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About The courier. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1894-1903 | View Entire Issue (Sept. 7, 1901)
The S Ranch, Wyoming,
August 31, 1001.
If any one ever again lures me into
the solitudes of earth, it will be because
I have lost my mind.
This experience has discovered me to
ni) self, in several ways.
I had an idea that I longed to tlee
from the ''maddening crowd's ignoble
strife;'' that I fane would commune
with Mature in her far-oil sanctuaries
of worship. I full oft said to myself
that the pagan soul within me sickened
under the bands and bonds of conven
tionality. In short, I had a number of theories,
tended to demonstrate my superiority
over the average human being, but they
are gone, evaporated like mist before
the swinging cenBor of the soul.
I thought my life at home wps mo
notonous. I believe I have wailed to
you of the deadly dullness of the ordi
nary rounds of existence, as I found it
in Omaha. Now, if I could but fob an
express wagon from there it would pos
sess all the glory of a coach and four.
I am a bit ashamed and would not
have the family know for the world
what durance vile I find it.
I suppose the fact that I rode down
horseback to the little town and back
jesterday, a distance of ten miles, all
told, accounts for some part of the indi
go hue of my spirits today, if the general
truism that mind has a great effect over
matter, is reversible.
I have taken my paper and pencil far
up the trail, back of the house, and
have found a nice mossy place to sit,
and far euough away so Mother can not
hear my bones creak as I shift, for she
did not wish me to take the ride, assert
ing as positively as I denied it that the
distance was much too great for one
unaccustomed to riding. I would go,
and today I feel that I appreciate the
Spartan style of endurance in a way 1
was never capable of before.
Summer seems to hold her own here,
with a gloomy grandeur. I think the
year ie never young here everything is
big and strong and sad, and has no
Summer eita in uncrowned state upon
a rocky throne and broods by day and
by night, and seems to lock within her
soul Borne secret sorrow, of which she
She is very different from the flower
wreathed, golden-clad, lightsome thing
I have called eummer in other days.
There seems to be nothing wee and
tender here. One day I happened to
spy under the shelter of a huge grey
rock some tiny nestling flowers, swung
on tender, green stems, like drops of
heart's blood. They looked so out of
place, like little laughing children about
the feet of old age.
We expect to go home poon, almost
any day, in fact, as Papa may at any
time receive a telegram whfch will ne
cessitate an immediate move. Gertrude
and her friend are trying to polish them
selves up or down, as the case may be,
for a return to the vanities of this world.
They have not apparently the least db
ei re to take home a coat of tan or collect
ion of freckles. They rub down at
night with lemon juice and wash it off
with buttermilk in the morning. Moth
er says she thinks they will pickle their
beauty rather than preserve it. Not
bad for Mother, is it, considering hnw
literal she is as a rule?
Mother remonstrates with me once in
a while about my dissatisfaction here,
and she said a day or two since: ''I
should think, Peuelope, the beautiful
view would be enough."
This was adding insult to injury, and
I said: "Mother, how can you imagine
'view' would satisfy one was brought up
on it?" You know we lived in the
country until two or threo years ago.
"Now." I continued, "I desire to spend
the remainder of my life where people
are so thick I can not see through."
Mother sighed. A provoking way
mothers have, which leaves you entirely
in the wrong and feeling a beast.
I remember that particular sigh, al
though a very mild one, succeeded in
blowing me out of the house and over
into my tent. O! I believe I did not
tell you that there was not quite room
enough in the house and one person was
obliged to sleep outside.
I insisted so strenuously on being "if
that they yielded perforce. It is the
one thing which has been an unalloyed
pleasure to me in this land of voluntary
exile. At first the continuous murmur
of the forest in its perpetual inBomnia,
and the never-ceasing cry of the river as
it leaps in wild glee from rock to rock,
disturbed me and kept me awake for
hours in the stilly tirst watch of the
night. But now it is all as a mother's
lullaby to her babe.
I like the pine-scented wind to sweep
through the tent from sunset to sunrise.
I like to hear the far call of strange
Sometimes in the magic of the moon
light strange shapes seem to steal from
the depths of the forest and sit in grave
council on the huge rocks rising sheer
above the foaming water.
Sometimes the white mist rises and
floats away, as if these grave warriors
had but gathered to smoke the pipe of
One day last week Rob, Jim and I
went over the mountains on another ex
cursion. We have done that quite
frequently of late. We had no particu
lar object in view this time, save that
the road, Jim said, was a pretty one, and
if we found we had time to go far
enough we would stop and cal' upon a
friend of his.
We rode along, Indian rile, rather
silently, save for Hob's chatter, until
Jim told us, by the position of the sun
overhead, that it waB high noon. We
dismounted and opened our lunch. Jim
ie very exp:rt in making a gypsy tire
and swinging a coffeepot, so before long
an alien odor mingled with the cedar
and pine. It was very grateful to our
civilized noses and our demoralized pal
ates. Jim talked again and even more fully
than before of the bitter disappointment
of his life, the disappointment which
had not tarried long, but met him on
the very threshold of his manhood.
Then he spoke of the girl on whom he
had lavished the wealth of a passionate
No life is all one dreams it should be
before the stress is on," he continued.
"The friend I spoke to you about, the
one I wish you to see, has every good
gift the world can bestow save only one;
but the withholding of that one rendered
well nigh worthless all the rest."
"She is beautiful,' ho continued,
while dexterously scattering the dying
embers. "She has a husband who
adores her, she has every luxury wealth
can procure for her, yet everything she
treasures most she is obliged to leave,
and in this far-off country set up her
"What is it?'' I asked softly as ho
paused; "ill health?"
"Yea." Here ho touched hiB chest
significantly. "Yes, the old wide-spread
curse which has blasted life's bloom for
so many of us. Only a year ago began
the exile which must last bo long aB she
wishes to endure life."
"Ie she there all alone?" I asked.
"Oh, no. She has BervantB and every
thing money can buy to mitigate the
sentence. Her husband comes as often
aB he possibly can but, good God," he
exclaimed in sudden bitterness, "think
what she must endure."
An hour later we were shaking hands
with her. If 1 live to bo an old, white-
H wlm rJt 17 VH H MH
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