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People are the only interesting things there are in the world, but one has to
come to the desert to find it out, and until you are in the desert, you
never know how un-interesting you are
yourself. When it’s too windy to walk or ride, I am a punctured balloon. My
brother6 is out with the
construction gang most of the time. He shares this casa with a well-informed
brakeman named Tooker7. Douglass has
been away for three days now, and Tooker and I have been living on together,
which is quite in accord with the pro- prieties
of Winslow. Tooker has been off on his “run” two of the nights, and then
I’ve been quite alone. (The tipsy
London cockney8 whom my brother picked up overcome by thirst in the
desert, and who
does does the housekeeping! would afford small protection) But
dear me! I don’t mind being here alone at night. I’m so glad to get the
well-improved Tooker out of the house that I’d gladly get up at any hour of
the night and make cocktails for any wandering Mexican who would come in to
relieve the boredom of life. Tooker reads Emerson9—in full
time. He is one of
Nature’s Noblemen and looks just like
Henry Miller11 in “The Great Divide”12. Also dresses as such. Don’t
tell me that life is anything but a poor
imitation of art—and of mighty poor art,
always. I’ve been doing target practice with a pistol, and I know the day
will come when I shall let drive at Tooker. I cannot stand either his
information or his nobleness much longer. He has done a lot of prospecting
in South America13 and worked in
mines in Mexico14 and he really can
tell one a good deal. But the square jaw and the bold carriage of the head
make him useless to me.
I would perish if it were not for the Mexicans. We have an inferior lot, of course, but it’s a lovely speech, and they have such nice manners and go their own way. They all live “south of the tracks” and their village is a delight after this hideous little railroad town.
I do want to hear from you. I shall hope to get a letter by Saturday or Sunday. I suppose I really am very lonely. But you would die here; you are at least one thousand years more civilized than I. You’d simply go up in smoke. I can see you getting on the train in your little nightie; you wouldn’t stop to dress. Maybe you could save your soul by studying Spanish with the priest! I can’t even do that. But my brother returns tomorrow and then we are off for Flagstaff15 and the Cliff Dwellers16.
Tooker never permits himself an action in one syllable. He “arrives”, and he “removes” his hat, and he reflects. When the wind blows the sand it “retards” his freight train and he is late on his runs.
The cockney housekeeper is good fun, but he is
reeling drunk all the time, and has to be sat
upon and sent away. He once worked in a stable in Paris17 and speaks an awfully funny kind of
French very fluently. When he is at his worst he recites his poem “The
Widenin' Foam” and weeps bitterly. Every verse ends:
“Where’ere I look, on sea or skies,
I see them fair,
But really, with the best will in the world, one tires of freaks. Please write to me. I’ve been thinking a great deal about you.Buenas noches18W. S. C. Miss Elizabeth Sergeant1 Tryon3 Polk County