In the Footprints of the Padres
Charles Warren Stoddard

Part 3 out of 4


When the _San Antonio_ returned to Mexico, it left at Monterey Padre
Junipero Serra and five other priests, Lieutenant Pedro Fages and thirty
soldiers. The settlement was at once made capital of Alta California,
and Portola appointed the first governor. The Presidio (an enclosure
about three hundred yards square, containing a chapel, store-houses,
offices, residences, and a barracks) was the nucleus of the city; but
the mission was soon removed to a beautiful valley about six miles
distant, where there was more room, better shelter from the cold west
winds, and an unrivalled prospect. The valley is now known as Carmelo.

A fort was built upon a little hill commanding the settlement, and life
began in good earnest. What followed? Mexico threw off the Spanish yoke;
California was hence forth subject to Mexico alone. The news spread;
vessels gathered in the harbor, and enormous profits were realized on
the sale and shipment of the hides of wild cattle lately roaming upon a
thousand hills.

Then came gradual changes in the government; they culminated in 1846
when Captain Mervin, at the head of two hundred and fifty men, raised
the Stars and Stripes over Monterey, and a proclamation was read
declaring California a portion of the United States.

The Rev. Walter Colton, once chaplain of the United States frigate
_Congress_, was appointed first alcalde; and the result was the erection
of a stone courthouse, which was long the chief ornament of the town;
and, somewhat later, the publication of Alcalde Colton's highly
interesting volume, entitled "Three Years in California."


In 1829 Captain Robinson, the author of "Life in California" in the good
old mission days, wrote thus of his first sight of Monterey: "The sun
had just risen, and, glittering through the lofty pines that crowned the
summit of the eastern hills, threw its light upon the lawn beneath. On
our left was the Presidio, with its chapel dome and towering flag-staff
in conspicuous elevation. On the right, upon a rising ground, was seen
the _castillo_, or fort, surmounted by some ten or a dozen cannon. The
intervening space between these two points was enlivened by the hundred
scattered dwellings that form the town, and here and there groups of
cattle grazing.

"After breakfast G. and myself went on shore, on a visit to the
Commandant, Don Marian Estrada, whose residence stood in the central
part of the town, in the usual route from the beach to the Presidio. In
external appearance, notwithstanding it was built of adobe--brick made
by the mixture of soft mud and straw, moulded and dried in the sun,--it
was not displeasing; for the outer walls had been plastered and
whitewashed, giving it a cheerful and inviting aspect. Like all
dwellings in the warm countries of America, it was but one story in
height, covered with tiles, and occupied, in its entire premises, an
extensive square.

"Our Don was standing at his door; and as we approached, he sallied
forth to meet us with true Castilian courtesy; embraced G., shook me
cordially by the hand, then bowed us ceremoniously into the _sala_. Here
we seated ourselves upon a sofa at his right. During conversation
_cigarritos_ passed freely; and, although thus early in the day, a
proffer was made of refreshments."

In 1835 R.H. Dana, Jr., the author of "Two Years before the Mast," found
Monterey but little changed; some of the cannon were unmounted, but the
Presidio was still the centre of life on the Pacific coast, and the town
was apparently thriving. Day after day the small boats plied between
ship and shore, and the population gave themselves up to the delights of
shopping. Shopping was done on shipboard; each ship was a storehouse of
attractive and desirable merchandise, and the little boats were kept
busy all day long bearing customers to and fro.

In 1846 prices were ruinously high, as the alcalde was free to
confess--he being a citizen of the United States and a clergyman into
the bargain. Unbleached cottons, worth 6 cents per yard in New York,
brought 50 cents, 60 cents, 75 cents in old Monterey. Cowhide shoes were
$10 per pair; the most ordinary knives and forks, $10 per dozen; poor
tea, $3 per pound; truck-wheels, $75 per pair. The revenue of these
enormous imposts passed into the hands of private individuals, who had
placed themselves by violence or fraud at the head of the Government.

In those days a "blooded" horse and a pack of cards were thought to be
among the necessaries of life. One of the luxuries was a _rancho_ sixty
miles in length, owned by Captain Sutter in the valley of the
Sacramento. Native prisoners, arrested for robbery and confined in the
adobe jail at Monterey, clamored for their guitars, and the nights were
filled with music until the rascals swung at half-mast.

In August, 1846, _The Californian_, the first newspaper established on
the coast, was issued by Colton & Semple. The type and press were once
the property of the Franciscan friars, and used by them; and in the
absence of the English _w_, the compositors on _The Californian_ doubled
the Spanish _v_. The journal was printed half in English and half in
Spanish, on cigarette paper about the size of a sheet of fools-cap.
Terms, $3 per year in advance; single copies, 12-1/2 cents each. Semple
was a man just suited to the newspaper office he occupied; he stood six
feet eight inches in moccasins, was dressed in buckskin, and wore a
foxskin cap.

The first jury of the alcaldean court was empanelled in September,
1846. Justice flourished for about three years. In 1849 Bayard Taylor
wrote: "Monterey has the appearance of a deserted town: few people in
the streets, business suspended," etc. Rumors of gold had excited the
cupidity of the inhabitants, and the capital was deserted; elsewhere was
metal more attractive. The town never recovered from that shock. It
gradually declined until few, save Bohemian artists and Italian and
Chinese fishermen, took note of it. The settlement was obsolete in my
day; the survivors seemed to have lost their memories and their interest
in everything. Thrice in my early pilgrimages I asked where the Presidio
had stood; on these occasions did the oldest inhabitant and his
immediate juniors vaguely point me to three several quarters of the
town. I believe in my heart that the pasture in front of the old
church--then sacred to three cows and a calf--was the cradle of
civilization in the far West.

[Illustration: San Carlos de Carmelo]

The original custom-house--there was no mistaking it, for it was founded
on a rock--overhung the sea, while the waves broke gently at its base,
and rows of sea-gulls sat solemnly on the skeletons of stranded whales
scattered along the beach. A Captain Lambert dwelt on the first floor of
the building; a goat fed in the large hall--it bore the complexion of a
stable--where once the fashionable element tripped the light fantastic
toe. In those days the first theatre in the State was opened with
brilliant success, and the now long-forgotten Binghams appeared in that
long-forgotten drama, "Putnam, or the Lion Son of '76." The
never-to-be-discourteously-mentioned years of our pioneers, '49 and '50,
"were memorable eras in the Thespian records of Monterey," says the
guide-book. They were indeed; for Lieutenant Derby, known to the
literary world as "John Phoenix" and "Squibob," was one of the leading
spirits of the stage. But the Thespian records came to an untimely end,
and it must be confessed that Monterey no longer tempts the widely
strolling player.

I saw her in decay, the once flourishing capital. The old convent was
windowless, and its halls half filled with hay; the barracks and the
calaboose, inglorious ruins; the Block House and the Fort, mere shadows
of their former selves. As for Colton Hall--the town-hall, named in
honor of its builder, the first alcalde,--it is a modern-looking
structure, that scarcely harmonizes with the picturesque adobes that
surround it. Colton said of it: "It has been erected out of the slender
proceeds of town lots, the labor of the convicts, taxes on liquor shops,
and fines on gamblers. The scheme was regarded with incredulity by many;
but the building is finished, and the citizens have assembled in it, and
christened it after my name, which will go down to posterity with the
odor of gamblers, convicts and tipplers." Bless his heart! he need not
have worried himself. No one seems to know or care how the building was
constructed; and as for the name it bears, it is as savory as any.

The church was built in 1794, and dedicated as the parish church in
1834, when the missions were secularized and Carmelo abandoned. It is
the most interesting structure in the town. Much of the furniture of the
old mission is preserved here: the holy vessels beaten out of solid
silver; rude but not unattractive paintings by nameless artists--perhaps
by the friars themselves,--landmarks of a crusade that was gloriously
successful, but the records of which are fading from the face of the

Doubtless the natives who had flourished under the nourishing care of
the mission in its palmy days, wagged their heads wittingly when the
brig _Natalia_ met her fate. Tradition says Napoleon I. made his escape
from Elba on that brig. It was by the _Natalia_ that Hijar, Director of
Colonization, arrived for the purpose of secularizing the missions; and
his scheme was soon accomplished. But the winds blew, and the waves rose
and beat upon the little brig, and laid her bones in the sands of
Monterey. It is whispered that when the sea is still and the water
clear, and the tide very, very low, one may catch faint glimpses of the
skeleton of the _Natalia_ swathed in its shroud of weeds.

There are two attractions in the vicinity, without which I fear
Monterey would have ultimately passed from the memory of man. These are
the mission at Carmelo, and the Druid grove at Cypress Point. In the
edge of the town there is a cross which marks the spot where Padre
Junipero Serra sang his first Mass at Monterey. It was a desolate
picture when I last saw it. It stood but a few yards from the sea, in a
lonely hollow. It was a favorite subject with the artists who found
their way thither, and who were wont to paint it upon the sea-shells
that lay almost within reach. Now a marble statue of Junipero Serra,
erected by Mrs. Leland Stanford, marks the spot.

Six miles away, beyond the hills, above the shallow river, in sight of
the sparkling sea, is the ruin of Carmelo. From the cross by the shore
to the church beyond the hills, one reads the sacred history of the
coast from _alpha_ to _omega_. This, the most famous, if not the most
beautiful, of all the Franciscan missions, has suffered the common fate.
In my day the roof was wanting; the stone arches were crumbling one
after another; the walls were tufted with sun-dried grass; everywhere
the hand of Vandalism had scrawled his initials or his name. The nave of
the church was crowded with neglected graves. Fifteen governors of the
territory mingle their dust with that consecrated earth, but there was
never so much as a pebble to mark the spot where they lie. Even the
saintly Padre Junipero, who founded the mission, and whose death was
grimly heroic, lay until recent years in an unknown tomb. Thanks to the
pious efforts of the late Father Cassanova, the precious remains of
Junipero Serra, together with those of three other friars of the
mission, were discovered, identified, and honorably reentombed.

From 1770 to 1784 Padre Junipero Serra entered upon the parish record
all baptisms, marriages, and deaths. These ancient volumes are carefully
preserved, and are substantially bound in leather; the writing is bold
and legible, and each entry is signed "Fray Junipero Serra," with an odd
little flourish of the pen beneath. The last entry is dated July 30,
1784; then Fray Francesco Palou, an old schoolmate of Junipero Serra,
and a brother friar, records the death of his famous predecessor, and
with it a brief recital of his life work, and the circumstances at the
close of it.

Junipero Serra took the habit of the order of St. Francis at the age of
seventeen; filled distinguished positions in Spain and Mexico before
going to California; refused many tempting and flattering honors; was
made president of the fifteen missions of Lower California--long since
abandoned; lived to see his last mission thrive mightily, and died at
the age of seventy--long before the fall of the crowning work of his

Feeling the approach of death, Junipero Serra confessed himself to Fray
Palou; went through the Church offices for the dying; joined in the hymn
_Tantum Ergo_ "with elevated and sonorous tones," saith the
chronicle,--the congregation, hearing him intone his death chaunt, were
awed into silence, so that the dying man's voice alone finished the
hymn; then he repaired to his cell, where he passed the night in prayer.
The following morning he received the captain and chaplain of a Spanish
vessel lying in the harbor, and said, cheerfully, he thanked God that
these visitors, who had traversed so much of sea and land, had come to
throw a little earth upon his body. Anon he asked for a cup of broth,
which he drank at the table in the refectory; was then assisted to his
bed, where he had scarcely touched the pillow when, without a murmur, he

In anticipation of his death, he had ordered his own coffin to be made
by the mission carpenter; and his remains were at once deposited in it.
So precious was the memory of this man in his own day that it was with
the utmost difficulty his coffin was preserved from destruction; for the
populace, venerating even the wooden case that held the remains of their
spiritual Father, clamored for the smallest fragment; and, though a
strong body-guard watched over it until the interment, a portion of his
vestment was abstracted during the night. One thinks of this and of the
overwhelming sorrow that swept through the land when this saintly
pioneer fell at the head of his legion.

The California mission reached the height of its prosperity forty years
later, when it owned 87,600 head of cattle, 60,000 sheep, 2,300 calves,
1,800 horses, 365 yoke of oxen, much merchandise, and $40,000 in specie.
Tradition hints that this money was buried when a certain
piratical-looking craft was seen hovering about the coast.

This wealth is all gone now--scattered among the people who have allowed
the dear old mission to fall into sad decay. What a beautiful church it
must have been, with its quaint carvings, its star-window that seems to
have been blown out of shape in some wintry wind, and all its lines
hardened again in the sunshine of the long, long summer; with its
Saracenic door!--what memories the _Padres_ must have brought with them
of Spain and the Moorish seal that is set upon it! Here we have evidence
of it painfully wrought out by the hands of rude Indian artisans. The
ancient bells have been carried away into unknown parts; the owl hoots
in the belfry; the hills are shown of their conventual tenements; while
the wind and the rain and a whole heartless company of iconoclasts have
it all their own way.

