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The mirror. (Stillwater, Minn.) 1894-1925, February 08, 1912, Image 1

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Wht Miff Ilf Ml
Vol. XXV—No. 27,
In gentle apathy, sweet dreams that come and go
Clear streams that flow and ebb across my heart,
Spring up bright pictures of ethereal art.
In sunshine radiant green meadows spread before
My open door, dew drenched and faintly sweet. —
An arcady where mating skylarlcs iheet.
Neath shad’wy glimmering, acrystal pool in sleep
Gay fairies leap and dance about it's brim
And sport on one another pleasure’s whim.
In living silences, a narrow, dim-lit glade.
Where young deer wade knee deep in swaying
Or speed away in frolic and return.
A garden, flower-strewn, where little children
The summer day through, laughing with the
That lips sweet songs of pleasure to the trees.
A maiden’s trusting heart that nurtures thoughts
of love.
The blue above is not more pure than she. —
What walls can close this gallery to me?
Paver Read Before the Chaulaueiua Circie
I am going to speak to you this
afternoon about the “Land of
Heart’s Desire,” a name of recent
origin for a country which was for
merly identified as the “Land ,that
God forgot.”
It has been about a score of years
since Richard Harding Davis wrote
his interesting little book “The
West From a Car Window,” in
which he devoted a chapter to
Southwestern Texas. He paid his
respects to it by describiqg it as the
most boundless, barren wilderness
of chaparral and underbrush, and the
most worthless waste in all America.
He dealt at length on the fact that
it was the last stand for most of the
bad men of two great nations, the
United States and Mexico; for the
almost impenetrable thicket was
pathless and higher than a man’s
head. The fugitive who reached
that rendezvous was practically safe
from pursuit, notwithstanding the
fact that army posts dotted the re
gion and that a regiment of Texas
Rangers patroled its precincts.
The portion of Texas referred to
reached from a point fifty miles
south of San Antonio to the Rio
Grande near Eagle Pass, and on the
south from Brownsville to Corpus
Christi; a territory larger than the
Massachusetts and of which
lie might well have said:
Somber and vast your stretches,
Bathed the pioneers,
Aud by thy tragic menace
They moistened your wilds with
World of wilderness everywhere,
Level and dim and wide,
Wide as the horizon’s verges,
Pathless on every side.
The years have added to Richard
IT anting Davis’ fame as a writer
and have likewise proven him an
utter failure as a land scout, for the
desolate domain he so graphically
described is today “The Land of
Heart’s Desire.” The tangled wild
wood that deceived him continued
its unholy work up to less than
eight years ago, and it is only very
recently that this section' of our
country, known as the Rio Grande
Valley—the Nile of America —has
come into its own.
A railroad contractor working in
the region in 1903 observed that the
country east of the Rio Grande was
cut at intervals by old dry creek
Teau Esprita
beds, indicating that the river had
at one time flowed to the sea
through innumerable small chan
nels. His profile maps showed that
these former waterways were lower
than the present bed of the river,
hence the thought occurred to his
trained engineering mind that it
would only be necessary to turn a
part of the river water into these
old channels when it would flow by
gravity over a wide expanse of ter
ritory, and be available for irriga
tion. Since the waters of the Rio
Grande carry nearly fifteen per
cent, of precious salts and other soil
enrichening materials, it is plain
that such a plan meant more than
the ordinary sense in which the
word irrigation is used.
A corporation was formed, the
connecting canal cut and the rich
yellow flood flowed as per schedule
and the lowly sneaking sage brush
slunk away before the harvest of
waters, and the chaparral desert: be-
came a garden.
In those days you could have
bought a million acres of that land
for half as many dollars. Today,
even the uncleared an unirrigated
lands in the Rio Grande country
sell for from fifteen to twenty dol
lars an acre, and if accessable to an
irrigation ditch, from two hundred
dollars to six hundred dollars an
acre. Three railroads have built
into the region and two more are
headed that way. Thirty thousand
people came in last year and more
than that number this year. One
country, that in 1908 cast a thou
sand votes has been cut into two
counties, each with more than five
thousand people.
