Puslapio vaizdai

"They then had the tea, with the cakes and the scones, from the still-room

A large establishment was of course necessary in order to maintain the Whittlemere tradition. Half a dozen times in the season Lady Whittlemere had a dinner-party, which assembled at eight, and broke up with the utmost punctuality at half-past ten, but otherwise the two ladies were almost invariably alone at breakfast, lunch, tea, and dinner. But a cook, a kitchen-maid, and a scullery maid were indispensable to prepare those meals; a still-room maid to provide cakes and rolls for tea and breakfast; a butler and two footmen to serve them; a lady's maid to look after Lady Whittlemere; a steward's room-boy to wait on the cook, the butler, and the lady's maid; two housemaids to dust and tidy; a coachman to drive Lady Whittlemere; and a groom and a stableboy to look after the horses and carriages. It was impossible to do with less, and thus fourteen lives were spent in maintaining the Whittlemere dignity down-stairs, and Miss Lyall did the same up-stairs.

With such an establishment Lady Whittlemere felt that she was enabled to do her duty to herself and keep the flag of tradition flying. But the merest tyro in dignity could see that this could not be done with fewer upholders, and sometimes

Lady Whittlemere had grave doubts whether she ought not to have a hall-boy as well. One of the footmen or the butler of course opened the front door as she went in and out, and the hall-boy, with a quantity of buttons, would stand up as she passed him with fixed set face, and then presumably sit down again.

The hours of the day were mapped out with a regularity borrowed from the orbits of the stars. At half-past nine precisely Lady Whittlemere entered the dining-room, where Miss Lyall was waiting for her, and extended to her companion the tips of four cool fingers. Breakfast was eaten mostly in silence, and if there were any letters for her (there usually were not), Lady Whittlemere read them, and as soon as breakfast was over answered them. After these literary labors were accomplished, Miss Lyall read items from the "Morning Post" aloud, omitting the leading articles, but going conscientiously through the smaller paragraphs. Often Lady Whittlemere would stop her.

"Lady Cammerham is back in town, is she?" she would say. "She was a Miss Pulton, a distant cousin of my husband's. Yes, Miss Lyall?"

This reading of the paper lasted till eleven, at which hour, if fine, the two ladies walked in the Green Park till halfpast. If wet, they looked out of the window to see if it was going to clear. At half-past eleven the landau was announced (shut if wet, open if fine) and they drove round and round and round and round the park till one. At one they returned and retired till half-past, when the butler and two footmen gave them lunch.

"Any orders for the carriage, my lady?" the butler would ask. And every day Lady Whittlemere said:

"The brougham at half-past two. Is there anywhere particular you would like. to go, Miss Lyall?"


Miss Lyall always tried to summon up her courage at this and say that she would like to go to the Zoological Gardens. She had done so once, but that had not been a great success, for Lady Whittlemere had thought the animals very strange and rude. So since then she always replied: "No, I think not, thank you, Lady Whittlemere."

They invariably drove for two hours in the summer and for an hour and a half in the winter, and this change of hours began when Lady Whittlemere came back from Harrogate at the end of September, and from Hastings after Easter. Little was said during the drive, it being enough for Lady Whittlemere to sit very straight up in her seat and look loftily about her, so that any chance passer-by who knew her by sight would be aware that she was behaving as befitted Constance Lady Whittlemere. Opposite her, not by her side, sat poor Miss Lyall, ready with a parasol or a fur boa or a cape or something in case her patroness felt cold, while on the box beside Brendon, the coachman, sat the other footman who had not been out round and round and round the park in the morning, and so in the afternoon went down Piccadilly and up Regent Street and through Portland Place and round and round Regent's Park, and looked on to the back of the two fat, lolloping horses, which also had not been out that morning. There they all went, the horses and Brendon and William and Miss Lyall, in attendance on Constance Lady Whittlemere, as dreary and pompous and expensive and joyless a carriage-load as could be seen in all London with the exception perhaps of the Black Maria.

They returned home in time for Miss Lyall to skim through the evening paper aloud, and then had the tea, with the cakes and the scones, from the stillroom. After tea Miss Lyall read for two hours some book from the circulatinglibrary, while Lady Whittlemere did. wool-work. These gloomy tapestries were

made into screens and chair-seats and cushions, and annually one (the one begun in the middle of November) was solemnly presented to Miss Lyall on the day that Lady Whittlemere went out of town for Christmas. And annually she said:

"Oh, thank you, Lady Whittlemere. Is it really for me?"