Once in the year, on San Carlos' Day, Mass is sung in the only
habitable corner of the ruin; the Indians and the natives gather from
all quarters, and light candles among the graves, and mourn and mourn
and make a strange picture of the place; then they go their way, and the
owl returns, and the weeds grow ranker, and every hour there is a
straining among the weakened joists, and a creaking and a crumbling in
many a nook and corner; and so the finest historical relic in the land
is suffered to fall into decay. Or, perhaps I should say, that was the
sorry state of Carmelo in my day. I am assured that every effort is now
being made to restore and preserve beautiful Carmelo.


She was a dear old stupid town in my day. She boasted but half a dozen
thinly populated streets. One might pass through these streets almost
any day, at almost any hour of the day, footing it all the way from the
dismantled fort on the seaside to the ancient cemetery, grown to seed,
at the other extremity of the settlement, and not meet half a score of

Geese fed in the gutters, and hissed as I passed by; cows grazing by the
wayside eyed me in grave surprise; overhead, the snow-white sea-gulls
wheeled and cried peevishly; and on the heights that shelter the
ex-capital the pine-trees moaned and moaned, and often caught and held
the sea-fog among their branches, when the little town was basking in
the sunshine and dreaming its endless dream.

How did a man kill time in those days? There was a studio on Alvarado
Street; it stood close to the post-office, in what may be generously
denominated as the busiest part of the town. The studio was the focus of
life and hope and love; some work was also supposed to be done there. It
was the headquarters of the idle and the hungry, and the seeker after
consolation in all its varied forms. Choice family groceries were
retailed three times a day in the rear of the establishment; and there
we often gathered about the Bohemian board, to celebrate whatever our
fancy painted. Now it was an imaginary birthday--a movable feast that
came to be very popular in our select artistic circle; again it was the
possible--dare I say probable?--sale of a picture at a quite
inconceivable price. There were always occasions enough. Would it had
been the case with the dinners!

The studio was the thing,--the studio, decked with Indian trophies and
the bleached bones of sea birds and land beasts, and lined with studies
in all colors under heaven. Here was the oft-lighted peace-pipe; and
Orient rugs and wolf-skins for a _siesta_ when the beach yonder was a
blaze of white and blinding light, that made it blessed to close one's
eyes and shut out the glare--and to keep one's ears open to the lulling
song of the sea.

Here we concocted a plan. It was to be kept a profound mystery; even the
butcher was unaware, and the baker in total darkness; as for the
wine-merchant, he was as blind as a bat. We were to give the banquet and
ball of the season. We went to the hall of our sisters,--scarcely kin
were they, but kinder never lived, and their house was at our disposal.
We threw out the furniture; we made a green bower of the adobe chamber.
One window, that bore upon the forlorn vacuum of the main street, was
speedily stained the deepest and most splendid dyes; from without, it
had a pleasing, not to say refining, medieval effect; from within, it
was likened unto the illuminated page of an antique antiphonary--in
flames; yes, positively in flames!

A great board was laid the length of the room, a kind of Round
Table--with some few unavoidable innovations, such as a weak leg or two,
square corners, and an unexpected depression in the centre of it, where
the folding leaves sought in vain to join. From the wall depended the
elaborate _menu_, life-size and larger; and at every course a cartoon in
color more appetizing than the town market. The emblematic owl blinked
upon us from above the door. Invitations were hastily penned and sent
forth to a select few. Forgive us, Dona Jovita, if thy guest card was
redolent of tea or of brown soap; for it was penned in the privacy of
the pantry, and either upon the Scylla of the tea-caddy or the soapy
Charybdis it was sure to be dashed at last.

It was rare fun, if I did say it from the foot of the flower-strewn
table, clad in an improvised toga, while a gentleman in Joss-like
vestments carved and complimented in a single breath at the top of the
Bohemian board. From the adjoining room came the music of hired
minstrels: the guitar, the violin, and blending voices--a piping tenor
and a soft Spanish _falsetto_. They chanted rhythmically to the clatter
of tongues, the ripple of laughter, and the clash of miscellaneous

An unbidden multitude, gathered from the highways, and the byways,
loitered about the vicinity, patiently--O how patiently!--awaiting our
adjournment. The fandango naturally followed; and it enlivened the vast,
bare chambers of an adjoining adobe, whose walls had not echoed such
revelry since the time when Monterey was the chief port of the Northern
Pacific, and basked in the sunshine of a prosperous monopoly. A good
portion of the town was there that evening. Shadowy forms hovered in the
arbors of the rose garden; the city band appeared and rendered much
pleasing music,--though it was rendered somewhat too vigorously. That
band was composed of the bone and sinew of the town. Oft in the daytime
had I not heard the flageolet lifting its bird-like voice over the
counter of the juvenile jeweller, who wrought cunningly in the
shimmering abalone shells during the rests in his music? Did not the
trombone bray from beyond the meadow, where the cooper could not barrel
his aspiring soul? It was the French-horn at the butcher's, the fife at
the grocer's, the cornet in the chief saloon on the main street; while
at the edge of the town, from the soot and grime of the smithy, I heard
at intervals the boom of the explosive drum. It was thus they responded
to one another on that melodious shore, and with an ambitious diligence
worthy of the Royal Conservatory.

There was nothing to disturb one in the land, after the musical mania,
save the clang of the combers on the long, lonely beach; the cry of the
sea-bird wheeling overhead, or the occasional bang of a rifle. Even the
narrow-gauge railway, that stopped discreetly just before reaching the
village, broke the monotony of local life but twice in the twenty-four
hours. The whistle of the arriving and departing train, the signal of
the occasional steamer--ah! but for these, what a sweet, sad, silent
spot were that! I used to believe that possibly some day the unbroken
stillness of the wilderness might again envelop it. The policy of the
people invited it. Anything like energy or progress was discouraged in
that latitude. When it was discovered that the daily mail per Narrow
Gauge was arriving regularly and usually on time, it began to look like
indecent haste on the part of the governmental agents. The beauty and
the chivalry that congregated at the post-office seemed to find too
speedy satisfaction at the general delivery window; and presently the
mail-bag for Monterey was dropped at another village, and later carted
twenty miles into town. The happy uncertainty of the mail's arrival
caused the post-office to become a kind of forum, where all the
grievances of the populace were turned loose and generally discussed.

Then it seemed possible that the Narrow Gauge might be frowned down
altogether, and the locomotive warned to cease trespassing upon the
green pastures of the ex-capital. It even seemed possible that in course
of time all aliens might require a passport and a recommendation from
their last place before being permitted to enter in and enjoy the
society of the authorities brooding over that slumberous village.

I have seen as many as six men and a boy standing upon one of the
half-dozen street corners of the town, watching, with a surprise that
bordered upon impertinence, a white pilgrim from San Francisco in an
ulster, innocently taking his way through the otherwise deserted
streets. The ulster was perhaps the chief object of interest. I have
seen three or four citizens sitting in a row, on a fence, like so many
rooks,--and sitting there for hours, as if waiting for something. For
what, pray? For the demented squaw, who revolved about the place, and
slept out of doors in all weathers, and muttered to herself incessantly
while she went to and fro, day after day, seeking the rest she could not
hope for this side the grave? Or for Murillo, the Indian, impudent
though harmless, full of fancies and fire-water? Or for the return of
the whale-boats, with their beautiful lateen-sails? Or for the gathering
of the Neapolitan fishermen down under the old Custom House, where they
sat at evening looking off upon the Bay, and perchance dreaming of Italy
and all that enchanted coast? Or for the rains that poured their sudden
and swift rivulets down the wooded slopes and filled the gorges that
gutted some of the streets? Was it the love of nature, or a belief in
fatalism, or sheer laziness, I wonder, that preserved to Monterey those
washouts, from two to five feet in depth, that were sometimes in the
very middle of the streets, and impassable save by an improvised
bridge--a single plank?

Ah me! It is an ungracious task to prick the bubble reputation, had I
not been dazzled with dreams of Monterey from my youth up! Was I piqued
when I, then a citizen of San Francisco--one of the three hundred
thousand,--when I read in "The Handbook of Monterey" these lines: "San
Francisco is not too firmly fixed to fear the competition of Monterey"?

Well, I may as well confess myself a false prophet. The town fell into
the hands of Croesus, and straightway lost its identity. It is now a
fashionable resort, and likely to remain one for some years to come.
Where now can one look for the privacy of old? Then, if one wished to
forget the world, he drove through a wilderness to Cypress Point. Now
'tis a perpetual picnic ground, and its fastnesses are threaded by a
drive which is one of the features of Del Monte Hotel life. It was
solemn enough of yore. The gaunt trees were hung with funereal mosses;
they had huge elbows and shoulders, and long, thin arms, with skeleton
fingers at the ends of them, that bore knots that looked like heads and
faces such as Dore portrayed in his fantastic illustrations. They were
like giants transformed,--they are still, no doubt; for the tide of
fashion is not likely to prevail against them.

They stand upon the verge of the sea, where they have stood for ages,
defying the elements. The shadows that gather under their locked
branches are like caverns and dungeons and lairs. The fox steals
stealthily away as you grope among the roots, that writhe out of the
earth and strike into it again, like pythons in a rage. The coyote sits
in the edge of the dusk, and cries with a half-human cry--at least he
did in my dead day. And here are corpse-like trees, that have been naked
for ages; every angle of their lean, gray boughs seems to imply
something. Who will interpret these hieroglyphics? Blood-red sunsets
flood this haunted wood; there is a sound as of a deep-drawn sigh
passing through it at intervals. The moonlight fills it with mystery;
and along its rocky front, where the sea-flowers blossom and the
sea-grass waves its glossy locks, the soul of the poet and of the artist
meet and mingle between shadowless sea and cloudless sky, in the
unsearchable mystery of that cypress solitude.

So have I seen it; so would I see it again. When I think on that beach
at Monterey--the silent streets, the walled, unweeded gardens--a wistful
Saturday-afternoon feeling comes over me. I hear again the incessant
roar of the surf; I see the wheeling gulls, the gray sand; the brown,
bleak meadows; the empty streets; the shops, tenantless sometimes--for
the tenant is at dinner or at dominos; the other shops that are locked
forever and the keys rusted away;--whenever I think of her I am reminded
of that episode in Coulton's diary, where he, as alcalde, was awakened
from a deep sleep at the dead of night by a guard, a novice, and a slave
to duty. With no little consternation, the alcalde hastened to unbar the
door. The guard, with a respectful salute, said: "The town, sir, is
perfectly quiet."


It was reception night at the Palace Hotel. As usual the floating
population of San Francisco had drifted into the huge court of that
luxurious caravansary, and was ebbing and eddying among the multitudes
of white and shining columns that support the six galleries under the
crystal roof. The band reveled in the last popular waltz, the hum of the
spectators was hushed, but among the galleries might be seen pairs of
adolescent youths and maidens swaying to the rhythmical melody. We were
taking wine and cigarettes with the Colonel. He was always at home to us
on Monday nights, and even our boisterous chat was suspended while the
blustering trumpeters in the court below blew out their delirious music.
It was at this moment that Bartholomew beckoned me to follow him from
the apartment. We quietly repaired to the gallery among the huge vases
of palms and creepers, and there, bluntly and without a moment's
warning, the dear fellow blurted out this startling revelation: "I have
made an engagement for you; be ready on Thursday next at 4 p.m.; meet me
here; all arrangements are effected; say not a word, but come; and I
promise you one of the jolliest experiences of the season." All this
was delivered in a high voice, to the accompaniment of drums and
cymbals; he concluded with the last flourish of the bandmaster's baton,
and the applause of the public followed. Certainly dramatic effect could
go no further. I was more than half persuaded, and yet, when the
applause had ceased, the dancers unwound themselves, and the low rumble
of a thousand restless feet rang on the marble pavement below, I found
voice sufficient to ask the all-important question, "But what is the
nature of this engagement?" To which he answered, "Oh, we're going down
the coast for a few days, you and I, and Alf and Croesus. A charming
bungalow by the sea; capital bathing, shooting, fishing; nice quiet time
generally; back Monday morning in season for biz!" This was certainly
satisfactory as far as it went, but I added, by way of parenthesis, "and
who else will be present?" knowing well enough that one uncongenial
spirit might be the undoing of us all. To this Bartholomew responded,
"No one but ourselves, old fellow; now don't be queer." He knew well
enough my aversion to certain elements unavoidable even in the best
society, and how I kept very much to myself, except on Monday nights
when we all smoked and laughed with the Colonel--whose uncommonly
charming wife was abroad for the summer; and on Tuesday and Saturday
nights, when I was at the club, and on Wednesdays, when I did the
theatricals of the town, and on Thursdays and Fridays--but never mind!
girls were out of the question in my case, and he knew that the bachelor
hall where I preside was as difficult of access as a cloister. I might
not have given my word without further deliberation, had not the
impetuous Colonel seized us bodily and borne us back into his
smoking-room, where he was about to shatter the wax on a flagon of wine,
a brand of fabulous age and excellence. Bartholomew nodded to Alf, Alf
passed the good news to Croesus, for we were all at the Colonel's by
common consent, and so it happened that the compact was made for

