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    Chapter 2

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    Chapter 2
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    THE OLD PACIFIC CAPITAL

    THE WOODS AND THE PACIFIC

    THE Bay of Monterey has been compared by no less a person than
    General Sherman to a bent fishing-hook; and the comparison, if less
    important than the march through Georgia, still shows the eye of a
    soldier for topography. Santa Cruz sits exposed at the shank; the
    mouth of the Salinas river is at the middle of the bend; and
    Monterey itself is cosily ensconced beside the barb. Thus the
    ancient capital of California faces across the bay, while the
    Pacific Ocean, though hidden by low hills and forest, bombards her
    left flank and rear with never-dying surf. In front of the town,
    the long line of sea-beach trends north and north-west, and then
    westward to enclose the bay. The waves which lap so quietly about
    the jetties of Monterey grow louder and larger in the distance; you
    can see the breakers leaping high and white by day; at night, the
    outline of the shore is traced in transparent silver by the
    moonlight and the flying foam; and from all round, even in quiet
    weather, the distant, thrilling roar of the Pacific hangs over the
    coast and the adjacent country like smoke above a battle.

    These long beaches are enticing to the idle man. It would be hard
    to find a walk more solitary and at the same time more exciting to
    the mind. Crowds of ducks and sea-gulls hover over the sea.
    Sandpipers trot in and out by troops after the retiring waves,
    trilling together in a chorus of infinitesimal song. Strange sea-
    tangles, new to the European eye, the bones of whales, or sometimes
    a whole whale's carcase, white with carrion-gulls and poisoning the
    wind, lie scattered here and there along the sands. The waves come
    in slowly, vast and green, curve their translucent necks, and burst
    with a surprising uproar, that runs, waxing and waning, up and down
    the long key-board of the beach. The foam of these great ruins
    mounts in an instant to the ridge of the sand glacis, swiftly
    fleets back again, and is met and buried by the next breaker. The
    interest is perpetually fresh. On no other coast that I know shall
    you enjoy, in calm, sunny weather, such a spectacle of Ocean's
    greatness, such beauty of changing colour, or such degrees of
    thunder in the sound. The very air is more than usually salt by
    this Homeric deep.

    Inshore, a tract of sand-hills borders on the beach. Here and
    there a lagoon, more or less brackish, attracts the birds and
    hunters. A rough, undergrowth partially conceals the sand. The
    crouching, hardy live-oaks flourish singly or in thickets - the
    kind of wood for murderers to crawl among - and here and there the
    skirts of the forest extend downward from the hills with a floor of
    turf and long aisles of pine-trees hung with Spaniard's Beard.
    Through this quaint desert the railway cars drew near to Monterey
    from the junction at Salinas City - though that and so many other
    things are now for ever altered - and it was from here that you had
    the first view of the old township lying in the sands, its white
    windmills bickering in the chill, perpetual wind, and the first
    fogs of the evening drawing drearily around it from the sea.

    The one common note of all this country is the haunting presence of
    the ocean. A great faint sound of breakers follows you high up
    into the inland canons; the roar of water dwells in the clean,
    empty rooms of Monterey as in a shell upon the chimney; go where
    you will, you have but to pause and listen to hear the voice of the
    Pacific. You pass out of the town to the south-west, and mount the
    hill among pine-woods. Glade, thicket, and grove surround you.
    You follow winding sandy tracks that lead nowhither. You see a
    deer; a multitude of quail arises. But the sound of the sea still
    follows you as you advance, like that of wind among the trees, only
    harsher and stranger to the ear; and when at length you gain the
    summit, out breaks on every hand and with freshened vigour that
    same unending, distant, whispering rumble of the ocean; for now you
    are on the top of Monterey peninsula, and the noise no longer only
    mounts to you from behind along the beach towards Santa Cruz, but
    from your right also, round by Chinatown and Pinos lighthouse, and
    from down before you to the mouth of the Carmello river. The whole
    woodland is begirt with thundering surges. The silence that
    immediately surrounds you where you stand is not so much broken as
    it is haunted by this distant, circling rumour. It sets your
    senses upon edge; you strain your attention; you are clearly and
    unusually conscious of small sounds near at hand; you walk
    listening like an Indian hunter; and that voice of the Pacific is a
    sort of disquieting company to you in your walk.

