Harper's New Monthly Magazine,  10 (1885), 3–17.

Ladies' Day at the Ranch

Alice Wellington Rollins


Short Fiction, Travelogue

Relevant illustrations:

eng. [2]


Agriculture, Archaeology, Periodicals, Scientific Practitioners, Palaeontology, Geology, Homeopathy, Breeding, Class

    Relates the experiences of a miscellaneous group of men and women from New York staying on an isolated sheep ranch in Kansas from April to November. Although there are none of the usual amusements of East Coast high society, the arrival of 'Colonel Higginson's article in the Harper on the Indian hieroglyphics [in the June 1882 issue], with illustrations to prove the similarity between the famous Dighton rock and many found at the West' inspires a trip to a local cave with its own 'crude and curious efforts of Indian drawing' (5–6). Among the group on the ranch is a 'genial, absorbed Professor, filling even the least scientific with something of his own enthusiasm for the splendid fossils of the region, the superb impressions of leaves, and the fossil shells picked up two thousand miles from either ocean' (6), and he is later described as a 'geological professor' and a 'graduate of Harvard' (14). A female member of the group, referred to only as 'A—', enjoys her time on the ranch for the 'opportunity afforded her to make converts to homœpathy' among the local rural population (15), although her city-bred companions 'still think that she owed her converts to the fact that she never sent in any bills' for her medicines (16). While discussing attitudes to livestock in rural Kentucky, observes that 'our firm is quite too recently from New York to have lost its faith in blood and pedigree' and its members would 'scorn to belong to any firm that did not appreciate "registered" Jerseys' [cf. HM1/9/6/3] (17).

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