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

CHAPTER LXV

THE END OF THE THIRD YEAR

“Polly,” said I, on the evening of December 31, “let’s settle the accounts for the year, and see how much we must credit to ‘experience’ to make the figures balance.”

“Aren’t you going to credit anything to health, and good times generally?  If not, you don’t play fair.”

“We’ll keep those things in reserve, to spring on the enemy at a critical moment; perhaps they won’t be needed.”

“I fancy you will have to bring all your reserves into action this time, Mr. Headman, for you promised to make a good showing at the end of the third year.”

“Well, so I will; at least, according to my own estimate; but others may not see it as I do.”

“Don’t let others see it at all, then.  The experiment is yours, isn’t it?”

“Yes, for us; but it’s more than a personal matter.  I want to prove that a factory farm is sound in theory and safe in practice, and that it will fit the needs of a whole lot of farmers.”

“I hardly think that ‘a whole lot of farmers,’ or of any other kind of people, will put $100,000 into a farm on any terms.  Don’t you think you’ve been a little extravagant?”

“Only on the home forty, Polly.  I will expound this matter to you some time until you fall asleep, but not to-day.  We have other business on hand.  I want to give you this warning to begin with:  you are not to jump to a conclusion or on to my figures until you have fairly considered two items which enter into this year’s expense account.  I’ve built an extra hog-house and have bought ten thousand bushels of grain, at a total expense of about $6000.  Neither of these items was really needed this year; but as they are our insurance against disease and famine, I secured them early and at low prices.  They won’t appear in the expense account again,—­at least, not for many years,—­and they give me a sense of security that is mighty comforting.”

“But what if Anderson sets fire to your piggery, or lightning strikes your granary,—­how about the expense account then?”

“What do you suppose fire insurance policies are for?  To paper the wall?  No, madam, they are to pay for new buildings if the old ones burn up.  I charge the farm over $200 a year for this security, and it’s a binding contract.”

“Well, I’ll try and forget the $6000 if you’ll get to the figures at once.”

“All right.  First, let me go over the statement for the last quarter of the year.  The sales were:  apples, from 150 old trees at $3 per tree, $450; 10 calves, $115; 360 hens and 500 cockerels, $430; 5 cows (the common ones, to Jackson) at $35 each, $175; eggs, $827; butter, $1311; and 281 hogs, rushed to market in December when only about eight months old and sold for $3.70 per hundred to help swell this account, $2649; making a total for the fourth quarter of $5957.

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