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1 AN EARL Y SPRING |
BY ZONA GALE 1 (Copyright, by Joseph B. Bowles.) Midwinter—and yet all that morn ing I had been thinking of spring. Are there not days of snow when without reason spring is in one's thought? I am wont to call this secret pres ence the little spring. “The little spring,” I said. “She knows. She stays even when everyone supposes that she has forgotten.” Then Peleas came in. and the win try sun touched his white hair as it touched mine, for we are both 70. “Ettare,” said Peleas, “Nicola has a friend who is ill in the hospital. She has gone to see her and she has got in her place for to-day the most pathet ic little woman." She is down there in the kitchen now making a salad. “Then her salads will be goed, ’ I said. “Haven't you often noticed how the disappointments in life come out in ' appetizing dishes or exquisite needlework or beautiful dispositions?” “Ah. yes,” said Peleas. “but their eyes never look any less sad. I wish we could cheer her up. Her name is Mary.” Presently I went down to the kitchen. “Mary,” I said, “what fresh, crisp lettuce - ! lam glad to know that 1 was right. I thought the world smelled of spring this morning.” “Spring, ma’am?” said Mar; - , “Yes—spring.” I said. “March. April, May. Surely, in spite of the snow, you have not forgotten?” Mary smiled faintly, and sighed. So many smiles are sighs! “No, ma’am,” she said, “I have not forgotten.” “Ah, no,” I said, “one doesn’t for get. Mary, I pursued. “If it were spring what would you rather do thau anything else?” “O, ma’am,” said Mary. I had only to look in her eyes, swift ly lifted, to know that in her heart some wish was hidden of what that swift look was the spirit. “For myself,” said I, “spring or win ter, I wish —let us both wish —to be near to someone very, very dear.” “Oh, ma’am,” said Mary. “Yes’m.” “Ah well,” said I as I left her, “this, I am persuaded, is a Very special day. And I know that spring is some where about listening.” I went back upstairs smiling at the pleas'ant mystification in Mary’s face. In the upper hallway Peleas stood with a workman. “Ettare,” said Peleas, “this man says something about water-pipes.” “Ah,” said I, “to be sure. The wa ter pipes in the attic. Have you for gotten the school play?” “1 had,” Peleas confessed. “I had. 'This will be the man to make the fountain that Lisa wanted.” “This will be the man,” I assent ed, “ and let us go up to-the attic at once.” Here Lisa and some of her butter fly friends had begged leave to come on a holiday, and pursue a most as tonishing course to which Peleas and I had assented only after proper hesi tation. They wished to give her a kind of play, and they had selected our attic for the simple reason that the heroine of the piece lived in an at tic chamber, all cobwebs and rafters, and fell asleep and dreamed that she was a princess by a fountain in a gar den, and met there the prince waiting for her. After which. sh§ awoke and found herself in the attic, fountain and princess crown gone but the prince was still there among the cob webs and rafters. “It’s nice and warm up here,” he .said. “That,” said I, smiling at my own imagfe in a dusty mirror, “is no doubt because spring is in the world, in spite of the snow.” „ “It’ll be a late spring, along o’ the Almanacs,” stud the man, throwing down his kit of tools. “Nonsense!” said I, “it will be an -early spring. I can tell by the way the snow is piled!” How dare any one prophesy a late spring? Why should not everyone go through the winter prophesying an early spring, happy in the confidence that the prophecy would lure on the spring itself? Everyone ought at least to understand that spring Is really in the world all winter long if only one knew how to look for it. “It will be an'early spring,” I re peated firmly. “How can you help thinking so when you can make the spring wherever you go—you, yourself, J mean?” The man looked startled. “I, ma’am?” he asked. “Certainly,” I cried, “if I could go about all winter carrying a little tool in my pocket w'bich would make an attic floor and a lead pipe blossom into a fountain, I should not find it hard to believe that I could make it spring whenever I wished.” “Why, yes’m,” he said. *Tve thought that myself sometimes.” “Let us have,” said I to the man, “this fountain of spring come up here, between this old chest and the dor mer window. I hope,” 1 added, “that this is a quick spring, because they aie coming here to rehearse this after noon, and they will want the foun tain.” v This here spring,” he said, “It’ll taJke about two full hours to bring up that fountain, ma’am.” “Very well,” said I, “I told you there would bo an early spring.” At four o’clock Lisa and her friends came to rehearse for the fountain play. I saw them all safely above stairs, and then I slipped down to the kitchen, for I had a fancy to send Mary up, when they