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fallow. Then they did not manure the fields, but burned the straw, and few horses were necessary. (An inquiring mind might ask how much this system of farming had to do with bringing about the great Revolution, or the misery that prevailed at that time.)
Before leaving France, I call again on my kind host, Mr. Napoleon Gouchon, where we dined. He wishes to know of me how land is rented where we are; I answer for half the grain. "But if there is a seigneur, like Mr. De —, who owns a wood and perhaps two hundred and fifty acres in this commune, and altogether about one thousand,how, then, would people like us peasants rent his lands?" I reply, "We do not have any persons who own so much land where I live" [i.e., in my neighborhood]. "How did this gentleman get his land?" "Oh, his father had it, and perhaps his grandfather." Land is valued here thus, in round numbers, beginning at the lowest of four classes: the fourth class at three hundred and sixty dollars per acre, the third at four hundred, the second at four hundred and eighty, and the first, or highest, at six hundred and forty (five francs to the dollar, two and a half acres to the hectare). The flax crop of which I have spoken, computed to be worth over fifty dollars an acre after deducting expenses, was grown on land of nearly the first quality, and realized about nine per cent. This was a good return for flax, but not exceptional. They sell their flax in the field, and do not prepare it themselves. The value of a good acre in beets is near eighty dollars, and the leaves for feeding are worth about two in addition. The expenses are about forty-two dollars. Beets exhaust the land more than flax; after flax you need not manure for wheat, but after beets you must, unless you have manured heavily. The average yield of wheat, I am told, is about twenty-four
bushels.* In this commune, containing fifteen hundred and thirty-one acres of cultivated land, five hundred acres have been put into wheat in one year; of beets, one hundred and seventy-three acres; of colza and seeds for oil, about sixty-one acres, mostly in poppies. Mr. Salmier sells his poppy-seeds by sample at Cambray, and they buy oil to eat; I have already mentioned that this oil is eaten on salad. Linseed-oil cake is fed here to cows, but the refuse of colza and poppy-seed oil is used for manure. Barn-yard manure is the principal employed; lime also is applied; guano was formerly, but it is now too dear.
Mrs. Salmier tells me that men working in harvest get thirty-five sous a day, and women twenty-five, and I understand that they are not boarded. Then, if wheat be worth one dollar and thirty-three cents the bushel, the laboring-man must work just about four days to earn a bushel.
Men will sometimes take a job of haying and harvest by contract,―to cut the sainfoin, lucerne, and clover, which have two cuttings, and the wheat, oats, barley, etc., which have only one. They are paid in wheat, boarding themselves, and cannot make more than two francs a day. A man working thus will take his breakfast into the field, of bread, with a little butter or cheese, and a little beer. He makes his own beer, although it is forbidden. It requires a license to make beer, but, apparently, such cases are winked at. He comes home to a dinner of vegetable soup, and perhaps a bit of bacon, or he may have a fricasse made with a bit of butter, onions, potatoes, and sometimes peas,
The production of wheat in this department of the North-Le Nord-is said to have risen as high as sixty-nine bushels to the acre, sixty hectolitres the hectare. The average value is twenty francs the hectolitre, or about seven francs the bushel.
with fragrant herbs; it is said to be excellent. He may have both fricasse and soup at dinner, which is his principal meal. He takes two hours at noon. At four he eats in the fields, the same as at breakfast,-and his evening meal is like his dinner. When Mrs. Salmier tells me about the food of harvesters, she asks, " And with you is it not the same thing?" "No; we feed our hands." "Oh, that costs too much! that is dear!" she says.
I am interested in seeing the umbrellas that are sometimes put upon wheat-shocks in the field,-umbrellas without handles, made of straw and twine. They call them chaperons, or hoods. The Salmiers have some which they had made, and I am told that that costs money. A man made twenty in a day, he furnishing the twine, and received six francs and his board. They will last ten years.
In travelling in this part of the world, it is remarkable to an American to observe the small number of swine. At Mr. Gouchon's, where we dined, there were four horses and seven cows, and only one hog; and being shut up, as I have seen them, in little brick houses without windows, one would think they might go blind. They give their hog here rye three times a day, always boiling it, but some grind it. Rye is worth about eighty-seven cents a bushel.
I have spoken of the small number of house-flies, but there are horse-flies. In bringing me from the railroad Mr. Salmier's good young horse had on a blue cloth with long, heavy cotton fringe to protect him from the flies that make horses bleed. I think sheep are very scarce. Madame Druvet owns a flock, and they may be seen feeding on the roadsides, guarded by a man and three dogs to keep them off the fields.
I have remarked how little the people travel. There is a railroad about a mile and a quarter from here, but a large proportion of grown persons in this village have never been in a car: they are afraid. The greater part of the women here-say three-quarters-have never been farther than the neighboring city, about six miles off. There is more movement among the men, because some of them are merchants who sell things; but there are men here, too, who have never been farther than that city. By the railroad just mentioned they can go there, but it costs nineteen sous; and those who have vehicles would rather ride, and those who have none would rather walk. The roads here are generally very good; one person is constantly employed to work on them, and he can always demand aid when necessary. In all the communes every man from eighteen to sixty must make three days' work upon the roads or furnish money, having made a declaration. Those who have horses and wagons are also obliged to furnish them for three days. At Lisle, the chief city of this department, there is a chief road-inspector. Another principal inspector is at the chief town of our arrondissement; and in the third place, there is a road-inspector in our cantonal town. These attend to constructing and repairing roads. The brewer, the sugar-manufacturer, the maker of tiles for roofs. and floors, the coal-merchant, is asked what he is carrying, and how much, and this is reported to the inspector of the canton. At the end of the year the merchant is charged for this transportation, and this is called industrial subsidy. When I express to Mr. Salmier my surprise at this regulation, he says in his open, clear manner, "You are not administered in America as France is; it is not possible." I rejoin that one of our great men said that the world is governed too much; and that we have another
saying of which I often think,—that "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty;" adding, "If you want to keep yours, you must be always upon the watch, and not allow coups d'état." Perhaps it would have been more pertinent to ask whether merchants are not public benefactors, and therefore entitled to a free passage; and whether octrois and such restrictions upon trade are judicious.
The garde champêtre has been in at Mr. Salmier's wearing his blouse; but one hundred and forty-two francs have been voted to get him a new uniform. He is the field-guard, on a salary of six hundred francs; but he has also perquisites, as when he beats a saucepan and cries a sale, or announces the coming of a butcher with mcat, or a hog-merchant. There is one of these guards, I am told, in every commune, and in the larger ones two. The duty of this guard is to watch the harvests and see that they are not stolen. He also makes a round of all the drinking-places at ten o'clock on Sundays and fête-days, at which hour he sounds the retreat on the church-bell; after that, if he finds drinkers in the restaurants or disorderly persons on the streets, he draws up against them a procès-verbal and signs it, and the mayor certifies it, and sends it to be registered, and then the receiver of registration sends it to another officer,-the huissier, -who cites the offender to appear before the magistrate or judge of peace.
This is a republican district, but, not long since, a Bonapartist was elected to the Chamber of Deputies. The republicans, it is said, were not rich enough or were not willing to offer themselves, as an election costs about twenty thousand dollars, for handbills, for distributing ballots, etc.