THE COLORADO MAGAZINE

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82 COLORADO MAGAZINE MEMOIRS OF MARIAN RUSSELL 83, shows him in a gaily flowered waist coat with long straight hair The long city street stretches away across an unknown world. and serious eyes like brother Will s It beckons me and I follow Soon the street becomes dreadful and. I became so familiar with my mother s face as it was in later unfamiliar and an almighty and devastating sorrow descends. years that I recall her earlier image only ith an effort She was upon me I climb white ooden steps to an open door and a. a courageous oman both educated and cultured One hundred woman s sweet Yoice bids me enter I eat bread and milk from a. years ago educational advantages were difficult to obtain yet yellow bo l A small gray kitten c omrs and rubs against me. mother managed to give both Will and me educations far beyond There were no radio patrol cars in St l ouis in the year 1848. the average and so an old neg1 0 went along the street ringing a bell and call. When I think of those ea1 ly days I always seem to see her. standing by a fli kering campfire in a flounced gingham dress and. a great sunbonnet Behind her looms the bulk of a coYered wagon. Thus my mother comes to me across the years a small sturdy little. figure erect in the morning sun, From the shadowy background of infanvy l Ome pictures of. amazing clearness ross a rnom of irnma nilate leanliness I. send my toddling feet There is white Chinese matting on the. floor and a stand table across a corner hose top I annot reach. Guests are in this room a gentlemau ho pa1 ts his l Oattails care. fully before sitting down and a lowly lacly whose silken skirts. hillo softly as she raJks, This is my tirst remembrance of our home in Ht Louis t is. sonri In the back ard lies a i attlesnake I haw been told that. it is dead because someone has hit it repeatedly with a stick Yet. out of that dead snake s mouth emerges a great gTN n toad that. goes hopping away across the sun baked yard, I think that this memory of the snake and the toad has always. inc lined me to believe a little in ghosts and goblins when one is. three the orld is a vast strange place he veg etable garden is. a ild unexplored jungle 11 here heasts may loiter among the. eurrants and the eabhages, The garret is a place e explore only 11 hen we are moved to MRS MARIAK RUSSELL.
Taken in 1891 Roon after the Stonewall tragedy, seek deliberately the bright face of danger We elimb the narrow. stairs slowly stopping often to count the steps behind us we. ing Little hite chile lost Have you seen three year old. peer through the keyhole seeing nothing but eerie darkness Y c. push the door ajar at last and stand sniffi11g the thy musty air Marian Sloan So I was found and carried home asleep to. until we become accustomed to the shado s moving there such mother my head on a warm black neck. great flopping shado rn They are like the ings of some enor The light pours down upon me The air is close and heavy. mous bat Our heart beats high in our throat as we adnmce slowly from the breathing of a great audience I lean my head against. inside and stand still letting the silence and loneliness fill us mother sleepily hen suddenly the curtain goes up and with a. Over our head are great c ob webby rafters and far across the clatter and rattle little l om Thumb drives out upon the stage. room is a litter of bundles and hoxes Te retreat and close the He has two Shetland ponies hitched to a small top buggy and is. little door behind us It requires all our courage not to run down dressed in red velvet and gold tassels Then a man stands on the. the steep steps to safety vnrnt is this strange thing in the human stage and tells us that Queen Victoria has given the ponies and the. heart that causes us to court the unkno wn and the dangerous little buggy to tiny Tom Thumb. 84 COLORADO MAGAZINE MEMOIRS OF MARIAN RUSSELL 85, I do wish you could have seen mother s hooped skirts and perched on that eastern bank bile the weste1 11 side was left to. snowy pantalettes Her hoops were never over large but the the buffalo. pantalettes were glistening white and stiff with starch They were We anchored beneath the high bank upon hich ms Port. embroidered and ruffled and anchored above her knees with Snelling and I remember the tall round to er in the center of the. elastic parade ground A sentry hose duty ms to scan the country. Sometimes I had to be reminded to say my prayers but wm side for bands of roving Indians was standing there. never did Across the river from Fort Snelling was an Indian encamp. He kneels by his bed across the room from mother s and mine ment One could not help noticing how mnch cleaner the Sioux. his hair rumpled and his thin brown neck rising above the collar ere than the Chippell as Even from afar the Sioux brightly. of his outing flannel nightshirt I laugh to see the brown soles of colored blankets contrasted oddly with the Chippe as bedraggled. his feet thrust behind him but mother s glance is a reproof His clothing. piping voice begins the child s prayer Now I lay me At the Once the Sioux came scampering to the fort for protection. end he hesitates then adds with the screaming Chippewas hard upon their