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ready to obey orders of the fair sex, he ran back again with the chairs, the sweat streaming from his face; then tried to pull a bedstead to pieces, and failing in that, picked up his rifle, wrapped it carefully in a blanket which did not belong to him, put it in an empty wagon, told the driver to be off to the ranch and hurry back as fast as possible, after which he returned into the house and discovered his meerschaum on the mantlepiece. This he recognized at once, and forthwith carried it out and sent it off in another wagon. Having thus rendered all the assistance in his power, he whistled for the dogs, took his shot-gun, mounted old Charley, and rode out full tilt to the ranch. When he arrived there he was determined to make the house comfortable, and with that view gathered a tremendous pile of brush and shavings, built a big fire in the kitchen, so that the Mrs. Colonel could warm herself and the children when she came out, and then started up a neighboring canon to kill some rabbits for supper. Fortunately, about the time the house was catching fire, one of the wagoners discovered and suppressed the flames. In due time the furniture arrived, and with it the family. ColonelJack cooked supper; fried, broiled, and stewed the rabbits in a manner perfectly inspiring; made the coffee and baked the bread; and after every body was surfeited with the good things he had prepared, nothing would serve him but to spread the beds before the fire, and "all hands camp right there!" For the next three or four days he enjoyed this new species of camp-lifo so much that he was constantly begging the Mrs. Colonel not to put up the bedsteads or spread the carpets; but woman's will is omnipotent, and the Colonel finally had to give in and suffer his camp to be broken up. It was presently discovered that the rifle and meerschaum, and most of the other articles essential to housekeeping, were all right, except the looking-glass. The Colonel thought he would send for it, and he did so; but owing to the indefinite nature of his instructions the wagon-man got hold of Mrs. Cuptain Johnuy's large parlor mirror, which had just been handsomely gilded, and nobody being at home, carried it out to the ranch, wondering why the Colonel did not send some blankets to keep it from being rubbed. The Mrs. Colonel, of course, was exceedingly vexed and distressed; which so incensed the Colonel at the man's stupidity that he started out to swear at him, but as soon as he saw that the poor fellow looked troubled about the mistake, he came back saying: "Oh, there's no harm done; the poor fellow didn't know any better. We can send it back again 1"
After the destruction of his camp the Colonel commenced operations on his ranch. His first great work was to exterminate the gophers in the orchard. The way he did this was to pour a bucket of water into their holes, and then stamp it down with the heel of his boot, since which summary process he says the trees are growing wonderfully, and expresses the hope that next summer he will have fruit enough for all his friends; but "they musn't wait on that
account, but come any how: they will always be weleome!"
I will now endeavor to furnish some general idea of the region of country from which our distinguished Association derives its name. Without undertaking a topographical description of California, I may say, in general terms, that the Sierra Nevada is the principal range of mountains bordering the State to the eastward, on the slopes of which are the great mining placers which furnish occupation and wealth to a large and enterprising population. On the western slope are situated the gold placers, and on the eastern the wonderful silver mines of Washoe, which I have endeavored to describe in former articles. Lying between the foot-hills and the mountains of lesser altitude bordering on the coast, are the great valleys of the Sacramento and the San Joaquin, extending nearly north and south a distance of some six hundred miles, and varying in width from sixty to a hundred miles. Between these extensive valleys, which in many places have the appearance of immense plains, and the shores of the Pacific, is a mountainous region of nearly the same width, of irregular conformation, abounding in smaller valleys, and comprising the principal grazing and agricultural territory of the State, designated as the Coast Range. This in reality consists of two nearly parallel ranges, occasionally united or separated only by canons. In the counties of San Diego and Los Angelos to the southward, and Siskiyon and Del Norte to the northward, the distinction between the Sierra Nevada and the Coast Range becomes less manifest—a considerable portion of tho . country being involved in a labyrinth of mountains of various altitudes, which appear to have become lost and scattered in an attempt to unite upon some fixed point of departure.
The climate of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys is very warm in summer, though seldom oppressive, owing to the dryness of the atmosphere and the relief afforded by the coolness of the nights. In the foot-hills of the Sierra Nevada the thermometer frequently rises to 130° Fahrenheit, where the sun's rays are reflected from the rocks, as in some of the mining gulehes; but I have seldom known the heat to produce an injurious effect. These valleys are now nearly covered with fine farms, and produce abundant crops of grain, hay, fruit, and vegetables. The valley of the San Joaquin is not so rich as that of the Sacramento; but along the watercourses and in the vicinity of Stockton, Visalia, and Tule River, are some of the best lands in the State.
