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tain Sentry, of the Spectator, and proves to you that you are wrong—that you are not convinced, and can not be convinced, so that there is no resource but to remain silent. Even that will not serve you when our friend Phil is in an ordinarily good vein. He is indefatigable in the pursuit of favorite crotchets, and will never let up while there is a word to be said on either side of the subject. I have often been tempted to end the matter by an appeal to Club Law; but what can one do with such a fellow as Phil? Over all the quirks and quibbles of his composition stature has cast such a gauze-work of genial humanity that he wins our hearts with affection while he puzzles our brains with metaphysics.
I now come, by an easy and gradual transition, to the chief ornament of our society, familiarly known throughout the Coast Range as "The General." To know him is to love him. At least the ladies think so; for the General is the very handsomest man in the whole party, not excepting the writer, whose highest claim is to be considered the next best-looking. Indeed, with the exception of the State Gauger, who is admitted on all hands to be the most portly and commanding gentleman in the State, in point of
personal beauty I know of no person in the entire range of my acquaintance who can compare favorably with the General. His form is of magnificent proportions, with just a sufficient tendency to corpulency to give it a splendid effect in the distance. His features are finely rounded; the expression of his eye is at once genial and fascinating. No lady, possessing the slightest claims to a heart, was ever subjected to the magic influence of the General's eye without immediately admitting that further resistance would be useless. But his admiration is of too diffusive a character ever to result in matrimony. The number of hearts that he has broken is perfectly incredible; and the only excuse I can make for him in this respect is that he does it undesignedly. It is purely the result of a constitutional admiration for the sex, which he can no more resist than less favored gentlemen can avoid being ugly and unattractive.
To see the General in his magnificent hunting costume of tanned deer-skin; to hear him sing in his grand bravura style the inspiring song of the "Little Black Elephant that came down from the top of the Mountings;" to stand upon a projecting rock and gaze upon that manly form as he buffets the surf amidst shoals of seal and porpoises; to sit by the crackling camp-fire, and hear him discourse of female beauty and all the charms of the tender sex; to shake that honest hand of his after a week's absence, and bask for a while in the broad sunshine of his presence, these are among the things never to be forgotten. What if years have
u Stumped with their signet that In
genuous broir, And mellowod the music of his eloquence,"
the General carries in his heart an inexhaustible fountain of youth, from which there is ever a genial flow. The head may have become destitute of vegetation as the summit of Mount Etna, but its very barrenness is evidence of the volcanic fires that burn within. The parched declivities of the cranium tell of the generous warmth of the man. I hold that the crowning glory of humanity is a bare crown; and I am the more tenacious of this opinion since my own has begun to make its appearance in public.
Without the General, we could no more perform those extraordinary exploits in the mountains, which have given us such an enviable reputation throughout the State, than without our right arms.
Not that he is any great hand at the rifle or shot-gun, for I never heard of any living animal that suffered the least injury from being shot at by him; nor because he climbs higher mountains, or jumps over wider creeks, or carries more wood upon his back, or runs away any faster when a grizzly bear appears in camp than the rest of us; but because he is the very best soul that ever lived—because we naturally like him, and can not help it. If he were in the slightest degree different from what he is, he would not be "the General;" and without him, we might as well undertake to spend a month of midnights agreeably at the North Pole as to make an expedi
tion in the Coast Range with any prospect of pleasure.
By common consent Captain Tobv has been appointed guide and caterer to the Association— a position for which he is considered eminently fitted by nature and long experience in mountaincraft. A better selection could not have been made. The Captain is a wild Irishman by birth, and an Indian by instinct. His home is in the saddle, his bedroom under the trees. For houses of all sorts he has an innate aversion. He cousiders cities a great waste of valuable hunting-ground; and looks upon crowds of welldressed men as a very dreary spectacle, without any well-defined object. Ho can not conceive what sense there is in burrowing among bricks and piles of merchandise, when there is so much more room outside in the open country where one can breathe the fresh air.
