32. TEXAS


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WHENEVER I think of San Antonio and Fort Sam Houston, the perfume of the wood violet which blossomed in mid-winter along the borders of our lawn, and the delicate odor of the Cape jessamine, seem to be wafted about me.

Fort Sam Houston is the Headquarters of the Department of Texas, and all the Staff officers live there, in comfortable stone houses, with broad lawns shaded by chinaberry trees. Then at the top of the hill is a great quadrangle, with a clock tower and all the department offices. On the other side of this quadrangle is the post, where the line officers live.

General Stanley commanded the Department. A fine, dignified and able man, with a great record as an Indian fighter. Jack knew him well, as he had been with him in the first preliminary survey for the northern Pacific Railroad, when he drove old Sitting Bull back to the Powder River.

He was now about to reach the age of retirement; and as the day approached, that day when a man has reached the limit of his usefulness (in the opinion of an ever-wise Government), that day which sounds the knell of active service, that day so dreaded and yet so longed for, that day when an army officer is sixty-four


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years old and Uncle Sam lays him upon the shelf, as that day approached, the city of San Antonio, in fact the entire State of Texas poured forth to bid him God-speed; for if, ever an army man was beloved, it was General Stanley by the State of Texas.

Now on the other side of the great quadrangle lay the post, where were the soldiers' barracks and quarters of the line officers. This was commanded by Colonel Coppinger, a gallant officer, who had fought in many wars in many countries.

He had his famous regiment, the Twenty-third. Infantry, and many were the pleasant dances and theatricals we had, with the music furnished by their band; for, as it was a time of peace, the troops were all in garrison.

Major Burbank was there also, with his well-drilled Light Battery of the 3rd Artillery.

My husband, being a Captain and Quartermaster, served directly under General George H. Weeks, who was Chief Quartermaster of the Department, and I can never forget his kindness to us both. He was one of the best men I ever knew, in the army or out of it, and came to be one of my dearest friends. He possessed the sturdy qualities of his Puritan ancestry, united with the charming manners of an aristocrat.

We belonged, of course, now, with the Staff, and something, an intangible something, seemed to have gone out of the life. The officers were all older, and the Staff uniforms were more sombre. I missed the


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white stripe of the infantry, and the yellow of the cavalry. The shoulder-straps all had gold eagles of leaves on them, instead of the Captains' or Lieutenants' bars. Many of the Staff officers wore civilians' clothes, which distressed me much, and I used to tell them that if I were Secretary of War they would not be permitted to go about in black alpaca coats and cinnamon-brown trousers.

‘‘“What would you have us do!”’’ said General Weeks.

‘‘“Wear white duck and brass buttons,”’’ I replied.

‘‘“Fol-de-rol!”’’ said the fine-looking and erect Chief Quartermaster; ‘‘“you would have us be as vain as we were when we were Lieutenants!”’’

‘‘“You can afford to be,”’’ I answered; for, even with his threescore years, he had retained the lines of youth, and was, in my opinion, the finest looking man in the Staff of the Army.

But all my reproaches and all my diplomacy were of no avail in reforming the Staff. Evidently comfort and not looks was their motto.

One day, I accidentally caught a side view of myself in a long mirror (long mirrors had not been very plentiful on the frontier), and was appalled by the fact that my own lines corresponded but too well, alas! with those of the Staff. Ah, me! were the days, then, of Lieutenants forever past and gone? The days of suppleness and youth, the careless gay days, when there was no thought for the future, no anxiety


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about education, when the day began with a wild dash across country and ended with a dinner and dance—were they over, then, for us all?

Major Burbank's battery of light artillery came over and enlivened the quiet of our post occasionally with their brilliant red color. At those times, we all went out and stood in the music pavilion to watch the drill; and when his horses and guns and caissons thundered down the hill and swept by us at a terrific gallop, our hearts stood still. Even the dignified Staff permitted themselves a thrill, and as for the women, our excitement knew no bounds.

The brilliant red of the artillery brought color to the rather grey aspect of the quiet Headquarters post, and the magnificent drill supplied the martial element so dear to a woman's heart.

In San Antonio, the New has almost obliterated the Old, and little remains except its pretty green river, its picturesque bridges, and the historic Alamo, to mark it from other cities in the Southwest.

In the late afternoon, everybody drove to the Plaza, where all the country people were selling their garden-stuff and poultry in the open square. This was charming, and we all bought live fowl and drove home again. One heard cackling and gobbling from the smart traps and victorias, and it seemed to be a survival of an old custom. The whole town took a drive after that, and supped at eight o'clock.

