Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/690

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670

THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

side aid had not been given. The Provincial Stände, which send their pauper imbeciles to Bethel, however, voted a contribution of £2,838, and £12,260 was raised by voluntary subscriptions. Three thousand four hundred and fifty-two pounds does not, of course, represent the full value of the work done by the colonists in the course of a year. Their labor is in a great measure embodied in the real property now held by the institution, in the two thousand acres of land which have been brought under cultivation, and the various houses and other buildings which have been erected in the colony, together with their furniture, etc. Much of this real property is the produce of epileptic labor, and its value is estimated at £133,429. If Bethel had restricted its enterprise to farming and market gardening, its balance-sheet would no doubt be more satisfactory reading; but, on the other hand, its usefulness as an institution would have been impaired. The colony was established as a philanthropic experiment, and as such it is a brilliant success. Those responsible for its management have acted wisely in choosing to postpone indefinitely the day of its economic independence, rather than sacrifice, in the slightest degree, the interests of the sufferers under their care.

The colony is at present in a most flourishing state, and it is increasing in size and usefulness from year to year. The village itself is charming, with its quaintly formed, bright-colored houses, which stand out in bold relief from the dark forest behind them. The Church, the headquarters of the Westphalian Brothers, and Sarepta, the home of the Deaconesses, are quite imposing buildings; and there are also public baths, a hospital, a museum, and even a savings-bank. Hermon and Bethany, the cottages reserved for first-class patients, are most attractive abodes; they stand in the midst of beautiful gardens, and have lawn-tennis courts attached. It is, however, the air of general prosperity about the place which renders it so delightful. All the people are well clothed—well fed, too, as one may see by their faces. All sorts and conditions of men are there, all hard at work—at work, too, with their hands, be they princes or beggars. That is the law as of the Medes and Persians: there is no "leisured" class in Bethel. It is this incessant work and bustle that makes the village so cheerful. The people have no time to brood, no time to wonder why their lot should be cast thus apart from their fellows. Considering their condition, it is startling to note the expression of content—nay, happiness—on the faces of many of these colonists; even the imbeciles among them seem at least, to have found rest. Of course, it is not always thus; ghastly scenes are witnessed from time to time; and here and there—but only in those hidden nooks remote from other dwellings—one comes across a something that is hardly human. These eleven hundred colonists