heels All became. Please God I want someday to see your face bustle and confusion A detachment of soldiers lrns marched out. I turn shocked e es to mothe1 Rhe lrnps my long hro1Yn between the warring factions and tannon were rolled to the gates. braid and crosses the floor to kneel by w ill s side Their two There was much grumhling and muttering and finally a bit of. shadows flicker on the wa 11 pipe smoking At last the offiee1 s came back laughing int o the. In time I became accustomed to the queer codicil and it YaS fort. months before wm startled me again by beginning to pray in a Many distinguished officers have been in charge at Fort Snell. small defiant voice Our Father ho art in Ilea Yen his childish ing Zachary Taylor had been in command there during 1828 and. voice dying away on the power and the glory Surely this was 1829 He had four beautiful daughters one of whom was my. heresy but mother only went to kneel by him again and this time mother s clearest friend She later married Jefferson Davis. it was her sweet voice that added Please God let us someday Dred Scott also had lived at Fort Snelling He was a slaYe. see your face belonging to Dr Emerson an army surgeon Dr Bmerson also. So they come those childhood pietures like life s J oose he a ch 01rnec1 a mulatto girl with a skin like yellow satin Drecl had. with no straight string running through married this prett negress at Fort Snelli11 g in 1836 and when. Mother re married when I was but three yea1 s old and the later Dr Emerson was transferred to St Louis he sold Dred and. aura of my step father s kindness colors many of my childhood s his wife It lras then that Dred brought snit for his freedom The. me11101 ies l fy feet in black sandals are stretched before me 011 ease was carried to the Sup1 eme Court and resulted in the historic. the Chinese matting as I sit holding step father s new boot in Ill Dred Scott Decision. hand Somewhere I haye s n a picture of a mouse running out Besides the trips between Fort Snelling and Prairie du Chien. of a hole in an old hoot Tith mother s forbidden scissors I cut a there Yere long rides across the prairies in mule drawn lumber. hole in that new boot l fother was outraged but step father wagons On one such trip we passed through the Yillage of the. laughed as he picked me up and held my face against his own l rench voyageurs Tall houses edged streets so narrow that they. In 1849 step father M ahoney was appointed custodian of Fort seemed hardly wide enough for our Yagons Yomen with bright. Snelling and Prairie du Chien military outposts on the upper black eyes called to us from open cloonrnys The voyageurs were. Mississippi Garrisons of soldiers were stationed there to repel famous hunters and boatmen Often we saw them coming down. Indian invasion Ve went on a crazy little stern heeler that the riYer in keel boats each with four tiny sails and a little cabin. churned up the muddy ater leaYing a trail of foamy ivory in amidships. our wake One such voyageur was Old Antony a gnome like fellow with. On the western side of the great vellow river the silver prairies a face like a withered apple Never did he come to the fort that. spread as far as the eye could see fhere were herds of buffalo he failed to find V ill and me waiting at the gate Many were the. grazing On the eastern bank were huge trees and long tendrils of tales he told of murderous French priests and a folk he called the. vines hung down into the water 11 the little towns seemed Druids These Druids had the Indian stories beat. 86 COLORADO MAGAZINE MEMOIRS OF MARIAN RUSSELL 87, Te made many trips up and down the Mississippi while we sand dollars worth of gold with her own hands near Sutter s Fort. lived at Fort Snelling On one occasion we passed a tall red cliff Now grandfather had written that he was coming for us and that. called the Maiden s Leap l Iother told us the Indian legend of we too might wash out much gold That was the year of the. Winona the Indian girl who had thrown herself from the precipice cholera epidemic Grandfather and both his sons died of it and. because her lover had proved unfaithful I saw in imagination were buried in California The news reached us slowly because. that slendei girl hurtling clown into the muddy water and I sometimes wagon trains bearing ne s from California were two. leaned far oYer to see drnther I could see Winona on the river s. yearn in crossing the Great Plains, muddy bottom I did so hope that her lover was Sioux and not a. dirty Chippewa During this period of waiting I attended a Catholic primary. Once we camped at the Falls of St Anthony and step father school of the Sacred Heart in Kansas City It pleased me mightily. caught a string of cat fish as yellowish black as the river in which to learn that the small black curlicues I had puzzled over in books. they liYecl Here we saw caribou coming down to the river s edge really meant something I learned to write my name in large. to drink and one old buffalo who swam out to a little island and wavering letters on a slate that was bound in bright red wool I. lay clumsily clown to rest wore white ruffled pinafores and had a clean white handkerchief. each morning, l here also was the time when mother and I went down to St.
