending days and nights of toil with the rest of
the family to accomplish the desired end; but more than all this does
she dislike having the father keep all the trouble to himself; she wants
a share in the responsibility. She wants some acres of her own, some
stock of her own. She wants her personality as a factor in the business,
which it really is, to be justly acknowledged. For without that, she
reasons, what is there to look forward to? Hope is the anchor of the
soul; and without something to hope for, how can one hope? She finds
that she has none of these joyous anticipations of the future that every
young woman loves and has the right to entertain. She cannot look
forward to the natural and normal life of the home for her future lot,
for the existing scheme of country life does not provide her with a
husband.

Therefore if the home cannot be made happy and the work in the farmhouse
cannot be made interesting, if her fair share of incentive as a human
being in the common round of life cannot be assigned to her, if her
part in the complex structure of the farmstead cannot be put upon an
equitable basis, if the universal happy fortune of woman cannot be seen
to shine as a goal in the long service of the farmstead, why, she will
have none of it!

If this is the irrevocable decision of the farmers' daughters of the
present day, it is a very serious matter. It means that the farmstead
will have to be broken up, that the farm home must go out of existence,
and the whole system of farm life must be revolutionized. What will
happen then, it passes wisdom to prophesy! The Country Girl may well
say, "After me, the deluge!" For if at any one point in the procession
of the generations, the women will stand together and say "Thus far and
no farther!" the procession must stand as still as the pillar of salt
that commemorates the wife of the unfortunate Lot.

Can it be that the Country Girl has in some measure reached this point
by doing what Lot's wife did--by simply looking behind her? Casting her
eye along back over the generations, did she see anything that appalled
her? May it have been something in the experience of her own mother that
lent decision to her mind as she considered what she herself would
choose for a life-path? Or rather, as she looked over the career that
lay nearest to her, the life-struggle that was visible to her in her own
homestead, did she see something that held up before her a warning hand?

There still lives many a farm woman who has to walk down a hill and
carry up from a spring all the drinking and cooking water for her
household and who gets it fresh for every meal. Her round of work may
include all the house work with the washing and ironing, the scrubbing
and cleaning. She sweeps all the rooms up stairs and down every week,
covering all the furniture with sheets to keep off the dust that she
flings into space with her besoms and brooms. She picks the berries for
the table and they may have them three times a day. She gathers all the
vegetables. If she has no cow, she goes for the milk and brings it
home. She is an expert cook, serving the meals in courses, carrying in
and out the dishes, and providing ample quantities of everything. She
may can the fruit and make the pickles, jellies and preserves. She will
certainly take care of the chickens. In spite of all this she will never
seem tired. She will go to the woods and bring ferns and put them into
pots to set about the house. She will bring wild flowers and carry them
with all sorts of dainties to neighboring houses where there is illness.
Her dress is invariably changed in the afternoon; and she always goes to
prayer meeting. She is a great reader and stays up after the family have
gone to bed to read the church paper and the farmers' magazine. She is
full of life and fun and can talk intelligently on any subject. Every
evening after her work is done she may walk to a neighbor's to visit, or
if the village is near enough she will go every night to bring the mail.

This woman of the rural realm is a super-woman in the farm environment;
her discouraging example cannot be taken as a rule to be followed by
others, since few can equal her in strength of body or mind. She is one
who has in some way become possessed of a mental training above the
average; her intellectual outlook has been brought to such a point that
she can take pleasure in many of the resources of culture. She has
learned to read,--really read--a thing accomplished by but few of the
many who can glibly reel off the words from the printed page. This woman
of the farm gathers the ideas and enjoys the fancies that lie behind the
mere alphabetical letters. She is one who can gain solace from her hour
of reading whenever it is possible to have one; and this keeps her young
and buoyant. Then she has also a real interest in everything around her,
the garden, the making of the jelly, the missionary cause, all the great
wonderful world--everything has attraction for her. Moreover as a result
of her mental and inner poise, she has the power to systematize the work
of her home and so to get the best results in the shortest time. Does
her husband appreciate what a wonderful woman fate has assigned to him?
If not, if he never acknowledges the economic value of this woman's
courage and gay spirit, as well as of her mere hand-work and its
efficient system, then there may be a sore spot underneath that will
never be cured in all her life. Many a farmer husband has said
affectionately to his wife that he could never have made a financial
success of his farm without her help. But it will take more than
assurances like that to satisfy the mind and the heart of the Country
Girl in the new era.

Going but half a generation farther back into the past one may find the
woman who had not only all that has been described to do but the milking
and the butter making beside. She worked up the wool and spun, wove, and
made full cloth for men's wear, for flannel sheets and for all the
flannel dresses, and she knit all the socks and stockings for the big
family. She would rise at four, summer and winter. She would build her
own fires, milk four to eight cows, and have breakfast at six. There
would be a sugar orchard that made many hundred pounds of sugar, and she
would make the syrup and care for it. The floors of her rooms would be
covered with carpets of her weaving. The table linen and toweling would
be both spun and woven by her hands. All the time she had for
intellectual employments would be while some labor was going on. It is a
tradition from the past in this country that if a woman can work with
her hands or her feet and at one and the same time employ the eyes in
some studious pursuit, she has a fair right to whatever intellectual
attainment she may be able to gain thereby. Roxana Beecher in Guilford,
Connecticut, a hundred years ago, had a volume of philosophy fastened to
her wheel and read the book while she treadled and spun; and no woman
was really accomplished in the old days unless she could knit and read
at the same time.

Sometimes--but rarely--the women of past time in this country took some
part in the outside farm labor. The author knows of a woman who husked
six hundred bushels of corn in one summer. The following season she
piled up one hundred cords of wood and did all the housework beside. It
would not be possible to speak of some pathetic cases of enforced toil
lest some good men should be led thereby to fall from grace and wish
they were noncombatants. The truth is that it has never been the custom
in this country that the women should enter into the heavier farm work;
from the beginning women were held so sacred that nothing must be risked
that could injure their permanent strength. The men rolled in the logs
of wood for the big fireplaces and did all the heavier work of the
place, answering without a moment's demur the request of the women for
help. Such a spirit in the men of America has crystallized in many laws
more favorable to women than to men, and in many others designed to give
special protection to women and to ward off the possibility of a failure
in the persistence of their physical soundness. But clever bad men may
break laws that clever good men may make; or good men may be confidingly
inattentive while valuable laws and customs become obsolete. Yet the
fact does stand out that the spirit of the republic does not favor
anything that will dull the physical vigor of the women; and those who
feel this spirit and are representative of its urgency--and they are, we
must believe, the great majority--are the men in most danger of falling
from grace in the manner referred to above. Moreover they are also the
people, voters and what not, who will make an effective bar against the
inroads of a certain disposition on the part of the foreigners who are,
in the main beneficently, coming across the wide seas to find homes in
our farming regions, namely, to place the women of their tribes in rows
along the fields who bend their backs like the picture of "The Gleaners"
by Millet, and to produce such descendants as Markham's "Man with the
Hoe." A sight like this with promise such as this is abhorrent to the
institutions of our country; the men of the republic, not to say the
women, will not tolerate it.

But progress is made little by little. There are cases of arrested
development and examples of retardation. There are places where
backward-drawing influences have kept some groups from making the
advance that other groups have made. If we could penetrate still farther
into the past, we should find more reason for the drawbacks that we run
across here and there in our own time. We have no histories of selected
working days that the great mothers of times past wrote--they certainly
had no time to count up calories and set down scientific records of
their cookery and their collections of simples. There is a Journal
extant which was written by one Abigail Foote in 1779. It goes something
like this:

  September 2. I spun.
      "     3. I spun.
      "     4. I spun.
      "     5. I spun.
      "     6. I spun.
      "     7. I spun.

And so on, excepting, of course, Sundays.

About November the record is stated in this wise:

  November 11. I wove.
      "    12. I wove.
      "    13. I wove.
      "    14. I wove.
      "    15. I wove.

And so on, again. Certainly monotony could no farther go. If such
workers had not fastened a book to the distaff, insanity would surely
have set in. The weaving never could be quite so monotonous as the
spinning, for there was necessary a constant watching of the web that
effectually prevented any wandering from the business in hand, or any
flashing of looks toward the window-sill where lay the volume of
romance.

If however, a leaf from the daily life of one of our grandmothers were
accessible, it would contain the story not only of the bread-making, but
of the soap-making too. That good grandmother in her brisk and energetic
days would kindle the big fire in the back yard, bring the large kettles
up from the cellar, pack the barrel full of good hard-wood ashes and set
it on its supports, and then pour the water through it to make the lye.
She would then melt up the bones and grease saved from the winter's
supply of pork, and when the grease was tried out she would mix the lye
and the melted grease with as nice an art and with an expertness as much
the product of long experience as is the skill of the artist when he
combines his paints for a masterpiece. "With what do you mix your
paints?" inquired a young sprig of a great artist. "With brains, sir,"
was the answer. So might the housewife of a hundred years ago have said
if she had been asked how she attained her ends in the soap, the
candles, the dyes, the cakes, the baking of the beans--as critical a
piece of business as ever a Parisian chef could attempt--the turning of
the heel in stocking-making, the weaving of the colors in the carpet,
the bleaching to snowy whiteness of the linen and the woolen blankets.
"I mix all these processes with brains--with the results of experience
bought through many decades of experiment by many costly mistakes and
especially by a vivid and unfailing memory of what happened when it was
done in one special way and what happened when it was done in some other
way. By these means I gained the power to do these things and to gain
these successes. It was not so easy as it may seem." Thus might the
ghostly grandmother speak if she could come back and let her voice be
heard and then she would point to the long rows of soap-bars, put away
side by side, white or brown or yellow according to the purity of the
grease that had been used, to become dry and fit for household use for
the next half-year. Meantime the tallow would have been saved out to be
used for dipping the candles or for molding them out in the tin
candle-forms. The cotton cord would be strung through the long tin tubes
and pulled out at the lower end for the wick end; or the strings of
wicking would be hung along a pole, to be dipped into the melted fat
again and again as fast as the grease would cool on the strings and thus
increase with every dipping the size of the slender tapering candle.
Between the intervals of dipping, the little mother would hurry back to
her chair and there sit and cut long strips of cloth and sew them
together into carpet rags. When the piles on the floor at her side would
be high enough, she would run them off around her elbow into a hank
ready to be colored. The little girls in the family would have peeled
bark from the butternut trees and gathered golden rod and other herbs
and these would have been steeped thoroughly for the magical liquors
which would be standing ready in crocks full of dyes to give the brown
and yellow and green and blue tint to these hanks of rag-cord. Then the
weaving loom would be got ready in the attic and the shuttle would fly
back and forth and the rags would soon be transformed into a smooth,
well-striped carpet, which would come off in pieces several yards long.
Later on these would be sewed together into a beautiful floor covering
to be used for the parlor first, afterward, when the freshness was
somewhat worn off, for the living-room; later for some hallway, and last
of all, what remained from many footsteps would be made into little rugs
to be put down extra in such places as needed special protection.

The craftswoman who did all this was equally gifted in making the
cross-stitch initials for the corner of the bolster and the knitted lace
for its edge. She was master of all tricks with the needle as well as
with the shuttle and the wooden spoon. Moreover, that grandmother was
the mother of fifteen children, and there was nobody but herself to
make mittens and stockings for all of them for both winter and summer.
So her knitting-needles simply had to fly in all the interstices between
tasks of weaving and spinning and dyeing and soap-making and
candle-making and other work. All this was to be done besides what the
average women of to-day have to do and think pretty hard for them.

Edith Abbott in her book, _Woman in Industry_, mentions forty-nine
different processes in the factory of to-day that now take the place of
the work of one woman as she stitched a pair of shoes in her home, as
women often did in the middle New England pioneering era, to accomplish
the detail of all the industries that passed through the hands of that
capable little grandmother of ours in, say, 1790 or thereabouts.

In still earlier days the women performed prodigies of heavy labor and
bore a child a year while they did it. History, however, grimly adds the
illuminating note that most of these had a short career. And it is just
possible that the women of that earlier time went beyond their strength,
exhausting their resources of vigor, so that the women of to-day have
not their full share of energy for the tasks before them and therefore
do not add to the sum of life in the same numbers that their foremothers
did.

Such grandmothers, such mothers as those, were "the kind of mothers that
men must worship," says Sarah Comstock in _The Soddy_ as she describes
the trials of women in present-day pioneering; and she adds, "worshiping
mothers makes men great!" Is it not clear where the true greatness of
America lies? If there are old men living who are the sons of such
mothers, though they may be worshipers of the memory of their heroism,
if those sons have any spark of chivalry remaining in their bosoms, they
will wish that their mothers had lived to-day instead of then, that
their labor might be lessened by modern work-saving methods and their
lives brightened by modern amplitude of resource.

The practical executive ability of those great women of one, two, and
three generations ago should be the inheritance of the Country Girls of
to-day, and their faithful examples should be an inspiration to them.
But the loyal descendants of those self-sacrificing and sacrificed women
should say that they will do all in their power to make the time come
swiftly when there shall be a new day in the kitchen, a day when the
housework may be a joy and not a burden to press the strength and
buoyancy out of the young spirits of those who prefer--if they can get
themselves to be brave enough--to enter upon the long service of life in
the environment of the open country.



CHAPTER IX

THE DAUGHTER'S SHARE OF THE WORK


THE KITCHEN

  O little room, wherein my days go by
  Each like to each, yet each one set apart
  For special duties ... nearest to my heart
  Art thou of all the house ... in thee I try
  New issues when the old ones go awry,
  And with new victories allay the smart
  Of dismal failures; and afresh I start
  With courage new to conquer or to die.
  O simple walls, no pictures break thy calm!
  O simple floor uncarpeted below!
  The inward eye has visions for its balm,
  And duty done is solace for each woe,
  And every modest tool that hangs in view
  Is fitted for the work it has to do.

  _Helen Coale Crew._



CHAPTER IX

THE DAUGHTER'S SHARE OF THE WORK


There is a doctrine held by some theorists that a people really needs
now and then to be plunged into the struggle and stress of actual war in
order to become inured to hardship, toughened and strengthened in nerve
and fiber. In a memorable essay Professor William James proposed a
"moral equivalent" for this discipline that he thought would afford a
like toughening training. His suggestion was that there should be a
military conscription of the whole youthful population; that they should
for a certain number of years form part of an army enlisted in the fight
for the conquest of nature, a campaign for compelling the forces of the
material world to become subject to the needs of mankind. Definitely,
Professor James' suggestion was that "our gilded youths" should be made
to go to work in coal mines, on freight-trains, in fishing fleets in
December, at dishwashing, clothes-washing, road-building and
tunnel-making, in foundries and stoke-holes, and on the frames of
skyscrapers, in order that they may get the "childishness knocked out of
them" and come back into society with "healthier sympathies and soberer
ideas."

When the word "youths" was used in the last sentence it probably was not
held to include, as it sometimes does, the young women as well as the
young men. But the work of girls and women must have been in the mind of
the writer when he said "dishwashing and window-washing," for these have
been feminine specialties from time immemorial or at least ever since
the days of the Amerinds when women were the bricklayers, builders and
architects, and men were the weavers. Therefore by admitting these
occupations it is avowed that the women may come in for some of the
benefits of discipline that the struggle for the conquest of nature is
to bring to those that take part in it. Does it not make the
down-trodden woman feel more grand, does she not hold her head higher
and stiffen her neck proudly, when she thinks that her melancholy and
sickening work of dishwashing will stand for her in the place of that
grandeur of the army going out to battle, that her humble employment may
be invested with some of the heroism of the flag-bearer for his
country's sake, that she may take to herself a little of the glory of
the battle-scarred? If this may be so, there will be some comfort for
the housekeeper in the farmstead on a rainy day when the wood from the
pile outdoors is so wet that it will not burn, and the water is cold,
and everybody in the house is cross!

It is not a matter to be treated lightly. Whatever burden there is to be
borne falls more heavily upon the wife than upon the husband in the
farmstead. If the farm is isolated, she is the loneliest person there.
If there is poverty, she has the least to use or to spend. If there is
lack of labor-saving devices, she has far fewer than the farmer has. If
life there is monotonous, hers is the victim of the greatest sameness,
the unending changelessness of three meals a day through planting and
harvesting, through week days and Sundays, year in and year out.

Professor Fiske, author of _The Challenge of the Country_, takes a large
view when he touches this phase of the subject. "The annual conquest of
farm difficulties," he says, "makes splendid fighting. There are plenty
of natural enemies which must be fought to keep a man's fighting-edge
keen and to keep him physically and mentally alert. What with the weeds
and the weather, the cut-worms, the gypsy, and the coddling moths, the
lice, the maggots, the caterpillars, the San Jose scale, and the scurvy,
the blight and the gouger, the peach yellows and the deadly curculio,
the man behind the bug gun and the sprayer finds plenty of exercise for
ingenuity and a royal chance to fight the good fight. Effeminacy is not
a farm trait. Country life is great for making men; men of robust health
and mental resources well tested by difficulty, men of the open air and
the skyward outlook. Country dwellers may well be thankful for the
challenge of the difficult. It tends to keep rural life strong."

This was written from the standpoint of the farmer himself and his
business. A like account and with quite as much zoology in it could be
made for the women that share his problems. Life under farming
conditions is as likely to provide opportunity to develop character in
the women folks as in the men; and the daughter in the house may receive
some of the benefits of this developing discipline.

To have a joyous share in a useful work is one of the most satisfying
things in the world. In such a joy as this, the daughter in the
farmstead is, within the bounds of her working capacity, invited to
partake. She may have the inspiration of work, the exhilaration of
struggle, and the keen delight of victory in the solution of farm
problems. There is much that she can do without injury, even if she is
not very strong, and almost nothing that she cannot do, if she is robust
and vigorous. If the housework seems a hardship, the matter must be
attacked as a problem and studied into to see what can be devised to
lessen the drudgery or re-adapt the burden. Invariably the parents
should consider what is good for the girl, not what is good for the
farm. Sacrifice the farm, if need be, but save the daughter.

[Illustration: The Inheritance. The Country Girl working cheerfully
beside her mother, will learn much that will be of value to her in her
effort to make the housework of to-day a joy and not a burden.]

The American Country Girl is doing her full share and often-times more
than her share. In the majority of cases "shares" should not be
mentioned at all, for each does all that is in her power more for love's
sake than because the division has been allotted out by some technical
rules of supposed right or law. The Country Girl of to-day can have
nothing to blame herself for in the part she takes as first assistant
to her mother in the home part of the farmstead. She is the vice-regent
in a kingdom where the mother is queen. And if the mother falls behind
in the race for the finish the daughter comes in and takes her place.
She does this ungrudgingly. The daughter in an American farm home
bestows liberally of her strength to make the housekeeping as nearly a
success as under the circumstances it can be. Either she shares the work
with the mother, or she works under the mother's direction, doing the
heaviest parts; or she does all the work while the mother takes care of
the chickens or carries on some of the business of the farmstead that
presupposes experience.

For instance, a twenty-two year old girl who is a good helper in a house
where the work is not overwhelmingly heavy may have for her "share" to
do all the chamber-work, wash the dishes, do the sweeping, the dusting,
and all the ironing; to rinse, starch, and hang out all the clothes; to
bake all the cakes, the pies, the cookies; to help also with the mopping
and scrubbing, and to have the loathsome duty of taking care of the
kerosene lamps. And she may add the churning and much outdoor work
beside.

Such a girl as this does not consider her work a stint; she does not say
that she will do so much and no more: she helps till all is done. She is
the crack-filler.

The Country Girl and her mother make some attempt to organize their work
and to introduce some little system into the program of the day.
Sometimes they will arrange for the daughter to be housekeeper one week
and assistant cook the next. Sometimes they divide the work equally
between mother and daughter; or two sisters take turns about doing the
entire housework.

An arrangement like this affords to both mothers and daughters a rich
opportunity. But a strange little paradox comes in here. If the
daughters wish to give the greatest degree of reverence and protection
to their mothers they should not pay too much attention to what the
mothers tell them to do. In other words if they will follow the
beckoning hand of progress and take up with the suggestions of modern
invention in their further housekeeping, they must depart from their
parents' advice and from the ways of the old folks. The oft repeated
saying, "what was good enough for my father is good enough for me,"
should never again be heard without protest by any member of the younger
generation--at least an inward protest that will rob it of its
depressing influence. It is not a want of reverence toward the memory of
our forefathers that makes us wish other and different conditions from
what they had. It is not a disloyalty to the living mother for the
daughter to say that she will not follow in her footsteps if she now
sees better ways of doing things. Shall not the large-hearted mother
wish that her child may have better and improved ways, greater
conveniences, lighter burdens, machinery for making work less
burdensome, more leisure for the higher life? She should--but does she?
She often does not see the use for the new-fangled appliances. She is
too stiff to change her ways, even when she sees that the new methods
are an economy of time, labor and nervous force. As to such a farm woman
as that, one who is so fixed in her ways that she will not listen even
for her children's sake, to the voice of progress: why, there remains
nothing for her to do but to pass on. Peace be to her! She has stood
there for a life-time and drudged and submitted and has done nothing for
household or community advancement. Some among the older women may awake
to a new life; here and there one will step over the abyss that
separates her from her daughter, will pass down and stand side by side
with the younger woman. But as a general thing the abyss is too fearful
and she lacks the energy for the leap. There remains for her only a
martyr's crown and a harp.

The most isolated farm woman in the country of half a century old must
have been touched by the edges at least of the wave of progress in
social and home-making conditions that has swept through our life in
late decades. Most of the dwellers on farms as well as townspeople have
been profoundly moved thereby. Some strange new kind of utensil drifting
to the remotest mountain valley and appearing in some neglected
despairing kitchen, like a bit of flotsam floating across seas from
richer lands, was a symbol of a reorganization as undreamed of as heaven
will be found to our awakening eyes. That utensil was the call of a new
era. The isolated farm wife may not have had her ears opened to know the
sound, but that was what it was, for all that. It represented a new
life, the making over of a whole generation.

Naturally the younger people are a part of this new life; naturally the
difference between the wants of the older people and the wants of the
younger makes a cleavage between them. The more swift the change, the
greater the difference between the people of the two ranges of family
relationship. This is the all-sufficient reason for the frequency of
differences between the young men and young women of this period and
their parents. In the country these differences have appeared with less
frequency because the progress in those parts has been less spasmodic,
more normal, more natural. This has been at least one good effect of the
slowness of the countryside to take up with the new ideas. But the
progress there has been fully swift enough to make a distinct division
between old and young, and this division, the result of perfectly
natural influences that do not by any means belong to the country alone,
has been one of the causes why the young men and the young women have
drifted away to the city.

A better way would be to stay and work out the problem. It would be
wiser for the older and younger to attack it together as one. As for the
Country Girl, we are far from suggesting a separation between the
motherly and the daughterly ideals. We would wish rather to pour
greater tenderness into the relationship, already one of the dearest of
human ties. Said one noble-hearted man, after giving a full description
of the work of his mother under the old régime with soap-making, dyeing,
spinning, and candle-making, "Do we want to return to those good old
times? Not by any means! My greatest regret is that my mother could not
have lived to have some of the luxuries of the present era." This is the
right spirit. And the young woman who brings her thoughts to her mother
with the brand of the later era upon them, must remember that she is
carrying out the spirit, if not the letter, of her mother's life and
character, her cleverness and her patience, her adaptation to
circumstances and her tact and perseverance, when she takes the result
of her mother's work and carries it a step farther, adapting her hands
to the use of the tools that her time provides, even as her mother did
in using the tools of her own time and station a half-century ago, when
she exchanged her tallow dip for the kerosene lamp, her fireplace and
crane for the cast-iron stove.



CHAPTER X

THE HOMESTEADER


  What man would live coffined with brick and stone,
  Imprisoned from the influences of air
  And cramped with selfish landmarks everywhere,
  When all before him stretches, furrowless and lone,
  The unmapped prairie none can fence or own?

  What man would read and read the selfsame faces,
  And, like the marbles which the wind-mill grinds,
  Rub smooth forever with the same smooth minds,
  This year retracing last year's, every year's, dull traces,
  When there are woods and un-man-stifled places?

  _Lowell._



CHAPTER X

THE HOMESTEADER


In 1777 the famous ladies of Litchfield molded delicately the leaden
statue of King George into bullets that their husbands might have the
wherewithal to fight King George's men. To this day there stands along
the edges of the West many a shack with chunks of lead imbedded in its
walls where women still live who defended themselves there using bullets
they also molded, not a century, but just a few decades ago. The
pioneering era is with us still.

"Over vast expanses of America," says Dr. Albert Shaw, "the log-cabin
period still continues." And if the log-cabin is found--or the tar-paper
shack, or the sod-wall house, or the dug-out, or whatever device stands
as an apology for a dwelling place while the claim is being "proved
up"--then also the dolorous conditions of isolation and struggle, of
overwork and wearing out and all that follows as a reprisal by fate for
the inroad into a new world, are matters of present day experience.

There are unirrigated deserts where women wear out their lives in
despairing labor. The unwatered soil laughs at the puny human beings,
and human need and human desire do not easily learn the lesson that only
by united effort, by community union on a grand scale, can conquest be
made against that array of nature's inexorable forces.

Across prairie uplands on the slopes of the Rockies are vast stretches
of level yellow soil where not a green speck is in sight in any
direction. The gray-hued buffalo grass spreads everywhere and not a
tree, rock or stone can be seen. In the widely separated farmsteads most
of the houses are of sod. The men are sheep herders: they start out
with a collie and supplies for a three months' trip. When they come back
they are startled at the sound of a human voice. Often on their return
they are disturbed in their mental balance. The solitude has not been
good for them. Many go insane.

The women remain in the sod house and work. In illness they have only
the midwife to rely upon. As a result they suffer from the effects of
unskilful treatment. They are all Eastern women, all homesteading; but
they never can save money enough to go back East. Hopeless of that, they
lose impetus and all life descends to a lower key.

In this dark picture, from which some of the deepest shadows have been
intentionally omitted, a definite region has been kept in view; but
there are other places out on the edge of things that are like or
similar to this. Such conditions require the heroism of martyrs. Noble
martyrdoms pay well but reckless waste of life does not. It cannot be
said that any daughters born under these conditions have one-tenth of
their rightful chance in life.

In other portions of the vast and but partially subdued West, conditions
may be trying but they are not hopeless. Here, as we have seen in former
chapters, life to the Country Girl may be buoyant and inspiring even
though the eight hour day of hard labor may stretch out to ten or twelve
or even fourteen hours. The rest is sweet, conscience is crystal-clear,
and "what one does is of consequence."

It is that ultimate possibility that lends zest to effort, the
"consequence" that inheres in the task. While the registry of cattle
brands in the local western newspaper always includes among its symbols
some three-ply hook or decimal fraction or swastika design that stands
for the ranch of an enterprising and successful woman, there is always a
suggested possibility to the mind of the young girl that lends fervor to
her efforts. It is not forbidden that she should excel and even have a
ranch of her own.

The author knows of an efficient woman who owned and ran for twenty-five
years a ranch of fifty thousand acres in the midst of the southern
Rockies. The place produced annually twenty thousand tons of hay; they
had about ten thousand head of cattle, three thousand head of horses,
two hundred angora goats, selling the wool for sixty cents a pound;
there were two thousand chickens, three hundred head of hogs, and two
thousand doves. A stream ran near the house from which a five-pound
trout could be taken at any minute. In summer some fifty men were
employed. The owner had a son and a foreman with whom she advised, but
she managed things herself. There was also a daughter, she sometimes put
on a sombrero and drove one of the two-furrow disk plows when ten in a
line worked over a field one mile wide by four miles long, following the
big irrigation ditch that ran along the side of the field.

Of course the woman's opportunity and will to own a farm are not
confined to the Western country. Many a girl in New Hampshire, Michigan
or Alabama has saved the old home for her disabled parents by putting
her shoulder to the wheel, bearing the disaster of the near-cyclone and
the barn-burning, the desertion of renegade "help," and the distrust of
old fogy neighbors. A girl graduate of Wellesley has hastened to acquire
a farm in a lovely river bend in Central New York before the price goes
higher still, and one has doubts of her success until one hears her at
the telephone arguing with a man who thinks he can go back on his
bargain about her wind-fall apples. Stories like these would take us
trailing across the country from Maine to California and would leave us
bewildered before the upspringing of new life everywhere in the energies
of the young women of America.

To many of these younger women, the fact that in America a woman does
not have to be head of a family in order to take up a claim seems a
golden opportunity; the struggle and privation inevitable in the years
of proving up, are not sufficiently appalling to prevent their attempt.
The number is swelled by recruits from among the straight college girls,
the agricultural graduates, those who have had business training, some
of the writing clan, some artists, and some who are moved by a clear
spirit of adventure. Nothing daunts them.

To this energetic girl the business part is a mere detail. She writes to
the Department of the Interior at Washington, asking for full
information about the method of taking up land, about the unappropriated
lands and instructions for homesteaders. These pamphlets are promptly
received. Or she applies to the Chamber of Commerce of the biggest city
in the State to which she wishes to go. She carefully regards the
warnings set up along the path of the would-be homesteader, which are
these: see the land itself before deciding; decide that the home you are
seeking is to be a permanent one; be sure that you are adapted for
silence and solitariness; and finally, this all-important rule--have
enough capital for buildings, for cattle and horses, for machinery,
wells, cisterns and seed, and enough more to carry you over a bad year
or two, before you undertake the great task.

Having met these requirements, she gaily packs her carefully selected
goods on a gigantic prairie barge and convoyed by an efficient freighter
(a freighter is a human being), she rides the fifty miles from the last
station out to her claim, paying the freighter twenty dollars for his
service.

She is very busy, that instinct for the practical that has been
developed in the ingenious American through centuries of pioneering
comes to her rescue now. She resorts to all manner of tasteful
makeshifts; she works miracles with hammer and saw; she makes easy
chairs out of barrels and dressing tables out of packing boxes. As soon
as possible a piano is installed in the soddy. The tiny shack becomes an
orderly little combination of laboratory, boudoir, and study. The
little house acquires a charm of its own. Wherever the American girl is,
it is a home. She sits at the door of her soddy with her faithful tabby
in her lap and is content.

She loves it all. The wild surroundings have a charm for her. Said one:
"I certainly fell in love with life on the ranch. I still have my place
and have bought more land adjoining it. I guess I am a sort of Indian
myself. I love the big outdoors and I love every rock in our mountains.
There is something in the somber green of the pines that creeps into
one's heart and I am lonesome away from them."

A young woman in Wyoming writes: "This country is so different, so big,
that the horizon alone seems to set the limit. I visited on one ranch
that is fourteen miles from one end to the other. There are no green
wooded hills here, but great rocky slopes and rushing water and great
sandy flats with wonderful changing colors.... I do not think we miss
the outside world as there is something about this country that, after a
time, fills one's whole thoughts and it is hard to remember that there
is any other world than this."

But do they not mind the deep changeless silence in those distant
solitary places? "But there is no silence here," she answers, "except on
the high places of the mountain tops. Here there is always the roar of
the river at the bottom of the canyon and the wind in the cedars all
about me."

But the Indians? Do you not fear that war-whoop? "It used to alarm me to
meet an Indian out on the big flats, but I soon discovered that they
will not even look at you as they pass."

But how about rattlesnakes? In answer came this: "I never had any
rattlesnakes in my bed, though I fancied I had one night. I got up,
carefully lifted off the sheets, and found--the comfortable under me
wrinkled up! There are not many rattlesnakes now--you see, we kill
them."

Another girl who taught in a sod schoolhouse told how one day she
discovered a large snake coiled around the rafters of the little room.
She and the larger pupils got sticks and drove it out. She then
modestly added, "We certainly would have killed it had it not been a
bull snake, but bull snakes kill the deadly rattlers, you know, so we
let it live."

But are you not afraid to stay in your cabin alone on your lofty butte?
"No, I do not believe that I am afraid. When I first came here the
bigness of the hills frightened me, but now some of the best times I
have are when I am walking over the hills and through the trees at
night. I have a bull terrier and a collie that are always with me so I
am not so much alone as it might seem. I have also a beautiful big
Morgan saddle horse; I ride over the country alone and I have never been
frightened."

Another homesteader girl has learned how to overcome fear. She says: "It
takes some courage to stay alone on one's claim night after night. But
perhaps that is a foolish fear, for there is really nothing to be afraid
of. I positively love to hear the coyotes howling and barking among the
hills as I lie on my little bed in my little house. One night last
winter I heard the creaking and groaning of heavy wagons laboring
through the snow. I had been in bed for some time and the noise of the
wagons mingled with the voices of the men awakened me. I rose, threw on
a cloak, and opening the door a few inches, I looked out. The foremost
wagon had stopped just in front of the door. 'What is it?' I called.
'Which way do you go to get to Grassville?' I told him, he thanked me,
and I shut the door. The wagons creaked and moved away. _I had not been
afraid._ Perhaps it is faith in God which keeps us out here. If that is
so, then this life _is_ favorable to moral development, is it not?"

"Homesteading," says one college girl and successful homesteader, "is
not simply one means for leisure, outdoor life and freedom from
conventionality--it is an opportunity to test one's caliber in
withstanding privations, in braving blizzards, in conquering the fear of
rattlers and that greater fear of being alone on a seemingly limitless
prairie. It is also a chance to recognize in those sturdy men and women
of the West their big heartedness and clean mindedness. A girl too timid
to stay alone over night in a city apartment may feel a sense of safety
alone in her shack in the West that the civilized East would not
understand. It does not take long to realize that the old cow-boy
courtesy of protecting women holds good still. As a result of it all we
might say that besides gaining a new view point on life, besides the
moral strength attained in conquering that desire to return to the ease
of civilization, comes that mental and physical vigor which seems to be
inherent in the girl who has held down a claim for fourteen months and
who has successfully proved it up."

To take a place like this in the community such as homesteading
involves, requires the assumption of responsibility, and responsibility
always develops. Cases are mentioned where a young woman has been
strengthened morally by the evident necessity for rectitude. Young women
who have not before been interested in church work have been drawn into
it, for they saw that somebody must do this between the times when the
circuit preacher could come around.

A well-balanced judgment comes from Elinore Rupert Stewart, whose
homesteading experience has been detailed in a delightful book and whose
record of a working day has been shared with us in an earlier chapter.

To her homesteading offers one solution of poverty's problem; but she
adds, if the would-be homesteader is afraid of coyotes and work and
loneliness, she had better let ranching alone. Nevertheless, any woman
who can endure her own company, who can see the beauty in a sunset, who
loves growing things, and is willing to put in as much time at hard
outdoor labor as she has done over the washtub, will certainly succeed.
Her reward will be in independence, enough to eat all the time, and a
home of her own in the end.

This homesteader with her power of literary expression has given us
vivid pictures of the possibilities in the cabin life of the new
country. Her claim lies sixty miles from a railroad. There is no rural
delivery of mails, no doctor, no preacher. To the west the Rocky
Mountains lift great gorge-scarred masses of rock and to the east
stretch bad lands and desert and interminable uninhabited space. Her
"community" includes all the ranches for fifty miles around. And how
interesting are those neighbors! So good, so queer, so like folks! She
has brought Christmas cheer into every camp of sheep-herders within
reach. She is nurse and doctor to every sick woman. She has been
guardian angel to the lone rancher, Zebulun, finding his friends for him
"back home," and to a pair of abused young lovers, for whom she gave a
wedding dinner, providing the elegance of drawn-work paper napkins and
inviting the guests to wash dishes--a compliment that they did not in
the least consider a breach of decorum. She is community companion to
her neighbors in hours of joy and in hours of sorrow. A missionary could
scarcely ask for a more needy, a more vital or a more responsive
"field."

In the circle of her ministrations was found a young girl whom she calls
Cora Belle. This little person, half child, half grown woman, so
unconsciously brave, so pathetically buoyant, asking little of Fate and
receiving so little from the hand of that close-fisted autocrat--forms
an appealing figure and may be thought of as the typical young Country
Girl in the realm of the ranch and the cabin.

Cora Belle lived with her grandparents, two useless old people who drank
up each other's medicines just to save them, and frightfully neglected
the poor little granddaughter. The description of the child brings her
vividly before us. "She was a stout, square-built little figure with
long flaxen braids, a pair of beautiful brown eyes, and the longest and
whitest lashes you ever saw, a straight nose, a short upper lip, a broad
full forehead,--the whole face, neither pretty nor ugly, plentifully
sown with the brownest freckles."

The child did all the housework for her rheumatic and ignorant
grandparents and took care of the stock. From the big sheep men that
passed their way, she begged the "dogie" lambs which they were glad to
give away, and by tender care she preserved their lives. Soon she had a
flock of forty in good condition and preserved from attacks by the
wolves. The next step in her progress was that she began to help cook
for the sheep-shearer's men in order that her sheep might be sheared
along with theirs. The one to whom she appealed was kindly disposed and
he hauled her wool to town, bringing back to her the magnificent sum of
sixty dollars, all of which she soon had the hard luck to see paid out
for more quack medicines. And Cora Belle went on wearing the poor
gingham skirt that was so unskilfully cut that it sagged in the back
almost to the ground. No wonder that this unselfish, hapless little girl
touched the heart of the capable young woman homesteader so that she
made a party all for her, giving her a few simple presents, some
underclothes made of flour bags that she had carefully preserved, a
skirt of outing flannel and a white sun-bonnet built from a precious bit
of lawn and trimmed with an embroidered edging.

Cora Belle came to the party driving her lanky old mare, Sheba, hitched
up with the strong little donkey, Balaam, who balked every three miles
and had to be waited for. The grandparents were in behind all wrapped in
quilts, and they were as astonished as modest Cora Belle herself to find
that it could enter anybody's head to appreciate and honor that small
child. Now--good luck to all the Cora Belles! And may every one of them
find such a friend as this girl has found!

[Illustration: A happy homesteader in front of her "soddy." The vastness
of the country does not daunt her. She learns to love the quiet, broken
only by the roar of a river at the bottom of a canyon or the howl of a
coyote on the great sandy flats.]

While the brave people that have adventured into a new country will
invariably be interesting to the seeing eye, it is the experience of
many homesteaders to find in their expansive communities many who will
surprise them by their ability and attainments. This is not strange for
a new country always beckons to the strong, the intelligent, the highly
individual. In one region the forest ranger had been a newspaper editor
in Dublin; one of the hired men had been a photographer artist in
Detroit; another had been a wireless operator in Alaska; another was
educated in a German university, and an Oxford man drove the stage. "Our
neighborhood," says a college girl homesteader, who herself wears a Phi
Beta Kappa key, "is as cosmopolitan as Ellis Island itself. One family
of three from Illinois are good neighbors and law-abiding citizens.
Another neighbor is a Mexican freighter. Another is a Norwegian whose
sole delight is to poison other people's stock and dogs and to read the
_Appeal to Reason_, which he calls 'The Apple.' Another lawless one
hails from Denmark. Would that he and his tribe had never left the
Fatherland, if they will not become Americanized! Another is a
half-witted Bosco. Another is a woman who has trodden the historic
Appian Way and journeyed to world capitols. Another is a sweet-faced
teacher who is much in demand in higher circles of learning than we have
here. So there are Italians, Scotch, French, Germans, Swedes, and many
Finlanders,--making up the good and the bad, the strong and helpful as
well as the opposite."

Sociability and a community spirit of a kind adapted to the conditions
are possible under such circumstances. And there is probably no better
field for the weekly paper, the woman's magazine and all the monthlies
than in the dug-out and the soddy. "Any pleasures? Heaps of them!" cried
one of the homesteader girls. "Visiting, horseback riding, parties,
socials, dancing, camping, hunting,--all kinds for all tastes." To be
sure, when the ranches are ten to twenty miles apart, it is difficult
for the people to get together very often. But when they do have a dance
they come from fifty miles around. They come for supper, dance all
night, and have breakfast together the next morning.

[Illustration: A Knitting Class at the Agricultural School. Note the
splendid poise of the Country Girl in the background, how naturally and
yet perfectly she is holding herself.]

To a lonely girl on her claim it is an event if another girl becomes her
next door neighbor fifteen miles away. Hence the newcomer no sooner
arrives than an eager neighbor comes to call, and the call lasts the
whole afternoon. They talk about the cabin and its fixtures, cooking
and recipes, dress and styles, the family and the crops--and the
neighbors. If the circle includes foreigners then the question of
being neighborly is more difficult. It is also a problem when one finds
one's self near a group who spend the whole time in playing bridge, for
there is nothing more certain to asphyxiate intellectual intercourse or
human exchanges of any kind. If the leader of the Four Hundred in a
one-hundred-mile-square community cannot read or write but plays cards
like a gambler, it is impossible to entertain a hope that true community
spirit will flourish there and good works will be furthered. But the
Country Girl who finds herself in such a place as that may reflect that
perhaps her very reason for being is to provide from her abundant
resources some offset of joy and entertainment and good will that will
plant good community spirit and unharmful pleasure where evil things had
sway.

