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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesPeck's Sunshine - Some Talk About Monopolies
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Peck's Sunshine - Some Talk About Monopolies Post by :MrsWebb Category :Long Stories Author :George W. Peck Date :May 2012 Read :921

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Peck's Sunshine - Some Talk About Monopolies

We know it is fashionable for people to talk about the great monopolies, the railroads, and show how they are sapping the life-blood from the farmers by arranging facilities for transporting wheat worth forty cents a bushel in store pay, without railroads, to a market where the farmer realizes nearly a dollar a bushel in cash.

Demagogues ring the changes on these monopolies, tell how the directors ride in palace cars and drink wine, from the proceeds of the millions of dollars invested in railroads, though they never mention the fact that the railroads have made it possible for farmers to give up driving ox teams and ride after horses that can trot in 2:40.

We presume that railroad managers like to get a pretty good dividend on their investments, but do they get a better dividend than farmers do on some of their investments? Do you know of any farmer that ever complained that his produce was selling too high? If you complain at paying eight dollars for a jag of crow's nest wood during a snow blockade, does he argue with, you, to show that he is a monopoly, or does he tell you that if you don't want the wood you needn't have it?

Now, talking of railroad men manipulating stock, and taking advantage of a raise, how is it about eggs? Within the last two months there has been the worst corner on eggs that the world has ever seen, and the dividends that farmers have received on their investments have been so enormous that they must blush for shame, unless they are a soulless corporation.

Now, for instance, a farmer paid twenty-five cents for a good average hen the 1st of December. Before the 1st of February that hen has laid five dozen eggs, which are worth two dollars and a half. Take out five cents for feed, two cents for the society that the hen has enjoyed, and there is a clear profit of two dollars and forty-three cents, and the farmer has got the hen left. Did any railroad wrecker ever make a greater percentage than that? Talk about watering stock, is it any worse than feeding a hen, to make her lay four-shilling eggs?

We have it from good authority that some farmers have actually gone so far as to bribe legislators with eggs, to prevent their passing any law fixing a rate for the sale of eggs. This is a serious charge, and we do not vouch for it. It is probable that farmers who are sharp enough to get a corner on eggs, by which they can be run up to a fictitious value, are sharp enough not to lay themselves liable for bribery by giving eggs directly to the members, but there are ways to avoid that. They can send them to the residences of the members, where they are worth their weight in gold almost.

Rich railroad owners have submitted to this soulless monopoly of the egg business as long as they can, and we learn that they have organized a state grange, with grips and passwords, and will institute subordinate lodges all over the State to try and break up this vile business that is sapping their life-blood.

Already a bill has been prepared for introduction into the legislature to prohibit any manipulation of the egg market in the future. "Shall the farmers of the State be allowed to combine with hens and roosters and create a famine in eggs, an article of food on which so many people rely to keep soul and body together?" they ask.

Our heart has bled, in the last sixty days, as well as our pocket-book, while studying this question. We have seen men of wealth going about the streets crying for an egg to cool their parched tongues, and they have been turned away eggless, and gone to their palatial homes only to suffer untold agonies, the result of those unholy alliances between farmers and hens. They have tossed sleeplessly on their downy beds, wondering if there was no balm in Gilead, no rooster there. They have looked in vain for compassion on the part of the farmers, who haye only laughed at their sufferings, and put up the price of eggs.

The time has arrived for action on the part of the wealthy consumers of eggs, and we are glad the State grange has been formed. Let a few determined men get together in every community, and swear by the bald-headed profit that they will put down this hen monopoly or die, and after they have sworn, let them send to us for a charter for a lodge--enclosing two dollars in advance--and we will forward to them the ritual of the order.

If this thing is allowed to go on for five years these farmers will be beyond the power of the government to control. This is a grave question, and if the wealthy people do not get relief we might as well bid farewell to our American institutions, as the liberty for which our forefathers fought will not be worth paying taxes for.


There is no person in the world who is easier to overlook the inconsistencies that show themselves on the stage at theatres than we are, but once in a while there is something so glaring that it pains us. We have seen actors fight a duel in a piece of woods far away from any town, on the stage, and when one of them fell, pierced to the heart with a sword, we have noticed that he fell on a Brussels carpet. That is all wrong, but we have stood it manfully.

We have seen a woman, on the stage who was so beautiful that we could be easily mashed if we had any heart left to spare. Her eyes were of that heavenly color that has been written about heretofore, and her smile as sweet as ever was seen, but behind the scenes, through the wings, we have seen her trying to dig the cork out of a beer bottle with a pair of shears, and ask a supe, in harsh tones, where the cork-screw was, while she spread mustard on a piece of cheese, and finally drank the beer from the bottle, and spit the pieces of cork out on the floor, sitting astride of a stage chair, and her boot heels up on the top round, her trail rolled up into a ball, wrong side out, showing dirt from forty different stage floors.

These things hurt. But the worst thing that has ever occurred to knock the romance out of us, was to see a girl in the second act, after "twelve years is supposed to elapse," with the same pair of red stockings on that she wore in the first act, twelve years before. Now, what kind of a way is that? It does not stand to reason that a girl would wear the same pair of stockings twelve years. Even if she had them washed once in six months, they would be worn out. People notice these things.

What the actresses of this country need is to change their stockings. To wear them twelve years, even in their minds, shows an inattention to the details and probabilities of a play, that must do the actresses an injury, if not give them corns. Let theatre-goers insist that the stockings be changed oftener, in these plays that sometimes cover half a century, and the stockings will not become moth-eaten. Girls, look to the little details. Look to the stockings, as your audiences do, and you will see how it is yourselves.

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