I say the Captain is eminently qualified by nature to be a guide. In making that assertion I do not mean to intimate that he was ever known to find the right trail, or to avoid losing himself and the entire party committed to his charge before the expiration of each day's travel. The special quality in which he excels is in the art of persuading every body that he is familiar with every stick and stone on the route, and within an exteusive cireuit of country; in fact, that he was the original discoverer of the particular range in question, and knows it better than he knows his own face when he stands in front of a looking-glass. On this mountain he has killed a large she-bear, with four cubs; on that, a remarkably fine buck; in this canon he has been chased by a band of hostile Indians, and only escaped by stopping suddenly and singing the famous pigsong, consisting of a whistle and a grunt; in that canon he has captured a live grizzly single-handed, by making him drunk with sugar and whisky, to which grizzlies are notoriously addicted: in short, no matter how the facts may be against him, Captain Toby is never known to be at fault. I even knew him on one occasion, when a member of the party produced a pocketcompass to prove that we were traveling east instead of west, make good his position by asserting that there were four points of variation; and when that was shown to be insufficient, he clearly demonstrated that the point of north was erroneously marked on the compass, and that it should be substituted by the point of south.
Besides these high qualifications, so useful in the development of new regions, and so well calculated to result in perilous adventures, Captain Toby possesses a wonderful flow of good-humor, and an inexhaustible fund of aneedote, aided by an imagination the most marvelous in its capacity. The camp is his home, and the whole party are his guests. He is continually saddling or unsaddling horses for inexperienced members of the Society, piling up wood on the fire, wiping out rifles, frying or broiling choice scraps of venison, digging holes in the ground for deer's heads, detailing some extraordinary adventure, or singing the famous pig-song, with the whistle and the grunt.
Captain Toby, although not much given to literary pursuits, became satisfied, during some of his solitary expeditions, that the English language is very imperfect in its construction; so much so that he has composed a new grammar, which is very popular in camp, as "Toby's Improved English Speaker." The principal object in view is to remodel the arbitrary system of moods, tenses, and numbers, somewhat on the Cobbett principle, but to a much more alarming extent. He has also composed an "Improved Method of Swearing," by means of which many of those vulgar oaths so frequently used by the citizens of California in common conversation may be dispensed with; as, for example, instead of using the name of the Creator, he proposes to swear "By the mystic moonbeam's struggling light! By the banks of the blue Moselle! By the margin of fair Zurich's waters! a ha! ha! e-you 1" Or for brief oaths, to be used on occasions of no pressing importance, he suggests— "Buy a broom!" or "By-the-by!" which, by means of fierce looks and strong emphasis, may be made sufficiently forcible for ordinary purposes.
But the predominating talent of the Captain is his wonderful capacity for finding bad trails. If there is an impracticable mountain within ten miles of the direct route, or a canon out of which no white man was ever before known to make his exit on mule-back, Toby is sure to find it, and end the labors of the day by getting the whole party involved in a complication of difficulties for which there seems to be no earthly remedy. For rocky and precipitous trails he has an absolute passion, amounting almost to a mania. He generally rides down-hill at a full gallop, and when that is impracticable, compels his animal to slide or make "buck jumps" over the worst places, apparently with no other motive than that of trying how near he can come to
DESCENDING CAPTAIN TOBY'S TEAII.
killing his mule or breaking his own neck without actually doing it. If there be a trail covered over with the trunks of large trees, or winding through an extensive region of chaparrel, he will spend a week trying to find it, in order that he may enjoy the luxury of being thoroughly jarred and scarified, and seeing every body else in the same predicament. Not that he subjects his friends to these trying ordeals from any malicious spirit, or any desire to enjoy himself at their expense. On the contrary, the marvel of the thing is, that he always imagines he is doing them the greatest possible kindness, and seems distressed and mortified when they complain. His good-nature is particularly manifest on the point of hills and distances. To oblige a tired man he will make a mole-hill out of the most formidable mountain, and assert in the most positive manner that it is only three miles to the camping-ground when it is at least ten. If the day's travel happens to be unusually rough, he calls the trail "a little gulehy," but promises that it will be "all easy work to-morrow." For those who "give out," and protest they can not go an inch farther, he carries an infallible remedy in the interior of a large pewter flask which usually hangs from his saddle. What it is I am entirely unable to say, but it always has the desired effect. He calls it "nourishment," and says it is "good for man or beast."