Both the gay bravura and the sound judgment of the American college girl
are shown in this picturing bit from Mabel Stewart Lewis, a successful
homesteader of South Dakota. "It is such fun to go visiting the other
girls, to taste their goodies, to sleep four in a bed, toast
marshmallows, and make fudge. But these things are mere trivialities.
The great and glorious fact of _being_ it and _doing_ it is the
pleasure! What could be more delightful than owning one's own land,
having one's own house, digging in one's own soil, and being one's own
and only boss?

"Looking down deeper than the surface and out beyond my quarter section,
I see that our life here is another part of the great feminist movement
of the world, a real and very vital part for the young women who are
fortunate enough to be classed among the homesteaders. And fortunate
not only are they, but the country, a part of which they are building."

Pioneering life is a passing phase; the girl homesteader is exceptional.
But transitory periods may teach great lessons as they glide along
before the glass of history. And if the girls that brave the danger,
endure the solitude, become angels of mercy in their communities,
survive the bad years, and master the situation commercially, show that
they can do this when the incentive that is rightfully theirs is given
to them, they have performed a service worthy of their strenuous labor,
their suffering, and even perhaps of their martyrdoms.

This chapter has spoken of an exceptional group; the following chapters
return to the average Country Girl and her general problems.



CHAPTER XI

THE NEW ERA


     It is especially important that whatever will prepare country
     children for life on the farm, and whatever will brighten home
     life in the country and make it richer and more attractive for the
     mothers, wives and daughters of farmers should be done promptly,
     thoroughly and gladly. There is no more important person, measured
     in influence upon the life of the nation, than the farmer's wife,
     no more important home than the country home, and it is of
     national importance to do the best we can for both.

  _Theodore Roosevelt._



CHAPTER XI

THE NEW ERA


The mother of to-day is a bridge between two eras. Her mother had a
wooden spoon and a skillet; her daughter has a dynamo. As for herself,
she hardly knows which way to turn--whether to be loyal to the wooden
spoon or to enlist her sympathies with the dynamo.

This is, by the way, the reason for many of her troubles, though she may
not assign them to this cause. For the utensil is the symbol of a
psychology, of a rationale of living, of an esthetic ideal, of a
spiritual recognition. When the soap-kettle was carried for the last
time into the backyard to rust away forever in the weeds behind the
barn, the New Era believed itself safe in the dining-room and made up
its mind to stay there. Science riding on a gang-plow and scattering
bulletins along the way, was making happy inroads on the farm; and the
electric motor in the kitchen became inevitable. All that remained for
us was to adapt ourselves to it, and that is what we have been doing
ever since.

It was a revolution--this introduction of machinery; and it was none the
less so because it came so gradually and with so little show of
intention. No one noticed when Hannah found it no longer possible to sit
by her window binding shoes. She then, however, ceased to look through
the pane for her unreturning lover, but sorrowfully rose from her chair
and walking out of the low door, she passed over to the factory across
the street and there went on as before, binding shoes--but in another
way. She simply became one of a hundred who gave their whole attention
to one single element among the forty-nine different elements now made
possible in the process of making a pair of shoes, and left the other
forty-eight elements to be done by other industrious women working in
groups of one hundred. The women were not driven out of their work; they
did not crowd into the places of men in the manufacturing field. They
simply took their long-accustomed work in hand and went into the factory
to do it. So with weaving and many other kinds of industry. So is it now
with canning. Women are the prehistoric caretakers of our foodstuffs.
They still are this when in the factory they are canning pickles and
green corn and tomatoes.

Strangely enough the same influence that took the industrial woman out
of the home is to conduct her back again. It was Power embodied in the
steam engine that wooed her away from the home; it will be Power
expressed in the marvelous dynamo that will set her again by the
hearthside. It will be a regenerated home, one in which the regenerated
woman will be able to live, the woman that can think in terms of
calories, who will act as quickly as the new mechanical force will
demand, and who after a little will find the far more exact methods no
strain upon her powers of adaptation and execution.

In the present era of transition loyalty leads her to make the best of
her surroundings and to do all that she can to-day to ameliorate the
difficulties for herself and her family; sometimes she does not know
that a better lot should be hers; sometimes she is dulled by the care
and the burden she bears. But the great upward pressing tide will reach
every one in time--soon, yes, very soon!--and she will see that the new
way is going to set her free for a better and a higher service to those
she loves. The wonderful element of mechanical power embodied in the
dynamo or in some kindred form, is to contract her working hours, as it
has the stint of men, from ten hours to one, and will leave her with
lightened hands to do other and more valuable things for family and
community. Of course the old era and the new era are now seen standing
side by side and will be for a long time yet. There are ardent
unenlightened women who stand for old ways as if the new must have a
sort of wickedness about them because they are expected to lessen the
work. There are by this time also many who have experimented with the
use of mechanical power in the household and have found this newly
adopted servant of the Lord in that great laboratory of the Lord, the
human house and home, to be a comfortable and loving companion; as at
the beginning, this application of divine force to human happiness has
been pronounced good.

As the old and the new stand side by side, they will be sure to clash to
some extent. Every detail must be studied out and applied to various
needs as they come up. Progress is being very swiftly made just now and
every one must get in step as soon as possible.

The awakening that is proceeding along all the great channels of thought
meets, however, at certain points a very definite obstacle. For
instance, if one of those famous self-sacrificing housewives who survive
from past times, should be asked why she did not have a certain
convenience that would lessen her labor, she would say: "Well, I thought
that over and decided that I could possibly get along without it." The
answer would be typical. Whatever she could possibly get along without
she ought not to have. Unconsciously the woman makes all things a matter
of conscience. But the conscience is a creature capable of education as
well as of ethical impulse and determination. The conscience should be
more highly educated. The question should not be, can I possibly get
along without that?--but, can I bring myself and my family to a higher
degree of efficiency, to a state of more robust vigor, of more intense
and joyous activity, by having the conserving appliances, by cooking
more sustaining meals, by inducing them to wear shoes with thicker soles
and coats of rubber, or to stop work sooner? Can I get a little more
efficiency out of myself and of my family and out of the workers in barn
and kitchen by adopting these new-fangled ideas or devices? The new era
woman will always give the new-fangled idea a chance.

A noble joke was played upon a woman of this kind by her modern young
niece when she took an old barrel from the woodshed and with the aid of
two old kettles and an armful of hay turned it into a fireless
cooker--or rather into a "hay-box" cooker, for it hardly deserved the
better name though it was built on the same principle. The girl had been
bragging that she could cook potatoes for dinner in an old box out in
the woodshed. The aunt, of course, thought her niece was joking. But she
assured her aunt that she was in earnest and would show her. So she
peeled the potatoes and bringing them to a boil on the stove at eight
o'clock in the morning and whisking them, piping hot into the hay-box,
she left them there till exactly twelve, the dinner hour, and then
brought them triumphantly forth, still piping hot, perfectly cooked,
perfectly mealy and delicious. The happiness point was reached for her
when her aunt sank down in a chair absolutely nonplussed with this
miracle that she had seen with her own eyes!-- Or, better still, when
the potatoes the aunt had surreptitiously prepared by her accustomed
methods were refused by everybody, while the family partook of those
that were cooked by the miracle. Triumph could no further go! It cannot
be said that old is old and new is new and never the twain shall meet,
for old and new met here at that moment and old was demolished! The next
thing would be for that identical very capable housewife to buy a good,
first-class, durable and sanitary fireless cooker and use it habitually.
But, alas! the prejudices of her husband prevented that desirable
consummation. Progress was therefore stalled in that particular spot.
But the valley where she lived had had one ray of light let into it; the
thought of a possible relief had come. Let us hope that this may soon
happen to every vale and corner, and kindle a hope in the heart of all
farm women everywhere!

The light of this hope may not shine very brightly in the hearts of many
women of the earlier training and habits. But for the young women, for
the six million between the age of fifteen and twenty-nine, it is
radiant and alluring. The present-day mother may still say that her
mother's ways are good enough for her; but the daughter--as between the
wooden spoon and the motor, what will she be likely to choose? Can any
one ask the question?

She will ask that when her new house is built she shall have ample
accommodation of cisterns full of soft water together with pipes to
carry it to every part of the house where water is needed and an
adequate accompaniment of drain pipes and plumbing. She will ask for an
electric motor or a power-engine to run the washing-machine, to pump the
water into the attic cistern, and to be the avenue of force to every
activity, including the dishwashing.

She will plan to give thirty minutes every other day to that dreaded
work that now takes an hour three times a day. She will make no
provisions for carrying in coal and carrying out ashes, for her electric
stove will not use that kind of fuel and will not produce that kind of
waste.

There will never be a fly in her kitchen; the household laboratory will
be as clean and glowing as the parlor. The floor will be as artistic as
the tessellated pavement of a palace. The aluminum utensils will be
always shining, for the material of which they are made will not
tarnish. They will be light as feathers and never be a trouble to lift.
Her hands will be neat and exquisite; her dress for the laboratory of
the house will be tasteful and tidy and becoming, for there will be no
reason why it should not be. She will be a joy to look at because she
will be happy and because she will be adapted to her work.

If the Country Girl of the New Era is asked to go and begin her own
home-making in the old homestead, she will ask to have the walls
perforated and a large-sized vacuum cleaner installed in the cellar with
hose connections on all the floors. There must be slides and pulleys to
let heavy things down to the lower floors, and to draw them up to
bedrooms or storerooms above. Room must be made for dust chutes from all
floors above the cellar and heating pipes to every room. One may think
that the House in the New Era is to be all pipes, but this is the
laboratory installation idea; this is simply applying the same principle
to the house that men are applying to the office. The telephone, the
private wire, the repeating phonograph, the card system, the calculating
machine and all the different kinds of recording and stamping
machines--these are what the mechanical age provides for the workshop of
the man. Well may we repeat what has been said: "The workshop of the
woman is the worst workshop in the world." But it is not to be so very
much longer.

The scheme above described is not by any means a dream of the far
distant future. No: here and there it is now being realized. In many a
kitchen in small villages and along the countryside where the distance
is not too great to make electric connections from central plants, we
may find installed the electric stove which with fireless cooker and
scientific manipulation is found to be no more costly after the initial
expense of installation than other forms of heating, and the dishwashing
machine which reduces that part of the labor from three separate hours
each day to forty solid minutes of one single morning. We may find also
the inlet of power by which many other household processes as well as
such branches of the farming business as are carried on in the house,
are turned from unbearable drudgery almost into play. In such a kitchen
the fittings will be exquisite; to work there a delight. The housewife
who has devoted so much money to mere machinery may have resigned the
addition of a wing or a porch and devoted the two thousand dollars the
enlargement of the house would have cost to the installation of these
expensive fittings. But it has richly paid her. The whole field of
family welfare has been lifted to a higher plane and the happiness and
health of all indefinitely increased. And the same fine experience will
be within the reach of all farm and village women soon. Those that live
in villages and closely inhabited country districts will get their
electric power from streams and waterfalls, utilized for community
service; those that live on remote farms on the prairies and
mountain-sides will have their individual resources for power. For the
most part these are financially able to gain this, for if they were not
they could not remain in the regions where they dwell. A comparatively
small proportion of the population could not, if they would, make use of
some source of mechanical power. If they would! What prevents them? It
is this--only this: the lack of community spirit! And since this
desirable spirit is constantly increasing, since recruits are coming to
this new army almost daily, since students, teachers, ministers,
philosophers, one after another are putting shoulder to this wheel, and
farm men, farm women, and farm sons and daughters are coming forward
with the new light in their eyes to ask and expect the aid of machinery
to make their work more effective, it is not unwise to hope that the
people of the countryside are not going to be made to wait many years
more for the fulfilment of their dream.

The Country Girl of the New Era will ask to have a new house, built to
the highest ideals of sanitary living, and of release from unnecessary,
uncalled-for toil, or else she will require that the old house be made
over to the new mechanism. Which will be the most economical? Sometimes
that old place has advantages in the lines of its roof, the store of its
traditions, the love laid up in its cubby-holes; but then--it will have
to be torn out somewhere for the entrance of labor-saving devices.
Science will insist on some surgery for cleanliness and deftness and the
wisdom of the future to enter in.

Whatever plan is made for the house of the future that its household
laboratory may have the attention it deserves, the life of the Country
Girl therein is to be set to a new rhythm, or she will be hopelessly
left behind. Can any one doubt that she will ask for such things as she
believes are necessary to her highest efficiency, and insist upon having
them?

Various lists of essential labor-saving devices have been suggested. The
one that follows was taken for the most part from an agricultural paper
and includes most of the things now recommended by specialists in
household economics. But it must be noted that the progress in the
application of forces to needs is now very swift, and any day these
devices may be superseded by more expediting appliances. It is the duty
of every young woman to keep track of these additions to her repertory
of activities. The various journals of mechanics constantly report them,
and the wild frenzy of the advertisers may be turned into righteousness
by watching what they have that will be of use to us.

A LIST OF LABOR-SAVING DEVICES

     Water system, including bathtub, and all fixtures connected
       therewith.
     Heating system.
     Lighting system.
     Vacuum cleaner.
     Refrigerator, or a concrete cooler built near the well to take
       advantage of the coolness of the well water.
     Sewing-machine with electric power to run it.
     Washing-machine, do.
     Wringer, do.
     Dishwashing machine, do.
     Cold mangle.
     Alcohol iron or electric iron.
     Carpet-sweeper.
     Bread-mixer.
     Cake-mixer.
     Meat and vegetable mill.
     Fireless cooker.
     Coal-oil stove, three burner.
     Dinner wagon or wheeled tray.
     Ash chutes, to the kitchen for the range and to each room that has
       a fireplace; not needed if electric stove is used.
     Cement walks--through the yard and garden to prevent wear and tear
       on floors of the house.

A scheme for the equipment of a modern kitchen follows, with, again, the
proviso that the young woman must adapt it to her own needs by careful
study of her conditions:

EQUIPMENT FOR A FARM KITCHEN

FURNITURE

  Stove with water-back and boiler.
  Kitchen table with drawer.
  Kitchen cabinet.
  Ice-box.
  Fireless cooker.
  Scrap basket.
  Clock.
  A revolving high-stool.
  A magnifying glass.
  A dissecting microscope.
  A linoleum floor covering.
  A double sink.
  2 double wheeled trays.
  A perfectly fitted wire screen for each window.
  A wire screen door.

UTENSILS

_Granite or aluminum_

  1 tea-kettle, 4 qt. and cover.
  3 saucepans, 3 qt., 2 qt. and 1 qt.
  3 double-boilers, 4 qt., 2 qt. and 1 qt.
  1 pudding dish.
  1 colander.
  1 coffee-pot.
  1 nest of mixing bowls.
  A set of covers, various sizes.
  1 stock pot, 12 qts.
  1 salt dredger.
  1 flour dredger.
  1 garbage pail, with tight-fitting cover.

_Wire-ware_

  1 toast broiler.
  1 meat broiler.
  2 strainers.
  1 tea strainer.
  1 flour sifter.
  1 potato masher.
  2 egg beaters.
  1 soap dish.
  1 dish drainer.
  2 cake coolers.
  1 soap shaker.

_Tinware_

  4 jelly cake tins.
  6 bread pans.
  2 cake tins.
  1 potato ricer.
  1 pint measure.
  1 biscuit cutter.
  1 doughnut cutter.
  1 flour scoop.
  1 funnel.
  2 dishpans.
  2 muffin pans.
  1 biscuit pan.
  1 wash boiler.
  1 quart measure.
  1 apple corer.
  2 graters, small and large.
  1 steamer.
  1 ladle.
  1 sink scraper.

_Ironware_

  1 roasting pan.
  1 omelet pan.
  1 griddle.
  1 frying kettle.
  1 coal scuttle.
  1 shovel.
  1 stove lifter.
  1 poker.
  1 waffle iron.
  3 irons 8 lbs.
  3 irons 7 lbs.
  1 iron 5 lbs.
  1 iron stand.
  1 food chopper.
  1 pancake turner.

_Japannedware_

  1 bread box.
  1 cake box.
  1 flour box.
  1 sugar box.
  1 tea cannister.
  1 spice box.
  1 dust pan.

_Woodenware_

  1 mop.
  1 broom.
  1 vegetable brush.
  1 sink brush.
  1 stove brush.
  1 floor brush.
  1 scrub brush.
  1 stepladder and chair combined.
  1 sugar bucket.
  2 chopping bowls, large and small.
  1 ice-cream freezer.
  1 meat board.
  1 rolling-pin.
  2 small wooden spoons.
  2 large wooden spoons.
  1 work board.
  1 boiler stick.
  1 wringer.
  1 ironing-board.
  1 clothes horse.
  1 pail.
  1 ice-cream freezer.

_Hardware_

  1 bread knife.
  1 cleaver.
  1 butcher knife.
  2 vegetable knives.
  1 heavy mixing spoon.
  1 ice pick.
  1 meat fork.
  3 forks.
  1 cristy knife.
  1 palette knife.
  1 corkscrew.
  1 can opener.
  1 scale.
  1 coffee mill.
  6 teaspoons.
  6 tablespoons.
  1 chopping knife.
  1 pair heavy scissors.
  1 set skewers.
  1 knife sharpener.

_Earthenware and Glass_

  1 bowl, 6 qts.
  2 bowls, 3 qts.
  6 bowls, 1 qt.
  12 cups (custard).
  6 breakfast plates.
  6 fruit jars, 1 pt.
  6 jelly tumblers with covers.
  6 fruit jars, 1 qt.
  1 baking dish, 1 qt.
  1 baking dish, 2 qts.
  1 teapot.
  1 casserole, 2 qts.
  1 bean pot with cover.
  1 butter jar.
  1 measuring cup, 1/2 pt.
  1 pitcher, 2 qts.
  1 pitcher, 1 qt.
  1 pitcher, 1 pt.

LINEN

  12 fine linen dish towels for glass.
  12 coarser dish towels.
  24 knit dishcloths.
  12 hand towels.
  6 coarse floor cloths.
  6 dustless dusters.
  12 holders, washable.
  12 cheesecloth squares for wrapping lettuce.

MISCELLANEOUS

  1 letter file for bills.
  1 hook for business notes.
  1 memorandum pad and pencil.
  1 account book.
  1 fountain pen.
  1 pencil.
  1 indelible pencil.
  Supply of blocks, impression papers, pencils, erasers, blotting
    paper, ink, pens, pins, clips, etc.
  Supply of cards for a card catalog for all household records.

It is not claimed that this list is imperative for each and every girl.
She must adapt it to her special needs. It is merely a typical list. And
if the young woman who reads and ponders it does not know how to adapt
it to her own needs, she certainly is not fitted to undertake her own
housekeeping. She should go to some school where young women are
trained in household science and there study the science of utensils and
the chemistry of cooking and cleaning, and the whole science and art of
home-making.

The list may seem a long one; but when the appliances and utensils are
placed before the adequately prepared young woman, she will have a
sensation not of discouragement but of delight. To make every young
woman realize that if she has adequate preparation she can feel
perfectly at home in a house with an industrious little motor at its
heart from which will go forth the miracle of an invisible force that
will bring every part of the work to magical completion without any
effort of ours and that thus what once was drudgery may be turned into a
delight,--this is the problem that stands with expectant, perhaps
ominous, eyes at our doorway; ominous if we show an unwelcoming look,
expectant if we give it greeting and stand ready to take this friend to
our heart.

Everything in this world is good. The great god Power led the woman out
of her House and into the Factory. It was necessary in order that she
should have a chance to learn the rules of the game. Now, her lesson
learned, the same great god Power is quietly but firmly taking her again
by the hand and leading her back to her House. There she will dwell; and
there she will again attempt to create that divine reflection of heaven
which we call Home. Now that she is once more allowed to undertake this
task, let us hope that she will be successful in building up an
institution worthy of the scientific age in which she lives, illuminated
with electric beams that shall beat into every rat hole and every
germ-protecting dark corner, and with every conceivable energy-producing
and conserving device that can be planned by the human mind.



CHAPTER XII

THE HOUSEHOLD LABORATORY


VOICES IN THE HOUSEHOLD

  Upon the shelf the clock ticks merrily;
  The kettle sings his song in drowsy mood;
  Within the stove crackles the fragrant wood;
  The coffee-mill grinds out a cheerful lay.
  Surely within the oven one can see
  A roast ... what else on earth would smell so good?...
  And little globes of fat, all amber-hued,
  Dance in the pan and sing with noisy glee.
  Sweet sounds! Inviting yet another song;
  And I will sing in unison with them.
  Work brings the joy that helps the work along,
  And so, harmonious, sounds the kitchen hymn.
  While all about the ready dinner-table
  The children's voices raise a merry babel.

  _Helen Coale Crew._



CHAPTER XII

THE HOUSEHOLD LABORATORY


The kitchen should be a combination of laboratory, machine shop and
studio. The work done there is just as complex as that! There are an
almost infinite number of different things needed to accomplish the
different processes that have to be carried on in this workshop. There
must be a variety of mechanical devices to negotiate and subtly maneuver
all the effects that are to be brought out to artistic and wholesome
conclusions.

This is true to a great extent nowadays in all households whether in
city or country. But the farm is yet, as it always was, a place where
there is greater complexity to master because many more things are done
there. The spirit of machinery has entered into the life of the city
kitchen and eased the burden; it must now enter the country household
and work the same magic there.

If the kitchen is to be a combination laboratory and machine shop it
must look like one. It must be filled with appliances for every part of
the intricate work of making ten thousand things that are needed for the
family through the various seasons and changes of the year.

Imagine an exquisite room long and narrow. The walls are painted white
or light gray--a warm golden gray for the relief and pleasing of the
eye. The floor is comfortable to the feet, sanitary, easily cleansed and
durable. There is an iron ring in the floor where the cover to the chute
is lifted down which the dust is to be thrown. There is another for the
ash chute, lined with metal for protection from fire by means of the
hot coals that may sometimes be left in the ashes. One beauty of the
electric stove is that it produces no ashes; one advantage of the vacuum
cleaner is that it does away with dust.

The sink has two compartments--all enameled white--one for the washing
of the dishes and one for the draining. In the second is the wire
drainer. The sink is placed at the right height for this particular
housewife, be she a little treasure done up in a small parcel or a tall
stately woman when standing very straight--as every one ought to,
whether city or country bred.

At the right of the sink there is a table or shelf for the dishes as
they are taken from the wheeled tray that has brought them from the
dining table, and at the left is the draining sink or draining board or
a shelf on which the dishes may be laid when they have been dried with
the linen drying cloth.

There is a window before the worker and from it she can look out over
the garden off to the fields, and beyond toward the village, following
her thoughts now and then to the great big world outside.

When an ideal like this is held up before their eyes, the younger women
see the futility and bad policy of the old methods. For it is the worst
policy to lay heavier burdens upon man or beast than he can carry. It is
better policy to conserve the strength of the beast of burden whether
horse or daughter. The farmer has found that labor-saving utensils and
appliances are his best investment in the barn. Why not in the house?
Running water is needed for the dairy stalls; but it is more necessary
in the pantry. The live stock in the kitchen is of a fiber incomparably
delicate and fine. It will be good for the big brother to scrub that
floor; and everything the father and the brother can do to sustain the
struggle of the mother and the sister will come back to them with rich
interest in the value of the product, viz., the health, happiness and
vibrancy of the women in the home and the power to give out energy in
their home life and to their children.

The young woman of to-day takes it into account that she will probably
have to deal with a scheme of life that does not include service in the
household laboratory other than that of her own hands. She realizes that
there will never be a peasant class in this country; and she sees that
housewives must take the consequences of this happy lack: namely, they
must do their own work. Every woman will be always as good as every
other woman and therefore there can be no servant in our kitchen; there
cannot even be "help."

What then shall be done? There must be fit machinery. The drudgery point
must be reduced till labor becomes a joy. The kitchen is not to be a
place to which the housewife is condemned; it is a place she is going to
love because it is a laboratory where science has sway, where aseptical
cleanness reduces every process to a fragrant dream, and the laws of
processes appear as miracles of nature controlled at last by the art of
man.

Seeing all this clearly, it is not strange that the young woman decides
to relegate the bad kitchen to the limbo of broken and disused
furniture. This, to her, is the impossible kitchen: one that has no
shelves, drawers, or cupboards, and no place where things can be put
away; or if there are any shelves, they are made so wide that things
have to be stored in behind each other so that the first row must be
taken out in order to get at something behind. In this impossible
kitchen the pantry is on the wrong side for the worker. By the
arrangement of doors and windows light and air are shut out. The rotten
old wooden sink is bad smelling, too low, and too narrow, and it is so
far from the pantry that the worker will have to go back and forth ten
times as many times to do a piece of work as she would if the articles
were conveniently placed. The room is too large; there is many times as
much walking as is necessary; it is as far removed as it possibly can be
from the compact convenience of the ideal kitchen. The floor is uneven
and there are broken splinters where the wood has worn. They catch the
dust, and little bits of string drag along from them to catch more dust
and dirt. It is impossible that this floor should ever be clean; the
very thought of it is discouraging. The water must be brought from an
outside well, and the wood from an outdoors wood-pile. If it is a rainy
day, the wood is wet and takes a long time to get to burning in the
range. It is not a range--it is only a stove and a poor one at that.

There are many other things that might be said about the impossible
kitchen, but perhaps it is not necessary to go any further, for has not
everybody seen one? The great majority of kitchens are now impossible.
The great majority should be torn out before any more machinery is
bought for the farm business, and a full kitchen equipment should be
installed in the place of the worn-out floors, the ill-adapted
furniture, the cracked and rusted hardware, the soaked and disease-laden
woodwork, and the leaky pipes and shingles.

When the daughter in the country home sees that the father and mother
are working together for one end, that they have for the good of all
undertaken a task that is too great for them, and that they are
oppressed and almost despairing in their fight against untoward
circumstances, she is ready to join in the struggle and to give her
sometimes slender strength to help in the lifting; but when it becomes
evident that the old unsanitary kitchen of the average farm home could
be renovated and made the workshop of joyous efficiency instead of the
treadmill of despairing burden-bearing; and when at the same time she
sees additions constantly made to the greater efficiency of the farming
side of the farmstead business, the daughter feels with the mother that
their work does not have the appreciation that it deserves. And this is
what puts the one little drop of bitterness into the cup she has to
drink. There is nothing like this to take the tuck out of one. To know
that there exist means to reduce the time limit for a certain piece of
work from four hours to twenty minutes and that these means are
stubbornly and constantly denied to the worker, takes the poetry and the
hope out of her heart and the buoyancy out of her joints more than
anything else could. Especially is this the effect when the chains are
being hung in the new barn to swing the feed along the passageway to
every stall, all to save the strength of the men's arms, and no chains
and pulleys are being strung in the kitchen to lift pails and swing
loads for the mother and sister. To know that the time spent in
dishwashing for a family of five could be reduced from six hours
distributed through two days to forty-two minutes at one time in one
morning--and then to have to go on interminably giving three separate
hours daily to this loathsome, lukewarm, greasy, unsanitary,
ill-assorted, deadening task--no, the next group of household
administrators will not do that!

It is not that the younger women are lazy and inclined to shirk the
heavy tasks. That is not their spirit. But they cannot keep up their
fine buoyancy of mind and heart when better methods are constantly going
into the barn and none into the house; when appliances are bought for
cattle and none for the women. And they know that life will not be held
up to its high level if they cannot command buoyancy of spirit.

Life is framed on a larger pattern nowadays; there is a greater demand
for standard; there is a higher degree of intelligence required. All
this the new young woman sees that she has to do and be. She springs to
meet the situation--but hanging at her heels is a chain, the chain of
old-fashioned methods. She must be free of this chain, or she will not
sustain the burden of country life in the time to come. She thinks she
sees a way out in the industrial opportunity of the town. It is a
mirage--but she follows it. She follows it and follows it--and what is
the end to be? Would it not pay us to give her the opportunity to put
the housekeeping for the next generation of home-makers on a better
foundation and thus keep these finest of the girls of the nation in the
environment they love but now find unendurable because they cannot under
present conditions have the help they need?

The papers and periodicals for women nowadays devote long columns to
telling us how to make some kind of contraption that will take the place
of a fireless cooker or of a movable tray or of some other new
housekeeping device. It is true that woman may use her ingenuity to make
something that will "do."

But we have been too long getting on with half-measures, makeshifts,
contraptions of all sorts. The star we should now hitch our wagon to is
an electric motor. The young woman who wishes to live on the farm would
better enter some industrial field, make something commercially and with
efficiency, sell it, and find in her hands the fifteen dollars for the
fireless, the eleven for the double-decker wheeled-tray, and pretty soon
the larger sum that will be needed to install a perfect kitchen, that
will not only be a joy to herself but will be a lesson to her whole
community, that will lift the whole region into a new realization of
life, that will show how the time necessary to be spent on the drudgery
of the household may be reduced from eighteen hours a day to two, and so
release her energies as to give to the higher needs of the family and to
the equally great needs of the community the services that she alone is
fitted to give, and that are absolutely necessary to the well-being and
the safeguarding of the life of the rural realm and therefore also of
the whole people.

How can we get a kitchen like that? Well, that is the Gordian knot that
the farm daughters will be able to cut. They can do it--they must do it.
Every instinct of patriotism, every breathing of passion for the welfare
of the future homes, every thought of affection for the home circle that
will be theirs, calls for the most valiant struggle to gain the goal--a
perfectly hygienic, perfectly fitted household plant, with all in it
that can by scientific mechanism be placed there, to be the perfect
working basis for that highest product, human happiness in a human
home.



CHAPTER XIII

EFFICIENT ADMINISTRATION


     Scientific management is the application of the conservation
     principle to production.

     The time, health and vitality of our people are as well worth
     conserving, at least, as our forests, minerals, and lands.

     When we get efficiency in all our industries and commercial
     ventures, national efficiency will be a fact.

  _Theodore Roosevelt._



CHAPTER XIII

EFFICIENT ADMINISTRATION


If the Country Girl of the future takes her life in her hands and asks
for a household laboratory such as has been described, she must make
sure also that she will be able to work in that place in such a way as
to get the most good out of it and to prove its value to those that have
installed it for her. This presupposes a high degree of efficiency in
herself as well as in the tools she handles.

Never has young womanhood been so fortunate in opportunities for
preparation as is the girl of this day. The very minutes seem to bristle
with the word "efficiency." On every side she may receive suggestion and
instruction as to how to make herself consonant with her era. Scientific
management is being carried out in every sort of factory, workshop,
studio, regiment,--everywhere,--with the one exception, perhaps, of her
own, the household workshop. Therefore it is for her to see what
scientific management means to all these other institutions and to apply
the lesson to her own realm, and make that factory of hers, that
workshop, regiment, and studio, into the most efficient place upon
earth!

The great movement in the interest of efficiency has its origin in the
desire to get just as much result as possible out of the labor of the
workers. Their strength must be conserved, not because of any
philanthropic feeling for the man, but because that strength is needed
for further use, in order that a greater output of the product may be
gained. The method employed is to consider studiously the movements made
in carrying on any one part of the work. They separate this operation
into its elements, and then they determine upon the best motions to make
to accomplish the end, and upon the exact order of those motions,
shaving off a part of a second here and there by the careful choosing of
motions and the surest order of them. The motions the workman makes,
whether with eyes, fingers or arms, are thus economized. The bricks for
the building up of the wall are conveniently placed, and all the details
in following any pattern are fitted together so as to make as few
motions as possible, to use as little energy as possible, and to reach
the end as quickly as possible. This is, says one, "the application of
the conservation principle to production." "The art of management," says
another of these experts, "is knowing exactly what you want the men to
do, and then seeing that they do it in the best and cheapest way." In
order to accomplish all this in, say, the business and work of a
factory, there must be an efficiency engineer, who shall spend days and
weeks and months in finding out what the right order of motions is, what
the best arrangement of the tools and materials shall be, what
elimination of unnecessary acts and things can be made in order that
every possible waste of energy may be pared off and the path to the end
may be absolutely, sternly direct. Then there is the route clerk, who
sees that this order is followed by each man until he is able to do it
involuntarily and as if by instinct. To make definite record of the
success of this work, the time-and-cost clerk will keep track of time
and per cent. items, and make known exactly what are the results of
doing things in one particular way. If not satisfactory, another way
must be chosen.

It is the belief of the advocates of scientific management that if we
thus make the individual efficient, his productive capacity will be
raised twenty-five or fifty per cent., or even sometimes doubled.

Scientific management calls for a careful study of the surroundings. The
appliances must be adequate, comfortable, handy, and such as require
the least percentage of rest. The scaffold or bench must be the exact
height to make as little strain as possible on the worker. The table
must be made at the right height so that the worker will not have to
stoop over for his tools. If he works on his feet, there must be
something for him to stand against so that he may have no fear of
falling. To get the full output, the right appliances must be devised,
standardized, used, and maintained. The worker's clothing must not be
ill-fitting, or it may restrict the movement of his arms and hands. It
must be of such material that he will not be in constant fear of ruining
it. Everything about him must be such as to increase speed and not
restrict motion. Nothing that will affect the eyesight unpleasantly is
to be tolerated. There shall be no reflecting surfaces from which the
light may shine into the eyes. The colors that will help the eyes are to
be selected for the room, those that are pleasant, that will induce a
happy mood and will therefore decrease irritation and help the spirit of
energy. He must take up the nearest tools first; the pockets and
containers to hold tools must be placed so that the least and shortest
motions may be made in handling them. And so on.

There are several reasons why the work of the kitchen has not been more
promptly attacked by the believer in scientific management. In the first
place, the business of the home laboratory is of so complex a nature
that no factory can compare with it in difficulty of analysis. Efficient
housekeeping is a combination of many factories. The scientific expert
can far more easily separate the making of a single pair of shoes into
its forty-three acts than he can analyze any one of the processes of the
home laboratory: say, for instance, the making of a frosted layer-cake,
the assembling and concocting of a mince-pie, or the infinitely complex
business of washing dishes.

In the second place, men have been fairly busy putting this matter
through in their factories. They have naturally studied out the
processes nearest to their own hands. They are not to be specially
blamed for inattention to the woman's realm. That will come next. Now
that their attention is being called to the need for expert management
in the other department of life, they are recommending in many books and
lectures what should and must be done to put housekeeping on a basis for
efficiency. So if women do not standardize their work, men will do it
for them, and that will not be so well for them as if they did it
themselves.

The woman who is administrator in the farm home must be equal to several
women. She must be master in the difficult art of cookery, adapting her
menu to the welfare of a group of people of all ages and with all kinds
of needs. She must be washwoman and laundry woman, cleaning and scrub
woman. She must know all the proper chemicals to be applied to the
cleansing of different kinds of metal, cloth, wood, and every sort of
surface painted and unpainted. She must be food expert, and textile
expert, medicine and poison expert. Besides all this, she must be
teacher, instructor, and entertainer, the encyclopedia and gazetteer, a
theological and philosophical professor. And all these separate
functions must do their work together within the one personality, the
administrator, the little mother of the home, the companion of the
kitchen, the parlor and the bedside.

Translated into technical engineering language this women in the heart
of the farmstead is her own route-clerk, and order-of-work clerk; she is
her own instruction-card clerk, time-and-cost clerk, gang boss, speed
boss, repair boss, and inspector. All these and much more must she be in
order to gain the effects of scientific management in that factory which
is her home realm.

Theodore Roosevelt said, "When we get efficiency in all our industries
and commercial ventures, national efficiency will be a fact." Does he
include the farm laboratory among the "industries"? The farm home is
producing (or ought to produce) the most valuable product that can be
found in the country--the man and woman of the future. If these men and
women are to be efficient, the home from which they are to come must
certainly be a model of efficiency. We have to pierce through the crust
of our national conceit and find there the truth that our people are
painfully in need of more efficiency and that therefore it is a matter
of the most vital concern that we should put the home in all its phases
into a condition more adapted for producing the perfectly efficient
human product.

The Gospel of Efficiency has reached the farmer; he finds that with
three men he can do the work that fifteen men did forty years ago. He
realizes that the efficient farmer progresses, the inefficient falls
behind.

Will not the same thing be true of woman in the farmstead?

To see how the principle of efficiency may be applied in the work of the
farmstead, we have but to look, for instance, at that task of dish
washing. Suppose that the worker were piling the dishes at the right of
the dishpan and also trying to drain them at the same side. The
efficiency expert would promptly decide that this arrangement would
cause a waste of time and energy, for while the right hand was ready to
lift the dishes to be washed into the pan, the left would have to move
back and forth in many unnecessary motions to put the dishes back into
the draining rack which was also on the right. The efficiency clerk
would demand that the dishes be drained at the left. If there were some
article of furniture at the right, so that the dishes could not be
placed there, say a pump or a door or a cupboard, that would have to be
removed. If the time and strength and nervous energy of those workers
were to be conserved and the product to be put forth with the least
expenditure of mind and nerve, such changes would have to be made as
would make labor-saving motions possible. Not to make the changes would
be bad policy, because these conditions would be constantly causing
waste of time and strength; and that time and that strength would be of
pecuniary worth to the business. What business? The important business
of administering the affairs of the home!

Every Country Girl should experiment to see how she can economize
motions and save time. She should make a study of every part of her work
and see where she can by forethought cut down useless movements and
intensify energy. If at first she finds difficulty, she should
persevere; she will master the task in time. There is a knack about it
that she must master before she can become adept.

If, for instance the hair is being done up in a new way, it takes a
longer time than usual the first day, less time the next, and after a
few more days the new way takes no longer than the old. Some natural
motions have been found out that economize the time and effort, that
introduce convenient moves, that shake off awkwardnesses, and set the
whole into a rhythm of motion.

Josephine Preston Peabody has written a lovely poem about a child
watching her mother as she braids her hair. The child is delighted with
the deftness of her mother's hands, and with the perfect rightness of
the braids as every loop comes into its place and all of them are so
quickly and so beautifully fitted about the head. That mother had by
long practise found the exactly right way to manage that complicated
piece of human industry, the "doing up" of a mass of long and wavy hair.
She did it almost without thought. Her "motions" were perfectly smooth,
exquisitely graceful, and adapted absolutely to the end desired through
a series of separate acts composing all together a whole scientific
process. And she was so accustomed to it as a whole and to all the
separate details, that she could do it with a rhythm that was like
music. When it was done she could give one little final pat and say,
"There!" with a slight thrill of delight.

Just so should it be with any of the intricate operations of the
household laboratory. Just such a thrill of delight should be possible
when the complicated piece of hand-work and machine-work called washing
the dishes is finished. At the end one should be able to express a
delighted "There!"--not because a dreaded and abhorrent
quarter-of-an-hour was over, but because a piece of work necessary to
human welfare has been turned off with firm conclusiveness and dispatch.

The inefficient way of doing things is a too frequent experience. A farm
housekeeper will bring a dish of cold potatoes from the kitchen, carry
it all the way through the dining-room, set it down on a chair while she
opens the door to the cellar, carry it haltingly down the stairs, and
then set it down on a box because it is too dark to place it in the
cupboard where it belongs. She does not want to take the pains to get a
lamp, but she has to. She carefully lights the lamp, carries it down the
cellar stairs, places it in a safe place, and then takes care of the
potatoes. Then she comes back and carries a little plate of bacon that
has been left and deposits it in the same careful way. Then follow the
bread, the milk and the cream in pitchers; follow the cake, the jam, and
many other things in little precious bits too good to be thrown away,
all requiring a careful passage, each one at a time. It is good that she
has so many beautiful and promising things to put away; but how
different it would have been if she had been able to load all these
things on the dummy and with one stroke of the arm to move it all
downstairs. Then, O joy! if she had had the electric light to turn on in
the cellar-way and down in the cellar cupboard, she could have gone
downstairs with perfect safety and without fear, and she could have
returned with a light heart, swung the wheeled tray into its place, and
all would have been over in three minutes at the most, instead of taking
twenty-five and being accomplished only by a vast expenditure of effort
and nervous fear. The money that woman wasted in reduced energy and
nervousness causing doctor's bills, would have bought her a wheeled
tray, put in a dummy with pulley, rope, and weights, and paid the family
doctor's bill besides! Nothing can be done hygienically that is done in
the dark.

The Country Girl may practise for efficiency while she is waiting for
her perfect kitchen to materialize, by doing all in her power to make
herself save steps. To learn to make no useless passages across the
floor is to begin a conquest of one's own mind, to establish
self-control, and to utilize forethought.

"Think twice and step once," was a good motto. There is a one best way
to do all things. Why not search for it?



CHAPTER XIV

AN OLD-FASHIONED VIRTUE


  Ill Housewifery pricketh herself up with pride;
  Good Housewifery tricketh her house as a bride.

  Ill Housewifery lieth till ten of the clock;
  Good Housewifery trieth to rise with the cock.

  _Penny Magazine_, 1798.



