Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/370

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civitas diaboli of the wealthy and the civitas Dei of the poor a sharp distinction is drawn. The wealthy are declared to be sickly, discontented and unhappy, spending their nights sleeplessly guarding their treasure. They are wicked and cruel, and 'get their wealth by stealing from the poor.' A girl of sixteen sums up the general impression in her statement that 'A rich person never feels happy, they is always sad and unhappy.' 'Them that is not rich is happy Always.' The attitude of the great majority is that 'God don't leek rich folks.' The following replies are typical of this sentiment:

Girl, 11. Rich people is always sickly and poor people has good health.
Girl, 12. No, because I would not be good to my little brother.
Boy, 15. No, I wouldn't do justice to every one.
Girl, 15. No, I would not like to be rich because a rich person will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I would rather be poor and be kind and gentle in my manner.
Girl, 16. I would not like to be rich for—

I care not for riches.
Neither silver nor gold,
I would make sure of heaven,
I would enter the fold.

Boy, 17. No, I would forget the Lord and put my whole heart and mind in my riches.
Boy, 20. I don't care to ever be rich. If I were rich it might come to me to turn to the things of the world, and not on heavenly affairs.

Bearing in mind that wealth in the Black Belt means merely a decent standard of living, we must regard the religious ban placed upon its accumulation as a positive encouragement of unthrift.

The children's record of their expenditures for one week bears out this conclusion. The average amount possessed by each of the twelve hundred children, was twenty-five cents, earned by the majority in such ways as gathering com and hay, sailing a boat, selling oysters, papers and scrap iron, running errands and carrying packages, picking over cinders and 'writing a letter for a lady.' It is difficult for the children to account for the use of their money.

'I spen it honest,' 'I spent it for things,' 'I spent it for my use' indicate, not reluctance to divulge private affairs, but the fatal facility with which their money escapes them. Burial society dues,[1] school material, car rides and clothing, including such elegancies as 'a backing comb' and 'two yards of second moning' are among the expenditures mentioned. The largest item for expenditure is for dainties—candy,

  1. The majority of negro children in the South belong to burial societies, which, in consideration of small weekly payments, agree to furnish them a funeral with certain desirable accessories, a hearse with plumes, a specified number of carriages, etc.