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This sort of thing is not peculiar to the Kentucky congressmen, by any means. There was the case of Congressman Mondell, for example, an old beneficiary of our institutions, who sought to repair his political fences with the following promises of public buildings:

Green River *1,313 Newcastle




4,370 75,000

756 4,174 75,000 *281 294 2,989 75,000 *Population in 1890, respectively: 1,723, 1,715, and 515 (in each instance considerably larger than in 1910).

3. To what end these extravagant building-programmes ? To the end of votes, votes to be won by holding out the lure of an expenditure of Government money that in most cases never would be made, although the extent to which the game had been worked is seen in the fact that in many instances sites had already been purchased. Are the Congressmen to blame? They were doing what their constituents, in the main, expected them to do. Ought they refuse to do this dirty work? That depends upon If how one views our institutions. one could sit in the office of one of the Assistant Postmasters-General, after the passage of a public buildings bill, and view the procession of Congressmen that passes in and out, each escorting an obsequious landowner who has come to Washington at great sacrifice to give his lot to the Government-atˇˇruinous prices-if one could also read the testimonials in his behalf written by prominent citizens who own land in the immediate neighborhood, one would get a vivid glimpse of this great American comedy at its best.

4. We may mention that Postmaster-General Work started propaganda some weeks ago for the purpose of explaining why the Government should own its postoffice buildings rather than rent them; also, the fact that Mr. Mondell is now floorleader of the House of Represent


atives, and Mr. Langley is Chairman of the Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds, which will have the pleasant task of drafting and presenting the next Public Buildings Pork Barrel Bill!

In the meantime there are vital questions affecting the welfare of our post-office system. Several Commissions have made reports to Congress on the subject, and all of them have dwelt upon the mischief done to the postal service by leaving the decision on postoffice buildings in the hands of men who, by the very nature of their obligations, cannot act in a disinterested manner and for the common good. Nevertheless Chairman Langley, taking his cue from the Postmaster-General has promised to bring in a public building bill in the next Congress. To square himself with an opposition which he dreads, he also proposes great building- benefits for the city of Washington, where the real-estate interests have for years combined to prevent the erection of greatly needed public buildings and have thereby extorted millions from the public treasury in rentals for as broken down a mess of structures as one can find anywhere.

5. Thus the endless quest for Government appropriations promises to go on at a lively pace in the next Congress. For ourselves we cannot get up any great excitement over the prospect of pork for Podunk, in view of the pork that has been handed out to the railways, the shipping-interests and certain great industrialists. After all, it is Podunk that furnishes the money for the big graft; why, therefore, should one begrudge it a little graft of its own? We mention the prospect merely as an example of the corrupting influence of political government not only upon those who govern, but also upon the most remote communities of the governed.

Free., O. 18, '22.


Persian Glimpses

Excerpts from Harper's Magazine

E. Alexander Powell


NE of my daily amusements in Tehran was to watch the masons at work on a pretentious house. The performance never varied. man at the top of the ladder would sing out, "Brother, in the name of Allah, toss me up a brick," whereupon the one below would chant, "In the name of God, behold a brick, oh, my brother."

There is little in Tehran to remind one of the greatness and the grandeur which once was Persia's; the turquoise domes, the stately mosques, the gorgeous coloring which I had anticipated are entirely lacking. It is true that the walls of most of the palaces and public buildings are decorated with glazed tiles of charming colors, but the effect is ruined by the fact that many of the tiles have fallen off, producing an atmosphere of decay and dilapidation.

Until recently there were, with certain exceptions, no family names in Persia. This led to much inconvenience and an edict was issued requiring that every person must adopt a family name. For the next few months Persia was like a big summer hotel on the eve of a fancy-dress ball, when everyone rushes about demanding frantically, "What are you going to go as? For heaven's sake, can't you suggest something for me?" The names thus chosen were frequently curious, occasionally amusing. A postman decided upon "Here, There and Everywhere." A merchant selected his telephone number, “Three Hundred and Ten."

We were about to leave Tehran, and the servants had thrown open the doors of the mission compound, when I gave vent to a resounding sneeze. Our Muscovite driver turned in his seat and looked at me suspiciously, while the Assyrian who had been at

tempting to start the Ford, dropped his crank and stood waiting.

"Sneeze again!" called our hostess. "Sneeze quickly or it will be too late."


?" I stam

"But what mered. "Sneeze again!" she commanded. "Do as I tell you."

So, wishing to help along the joke, whatever it was, I managed to produce a second sneeze. It produced an immediate effect. The Russian's look of suspicion changed to one of relief and the Assyrian resumed his cranking. Then my hostess explained. The natives are extremely superstitious, one of their most deepseated beliefs being that to set out on a journey after a person has sneezed once is to invite disaster. Mrs. Boyce told me that once, when she and her husband were traveling in the mountains, she had sneezed once, whereupon their muleteers stopped in their tracks and refused to go farther until she sneezed again. And there is a well-known instance of Shah Muzaffer-ed-Din having postponed a trip to Europe because of this unlucky omen.

