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The author acknowledges with gratitude the Mature country girls of her friends among the members of her fraternity, and among the graduates of Wellesley College, Mature country girls Northwestern, Syracuse, and Chicago Universities, and of Grinnell College, who carefully found Country Girl correspondents for her in all parts of the country; and especially of Professor Martha Van Rensselaer of Cornell University who generously shared with her some of the of a questionnaire on The Young Woman on the Farmwhich was sent out by the Home Economics Department of that University.
It would be impossible to name here all the helpers that this book has the honor to claim; the many specialists who have been good enough to advise the author; the enthusiasts whose fire has sustained her courage; and Mature country girls all the many friends who have entertained her in their country homes and talked over with her their problems.
The author would, however, acknowledge her special indebtedness to the Honorable John T. Roberts, the well known lover and sympathetic critic of country life, who gave valuable time to reading her manuscript and made some vital suggestions; and to Miss Mary L.
Read, head of the School of Mothercraft, who gave some of the chapters a studious criticism. While acknowledging many sources of inspiration the author alone is responsible for the opinions expressed in the book, opinions sometimes maintained against valued authority.
All quotations from Country Girl experiences are made with direct personal permission of the writers; the kindness of the girls, who for the sake of other girls have given these permissions, is here mentioned with special appreciation. Allen of the Cayuga Bird Club, and to Mr. James M. The list should also include Mr. Rosbrugh of Syracuse, N. Other names are mentioned in the text and need not be repeated here.
To these and other helpers, great thanks are due. This book has been written about the Country Girl and for the Country Girl; for her mother and father, and for everybody else as well; but especially for the Country Girl herself. It will reach its aim if some father says, "Why, here now, somebody has written a book about my little gal there. I should not have thought it was worth while to make a book about her. Well, now, perhaps she is of some.
Guess I'll give her a little more schooling; guess I'll let her go to that institute she was asking to go to; guess I'll let her have some music lessons, or buy her a piano, or send her to college. The book will reach its aim, too, if another thing should happen. This is the first book about the Country Girl.
There have been tons of paper devoted to the farmer; reams filled on the farm woman; not a line for the girl. May this first Mature country girls be followed by many, correcting its misconceptions, rectifying its mistakes, directing its enthusiasms into the best channels for the welfare of the six and three-quarters millions of Country Girls of this land! By that time there will be seven millions—unless in fact these six millions shall have run away to build their homes and rear their children in the hot, stuffy, unsocialized atmosphere Mature country girls the town, leaving the happy gardens without the joyous voices of children, the fields without sturdy boys to work them, the farm homes without capable young women to—shall I say, to man them?
No, Mature country girls us say to woman them, to lady them, to mother them, and so to make them centers Mature country girls wholesome interesting life that, if the girls do their part, shall be the very heart and fiber of the nation. The author is sorry that she cannot write to all the Country Girls who have written her either through the questionnaire or through other means of communication in the groups with which she has been so happily associated; but she wishes that every Country Girl who re this book would write to her using the address below and tell her where she thinks the book has spoken truly and where mistakenly.
She trusts the judgment of the Country Girls of America absolutely, if they can but be induced to speak in unison and after careful thought. Martha Foote Crow. Tuckahoe, New York City August, Woman will bless and brighten every place she enters, and she will enter every place on this round earth. Frances E. O Woman, what is the thing you do, and what is the thing you cry?
Is your house not warm and enclosed from harm, that you thrust the curtain by? And have we not toiled to build for you a peace from the winds outside, That you seek to know how the battles go and ride where the fighters ride? You have taken my spindle away from me, you have taken away my loom; You bid me sit in the dust of it, at peace without cloth or broom; You have shut me still with a sleepy will, with nor evil nor good to do, While our house the World that we keep for God should be garnished and swept anew.
