A TRUTHFUL WOMAN IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
BY KATE SANBORN
AUTHOR OF ADOPTING AN ABANDONED FARM, ETC.
NEW YORK D. APPLETON AND COMPANY 1906
COPYRIGHT, 1893, BY D. APPLETON AND COMPANY.
I.—HINTS FOR THE JOURNEY II.—AT CORONADO BEACH III.—SAN DIEGO IV.—EN ROUTE TO LOS ANGELES V.—LOS ANGELES AND ROUND ABOUT VI.—PASADENA VII.—CAMPING ON MOUNT WILSON VIII.—CATCHING UP ON THE KITE-SHAPED TRACK IX.—RIVERSIDE X.—A LESSON ON THE TRAIN XI.—SANTA BARBARA XII.—HER CITY AND COUNTY XIII.—IN GALA DRESS XIV.—AU REVOIR
A Truthful Woman in Southern California
HINTS FOR THE JOURNEY.
The typical Forty-niner, in alluring dreams, grips the Golden Fleece.
The fin-de-siecle Argonaut, in Pullman train, flees the Cold and Grip.
En Sol y la Sombra—shade as well as sun.
Yes, as California is. I resolve neither to soar into romance nor drop into poetry (as even Chicago drummers do here), nor to idealize nor quote too many prodigious stories, but to write such a book as I needed to read before leaving my "Abandoned Farm," "Gooseville," Mass. For I have discovered that many other travellers are as ignorant as myself regarding practical information about every-day life here, and many others at home may know even less.
So let me say that California has not a tropical, but a semi-tropical climate, and you need the same clothing for almost every month that is found necessary and comfortable in New York or Chicago during the winter.
Bring fur capes, heavy wraps, simple woolen dresses for morning and outdoor life; and unless rolling in wealth, pack as little as possible of everything else, for extra baggage is a curse and will deplete a heavy purse,—that rhymes and has reason too. I know of one man who paid $300 for extra baggage for his party of fifteen from Boston to Los Angeles.
Last year I brought dresses and underwear for every season, and for a vague unknown fifth; also my lectures, causing profanity all along the line, and costing enough to provide drawing-room accommodations for the entire trip.
Why did I come? Laryngitis, bronchitis, tonsilitis, had claimed me as their own. Grip (I will not honor it with a foreign spelling, now it is so thoroughly acclimated and in every home) had clutched me twice—nay, thrice; doctors shook their heads, thumped my lungs, sprayed my throat, douched my nose, dosed me with cough anodynes and nerve tonics, and pronounced another winter in the North a dangerous experiment. Some of you know about this from personal experience. Not a human being could I induce to join me. If this hits your case, do not be deterred; just come and be made over into a joyous, healthful life. I would not urge those to take the tedious journey who are hopelessly consumptive. Home is the best place for such, and although I see many dragging wearily along with one lung, or even half of that, who settle here and get married and prolong existence for a few years, and although some marvellous cures have been effected, still I say the same.
And what is to be put in the one big trunk? Plenty of flannels of medium thickness, a few pretty evening dresses, two blouses, silk and woolen or velvet for morning wear, with simple skirts, a gossamer, rubbers, thick boots for long tramps and excursions, parasol, umbrella, soft hat to shade the face, and gloves for all sorts of occasions. I do not venture to suggest anything for men, they travel so sensibly. The more experienced one is, the less he carries with him.
So do not load up with portfolio and portable inkstand, your favorite stationery, the books that delighted your childhood or exerted a formative influence upon your character in youth. Deny yourself and leave at home the gold or silver toilet set, photograph album, family Bibles, heavy fancy work, gilded horseshoe for luck, etc. I know of bright people who actually carried their favorite matches from an eastern city to Tacoma, also a big box of crackers, cheese, pickles, and preserved fruits, only to find the best of everything in that brilliant and up-with-the-times city. One old lady brought a calla-lily in a pot! When she arrived and saw hedges and fields of lilies, hers went out of the window. Another lady from Boston brought a quart bottle of the blackest ink, only to spill it all upon a new carpet at Santa Barbara, costing the boarding-house keeper thirty-five dollars. Everything that one needs can be purchased all along the way, from a quinine capsule to a complete outfit for any occasion.
As to the various ways of coming here, I greatly prefer the Southern Pacific in winter, and Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe in spring or summer. Either will take you from New York to San Diego and return for $137, allowing six months' stay. The "Phillips Excursion" will take you from Boston to San Francisco for fifty-five dollars. But in this case the beds are hard, and you provide your own meals. Some try the long voyage, twenty-three days from New York to San Francisco. It is considered monotonous and undesirable by some; others, equally good judges, prefer it decidedly.
I believe in taking along a loose wrapper to wear in the cars, especially when crossing the desert. It greatly lessens fatigue to be able to curl up cosily in a corner and go to sleep, with a silk travelling hat or a long veil on one's head, and the stiff bonnet or big hat with showy plumes nicely covered in its long purse-like bag, and hanging on a hook above. The sand and alkali ruin everything, and are apt to inflame the eyes and nose. I find a hamper with strap indispensable on the train; it will hold as much as a small trunk, yet it can be easily carried.
Now imagine you have arrived, very tired, and probably with a cold in your head, for the close heated cars and the sudden changes of climate are trying. You may be at The Raymond, and "personally conducted." Nothing can be better than that. But if you are alone at Los Angeles, or San Francisco, come straight down to Coronado Beach, and begin at the beginning—or the end, as you may think it.
AT CORONADO BEACH.
I associate Coronado Beach so closely with Warner (Charles D.), the cultured and cosmopolitan, that every wave seems to murmur his name, and the immense hotel lives and flourishes under the magic of his rhetoric and commendation. Just as Philadelphia is to me Wanamakerville and Terrapin, so Coronado Beach is permeated and lastingly magnetized by Warner's sojourn here and what he "was saying."
But I must venture to find fault with his million-times-quoted adjective "unique" as it is used. It has been stamped on stationery and menu cards, and has gone the world over in his volume "Our Italy," and no one ever visits this spot who has not made the phrase his own. To me it deserves a stronger word, or series of words. We say a pretty girl has a "unique" way of dressing her hair, or an author a "unique" way of putting things.
But as I look out of my window this glorious morning, and watch the triple line of foaming waves breaking on the long beach, a silver sickle in the sunshine; the broad expanse of the Pacific, with distant sails looking like butterflies apoise; Point Loma grandly guarding the right, and farther back the mountain view, where snowy peaks can just be discerned over the nearer ranges; the quiet beauty of the grounds below, where borders and ovals and beds of marguerites contrast prettily with long lines and curves of the brilliant marigolds; grass, trees, and hedges green as June—a view which embraces the palm and the pine, the ocean and lofty mountains, cultivated gardens and rocky wastes, as I see all this, I for one moment forget "unique" and exclaim, "How bold, magnificent, and unrivalled!" Give me a new and fitting adjective to describe what I see. Our best descriptive adjectives are so recklessly used in daily life over minute matters, that absolutely nothing is left for this rare combination.
As a daughter of New Hampshire in this farthest corner of the southwest, my mind crosses the continent to the remote northeast and the great Stone Face of the Franconia Mountains. Chiselled by an Almighty hand, its rugged brow seamed by the centuries, its features scarred by the storms of ages, gazing out over the broad land, where centre the hopes of the human race, who can forget that face, sad with the mysteries of pain and sorrow, yet inspiring with its rugged determination, and at times softened with the touch of sunlit hope?
Point Loma has something of the same sphinx-like grandeur, with its long bold promontory stretching out into the western waters. These two seem to be keeping watch and ward over mountain and sea: each appropriate in its place and equally impressive. There the stern prophet surveying the home of great beginnings, the cradle of creative energy; and here, its counterpart, a mighty recumbent lion, its dreamy, peaceful gaze turned with confidence out over the wide Pacific to the setting sun, with assurance of ultimate success, a pledge of aspirations satisfied, of achievements assured, of——Whoa there! Hello! This to my runaway steeds, Imagination and Sentiment. Brought back by a passing bell-boy, I shall now keep a tighter rein.
But when one first breathes the air of California, there is a curious exaltation and excitement, which leads on irresistibly. This is often followed by a natural depression, sleepiness, and reaction. But that view never changes, and I know you will say the same. A florid, effervescent, rhapsodical style seems irresistible. One man of uncommon business ability and particularly level head caught the spirit of the place, and wrote that "the most practical and unpoetical minds, too, come here and go away, as they afterward gingerly admit, carrying with them the memory of sunsets emblazoned in gold and crimson upon cloud, sea, and mountain; of violet promontories, sails, and lighthouses etched against the orange of a western sky; of moonlight silvering breeze-rippled breadths of liquid blue; of distant islands shimmering in sun-lit haze; of sunrises with crowns of glory chasing the vapory, fleece-like shadows from the wet, irridescent beach, and silhouetting the fishermen's sails in the opalescent tints of a glassy sea."