That Thursday, at 4 p.m. we were on our way to the station at 4:30; the
town-houses were growing few and far between, as the wheels of the
coaches spun over the iron road. At five o'clock the green fields of the
departed spring, already grown bare and brown, rolled up between us and
the horizon. California is a naked land and no mistake, but how
beautiful in her nakedness! An hour later we descended at School-house
station; such is the matter-of-fact pet-name given to a cluster of dull
houses, once known by some melodious but forgotten Spanish appellation.
The ranch wagon awaited us; a huge springless affair, or if it had
springs they were of that aggravating stiffness that adds insult to
injury. Excellent beasts dragged us along a winding, dusty road, over
hill, down dale, into a land that grew more and more lonely; not exactly
"a land where it was always afternoon," but apparently always a little
later in the day, say 7 p.m. or thereabouts. We were rapidly wending our
way towards the coast, and on the breezy hill-top a white fold of
sea-fog swept over and swathed us in its impalpable snow. Oh! the chill,
the rapturous agony of that chill. Do you know what sea-fog is? It is
the bodily, spiritual and temporal life of California; it is the
immaculate mantle of the unclad coast; it feeds the hungry soil, gives
drink unto the thirsting corn, and clothes the nakedness of nature. It
is the ghost of unshed showers--atomized dew, precipitated in
life-bestowing avalanches upon a dewless and parched shore; it is the
good angel that stands between a careless people and contagion; it is
heaven-sent nourishment. It makes strong the weak; makes wise the
foolish--you don't go out a second time in midsummer without your
wraps--and it is altogether the freshest, purest, sweetest, most
picturesque, and most precious element in the physical geography of the
Pacific Slope. It is worth more to California than all her gold, and
silver, and copper, than all her corn and wine--in short, it is simply

This is the fog that dashed under our hubs like noiseless surf, filled
up the valleys in our lee, shut the sea-view out entirely, and finally
left us on a mountaintop--our last ascension, thank Heaven!--with
nothing but clouds below us and about us, and we sky-high and drenched
to the very bone.

The fog broke suddenly and rolled away, wrapped in pale and splendid
mystery; it broke for us as we were upon the edge of a bluff. For some
moments we had been listening to the ever-recurring sob of the sea.
There at our feet curled the huge breakers, shouldering the cliff as if
they would hurl it from its foundation. A little further on in the
gloaming was the last hill of all; from its smooth, short summit we
could look into the Delectable Land by candle light, and mark how
invitingly stands a bungalow by the sea's margin at the close of a dusty

On the summit we paused; certain unregistered packages under the wagon,
which had preyed at intervals upon the minds of Alf, Croesus, and
Bartholomew, were now drawn forth. Life is a series of surprises;
surprise No. 1, a brace of long, tapering javelins having
villainous-looking heads, i.e., two marine rockets, with which to rend
the heavens, and notify the vassals at the bungalow of our approach. One
of these rockets we planted with such care that having touched it off,
it could not free itself, but stood stock still and with vicious fury
blew off in a cloud of dazzling sparks. The dry grass flamed in a
circle about us; never before had we fought fire with wildly-waving
ulsters, but they prove excellent weapons in engagements of this
character, I assure you. Profiting by fatiguing experience, we poised
the second rocket so deftly that it could not fail to rise. On it we
hung our hopes, light enough burdens if they were all as faint as mine.
With the spurt of a match we touched it, a stream of flaky gold rushed
forth and then, as if waiting to gather strength, _biff_! and away she
went. Never before soared rocket so beautifully; it raked the very
stars; its awful voice died out in the dim distance; with infinite grace
it waved its trail of fire, and then spat forth such constellations of
variegated stars--you would have thought a rainbow had burst into a
million fragments--that shamed the very planets, and made us think
mighty well of ourselves and our achievement. There was still a long
dark mile between us and the bungalow; on this mile were strung a
fordable stream, a ragged village of Italian gardeners, some monstrous
looking hay-stacks, and troops of dogs that mouthed horribly as we
ploughed through the velvety dust.

The bungalow at last! at the top of an avenue of trees--and such a
bungalow! A peaked roof that sheltered everything, even the deepest
verandas imaginable; the rooms few, but large and airy; everything wide
open and one glorious blaze of light. A table spread with the luxuries
of the season, which in California means four seasons massed in one.
Flowers on all sides; among these flowers Japanese lanterns of
inconceivable forms and colors. These hung two or three deep--without,
within, above, below; nothing but light and fragrance, and mirth and
song. We were howling a chorus as we drove up, and were received with a
musical welcome, bubbling over with laughter from the lips of three
pretty girls, dressed in white and pink--probably the whitest and
pinkest girls in all California; and this was surprise No. 2.

Perfect strangers to me were these young ladies; but, like most
confirmed bachelors, I rather like being with the adorable sex, when I
find myself translated as if by magic.

We were formed of the dust of the earth--there was no denying the fact,
and we speedily withdrew; but before our dinner toilets were completed,
such a collection of appetizers was sent in to us as must distinguish
forever the charming hostess who concocted them. I need not recall the
dinner. Have you ever observed that there is no real pleasure in
reviving the memory of something good to eat? Suffice it to state that
the dinner was such a one as was most likely to be laid for us under the
special supervision of three blooming maidens, who had come hither four
and twenty hours in advance of us for this special purpose. That night
we played for moderate stakes until the hours were too small to be
mentioned. I forget who won; but it was probably the girls, who were as
clever at cards as they were at everything else. We ultimately retired,
for the angel of sleep visits even a Californian bungalow, though his
hours are a trifle irregular. Our rooms, two large chambers, with
folding doors thrown back, making the two as one, contained four double
beds; in one of the rooms was a small altar, upon which stood a statue
of the Madonna, veiled in ample folds of lace and crowned with a coronet
of natural flowers; vases of flowers were at her feet, and lighted
tapers flickered on either hand. The apartment occupied by the young
ladies was at the other corner of the bungalow; the servants, a good old
couple, retainers in Alf's family, slept in a cottage adjoining. We
retired manfully; we had smoked our last smoke, and were not a little
fatigued; hence this readiness on our part to lay down the burdens and
cares of the day. When the lights were extinguished the moon, streaming
in at the seaward windows, flooded the long rooms. It was a glorious
night; no sound disturbed its exquisite serenity save the subdued murmur
of the waves, softened by an intervening hillock on which the cypress
trees stood like black and solemn sentinels of the night.

[Illustration: "The Huge Court of that Luxurious Caravansary."]

I think I must have dozed, for it first seemed like a dream--the
crouching figures that stole in Indian file along the carpet from bed to
bed; but soon enough I wakened to a reality, for the Phillistines were
upon us, and the pillows fell like aerolites out of space. The air was
dense with flying bed-clothes; the assailants, Bartholomew and Alf, his
right-hand man, fell upon us with school-boy fury; they made mad leaps,
and landed upon our stomachs. We grappled in deadly combat; not an
article of furniture was left unturned; not one mattress remained upon
another. We made night hideous for some moments. We roused the ladies
from their virgin sleep, but paid little heed to their piteous
pleadings. The treaty of peace, which followed none too soon--the
pillow-cases were like fringes and the sheets were linen
shreds--culminated in a round of night-caps which for potency and flavor
have, perhaps, never been equalled in the history of the vine.

Then we _did_ sleep--the sleep of the just, who have earned their right
to it; the sleep of the horny-handed son of the soil, whose muscles
relax with a jerk that awakens the sleeper to a realizing sense that he
has been sleeping and is going to sleep again at his earliest
convenience: the sweet, intense, and gracious sleep of innocence--out of
which we were awakened just before breakfast time by the most
considerate of hostesses and her ladies of honor, who sent into us the
reviving cup, without which, I fear, we could not have begun the new day
in a spirit appropriate to the occasion.

The first day at the bungalow was Friday and, of course, a fast day; we
observed the rule with a willingness which, I trust, the recording angel
made a note of. There was a bath at the beach toward mid-day, followed
by a cold collation in the shelter of a rude chalet, which served the
ladies in the absence of the customary bathing-machine. Lying upon rugs
spread over the sand we chatted until a drowsy mood persuaded us to
return to the bungalow and indulge in a _siesta_. It being summer, and a
California summer by the sea, a huge log fire blazed upon the evening
hearth; cards and the jingle of golden counters again kept us at the
table till the night was far spent. Need I add that the ladies presented
a petition with the customary night-cap, praying that the gentlemen in
the double-chamber would omit the midnight gymnastics upon retiring, and
go to sleep like "good boys." It had been our intention to do so; we
were not wholly restored, for the festivities of the night previous had
been prolonged and fatiguing.

We began our preparations by wheeling the four bedsteads into one room.
It seemed to us cosier to be sleeping thus together; indeed, it was
quite a distance from the extremity of one room to the extremity of the
other. Resigning ourselves to the pillows, each desired his neighbor to
extinguish the lights; no one moved to perform this necessary duty. We
slept, or pretended to sleep, and for some moments the bungalow was
quiet as the grave. In the midst of this refreshing silence a panic
seized us; with one accord we sprang to arms; the pillows, stripped of
their cases on the night previous, again darkened the air. We leaped
gaily from bed to bed, and in turn, took every corner of the room by
storm; the shout of victory mingled with the cry for mercy. There was
one solitary voice for peace; it was the voice of the vexed hostess, and
it was followed by the suspension of hostilities and the instant
quenching of the four tapers, each blown by an individual mouth, after
which we groped back to our several couches in a state of charming
uncertainty as to which was which.

Saturday followed, and, of all Saturdays in the year, it chanced to be
the vigil of a feast, and therefore a day of abstinence. The ladies held
the key of the larder, and held it, permit me to add, with a clenched
hand. It may be that all boys are not like our boys; that there are
those who, having ceased to elongate and increase in the extremities out
of all proportion, are willing to fast from day to day; who no longer
lust after the flesh-pots, and whose appetites are governable--but ours
were not. The accustomed fish of a Friday was welcome, but Saturday was
out of the question. "Something too much of this," said Croesus the
Sybarite. "Amen!" cried the affable Alf. There was an unwonted fire in
the eye of Bartholomew when he asked for a dispensation at the hands of
the hostess, and was refused.

All day the maidens sought to lighten our burden of gloom; the sports in
the bath were more brilliant than usual. We adjourned to the hay-loft
and told stories till our very tongues were tired. It is true that
egg-nogg at intervals consoled us; but when we had awakened from a
refreshing sleep among the hay, and fought a battle that ended in
victory for the Amazons and our ignominious flight, we bore the scars of
burr and hay-seed for hours afterwards. Cold turkey and cranberry sauce
at midnight had been promised to us, yet how very distant that seemed.
Hunger cried loudly for beef and bouillon, and a strategic movement was
planned upon the spot.

The gaming, which followed a slim supper, was not so interesting as
usual. At intervals we consulted the clock; how the hours lagged!
Croesus poured his gold upon the table in utter distraction. The
maidens, who sat in sack-cloth and ashes, sorrowing for our sins, left
the room at intervals to assure themselves that the larder was intact.
We, also, quietly withdrew from time to time. Once, all three of the
girls fled in consternation--the footsteps of Bartholomew had been heard
in the vicinity of the cupboard; but it was a false alarm, and the game
was at once resumed. Now, indeed, the hours seemed to fly. To our
surprise, upon referring to the clock, the hands stood at ten minutes to
twelve. So swiftly speed the moments when the light hearts of youth beat
joyously in the knowledge that it is almost time to eat!

Twelve o'clock! Cold turkey, cranberry sauce, champagne, etc., and no
more fasting till the sixth day. Having devastated the board, we must
needs betray our folly by comparing the several timepieces. Alf stood at
five minutes to eleven; Bartholomew some minutes behind him; Croesus,
with his infallible repeater, was but 10:45; as for me, I had discreetly
run down. The secret was out. The clock had been tampered with, and the
trusting maids betrayed. At first they laughed with us; then they
sneered, and then they grew wroth, and went apart in deep dismay. The
dining-hall resounded with our hollow mirth; like the scriptural fool,
we were laughing at our own folly. The ladies solemnly re-entered; our
hostess, the spokeswoman, said, with the voice of an oracle, "You will
regret this before morning." Still feigning to be merry, we went
speedily to bed, but there was no night-cap sent to soothe us; and the
lights went out noiselessly and simultaneously.