    When once I was in these woods I found it difficult to turn
    homeward. All woods lure a rambler onward; but in those of
    Monterey it was the surf that particularly invited me to prolong my
    walks. I would push straight for the shore where I thought it to
    be nearest. Indeed, there was scarce a direction that would not,
    sooner or later, have brought me forth on the Pacific. The
    emptiness of the woods gave me a sense of freedom and discovery in
    these excursions. I never in all my visits met but one man. He
    was a Mexican, very dark of hue, but smiling and fat, and he
    carried an axe, though his true business at that moment was to seek
    for straying cattle. I asked him what o'clock it was, but he
    seemed neither to know nor care; and when he in his turn asked me
    for news of his cattle, I showed myself equally indifferent. We
    stood and smiled upon each other for a few seconds, and then turned
    without a word and took our several ways across the forest.

    One day - I shall never forget it - I had taken a trail that was
    new to me. After a while the woods began to open, the sea to sound
    nearer hand. I came upon a road, and, to my surprise, a stile. A
    step or two farther, and, without leaving the woods, I found myself
    among trim houses. I walked through street after street, parallel
    and at right angles, paved with sward and dotted with trees, but
    still undeniable streets, and each with its name posted at the
    corner, as in a real town. Facing down the main thoroughfare -
    "Central Avenue," as it was ticketed - I saw an open-air temple,
    with benches and sounding-board, as though for an orchestra. The
    houses were all tightly shuttered; there was no smoke, no sound but
    of the waves, no moving thing. I have never been in any place that
    seemed so dreamlike. Pompeii is all in a bustle with visitors, and
    its antiquity and strangeness deceive the imagination; but this
    town had plainly not been built above a year or two, and perhaps
    had been deserted overnight. Indeed, it was not so much like a
    deserted town as like a scene upon the stage by daylight, and with
    no one on the boards. The barking of a dog led me at last to the
    only house still occupied, where a Scotch pastor and his wife pass
    the winter alone in this empty theatre. The place was "The Pacific
    Camp Grounds, the Christian Seaside Resort." Thither, in the warm
    season, crowds come to enjoy a life of teetotalism, religion, and
    flirtation, which I am willing to think blameless and agreeable.
    The neighbourhood at least is well selected. The Pacific booms in
    front. Westward is Point Pinos, with the lighthouse in a
    wilderness of sand, where you will find the lightkeeper playing the
    piano, making models and bows and arrows, studying dawn and sunrise
    in amateur oil-painting, and with a dozen other elegant pursuits
    and interests to surprise his brave, old-country rivals. To the
    east, and still nearer, you will come upon a space of open down, a
    hamlet, a haven among rocks, a world of surge and screaming sea-
    gulls. Such scenes are very similar in different climates; they
    appear homely to the eyes of all; to me this was like a dozen spots
    in Scotland. And yet the boats that ride in the haven are of
    strange outlandish design; and, if you walk into the hamlet, you
    will behold costumes and faces and hear a tongue that are
    unfamiliar to the memory. The joss-stick burns, the opium pipe is
    smoked, the floors are strewn with slips of coloured paper -
    prayers, you would say, that had somehow missed their destination -
    and a man guiding his upright pencil from right to left across the
    sheet, writes home the news of Monterey to the Celestial Empire.

    The woods and the Pacific rule between them the climate of this
    seaboard region. On the streets of Monterey, when the air does not
    smell salt from the one, it will be blowing perfumed from the
    resinous tree-tops of the other. For days together a hot, dry air
    will overhang the town, close as from an oven, yet healthful and
    aromatic in the nostrils. The cause is not far to seek, for the
    woods are afire, and the hot wind is blowing from the hills. These
    fires are one of the great dangers of California. I have seen from
    Monterey as many as three at the same time, by day a cloud of
    smoke, by night a red coal of conflagration in the distance. A
    little thing will start them, and, if the wind be favourable, they
    gallop over miles of country faster than a horse. The inhabitants
    must turn out and work like demons, for it is not only the pleasant
    groves that are destroyed; the climate and the soil are equally at
    stake, and these fires prevent the rains of the next winter and dry
    up perennial fountains. California has been a land of promise in
    its time, like Palestine; but if the woods continue so swiftly to
    perish, it may become, like Palestine, a land of desolation.