Motoring in Persia is an extremely costly means of travel. The hire of our two cars came to 700 tomans (nearly $600), while petrol ranged in price from 2 tomans to 6 tomans a gallon. Between the capital and the rail-head there are fully a score of tollhouses, the toll amounting to approximately 100 tomans per car each way, though, thanks to a pass given me by the Persian consul-general, we were exempted from payment of tolls. At Sultanabad, however, the gatekeeper refused to let us pass until we paid. Now in Persia, once you have taken a position with a native, you must stick to it, no matter what

it costs; otherwise your prestige as a European disappears instantly and completely. So, in a very ill humor, I went in search of the mayor of the town. I found him at his prayers, and, impatient though I was to get on, I knew enough not to disturb him. When he had finished his devotions I broached my troubles; but he would not listen to them until tea had been served. Finally, he consented to look at my papers, only to shake his head mournfully and say that he would have to take the matter up with the governor of the district. "But," I protested, "the Shah will be very angry when he hears of the treatment you have accorded to Americans."

The mayor's attitude changed as though by magic. "Why did not the Sah'b inform me in the first place that he is an American? I had supposed him to be an Inglesi. That alters everything. Where is this miserable son of a toad who dared to annoy Americans? Before the sun sets his wretched feet shall feel the bastinado." Judging from the mayor's temper, I imagine that it was some days before that gatekeeper was able to hobble around.

Entering Kazvin by a gateway gay with green and yellow porcelains, we bumped down a long, tree-bordered thoroughfare jammed with camels, mules, donkeys and pedestrians, and lined on either side by shallow porticoes filled with turbaned tea drinkers and upper balconies where now and then we caught, above momentarily raised veils, the flash of women's eyes. Why is it that about a woman leaning from a balcony, whether she be in Persia or Portugal, Siam or Spain, there is something peculiarly alluring?

There is in Kazvin a hostelry which has the effrontery to call itself a hotel. Mr. Benjamin, the first American Minister to Persia, speaks of it in a book written a good many years ago as a "really elegant hotel." Of course some robust souls may consider me finical, but I must

confess to an aversion to hotels where the rush of patrons is so great that the proprietor does not find time to change the bed linen between departures and arrivals and where a guest with a well-developed olfactory organ can deduce from the essences, hair oils, pomades and perfumes which permeate his pillow the nationalities of the heads which have rested on it before him.

No matter how long the day's journey, how dense the dust, how hot the sun, we never grew tired of watching the curious types which we encountered in the villages or along the roadside. Some of them looked as though they had stepped straight from the pages of "The Thousand and One Nights." There was the old man who sold us bread, for example. In order to camouflaged his years, he had dyed his hair and beard a vivid orange, thus giving himself a decidedly rakish appearance. He wore a kola, a high, mitershaped hat of black felt, the price of which is determined by the amount of grain it will contain. The combination of the orange beard and the pontifical-looking headdress made him resemble a pirate disguised as a prelate. This custom of dyeing the hair and beard is very common among Persians-nearly every man does it as soon as he finds that ne is There turning gray. used to be in Meshed a missionary who possessed an enormous flame-colored beard which was the pride of his life and which he found of great aid in his work of evangelism. "I am a Christian," he would say to a group of mollahs, "yet Allah evidently loves me more than he does you, for he has given me this splendid beard, whereas yours has to be dyed with herna." I am told that he found this argument very effective in making converts, for it was unanswerable.

It was nearly midnight when we started for Hamadan. At the last gendarmerie post we had been warned that there were brigands abroad, and on the seat beside me lay a tube of blue steel with seven through tickets to Paradise neatly packed in the magazine. It was obvious that we were now upon a great trading route, for we passed interminable lines of camels laden with bales of merchandise, bound for the mysterious cities of High Asia. There is something weird and rather thrilling about the passage of laden camels at night. From a very long way off comes a murmur of bells, faint and silvery at first, which slowly increases in volume until the air pulsates with the sound. Then, quite suddenly, from out of the darkness, appears a succession of tall, fantastic forms, which swing by on silent feet and disappear as mysteriously as they came. And you vaguely wonder where they are going-perhaps to some of those strange cities which lie hidden away at the back of China. Harp. M., N. '22.

Coal Ranching in the Wheatlands

Condensed from The International Interpreter

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sight that made me remember what old timers have told me about West Virginia mining methods half a century ago. The mine is as primitive as a mud hut, epitomizing the history of coal mining throughout all the world and illustrating the snail pace of human progress in the bulk.

A sign reads: "Cole within. If nobody is home, load yourself. Checks not wanted. Pay cash." This meant that Joe's mine, besides being a "wagon" mine, is also a cash-andcarry mine. Joe is a wheat rancher as well as a coal rancher, and all around stretch his wheat acres.