were finished, with a tray of tea and jam and little cakes and bon-bons. I found that Mary had miraculously anticipated my wish and had already spread sandwiches and opened the jam. “Mary,” ! said as 1 arranged the bon bons, “it is still snowing. Have you got your wish yet?” “O ma’am.” said Mary. “No’m.” She looked up at me suddenly. I “Do You Care to Tell Me, Mary?" hardly knew how. but at once I un derstood that her sad eyes spoke but one wish. “Who is it, Mary?” I asked with a sudden impulse. “Is it your sweet heart ?” “No’m,” said Mary, soberly, “it’s my husband.” “Do you care to tell me, Mary?” “Yes’m,” said Mary. “We was mar ried two years ago. We hadn’t neith er of us hit our wings against noth in’,” said Mary, “an’ we was married thinkin’ we was always goin’ to fly free; but that ain’t the way God made the world —to fly free. So when we’d been goin’ along a ways somethin’ hap pened that hurt me, an’ I sez: ‘lt w r as you.’ And there didn’t neither one of us have the sense to see that what hurt us wasn’t neither him nor me, but just the way things naturally was. “Is he dead, Mary?” I asked, lay ing the bon-bons on the dish. “O ma’am,” said Mary. “No’m. But I don’t know where he is. And he won’t never forgive me.” “Wait and see,” I said only, “wait and see.” Up in the attic the sun was stream ing through the dormer windows, and there were laughter and happy voices and the youth of Lisa and her friends, in aisles of sun. Peleas nodded to me from his place beside a chest of drawers. “This is a great moment,” he mur mured, “this is the moment when she ■ m m w IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN. Tailor (measuring Mr. Feebletail) —Waist, 55. Assistant (taking measurements) —Er —Yards or Inches 7 (Unbounded Delight of Mr. finds out that the world is a garden, not an attic.” “And that the prince is sure to appear there,” I said, sinking beside Peleas. While I looked I saw how, behind an ancient, disused sofa, that great giant of the morning was kneeling on the floor and touching mysteriously about; and there before our eyes, be tween the dormer window and the old chest, gushed up the fountain, shining in the sun of afternoon. And there, too, stood the charming little maid who w r as taking the pretty role, and her eyes were shining in mock delight as she saw the fair water, and with mock alarm as she saw, from out the wilderness of boxes, that young prince coming to claim her. The pretty play was just over, when I heard Mary coming up the stairs with the tray of tea and twrts. No sooner was she there than Lisa, who can coax bewitchlngly, begged that we have tea down in my room, where there are a half-dozen deep window seats —for the joy of dreams and tales. “Each one must carry something, then,” I commanded, “for the things have already been brought up here.” Peleas and I stayed behind, and as the cloud of Lisa's friends went in soft laughter down the attic stairs we turned, and fancied that the fairy tale had come true before our eyes. Between the dormer window and the ancient chest the fountain was still sparkling to the sun, as it had sparkled when the little mock princess had found her lover by its side. And where she had stood, Mary stood now; and she was suddenly and unexplain ably in the arms of that earnest young giant in blue clothes. “Mary—” said the young giant, brokenly; and then he saw us and tried to make us know all that the moment brought welling to his heart. And Mary met our eyes, unashamed that his arms held her, and her hand was in his hand. “Oh, ma’am,” said Mary, “It was him I told you about. It was him I meant.” I looked at Mary, her sad eyes so magically lighted with something that never could go out; and — “Did I not say,” I cried, “that spring Is somewhere about? And that we shall all have our wishes?” “And did 1 not say,” cried Peleas, “that we’d a whole day to teach people about spring?” “And did I not say,” I cried triumph antly to that young giant, “that there would be an early spring?” He smiled, not at me, but at Mary, “An early spring.” he said, “in spito o’ all the almanacs.” “Oh, ma’am,” said Mary. “Yes’m.” MAKES HIMSELF AT HOME. Burglar Breaks Into House, Batnes, Sleeps and Then Robs. Stamford. Conn. —After breaking into the home of two wealthy maiden sisters, the Misses Frances and Cor nelia Smith and finding it untenanted, a burglar calmly took a sleep in one of their rooms before selecting the articles which he wished to steal. He set the alarm clock for five o’clock. When he arose he took a bath, ate a hearty breakfast and then commenced a leisurely inspection of the valuable articles in the house. The Smith sisters are in the south, and when the caretaker found the broken window In the kitchen he ran to summon the police. While an offi cer was climbing through the broken window the burglar walked out of the front door with several hundred dol lars’ worth of booty and escaped in the direction of Greenwich unseen by the officer. „ Argentine Exports Reduced. Buenos Ayres.