Paul to do some shopping St Paul had no paved streets in 49 After school closed in the spring of 1852 mother decided to. an l we waded from one store to another mother holding up the. go to California anyway IV e left Kansas City and moved to Fort. skirt of her long purple dress as she walked Leavenworth where immigrant trains assembled for the West. I can still remember how that little city of tents and covered wag. As I write I again experience the thrill of leaving Fort Snell. ons grew by leaps and bounds on the prairie west of Fort Leaven. ing Orders had come from Vlashington that both Fort Snelling. and Prairie du Chien were to be abandoned All day long the. troops had been leaving In our quarters trunks bags and boxes Mother s clearest friend and most ardent admirer was Cap. stood open as mother sorted packed and eliminated This article tain F X Aubry 1 a wagon master running between Leavenworth. or that she would place in trunk or bag while some uffwanted and Santa Fe We hoped to engage passage in his wagon train. thing she ould toss upon a refuse heap in a corner Here was a Indians ere bad along the trail and Captain Aubry was waiting. game of leave and take that my soul yearned to play Into the for another train to join him l he more wagons the greater safety. kitchen I marched and unhesitatingly threw my beloved rag doll from Indians At last a big Government train pulled in from some. into a tub of water that had been left standing on the floor She place farther east and the t O trains made ready for instant de. eddied around a bit gazing at me with soulful shoebutton eyes parture As passeng ers on the Go ernment train we1 e three young. Filled with sorrow and compunction I backed slowly from the men Two were army officers hile the third was a graduate. room watching spell bound the little painted face on the rnter doctor from West Point These men offered mother free transpor. tation for herself and her children as far as Santa Fe in return. I stood then with step father on the steps of the fort watching. for preparation of their meals enroute She gladly agreed because. as he fitted the great key in the lock That key must have been. the cost of transportation from I1eavenworth to Santa Fe in 1852. fully a foot long and folded in the middle like a giant jack knifE. was 250 00 and half that for children So mother realh saYed. I felt the cool sweet wind on my face and knew that behind that. 500 00 by cooking for the young men, locked door a little painted face eddied round in a tub of water. Thus Fort Snelling and the first chapter of my life closed together During the enforced wait at Fort LeaYenworth Vill and I. had grown to loYe Captain Aubry He was our Yery good friend. 1 F rancis Xavier Aubry explorer and Santa Fe trader as well as the greatest. Of my step father ho was killed by Indians on a scoutino long distance horsebaek rider of his time was born in Maskinonge Quebec De. expedition I haYe nothing but a sad and hazy memory I kno cember 4 1824 and was killed in Santa Fe New Mexico August 18 1854 Aubry. waR a man of phenomenal activit who found outlet for his energies as a trader. little door behind us It requires all our courage not to run down the steep steps to safety vnrnt is this strange thing in the human heart that causes us to court the unknown and the dangerous MEMOIRS OF MARIAN RUSSELL 83 The long city street stretches away across an unknown world It beckons me and I follow Soon the street becomes dreadful and unfamiliar and an almighty and devastating

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