Miss Agnes
Tuesday September 08th 2020, 10:11 pm
Filed under: History

Every few years I go back and re-read Agnes Morely Cleaveland’s “No Life for a Lady,” her 1941 autobiography of growing up a cowpuncher on the New Mexico frontier, with a huge mental thank you to my friend Scott who gifted me with a copy some time ago. I’ve passed along a few copies myself. It’s a great read.

It starts off just a bit slow with the sudden death of her father in her childhood by way of explaining all that follows, but then, wow. She is *funny* and sharply observant of her very different world–while able to move easily in one more like ours after her mother sent her back east for high school and eventually Stanford.

Civilization starts to discover their area as she and her siblings reach adulthood. Model Ts start to show up and the cowboy genre becomes popular in movies and books.

An author who wanted to get in on the trend managed to get Agnes to read her manuscript–and it was so screamingly off that she howled, but trying to be charitable, sent off some authenticity pointers.

Agnes got a telegram back almost immediately telling her that she was to put the woman up while she came and stayed to see the local flavor for herself and would be at the post office on this date for Agnes to come pick her up there.

A trip that the family made once a week to pick up the mail given the distance.

Holy cow. Like, right now. Presumptuous much?

So Agnes and her brother decided to offer her that authenticity she craved: they would take her on a buffalo hunt.

They did not tell her there had been no buffalo for years at that point. They simply got her a horse and set off and gave chase to the beast.

Which was a horse with a bear hide strapped to it, running for its life to try to get away from the scent and weight that so terrified it.

Yonder author went home in a huff.

But at least someone got a great story out of it!

3 Comments so far
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Tee hee … perfect response!

Comment by Anne 09.08.20 @ 11:43 pm

Oh, fun!

Comment by ccr in MA 09.09.20 @ 5:48 am

Oh wow! They mailed that poor author and then she had to go on a buffalo hunt? I would have left in a huff too. Hope they let her go home by train. (Sorry, couldn’t resist. )

Will have to get my hands on that book, it sounds like just my kind of read.

Comment by Chris S in Canada 09.09.20 @ 7:09 am

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