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country is munificently underlain with excellent coal. You are prepared, ready, expectant. The cold, when it does come, will not fly out at you in a vicious blizzard, nor swoop down unheralded in a pneumonia-breeding "spell."

The thrifty housewife bespeaks from hunters early in the fall a quarter or a half of moose, half a caribou, and half a mountain-sheep-the finest game meat in the world. Her husband cuts these quarters of meat into roasts, chops, and steaks, and lays them out on shelves in the cache, with slips of paper between. By next morning, for it is now November, the meat is frozen solid. Nothing can now harm. it. No ice bills, madame, no butcher boy, no middleman and his obnoxious profits -only Alaska's own bounty and Alaska's own conservation policy.

Would you have a choice dessert? During the afternoon take a pint of cream, beat it stiff, stir in a small jar of strawberry preserve, place it in a pyrex dish on a shelf in the cache. By dinner-time you have a luscious ice-cream-no ice, no salt, no freezer to clean, no crank to turn. Alaska's own! Or bake your Christmas pies in mid-November, a dozen fat and juicy ones, as I love to do—a whole morning an orgy of floury rollings and fruity flavors. Then, while yet steaming hot from the oven, whisk the pies out into the cache. When frozen solid, steamy aroma and all, stack them in orderly piles and cover them with a clean cloth. Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year dinner-times, when you thaw and brown them, piping hot and flaky, crisp, will bring your due desserts for this forehandedness. And there is no better tenderer of pie-crust than is frost, as any expert pastry-cook will confirm. Try it!

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good dead chickens! Two and a half dollars a dozen was the accepted winter price for fresh eggs when I first came to Alaska. Case eggs carried over the winter, as was necessary before the coming of the railroad brought them to us by year-round express and parcelpost, were opened with prayer-or a gas-mask!

But there is summer, too, often not more than three full months, but oh, so intensive, and so beautiful, so lux urious, so gleaming in opal lights, so exuberant in vegetation! Alaska is a land of terrific contrasts, and this in finite variety is undoubtedly a part of her charm. There is no real spring here, and no long Indian summer, as you in the States know it. There is only summer-and then winter. From mid-May to mid-August the moon and stars are literally forgot, and we never know darkness at all; for three full months the sun swings in a vertical circle to the north as though twirled there in space by a great invisible arm; now high, now low to the hills, but for the entirety of the summer the sun is there. And all life responds with energy to the primordial lifegiver. The gardens fairly burst and pop open, the plants can actually be seen to grow. The little cabins of log, so long blanketed in great white snowy hoods, become almost overnight the warm rustic background for a clamber ing mass of nasturtiums and sweel peas. People eight months withoul: green things feed ravenously upon the first lettuce and radishes.

Though it seldom rains for long periods in summer, our precipitation being approximately that of Souther California, the ground is nevertheles well-watered; for the winter frost i thawing from the earth and coming u through the roots of new plants, an feeding them invigorating draughts While it lasts, the Arctic summer i literally a bit of heaven, for night, a marked by darkness, ceases to exis for all that time, and luminous ai brilliant sky, and fertile earth col spire together to create beauty. Wil flowers in riot, berries galore, delec able mushrooms, the finest fish in th world fresh-caught from streams the

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feed themselves from inexhaustible ice-fields, and 24 hours of pure daylight to revel in and choose for your own! Quite naturally there is no normal life here during the summer. miners work all 24 hours of the day, trying in three hectic shifts in three hectic months to "clean up" all the gold-bearing gravel mined during the long winter months underground. After being shut in for so long (although we all go about the town when necessary even in the coldest weather, and children set out alone for kindergarten when it is not below 40) every one feels the pressing need of spending each waking moment in the open. Our 1200 townsmen own 400 automobiles, and so no person need travel afoot. If you prefer to sleep during the warmer noon hours and take your playtime in that cooler part of the day which would otherwheres be night, all very well and good. Picnics that start out at midnight are not here what they sound to be, but perfectly decorous and daylight adventures, partaken by young and old alike.

"How warm?" The day President Harding was with us registered 92 in the shade, and there were three heat prostrations. Another day of that July of 1923 it was 98-still dry, however, and crystal clear-not 98 as we used to know it in Washington, when eggs were cooked on the avenue pavement!

"But how about water?" Water is a curious problem in our part of Alaska. There is a world of it, and yet good drinking-water is sometimes hard to get right in our town. This situation is due chiefly to the mental attitude of the early settlers here. These first came as adventurers, frankly on the make, to win an easy fortune in the gold-fields, and then return to old homes "Outside." But most comers necessarily drew unlucky numbers in that soul-testing wracksome lottery of the stampedes. Many Would not return home empty-handed to confess a failure, and Alaska papers today invariably run a column every so often, called The Port of Missing Men, in which are printed the Scores and hundreds of letters from

relatives, describing the son or husband or brother, who "went to Alaska in '98, and has never since been heard from." Such letters tell their own story of tragedy. Many more prospectors have fallen unwittingly in love with this vivid land of paradox, and remain captive and enchanted but still imagining themselves free agents.