Some temperaments may not be affected at all. But the first morning I felt like leaping a five-barred fence, and the next like lying down anywhere and sleeping indefinitely. I met a distinguished Boston artist recently, who had just arrived. The day was superb. He seemed in a semi-delirium of ecstasy over everything. His face glowed, his eyes shone, his hands were full of flowers. He said, "My heart jumps so I'm really afraid it will jump out of my body." The next morning he was wholly subdued. It had poured all night, and the contrast was depressing. A six-footer from Albany was in the sleepy state. "If I don't pull out soon," he said, "I shall be bedridden. I want to sleep after breakfast, or bowling, or bath, or my ride or dinner, and really long to go to bed by nine."
There has probably been more fine writing and florid rhetoric about California than any other State in the Union.
The Hotel del Coronado is a mammoth hostelry, yet homelike in every part, built in a rectangle with inner court, adorned with trees, flowers, vines, and a fountain encircled by callas; color, pure white, roofs and chimneys red; prevailing woods, oak, ash, pine, and redwood.
All around the inner court a series of suites of rooms, each with its own bath and corner sitting-room—literally "a linked suiteness long drawn out." It is one eighth of a mile from my bedroom to my seat in the dining-room, so that lazy people are obliged to take daily constitutionals whether they want to or not, sighing midway for trolley accommodations. The dining-room may safely be called roomy, as it seats a thousand guests, and your dearest friends could not be recognized at the extreme end. Yet there is no dreary stretch or caravansary effect, and to-day every seat is filled, and a dozen tourists waiting at the door.
Every recreation of city or country is found in this little world: thirty billiard-tables, pool, bowling, tennis, polo, bathing (where bucking barrel-horses and toboggan slides, fat men who produce tidal waves, and tiny boys who do the heroic as sliders and divers, make fun for the spectators), hunting, fishing, yachting, rowing, riding to hounds, rabbit hunts, pigeon shoot, shooting-galleries, driving, coaching, cards, theatre, ballroom, lectures, minstrels, exhibitions of the Mammoth and Minute from Yosemite with the stereopticon, to Pacific sea-mosses, the ostrich farm, the museum or maze for a morning hour, dressing or undressing for evening display, watching the collection of human beings who throng everywhere with a critical or humorous eye, finding as much variety as on Broadway or Tremont Street; dancing-classes for children; a chaperon and a master of ceremonies for grown folks; a walk or drive twelve miles long on a smooth beach at low tide, not forgetting the "dark room" for kodak and camera f—amateurs.
You see many athletic, fine-looking men, who ride daringly and ride to kill. Once a week the centre of the office is filled with game: rabbits, quail, snipe, ducks, etc., everything here—but an undertaker. And old Ocean eternally booming (the only permanent boom I know of in Southern California).
And that is what you see and hear at the Hotel del Coronado. The summer climate is better than the winter—never too warm for comfort, the mercury never moving for weeks. I expected constant sunshine, a succession of June's fairest days, which would have been monotonous, to say nothing of the effect upon crops and orchards. The rainy season is necessary and a blessing to the land-owners, hard as it is for "lungers" and the nervous invalids who only feel well on fine days and complain unreasonably.
Ten inches is the average needed just here. Rain is rainy and wet weather is wet, but the ground dries as soon as the pelting shower is over. I do not find the raw, searching dampness of our Eastern seashore resorts. Here we are said to have "dry fogs" and an ideal marine atmosphere, but it was too cold for comfort during the March rains for those not in robust health.
As I sit in the upper gallery and watch the throng issuing from the dining-room, I make a nice and unerring social distinction between the Toothpick Brigade who leave the table with the final mouthful semi-masticated, and those who have an air of finished contentment.
The orchestra is unusually good, giving choice selections admirably executed. I have not decided whether music at meals is a blessing or otherwise. If sad, it seems a mockery; if gay, an interruption. For one extremely sensitive to time and tune it is difficult to eat to slow measures. And when the steak is tough and a galop is going on above, it is hard to keep up.
Among the many fleeting impressions of faces and friends here, one or two stand out clearly and indelibly—stars of the first magnitude in the nebulae—as dear Grandma Wade from Chicago, the most attractive old lady I ever met: eighty-three years old, with a firm step, rotund figure, and sweet, unruffled face, crowned with the softest snow-white curls, on which rests an artistic cap trimmed with ribbons of blue or delicate heliotrope, and small artificial flowers to match. I have known several interesting octogenarians, but never one that surpassed her in loveliness, wit, and positive jollity. Her spontaneous fun is better than the labored efforts of many a famous humorist.
She still has her ardent admirers among men as well as women, and now and then receives an earnest proposal from some lonely old fellow.
The last of these aged lovers, when refused and relegated to the position of a brother, urged her to reconsider this important matter, making it a subject of prayer. But she quietly said, "I'm not going to bother the Lord with questions I can answer myself." When choked by a bread-crumb at table, she said to the frightened waiter, as soon as she had regained her breath, "Never mind, if that did go down the wrong way, a great many good things have gone down the right way this winter."
She is invariably cheerful, and when parting with her son for the winter she said, "Well, John, I want to know before I go just what you have left me in your will!" which little joke changed a tear into a smile.
Even when ill she is still bright and hopeful, so that a friend exclaimed, "Grandma, I do believe you would laugh if you were dying;" and she replied, "Well, so many folks go to the Lord with a long face, I guess He will be glad to see one come in smiling."
Oh, how repulsive the artificial bloom, the cosmetics and hair-dyes which make old age a horror, compared with her natural beauty! God bless and keep dear Grandma Wade!
Little "Ted" is another character and favorite, and his letter to his nurse in New York gives a good idea of how the place affects a bright, impressionable child.
"My dear Julia: It is a dummy near the hotel and it takes five days to come here and there is an island right beyond the boat house and they have a pigeon shoot every week. And there is six hundred people here Julia, one hundred and fifty came yesterday.
"There is a mountin across the river and a house very far away by itself, Julia. I play in the sand every day of my life, and I take swimming lessons and I have two oranges. California is the biggest world in the country and there is a tree very, very far away. Julia it is a puzzle walk near the hotel, Rose and me went all through it and Julia, we got our way out easy."
He has it all. All the trees are cultivated here, so I looked round for the one Ted spoke of, and find it lights up at night and revolves for the aid of the mariners. I think that all Californians echo his sentiment that "California is the biggest world in the country"; and compared with the hard work of the New England farmers, what is the cultivation of orchards but playing in the sand with golden oranges? Some one says that Californians "irrigate, cultivate, and exaggerate."
Charles Nordhoff, the veteran journalist and author, lives within sight of the hotel (which he pronounces the most perfect and charming hotel he knows of in Europe or America), in a rambling bungalow consisting of three small cottages moved from different points and made into one. He believes in California for "health, pleasure, and residence." It is a rare privilege to listen to his conversation, sitting by his open fire or at his library table, or when he is entertaining friends at dinner.
So ends my sketch of Coronado. Coronado! What a perfect word! Musical, euphonious, regal, "the crowned"! The name of the governor of New Galicia, and captain-general of the Spanish army, sent forth in 1540 in search of the seven cities of Cibola. General J. H. Simpson, U. S. A., has written a valuable monograph on "Coronado's March," which can be found in the Smithsonian Report for 1869.
I intend to avoid statistics and history on the one side, and extravagant eulogy on the other.
Now we will say good-by to our new friends, take one more look at Point Loma, and cross the ferry to San Diego.
"The truly magnificent, and—with reason—famous port of San Diego."—From the first letter of Father Junipero in Alto California.
Fifteen cents for motor, ferry, and car will take you to Hotel Florence, on the heights overlooking the bay, where I advise you to stop. The Horton House is on an open, sunny site, and is frequented by "transients" and business men of moderate means. The Brewster is a first-class hotel, with excellent table. The Florence is not a large boarding-house or family hotel, but open for all. It has a friendly, homelike atmosphere, without the exactions of an ultra-fashionable resort. The maximum January temperature is seventy-four degrees, while that of July is seventy-nine degrees, and invalid guests at this house wear the same weight clothing in summer that they do in winter. The rooms of this house are all sunny, and each has a charming ocean or mountain view. It is easy to get there; hard to go away. Arriving from Coronado Beach, I was reminded of the Frenchman who married a quiet little home body after a desperate flirtation with a brilliant society queen full of tyrannical whims and capricious demands. When this was commented on as surprising, he explained that after playing with a squirrel one likes to take a cat in his lap. Really, it is so restful that the building suggests a big yellow tabby purring sleepily in the sunshine. I sat on the veranda, or piazza, taking a sun-bath, in a happy dream or doze, until the condition of nirvana was almost attained. What day of the week was it? And the season? Who could tell? And who cares? Certainly no one has the energy to decide it. Last year, going there to spend one day, I remained for five weeks, hypnotized by my environments—beguiled, deluded, unconscious of the flight of time, serenely happy. Many come for a season, and wake up after five or six years to find it is now their home. "There seems to exist in this country a something which cheats the senses; whether it be in the air, the sunshine, or in the ocean breeze, or in all three combined, I cannot say. Certainly the climate is not the home-made common-sense article of the anti-Rocky Mountain States; and unreality is thrown round life—all walk and work in a dream."
