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supper is served, the principal items in for no more than a half-hour, digging its bill of fare being oatmeal and a por- stone from the land that is being retion of bread saved from the dinner claimed. For the field work their skirts allowance. On occasion a relish is added are not wholly convenient, and they in the shape of celery, rhubarb, or goose- usually take a reef in them, and with pins berries from the garden, or perhaps some or strings fasten them up nearly to their preserves that the monks themselves have knees. put up. From September 14 to Easter, After the noonday meal the monks go however, this evening collation is omitted; to their cells to spend twenty or thirty but as during this period they retire to minutes in praying, reading, or sleeping. rest at seven o'clock, I think the added In warmer climates this interval would be hour of sleep may somewhat alleviate the taken for a siesta as a matter of course, inner vacancy.
but few of these Irish monks care to sleep Manual labor begins at half-past five in the middle of the day. Their cells, in the morning, when certain of the monks each containing a narrow couch, are in go to the barn to feed the stock and milk an upper story along the sides of a long, the cows. All the brotherhood are fond high hall. They are simply little doorless of open-air exercise, and the teachers and sections separated by slight partitions. the father abbot, as well as the others, There is just standing-room in them—no try to get out for a time each day, even if chair or surplus furniture; and all are THE ADJUNCTS OF THE WASH-HOUSE exactly alike, the father superior's being themselves travel only on ecclesiastical no better than those of the lesser members business and in obedience to orders. In of the order.
short, the monks of Mount Melleray are For reading, the monks have a library a community of religious recluses who are of twenty-two thousand volumes to draw as unworldly as they well can be. I from. It is largely a religious library, for doubt if they take any newspapers or they buy none of the current secular know anything about the movements of books. They have, however, all the life outside their walls. But the brother classics and standard histories, poetry, porter was an exception. His connection and novels. They even admit infidel with the world was kept up through his books, that they may keep posted on the intercourse with visitors, and he took a wiles of Satan, but such books are kept lively interest in the affairs of the nations. under lock and key and are read only by Just how much the monastery helps its special permission.
inmates toward godliness I am uncertain. The monks rarely go outside the It is retired, away from turmoil and many boundaries of their own estate. Trading temptations; yet in what I saw of the transactions in neighboring towns are monks it seemed to me they still had our intrusted to their kind help, and they common human nature.
OMANCE in pioneering is fast dis- sents a more regular settlement than any appearing from the West. “ Set- portion of the West. Here as nowhere
tler” and “ claim” in a few years else in the world are whole counties with will be marked obsolete—indeed, they are a family on every quarter-section?—and so already in a large portion of the country only one. Eastern Oklahoma is in the beyond the Missouri. As ranch suc- longitude of central Kansas and Nebraska, ceeded range, so farm and field are taking but because of its lower latitude it the place of prairie. Even in the newest receives a somewhat larger and a far of the pioneer communities, the “ Promised better distributed rainfall. Hence the Land” of Oklahoma, such signs of per- settlers of this new land, all virgin soil, manent settlement are manifest as to came into a favorable location, and events disappoint the seeker after sensational have proved how well they improved their newness. So substantial a development opportunity. is shown as to make it seem impossible Few more beautiful pictures can be that eleven years ago not a white man's seen on the plains than an eastern Oklahome existed on all the stretching plains homa landscape. The gently rolling, rich, of the Territory, while half of it is but loamy soil, or even the reddish tinge of seven years old in settlement. The pic- clay, with myriads of hay or straw stacks, turesque features of settling up a new the green of the growing wheat, the thrifty country, usually reaching over long and farm-houses, and the promising orchards, anxious years, were here crowded into a unite to tell of agricultural success. One day, and then, in a sense, ended. This could stand on a windmill tower in northdid not, however, make Oklahoma mature, ern Oklahoma last fall and count a hunand none realize this more fully than its dred wheat-stacks ; later the smoke of a own people.