But without exception our earliest settlers had the feeling that they were pilgrims here upon a foreign shore, and until quite recently there has been no material change of view-point on the part of most of our citizens, no sense of permanent dwelling. Only a very few of the homes here today have any arrangements for either water-supply or drainage. Our own well is 68 feet deep, and extends through frozen strata to a supply of excellent water that underlies much of our town in a mysteriously "thawed" area. We have an electric automatically controlled pump, a large attic tank, and a very complete sewage and water system of our own, including hot-water heat. Indeed our house is so well built to withstand cold, with double windows and sawdust-filled double walls throughout, that during many of our winters in the north we have burned less coal than have friends in houses of similar size in New York-and paid considerably less for it.

But with most of our people every aspect of householding has been more or less of a makeshift. Consequently, there are houses in our town where, although two days' work of an unskilled laborer would mean a steady supply of water, the inhabitants have been buying this precious thing at two cents a gallon for 20 years. The depth and intensity of the frost in winter makes anything like a year-round municipal supply of water impracticable, and consequently two watermen make their rounds daily, and watersigns are hung out and water-barrels filled as they were at the time of the gold rush. In winter the water is carried about in a tank on a sled, and in the center of the sled is a separate compartment occupied by a vigorous stove, that puffs away in the very midst of the water-tank.

We who live within the Circle of the Arctic are made constantly aware, especially in winter, that we have staked out claims not only in a highly mineralized land area but also in a highly electrified atmospheric area. This has its effect upon our daily lives in strange ways, influencing our mental and bodily states equally. In winter there is so much static in the air almost constantly that one cannot walk across a room and touch another body without generating a long, snappy electric spark. Our Airedale soon learned this, much to our amusement, and when he comes to us across the wide Bokhara of our living-room, he invariably turns his head aside and down, as he snuggles to be scratched, knowing that otherwise his black wet nose will receive a bee-like sting.

In winter, too, no one dares to clean a silk or woolen garment in gasoline. Two women of my acquaintance have been burned to death in so doing. Just the friction of lifting the material from the gasoline bath produces such sparks in the surcharged air that an explosion almost invariably occurs. Our little town has been forced to pass stringent laws about the storage of gasoline in winter, for we keep on using our cars even in the most severe weather.

Our doctors here in the north tell us that the continued Deep Cold has, in time, an appreciable effect upon the constituents of the blood, thickening it to a degree. For certain winter months we have an almost complete absence of sunlight, and so lose completely the well-recognized actinic values of direct sunlight upon the skin and its curative agency. During November, December, and January, we suffer most from that surcharge and tension due to the prevalent static.

By February the more nervously organized of our camp become scratchy, tense, irritable to a degree. By the end of March we are most of us avoiding and hating one another!

I have since learned that all this is a yearly phenomenon, and that it will pass surely and quickly with the break

ing of the ice in the river, in late April or early May. But there are always the March scandals. Some one in camp can't endure the stresses and the tension, so the dam of conventional restraint is broken, and we are all submerged in the ensuing flood, quite as surely as the Yukon yearly overflows its banks. To tell the truth, "the spring scandal" brings us a blessed relief, something to speculate over and discuss, and, in the miners' phrase, to pan.

Then the ice breaks in the river, some one of us wins a fortune in the ice pool, and with spring comes a truly new life to citizens and countryside alike. Neighbors who have not spoken for weeks greet one another on the street; on Memorial Day every one plants garden; the sun is now with us; constantly to repay us full measure for the desertion of midwinter. All the birds of the southern hemisphere seem to have come to enjoy summer with us. On June 22 we declare a holiday to do honor to the midnight sun, and a ball game is called for 12 midnight. And the tennis-courts back of our home are reserved for games all 24 of the clock's hours. We are truly in heaven here, for there is no night, but only a warm, continuous glowing day.

Beautiful as all this seems to us ir contrast to our winter, many of u still love the winter months the best perhaps for their unspeakable eeri mystery of faery light, a light that i not that of sun or moon or stars, bu a witchery of illumination peculiar ti this King-Frost's palace where we live On the northern horizon the winte long is that phantom dancing light o the aurora borealis, burning kee through the cryptic night. And some times, the entire sky from rim to ri is filled with flames of the auror darting, writhing beams of snak colored light, ribbons of red and ye low, and sometimes of an other-worl ly weird electric green, with streal of an elfin violet dimly seen, that sna and fling over the whole heavens in terrific spectacle of celestial conflagr tion.

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Home!

Condensed from The Atlantic Monthly (August, '26)

A Returning American

HAVE just returned home after a winter in England. I have crossed the water many times; but never before have I been so startled on reaching my native shore as I was a fortnight ago. Has America gone crazy, and where is this bacchanalian orgy to end?