CHAPTER XIV

AN OLD-FASHIONED VIRTUE


This may be considered a brief for the "old maid" of olden time; or
rather for the quality that she stands for in our dream and story life.
We have not given this so-called "old-maidishness" its rightful place
among the virtues. The quality deserves to be classified among the
highest expressions of the intellect. In the olden time, when the mother
was busy with her family of from two to twenty children, the mother's
unmarried sister was the "efficiency-clerk" of the big household. She
was the motor, the balance-wheel; she knew where everything was, to the
last sheaf of catnip; she put everything in its place and could go and
get whatever was wanted. Behind all this was her classifying mind.

That "old-maidishness" was composed of three elements: a fine
discrimination of values, an appreciation of little things as pivots for
greater things, and a love of orderliness. To her the first law of
heaven was her first law. Heaven never had a law till it had order; and
when the stars found that there was to be something more than a
fortuitous concourse of atoms in the universe, we know what they did:
they sang. In any house there will be more singing when orderliness
reigns there. But the household is a concourse of myriads of parts. We
cannot always sing that the house "is so full of a number of things"
that we think we "should all be as happy as kings." It is only when we
can keep good track of these things that we can be "as happy as kings."
This was a large part of the mission of the invaluable old maid in our
early centuries.

There was a great deal of system in the housekeeping of our ancestors.
Bags, basket and bundles were trained into the service of good order.
They cross-stitched numbers on the pillow-slips and on the sheets and on
the rare napery they had spun and woven with their own capable hands and
had bleached on their own soft grass-plots. They kept their "simples" in
carefully protected and distinctly labeled sheaves. Their piece-bags
were innumerable. They could go in the dark into the storeroom, put
their hand in behind things, feel unerringly for what they needed, and
find it there.

The burden upon the memory that this elaborate system of old must have
entailed is now transferred to the card catalog. This invaluable modern
device is a system for recording upon cards of a certain uniform size
the items and lists and notes to be remembered and preserved, and of
classifying them carefully for ready reference. These cards are stood up
in a closely packed row, in a box or drawer, or in a compartment made
especially for the purpose, where they are arranged alphabetically or by
subjects, in such a way as to be easily run over by the finger till the
desired card is found. The cards must be made of stiff paper or
card-board; they must be accurately cut to a required measure, usually
five inches wide by three inches tall, and they must be fitted exactly
into the box, with "guides" to aid in finding the main subjects. The
"guide" is a card of a different color from the others, usually yellow,
and has a little top extension, so that when the guide is put in its
place in the row of white cards, this top extension will stand up above
the others so as to catch the eye readily. On this little bit of the
guide that stands up above the rest, a main heading is written very
clearly in fine lettering,--or, better, printed neatly--and on all the
cards that are selected to be slipped in behind that guide are written
the notes or references on subjects that belong under that heading. For
instance, suppose the main heading, written on a certain guide, should
be this: "Recipes." Then each card that follows that guide would have
written on its face the details of some recipe--one recipe to one card.
And all the cards on which the housekeeper had written the recipes she
wished to preserve would be placed behind that guide. Then whenever she
wished to use any one recipe, she would open her drawer, look along the
tops of the cards until she found the guide extension--the little
projecting piece that had the word "Recipes" on it. Behind that guide
she would find all her recipes; then it would be but the work of an
instant to pick out the one she wanted. On each separate card would be
written in the upper right-hand corner, the name of the recipe on that
card. If the housekeeper had a great many recipes, she might make more
guides: one for cake recipes, one for bread, and so forth.

Then there would be still other main heads. One might be marked
"Inventory." One might be called "Clothing." Records of music, of
engagements, of books, and so forth might be set down. Any subject that
needed to be kept track of could be thus securely noted in the card
catalog.

Under the heading "Inventory" a most useful record might be made.
Subordinate headings on cards of some other color should be used. The
first of these would be "Parlor." Behind that would be placed the cards
that told all the articles of furniture or decoration that that
important room contained. "Dining-room," "Kitchen," "Pantry," etc.,
would come along in order and all items considered worthy of note would
be put on their proper cards. Then there would be other cards entitled
"Linen-closet," "Side-board," "Old Bureau," "Old Chest," "Black Trunk,"
"Brown Trunk," "Old-fashioned Deep Basket," or other containers of
clothing, silver, bedding, linen, utensils, or treasures of any kind. In
case of fire, the card catalog, along with the locked document box or
safe, would be one of the things to be sought for first and rescued from
harm. In fact there should by rights be two copies of any household
inventory made, so that in case the inventory in the house should
chance to be burned with the house, there might still be a careful
record preserved in some safe place for future reference, for purposes
of insurance or for historic archives. Every one of us should think of
the family as an institution of dignity, one whose smallest doings have
importance, because we belong to a great human family, and because we
are bearing on the touch of life to future generations. We are now
making history. And we should see to it that our link of the unending
chain should not break for want of a sensible and accurate recorder.

This description of the card catalog is given with so much particularity
because it has been proved by long experience that it is a very great
saving of trouble to have it exactly right. The making of the cards is a
matter of the nicest care. This exactitude is essential to the quick
movement of the fingers and is therefore a saving of time in hunting for
the one card desired. The jelly may be almost ready to "jell," and one
may run to the catalog of recipes to find what is the matter; one must
not be impeded an instant at that critical point. Time is always
precious, too, to the housekeeper, and the orderliness that makes it
possible to find things quickly is one of the most important elements in
the success of the new housekeeping.

Whatever part the daughter in the farm home may have in the business of
the farm, she will find the card catalog of the utmost value to her in
making herself useful and in placing her results on the basis of
authority. In such a system of records she can always find what she
wants on demand; the various accounts can be added to and taken from and
corrected to date at any moment without recopying the whole. So the
records of the daily egg-harvest can be kept, the in-come and out-go of
any of the products of the farm, the weighing and testing of the milk,
the mending and making of fences, the apple harvest, the dates for
putting in crops, the dates of payments to the men and the number of
their days' labor, and many other items that belong to the business of
the farm. Of course when the farm business becomes very large and
intricate, an elaborate system of bookkeeping is necessary. But for the
myriads of little things that belong to the home side of the farmstead,
this ingenious system is especially adapted. Here we may advantageously
keep our records of such memoranda as specially concerns the family, the
household accounts and receipts; inventions we may hear about and new
devices in which we may be interested and that we may sometime want to
find out about or make our own; contents of the tool chest, dates of
repairs and memoranda of things that need to be repaired about the
house; cans of fruit and other things stored away on the shelves and in
the cupboards of the cellar and in the cold room and elsewhere--a
valuable record to check up against another year's yield of these
treasures; doctor's visits and prescriptions, notes of symptoms,
together with dates and any circumstances that may need to be accurately
remembered; music, victrola records; Christmas and birthday gifts given
or received; dates of events, the coming and going of guests at the
home; personal items such as the size of shoes, gloves, collars, hats,
etc., for the different members of the family; books we should like to
have; newspapers and magazines taken or desired; records of the magazine
club or of the book loan club; correspondence, letters received and
sent; patterns, clippings, quotations. For remembering all these things
the card catalog will prove the unfailing helper; and all and many more
will be the care of the Country Girl when she becomes administrator of a
household in the new time.

A simple bookkeeping may also be recorded in the card catalog. The
monthly or seasonal or annual statements of expenses may be recorded
here, however, and may be kept for comparison with other seasons and
years. These records may be placed under the following heads:

  _Food_ (including meat, groceries, milk and eggs, green
      vegetables, and fruit, ice, and fuel for cooking).
  _Shelter_ (including rent or purchase money, taxes, insurance,
      interest, repairs, fuel for heating, furnishing).
  _Clothing_.
  _Education_ (including papers, books, school, lectures, concerts,
      art).
  _Benevolence_ (including church and charity).
  _Recreation_.
  _Transportation_ (including expenses of travel).
  _Health_ (including doctor's bills, and medicine).
  _Savings_.
  _Labor_.
  _Sundries_.

This scheme is designed to be used for the budget of a family; but it is
most important that every young girl, whether in city or country, and
whether her purse be a long one or a short one, should know each year
whether the demands upon her cash account are exceeding those of the
year before, and that she should make up her mind whether there shall be
any change in that regard during the year to come. This is a training
that every girl should insist upon giving to herself constantly. If she
finds herself called "oldmaidish" therefor, she will know that she
cannot have earned the name, since there are no old maids any more! The
same sort of person must now be called "efficiency administrator."

In suggesting this form of self-discipline to the Country Girl, we know
very well that the girl that determines to keep accurate records of her
expenses has a good fight before her. Women seem at present to have a
preternatural disinclination toward keeping their own accounts, and
nearly every girl inherits this bent. In canning clubs for women it is
found that the members will do all the delicate measuring accurately;
their sense of taste is unerring; their judgment of results is perfect;
but they just will not render an account of their work!

That women are not by right of their sex incapable of mathematical
processes is shown by the fact that so large a number of women attain
distinction in the higher fields of that study, becoming astronomers,
computing eclipses and ranging the outer realms of the sky with great
telescopes. The rather general dislike of women for the simpler forms of
computing probably has grown up in the financially irresponsible state
that has become a part of woman's very bone and marrow during late
centuries. But it must not be so any longer. Too much depends upon
orderliness in finances, for the Country Girl to neglect this means of
becoming efficient in her life-work.

All of these card-catalog and other "devices" are a part of a great
movement to put efficiency into every human industry. And this movement,
again, is a part of the upward striving of mankind. The "industry" that
is to be the life-work of the Country Girl must not be behind.

It is claimed that the average farmer puts more thought into his work
than the average woman in a farm home puts into hers. This is partly
because the seasons make less change in her work than they do in his.
But they do make a very great change in her work; and the difference
between her work and his in this respect ought not to make the great
difference that exists between the amount of foresight he shows in his
planning and the dim irresolute bungling that is so often the
characteristic of hers. We cannot say that we have an ideal unless we
contrive a plan to express that ideal. Something luminous and startling
may glow before our eyes and flatter our self-conceit with a hope that
seems like a resolution. But without a definite plan, the glow soon
vanishes and we are no better for having had it. In fact we are worse.
It is a real injury to our soul development to entertain an unfounded
ideal and then allow it to fade away before we concentrate it into
purpose; for we have deceived ourselves and we have weakened our will.

Now and then we read of some woman of olden time who thought out her
plan for the next day after she went to bed at night. She was a
prophecy of the present; or rather, of the time to come. Too much cannot
be said to the young women of to-day about the necessity of foresight.
Foresight is the great bulwark of efficiency. Hurry, they say, is only
poor planning; and we know what depredations hurry is making upon our
fields of life. The Country Girl, if she wishes to help in the
upbuilding of national character, must drive hurry from her field, and
this she can do by efficient planning. She must now adopt the systematic
spirit in order that when she has a farm home upon her hands she will be
ready for the simplification that alone will make her work under the new
complications endurable and easy. It will be necessary for her to reduce
all to a definite scheme. She must then plan her work by seasons; she
must plan it by days, and by hours in the day. She must make records of
the time it takes for each part of the work, and she must think out a
way to do it in less time. It will be well if she can arrange it so that
different kinds of work will overlap, in order that one thing may be
preparing while she is doing something else. And if she finds it a
weight upon the mind to keep track of so many things at once, she must
yield herself to this discipline, knowing that she is thus training her
mind for better service and that she will be more fitted to use to good
advantage the extra hours that she will thus gain. She will come to the
new cultural duty of the hour she has thus wrung from the working period
with increased joy and with new powers gained by the strenuousness of
the hour's work that went before.

The administration of a house is to call for a higher training in
mechanics. Education is giving much more of this now than formerly and
will answer the demand for still more. The girls of the country, where
this education is needed far more even than in the city, must be
prepared to answer this need.

We cannot be expert in the new housekeeping unless we have some
comprehension of the chemical processes that constantly go on under our
hands. One young woman took for her master's degree a study of the
bacterial flora found in spoiled canned peas and string beans. She found
that there are some organisms that only grow all the better after they
have been boiled one hour. She found that the strongest acids do not
inhibit the growth of some other kinds. She has been a good year working
on that theme. If she should include one or two other kinds of spoiled
foods her work would extend over another year.

How many kinds of bacterial life are there? How many fruits, vegetables,
foods of all sorts, are made the home of these various kinds? What
processes will protect each kind from becoming harmful to human life?
How many hours will it take to show that certain processes will render
each variety a safe food? How many young students must give years to the
business of finding out what we may use and what we may not? How long
will it take us to realize that the detail of preparing the food for the
table is a great scientific study, one deserving our highest expertness,
meriting our highest honors, to those who work in the laboratory of the
university and to those who labor in the laboratory of the house? Every
young woman should consider herself a licensed observer; she should
watch every process to see what she may learn of nature's secrets, that
she may compare it with what she has read and thus make additions to the
sum of knowledge that may be beneficial to all.

It is not alone because foods have as close a connection with our
well-being that we should study them. They have in themselves an
extraordinary fascination. The daily and hourly companion of the worker
in the household should be the magnifying-glass. The dissecting
microscope is a form of magnifier that is especially adapted for
household use and should be within the reach of every one. To get into
the habit of putting all foods to the test of this infallible little
instrument gives one a great feeling of safety and comfort. Every bag of
oatmeal should be examined, all cereals, especially cornmeal, all
products that have been kept in any storehouse, should be thus tested.
If all the women of the country would use the magnifying-glass on
everything that comes into the house, and promptly reject what is not
perfectly clean, the level of good health and long life would rise
suddenly by perceptible degrees among our people.

If the prospective household administrator cries out that she cannot be
bothered with such little things as these, she will be one of those that
will be left behind. Those that can be bothered are the people that are
to win. The value of the little thing, when it is the pivot for greater
things, is one of the discoveries of modern science; and, strangely
enough, there is no little thing that is not a pivot for greater things.
Our part is to train ourselves to realize this. In the household of the
future there will be nothing that the microscope can reveal or the card
catalog record that will not be of importance to the success of the
whole.

It would be amusing--if it were not so tragic!--to see the utter
serenity with which some of the older women will say, "But I have no
scientific turn of mind, I do not care for the microscope!" It is as if
they said: "But I prefer to murder the members of my family; I do not
care to give them the key that will let them out of imprisonment where
they have been carelessly but dolorously confined; I have no
predilection for dashing away the poison from their lips when
unwillingly they are about to drink it!" To such a woman either the word
"duty" has no meaning or else she is lacking in instruction as to what
duty is. But the coming Country Girl will avoid the mistakes of the
past; she will do everything in her power to gain the training that is
necessary for her to meet successfully and inspiringly the duties and
privileges of the new era.



CHAPTER XV

HEALTH AND A DAY


    No one can be the highest type of philosopher unless in exuberant
    health.

  _Epictetus._



CHAPTER XV

HEALTH AND A DAY


"Give me health and a day and I will make ridiculous the pomp of
emperors!" cried Emerson.

The ultimate use of health is to make us happy, and the deepest hurt of
sickness is that it destroys our power of enjoyment. Moreover, since our
happiness when we are at our human best, consists in adding to the
welfare and happiness of others, our highest in life is sadly crippled
when we allow disease to get the better of us. If we desire to be happy,
we should, as the Camp Fire Girls' law says, "hold on to health" and
with a tight grip.

It used to be thought that health was a gift of heaven bestowed on
certain of its favorites. You had it or you did not have it: that was
all there was about it. By pious behavior and prayer perhaps we might
gain this benefit from the partial hand of heaven--perhaps not! And if
you did anything to help yourself directly to a larger portion of vigor,
ate heartily, or took an invigorating walk, you were in danger of
indulging a selfish spirit that should be curbed.

We have now changed all that belief. We do know that we may inherit
certain disproportions, certain maladies, that interfere with our
soundness; these we have to fight against. Knowing them, we can fight
intelligently. Our duty lies in taking the resources of strength that we
possess, and making the most of them. We are to give ourselves the
largest opportunity to make ourselves useful to our friends and to our
world in general as much as we may with the portion of vigor that we
receive by inheritance, and we are to develop that portion as much as we
possibly can. Doing something for ourselves will sometimes be the
greatest unselfishness.

This teaching the Country Girl should take to heart. It is her duty to
recognize the great value of her physical vigor to the life of her
realm, and to do all in her power to conserve it and to increase it. She
should think of this not only because she is of tremendous importance in
the home of to-day and because its happiness depends in large measure
upon her buoyancy and cheer and hopefulness, which may so easily be
increased or diminished by her physical state, but also because she has
so great a part in bearing the torch of life to another generation. Let
me repeat the words--it is her duty; and again, and yet again let me say
it--it is a duty!

It is a duty to exercise every part of the body, the hands, the wrist,
the fingers, each finger! Every part of the body has a function and
should be prepared for its uses. The lifting muscles, the straightening
muscles, the apparatus that pulls and that pushes, that bends and that
twists; the machinery for stepping with vibrancy, for going uphill, for
going downhill, for walking on the grass, on irregular stony paths, on
cement walks; every kind of movement has its special apparatus in this
wondrously varied human body and all should be developed and rounded
into perfection.

Housework affords a training for more of the body's needs than perhaps
any other occupation. The household administrator has an advantage
there, and the physical vigor of women in this country ought to increase
as they more and more have the opportunity to take up this work in their
homes. Probably when every house in the country has mechanical
appliances so that there will be enough work in the household and not
too much, the health of the nation will increase by leaps and bounds.

At present housework, especially in the country, affords wearying labor
which is not so well adapted to the development of physical strength as
it might be because it is not systematic. Certain parts of the body are
overexercised and certain parts are neglected. The result is frequently
a body with a semblance of strength but with, as you might say, strands
of weakness, rendering it liable to fall at the least onslaught of
infection or unusual strain. These lacks should be made up for by
consistently arranged exercises, by carefully studied diet, and by
proper sleeping plans, so that there may be rightly developed muscular
force--not too much and yet enough; so that there may be perfect
circulation; fat enough and not too much; and that there may be a full
supply of energy. If the young woman is vain enough to wish not to be
portly when she is forty, she must not wait till she is forty-five to go
to work at it; she should begin at twenty to train for that special form
of beauty; if she does this she will soon express it in trimness, in an
energetic and graceful step, in the exact curve of the spinal column at
the small of the back, the right lift of the chest beneath the neck, and
the perfect position of chin, elbows, shoulder blades, hips, feet, and
all the parts of the body, for walking, sitting, standing, running,
sleeping, and for every possible activity. Beauty is a thing to be
valued and worked for; but a greater motive for the attention necessary
to the full development of our physical powers is that we should be able
to give to our children the greatest allotment of beauty and vigor that
we can possibly command.

Miss Goldmark in her valuable study, _Fatigue and Efficiency_, says that
the results of overstrain in the labor of women are manifest in a
heightened infant mortality, in a lowered birth rate, and in an impaired
second generation. We should take this to heart. Not to make a struggle
to increase our store of vigor for the sake of the children that are to
be is to do them a great wrong.

For girls under twenty the responsibility of the mother is greater
because so much depends upon the establishment of the daughter's health
during these earlier years. But girls themselves should take it upon
their own responsibility to a large extent also. In the appendix to
this volume will be found a bibliography where among the works published
by the Young Women's Christian Association, the girl may find some that
will answer many questions that perhaps have puzzled her in the period
of swift growth between fifteen and twenty.

Every mother should be in her daughter's confidence in regard to all
questions of health and physical well-being. And now and then the father
should stand his daughters up in a row before him, look them over, and
see for himself whether they are sound, blooming, well developed and
rosy. Do their chests stand up good and strong? Is the chin well down
and back? Are the shoulders well back? Can they take full, deep, long
breaths? If they were set back against the wall, would the hips be close
to the wall, the shoulder blades nearly flat against the wall and would
the girls be perfectly comfortable in that position? And can they then
walk off, holding the frame in this way, and keep the position firmly
and gracefully? How hard can they hit, how fast can they run, how high
can they jump, how much can they lift, how free are they from pain, and
how happy are they? If the answers to these questions are not
satisfactory, that farmer's crop of humanity does not take a prize! And
he should try to know the reason why. It is not a lightning streak of
divine disfavor that has destroyed this crop. It is just as impossible
that a woman should have a beautiful child if she has been the victim of
overstrain for ten years before that child is born, as it would be to
get a good crop from absolutely untilled ground. The home is the field
for the harvest of children. That ground must be cultivated as carefully
and assiduously as any other, or the harvest will bring no honor to the
family.

If the young girls in the farmstead do not measure up to the standard,
will they try to do what is in their power to make themselves more
strong, fit, and beautiful? It will take six weeks of hard, unremitting
work, by night and day and every hour in the day, to turn a
round-shouldered girl into a well-shaped, straight-shouldered, elastic
figure. Is it worth while? The result will be a girl with better
breathing capacity, more vigor, more beautiful carriage, and in every
way better prepared for a happy life. There are some wrongs that are
done to the young people by neglect of the laws of health that never can
be made up to them. But there is much that can be done, and perhaps it
is not too late to correct some errors and to make up for some losses.
Health conditions on many farms are not up to the mark and among the
causes of this the Report of the Commission on Country Life mentions the
too long hours of work. There are of course other causes. Three meals a
day of pork and bread, seven days in the week, fifty-two weeks in the
year, year in and year out the same, will never produce blooming
youngsters, especially if we are speaking of the delicate constitutions
of girls. Nor will bedrooms hermetically sealed from air during half of
the breathing time, favor development of lung-capacity.

Theoretically, the farm should be the most healthful place for the
growth of human beings; and wherever sanitary conveniences are
installed, health conditions need no betterment. The point is not that
the rural people have declined from a former better condition, but that
they have not gone forward so fast as they might. While the residents of
cities have at the command of new science been making swift progress in
sanitation, working vigorously on the problems of pure food, good water,
the suppression of tuberculosis, pellagra and other diseases, the
country people have not so swiftly answered the call.

Such movements as, for instance, the one to provide pure milk for
babies, lower the death rate in the cities, while the health rate in the
country has not shown a corresponding rise. This is simply because the
country towns have not waked to the importance of these endeavors toward
betterment. The country may be the home of abounding physical vigor;
but many an unsanitary farmstead and many an unregenerated village is
still in a decidedly unmoral state of ill-health.

In this matter a recent investigation in New York State has aroused
serious apprehension. Statistics were made public showing that the death
rate in so-called rural districts was increasing as compared with that
of the large city, New York, the conclusion being that the country would
have to give up its world-old claim to being a supremely healthful place
to live.

If, however, we look into the matter more closely, we may find a ray of
hope. The investigation included under the word "rural" towns of over
eight thousand inhabitants, the division being no doubt made because of
the fact that the United States reports were, up to 1810, made on a like
basis, and other statistics could be more conveniently compared if these
were included. But the census of 1910 makes the word "rural" cover towns
and villages of 2500 and under, and what we understand by rural
conditions pertains to this smaller grouping. The larger grouping
includes a number of towns that are manufacturing in character, that
sometimes contain a large foreign element, that have the beginnings of
congestion without the open air to offset them, and that have
notoriously not followed in the steps of the larger cities in
sanitation. Thus these very unrural towns bring down the average.

We feel, then, that we have a right to take heart of grace and tell
ourselves that the open country is as good for health as it ever was.
Moreover, farm houses are rapidly acquiring the principal appliances for
sanitation. The wells are being looked out for and the pure condition of
the water supply being insured from contagion; and the level of
education in regard to sanitation is being rapidly lifted. At present,
the small towns and the larger villages are about on a par in regard to
indifference to the laws of health, and to the necessity for framing new
ones to meet new demands. But in the smaller villages and in the open
country the necessity is not so pressing because the congestion has not
been so immediate as to cause depression of the death rate there.

Therefore we may say that the girl who is born in the open country or in
the small village is more likely, all other things being equal, to keep
her hold upon life than any other girl in the land.

It is said that sixty per cent. of the school children in the country
suffer from removable physical defects. The countryside has its share of
these. Fortunately for girls, life force is more persistent with them
than with boys, and women are longer-lived than men.

Sometimes fate deprives the home of the mother, and then heavy burdens
fall to the daughter, too heavy for her young and undeveloped body. It
is then that the young girl feels the necessity for a better
understanding of her physical needs. Wanting this, life-long suffering
may be the result of undertaking severe labor ere yet her health is
thoroughly established or her maximum growth has been gained.

There is much, then, for every young woman on the farm both to study and
to practise. The following code of rules is suggested as an aid and as a
reminder:

CODE OF RULES FOR MAINTAINING HEALTH

_Bodily carriage_

  Hold the head erect.
  Keep the chest high.
  Hold the abdomen in.
  Rest the weight of the body on the balls of the feet.
  Keep this position constantly, by day and by night.
  When lying down, stretch out; do not curl up.

_Exercise_

  Make a special study of the proper times for exercise and take a
    normal amount of it at those times.
  Let nothing induce you to undertake severe bodily work or strain
    when the body is not in a condition to sustain the strain.
  When all conditions are right for it, take a good deal of joyous
    exercise. (No one can regulate this for any girl but the girl
    herself.)
  Learn some systematic exercises and practise them every day.
  Systematize the exercise in housework as far as possible and
    supplement it when needed by long walks and hill-climbing.

_Correct breathing_

  Take long breaths of fresh air on rising and frequently through
    the day.
  Breathe always through the nose and from the diaphragm.
  Keep the air in the room fresh by day and by night.
  Breathe deeply to keep the mind clear, the blood pure, and the
    spirits buoyant.

_Clothing_

  Let the weight of clothing hang from the shoulders.
  Have the clothing loose enough to allow free play of the diaphragm
    in breathing and of the limbs in exercise.
  Protect the feet and ankles from exposure to wet and cold.
  Keep the chest well protected but do not over-wrap the neck.

_Food and eating_

  Have meals absolutely regularly and at proper intervals.
  Choose foods adapted to present needs. Study adaptation of foods
    so as to know how to choose.
  Drink at least six glasses of pure water daily, between meals.
  Always think and speak of something pleasant while eating.

_Elimination of waste_

  Free the body from poisonous waste by keeping the bowels active.
  By keeping the pores of the skin open.
  By using a great deal of well-planned, vigorous exercise.
  By general cleanliness.

_Cleanliness_

  Take a cold tonic sponge or shower bath every day when in good
    health.
  Take a warm cleansing bath once or twice a week.
  Keep the mouth and skin free from dirt and germs.
  Give perfect care to the hair and the finger nails.
  Wash the hands before eating or serving food.
  Brush the teeth at least twice every day--on rising and on
    retiring; after every meal is better still.
  Avoid gathering or spreading disease germs through any form of
    contact.

_Amount of sleep_

  Ten and one-half hours (8:30 to 7:00) for those 10 to 14 years
    old.
  Ten hours (9:00 to 7:00) for those 14 to 16 years old.
  Nine and one-half hours (9:30 to 7:00) for those 16 to 18 years
    old.
  Eight hours (10:00 to 6:00) for those 20 to 30 years old.
  Lost sleep must invariably be made up.
  Try to go to sleep happy.

_Rest_

  When you work, work efficiently; when you rest, rest efficiently;
    whatever you do, do it with all your might.
  When resting, relax perfectly; let go.
  Stop worrying; think of something else; think of something
    cheerful.
  Do not yield to impatience or to anger; they shorten life.
  Think pure and beautiful thoughts; learn the beautiful thoughts of
    others and say them over till they become your own.
  Cultivate a well balanced mind; preserve courage and cheer.

_Prevention of illness or of a depressed state of health_

  Study the laws of hygiene and of sanitation.
  Avoid patent medicines of all kinds.
  When ill, consult a reliable physician.
  Prevent illness by following the laws of health and by regular
    health examinations.



CHAPTER XVI

THE COUNTRY GIRL'S WAGE


    "To preserve as things above all price
  The old domestic morals of the land,
  Her simple manners and her stable worth
  That dignified and cheered a low estate,
  ... the character of peace,
  Sobriety, and order, and chaste love,
  And honest dealing, and untainted speech,
  And pure good-will, and hospitable cheer;
  That made the very thought of country life
  A thought of refuge, for a mind detained
  Reluctantly amid the bustling crowd."

  _Wordsworth._



CHAPTER XVI

THE COUNTRY GIRL'S WAGE


A vision had certainly visited the soul of a certain fifteen-year-old
Country Girl of New York State who claimed that the girls of the present
day have a progressive spirit, and that if this spirit of progress is
not found on the farm, they will seek it in the city. The bearing of
this spirit on the question of the Country Girl's wage has made her
think more deeply and feel more keenly than words can express. She
cannot resist the conclusion that unless the young people are paid
definite wages for the work they do on the farm, it will not seem to
them that they are getting on so well as they might in a city office.
This is a delicate diagnosis of a very painful trouble.

Many of the girls realize that the tenure of industry in the city is
light for the person that comes unprepared for it; many realize that the
dangers are thickly set about her path; many know well that the lure of
the city is to be valiantly resisted; but the majority, being but little
accustomed to the handling of money, and having sadly little instruction
as to real values, cannot see why eight dollars a week gained in some
city industry does not represent a fortune. In making her budget at home
the cost of rental and food have not been taken into account, and she
has never been made to realize what these items mean in the new
environment. Parents and teachers and ministers and all sober people in
the farming community are cruelly to blame for the ineptitude of their
neglect in leaving these things unimpressed upon the mind of the young
women in the community and for not watching out for the strangers who
may fill their minds with glowing descriptions not founded on fact
about the abundant opportunity and the free and enjoyable life to be
found in the walks of city work and play. "Let the child earn money,
have money, spend money, save money," advised a country mother; and if
this were done, wisely and all the time, from earliest years up, the
boys and girls would not come to the age of question and desire with so
little preparation for its responsibilities.

From a wide correspondence with Country Girls in many parts of America,
the conclusion is forced upon us that very few of them, even when mature
and hard-working young women, are receiving definite pay for their
service to the household. They are doing a wage-worthy work but they are
not paid for it. Instead the fathers think their duty is done when they
give to the daughters as a benevolence what they, the fathers, think the
daughters should have for their needs and pleasures. Meantime there is a
new thing under the sun, namely, an awakening of the desire for economic
independence in the soul of woman, and the younger women on the farms
are partaking of this spirit. Result, the cityward procession! Some
medieval daughters have not heard of this new spirit, but they will hear
of it and they also will be stirred with a divine discontent.

Many girls gain time and permission to enter into some earning work
outside of the home. The money that they thus gain they generally feel
that they may lay claim to and use it as they think best. At any rate,
the fear that it will not be understood that they do have what they earn
leads them sometimes to emphasize the fact that they do positively
consider what they earn outside of the home as their very own. Public
opinion is ahead of law in this respect. A father who took legal means
to take the earnings of a son under age, was quietly told that the
village would be too small for him hereafter. Perhaps we have not come
to the point where this would invariably happen in the case of a
daughter.

The daughter as she grows up should have a reasonable sum of money to
spend as she likes; this is essential as a matter of education, to
prepare her for the responsibilities that are to be hers as one of the
great body of spenders. She should grow up with a fully trained power to
spend money wisely. And when she becomes mature, if she is strong enough
to do a full-grown woman's work, she should have her self-respect
educated and cultivated by receiving the sum of money that would be her
fair wage if she were not a member of the family. Moreover, a father may
attach his children to himself in a very real and spontaneous service,
if he will allow each child, including the daughters, to be responsible
for some part of the farm business, to own a piece of land or some of
the livestock, and to control the produce thereof. This will be the best
way to train them not only to understand the problems of the farm but to
feel that interest that comes only through possession and
responsibility. The daughter will be as keenly responsive under this
method as the son.

Dr. Anna Howard Shaw in a recent address made a good point. It was in
effect something like this: She said that if the farmer gave his son a
colt, not a scrub colt but one of the very best on the farm to be all
his own and to do with as he chose, that colt would tie the boy to the
farm as nothing else could unless it was a share of the farm itself. The
same, she said, was true in regard to the girl who went out to milk the
cows because that was part of her duty, without having any heart or
interest in the result of the milking; but if she were given a cow, one
of the best of the herd as her own, she would not only be interested in
the milking of that one, but all the cows she milked would give more
milk--she would do all her work better because of the interest she took
in the work.

This is not saying that either the girls or the boys are unconscientious
in their work and will not do well unless they have a selfish motive; it
is only to say that they are human beings and all the more like grown-up
people. Dr. Shaw added as her opinion that the ownership of the boy and
girl should not end merely with the colt and the cow. Each year they
should feel that a certain percentage of the net profits of the work
should belong to them, and that they were having a chance to accumulate,
even though it was only a very small part of the income a year.

"If I had a farm and had sons and daughters on it," said Dr. Shaw, "I
would sit down and discuss the whole matter of the work of the farm with
them, and agree upon a certain share of the net and then let each one
have his or her share, and encourage them to invest it, but leave them
free to use their own judgment as to the investment. Until something of
this sort is done, I am afraid that the boys and girls more and more
will turn from the farm to the city; and who can well blame them, even
though it costs them more to live in the city than they can make?
Sometimes one feels happier in spending every dollar he has merely to
live, if he is free to spend it as he wishes, than he would to save if
he were not free."

This wisdom may sound a little Utopian, at any rate as far as Country
Girls are concerned. Very few girls are assigned any pecuniary share in
the farm. Now and then one remembers that she once had several calves
that were "called" her own; but she does not remember ever receiving any
money from that stock. A mother will share the precious egg-money with
the daughter. One girl confessed to owning a tree, and one a canary.
Another mentioned as her pecuniary share in the farm the fact that she
helped milk! Nearly all would agree with Dr. Shaw that having a share in
the ownership would make them more enthusiastic for the success of the
farm.

If the young woman in the farmstead would be more systematic in the use
of what money she can command, perhaps she would the sooner be trusted
with greater financial responsibility. It certainly is a motive in many
parental minds that the children--they still seem to be children in the
thoughts of some parents even when they have reached years of
discretion--are not wise enough to use money discretely. Often they are
not, but whose fault is it? If children were trained in the use of money
from childhood up, they would not be so foolish when the time comes for
putting this discipline into practise. Parents should remember that they
are sure to wish some time to have a wise, careful son to lean upon.
Then they will wish they had trained the child properly. The same is
true of the daughter. There is nothing more certain than that the
daughters in the wide countryside are being brought up in the main with
very little inkling of business. Now any girl that has gone as far in
her education as to spell and to compute fractions is quite far enough
to be taught the meaning of a deed. And not long after that she should
know the force of the little word "warranty" or "full covenant" or
"quitclaim" written before the word "deed." She should understand
something of the meaning of the fell term "mortgage"--something besides
the fact that when it is mentioned everybody is expected to weep. If
young women grew up with a more common-sense attitude toward this vital
subject, the word would be robbed of some, at least, of its terrors. In
just a few years those young women will be the distributors of the
income for a whole family; they are to be the conservators of the saving
for the fatal day of interest-paying. If they understood more of the
practical working of the matter, the saving would be approached with
less dismay.

Does it not seem reasonable to suppose that if a girl is made to see the
relation of "overhead charges" to the "cost of living," if she has been
taken into family confidence with regard to the business of the farm,
and has been made to understand the difference between the basis for a
girl's wages in town and that in the farm home, she will not run away
under a fatal misunderstanding of conditions there?

Moreover the girl of to-day is to be the home-conserver of to-morrow.
Since the woman is the fore-ordained overseer of the whole business of
spending, we may say that her failure to save and to plan and to adapt,
has been the cause of all our trouble. It makes no difference to the
women of the countryside that the women of the cities are more culpable
in these things than are they; their affair is their own, and their duty
is to attain not some one else's ideal, but their own.

The model home-conserver will have the budget for the year put into
shape; she will know all the items of rent, interest on mortgages (if
the family are so unfortunate as to have these troublesome things to
look after), the dates when the fatal inroad has to be made into the
cherished store of savings, the days when the various taxes are due--the
inheritance, county, village, water and other special taxes--and all
other payments that belong in the system of support that the farm or
village home requires. She must know that the thing to be aspired to and
looked forward to is that at the end of the year the financial income
and outgo should accurately balance. The young woman who neglects her
own small account will not be preparing herself for these larger
responsibilities; and she must be able to make this small one balance if
she expects to do the same with the greater one. The comfort of having
it come out right once will be an incentive ever after; and the effect
upon character of compelling one's self to keep steadily to the task of
mental accuracy, of remembering each item and of putting it down quickly
before it has escaped, will be incalculable. It is not a matter of mere
idiosyncrasy that a young girl may say, "Oh, I cannot keep my accounts
and make them come out right--it's too much trouble for just me!" To
have to confess this should be considered a disgrace. One should conceal
the disinclination to this duty, as one should conceal a disinclination
to give one's hair the thorough weekly washing which that passion for
cleanness that is the mark of the true lady calls for. It is impossible
for a young girl of right instincts to say, "Oh, I would just as lief be
an unclean person!" So it should be impossible for the young girl of
right feeling to say, "Oh, I would willingly be a lazy, ineffective and
partly dishonest person in my understanding of business!"--for slackness
and inaccuracy in business are the next door to dishonesty. In all
finances, to the remotest penny, the rightly constituted girl will be
accurate. If necessity compels her to borrow a small sum, she will repay
it at the earliest possible moment.

It is not the mark of a fine woman to be careless in spending; quite the
contrary. The young woman who has intellectuality and training and taste
to compute her expenses carefully, to use the money to good advantage
and to the best purpose, is the young woman of higher grade, not the one
who wastes, who scatters carelessly and purposelessly, and who indulges
in things costing much and affording no permanent good. Our ideal in
these respects needs some right-about-face orders from our conscience.
"Saving," says Professor Martha Van Rensselaer at Cornell University,
"cultivates self-control, imagination, resourcefulness, character." She
continues: "It is quite right to economize on some standbys and then
spend more for some esthetic object, if the esthetic better satisfies a
real craving connected with the higher life.... It is not meanness to
study economy; it is not 'near' to avoid waste. To work out new uses
that may be made of every particle of food, to get the full food-value
out of every bit of it, is scientific exactness instead."

It is possible that all the skill of the woman in the farm home will be
needed as time goes on to keep the financial foundations of the
farmstead firm. A long look forward seems to discern on the horizon a
rising necessity for greater care, and perhaps for all the skill that
the farm women and other women of the next generation can master. Why
should Nature go on interminably caring for a people who indulge
themselves so heedlessly, so criminally in waste, cutting away their
forests, throwing away good food, refusing to use the supplies of
electric power in their rivers? Of course she will not. Disciplines are
before us. It is the part of wisdom to use greater stringency and more
scientific exactness in our household systems, that disaster may not
come upon us unprepared.

Some prevision of this may be in the minds of women when they endeavor
to give themselves a bit of training for direct money-earning business.
For them, and especially the younger women, openings are being made in
almost every direction. A woman is no longer to be accused of a
tastelessly commercial spirit if she desires to know through actual
experiment the value of her labor in the commercial rating of the
community. It is only by trying that she can thus standardize her labor.
If she offers cabbage plants from her growing patch, honey from her
bee-colonies, wild fruit that she has gathered from God's free gardens,
if she takes boarders, weaves hair, embroiders, or mends, if she takes
advantage of postal service and builds up a business in fine
lace-laundering, or silk and lingerie waist cleansing, whatever she
takes in hand, she is not only earning a little money, but she has
gained skill in manipulation, developed taste, compelled herself to seek
excellence, and strengthened her character by putting her work--and that
means herself--to the test of comparison with the work of others to
stand or fall by the decision. If she has failed in this test, she has
the chance to try harder and gain more character in further struggle.

All this should be looked upon as a part of the girl's training for
life. When parents have presented to the human family a highly developed
and trained young woman as their contribution, they should expect her to
desire to be a worker and to take up some form of activity as the
beginning, in turn, of her personal contribution. Professor Nearing says
that every girl should occupy the years between the latest school days
and her marriage in some wage-earning pursuit. There should be two or
three years there that she could spend in this part of her education.
She should thus learn business law, the stringency of markets, the
balance of purchase and sale, the interchange of commercial motive, and
the art of salesmanship. Here will be a great field of training for her,
and every part of it will be useful to her when she enters upon the
duties of her own house and home.

The best way for any girl to start upon this means of discipline, is to
think over what she can already do well. What have you been praised for
doing? Take that and try to do it still better. What you best like to do
will be the easiest to start with. Do this so well that people will
desire the product. People buy what they think is most excellent:
therefore make something so excellent that people will want to buy it.
And remember this principle: the _appearance_ of anything offered for
sale has a great deal to do with whether people will take a liking to it
or not. Do up all things nicely; make all packages neat and shipshape;
use color if possible; have the box and the cord match in tint; humor
the fancy of the buyer. At a certain country fair the girls in one
particular booth had great success. Why? Their voices were sweet and
they themselves were neatly dressed. But above all, the packages were
done up so deftly and looked so beautiful when they were handed out that
it was not difficult to understand the success of this booth. Buyers
want a good product, but they do like it in a fine package.