At Coronado Beach one rushes out after breakfast for an all-day excursion or morning tramp; here one sits and sits, always intending to go somewhere or do something, until the pile of unanswered letters accumulates and the projected trips weary one in a dim perspective. It is all so beautiful, so new, so wonderful! San Diego is the Naples of America, with the San Jacinto Mountains for a background and the blue sunlit bay to gaze upon, and one of the finest harbors in the world. Yet with all this, few have the energy even to go a-fishing.
Now, as a truthful "tourist," I must admit that in the winter there are many days when the sun does not shine, and the rainy season is not altogether cheerful for the invalid and the stranger. Sunshine, glorious golden sunshine, is what we want all the time; but we do not get it. I noticed that during the heavy rains the invalids retired to their rooms, overcome by the chill and dampness, and some were seriously ill. But then they would have been in their graves if they had remained in the East. There are many charming people residing in San Diego, well, happy, useful, who know they can never safely return to their old homes.
There has been such a rosy glamour thrown over southern California by enthusiastic romancers that many are disappointed when they fail to find an absolute Paradise.
Humboldt said of California: "The sky is constantly serene and of a deep blue, and without a cloud; and should any clouds appear for a moment at the setting of the sun, they display the most beautiful shades of violet, purple, and green."
[Footnote 1: Humboldt had never been in Alta California, and procured this information in Mexico or Spain.]
Now, after reading that, a real rainy day, when the water leaks through the roof and beats in at the doors, makes a depressed invalid feel like a drenched fowl standing forlornly on one leg in the midst of a New England storm. With snow-covered mountains on one side and the ocean with its heavy fogs on the other, and the tedious rain pouring down with gloomy persistence, and consumptives coughing violently, and physicians hurrying in to attend to a sudden hemorrhage or heart-failure, the scene is not wholly gay and inspiriting. But when the sun comes forth again and the flowers (that look to me a little tired of blooming all the time) brighten up with fresh washed faces, and all vegetation rejoices and you can almost see things grow, and the waves dance and glitter, and the mountains no longer look cold and threatening but seem like painted scenery, a la Bierstadt, hung up for our admiration, and the valleys breathe the spicy fragrance of orange blossoms, we are once more happy, and ready to rave a little ourselves over the much-talked-of "bay 'n' climate." But there are dangers even on the sunniest day. I know a young physician who came this year on a semi-professional tour, to try the effects of inhalations on tuberculosis, and it was so delightfully warm that he straightway took off his flannels, was careless about night air, and was down with pneumonia.
The tourist or traveller who writes of San Diego usually knows nothing of it but a week or two in winter or early spring.
Southern California has fifty-two weeks in the year, and for two thirds of this time the weather is superb.
I can imagine even a mission Indian grunting and complaining if taken to our part of the country in the midst of a week's storm. We flee from deadly horrors of climate to be fastidiously critical. If, in midsummer, sweltering sufferers in New York or Chicago could be transported to this land they would not hurry away. The heat is rarely above eighty-five degrees, and nearly always mitigated by a refreshing breeze from the bay. I am assured that there have not been five nights in as many years when one or more blankets have not been necessary for comfort. In summer everything is serene. No rain, no thunder-storms, no hail, or water-spouts. (The dust pest is never spoken of!) The picnic can be arranged three weeks ahead without an anxious thought about the weather. The summer sunsets are marvellously beautiful.
One must summer and winter here before he can judge fairly, and the hyper-sensitive should tarry in New Mexico or in the desert until spring. I believe that rheumatic or neuralgic invalids should avoid the damp resorts to which they are constantly flocking only to be dissatisfied. Every sort of climate can be found in the State, so that no one has the right to grumble.
Do not take off flannels, although the perspiration does trickle down the side of your face as you sit in the sun. A fur cape is always needed to protect one shoulder from a chilling breeze while the other side is toasted. It is not safe for new-comers to be out-of-doors after four or five o'clock in the afternoon, nor must they ride in open cars except in the middle of the day. These innocent diversions give the doctors their support.
Bill Nye, with his usual good sense, refused to drive in a pouring rain to view the scenery and orchards when visiting San Diego in March, and says: "Orange orchards are rare and beautiful sights, but when I can sit in this warm room, gathered about a big coal fire, and see miles of them from the window, why should I put on my fur overcoat and a mackintosh in order to freeze and cry out with assumed delight every half-mile while I gradually get Pomona of the lungs?"
There are many places worth visiting if you can rouse yourselves for the effort. Point Loma, twelve miles distant, gives a wonderful view, one of the finest in the world. I warrant you will be so famished on arriving that you will empty every lunch-basket before attending to the outlook. National City, Sweet Water Dam, Tia Juana (Aunt Jane), La Jolla—you will hear of all these. I have tried them and will report.
The Kimball brothers, Warren and Frank, who came from New Hampshire twenty-five years ago and devoted their energies to planting orchards of oranges, lemons, and olives, have made the desert bloom, and found the business most profitable. You will like to watch the processes of pickling olives and pressing out the clear amber oil, which is now used by consumptives in preference to the cod-liver oil. Many are rubbed with it daily for increasing flesh. It is delicious for the table, but the profits are small, as cotton-seed oil is much cheaper. Lemons pay better than oranges, Mr. Kimball tells me. Mrs. Flora Kimball has worked side by side with her husband, who is an enthusiast for the rights of woman. She is progressive, and ready to help in every good work, with great executive ability and a hearty appreciation of any good quality in others.
It does not pay to take the trip to Mexico if time is limited, there is so little of Mexico in it. After leaving the train and getting into an omnibus, the voluble darkey in charge soon shouts out, "We are now crossing the line," but as no difference of scene is observed, it is not deeply impressive. One young fellow got out and jumped back and forth over the line, so that if asked on his return if he had been to Mexico he could conscientiously answer, "Oh yes, many times." We were then taken to the custom-house, where we mailed some hastily scribbled letters for the sake of using a Mexican stamp,—some preferred it stamped on a handkerchief. And near by is the curio store, where you find the same things which are seen everywhere, and where you will doubtless buy a lot of stuff and be sorry for it. But whatever other folly you may be led into, let me implore you to wholly abstain from that deadly concoction, the Mexican tamale. Ugh! I can taste mine now.
A tamale is a curious and dubious combination of chicken hash, meal, olives, red pepper, and I know not what, enclosed in a corn-husk, steamed until furiously hot, and then offered for sale by Mexicans in such a sweet, appealing way that few can resist the novelty. It has a more uncertain pedigree than the sausage, and its effects are serious.
A friend of mine tasted a small portion of one late at night. It was later before she could sleep, and then terrible nightmares intruded upon her slumber. Next morning she looked so ill and enfeebled, so unlike her rosy self, that we begged to know the cause. The tale was thrilling. She thought a civil war had broken out and she could not telegraph to her distant spouse. The agony was intense. She must go to him with her five children, and at once. They climbed mountains, tumbled into canons, were arrested in their progress by cataracts and wild storms, and even the hostile Indian appeared in full war-paint at a point above. This awoke her, only to fall into another horrible situation. An old lover suddenly returned, tried to approach her; she screamed, "I am now a married woman!"—he lifted his revolver, and once again she returned to consciousness and the tamale, and brandy, and Brown's Jamaica ginger. If she had eaten half the tamale the pistol would doubtless have completed its deadly work. A kind old gentleman of our party bought a dozen to treat us all. We were obliged to refuse, and it was amusing to watch him in his endeavor to get rid of them. At last he made several journeys to the car door, throwing out a few each trip in a solemn way. He didn't want to hurt the feelings of the natives by casting them all out at once.
Sweet Water Dam is a triumph of engineering, one of the largest dams in the world, holding six million gallons of water, used for irrigating ranches in Sweet Water Valley; and at La Jolla you will find pretty shells and clamber down to the caves. There the stones are slippery, and an absorbing flirtation should be resisted, as the tide often intrudes most unexpectedly, and in dangerous haste. Besides the caves the attractions are the fishing and the kelp beds. These kelp beds form a submarine garden, and the water is so clear that one can see beautiful plants, fish, etc., at forty or fifty feet below the sea surface—not unlike the famous sea-gardens at Nassau in the Bahamas. There is a good hotel, open the year round.