The evil things that have waxed and grown while I sat with my white hands still, They have meshed our world till they twined and curled through my verywindow sill; Shall I sit and smile at my ease the while that my house is wrongly kept? It is mine to see that the house of me is straightened and cleansed and swept! Margaret Widdemer. The clarion of the country life movement has by this time been blown with such loudness and insistence that no hearing ear in our land can have escaped its announcement.
The distant echoes of brutal warfare have not drowned Mature country girls above all possible rude and cruel sounds this peaceful piping still makes itself heard. It has reached the ears of the farmer and has stirred his mind and heart to look his problems in the face, to realize their gigantic implications, and to shoulder the responsibility of their solution. It has penetrated to the thoughts of teachers and educators everywhere and awakened them to the necessities of the minute, so that they have declared that the countryside must have educational schemes adapted to the needs of the countryside people, and that they must have teachers whose he are not in the clouds.
It has aroused easy-going preachers in the midst of their comfortable dreams and has caused here and there one among them to bestir himself and to make hitherto unheard-of claims as to what the church might do—if it would—for the betterment of country life. And all of these have given hints to philanthropists and reformers, and these to organizations and societies; these again have suggested theories and projects to legislators, senators, and presidents; the snowball has been rolled larger and larger; commissions have sat, investigations have been [Pg 4] made, documents have been attested, reports handed in, bills drafted and, what is better, passed by courageous legislation; so that now great schemes are being not only dreamed of but put into actual fulfilment.
Moreover, lecturers have talked and writers have issued bulletins and books, until there has accumulated a library of vast proportions on the many phases of duty, activity, and outlook Mature country girls may Mature country girls included under the title, "A Country Life Movement. In all this stirring field of new interest, the farmer and his business hold the center of attention.
Beside him, however, stands a dim little figure hitherto kept much in the background, the farmer's wife, who at last seems to be on the point of finding a voice also; for a chapter is now ased to her in every book on rural conditions and a little corner under a scroll work de is given to her tatting and her chickens in the weekly farm paper. Cuddled about her are the children, and they, the little farm boys and girls, have now a book that has been written just about them alone—their psychology and their needs.
Also, the tall strong youth, her grown-up son, has his own paper as an acknowledged citizen of the rural commonwealth. But where is the tall young daughter, and where are the papers for her and the books about her needs? It seems that she has not as yet found a voice.
She has failed to impress the makers of books as a subject for description and investigation. In the nation-wide effort to find a solution to the great rural problems, the farmer is working heroically; the son is putting his shoulder to the wheel; the wife and mother is in sympathy with their efforts. Is the daughter not doing her share? Where is the Country Girl and what is happening in her department? It is easier on the whole to discover the rural young man than to find the typical Country Girl.
Since the days of Mother Eve the woman young and old has been adapting herself and readapting herself, until, after all these centuries [Pg 5] of constant practise, she has become a past master in the art of adaptation. Like the cat in the story of Alice, she disappears in the intricacy of the wilderness about her and nothing remains of her but a smile.
There are some perfectly sound reasons why American country girls as a class cannot be distinguished from other girls. Chief among these is the fact that no group of people in this country is to be distinguished as a class from any other group. It is one of the charms of life in this country that you never can place anybody. No one can distinguish between a shop girl and a lady of fashion; nor is any school teacher known by her poise, primness, or imperative gesture.
The fashion paper, penetrating to the remotest dug-out, and the railway engine indulging us in our national passion for travel see to these things. Moreover, the pioneering period is still with us and the western nephews must visit the cousins in the old home in New Hampshire, while the aunts and uncles left behind must go out to see the new Nebraska or Wyoming lands on which the young folks have settled.
We do not stay still long enough anywhere in the republic for a class of any sort to harden into recognizable form. New inhabitants may come here already hardened into the mold of some class; but they or their children usually soften soon into the quicksilver-like consistency of their surroundings. There is also no subdividing of notions on the basis of residence, whether as townsman or as rural citizen. The wind bloweth where it listeth in this land. It whispers its free Mature country girls into the ears of the city dweller in the flat and of the rural worker of the cornfield or the vine-screened kitchen.
