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Title: Roughing it De Luxe
Author: Cobb, Irvin S. (Irvin Shrewsbury), 1876-1944
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Roughing it De Luxe" ***

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_Roughing It De Luxe_
_By_
_Irvin S. Cobb_



[Illustration: BY COMMON CONSENT WE HAD NAMED THEM CLARENCE AND
CLARICE]



_Roughing It De Luxe_
_By_
_Irvin S. Cobb_


_Author of "Back Home,"_
_"The Escape of Mr. Trimm," "Cobb's Anatomy,"_
_"Cobb's Bill of Fare," etc._

_Illustrated by John T. McCutcheon_

[Illustration]

_New York_
_George H. Doran Company_



COPYRIGHT, 1913,
BY THE CURTIS PUBLISHING COMPANY

COPYRIGHT, 1914,
BY GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY



TO GEORGE H. DORAN, ESQ.
MY FRIEND AND STILL MY PUBLISHER;
MY PUBLISHER AND STILL
MY FRIEND



_THE TIME TABLE_

                                        PAGE
A PILGRIM CANONIZED                       15
RABID AND HIS FRIENDS                     55
HOW DO YOU LIKE THE CLIMATE?              97
IN THE HAUNT OF THE NATIVE SON           135
LOOKING FOR LO                           175



ILLUSTRATIONS

                                                                       PAGE
By common consent we had named them Clarence and Clarice       Frontispiece
Evidently he believed the conspiracy against him was widespread          21
There was not a turkey trotter in the bunch                              35
He'd garner in some fellows that wasn't sheep-herders                    61
Because a man has a soul is no reason he shouldn't have an appetite      73
He was a regular moving picture cowboy and gave general satisfaction     87
The boy who sells you a paper and the youth who blackens your shoes
    both show solicitude                                                101
Out from under a rock somewhere will crawl a real estate agent          115
He felt that he was properly dressed for the time, the place and the
    occasion                                                            127
Even the place where the turkey trot originated was trotless and quiet  143
The woman nearest the wall has on her furs--it is always cool in the
    shade                                                               155
It's a great thing out there to be a native son                         169
Each Navajo squaw weaves on an average nine thousand blankets a year    179
As she leveled the lens a yell went up from somewhere                   193
As the occupants spilled sprawlingly through the gap, a front tire
    exploded with a loud report                                         207



_A PILGRIM CANONIZED_

[Illustration]

A Pilgrim Canonized


IT is generally conceded that the Grand Cañon of Arizona beggars
description. I shall therefore endeavor to refrain from doing so. I
realize that this is going to be a considerable contract. Nearly
everybody, on taking a first look at the Grand Cañon, comes right out
and admits its wonders are absolutely indescribable--and then proceeds
to write anywhere from two thousand to fifty thousand words, giving the
full details. Speaking personally, I wish to say that I do not know
anybody who has yet succeeded in getting away with the job.

In the old days when he was doing the literature for the Barnum show,
Tody Hamilton would have made the best nominee I can think of. Remember,
don't you, how when Tody started in to write about the elephant
quadrille you had to turn over to the next page to find the verb? And
almost any one of those young fellows who write advertising folders for
the railroads would gladly tackle the assignment; in fact, some of them
already have--but not with any tumultuous success.

In the presence of the Grand Cañon, language just simply fails you and
all the parts of speech go dead lame. When the Creator made it He failed
to make a word to cover it. To that extent the thing is incomplete. If
ever I run across a person who can put down on paper what the Grand
Cañon looks like, that party will be my choice to do the story when the
Crack of Doom occurs. I can close my eyes now and see the headlines:
Judgment Day a Complete Success! Replete with Incident and Abounding in
Surprises--Many Wealthy Families Disappointed--Full Particulars from our
Special Correspondent on the Spot!

Starting out from Chicago on the Santa Fé, we had a full trainload. We
came from everywhere: from peaceful New England towns full of elm trees
and oldline Republicans; from the Middle States; and from the land of
chewing tobacco, prominent Adam's apples and hot biscuits--down where
the r is silent, as in No'th Ca'lina. And all of us--Northerners,
Southerners, Easterners alike--were actuated by a common purpose--we
were going West to see the country and rough it--rough it on overland
trains better equipped and more luxurious than any to be found in the
East; rough it at ten-dollar-a-day hotels; rough it by touring car over
the most magnificent automobile roads to be found on this continent. We
were a daring lot and resolute; each and every one of us was brave and
blithe to endure the privations that such an expedition must inevitably
entail. Let the worst come; we were prepared! If there wasn't any of the
hothouse lamb, with imported green peas, left, we'd worry along on a
little bit of the fresh shad roe, and a few conservatory cucumbers on
the side. That's the kind of hardy adventurers we were!