In 1849 bands of mustang, or wild horses, roamed over the greater part of this extensive region. The native Californians were in the habit of catching them occasionally by means of corrals and lassoes, but the number did not diminish much until the settlement of the country by the Americans. Horses then became valuable, and the mustang hunters made a good business of it, corraling as many as five hundred in a day. They constructed lines of willow fencing five or six miles in length, converging into a corral, or pocket of stout pickets, into which they drove the wild horses, and secured them by means of lassoes. The remains of these fences are still visible in the vicinity of the great Lagoon, and the bones of thousands of the poor animals that died of thirst during the chase still lie bleaching upon the plains.
Elk and antelope were also numerous, and even now bands of them still roam in the vicinity of the Tulare lakes. The quantity of geese and ducks that frequent the lake region is perfectly incredible. I have seen the plains covered for miles with flocks of geese, and the Tule lagoons literally black with ducks. The few bands of Indians who have been permitted to remain in this vicinity subsist, during a considerable portion of the year, on the wild-fowl, which they catch by means of nets and snares; and if let alone by white men would be enabled to enjoy an easy existence. The settlers, however, are rapidly killing them off. In a few years more there will be none left.
A marked change is perceptible in the climate upon leaving the large basin of the interior and striking into the Coast Range. The air becomes deliciously cool and bracing. The country is better wooded, and has a less parehed appearance. Many of the small valleys retain their verdure during the greater part of the year, and numerous streams of deliciously pure water course through the various canons and ravines. In the northern part of the State the coast-hills are covered, for the most part, with magnificent forests of pine, cedar, and red-wood, interspersed
with patches of open country. To the southward there is less timber; but this deficiency is compensated by the extraordinary beauty of the country and fertility of the soil. All those portions not under cultivation are covered with luxuriant crops of wild oats, presenting in early spring the appearance of a robe of velvet, and at a later period that of a golden mantle. In the immediate vicinity of the sea the air is occasionally too bracing for actual comfort, but back a little no climate in the world can compare with that of the Coast Range. It is at once soft, balmy, and invigorating—never too warm, and seldom cool enough even in mid-winter to produce ice in the valleys. Where there is some protection against the ocean breeze tropical plants will flourish luxuriantly. To the southward of Point Conception oranges, figs, citrons, almonds, olives, and other productions of a similar character, arrive at a high degree of perfection; and most of these will, with a little care, grow as far north as Cape Mendocino.
Commencing at San Diego, a series of valleys of greater or less extent, lying within the limits of the Coast Range, may be traced all the way to the Oregon line. The best and most eligibly situated were originally selected by the Jesuits for the uses of the Missions; and it is a striking feature, in travelingfrom one Mission to another, with what consummate judgment the sites were chosen. All these magnificent ranches, in former years covered with innumerable herds of cattle, have now fallen into private hands, and form the nucleus of smaller ranches and thriving farms. Within the last two or three years nearly every valley of any considerable extent, north of Monterey, has been fenced in and reduced to cultivation. The southern counties have not enjoyed so rapid an increase of population, nor has agriculture advanced in the same ratio; most of the available lands consisting of large grants made by the Mexican Government for military services, and still retained by the original grantees, who, either from pride or principle, make it a point to hold on to them as long as they can. The costs of litigation, however, and the superior energy and sagacity of the incoming population, are gradually absorbing these princely estates; and it will be but a few years more before they are all cut up into prosperous farming districts. Of the many fine valleys in the southern part of the State the principal are—Wetherby's Ranch, San Pasqual, San Ysabel, San Luis Rcy, Warner's Ranch, and Tamecula; the beautiful valley of San Bernardino; Los Angelos, San Fernando, Santa Clara, Santa Barbara; and over the pass of the Garrote to San Ynez; the valley of the Purissimo; a series of fine ranches extending through the county of San Luis Obispo; Santa Marguerita, San Miguel, and the Salinas Plains; thence, as you travel north, the vicinity of Monterey and the Paphero—one of the richest and most beautiful agricultural districts in California—the valleys of San Juan, San Jose, Santa Clara, Alameda, Martinez, and San Ramon, which brings you to the region of the Bay of San Francisco.
