“Letters of a Woman Homesteader” continued:

May 5, 1913

Dear Mrs. Coney,—

Your letter of April 25 certainly was a surprise, but a very welcome one. We are so rushed with spring work that we don’t even go to the office for the mail, and I owe you letters and thanks. I keep promising myself the pleasure of writing you and keep putting it off until I can have more leisure, but that time never gets here. I am so glad when I can bring a little of this big, clean, beautiful outdoors into your apartment for you to enjoy, and I can think of nothing that would give me more happiness than to bring the West and its people to others who could not otherwise enjoy them. If I could only take them from whatever is worrying them and give them this bracing mountain air, glimpses of the scenery, a smell of the pines and the sage,—if I could only make them feel the free, ready sympathy and hospitality of these frontier people, I am sure their worries would diminish and my happiness would be complete.

Little Star Crosby is growing to be the sweetest little kid. Her mother tells me that she is going “back yan” when she gets a “little mo’ richer.” I am afraid you give me too much credit for being of help to poor little Molly. It wasn’t that I am so helpful, but that “fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” It was Mrs. O’Shaughnessy who was the real help. She is a woman of great courage and decision and of splendid sense and judgment. A few days ago a man she had working for her got his finger-nail mashed off and neglected to care for it. Mrs. O’Shaughnessy examined it and found that gangrene had set in. She didn’t tell him, but made various preparations and then told him she had heard that if there was danger of blood-poisoning it would show if the finger was placed on wood and the patient looked toward the sun. She said the person who looked at the finger could then see if there was any poison. So the man placed his finger on the chopping-block and before he could bat his eye she had chopped off the black, swollen finger. It was so sudden and unexpected that there seemed to be no pain. Then Mrs. O’Shaughnessy showed him the green streak already starting up his arm. The man seemed dazed and she was afraid of shock, so she gave him a dose of morphine and whiskey. Then with a quick stroke of a razor she laid open the green streak and immersed the whole arm in a strong solution of bichloride of mercury for twenty minutes. She then dressed the wound with absorbent cotton saturated with olive oil and carbolic acid, bundled her patient into a buggy, and drove forty-five miles that night to get him to a doctor. The doctor told us that only her quick action and knowledge of what to do saved the man’s life.

I was surprised that you have had a letter from Jerrine. I knew she was writing to you that day, but I was feeling very stiff and sore from the runaway and had lain down. She kept asking me how to spell words until I told her I was too tired and wanted to sleep. While I was asleep the man came for the mail, so she sent her letter. I have your address on the back of the writing-pad, so she knew she had it right, but I suspect that was all she had right. She has written you many letters but I have never allowed her to send them because she misspells, but that time she stole a march on me. The books you sent her, “Black Beauty” and “Alice in Wonderland,” have given her more pleasure than anything she has ever had. She just loves them and is saving them, she says, for her own little girls. She is very confident that the stork will one day visit her and leave her a “very many” little girls. They are to be of assorted sizes. She says she can’t see why I order all my babies little and red and squally,—says she thinks God had just as soon let me have larger ones, especially as I get so many from him.

One day before long I will get busy and write you of a visit I shall make to a Mormon bishop’s household. Polygamy is still practiced.



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