This wagon mine is but one of 110 registered by the state. North Dakota is the richest state in the Union in her coal deposits. She is richer in reserve tonnage than Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Illinois and Indiana combined, and if all their coal should be swept off the earth, North Dakota's reserves would supply the needs of America for more than 1,000 years. Like you will do, I refused to believe this statement when I heard it; but I figured out the problem myself and found that I had been told the truth. The United States Geographical Survey estimates North Dakota's reserves at 628,000,000,000 tons, which is the largest undeveloped coal reservoir in the world, save one.

The coal is lignite, the same as that upon which Germany is now basing a large part of her industrial activities, but the engineers tell me it grades one-third higher in power potentiality.

Lignite is dark brown or black, soft, friable, burns easily and well, leaves no clinkers, and produces no soot, and costs now at the mine but $3.50 per ton. The objection to lignite, however, is found in its high percentage of moisture, which causes it to slack rapidly, like lime, when exposed to the air. But dollar for dollar it is a better buy than anthracite for heating and power. And here enters the characteristically American attitude.

This lignite coal, by the billions of tons has been lying at North Dakota's and Minnesota's back door waiting to be used. But as the North Dakotan and the Minnesotan were brought up in the east, or their parents were, they are trained in the ways of eastern coal, and their burning equipment is based on Pennsylvania specifications. For years they have gone on using the old range and the old furnace, and the old grate in the power plant, and paying high prices for eastern coal, rather than break with old habits, make the plunge, and prepare to utilize their own local home mined coal.

But this year the coal ranchers are making money, and lignite mining is having a boom. Never in the history of the world has there been such a reservoir of power to be tapped so cheaply. Yet the use of it raw is not the future I foresee for these vast deposits of untouched power. Coal is not fuel to be burnt up the chimney. It is energy to be transmitted into work. I can imagine huge stations developing electricity that will heat and light distant ranch houses, operate farm machinery on a scale never dreamed of before, and raise the waters of the Missouri, or those of vast wells, to reservoirs from which irrigation will flow to neutralize the aridity of North Dakota's summers.


Do you think I am dreaming? do not think so. Forty years ago wise

acres denied that wheat could be raised in North Dakota. This year her yield will furnish to you one and onehalf of every dozen rolls you butter for breakfast. Twenty years ago people would not have believed that the most glorious colors, the sweetest scents, and, alas, the most deadly explosives, could be derived from the blackness of coal tar. Some day this lignite coal will be put into harness and set to work. Over the border, in Wyoming and in Montana, are millions of tons or more, and in Saskatchewan are still more, by the billion tons again.

A story comes from Sing Sing of how a resourceful prison employe, on a recent cold day, supplied what he called "psychological heat" for the benefit of certain prisoners and others who were anxious that the heat should be turned on in the building. He got him a hammer and chisel, and set to work hammering on and generally tinkering with the pipes and radiators. The sound he produced was exactly like that made by the steam when it is circulating anew through the pipes, instantaneous. and the effect was

Whilst the pounding was at its height another employe put his head in at the door of one of the work rooms where complaint had been loudest, and asked genially if the room was warm enough yet. The reply was that it was "fine." Complete satisfaction reigned. Well, there is nothing new about it all. It is, indeed, as old as the hills and a good deal older, but it is curiously interesting none the less.

-International Interpreter.

The most striking thing about the recent airplane races at Detroit was the demonstration of the comparative safety of the air machine as compared with the motor car.

In three days' racing, with over 100 planes present from all over the country, and hundreds of miles of flying in the aggregate, not a person was in


jured or even scratched. In three days of speed events, with dozens of contestants flying around 200 miles an hour, not a person was hurt. These events prove the safety of aviation. The next step is to make the cost of flying low enough to be commercial. Current Opinion, D., '22.

Anyone who visited Gibraltar, in the days before the war, must have a vivid recollection of the tour he made of the fortifications; how, half way up the great white road, he entered the main gateway, and, after signing his name in a ponderous volume, was conducted by a soldier guide through a wonderful maze of galleries hewn out of solid rock. Tie above tier they were, with, every so often, a deep embrasure at the end of which was a window and a gun pointing out over the blue waters of the Mediterranean or across the bay of Algeciras towards the Atlantic. Well, the soldier guide never told him, but he always heard that what he had seen was only for show, and that the real fortifications and the real guns were never shown to anyone outside the inner circle. What he heard was unquestionably true. And now, today, comes another story of how "Gib" is to be converted into one of the greatest aeroplane stations in the world; how the whole rock is to be tunnelled and excavated "with vast cellars in which great fleets of airplanes" may be housed in perfect safety; and how the rock will thus regain its "former importance as a strategic base." So it goes on, the old race, once more in progress between the gun and the armor plate. -International Interpreter.

The amazing thing about rapid transit in this modern era is not that there are so many accidents, but that there are so few. The Pennsylvania Railroad, in the year ending May 31, operated 1,400,000 passenger trains and carried 152,000,000 passengers without losing the life of a single passenger by a train accident.

Current Opinion, N., "2.

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