Lakeside is a quiet inland retreat twenty-two miles from San Diego, where many go for a little excursion and change of air. The Lakeside Hotel has seventy large rooms and complete appointments. The table is supplied with plenty of milk and real cream from their own cows, vegetables and fruit from the neighboring ranches, game in its season, shot on the lake near by, and, in the valleys, meats from homegrown stock. The guests who are not too invalidish often go out for long drives, never forgetting the lunch-baskets. One day we try the Alpine stage. Winding across the mesa at the rear of the hotel, we have a lovely view of the little lake half hidden in the trees, reflecting in its quiet surface the mountains that rise up beyond it. Gradually climbing upward, we come to a tract of land that is watered by the Flume. To our surprise we learn that this is practically frostless, and that since this has been discovered many young orchards of oranges and lemons have been planted. The red mesa land on the side-hills will not be touched by the frosts of a cold night when the valley at its foot will have enough frost to kill all tender growth. This is a new discovery, and has placed thousands of acres on the market as suitable for the culture of citrus fruits. Do you notice how the appearance of the landscape is changing? The nearer hills are much sharper and steeper, and their sides are studded by great boulders. There are stone walls, and here and there are great flocks of sheep. The horses stop of their own accord at a lovely spot where they are used to getting a drink of cool spring water. Did any ever taste quite so good as that drunk from an old dipper after a long warm drive? The live-oaks and sycamores look too inviting to be resisted, and we get out to explore while the horses are resting. Underneath the evergreen shade we pick up some of the large pointed acorns and carry them away as souvenirs. This would be a delightful spot for a picnic, but we have many miles before us and must go on. In a few more miles we reach a little town known as "Alpine." In the distance looms the Viejas, and if any of the party wish to travel over a grade, now is the opportunity. The top of the grade brings us to a lovely view. Eastward is an unbroken chain of mountain-peaks, from whose summits may be seen the broad Pacific on one side and the Colorado Desert on the other.
One of the favorite drives is into the Monte. This is a large park or tract of a thousand acres. On each side the hills rise, and in front El Cajon shows new beauties with every step of the way. Great live-oaks with enormous trunks, ancient sycamores, elders, and willows make in some spots a dense shade. On the edge of the hillsides the Flume may be seen, which furnishes many ranches as well as the city of San Diego with the purest mountain water. Underneath the trees and up on the rocks the lover of flowers and ferns will scramble. There are the dainty forget-me-nots, tiny flowers of starry white, flowers of pale orange with centres of deep maroon, the wild galliardia, and the wild peony with its variegated leaves. Many other delicate blossoms which we cannot stop to describe are there too. And the ferns! All kinds may be found by the initiated, and many are close at hand. The fern lined with gold or with silver, the running ferns, the ferns of lace-like fineness, the ferns as soft as velvet, all growing in the greatest profusion. And each day of the week a different drive and new delights.
There is the valley of El Cajon ("the box"), which should be visited in grape-picking time. The great Boston ranch alone employs three hundred and twenty-five pickers. Men, women, children, all busy, and the grapes when just turned are sweet, spicy, and delicious, making the air fragrant. This valley is dotted with handsome villas and prosperous ranches. The range of mountains which looms up before us from the veranda of the hotel is not yet dignified by a name, yet it is more imposing than the White Mountains, and in the distance we see old Cuyamaca, nearly seven thousand feet high. But we must take the next train for San Diego, or this chapter will be a volume in itself. And I have not even alluded to the "Great Back Country."
The founder of San Diego is still living, still hopeful, still young at heart. "Father" Horton, the typical pioneer, deserves more honors than he has yet received. Coming from Connecticut to California in 1851, he soon made a small fortune in mining, buying and selling gold-dust, and providing the diggers with ice and water for their work. He rode over the country in those lawless times selling the precious dust disguised as a poverty-stricken good-for-naught, with trusty revolver always in his right hand on the pommel of the saddle—the handsome green saddle covered with an old potato sack. In this way he evaded the very men who had been on his track for weeks. Once he came near capture. He passed a bad-looking lot of horsemen, one of whom had a deep red scar the whole length of his cheek. He got by safely, but one, looking round, exclaimed, "My God! That's Horton! I see the green saddle." And back they dashed to kill him and gain his treasure, but he escaped into a canon, and they lost their one chance.
At another time he had $3500 in gold in his belt, and at a tavern of poor repute he could hear through cracks in the floor of his bedroom the gamblers below laughing about the old greenhorn above who had his supper of mush and milk and had asked for a lock on his door.
Returning East via Panama in 1856, he proved himself a hero and a soldier during the terrible riot there. The natives, angry because they had lost the money they used to make in transporting passengers, attacked the foreigners, killing and plundering all who came in their way, the police turning traitors and aiding them. The hotel was attacked, and among all the passengers only three were armed. Mr. Horton and these two young men stood at the top of the stairs and shot all who tried to get nearer. When they fell back eight rioters were dead and others wounded. Then Mr. Horton formed the two hundred passengers in order and marched them off to a lighter, and put them aboard the steamer. About half this number wanted to go on to San Francisco, but had lost all their money and baggage. Mr. Ralston and Mr. Horton helped many to pay their passage, but not one person was ever heard of again, not one cent was returned, not even one word of gratitude or good intentions.
Up to the period which is known as the boom of 1870-71, the history of San Diego was so interwoven and closely connected with the life of Mr. Horton that the story of one is inseparable from that of the other.
When Mr. Horton came from San Francisco to see the wonderful harbor described by friends, there was nothing there but two old buildings, the barren hillsides, and the sheep pastures.
His gifts to the city and to individuals amount to a present valuation of over a million of dollars. Of the nine hundred acres of land which he originally bought (a part of the Mexican grant) at twenty-seven cents an acre, he owns but little.
But it is to his common sense, foresight, and business ability that the present city owes much of its success; and it is interesting to hear him tell of exciting adventures in "Poker Flat," and other places which Bret Harte has worked up so successfully.
Lieut. George H. Derby is amusingly associated with "Old Town," the former San Diego, three miles from the present city. He had offended Jefferson Davis, then Secretary of War, by his irreverent wit, and was punished by exile to this then almost unknown region, which he called "Sandy Ague," chiefly inhabited by the flea, the horned toad, and the rattlesnake. Mr. Ames, of the Herald, a democratic paper, asked Derby, a stanch whig, to occupy the editorial chair during a brief absence. He did so, changing its politics at once, and furnishing funny articles which later appeared as "Phoenixiana," and ranked him with Artemus Ward as a genuine American humorist. Here is his closing paragraph after those preposterous somersaults and daring pranks as editor pro tem:
"Very little news will be found in the Herald this week; the fact is, there never is much news in it, and it is very well that it is so; the climate here is so delightful that residents in the enjoyment of their dolce far niente care very little about what is going on elsewhere, and residents of other places care very little about what is going on in San Diego, so all parties are likely to be gratified with the little paper, 'and long may it wave.'"
The present city has eighteen thousand inhabitants, twenty-three church organizations, remarkably fine schools, a handsome opera-house, broad asphalt pavements, electric lights, electric and cable cars,—a compact, well-built city, from the fine homes on the Heights to the business portion near the water.
In regard to society, I find that the "best society" is much the same all over the civilized world. Accomplished, cultured, well-bred men and women are found in every town and city in California. And distance from metropolitan privileges makes people more independent, better able to entertain themselves and their guests, more eagerly appreciative of the best in every direction.
"O city reflecting thy might from the sea, There is grandeur and power in the future for thee, Whose flower-broidered garments the soft billows lave, Thy brow on the hillside, thy feet in the wave."
Many of San Diego's guests have no idea of her at her best. The majority of winter tourists leave California just as Mother Nature braces up to do her best with wild-flowers, blossoming orchards, and waving grain-fields. The summers are really more enjoyable than the winters. When the Nicaragua Canal is completed it will be a pleasant trip to San Diego from any Atlantic seaport. A railroad to Phoenix, Arizona, via Yuma, will allow the melting, panting, gasping inhabitants of New Mexico and Arizona an opportunity to get into a delightfully cool climate.
THE INDIANS AND THE MISSION FATHERS.
As for Indians, I have never seen such Indians as Helen Hunt Jackson depicts so lovingly. I have never seen any one who has seen one. They existed in her imagination only, as did Fenimore Cooper's noble redmen of the forest solely in his fancy. Both have given us delightful novels, and we are grateful.
The repulsive stolid creatures I have seen at stations, with sullen stare, long be-vermined locks, and filthy blankets full of fleas, are possibly not a fair representation of the remnants of the race. They have been unfairly dealt with. I am glad they can be educated and improved. They seem to need it. After reading "Ramona" and Mrs. Jackson's touching article on the "Mission Indians in California," and then looking over the opinions of honest writers of a previous generation regarding the Indians, it is more puzzling than ever. The following criticisms apply exclusively to the Southern Californian tribes.
Mr. Robinson, after a twenty years' residence among them, said: "The Indian of California is a species of monkey; he imitates and copies white men, but selects vice in preference to virtue. He is hypocritical and treacherous, never looks at any one in conversation, but has a wandering, malicious gaze. Truth is not in him."
