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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 282 pages of information about The Fat of the Land.

CHAPTER LXIII

AN HUNDRED FOLD

Kate declared that she had had the time of her life during her nine weeks’ stay at Four Oaks.  “People here every day, and the house full over Sunday.  We’ve kept the place humming,” said she, “and you may be thankful if you find anything here but a mortgage.  When Tom and I get rich, we are going to be farm people.”

“Don’t wait for that, daughter.  Start your country home early and let it grow up with the children.  It doesn’t take much money to buy the land and to get fruit trees started.  If Tom will give it his care for three hours a week, he will make it at least pay interest and taxes, and it will grow in value every year until you are ready to live on it.  Think how our orchards would look now if we had started them ten years ago!  They would be fit to support an average family.”

“There, Dad, don’t mount your hobby as soon as ever you get home.  But we have had a good time out here.  Do you really think farming is all beer and skittles?”

“It has been smooth sailing for me thus far, and I believe it is simply a business with the usual ups and downs; but I mean to make the ups the feature in this case.”

“Are you really glad to get back to it?  Didn’t you want to stay longer?”

“I had a fine trip, and all that, but I give you this for true; I don’t think it would make me feel badly if I were condemned to stay within forty miles of this place for the rest of my life.”

“I can’t go so far as that with you, Dad, but perhaps I may when I’m older.”

“Yes, age makes a difference.  At forty a man is a fool or a farmer, or both; at fifty the pull of the land is mighty; at sixty it has full possession of him; at seventy it draws him down with other forces than that which Newton discovered, and at eighty it opens for him and kindly tucks the sod around him.  Mother Earth is no stepmother, but warm and generous to all, and I think a fellow is lucky who comes to her for long years of bounty before he is compelled to seek her final hospitality.”

“But, Dad, we can’t all be farmers.”

“Of course not, and there’s the pity of it; but almost every man can have a plot of ground on which each year he can grow some new thing, if only a radish or a leaf of lettuce, to add to the real wealth of the world.  I tell you, young lady, that all wealth springs out of the ground.  You think that riches are made in Wall Street, but they are not; they are only handled and manipulated.  Stop the work of the farmer from April to October of any year, and Wall Street would be a howling wilderness.  The Street makes it easier to exchange a dozen eggs for three spools of silk, or a pound of butter for a hat pin, but that’s all; it never created half the intrinsic value of twelve eggs or sixteen ounces of butter.  It’s only the farmer who is a wealth producer, and it’s high time that he should be recognized as such.  He’s the husbandman of all life; without him the world would be depopulated in three years.  You don’t half appreciate the profession which your Dad has taken up in his old age.”

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