Study Guide

Angle of Repose Part 4, Chapter 4

By Wallace Stegner

Part 4, Chapter 4

  • Despite the chaos of the camp, Susan actually lives a pretty breezy life. Her favorite part of the day is the morning, when she lounges in bed while Oliver cooks up some breakfast.
  • On this particular day, Susan and Oliver are discussing an upcoming visit from Conrad Prager. This just makes Susan think about bringing Ollie to Leadville so that they can be a complete family again.
  • Once Oliver leaves, Susan pretty much does whatever she wants. Sometimes, she goes out riding with Frank (whom she describes in glowing terms to Augusta) or Pricey, another one of Oliver's assistants, whom she describes as a "goose" (4.4.21).
  • During the evenings, the whole gang (Oliver, Susan, Frank, and Pricey) usually just hangs out in the cabin.
  • Pricey, goofy Englishman that he is, just reads all night in the rocking chair. Sometimes, he rocks so hard that he almost pushes himself straight into the fire.
  • But Susan loves Pricey, despite his goofiness. One day, he even spontaneously quotes a Ralph Waldo Emerson poem while they are gallivanting through the woods together.
  • There aren't many of Susan's letters from these days, although she did later write three novels that took place in the camp town.
  • Regardless, Leadville is in the midst of a major boom. Suddenly, there's construction happening all over town, and (gasp) there are even women there now. Susan befriends one lady, Helen Hunt Jackson, pretty much immediately.
  • That's just the start of it: soon afterward, the United States Geological Survey Party arrives, followed a few days later by Conrad Prager and his posse. Suddenly, Leadville has gone from being the middle of nowhere to being a bustling little town.