[Illustration: This Tennessee girl is a member of a Gardening and
Canning Club. She won the cow and calves as premiums for having the best
exhibit at the State Fair.]

A beautiful enthusiasm for Canning Club work comes from the South.
Joined with many other good things that come inevitably with the
organization of young life, it has enriched and blest the girls
incalculably. Writing to me of this, one woman said: "It has done more
to stir the Southern girls from the lethargy into which so many of them
had fallen than anything else I can think of." In reply to an inquiry,
Mr. O. H. Benson, in charge of Canning Club Work for the U. S.
Department of Agriculture, I wrote: "During the present year there are
about 250,000 boys and girls enrolled in club projects in the United
States who are receiving special follow-up instruction and who are
organized on the federated basis, making them members not only of their
own local community but of the State and national movement. About half
of these are girls who are doing work with poultry, home gardening or
the canning club project work." Mr. Benson was kind enough to lend me
the photograph of the young lady with the two Jersey calves. She is Miss
Myrtle Hardin, of Camden, Tennessee, a girl fifteen years of age, who
has been a member of the Gardening and Canning Club of the State for
four years. The two Jersey calves were won as premiums for having the
best records for Club Work in the State Fair for 1912 and 1913. Mr.
Benson gives a list of the prizes she won, and of the educational trips
she has taken, and adds: "Besides this, she has earned from her work
several hundred dollars which she deposited in the bank and will use to
pay her expenses to attend college and take a domestic science course."

This efficient girl so interested me that I wrote her and asked her to
tell me herself something about her achievements that I might hand it on
as an inspiration to other girls. She wrote me this delightful account:

     The Tomato Club has meant more to me than I am able to tell. My
     two years' experience has taught me how to prepare nice things for
     the table, how to beautify the home, and how to make life in the
     country attractive and happier. Nothing has done more to train my
     mind than our Club work. I have read bulletins, cookbooks, books
     on home-making and domestic science, and dozens of different
     papers and magazines in the two years' work. I have written
     histories of my crops, and compiled "Tomato Recipe" booklets, and
     "The Life History of the Tomato"; and have drawn the plan,
     complete, of my home and grounds. On all of the above I won First
     Prizes in my State and County.

     [Illustration: Springtime in the country. City children may well
     envy their little country cousins the free life in the open and
     the companionship with animals.]

     I have as a result of my two years' work two Jersey calves, 17
     Indian Runner ducks, raised from a pair I won last year, a pen of
     thoroughbred chickens, a tireless cooker, a cut glass bowl, and a
     great many small prizes, as well as some cash which I won at
     different places. I love best of all my calves, ducks and chickens
     and hope to tell you some ups and downs with them some time.

     I have always been a "Benton County country girl," and love the
     farm and its life. I had been out of my county but twice when I
     became a Club member. In the last two years I have traveled in ten
     different States--but still like Tennessee best of all. I have
     also visited a great many large cities, our National Capital being
     one.

     Last year, Miss Moore said I could go, as First Prize Winner, with
     four other girls to the National Corn Show at Columbia, S. C. We
     spent a delightful day in Atlanta, a week in Columbia, and two
     days in Charleston on this trip, besides stopping at several other
     cities for a few hours. O how grand the Atlantic looked and how
     majestic its ships! I thought then that a Tomato Club girl could
     be no more highly favored than I.

     But this year when Miss Moore wrote me that I had been selected to
     go to Washington it seemed too good to believe. What a delightful
     time we had, girls and boys from Michigan to Florida and from
     South Carolina to Oregon. The greatest people in the land showed
     us that they thought we too had some degree of greatness because
     we were "Good Farmers and had a purpose in life." We were not
     ashamed of our work, either, for I presented "The Highest Lady in
     The Land" some of my canned goods, and she very graciously
     accepted them and told us she was proud of "her girls." As a final
     treat Miss Moore carried me to New York where we met some lovely
     people and spent two days full of interest and sight-seeing. Then
     home in time for Christmas.

     Some have asked me how I won. I don't know, but my County Agent
     says, "It's because you TRY to do everything you are told to do in
     the work, and do it like you are told." That may be true. I advise
     every Club girl to do no less than this anyway.

Full information about the work of Canning Cubs for girls may be
obtained by any one who will write to the Department at Washington or
directly to Mr. Benson, and ask for circulars on the subject. Many of
the State Agricultural Colleges, also, have bulletins on the subject.

In all these wage-earning endeavors there is but one caution to be
thought of beforehand. We should remember that when a young woman is
working in the kitchen of the farm home, she is doing a wage-worthy work
fully as much as when she is offering to some outside market. Now if she
undertakes to make use of some by-product of the farm, if she cans the
waste vegetables, reclaims them to common use, and standardizes the
product, will not this new industry march into the factory as the others
have, and will not the woman in the home be left without her wage as
before? Unless the right principle underlies the business of canning,
this will surely come to pass. There is no reason why the housework
should not be standardized and brought under the law of economic
production; there is no reason why a new sort of canning should be left
in the unregulated realm for the benefit of the woman's whim for a work
of her own. It shall surely not escape commercialization. The rag
carpet, now a cheapened factory product, should be a warning to women.
What we should work for is not the enclosing of a certain piece of work
with bars that we may get our hands upon it, but the establishment of
economic laws that shall make women free to work wherever their taste
and abilities incline them.

For the Country Girl in her plans for a future life of healthful,
satisfying labor, the pathway to this better order lies over the rocky
pavement of household systemization and scientific budget-making.



CHAPTER XVII

THE DRESS BUDGET


     There is that scattereth and yet increaseth; and there is that
     withholdeth more than is meet and it tendeth to poverty.

  _Proverbs._

     Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth
     alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

  _St Paul._

     Even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to
     minister.

  _Jesus._



CHAPTER XVII

THE DRESS BUDGET


The Country Girl has this advantage--the business of the farm and the
home are so closely connected that the work she has to do can be carried
on without separating her from her home. This would not be so in any
work she could undertake in the city. She would not have a great big
house to return to from her store or factory, but some little upstairs
room, the "hall-bedroom" of that tragic book _The Long Day_, which so
painfully portrays the conditions of work for girls in a great city. The
Country Girl in her home with her housework about her is in a paradise
compared with conditions such as these.

The "home" means rent, board, general living expenses--all these are
looked out for in the scheme of life for the Country Girl. Why, then,
does she feel so great a need for sheer money? The reason is partly
this: she has the dress problem on her hands. She is scantily supplied
with a bit now and then when she asks for a cloak or some other garment;
she is not assigned a certain sum a month, as her self-respecting spirit
demands, and left free to use it as her judgment directs. She has not
been trained to do this and the fear that she will not do it wisely
keeps the father from inaugurating such a system. In the long run, after
the daughter has gained wisdom from a few mistakes with the suffering
resulting therefrom, the outgo from the parental pocket would not be
much increased by adopting the educative method of letting her have the
personal management of her little budget. Few fathers can bear to see a
daughter really suffer; most fathers will not let her even foolishly
think that she is suffering, and a plea from her will generally bring an
indulgence in some unnecessary purchase.

The problem is intricate and has many sides; but we believe the best way
for the father to take would be to place a set sum at her command with
the injunction that she is to plan and use it carefully--and make it do!
If the parent is able to go so far in the process of education as to
start her on a cash account and oversee her as she tries to carry it on,
especially if he will initiate her in the mysteries of a small bank
account, he will in the majority of cases be richly repaid in the
development of an ability to manage and to save that he did not suspect
the daughter to possess.

The father himself, in the happy-go-lucky method of most fathers in
their financial relations with the women of the family, does not know
what the daughter's dress budget for a year ought to be. The following
lists of items for a country girl's dress budget are presented here as
much for the father's sake as for that of the girls. The lists have been
drawn from various sources and they represent the thought of many
students of country life conditions and of some country girls
themselves.

The first list was made by a wide-awake Country Girl in the State of
Idaho:

LIST OF CLOTHING FOR A YEAR, FOR A GIRL IN HIGH SCHOOL

  1 suit for best for 1 year, coat for best 2 years       $15.00
  1 winter coat                                             6.00
  1 winter hat for best                                     2.50
  1 winter hat for school, a felt knock-about               1.00
  1 spring coat or party wrap                               6.50
  1 summer hat                                              3.00
  1 pair gloves, seldom worn here except on Sundays         1.50
  1 pair golf gloves                                         .50
  4 pairs shoes                                            10.00
  8 pairs of stockings                                       .80
  2 pairs rubbers                                           1.30
  2 suits underclothing, winter                             1.80
  2 suits underclothing, summer                              .70
  3 underskirts, white                                      2.25
  1 underskirt, knitted                                      .50
  1 silk underskirt                                         1.98
  2 pairs corsets                                           3.00
  6 corset covers                                           1.50
  4 waists (not worn much)                                  3.00
  1 worsted skirt                                           1.98
  1 linen skirt                                              .98
  2 gingham wash dresses                                    2.00
  1 princess slip                                           1.00
  Miscellaneous, per year of nine months                    9.00
                                                          ------
                                                          $77.79

She adds this note: "Some figures are guessed at, for I make and remake
my clothes always. Note that the suit is not necessary. Needless to
mention these figures are doubled and even trebled by some thoughtless
girls of poor but long-suffering parents. I earn my own money."

The following meager list represents, I am sure, the thought of a girl
who has been accustomed to the least that could possibly be got along
with:

DRESS FOR A VILLAGE GIRL GOING TO SCHOOL

  2 woolen combination suits       $3.00
  1 corset waist                     .50
  2 flannelette petticoats          1.00
  1 black petticoat                 1.50
  1 waist                           3.00
  1 dress skirt                     3.00
  1 woolen dress                    3.00
  1 winter hat                      3.00
  1 pair gloves                     1.00
  6 pairs of stockings              1.50
  2 pairs of rubbers                 .80
  2 pairs of shoes                  6.00
  1 winter coat                    10.00
  1 spring coat                     7.00
  6 handkerchiefs                    .99
                                  ------
                                  $45.29

The following is quoted with permission from a valuable little leaflet
prepared by Miss Caroline D. Pratt, of Hampton Institute, Hampton,
Virginia, and shows what the prices would be for a girl in the southern
realm:

SUGGESTIONS FOR CLOTHING FOR SCHOOL GIRLS

  6 undervests (summer)                   $.60
  4 undervests (winter)                   1.00
  4 pair drawers, homemade                 .80
  2 white petticoats, homemade            1.00
  3 nightgowns, homemade                  1.65
  4 underwaists, homemade                 1.00
  1 gingham petticoat, homemade            .40
  2 short flannel petticoats, homemade     .70
  6 plain shirt waists, homemade          2.40
  1 white percale dress skirt, homemade    .55
  1 gingham dress, homemade               1.00
  1 muslin dress, homemade                1.50
  4 gingham aprons, homemade               .72
  2 white aprons, homemade                 .60
  4 pairs stockings                       1.00
  1 pair low shoes                        2.50
  1 pair high shoes                       3.00
  1 pair corsets                           .50
  1 hat                                   2.00
  1 wool skirt                            3.00
  1 suit                                 12.50
  1 raincoat                              3.00
  1 pair rubbers                           .60
  1 umbrella                              1.00
  4 collars                                .40
  12 handkerchiefs                        1.20
  1 pair gloves, lisle                     .25
  1 pair gloves, wool                      .25
  Belts, neckties                         1.50
                                        ------
                                        $46.62

This list has been very carefully thought out, it is evident; but while
the sum is small, we believe that it would be difficult to get clothing
of good material at these figures. For instance, the corset. A
fifty-cent corset cannot easily be made to last a year; and it would
probably be of such a shape that it would be injurious rather than
helpful to the wearer. Perhaps something else could be substituted for
that, however; that should be studied out by the Country Girls.

To this budget Miss Pratt adds a page of suggestions that are so useful
that we are glad to have more girls read them.

Here they are:

WHAT A WELL-DRESSED GIRL WEARS TO SCHOOL

  Neat, plain, shirt waists.
  Plain, well-made, cotton or wool dresses.
  Plain, short, wool skirt. Good material will last longer and prove
    more economical in the end.
  Clean, plain, well-mended, durable underwear. If trimmed, use
    cambric ruffles, lace, or embroidery of good quality. Torchon lace
    wears well and is cheap.
  Clean collars and neckties.
  Neckties and belts should either match or harmonize with skirt or
    waist.
  Hair neatly and becomingly dressed, not extreme.
  Clean hands and finger nails.
  Plainly trimmed hat.
  Plain, serviceable coat.
  Neat, comfortable shoes.
  Neat gloves.
  Old gloves and shoes are neat when clean and carefully mended.

WHAT A WELL-DRESSED GIRL DOES NOT WEAR TO SCHOOL

  Elaborate shirt waists or dresses.
  Jewelry.
  Low shoes and thin stockings in winter.
  Bright, gay colors.
  Petticoats longer than dress skirt.
  Dusty, spotted clothes.
  Fussy neckwear.
  Soiled shirt waist and collar.
  Dresses or underwaists cut too low.
  Short sleeves in winter.
  Coats, dresses, skirts, or waists whose buttons or hooks and eyes
    are lacking.
  Holes in stockings.
  Safety-pin showing beneath the belt.

From a report by Miss Caroline Gleason, Director of Social Survey for
the Consumers' League of Oregon, is copied, with permission, a carefully
made list representing conditions in the Northwest:

  1 winter coat                       $15.00
  1 suit                               18.00
  1 extra skirt                         5.00
  2 dark waists                         4.00
  4 white waists                        4.00
  2 dark underskirts                    2.00
  4 suits summer underwear              2.00
  3 suits winter underwear              3.00
  1 dozen pair stockings                3.00
  2 pair corsets                        3.00
  4 corset covers                       2.00
  1-1/2 dozen cotton handkerchiefs       .90
  4 pair gloves                         4.00
  4 pair shoes                         10.00
  1 pair rubbers                         .50
  1 umbrella                            1.00
  3 hats                                6.00
  1 party dress                        10.00
  3 white underskirts                   4.50
  2 summer dresses                     10.00
                                     -------
                                     $107.90

Miss Gleason adds: "In making out a budget for the cost of the Country
Girl's clothes, I would feel it necessary to consider whether they were
procured in the city at city prices (through mail order houses) or in
the country store. My reason for saying this is that, judging from my
slight experience, country prices are higher than city prices even with
postage attached."

These Western and Southern reports may be supplemented by two that come
from New England. The first of these is made by Miss L. G. Chase, Social
Worker in Providence, Rhode Island, and represents a great deal of
thought and experience. It may be called final for that part of the
country. It is as follows:

_Underwear_--

  Winter--3 union suits at 75c. (cotton and wool)    $2.25
  Summer--3 shirts at 25c.                             .75
        3 pair drawers (made at home) at 25c.          .75
  Two outing-flannel petticoats, 5 yds. at 11c.        .55
  Two outside petticoats, 5 yds. at 9c.                .45
  One ferris-waist                                    1.00
  One pair garters                                     .20
  Four nightdresses (estimated)                       2.00

_Coats, hats, gloves_--

  Summer coat                                         6.98
  Winter school hat                                   1.50
  Winter hat (best)                                   4.50
  Summer hat (every day)                              3.50
  Two pair gloves                                     2.00

_Rubbers, shoes, stockings_--

  One pair rubbers                                     .75
  One pair high shoes                                 3.75
  One pair low shoes                                  2.50
  Repairs to shoes                                    1.20
  Eight pair stockings (estimated)                    1.63

_Dresses_--

  Summer--4 yds. gingham at 50c.--Trimming 23c. (best dress)       2.23
    Gingham dress, 6 yds. at 9c.--Trimmings 23c.                    .77
      White middy blouse and skirt--5 yds. material at 12-1/2c.     .63
  Fall and winter
    Blue ratinée--4-1/2 yds. at 25c., trimming and girdle 65c.     1.78
    Brown corduroy--6 yds. at 50c., trimming $1.00                 4.00
  Three shirt-waists--2-1/2 yds. each at 12-1/2c.                   .94
  One pongee waist
    (Made from dress of mother, estimated value of waist
    to take its place)                                             1.00
  Handkerchiefs, collars, ties, etc. (estimated)                   3.00
                                                                 ------
                                                                 $50.61

Left over for use for another year--

  Winter coat,
  Sweater,
  White panama hat,
  White dress,
  Princess slip,
  Corset cover,
  Blue serge dress,
  Black and white check dress,
  Gingham dress,
  House dress.

The second New England budget was prepared by a group of girls at the
Agricultural College of Connecticut, most of whom came from the country.
The scheme is made for three years' wear and is given with the caption
that the girls themselves chose.

A THREE-YEAR BUDGET

SUITABLE FOR A SIXTEEN TO EIGHTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL LIVING IN THE COUNTRY
AND ATTENDING A NEIGHBORING HIGH SCHOOL, WITH THE ADVANTAGE OF SHOPPING
IN THE CITY.

To be attractive is not to attract attention. In choosing her clothes, a
young girl at school must consider style, suitability, durability,
neatness, and cost. Cheap materials should not be chosen merely because
they are cheap, for in the end a high-priced material is often cheaper
than a low-priced one.

  8 light-weight unionsuits at 25c.                               $2.00
  5 heavy-weight knit unionsuits at $1.00                          5.00
  8 corset covers (plain) at 25c.                                  2.00
  4 corset covers (fancy) at 60c.                                  2.40
  1 princess slip                                                  1.25
  3 white petticoats at $1.50                                      4.50
  2 dark petticoats at $1.00                                       2.00
  4 summer nightgowns (of long cloth or nainsook) at 85c.          3.40
  3 winter nightgowns (of outing-flannel) at 62c.                  1.86
  6 pairs corsets at $1.00                                         6.00
  4 waists (made at home of material easily laundered) at 50c.     2.00
  4 waists at $1.50                                                6.00
  1 heavy skirt                                                    5.00
  5 cotton dresses at $1.25                                        6.25
  1 dress (silk)                                                   8.00
  3 dresses, woolen material at $3.50                             10.50
  1 suit (coat and skirt)                                         22.50
  1 heavy skirt                                                    5.00
  1 sweater                                                        5.00
  1 heavy coat                                                    18.00
  1 light coat                                                     6.00
  1 raincoat                                                       5.00
  4 winter hats                                                   11.50
  4 summer hats                                                   15.00
  2 pairs silk gloves                                              2.00
  4 pairs heavy gloves                                             4.00
  4 ties at 25c.                                                   1.00
  24 handkerchiefs                                                 4.25
  9 pairs stockings at 50c.                                        4.50
  18 pairs stockings at 25c.                                       4.50
  8 pairs shoes at $2.50                                          20.00
  6 pairs overshoes at 70c.                                        4.20
  Extras: hairpins, tooth-brushes, shoe-polish, various
      toilet articles                                              6.00
  Extras: ribbons, velvet, collars, etc.                          12.00
                                                                -------
  Dress budget for three years                                  $218.61
  Dress budget for one year                                      $72.87

These various budgets are given that we may be sure to have some
approach to a standard for each part of the country. But it is of course
possible that none of them will meet the case of a great many of the
girls. However, the hope is that they may at least give the suggestion
that it is a useful thing to make such a list in order that a girl may
thus be able to see at a glance what she is doing with her money; and
when she is looking forward into the year ahead she may feel an
inspiration to plan beforehand and thus forestall the disaster that so
surely follows poor investment. The first principle of efficiency is to
put in a pin, as it were, at a certain point, so that one may see what
point has been reached and so be helped to decide whether it can be
surpassed another time.

Let this chapter be a help to put in such a pin, to set something like
an ideal of what is possible in the matter of reasonable dress. It may
also aid the daughter to know what she may fairly expect her father to
supply for her needs. It may help the well-meaning father to realize
what he must do if his children are able to hold up their heads in the
community. The rank of the head of the family is often reckoned by the
appearance of the wife and child. Some of these lists are evidently made
for a girl whose father may be marked by the daughter's dress as a man
of less position and generosity and fairness than he imagines himself to
be. That state of things can easily be corrected. On the other hand, the
girl that has time for sewing, and the cleverness and training to do it,
should take delight in making her clothing for herself. Given those
antecedent conditions, the Country Girl's dress will thus be not only
less expensive, but also better adapted to herself, and more charming
because more individual.



CHAPTER XVIII

FOUNDING A HOME


     The woman that can in the midst of her rigid daily duties fall on
     her knees and thank God for the dim, black forests which are the
     eternal fans of nature, for the rain that appeases the thirst of
     the birds of the air, and the newly sown seed in the fields, that
     can feel amid these natural objects awe, admiration, a sense of
     infinite force, of boundless life, of duration that is eternal in
     its broad and human sweep, leaving her stunned with the
     realization of her pigmied self in the presence of these veritable
     facts, and at the same time filling her with a deep, maternal
     pride that she, too, is a living, necessary factor in God's world
     of Rural Life is the one that possesses the power to rise above
     the common drudgeries of daily existence. She knows that the
     secret of the beautiful and simple life is to make oneself a
     symbol of heavenly life.

  --_Sigismund von Eberstadt._



CHAPTER XVIII

FOUNDING A HOME


There is one thing that may not be mentioned by any Country Girls even
in their dearest confidences, but that we may for a surety know: it is
that every one of them looks forward to the making of her own home. Yes;
every one has her dream of a "hope chest"; and as she wanders about her
home community she is looking here and there to see what hillside or
what sightly place on the plain will be the destined location for her
home. Like the wise woman in Proverbs, she, in imagination, buildeth her
house beforehand, and thinks it all out according to the scope of her
ideals.

These ideals that are cherished in the thoughts of the young woman are
her most valuable possessions. They are the blossoming of the best that
she has received from her education, her surroundings in the home, the
advice of her elders, the influence of the books she has read, the music
she has heard and has made, the plays she has seen and the poetry she
has learned. They are the inherited result of long years of experience
on the part of the race; and perhaps in no place is the best that past
centuries have garnered to be found more assimilated and concentrated
than in the country home in America.

In the history of the evolution of society we recall that woman was
assigned no small place. In those early eons of the long slow growth of
society, she was the creator of the home; she was the master of the
mysteries of fire and of household devices; she was the carrier, the
lapidary, the builder, the inventor, the harvester, the tiller of the
soil; she was the weaver, the skin dresser, the maker and mender of
clothing, the hewer of wood and the drawer of water; she was the
linguist and instructor of girls; she was a prophetess and a founder of
religion; she went into battle with the fighting men and she deliberated
in the council of the tribe. She had her full share in the creation of a
social order.

To dwell upon the history of domestic evolution will perhaps encourage
the young woman of to-day to step forward and shoulder the
responsibilities that belong to her. But the young woman in the rural
field has at present a special difficulty. If the better and more
adventurous among the rural young men withdraw to the city, the choice
of the young women that remain is restricted. Indeed many may continue
unmarried because of the lack of companionship of their own caliber.
This situation should work several ways; to the young men who are
tempted to run away to city life, it should be an incitement to stay
where their true home is; it should also be an inspiration to the youths
remaining in the home village when the less loyal or the more
enterprising young men have departed, to build up efficiency in every
possible way, so that they may make themselves more acceptable and
successful in the social field of the community.

But as to the girls themselves--ay, there's the rub! Difficult as the
problem always is for any young woman, it is doubly so for her in the
country to-day. Under these circumstances, what the dignified position
for her to take is hazardous to say.

There is no use in trying to minimize the great importance of the
problem. The advance or the deterioration of the community depends on
the mental and physical health of the race. In order that a home may be
successfully founded; that it may carry on the best traditions and
improve upon them, it should be made by the best possible choice of each
other on the part of those that form it. Back of these best possible
choices must lie the highest ideals and the courage to demand the
fulfilment of these ideals. For the characteristics of the children in
any home will be formed by the characteristics of both the parents.
Therefore, the quality and character of both parents will determine
whether the race shall ascend in the scale of being or shall decline and
deteriorate. The young may not choose for their own pleasure alone; they
should choose also for the sake of the whole race and its hopes and
aspirations. They must develop themselves; they must make themselves and
keep themselves sound and well-trained and in good trim not for their
own joy in living, not even solely for the benefit of those about them,
but for the strength and success of those who are to live after them.

It is for this reason that the choice is so momentous. And it is not to
be wondered at that many young men and young women find the years of
youthful decisions fraught with an almost tragic significance.

In the present state of social evolution, the burden of choice seems to
rest chiefly upon the young man. But is it really so? Professor Scott
Nearing asks the question and then makes the suggestion that though the
conventionally modest young woman of to-day may shrink from the thought
that she should take the lead in this matter of selection, still she may
unconsciously and instinctively do so after all. The same suggestion is
strongly urged by another educational authority. One of the wise men of
Illinois, a man of culture, an educationalist and a close observer of
life, writes as follows: "What the country girl most needs and wants is
a larger opportunity for social development. Her life is isolated, her
friends limited. She has little choice when she selects a husband from
the home community. I almost wish custom would permit her to make the
proposal, for I feel sure that she could do so more intelligently, and
better results would obtain." We have indeed a mighty precedent in the
earliest days of our national story for the initiative of the woman.
"Why don't you speak for yourself, John?" has been said once, and it can
be said again.

But then again, would the state of things be bettered if this important
initiative were placed equally in the hands of women and men? Would the
young men suffer themselves to be ensnared by the unbelated suggestion,
remain in the rural environment and found their homes there? Would they
allow themselves to be tied down in a place where they do not desire to
be? And who would want to tie them down, anyway? The wings of Lord Love
are tremendously energetic, especially when bound by artificial cords.
In questions like these we must wait until we have seen what the young
folks have done before we make up our minds what is right to do; and
especially to-day when the boys and girls are suffering from the
neglects of the last generation. The people who have just passed off the
stage allowed education, science, recreation, good times, hospitality,
and spiritual life to drag behind; now the younger farm people of to-day
are feeling the results. We must look to the new life, the new methods,
the new community spirit of to-morrow to make things over so that there
shall spring up perfectly balanced homes all along the countryside with
such attraction in home and community that no one can possibly be lured
away. In this reorganization of community life, as we have seen, the
Country Girl has a great share and duty. And one of the greatest
services she can perform will be to cherish in her own heart the highest
ideals as to the right and necessary construction of a home in the
character of the parents, and to hold everybody on whom she has any
influence in the community to those ideals as strictly as she possibly
can. For it would be indeed far better for her and for her part in the
onflowing life stream of racial progress if she should dwell unmarried,
run her own farm, and fill her house with the laughter of some
unmothered and unfathered children who would no doubt repay her with
love and service and honor as devotedly as if they had been children of
her very own, as if she should unite in a family plan that by carrying
on impure or diseased influences would contribute to the degradation of
the race, and increase the misery of the world.

Though hampered with some disabilities, the Country Girl of to-day has
one great advantage. She was born after the time when it was settled
conclusively that there was nothing in her sex alone that ought to
hinder her mental growth and her opportunity for activity. In her time
woman has come to realize that when she believes in her own inferiority,
in the possibility that her sex may be a handicap, her nature will be
restricted, and she will not be able to develop the powers she does
possess. She sees that the obsession of this thought has tied down the
woman in the past and has impeded her development. She is now wakened
from this daze.

What barrier can there be to a woman's progress? Truly life presents
many. For instance, her idea of what would for her be progress, may not
be the right idea. There are many stern duties that sometimes seem to
impede progress; duties to parents, to family, or to the social order;
duties to religious forms that have become woven into society and could
not be drawn out without too much sacrifice of what is good and
necessary; duties to common legal form that has dominance and is the
result of centuries of experience, and that could not be taken exception
to without too great risk--these and many other things may form barriers
to the desire of the mere individual. But, these being granted, the
woman can have a free chance for growth and development only when she
believes that nothing coming out of the mere fact of sex has a right to
hamper her growth or restrict her activity, and that no one shall have
the right to say what is best for her or what she ought to wish for
herself, in matters where she alone can have the means for understanding
the situation.

These principles intimately concern the question of marriage. George
Meredith said that to a woman marriage should be a platform from which
her soul may take a new flight. How wonderful! A platform from which the
soul may take flight!--not a black cage in which the soul of woman must
crouch, to which her soul must fit itself, moving cramped, and slowly,
and at war with itself; not a cage in which a caught and imprisoned
canary bird must sing for the amusement of its owner. No! a platform
from which to take flight, with sunlighted realms to investigate and new
skies to discover, with wings growing ever stronger for more daring
ascensions into still clearer light.

Let every girl make sure that that is the kind of platform that is being
built for her in the character and in the attitude of mind of the
destined lover. And let her make certain that she also is building and
developing in herself a character that shall be worthy of her high
mission, that shall be sufficient for all its needs, and that shall
merit the deep reverence that all hearts give to the mother and
homemaker.

In order that the founding of a successful home may be the Country
Girl's happy lot, is it too much to ask that she should cherish for
herself the ideal of a nature clean and pure, with so high a reverence
for purity that she shall demand it in her lover as in herself? And that
she shall recognize no difference in her standard for the morality of
both the young man and the young woman? Should not her ideal include the
fact of established health, both physical and mental, with a physician's
certificate for both young man and young woman as to this, and include
also a good inheritance of health in both families together with
absolute freedom from alcoholism or other death-dealing diseases?
Moreover, no marriage can be quite happy and successful that is not
based upon the principle that each shall respect the personal rights of
the other; and this should include, not only matters of income and
property, but of tastes and opinions, and of all personal
relationships. Both should have a good common school education and as
much more as circumstances will permit. If he is a college graduate, she
should be one also; and she should never be asked to leave her college
course in order to marry. A wise girl will frown upon the young man who
makes plans for marriage before he has gained a thorough training in
some good bread-winning occupation and also developed a fair
money-earning capacity. The Country Girl may be reminded again that she
herself should have the thorough training in the science, art, and
business of the household that will make her a perfect house
administrator and homemaker and leave it possible to adapt some part of
this varied work to money earning should occasion require. The ideal for
two who are to found a home together should certainly include a genuine
love of home life, together with love of children and a capacity to
become a wise, efficient father and mother. A home will be more
interesting and therefore more successful, as years move along, if the
founders are people of growing nature, if they have a disposition to
keep in touch with affairs, if they indulge themselves with an
avocation, something they especially like to do, something that will
carry on their education to farther heights. There must be
courage,--home-founding calls for heroism--there must be fortitude,
reserve force, patience. Ordeals will come, and trials: a buoyant faith
in the spiritual realities alone will bear us through these. Then it
must be remembered that we live in the community. It is well to select a
socialized nature, one having ability to live among people and to meet
them successfully, one that knows the give-and-take of social life. Both
the young man and the young woman must be good citizens in the
community.

Now what has been forgotten? The great thing that perhaps with most
young people is thought of first, namely, the question as to whether
these two young people like each other or not. But the phase being
presented here concerns not so much the choice of a particular one who
shall be companion in the founding of a certain home, as the qualities
of the group of people from among which that choice shall be made.
Certainly it is of the greatest importance to decide whether the two
young people do really like each other or not. It would be blasphemy to
enter into the relationship without that satisfaction in each other's
society that alone gives promise of happiness. There should be a strong,
deep affection and love for each other; they should have a mutuality of
interest, tastes and ideals; they should enjoy each other's society; and
these points should be put to the test of time and absence--but not too
much of either!

Homes founded by members of groups who hold ideals like these and live
up to them, will be certain to carry on into the future the best the
race has attained and to add to the stores of happiness and well-being
of all people. Into such homes it will be the best possible fortune to
be born; and if these homes are set against an unspoiled country
background, they will be the places where children will have the best
chance to develop to perfect human height. It should indeed be a part of
the ideal cherished in the depths of every country girl's heart, that
she will, if possible, make to the world a contribution of children, the
most perfect that she can compass, the most complete in all their
powers, the most invincible in their strength, mental, physical and
moral; and that these shall go forth into the world trained for the most
distinguished service among the world's great needs. This should be her
ambition; and I believe that it is the desire and the ideal of the great
majority of the girls of the present generation.

To present a completed, full-grown, thoroughly efficient man or woman to
the world, is a contribution to the world's storehouse of power. But how
much more that means than simply to bear the child! The right direction
of the babyhood and youth, the full apprehension of the value of
education, and the entire dynamic encouragement to both the sons and
the daughters, the example of industry, the inspiration to work, the
enthusiasm and self-sacrifice to help in reaching high ideals, the
wisdom to guide these endeavors--these are the things that belong to the
contribution of the woman. Whether or not a woman has made her due
contribution is bound up in the matter of what her sons and daughters
actually do for the community and the world, how wide their influence
is, how serviceable they are to the general good. The mother of Edison,
for instance, made a great contribution.

Let every young woman take this point of view and consider what she is
now doing, even while yet only a girl, to make it possible for her
children that are to be, to have large lives, useful to the whole
community.

In olden time the family numbered fifteen to twenty children. Then,
indeed, there were things happening in the farm home! Then was there
companionship under the roof tree! The evenings were merry about the
fireside--and, by the way, there was a literal as well as a spiritual
fireside for the children to be merry about! Then, too, there was
hospitality, the Thanksgiving dinner, the Christmas home-coming for all
the cousins! In those days life was worth living and there was no
country life problem.

We must look forward to larger families. The next row of fathers and
mothers must live for this, plan for it, trust for it, and educate
themselves for it; for only thus will the farmstead be at once a place
where rafters shall ring with jollity, and the complex life offer dramas
enough to be interesting. In this way we shall save the country.

The story of the home life of the Beecher family, a typical large family
of old New England days, touches a high-water mark of vivid home life.
There was a perfect furor of intellectual excitement going through the
house all the time. Every topic of public interest was brought to the
home circle. Books were read aloud continually. Excitement of all kinds
was going on in the evenings, discussions of all sorts at the table.
The children were not invited, they were required, to argue. If they did
not do it cleverly the father would confound them with ridicule, or he
would say: "Now present this argument and you will be able to down me."
And then he would tell them just how to manage the point in order to
show up the fallacy and gain the right conclusion. So the wise father
trained their minds in a sort of play.

People have talked a great deal about the value to a child of a noble
mother; let a word or two be said for the value of the father in the
training of the home. It should be thought of both after the home is
established and before. Young women should think of this in making the
choice of a partner and the young men should know that they are doing
so. In fact, this may be actually happening already. Two little boys
were talking in the playground not long ago, and one said to the other:
"You mustn't do that, for if you do, you are not training for
parentage." The new era has certainly begun!

But there is a still larger view. The Country Girl should also consider
what she is now doing for the community to make it one in which her sons
and daughters shall, twenty years hence, have a chance for clean,
wholesome and inspiring lives. If she now forms a society for the girls
in her village so that the strength of each individual girl will be
multiplied by the braiding together of their efforts, to the end that
better social enjoyments and more intellectual and more ethical ideals
may become habitual, it may be that the years filled with these high
activities will result in a state of things in that community that will
make higher things the rule and lower things impossible. Then her
village will be a safer place for her children when they come than it
could have been without her own girlish endeavors.

The country child starts out with a better physical development than the
city child. Our countryside from the Atlantic to the Pacific is full of
children who are especially endowed for the highest attainments. May not
the Country Girl of the next generation be expected to do something
adequate and wonderful with these good gifts of heaven?



CHAPTER XIX

THE FARM PARTNER


     Efficient housekeeping is the beginning of good citizenship.

  --_Professor Martha van Rensselaer._



CHAPTER XIX

THE FARM PARTNER


The Country Girl of to-day may look forward to a life in which she shall
serve in a double capacity. She is to be a farm-woman and she is to be
also a wife-mother. The farm woman may do what she can in the work of
the farmstead, but her occupations there must be in abeyance before the
vastly greater importance of the work which is specially hers--the
conserving of the best and highest interests of the family. She is,
first, the head and link of the family. If after she has finished her
contribution to the work of discipline, education, inspiration, reading
and story-telling, spiritual and esthetic guidance, mending and making,
and placing food thrice on the table daily; after she has supplied her
own needs in self-education and self-inspiration, in recreation and
social satisfaction, so that she may come to the tasks mentioned above
with spiritual and mental energy and alertness; and if then she still
has time, strength, patience, will, energy and taste, left for still
greater demands upon her resources; then she may help in the things that
concern the farm business. She may do whatever will be a joy to her to
do, whatever she can do buoyantly and with enthusiasm.

No doubt in the new era this will be possible. But the woman of the next
generation is going to insist upon being happy, and her happiness is to
consist in maintaining efficient working power and in having her work
appreciated. Her work in the home must be thought of as having the same
value as any other earning work. It must be acknowledged in the home of
the future that woman's skill and woman's power to save are both
business assets. It should be acknowledged in the home of to-day both
for the wife and for the daughter.

One may say that all business is carried on by men in order that the
home--which means the wife and the children--may be sustained and that
its happiness and its outlook to the future may be made to prosper. All
men work for this end. The love of a man for his wife and for their
children is the inspiration of his daily toil. But with all other
occupations save the farmer's, the business is one thing and the home is
another. The woman and her share of world's work, namely the making and
the keeping of the home, are a thing apart. They are placed in a little
coop by themselves and there treasured as a shrine. Sometimes, to be
sure, the little coop where the woman plies her work is in the mind of
the man quite other than a shrine. But in the majority of cases it is
this, and we are speaking of the law and not of the exception.

But with the wife of the farmer, the woman's
laboratory-machine-shop-studio is not a little room by itself. The home
is a business center; it is a dynamo from which goes out the power for
the whole machinery; it is itself a piece of elaborate machinery without
which the rest of the cogs and bands and phlanges would all go awry and
break into pieces, doing damage to the whole farm-factory.

It is because of this that the woman in the farm home is so essential a
part of the farm business; it is for this reason that she is to be
thought of as a partner. It is for this reason that the farm woman may
have the satisfaction of knowing that she contributes more of
constructive value than do the women of any other group. From these
conditions farm women gain a training that no other women have. It is
claimed that suffrage was carried in the Northwestern States by the
weight of the women of the agricultural regions; they had been trained
to the new point of view by their position in the farmstead.

Students of the conditions of living in the homes of both city and
country have proposed various schemes for the practical finances in the
home. An excellent scheme for a household budget appeared in the
_Journal of Home Economics_ for June, 1914. It provided for three
separate accounts, one called "The Man's Personal Account," one "The
Woman's Personal Account," and the third, "The Family Account." Into the
first went the man's clothes, traveling expenses (carfare, etc.),
charities, amusements, society dues, dentist and doctor's bills--all
personal expenses. Into the second went similar items for the woman,
except that the bills connected with the birth of children were not
recorded there. These went into the third account, together with the
running expenses of living, and all expenses connected with the
children, their clothing, amusements, instruction, etc. A weekly sum
came from this account for the use of the wife for the household; what
remained there after these depredations, composed the mutual savings,
and this sum belonged equally to both husband and wife and could be used
for any purpose only by consent of both. This scheme in its general
features is adapted to any family, but might of course, after discussion
and consent, be altered to suit circumstances.

Every difficult question in the apportionment of these separate accounts
should be talked over thoroughly. Each member should endeavor to see the
question in the abstract, pure from every selfish impulse. Each should
try to see it from the other's standpoint, freed from prejudice, and in
the dry light of reason.

By working out these problems for several years, it may be possible to
bring the sums set apart for certain purposes down to fixed amounts. But
it must not be forgotten that the general cost of living varies--who
does not know that, alas!--from year to year. We have green years and
slack years; therefore we are not to be blamed if we do not always live
up to an ideal standard. Besides, we need a new cloak one year and do
not need one the next. New-cloak-year cannot be always last year or
always next year; it sometimes must be _this_ year!

The comfort of a family budget can hardly be imagined by those who have
a family to plan for and have not tried this system. You know what you
have to do with; you can plan and thus reduce expenses where they can
most conveniently be shaved off and not feel it so much. The husband
will have the comfortable assurance that he is obeying that great
principle of efficiency that calls for a "square deal" in the human
group with which he has most to do. The wife knows that when she is
taking a sum of money to use for herself or for her family she is not
asking a favor; she knows that she will never hear the dire question,
"Where is the dollar I gave you last month?" Immense quantities of
self-respect are carefully preserved by a methodical arrangement of the
home budget, and happiness is laid up for use both here and hereafter.

We may then ask how this general scheme may be adapted to homes in the
countryside. The financial plan for the farm home ought not to present
any difficulty, but it seems to, and for two reasons. In the first place
the money generally arrives in bulk in connection with harvests, not
scattered along through the year as in most other forms of business. But
one would think that this peculiarity would aid system; to know all in a
month what is to be available for twelve should be the most effective
basis for a wise plan.

Second, a large part of the supplies for the farm home come directly
from the farm without intervention of butcher, baker or candlestick
maker. This, again, ought not to prove a difficulty. Why not record the
farm-supplies on the day book at market prices, as if they did come from
butcher and grocer? This is the normal, systematic and efficient thing
to do. It is only the close interweaving of farm and house functions,
that makes it seem difficult; but in spite of this a carefully worked
out and closely followed system of bookkeeping will give aid at nearly
every point.