The San Antonio people believe there is no climate


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to equal theirs, and talk much about the cool breezes from the Gulf of Mexico, which is some miles away. But I found seven months of the twelve too hot for comfort, and I could never detect much coolness in the summer breezes.

After I settled down to the sedateness which is supposed to belong to the Staff, I began to enjoy life very much. There is compensation for every loss, and I found, with the new friends, many of whom had lived their lives, and had known sorrow and joy, a true companionship which enriched my life, and filled the days with gladness.

My son had completed the High School course in San Antonio, under an able German master, and had been sent East to prepare for the Stevens Institute of Technology, and in the following spring I took my daughter Katharine and fled from the dreaded heat of a Texas summer. Never can I forget the child's grief on parting from her Texas pony. She extorted a solemn promise from her father, who was obliged to stay in Texas, that he would never part with him.

My brother, then unmarried, and my sister Harriet were living together in New Rochelle and to them we went. Harry's vacation enabled him to be with us, and we had a delightful summer. It was good to be on the shores of Long Island Sound.

In the autumn, not knowing what next was in store for us, I placed my dear little Katharine at the Convent of the Sacred Heart at Kenwood on the Hudson,


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that she might be able to complete her education in one place, and in the care of those lovely, gentle and refined ladies of that order.

Shortly after that, Captain Jack was ordered to David's Island, New York Harbor (now called Fort Slocum), where we spent four happy and uninterrupted years, in the most constant intercourse with my dear brother and sister.

Old friends were coming and going all the time, and it seemed so good to us to be living in a place where this was possible.

Captain Summerhayes was constructing officer and had a busy life, with all the various sorts of building to be done there.

David's Island was then an Artillery Post, and there were several batteries stationed there. (Afterwards it became a recruiting station.) The garrison was often entirely changed. At one time, General Henry C. Cook was in command. He and his charming Southern wife added so much to the enjoyment of the post. Then came our old friends the Van Vliets of Santa FÉ days; and Dr. and Mrs. Valerie Havard, who are so well known in the army, and then Colonel Carl Woodruff and Mrs. Woodruff, whom we all liked so much, and dear Doctor Julian Cabell, and others, who completed a delightful garrison.

And we had a series of informal dances and invited the distinguished members of the artistic colony from New Rochelle, and then, when the


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summer came, and the delicious warm days, why, then we all took a plunge in the bright clear waters of Long Island Sound; and often Francis Wilson and Frederic Remington and Augustus Thomas, and Julian Hawthorne and Kemble (who all lived in New Rochelle), came over and enjoyed a swim with us. They often brought their families along, and such gay bathing parties were never before seen, on old David's Island. And during this time my brother had married one of the nicest and handsomest girls in Westchester County and their home in New Rochelle was most attractive. Harry and Katharine were able to spend all their vacations with us, and altogether our life there was near to perfection.

We were doomed to have one more tour in the West, however, and this time it was the Middle West.

For in the autumn of '96, Jack was ordered to Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, on construction work.

Jefferson Barracks is an old and historic post on the Mississippi River, some ten miles south of St. Louis. I could not seem to take any interest in the post or in the life there. I could not form new ties so quickly, after our life on the coast, and I did not like the Missisippi Valley, and St. Louis was too far from the post, and the trolley ride over there too disagreeable for words. After seven months of just existing (on my part) at Jefferson Barracks, Jack received an order for Fort Myer, the end, the aim,


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the dream of all army people. Fort Myer is about three miles from Washington, D. C.

We lost no time in getting there and were soon settled in our pleasant quarters. There was some building to be done, but the duty was comparatively light, and we entered with considerable zest into the social life of the Capital. We expected to remain there for two years, at the end of which time Captain Summerhayes would be retired and Washington would be our permanent home.

But alas! our anticipation was never to be realized, for, as we all know, in May of 1898, the Spanish War broke out, and my husband was ordered to New York City to take charge of the Army Transport Service, under Colonel Kimball.

No delay was permitted to him, so I was left behind, to pack up the household goods and to dispose of our horses and carriages as best I could.

The battle of Manila Bay had changed the current of our lives, and we were once more adrift.

The young Cavalry officers came in to say good-bye to Captain Jack: every one was busy packing up his belongings for an indefinite period and preparing for the field. We all felt the undercurrent of sadness and uncertainty, but “a good health” and “happy return” was drunk all around, and Jack departed at midnight for his new station and new duties.

