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A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 16

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first settlers naturally had put up their tents on the floor of the canyon. As cabins replaced tents, foot paths followed the land level and became streets. They would probably remain the way they were as long as the camp lasted. Do the two mountains have names? I wondered. “ Darn right they have. That’s Mount Oddie opposite, where all the mine shafts are,” Hugh continued. “ And those red buildings over there about even with our eyes mark the Tonopah Mining Company. The strike was made just below there where you see that dump of grey waste. Remember my telling you about Tasker Oddie? That’s his mine.” I did indeed remember. I had not met Tasker Oddie yet, but I felt I knew him, for Hugh’s letters in the past ten months had been full of him. Hugh next pointed out the buildings of the Montana Tonopah and the North Star mines. We were living on Mount Brougher, named for Wilse Brougher. I would hear about him later. Hugh took his watch from his pocket. “ I must go. I run a law shop, you know, not an information bureau.” I laughed as I kissed him goodbye, and then drew my coat tighter around me and stood for a while looking at the landscape - line upon line of running color, tan, henna, lavender, brown. But no green. Not a tree. Not a shrub. A faint odor floated by me reminiscent of Christmas, a spicy something I afterward recognized as sage. I had been born in San Francisco, had lived all my life in the green fragrance of that moisture- laden air, and yet this dry, rarified atmosphere, so sparkling, this vast expanse of open country were overpoweringly lovely. Looking down on the quaint rough- board town below, I heard the soft, insistent chatter of the donkey engine. That woman in Hawthorne who pitied me was a fool. The days that followed were a kaleidoscope of vivid impressions. The daylight captivated me and the night enchanted me. Under the desert moonlight the hills looked as if they had been cut out of card- board, as if a light had been planted down behind them somewhere to intensify their contour against the night sky. Added to the fascination of the pastel landscape was the friendly charm of the people, the first impression of which I had experienced on the stage trip into Tonopah. As each day passed, I was warmed by the friendship with which they met Hugh’s bride. My first caller, soon after my arrival, was Mrs. Albert Stock, who lived just below me on the hill. She was the wife of an engineer at one of the mines. Mrs. Stock asked me to forgive her for coming so quickly, but she wanted me to know I had neighbors and didn’t want me to be lonely.



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