The first thing that struck me was the infernal noise. My hotel in London was a few hundred feet from the two busiest streets; yet day and night it was as quiet as my country place here in America. With a thirdfloor front room I could sleep with my window open and not hear a sound all night. At my usual excellent hotel in New York, although on the twelfth floor, I could get no sleep unless I closed the window. Fire engines shrieked, surface cars roared, motor-car horns honked and honked without intermission every hour of the night. There is absolutely no need for this nerve-racking bedlam of noises unless people really like it. The street traffic in London is as heavy as in New York, yet it moves as swiftly and as silently as a river. One rarely hears a horn blown. The people prefer quiet, realize its value for the human system, and have enough control over government to secure what they want. It is illegal even to whistle for a taxi, and no one does whistle. London is at once the biggest city in the world and the most quiet and restful. This love of noise is among the most symptomatic features of American life today. Children love noise, savages do, and 80me types of the insane.

Another contrast, forcibly impressed upon me, was the respect for law and order in England, as opposed to the utter breakdown of law and of protection afforded to the citizen by his government in America. In New

York in one block I saw three armored cars, with machine guns and armed guards, transporting valuables. In London, while I was there, a steamer arrived from South America with five millions of gold. At the dock it was placed in an open dray, and driven to the Bank of England with no guards of any sort. Respect for law and order, as shown in the recent strike of five million men, pervades all classes in England, and the law is always enforced.

On the other hand, in England, one's private life is remarkably free from interference. One can dress, marry, read, say what one pleases, and in general express one's personality in one's own way of living. In America I am more and more impressed with the growing restraint placed on individualism in private life. It is not necessary to stress Prohibition. Restriction is becoming evident in every direction. Each group forces all its members to become as alike as two peas. The men all dress alike, think alike, talk alike, lead almost identical lives. The lawyer, the broker, the merchant, feel that they must wear the clothes, have the manners, and think the thoughts that are supposed to conform to the generic concept of a prosperous, conservative business man. Failing in this, they may be considered queer, if not "Red," and may lose business. An editor of a well-known paper told me he could name a half-dozen financiers who could introduce any social custom into all the country clubs and club cars on suburban trains around New York in a month if they gave it out that such and such was what a successful business man should do. This may be exaggerated, but it ex

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Again, what struck me was that the pace has become so terrific in this country that money must be had at any price. On every side I am struck with the orgy of expenditure. Even in this quiet country village where I have my country place, there is not a farmer or mechanic who does not drive a much more expensive car than I do. Cars, radio sets, vacuum cleaners, motor lawn-cutters -any sort of machine that takes their fancy-are to be found in the homes or garages of these village farmers, mechanics, or small tradesmen. One wonders where they get the money and how long such a condition can last.

In my a royal

England is still simple. London hotel, which has suite occasionally used by royalty, there is no running water in the bedrooms and the only heat is still the open coal fire. Yet there were quiet and peace and genuine comfort that I am unable to obtain at double the price in New York. When one comes in tired late in the afternoon, it is after all more restful to sit in front of an open fire than to gaze at a radiator. On a table at my side was a whiskey and soda for further solace. The evening paper was automatically brought to my room by the page with a pleasant greeting and no expectation of a tip other than his modest one at the week's end. Instead of having to waste 15 minutes and ascend a bootblack stand in public whenever my shoes needed shining, they were at

tended to at night with no waste of time or energy on my part. Small matters, but all tending to reduce the wear and tear of life.

Yet, as far as simplicity is conthe children who I am fond of them,

cerned, it was struck me most. usually observant of them, and incidentally have young English cousins, though my family has been in America for 300 years. In England the children are still children. They play with simple toys, they tramp the moors with their fathers, they go in for the simpler sports which have not been professionalized. They may have bicycles, but they do not dream of automobiles and the more expensive machines of all sorts. In this seaside village the country boys no longer care for swimming, or, indeed, for anything except cars and radios and all that costs money. And they get them. Again, after watching the simply dressed English children I am staggered at the amount and costliness of the American child's wardrobe.

One gasps, when one comes home, at the fantastic increase in both the scale and the cost of living, and one wonders where the situation will end, and how much real happiness the new scale of living is bringing to people. Americans, now highly in dustrialized and living the most ex travagantly luxurious life of any people, still cling to the frontier ideal that any young man should be able to support any girl, and that & dowry is "un-American." That was all right when all he needed was ai axe and a pair of strong arms. now a father who deliberately ac customs his daughter to foolish lux ury expects her to be happy whe she leaves a home where the scale of expenditure has been $40,000: year to scrabble along, without eve a cook, on $5,000 a year for he family. And it is not every youn man who can offer a girl even tha much. The result is no marriage late marriage, or a soul-rackin (Continued on page 302)

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