The desire to travel was strong
within me, and in the following June I left Mankato, went out
Arizona and secured a position on the A. & P., at Blue
Field, a small town almost in the centre of the desert. Alfreda, Kansas, was dreary and desolate enough, but there, I
was at least in communication with civilization, because I had
one wire running to Kansas City, while Blue Field was the
crowning glory of utter desolation. The Bible says that the
good Lord made heaven and earth in six days, and rested on the
seventh. It needed but a single glance at Blue Field to
thoroughly convince me that the Lord quit work at the end of
the sixth day right there, and had never taken it up since.
There was nothing but some scattering adobe shacks, with the
usual complement of saloons, and as far almost as the eye
could see in every direction,—sand—hot, glaring, burning sand.
To the far northwards, could be dimly observed the outlines of
the Mogollon range of mountains.
population consisted chiefly of about four hundred dare-devil
spirits who had started to wander westwards in search of the
El Dorado and had finally settled there, too tired, too
disgusted to go any farther, and lacking money enough to
return to their homes. It wasn't the most congenial crowd in
the world. There was only one good thing in the place, and
that was a deep well of pure sparkling water. The sun during
the day was so scorching that the rails seemed to sizzle as
they stretched out like two slender, interminable bands of
silver over the hot sands, and at night no relief was
apparent, and the office so stifling hot that my existence was
well nigh unbearable. But the pay was ninety dollars per month
and I hung on until I could save funds enough to get back to
God's own country. To sleep in a house, in the day time, was
almost killing, so I used to make up a sort of bunk on a truck
and sleep in the shade of the freight shed. At
seven-forty-three in the evening, the Trans-Continental flyer
went smashing by at a fifty-five mile an hour clip and the
dust it raised was enough to strangle a man.
climate is a well known specific for pulmonary troubles, and
thousands of people come down there
in all stages of consumption from the first premonitory cough
to the living emaciated skeleton.