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16 The White House Musicale The Homestead on the day of our return, was not only a violent contrast to the castle in Glen Eyrie, but its eaves were dripping with water and its rooms damp and musty. It was sodden with loneliness.Fatherwas in Dakota and motherwas away never to return ,and the situation would have been quite disheartening to me had it not been for Zulime who did not share my melancholy,or if she did she concealed it under that smiling stoicism which she derived from her deeply philosophic father.She pretended to be glad of the peace of our plain reality. Life with her was not lacking in variety. From the splendors of Colorado and the luxury of private cars and palatial chambers,she now dropped,with a suddenness which should have been disconcerting , to the level of scouring pots and cooking her own meals. It was several days before we succeeded in finding a cook.“This is what it means to be the wife of an unpopular novelist,” I said to her. “I’m not complaining. It’s fun,” she replied. The house was soon in order and when my brother arrived later in the week, she greeted him with the composure of a leisured hostess. In such wise she met every demand upon her. It was Franklin’s first night at home since mother went away, and I labored to cheer him with the fiction that she was “on a visit” to some of her old friends and would soon return. The Junior as I called him, was in a serious mood for another reason.After more than twelve years of life as an actor, he had decided to quit the stage, something the player is traditionally supposed to be incapable of doing,and he had come to me for aid and encouragement.“I have a good opportunity to go into the management of a rubber plantation,” he explained,“and I’d like to have you buy out my share in the Homestead in order to give me a little money to work on.” 195 Garland_Daughter_to press 10/20/06 3:43 PM Page 195 To this I agreed, although I had grave doubts of the rubber business. To have him give up the stage I considered a gain, for while he was a capable player of middle-aged character parts, I saw no lasting success ahead of him—on the contrary I imagined him getting into a more and more precarious condition. Nothing is more hopeless than an elderly actor out of a job and subject to the curt dismissals of contemptuous managers. Frank had always been gayly unconcerned about the future and he was not greatly troubled now;he was merely desirous of a fixed home and a place to vote.With the promise of my cash for his share of the Homestead , and my support in his Mexican venture, he cheered up markedly and went away almost as care-free as a boy. In the quiet of the days which followed I worked each morning ,sometimes on The Steadfast Widow Delaney, and sometimes on a revision of the novel which I had variously and from time to time called On Special Duty, and The Captain of the Gray Horse Troop. Having been accepted by Lorimer, this story was about to be printed under this latter title as a serial in the Post. Each afternoon I saddled my Klondike horse who was in need of exercise, and galloped about over the hills for an hour or two. We were familiar figures by this time, and the farmers when they saw me leaping a pasture fence or climbing a hill,would smile (I assume that they smiled), and say, there goes that literary cuss, or words to that general effect. I took a boyish delight in showing that Ladrone would walk a log or leap a ditch at the mere touch of my heel. Occasionally I went to LaCrosse with Zulime to visit our good friends the Eastons,and it was on one of these visits that I had my first long ride in an automobile. Incredible as it may seem now, there were very few motor cars in the county in 1901,and Easton’s machine would excite laughter to-day. It was dumpy of form and noisy and uncertain of temper,but it made the trip toWinona and almost home again. It broke down helplessly in the last mile, a treachery...


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