—Statistics compiled by the ministry of agriculture give the total value of wheat, maize and lin seed exportations in 1906 as $150,000,- 000, against $164,000,000 in 1905. Wheat exported in 1906 amounted to 2,355,718 tons, maize 32,500,276, lin seed 523,333, and flour 121,161. FARMING IN THE SOUTH DRAFT HORSES IN THE SOUTH. increase of Population in Cities Has Opened Up a Market. The breeding of draft horses has not made as much progress in the south as it should have done. This is particularly true in sections where limestone predominates and blue grass thrives naturally. The excellence of the light horses produced in this sec tion is positive proof that draft ani mals of superior merit could also be raised if the right type of sire and dam were available for the work. The light horse has been such a favorite, however, as to almost exclude the consideration of any other type of ani mal until within the last few years. This was really not surprising, for the old-time farmer of the south depend ed almost entirely on the mule as a beast of burden, while the horse was used chiefly for saddle purposes or for driving; and the light horse was of course better suited to this purpose than any other type of animal. Even today the light horse is in great de mand, and animals of excellence and merit bring profitable prices and find ready sale; the one misfortune in this particular being that the supply is guite inadequate to the demand, and there is not enough system and care exercised in the breeding of light horses to overstock the market with animals of superior merit as long as the demand for good horses of this type is as great as at the present time. The great demand for draft horses during recent years has caused this industry to look up materially, ind there is certainly an opportunity for its development in the entire region mentioned with success. The rapid increase of population in our cities and the growth of various industrial concerns has opened up a market for draft horses for dray purposes which was comparatively restricted a few years ago, and this demand is'likely to increase for a number of years to come, for only high-class animals are purchased for this work, and after all there are comparatively few of these bred at the present time, and the market does not seem likely to be overstocked in the immediatejfuture. The experience of those who at tempted the breeding of draft animals was so unfortunate in many instances that it is little wonder that farmers lost interest in breeding this type of horses. The early sires introduced were, as a rule, defective in many re spects, and when bred to mares of varied conformation, many of'which were also unsound in one or more particulars, it was not surprising that the offspring was neither a draft or Intermediate type and quite unsuited to the market dehiands of that day. Past experience has therefore taught the farmer to be rather shy of breed ing draft animals, and has led in many •instances to false* conclusions con cerning the possibilities of this fea ture of the horse breeding industry. Some have concluded that the draft animal is quite un-adapted for use in (he south. In the far south and in the cotton fields this is probably true, but throughout the Appalachian re gion it is certainly not the case; for while the draft animal may not be needed by the average farmer, still he may be successfully grown in this section and sold at good profit because the region is so contiguous to the great markets of both the east and west, and buyers occasionally passing through this section loking for ani mals of the draft type even at the present lime; and, of course, it would be easier to stimulate an interest in this class were the industry more widely and favorably considered. There are a few draft animals in va rious sections of the region mentioned, but they are so few and far between that it can hardly be classed as a special industry up to the present time. In certain places, like Harrison burg, Va., the breeding of draft horses has become quite wel established, and monthly hoiae sales are held, to which buyers from a distance come because of the good qualities of many 3f the animals offered for sale. This shows how quickly merit in this class bf horses is appreciated and how sasy it is to establish a market for my animal of merit raised on the *arm. Size of E^ggs. For several days the Indiana pa pers have contained accounts of eggs Df enormous size laid by industrious and enterprising hens. Harry Albert has a Plymouth Rock lien which has surpossed the record. A few days ago this hen is said to have laid at his >ome, 1509 East Oak street, New Al oany, an egg that measured 8y 2 inches ,n circumference from end to end and 3% inches at the center. It weighed aver a half pound and was equal in