I have not been the complete letter writer I should have been, as I told you on Saturday, but I know you will understand. Your two good letters came this evening, one to Mamma and one to Nora. They were a good deal to us all, most, of course, to your dear mother and sister, who have a fond, foolish fancy or love for you--strange--isn't it? Yes, dear boy, I liked the new story very, very much. It was in your best book and in fine spirit, and I liked, too, the dedication of the book--its meaning and its manner. I am glad to be associated with my dear boy and with his work even in that brief way. You may not yet thought about it after this fashion, but I have thought a good deal about it. Reports come to me of you from many sources, and they are all good, and they all reflect honor upon me-- Upon me as I'm getting ready to salute the world, as our French friends say. It is very pleasant to me as I think it over to feel and to know that my boy has honored my name, that he has done something good and useful in the world and for the world. I have something more than pride in you. I am grateful to you. If this is a little prosie, dear old fellow, forgive it. It is late at night and I am a little tired, and being tired stupid. You saw The Atlantic notice of your work. I wish you could have heard Nora on the author of it, who would not have been happy in his mind if he had unhappily heard her. She went for that Heathen Chinee like a wild cat. No disrespect to her, but, all the same, like a wild cat. To me it was interesting. I did not agree with it, but here and there I saw the flash of truth even in the adverse praise. I should have had more respect for the author's opinion if he had liked that vital speck, Raegen. If he could not see the divine, human spark in that--a flash from Calvary, what is the use of considering him? My greatest pride in you, that which has added some sweetness and joy to my life, has been the recognition that something of the divine element was given you, and that your voice rang out sweet and pure at a time when other voices were sounding the fascinations of impurity. That, like Christ, you taught humanity. Don't be afraid of being thought "fresh," fear to be thought "knowing." Life isn't much worth at best,--it is worth nothing at all unless some good be done in it---the more, the better. Don't make it too serious either. Enjoy it as you go, but after a fashion that will bring no reproach to your manhood. Don't be afraid to preach the truth and above all the religion of humanity. Good night, dear boy. I'm a little tired to night. With great love,
ANADARKO-February 26th, 1892. DEAR FAMILY:--
I could not write you before as I have been traveling from pillars to posts, (a joke), in a stage, night and day. I went to Fort Reno from Oklahoma City where they drove me crazy almost with town lots and lot sites and homestead holdings. It was all raw and mean, and greedy for money and a man is much better off in every way in a tenement on Second Avenue than the "owner of his own home" in one of these mushroom cities-- So I think. I went to Fort Reno by stage and it seemed to me that I was really in the West for the first time-- The rest has been as much like the oil towns around Pittsburgh as anything else. But here there are rolling prairie lands with millions of prairie dogs and deep canons and bluffs of red clay that stand out as clear as a razor hollowed and carved away by the water long ago. And the grass is as high as a stirrup and the trees very plentiful after the plains of Texas. The men at Fort Reno were the best I have met, indeed I am just a little tired of trying to talk of things of interest to the Second Lieutenant's intellect. But I had to leave there because I had missed the beef issue and had to see it and as it was due here I pushed on. This post is very beautiful but the men are very young and civil appointments mainly, which means that they have not been to West Point but had fathers and have friends with influence and they are fresh. But the scenery around the post is delightfully wild and big and there is an Indian camp at the foot of the hill on which the fort is stuck. Mother, instead of going to Europe, should come here and see her Indians. Only if she did she would bring a dozen or more of the children back with her. They are the brightest spot in my trip and I spend the mornings and afternoons trying to get them to play with me. They are very shy and pretty and beautifully barbaric and wear the most gorgeous trappings. The women, the older ones, are the ugliest women I ever saw. But the men are fine. I never saw such color as they give to the landscape and one always thinks they have dressed up just to please you. I have spent most of my time and money in buying things from them but they are very dear because the Indians take long to make them and do not like to part with them. I have had rough times lately but I think I would be content to remain in the west six months if I could. It is the necessity of leaving places I like and pushing on to places I don't, I dislike. Reno was fine with a band and lots of fine fellows. This post is not so queer but they are so young-- It makes a great bit of color though with the yellow capes of the cavalry and the soldiers wig--waging red and white flags at other soldiers eight miles away on other mountains and the Indians in yellow buckskin and blankets and their faces painted too. I went to the beef issue to-day--it was not a pretty sight and most barbarous and cruel. I also went to a council at which the chiefs were protesting against the cutting down of their rations which is Commissioner Morgan's doing and which it is expected will lead to war-- We went in out of curiosity and without knowing it was a Council and were very much ashamed when one of the Chiefs rose and said he was glad to see the officers present as they were the best friends the Indians had and the only men they could respect in times of peace as a friend, or in times of war as an enemy. At which we took off our hats and sat it through. Mother's blood would rise if she could hear the stories they tell, and they are so dignified and polite. They have an Indian troop here, like the one described in The Weekly, which you should read and the Captain told them I was a great Chief from the East, whereat all the soldiers who were of noble lineage claimed their privilege of shaking hands with me, which had a demoralizing effect upon the formation and the white privates were either convulsed with mirth or red with indignation. But you cannot treat them like white men who do not know their ancestors-- Dad's letter was the best I have ever got from him and he had always better write when he is tired. I will always keep it.