After the heavy and regular breathing had set in--I think all slept save
myself--light footsteps were heard without. Why should one turn a key in
a bungalow whose hospitality is only limited by the boundary line of the
county surveyor? Our keys were not turned, in fact,--too late--we
discovered there were no keys to turn. In the dim darkness--the moon
lent us little aid at the moment--our door was softly thrown open, and
the splash of fountains could be heard; it was the sound of many waters.
As I listened to it in a half dream, it fell upon my ear most musically,
and then it fell upon my nose, and eyes, and mouth; it seemed as if the
windows of heaven were opened, as if the dreadful deluge had come again.
I soon discovered what it was. I threw the damp bed clothes over my head
and awaited further developments. I began to think they never would
come--I mean the developments. Meanwhile the garden hose, in the hands
of the irate maidens, played briskly upon the four quarters of the
room--not a bed escaped the furious stream. Nothing was left that was
not saturated and soaked, sponge-full. The floor ran torrents; our boots
floated away upon the mimic tide. We lay like inundated mummies, but
spake never a word. Possibly the girls thought we were drowned; at all
events, they withdrew in consternation, leaving the hose so that it
still belched its unwelcome waters into the very centre of our drenched

Rising at last from our clammy shrouds, we gave chase; but the
water-nymphs had fled. Then we barricaded the bungalow, and held a
council of war. Sitting in moist conclave, we were again assailed and
driven back to our rooms, which might now be likened to a swimming bath
at low-tide. We shrieked for stimulants, but were stoutly denied, and
then we took to the woods in a fit of indignation, bordering closely
upon a state of nature.

I thought to bury myself in the trackless wild; to end my days in the
depths of the primeval forest. But I remembered how a tiger-cat had been
lately seen emerging from these otherwise alluring haunts, and returned
at once to the open, where I glistened in the moonlight, now radiant,
and shivered at the thought of the possible snakes coiling about my
feet. My disgust of life was full; yet in the midst of it I saw the
reviving flames dancing upon the hearth-stone, and the click of glasses
recalled me to my senses.

We returned in a body, a defeated brotherhood, accepting as a
peace-offering such life-giving draughts as compelled us, almost against
our will, to drink to the very dregs in token of full surrender. Then
rheumatism and I lay down together, and a little child might have
played with any two of us. I assured my miserable companions that "I was
not accustomed to such treatment." Alf added that "it was more than he
had bargained for." Bartholomew had neither speech nor language
wherewith to vent his spleen. As for the bland and blooming Croesus--he
who had been lapped in luxury and cradled in delight--it was his private
opinion, publicly expressed, that "the like of it was unknown in the
annals of social history."

[Illustration: "The Gallery Among the Huge Vases of Palms and

Yet on the Sunday--our final day at the bungalow--you would have thought
that the gods had assembled together to hold sweet converse; and, when
we lounged in the shadow of the invisible Ida, never looked the earth
more fair to us. The whole land was in blossom from the summit to the
sea; the gardeners, as they walked among their vines, prated of Sicily
and sang songs of their Sun-land. There was no chapel at hand, and no
mass for the repose of souls that had been sorely troubled; but the
charm of those young women--they were salving our wounds as women know
how to do--and the voluptuous feast that was laid for us, when we
emptied the fatal larder; the music, and the thousand arts employed to
restore beauty and order out of the last night's chaos, made us better
than new men, and it taught us a lesson we never shall forget--though
from that hour to this, neither one nor the other of us, in any way,
shape, or fashion whatever, has referred in the remotest degree to that
eventful night in a Californian bungalow.


"Primeval California" was inscribed on the knapsack of the Artist, on
the portmanteau of Foster, the Artist's chum, and on the fly-leaf of the
note-book of the Scribe. The luggage of the boisterous trio was checked
through to the heart of the Red Woods, where a vacation camp was
pitched. The expected "last man" leaped the chasm that was rapidly
widening between the city front of San Francisco and the steamer bound
for San Rafael, and approached us--the trio above referred to--with a
slip of paper in his hand. It was not a subpoena; it was not a dun; it
was a round-robin of farewells from a select circle of admirers, wishing
us joy, Godspeed, success in art and literature, and a safe return at

The wind blew fair; we were at liberty for an indefinite period. In
forty minutes we struck another shore and another clime. San Francisco
is original in its affectation of ugliness--it narrowly escaped being a
beautiful city--and its humble acceptation of a climate which is as
invigorating as it is unscrupulous, having a peculiar charm which is
seldom discovered until one is beyond its spell. Sailing into the
adjacent summer,--summer is intermittent in the green city of the
West,--we passed into the shadow of Mount Tamalpais, the great landmark
of the coast. The admirable outline of the mountain, however, was
partially obscured by the fog, already massing along its slopes.

The narrow-gauge of the N.P.C.R.R. crawls like a snake from the ferry on
the bay to the roundhouse over and beyond the hills, but seven miles
from the sea-mouth of the Russian River. It turns very sharp corners,
and turns them every few minutes; it doubles in its own trail, runs over
fragile trestle-work, darts into holes and re-appears on the other side
of the mountains, roars through strips of redwoods like a rushing wind,
skirts the shore of bleak Tomales Bay, cuts across the potato district
and strikes the redwoods again, away up among the saw-mills at the
logging-camps, where it ends abruptly on a flat under a hill. And what a
flat it is!--enlivened with a first-class hotel, some questionable
hostelries, a country store, a post-office and livery-stable, and a
great mill buzzing in an artificial desert of worn brown sawdust.

Here, after a five hours' ride, we alighted at Duncan's Mills, hard by
the river, and with a girdle of hills all about us--high, round hills,
as yellow as brass when they are not drenched with fog. In the twilight
we watched the fog roll in, trailing its lace-like skirts among the
highland forests. How still the river was! Not a ripple disturbed it;
there was no perceptible current, for after the winter floods subside,
the sea throws up a wall of sand that chokes the stream, and the waters
slowly gather until there is volume enough to clear it. Then come the
rains and the floods, in which rafts of drift-wood and even great logs
are carried twenty feet up the shore, and permanently lodged in
inextricable confusion.

I remember the day when we had made a pilgrimage to the coast, when from
the rocky jaws of the river we looked up the still waters, and saw them
slowly gathering strength and volume. The sea was breaking upon the bar
without; Indian canoes swung on the tideless stream, filled with
industrious occupants taking the fish that await their first plunge into
salt water. Every morning we bathed in the unpolluted waters of the
river. How fresh and sweet they are--the filtered moisture of the hills,
mingled with the distillations from cedar-boughs drenched with fogs and

Lounging upon the hotel veranda, turning our backs upon the last
vestiges of civilization in the shape of a few guests who dressed for
dinner as if it were imperative, we were greeted with mellow heartiness
by a hale old backwoodsman, a genuine representative of the primeval. It
was Ingram, of Ingram House, Austin Creek, Red Woods, Sonoma County,
Primeval California. It was he, with ranch-wagon and stalwart steeds.
The Artist, who was captain-general of the forces, at once held a
consultation with Ingram, whom we will henceforth call the Doctor, for
he is a doctor--minus the degrees--of divinity, medicine, and laws, and
master of all work; a deer-stalker, rancher, and general utility man;
the father of a clever family, and the head of a primeval house.

In half an hour we were jolting, bag and baggage, body and soul, over
roads wherein the ruts were filled with dust as fine as flour, fording
trout-streams, and winding through wood and brake. We passed the old
logging-camp, with the hills about it blackened and disfigured for life;
and the new logging-camp, with its stumps still smoldering, its steep
slides smoking with the friction of swift-descending logs, the ring of
the ax and the vicious buzz of the saw mingled with the shouts of the
woodsmen. How industry is devastating that home of the primeval!

Soon the road led us into the very heart of the redwoods, where superb
columns stood in groups, towering a hundred and even two hundred feet
above our heads! A dense undergrowth of light green foliage caught and
held the sunlight like so much spray; the air was charged with the
fragrance of wild honeysuckle and resiniferous trees; the jay-bird
darted through the boughs like a phosphorous flame, screaming his joy to
the skies; squirrels fled before us; quails beat a muffled tattoo in
the brush-snakes slid out of the road in season to escape destruction.

We soon dropped into the bed of the stream Austin Creek, and rattled
over the broad, strong highway of the winter rains. We bent our heads
under low-hanging boughs, drove into patches of twilight, and out on the
other side into the waning afternoon; we came upon a deserted cottage
with a great javelin driven through the roof to the cellar; it had been
torn from one of the gigantic redwoods and hurled by a last winter's
gale into that solitary home. Fortunately no one had been injured, but
the inmates had fled in terror, lashed by the driving storm.

We came to Ingram House in the dusk, out of the solitude of the forest
into a pine-and-oak opening, the monotony of which was enlivened with a
fair display of the primitive necessities of life--a vegetable garden on
the right, a rustic barn on the left, a house of "shakes" in the
distance, and nine deer-hounds braying a deep-mouthed welcome at our

In the rises of the house on the hill-slope is a three-roomed bachelors'
hall; here, on the next day, we were cozily domiciled. There were a few
guests in the homestead. The boys slept in the granary. The deer-hounds
held high carnival under our cottage, charging at intervals during the
night upon imaginary intruders. We woke to the blustering music of the
beasts, and thought on the possible approach of bear, panther,
California lion, wild cat, 'coon, and polecat; but thought on it with
composure, for the hounds were famous hunters, and there was a whole
arsenal within reach.

We were waked at 6:30, and come down to the front "stoop" of the
homestead. The structure was home-made, with rafters on the outside or
inside according to the fancy of the builder; sunshine and storm had
stained it grayish brown, and no tint could better harmonize with the
background and surroundings. In one corner of the stoop a tin wash-basin
stood under a waterspout in the sink; there swung the family towels; the
public comb, hanging by its teeth to a nail, had seen much service; a
piece of brown soap lay in an _abalone_ shell tacked to the wall; a
small mirror reflected kaleidoscopical sections of the face, and made up
for its want of compass by multiplying one or another feature. We never
before ate at the hour of seven as we ate then; then a pipe on the front
steps and a frolic with the boys or the dogs would follow, and digestion
was well under way before the day's work began. Then the Artist
shouldered his knapsack and departed; the lads trudged through the road
to school; the women went about the house with untiring energy; the
male hands were already making the anvil musical in the rustic smithy,
or dragging stock to the slaughter, or busy with the thousand and one
affairs that comprise the sum and substance of life in a self-sustaining
community. We were assured that were war to be declared between the
outer world and Ingram House, lying in ambush in the heart of our black
forest, we might withstand the siege indefinitely. All that was needful
lay at our hands, and yet, a stone's-throw away from our shake-built
citadel, one loses himself in a trackless wood, whose glades are still
untrodden by men, though one sometimes hears the light step of the
_bronco_ when Charlie rides forth in search of a strong bull. All work
was like play there, because of a picturesque element which predominated
over the practical. Wood-cutting under the window of the best room,
trying out fat in a caldron or an earth-oven against our cottage,
dragging sunburnt straw in a rude sledge down the hill-side road,
shoeing a neighbor's horse in a circle of homely gossips, hunting to
supply the domestic board at the distant market--is this all that Adam
and the children of Adam suffer in his fall?

At noon a clarion voice resounded from the kitchen door and sent the
echoes up and down the creek. It was the hostess, who, having prepared
the dinner, was bidding the guests to the feast. The Artist came in
with his sketch, the Chum with his novel, the Scribe with his note-book,
followed by the horny-handed sons of toil, whose shoulders were a little
rounded and whose minds were seldom, if ever, occupied with any life
beyond the hills that walled us in. We sat down at a camp board and ate
with relish. The land was flowing with milk and honey; no sooner was the
pitcher drained or the plate emptied than each was replenished by the
willing hands of our hostess or her boys.

Another smoke under the stoop followed, and then, perhaps, a doze at the
cottage, or in one of the dozen rocking-chairs about the house, or on
the rustic throne hewn from a stump in the grove between the house and
the barn. The sun flooded the canon with hot and dazzling light; the air
was spiced with the pungent odor of shrubs; it was time to rest a little
before beginning the laborious sports of the afternoon. Later, we all
wandered on the banks of the creek and were sure to meet at the
swimming-pool about four o'clock. Meanwhile the Artist has laid in
another study. Foster has finished his tale, and is rocking in a hammock
of green boughs; the Scribe has booked a half-dozen fragmentary
sentences that will by and by grow into an article, and the boys have
come home from school.