Four years ago when I came
through the Rio Grande Valley I
saw a sign board which one planter
had erected on his farm bearing this
legend: “Two thousand miles from
Broadway and Glad of It,” and
this feeling of satisfaction seems to
pervade the whole of Southwestern
Texas, and to grow with the advent
of the years. Indeed, even in those
early days of the Valley’s develop
i ment it seemed to me Kipling might
i have had the region in mind when
i he wrote:
“Here’s to the cool of your deep
verandas, •
Here’s to the plays of your jewelled
To the night, to the palms in the
And the fire flies in the cane.”
For the succulent sugar cane is
the standard crop in this country
of content where an acre produces
three times as much profit with less
labor than the best sugar land in
Louisiana, and where the residue
from the sugar mills is safely stored
away in big four-footed warehouses
in the form of hogs.
Here they telephone for rain and
raise a crop every month in the
year. Fifteen-hundred miles nearer
the main markets than California
and with a spring time production
six weeks earlier than Florida and
a climate that produces nearly
everything that grows in Cuba or
Jamaica, is it any wonder that the
Rio Grande country is looming
large on the map of agricultural
Perhaps I paint the picture with
the brush of an idealist but it is still
has yet to be visited with a killing:
frost or crop failure, intolerable
heat, tornadoes or pests; so yon may
well imagine the satisfaction of the
south Texas farmer when the train
rolls away to the north with his
February cucumbers, beans, can
taloupes and other out-of-season
products, well may he wear the
smile that’s there to stay for he has
made good in the land where beauty
weds bounty % and comfort clasps
hands with prosperity. He is a
prisoner of happiness in a mighty
domain of golden future.
But it is the lowly onion that is
piling up the great fortunes in the
Rio Grande region. Here the Bur
muda grows in reckless abundance
and to a size that puts its island an
cestry to shame. Water is the pil
lar of prosperity for the onion
grower and the riches that are
rooted in the Rio are easily trans
ferred by irrigation to the onion
bed. Six hundred dollars an acre
from this crop is not unusual and
the land is used three quarters of
the year for growing alfalfa, which
in turn is converted into cheese and
butter, for as a dairying country the
region is rapidly coming to the
Perhaps I might quote a
newspaper poet and say that it is
“The cows are fairly achin’ to go on
record breakin’,
And the hogs are raising bacon by
the keg.”
Two navigable streams traverse
this American Egypt, and the irri
gation ditches are large enough for
transporting by small boats, all the
farm products to the railway sta
tions, while two gulf ports are with
in easy reach.• A dozen towns have
come into being within a few years
and they are models of all a town
should be. In nearly every case the
town has been built deliberately, all
planned out ahead, then lots sold at
auction to be followed by a friendly
contest in rapid and substantial
building. A system of one hundred
miles of electric railroad already
connects all these towns, so that
every farmer is practically a city
man. In fact, the old fashioned
country farmer is an unknown
quantity in Southwestern Texas.
There is still room down there
for half a million people. Only ten
per cent, of the country has been
cleared and irrigated. It is still
golden with opportunity; its lap
overflows with inexhaustible
chances to make good and its wel
come is as big and as broad as the
mighty state in which it lies.
It is the fabled isle of the old
nursery wonder rhyme come true,
the rock-a-bye sugar-plum land of
visions realized, of hopes fulfilled. <
The President of the Chinese Re
public is the sensation of the day —
a Sun-Yat-Sensation.
Have you been Riotisced? Biofis
cing has done away with posing. If
it would do away with posers, there
are quite a number of people and
questions we would like to see Bio
fisced at once.
You cannot waste time without
wasting opportunity as well, and
opportunities once wasted do not re
* N. M.
Paper Read, Before the Chautauqua Circle:
Mexico, the land of “Manana,”
it is sometimes called, and I would
hdd the words, “quein sabe?”
Mahan a, in English means tomor
row and quien sabe is, don’t know.
These words one hears uttered by
the Mexican Peon more frequently
than all the rest in his vocabulary,,
which, by the way, is very limited.
I am speaking of Mexico as I
knew it a decade ago,, but it is un
doubtedly the same to-day.
The population is divided into
two classes,, the wealthy, who are
mostly of pure Spanish extraction,
and the Peons, who are part Span
ish and part Aztee Indian. There is
no middle class.
/The Peons comprise about ninety
per cent, of the population. I found
them to> fee small of stature and very
dark skinned. Their features are
coarse and show plainly the Indian
blood. They are deplorably ignor
ant, very few being able to read and
write, and they have no conception,
of personal responsibility; also they
are devoid of any ambition, except
perhaps to possess a horse.
