No Life for a Lady

By Agnes Morley Cleaveland HOUGHTON MIFFLIN
THE author was born to an accompaniment of not very distant gunfire in the Territory of New Mexico on a night of 1874 when her father, the youthful editor of the Cimarron News and Press, was in hiding in accurate anticipation of a raid by hired gunmen. Her earliest recollection is of seeing a man on foot overtaken and shot down by a horseman directly in front of a doorstep on which she sat eating a slice of bread sprinkled with brown sugar; it and the victim fell into the same dust at the same instant. Her father had survived the raid to become, at an incredibly early age, chief construction engineer of the young Santa Fe railroad. He was accidentally killed at thirtyeight by the one thing he was known ever to have been afraid of: to wit, a rifle supposed to be not loaded. His widow undertook to administer the affairs of a large cattle ranch in the Datil mountains— with indifferent and dwindling success until Agnes and her younger brother Raymond reached their teens and began to take affairs into their own hands.
Raymond presently became one of the great and famous cattle barons, with holdings in the neighborhood of half a million acres. Agnes spent a large share of her youth playing a man’s part in the handling of immense herds. She somehow attracted adventures, violent or fantastic, as a magnet attracts iron filings. Her reminiscences make vivid the everyday details of the cattle industry from the earliest years of the open range. For that reason they make not only a hair-raising and spine-tingling personal narrative, but also a document of history.
W. F.