May we, however, ask a further question? In trying to make just and
equitable plans in the unique structure of the farmstead, how shall we
place a value upon the labor of the house administrator? The farm home
is an absolutely essential part of the farmstead, its heart and focus.
The business of the home is a part of the business of the farm. Whatever
the woman does to fulfil her duty in the home, to make the output of the
home a real productive contribution, is of actual economic value to the
farm business, and should be appreciated as such. If by specially good
management, by industry and thrift, she can make an unusually good
showing in her administration, lessen expenses by saving, increase
energy by a studied dietary, make children more efficient and the family
happier and healthier, she should be the more appreciated as a business
partner whose service is invaluable and who is well worthy of her share
of the profits.

If, then, besides these duties that are the normal work of the
homemaker, she is able to add such work in the farmstead as belongs to
the farming business, such as the care of the cream and butter,
providing meals for the farm hands, care of stock, chickens, bees,
lambs, or the garden, she takes the part of a farm hand or a farmworker,
she is a unit in the farm business as well as a partner, and should have
the value of the service she performs paid to her in wages. Of course we
hate the word. We want at least the mother in the home to be the final
unmerchantable thing there. But there are families in the country
scattered here and there who painfully need some such planning of home
affairs as this. If the happier women would move on lines of economic
system, even though they do not themselves feel tragic need for it, but
just in the interest of scientific accuracy and efficiency, the other
wives would be happier and all life in the home realm would have a
better adjustment. As long as the farmstead is a combination of home and
farm business, the presiding genius in this combination may work for
love many hours in the day; but where work is done by the woman
administrator that a house servant, if one were employed, would be doing
and would be paid for doing, the woman administrator, the mother in her
function of housekeeper, should be paid in money at commercial rates for
those services; and this should be accurately recorded day by day and
week by week and taken full account of in the budget.

The spirit that will uphold the mind and heart during the instalment of
such plans is the desire to know with scientific accuracy what the
annual budget of the house is and likewise what the budget for the farm
business is, and what each contributes toward the success of the other.
That each institution will be more efficiently run under such a system,
and that the elastic interplay of the two will move more harmoniously,
with less friction, and with a larger output of happiness for all,
admits of no possible doubt. Also that the Country Girl of to-day will
be anything less than fitted, disciplined and willing to act well her
vigilant part in this plan is equally inconceivable.

In order to meet this situation the average Country Girl no doubt needs
training in system and in bookkeeping. She needs to adopt a point of
view. She must take into account two things: first, every item, however
small, is important; second, every item, however small, must be
recorded. The apron-pocket should have pencil and tiny pad in it all the
time, except that every few minutes it must come out to receive a
record. One of the most important principles of efficiency is that we
should record our daily or momently efforts. We must know exactly what
we have been able to do before we can take a long breath and try to do
more. All this the Country Girl of to-day may do for her present home;
and in her future home, if she does not do it, she will be completely
out of tune with her time.

In a thoughtful and courteous book on rural conditions in the United
States, by a distinguished English observer, the suggestion was made
that the woman in the farm home is the fitting person to keep the
accounts. The author decides this by her leisure (save the mark!) and by
her well trained faculty for detail.

This statement of opinion aroused a storm of comments in other books,
chiefly by American gentlemen, claiming that the farm woman lacks the
training for keeping accounts and the large comprehension needed for
that part of the business. But this training is now accessible to the
Country Girl, and we believe the "large comprehension" will come with
experience. At any rate this will come to her as easily as to the
unwilling agriculturalist himself, and the leisure (in a new era) and
the faculty for detail will remain her valued assets. It is idle to say
in this day and age of the world that the woman has no mind for the
keeping of accounts when women are bankers and millionaires and managers
of large business enterprises by myriads.

It is a simple matter for the girl to take charge of the butter and egg
accounts, and also of the bookkeeping for the whole farmstead: she will
be all the better mentally and morally for attending to this duty.
Mentally she will improve under the discipline of exactness and
promptness; morally she will improve under the discipline of the
strictness and definiteness required by the responsibility. The reason
why so many women have been so irresponsible in money matters is because
they have been treated as children and therefore have adopted the habits
of children in their buying and selling.

There is a telephone girl who can tell the 'phone number of nearly all
the houses in three large cities where she has worked in the hotel
'phone booths. There are a good many things she cannot do but she can do
that. The person at the head of the department for receiving payments
at one of the largest department stores in New York City is a woman. She
takes in all the bills and makes change on the charge slips and the
checks, and estimates all the details of the accounts. She puts her mind
completely upon the papers in hand, so that while a set of these are
before her she is so absorbed in them that no question put to her by any
one standing at the door of the cage would any more reach her mind than
if she were dead. In a moment she hands the papers to the proper person
with the correct statement; then that is over and she is ready for the
next. She has done this work every day for sixteen years, and she looks
young and blooming. This woman is working for herself; but she is doing
her work so excellently that it becomes a universal benefit, inspiring
us to imitate her efficiency.

As the home is the reason for being of the farmstead, the woman therein
is making good her partnership if she is taking care of her housekeeping
and family duties. Her contribution is being made. But the farm and the
home are so closely interwoven that she is of far greater importance
than this shows. She is a true partner and is worthy of all the rights
and duties that this indicates. If the woman is not the keeper of books
for the farm business, it is at least her right as a partner to have the
books of the business always open to her. To see the books would be the
first request of any partner.

One of the best farmers, who was also one of the best of men, affirmed
that he was not in the habit of confiding his business matters to his
wife. She on her part was one of the most loyal and most refined of
women, the mother of wonderful children, and the very effective though
unencouraged worker by his side for many years. His thought was that he
would take the whole responsibility for the support of the family; he
did not want to bother the rest of the household about details of
business. One summer he lost a thousand dollars through the bad outcome
of a bargain, but he did not tell his wife of this. Then after a while
he made five thousand dollars more than usual--but neither did he share
this news with her. Do you not think that if that wife had known that
summer that there were four thousand extra dollars that might be
depended upon for the use of the home, she would not have used two of
them in the development of an efficient kitchen, placing a set of
machines there that would have given her hot and cold water at hand,
some form of power for the washing-machine, dummies, dust-chutes, ice
chests, fireless cookers, lighting, wheeled trays, and all the necessary
paraphernalia to put her household on an efficient basis--by this means
not only lifting her own work up to the place of a scientific laboratory
but raising the productive level of the whole valley where she lived and
helping to lighten the burdens of a hundred farm women who were having
not even so comfortable a time in their life plans as she was?

Now if this woman had had a little more business sense she would have
realized that she had begun wrong years ago. It may also be that, if she
had understood the whole situation, she would have approved of leaving
the money in the bank for a time: it may be that she would have devoted
it to sending a daughter to college. But, other things being equal, and
if to her marriage had been a platform from which the soul of woman
takes a new flight, we may believe that she would have devoted some of
the money to better equipment for her own workshop.

But all these things are aside from the point, which is that she had
earned the money as much as he had, and that she should have had as much
to say as her husband had about the disposal of their joint savings.

The Country Girls of to-morrow must profit by experiences like these in
the families of the generation now passing, and make certain that the
efficiency principle of the square deal and the basic principle of a
true partnership shall be established in the home-plans they are
making. If they cannot assure themselves that conditions satisfying to
their self-respect will prevail for them in the farmsteads of the
future, they are justified in rejecting the countryside for their home
and in leaving it to wither away in its lack of their dynamic and
rejuvenating presence.



CHAPTER XX

THE COUNTRY GIRL'S TRAINING


     Here in America, for every man touched with nobility, for every
     man touched with the spirit of our institutions, social service is
     the high law of duty, and every American university must square
     its standards by that law or lack its national title.

  --_President Wilson._

     The object of all education is to fit men for service.

  --_Edmund Janes James._



CHAPTER XX

THE COUNTRY GIRL'S TRAINING


It would indeed be fortunate if every young woman who has been raised in
rural surroundings could go to some educational institution where there
is a department of home economics, and there prepare herself by a
thorough four years' course for a life of service in her home and
community. One could hardly ask for a more ideal life than a Country
Girl prepared in that way would see before her, a life that would be
joy-giving not only because it would be efficient, but because it would
be inspired throughout by the noblest motives. There is, in fact, not an
hour of the day that may not be full of joyously productive labor, if
the Country Girl can take advantage of her present opportunities; and
there will soon be no excuse for her, since it is now becoming the
fashion in many States for most of the family to leave their farm for a
time in the depths of the leisurely winter and to hie away to the
university where the men listen to conferences on problems of business
and produce, and the mothers and daughters hear lectures on the
industrial and other features of the home.

Of this and other methods of special training for special work, some
thousands among the millions of country girls must avail themselves if
they will do their duty by their generation. At the basis of success in
any field lies the drudgery of preparation; excellence and reward are
beyond. The task of the household administrator is no exception to this
law of efficiency. The work is no haphazard matter, no question of luck;
housekeeping is emerging from the realm of medieval magic now.

Other things being equal, the one that has been trained for a work
invariably commands the higher salary. An investigation made by the
Department of Agriculture in the States of Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa,
showed that the men with no schooling had an average annual income of
$301, those with a common school education earned $586, while those that
were college-bred received $796. These figures tell the story and
impress the lesson that these sweet fruits grow high and that the ladder
to reach them is a superior education. If the Country Girl really is in
earnest in asking for further appreciation in the farm budget she must
train for the responsibility.

But where shall she begin?

The work of caring for and building up a home is so complex, there
is so much to it, that it is difficult to pin it down into a
curriculum. It really fits into every department of education. It is
science--chemistry, physics, mechanics; it is art--pictures, sculptures,
architecture, costume, color, form, proportion; it is pageantry, drama,
music; it is history--the family, law, records, relationships, eugenics;
it is literature--poetry, story, myth, folk lore, epic, expression,
drama; it is philosophy--conduct, the ends of effort, the individual; it
is religion--the mission of love, the ultimate things in life, the use
of training, the ministry of discipline; it is mathematics--accounts,
percentages, adding up, and also (save the mark!) dividing and
subtracting; it is economics--averages, outgo and income, the wage, the
unearned increment, the community; what, in fact, is it not?

Such a calling of the roll gives us some hint of the scope and range of
the work that makes the dignity of the woman's duty and privilege--of
her "sphere." It is truly a "sphere," for it rounds out in every
direction. There is not a single part of education that may not be
useful to the homemaker. There is no least strand that will come amiss
in her day's work when she is mother and overseer of the destinies of
the family in her household.

A review like this makes it clear how little the education attained so
far by the world reflects the whole of life when the needs of the woman
in her so important role as nearest helper to the next generation of
human beings finds in none of these mentioned subjects the aid she needs
for her part--her half, shall it be said?--in the work of bringing
forward those who are to lift the race into a larger life in the ever
receding, ever growing future.

In the schools of to-day the education is modeled upon the needs of the
man. In this country especially, when schools of the higher kind began
to be built, the need was for emphasis on professional education. To
prepare men for that need was the aim. This was what women found when
they began to enter institutions of higher education: they found a
system adapted for men's needs, and especially to prepare them for the
professions. At first it seemed strange to many men that women should
desire to gain this kind of education. But there were other men who saw
that the path toward their own needs was through the well-paved avenues
of education as it then existed. So women went on; they felt that their
first duty was to take the training that men were taking, if for no
other reason than to show that they could. They did this. They showed it
abundantly. Then they began to philosophize on the situation. They saw
that they must have a system of education more adapted to their own
needs. Hence the rise of courses of study adapted to the immediate needs
of women in their work as home-makers and household administrators. So
far these courses of study are usually found in the agricultural
colleges or in institutions formed for the special purpose of training
women for home-making. This is because the agricultural college has been
founded in the main since the new vision of the relation of education
and the work of women has touched the eyes of educators. The old-line
colleges preserve the ideals of decades ago. They are hopelessly
masculinized and professionalized. There women will perhaps never find
a natural normal education. At all events they will not find this until
it is understood that psychology must as thoroughly prepare the young
women to understand the development of the child's mind as it does the
business man to understand the principles of advertising, and that
chemistry should fit the housekeeper to gain aseptical cleanness in her
household laboratory as efficiently as it does the manufacturer's expert
to find a use for the by-product and turn it into money value. That the
woman has a right to expect her college education in all its branches to
prepare her for the duties that are hers, has not yet seemed to enter
the minds of educators. She should no longer be required to go to a
special institution for this. She has shown that she can undertake the
severest strains of educational training; she no longer needs to keep
that purpose in view. What she now needs is adaptation for her own work.
The highest institutions that exist should give her what she needs.
Until this comes along in the natural course of educational
development--as it surely will--she must gain the training she needs in
such ways as she can.

Nearly all the agricultural colleges now have courses of study in home
science and art. For the benefit of any girls who may not be in the
habit of studying the catalogs of institutions and who would like to
know what subjects the university considers to be of educational value
in household economics, I give here some outlines of courses of study
pursued at certain typical institutions.

Home Economics Department, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.

[Illustration: A lesson in household economics, at Cornell University.]

     _A Course in Household Sanitation._ A consideration of the
     sanitary conditions of the house and site; the relations of
     bacteriology to the household in cleaning, in the preservation of
     foods, in diseases, and in disinfection; personal hygiene,
     including the care of the body in health; heat, light,
     ventilation, and the disposal of refuse; general lectures by
     specialists, giving a survey of the field of sanitation.

Teachers' College, Columbia University, New York City.

     _A Course in Household Management._ Application of scientific and
     economic principles to the problems of the modern housewife--with
     discussion of them from both the ideal and the practical point of
     view, taking up such problems as: income as determining the type
     of household, the budget and its apportionment; the choice of a
     dwelling, moving, and settling; house furniture, utensils,
     appliances, decoration, supplies, the menu, clothing, maintenance,
     cleaning, repairs, household service, apportionment of time,
     household accounts, home life.

Home Economics Department, Connecticut College of Agriculture, Storrs,
Connecticut.

     _A Course in Laundry Work._ The principles and processes of
     laundry work; equipment and materials required to do good work in
     the home laundry, and the use and economy of labor-saving
     appliances; practical work in the processes of laundering,
     sorting, soaking, removal of stains, etc.; special methods of
     washing different fabrics; starching, ironing, and folding;
     experiments with hard and soft water, soap making, and composition
     of bluing.

Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts.

     _A Course in House-planning._ The designing and construction of
     the modern house; study of the plans and specifications in order
     to train the student to be able to read drawings, and understand
     the items of foundation, walls, plastering, heating, plumbing,
     roofing, and finishing; the history of furniture, color, and
     interior decoration; a consideration of fabrics, and wall
     coverings.

A four years' course of study may be arranged as follows:

  _First Year:_ Hygiene, biology, chemistry, household
      administration, cookery, physical training, and some electives.
  _Second Year:_ English, French or German, biology, nutrition,
      cookery, chemistry, physical training and electives.
  _Third Year:_ History, economics, household administration,
      clothing, textiles, nursing, and electives.
  _Fourth Year:_ English, administration, hygiene, social science.

[Illustration: Children in a country school scoring corn. Everywhere the
country is responding to the call of Progress, and these members of a
new generation are striving to reach the best.]

The elective studies in this general course may be taken from among such
titles as these: Dietetics, household sanitation, eugenics, sewing and
embroidery, textiles (woolens, silks, cottons), clothing, laundering,
landscape art, plant breeding, poultry husbandry, bee culture, pomology,
vegetable gardening, meteorology, rural economy, marketing, cooperation,
organization, rural education, citizenship. Such courses as these are
given at Cornell University, at Simmons College, Boston, at Connecticut
Agricultural College, at the University of Chicago, and elsewhere.

Correspondence courses are offered in many colleges. The names of many
such courses have already been given in the report of one of the girls
who took such a course under the direction of the Pennsylvania State
College, Center County, Pennsylvania.

The young woman in planning to go to the university for a course in
domestic science must take into account the benefits that she herself
will gain from the association with the other students in the classes
and in the various college exercises. The educational influence the
student-body as a whole will have upon the development of the individual
has been already mentioned. There are two things that no young person
can gain without going away from home to some educational institution.
They are these: contact with the great teacher, and contact with the
great fellow-student. The first she can make up for to some slight
extent in the reading of books; for the loss of the second, if
absolutely deprived of it by the lack of companions in her own
community, she cannot be reimbursed in any way. And there is nothing
quite so inspiring as the personal contact with the revered instructor,
nothing so entirely vivifying as the group of fellow-students. Deprived
of all this, however, the girl in a lonely life must make up for it as
best she may, by books, by personal experiments, by keeping a buoyant
and cheerful spirit, by seeking excellence by all means that are
attainable. In this endeavor she may approach heroism, and in doing this
she may well attain the supreme ends of life without the help of
schools, or of machinery, or of any human aids whatever.



CHAPTER XXI

A GREAT OPPORTUNITY


     The mission of the ideal woman is to make the whole world
     home-like.

  --_Frances E. Willard._



CHAPTER XXI

A GREAT OPPORTUNITY


It is possible that a good share of training for her profession will be
brought right to the door of the Country Girl's future household
laboratory. This she may look forward to as an assured hope.

It is to come about through the fulfilment of a plan which was the
outgrowth of the Commission on Country Life, and which has been worked
for by many students of rural conditions and lovers of the countryside.
The whole scheme sets before the Country Girl of to-day an open door and
gives to her more hope of relief from the unfortunate results of the
unscientific farming and unbalanced conditions in the country homes of
the past than any other one thing that has been devised.

But what is this Open Door? To explain this, we must start in by a sort
of detour, with the Boll Weevil. His Imperial Highness was a fiend
incarnate; yet his coming was not all a misfortune. For to rid the land
of this depredating buccaneer among the Southern domains, demonstration
farms were established, and these led to a more adapted form of
conveying help to the distressed and threatened farmers in the cotton
belt by means of instruction carried to the individual farms themselves.
A wonderful degree of success attended this work, and the Western
farmers, seeing this, called to the Government for aid of the same sort
against their own special difficulties, an assistance which was
generously given. Funds were distributed through the States by the
Federal Government, and by means of demonstrations, the Government
sought to give to all the States the benefits that had been proved so
helpful in the South. Meanwhile the States themselves were carrying on
many projects of their own for the advancement of the farming interests
within their bounds. There was likelihood that there might be
duplication of effort, that there might even be waste of means and of
energies. To make sure, then, that this should not happen, the
Government has now devised a new measure, a bill for the inauguration of
Cooperative Agricultural Extension Work, known at present as the
Smith-Lever Bill.

The passing of this bill was an item of the 1914 national budget. Before
the eventful thing happened many processions of women protesting their
desire for more formal acknowledgment before the law and in the
privileges of the vote had walked the length of Fifth Avenue, and in
these processions many men of the highest stamp had taken their
chivalrous place. By the time the bill was being framed the woman side
of things for city and for country had begun to hold a far different
position in the public mind than it did in the days of Thoreau or Horace
Mann. It was not just as a slip of the tongue that the words "and home
economics" were placed by the words "subjects relating to agriculture."
No: the concurrence of the phrases came about as a natural outcome of
well-considered belief, as indeed a testimonial to the fact that in the
mind of the framer of the bill the two matters were of equal importance
and were to be logically united in the minds of the people. At any rate,
the fact that the phrase "home economics" stands at the head of this
bill represents an incalculable leap forward of public opinion in the
direction of betterment for the home and all that it contains of
influence on our well-being. Let it be deeply impressed, then, that the
two words, "Agriculture" and "Home Economics" stand together at the head
of a bill that is to provide for instruction on a vast scale for all the
rural districts of this land.

In a letter to the author, the Honorable Asbury F. Lever, the framer of
the Smith-Lever Bill in its present form, shows a full appreciation of
the claim of the countryside to a fair share in this distribution. The
letter by kind permission may be quoted here and is as follows:

COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE,

_House of Representatives, U. S._

  WASHINGTON, D. C., August 20, 1914.
  MRS. MARTHA FOOTE CROW,
  Tuckahoe, New York City.

     _My dear Mrs. Crow:_

     Responding to your letter, permit me to enclose you herewith a
     marked copy of my report which accompanied the bill from the
     Committee on Agriculture. I say unhesitatingly that the problem of
     the farm wife is one of the most vital of all of our rural
     problems and when this bill was drawn, I had in mind the use of a
     reasonable portion of the funds for the amelioration of her
     condition. I think the exact division of the funds should depend
     upon conditions in each individual State and may be increased or
     decreased as seems wise to those charged with the handling of the
     funds. I believe that the home economics feature of this bill is
     one of its most important features. In my own State one-fourth of
     the funds are to be used for the teaching of home economics by
     means of the itinerant teacher. This may be found to be
     insufficient and if it is the ratio can be changed. I would feel
     greatly disappointed if those who use these funds should in any
     manner get it into their minds that the home economics feature of
     the law is not regarded by the author as important. Trusting this
     will be of service to you,

  Very truly,
  A. F. LEVER.

When Uncle Sam starts out on some great endeavor, he does so with a wide
scope and plans on a magnificent scale. And wise he is, too. The
universities, through their agricultural colleges, where, as Secretary
of Agriculture Houston says, information has been "reservoiring" for the
last half century, will be made the effective means for the distributing
of the wealth of the scientific knowledge and research they have
garnered.

Through men and women trained in these special schools where all details
of farm business and home economics are now accessible to everybody,
the demonstration of these forms of scientific knowledge will be carried
out to the farms and to the homes on the farms directly. And Uncle Sam
will pay for it. Ten thousand dollars is directly appropriated to each
State annually, beginning in 1914. The next year after this another sum
of approximately the same amount will come to each State according to
the percentage of the rural population in that State, counting by the
Census of 1910. In each year following, the same sum is added to that of
the year before, until 1924 is reached, when the sum becomes a fixed
annual appropriation of three million, paid according to the percentage
of the rural population at the time. To show that the individual States
appreciate all this, they must add to these appropriations in a certain
ratio. Will any States fail to show their appreciation, and to meet the
offer of the beneficent Uncle Sam? If they do, they will be standing in
their own light in the most darkness-loving way.

Now this wonderful bill says distinctly nothing as to how the vast hoard
of money shall be divided between the two departments, "agriculture" and
"home economics." Perhaps it may be half and half; then again perhaps it
may be in a ratio of ninety-nine per cent. to the first one named and
one per cent. to the second! Here then is the crux of the matter. Would
the young woman on the farms of this country like to have a good half of
this sum devoted to her needs that she may carry out her ideals for
rural betterment?

Then let her think and talk about what she wants. Let her discuss it in
her house and among her friends. Who knows but one young woman may
devise some new thing that will not be thought of anywhere else in all
the world! Every new idea has to start somewhere; it must be born in the
midst of the needs of some one person or family. It may be merely two
crossed sticks rubbed together, yet this may light the fires for a whole
world. And suppose that the one person who thinks of the one best thing
should be too timid about the value of any idea of hers, should have so
humble a mind about her own mental product that she will name it to no
one and so let the thought fall to the ground and go to nothing! Do not
let this happen: let every happy idea be talked out in a letter to the
Secretary of Agriculture, stating the need and making the suggestion.

The young women all over the country are showing a keen interest in the
outcome of this project. The universities that receive Federal aid, who
are to have charge of using these moneys, are setting apart the share
that is to go to the home economics work; sometimes it is one-half,
sometimes only a fifth; but every State must make some generous
assignment or it cannot live with itself in the future. Women have but
to make their interest known and--talk about it! to gain attention to
their wish. Bret Harte has somewhere made a character say something
about "poor lovely helpless woman." Another speaker answers, "No, she is
armed to the teeth--she has her tongue." This primordial weapon of
woman's--a far better sword than the man's--can be used to good effect
now; and if she does this she may see some of her dreams fulfilled.

For instance, suppose the household adminstrator should look out over
the piles of work to be done before nightfall and should say to herself,
"Oh, deary me! I wish some one would just come along and tell me how to
do this so that I could get it done in shorter time!" She not at all
realizes that she has struck a very great idea. This is the thought that
came into the heads of agricultural committees in several States and
countries. In our land only it remains till now to hear it imperatively
voiced. Perhaps we may understand this better if we recall that American
women, because of the chivalry of our men, the freedom of our
institutions, and the high standard of our domestic morality, have been
more advanced in personal liberty and efficiency than the women of other
countries, have been far more ready and able to cope with the
difficulties of life on the farm, and therefore have not had the
depression and the weakness that have taken the light out of the eyes of
women in the rural parts of other lands. Moreover, in our country, the
pioneering period is not so very far back of us. We are still near to
the effects of that discipline, which developed in us the hardiness that
makes it easier for us to bear the burden of work and the strain of the
struggle than women not thus developed could sustain. For all this we
should be properly grateful and forget as soon as may be the losses that
we have been obliged to sustain while we were gaining this hardihood.

To return to the need for a wise helper and adviser. That efficient
person coming along the road to tell the woman on the farm how to
arrange her work so that its burden may be lessened, would in one or two
European countries be a well-known figure in the farming community. She
would be welcomed and would take her place in the family for a time till
she had filled the minds of the members of that family circle with much
wisdom from her well-filled stores and had shown them by practical
demonstration the "why" and the "how" of many a new method of making
ends meet, of making long hours short, and of turning off work. After
supper she would be with the children for a time and let some light in
upon their puzzles; then when they had gone to bed she would talk every
difficulty over with the farm wife and the husband too; at least we may
be sure that she would do this if she were in this country, though
perhaps she would not in the Land of the Hausfrau; and being thoroughly
trained in gardening and in the treatment of all the animals that may
come under the care of the woman on the farm, whether pigs, lambs, bees,
or chickens, as well as in house sanitation, the care of the sick,
laundry-work, needle-work, embroidery and crochet, she can come very
near to the heart and the hands of her attentive hostess in the farm
home.

In this country the woman who is trained to perform this service will be
called a Farm Bureau Agent. According to a late letter from the
Secretary of Agriculture to his Crop Correspondents, it is the intention
of the Government to have in time such agents as these in every county
in the United States.

It is such a service as this that the so-called Smith-Lever Bill now
projected by the Federal Government would provide for--that is, if the
young women of the country will show that in their future homes they
would like to have a distinct advance upon the homes of the past. To
establish a faculty of trained women to go from home to home all over
this land, making periodical visits and putting the results of their
training at the command of the women everywhere, is the ideal dwelling
in the minds of the workers for this form of instruction. Hundreds and
perhaps thousands of women will be needed. They are now preparing for
their work, not in sufficient numbers as yet, but soon there will be
many who are prepared and willing and glad to lay their ability and
their expert skill at the feet of this service.

Let another possibility be suggested. Suppose that a distracted young
housewife on some prosperous farm will sit down among a great pile of
women's papers that she takes out of the abundance of her means and the
activity of her imaginative idealism, and cry out as she reads the many
articles and the innumerable columns of suggestions, "O I should like to
have a perfect house and a wonderful system of housekeeping! But all
these things confuse me--there is really too much to do. I wish I could
see just one perfect house, right down in the village there, where I
could go and see for myself how it all ought to be done." She again, has
little idea that she has hit upon a great discovery, a very great idea.
She does not realize that the House for Demonstration of Home Economics
is entirely within possibility and is a thing that ought to be within
the reach of every woman in the land. Such a House should be in every
village and town and within "team-haul" distance of every farm. It
should be a social center where every week in the year the women of the
region may come and meet one another and talk over their problems. It
should be in charge of a scientifically trained woman whose sole
business should be to stand there and be a help to every woman within
reach who has a single question in home economics to ask. She should
know the best ways to do everything about the farm home, the best ways
to do them with the machinery at hand, and also the best household
machinery to get and the most advantageous changes to be made for the
sanitary and artistic and health conditions in each individual home. It
is a large order, but the young women who offer themselves to be
prepared for such work must and we believe will measure up to the need.
Here is indeed a mission for the trained Country Girl.

Although the words "home economics" have not heretofore appeared in
papers set before our legislatures, our Government has been for years
giving aid to the farmer's wife through many pamphlets on subjects
related to her work. From the Bureau of Animal Industry we have advice
concerning the health of the farm animals, concerning meat, butter,
eggs, wool, leather, diseases, meat inspection,--all of which are
matters of vital importance to the home; in the Bureau of Chemistry
studies are made on the composition of many things used in homes: sugar,
bread stuffs, preservation of fruits, pure food laws, storage, and other
subjects of value to the household administrator; the Bureau of Plant
Industry gives us information regarding crops for food for animals and
humans, protection of plants from injurious diseases, how to domesticate
plants and how to secure variety in foods; the department of Entomology
aids us in our warfare against flies, mosquitoes, ants, moths, etc.; the
Agricultural library sends us bibliographies; the Experiment Stations
investigate in every direction; the Office of Public Roads tries to
bring markets and farms closer together; and so the work goes merrily
on, full of beneficent endeavor. Does the Country Girl sufficiently
appreciate our Uncle Sam? Does she make the most of his efforts in her
behalf?

Any girl that has learned to take pen in hand and can command the value
of a postage stamp can send a respectful request to the Department of
Agriculture, Washington, D. C., asking for the list of bulletins on the
farm home and on problems connected therewith. When she has received
this and has read it carefully, she will be full of thoughts no doubt on
subjects about which she would like help. She can then write again to
the Department at Washington asking for the bulletins on the particular
subject that interests her. For instance suppose she is interested in
the subject of bee-culture. She should write and ask for a bulletin on
that subject. One girl on a Western ranch is very much interested in the
subject of--what do you suppose? It takes a keen, unprejudiced mind to
show this interest;--it is nothing more than weeds! Studying into this,
she finds that all the books she can get hold of give her very little
help because they do not refer to the conditions in that part of the
world where she lives. So she is going to study the divergencies she
sees between books and facts. She has sent everywhere for bulletins and
books, and has now a considerable library on the subject; and she has
gone vigorously to work to mark out all the differences between her own
experiences and those that are recorded in the books. In time her
records will be added to those, and she will have been of great service
to the world by giving new knowledge that may be used for the benefit of
her whole region. In this way the Country Girl, however lonely the farm
where she lives, may feel that she is in touch with great movements, and
can believe that her life is of especial use to the world.



CHAPTER XXII

THE ILLS OF ISOLATION


     The fruits of modern inventive skill and enterprise have enriched
     country life and have banished forever the extreme isolation which
     used to vex the farm household of the past. The farm now is
     conveniently near to the market. The town, churches, and schools
     are near enough to the farms. The world's daily messages are
     brought to the farmer's fireside. And the voice of the nearest
     neighbor may be heard in the room though she may live a mile away.

  --_Professor G. W. Fiske._



CHAPTER XXII

THE ILLS OF ISOLATION


"Isolation" is a word that the Country Girl does not very much use, but
still she feels the meaning of the word. This note sounds in the
unusually frank answer of one who did not speak for herself but said
that she really thought some of the other girls went away to the city
because there was no one in the village for them to marry, and in the
naïve words of the girl who stated that she always said a club was a
very good thing. Where the community does not afford the social life
they crave as a part of their development, as the natural normal state
for their self-expression, and as a part of their plans for life, it is
no wonder they seek it elsewhere. This is one of the chief causes of the
cityward tendency. For this reason the girls are willing to exchange the
pure air of the country for the close atmosphere of the town; the safe
and kindly surroundings of the rural home for the dangerous conditions
of the city, its unregulated contacts, its promiscuity and its perils,
and its loneliness in the midst of the indifference of strangers. There
is a forbidding solitariness in the city that is to that of the country
as a desert to a garden. This misery attacks one even more virulently on
the noisy boulevard than along the whispering country lane. But this the
Country Girl does not know, and she seeks relief from a woe that she
does understand.

Perhaps the young woman on a lonely farm in some remote region does not
realize this. She may be too dulled and discouraged by the effects of
isolation to know either what is the trouble with her or even that
there is any definite thing the matter.

The lack of companionship is indeed a very real hardship; for
companionship is necessary to our growth as well as to our happiness.
The solitary girl on the remote farm or in the obsolescent village has
small share in this form of education and remains with her resources
undeveloped. For her natural and normal education she needs a great deal
of association with other young growing human beings; something
therefore must be devised to supply this need or the Country Girl will
not have the happy and well-rounded life on the farm that is her right.

One woman in giving reasons why she preferred the city said she would
"rather have folks than stumps!" Truly. Very few farms, however, consist
solely of what is represented by the expressive word "stumps"; and as
for "folks," it is possible to have in city life a plethora of social
contact so that leisure for thought, reading and study, or for any form
of self-development, is unknown. Besides there are "folks" and "folks";
and a neighborhood full of cousins and friends is an unsurpassed shelter
for the favorable growth of the young human being.

But ah! there is the very point. A neighborhood! If every Country Girl
had a neighborhood to grow up in, a group of homes about her to afford
her companionship, she could ask nothing better. But there are many
girls living on remote and lonely farms far away from any neighborly
environment; to such as these the isolation is a very real sorrow. It
falls as heavily upon the farmer's daughter as it does upon the farmer's
wife--even more heavily if possible, for she is generally led to realize
her need at a time when her social instincts are most insistent. To make
for the young woman in the farm home a life so interesting, so
fascinating, so full of purpose and of the possibilities of
self-expression, that the loss of "folks" will to some extent be made up
to her, and to give to her as much companionship as possible and the
effects of companionship through all known means that can be devised,
should be the object of an earnest and widespread effort.

A visit made to a country girl who lived at a farm that was on a steep
hillside in a lonely part of the world far from any town or village,
left a very deep impression. I was riding through that region with a
cousin on my way to the railroad twenty miles off.

"In that house," she said, pointing to a dilapidated farmhouse nearly
smothered in greenery and totally unkempt in appearance, "lives a
relative of ours, a second cousin. We must stop and see her."

"Oh, no," I cried out, for I was then young and selfish; "don't let me
have to see any more relatives to-day."

"Yes, we must stop," said my firm cousin. "She is a good girl and will
remember it always if you stop, and will be bitterly disappointed if you
do not."

We drew up; a figure promptly appeared on the rickety porch and came
down between the tall grasses that almost obliterated the path to the
torn gate.

"How old is she?" I whispered.

"About twenty-eight; yes, twenty-nine next December."

"She looks forty," I said.

"You must remember she has had a hard time on this farm--it's no good,
the farm, and she and her father live here alone now."

Cousin Artemisia--for that was her ironical apportionment as to
name--came down to the buggy and stood between the wheels and reached
over a long slim hand in greeting to my companion. I thought she would
never let go. Then I was introduced. Cousin Artemisia stood back and
looked at me as if she would read every thought in my whole soul. The
most devouring curiosity, the most rapt wonder, the still,
thunderstruck, hypnotized look of absorbed contemplation, were in her
eyes. All my features went, I am sure, into her memory's irremediable
printing, to stay there forever. All this--more shame to me!--was only
a bother to me, for I did not at all understand what it could mean to a
poor lonely soul to have a vision of a young relative from the great big
outside world. I will not accuse myself of cruelty--only of ignorance
and carelessness; but that, of course, is bad enough. To pay me for
this, and as a perpetual punishment, I have the memory of her last look.
After some suave and polite nothings from my lips I nudged my driver
cousin and we went on over the hill, leaving Artemisia alone with her
solitariness, stunned, it may be, for the moment by our swift passing,
as a prisoner might be into whose dark cell a ray of light had
penetrated and then been quickly withdrawn, making the darkness blacker
than before. That last long look! I cannot describe it, but I shall
remember it always. At that moment there was in Cousin Artemisia's face
the suppressed longing of the imprisoned soul, the appeal for help to
one that was believed to have had opportunity, the cry of the hopelessly
restricted longings, the desire for companionship, suppressed for years
and accumulated unbearably.

The memory of that quarter of an hour with Cousin Artemisia has driven
it home to me that the young woman in the solitary farm house wants and
needs the means of self-expression as much as little Helen Keller needed
the means to reveal herself that would take the place of the hearing and
speaking and seeing that had been denied her. What would have happened
to her if she had not had gateways opened to her mind and soul so that
she could give out and receive, is what happens to all of us unless we
have our powers developed by contact with others and by giving and
taking intellectual and spiritual goods. Dumbness is a hindrance to
growth. Excessive shyness and secrecy, bashfulness, a spirit of
seclusion, sensitiveness, and other faults that attack young people in
the growing years, are a result of the lack of the liberalizing and
purifying ministry of companionship and they are an inhibition of
development.

An account by a rural school-teacher presents a picture that is
gruesome, and any one that wishes may omit it from the reading; but it
suggests a possibility and drives home a lesson. Circumstances required
her for a time, she said, to take care of an old lady, who lived with
her husband and daughter on a lonely farm. All that they had in the
house were the old things the mother had kept house with forty years
ago. The chairs had been scrubbed till not a particle of paint was left;
and their meals were alike three times a day--pork, potatoes and bread.
Not a book was there to read except a few old school books and the
Bible. The young woman who tells the story stayed a week, and it was the
longest week she ever spent. The farmer's daughter was about eighteen
years old. She seemed a bright young girl; but two years after that,
while the father was gone to the factory, she hung herself in the barn.
The school-teacher did not wonder; she said that if she had had to live
in such a house, life would have been a burden.

Of course that is an extreme case. The suicide rate is higher for the
city than it is for the country; it is higher for men than it is for
women; the proportion of suicides over sixty-five years of age is
greater for rural districts in our country than it is for cities. This
may not especially interest the young woman on the farm; but it concerns
us to see that all the younger people should have the natural normal
life that will satisfy their physical, mental and moral needs; and that
they should realize early that they are to be supplied with the career
that their natures demand, in order that they may not despair before
they have really begun to live.

A conviction dwells in the minds of many Country Girls that the
quietness and freedom from interruptions on the farm form one of the
chief reasons for desiring the rural life. There certainly is truth in
this. The jaded city worker flees to the calm of the country for relief
from people and things. But it is also true that isolation is not a
good in itself and too much of it is directly harmful. We develop not by
it but in spite of it. No man can be a true man, no woman a true woman,
who has not been molded by human companionship. We should "live in the
House by the Side of the Road" and unite our interests with those of
humanity at large. We do not know ourselves except as we know others.
Whether we are above the level of average human capacity, or below it,
or simply different from others, or, what is more usually the case,
different in some things and like in others, we do not know except by
comparison with others. Companionship with others brings us knowledge
of our defects, our omissions, our weaknesses, sometimes of our strength
and power to give and to help.

Therefore, the normal development of the daughter on the farm depends
largely upon having the heavy weight of rural solitariness lifted. She
may not know this herself; but the quickness with which her spirit
responds to the touch of companionship between herself and a friend of
her own age, when fortunate occasion brings her this pleasure, shows
what her need is. It is now said that the young men and the young women
in college give to each other almost as much education as is given to
them by the teachers themselves. In other words the social contact
possible where many young people are brought together has such power to
quicken energy and to incite noble rivalries that it alone becomes one
of the most effective means of education.

This education and opportunity should be within reach of every Country
Girl, and she may herself do a great deal to bring this about. In
endeavoring to do her share in thus developing the social resources of
the country, the Country Girl must, however, work for a time against a
disadvantage. At present the young girl from the country makes the
impression of being less developed than the young boy. As a general
thing he has had a great deal more outlook, more responsibility, more
contact with outside influences. He goes with his father to town; the
father and the brother look upon this excursion as a task, and they
think this is work that can be done by them and save the women-folk all
that trouble. But the fact is that this going to town is a means of
getting at least some outlook into the great world beyond that the farm
circle did not give, an enlargement that would be just as good for the
sister as for the brother. The sons come back joyous and electrified and
able to work better afterward. Meantime the daughters have stayed at
home in the treadmill, unexcited and dull; and because they have lacked
the stimulus of the excursion into the outer world they get the
discredit of being gloomy and stupid. If they had driven to the village
also, or to call upon a girl friend, they would have returned joyous and
eager, full of talk and energy, and with new ideas to add to the family
discussion.

The efficient Country Girl of to-day is often as equal to the management
of the intractable horse as a man: she rides the disc-plough and she
runs the automobile. It would only be in some backward section of the
country or in some tradition-bound family, where the daughter could not
drive the horses and have the use of a conveyance to go to town whenever
it seemed to her to be necessary. It has been suggested by an eminent
authority that the farm woman should go to town once a week and should
also go to a neighbor's every week for an afternoon's visit. What then
should be the excursions of the daughter during the years when she is
growing up and becoming a young lady, entering upon her duties as
hostess and social leader? There should not a day pass when she does not
have some contact with the social world of the rural community. She
should have a large letter-writing correspondence and make it yield her
all the culture possible. She should take part in every commendable
social organization that is accessible and with her mother's cooperation
make her home a center of gracious social welcome to friends and
neighbors. With the new machinery there will be much greater
simplification possible in the household, and in the wake of this may
enter our old-time friend, Hospitality, so long and sadly missed from
our ferny lanes.

