6. Probability
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>6. Probability March 25, 1911 Dear Mother, We’ve put off getting a carriage,as Brooks wants to buy a motorcar . No matter how late he gets home in the evening, he spends at least an hour after dinner studying the motor ads in the newspaper, no doubt trying to imagine which one he would look the most dashing in driving down University Avenue, waving nonchalantly to his colleagues as they pass. (Between you and me—he’s somewhat of an egotist.) I’ve bought him one of those slouchy plaid automobile caps and a pair of driving gloves for his birthday next week. I must find something else to put with them. He gave me aVictorVictrola for my birthday with a record of my favorite Chopin Etude, op. 10, no. 3. I’ve played it over so many times, Eveline says I will wear it out, but I can’t help myself.The first movement is so tender—so endearing; I close my eyes and hear it crying.At any rate, I’m having a difficult time trying to find appropriate gifts for Brooks of equivalent value— not necessarily in price, but in sentiment. It’s hard for me to discern his sentimental side. He rides to campus withThomas every day. Eveline and I often take the electric streetcar into town. It stops just one block away over on Rio Grande Street and costs five cents each way.The first time I rode alone,I noticed people staring at me in a peculiar way,until after a mile or so a gentleman explained the Jim Crow laws were strictly enforced in Texas and I had accidentally sat in the colored section. I was embarrassed, but I forced myself to get past it, for while I don’t 39 mind doing housework, as you know, I have no intention of spending every day at home doing nothing but. Except for the incessant ringing of the bell, the streetcar is not an unpleasant means of transportation . It passes right by the State Capitol and runs down Congress Avenue to all the finest shops.Austin is much more cosmopolitan than I imagined it would be. I suppose it’s silly, but before, whenever I thought of Texas, I automatically pictured cowboys and tumbleweed.You can imagine how pleased I was to find I was wrong. The capitol building sits at the head of Congress Avenue like a queen on her throne opening her mantle to protect her precious Central Texas commerce.Thomas says it’s only a hundred feet lower than the pyramids along the Nile, and it’s more than a hundred feet higher than the nation’s capitol.A statue of a hideously ugly woman stands by herself on top, bravely holding a lone star up to the heavens . Her backside is turned to the university.When construction on the main building started, controversy broke out about the university ’s close proximity to all those politicians and smooth lobbyists— the Colonial Dames were afraid it would be a bad moral example for the students. But the capitol is an imposing structure of sunsetredTexas granite mined by convicts southwest of town. Its lawn rolls over a couple of square acres surrounded by an iron fence.Aside from all the old oaks, caretakers have planted hundreds of young tree varieties representative of all those that grow indigenously in the state. Congress Avenue bustles with excitement and progress. It’s as if someone has drawn an invisible line down the center.The east side is lined with banks, general stores, barbershops, and saloons. Some men still wear western hats and boots (and probably still stuff pistols in the backs of their belts by the looks of them), but while they scurry down the blocks tending to their business transactions and pleasures , women stroll the west side with its delicious assortment of fine furnishing companies, ice cream parlors, drug stores, and ready-towear establishments. In the last year, they’ve built two skyscrapers on Congress Avenue—one of which is the most elegant department 40 Comfort and Mirth store.I went there for the first time last month for their Austin Spring Fashion Exhibition. Eveline had promised to take me to Scarbrough and Hicks for my first time, but every time we planned to go, something came up, and that weekend she and Thomas were both down with dengue fever. I took them a pot roast and some parsley new potatoes and told poor...