Lin McLean HTML version

Lin Mclean's Honey-Moon
Rain had not fallen for some sixty days, and for some sixty more there was no
necessity that it should fall. It is spells of weather like this that set the Western
editor writing praise and prophecy of the boundless fertility of the soil--when
irrigated, and of what an Eden it can be made--with irrigation; but the spells
annoy the people who are trying to raise the Eden. We always told the transient
Eastern visitor, when he arrived at Cheyenne and criticised the desert, that
anything would grow here--with irrigation; and sometimes he replied,
unsympathetically, that anything could fly--with wings. Then we would lead such
a man out and show him six, eight, ten square miles of green crops; and he, if he
was thoroughly nasty, would mention that Wyoming contained ninety-five
thousand square miles, all waiting for irrigation and Eden. One of these Eastern
supercivilized hostiles from New York was breakfasting with the Governor and
me at the Cheyenne Club, and we were explaining to him the glorious future, the
coming empire, of the Western country. Now the Governor was about thirty-two,
and until twenty-five had never gone West far enough to see over the top of the
Alleghany Mountains. I was not a pioneer myself; and why both of us should
have pitied the New-Yorker's narrowness so hard I cannot see. But we did. We
spoke to him of the size of the country. We told him that his State could rattle
round inside Wyoming's stomach without any inconvenience to Wyoming, and he
told us that this was because Wyoming's stomach was empty. Altogether I began
to feel almost sorry that I had asked him to come out for a hunt, and had travelled
in haste all the way from Bear Creek to Cheyenne expressly to meet him.
"For purposes of amusement," he said, "I'll admit anything you claim for this
place. Ranches, cowboys, elk; it's all splendid. Only, as an investment I prefer
the East. Am I to see any cowboys?"
"You shall," I said; and I distinctly hoped some of them might do something to
him "for purposes of amusement."
"You fellows come up with me to my office," said the Governor. "I'll look at my
mail, and show you round." So we went with him through the heat and sun.
"What's that?" inquired the New-Yorker, whom I shall call James Ogden.
"That is our park," said I. "Of course it's merely in embryo. It's wonderful how
quickly any shade tree will grow here wi--" I checked myself.
But Ogden said "with irrigation" for me, and I was entirely sorry he had come.
We reached the Governor's office, and sat down while he looked his letters over.
"Here you are, Ogden," said he. "Here's the way we hump ahead out here." And
he read us the following:
"MAGAW, KANSAS, July 5, 188--
"Hon. Amory W. Baker:
"Sir,--Understanding that your district is suffering from a prolonged drought, I
write to say that for necessary expenses paid I will be glad to furnish you with a
reasonably shower. I have operated successfully in Australia, Mexico, and
several States of the Union, and am anxious to exhibit my system. If your
Legislature will appropriate a sum to cover, as I said, merely my necessary