His hunting stories are of a kind well caleulated to interest the inexperienced members of our Association. Many of his adventures are wonderful—some absolutely improbable. With all respect for Captain Toby, and great confidence in his general veracity, I never could force myself to accept without some allowance his adventure with the California hare, or, as it is vulgarly called, the "jackass rabbit." I have seen several very large hares in the San Joaquin Valley, but none large enough to kick a man over, as the Captain professes to have been kicked on one occasion. To speak frankly, I do not believe it, though it may be true; for I remember some years ago I shot at one in mistake for an antelope, but having the misfortune to be a little near-sighted, I discovered upon going up to the spot that it was neither an antelope nor a hare, but one of the settler's hogs, for which I was subsequently damaged to the extent of five dollars.
The Captain professes, in another favorite story, to have killed a deer without ever shooting at it. There were three together. He crept upon them so stealthily that they were not aware of his approach until he was within a few feet, when they all bounded off at random. One tripped against a projecting branch of a tree, fell down unexpectedly, and dislocated his neck; upon which the Captain immediately seized him and cut his throat to let the blood flow. Possibly this too may have happened, though I have my doubts on the subject. Deer are not apt to allow sporting gentlemen with rifles to approach within ten feet of them, and then break their necks attempting to jump out of their way. The does with young fawns are exceedingly wary, and their sagacity in concealing their offspring is one of the most beautiful traits of maternal instinct.
* CALIFOBNIA BA1UUT.
I would fain, before closing this imperfect sketch of our Association, give some account of our esteemed friend Colonel Jack—"the noblest Roman of them all." Yet what can I say of him in the brief space of a few pages that will convey an adequate idea of his remarkable history and character? If we were only in camp, gentle reader, where it is not the fashion to be accurate in phraseology or historical details, I would take you kindly by the arm, lead you aside under the shade of a wide-spreading tree by the side of a sparkling brook, invite you to a seat on the green sward with a roll of blankets to lean against, hand you a genuine meerschaum filled with the best Turkish tobacco, and tell you to puff away quietly and cozily, and listen to the story of a strange and eventful life. When your eyes were half-closed, and a genial glow suffused your amiable features—when the follies, vexations, and trickeries of the busy multitude had vanished from your mind, and something of the
simplicity and freshness of early youth had stolen back again into your heart—when you felt that there was nothing in the world half so fascinating as camp-life, and were overflowing with affection for all your friends—I would tell you of the beautiful prairies of Texas and the blue seas of clover between the Nueces and the Rio Grande; of the Mottes, or woody islands, that loom up in the distance; of the wild spring flowers, and the balmy and odorous atmosphere that never was equaled in any other country; of the wild mustangs that prance along the horizon, occasionally charging up toward you, and sweeping off again till they are lost to the eye; of the deer and the antelope that course over these broad seas of flowers, and the flocks of wild turkeys that range along the water-courses—all these I would endeavor to picture to your mind, so that you might understand the fascination of frontier life in Texas. I would then tell you of the Mexican invasions, and the fierce and bloody contests of the Texans in defense of their country; of the struggles of the settlers with the wild hordes of savage Comanches and Lipans who roamed over these beautiful prairies; of the white women that were carried into captivity and cruelly treated; of the children that were snatched from the door-steps of the cabins, and never heard of again, or only after the lapse of years; of the midnight massacres that struck a gloom into the minds of men, and all the horrors of Indian warfare. And then, in the midst of these scenes of suffering and distress, how a young stranger of gentle manners, but firm and determined aspect, came among the people with his rifle and powder-flask and joined in their defense. I would follow that youth, for there is a fascination in his