By and by we wanted change; the monotony of town life is always more or
less interesting; the monotony of country life palls after a season.
Change comes over us in a most unexpected guise. Our canon was decked
with the flaming scarlet of the poison-oak; these brilliant bits of
foliage are the high-lights in almost every California landscape, and
must satisfy our love of color, in the absence of the Eastern autumnal
leaf. The gorgeous shrubs stand out like burning bushes by the roadside,
on the hill-slope, in the forest recesses, and almost everywhere. The
Artist's chum gave evidence of a special susceptibility to the poison by
a severe attack that prostrated him utterly for a while. Yet he stood by
us until his vacation came to an end, and, to the last, there was no
complaint heard from this martyr to circumstances.

One day he left us--on mule-back, with nine dogs fawning upon his
stirrup, and amid a hundred good-byes wafted to him from the house, the
smithy, the barn, and the swimming-pool. He had orders to send in the
Kid, or his successor, immediately upon his arrival at the Bay. We must
needs have some one to indulge, some one whose interests were not
involved in the primeval farther than the pleasure it afforded for the
hour. The Kid was the very thing--a youngster with happiness in heart,
luster in his eye, and nothing more serious than peach-down on his lip;
yet there was gravity enough in his composition to carry him beneath the
mere surface of men and things. The Kid drove in one night with rifle
tall as himself, fishing-tackle, and entomological truck, wild with
enthusiasm and hungry as a carp.

What days followed! Our little entomologist chased scarlet-winged
dragon-flies and descanted on the myriad forms of insect-life with
premature accomplishment. "Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings" we
heard revelations not unmixed with the ludicrous superstitions of the

There is a school-house a mile distant, on the forks of the creek; we
visited it one Friday, and saw six angular youths, the sum total of the
young ideas within range of the instructress, spelled down in
broadsides; and heard time-honored recitations delivered in the same old
sing-song that could only have been original with the sons of our first
parents. The school-mistress, with a sun-bonnet that buried her face
from the world, passed Ingram's ten times a week, footing it silently
along the dusty road, lunch-pail in hand. She lives in a lonely cabin on
the trail to the wilderness over the hill.

The Kid sketched a little; indeed, the artistic fever spread to the
granary, where the boys spent some hours of each day restoring, not to
say improving, the tarnished color of certain face-cards of an imperfect
euchre deck, the refuse of the palette being carefully secreted to this
end; we never knew at what moment we might sit upon the improvised
color-box of some juvenile member of the family.

But hunting was our delectable recreation; the Doctor would lead off on
a half-broken _bronco_, followed by a select few from the house or the
friendly camps, Fred bringing up the rear with a pack-mule. This was the
chief joy of the hounds; the old couple grew young at the scent of the
trail, and deserted their whining progeny with Indian stoicism. Two
nights and a day were enough for a single hunt,--one may in that time
scour the rocky fortresses of the Last Chance, or scale the formidable
slopes of the Devil's Ribs.

The return from the hunt was a scene of picturesque interest: the
approach of the hunters at dusk, as they emerged one after another from
the dark wood; the pack-mule prancing proudly under a stark buck
weighing one hundred and thirty-three pounds, without its vitals; the
baby fawn slain by chance (for no one would acknowledge the criminal
slaughter); the final arrival of the fagged, sore-footed dogs, who were
wildly greeted by the puppies, and kissed on the mouth and banged about
by many a playful paw; the grouping under the trees in front of
Bachelors' Hall, where the buck was slung, head downward among green
leaves, and with stakes crossed between the gaping ribs; the light of
the flickering lantern; the dogs supping blood from the ground where it
had dripped; the satisfaction of the hunters; the admiration of the
women; the wild excitement of the boys, who all talked at once, at the
top of their voices, with gestures quicker than thought;--this was the
Carnival of the Primeval.

One night, the Kid set out for the stubble-field and lay in wait for
wild rabbits; when he came in with his hands full of ears, the glow of
moonlight was in his eye, the flush of sunset on his cheek, the riotous
blood's best scarlet in his lips, and his laugh was triumphant; with a
discarded hat recalled for camp-duty, a blue shirt open at the throat,
hair very much tumbled, and no thoughts of self to detract from the
absolute grace of his pose.

But all hunting-parties were not so successful. One of seven came home
empty-handed and disgusted. It became necessary, while the unlucky
huntsmen were under our roof, to give them festive welcome. Fred drew
out his fiddle; the Doctor gathered his strength and shook as lively a
shoe on the sanded floor of the best room as one will hear the clang of
in many a day. Clumsy joints grew supple; heavy boots made the splinters
fly; a fellow-townsman, like ourselves on a vacation tour, jigged with
the inimitable grace of a trained dancer. How few of our muscles are
aware of the joy of full development! From the wall of the best room the
"Family of Horace Greeley," in mezzotint, looked down through clouded
glass and a veneered frame. The county map hung _vis-a-vis_. A family
record, wherein a pale infant was cradled in saffron, and schooled in
pink, passing through a rainbow-tinted life that reached the climax of
color at the scarlet and gold bridal, and ended in a sea-green grave;
this record, with a tablet for appropriate inscriptions under each epoch
in the family history, was still further enriched with lids of stained
isinglass carefully placed over the domestic calendar, as much as to
say, "What is written here is not for the public eye." On the triangular
shelf in the corner, stood the condensed researches of all Arctic
explorers, in one obese volume; its twin contained the revelations of
African discoveries boiled down and embellished with numberless cuts; a
Family Physician, one volume of legislative documents, and three stray
magazines, with a Greek almanac, completed the library. So, even in the
primeval state, we were not without food for our minds as well as
exercise for our muscles. After a time, even the dance ceased to attract
us. The Artist had lined the walls of his chamber with brilliant
sketches; the kid clamored for home.

I suppose we might have tarried a whole summer and still found some turn
in the brook, some vista in the wood, some cluster of isolated trees, to
hold us entranced; for the peculiar glory of the hour transfigured
them, and the same effect was never twice repeated. Moreover, we at last
grew intolerant of one great annoyance. You all have known it as we knew
it, and doubtless endured it with as little grace. Is there anything
more galling than the surpassing impudence of country flies? We resolved
to return to town, and returned close upon the heels of our resolution.
Again we threaded the dark windings of the wood, and bade farewell to
every object that had become endeared to us. We wondered how soon change
would lay its hand upon this primeval beauty. We approached the
logging-camp. Presto! in the brief interval since our first glimpse of
the forests above it, the hills had been shorn of their antique harvest,
and the valley was a place of desolation and of death.

It seemed incredible that the dense growth of gigantic trees could be so
soon dragged to market. There was a famous tree--we saw the stump still
bleeding and oozing up--which, three feet from the ground, measured
eleven and a half feet one way by fourteen feet the other. When its doom
was sealed, a path was cut for it and a soft bed made for it to lie on.
The land was graded, and covered with a cushion of soft boughs. Had the
tree fallen on uneven ground, it would have been shattered; if it had
swerved to right or left, nothing but fire could have cleared the

The making of the death-bed of this monster cost Mrs. Duncan forty
dollars. Then the work began. An ax in the hands of a skillful
wood-cutter threw the tree headlong to the earth. Then it was sawed
across, yielding eighteen logs, each sixteen feet in length, with a
diameter of four feet at the smallest end. The logs were put upon
wheels, and run over a light trestle-work to the mill, drawn thither by
a ridiculous dummy, which looked not unlike an old-fashioned tavern
store on its beam-ends, with an elbow in the air. At the mill, it was
sawed into eighty thousand feet of marketable lumber.

Reaching the forest, on our way to the Mills, we found the river had
risen so that ten miles from the mouth we were obliged to climb upon the
wagon-seats, and hold our luggage above high-water mark.

At Duncan's, on the home stretch, we made our final pilgrimage, to a
wild glen over the Russian River, where, a few weeks before, the
Bohemian Club had held high jinks. The forest had been a scene of
enchantment on that midsummer night; but now the tents were struck, the
Japanese lanterns were extinguished, and nothing was left to tell the
tale but the long tables of rough deal, where we had feasted. They were
covered with leaves and dust; spiders had draped them with filmy robes.
The quail piped, the jay-bird screamed, the dove sobbed, and a slim
snake, startled at the flight of a bounding hare, glided away among the
rustling leaves. So soon does this new land recover the primeval beauty
of eternal youth.


When your bosom friend seizes you by the arm, and says to you in that
seductive sotto voce which implies a great deal more than is confessed,
"Come, let us go down to the sea in ships, and do business in the great
waters," you generally go, if you are not previously engaged. At least,
I do.

Much has been said in disfavor of yachting in San Francisco Bay. It is
inland yachting to begin with. The shelving shores prevent the
introduction of keel boats; flat and shallow hulls, with a great breadth
of beam, something able to battle with "lumpy" seas and carry plenty of
sail in rough weather, is the more practical and popular type. Atlantic
yachts, when they arrive in California waters, have their rigging cut
down one-third. Schooners and sloops with Bermudian mutton-leg sails
flourish. A modification of the English yawl is in vogue; but large
sloops are not handled conveniently in the strong currents, the chop
seas, the blustering winds, the summer fogs that make the harbor one of
the most treacherous of haunts for yachtsmen.

Think of a race when the wind is blowing from twenty-five to
thirty-five miles an hour! The surface current at the Golden Gate runs
six miles per hour and the tide-rip is often troublesome; but there is
ample room for sport, and very wild sport at times. The total area of
the bay is four hundred and eighty square miles, and there are hundreds
of miles of navigable sloughs, rivers, and creeks. One may start from
Alviso, and sail in a general direction, almost without turning, one
hundred and fifty-five miles to Sacramento city. During the voyage he is
pretty sure to encounter all sorts of weather and nearly every sort of
climate, from the dense and chilly fogs of the lower bay to the
semi-tropics of the upper shores, where fogs are unknown, and where the
winds die away on the surface of beautiful waters as blue as the Bay of

There are amateur yachtsmen, a noble army of them, who charter a craft
for a day or two, and have more fun in a minute than they can recover
from in a month. I have sailed with these, at the urgent request of one
who has led me into temptation more than once, but who never deserted me
in an evil hour, even though he had to drag me out of it by the heels. I
am at this moment reminded of an episode which still tickles my memory,
and, much as a worthy yachtsman may scorn it, I confess that this moment
is more to me than that of any dash into deep water which I can at
present recall.

It was a summer Saturday, the half-holiday that is the reward of a
week's hard labor. With the wise precaution which is a prominent
characteristic of my bosom friend, a small body of comrades was gathered
together on the end of Meigg's Wharf, simultaneously scanning, with
vigilant eyes, the fleets of sailing crafts as they swept into view on
the strong currents of the bay. It was a little company of youths, sick
of the world and its cares, and willing, nay eager, to embark for other
climes. They came not unfurnished. I beheld with joy numerous demijohns
with labels fluttering like ragged cravats from their long necks;
likewise stacks of vegetables, juicy joints, fruits, and more demijohns,
together with a small portable iceberg; blankets were there, also guns,
pistols, and fishing tackle. If one chooses to quit this world and its
follies, one must go suitably provided for the next. Experience teaches
these things.

The breeze freshened; the crowd grew impatient; more fellows arrived;
another demijohn was seen in the distance swiftly bearing down upon us
from the upper end of the wharf, and at this moment a dainty yacht
skimmed gracefully around the point of Telegraph Hill, picking her way
among the thousand-masted fleet that whitened the blue surface of the
bay, and we at once knew her to be none other than the "Lotus," a crack
yacht, as swift as the wind itself. In fifteen minutes there was a
locker full of good things, and a deck of jolly fellows, and when we
cast off our bow-line, and ran up our canvas, we were probably the
neatest thing on the tide. I know that I felt very much like a lay
figure in somebody's marine picture, and it was quite wonderful to
behold how suddenly we all became sea-worthy and how hard we tried to
prove it.

A heavy bank of cloud was piled up in the west, through which stole long
bars of sunshine, gilding the leaden waves. The "Lotus" bent lovingly to
the gale. Some of us went into the cabin, and tried to brace ourselves
in comfortable and secure corners--item--there are no comfortable or
secure seats at sea, and there will be none until there is a revolution
in ship-building. Our yachting afforded us an infinite variety of
experience in a very short time; we had a taste of the British Channel
as soon as we were clear of the end of the wharf. It was like rounding
Gibraltar to weather Alcatraz, and, as we skimmed over the smooth flood
in Raccoon Straits, I could think of nothing but the little end of the
Golden Horn. Why not? The very name of our yacht was suggestive of the
Orient. The sun was setting; the sky deeply flushed; the distance highly
idealized; homeward hastened a couple of Italian fishing boats, with
their lateen sails looking like triangular slices cut out of the full
moon; this sort of thing was very soothing. We all lighted our
cigarettes, and lapsed into dreamy silence, broken only by the plash of
ripples under our bow and the frequent sputter of matches quite
necessary to the complete consumption of our tobacco.