It was; and she was permitted to have it mounted as she chose at her own expense.

At 7:15 P.M. a sonorous gong echoed through the house; Miss Lyall finished the sentence she was reading, and Lady Whittlemere put her needle into her work, and said it was time to dress. At dinner, though both were teetotalers, wine was offered them by the butler, and both refused it, and course after course was presented to them by the two footmen in white stockings and Whittlemere livery


"And there she played Patience till 10:30"

and worsted gloves. Port also was put on the table with dessert, this being the bottle which had been opened at the last dinner-party; and when Lady Whittlemere had eaten a gingerbread and drank half a glass of water, they went not into the morning-room, which they had used during the day, but to the large drawingroom up-stairs, with the Louis Seize furniture and its cut-glass chandeliers. Every evening it was all ablaze with lights, and the fire roared up the chimney; the tables were bright with flowers, and rows of chairs were set against the wall. Majestically Lady Whittlemere marched into it, followed by Miss Lyall, and there she played Patience till 10:30, while Miss Lyall looked on with sycophantic congratulations at her success, and murmured sympathy if the cards were unkind. At 10:30 Branksome, the butler, threw open the door, and a footman brought in a tray of lemonade and biscuits. This refreshment was invariably refused by both ladies, and at eleven the house was dark.

Now, the foregoing catalogue of events accurately describes Lady Whittlemere's day, and in it is comprised the sum of the material that makes up her mental life. But it is all enacted in front of the background that she is Lady Whittlemere. The sight of the London streets, with their million comedies and tragedies, arouses in her no sympathetic or human current; all she knows is that Lady Whittlemere is driving down Piccadilly. When the almond-blossom comes out in Regent's Park, and the grass is young with the flowering of the spring bulbs, her heart

never dances with the daffodils; all that happens is that Lady Whittlemere sees that they are there. She subscribes to no charities, for she is aware that her husband left her this ample jointure for herself, and she spends such part of it as she does not save on herself, on her food, and her house and her horses and the fifteen people whose business it is to make her quite comfortable. She has no regrets and no longings, because she has always lived perfectly correctly, and does not want anything. She is totally without friends or enemies, and she is never surprised or enthusiastic or vexed. About six times a year, on the day preceding one of her dinners, Miss Lyall does not read aloud after tea, but puts the names of her guests on pieces of cardboard, and makes a map of the table, while the evening before she leaves London for Hastings or Scotland she stops playing Patience at ten in order to get a good long night before her journey. She does the same on her arrival in town again to get a good long night after her journey. She takes no interest in politics, music, drama, or pictures, but goes to the private view of the academy as May comes round because the thing recommends it. And when she comes to die, the lifelong consciousness of the thing will enable her to meet the King of Terrors with fortitude and composure. He will not frighten her at all.

And what on earth will the recording angel find to write in his book about her? He cannot put down all those drives round the park and all those games of Patience, and really there is nothing else.


Assistant Secretary of Agriculture

[merged small][ocr errors]

the sciences. Less than two years ago, for the first time, the American Academy for the Advancement of Science admitted agriculture into the family circle by giving it a place on its program and in its organization. Thus agriculture has become a sort of modern Cinderella. For thousands of years the servant and drudge of civilization, at last she has found the magic slipper and is making her début as a veritable and acknowledged princess, a royal dispenser of bounty and happiness.

As a result of recent scientific and economic developments along agricultural lines, we are to-day in the midst of an agricultural revolution that seems destined to be as significant and as far-reaching in its effects upon civilization as was the industrial revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In the light of these developments, agriculture appears not only as the youngest of the sciences, but also as the most important.

What this new science will do for the world ultimately it would be inexpedient to attempt to prophesy. Therefore I shall endeavor to confine myself to a discussion of what the new agriculture may confidently be expected to do for this country in the near future; that is, when our farmers in general have learned to make at profitable application of the principles of scientific agriculture that already have. stood the test of experience. From data as unquestionable as the multiplication table we may affirm that the new agriculture will accomplish certain definite results:

First, it will show the farmer how to increase his yields of standard crops anywhere from twenty-five to one hundred per cent., and, what is almost equally important, the percentage of such possible increase as will yield him a maximum profit.

Second, it will show the farmer how to market his produce to better advantage while at the same time reducing the relative cost of farm produce to the consumer.