Perhaps it is not necessary to suggest that the greatest care should be
taken to place under the safest conditions the social life in which the
daughter bears a part. In order that this may be so there is no better
safeguard than that the mother should be in closest confidence with the
daughter, should be present at all the parties, should be in all the
fun. This is the scheme now most approved under the best social auspices
and is adopted in the country wherever they live up to the most refined
models. It means that the mother must never lose the thread of her
daughter's confidence; and if she has done so by the mistake of some
past day, she must leave no stone unturned, by tact and love and prayer,
to regain the lost ground. It means joining in all the games; it means
taking an interest in all the youthful plans. It means adapting her mind
to the youthful mind. It means--but why should I tell mothers what that
means? They know. And the daughters must do their part too in keeping
the confidence-thread between themselves and their mother always perfect
and golden.

When a community is really dead, we may know the fact by the absence of
sociability. The whole country problem hinges chiefly upon this social
matter; and as the woman is the essential upholder of the community the
world over in social affairs, it behooves the young woman in rural life
to prepare for these responsibilities if she will ward off from the farm
and village community a deadly and intolerable inaction.

After all Cousin Artemisia was not in such a parlous state. If those
eager eyes had had no expression in them at all, if the curiosity in
them had long since faded into indifference and a dull unresponsive look
had taken its place, then a just observer might well have had cause for
compassion for that young woman into whose soul the iron of isolation
had gone so deeply that it had hardened and deadened the best part of
her. If a life has been lived through with all its experiences and has
been one long record of unsatisfied longing for the impossible, and if
the end came without ever one break in the cloud that hid away an
imagined world of fulfilment and success, and if during it all there had
been never an instant's let-up from the momently waiting for the sun to
break through, such a life as that has been a success. Not to attain is
not failure. The only failure is to cease trying, to stop aspiring, and
to let the dream and the vision fade away from the face of the
unresponding clouds.

Some one may say, Why then touch her in this obliviousness of her
unfilled possibilities? The same fallacy lies beneath all missionary
work, all philanthropy, all striving upward. We wish every Country Girl
in the remotest stronghold of conservatism to be touched with that
divine discontent that will stir her to an upward struggle.

Among the six million Country Girls for whom this book is written, there
are many who are tremendously and honorably efficient; there are also
many who are by no means awake to their duty and opportunity; but the
vision will soon touch the eyes of all, and will reveal to them the part
they may play in the new Country Life era.

Not for her own sake alone does any girl strive. All she does lifts
everywhere as well as in her own valley. And these beneficent influences
will reach out and include other and still other circles of girls who
repose under the protection of the republic. Among these one may see the
puzzled eyes of Porto Ricans, and of Aleutian and of Philippine girls.
And there are found two larger companies: the dark-skinned girls with
the tragic remembrance of slavery in their eyes, and the aquiline faces
of the Appalachian mountain girls, dignified and quietly expectant and
our close racial kin. Among these adoptive and neglected fields there
will be hollows of stagnation and delays of progress. For the
reclamation of these we are not by any means doing what we might as a
people; they some way escape the great abundantly filled currents of
philanthropy; and if they soon become discontented and ominous, we shall
have ourselves to blame. It would be better to be beforehand with
nature's demands and arouse noble aspirations that may forestall wrong
tendencies.



CHAPTER XXIII

THE SOLACE OF READING


THE EVENING HOUR

  The day is done; the clock is striking eight;
  The children now are snug and safe abed;
  Still on the pillow lies each little head,
  Tired out, altho' they begged to sit up late.
  I cover the fire within the kitchen grate,
  Mix up a light sponge for the morrow's bread,
  Wind up the faithful clock; with quiet tread
  Depart, and leave my kitchen to its fate.
  The study calls me to my favorite nook
  Beside the table, underneath the light.
  Here shall I joy me with a gracious book
  Until at last I bid my world good-night.
  O peaceful dreams beneath the homestead roof!
  Ye straighten out life's tangled warp and woof!

  --_Helen Coale Crew._



CHAPTER XXIII

THE SOLACE OF READING


The countryside does not sufficiently appreciate the value of its asset
in the changing seasons. The alternation of winter and summer gives the
admirable opportunity for the harvest for support, and for the fireside
evenings for culture; the two combined make the possibility of an ideal
life. Even in the busy time of summer, the farmer who scientifically
organizes his scheme of farm work, will be able to give one day a week
at least for reading and the study of the literature of farming. Perhaps
the number who compose this orderly scheme of work may at present be
small, nor has any such boon of system including leisure for reading
reached the farm woman. How that older woman on the farm has felt about
this, is one of the great complaints lying back of the Country Life
Movement. Will the Country Girl be obliged to inherit this deprivation?

From the Country Girl of to-day, the report is far more cheering than
from the older women. She has many books at hand. She feels no poverty
in this regard. Sometimes they say: "We have a very large library in our
house--as many as a hundred books," or they say, "My father left us a
large law library," and they seem to love to gaze at the brown backs of
these volumes. Certainly this pride in the inheritance is noble.

If you ask Country Girls what books they have for their very own, they
will in many cases give long representative lists. Encyclopedias will be
included and sometimes books of reference. Their library lists give an
insight into the taste in reading of the American Country Girl that is
most gratifying. The first impression is that her taste is well founded
in classics; the second, that she keeps up with the times. She shows on
the whole great catholicity.

We cannot give room to the long lists: but we may mention some of the
books that, in response to our request, some Country Girls mentioned as
favorites.

In a long list of books that are her own an Iowa girl stars the
following as her favorites:

  Life of Ellen H. Richards
  Shakespeare's Works
  Whittier's poems
  _Ben-Hur_
  _Uncle Tom's Cabin_
  _Kidnapped_
  _Quentin Durward_
  _The Woman Who Spends_

The stories she enjoys reading when she is tired; the others she takes
to study.

Another mentions these:

  All of Mrs. Porter's
  Several of Stewart Edward White's
  Several of Ralph Connor's
  Three of Fox's
  Two of Churchill's
  _Shepherd of the Hills_
  _Johnson's Natural History_
  _Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant_
  Life of Livingstone
  Robert E. Speer's works

She adds Dickens, Poe, Alcott, Whittier as starred favorites.

In a list of twenty books, a Colorado girl stars a large number. The
list is headed by "The Library of the World's Greatest Books." Then she
mentions:

  _Laddie_
  _Freckles_
  _Girl of the Limberlost_
  _Barriers Burned Away_
  _Lady of the Lake_
  _As a Man Thinketh_
  _The Choir Invisible_
  _Little Women_

Her list includes also the Life of John Bunyan, the Life of Christ, the
works of George Eliot and of Burns, and many more standard and popular
books. She has had a course at college and reads the U. S. Bureau of
Agriculture Bulletins.

Books starred by an Idaho girl are:

  _At the Foot of the Rainbow_
  _Promised Land_
  _Friar Tuck_
  _Treasure Island_
  _King of the Golden River_
  _Water Babies_
  _The Crisis_
  _The Varmint_
  Set of Kipling
  Set of W. Irving

She includes also Riley, E. B. Browning, Wordsworth, Burns.

One writer who lives sixty miles from any kind of library is so
fortunate as to have all of Dickens, Scott, Shakespeare, and a copy of
Longfellow, Tennyson and Browning. "I have," she says, "a great many
miscellaneous books, _The Promised Land_, _Laddie_, _A Girl of the
Limberlost_, _The Friendly Road_, and books of that kind. The first
three authors are my favorites; but the Bible and Longfellow are the
most comfort and enjoyment."

On the whole there are comparatively few to complain, as one did, that
the Bible and a paper now and then compose their entire means of outlook
into the world of literature; or as this one said: "When I was at home
my only book that was my own property was the Bible." Fortunately this
young girl had thus a compendium of all literature, and she is coming
out all right.

It also should be a surprise that there should be so few to include a
list like this: "_Prue and I_, some books on the economic status of
woman, and a few books on domestic science." But perhaps Country Girls
would not think to classify their interest in such studies as these
under the heading "reading."

The mothers and daughters, if requested together, would no doubt mention
some of the same interferences with the pleasure of reading; but the
daughters give some that the mothers would never have thought to state.
Work is the great interference for both. The daughters are deterred by
housework, sewing, picking blue-berries, darning stockings. Weariness,
the tired-out feeling, come in. There is so much work to be done in
doors and out, and the barn work lasts so late; the evenings are short
and when the work is finished, it is time to retire.

It is rather pathetic to see how many Country Girls will mention the
moment of getting to bed and to sleep as the happiest point in the day.
But then--no one has yet said that she was too tired to sleep--and that,
we are sure, has happened many and many times to the mothers of yore!
And when the daughter speaks of having been kept from reading by her
demonstration work duties, we certainly hear a note of the new era being
struck. But what farm woman of the old days ever gave "so many other
pleasures," or "too many places to go," as reasons for not reading?
Piano practise, too, and "friends running in" prevent the reading. There
cannot be much isolation in such a farmstead as that!

Many Country Girls insist emphatically that in spite of difficulties
they do read a good deal. Such a girl says that when she has a book the
hour of night draws nigh too soon. Another always reserves a few hours
each week for reading, though sometimes she can not make it every day. A
determined girl declares that she lets nothing interfere with a certain
amount of reading. This sort of testimony reaches a height in one who
says that she reads or studies five hours every day. Yet the girl who
wrote that does most of the housework for a small family and takes care
of a large garden.

A few lament the scarcity of books. They have no opportunity to get
books aside from the few belonging to one's friends; but these are soon
read and re-read. Lack of material is the chief interference with
reading with an uncomplaining but very important minority.

If there does really remain any girl in the country who does not know
that she can get books from the traveling libraries that are maintained
now by almost every State, the glad message should be taken to her at
once. And any girl with a fair share of energy could start a small
library in her village or her community, even as the peripatetic
librarian did in Mr. Bouck White's book, _The Mixing_, who carried the
books about to every house and pressed them upon the family at its very
threshold. In that case the house was the castle of the woman as well as
the man, but the little librarian battered an entrance with her winning
ways. After a while everybody blessed her, and her old mare and wagon
were welcomed along the roads.

Or the Country Girl might begin with a book exchange club in which each
member buys a book a year and these are handed from member to member by
the month or as shall be agreed upon. Meetings may be called to talk the
books over and fine discussions of ethical points involved in the
stories read may be held. At the end of the year the books may be lodged
in some convenient place to be used by others not members of the club.
In this way a nucleus is made for a regular library. The same can be
done with magazines. At the end of the year a "banquet" may be held;
each member may be dressed up to represent some book, speeches may be
made while good things are eaten, and literary conversation may to some
extent drive out less worthy and less interesting themes. Almost
anything can be done if there are young people enough to get together
and talk over plans. The whole tone of the community may be lifted and
many a young person may be saved from the evil things that creep in
where the mental spaces have not been forestalled by better ideals.

Many a Country Girl has laid the foundations for a regular public
library by using the country store and the schoolhouse for book
stations. In one very successful attempt of this kind, one hundred books
of fiction and travel, children's books, religious books, history, and
biography were chosen. Voluntary assistance was given by friends, and
records were carefully kept. The following were the appliances
necessary. Besides the one hundred books, there were five hundred book
labels, one hundred borrowers' cards, four record books for the
librarian, three small memorandum books for the stations, three
typewritten book lists or catalogs, and one hundred hand bills. On the
borrowers' cards were printed the directions, which were these: "Any
responsible person wishing books may borrow them one at a time; no book
may be kept out longer than two weeks; no charge is made for the use of
books; please take care of them and return them promptly." The librarian
visited the stations at regular intervals and took up the books that
were returned.

There can hardly be a more definite way in which a girl may serve her
community than by starting some such scheme as this. If her own home
were conveniently situated, she could use it as book station.

It is to be feared that the Country Girl does not make the most of one
great privilege: namely, to lead the family to indulge the luxury and
joy of reading aloud together on winter evenings from some interesting
author. Even in a family that is fond of reading, each member of the
circle will be seen when lamps are lighted to settle down to read from
the book or paper that interests himself or herself alone, and all the
good of unified thought, that might be theirs if they had read aloud, of
vital interruption and comment, of living together in mind and growing
together as the story develops, of enjoying the humor and romance
together, are entirely lost. To read great pieces of literature together
in the family is to put a personal consecration about the genius-crowned
work of the master spirit. Never can a great epic or drama mean so much
to any one of us by closet perusal as it would if we had shared it with
our next of kin. This is another place where losing our life is gaining
our life. Our treasure is doubled by giving it to others. Winter
evenings and Sunday afternoons all the year round, may be made memorable
by association with the greatest minds through their preserved works.

The complaint has been made that there is no literature of farm
life--that our literature is now completely urbanized and
industrialized. There certainly is a tendency in this direction,
especially in the realm of fiction. But it is possible to find some that
are giving the country its due, and the writings of Mrs. Porter, so dear
to Country Girls, are a proof of the fact.[1]

But if the Genius of Fiction has become absorbed with the problem of the
city, that of Poetry has remained true to its first love among the
fields and streams. It is a joy to know that the poets will always be
found among the books chosen for the happy winter evening in the country
home. There, if not in fiction and tale, countryside people find a
reflection of their thoughts. Perhaps this is because poetry is the one
art that can conveniently penetrate to the distant homes in remote rural
places. Since time immemorial country life seems to have been not only
an inspiration to poets, but also to the development of our powers of
expression in that highest of the arts. What is there about life in the
open that gives to genius its incentive? The beauty of the surroundings
ought to be a sufficient answer. But perhaps that very individuality
that we blame country life for overdeveloping may be the favorable
ground for the upspringing of this noble human blossom. At any rate it
seems that if a soul is born with the endowment of genius, the psychical
offices of country life will carry those native qualities to their
highest power. Many a city child has been born with the light of genius
in its eyes and has had this fire smothered out in the close air and
wild rush of the metropolis. But the woods still face the window where
Bryant looked out into their mysterious depths, and the brook still
sings its way down from the mountains and past the farm where he spent
his early years. To him the Berkshire groves were God's chosen temples,
first and last.

It is because of this that the poetic writers of the present day and
hour should find a sympathetic hearing in the country realm even when
the turmoil and drive of the metropolis are deaf to their music. If our
living poets may have the people of the countryside for their great and
widespread audience they need ask no greater joy.

Mr. Vachel Lindsay, a wandering poet who has traveled almost all over
this country preaching his Gospel of Beauty and Democracy, says that in
almost every ranch-house "is born one flower-girl or boy, a stranger
among the brothers and sisters," a "fairy changeling." The land, he
says, is being "jeweled with talented children," from Maine to
California. These children of to-day, though they may not be adapted to
the strain of heavy labor, yet they will be infinitely patient with the
violin, or chisel, or brush, or pen. Country people should be on the
watch for those rare wonder children who will be the poets of the
future. One of these may seem at the beginning like a simply unusual
child. Afterward it may be seen that what was thought queer or
different, may have been higher or supreme. We may not have been
ourselves sufficiently attuned to the supreme in human accomplishment to
recognize the elements in their beginning. Great genius is not "to
madness near allied," but is the sanest and most normal thing in the
whole realm of creation. The extension of human powers in the field of
what we call "genius" is what makes the benefactor of the race in any
field most successful and the reformer most influential.

Moreover, every child has the right to find forces in his world that
will make his powers, however great or however small, grow to the full
measure of which he is capable. If one has a little ability in the field
of any one among the arts, he has a right to experience the joy and the
benefit that as much training as he is capable of taking shall give to
him. Therefore artistic training should be given to every child. And
since poetry is the art that is most widely disseminated, the one most
practical in its service and cheapest to get hold of in places far
distant from picture galleries and concert halls, therefore there should
be in all the homes in the open, a great deal of poetry, in order to
satisfy the demand that is deeply imbedded in every human being for the
satisfaction of the love of beauty.

Here is indeed a great service for the daughter in the family to supply.
She is the poetic individual in the home circle. It will be readily
acknowledged as fitting that she should know poetry by heart. That she
should sing poetry feelingly and speak it effectively will be forgiven
by a business-hardened parent and a rough, deriding brother, more
readily than if any other member of the family circle should make the
attempt. And the persevering and enthusiastic girl will be repaid by
finding that the tight outer case of the father will after a time be
loosened and that he will be surprised to find himself enjoying what he
did not know he liked. She will be gratified again when the heroic
ballad, told to appeal to the brother who is in the chivalrous and
fighting era of boyhood, fulfils its mission not only by amusing him,
but by leading him up to the chivalric motives and to the conquest of
selfishness by the higher ideal of honor and devoir. If, too, she will
select for her evening reading volumes of the poets who are writing
to-day in her own country, writing out of today's life and mood and hope
and pain, she will be far more likely to find a sympathetic response in
her living audience, than if she chooses from the pages of any souls of
poets dead and gone, however classic.


FOOTNOTES:

[1] In the Appendix to this book will be found a reference to a special
bibliography made as a guide to certain works of fiction that do
illustrate country and village life in various States.



CHAPTER XXIV

THE SERVICE OF MUSIC TO THE COUNTRYSIDE


HARMONIES

  The scrubbing's done; my kitchen stands arrayed
  In shining tins, and order reigns supreme.
  And on the table, like a fairy dream,
  A row of pies and cakes, all freshly made
  And full of spicy odors, stands displayed;
  While from the oven, like a rising stream
  Of incense, comes a fragrance, warm, supreme ...
  The bread, its final browning still delayed.
  Now while I sit beside the oven door
  I take up my guitar upon my knee,
  And singing the old songs I knew of yore,
  My happy youth comes back again to me--
  Music and incense rising on the air!
  Courage is mine, and all the world is fair!

  --_Helen Coale Crew._



CHAPTER XXIV

THE SERVICE OF MUSIC TO THE COUNTRYSIDE


Mrs. Gene Stratton Porter in her book, _At the Foot of the Rainbow_,
makes a certain Scotch character say that he does not care for better
talking than the "tongues in the trees"; for sounder preaching than the
"sermons in the stones"; finer reading than the "books in the river";
no, nor better music than the "choirs of the birds." This music he calls
the music of God; he would rather have this, every time, than "notes fra
book."

This philosophy of Dannie Macnoun's is excellent; but we must not forget
that God made the "notes fra book" also, and gave us our power to design
and to enjoy them. It is true also that there is little man has done in
copying after the ideas of God that comes so near to the divine as do
his attempts in the realm of music. This field nearly all, if they have
ears to hear and a voice to sing, can approach in some, at least, of its
aspects.

The service of music to the human soul is so excellent that it seems as
if it must be one of the necessities. Why does the shepherd invariably
possess a flute? The answer is this: some kind of music he _must_ have
in his solitary life, and the flute is the instrument that can be
carried in the pocket. The ills of isolation may be measurably
alleviated by this harmonious companionship and this fact seems to meet
a fairly widespread appreciation along our countryside. The emphasis is
however placed almost entirely upon instrumental music. The piano of
course predominates; but the organ frequently takes its place, the
violin, 'cello, cornet, flageolet, guitar and trombone are also found.
Then there comes in the phonograph, the graphophone, the Victrola, and
the Angelus music-box; the instrument that stands for "all that ever
went with evening dress" appears among country customers also, and there
seems to be room for mouth-organ and jew's-harp when nothing else
offers.

Now a jew's-harp is better than no harp, a mouth-organ is better than no
organ; and an accordeon can happify a lowering twilight. The banjo is an
all-round-the-world delight and a guitar may be almost heaven to a
music-hungry boy or girl. A twenty-dollar organ worked by foot-pedals
may be a household blessing, and a flageolet has kept many a sheep
herder from insanity on a lonely mountain. But any report on music makes
on the whole a sad impression when the human voice is not mentioned; and
a hundred will tell of having a musical instrument and some song book or
other, where one will speak of singing in the family. Almost every
conceivable collection of songs will be mentioned but the general
impression gained will be that the American countryside is not filled
with singing; that the people do not sing at their work, and that not
one hundredth part is there of the joy due them in community music.

In the art and joy of singing together our people seem to have
retrograded. Perhaps the dominant influences at the beginning were not
favorable to this art. Whatever love we had for music was cherished,
however, in the church of New England, but the advent of the soloist in
the choir loft has put a quietus upon the musical expression in the pew.
Harriet Beecher Stowe tells us how those old billowy fuguing tunes used
to be sung, with what gusto the men and women, bass, counter, soprano,
and tenor, trained in that national institution, the singing school,
would chase the melody around, racing after one another, each singing a
different set of words, until at length by some inexplicable magic they
would all come together again and sail smoothly out into a rolling sea
of song. To her those tunes, as she remembered them from her childhood,
were like the ocean aroused by stormy winds, when deep calleth to deep
in tempestuous confusion, out of which at last is evolved union and
harmony.

It is a pity that such musical impulse as this should be allowed to go
to waste. And it is not as if the primitive musical quality were
extinguished in us, but the impulse remains submerged unless something
brings it out. Professor Peter Lutkin of Northwestern University, head
of a school of music that constantly draws students from the Western
States, says that you cannot give musical culture to an acre of the
Western land without having music talent spring there.

We should follow the example of little Wales, that sturdy sister in the
confederation of the British Isles. How wonderful is the singing of the
Welsh when they come together in their great national Eisteddfod! There
they have a national contest in which many singing societies join, and a
prize is given to the victorious one. How do we account for this great
interest in singing? Why, there is a Choral Society in every village of
Wales. Between village and village, between city and city, there are
competitive tests, and this annual event is the outcome of all the
smaller ones, the crowning engagement for the highest honors. How much
must this mean to the people of the villages! What a comfort to the
isolated ones! For twelve miles about any village or town center the
people come walking in every Sunday evening, to attend rehearsals for
practise in sacred music, hymns and chorals being their mainstay. In
northern England we find the same musical feeling, and in Italy. Why
these special parts of the world should move in this direction, who can
tell? It is enough to know that those rougher, more hilly, and more
secluded regions do this service for the people. They make them feel the
impulse and the necessity for song.

That the case with us is not by any means hopeless is shown by the story
of Norfolk, Connecticut. Here a great musical movement has been led by
the Litchfield County Choral Union, a musical society that was founded
and led by an inspired man, the keynote of whose life may be found in
his own words when he said: "Had I my life to live over again, with such
slight knowledge as I may have gained, I would become an humble laborer
in a primitive and ignorant farming community where by word and example
I might perhaps help to raise its members to a higher standard of life
in material and spiritual matters; and could I but implant one better
thought into a single soul, life would not have been lived in vain."
Such was the quiet but radiant ideal of Robbins Battell, the man that
tuned all the life of the lower Berkshires to lofty music. The Choral
Union as it now stands is a federation of the musical societies of the
larger towns of the county, and includes seven hundred members. Each of
these societies has many concerts and festivals for the expression of
its own skill and joy in the compositions of the masters; and besides
this there is an annual three-day meeting and concert at the great
"Music Shed" in Norfolk.

In the festival of 1912 they gave the _Elijah_ with a chorus of four
hundred and fifteen voices, all chosen from the members of these county
Unions. The year before, the same chorus gave excerpts from Gluck's
_Orpheus and Eurydice_ and the _Hora Novissima_ of Horatio Parker; the
year before that they gave _Verdi's Requiem_ and _The Song of Hiawatha_
by S. Coleridge-Taylor. Other concerts accompanied these in which noted
soloists took part and great composers were present and conducted their
own compositions as given by trained orchestras. So, in 1906 about
thirty-six thousand people of the region were able to hear pieces from
Wagner, Beethoven, Haydn, Vieuxtemps, Liszt, Rossini, Schumann, Strauss,
and Mendelssohn--these were the names represented in the program of
1906, while selections from Goldwork, Beethoven, Tschaikowsky,
Saint-Saens, Grieg, Mozart, and Wagner, in 1912 were heard by eight
thousand persons.

It is quite impossible to estimate the effect of such musical
opportunity or the meaning of these rehearsals from January to June to
those villages. The people become consecrated to their art, like the
Oberammergauers. Personal ambition is swept away in the success of the
song or the oratorio. As there is no entrance to the concerts except by
invitation, all mercenary and selfish desire is removed. There is one
aim--to express the music perfectly and in the most lofty spirit;
therefore the festival is both a vital element in the community and a
welder of the people into a social unity. The chorus is also an
influence for democracy. There is a weekly rehearsal. Women sometimes
walk several miles to attend this and members rarely miss a meeting. One
couple came twelve miles every week for eight years. There is no expense
except for music and sometimes the sum does not go over sixty cents a
year. The possession of a voice is the one condition for entrance, and
the land does not assign tuneful voices according to man-made
aristocracies; maid and mistress, bank president and store clerk, sing
side by side. Into many lives, otherwise inert, the music brings a
motive and an inspiration. They sing with wonderful enunciation and with
a fervor that can come only from spontaneous rapture. When in _Elijah_
the prophets of Baal cried out their prayer for "Fire!" outsiders ran,
it is said, and notified the fire department!

To have a large part of the community thus trained, to have all the
community thus interested and inspired, to have every least member of
the community honored by citizenship in a village where these nobly
cultural influences are found, is certainly a great thing. And when we
remember that this could happen or rather, could be developed, in any
town or village in the land, we can but mourn our silent roadsides, our
unsinging lips, our wicked waste of the good gifts of God.

Another rare expression of musical enthusiasm comes from the Central
West. The little town of Lindsborg, on the broad high prairies of
Kansas, holds each spring during Holy Week a musical celebration called,
naturally, the "Messiah Festival." In this case a college is the
leader--Bethany College, where there are a thousand students with
regular standard courses of study besides varied and excellent choruses,
orchestras, societies, and classes for musical development. In the
spring of 1914 there was a chorus of six hundred voices; another of
children alone contained four hundred and fifty; distinguished singers
gave the solos; a week was filled with concerts of classic and modern
renderings; Brahms, Dvorak, MacDowell, Sibelius, were found together
with Beethoven and Handel, and the whole reached a wonderfully high
level of attainment.

What interests us most, however, is to see what this work does for the
people of the region. Men and women come from fifteen miles away to
attend the rehearsal, and this in winter; three generations of one
family sang in the chorus at the last Festival; they play and sing for
the pure love and enjoyment of the music. It is altogether impossible to
state in words what all this must mean to the moral and spiritual
development of the region, to the binding of the hearts of the people in
the community, and to the forging of those ties that will hold the young
people true in their loyalty to their homes.

It is not claimed that every country community can have such a concourse
as this for concert work during the winters; but something like the old
singing school might be installed, and home music might be made far more
of a joy and comfort than it now is.

That this can be the mission of music in community service is being
discerned by many. In the always forward-looking University of
Wisconsin, a plan has been made for the development of musical feeling
among the people. The desire is to make the people realize the immense
social power of music and to give a chance for this welding and
delighting influence to have its way in the home, the schools, the
churches, in musical organizations of all kinds, in all places of
amusement, and in entertainments of all kinds. No doubt other
universities in other States will follow this admirable example.

But we do not need colleges and universities to tell us that we should
do more with singing than we at present do. Here are six million girls
of the countryside--what can they do to redeem the country from this
dull silence and unmelodious tedium? What, in fact, might they not do?
Let every one of them resolve that she will wake up every morning
singing; that she will sing at her work all day long; that she will call
for songs in the evenings, with the whole family around--not one, of any
age, allowed to be absent from the circle; that she will require that
music of some sort shall be part of the ceremony of every society and
club she belongs to; that she will get the young people together to sing
once at least every week; that she will suggest that the older people
should sing together--it is unnecessary and absurd to let the singing
days disappear along with youth into the background; and that she will
persevere in this till the whole countryside shall ring with song from
east to west, and until the stigma that we are a people that do not care
for music shall be forever removed. We have some magnificent old folk
songs; we have glorious national songs; we have some religious songs
with a marching rhythm and a fervor that make them good for every day in
the week, for threshing times and for all times; we have a song for
every mood and every experience; why not use our songs and enjoy them?

The larger breadths of musical repertory are not so far away from the
remote country places as formerly, now that the victrola and other
instruments of like kind bring a knowledge of the great orchestral and
operatic passages to our very sitting-room. Every village should have
this help in order to understand the great music that without it might
be shut off from us. There should be one in every social center for
general use in the community. A good way is for some member of the
music-study committee to give a description of the opera or the
oratorio, with comments on the particular passage that the instrument
can render; then the listeners are better able to understand what is
being played and by the imagination to place the solos in their right
background as they are being heard; an impression of the work as a whole
will be thus gained that will to some extent approach the composite
scene as it is shown on the stage. "Ah! can you imagine what the
victrola means to us out here on this prairie!" wrote a friend from
western Nebraska. This may be the experience of every rural circle the
country over if it will only have community spirit enough to work
together and acquire the music-reproducing apparatus.

Another thing that can be done is to get together all the people in the
community that can play on any kind of instrument, and make them play
together. Do not despise the day of small things. There must be a
beginning. It will not be long before we can do more in any village, and
at last we can have music of a higher order to drive the ills of
isolation out of our atmosphere and introduce a healthful harmony in
their place. If a boy belonged to an orchestra that met on Monday and
Friday evenings for practise, to a class in voice on Tuesday evening,
and had engagements with groups of young men and young women to train
for concerts all the other evenings of the week and was to sing in the
church choir on Sunday, is it possible that he would feel that he could
be spared to go away to the city to live? The case of the Country Girl
will be exactly parallel. Her voice is the leading voice in the
quartette; she is necessary to the musical atmosphere of the village;
she is the hostess everywhere; she cannot be spared from any village and
country life that is full of musical and other social engagements. And
among the influences that beneficently endow human beings, the one that
is at once most welding, most unifying, and most delighting is music.



CHAPTER XXV

THE PLAY IN THE HOME


  O little bulb, uncouth
    Rugged, and rusty brown,
  Have you some dew of youth?
    Have you a crimson crown?
      Plant me and see
      What I shall be--
      God's fine surprise
      Before your eyes!

  --_M. D. Babcock._



CHAPTER XXV

THE PLAY IN THE HOME


The development of musical taste and the power to enjoy the works of the
great composers is closely akin to the ability to appreciate the sister
art of the drama. The art that has grown out of that imitative impulse,
which is so deeply implanted in human nature and has reached such
heights in the hands of genius, has modest stages of growth that may be
seen in the daily programs of the home, the school, the playground, in
all the walks of children and of grown people. To be able to tell a
story, and show it up with a little dramatic imitation, is to add to the
success of the social queen, the drummer, the one who influences and
manages men or women in any field. There are people who think it well
worth while to spend much time in the study of the art of expression,
just to add to their powers of entertainment when they wish to use this
form of culture in the home circle only. It is not at all a bad thing to
do. Thus to train the voice for sweet and fine or for powerful and
striking modulations, to give the face new power of showing emotion, to
win also the help of gesture, is to add to one's resources and to make
them a greater source of enjoyment in the daily walks of life.

It is hardly possible to think of society in any age of the world since
we became human beings when the intercourse of people was not lighted up
with electric bits of humor, joking and ridicule, based on the dramatic
principle of imitation. But when the day came for our solemn ancestors
in New England to appear on the scene, they concocted a theory of duty
that was not favorable to these pleasurable forms of activity.

Yet, as we have seen, these subdued people loved music and they loved
beauty in all forms. And when beauty could be had along with what they
considered a pure and dignified aspect of expression, they winked at the
keen pleasure that they felt and said nothing against it.

An interesting story of Catherine Beecher, daughter of the great New
England theologian, Dr. Lyman Beecher, illustrates this. It is related
in the autobiography of her father that she once devised a play and
prepared, unknown to her parents, to give it in the kitchen of their
home in Litchfield, Connecticut. The unsuspicious parents, it seems, did
not notice that the neighbors were dropping in with a very unusual
simultaneousness and that after supper an unwonted fire was being built
in the parlor. Soon the door into the kitchen was opened with a
flourish, a curtain was seen to have been strung across the room, Roman
senators began to stalk across the stage--the kitchen floor--and a good
rousing dip was taken by all into the fountain of antique romance. After
it was over the stern father, who had been too greatly overwhelmed by
the events of the evening to make any objection, whispered to that
favorite daughter of his that it had all been very interesting
but--better not do that again! Catherine got off easily, considering the
repute in which dramatic representations were held by our forefathers.
Temptations to evil, at least, they were considered to be, if not the
very path itself.

Yet Catherine Beecher made many plays, devised in large part from the
plots of approved and semi-pious story-books, and these were enacted at
school and at the picnics of her large circle of brothers and sisters.
Moreover her sister Harriet (afterward Harriet Beecher Stowe) being at
about this period of her youth filled with the aspiration to become a
great tragic poet, wrote reams and reams of blank verse on a classic
theme developed in dramatic form. By this time, however, the elder
dominant sister Catherine must have seen the error of her ways, for
finding Harriet one day in the act of composition, she took her
precious play away from her, bidding her to cease this waste of time and
go to work on her Butler's _Analogy of Nature and Religion_. And Harriet
obeyed.

This story is told to afford one illustration of the fact that the
divine endowments of human genius cannot be so easily crushed out. A
theory will not accomplish it.

Catherine and Harriet Beecher were not the only possessors of glowing
dramatic inspirations in the early days. We had not been fully settled
here very many lustrums before the submerged river of artistic feeling
came to the surface in the form of vivid oratory and elaborate dialogue;
and when there began to be Sunday Schools there were Sunday School
concerts with tableaux of an unworldly sort, with dialogues and with
companies of young people who, in a small and innocuous way, engaged in
exercises that might be called acting. This was found more or less all
over New England and went with the New England migration into New York,
and Ohio, and then farther west. Many thousands of angels with tinsel
crowns and tissue-paper wings have filled the spaces between pulpit and
organ in the little white churches that have sprung up beside every hill
along what we may call the New England belt--the course of the travels
westward across the continent as the generations of descendants have
passed on and built and subdued the soil and planted schools and
churches along the northern latitudinal lines.

The story of Catherine Beecher illustrates too the fact that the
prejudice in the dwellers in country districts against the use of
dramatic forms of entertainment is based after all not so much upon the
dramatic representation itself as upon certain conditions and
associations often found connected with theatrical displays as carried
on in larger towns and cities and believed to be necessary to the
existence of theatrical life.

There is a village in Illinois with a population of nine hundred where
the majority of the church-going people--and most of the inhabitants of
the town belong to that class--have been of the opinion that it is a
wicked thing to go to see a play if it is enacted by some company of
play-actors such as might come along on their theatrical route; yet in
that town for years the townspeople have been giving plays of their own,
in which nearly the whole population of the place would join, old and
young, rich and poor, wise and unwise. The whole family from grandmother
to grandchild will sometimes appear in one play, and all the cousins and
relatives of the whole "team-haul community" will come to see. They give
many standard melodramas, and they have also tried their hand at
Shakespearean drama, to the great enjoyment and uplift of themselves,
both those that thoroughly capture the meaning of the play by training
for the parts, and those that closely if charitably attend and listen.
Why should not this be done in every small town? Why should not the
unused building, an old barn, a store-loft, be transformed into a
country theater, where the whole village may assemble twice a week or
oftener, and run through a play together, getting joy and culture at
once?

If once the ingrained, inherited prejudice, handed down from those
misinterpreting honorable ancestors of ours, could be overcome, the
plunge might be taken and the drama could become the education and
inspiring agent that it has the capacity to be in our homes, our
schools, and our towns and villages.

Especially to the remote village and to the lonely farm would this form
of entertainment be a benefit. Do we not need this also to help lift the
ban of loneliness and to supply that elasticity of spirit that means
life to us? Companionship is our lack, the impact of various lives upon
ours, the stirring of resentment against wrong or of enthusiastic
approval of the good and noble that comes from the clash of motives,
right and wrong, wise and unwise. If we are denied the opportunity to
see and feel all this in the scenes from actual life in which we
ourselves in our own persons participate, we may receive some portion at
least of the education to be derived from such impact by living for a
time in the imagined world of the dramatist's creation and by watching
the constant intricate play of emotion in the dialogue. And this we can
in no other way do so well as by taking a part in the drama and
appropriating it for our own; by living in that part, adopting the
imagined circumstances for our own and following out the problem in the
character represented and pursuing his fate to the bitter end. To do
that is to gain to some extent the effect of companionship and its
enlightening, enlarging and satisfying influence. To the extent that we
are able to do this shall we combat and overcome the stagnation and the
pain of loneliness.

As a by-product of the same exercise, we shall gain a new knowledge of
our own capacity. We shall take a long step in the direction of obeying
the old dictum to "know thyself." If, for instance, we are reading the
part of Hamlet, and are trying to adopt his life and problem for the
time being for our own, we learn how much we could suffer, how strongly
we could determine, how fiercely we could doubt and yet struggle on, how
tenderly we could love and yet resign, how all these things we could
feel if we were really the Hamlet of the great play of Shakespeare.

In this way we gain an enlargement of our own nature and receive
inspirations to heroism on our own part. This is not wasted time, for
there is no life that does not afford opportunity for heroism or that
does not need inspirations to courage and fortitude.

There are people who do not enjoy reading a play. They miss the constant
running description of movement and gesture, of scenery and color and
background, of meaning and prophecy and scope that are found in a story
or in narrative of any kind. They are not accustomed to supplying the
pictures of the story from the resources of their own imagination.
However valuable a discipline it may be for them to learn how to make up
imaginary backgrounds instead of depending upon the writer's aid, to
that form of discipline they will not give the trouble. But if such
readers will take the play into the family circle, and using several
copies of the text, assign parts to each of the family, and thus read
the text aloud, letting the words spoken by each of the characters give
the suggestion for action, and encouraging each one to give the proper
expression and gesture as he reads his part, the meaning will come clear
as the scene goes on, and the proper enjoyment of the play as a play
will enter into each one that shares the cast. If this does not happen
with the first reading, it will come with the second or third. It is a
pretty poor play that will not bear several readings; while as for the
greatest of dramatists, Shakespeare, his plays will stand many and many
a reading. It would be a good winter's enjoyment on a far away farm, for
the family to set apart one or two evenings a week to be given to
reading of the plays by the greatest poet and dramatist. Several plays
would do for one winter and the whole thirty-six of them would last for
several years, and then one could begin again at the beginning and read
them over with renewed interest and understanding. Thus the farm home
could have a theater of its own in the warm sitting-room while the soft
snow covered the acres all about, hushing every disturbing sound.

Perhaps that lofty master of the dramatic art should not be the first
one mentioned. It is quite easy to understand that some Country Girl
will think this poet to be hard reading for one who has not had the
chance to go through high school. For those who are timid about taking a
bold leap into the field of more advanced literature there are many
plays made from our present-day lives that are easy to read and to
enact, plays adapted to any number of people, plays that may include
father, mother, and the children down to the smallest; and there are
many kinds of tableaux and smaller plays that can be represented on the
lawn of the farmhouse or in the kitchen after the work is done.

Of course the greatest thing of all would be to make one's own plays out
of one's own circumstances or out of the things that one is thinking
about every day. In making a play one must first choose a hero or a
heroine; then imagine something that this hero wishes to do. After that
some great difficulty is to be planned that he must meet, some
opposition he must overcome. In constructing a drama you tell the story
of a struggle or endeavor of this kind, putting it all into the words
the people speak and nothing at all into any account of the action, the
gesture, or the dress. All those things must be seen to by the people
who take the parts. And the background may be selected that will come
nearest to being the right and fit one for the people and action
suggested by the words of the play.

There is an infinite possibility before those who will make the attempt
to let the playing of plays have part in the amusements in the farm
home. All ages can be suited with plays, the simple ones for the
smallest children, the more complex and finished for the older ones, the
great ones for the oldest and most educated among the members of the
family. As drama is one expression of the play spirit (using the word
here in its meaning of "recreation"), and the satisfaction that comes
with the feeding of this hunger in people of all ages, has but to be
once known for us to seek earnestly for its food another and yet another
time.

To show how this instinct has been made effective in one home I quote,
with kind permission, a play made by one little girl of eleven years
old. In reading it over the reader will see what the child has been
reading and where she got the material of the thoughts she has embodied
in the action and atmosphere of this naïve and delightful little play.


TRUE LOVERS

A PLAY IN SEVEN SCENES

BY JULIA CAROLYN HORNE

THE CAST

  KING ERIC                               Betsy Horne
  PRINCESS ELAINE, his daughter           Harriet Benger
  SIR CONSTANTINE, knight, in love
      with PRINCESS ELAINE                Julia Horne
  OMAR, a page                            Billie Horne
  Three ladies in waiting to              Jessielyn Lucas, Helen Ecker,
      the Princess                            Helene Timmerman.

SCENE I.--COURT OF KING ERIC.

KING _seated on throne._ PRINCESS ELAINE _beside him, attended by her
three maids of honor. A loud knocking is heard. Omar goes to the door
and returns._

OMAR [_bowing low before throne_]--Your Majesty, a visitor has come.

KING--Bring him in.

     [OMAR _ushers in a knight._]

SIR CONSTANTINE [_bowing low before the throne_]--Most noble King, I beg
of you your daughter's hand in marriage.

KING [_stamps impatiently_]--No! Out of my royal presence at once!

KNIGHT--Farewell! Farewell!

