By Ray Stannard Baker
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Oh, I tell you, I waxed eloquent. I couldn’t let John Starkweather, or any other man, get away with the conviction that a millionnaire is better than a farmer. “Moreover,” I said, “think of the position of the millionnaire. He spends his time playing not with life, but 41 DAVID GRAYSON ADVENTURES IN CONTENTMENT with the symbols of life, whether cash or houses. Any day the symbols may change; a little war may happen along, there may be a defective ﬂue or a western breeze, or even a panic because the farmers aren’t scattering as many crumbs as usual (they call it crop failure, but I’ve noticed that the farmers still continue to have plenty to eat) and then what happens to your millionnaire?
No doubt he had his houses and yachts and went to Europe when he liked. I know I lived upstairs—back—where there wasn’t a tree to be seen, or a spear of green grass, or a hill, or a brook: only smoke and chimneys and littered roofs. Lord be thanked for my escape! Sometimes I think that Success has formed a silent conspiracy against Youth. ” John Starkweather said nothing. “Yes,” I said, “there are duties. We realise, we farmers, that we must produce more than we ourselves can eat or wear or burn.
31 DAVID GRAYSON ADVENTURES IN CONTENTMENT So it was this morning. As I walked along the margin of my ﬁeld I was conscious, at ﬁrst, coming within the shadows of the wood, of the cool, heavy aroma which one associates with the night: as of moist woods and earth mould. The penetrating scent of the night remains long after the sights and sounds of it have disappeared. In sunny spots I had the fragrance of the open cornﬁeld, the aromatic breath of the brown earth, giving curiously the sense of fecundity—a warm, generous odour of daylight and sunshine.
Adventures in Contentment by Ray Stannard Baker