    To visit the woods while they are languidly burning is a strange
    piece of experience. The fire passes through the underbrush at a
    run. Every here and there a tree flares up instantaneously from
    root to summit, scattering tufts of flame, and is quenched, it
    seems, as quickly. But this last is only in semblance. For after
    this first squib-like conflagration of the dry moss and twigs,
    there remains behind a deep-rooted and consuming fire in the very
    entrails of the tree. The resin of the pitch-pine is principally
    condensed at the base of the bole and in the spreading roots.
    Thus, after the light, showy, skirmishing flames, which are only as
    the match to the explosion, have already scampered down the wind
    into the distance, the true harm is but beginning for this giant of
    the woods. You may approach the tree from one side, and see it
    scorched indeed from top to bottom, but apparently survivor of the
    peril. Make the circuit, and there, on the other side of the
    column, is a clear mass of living coal, spreading like an ulcer;
    while underground, to their most extended fibre, the roots are
    being eaten out by fire, and the smoke is rising through the
    fissures to the surface. A little while, and, without a nod of
    warning, the huge pine-tree snaps off short across the ground and
    falls prostrate with a crash. Meanwhile the fire continues its
    silent business; the roots are reduced to a fine ash; and long
    afterwards, if you pass by, you will find the earth pierced with
    radiating galleries, and preserving the design of all these
    subterranean spurs, as though it were the mould for a new tree
    instead of the print of an old one. These pitch-pines of Monterey
    are, with the single exception of the Monterey cypress, the most
    fantastic of forest trees. No words can give an idea of the
    contortion of their growth; they might figure without change in a
    circle of the nether hell as Dante pictured it; and at the rate at
    which trees grow, and at which forest fires spring up and gallop
    through the hills of California, we may look forward to a time when
    there will not be one of them left standing in that land of their
    nativity. At least they have not so much to fear from the axe, but
    perish by what may be called a natural although a violent death;
    while it is man in his short-sighted greed that robs the country of
    the nobler redwood. Yet a little while and perhaps all the hills
    of seaboard California may be as bald as Tamalpais.

    I have an interest of my own in these forest fires, for I came so
    near to lynching on one occasion, that a braver man might have
    retained a thrill from the experience. I wished to be certain
    whether it was the moss, that quaint funereal ornament of
    Californian forests, which blazed up so rapidly when the flame
    first touched the tree. I suppose I must have been under the
    influence of Satan, for instead of plucking off a piece for my
    experiment what should I do but walk up to a great pine-tree in a
    portion of the wood which had escaped so much as scorching, strike
    a match, and apply the flame gingerly to one of the tassels. The
    tree went off simply like a rocket; in three seconds it was a
    roaring pillar of fire. Close by I could hear the shouts of those
    who were at work combating the original conflagration. I could see
    the waggon that had brought them tied to a live oak in a piece of
    open; I could even catch the flash of an axe as it swung up through
    the underwood into the sunlight. Had any one observed the result
    of my experiment my neck was literally not worth a pinch of snuff;
    after a few minutes of passionate expostulation I should have been
    run up to convenient bough.

    To die for faction is a common evil;
    But to be hanged for nonsense is the devil.

    I have run repeatedly, but never as I ran that day. At night I
    went out of town, and there was my own particular fire, quite
    distinct from the other, and burning as I thought with even greater
    vigour.