     [_Bows low and withdraws._]

PRINCESS ELAINE [_rising_]--Alas! Alas! It is so sad! Father, if ever
thou carest for my happiness, grant him my hand.

     [_Withdraws._]

KING--Come back, daughter, be not so foolish.


SCENE II.--UNDER THE WINDOW.

KNIGHT [_kneeling, sings_]--"Oh, ma charmante. Dost thou love me, fair
one?" etc.

PRINCESS--Yea, Sir Knight; Cupid's arrow hath in truth pierced my heart.

KNIGHT--And wilt thou elope with me? Fear not.

PRINCESS--I fear lest thou should think I bear no love for my father, or
that I am too easily won. But yea, I will.

KNIGHT [_bends low and kisses her hand_]--I will come even on Wednesday
next. Will it be long, sweetheart?

PRINCESS [_waves hand and tosses a kiss_]--Yea, it will be long.


SCENE III.--THE ELOPEMENT.

KNIGHT--See, dearest, I am come, and we shall flit away to my castle.
Step forth from thy lattice. Quick! Spring into my arms.

PRINCESS--It is even so.


SCENE IV.--KING ERIC'S COURT.

KING [_rushes in excitedly_]--Where is my daughter? My daughter! [OMAR
_appears in response to bell._] Omar, scour the kingdom for that
wretched Sir Constantine. He no doubt knows something about my daughter.

     [OMAR _retires, while_ KING _walks up and down stage in anger
     until_ OMAR _returns._]

OMAR [_returns and bows low_]--Your Majesty, I have searched everywhere
except in the forest.

KING--What! not found my daughter? Now methinks the forest is the very
place to which she and her scoundrel Knight would take themselves. Now
will I creep all through the forest, and mayhap I will find these
madcapped lovers. Their ill-gained happiness will soon be brought to an
end.


SCENE V.--THE FOREST.

     [_Knight and Lady enter arm in arm._]

KNIGHT [_radiantly_]--We are now safe. Thy father would never hunt us
here. We shall spend our day in the forest.

PRINCESS--It is even so.

KNIGHT [_looking around joyously_]--The birds shall sing at our wedding.
Fragrant wild flowers shall be thy wedding bouquet. Oh! let us scorn not
Nature, for she and Love are great friends.

PRINCESS--Yea, 'tis so.

     [_The King's voice is heard without._]

KNIGHT [_suddenly in alarm_]--Ah, woe! woe! Here comes thy father. I
must not flee, but fight.

PRINCESS [_clinging to Knight_]--Oh! go not forth, my Knight!

KNIGHT--That angry voice! I hoped never to hear more. I am young, I
thought experienced. He is old, yet mighty.

KING [_enters_]--Fight with me, Sir Knight, and defend your lady with
your body. Do your best, for I am come to test your fame.

     [_Duel with swords,_ KNIGHT _falls._]

KNIGHT--Alas! I am weak and my courage fails. Spare me, O King.

KING--So, thou pleadest for mercy. Yea, mercy thou shalt have. But go
thou away, far away. Be banished, nevermore to return.

     [KNIGHT _departs mournfully._]

KING [_embracing daughter tenderly_]--Weep not, daughter. I shall banish
thy lover till thou shalt be more careful how thou dost elope. Have done
with thy weeping. Thou shalt have no tears left for thy other lovers if
they dare to come.

PRINCESS [_in tears_]--Ah, cruel father! dost thou have no pity for me?

KING--Why did'st thou not tell me before, oh, daughter! I knew not how
true was thy love. Would I could call the brave Sir Constantine back.
But that is against the law.


SCENE VI.--THE KNIGHT'S DEATH.

KNIGHT [_calls_]--Oh, Omar!

     [_Enter_ PAGE.]

Faithful bearer of my letters, take this to my Lady and tell her that I
have died of grief.

     [_Sighs, falls and expires._]


SCENE VII.--COURT OF KING ERIC.

     [LADY ELAINE, _with_ MAIDS.]

PRINCESS [_as_ OMAR _enters_]--Ah! see! here comes a messenger. Now will
I see what my dear Sir Knight will say to me.

     [OMAR _gives her a letter._]

     [_Reads:_]

"Dear Lady--I have died of grief, and shall never see thee more.

  "CONSTANTINE."

PRINCESS--Alas, Alas! My Knight, I will join thee.

     [_Screams, falls, dies._]

KING [_enters sorrowfully_]--Oh! 'tis but to-day that my daughter had a
letter saying that her lover had died of grief. She, too, has died of
sorrow, and I shall have the same fate. Woe, that I had no time to
repent!

     [_Falls, dies._]

THE END

The utter childlikeness of this playlet is one of its chief charms. Any
one may play it--it is not copyrighted. And if it may seem forbiddingly
dark in tone, perhaps in spite of the empurpled tragedies of its ending,
the pang will be turned to joy when the king and the princess arise
promptly from the ground and assume their proper character as father and
little daughter amid the wild plaudits of the audience, consisting
probably of mother only.

Nothing can be better for the children than to engage them in the making
of little plays such as this. There are now many books of plays for
children and young people. Of course there are not enough. There should
be one hundred where there is now but one. If all the young people would
go to work devising plays we would soon have more; and plays made by
themselves for themselves would be better for their use than any others
could ever be.

Where the life of the sixteen-year-old daughter in the home may become
most useful may perhaps consist in getting the parents and the children
to join her in carrying through the great endeavor of presenting a play,
some winter afternoon in the kitchen, for their own delectation and
education. It is easy to imagine the whole family, including the father,
whatever his age may be, taking part in a play; and if the father finds
it hard work to fall down dead at the proper minute, it is good enough
for him for allowing himself to grow so stiff! And if he finds it
difficult to feel at home in a helmet of pasteboard trimmed with gilt
paper and decorated with dust-brush plumes, he may remember that he is
ridiculous in his own eyes only, not in those of the enraptured boy and
girl who are fellow actors with him.

An unfailing source of good plots is always at hand in the Bible; and no
better way to impress these stories upon the memory could be found than
by turning the incidents into little plays and tableaux for the family
to show. The Sabbath School lesson could be metamorphosed into a joy and
the symbolisms of Christmas and Easter could be made a reality by the
legitimate use of the dramatic instinct that is innate in all of us.

A form of art akin to the play is the moving picture. This source of
amusement and of education is within the reach of every country
community that has learned the secret of joining hands. The men and
especially the women of the community should be invariably present and
should instantly and firmly object to any film that seems to them
harmful. This being provided, the young people are safe and may have the
pleasure and instruction that come from seeing displayed the clean,
adventurous story, the doings of other lands and of historic events long
past.



CHAPTER XXVI

PAGEANTRY AS A COMMUNITY RESOURCE


  Truth is eternal, but her effluence,
  With endless change, is fitted to the hour;
  Her mirror is turned forward, to reflect
  The promise of the future, not the past.

  --_Lowell._



CHAPTER XXVI

PAGEANTRY AS A COMMUNITY RESOURCE


[Illustration: The swiftly awakening artistic energies of the Country
Girl are finding an outlet in the new national interest in pageantry.
The farm, meadow or field makes an ideal stage.]

The swiftly awakening artistic energies of the Country Girl are finding
still another outlet in the new national interest in pageantry.

Now that we realize our puritanic mistake about the God-given powers for
artistic enjoyment, we are taking to our heart the ravishing delight
that the quick and vivid sense of beauty can yield. The pageant is one
expression of this; along with Old Home week, and other celebrations of
local history, it is also a blossoming of our quickening historic sense.
We see that there is a great deal of education to be found in the
pageant itself, and a great deal of community spirit in the making and
in the representing of this form of dramatic art.

The pageant is a form of drama in which the greatest freedom is allowed
as to the dimensions of the stage, the number of the actors, and all the
provisions of properties and scenery. Instead of a constricted box-like
compartment such as the audience faces in the usual theater, the
hillside or the village green may be the stage. In the place of a few
accurately balanced characters, whole congregations of worshipers,
audiences of citizens, or armies of soldiers, may assemble, flocks of
faeries may fly by, unreal spirits of the winds and very real spinsters
or bachelors may hold conversation with each other, and throughout the
whole structure of the work the fancy may have its way with the actual
and disport itself freely with the romantic.

It is not many years since the pageant began to be taken up in this
country as a form of artistic expression. When we began to realize how
strangely romantic our course of history as an American people had
been, when we viewed our past struggle to subdue the soil and overcome
the difficulties of pioneering as a most tragic story, as a heart-moving
tale fitted for the great epic and for the great tragic drama, then we
felt the impulse to place these tales of old-time heroism in fitting
artistic form before the eyes of the people.

It was not without meaning that the desire to express in dramatic form
the pictures of our historic past had its earliest origins not in the
metropolitan square but on the village green, with a background not of
skyscrapers but of sequoia groves. Again we see rural conditions more
favorable to the budding powers of human genius. There our newly
awakened enthusiasm for community betterment promptly seized the pageant
as a fitting means of expressing its urgent emotion. Looking forward
into the future we desired to express our hopes for enlargement as we
had expressed our vision of the meaning of past struggles.

There are plain reasons why this loose and easy dramatic form is
especially adapted for the use of a town or village when it wishes to
portray dramatically its own historic and community experiences. In
fact, American pageantry has had from the earliest attempts a distinct
reference to the welfare of the community and to the development of the
rich resources of fellowship to be found in concerted action. This was
amply shown at Thetford, Vermont, where one of the earliest and most
successful pageants was given. That was as late as 1911. The author of
the text frankly stated that the pageant seemed to him the expression of
a movement for the general development of the resources of the town,
agricultural, educational and social. The work should become, then, a
study of the rural problem, and a contribution toward the effort to make
the country town fulfil its ideal as a place to live. In this effort the
pageant has been a success; it has proved a molding, unifying and
inspiring influence; it has quickened into life the slumbering
energies of the people. By awakening pride in the characteristics of the
town and the region, interest in the history of their past, and hopes
for the better things of the future, it has created a shoulder to
shoulder feeling and a vivification of energy that have brought new
ideas to life and given courage to try them.

In the pageant reality may be mingled with symbolism--the latter for
passages not susceptible of representation on so large a stage as the
village green, or for certain elements of village life that could not be
put into direct dramatic form. For instance, after some scenes from the
early history of a town have been shown, the conditions of modern times
may be symbolized by embodying the new life in a character to be called
the Spirit of Pageantry or the Spirit of Putting Joy into Work. She will
be radiant with hope and joy, and her motions will be stately and
ritualistic. Prone upon the ground before her may lie a character
representing the Village of Time Past, clothed in a dingy dress and
expressing melancholy in her whole appearance. The Spirit of Pageantry
may lift her up and give her encouraging words. Following this a figure
on a white horse who represents America may enter and the pageant may
close with the orchestra and chorus singing "O say can you see by the
dawn's early light?" Something a little like this was done at Thetford,
Vermont.

The pageant at St. Johnsbury had an advantage in that its name suggested
knightliness and gave opportunity for armor, processions of knights, and
chivalric poems. They had also the Fairbanks' Scales as a motive
suggesting an interesting symbol for their historic treatment. In
Meriden, Vermont, Education for the New Country Life was taken as a
theme and the founding of their Academy was the central feature. The
individuality of every town may be expressed in its pageant. No two
would ever be alike.

How a pageant idea may be used to illuminate a sacred or ecclesiastical
subject may be seen in a masque that was written for the dedication of
a chapel. The plan is very simple. One character represents the church
as a whole, and another, a younger woman, stands for the Spirit of the
Chapel. This character presents a model of the chapel to the Church, who
in stately measures of verse, receives the gift, and asks to know what
the services of the people are to be. A series of scenes are the answer.
Women and children come with their burdens of sickness and poverty and
are helped. A battalion of boys show their drill and receive prizes.
Various clubs offer entertainment. Strangers of different nationalities
are welcomed one after another, and before the evening is over one has
seen an exhibition of model devices for making a church touch every side
of the life in a community. Of course a church that has no benevolent
activities in working order could not hope to provide a pageant that
would have dramatic interest. A dead church could only betray its
poverty. And yet--perhaps it would be salutary for some churches if they
could be stung into such betrayal: it might awaken them to a sense of
their own losses of the joy of giving and of doing.

A story that has been passed down from generation to generation can be
used in a pageant. This is delightfully illustrated in a scene from _The
Mohawk Trail_, a pageant given in the summer of 1914 at North Adams,
Massachusetts, in honor of the re-opening after many centuries of disuse
of an old path over the Hoosac Mountain that used to be the connecting
link between the Iroquois Indians of New York and the tribes of New
England. Eleven hundred persons took part in this great play. There were
Indians, early settlers, Quakers, Revolutionary soldiers, Spirits of the
Pines and Spirits of the Waters, the Little Creatures of the Swamp, and
so on. The inhabitants of several towns took part and the Muse of
Cooperation (a newcomer in that select Greek group!) must have waved
happy wings over the whole mountain region.

The scene referred to was based on the following story: There were many
Quakers among the early settlers in that region and among them was a
pretty young Quaker sister that an English officer fell in love with,
thereupon asking her father to give him her hand in marriage. The old
gentleman said: "If thee will give up thy fighting, thy sword and thy
sinful coat of scarlet, and become a good Quaker gentleman, thee may
have my daughter, sir, for she loves thee." The officer, it is said, did
give up his commission, marry the pretty Quaker and adopt the Quaker
garb and the Quaker principles.

In the pageant this quaint incident appears in this wise: The British
officer alights on the pageant green near the meeting-house and stands
waiting. The young Quakeress comes demurely along, picking flowers as
she approaches. While they are conversing, the people begin to enter the
church. As they pass they look with curiosity upon the two young people,
who when the father and mother come near, show the very picture of woe.
The British officer however steps toward the parents, leading the maiden
by the hand and says: "Friend Bowerman, may I have thy daughter for my
wife? I love her, sir, and will guard her with my life. Do not, I pray
thee, say me nay. My happiness and hers depend upon the decision." Here
the soldier and the maiden kneel before the stern parents. Says Friend
Bowerman: "Rise from thy knees, Friend, kneel only to thy God. Thee may
have my daughter, sir, upon one condition. Thee must give up thy
fighting, thy sword, and thy sinful coat of scarlet and become a good
Quaker gentleman. Think well on this, good friend, before making thy
decision."

Then Friend Bowerman and the mother go toward the meeting-house, leading
the daughter sorrowfully with them. The English officer now seats
himself to think and decide. Immediately thereupon things begin to
happen. Enter Cupid with his little bow and dances about him. Next the
Spirit of War rides across the green; the soldier sees the war-horse and
runs eagerly toward it. He leads it forward as if about to mount, when
presto! Cupid runs forward, and draws his bow. The officer returns to
his seat, drops his face and thinks some more.

Now the people come out of the church and gather in groups shaking hands
with each other. Friend Bowerman comes along with wife and daughter.
Cupid hides in the bushes. The British officer rises from his
meditation, steps forward and says:

"Friend Bowerman, I have made my decision. I lay my sword, my scarlet
coat and my commission at the feet of thy daughter whom I ask to be my
beloved wife."

Friend Bowerman says to Rachel his wife, "What sayest thou, Rachel?" and
she nods acquiescence. Then he says to the officer, "Thee may have her,
Friend, for she loves thee."

Then the people gather around the couple, the wedding ceremony is
performed, the officer and the pretty bride mount and ride away, the
Quakers disperse, and Cupid dances gleefully about the green.

There were ninety Quakers in this scene and nearly all of them were
direct descendants of the true Quakers of the earlier time. This adds,
of course, immensely to the interest of the scenes. To think that one is
enacting a story that our great grandparents lived, making history as
they lived, is a wonderful experience. But we are living too; we are
making history. And perhaps the things we do shall be thought worthy of
remembrance.

The pageant in this country has an opportunity that almost no other land
on the globe can afford. This is illustrated in one of the scenes of the
St. Johnsbury play, a town whose business of scale-making has called to
the town many people of many different nationalities. In one of the
Interludes of their pageant companies of people entered in the costumes
of the countries from which they had come and danced the folk dances of
their various nations. So for instance the French Canadians came in and
danced the old Vintage-dance to the proper folk-music accompaniment.
Following them the Germans danced the German Hopping-dance; then the
Scandinavians gave their Kulldansen, the Scotch the Scotch reel, the
Irish the St. Patrick's jig, the Italians the tarantella. After these
separate dances were finished, all the different companies came in
together across the greensward and marched in and out in interlocking
wheels, until they formed themselves into one large glorious united
wheel together. The beautiful lesson is very plain.

In such scenes as these full opportunity is specially given for the
young people to take part. They can be choruses; they can be pioneers or
fairies; they can be flowers and birds and butterflies; they can be
spirits of waves, of breezes, of leaves and brooklets, all in
appropriate costumes of tissue-paper wings or khaki Indian suits, or
blue denim cloth with patterns cut out and sewed on. This gives every
one a feeling of being a part of the day's great celebration and awakens
the spirit of home and community in the heart.

To represent a pageant with broad historic effects one must have many
characters and a great deal of perspective. But the beauty of it is that
this great piece of work is one that can engage the interest of every
last man, woman or child in the whole town. There are so many parts to
the completed whole, there are so many kinds of ability that can be
brought into play that every member of the community can be given a
portion of the structure for his or her responsibility; and the final
joy of achievement is gained, the sense of being a part of a great
whole, the joy of the community working together.

There must be committees. All the noted and leading people of the town
and county may be made into a Committee of Patrons and Patronesses. To
these may be added the names of any people of note whose interest can be
gained. The honor of heading the committee will perhaps not be declined
by the Governor of the State, and any literary people who may live in
the vicinity will be proud to give their names. The author or authors of
the text, the composer of the music and the Master of the Pageant who
has main charge of the dramatic presentation, will be in a distinctive
group by themselves. There should be a suitable person to see that the
historical matters are correctly used, a historical censor or critic.
There must be a committee to take charge of funds incoming and outgoing,
one for advertising, one for costume, one for properties. Other
committees will have charge of buildings and grounds, of seating and
lighting, and any other matters that are likely to come up, such as care
of horses or oxen; and if there are to be any eagles, ostriches,
rattlesnakes or giraffes--why, safety and agreeableness would seem to
require that there should be a committee for each of these! It is
evident that the pageant will find use for all the tastes and abilities
of the whole village, not to say the entire township. Many and many a
meeting will be held and many a discussion about the olden time and what
the grandparents now have to carry on their various industries and
household and town activities. And every boy and girl who takes part in
those discussions will have a deepened realization of the hardships that
our ancestors went through to prepare the way for the blessings that we
now enjoy.

The pageant not only cultivates the historic sense; it also makes us
better understand ourselves in the present; and it quickens our sense of
living for the things that are to be and that are to be a growth from
the things that are, as what we are now has come up from the past. The
picture of the heroism of our ancestors gives us the enlargement that
always comes from the view of great ideals of courage and nobility. So
our culture and our spiritual height are enlarged, our sense of the
dignity of the human race is heightened, and our determination to live
highly is intensified.

It is a good thing to present any dramatic piece that has been created
by the great minds and poets of earth. This should also be a part of our
endeavor. To do this brings us into a closer touch with the mind of the
great artistic creator than we can come in any other way. We have then
held up before our mind the ideal of great artistic form and the
influence of this model will be incalculable upon our education and
development. But there is a certain spontaneity of self-expression, a
certain arousing of the intellectual powers and of the artistic feeling,
that comes with the making of our own play, that can hardly be otherwise
gained. Both experiences are within the opportunity of any village or
community. Both joyful means of self-expression can be mastered and
experienced. The play and the pageant form the greatest means for the
expression of the artistic energy of a community that can be devised.

The pageant may be the happy means of bringing the whole town together.
It breaks over all dividing lines because every individual in the
community can have at least some part in it. The pride in the success of
the whole can be shared by every least child, by each most important
person, by the rich and the poor, by the wise and by the unlearned; for
there has been a place for each one, according to his ability. The
pageant is democratic; all individuals work for the success of the
whole, not for the glorification of any single one, never for the
glorification of self. It develops a personality of the community
itself.

Above all things it gives the person and the community a chance to gain
the joy that comes from the expression of that creative sense that lies
at the base of all artistic ability, that power in which the human being
is most near to the God-like. Here the poets and dramatic writers of
earth, the great souls of the Greek and of the Elizabethan ages have
been partakers of the fervor that was with God under the symbol of
"Wisdom" as that wonderful poem in the eighth chapter of the Book of
Proverbs, relates, when with joy He created the earth.

Among all the good things that may come in the new upspringing of this
artistic interest, the young women in the rural realm have a distinct
function. In the planning of the play or pageant the young people will
be brought together in social ways that are full of opportunity for
high-toned acquaintanceship and culture under the best auspices. Ladies
and gentlemen, young men and young ladies, will be working together for
an artistic purpose; the result will be not only an enlarged community
spirit among all, but a great number of personal ties that will be of
enduring value. May not this be still another interest that will bind
the younger members of the village life more closely to the home place
so that they cannot be lured away?

There are pageants that may be enacted by young girls alone when fairies
and sylphs and angels hold the stage and delight the eye with their
many-hued robes and their beautiful movements. The Young Women's
Christian Association has given some altogether delightful masques and
pageants; the Camp Fire Girls have done the same. In their societies,
whatever the kind, Country Girls may undertake some of the plays of
smaller scope but quite as beautiful in their way as those in which the
whole community join, and in this way find their hands filled with
pleasing and recompensing labor.



CHAPTER XXVII

ORGANIZATIONS, ESPECIALLY THE YOUNG WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION


  Raise the stone: thou shalt find me there;
  Cleave the wood, and there am I.

  --_Logia of Jesus._



CHAPTER XXVII

ORGANIZATIONS, ESPECIALLY THE YOUNG WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION


In a Memoir that belongs to the classic traditions of our country, that
of David Brainerd the Missionary, we read that he besought the Lord that
he might not be too much pleased and amused with dear friends and
acquaintances one place and another. We have now a new and different
ideal of community feeling; we pray that we may be "pleased and amused
with dear friends and acquaintances," for we realize that only by having
ideas together and working together may we reach the highest ideals not
only for the community but for the individual.

Where isolation becomes really intolerable, the Country Girl cannot be
blamed for taking the first means to relieve herself of its dangers. But
where there is a possibility of making a stagnant place become healthily
busy and interesting, she must be blamed for not making an attempt in
that direction.

An association of the girls alone is always possible if there is even
one more than one to start with. Perhaps others will soon join. The most
unpromising material, if it is human material, can be brought into line
and made something of. But there must be a start.

Now and then we know there is a girl found among the good people of a
village who has thoroughly bad inclinations. Such a one, after the case
is made clear, must be put into the hands of some person of trained
experience and mature judgment. This is not to be managed by the girls
themselves. Because of this possibility it is thought best that every
club for girls, especially for the younger girls, should have a guardian
or a secretary of older years. Whatever rules are made, say, for
instance, by the Young Women's Christian Association, in the fundamental
plans for societies of girls, we may be sure they have been devised by
people who are good, and who desire the best for the girls, and who
understand the whole situation and speak and act from this knowledge.

It may be that the girl who will entertain the bold idea of forming a
club or society is not by any means the one who most needs the club. She
thinks of it because some happy circumstance has developed in her a
power of initiative, the courage or instinct for beginning something
new. It takes courage sometimes to undertake an absolutely new work; and
the girl who has been always helped, never told to go ahead and do
things for herself, will not have developed that power. The ability to
start things can be hypnotized out of anybody; the faculty for it, if
once possessed, can be deadened or suppressed beyond the last degree of
vitality. To take the first step is a matter of life or death with such
a long suppressed nature; but that one step over, the crushed vitality
springs strangely to life and then every step is easier. Then the
beautiful experience lies before you of constantly growing life;
faculties that you hardly knew you possessed spring into being. This is
growth, and growth is the only life.

There will sometimes be in the village one girl who cherishes a higher
ideal of conduct than she sees embodied in the life about her. Where did
she get it? Perhaps from a mother who, immersed in her home cares and
burdens, has taken little part in the affairs in the town. She in turn
received from her mother delicate thoughts that have vanished from the
village when a lower standard of manners came in with certain new and
less cultivated people. In this new atmosphere the daughter has tried to
live and has been mostly alone. Lack of companionship has made her
unsocial and somewhat unbending. Her mind lacks swift response because
she has had no chance to practise swiftness of response in conversation
and repartee. Moreover, she has not the influence among the girls that
she ought to have because they take her search for better forms of
conduct for self-conceit; they consider her proud and stiff and
priggish; those touches of ceremoniousness which she chooses because of
her passion for beauty and grace, they consider affectation. There is no
place like the country to put affectation in its place; but it is as
possible there as elsewhere to misjudge the real sources of inspiration
in matters of conduct.

In the hearts of these very girls who look askance at the solitary one
as she passes along the village path and talk among themselves about her
primness and her pride, there may be a great admiration for her after
all, a desire to copy all her little touches of elegance, a swift noting
of her graces and of everything new she adds to her repertoire of
manners. If she keeps her body very straight and holds her chin
correctly, they will be looking in the glass to find out whether their
spinal column can be stiffened to give the same effect. They may laugh
at her but they try to imitate her.

After all, you see, the fundamental standards are the same; the
difference being that one girl comes almost to the point of living up to
them, the other girls have tried and because of ignorance or lack of
opportunity have failed, and have looked upon their failure until they
have despaired of ever succeeding. Fundamentally there is the same
desire at the heart of both the refined recluse girl who longs to have
company among the other girls, and the less agreeable, less refined and
less cultivated girls who secretly envy while they ridicule, and are
waiting only for the open door to enable them to walk in and leave their
coarseness and bungling outside.

The first step for such a girl to take in working out her desire to be
of help to the other girls, is to show them in some way that she really
cares for them and that, as far as her heart goes she is one with them.
If she can only get out of her seeming stiffness for a little while and
get down to the real heart beneath, the other girls will respond, and
pretty soon the happy influence of the spirit of unity will assert
itself and the true basis in desire for better things--whatever they may
turn out to be--will be a bond between the elements. Then some kind of
play or some kind of work may be proposed. It does not matter so much
what is done as it matters that something shall be done and done
together. _Do something together_--that is the main thing. Anything,
anything at all--only that it be _together_! Then after the doing of
something together has begun, the next steps are possible.

The young woman in the rural community may see things that need to be
done and be unable to think of any way to accomplish the reform. Here
comes in the good of an association. For instance, something may be
going wrong in the village. There is a dangerous manure heap by a wall.
On the other side of the wall lives a family with children. The big
black flies are creeping on the heap and then they fly over and light
upon the baby's lips, dropping death-dealing poison as they move along
over the pure skin of the child. What is there that any one girl can do
about such a thing? She may feel that she is not the one to approach the
old gentleman who owns the uncared-for barnyard; he would never listen
to what some chit of a girl would say to him; no, evidently that would
do no good. But if the young girl has some social position and some
popularity among the other girls in the village, she can organize them
into a club or society; she can make out programs for meetings into
which some useful modern subjects are sprinkled; she can in a little
time get the whole village agog about the care of their spotless town,
and at last, the thought will rise to the surface that said neighbor
must do something about the abuse of neighborliness he has committed in
leaving his barnyard untended for so long a time. The club of girls
could take for its motto, "No fly in our village"; and no worthier one
could be found, at least for a time. Other forms of aspiration might
follow. Meantime, perhaps, the baby has died; and this thought may bring
it home to us that the keeping of the village clean is a sort of King's
Business requiring haste.

It is always a good plan to save red tape by taking advantage of any
existing associations that may be made to answer our need. The Country
Girl is happy in having several such societies that she may join. Among
these may be mentioned the Young Women's Christian Association, the
Young Women's Hebrew Association, the Educational Alliance, the Girls'
Friendly Society, the King's Daughters, the Sodality of the Children of
Mary, the Girls' Athletic League, the Girls' Protective League, the Camp
Fire Girls, the Good Templars, and the Grange, a society in which the
women have the same privileges as the men and where young and older
members meet and work together. The International Congress for Farm
Women has a section for young women.

Among all these the one that has the most to give to the young women of
the countryside is the Young Women's Christian Association--an
association that now includes a glorious company of two hundred and
eighty thousand young women. The fundamental thought in their work is
"character-contagion"; first the contagion of the character of Christ as
an influence in the world; second, the contagion of the character of a
Christ-like human being among others. This thought is expressed in their
handbook in these words: "With the contagion of Christian character as a
definite object the very first ideal of the Association is that every
person placed in a position of responsibility for any part of the work
shall embody the spirit of Christ."

Flaming with enthusiasm for this ideal, over a hundred national
secretaries are carrying on the work among nine hundred local societies
in this country, and over thirty are sent to Turkey, Japan, India,
China, and South America, that the girls of other lands also may learn
to know the good that girls can do for girls.

For this association follows the theory that "every girl needs help, and
every girl can give help." The declaration strikes to the bottom of
things psychological in girl-life. Girls need each other. No one can
help a girl like a girl. If there is any trouble with any girl or with
any pair or group of girls, get a girl--the right kind of girl--to come
and redirect the group. If new thoughts, new ideals, new enthusiasms
embodied in a new girl can be brought in, the old thoughts will
disappear themselves. There are trees on which the old leaves hang
withered and dead all winter long: the rains cannot rot them away, the
winds cannot whip them off. But when in the spring the new life begins
to come coursing up the trunk, runs out through the branches, and
presses a new end against the root of the dead stem, it yields at last
and makes way for the leaf and flower and fruit that imperatively insist
upon having more room. Those who wish to redirect young human life may
find a practise lesson in this example of nature. To make faulty habits
or low ideals or dangerous inclinations disappear, bring in new life.
And experience teaches that new life can be imparted in no way more
effectively in the field of girl-life than through good noble girl
associates. To associate girls under some noble banner that will assure
their enthusiasm and loyalty, will therefore be one of the most direct
means of lifting their standard of living.

This Association more than any other has taken to heart the problem of
the Country Girl. Two of the hand bills of the Association show how they
feel about the Country Girl and what she needs and what she may have if
she will take the right means.

THE GIRL IN THE COUNTRY

  "_Where the wide earth yields_
  _Her beauties of fruit and grain._"

If the country is to continue to produce not only the food but the
hardiest young men and women, and much of the idealism and best
leadership of the nation,

Life MUST be made

  _Less Solitary_
  _More Comfortable_
  _More Attractive_
  _Freer from Drudgery_
  _Happier and_
  _Fuller of Opportunity_

For the 21,000,000 girls and women on the farms and in the villages!

Solving the Rural Problem

Through

The Country Young Women's Christian Association.

It brings to the girls in the country and small towns

  The opportunity of self-development and self-expression
  The chance to work and play with other girls
  Higher social standards
  Spiritual growth and Christian ideals
  Contact with a world-wide organization
  A community consciousness.

These girls give back to their community

  Trained leadership
  Joyful, rich, vivid lives
  Improved economic conditions for women
  Consecrated homes
  Christian spirit in work and play
  Cooperation.

The Young Women's Christian Association feels that it is its "privilege
to reach the Country Girls in terms of their own environment, helping
them to help themselves and to become active social forces in their own
communities."

Pursuing this thought, the wonderful idea was hit upon of using the
available energy of the Country Girl that goes away to college as she
returns to her home full of inspiration for a "career." The career of
being a good angel to her home community is offered to her.

[Illustration: One of the many Eight Weeks' Clubs organized throughout
the country by the Y. W. C. A.]

Carrying out this purpose with energy and great enthusiasm, as they do
everything they take up, the Y. W. C. A. instituted a special section of
their work which they called the "Eight Weeks Club." Under this scheme,
in the late winter or early spring, trained secretaries who are able to
give time and strength to the work and who are touched with the flame of
that character-contagion, are sent out to the colleges. Preparation
classes are formed among these girls, schemes are marked out for the
summer, and a suggested plan of study printed for them in the
Association Monthly is gone over. In the summer of 1914 about nine
hundred names of Country Girls in college who were willing to embark for
the summer's work were received. They came from one hundred and
fifty-eight different colleges. Not all of these were eventually able to
lead clubs; some were prevented by sickness, by family reasons, etc.,
after they got home. But there were one hundred and seventy-two who
reported promptly that they did actually lead Eight Weeks Clubs, and
about 2800 girls were enrolled in these clubs. The clubs represented
thirty-one States, Pennsylvania leading with twenty-two, Iowa having
nineteen, South Dakota ten, Wisconsin twelve.[2]

If you think that there is not much that you, a lone, single girl
without any help can do, listen to this story which one of the Christian
Association secretaries tells of the experience of one college girl who
went to teach in a small town. "The first Sunday I was in town," she
said, "I went to Sunday School. There were eight people there and they
were all old. On the next Sunday there were five and one of them was
blind; and what do you think? They asked me to take the
superintendency." Did she take it? The secretary says she held her
breath for the answer, for on just such a turning-point as this hangs
the solution of the whole country problem. "I did; and when I went away
in the spring, there were ninety-three in that Sunday School and none of
them was blind."

If one lone Country Girl can do so much as that, what might not be
accomplished if all the girls in the community were as one heart and
mind to work together for the Sunday School, for the Church, for the
Christian Endeavor and the Epworth League, and for all the causes that
seek higher things in the community? A young woman may never know what
emergency she may be training for when she begins to teach a Sunday
School class.

It is the hope of the Y. W. C. A. that the Eight Weeks Club for the
summer may ultimately be developed into an all-round-the-year
Y. W. C. A., to go on indefinitely. The desire of the secretaries is to
organize the young women of country and village life on the basis of the
county. A County Secretary, trained for the work, should be placed in
charge and should seek to reach every girl within "team-haul" or
street-car riding distance with the invitation to meetings, where music,
books, and pictures are found, together with wholesome social guidance
and direct religious inspiration, and above all the companionship that
forms a channel for the effectiveness of those good and uplifting
influences. "The County Secretary," says one of their leaflets, "must
not only know country life but student life and city life and industrial
life. She must be an expert in educational, physical, religious and
civic questions and she must be able to lead and to organize so that
clubs and groups may be produced which shall meet needs extending all
the way from athletics and recreation through social and general
community life up to distinctly religious and devotional service. She
must be able to use volunteer leaders and to mold them into a
sympathetic cooperation for the bearing of one another's burdens which
ultimately will lead them to share one another's successes. The County
Young Women's Christian Association ... is bound to come into its
heritage of success and to transform the girlhood of the country and
village life of our land."

If there is no college girl to come "back home" to take the lead in
forming an Eight Weeks Club, and no other means at hand to carry out a
plan for organization in the mind of any young woman in some rural
region, the best thing to do is to write--and get as many other girls as
you can to write also--to the Y. W. C. A., 600 Lexington Avenue, New
York City, and tell them of the desire, and then see what happens. They
will be likely to send in good time a State or County Secretary to come
and look over the field and give advice. She will probably hold a
conference with the leading people of the county, calling together the
pastors and their wives, teachers, bankers, alumnæ, and others
interested. There will be parlor conferences, speeches and addresses,
and personal interviews. Giving of the necessary funds will surely
follow all this education of the mind of the community, and a place will
be chosen or built for the home of the new association.

Whatever institutions already exist in the community, either social or
religious, the Y. W. C. A. will not retard them but will give them aid
and new inspiration. By the elastic articulation of its secretaries and
departments, the Young Women's Christian Association cooperates with
many organizations: with the church in training leaders for Bible study
courses and teachers for Sunday Schools, in directing social life, and
in encouraging federation and unity among denominations; with the
school, by athletic leagues, field days, play festivals, contests in
public speaking and choral singing; with teachers and farmers'
institutes, Chautauquas, and the Grange, giving programs for girls and
women; with agricultural extension courses, adapting them to the needs
of girls; with State and County fairs, providing exhibits, contests,
camps, rest rooms; with library commissions, making out reading lists
and using traveling libraries.

There is not an organization for betterment beside which the Young
Women's Christian Association will not stand, taking from it whatever it
can use for the welfare of young women and girls, and putting its own
spiritual meaning into the endeavor.


FOOTNOTES:

[2] If any Country Girl should write to Miss Elizabeth Wilson, Executive
Secretary of the Y. W. C. A., 600 Lexington Avenue, New York City, full
information would be given her about the Eight Weeks Clubs and also as
to any other part of the work of this wonderful, dynamic and constantly
growing Association.



CHAPTER XXVIII

THE CAMP FIRE


RUTH THE TOILER

  There is that quiet in her face
    That comes to all who toil.
  She moves through all the sheaves with grace
    A daughter of the soil.

  There is that beauty in her hands,
    That glory in her hair,
  That adds a warmth to sun-brown lands
    When Autumn cools the air.

  There is that gladness in her eyes,
    As one who finds the dust
  A lovely path to Paradise,
    And common things august

  There is that reverence in her mood,
    That patience sweet and broad,
  As one who in the solitude
    Yet walks the fields with God!

  --_Edward Wilbur Mason._



CHAPTER XXVIII

THE CAMP FIRE


The Young Women's Christian Association will frequently be found working
in harmony with a sister organization called "The Camp Fire Girls,"
which is also a national association with many local groups called "Camp
Fires."

The purpose of this organization, to quote from one of their booklets,
"is to show that the common things of daily life are the chief means of
beauty, romance and adventure; to aid in the forming of habits making
for health and vigor, the out-of-door habit and the out-of-door spirit;
to devise ways of measuring and creating standards of women's work; to
give girls the opportunity to learn how to 'keep step,' to learn team
work through doing it; to help girls and women to serve the community,
the larger home, in the same ways that they have always served the
individual home; to give status and social recognition to the knowledge
of the mothers and thus restore the intimate relationship of mothers and
daughters to each other."

The field of endeavor in this organization is seen to be a wide one. It
is interesting to learn how they have worked this fine ideal out into
practical form.

In planning and building up this association the picturesque field of
American Indian life has been drawn upon for an elaborate and
fascinating system of ceremonial, that masks some very definite
psychological principles and ideals for future development in character
and customs. What seemed attractive in Indian life to the founders of
this society has evidently been the out-of-doors aspect that our
Amerindian predecessors' way of living always suggests. Then the
primitive industries were taken into account, and perhaps the fact that
the mother was among the Indians the center of the community, the chief
laborer, the owner of all the property and the giver of the family name,
may have had influence in the choice of their thoughts and ways of
symbolism. The picture writing, the delicate craft of bead embroidery
and bead weaving had a strong appeal. There was much about Indian lore
and Indian craft that could beckon modern girls along a path of
adventure, poetry and romance into the realms of industry, service and
patriotism.

Indian symbolisms are used in the prettiest manner. There is a Camp Fire
costume cut and fringed so as to look like that of an Indian maiden.
There are many attractive signs filled with mystic meanings. The
watchword is "Wohelo," a word that sounds like an Indian name, but
really is made out of the first letters of three good American words:
work, health, and love. Each member is expected to choose a name for
herself; it must be something that shall express her own wish and
desire. For instance, the girl whose aspiration was to sing and to grow,
chose for herself the name "Songrow." Then the member is expected to
weave this name into the bead band she is allowed to wear about her
forehead in the supposed fashion of Indian women. Around her throat she
wears a necklace, and on this sacred ornament each bead represents some
achievement she has made, the color of the bead indicating the class of
service that has been performed by her. All this is most fascinating to
the story-book quality in the mind of every young girl.

In order to become a Camp Fire girl the applicant must repeat "The Wood
Gatherer's Desire." In this she testifies to her desire to obey "The Law
of the Camp Fire," which is to

  "Seek beauty
  Give service
  Pursue knowledge
  Be trustworthy
  Hold on to health
  Glorify work
  Be happy."

These seven laws of the Camp Fire she promises that she will strive to
follow. Later on she may receive a higher title, that of Fire Maker. To
do this she must learn by heart and repeat "The Fire Maker's Desire."

  "As fuel is brought to the fire,
  So I purpose to bring
  My strength,
  My ambition,
  My heart's desire,
  My joy,
  And my sorrow,
  To the fire
  Of humankind
  For I will tend
  As my fathers have tended
  And my fathers' fathers
  Since time began,
  The fire that is called
  The love of man for man,
  The love of man for God."

But in order to win the honor of becoming a Fire Maker, she must do much
more than merely to recite a short poem. She must also perform a service
of a housewifely sort, such as the purchase and preparation of a meal;
must be able to darn stockings, keep her own cash account, tie a square
knot, sleep with open windows, take a half hour's outing daily, refrain
from chewing gum, from candy, sundaes, sodas and commercially
manufactured beverages for at least a month, report on a study of infant
mortality, on the rudiments of first aid, and of personal hygiene,
including the right use of baths, a nice care of the hands and of the
feet, exquisite cleanliness of hair, shiny whiteness of teeth, perfect
sweetness of breath, care in regard to eyesight, sleeping, and exercise;
she must know by heart some one poem twenty-five lines long and the
whole of "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," and the career of some woman who
has done much for the country or State. Besides all this the candidates
must present twenty elective honors; but to learn what these may be a
prospective Fire Maker will have to consult the long and elaborate lists
in the Camp Fire Girls' book of specifications, where she will find them
covering eight pages of fine print, arranged under various heads.

