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A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 5

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“ They tell me you’re an old- timer around here.” The man smiled as he looked me over. “ You certainly don’t look like a pioneer.” “ Oh, but I am.” I answered proudly. “ I came here on a stagecoach in February, 1904.” “ Somebody told me I ought to look you up. I wish I had been here in the beginning,” he added with a note of regret. “ This place is all that is left of the old West, isn’t it?” Chapter 1 Proposal in the Ladies’ Parlor… Honeymoon via S. P., V. & T., and Carson & Colorado… Judges, Gunmen and Fellow Travelers… Beds and Bugs at Hawthorne… The Stage from Sodaville… At Last, Tonopah HUGH’S VOICE AT THE OTHER END of the telephone was serious and urgent. Would I meet him at the Occidental Hotel at four o’clock? It was near his office, and he was pressed for time. “ I’m going to Tonopah tonight, and I want to talk to you.” “ Tonopah? Where’s Tonopah?” For sixty years people have been asking the same question. Only those who have been there seem to be aware of its existence. “ It’s a mining camp in southern Nevada,” Hugh answered. “ They’ve discovered ore there - gold and silver. A boom’s on.” Like any other young lady in San Francisco in 1903 who wanted to meet a man in a downtown hotel, I had to request my mother’s permission, which she gave with just the right amount of reluctance. I suspected that she was not unmindful of the fact that Hugh Brown was a very eligible young man, a graduate of Stanford University law school, serving the usual internship in a prominent firm, Campbell, Metson, and Campbell. If I was in love with him, it might quiet the agitation caused by my famous uncle, Theodore Roberts, a leading character actor of the era who was determined to lure me to New York for a career on the stage. No lady became an actress, my family insisted, even if she had talent. But, after all, I had already been graduated from Mills Seminary, and I was eighteen and not always sweetly amenable. Hugh met me at the door of the hotel looking excited and happy – at all, slender young man in a light grey suit with a blue stock tie. We walked up a flight of red- carpeted stairs to the “ Ladies’ Parlor,” a large elegant room hung



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