    But it is the Pacific that exercises the most direct and obvious
    power upon the climate. At sunset, for months together, vast, wet,
    melancholy fogs arise and come shoreward from the ocean. From the
    hill-top above Monterey the scene is often noble, although it is
    always sad. The upper air is still bright with sunlight; a glow
    still rests upon the Gabelano Peak; but the fogs are in possession
    of the lower levels; they crawl in scarves among the sandhills;
    they float, a little higher, in clouds of a gigantic size and often
    of a wild configuration; to the south, where they have struck the
    seaward shoulder of the mountains of Santa Lucia, they double back
    and spire up skyward like smoke. Where their shadow touches,
    colour dies out of the world. The air grows chill and deadly as
    they advance. The trade-wind freshens, the trees begin to sigh,
    and all the windmills in Monterey are whirling and creaking and
    filling their cisterns with the brackish water of the sands. It
    takes but a little while till the invasion is complete. The sea,
    in its lighter order, has submerged the earth. Monterey is
    curtained in for the night in thick, wet, salt, and frigid clouds,
    so to remain till day returns; and before the sun's rays they
    slowly disperse and retreat in broken squadrons to the bosom of the
    sea. And yet often when the fog is thickest and most chill, a few
    steps out of the town and up the slope, the night will be dry and
    warm and full of inland perfume.

    MEXICANS, AMERICANS, AND INDIANS

    The history of Monterey has yet to be written. Founded by Catholic
    missionaries, a place of wise beneficence to Indians, a place of
    arms, a Mexican capital continually wrested by one faction from
    another, an American capital when the first House of
    Representatives held its deliberations, and then falling lower and
    lower from the capital of the State to the capital of a county, and
    from that again, by the loss of its charter and town lands, to a
    mere bankrupt village, its rise and decline is typical of that of
    all Mexican institutions and even Mexican families in California.

    Nothing is stranger in that strange State than the rapidity with
    which the soil has changed-hands. The Mexicans, you may say, are
    all poor and landless, like their former capital; and yet both it
    and they hold themselves apart and preserve their ancient customs
    and something of their ancient air.

    The town, when I was there, was a place of two or three streets,
    economically paved with sea-sand, and two or three lanes, which
    were watercourses in the rainy season, and were, at all times, rent
    up by fissures four or five feet deep. There were no street
    lights. Short sections of wooden sidewalk only added to the
    dangers of the night, for they were often high above the level of
    the roadway, and no one could tell where they would be likely to
    begin or end. The houses were, for the most part, built of unbaked
    adobe brick, many of them old for so new a country, some of very
    elegant proportions, with low, spacious, shapely rooms, and walls
    so thick that the heat of summer never dried them to the heart. At
    the approach of the rainy season a deathly chill and a graveyard
    smell began to hang about the lower floors; and diseases of the
    chest are common and fatal among house-keeping people of either
    sex.

    There was no activity but in and around the saloons, where people
    sat almost all day long playing cards. The smallest excursion was
    made on horseback. You would scarcely ever see the main street
    without a horse or two tied to posts, and making a fine figure with
    their Mexican housings. It struck me oddly to come across some of
    the CORNHILL illustrations to Mr. Blackmore's EREMA, and see all
    the characters astride on English saddles. As a matter of fact, an
    English saddle is a rarity even in San Francisco, and, you may say,
    a thing unknown in all the rest of California. In a place so
    exclusively Mexican as Monterey, you saw not only Mexican saddles
    but true Vaquero riding - men always at the hand-gallop up hill and
    down dale, and round the sharpest corner, urging their horses with
    cries and gesticulations and cruel rotatory spurs, checking them
    dead with a touch, or wheeling them right-about-face in a square
    yard. The type of face and character of bearing are surprisingly
    un-American. The first ranged from something like the pure
    Spanish, to something, in its sad fixity, not unlike the pure
    Indian, although I do not suppose there was one pure blood of
    either race in all the country. As for the second, it was a matter
    of perpetual surprise to find, in that world of absolutely
    mannerless Americans, a people full of deportment, solemnly
    courteous, and doing all things with grace and decorum. In dress
    they ran to colour and bright sashes. Not even the most
    Americanised could always resist the temptation to stick a red rose
    into his hat-band. Not even the most Americanised would descend to
    wear the vile dress hat of civilisation. Spanish was the language
    of the streets. It was difficult to get along without a word or
    two of that language for an occasion. The only communications in
    which the population joined were with a view to amusement. A
    weekly public ball took place with great etiquette, in addition to
    the numerous fandangoes in private houses. There was a really fair
    amateur brass band. Night after night serenaders would be going
    about the street, sometimes in a company and with several
    instruments and voice together, sometimes severally, each guitar
    before a different window. It was a strange thing to lie awake in
    nineteenth-century America, and hear the guitar accompany, and one
    of these old, heart-breaking Spanish love-songs mount into the
    night air, perhaps in a deep baritone, perhaps in that high-
    pitched, pathetic, womanish alto which is so common among Mexican
    men, and which strikes on the unaccustomed ear as something not
    entirely human but altogether sad.