dozen threshing-engines blotted the hori. Strikingly similar are all the prairie zon, and fourscore teams were turning States in their physical aspect. In each brown furrows for the new crop. It was is the steady upward slope toward the a glorious gift of wheat that the farmers 'west, with its accompanying variation of received—some twenty-five million bushrainfall; in each the large rivers flow els from a million acres. To it they added eastward, by reason thereof, and settle- a bountiful corn product and were satisfied. ment hugs the rich valleys, while herds Farther south comes the cotton counand flocks graze on the uplands. In try. Alongside the wheat and corn fields some respects Oklahoma offers an excep- are other fields with the low, bushy cotton tion. While it, too, has its varying rain- plants which later become spotted with fall and altitude, its eastern portion pre- 1 A quarter-section is 160 acres.
snowy bolls. Here and there are gins, college last fall. Owns the farm an'a and on Saturday afternoons the streets of house in town." the towns are filled with wagons in which It is the same story all along the road. the farmers have brought the cotton to Most of the people came here poor—they market. A fertile soil that can produce came because they were poor—and the the staples of both North and South ought farms and improvements represent their to be sufficient for the most exacting profits. Nearly everywhere may be seen
To the west rainfall diminishes and the first cabin of the farmer moved back the stock interests become more promi- for a granary, while a new house has been nent until the semi-arid region is reached. built for his family. The trees tell the Here only the best valleys are occupied, story of recent settlement; they are small and there is yet plenty of land for entry. yet. Occasionally there is an element of The herder and the ranch-house are romance in the story of the incoming. encountered, and the cattleman is king. The widow has perhaps made the run for One reaches the Cimarron after long toilthe sake of her children, and has won them ing through sand and bluffs, only to find a home and a competence. A schoola wide, shallow, lazy, brackish stream. mistress has ventured to gain a gift from Off on the prairie are sudden upliftings Uncle Sam and held down a claim, reapof rock and clay that tower a hundred ing a reward in a property that will keep feet or more with sheer sides, like stray her for life. monuments from the Garden of the Gods. To all these the Government gave a Beyond that, toward the sunset, is deso- fine recognition when last winter it passed lation--the coyote-infested plains that the “ free homes” bill, absolving thoustretch on and on into No Man's Land sands of settlers from paying the two and the Panhandle, and so to the cactus dollars and fifty cents an acre called for ranges of New Mexico.
by their terms of settlement. The savings
that had been laid away to make the payIt is said that the people of the West ment were suddenly a surplus, and the emigrate along lines of longitude. Were effect has been seen in additions to the this so, Oklahoma ought to present an houses, new buggies, and trips to the old imitation of the States to the north—but Eastern home. It has given the first good, it does not. Side by side are the Kansan hearty breathing-spell enjoyed by thouand the Kentuckian; the Texan touches sands of families since the opening. That shoulders with the Nebraskan and the they appreciated it was shown when they New Yorker. It is a very cosmopolitan voted for Representative in Novemberpopulation, for all portions of the Nation the man who had worked hard for the were represented in the throng that lined measure was re-elected by a majority that up on the border and at the crack of a came but little short of unanimity. rifle rushed pell-mell after homes. But it Many of the farmers along the border is a country of workers. Those who suc- of the Indian Territory or of the reservaceeded in the rush were the pick of the tions that jut into the Oklahoma border lot, and they have never ceased to strive. rent lands of the tribes and reap large Why should they?--the prize is tempting profits. Wheat and pasture are the comenough. It is bewildering to the visitor. mon uses, and out of both fortunes have
“There's a fine farm,” you remark to been made. Men who make wheat-raising the driver, as neat barns, a cozy cottage, a business use Indian land extensivelyand liberal granaries meet your eye. for each quarter-section of the white man's
“ Yes, he's one of the best men in the land is occupied and cannot be rented. country—made the run in '93. Used to Sometimes there is seen a tent beside a be porter in a hotel at Wichita, borrowed well-built house. It is the redskin and his a horse an' made the run. Raised four family living in their flimsy but familiar thousand bushels of wheat this year- home, while the white tenant resides in he's worth six thousand clear.”
comfort within strong walls. The Indian Then another : “ Yes, he sold one of would not change places—he is satisfied. his two horses to get a gun, an' left his The Indians are not all that way; many wife an' two girls in a wagon while he got of them are as skilled in the use of the a claim. Sent the girls back East to advantages of civilization as their white