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Page 208 text:
surrounded on all sides by Great Dame Nature pointing with her index finger to the path that leads aright he helps to solve the problems of mankind and fix the destinies of nations. To him the hum of a hinder on a hot July day is hut music to his soul, and the “swish, swish” of the bundles, as he shocks them in the field, is hut the audible voice of nature as she says, “Reward of Merit.” And the farmer’s wife and daughters! Do they share equally in all these blessings? From their windows they, too, can hear the music of the hinder, also see all the beauty of God's great handiworks.
As to the educational advantages of the farm, the studies in the farm life curriculum cannot he named or catalogued, neither can their students he graded on the scale of 100 per cent. It is something intangible, can only he felt, hut never seen, and only those who read its pages have a right to he a witness. Hence the reason why farm-reared and farm-educated hoys are so often made a living example of what farm life and farm education does. They are graded on the scale of too. on the basis of prescribed studies and conventionality, and given no credit whatever for that subtle knowledge learned out under the open sky. Beware of that young philosopher of the farm! He may not he able to quote Shakespeare or verses from the Iliad, hut he hears at first hand the songs of nature, which poets have idealized in verse, and he is often more logical than appearances would favorably warrant.
The country schools may he made a laughing stock, .their results be treated with indifference, and yet their memories will ever he dear. Nothing can take away the love of the memory of that old schoolhouse in District No. 7. he criticisms what they will. Where is there a more delightful remembrance than that of those Friday afternoons in a district school? Who will ever forget Polly’s recitation. “Kinds friends and parents, we welcome you here”: Pete Jones’s composition on "The Hen”: the debate, “Resolved, that fire is more dangerous than water”; or Dick Brown’s recitation. “The Flag, the flag, the wondrous flag.” Crude and almost uncanny in delivery might he said, hut one thing is sure, it was their own. They displayed their own individuality in its rendition. Individually is an unconscious watchword of farm life and country schools. The farm not only furnishes the clay, it also produces the model wherewith and whereby the sculptor may fashion his statue of Individuality.
As to the amusements and entertainments of farm life, here arc scenes, the paintings of which have moved men’s souls. Here are babbling brooks and sighing winds, the sonnets of which have lived through ages. But here, too, are feelings of solitude, of meditations in which man walks hand in hand and human genius have failed utterly to portray. Here are the teachers of Jenny Lind and Madame Nordica. for it may well he their highest ambition to warble like the lark. as. at the first streak of the morning, he soars up to meet the dawn. Here you need not go to the theatre to see the shifting scenes upon the stage, for here they are in all their splendor—glorious sunsets, vivid lightnings against black and inky skies, starlit nights with the moon peeping through the foliage, and waving fields of grain which as you watch it is the very poetry of motion.
Two hundred four
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BY LUCILE AMELIA WEHRS
If by some magic stroke there could be reproduced on canvas the pictures of the farm which that word conveys to the minds of its lovers, its haters, and those to whom it is indifferent, what a varied and interesting collection it would be!
Some would by their beauty grace the favorite corner of a king’s drawing room, others be only fit subjects for a comic paper, the home of Happy Hooligan and the Katzcnjammer Kids, while others would represent an excellent advertising scheme for some farm journal. How easily could be read the messages, conveyed by each, written in that ever readily-interpreted picture language. For example, the S. y2 of the N. E. of Sec. 23, the rent of which helps support the family who have moved to town, or perchance defrays the expenses of James and Irene who arc in school, or, a plot of ground divided into corn-fields and wheat-fields, potato-patches and a weedy garden, surrounded by a fence of “ncver-gct-on-in-the-world” and enclosing all the woes and miseries of mankind. Or, perhaps, and may there be many such, a place of peace and quiet where love and happiness walk hand in hand, where each budding branch and bending bough sheds a blessing from the Infinite, as they watch lovingly over that old kitchen door or answer the caress of the great red sun as he says his fond good-night.
And why this difference? It is the same old story of the “Six Blind Men of Hindoostan and How They Saw the Elephant.’’ Like one of these, some think it is a rope, binding all their ambitions, all their happiness, and all their pleasures in its coils, while others—more fortunate—see that side which heaves with the regular breathings of nature, a sign of life, of hope, and therefore happiness.
Is it that monster called “Drudgery and Toil” which blinds some of our critics of the farm, or is it that feeling of solitude and loneliness which hangs as a curtain before the windows of their soul, or perchance, that love of popularity which farm life forbids that produces such a gloomy aspect? Choose what vocation in life you will and in it you will find drudgery and toil. But it is the cloud on the western sky that makes the splendor of a sunset. Oh! those early hours in the morning which farm life demands! Will the farm boy ever forget his father's voice as at the foot of the stairs in that penetrating fatherly voice he calls: “John, John, it is 4:30; time to get up; you have eight cows to milk, remember.” To young growing John that call is like a death-knell, but when he comes downstairs those buckwheat cakes are like a healing plaster, the molasses like a soothing syrup, and his mother’s smile like the rays of that belated sun, which has not even thought of rising.
To a farmer the ploughing of a field is not all drudgery. To him it is an ideal time for meditation. With the turning of the rich black loam into the furrow, he turns the tangled threads of questions that perplex his mind, and
Two hundred three
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And even after the day is done and the veil of night has wrapped the world in darkness, farm life still sheds her blessings, for, with no other noise to hinder, she, with whispering breezes and murmuring winds, rocks you into peaceful slumber.
"SWENSON ON THE FARM"
• Could we see ourselves as others see us We might profit by this experience.
Could we judge ourselves as others would judge us We would not he so disappointed in ourselves.
Could we govern ourselves from the standpoint of others The world would progress toward the divine.
Two ho tidied Jive
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