    The town, then, was essentially and wholly Mexican; and yet almost
    all the land in the neighbourhood was held by Americans, and it was
    from the same class, numerically so small, that the principal
    officials were selected. This Mexican and that Mexican would
    describe to you his old family estates, not one rood of which
    remained to him. You would ask him how that came about, and elicit
    some tangled story back-foremost, from which you gathered that the
    Americans had been greedy like designing men, and the Mexicans
    greedy like children, but no other certain fact. Their merits and
    their faults contributed alike to the ruin of the former
    landholders. It is true they were improvident, and easily dazzled
    with the sight of ready money; but they were gentlefolk besides,
    and that in a way which curiously unfitted them to combat Yankee
    craft. Suppose they have a paper to sign, they would think it a
    reflection on the other party to examine the terms with any great
    minuteness; nay, suppose them to observe some doubtful clause, it
    is ten to one they would refuse from delicacy to object to it. I
    know I am speaking within the mark, for I have seen such a case
    occur, and the Mexican, in spite of the advice of his lawyer, has
    signed the imperfect paper like a lamb. To have spoken in the
    matter, he said, above all to have let the other party guess that
    he had seen a lawyer, would have "been like doubting his word."
    The scruple sounds oddly to one of ourselves, who have been brought
    up to understand all business as a competition in fraud, and
    honesty itself to be a virtue which regards the carrying out but
    not the creation of agreements. This single unworldly trait will
    account for much of that revolution of which we are speaking. The
    Mexicans have the name of being great swindlers, but certainly the
    accusation cuts both ways. In a contest of this sort, the entire
    booty would scarcely have passed into the hands of the more
    scupulous race.

    Physically the Americans have triumphed; but it is not entirely
    seen how far they have themselves been morally conquered. This is,
    of course, but a part of a part of an extraordinary problem now in
    the course of being solved in the various States of the American
    Union. I am reminded of an anecdote. Some years ago, at a great
    sale of wine, all the odd lots were purchased by a grocer in a
    small way in the old town of Edinburgh. The agent had the
    curiosity to visit him some time after and inquire what possible
    use he could have for such material. He was shown, by way of
    answer, a huge vat where all the liquors, from humble Gladstone to
    imperial Tokay, were fermenting together. "And what," he asked,
    "do you propose to call this?" "I'm no very sure," replied the
    grocer, "but I think it's going to turn out port." In the older
    Eastern States, I think we may say that this hotch-potch of races
    in going to turn out English, or thereabout. But the problem is
    indefinitely varied in other zones. The elements are differently
    mingled in the south, in what we may call the Territorial belt and
    in the group of States on the Pacific coast. Above all, in these
    last, we may look to see some monstrous hybrid - Whether good or
    evil, who shall forecast? but certainly original and all their own.
    In my little restaurant at Monterey, we have sat down to table day
    after day, a Frenchman, two Portuguese, an Italian, a Mexican, and
    a Scotchman: we had for common visitors an American from Illinois,
    a nearly pure blood Indian woman, and a naturalised Chinese; and
    from time to time a Switzer and a German came down from country
    ranches for the night. No wonder that the Pacific coast is a
    foreign land to visitors from the Eastern States, for each race
    contributes something of its own. Even the despised Chinese have
    taught the youth of California, none indeed of their virtues, but
    the debasing use of opium. And chief among these influences is
    that of the Mexicans.

