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A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 12

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“ And where had she come from?” someone asked. “ From Mobile. My grandfather was master of a sailing ship that plied between Mobile and New York; and on a trip they made to New York, my grandmother and her mother sailed with handsome young Captain Roberts. Off Key West they ran into one of those terrible storms that rage around that area. My grandfather ordered all passengers below deck, but my grandmother wanted to stay up and watch the excitement. So - the story goes - Grandfather lashed her to one of the masts and let her stay for a few hours. That was the beginning of their romance. He thought any girl who had that much pluck was worth going after.” Judge Jackson turned his kindly eyes on me. “ That’s a good heritage ,” he said gravely. “ It ought to help.” Of course, much of the talk was of politics, a subject about which I knew nothing, although I recognized some of the names flashing through the conversation. For instance, I knew about John Hay, because he had been President Lincoln’s private secretary and had written so eloquently about his great friend. However, I was a bit hazy about the “ open door” in China, for which Mr. Hay, as Theodore Roosevelt’s Secretary of State, seemed to be presently responsible. Also, as we covered the miles that day, I heard the name of a young East Indian zealot who was carrying on single- handed warfare with the British Empire. That name, which forty years later was world famous, was Gandhi. As the lengthening shadows made the sagebrush seem to take on added height, the swaying stagecoach became almost unbearable. There are two leather straps around the back axle of a stage that keep the springs from rising past a certain height. Every chuck hole – and there were many - would send us into the air; then the straps would stop us with a terrible jolt. After a few hours each rise and fall became torture. When the lumbering vehicle swung around one of the many curves, not even the tightness with which we were wedged against one another could keep us from swaying. At dusk we drew into another oasis where food was served; the horses were changed, and we were allowed a half hour’s welcome relaxation. In the glow of the sunset, crowded into the stage again but refreshed, we began to sing. We started with all the old standbys: “ Sweet Marie,”“ Annie Roonie,” and “ Old Kentucky Home.” Dick José was the popular ballad singer of that year, singing “ Silver Threads among the Gold,” “ Dear Old Girl,” and “ Nellie Was a Lady” in his sweet highten or; so of course these songs came to mind, as well as hit tunes from the light operas of 1901. The patriotic songs we sang were

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A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 12
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