The next morning at daybreak we were awakened


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by the tramp, tramp of the Cavalry, marching out of the post, en route for Cuba.

We peered out of the windows and watched the troops we loved so well, until every man and horse had vanished from our sight.

Fort Myer was deserted and our hearts were sad.

* * * * * * * * *

My sister Harriet, who was visiting us at that time, returned from her morning walk, and as she stepped upon the porch, she said: ‘‘“Well! of all lonesome places I ever saw, this is the worst yet. I am going to pack my trunk and leave. I came to visit an army post, but not an old women's home or an orphan asylum: that is about all this place is now. I simply cannot stay!”’’

Whereupon, she proceeded immediately to carry out her resolution, and I was left behind with my young daughter, to finish and close up our life at Fort Myer.

To describe the year which followed, that strenuous year in New York, is beyond my power.

That summer gave Jack his promotion to a Major, but the anxiety and the terrible strain of official work broke down his health entirely, and in the following winter the doctors sent him to Florida, to recuperate.

After six weeks in St. Augustine, we returned to New York. The stress of the war was over; the Major was ordered to Governor's Island as Chief Quartermaster, Department of the East, and in the following


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year he was retired, by operation of the law, at the age limit.

I was glad to rest from the incessant changing of stations; the life had become irksome to me, in its perpetual unrest. I was glad to find a place to lay my head, and to feel that we were not under orders; to find and to keep a roof-tree, under which we could abide forever.

In 1903, by an act of Congress, the veterans of the Civil War, who had served continuously for thirty years or more were given an extra grade; so now my hero wears with complacency the silver leaf of the Lieutenant-Colonel, and is enjoying the quiet life of a civilian in a conservative old New England city.

But that fatal spirit of unrest from which I thought to escape, and which ruled my life for so many years, sometimes asserts its power, and at those times my thoughts turn back to the days when we were all Lieutenants together, marching across the deserts and mountains of Arizona; back to my friends of the Eighth Infantry, that historic regiment, whose officers and men fought before the walls of Chapultepec and Mexico; back to my friends of the Sixth Cavalry, to the days at Camp MacDowell, where we slept under the stars, and watched the sun rise from behind the Four Peaks of the MacDowell Mountains: where we rode the big cavalry horses over the sands of the Maricopa desert, swung in our hammocks under the ramádas; swam in the red waters of the Verde River,


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JOHN W. SUMMERHAYES, MAJOR AND QUARTERMASTER, U.S.A


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ate canned peaches, pink butter and commissary hams, listened for the scratching of the centipedes as they scampered around the edges of our canvas-covered floors, found scorpions in our slippers, and rattlesnakes under our beds.

The old post is long since abandoned, but the Four Peaks still stand, wrapped in their black shadows by night, and their purple colors by day, waiting for the passing of the Apache and the coming of the white man, who shall dig his canals in those arid plains, and build his cities upon the ruins of the ancient Aztec dwellings.

The Sixth Cavalry, as well as the Eighth Infantry, has seen many vicissitudes since those days. Some of our gallant Captains and Lieutenants have won their stars, others have been slain in battle.

Dear, gentle Major Worth received wounds in the Cuban campaign, which caused his death, but he wore his stars before he obeyed the “last call.”

The gay young officers of Angel Island days hold dignified commands in the Philippines, Cuba, and Alaska.

* * * * * * * * *

My early experiences were unusually rough. None of us seek such experiences, but possibly they bring with them a sort of recompense, in that simple comforts afterwards seem, by contrast, to be the greatest luxuries.


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I am glad to have known the army: the soldiers, the line, and the Staff; it is good to think of honor and chivalry, obedience to duty, and the pride of arms; to have lived amongst men whose motives were unselfish and whose aims were high; amongst men who served an ideal; who stood ready, at the call of their country, to give their lives for a Government which is, to them, the best in the world.

Sometimes I hear the still voices of the Desert: they seem to be calling me through the echoes of the Past. I hear, in fancy, the wheels of the ambulance crunching the small broken stones of the malapais, or grating swiftly over the gravel of the smooth white roads of the river-bottoms. I hear the rattle of the ivory rings on the harness of the six-mule team; I see the soldiers marching on ahead; I see my white tent, so inviting after a long day's journey.

But how vain these fancies! Railroad and automobile have annihilated distance, the army life of those years is past and gone, and Arizona, as we knew it, has vanished from the face of the earth.

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