    The Mexicans although in the State are out of it. They still
    preserve a sort of international independence, and keep their
    affairs snug to themselves. Only four or five years ago Vasquez,
    the bandit, his troops being dispersed and the hunt too hot for him
    in other parts of California, returned to his native Monterey, and
    was seen publicly in her streets and saloons, fearing no man. The
    year that I was there, there occurred two reputed murders. As the
    Montereyans are exceptionally vile speakers of each other and of
    every one behind his back, it is not possible for me to judge how
    much truth there may have been in these reports; but in the one
    case every one believed, and in the other some suspected, that
    there had been foul play; and nobody dreamed for an instant of
    taking the authorities into their counsel. Now this is, of course,
    characteristic enough of the Mexicans; but it is a noteworthy
    feature that all the Americans in Monterey acquiesced without a
    word in this inaction. Even when I spoke to them upon the subject,
    they seemed not to understand my surprise; they had forgotten the
    traditions of their own race and upbringing, and become, in a word,
    wholly Mexicanised.

    Again, the Mexicans, having no ready money to speak of, rely almost
    entirely in their business transactions upon each other's worthless
    paper. Pedro the penniless pays you with an I O U from the equally
    penniless Miguel. It is a sort of local currency by courtesy.
    Credit in these parts has passed into a superstition. I have seen
    a strong, violent man struggling for months to recover a debt, and
    getting nothing but an exchange of waste paper. The very
    storekeepers are averse to asking for cash payments, and are more
    surprised than pleased when they are offered. They fear there must
    be something under it, and that you mean to withdraw your custom
    from them. I have seen the enterprising chemist and stationer
    begging me with fervour to let my account run on, although I had my
    purse open in my hand; and partly from the commonness of the case,
    partly from some remains of that generous old Mexican tradition
    which made all men welcome to their tables, a person may be
    notoriously both unwilling and unable to pay, and still find credit
    for the necessaries of life in the stores of Monterey. Now this
    villainous habit of living upon "tick" has grown into Californian
    nature. I do not mean that the American and European storekeepers
    of Monterey are as lax as Mexicans; I mean that American farmers in
    many parts of the State expect unlimited credit, and profit by it
    in the meanwhile, without a thought for consequences. Jew
    storekeepers have already learned the advantage to be gained from
    this; they lead on the farmer into irretrievable indebtedness, and
    keep him ever after as their bond-slave hopelessly grinding in the
    mill. So the whirligig of time brings in its revenges, and except
    that the Jew knows better than to foreclose, you may see Americans
    bound in the same chains with which they themselves had formerly
    bound the Mexican. It seems as if certain sorts of follies, like
    certain sorts of grain, were natural to the soil rather than to the
    race that holds and tills it for the moment.

    In the meantime, however, the Americans rule in Monterey County.
    The new county seat, Salinas City, in the bald, corn-bearing plain
    under the Gabelano Peak, is a town of a purely American character.
    The land is held, for the most part, in those enormous tracts which
    are another legacy of Mexican days, and form the present chief
    danger and disgrace of California; and the holders are mostly of
    American or British birth. We have here in England no idea of the
    troubles and inconveniences which flow from the existence of these
    large landholders - land-thieves, land-sharks, or land-grabbers,
    they are more commonly and plainly called. Thus the townlands of
    Monterey are all in the hands of a single man. How they came there
    is an obscure, vexatious question, and, rightly or wrongly, the man
    is hated with a great hatred. His life has been repeatedly in
    danger. Not very long ago, I was told, the stage was stopped and
    examined three evenings in succession by disguised horsemen
    thirsting for his blood. A certain house on the Salinas road, they
    say, he always passes in his buggy at full speed, for the squatter
    sent him warning long ago. But a year since he was publicly
    pointed out for death by no less a man than Mr. Dennis Kearney.
    Kearney is a man too well known in California, but a word of
    explanation is required for English readers. Originally an Irish
    dray-man, he rose, by his command of bad language, to almost
    dictatorial authority in the State; throned it there for six months
    or so, his mouth full of oaths, gallowses, and conflagrations; was
    first snuffed out last winter by Mr. Coleman, backed by his San
    Francisco Vigilantes and three gatling guns; completed his own ruin
    by throwing in his lot with the grotesque Green-backer party; and
    had at last to be rescued by his old enemies, the police, out of
    the hands of his rebellious followers. It was while he was at the
    top of his fortune that Kearney visited Monterey with his battle-
    cry against Chinese labour, the railroad monopolists, and the land-
    thieves; and his one articulate counsel to the Montereyans was to
    "hang David Jacks." Had the town been American, in my private
    opinion, this would have been done years ago. Land is a subject on
    which there is no jesting in the West, and I have seen my friend
    the lawyer drive out of Monterey to adjust a competition of titles
    with the face of a captain going into battle and his Smith-and-
    Wesson convenient to his hand.