And the next testimony is from an Indian curate: "The Indians lead a life of indolence rather than devote themselves to the enlightening of their souls with ideas of civilization and cultivation; it is repugnant to their feelings, which have become vitiated by the unrestricted customs among them. Their inclination to possess themselves of the property of others is unbounded. Their hypocrisy when they pray is as much to be feared as their insolence when in tumultuous disorder. They are never grateful for any benefit, nor do they pardon an injury, and they never proffer civilities, unless to accomplish some interested motive. They are ready to expose themselves to the greatest danger to satisfy their predominant passions. The future from them is ever veiled by the present. Their inconstancy and want of confidence deprives them of friends, and he who by deception holds them in subjection may reduce them to almost abject slavery."
Dana, speaking of the language of the Californian Indians, described it as "brutish" and "a complete slabber."
The missionary Fathers did their best to teach and convert them, and the missions must be spoken of. So we will go back a little.
No one knows how California was so named. St. Diego was the patron saint of Spain. St. Francis, who founded the Franciscan order, was a gay young Italian, who after conversion led a life of mortification and extreme self-denial, tramped about like a beggar, scourged himself, slept on ground, rolled in snow to subdue the flesh, fasted, wept until he was almost blind, saw visions, like all other great religious leaders, received messages directly from Christ, and was at last rewarded with the stigmata (the marks of the crucifix on his body), and commemoration after death.
Father Junipero, of this order, was appointed presiding missionary of California, and arrived July, 1769, erected a great cross on the coast, celebrated mass, and commenced his work. Like St. Francis, he was earnest, devout, pure, and self-sacrificing, blessed with wonderful magnetism. Once, while exhorting his hearers to repent, he scourged his own shoulders so unmercifully with a chain that his audience shuddered and wept; and one man, overcome by emotion, rushed to the pulpit, secured the chain, and, disrobing, flogged himself to death. This holy Father believed that he was especially protected by Heaven, and that once, when journeying on a desolate road, he was hospitably entertained by the Holy Family.
He said, "I have placed my faith in God, and trust in His goodness to plant the standard of the holy cross not only at San Diego, but even as far as Monterey."
And this was done in less than ten years, but with many discouragements.
The first Indian who was induced to bring his baby for baptism got frightened, and dashed away, taking, however, the handsome piece of cloth which had been wrapped around the child for the ceremony.
Next there was an attack with arrows; in less than a month serious fighting followed; and later more than one thousand Indians joined in the attack. One priest was killed and all inhabitants of the mission more or less wounded, and the mission itself was burned. The present ruins are the "new" buildings on the site of the old, completed in 1784, the walls of adobe four feet thick, the doorways and windows of burnt tiles. These half-cylindrical plates of hard-burnt clay were used to protect the inmates from the sun and the burning arrows of the Indians, and are now greatly valued as relics.
In front is the orchard of three hundred olive trees, more than a century old, still bearing a full crop, and likely to do so for centuries to come. As the Indians disliked work much, and church services more, they were encouraged in both matters by rather forcible means, as the Irishman "enticed" the pig into his pen with a pitchfork. We "tourists" who, dismounting from our carriages, view with sentimental reverence the picturesque ruins, the crumbling arches, the heavy bells now silent but mutely telling a wondrous story of the past, and tiptoe quietly through the damp interiors, gazing at pictures of saints and of hell and paradise, dropping our coins into the box at the door, and going out duly impressed to admire the architecture or the carving, or the general fine effect against the sky of fleckless blue—we picture these sable neophytes coming gladly, bowing in devout homage, delighted to learn of God and Duty, and cheerfully cooeperating with the good priests who had come so far to teach them. In 1827 the San Diego mission had within its boundaries an Indian population of 1500, 10,000 head of cattle, 17,000 sheep, and more than 1000 horses. But Mr. Robinson tells us that the Indians were dragged to service, were punished and chained if they tried to escape, and that it was not unusual to see numbers of them driven along by a leader and forced with a whip-lash into the doors of the sanctuary.
It is said that they were literally enslaved and scared into submission by dreadful pictures of hell and fear of everlasting torment. After church they would gamble, and they often lost everything, even wives and children. They were low, brutal, unintelligent, with an exceedingly limited vocabulary and an unbounded appetite. A man is as he eats, and, as some one says, "If a man eats peanuts he will think peanuts."
"There was nothing that could be swallowed and digested which the San Diego Indian would not eat. Snakes, half roasted and even raw, were toothsome dainties. The horned toad and the lizard had favorite places at each repast. Human parasites were not refused, and mice, gophers, bats, caterpillars, worms, entrails, and even carrion, were consumed with a greed that did not stop at pounds. Hittel says that twenty-four pounds of meat in a day was not too much for a Californian Indian, and Baegart mentions the case of one native who ate seventeen watermelons at a sitting. The smoking of wild tobacco was carried on to equal excess."
The saintly Fathers deserve unlimited praise for making them accomplish so much and behave as well as they did. Those New Englanders who criticise them as severe in discipline must remember that at the same period our ancestors were persecuting Quakers and burning witches. The beautiful hospitality of these early priests should also be mentioned.
Alfred Robinson described a miracle play which he saw performed at San Diego at Christmas, in 1830, as akin to the miracle plays of mediaeval Europe. The actors took the part of Gabriel, Lucifer, shepherds, a hermit, and Bartolo, a lazy vagabond who was the clown and furnished the element of comedy: the whole interspersed with songs and incidents better adapted to the stage than to the church.
EN ROUTE TO LOS ANGELES.
"Bless me, this is pleasant, Riding on the rail!"
On the Surf Line from San Diego to Los Angeles, a seventy-mile run along the coast, there is so much to see, admire, and think about, that the time passes rapidly without napping or nodding. Take a chair seat on the left of car—the ocean side—and enjoy the panoramic view from the window: the broad expanse of the Pacific, its long curling breakers, the seals and porpoises tumbling about in clumsy frolics, the graceful gulls circling above them, the picturesque canons, and the flocks of birds starting from the ground, frightened by our approach. This we watch for more than an hour; then the scene changes, and, leaving the water, we have glimpses of wondrous carpets of wild-flowers, the golden poppy predominant, miles of brilliant green on either hand, peeps at the three missions, the groves at Orange, the town of Santa Ana, and Anaheim, the parent colony, the first of all the irrigated settlements of Southern California, now a wealthy city.
The missions are always interesting. San Juan Capistrano was seriously injured by an earthquake in 1812; the tower was shaken so severely that it toppled over during morning mass, killing thirty of the worshippers, the priests escaping through the sacristy. It was the latest and costliest of the missions. "Its broken olive mill and crumbling dove-cote, and the spacious weed-grown courts and corridors, are pathetic witnesses to the grandeur of the plans and purposes of the founders, and also of the rapidity with which nature effaces the noblest works of human hands."
But San Luis Rey is in good condition, having been restored to something of its original beauty, and recently re-dedicated. The walled enclosures once contained fifty-six acres, six being covered by the sacred edifice, its arched colonnades, and the cloisters, in which the Fathers lived, surrounded by three thousand baptized savages. Mrs. Jeanne C. Carr quotes a stage-driver with whom she talked on the box as saying: "Ye see, ma'am, what them old padders didn't know 'bout findin' work for their subjicks and pervidin' for the saints 'n' angels, not to say therselves, wa'n't wuth knowin'. They carried on all kinds o' bizness. Meat was plenty, keepin' an' vittles was to be had at all the missions an' ranches too, jes' by settin' round. The pastures and hills was alive with horses and cattle, an' hides an' taller was their coin. They cured and stacked the hides, dug holes in stiff ground, an' run the taller into 'em; it kep' sweet until a ship laid up to Capistrano, then that taller turned into gold. They could load up a big ship in a single day, they had so many Indians to help." And he proceeded to tell of his own lucky find: "A lot of that holy taller was lost 'n' fergot, nobuddy knows how many years. One night I went up into the grass beyant the mission to stake out my hosses; an' when I druv the fust stake it went way deawn, like 'twas in soft mud. I jes' yanked it up: half on 't was kivered with grease. The evening was cool, but the day had been brilin', an' now mebbe ye kin guess how I found my taller mine. 'Twas a leetle mouldy on top, but the heft on 't was hard,—a reg'lar bonanzy fer a stage-driver."
It may seem irreverent to introduce this droll fellow in sharp contrast with the beautiful ruin, full of the most cherished memories of old Spain, but reality often gives romance a hard jar. It is pleasant to know that the expelled Franciscan order has just returned to California, and that San Luis Rey is now occupied. It is worth making the trip to San Juan to see the old bells struck, as in former times, by a rope attached to the clapper. They have different tones, and how eloquently they speak to us. These missions along the coast and a line farther inland are the only real ruins that we have in America, and must be preserved, whether as a matter of sentiment or money, and in some way protected from the vandals who think it jolly fun to lug off the old red tiles, or even the stone bowl for holy water—anything they can steal. At San Juan the plaster statues have been disgracefully mutilated by relic-hunters and thoughtless visitors. Eyes have been picked out, noses cut off, fingers carried away, and the altar-cloths everywhere have been slashed at the corners.