Third, it will show the farmer how to make his purchases more advantageously.

Fourth, upon a solid foundation of increased yields, increased profits upon what he has to sell, and lower costs for what he has to buy, it will enable the farmer to build a splendid superstructure of more intelligent, more enjoyable, and more purposeful living.

It is indeed highly important that the farmer learn the agronomic lesson of how to increase his yields and the economic and business lesson of how to buy and sell to advantage, but in a larger sense these matters are important only as stepping-stones to a realization of the higher possibilities. of life. A scientific success has little importance to the farmer unless it can be made the basis for a business success, and a business success in turn has little real significance unless it can be translated into terms of life. I know farmers who have broad fields, great herds, huge barns, and large bank-accounts, but whose successes end right there; who live narrow, dull, purposeless lives-lives devoid of aspiration, happiness, or public spirit. The wealth of such men is like much of the fertility in our soil: it is not available. These men need instruction in the art of living as much as their less-prosperous neighbors need instruction in the art of growing and marketing crops. For, after all, it is only the wealth that we dominate and dedicate to some useful or noble purpose that we can be said actually to possess. All other wealth that stands to our credit is either inert or actively sinister, and in the latter event it often gains the upper hand and finally comes actually to

possess us.

The agricultural possibilities that open

out before the American farmer in bewildering profusion are for the most part yet unrealized. The lot of the up-to-date, scientific, and businesslike farmer has improved greatly during the last few years, but the lot of the average farmer still leaves much to be desired, still lacks much that has been chronically lacking to the tiller of the soil for thousands of years. On a western Iowa farm there was a young boy who plowed corn and did divers other things from dawn to dusk. When asked what he got for all his hard work, a momentary fire of revolt flared up in his brain, and he said: "Get? Get? Nothin' if I do, and hell if I don't."

That boy summed up in one terse phrase the annals of husbandry for all the centuries before the advent of the science of agriculture. He is Millet's "Man with the Hoe" before he grew up. From time immemorial civilization has rested on the broad shoulders of the agricultural workers of the world, but before their eyes has opened up no vista of opportunity or of hope for them or for their children. Theirs has been the bitter choice between a life of unending drudgery on the one hand and the hell of starvation on the other.

In the last half-century the Department of Agriculture has spent some two hundred and fifty million dollars largely in research and experiment, to the end that American agriculture might be put on a high plane of efficiency. The results of this research and experiment have been agronomy and animal industry, a vast, but largely undigested and uncoördinated, mass of information about how to grow crops and "critters." During this entire period the department has been accumulating and hoarding a vast store of facts about how to increase production.

Thus during the first fifty years of its existence the department was chiefly a bureau of scientific research that gave the farmer from time to time an assortment of miscellaneous scientific information that he might or might not be able to utilize. to his financial advantage. Unfortunately, a world of practical problems that de

stroy the farmer's peace of mind and involve the success or failure of his business -namely, his business and economic problems were virtually ignored. In other words, for the first fifty years of its life the department hopped along on one leg, the scientific leg. Happily, during the last three years a miraculous thing has happened the department has grown another leg, the leg of business and economic efficiency. Now it begins to walk, and we confidently expect in the near future to see it going forward with giant strides.

During the last three years, for the first time in its history, the Department of Agriculture has had at its head an economist. Under the direction of Secretary Houston it has achieved a new point of view and a new conception of its mission. For half a century the department has used its utmost endeavors to show the farmer how to fight the chinch-bug and the army-worm, the cattle tick and the Hessian fly and other insect pests, but had not even so much as attempted to show him how to protect himself from the yearly toll levied upon the fruits of his toil by such human pests as the usurer, commercial pirates posing as legitimate middlemen, and the other business parasites of the agricultural world.

The farmer who makes two blades of grass grow where only one grew before may be a good agronomist, but if he cannot sell his second blades at a profit, he is a poor farmer. In other words, farming is primarily a business. Very few practical farmers till the soil to demonstrate principles of agronomy. They produce crops to live rather than live to produce crops. Even more than large production they want profitable production. Upon the realization of this fundamental fact is founded the agricultural renaissance which recently has been begun.

It seems strange that a fact as simple as this should have been overlooked for many years. Every farmer, at one time or another, has been brought face to face with the paradox of big crops and small returns. He has often been forced to the conclusion that the larger crops you raise

« AnkstesnisTęsti »