presence, and point him ont to you as he stands with uublenched features and eagle eye in the midst of dangers; often separated from his comrades for days, and compelled to fight his way alone through bands of savage Comanches; always foremost wherever death seemed inevitable, yet of a happy and cheerful disposition, placing a fair estimate upon the value of life, and determined to make the most of it. I would tell of the strong and daring spirits that instinctively gathered around him; how he was chosen leader of a company whose career on the borders of Texas for many years has rarely been paralleled in the annals of frontier life for deeds of chivalrous and romantic daring. In a country where such qualities are by no means rare, it was wonderful how devotedly these men clung to their leader, and what a pride they felt in his growing fame; for soon his exploits were the theme of every tongue, and the whole country echoed with his praises. Amidst all, from first to last, he was brave, gentle, and true; devoted to his friends; every where beloved, yet shrinking from all demonstrations of applause with a timidity almost feminine; seeking no reward save to render some service to a suffering people. In the Mexican invasions he acquired new laurels; and years after, when the war between the United States and Mexico broke out, he rendered distinguished service to his country. Since that period he has occupied several high positions of honor and trust.
This is the man whose history I would give you, gentle reader—one whose like is seldom found in this world. As he sits yonder by the fire cooking a rabbit, you would never take him for a hero. He is the very plainest and most unsophisticated of mortals—is actually unconscious of the difference between a great man and a common man, treats all with equal simplicity and kindness, and likes the whole world so well that he is constantly trying to do somebody a service. I have no doubt you and I will enjoy the benefit of that rabbit. He would give you an entire ox if he had one cooked, and then seem mortified that it was not an elephant or a whale. The only thing of which he is at all chary is any account of his past adventures. It takes time and skill to draw him out, and then no man can be more entertaining. To sit by the crackling camp-fire of a pleasant night and hear Colonel Jack talk of old times in Texas, the hunts and camp-scenes, the Comanches, the wild buffalo, the Mexicans at the Alamo, the massacre of Fannin's party, and all those thrilling events in Texan history, is worth a trip to California. There is such an overflow of genial simplicity about him, such an unconscious power of winning your sympathies and respect, such an entire absence of egotism, and so much that is true, generous, and reliable in his whole nature and character, that you arecompletely charmed.
It is refreshing to find a man in the full enjoyment of a national reputation who can afford
to be perfectly natural and uusophisticated; a genuine hero, modest to the verge of bashftUness, yet brave and steadfast as a true gentleman and a hero should be.
The Colonel, although a skillful hand with the rifle, is not an adept in the ordinary affairs of the world. He has recently purchased a
ranch, about five miles from the village of O ,
and moved out there with his family. I am told that the removal was very characteristic. They had been living for some time with Captain Johnny, an old Texas friend. When the time arrived to send out the furniture, which was scattered about the house in common, the Colonel said he would help; so he pulled off his coat, told the Mrs. Colonel not to worry herself, "pitched in" like a man, ransacked all the premises looking for things, seized and started off with his pipe and a box of tobacco, then got hold of the wrong bedsteads and tables, put them down again, then hurried off to the village, distant about half a mile, and brought six wagons to the door without previous notice and before any thing was ready; after which he took a glass of whisky, and wondered where the mischief his pipe was. Meantime the Mrs. Colonel was sorely troubled about parting with her friends, which the Colonel perceiving, he jumped up and said: "Now don't fret yourself; it'll be all right; just leave it all to me, and I'll 'tend to every thing;" with which he seized several chairs (Mrs. Captain Johnny's among others) and ran out of doors with them on his back, the ladies calling to him not to put them in the wagons. Puzzled and confounded at the caprices of woman, but ever