[Illustration: Meigg's Wharf in 1856]

About dusk our rakish cutter drifted into the shelter of the hills along
the north shore of the bay, and with a chorus of enthusiastic cheers we
dropped anchor in two fathoms of soft mud. We felt called upon to sing
such songs as marines are wont to sing upon the conclusion of a voyage,
and I believe our deck presented a tableau not less picturesque than
that in the last act of "Black-eyed Susan." Susan alone was wanting to
perfect our nautical happiness.

How charming to pass one's life at sea, particularly when it is a calm
twilight, and the anchor is fast to the bottom: the sheltering shores
seem to brood over you; pathetic voices float out of the remote and
deepening shadows; and stars twinkle so naturally in both sea and sky
that a fellow scarcely knows which end he stands on.

I have preserved a few leaves from a log written by my bosom friend. I
present them as he wrote them, although he apparently had "Happy
Thoughts" on the brain, and much Burnand had well nigh made him mad.


9 p.m.--Dinner just over; part of our crew desirous of fishing during
the night; hooks lost, lines tangled, no bait; a row by moonlight

10 p.m.--The Irrepressibles still eager to fish; lines untangled, hooks
discovered; two fellows despatched with yawl in search of bait; a row by
moonlight again proposed; we take observation--no moon!

11 p.m.--Two fellows returning from shore with hen; hen very tough and
noisy; tough hens not good for bait; fishing postponed till daybreak;
moonlight sail proposed as being a pleasant change; still no moon; half
the crew turn in for a night's rest; cabin very full of half-the-crew.

Midnight.--Irrepressibles dance sailor's hornpipe on deck; half-the-crew
below awake from slumbers, and advise Irrepressibles to renew search for

12:30 a.m.--Irrepressibles return to shore for bait. Loud breathing in
cabin; water swashing on rocks along the beach; very picturesque, but no
moon yet; voice in the distance says "Halloa!" Echo in the other
distance replies, "Halloa yourself, and see how you like it!"

1 a.m.--Irrepressibles still absent on shore; a dog barks loudly in the
dark; a noise is heard in a far away hen-coop--Irrepressibles looking
diligently for bait.

1:30 a.m.--Dog sitting on the shore howling; very heavy breathing in the
cabin; noise of oars in the rowlocks; music on the water, chorus of
youthful male voices, singing "A smuggler's life is a merry, merry,
life." Subdued noise of hens; dog still howling; no moon yet; more noise
of hens, bait rapidly approaching.

2 a.m.--Irrepressibles try to row yawl through sternlights of "Lotus";
grand collision of yawl at full speed and a rakish cutter at anchor.
Profane language in the cabin; sleepy crew, half awake, rush up the
hatchway, and denounce Irrepressibles. Irrepressibles sing "Smuggler's
Life," etc.; terrific noise of hens; half-the-crew invite the
Irrepressibles to "be as decent as they can." No moon yet; everybody
packed in the cabin.

2:30 a.m.--Sudden squall. "Lotus," as usual, bends lovingly to the gale;
dramatic youth in his bunk says, in deep voice, "No sleep till morn!"
More dramatic youths say, "I heard a voice cry, 'Sleep no more'." Very
deep voice says, "Macbeth hath mur-r-r-r-dered sleep!" General confusion
in the cabin. Old commodore of the "Lotus" says, "Gentlemen, a little
less noise, if you please." Noise subsides.

3 a.m.--Irrepressibles propose sleeping in binnacle; unfortunate
discovery--no binnacle on board. Half-the-crew turn over, and suggest
that the Irrepressibles take night-caps, and retire anywhere. Moved and
seconded, That the Irrepressibles take two night-caps, and retire in a
body--item: two heads better than one, two night-caps ditto, ditto.

3:30 a.m.--Commotion in cabin. Irrepressibles find no place to lay their
weary heads. Moonlight sail proposed; observations on deck--no moon;
squall in the distance; air very chilly. Irrepressibles retire in a
body, and take night-caps. Song by Irrepressibles, "A Smuggler's Life."
Half-the-crew sit up and throw boots. Irrepressibles assault
half-the-crew, and take bunks by storm; great confusion; old commodore
of the "Lotus" says, "Gentlemen had better sleep a little, so as to be
in trim for fishing at daybreak," night-caps all round; order restored;
chorus of subdued voices, "A Smuggler's Life."

4 a.m.--Signs of daybreak; thin blue mist over the water; white sea-bird
overhead, with bright light on its breast; flocks bleating on shore;
sloop becalmed under the lee of the land; fishermen casting nets; more
fishermen right under them, casting nets upside down. Everything very
fresh and shining; feel happy; think we must look like marine picture by

4:30 a.m.--Commodore of the "Lotus" comes on deck, and takes an
observation; all favorable; commodore draws bucket of water out of the
sea and makes toilet, white beard of the commodore waves gently in the
breeze; fine-looking old sea-dog that commodore of the "Lotus."

Sunday Morning.--All quiet; air very clear and bracing. Shore resembles
new world. Feel like Christopher Columbus discovering America. Peaceful
and happy emotions animate bosom; think I hear Sabbath bells--evidently
don't: no Sabbath bells anywhere around. Penitentiary of San Quentin in
the distance; look at San Quentin, and feel emotion of sadness steal
over me; moral reflection to try and avoid San Quentin as long as

5 a.m.--Noise in cabins; boots flying in the air; cries for mercy;
reconciliation and eye-openers all round. Everybody on deck; next minute
everybody overboard bathing; water very cold; teeth chattering;
something warming necessary for all hands. Yawl goes out fishing; two
small boats at the disposal of Irrepressibles; a row by sunlight; no
moon last night; funny boy says, "Bring moon along next time!" Everybody
sees San Quentin at the same moment; half-the-crew advise Irrepressibles
to "go home at once." Cries of "hi yi." Irrepressibles say "they will
inform on half-the-crew when they get there"; disturbance on deck in
consequence; Commodore suggests a new search for bait; order restored;
new search for bait instituted. Three fellows sing "Father, come home,"
and look toward San Quentin. Bad jokes on the prison every ten minutes
throughout the day. Small fleet of stern-wheel ducks come alongside for
breakfast; ducks in great danger of the galley; flock of pelicans, with
tremendous bowsprits, fly overhead; pistol-shot carries away tail
feathers of pelican; order restored.

8 a.m.--Irrepressibles propose naval engagement; three small boats armed
and equipped for the fray. Irrepressibles routed; some taken prisoners;
great excitement; quantities of water dashed in all directions; boats
rapidly filling; two fellows overboard; cries for help, "fellows can't
swim a stroke"; intense excitement; boat sinks in five feet of water and
two feet of mud; the fellows brought on board to be wrung out.
Irrepressibles hang everything in the rigging to dry. Imagination takes
her accustomed flight; good study of nude Irrepressibles in great
number; think we must resemble the barge of Cleopatra on the Nile!
unlucky thought; no Cleopatra on board. Subject reconsidered; lucky
fancy--the Greek gods on a yachting cruise. Sun very hot; another bath
all round; a drop of something, for fear of catching cold; the Greek
gods on deck indulge in negro dances; two men on shore look on, and
wonder what's up. Sun intensely hot; Greek gods turn in for a square

It becomes necessary to suppress the bosom friend, who, it is
superfluous to state, was one of the leaders of the Irrepressibles on
the memorable occasion--and the balance of his log is consigned to the
locker of oblivion.

The cruise of the "Lotus" had its redeeming features, though they were
probably unrecorded at the time. There was fishing and boating; rambles
on shore over the grassy hills; a search for clams and a good
old-fashioned clam bake; to which the sharpest appetites did ample
justice; and there were quiet fellows, who stole apart from the rioters
and had hours of solid satisfaction. You may have rocked in a small
skiff yourself, casting your line in deep water, waiting and watching
for the cod to bite. It is pleasant sculling up to a distant point, and
sounding by the way so as to get off the sand and over the pebbly bottom
as soon as possible. It is pleasant to cast anchor and float a few rods
from shore, where the rocks are eaten away by the tides of numberless
centuries, where the swallows build and the goats climb, and the scrub
oaks look over into the sea, with half their hairy roots trailing in the
air. It is less pleasant to thread your hook with a piece of writhing
worm that is full of agonizing expression, though head and tail are both
missing and writhing on their own hooks, which are also attached to your
line. I wonder if one bit of worm on a hook recognizes a joint of itself
on the next hook, and says to it, in its own peculiar fashion, "Well,
are you alive yet?"

The baiting accomplished, with a great flourish you throw your sinker,
and see it bury itself in the muddy water; then you listen intently,
for the least suggestion of a disturbance down there at the other end of
the line; the sinker thumps upon this rock and the next one, drops into
a hole and gets caught for a moment, but is loosened again, and then a
sort of galvanic shock thrills through your body; on guard! if you would
save your bait; another twinge, fainter than the first, and at last a
regular tug, and you haul in your line, which is jerking incessantly by
this time. The next moment the hooks come to the surface, and on one of
them you find a Lilliputian fish that is not yet old enough to feed
himself, and was probably caught by accident.

Perhaps you haul in your line as fast as you can, bait it and throw it
in again as rapidly as convenient--for this is the sport that fishermen
love to boast of; perhaps you rock in your boat all day, and draw but a
half-dozen of these shiners out before their time, and waste your
precious worms to no purpose.

It's hungry work, isn't it? and the summons to dinner that is by-and-by
sounded from the yacht is a pleasing excuse for deserting so profitless
a task. The right thing to do, however, is to put on an appearance of
immense success whenever a rival skiff comes within hail. You hold up
your largest fish several times in succession, so as to delude the
anxious inquirers in the other boat, who will of course think you have a
dozen of those big cod with a striking family resemblance. It is a very
successful ruse; all fishermen indulge in it, and you have as good a
right to play the pantomime as they.

By-and-by we are glad to think of a return to town. Why is it that
pleasure excursions seem to ravel out? They never stop short after a
brilliant achievement nor conclude with an imposing tableau; they die
out gradually. Someone gets out here, some-one else falls off there, and
there is a general running down of the machinery that has propelled the
festival up to the last moment. They flatten unmistakably, and it is
almost a pity that some sort of climax cannot be engaged for each
occasion, in the midst of which everyone should disappear, in red fire
and a blaze of rockets.

Our yachting cruise was very jolly. We hauled in our lines and our
anchors, and spread our canvas, while the wind was brisk and the evening
was coming on; white-caps danced and tumbled all over the bay. It looked
stormy far out in the open sea as we crossed the channel; thin tongues
of fog were lapping among the western hills, as though the town were
about to be devoured by some ghostly monster, and presently it was of
course. The spray leaped half-way up our jib, and our fore-sail was
dripping wet as we neared the town; there was a rolling up of blankets,
and a general clearing out of the debris that always accumulates in
small quarters. Everybody was a little tired, and a little hungry, and
a little sleepy, and quite glad to get home again, and when the "Lotus"
landed us on the old wharf at the north end of the town, we crept home
through the side streets for decency's sake.

The young "Corinthian" would scorn to recognize a yachting exploit such
as I have depicted. The young "Corinthian" owns his yacht, and lives in
it a great part of the summer. He is the first to make his appearance
after the rainy season has begun to subside, and the last to be driven
into winter quarters at Oakland or Antioch, where the fleet is moored
during four or five months of the year. The "Corinthian" paints his boat
himself, and is an adept at every art necessary to the completeness of
yachting life. He can cook, sail his boat, repair damages of almost
every description; he sketches a little, writes a little, and is, in
fact, an amphibious Bohemian, the life of the regatta, whose enthusiasm
goes far towards sustaining the healthful and amiable rivalry of the two
yachting clubs.

These clubs have charming club-houses at Saucelito, where many a "hop"
is given during the summer, and where, on one occasion, "H.M.S.
Pinafore" was sung with great effect on the deck of the "Vira," anchored
a few rods from the dock; the dock was, for the time being, transformed
into a dress-circle. Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B., made his entree in a
steam launch, and all the effects were highly realistic. The only hitch
in the otherwise immensely successful representation was the
impossibility of securing a moon for the second act.

The annual excursion of the two clubs is one of the social events of the
year. The favorite resort is Napa, a pretty little town in the lap of a
lovely valley, approached by a narrow stream that winds through meadow
lands and scattered groves of oak. The yachts are nearly all of them
there, from twenty-six to thirty, a flock of white wings that skim the
waters of San Pablo Bay, upward bound. At Vallejo and Mare Island they
exchange salutes, abreast of the naval station, and enter the mouth of
Napa Creek; it is broad and marshy for a time, but soon grows narrow,
and very crooked. More than once as we sailed we missed stays, and
drifted broadside upon a hayfield, and were obliged to pole one another
around the sharp turns in the creek; it is then that cheers and jeers
come over the meadows to us, from the lesser craft that are sailing
breast deep among the waving corn. All this time Napa, our destination,
is close at hand, but not likely to be reached for twenty or thirty
minutes to come. We turn and turn again, and are lost to sight among the
trees, or behind a barn, and are continually greeted by the citizens,
who have come overland to give us welcome.

