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A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 94

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Chapter 13 Boomtown Visitors…“ There’s a Lady in Tonopah”… The Cowboy Meets the Philosopher… A Gift of Flowers FROM TIME TO TIME since we had been married, Hugh had talked about having a bookplate made. After my return from Reese River, we agreed that this was the time to do it. Together we worked out a design consisting of sagebrush in the foreground, with a road winding off into high mountains. Across the top of the little sketch Hugh drew a line of books and wrote LAW at one end and ROMANCE at the other. Above the books in his fine hand lettering, he printed a new motto: AS WE JOURNEY THROUGH LIFE LET US LIVE BY THE WAY. Whether Hugh had connived with Sadie Bell to give me the unique experience of riding the roundup, I never knew. At any rate, he was elated by the effect the trip had upon me. The contact with the out- of- doors for so many days, the hard riding, the skilled precision and teamwork of the men, the new connotations in living opened my eyes to my own stilted system of values. Putting the motto to work, as it were, I made a silent and solemn vow to make the least of all that was gone and the most of today. Tonopah had been affected by the general depression, of course, but our town did not experience the “ boom- and- bust” that had been the pattern of so many mining camps. The state as a whole was prosperous because of Nevada’s amazing variety of minerals. We were never quite so gay again, and the colorful characters who had come to Tonopah for the quick money were siphoned off through Goldfield, but the solid citizens - the geologists, the chemists, the mine superintendents and their wives, as well as many merchants and business men - made up the strong base for our community. We were no longer exciting enough to attract top theatrical stars, as we had been a few years earlier when stars like Grace George came to us direct from New York, and the popular young actress Clara Kimball Young visited us and displayed her fantastic collection of jewels. But we did have the opportunity to entertain Constance Crawley, a lively British actress on her first visit to the United States. With her leading man and her manager, she came to luncheon on the Sunday they arrived to prepare for the Monday night performance. That same Sunday, in the big sprawling sports arena that had just been erected in the lower end of town, the young Jack Dempsey was barnstorming, fighting for fifty cents a round, we were told. Miss Crawley went on to San Francisco to fill an engagement there, and was interviewed by one of the papers about her experiences in the Wild West. The article said she had attended the fights, but of course that was not true. The time had not yet arrived when women went to prizefights. She sat with us on the porch listening to the distant roars of the crowd at the arena.

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