    On the ranche of another of these landholders you may find our old
    friend, the truck system, in full operation. Men live there, year
    in year out, to cut timber for a nominal wage, which is all
    consumed in supplies. The longer they remain in this desirable
    service the deeper they will fall in debt - a burlesque injustice
    in a new country, where labour should be precious, and one of those
    typical instances which explains the prevailing discontent and the
    success of the demagogue Kearney.

    In a comparison between what was and what is in California, the
    praisers of times past will fix upon the Indians of Carmel. The
    valley drained by the river so named is a true Californian valley,
    bare, dotted with chaparal, overlooked by quaint, unfinished hills.
    The Carmel runs by many pleasant farms, a clear and shallow river,
    loved by wading kine; and at last, as it is falling towards a
    quicksand and the great Pacific, passes a ruined mission on a hill.
    From the mission church the eye embraces a great field of ocean,
    and the ear is filled with a continuous sound of distant breakers
    on the shore. But the day of the Jesuit has gone by, the day of
    the Yankee has succeeded, and there is no one left to care for the
    converted savage. The church is roofless and ruinous, sea-breezes
    and sea-fogs, and the alternation of the rain and sunshine, daily
    widening the breaches and casting the crockets from the wall. As
    an antiquity in this new land, a quaint specimen of missionary
    architecture, and a memorial of good deeds, it had a triple claim
    to preservation from all thinking people; but neglect and abuse
    have been its portion. There is no sign of American interference,
    save where a headboard has been torn from a grave to be a mark for
    pistol bullets. So it is with the Indians for whom it was erected.
    Their lands, I was told, are being yearly encroached upon by the
    neighbouring American proprietor, and with that exception no man
    troubles his head for the Indians of Carmel. Only one day in the
    year, the day before our Guy Fawkes, the PADRE drives over the hill
    from Monterey; the little sacristy, which is the only covered
    portion of the church, is filled with seats and decorated for the
    service; the Indians troop together, their bright dresses
    contrasting with their dark and melancholy faces; and there, among
    a crowd of somewhat unsympathetic holiday-makers, you may hear God
    served with perhaps more touching circumstances than in any other
    temple under heaven. An Indian, stone-blind and about eighty years
    of age, conducts the singing; other Indians compose the choir; yet
    they have the Gregorian music at their finger ends, and pronounce
    the Latin so correctly that I could follow the meaning as they
    sang. The pronunciation was odd and nasal, the singing hurried and
    staccato. "In saecula saeculoho-horum," they went, with a vigorous
    aspirate to every additional syllable. I have never seen faces
    more vividly lit up with joy than the faces of these Indian
    singers. It was to them not only the worship of God, nor an act by
    which they recalled and commemorated better days, but was besides
    an exercise of culture, where all they knew of art and letters was
    united and expressed. And it made a man's heart sorry for the good
    fathers of yore who had taught them to dig and to reap, to read and
    to sing, who had given them European mass-books which they still
    preserve and study in their cottages, and who had now passed away
    from all authority and influence in that land - to be succeeded by
    greedy land-thieves and sacrilegious pistol-shots. So ugly a thing
    may our Anglo-Saxon Protestantism appear beside the doings of the
    Society of Jesus.

    But revolution in this world succeeds to revolution. All that I
    say in this paper is in a paulo-past tense. The Monterey of last
    year exists no longer. A huge hotel has sprung up in the desert by
    the railway. Three sets of diners sit down successively to table.
    Invaluable toilettes figure along the beach and between the live
    oaks; and Monterey is advertised in the newspapers, and posted in
    the waiting-rooms at railway stations, as a resort for wealth and
    fashion. Alas for the little town! it is not strong enough to
    resist the influence of the flaunting caravanserai, and the poor,
    quaint, penniless native gentlemen of Monterey must perish, like a
    lower race, before the millionaire vulgarians of the Big Bonanza.

    [1880]
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