A society has been formed to try to save them, and one learned and enthusiastic mission lover proposes to revive the old Camino del Rey, or King's Highway. "What could not the drive from San Diego to Sonoma be made if the State once roused herself to make it? Planted and watered and owned as an illustration of forestry, why should it not also as a route of pilgrimage rank with that to Canterbury or Cologne on the Rhine? The Franciscans have given to California a nomenclature which connects them and us permanently with what was great in their contemporary history, while we preserve daily upon our lips the names of the great chiefs of their own order."
But where am I? Those mouldering walls led me into a reverie. Speaking of "ruins" reminds me of a Frenchman who called on the poet Longfellow in his old age and explained his visit in this way: "Sare, you 'ave no ruins in dis country, so I 'ave come to see you."
The cactus hedge around each mission to keep the cattle in, and possibly the hostile Indians out, must have been effective. We see now and then a little that has survived. This makes me think of a curious bird I noticed in my drives at San Diego, the roadrunner, classed with the cuckoo. It has various names, the chaparral-cock, the ground-cuckoo, the prairie-cock, paisano, and worst of all, in classic nomenclature, the Geococcyx californianus.
It keeps on the ground most of the time, and can run with such swiftness that it cannot be easily overtaken by horse and hounds. It has a tail longer than its body, which it bears erect. It kills beetles, toads, birds, and mice, but has a special dislike for the rattlesnake, and often meets him and beats him in fair combat. When it finds one sleeping or torpid it makes a circle of cactus thorns around him so he cannot escape—for "future reference," as my driver said.
This thorny circle is akin to the lariat made of horsehair, the ends sticking out roughly all around, with which the Indian used to encircle himself before going to sleep, as a protection from the rattlesnake, who could not cross it. But here we are at Los Angeles. Hear the bawling cabbies: "This way for The Westminster!" "Hollenbeck Hotel!"
LOS ANGELES AND ROUND ABOUT.
"O southland! O dreamland! with cycles of green; O moonlight enchanted by mocking-bird's song; Cool sea winds, fair mountains, the fruit-lands between, The pepper tree's shade, and the sunny days long."
Los Angeles is the chief city of Southern California, and truly venerable in comparison with most places in the State—founded in 1781, now one hundred and twelve years old. Its full name, "Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles," "musical as a chime of bells," would hardly do in these days, and "The City of the Angels," as it is sometimes called, scarcely suits the present big business-y place, which was started by those shrewd old padres when everything west of the Alleghanies was an almost unknown region, and Chicago and St. Louis were not thought of. These Fathers were far-sighted fellows, with a keen eye for the beautiful, sure to secure good soil, plenty of water, and fine scenery for a settlement. Next came the Hispano-American era of adobe, stage-coaches, and mule teams, now replaced by the purely American possessions, with brick, stone, vestibule trains, and all the wonders of electricity. It is now a commercial centre, a railroad terminal, with one hundred miles of street-car track within the city limits, carrying twelve million passengers yearly. It has outgrown the original grant of six miles square, and has a city limit, and the first street traversed this square diagonally. It lies on the west bank of the Los Angeles River, one of those peculiar streams which hides itself half the year only to burst forth in the spring in a most assertive manner. There are fine public buildings, fifty-seven churches, to suit all shades of religious belief, two handsome theatres, several parks, and long streets showing homes and grounds comparing favorably with the best environs of Eastern cities. It is well to drive through Adams and Figueroa streets before you leave. There are no attractive hotels at present; but one is so greatly needed and desired that it will soon be designed and realized.
Madame de Stael was right when she said she greatly preferred meeting interesting men and women to admiring places or scenery. Among my pleasantest memories of Los Angeles are my visits to Madame Fremont in her pretty red cottage, presented by loving friends. It is a privilege to meet such a clever, versatile woman. Her conversation flashes with epigrams and pithy sayings, and her heart is almost as young as when it was captured by the dashing "Pathfinder."
I believe there are men still existing who keep up the old absurd fallacy that women are deficient in wit and humor! She would easily convert all such.
The Coronels, to whom Mrs. Jackson was so indebted and of whom she wrote so appreciatively, are still in the same home, cherishing her memory most fondly, her photograph being placed in a shrine where the sweet-faced madame kneels daily, and her books and knick-knacks are preserved as precious souvenirs.
Don Antonio Coronel is truly a most interesting personage, the last specimen of the grand old Spanish regime. His father was the first schoolmaster in California, and the son has in his possession the first schoolbook printed on this coast, at Monterey in 1835, a small catechism; also the first book printed in California, a tiny volume dated 1833, the father having brought the type from Spain.
I was taken to the basement to see a rare collection of antiquities. In one corner is a cannon made in 1710, and brought by Junipero Serra. Ranged on shelves is a collection such as can be found nowhere else, of great value: strange stone idols, a few specimens of the famous iridescent pottery, queer ornaments, toys, and relics. In another corner see the firearms and weapons of long ago: old flintlocks, muskets, Spanish bayonets, crossbows, and spears. There are coins, laces, baskets, toys, skulls, scalps, and a sombrero with two long red pennons, on which each feather represents a human scalp. Upstairs there are early specimens of Mexican art; one of the oldest pictures of Junipero Serra; groups in clay modelled by the Dona Mariana of Mexican scenes; feather pictures made from the plumage of gorgeous birds—too much to remember or describe here. But I do believe that if asked to say what they valued most, they would point to the little wooden table where their dear friend sat when she wrote the first pages of "Ramona."
For the stranger Los Angeles is the place to go to to see a new play, or marvel at the display of fruits seen at a citrus fair—forts made of thousands of oranges, and railroad stations and crowns of lemons, etc.—and admire a carnival of flowers, or for a day's shopping; but there are better spots in which to remain. I found the night air extremely unpleasant last winter, and after hearing from a veracious druggist, to whom I applied for a gargle, that there was an epidemic of grip in the city, and that many died of pneumonia and that a small majority of the invalids got well, I packed my trunk hastily and started for Pasadena.
Those who live in the city and those who do not dislike raw, bracing winds from the ocean pronounce Los Angeles to be the only place worth living in in all Southern California. Each place has its supporters ignoring all other attractions, and absolutely opposite accounts of the weather have been seriously given me by visitors to each. For those who must be "high and dry" to improve, the rainy season is certainly unsafe.
Los Angeles is also a place to go from to the beach at Santa Monica, and Redondo, or that wondrous island, "Santa Catalina," which has been described by Mr. C. F. Holder in the Californian so enthusiastically that I should think the "Isle of Summer" could not receive all who would unite to share his raptures—with a climate nearer to absolute perfection than any land, so near all the conveniences of civilization, and everything else that can be desired. His first jew-fish or black sea-bass weighed 3421/2 pounds, and a dozen other varieties are gamy and plentiful; fine sport with the rifle in the upland region, wealth of verdure along the trail; below, good hotel, beaches, bathing, evening concerts—"the true land of sweet idleness, where one can drift around with all nature to entertain." To be strictly truthful, I must add that the hotel was built just over an old Indian burying-ground, therefore cases of typhoid fever are not unknown.
"If there be an Elysium upon earth, It is this, it is this."
For my own taste, I prefer Pasadena, the "Crown of the Valley"—nine miles from Los Angeles, but eight hundred feet higher and with much drier air, at the foot of the Sierra Madre range, in the beauteous San Gabriel Valley. Yes, Pasadena seems to me as near Eden as can be found by mortal man.
Columbus in a letter to Ferdinand and Isabella said, "I believe that if I should pass under the equator in arriving at this higher region of which I speak, I should find there a milder temperature and a diversity in the stars and in the waters.... I am convinced that there is the Terrestrial Paradise."
Poor persecuted Columbus! I wish he could have once seen Pasadena, the very spot he dreamed of. Can I now write calmly, critically, judicially of what I see, enjoy, admire and wonder over? If I succeed it will be what no one else has done. I was here last year and gave my impressions then, which are only strengthened by a second visit, so that I will quote my own words, which read like the veriest gush, but are absolutely true, came straight from my heart, and, after all, didn't half tell the story.
I am fascinated and enthralled by your sun-kissed, rose-embowered, semi-tropical summer-land of Hellenic sky and hills of Hymettus, with its paradoxical antitheses: of flowers and flannels; strawberries and sealskin sacks; open fires with open windows; snow-capped mountains and orange blossoms; winter looking down upon summer—a topsy-turvy land, where you dig for your wood and climb for your coal; where water-pipes are laid above ground, with no fear of Jack Frost, and your principal rivers flow bottom side up and invisible most of the time; where the boys climb up hill on burros and slide down hills on wheels; where the trees are green all the year, and you go outdoors in December to get warm; where squirrels live in the ground with owls for chums, while rats build in the trees, and where water runs up hill; where anything unpleasant, from a seismic disturbance to mosquitoes in March, is "exceptional" and surprising. A land where there are no seasons, but where sunshine and shade are so distinctly marked that one can be easily half baked on one side and dangerously chilled on the other.
