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A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 74

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revision, he sent a copy to the Reno Gazette; the oration was headlined the following night and was flashed to the world. “ He lived in the world of sport. I do not mince my words, I am telling what I believe to be true. In the world of sport, hilarity sometimes, and maybe worse. He left the impress of his character on this world, and through the medium of his financial power, he was able with his money to brighten the lives of its inhabitants. He wasted it, so the world says. But did it ever occur to you that the most sinful men and women who live in this world are still men and women? Did it ever occur to you that the men and women who inhabit the night- world are still men and women? A little happiness brought into their lives means as much to them as happiness brought into the lives of the straight and good. If you can take one ray of sunlight into their night- life and thereby bring them one single hour of happiness, I believe you are a benefactor ...” It took one dramatic outcast to pay fitting tribute to another dramatic outcast. Among the friends who gathered at our house on Sunday night were some wonderful storytellers. King of them all was Dick Dunlap. One night the men were talking about the ease and rapidity with which claims changed hands and how necessary it was to close a deal at once lest it evaporate before morning. Dick told us of a conversation he had had with Cal Brougher: “ ‘ Cal’, I said, ‘ do you want that fraction out at Divide I told you about?’ Cal said, ‘ Sure. How much do you want for it?’ I said, ‘ Five thousand dollars.’ Cal took out his billfold and scanned it carefully. ‘ I haven’t got that much on me, Dick. Will you wait until tomorrow morning?’ ” And here is Dick’s story of a conversation between two old- timers: One was going to New York, and wanted to see Chris Zabriski. ( Chris was a native Nevadan who, as a boy, had been a telegrapher in Candelaria. When Borax Smith ran into his mountain of borax in Death Valley Chris Zabriski was his right- hand man. He rose with the Twenty- Mule Team Borax Company to be general manager, with headquarters in New York - a lovable, gregarious fellow. Chris had a host of friends in the state, all of whom he welcomed in New York at any time and in any number.) One old desert rat said to the other, “ Pete, I’m going to New York. How do I get to see Chris Zabriski?” “ Goin’ to New York, eh? Well, Chris always likes to see any old horn toad from Nevada, and he knows every saloonkeeper from the Battery to the Bronx. He’ll see you git a snootful any time, day or night.” “ Well, how will I find him?”

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A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 74
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