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A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 62

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delightful activity, coupled with the affection my parents lavished upon me, sent me back to Tonopah refreshed and glowing. Although construction on our house had continued all the time I was away, I knew it would not be anywhere near completion, for it was being built of adobe, not the adobe bricks the Mexicans have used for centuries, but adobe mud poured into troughs like concrete forms. Six months would be required to finish it, for each foot had to be allowed to dry before the next layer could be poured into the trough built up to receive it. The walls were eighteen inches thick, the windows flush with the outside walls. There was a layer of mud on the roof three inches thick. All this was designed to make the building impervious to winter winds and summer heat. The exterior was washed with a thin coat of grey paint, and the doors and window frames were stained dark brown. We moved in at Christmastime. A glorious item in the new house was inside plumbing, which meant hot water! The water hole named Tonombe, fourteen miles to the north, proved to be an underground stream. This water was pumped to the surface and piped into town. Two high- pressure tanks on the hill behind our house furnished all Tonopah with running water. After two years we had no more use for the outhouse. What a relief! And now I no longer had to send my laundry on the three- week journey to Reno. The new house boasted two stationary tubs, and our new affluence furnished me with a fat little Negro girl who washed and ironed. Out of my own experience, I know hot running water is one of the most effective agencies of civilization. Soon after we moved into our new home, Miss Eileen Higgins came to our town looking for material for a novel, which was called The Little Princess of Tonopah. She sent me a copy inscribed, “ Perhaps you will see yourself as the ‘ Rainbow Lady’,” the bride whom the little girl visited. The writer gave a delightful description of the interior of our house, the walls covered with soft green grass cloth, the wood work also green to comfort the eyes from the outside glare. She told about the mission- style furniture, the wedding gifts, the Chinese cook, and the geranium plants. Of course, Miss Higgins romanticized everything, but we were very pleased that she emphasized the elegance of our home. A reception for Mrs. J. C. Campbell and her daughter was the first social affair in our new home. Apex litigation between two of the big mining companies brought Hugh’s senior partner, Mr. Campbell, from San Francisco, and since no one ever missed an opportunity to visit our town, his wife and daughter came along. That reception was carried out with as much formality as it would have been in San Francisco, but with a difference. In the first place, the thirty guests taxed the capacity of the little house to its limits. The ladies were greeted by our Chinese servant and ushered quickly through the living room into our two- by- four library, where they were received by me and

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A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 62
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