Riotous days follow: a ball that night, excursions on the morrow, and
on the second night a concert, perhaps two or three of them, on board
the larger vessels of the fleet. We are lying in a row, against a long
curve of the shore; chains of lanterns are hung from mast to mast, the
rigging is gay with evergreens and bunting.

The revelry continues throughout the night; serenaders drift up and down
the stream at intervals until daybreak, when a procession is formed, a
steamer takes us in tow, and we are dragged silently down the tide, in
the grey light of the morning. At Vallejo, after a toilet and a
breakfast, which is immensely relished, we get into position. Every eye
is on the Commodore's signal; by-and-by it falls, bang goes a gun, and
in a moment all is commotion. The sails are trimmed, the light canvas
set, and away flies the fleet on the home stretch, to dance for an hour
or two in the sparkling sunshine of San Pablo Bay, then plunge into the
tumbling sea in the lower harbor, and at last end a three days' cruise
with unanimous and hearty congratulations.

A week ago I could have added here that in the annals of the yacht clubs
of San Francisco there has never been a fatal accident, never a
drowning, nor a capsizing, nor a wreck, and this covers a period of
thirteen years; alas! in a single day, on a cruise such as I have been
writing of, there was a shocking death. One yacht nearly foundered, but
fortunately escaped into smooth water, another was dashed upon the
rocks, and is probably a total wreck; while a third lost her
centre-board over a mud bank, where it buried itself, and held the
little craft a helpless prisoner; the crew and guests of the latter took
to the small boats, pulled three miles in a squall, and were rescued by
a passing steamer when they were all drenched to the skin, and well-nigh

You see that inland yachting is not child's play, nor are these inland
yachts without their romantic records. The flag of the San Francisco
yacht club has floated among the South Sea Islands; one of its boats has
beaten the German and English types in their own waters; one has been as
far as the Australian seas; one is a pearl fisher in the Gulf of
California, and another is coquetting with the doldrums along the
Mexican coast. They are staunch little beauties all, and it would be
neither courteous nor healthful to think otherwise in the presence of
inland yachtsmen.

[Illustration: Telegraph Hill, 1855]


"Yosemite, Sept.--: Come at once--the year wanes; would you see the
wondrous transformation, the embalming of the dead Summer in windings of
purple and gold and bronze--come quickly, before the white pall covers
it--delay no longer. The waters are low and fordable, the snows
threaten, but the hours are yet propitious; and such a welcome waits you
as Solomon in all his glory could not have lavished on Sheba's
approaching queen. * * *"

There was much more of the same sort of high-toned epistolary rhetoric,
written and sent by a dear hand, whose fanciful pen seemed touched by
the ambrosial tints of Autumn. So the year was going out in a gorgeous
carnival, before the Lent-like solemnity of Winter was assumed.

I had only two things to consider now: First, was it already too late to
hasten thither, and enjoy the splendid spectacle so freely offered and
so alluring; secondly, could I, if yet in time, venture so boldly upon
the edge of Winter, and risk the possibility--nay, probability--of being
snow-bound for four or six months, 30 miles from any human habitation?

I did not long consider. I felt every moment that the soul of Summer was
passing. I scented the ascending incense of smoking and crackling
boughs. What a requiem was being chanted by all the tremulous and broken
voices of Nature! Would I, could I, longer forbear to join the
passionate and tumultuous _miserere_? It seemed that I could not, for
gathering about me the voluminous furs of Siberia, I bade adieu to
friends, not without some forebodings awakened by the admonitions of my
elders, then, dropping all the folly of the world, like a monk I went
silently and alone into the monastery of a Sierran solitude, resigned,
trusting, prayerful.

What an entering it was! With slow, devotional steps I approached the
valley. There was a thin veil of snow over the upper trail. It was
smooth and unbroken as I came upon it, following the blazed trees in my
way. Footprints of bear and fox, squirrel and coyote, were traceable.
The owl hooted at me, and the jay shot past me like a blue flash of
light, uttering her prolonged, shrill cry. As for the owl, I could not
see him, but I heard him at startling intervals give the challenge, "Who
are you?" so I advanced and gave the countersign. I don't believe it was
for his grave face alone that the owl was chosen symbol of Wisdom.

Not too soon came the steep and perilous descent into the abysmal depths
of the mountain fastness. It is a shame that pilgrims who come up
thither do not time their steps so as to reach this _Ultima Thule_ of
old times and ways at sunset. Then the magnificence of the spectacle
culminates. That new world below there is illuminated with the soft
tints of Eden. What unutterable fullness of beauty pervades all. The
forests--those moss-like fields are forests, and mighty ones, too--are
all aflame with the burnished gold of sunset, brightening the gold of
autumn; for gold twice refined, as it were, gilds the splendid
landscape. Only think of that picture, shining through the mellow haze
of Indian Summer, and flashing with the lambent glimmer of a myriad
glassy leaves. You can not see them moving, yet they twinkle
incessantly, and the warm air trembles about them while you hang
bewildered from a toppling parapet, four thousand feet above them; birds
swing under you in mid-air, streams leap from the sharp cliff, and reel
in that sickening way through the air that your brain whirls after them.
One is tired, anyhow, by the time he has reached this far, and a night
camp in the cool rim of this world-to-come is just the panacea for any
sort of weariness.

Take my advice: Sleep on it, and drop down on the wings of the morning,
while the sun is filling up this marvelous ravine with such lights and
shadows as are felt, yet scarcely understood. Refreshed, amazed,
bewildered, go down into that solemn place, and see if you are not more
saint-like than you dared to think yourself. When the times are out of
joint, as they frequently are, come up here, forget men and things;
don't imagine we are as bad as we seem, for it is quite certain we might
be a great deal worse if we tried. While you bemoan our earthliness, you
may not be the one saint among us. Coming down with the evening, I was
scarcely at the gates of the inner valley when night was on me. Of this
gate, it is formed of a ponderous monument on the right, called
Cathedral Rock, and on the left is the one bald spot in the Sierras, the
great El Capitan. The arch over this primeval threshold is the astral
dome of heaven, and the gates stand ever open. There is no toll taken in
any mansion of my Father's House, and this is one of them. Passing to
the door of my host, I lifted the latch noiselessly. Before me dawned
fresh experiences. At my back Night gathered deeper than ever, and all
around I seemed to read the rubric of Life's new lesson.

We are a comfort to ourselves--six of us, all told. Summer invites our
little company into a breezy hotel, over in the shadow across the
valley. Winter suggests a log cabin, an expansive fireplace, plenty of
hickory, and as much sunshine as finds its way into our secluded
hermitage. So we are done up compactly, in between thick walls, our hard
finish being in the shape of mud cakes in the chinks of the logs, and a
very hard finish it is; but we take wondrous comfort withal.

How do I pass the hours? Leaving my friends, I wander forth, after
breakfast, in any direction that pleases me. Take today this sheep path;
it leads me to a pebbly beach at a swift turn of the Merced. That clump
of trees produces the best harvest of frost-pointed leaves; there are
new varieties offered every day at an alarming sacrifice, and I invest
largely in these fragile wares. Tomorrow, I shall go yonder across three
tumultuous streams, upon three convenient logs, broad and mossy. Some
book or other goes with me, and is opened now and then. Such books as
Plant Life, The Sexuality of Nature, Studies in Animal Life, suggest
themselves. Open these anywhere, and each is annotated and illustrated
by the scene before me. Every page is a running text to the hour I

Perhaps a leaf falls into my lap as I sit over the brook, on a log--a
single leaf, gilded about its border, in the centre a crimson flush,
fast swallowing up the original greenness; the whole will presently be
bronzed and sombre. O, Leaf! how art thou mummified! We do not think of
these little things of Nature. Look at this leaf. What is its record?
How many generations, think you, are numbered in its ancestry? A
perpetual intermarriage has not weakened its fibres. The anatomy of this
leaf is perfect, and the sap of this oak flows from oak to acorn, from
acorn to oak, in an interminable and uninterrupted succession since the
first day. What are your titles and estates beside this representative?
What is your heraldry, with its two centuries of mold; your absurd and
confused genealogies, your escutcheons, blotted no doubt with crimes and
errors, when this scion, which I am permitted to entertain for a moment,
comes of a race whose record is spotless and without stain through ten
thousand eventful years. Why, Eve would recognize the original of this
stock from the mere family resemblance.

Do you think these days tiresome? It is embarrassing for some people to
be left alone with themselves. They can no longer play a part, for there
are none like themselves to play to. The sun and stars know you well
enough--most likely, better than you yourselves do. I like this. I would
out and say to myself: "Here is a confidant. Day hides nothing from me,
or you; it expresses all, exposes all--even that which we might not ask
to see. It is best that we should see it; there are no errors in

Walking, the squirrel nods to me. I nod back; and why shouldn't I?
Nature has familiarly introduced us. Squirrel munches under his tail
canopy till I am out of sight, jabbering all the while. What sage little
fellows go on four feet! I believe an animal has all the instincts of
Adam. He should never be tamed, however, lest he lose his identity.
Civilization rubs down the points in our character. As the surf rounds
the pebble, the masses round us. We are polished and insufferably
proper, but have no angles left! It is the angles that give the diamond
its lustre.

Are you hungry? When the index of shadow points out from the base of old
Sentinel Rock and touches that column of descending spray they call
Yosemite, I go to dinner. "The Fall of the Yosemite"--what a dream it
is. A dream of the lotus-eaters, and an aspiration of the Ideal in
Nature. You can not realize it; and yet, you will never forget it. Don't
take it too early in the Spring, when it is less ethereal--nay, somewhat
heavy; rather see it in summer after the rains, or in autumn, better
than all, when it is like a tissue of diamond dust shaken upon the air.
It really seems a labor for it to reach its foaming basin, it is so
filmy, spiritual, delicate. The very air wooes it from its perpetual
leap; sudden currents of wind catch it up and whirl it away in their
arms, a trembling captive, or dash it against the solemn and sad-looking
rock, where it clings for a moment, then trickles down the scarred and
rugged face of it, fading in its descent; sometimes it is waved back by
the elements, and almost seems to return into its cloudy nest up yonder
close under the sky. It only comes to us at last by impulses, and all
along its shining and vapory path rockets of spray shoot out like
pendants, dissolving singly and alone.

But "to return to our muttons." My dial says 12 M. There is no winding
up and down of weights here; 12 M. it undoubtedly is, and mutton waits.
These muttons were begotten here of muttons begotten here to the third
or fourth generation. Their wool is clipped, larded, and spun here by
one who lives here and loves this valley. These mittens, that keep the
frost from my fingers, are among the comforting results of this domestic
economy. In the cabin, by the fireplace, stands the old-fashioned
spinning wheel; and the old-fashioned body who manipulates the wool so
skillfully is the light of our little household. The shadow has struck
twelve from old Sentinel; and I take the sun once a day, and no oftener.
A cool, bracing air, a sharp run over the meadows, for I see the hostess
waving a signal at me for my tardiness, and I am hungry on my own
account--such cliffs and vistas as one sees here make one hollow with
looking at them, and are calculated to keep a supply of appetite on
hand. Do you like good long strips of baked squash? How do you fancy
bowls of warm milk--milk that declares a creamy dividend before morning?
Here is a fine fowl of our own raising--one that has seen Yosemite in
its glory and in its gloom; it ought to be good eating, and I can affirm
that it is. That's a dinner for you, and one where you can begin on pie
the first thing, if your soul craves it, which it frequently does.

A storm brewing, and rain in the lower valley. Never mind, there is no
hurry here; one blushes to be caught worrying in the august presence of
these mountains.

What can I do this stormy afternoon? Stop within doors and sit at the
window; a small grossbeak overhead, and we two looking out upon the rain
and fog. It is a mile nearly to that wall opposite, but look up high as
I can from my window I see no strip of sky. Here is a precipice of
homely, almost hideous-looking rock, and above it a hanging garden;
those pines in that garden are a hundred feet and more in height:
measure the second cliff by their proportions--how far is it, think you,
to the garden above? A thousand feet, perhaps; and three, four--no, six
of these terraces before you touch blue sky. Oh, what a valley! and
where else under heaven are we sunk forty fathoms deep in shadow? But
the sun is up yet, and there floats an eagle in its golden ray. I like
to watch the last beams burn out in that upper gallery among the pines.
There is a moment given us at sunset when we may partly realize the
inexpressible sweetness of the eternal day that is promised us--a dim,
religious light. There is no screen or tint soft enough to render the
effect perfectly. Only these few seconds at sunset seem to hint
something of its surpassing tenderness.