There may be virtues in them,
according to their ideas and customs,
but they are not in accord with our
standards. They love pleasure and
excitement and are extremely lazy.
The only possible way to keep them
m one’s employ is to allow them to
be continually over-drawn, as the
Mexican law forbides an employee
from quitting your service while he
is your debtor. This is an old Span
ish law and most of the laws in the
land to-day are on a par with it.
The wants of the Peon are few; a
pair of cotton trousers, a shirt and
a hat constitute his wardrobe and
his diet is mainly corn and beans.
Those who do not live in the cities
never pay rent. 'A few poles and a
lot of mud thrown together make
his shelter, and mother earth his
The greater part of their wages,
when, they earn any, goes for pulque
and the gambling table. Pulque is
to the Mexican what beer is to the
German, but the former knows no
moderation, except perhaps in work.
Pulque is the fermented juiee of the
maguey plant, looks very much like
city milk, has a sour smell and its
intoxicating powers multiply with
age. The first odor to greet one on
entering a village and the last to bid
farewell is pulque. Its one virtue
is its cheapness and that is a curse.
This vile stuff which has been the
national beverage of Mexico for five
centuries, has, without a doubt been
the cause of making the Peon w hat
he is to-day.
This country, for over a score of
years, has held its place with the
other nations of the world, by being
ruled by an iron hand. The govern*
ment has been republic in name,
but imperial in force. Ex-president
Diaz, who was first of all a soldier,
demanded obedience. His greatest
stength existed in his knowing the
weaknessess of the people over
which he ruled. Had be given a
part of his time to the uplifting and
advancement of his countrymen, his
name would go down in history as
one of the great men of this genera-
_ ( sl:OOa,V*ar
TERMB*) GMonths Fifty Cits.
'Unless another Diar, takes com
mand Mexico, will soon become'an
other week-end republic like her
sisters farther south. She needs to
be kept under the lash until every
citizen haslearned his-duty as a citi
zen, than she might be paroled* but
parolbd only.
The country is-unusually well
favored by nature and by develop
ing its- resources* should soon be
come one of the rich nations of the
world. It has- vast forests of
valuable timbers; but a- very small
per cent, of its-minerals have been
uncovered and it has-the soil of both
temperate and tropic zones* produc
ing most everything from corn to
bananas. So far, the fault has been
that foreign capital has done the
only developing, and consequently
the wealth has gone abroad. Tbe
great masses- are as poor to-day as
they were a hundred years ago,
while most of the necessaties of life
have doubled in price.
Work* ten hours of it, six days in
every week is what they need. That
and that alone will bring about their
At present there are ever one
hundred holidays in their yearly
calendar, not counting Sundays; in
total almost one-half the days of the
year and nothing will tempt a Peon
to labor on a holiday.
They should be taught modern
methods and the use and benefits of
modern implements. I have seen a
hundred 1 laborers in a railroad con
struction gang, fill their wheel bar
rows with dirt, lift tbe whole thing
to their backs and carry it to the
damp. Ask one of them why he
does this and he will answer “quien
A few words about their mounted
police and lam done: They are
called, Rnralies, and no
boast of any better. Sometime in
the eighties President Diaz issued a
proclamation to all uncaptured ban
dits and outlaws. This edict stated
that, upon their immediate surrend
er, they would be given a full par
don and placed upon the pay roll of
the government as mounted police.
They responed “almost to a man.”
By this one act, the country was
purged of its desperate criminals
and given a force of men who know
no fear, are at home in the saddle
and are familar with every hiding
place in the land. When an order
is given them to bring in a man,
they never fail, though many times
it’s only a corpse. So much for the
wisdom of Proferrio Diaz.
Let us be of good cheer, remem
bering that the misfortunes hardest
to bear are those which never
come. —Lowall
There is no end to the sky,
And there stars are everywhere,
And time is eternity,
And Here is over There;
For the common deeds of the
common day
Are ringing bells in the far
“One may get unliminted credit
at the Bank of faith.”
“It is by presence of mind in un»
tiied emergencies that the native
metal of a man is toasted” —Lowell
Every good thought we think lifts
us up into its own world.

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