Then the Climate—spell it with a capital, and then try to think of an adjective worthy to precede it. Glorious! Delicious! Incomparable! Paradisaical!!! To a tenderfoot straight from New Hampshire, where we have nine months of winter and three of pretty cold weather, where we have absolutely but three months that are free from frost, this seems like enchanted ground.
A climate warm, with a constant refreshing coolness in its heart; cool, with a latent vivifying warmth forever peeping out of its coat-tail pocket.
June does not define it, nor September. It has no synonym, for there is nothing like it. I am glad that I have lived to see hedges of heliotrope, of geraniums and calla-lilies. I remember, in contrast, solitary calla plants that I have nursed with care all winter in hopes of one blossom for Easter. And I do not feel sure that I can ever tear myself away. I am reminded of good old Dr. Watts, who was invited by Lady Abney to pass a fortnight at her home, and remained for forty years.
Here we all unconsciously eat the lotus in some occult fashion, are straightway bewitched and held willing captives. I have looked up the lotus, about which so much is said or sung and so little definitely known, and find it is a prickly shrub of Africa, bearing a fruit of a sweet taste, and the early Greeks knew all about its power. Homer in the Odyssey says that whoever ate of the fruit wished never to depart nor again to see his native land. Many of Ulysses' sailors ate this fruit, and lost all desire for home.
The last letter received by me from New Hampshire, April 3d, begins in this way: "It is like the middle of winter here, good sleighing and still very cold." And then comes a sad series of announcements of sickness and deaths caused by the protracted rigors of the season. And here, at the same date, all the glories of the spring, which far exceeds our summer—Spanish breezes, Italian sky and sunsets, Alpine mountains, tropical luxuriance of vegetation, a nearly uniform climate, a big outdoor conservatory. There is no other place on earth that combines so much in the same limits. You can snowball your companions on Christmas morning on the mountain-top, pelt your lady friends with rose leaves in the foot-hills three hours later, and in another sixty minutes dip in the surf no cooler than Newport in July; and the theatre in the evening. As a bright workman said, you can freeze through and thaw out in one day.
An electric railroad will soon connect Los Angeles with Pasadena and Mount Wilson, and a fine hotel is to be placed on the top of Echo Mountain, 3500 feet high, and this will then certainly be the ideal health and pleasure resort of the world.
Pasadena's homes, protected on three sides by mountain ranges, are surrounded by groves and gardens, trees and hedges from every clime. Everything will grow and flourish here. Capitalists from the East seem engaged in a generous rivalry to create the ideal paradise. Passion vines completely cover the arbors, roses clamber to the tops of houses and blossom by tens of thousands. I notice displays fit for a floral show in the windows of butcher shops and shoe stores. The churches are adorned with a mantle of vines and flowers.
Are there no "outs," no defects in this Pasadena? One must not forget the rainy days, the occasional "hot spells" of August and September, a wind now and then that blows off steeples and tears down fragile structures, bringing along a good deal more sand than is wanted. And every year an earthquake may be expected. I have experienced two, and they are not agreeable.
Aside from these drawbacks and dust in summer, all else is perfection, except that the weather is so uniformly glorious that there is seldom a day when one is willing to stay at home. I feel just now like a "deestrick" schoolboy who has been "kept in" on a summer afternoon.
The wild-flowers are more fascinating to me than all those so profusely cultivated. I weary of five thousand calla-lilies in one church at Easter, and lose a little interest in roses when they bloom perennially and in such profusion that I have had enough given me in one morning to fill a wash-tub or clothes-basket!
The wealth of color on the hills and mesas in springtime can never be described or painted. The State flower, the yellow poppy with the name that would floor any spelling-match hero—the eschscholtzia—is most conspicuous, and can be seen far away at sea; but there are dozens of others, that it is better to admire and leave unplucked, as they wilt so soon. "The ground is literally dolly-vardened with buttercups, violets, dodecatheons, gilias, nemophilas, and the like. And yet these are the mere skirmish line of the mighty invading hosts, whose uniforms surpass the kingly robes of Solomon, and whose banners of crimson and yellow and purple will soon wave on every hilltop and in every valley.
"In April and May the lover of nature may pass into the seventh heaven of botanical delight. Then in favored sections the display reaches a gorgeousness and a profusion that surpass both description and imagination."
No one can paint the grain fields as they look when the sun puts into every blade a tiny golden ray and it is no longer every-day common grain, but an enchanted carpet of living, radiant, golden green. We tourists call it grass, but there is no grass to be proud of in California.
No one can paint the sky; no one would accept it as true to nature if once caught on the canvas.
I will not attempt to describe the mountains with their many charms. I listened to a lecture lately where a man was struggling to do this, and it was positively painful. The flowery verbiage, the accumulated adjectives, the poetical quotations were overpowering. I seemed actually sinking into luscious mellifluousness. I shook it off my fingers, as if it were maple syrup. Then, as he climbed higher and higher, on and up, never getting away from the richest verdure and the sweetest flowers, scenes for an artist to paint with rapture, and a poet to sing in ecstasy, I found myself pushing up my forehead to improvise a mansard roof for my brain to swell in sympathy. And when he reached the summit and the panorama burst upon his enraptured vision, it was too much for my strained emotions, and I quietly slipped out.
And the strangest part is that every word is true, and, say what one will, one never gets near the reality. In this respect, you see, it differs from a floral catalogue sent out in early spring, or a hotel pamphlet with illustrations.
The cable road is 3000 feet long, with a direct ascent of 1400 feet, and the Echo Mountain House will be 1500 feet higher than the Catskill hotels overlooking the Hudson, and it is estimated that not less than 60,000 fares will be collected upon this mountain railroad the first year.
All this was designed and executed by Professor Lowe, of aeronaut fame, a scientist and banker, the inventor of water-gas and artificial ice, and a man of great business ability.
One of the best proofs of the health-giving power of this air is the fact that the physicians practising here, with one exception, came seriously ill and have not only recovered, but are strong enough to keep very busy helping others.
Pasadena has no ragged shabby outskirts; the poorer classes seem to be able to own or rent pretty little homes, some like large birdcages, all well kept and attractive. Some gentlemen from Indianapolis came here in 1873 and started the town, planting their orange orchards under the shadows of the mountains.
Each portion has its own attractions. Orange Grove Avenue, a street over a mile long, is described by its name. Great trees stand in the centre of the street, a fine road on either side, and the homes are embowered in flowers and palms, while hedges are made of the pomegranate, the honeysuckle, and even the heliotrope. Marengo Avenue is lined on either side by splendid specimens of the pepper, the prettiest and most graceful of all trees here. Colorado Street, with its homes and shops and churches, leads out to the foot-hills and "Altadena," which is often spoken of as recalling the handsome residences along the Riviera.
The street cars which go from the station toward the mountains bear on each the words, "This Car for the Poppy Fields," and they are a sight worth seeing. Mrs. Kellog describes this flower more perfectly than any artist could paint it: "Think of finest gold, of clearest lemon, of deepest orange on silkiest texture, just bedewed with a frost-like sheen, a silvery film, and you have a faint impression of what an eschscholtzia is. Multiply this impression by acres of waving color." And in February this may sometimes be seen. It has been well chosen for the State flower.
If consumptives must go away from the comforts of home, this is a haven of rest for them. In a late Medical Record I see that a physician deprecates the custom of sending hopeless cases to the high altitudes of Colorado, where the poor victim gasps out a few weeks or months of existence. "If such cases as the above must be sent from home, as we sometimes think here, to rid their home physicians of the annoyance of their presence, they should be sent to Florida or Southern California, where at least they may be chloroformed off into eternity by a soothing climate, and not suffer an actual shortening of their days from a climate acting on a radically different principle and entirely unsuited to them."
This is a bit of the shady side after all the sunlight. It is a place for the invalid to rejoice in, and those in robust health can find enough to do to employ all their energies.
The "Tournament of Roses" last winter was a grand success, praised by all. The "Pageant of Roses" was celebrated here lately, and I cannot give you a better idea of it than by copying the synopsis.
Imagine the opera-house trimmed inside with wreaths and festoons and bouquets of roses—a picture in itself; audience in full evening dress, each lady carrying roses, each man with a rose for a boutonniere.
The dancing in costume was exquisitely graceful, and the evolutions and figures admirably exact—no mistake, nothing amateurish about the whole performance.
Los Flores, a garden in the Crown of the Valley. Goddess Flora and her pages asleep. Harlequin, the magic spirit, enters, produces by incantation the rain and summons the maiden Spring, who rouses the Goddess and her pages. The Goddess commands the Harlequin to usher in the Pageant of Roses. Enter the Red or Colonial Roses; march and form for the reception and dance of the Ladies of the Minuet. Retire. Harlequin, at the request of the Goddess, summons the Gold of Ophirs, bearing urn as offering to the Goddess, when is performed the dance of the Orient, including solo. Curtain falls on tableau.
