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Gustav Stickley (ed.) / The craftsman
Vol. XIV, Number 4 (July 1908)

Forbes-Lindsay, C. H.
The rural settlement: its social, economic and ├Žsthetic advantages,   pp. 407-416 PDF (3.1 MB)


Page 416


THE RURAL SETTLEMENT
farmer may reside in the town and have a married helper living on
the land, or the helper may live in the settlement, and go out to his
work, in case his employer occupies the only house on the farm. The
latter arrangement would usually prove convenient, because the farmer
would naturally be glad to establish daily communication with the
urban centers.
HE aphorism of John Burroughs: "Where the cow is, there is
      Arcadia," might without sacrifice of truth be paraphrased thus:
      Where the cow is, there is accidie-torpor, ennui. In general,
existence in our sparsely settled sections is characterized by the most
deadly commonplace. The farmer is narrow and self-centered.
How should he be otherwise? He is without the world, cut off from
the influences that expand the mind and develop the social qualities.
His solitary life is toilsome, monotonous and almost devoid of relaxa-
tion. He loses all perspective, all sense of proportion. His outlook
and his interests are bounded by his fences.
   Is it any wonder that the farmer's boy, strong, and restive with
the lust of life, deserts the soil for the pavement of the city, abandons
the cold, unsocial environment of his home for the stirring center,
with its human appeal? He is simply responding to a natural pro-
clivity of man, the most gregarious of animals. He seldom has any
definite purpose in view, nor is he conscious of any positive attraction
in the town, much less of any distinct dislike to following his father's
occupation. Give him the opportunities for social intercourse which
he craves, give him the relaxation, change and amusement he desires
-these in connection with the life of the husbandman-and he will
cleave to the homestead and take up the task of tilling the fields where
his father lays it down. That this conclusion is justified seems
evident from the ascertained fact that the country lads to whom the
towns are most accessible are those least prone to desert the farm.
    The rural settlements will revolutionize life in the agricultural
districts. It will operate toward the retention of the young people
on the soil to which they properly belong, and stay the undesirable
efflux to the cities. The farmer may have his home in the town,
going to his work daily by wagon or electric car, with almost the same
,convenience as the suburbanite going to his office, but if he prefers
to live upon his land, the settlement will be readily accessible. Its
school may be easily reached by his children and his family may take
part in its social life.
416


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