“Old Bill” Suggests—
Under a chill gray wind-swept sky, where gulls wheeled and dipped above white lines of thundering surf, two barefoot little boys stood on the hard-packed beach considering treasure trove. They had found a few yards of old anchor chain, stretching from the bows of a sunken hulk, fathoms deep, and were intent on removing the chain, if possible, with a file lashed to the end of a pole.
The links of chain might be worth as much as 40 cents. Salvage would take days, perhaps a week, of busy, happy energy.
In the city either boy would have thought 20 cents hardly more than compensation for running an errand. But boyish memories are short and their scale of values had been restored to earth level by the silent woods and endless barren beaches.
Mayhap the machine age has done us a harm statisticians have missed, a harm not so much in the bogy of “technological unemployment” as in the destruction of the fragile and entirely comparative sense of what is worth while doing.
Anyone who has tramped on foot beside a well-traveled automobile highway will understand what we mean.
ROYAL F. MUNGER.