DENVER--March 7, 1892. DEAR FAMILY:
I arrived in Denver Friday night and realized that I was in a city again where the more you order people about the more they do for you, being civilized and so understanding that you mean to tip them. I found my first letter on the newsstand and was very much pleased with it, and with the way they put it out. The proof was perfect and if there had been more pictures I would have been entirely satisfied, as it was I was very much pleased. My baggage had not come, so covered with mud and dust and straw from the stages and generally disreputable I went to see a burlesque, and said "Front row, end seat," just as naturally as though I was in evening dress and high hat--and then I sank into a beautiful deep velvet chair and saw Amazon marches and ladies in tights and heard the old old jokes and the old old songs we know so well and sing so badly. The next morning I went for my mail and the entire post office came out to see me get it. It took me until seven in the evening to finish it, and I do not know that it will ever be answered. The best of it was that you were all pleased with my letters. That put my mind at rest. Then there was news of deaths and marriages and engagements and the same people doing the same things they did when I went away. I did not intend to present any letters as I was going away that night to Creede, but I found I could not get any money unless some one identified me so I presented one to a Mr. Jerome who all the bankers said they would be only too happy to oblige. After one has been variously taken for a drummer, photographer and has been offered so much a line to "write up" booming towns, it is a relief to get back to a place where people know you.--I told Mr. Jerome I had a letter of introduction and that I was Mr. Davis and he shook hands and then looked at the letter and said "Good Heavens are you that Mr. Davis" and then rushed off and brought back the entire establishment brokers, bankers and mine owners and they all sat around and told me funny stories and planned more things for me to do and eat than I could dispose of in a month.
I am now en route to Creede. Creede when you first see it in print looks like creede but after you have been in Denver or Colorado even for one day it reads like C R E E D E. All the men on this car think they are going to make their fortunes, and toward that end they have on new boots and flannel shirts, and some of them seeing my beautiful clothing and careful array came over and confided to me that they were really not so tough as they looked and had never worn a flannel shirt before. This car is typical of what they told me I would find at Creede. There are rich mine owners who are pointed out by the conductor as the fifth part owner of the "Pot Luck" mine, and dudes in astrakan fur coats over top boots and new flannel shirts, and hardened old timers with their bedding and tin pans, who have prospected all over the state and women who are smoking and drinking.
I feel awfully selfish whenever I look out of the car window. Switzerland which I have never seen is a spot on the map compared to this. The mountains go up with snow on one side and black rows of trees and rocks on the other, and the clouds seem packed down between them. The sun on the snow and the peaks peering above the clouds is all new to me and so very beautiful that I would like to buy a mountain and call it after my best girl. I will finish this when I get to Creede. I expect to make my fortune there. DICK.
A young man in a sweater and top boots met me at the depot and said that I was Mr. Davis and that he was a young man whose life I had written in "There was 90 and 9." He was from Buffalo and was editing a paper in Creede. He said I was to stop with him-- Creede is built of new pine boards and lies between two immense mountains covered with pines and snow. The town is built in the gulley and when the spring freshets come will be a second Johnstown. Faber, the young man, took me to the Grub State Cabin where I found two most amusing dudes and thoroughbred sports from Boston, Harvard men living in a cabin ten by eight with four bunks and a stove, two banjos and H O P E. They own numerous silver mines, lots, and shares, but I do not believe they have five dollars in cash amongst them. They have a large picture of myself for one of the ORNAMENTS and are great good fellows. We sat up in our bunks until two this morning talking and are planning to go to Africa and Mexico and Asia Minor together.--Lots of love. DICK.