Annotations - Louisa May Alcott, "Transcendental Wild Oats" (1873)


An idiomatic rendering of “calculate”; “cattle'ate” evokes “cattle” and echoes the refusal of animal labor at Fruitlands. In an astonishing anticipation of contemporary debates over the impact of animal agriculture on land use, Lane writes in “The Consociate Family Life” (August 1843): “No one can fail to perceive, that if cattle were no longer bred and fed for slaughter, milking, or draught, the human family might be drawn much closer together all over the country. It is calculated that if no animal food were consumed, one-fourth of the land now used would suffice for human sustenance. And the extensive tracts of country now appropriated to grazing, mowing, and other modes of animal provision, could be cultivated by and for intelligent and affectionate human neighbours.” (119)