To travel through this magnificent country, on horse or mule back, in the spring of the year, in company with a few chosen friends, and without any encumbrance beyond a pack-mule, a rifle, and a few pounds of coffee, sugar, bacon, and bread, is a luxury to be remembered in after-life. The whole face of the country is covered with flowers of the richest hue, and scattered with the most bountiful profusion over hill and valley. The air is fragrant with the scent of wild roses, honey-suckle, and ceonosa. Every stream that gushes from the hill-sides is bordered with green shrubbery; and beds of clover and wild
oats invite the traveler to rest at every turn of the trail. Now and then a deer bounds from some neighboring thicket, and stands a moment with antlers erect, gazing at the intruders, then off up the mountain-sides like a dart from the bow. Smaller game, such as rabbits, pheasants, quail, etc., abound in extraordinary numbers, and furnish a livelihood to many hunters who supply the markets of San Francisco.
Continuing thence in a northwardly direction, you strike the splendid valleys of Petaluma and Santa Rosa, Napa and Sonoma, Knight's Valley, Russian River, Yukia, Bechtel's or Little Lake Valley, Long Valley, Round Valley, and so on through a wilder region to Weaverville near the Oregon line. The valleys of Napa, Sonoma, Petaluma, and Santa Rosa are now thickly settled by an industrious and thriving population of farmers. Fruit orehards are attached to every farm; the cottages are neat and comfortable, and the country presents quite the appearance of an agricultural region in some of the older States, except that there is no such climate or soil on the Atlantic side.
It is beyond dispute, take it altogether, that California is the most desirable country on the face of the earth to live in. The soil is the richest, the climate the most genial, the people are the most independent, the mountains are the highest, and the rivers are the— Well, no, I admit that the rivers are not so long and so deep as the Mississippi; but then they are a great deal muddier, and the mud has a great deal more gold in it. At all events, it is good enough a country for us, the members of the Coast Range Association; and we hereby respectfully invite all sensible people to come and settle here.
If the reader will now be kind enough to suppose that we have all started out on a hunting expedition, duly equipped and provided with horses, mules, blankets, rifles, shot-guns, packanimals, provisions, vinegar, etc., headed by our guide and interpreter, Captain Toby, who knows every foot of the way; that we have debarked from the Petaluma steamer, camped our way
THE prime of summer is coming, and with it there comes, to-day,
Ay, ay, you wince! I fancy you had rather have blame instead;
Oh, girl! will you never learn wisdom? I had hoped your pride was dead;
But no—it will last and flourish so long as vanities live—
So long as you hunger for worship—so long as your subjects give.
It was strange that he thonght you loved him; it was strange that he never knew
Your heart, except by the shadow that others mistook for yon:
'But yon went well-masked, and no one, whether you laughed or wept,
He loved yon; his soul was in earnest; at your dainty feet he poured
The purest and best libation that human hearts can afford:
He dreamed of you morn and even; he cherished the flowers you gave.;
And I tell you, though they are withered now, they will go with him to the grave'
But you—how was it?—you met him with marvelous glances and smiles;
You wove your glittering meshes; you compassed him with your wiles;
You sang the songs he had written; you talked in your sweetest voice,
Till he thought his bondage was freedom, and wore your fetters by choice.
Then a great joy flooded his spirit, and the yellow laburnum flowers
Heard wondrous vows and pledges in the dusk of the evening hours;
While there in your heart, close hidden with jealously watchful care,
Lay that strange Golgotha of passion—that arid waste of despair!
It is well that I know your story—I know that your first love came,
As of old came Jove to Semele, a splendid and fatal flame:
It left all your heart in ashes—dead ashes, that cooled and lay
A wearisome weight in your bosom, a burden to bear for aye.
Since then you have shown no mercy to any that circle around
The dangerous blaze of your beauty, for you no merey hnd found.
'Tis for this I offer you pity, and blame you not, as I should
Had yon still a heart that was human, with a human knowledge of good;
Bat the glass of your life is darkened, and darkly through it you see
Distorted and ghastly fragments of duty and destiny.
Yet you still can flirt and trifle, still live in folly and mirth— Ah, they say that revenge is sweeter than any thing else on earth 1
But are there no better moments—better? or are they worse?—
When flattery loses its sweetness, and beauty becomes a curse?
When you come from the world of pleasure, the whirl, and glitter, and glare,
The tattle instead of wisdom, the perfume instead of air;
When the hot-house garlands are withered, and the gray dawn breaks in the east.
And the wine grows stale in the goblets that shone so fair at the feast;
When rouge hides paleness no longer, and folly gives way to thought—
Do love, and life, and emotion still count in your creed for naught?
Do you never gaze in your mirror, when your beauty at daybreak goes,
And pressing your throbbing temples, pray God to give you repose?
Repose! it is tardy in coming; when the bitter chalice is filled,
We must wait till the feverish pulses and the passionate heart are stilled.
There is one that we know thus waiting—waiting and thinking to-day,