The rain also falls on the just and the unjust whether suburbanated or countrified. There is no rural mind in America. There has indeed been a great deal of pother of late over the Mature country girls and temper of "rural-minded people. Reasons enough are discernible why commissions should sit, but they lie rather in the unrural mind of the rural people, as the words are generally understood, than in some supposed qualities imposed or produced in the life of sun and rain, in that vocation that is nearest to the creative activities of the Divine.
And if there is no rural mind, there is no distinctive rural personality. If the man that ought to exemplify it is found walking up Fifth Avenue or on Halstead Street or along El Camino Real, he cannot be discovered as a farmer. He may be discovered as an ignorant person, or he may be found to be a college-bred man; but in neither case would the fact be logically inclusive or uninclusive of his function as farmer.
The same is almost as exactly true for his wife and his daughter. If one should ask in any Mature country girls of average people whether the farmer's daughter as they have known her is a poor little undeveloped child, silent Mature country girls shy, or a hearty buxom lass, healthy and Mature country girls and up to date, some in the group would say the latter and some the former. Both varieties exist and can by searching be found along the countryside. But it is nothing essentially rural that has developed either the one set of characteristics or the other.
To be convinced of this, one who knows this country well has but to read a book like "Folk of the Furrow," by Christopher Holdenby, a picture of rural life in England. In such a book as that one realizes the full meaning of the phrase, "the rural mind," and one sees how far the men and women that live on the farms in Mature country girls United States have yet to go, how much they will have to coagulate, how many centuries they will have to sit still in their places with wax in their ears and weights on their eyelids, before they will have acquired psychological features such as Mr.
Holdenby gives to the folk of the English furrow. A traveler in the Old World frequently sees illustrations of this. For Mature country girls, in passing through some European picture gallery, he may meet a woman of extraordinary [Pg 7] strength and beauty, dressed in a style representing the rural life in that vicinity. She will wear the peasant skirt and bodice, and will be without gloves or hat. A second look will reveal that the skirt is made of satin so stiff that it could stand alone; the velvet bodice will be covered with rich embroidery; and heavy chains of silver of quaint workmanship will be suspended around the neck.
On inquiry one may learn that this stately woman was of what would be called in this country a farmer family, that had now become very wealthy; that she did not consider herself above her "class"—so they would describe it—no, that she gloried in it instead. It was from preference only that she dressed in the fashion of that "class. Now, whether desirable or not, such a Mature country girls as this would never be seen in America. No woman unless it were a deaconess or a Salvation Army lassie or a nun would pass through the general crowd showing her rank or profession in life by her style of dress.
And that is how it happens that neither by hat nor by hatlessness would the country woman here make known her pride in the possession of acres or in her relation to that profession that forms the real basis of national prosperity. Hence no country girl counts such a pride among her inheritances. Therefore if it is not easy to find and understand the country girl as a type, it is not because she is consciously or unconsciously hiding herself away from us; she is not even sufficiently conscious of herself as a member of a social group to pose in the attitude of an interesting mystery.
She is just a human being happening to live in the country not always finding it the best Mature country girls for her proper welfarejust a single one in the great shifting mass. Although it may be difficult to find what we may think are typical examples of the Country Girl as a social group, yet certain it is that she exists. Of young women between the ages of fifteen and twenty-nine, there are in the United States six and a half million 6,, Mature country girls be exact who [Pg 8] reside in the open country or in small villages.
This we are assured is so by the latest Census Report. By starting a little further down in the scale of girlhood and advancing a trifle further into maturity this could be doubled. It would be quite justifiable to do this, because some farmers' daughters become responsible for a considerable amount of labor value well before the age of fifteen; and on the other hand the energy of these young rural women is abundantly extended beyond the gateway of womanhood, far indeed into the period that used to be called old-maidism, but which is to be so deated no more; the breezy, executive, free-handed period when the country girl is of greatest use as a labor unit and gives herself without stint and often without pay to the welfare of the whole farmstead.Mature country girls
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