Here is where the brightly colored beads come in. It is no meaningless
honor--that necklace of many-colored beads! Let us briefly run over this
list of possible honors.

[Illustration: This photograph of a Camp Fire Girl shows the opportunity
country life affords for good sport.]

The red beads are for honors in Health Craft; and this represents
attainment in a special knowledge of First Aid to the Injured, in
personal conquest over colds for a certain length of time, regularity in
attendance at school, proper diet, sleeping outdoors or with windows
open wide, a certain time spent in playing games, attainments in
swimming, rowing, canoeing, sailing, skating, coasting, snow-shoeing,
riding, mountain climbing, tramping, bicycling, automobiling or folk
dancing. It is plain to see that the ideal of the Camp Fire Girls in
regard to health and vigor is to be sought with determination and to be
gained specially through the good out-of-doors.

The flame-colored bead represents Home Craft. Here a large variety of
activities are grouped under the heads of cooking, marketing,
laundering, housekeeping, a term used here to include all departments of
scientific house-cleaning, making beds for baby and for grown folks,
care of baby and making toys for the little ones, care of waste and
garbage, washing dishes, storing clothes for the winter, and care of
domestic animals. To this formidable array is added the devising of some
invention that shall be useful in the household. Then comes some
non-professional instruction in the care of the sick; and the wide field
of entertainment follows, such as song, playing some musical instrument,
reciting poetry, getting up a dialogue or play, writing a story or
working out a program of some sort, giving a pantomime, telling stories,
or adapting them to dramatic representation, and giving these forms of
entertainment at some home, hospital, or settlement where there are sick
people to be helped to forget their suffering.

[Illustration: A school garden where the children are taught to love
and understand the growing things as well as to cultivate them.]

Next come the blue honors. The bead of this color is given for
attainments in Nature Lore--knowledge of trees, flowers, ferns, grasses,
mosses, birds, bees, butterflies, moths, stars. If the girl knows the
planets and seven constellations and their stories, she may wear the
blue bead. Also if she does a certain amount of work in a flower or
vegetable garden of her own, raises a crop of something and cans,
pickles or preserves her product, or if she carries on an experimental
garden, planting, for instance, one plot with pedigreed and one with
unpedigreed seeds and recording the results, she wins the blue bead.
This is but a faint sketch, of course, of the interests in this
department.

A wood-brown bead is given for Camp Craft. Here there are tent craft,
wood craft, fire lore, camp cookery, weather lore, camp packing, and all
kinds of knot tying. Added to this is an attractive group called Indian
craft. Under this head the member may win a wood-brown bead if she knows
six Indian legends or twenty-five signs of the Indian sign language, or
six blazes. Is there any one who does not know what the word "blaze"
means? It is the mark you cut on the tree with your hatchet by which
when you are on the trail you may tell your way back home again. The
applicant for this brown bead honor may know three Indian ways of
testing the eyesight, or how to make a totem, an Indian bed, an Indian
tepee, or a bead band eight inches long. Any one of these achievements
wins the wood-brown bead.

Then come the green honors. Here the artist in the young member of the
society has a chance for development. If the girl chooses she may win
this bead by work in clay modeling, or in brass or silver work; in
basketry, wood carving, carpentry, dyeing, leather work, stenciling,
sewing, photography, hat trimming, original designs in embroidering, and
many other kinds of beautiful expression through the arts.

Yellow honors are given for any sort of business positions, earning
certain sums for an accomplishment worthy of the yellow bead, keeping
accurate accounts, saving a definite amount, making budgets for the
family, and so forth.

Then come the red-white-and-blue honors, which includes helping in the
celebration of some historical day, the national birthdays, or some day
connected with the history of the town in which the member lives, like a
pageant or an historical tableau. Knowledge of the customs and laws of
our country come under this head, and service to the community in any
way, helping about keeping the town clean and about making it a better
and more healthful place for all. This bead may be won by a knowledge of
what the great ones of the past have done for the public good, such as
religious leaders, missionaries, educators, great women, statesmen,
scientists. A sketch of the life of that great woman, Harriet Beecher
Stowe, or of that other wonderful woman, Frances E. Willard, would take
this honor; and the ability to repeat from memory a certain number of
verses from the Bible or a number of the world's greatest hymns, would
be equally valued among these achievements.

It would certainly seem as if a girl who could win honor beads enough to
string a necklace for herself might be forgiven for some slight tinge of
vanity. But there is not much excuse for any girl in the land to fail to
be worthy of acceptance in this honorable company, for the requirements
cover so wide a range and the girls of America are so ingenious in
taking hold of new ideas and moreover are already so filled with
activities in all the realms touched by these inspiring suggestions,
that the Camp Fire spirit ought to become a household interest in every
State of the Union.

When a member has gained the precious testimonials of her attainments in
these artistic and household and community services, she procures the
leather cord that is essential in the proper Indian method for stringing
beads, and in some shape that her original fancy shall dictate she
arranges a necklace to suit her own taste. The beads are of good size;
they are colored in delicate, unstaring tints, and the hole in the bead
is large enough for the leather to pass easily through.

More and more honors may be worked for and won as time goes on, and the
bead string may be made more and more beautiful; the wearer may thus
become more of an inspiration to her friends and associates.

There is a still higher rank than Fire Maker; it is that of Torch
Bearer. The one who reaches this rank by special study and work, is an
assistant to the Guardian, who is the leader of the society and is a
person of maturity and of training for the work of guide to the younger
ones. The Camp Fire Girls as an association is especially adapted to
charm and interest the girls of from twelve years old to sixteen, while
it is good also for older girls.

It is evident that the useful activities that lie back of the attainment
of these varied beads in the Camp Fire Girls' necklace will influence
every girl that undertakes them in the direction of the aims and
purposes of the society. The camp craft and wood craft will awaken the
outdoor spirit, and the health craft will help to establish habits
making for health and vigor. The same red bead brings games and
exercises that will teach girls how to do team work, how to work
together to gain the power of quick decision, to take defeat casually,
to acknowledge the rights of others, to perceive justice when its laws
are thrust upon one in fair play. When the red-white-and-blue bead is
gained, a service to the community has been emphasized; and throughout
all the list the emerging standardization of women's work is seen. In
this respect the Camp Fire Girls as an organization joins with many
other movements in working toward placing home economics on a more
respected and honorable platform.

Just how the system of activities is to make a closer and more intimate
relation between daughter and mother is yet to be revealed. The
daughter's appreciation, developed through actual experimentation, of
what the mother has perhaps been doing all alone in carrying household
burdens, will no doubt tend to make a more cordial relation and intimacy
between the house leader that has been and the house leader that is to
be in the home that goes on forever. At all events there is a crying
need just to-day for a closer understanding and sympathy between mothers
and daughters: and if this organization of young women and girls will
help in that phase of our life, it will be performing a great national
service.

A great deal of poetry has been written for and by the Camp Fire Girls
and much fine music has been composed for them to sing in their
ceremonies. What could be more beautiful than this, by Katherine Lee
Bates:

  "Burn, fire, burn!
  Flicker, flicker, flame!
  Whose hand above this flame is lifted
  Shall be with magic touch engifted,
  To warm the hearts of lonely mortals
  Who stand without their open portals.
  The torch shall draw them to the fire,
  Higher, higher,
  By desire.
  Whoso shall stand by this hearthstone,
  Flame-fanned,
  Shall never, never stand alone;
  Whose house is dark and bare and cold,
  Whose house is cold,
  This is his own.
  Flicker, flicker, flicker, flame;
  Burn, fire, burn!"

The whole ritual is so poetic that it seems to have touched the young
life into creative energy.

The ceremony of receiving a girl into the various honors is altogether
beautiful; but we must leave something for a surprise to the young girl
who is hoping to become some day a member. It must be remembered,
however, that the honors are to be earned. The friend of a member is not
begged to join the Camp Fire Girls; she is allowed to join if she will
enter into the spirit of the society and make herself worthy. To do that
she may have to alter her point of view. If she has been in the habit of
thinking of the humble duties of life as a drudgery, she certainly will
have to change her mind in that respect. To throw romance and beauty and
the spirit of adventure about the common things of life is the avowed
object of the association. And these are the common things of life--dish
washing, house cleaning, first aid to the injured, darning stockings and
keeping accurate accounts. To view these as adventures, as bits of
romance, is what the Camp Fires are aiming toward. And they are
succeeding; for there are hundreds of groups of girls all over the
country who are struggling to win the beads by study and service, that
shall make these prized necklaces represent their endeavors. The mothers
are welcoming this spirit that turns a disliked piece of household work
into an adventure of high emprise. They find themselves rushed away from
a task they were about to begin lest the daughter should fail by chance
to gain a bead she was striving for, and prevented from various branches
of work by the rules the daughter was following. But it is not the
spirit of vanity and self aggrandizement that forms the basis of the
girls' endeavor; it is the love of achievement; it is the game!

If one looks over the books of directions for Camp Fire Girls, one is
delighted and fascinated by the pictures that show the many ways the
girls have to carry out the intention of the society. Here are girls in
the ceremonial costumes, the hair braided Indian fashion, the decorated
band drawn around the forehead and fastened behind at the back of the
head. In one picture the girls are sitting by the tent at camp, sewing
and carving and carpentering for honors. Here they are in a big canoe
with paddles lifted all together; again they are starting out for a
hay-rack ride, or building a gigantic bonfire for Independence Day,
setting up the logs in tepee-shape, while eight girls are bearing the
next log to the pyramid. We see them wading, swimming, and making fire
in antique fashion with bow and drill; they are cooking in house and in
camp; they are washing, they are ironing, they are mending; here they
are serving the community by teaching some little girls to sew, or by
helping to fight a real forest fire; they are holding ceremonial
meetings and conferring honors on those that by hard work have won them.
One can only say: O happy, happy girls in this happiest of countries,
that have so much done for them, that have so great opportunities, that
are so diligently and joyously making the most of their chance in life!



CHAPTER XXIX

THE COUNTRY GIRL'S DUTY TO THE COUNTRY


  Are you sheltered, curled up and content by the world's warm fire,
    Then I say that your soul is in danger!
  The sons of the Light, they are down with God in the mire,
    God in the manger.

  The old-time heroes you honor, whose banners you bear,
    The whole world no longer prohibits;
  But if you peer into the past you will find them there,
    Swinging on gibbets.

  So rouse from your perilous ease: to your sword and your shield!
    Your ease is the ease of the cattle!
  Hark, hark, the bugles are calling! Out, out to some field--
    Out to some battle!

  --_Edwin Markham._



CHAPTER XXIX

THE COUNTRY GIRL'S DUTY TO THE COUNTRY


Various societies are now trying to supply one of the greatest needs of
the girls in country life: namely, good times. The young life is doing
the most natural thing possible when it demands recreation, and grave
losses must be sustained if satisfaction is not given to this pure and
normal desire.

The countryside itself seems to be painfully, culpably wanting in the
first efforts for the supply of the need for normal, healthful play
times. If public health is valued, if pure morals are desired, if home
comfort is coveted, not to say if there is a wish that the girls and
boys should remain and sustain the rural commonwealth of the future, the
first thing to do to gain these ends would be to answer their
unconscious outcry for more development of the play instinct. A
wonderful woman of our time has written a book about the spirit of youth
in the city street; some one should write one about the spirit of youth
along the country road. We should awake that spirit and set it to
singing on every road and lane, up hill and down dale, all over the
prairies and all along the canyons.

That this is a very vital matter is shown in a letter from a Country
Girl. She wrote:

     "There was one thing I did want to ask you about and that was the
     need for social recreation, girlish recreation, wholesome,
     whole-hearted recreation. Judging by the girls I have taught both
     in country and village schools, it has seemed to me that they need
     to be taught to be girls, real girls, more than anything else, and
     to cherish that girlhood. There exists such a false relation
     between the girls and the boys. They are little stagy grown-ups
     playing at life, when they should be natural, wholesome children.
     I have wondered whether, if their social entertainments were
     different, and, if the true way could be shown them, they wouldn't
     leave the false and the sham, and be natural. Often the play ends
     in real disaster and young lives full of possibilities go down
     into the deeps. It is hard to express this in just these few words
     on paper but if you know country life as it still exists I am sure
     you will understand."

This wise young woman has here linked the need for recreation and the
dire necessity for moral restraint in a way to appeal to every student
of country life and to every one that desires the well-being of the boys
and girls there.

When the factors in this problem are thus reduced to simple terms, it
seems so easy to manage. The little things to do, the appalling disaster
to be prevented! More recreation in the village--more girls saved from
direst sorrow and downfall! Who would not spring to help? Is not the
duty of the girls who are a little older or who have been away to school
or college perfectly, translucently clear? Can you fail to see and feel
it?

There was a story of lost opportunity unconsciously revealed in the
letter of a college girl, who lives in a long valley between mountains
where the young people come in great numbers to do the hop-picking. The
plan for living included tents and an eating-table in common. There were
dances at night and much drunkenness. The writer added a tragic
description of what happens under these circumstances and of the
terrible results that follow the orgy.

What is that Country Girl thinking of, that she should waste this
opportunity? Why does she not do something for those girls?

What can she do? Organize something! Form some kind of an association.
Get the girls together--but not at just the last moment before the great
wave rises above their heads. We must build up beforehand; we must
start in at foundations; little by little we must undermine wrong
likings and insert slowly in their places better likings. We cannot
force the growth of the better things; they must grow naturally. Working
thus for days and months and years, we may at last cause a better
feeling, a better taste; we may develop greater self-control that will
be permanent because based on higher ideals and nobler desires.

The young woman who wrote that letter was educated in an Eastern college
and went from there to a farm in the West, finding a home at last in
this beautiful valley. Who knows but that her whole life and career was
ordained in this wandering way in order that she might come to that
special valley and seeing the need there, should put her shoulder to the
wheel to make a moral uplift for the whole region! The young woman that
will accept this high education and then neglect such opportunities for
social service has not gained the chief thing--the socialized spirit,
the spirit of social responsibility for the world; no, nor even for the
very town for which she ought to be first to feel it. Surely she could
ask for no better or larger career than to be able to make in her home
town a radiant life for all the young people, full of charm, a
counter-charm against which the lure of the city would have no power,
and thus keep girl life safe and pure, and prevent the sorrowful fate
that would befall her young townswomen if they should yield to the
temptation that knocks at their door.

The seriousness of the situation for those unprotected from such dangers
can scarcely be exaggerated. While the number of native-born American
Country Girls that deliberately choose a low or vicious life is, in the
opinion of experts, comparatively small, still it is not to be tolerated
that any country or village girls should lack safeguarding.

Happily this is the story of an exceptional incident; but how may it be
prevented from becoming common? By making the life about the country
home interesting in the work and in the play; by building up a complex
social structure in every village with music and pageantry, with clubs
and societies, with vigorous religious influence and activity, with
traveling library and magazine exchange. Not one of the possible means
for intellectual and social interchange, however joyous, but is
justified in its philanthropic aim. The farm home, the country village
_must_ be made a happy place for the young folks. It must never for one
instant be dull.

To preach this ideal no one can be so useful as the girls themselves.
Natural hostesses and social leaders, they are adapted to create
wholesome good times in the community. But may we not expect even more?
If among the girls of the village there is one who has been away to
college and has seen anything of the outside world, ought she not to use
her influence among the girls of the village to show them what the real
danger is likely to be to one who goes unprepared by industrial and
social training to cope with the situation in the city? Ought she not to
consider herself to a great degree responsible if any girl from her
village or her country community does go away unequipped into the
struggle and becomes lost in the oubliette of vice? Ought not the girls
with superior knowledge and better outlook not only to do all in their
power to keep the home girl amused and interested in the life of the
village, but to see that in each individual case the better wisdom is at
hand for her as warning and as deterrent? "I should have known better"
is small comfort afterward. When the wrong is done, and the girl is
lost, does the college girl in her home town take it to her own heart as
in part her responsibility? Should she not do so?

In case an inexperienced girl should have occasion to go to the city
alone, she should learn beforehand what are the proper and fit things to
do at railroad stations and in other public places, and what resources
she has at hand there in case of difficulty. The Young Women's Christian
Association announce the following rules for a young girl entering a
strange city:

  Do not start to a strange city or town without information about a
    safe place to stop.
  Do not leave home without money for an emergency and sufficient
    for a return ticket.
  Do not ask for or take information or direction except from
    officials.
  Do not accept offers of work either by person or advertisement
    without investigation.
  The Y. W. C. A. has employment bureaus and boarding-house
    directories, and cafeteria lunch-rooms.
  Travelers' Aid Secretaries meet all incoming trains.
  These appointed systems of relief for girls in difficulty the
    girls should understand about, and feel free to take refuge in
    them if occasion requires.

Assuredly there are many young women in the country who are fully as
well prepared for the work of revitalizing the life in country and
village community as the college-trained girls are. A number of these
are far more so than some who have had the opportunity for higher
education. It is said that a man can go through college and be a fool
still. The same is no doubt true of a woman. But from those to whom much
has been given, much will be required; and this requirement comes from
all about us as well as from above.

The thing to be done is to cut off this thread of inevitable sequence at
the beginning; to give the girl in the small town the movies and the
other varied amusements that will make it impossible for her to think of
going away; to give her the knowledge of the poisonous results of
vicious contacts and companionships that will make her abhor them with
her very soul and be terrified of them; and to provide her with the
opportunity for earning that will satisfy her self-respect as a unit in
the home industrial community. These things cannot be done by one
person alone; the parents must work at it, the better class of girls in
the community must work for it, using constantly varied tactics to meet
the enemy; and the minister, the teacher, the people all together must
combine to prevent this bitter inroad from entering rural life.

For the Country Girls who by nature, ability, predilection and training,
are endowed for special service, there are attractive fields open. The
work of visiting nurse, of physician, of home economics agent and
demonstrator, of social secretary, of teacher, of minister and pastor,
are available fields for womanly endeavor. No Country Girl need feel
called to go to the other side of the world to fulfil her mission. In
her own valley she can have a life work that will be full of the rich
returns for her well-directed, self-sacrificing service.



CHAPTER XXX

THE COUNTRY GIRL'S SCORE CARD


      I am aware
  As I go commonly sweeping the stair,
  Doing my part of the everyday care--
  Human and simple my lot and my share--
    I am aware of a marvelous thing:
    Voices that murmur and ethers that ring
    In the far stellar spaces where cherubim sing.
  I am aware of the passion that pours
  Down the channels of fire through Infinity's doors;
    Forces terrific, with melody shod,
    Music that mates with pulses of God.
  I am aware of the glory that runs
  From the core of myself to the core of the suns.
    Bound to the stars by invisible chains,
    Blaze of eternity now in my veins,
    Seeing the rush of etherial rains,
  Here in the midst of the everyday air--
      I am aware.

  --_Angela Morgan._



CHAPTER XXX

THE COUNTRY GIRL'S SCORE CARD


"Efficiency" is now the watchword in all endeavors, and every man worker
and every woman worker is being put under training to secure the
greatest amount of it. The factory is stretched to the strain. In every
department store there is an efficiency school for the clerks, and every
one has to take this discipline. All large public schools have a score
card for the instructors and every teacher must stand or fall by the
results of the criticisms therein set down.

In the home economics department of various colleges a section of a
course of study is sometimes given to the close examination of the score
card for the housekeeper. The points discussed include not only the
technique of the kitchen, but the character that lies behind all
efficiency and the training for making the most of native endowments.

Why, then, if the Country Girl wishes to become efficient, should she
not have a "score card" of her own? At any rate it may be an incitement
to her conscience, and perhaps it may give some suggestions for her
life-plan.

The Country Girl's Score Card given here is not to be taken as in any
way final. Let it be thought of as suggestive only.

THE COUNTRY GIRL'S SCORE CARD

_Character_

  Notable excellencies in character, temperament, or disposition:
    integrity, truthfulness, trustworthiness, courage, fortitude,
    self-reliance, steadiness, fearlessness, generosity, magnanimity
    Notable deficiencies in character, temperament or disposition as
    shown by such actions or incidents as these:
  inconsiderateness in causing unnecessary trouble to others
  carelessness, causing waste or extra work
  disorderliness, causing waste or worry or extra work
  frequent tardiness at meals
  disregarding the rules of the home, thus causing worry
  forgetting (which usually means not caring)
  losing things (which generally means culpable inattention)
  showing a depressed will power (which means not caring enough)
  tampering in the least with accurate statement, not rigorously
   preserving a habit of accuracy
  tampering in the least with exact business relations, borrowing
    carelessly; borrowing money when it is not absolutely necessary;
    not making payment at the first possible moment
  deflecting in the least from generous treatment in speech or act
   of companions especially of a rival or foe

_Expression of herself in manners_

Self-control

  repose of manner, dignity, gentleness, quietness

Tact

  quick perception of people's whims or foibles
  avoidance of things that may give offense
  ready adaptation to circumstances

Atmosphere

  friendliness or cordiality; expressing enough but not too much;
  having a manner perfectly adapted to circumstances
  cheer; a hopeful, buoyant spirit

Voice

  quality, management of voice, sweetness, clearness
  carrying power without harshness

Speech

  use of English, good grammar, avoidance of crude language
  precision in the use of the mother tongue, choice of words, use of
    idiom
  a clear-cut enunciation

_Philosophy of life_

  The will to live, a plucky spirit, a determination to win through,
    to succeed, to take the hazard and go ahead
  A passion for perfection, for excellence in the result; not to
    give up until the end is gained and the product is as good as it
    can possibly be made
  Artistic passion, the love of seeing things look well, of seeing
    harmony and proportion; love of music and pictures and all things
    beautiful; love for finding beauty in common things; interest in
    making oneself look always as beautiful as possible
  Power and habit of reflection, philosophy, reasoning things out;
    the power to put two and two together, to see through a matter and
    find out why a thing is made in such a way and no other
  Passion for truth for its own sake, for finding out what the
    underneath processes of nature are, for scientific investigation
    in the natural world about us
  Power of growth
  a teachable spirit, ability to take suggestions, and to act
    generously upon them; employment of means to maintain efficiency
    and perseverance in these efforts; ability to rise after failures
    and to strike in again with better knowledge

_Health_

  Enthusiastic and persistent obedience to all the Code given in
    Chapter XIV, particularly as to bodily carriage, exercise,
    breathing, clothing, food and eating, elimination of waste,
    cleanliness, amount of sleep, rest, and prevention of illness
  Willingness to make sacrifices in order to gain and to maintain a
   high state of bodily strength and efficiency

_Perfect relations with the various members of the family_

  Attentive and affectionate relations with the father
  Loving and helpful relations with the mother
  Amiable and companionable relations with brothers (if nearly her
    own age)
  Fair, responsive and tender relations with sisters (if nearly her
    own age)
  Patient and inspirational relations with the younger children

_Community spirit_

  Dependable and active relations with the church
  Inquiring, critical, responsive relations with the school
  Helpful working relations with the community societies and
    societies for young people
  Cordial furtherance of any public work for betterment
  A pure, self-sacrificing and noble influence among the village
    young people

_Definite preparation for her home that is to be_

  The "hope-box" and what it should contain
  A scheme for her house-plan and all its ideal details; the site,
    the appliances, the fittings and furniture, the decorations
  Training in the business of the home
  Training in the business of the farmstead
  Training in the knowledge of child-life and child-psychology
  Training in the laws governing the property of women

_Qualities for an efficient administrator of a household:_

  Knowledge of the business and training for it either at home or in
    some school
  Power to systematize work, to apportion out labor, and to keep
    accounts and make budgets; power to purchase and to save wisely
  Ability to carry things through in a business-like way; courage to
    undertake things; ability to make both ends meet
  Resourcefulness; ability to act promptly when things go wrong, to
    adapt oneself to changes, to show reserve in emergencies
  Power to save time and avoid dawdling; to avoid unnecessary
    motions and waste of energy; to avoid unnecessary waste of
    materials
  Passion for cleanliness in rooms, furniture, utensils, linen;
    passion for personal cleanliness
  A real love of the work itself, a love to create good things; a
    love to see things done and to do them

If you, dear Country Girl, will take a score card similar to this, go
away by yourself and think it all over, then conscientiously take the
examination, mark yourself on all the points honestly and fairly,
desiring strongly to be just with yourself and to see yourself as you
really are, there will perhaps come to you an illuminated hour when you
will dare to set yourself down in the group called "meritorious" or in
the next group called "not-quite-meritorious-but-almost." Perhaps,
however, you may feel that you ought to descend into the group named
"inferior" or even into the "deficient" class. But this attempt at
self-examination will spur you to greater effort, whatever your
decision. For if you must say "inferior" or "deficient," there is no
doubt some reason for the lacks, and the examination will help you to
find these and to strive earnestly to make up for them. And if you feel
that you can honestly say "meritorious," you must remember that all good
qualities are but the stepping-stones to higher struggle and that life
affords us many more advanced degrees to which we may aspire.

The Country Girl's Score Card may afford an appreciation of how much the
young woman in rural life means to her environment. That appreciation
will only make you see the more clearly the claims that country life has
upon you. For you must realize that there is one link in the chain of
American life that the Country Girl alone can forge. If you fail, the
chain must break; but if you do your allotted part, the chain will be
one of those that Milton loves to sing about, that bind the whole round
earth about the throne of God.



INDEX



A

Abbott, E., 94.

Addams, Jane, 10.

Agricultural Department. See _U. S. Agr. Dep't._

Agricultural College of Conn., 202, 237, 238.

Amusement, recreation, 27, 30, 34, 50, 63, 64, 66, 67, 79, 291-302.


B

Barton, Clara, 10.

Bates, K. L., 338.

Beecher family, 215.

Beecher, Catherine, 292.

Benson, O. H., 189-191.

Bible, 20, 72, 269, 302; source of plots, 302.

Book exchange. See _Clubs_.

Books. See _Reading_.

Brainerd, David, 317.

Breathing, correct, 176.

Bureau of Animal Industry, 250.

Bureau of Chemistry, 250.

Bureau of Plant Industry, 55, 250.

Budget, 186 f, 192, 195-204, 223.


C

Canning in the home, 42.

Camp Fire Girls, 63, 64, 169, 321, 331-340.

Card catalog, 158.

Chase, L. G., 200.

Chemistry in household, 166.

Chicago, University of, 238.

Children in farm home, 38, 39, 56, 184, 214-216.

Christian Endeavor Society, 63, 64, 325.

Church, 3, 65.

Church Periodical Club, 56.

City: precautions, 346, 347; occupations in, 348; exodus to, 20, 66, 80,
81, 181.

Clothing. See _Dress_.

Clubs: canning, 54, 55, 189-191; book exchange, 271. See also
_Organisations_.

College girls, work of, for Country Girl, 324.

Columbia University, 237.

Commission on Country Life, 3, 173.

Community spirit, 30, 43, 51, 56, 65, 67, 118, 119, 129, 216, 313, 354.

Comstock, Sarah, author "The Soddy," 94.

Congress of Farm Women, 321.

Conservation, 188.

Cooperative Agricultural Extension, Bill for, 244.

Cornell University, 187, 236, 238.

Correspondence basis of the work, 26.

Correspondence courses, 238.

Country Girl: as a class, 5; number of, in U. S., 7; wide extent, 9; in
gainful occupations, 10; happiness in rural life, 9, 19, 36; experiences
quoted, 33-82, 87-95, 102, 109, 112-120; as farmer, 9, 111;
distinguished women, 10, 11; as homemaker of future, 25; character, 26,
30, 183; passion for independence, 29, 49; love for country, 26, 61;
needs, 66; inheritance, 85; share in housework, 101, 102; relations with
mother, 103-105; social life on farm, 118, 255 f; magnitude of her task,
150; wage, 181-192; opportunity, 211; barriers to her progress, 211;
place in evolution, 207, 208; duty to country, 216, 343-548; going to
the city, precautions, 346, 347; attitude of family toward, 353;
importance of her status, 4, 17, 20, 87, 355. See also _Earning_,
_Finance_, _Spiritual aspects_.

Country life movement, 3, 15, 16, 224.

Country life in: New England, 61, 200; New Hampshire, 111; New York, 34,
41, 111; South, 46 f, 189, 198, 243; South Dakota, 119; Porto Rico, 263,
264; Philippines, 263, 264; Alaska, 263, 264; western, 65, 109, 196;
Northwest, 33, 37, 65.

Country life, favorable view, 26, 65, 70; influence on health, 28;
misunderstood by urban people, 28; nearness to nature, 29; influence on
poetic genius, 274; opportunities, 243-251; love of animals, 27;
spiritual aspects, 27, 28; influence on home life, 29; an optimistic
report, 37.

Country life, unfavorable view, 49, 61, 66, 75-82, 85, 86, 99, 109, 110.
See also _City, exodus to_.

Crew, H. C., 98, 136, 266, 278.


D

Dishwashing, 151, 152. See _Equipment_.

Dress, 176, 196.

Dress budget, 195-204.

Drama. See _Play_.


E

Earning, 53, 64, 66, 68, 78, 182, 190-192, 195; spending, 68, 183, 187;
bookkeeping, 161; parents' right to child's earnings, 182; wage of
daughter, 181-192; daughter's share in farm, 184. See _Occupations_,
_Budgets_, _Finances_.

Eberstadt, S., 206.

Economic position of farm woman. See _Finances_, _Earning_.

Education, training, 44, 54, 64, 69, 134, 147, 164, 165, 188, 231-239,
243; instruction at farm home, 248; a four years' course, 238; courses
of study, 236-238.

Educational Alliance, 321.

Efficiency, 50, 123 f, 139-142, 147, 151-153, 157 f, 189, 192, 203, 204,
351-354. See _Equipment_.

Eight Weeks Clubs, 324. See _Y. W. C. A._

Epworth League, 325.

Equipment, 66, 126, 129, 131-134, 137-143.

Exercise, 176.

Experiment Stations, 55, 250.


F

Family. See _Children_, _Farm home_, _Family life_.

Family council, 184. See also _Farm home_.

Family life on farm, 33, 38, 39, 160.

Farm Bureau Agent, 249.

Farm home: wife, 79, 87, 91-95, 222; mother, 39, 103-105, 123; children,
214 f; council, 184; family records, 160-163; social life in home, 42;
Sunday in, 40. See also _Efficiency_, _Equipment_, _Children_, _Farm
home work_.

Farm home work: service in farm, 139; housework a wage-earning work,
192; housework as exercise, 170; daughter's share in work, 101, 102;
system in work, 192; optimistic view of, 44; overwork, 37, 78, 80, 81,
91; laundry work on farm, 37. See also _Efficiency_, _Earning_,
_Finances_.

Farm housework, routine of, 12-14, 33-82.

Farmsteads in U. S., number of, 16.

Finances of farm home, 53, 91, 115, 161, 195; training for right use of
money, 54, 181; daughter's share in profits, 183; business of farm, 222;
as farm partner, 221; woman's part essential to farm, 222; house
accounts, 223-226; adaptation for accounting, 227; cost of living, 53.

Fireless cooker, 126.

Fiske, Professor G. W., 100, 254.

Foods, 165, 176.

Foote, Roxana Beecher, 89.

Foote, Abigail, 91.

Freeman, Alice E., 9.


G

Girls' Athletic League, 321.

Girls' Friendly Society, 321.

Girls' Protective League, 321.

Girls' Tomato Club, 55.

Gleason, Miss Caroline, 200.

Goldmark, Miss J., 171.

Good Templars, 321.

Grange, 64, 65, 321.


H

Harden, Miss Myrtle, 190.

Health, 169-177, 212, 353; of city child, 174, 175, 216; code of health
rules, 175 f.


N

National Plant, Flower and Fruit Guild, 55.

Nearing, Professor Scott, 188.

Newspapers. See _Periodicals_.

O

Occupations on farm: old time industries, 91-95; wage-earning pursuits,
68, 189; standardizing woman's labor, 188; chickens, 41, 43; household
industries, 91-95; teaching, 66, 68; nursing and other occupations, 348.

Office of Public Roads, 251.

Orderliness, 157 f.

Organizations, 317-340.


P

Pageantry, 305-313; at Thetford, Vt., 306; at St Johnsbury, Vt., 307; at
North Adams, Mass., 308. See also _Community spirit_.

Parentage. See _Children_.

Pennsylvania State College, 54, 238.

Penny Magazine, 156.

Periodicals, 52, 62, 68.

Pioneering period, 5, 109, 120.

Play, drama, 291-302.

Poetry in country life, 273.

Porter, Mrs. G. S., 279.

Pratt, Miss Caroline, 198, 199.


R

Reading, 34, 36, 38, 43, 49-52, 54, 62, 67, 68, 70, 79, 215, 267-275;
reading aloud, 272.

Records, household, 160-163. See also _Card catalog_.

Rest and health, 177.

Roosevelt, Theodore, 122, 146, 150.

Rural group, 16.

Rural mind, 6, 7.

Rural village defined, 174.


S

Schools, 67.

Scientific management. See _Efficiency_.

Score card for country girl, 351-355.

Shaw, Dr. Albert, 109.

Shaw, Rev. Anna H., 183, 184.

Simmons College, 237, 238.

Smith-Lever Bill, 244 f.

Sodality of the Children of Mary, 321.

Spending and saving. See _Earning_.

Spiritual aspects, 206.

Stewart, Elinore Rupert, 115-117.

Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 10, 280, 336.

Suicide, 259.


T

Temperance, medical, superintendent, 63.

Tomato clubs, 190, 191.

"True Lovers," play by J. C. Horne, 298-301.


U

United Farm Women, 54.

U. S. Department of Agriculture, 54, 55, 189, 191, 243-251.

U. S. Commission on Country Life, 173.


V

Van Rensselaer, Professor Martha, 187, 220.


W

War, moral equivalent for, 99.

Widdemer, Margaret, 2.

Willard, F. E., 2, 10, 242, 336.

Wilson, Elizabeth, 46, 324.

Wilson, President, 232.

W. C. T. U., 64.

Wisconsin, University of, 284.


Y

Y. W. C. A., 172, 318-327, 347.

Y. W. Hebrew Asso., 321.



BIBLIOGRAPHY


THE PROBLEM OF COUNTRY LIFE

     ANDERSON, W. L.: The Country Town
     BUTTERFIELD, K. L.: Chapters in Rural Progress
     EARP, E. L.: The Rural Church Movement
     FISKE, G. W.: The Challenge of the Country (_Y. W. C. Asso.
       Press_)
     GILLETTE, J. W.: Constructive Rural Sociology
     HART, J. K., editor: Educational Resources of Village and Rural
       Communities
     ROOSEVELT, T.: Report of Commission on Country Life, Introduction
       by Theodore Roosevelt
     STRONG, J.: Our World


THE PROBLEM OF URBAN LIFE

     DEVINE, E. T.: Misery and Its Causes
     LAUGHLIN, CLARA: The Work-a-Day Girl
     RICHARDSON, D.: The Long Day


THE WORLD OF ALL OUTDOORS

     BAILEY, L. H.: The Outlook to Nature
     BREARLEY, H. C.: Animal Secrets Told
     COMSTOCK, ANNA B.: Handbook of Nature Study
     DIXON, ROYAL: The Human Side of Plants
     GRINNELL, M.: Neighbors of Field, Wood and Stream
     KNIGHT, C. R.: Animals of the World for Young People; Birds of the
       World for Young People
     LOUNSBERRY, A.: The Wild Flower Book for Young People; The Garden
       Book for Young People; Frank and Bessie's Forester


DELIGHTFUL BOOKS ABOUT THE COUNTRY

     ALBEE, H. R.: Mountain Playmates
     BURROUGHS, J.: Wake Robin
     ROBERTSON, C. D.: Down the Year
     ROGERS, E. W.: Journal of a Country Woman
     STEWART, ELINORE RUPERT: Letters of a Woman Homesteader
     THOREAU, H. D.: Walden
     WHITING, C. G.: Walks in New England


EFFICIENCY IN THE HOUSEHOLD

     CHILD, G. B.: The Efficient Kitchen
     CURTIS, I. G.: The Making of a Housewife
     DODD, H.: The Healthful Farmhouse
     FREDERICK, C.: The New Housekeeping
     GOLDMARK, J.: Fatigue and Efficiency
     GULICK, L. H.: The Efficient Life
     LANCASTER, M.: Electric Cooking
     MARCHANT, E.: Serving and Waiting
     TERRELL, B. M.: Handbook of Housekeeping


WOMAN AMONG THE WORLD'S WORKERS

     ABBOTT, E.: Woman in Industry
     DORR, R. C.: What Eight Million Women Want
     NEARING, S.: Woman and Social Progress
     SPENCER, A. G.: Woman's Share in Social Culture
     The Woman Citizen's Library, 12 volumes
     WILBUR, M. A.: Everyday Business for Women


CRAFTS FOR GIRLS

     BAILEY, C. S.: Girls' Make-at-Home Things
     BEARD, P.: The Jolly Book of Boxcraft
     CANDEE, H. C.: How Women May Earn a Living
     KELLEY, L. E.: Three Hundred Things a Bright Girl Can Do
     KLICKMAN, F.: The Modern Crochet Book; The Craft of the Crochet
       Hook; The Home Art Book of Fancy Stitchery; Home Art Crochet
       Book; The Cult of the Needle
     LASELLE, M. A. and WILEY, K. E.: Vocations for Girls
     MCEWEN, D.: Stenography in Two Weeks, A Text-book for Self-use.
     PARET, A. P.: Harpers' Handy Book for Girls
     SANFORD, L. G.: Art Crafts for Beginners
     WEAVER, E. W.: Vocations for Girls


BOYS' BOOKS THAT GIRLS CAN USE

     ADAMS, M.: Boys' Own Book of Pets and Hobbies
     BAILEY, C. S. and M. E.: Boys' Make-at-Home Things
     BARNARD, J.: Every Man His Own Mechanic
     FRASER, C. C.: Every Boy's Book of Handicraft
     KELLAND, C. B.: The American Boy's Workshop


GAMES AND RECREATION

     BAKER, E. M.: Indoor Games for Children and Young People
     BANCROFT, J. H.: Games for the Playground, Home, School and
       Gymnasium
     BARSE, M. E. S.: Games for all Occasions
     BEARD, L. and A. B.: How to Amuse Yourself and Others
     CAMPBELL, H. S.: The American Girl's Home Book of Work and Play
     CANFIELD, D.: What Shall We Do Now?
     CURTIS, H. S.: Play and Recreation for the Open Country
     JENKS, T.: Photography for Young People
     KINNEY, T. and M. W.: Social Dancing of To-day
     PARSONS, B. R.: Plays and Games for Indoors and Outdoors
     STERN, R. B.: Neighborhood Entertainments


SOME PROBLEMS OF GIRLHOOD

     BURKS, F. W. and J. D.: Health and the School
     CABOT, R.: What Men Live By
     COE, G. A.: The Spiritual Life
     DANIELS, H. MCD.: The Girl and Her Chance
     LEARNED, E. C.: Ideals for Girls
     SLACK, E. J.: A Little Essay in Friendship (_Y. W. C. Asso.
       Press_)
     SLATTERY, M.: The Girl in her Teens


A GROUP OF BIOGRAPHIES OF COUNTRY GIRLS WHO BECAME GREAT AND USEFUL
WOMEN

     MARY LYON, by B. B. Gilchrist
     ALICE FREEMAN PALMER, by G. L. Palmer
     ELLEN H. RICHARDS, by Caroline L. Hunt
     HARRIET BEECHER STOWE, by Martha Foote Crow
     FRANCES E. WILLARD, by Anna A. Gordon


SOME OTHER INSPIRING STORIES

     JANE ADDAMS' TWENTY YEARS AT HULL HOUSE
     LOUISE MAY ALCOTT, by Belle Moses
     Helen Keller's Story of MY LIFE
     Lucy Larcom's A NEW ENGLAND GIRLHOOD
     Margaret E. Sangster's FROM MY YOUTH UP
     N. Hudson Moore's DEEDS OF DARING DONE BY GIRLS


BOOKS OF POETRY COUNTRY GIRLS ENJOY

     NOYES, ALFRED: Sherwood--Robin Hood and the Three Kings; Drake, an
      English Epic; Tales of the Mermaid Tavern
     The Golden Treasury, Series I and II
     The Little Book of Modern American Verse


A GROUP OF POEMS TO KNOW AND RECITE IN THE HOME

     BATES, KATHERINE LEE: America the Beautiful
     BRANCH, ANNA HEMPSTEAD: Songs for My Mother
     DAVIS, FANNIE STEARNS: Souls
     GARRISON, THEODOSIA: The Daughter
     GUINEY, LOUISE IMOGEN: The Kings
     KILMER, JOYCE: Trees
     LINDSAY, VACHELL: Kansas
     MACKAYE, PERCY: Hymn for Equal Suffrage
     MARKHAM, EDWIN: To Young America
     MORGAN, ANGELA: Battle Cry of the Mothers





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