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A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 45

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compared, I was careful to make the wording of each note different, a task that kept me occupied for quite a while. No women were allowed in the clubroom, but once a year on the Fourth of July, they slicked up their quarters and invited the ladies to be their guests. Just as I expected, at the reception that first year, the notes of acknowledgement came under discussion. One of the men, Dick Dunlap, called my attention to the fact that I had signed my name “ Marjorie Moore” and then had attempted to erase “ Moore” and substitute my new name, “ Brown,” with indifferent success. “ But,” he added playfully, “ when I see you look at Hugh, I can see Marjorie Moore has really been erased by Marjorie Brown.” I don’t know whether my husband actually accepted that idea. He used to say I was the brimstone end of the match and he was the stick. He and Dick Dunlap spent a good deal of time teasing me. Hugh delighted in quips like this, “ Dick asked me if the climate agreed with my wife. I told him that was more than I could ask of any climate.” And, what is more, Hugh always said I asked his advice only so that I could be sure of making up my mind in the opposite direction. The Mizpah clubroom didn’t boast much in the way of furniture, a few ordinary office tables and an old Morris chair ( they were everywhere in the camp). But the pictures on the walls were of great interest; Tonopah’s first tent, the first frame building, the first shaft, and so on. One that impressed me for its comic pathos was a tree constructed of thin strips of wood ripped from packing boxes and nailed to the sides of a two- by- four. On the end of each limb was suspended an Edam cheese, big and red and round. Under the photograph was inscribed: THE NEVERGREEN TREE Tonopah’s first Christmas tree1901 One could not help laughing at it, but it made me sad, too. The tree was such a wistful testimony to holiday loneliness. As the population of the camp increased, Christmas festivities became more lavish. My first contribution to these gala evenings came in 1904, when one of the club members invited me to sing a solo. I was delighted to accept, but there was no piano in the clubroom to accompany me. Will Towne played the guitar, and we had performed together many times; but he said he couldn’t get off the night shift until eleven o'clock, and by the time he went home and changed his clothes, the party would be over. The club representative told him to come ahead in his work clothes. It would take fifteen minutes to get down off the hill, so we would look for him at eleven- fifteen. Will Towne, field engineer and geologist by affinity, played the guitar with a flair. There were few pianos in town, at least uptown, so Will carried his instrument with him wherever he went in the evening. His work clothes added the element of



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