What cloud effects! Look up!--a break in the heavens, and beyond it the
shoulder of a peak weighing some billions of tons, but afloat now, as
soft in outline as the mists that envelop it. What masses of clouds
tumble in upon us! The sky is obscured, night is declared at once, and
the fowls go to roost at three P.M. How is the Fall in this weather? A
silver braid dropped from one cloud to another. Its strands parted and
joined again, lost and found in its own element. Leaping from its dizzy
eyrie in the clouds, itself most cloud-like, it is lost in a whirlwind
of foam. Now it is as a voice heard faintly above the wind, borne hither
and thither. Long, stinging nights, plenty of woolen blankets, and
delicious sleep. Then the evenings, so cosy around the fire. H---- reads
Scott; we listen and comment. Baby is abed long ago--little Baby, four
years old, born here also; knowing nothing of the beautiful world save
what is gathered in this gallery of beauties. Such a queer little child,
left to herself, no doubt thinking she is the only little one in
existence, contented to teeter for hours on a plank by the woodpile,
making long explorations by herself and returning, when we are all well
frightened, with a pocketful of lizards and a wasp in her fingers;
always talking of horned toads and heifers; not afraid of snakes, not
even the rattlers; mocking the birds when she is happy, and growling
bear-fashion to express her disapproval of any thing.

When the snows come, there will be avalanches by day and night, rushing
into all parts of the valley. The Hermit hears a rumbling in the clouds,
as he hoes his potatoes. He looks; a granite pilaster, hewn out by the
hurricanes centuries ago, at last grown weary of clinging to that
precipitous bluff, lets go its hold, and is dashed from crag to crag in
a prolonged and horrible suicide. A pioneer once laid him out a garden,
and marked the plan of his cellar; he was to begin digging the next day:
that night, there leaped a boulder from under the brow of this cliff
right into the heart of the plantation. It dug his cellar for him, but
he never used it. It behooved him and others to get farther out from the
mountain that found this settler too familiar, and sent a random shot as
a sufficient hint to the intruder.

In the trying times when the world was baking, what agony these
mountains must have endured. You see it in their faces, they are so
haggard and old-looking: time is swallowed up in victory, but it was a
desperate duel. There is a dome here that the ambitious foot of man has
never attempted. Tissayac allows no such liberty. Look up at that
rose-colored summit! The sun endows it with glory long after twilight
has shut us in. We are cheated of much daylight here--it comes later and
goes earlier with us; but we get hints of brighter hours, both morning
and evening, from those sparkling minarets now decked with snowy
arabesques. I have seen our canopy, the clouds, so crimsoned at this
hour that the valley seemed a grand oriental pavilion, whose silken roof
was illuminated with a million painted lamps. The golden woods of Autumn
detract nothing from the bizarre effect of the spectacle. To be sure,
these walls are rather sombre for a festival, but the sun does what it
can to enliven them, whilst the flame-colored oaks and blood-spotted
azaleas projecting on all sides from the shelving rocks resemble to a
startling degree galleries of blazing candelabra. Night dispels this
illusion, it is so very deep and mysterious here. The solemn procession
of the stars silently passes over us. I see Taurus pressing forward, and
anon Orion climbs on hand and knee over the mountain in hot pursuit.

Does it tire you to look so long at a gigantic monument? I do not
wonder. The secret of self-esteem seems to lie in regarding our
inferiors; therefor let us talk of this frog. I have heard his chorus a
thousand times in the dark. His is one of the songs of the night. Just
watch him in the meadow pool. See the contentment in his double chin;
he flings out three links of hind leg and carries his elbows akimbo; his
attitudes are unconstrained; he is entirely without affectation; life
never bores him; he keeps his professional engagements to the letter,
and sings nightly through the season, whether hoarse or not.

It is a good plan to portion off the glorious vistas of Yosemite,
allotting so many surprises to each day. Take, for instance, the ten
miles of valley, and passing slowly through the heart of it, allow a
tableau for every three hundred yards. You are sure of this variety, for
the trail winds among a galaxy of snowy peaks. Turn as you choose, it is
either a water-fall at a new angle, a cliff in profile, a reflection in
river or lake--the sudden appearance of the supreme peak of all, or
ravine, canon, cavern, pine opening, grove or prairie. There is a point
from which you may count over a hundred rocky fangs, tearing the clouds
to tatters. I can not tell you the exact location of this terrific
climax of savage beauty; try to find it, and perhaps discover half a
dozen as singular scenic combinations for yourself. See all that you are
told must be seen, then go out alone and discover as much more for
yourself, and something no doubt dearer to your memory than any of the
more noted haunts. "See Mirror Lake on a still morning," they said to
me. I saw it, but went again in the evening, and saw a vision that the
reader may not expect to have reflected here. It was the picture of the
morning--so softened and refined a veil of enchantment seemed thrown
over it. Hamadryad or water nymph could not have startled me at that
moment: they belonged there, and were looked for. I shall hardly again
renew those impressions; it was all so unexpected, and one is not twice
surprised in the same manner. That wondrous amphitheatre was for once
made cheerful with the broad, horizontal bars of fire that shifted about
it, yet all its lights were mellowed in the purpling mists of evening,
and the whole was pictured in little on the surface of the lake. There
was nothing earthly visible, I thought then, for every thing seemed
transfigured, floating in a lucent atmosphere. It was the hour when the
birds are silent for the space of one intense moment, stopping with one
accord--perhaps holding their breath till the spell is broken. As I
stood entranced, a large golden leaf, ready and willing to die, let go
its hold on the top bough of a tree overhanging the water. From twig to
twig it swung. I heard every sound in its fall till it was out of the
congregation of its fellows, turning over and over in mid-air, sailing
toward the centre of the lake. There it hung on the rim of that
stainless crystal, while a thin ring of silver light noiselessly
expanded toward the shore. The sun was down. All the birds of heaven
said so with their bubbling throats. Bewildered with the delicious
conclusion of this illustration of still life, I turned homeward,
dispelling the mirage. Then such a ride home in the keen air, while a
pillar of smoke rose over the little cabin, telling me which of the
hundred bowers of autumn sheltered my nest.

But, again and again, I have seen all. Pohono has breathed upon me with
its fatal breath, yet I survive. It is said that three Indian girls were
long ago bewitched by its waters, and now their perturbed spirits haunt
the place. Those perfectly round rainbows may form the nimbus for each
of the martyrs; they, at any rate, look supernatural enough for such an
office. The wildly wooded pass to the Vernal and Nevada Falls has echoed
to my tread. I have been sprayed upon till my spirit is never dry of the
life-giving waters that flow so freely. But I am just a little tired of
all this. I begin to breathe short, irregular breaths. The soul of this
mighty solitude oppresses me; I want more air of the common sort, and
less wisdom in daily talks and walks. I remember the pleasant nonsense
of life over the mountains, and sigh for those flesh-pots of Egypt once
in a while. These rocks are full of texts and teachings--these cliffs
are tables of stone, graven with laws and commandments. I read
everywhere mysterious cyphers and hieroglyphics; every changing season
offers to me a new palimpsest. I do not quite like to play here; I dare
not be simple; I'm altogether too good to last long. How many thousand
ascensions have been made in these worshipful days, I wonder; not merely
getting the body on to the tops of these wonderful peaks, but going
thither in spirit, as when the soul goes up into the mountains to pray?
This eye-climbing is as fatiguing and perilous as any. I feel the want
of some pure blue sky.

A few farewell rambles associate themselves with packing up and plans of
desertion. Not sad farewells in this case, for if I never again meet
these individual mountains, I carry with me their memory, eternal and
incomparably glorious. Let us peep into this nook: I got plentiful
blackberries there in the spring, together with stains and thorny
scratches. I haul myself over the ferry and back, for old acquaintance'
sake; the current is so lazy, it seems incredible that the same waters
are almost impassable at some seasons. I succeed in wrecking a whole
armada of floating leaves with stems like a bowsprit. A few beetles take
passage in these gilded barges--no doubt, for the antipodes.

Did you ever drive up the cattle at milking time? I have; but not
without endless trial and tribulation, for they spill off the path on
either side in a very remarkable way, and when I rush after one with a
flank movement, the column breaks and falls back utterly demoralized. A
little strategy on the part of their commander (which is myself)
triumphs in the end, for I privately reconstruct and march them all up
in detachments of one. I look after the little trees, the unbent twigs;
they are more interesting to me than your monsters. This nursery of
saplings sprang up in a night after a freshet: here are quivering aspens
trembling forever in penance for that one sin. They once were gravely
pointed out by the guide of a party of tourists as "shuddering asps." He
is doubtless the same who, being asked "what that was," (pointing to the
North Dome, six thousand feet in the air) said "he'd be hanged if he
knew; some knob or other." I recall ten thousand pleasant times as I
turn my face seaward; not only the great and omnipotent shadows under
the south wall of the valley, nor the continuous canticles of the
waters, but innumerable little things that fill up and make life

The talks, the walks with my friends here, the parrot "Sultan," fed
daily from the table, soliloquizing upon men and things in Arabic and
Hindostanee, for he scorns English and talks in his sleep. There is
_Bobby_, the grossbeak, brought to the door in pin feathers and skin
like oiled silk by an Indian. His history is tragic: this Indian brained
the whole family and an assortment of relatives; Bobby alone remaining
to brood over the massacre, was sold into bondage for two bits and a
tin dipper without the bottom. The sun seems to lift his gloom, for he
sings a little, sharpens his bill with great gusto and tomahawks a bit
of fruit, as though dealing vengeance upon the destroyer of his race.

[Illustration: Sentinel Hotel, Yosemite, in 1869]

When shall I see another such cabin as this--its great fireplaces, and
the loft heaping full of pumpkins? O, Yosemite! O, halcyon days, and
bed-time at eight P.M., tucking in for ten good hours and up again at
six; good eatings and drinkings day by day, mugs of milk and baked
squash forever, plenty of butter to our daily bread; letters at wide
intervals, and long, uninterrupted "thinks" about home and friends (as
the poet of the "Hermitage" writes in one of his letters). Shall I ever
again sit for two mortal hours hearing a housefly buzz in the window and
thinking it a pleasant voice! But alas! those restless days, when the
air was full of driving leaves and I could find nothing on earth to
comfort me.

I leave this morning. Opportunity takes me by the hand and leads me
away. The heart leaps with emotion: everything is momentous in a quiet
life. This is the portal we entered one deepening dusk. Its threshold
will soon be cushioned with snow; let us hasten on. If I were asked when
is the time to visit Yosemite, I should reply: Go in the spring; see the
freshets and the waterfalls in their glory, and the valley in its fresh
and vivid greenness. Go again, by all means, in the autumn, when the
woods are powdered with gold dust and a dreamy haze sleeps in the long
ravines; when the stars sparkle like crystals and the mornings are
frosty; when the clouds visit us in person, and the trees look like
crayon sketches on a vapory background, and the cliffs like leaning
towers traced in sepia on a soft ground glass. Go in spring and autumn,
if possible. I should choose autumn of the two; but go at any hazard,
and do not rest till you have been. You can enter and go out at this
portal. Passing seaward, to the left, out of the gray and groping mists
a form, arises, monstrous and awful in its proportions; spurning the
very earth that crumbles at its very base as it towers to heaven. The
vapors of the air cleave to its massive front. The passing cloud is
caught and torn in the grand carvings of its capitals. Gaze upon it in
the solemnity of its sunlit surface. Impressive, impassive, magnetic;
having a pulse and the organs of life almost; terrible as the forehead
of a god. The full splendor of the noonday can not belittle it, night
can not compass it. The moon is paler in its presence and wastes her
lamp, the stars are hidden and lost over and beyond it. Across the face
of it is borne forever the shadowy semblance of a swift and flying
figure. Despair and desperation are in the nervous energy depicted in
this marvelous medallion. Surely, the Indian may look with a degree of
reverence upon that picture, painted by the morning light, fading in the
meridian day, and gone altogether by evening. A grand etching of
colossal proportions, representing the great chief Tutochanula in his
mysterious flight. The Wandering Jew might look upon it and behold his
traditional beard and flowing robes blown here by the winds in the
rapidity of his desperate haste. It is the last one sees of the valley,
as it is the last any have seen of Tutochanula. He fled into the west,
cycles ago, and I follow him now into the west, nest-building, and
getting into the shadow and resting after the door of the mountain is
passed, and my soul no longer beats impetuously against those stormy

With uncovered head, having nothing between me and Saturn, wiser, I
trust, for my intercourse with these masters, purer in heart and holier
for my prolonged vigil, with careful and reverential steps I pass out of
Yosemite shadows.




She was a smallish moon, looking very chaste and chilly and she peered


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