Conspicuous among us was a distinguished surgeon of Chicago; in fact,
so distinguished that he has had a very rare and expensive disease
named for him, which is as distinguished as a physician ever gets to be
in this country. Abroad he would be decorated or knighted. Here we name
something painful after him and it seems to fill the bill just as well.
This surgeon was very distinguished and also very exclusive. After you
scaled down from him, riding in solitary splendor in his drawing room,
with kitbags full of symptoms and diagnoses scattered round, we became a
mixed tourist outfit. I would not want to say that any of the persons on
our train were impossible, because that sounds snobbish; but I will say
this--some of them were highly improbable.

There was the bride, who put on her automobile goggles and her
automobile veil as soon as we pulled out of the Chicago yards and never
took them off again--except possibly when sleeping. I presume she wanted
to show the rest of us that she was accustomed to traveling at a high
rate of speed. If the bridegroom had only bethought him to carry one of
those siren horns under his arm, and had tooted it whenever we went
around a curve, the illusion would have been complete.

There was also the middle-aged lady with the camera habit. Any time the
train stopped, or any time it behaved as though it thought of stopping,
out on the platform would pop this lady, armed with her little
accordion-plaited camera, with the lens focused and the little atomizer
bulb dangling down, all ready to take a few pictures. She snapshotted
watertanks, whistling posts, lunch stands, section houses, grade
crossings and holes in the snowshed--also scenery, people and climate. A
two-by-four photograph of a mountain that's a mile high must be a most
splendid reminder of the beauties of Nature to take home with you from a
trip.

There was the conversational youth in the Norfolk jacket, who was going
out West to fill an important vacancy in a large business house--he told
us so himself. It was a good selection, too. If I had a vacancy that I
wanted filled in such a way that other people would think the vacancy
was still there, this youth would have been my candidate.

[Illustration: EVIDENTLY HE BELIEVED THE CONSPIRACY AGAINST HIM WAS
WIDESPREAD]

And finally there was the corn-doctor from a town somewhere in Indiana,
who had the upper berth in Number Ten. It seemed to take a load off his
mind, on the second morning out, when he learned that he would not have
to spend the day up there, but could come down and mingle with the rest
of us on a common footing; but right up to the finish of the journey he
was uncertain on one or two other points. Every time a conductor came
through--Pullman conductor, train conductor or dining-car conductor--he
would hail him and ask him this question: "Do I or do I not have to
change at Williams for the Grand Cañon?" The conductor--whichever
conductor it was--always said, Yes, he would have to change at Williams.
But he kept asking them--he seemed to regard a conductor as a
functionary who would deliberately go out of his way to mislead a
passenger in regard to an important matter of this kind. After a while
the conductors took to hiding out from him and then he began
cross-examining the porters, and the smoking-room attendant, and the
baggageman, and the flagmen, and the passengers who got aboard down the
line in Colorado and New Mexico.

At breakfast in the dining car you would hear his plaintive, patient
voice lifted. "Yes, waiter," he would say; "fry 'em on both sides,
please. And say, waiter, do you know for sure whether we change at
Williams for the Grand Cañon?" He put a world of entreaty into it;
evidently he believed the conspiracy against him was widespread. At
Albuquerque I saw him leading off on one side a Pueblo Indian who was
peddling bows and arrows, and heard him ask the Indian, as man to man,
if he would have to change at Williams for the Grand Cañon.

When he was not worrying about changing at Williams he showed anxiety
upon the subject of the proper clothes to be worn while looking at the
Grand Cañon. Among others he asked me about it. I could not help him. I
had decided to drop in just as I was, and then to be governed by
circumstances as they might arise; but he was not organized that way. On
the morning of the last day, as we rolled up through the pine barrens of
Northern Arizona toward our destination, those of us who had risen early
became aware of a terrific struggle going on behind the shrouding
draperies of that upper berth of his. Convulsive spasms agitated the
green curtains. Muffled swear words uttered in a low but fervent tone
filtered down to us. Every few seconds a leg or an arm or a head, or the
butt-end of a suitcase, or the bulge of a valise, would show through the
curtains for a moment, only to be abruptly snatched back.