bulk to a half dozen ordinary eggs. When broken it was found to contain mother egg perfect In every way and the usual size. CORN AND COTTON. Some Practical Suggestions For In* mediate Application. , Comparatively few farmers have yet “caught on’' to the use of the harrow or weeder during the very early stages of the life of the corn and cotton crops, especially the latter. But these few, as a rule, have found that there is no detail of surface culture that costs less of labor and is at the same time more effective than the stirring of the surface soil, the mere breaking of the thin crust that is formed on plowed land after every rainfall. Most farmers, or at least many, ap* preciate the importance of using a cutaway, or a smoothing harrow, im mediately following the broadcast breaking of land, in order to get the surface into better condition for sub sequent operations. The use of the smoothing harrow, with the teeth slanting backward, or someone of the seveial weeders now available continues the harrowing process after the first rainfall on the newly planted crop. Many years ago the writer con ceived the idea and adopted the practice of “chopping out” his cotton ahead of the plow, the seeds having been covered with a two-row drag, which left the cotton beds perfectly smooth and flat and very inviting to the use of the hoe before disturbing its evenness by plowing. This chop ping before plowing (siding) involved the delay of the latter operation a week or ten days. It w*as soon ob served that cotton did not “grow off” so well w r hen the plowing was thus delayed until the chopping was done. This was more than forty years ago —before the day of weeders and of the common use of smoothing har row's in southwest Georgia. If the plan of surface harrowing the plant ing fields after the first downfall of rain had been put into my head and then applied to the surface of the fields it would have been of great practical value. As it w r as, however, the old slow plan of “siding” the corn or the cotton with two furrow's and then hoeing w'as again resumed. It was a case of “backsliding”—as some church folks have it —Into the old ways. When a good heavy rainfall oc curs after the corn, and especially the cotton, has just been planted, the immediate effect of such dowmpour is the formation of a crust on the sur face, w r hile at the same time the grass and w’eed seeds that lie on, or jusl beneath, the surface germinate. This crust largely excludes the air from the soih but —to the surprise of many it is asserted —greatly facilitates the escape of the soil moisture, so often likely to be deficient during the month of May. At the same time the grass and ether w r eeds spring up and com mence to choke the young plants whose grow’th and development is our object. What is wanted, then, is to break up the surface left by the show’er and prevent the formation of the thin, compact crust. At the same time the effect of stirring the immediate sur face is to either prevent the germina tion of weed seeds, or their immedi ate destruction —before the young w'eeds and grass shall have had time to get a firm hold on the soil. This breaking of the surface may be most quickly done by the use of a slant toothed smoothing harrow, or a weed er. It is necessary only to run a small steel tooth every tw’o or three Inches and ro a depth dt one-half to on© inch. A four or five-foot section of a smoothing harrow can be drawn, for this purpose, by an ordinary mule, and w'lll go over nine or ten acres In a day without mlich effort. An eight foot w'eeder may also be drawn by a good or mule, and will accom plish sixteen to eighteen acres a day. The operation should commence ts soon afier a rainfall as the land be comes in proper condition to st!r without injury (the test being whfcn the soil crumbles easily from the teeth of the Implement), and with out waiting for the plants of the crop to come up or to reach a certain size after coming up. Whether to run the harrow or weed er in the direction of the rows squarely across at right angles or di agonally across should be determined by the lay of the land, the character of the surface and the stage of the plants—lf they are up. Generally it will be best to run across the row’s, either diagonally to the right, we w’lll say, and next time to the left, so as to cross the direction first assumed. If the land w’as w r ell prepared and nicely planted, there will often be uo necessity to plow the cotton in tho common way until after it has been put to a stand. An eight-foot weeder, as already stated, will go over, say, eighteen acres a day. A scooter and scrape, or a twister, giving two fur row's to each row, will go over about three or feur acres a day. So we seo the weeder may go bver eighteen acres a day thrice—a week or ten days apart—with much less labor than the plow would require to go over tho same area once. — R. J. Redtfing.