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10 The New Daughter and Thanksgiving At about half-past seven of a clear November morning I called my bride to the car window and presented to her,with the air of a resident proprietor, a first view of Pike’s Peak, a vast silver dome rising grandly above the Rampart Range. “Well, there it is,” I remarked .“What do you think of it?” Her cry of surprise and her words of delight were both entirely genuine.“Oh,how beautiful!” she exclaimed,as soon as she recovered breath. It was beautiful.Snow covered,flaming like burnished marble, the range,with high summits sharply set against the cloudless sky, upreared in austere majesty, each bleak crag gilded with the first rays of the morning sun.Above the warm, brown plain the giants towered remotely alien like ancient kings on purple thrones, and the contrast of their gleaming drifts of snow,with the dry, grassy foothills through which we were winding our way,was like that of deep winter set opposite to early September.However,I would not permit Zulime to exhaust her vocabulary of admiration. “Keep some of your adjectives till we reach Ouray,” I said with significant gravity. Before the train came to a stop at the platform of Colorado Springs, I caught sight of the red, good-humored face of Gustave, coachman for Louis Ehrich, one of my Colorado friends.Gustave was standing beside the road wagon in which I had so often ridden , and when he saw me alight he motioned to me.“You are to come with me,” he explained as I approached.“I have orders to bring you at once to the house—breakfast is waiting for you.” I had written to the Ehrichs,saying that my wife would be with me in the Springs for a few days, and that I wanted them to meet her—but I did not expect to be met or to receive an invitation to breakfast. Zulime hesitated till I assured her that the Ehrichs were old 117 Garland_Daughter_to press 10/20/06 3:43 PM Page 117 friends and not the kind of people who say one thing and mean another. “They will never permit us to go to the hotel—I know them.” With that she consented, and fifteen minutes later Louis and Henriette met us at their threshold and took Zulime to their hearts, as though they had known her for years. The house stood on the bank of a stream, and, from the windows of the room they gave us, the Lord of the Range loomed in distant majesty directly above the Garden of the Gods,and our first day of married life was filled with splendor.Each hour of that day had for us its own magical color,its own drama of flying cloud and resisting rock.From the commonplace Kansas village we had been transported as if by an enchanted carpet to a land of beauty and romance, of changeful charm, a region of which I was even then beginning to write with joyous inspiration.That my bride and I would forever recall this day and this house with gratitude and delight I was even then aware. “This compensates for the humble scene of our wedding, doesn’t it?” I demanded. “It is more than I dreamed of having,” she replied. In truth no blood relations could have been more sympathetic, more generous,more considerate than the Ehrichs.They rejoiced in us. Skilled and happy hosts, they did their utmost to make our honeymoon an unforgettable experience. Each hour of our stay was arranged with kindness.We drove,we ate,we listened to music ,with a grateful wonder at our good fortune. They would have kept us indefinitely had I not carefully explained my plan to show my bride the Crestones and Marshall Pass.“We must make the Big Circle and get back to Wisconsin in time for Thanksgiving,” I said to Louis, who, as a loyal Colorado man,immediately granted the force of this excuse.He understood also the pathos of the old mother in West Salem,watching,waiting , longing to see her new daughter.“You are right,” he said.“To fail of that dinner would be cruel.” That night we took the Narrow Gauge train,bound for Marshall Pass and the splendors of the Continental Divide. At daylight the next morning we were looping our way up the breast of Mount Shavano, leaving behind us in splendid changing vista the College Range...


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