France - In Sunny France
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
"Sunny France" proved sunny indeed. Some-thing had gone wrong with the weather ; all Europe was burning with fierce heat and drouth. America suffered similarly, but there it was not felt so keenly, because in America one expects heat and drouth in summer. Along the railway to Paris, the wheat-fields were burning, the pastures yellow and short and when automobiles dashed along the highway, they raised great clouds of dust. All Europe seemed in a fever induced perhaps by sleepless nights in stifling chambers. All the railway employes in England had been called on strike; true, they dared not go out and did not go out, but there were frightful undercurrents of murmurings in nearly every land. In France, the housewives, enraged at the cost of bread and meat, gathered in mobs that wrecked bakeries and sacked butchers' shops. The soldiers of France were called out to save the purveyors of foods from the Amazonian women of the land. In England, my sympathies were all with the railway strikers. I devoutly wished that they might all strike; then they would surely win. It was for so small a minimum wage that they askedóless than $6.50 per week for the carters, if I remember correctly, and the press of Great Britain thundered at the poor fellows as though their striking had been a crime. I could not but think that to pay their labor more in Great Britain would at once prove a partial or complete cure for their "hard times," for then the men would have money with which to buy, and to keep factories running. Mainly because of fear that they would lose their service pensions, the men did not go out; the strike was a failure.