Same garden. Goddess on her throne, surrounded by her pages. She summons the Harlequin, who in turn brings the Roses of Castile. They bring offering of flowers to the Goddess, and perform a dance.
Goddess again summons Harlequin, who, by great effort, brings the Roses of the Snow, or the Little Girls from Boston, led by Frost Maiden. They perform a dance and retire. Both Harlequins enter, perform a dance, and command the blooming of the Pink Rose Buds. Pink Rose Buds enter without offering for the Goddess, and prevail upon the Harlequins to help them out of their difficulties. The Harlequins send Poppies for the great La France Rose Buds as an offering, and perform "The Transformation of the Rose." Rose Buds dance and are joined by the little Roses in the Snow. All dance and retire. Enter White Harlequin, who calls for the White Rose dance by the Greek maidens. They perform ceremonies and deck the altar of their Goddess, dance and retire. Curtain.
Grand march. Tableau, with falling Rose petals, in the magic canon.
And not a word yet of The Raymond, that popular house set upon a hill that commands a view hard to equal. The house is always filled to overflowing, and this year General Wentworth tells me the business has been better than ever. This famous resort is in East Pasadena, and has its own station. It is always closed in April, just at the time when there is the most to see and enjoy, and the flowers are left to bloom unseen.
The other fine hotel here, named for its owner, Colonel Green of "August Flower" fame, is on ground eight feet higher, although by the conformation of the land it does not look so.
Many prefer to be in the town and nearer the mountains, and this house proving insufficient for its patrons, an addition four times the size of the present building is being added in semi-Moorish architecture, at a cost of $300,000.
That item shows what an experienced man of business thinks about the future of Pasadena.
The town is full of pleasant boarding-houses, as Mrs. Dexter's, Mrs. Bangs's, and Mrs. Roberts's, and many enjoy having rooms at one house and taking meals at another. You can spend as much or as little as you choose. At Mrs. Snyder's I found simple but delicious old-fashioned home-cooking at most reasonable rates.
And still more? Yes, the Public Library must be mentioned, the valuable collections I was permitted to see, the old mission of San Gabriel three miles away, and then I shall give the next chapter to my brother, who spent a week on Mt. Wilson, and came down wonderfully benefited even by that short stay. One invalid he met there had gained four pounds in as many days. His ambition now is to open a law office up among the clouds and transact business by telephone, saying the fact that his clients could not see him would be no disadvantage.
While he is discoursing I will be studying the history of the Indian baskets and report later.
CAMPING ON MOUNT WILSON.
"On every height there lies repose."
At Pasadena the mountain wall which guards the California of the South stands very near and looks down with pride upon the blooming garden below. The mountains which belong especially to Pasadena are but three miles away. Their average height exceeds slightly that of the Mt. Washington range in New Hampshire. The Sierra Madre system, of which they form a part, contains some peaks considerably higher.
Farther to the East, "Old Baldy"—Mt. San Antonio—raises its snowy summit to a height just close enough to ten thousand feet to test the veracity of its admirers. It is about ten miles from Pasadena by the eyes, but would be twenty by the feet, if they could walk an air line.
To the south and east of "Old Baldy" is Mt. San Jacinto, 12,000 feet above the Pacific, upon which it looks, in the far distance.
The majestic mountain wall, almost bending over the homes of Pasadena, with their vines and fig trees, their roses and lilies, their orchards of orange and lemon, and the distant snow-clad peaks glittering in the gentle sunshine, combine to form a perfect picture. There are detailed descriptions from the pens of those who feel an unctuous joy in painting the lily, kalsomining the calla, and adding perfumes to the violet, the rose, and the orange.
The "Pasadena Alps" are so smeared with oleaginous gush that I had conceived against them a sort of antipathy, which was not diminished by their barren, treeless appearance.
As Nature reasserted herself, this artificial nausea wore away. I took a drive to Millard's Canon, and was surprised at finding a charming wooded road winding up through the canon along a mountain stream. From the end of the carriage-road we walked half a mile to a picturesque waterfall having a sheer descent of perhaps forty feet.
This revelation inspired a drive to Eaton's Canon, where I found similar attractions, and which led me to the new Mt. Wilson trail, or "Toll Road." I made inquiries, inspected the small but substantial mules which do the pedestrian part of the trip, went up the trail a short distance, and, after many assurances, arranged to make the ascent.
In fact, this trail is remarkably well built. It winds up the mountain by a gradual and even ascent of nine miles, the grade nowhere exceeding ten per cent. There are two camps near the summit, open all the year. You may return the same day or stay for the remainder of your life.
Take little luggage, of course: a heavy overcoat or wrap, and a small grip. In the winter the nights are cold, and clouds and rain are not unlikely to present the compliments of the season.
The mountains of California are as topsy-turvy as its rivers. We used to learn in our physical geographies that as the traveller ascends a mountain the large trees continually give place to smaller—shrinking at last to stunted shrubs, with a summit of barren rock.
As our mules plod up Mt. Wilson, the trail at first is sandy, and the mountain's flanks a barren waste, with thin covering of cactus and chaparral. Half a mile from the starting-point appear small bushes, which grow larger as we move upward. The trail turns into a canon, and becomes a hard, cool pathway leading up through small live-oaks and high growth of bushes. We begin to see slender pines and larger oaks. Now the trail leaves the canon and winds out upon the open mountain-side. Here the chaparral is green and flourishing.
We wind abruptly into a canon. Bushes of wild lilac overhang the path. The manzanita reminds one of lilies of the valley transplanted to California and growing on a bush. Down to the torrent at the bottom of the canon, and up its steep side, are large pines and live-oaks, mountain mahogany and cedar. Near the summit we wind along a precipice where the trail is blasted from the solid rock. Even here, any one who is disposed to "look aloft" will see pine trees hanging over his head hundreds of feet above.
The summit is a forest of towering trees. On the topmost ridges are the monarchs of the mountains—oaks three and four feet, and pines four and five feet in diameter. Of course this increase in the size of timber is noticeably uniform, only where the soil and natural features of the mountains favor it. But the summit of Mt. Wilson, at least, resembles a picnic ground raised nearly six thousand feet above the sea. The air is light, dry, and exhilarating. The ground is carpeted with pine needles. Delicate wild-flowers are seen in their season. In April I found wild peas in blossom, harebells, morning-glories, poppies, and many varieties of yellow flowers. I also saw hummingbirds, butterflies, swallows, and squirrels, and here and there patches of plain white old-fashioned snow. It is a novel spectacle to see a small boy snowballing a butterfly. In the spring even dead trees are glorified with a mantle of golden green moss. It covers the trunks of some of the living pines, making an artistic background for the deep green of their boughs.
From this upside-down mountain we look down upon rivers flowing bottom side up. And that is California.
As to the safety of the ascent, no one need hesitate who is free from settled prejudice against a side-hill. You will soon let the reins hang from the pommel of the saddle. One who chooses may jump off and walk for a change. Only, if you are at the end of the procession, be careful to keep between your mule and the foot of the mountain; otherwise he will wheel around and wend his way homeward. If toiling along near the summit, absorbed in the beauties of the prospect, it might be awkward to feel the halter jerked from your hand and to see the mule galloping around a sharp bend with your satchel, hung loosely over the pommel, bobbing violently up and down, and perhaps hurled off into space as the intelligent animal rounds the corner.
Yes, it is safe, but there is a spice of excitement about it. I was nervous at first, and seeing that the mule wished to nibble such herbage as offered itself, I had thought it well to humor him. At a narrow space with sharp declivity below, the beast fixed his jaws upon a small tough bush on the upper bank. As he warmed up to the work, his hind feet worked around toward the edge of the chasm. The bush began to come out by the roots, which seemed to be without end. As the weight of the mule was thrown heavily backward, I looked forward with some apprehension to the time when the root should finally give way: I saw now that the mule had fixed his stubborn jaws upon the entrails of the mountain, and expected every instant to see other vital organs brought to light. I dared not and could not move. The root gave way, allowing the mule to fall backward, and startling him with a rattling down of stones and gravel. One foot slipped over the edge, but three stuck to the path, and the majority prevailed. After that I saw it was safer to let my faithful beast graze on the outer edge. All went well until he became absorbed in following downward the foliage of a bush which grew up from below. As he stretched his neck farther and farther down, I saw that he was bending his forelegs. His shoulders sank more and more. There was nothing between me and the sea-level except the mule's ears. By frantic exertions I worked myself backward, and was sliding down behind—too late. The bush broke, causing the mule to fall back forcibly against the inner bank, with myself sandwiched between the adamantine wall of the mountain and the well-shod heels of the mule. The animal, being as much scared as myself, started up the trail at a gallop. I had saved my life but lost my mule. I have no taste for overtaking runaway mules on a steep and interminable up-grade. It is a taste which must be acquired. But then, of course, the mule would turn after his first alarm and tear down to the stable. I resolved to push on in the hope of finding a wider portion of the path, or at least of meeting the animal before he had acquired uncontrollable momentum.