unbleached cotton, a caution to the rest
But one morning after school had called and all seemed quiet, a shocking circumstance occurred. Betty Briley came in dressed in indigo-blue, with short skirt and nankeen pantalettes.
She made a great contrast between the back-wood girls in their long, scant skirts. The larger boys drew down their heads behind their slates and snickered; and Nat and Towhead put their heads close together and whispered, very low: but it broke the rules of the school. The teacher’s back was turned, too, but she heard all the same; and the way she jerked those little urchins off their seats into the middle of the room was a caution to the rest. She demanded an explanation of what they were saying; but they were so frightened that they could not have told if they would, and would not if they could.
For punishment she thrust them down on a seat between some little girls — and one was Better Briley. It seemed a terrible disgrace. A flogging with those hickory wisps would not have seemed half so bad. It proved to be one of those never-to-be-forgotten lessons learned in the first days of school.
The excitement soon died away, and it was not long before every girl in the country went into pantalettes. John Brown had many a puttering job dipping short lengths of unbleached cotton in his vats, after hides were taken out. Tan bark made durable nankeen color, and was thought to be cheaper.
The circuit preacher came around every four weeks to hold meeting in the new schoolhouse, instead of in the deacon’s barn, which seemed more sanctimonious. For his dedication sermon he took for his text; “And a little child shall lead them,” and Nat wondered if it could be that the teacher meant Betty Briley; but he noticed that he did not say anything about pantalettes.
ex Permelia Corey Thomson (whose name appears not on title page, but in prefatory note),
her How the Coreys Went West : Fifty Years in Crossing the Continent (Press of Frye & Smith, San Diego, Cal., 1908) : 78-79 (78) : link (Harvard copy)
same (but University of California; Bancroft Library copy) via hathitrust : link
the latter bears presentation inscription :
“For dear Miss Scripps in memory of Mother. / Estelle Thomson, Adelle Thomson / 1917.”
in chapter 24 “Bound for the Land of Sunshine,” Rufus Corey late in life takes his family out to “the bay region of San Diego county in Southern California, and they settled on a ranch in one of the valleys, in an adobe house shaded by a great pepper tree...” near the border with Mexico.
re: Estelle and Adelle Thomson,
came across this letter to the editor of The Desert Magazine 2:12 (October 1939) :
Los Angeles, California
Dear Mr. Henderson:
We had never seen a copy of “Desert Magazine” unti three weeks ago — then a friend found one of February 1939 in a wastepaper truck — and brought it to us. We polished it and found it a jewel.
In addition to being 93 and blind I have a broken bone and live in a wheelchair. My sister who is 84 takes care of me. She has not time to read . . . So we have five readers, who read such books as Longstreth’s “Laurentians,” all by Shackleton, “Land of Little Rain,” Mary Austin, etc. With our books we have traveled almost all civilized lands and some uncivilized. You may imagine how the “Desert” appealed to us.
We found one current “Desert” issue, August, visited nearly every second hand magazine shop in Los Angeles and finally were rewarded with December 1937, July ’38 and May ’39. For some we paid fifty cents a copy. They were worth it! But we exhausted the supply.
Fifty years ago I roamed over much of the wild land around San Diego and Tiajuana for Philadelphia “Times” and “Press.”
My sister retired after 30 years as head cashier at Hotel del Coronado, with the advent of automobiles, coached thousands of guests (El Centro bound) as to the “jump” of sidewinders.
by Adelle Thomson.
(followed by a letter from Barry M. Goldwater !)
from search : "puttering" inauthor:corey : link