Speculation concerning the causes of these strange manifestations
ran--as the novelists say--rife. Some thought that, overcome with
disappointment by the discovery that we had changed at Williams in the
middle of the night, without his knowing anything about it, he was
having a fit all alone up there. Presently the excitement abated; and
then, after having first lowered his baggage, our friend descended to
the aisle and the mystery was explained. He had solved the question of
what to wear while gazing at the Grand Cañon. He was dressed in a new
golf suit, complete--from the dinky cap to the Scotch plaid stockings.
If ever that man visits Niagara, I should dearly love to be on hand to
see him when he comes out to view the Falls, wearing his bathing suit.

Some of us aboard that train did not seem to care deeply for the desert;
the cactus possibly disappointed others; and the mesquit failed to give
general satisfaction, though at a conservative estimate we passed
through nine million miles of it. A few of the delegates from the
Eastern seaboard appeared to be irked by the tribal dancing of the Hopi
Indians, for there was not a turkey-trotter in the bunch, the Indian
settlements of Arizona being the only terpsichorean centers in this
country to which the Young Turk movement had not penetrated yet. Some
objected to the plains because they were so flat and plainlike, and some
to the mountains because of their exceedingly mountainous aspect; but on
one point we all agreed--on the uniform excellence of the dining-car
service.

It is a powerfully hard thing for a man to project his personality
across the grave. In making their wills and providing for the carrying
on of their pet enterprises a number of our richest men have endeavored
from time to time to disprove this; but, to date, the percentage of
successes has not been large. So far as most of us are concerned the
burden of proof shows that in this regard we are one with the famous
little dog whose name was Rover--when we die, we die all over. Every big
success represents the personality of a living man; rarely ever does it
represent the personality of a dead man.

The original Fred Harvey is dead--has been dead, in fact, for several
years; but his spirit goes marching on across the southwestern half of
this country. Two thousand miles from salt water, the oysters that are
served on his dining cars do not seem to be suffering from car-sickness.
And you can get a beefsteak measuring eighteen inches from tip to tip.
There are spring chickens with the most magnificent bust development I
ever saw outside of a burlesque show; and the eggs taste as though they
might have originated with a hen instead of a cold-storage vault. If
there was only a cabaret show going up and down the middle of the car
during meals, even the New York passengers would be satisfied with the
service, I think.

There is another detail of the Harvey system that makes you wonder. Out
on the desert, in a dead-gray expanse of silence and sagebrush, your
train halts at a junction point that you never even heard of before.
There is not much to be seen--a depot, a 'dobe cabin or so, a few frame
shacks, a few natives, a few Indians and a few incurably languid
Mexicans--and that is positively all there is except that, right out
there in the middle of nowhere, stands a hotel big enough and handsome
enough for Chicago or New York, built in the Spanish style, with wide
patios and pergolas--where a hundred persons might perg at one time--and
gay-striped awnings. It is flanked by flower-beds and refreshingly
green strips of lawn, with spouting fountains scattered about.

You go inside to a big, spotlessly bright dining room and get as good a
meal as you can get anywhere on earth--and served in as good style, too.
To the man fresh from the East, such an establishment reminds him
vividly of the hurry-up railroad lunch places to which he has been
accustomed back home--places where the doughnuts are dornicks and the
pickles are fossils, and the hard-boiled egg got up out of a sick bed to
be there, and on the pallid yellow surface of the official pie a couple
of hundred flies are enacting Custard's Last Stand. It reminds him of
them because it is so different. Between Kansas City and the Coast there
are a dozen or more of these hotels scattered along the line.

And so, with real food to stay you and one of Tuskegee's bright,
straw-colored graduates to minister to your wants in the sleeper, you
come on the morning of the third day to the Grand Cañon in northern
Arizona; you take one look--and instantly you lose all your former
standards of comparison. You stand there gazing down the raw, red gullet
of that great gosh-awful gorge, and you feel your self-importance
shriveling up to nothing inside of you. You haven't an adjective left to
your back. It makes you realize what the sensations would be of one
little microbe lost inside of Barnum's fat lady.

I think my preconceived conception of the Cañon was the same conception
most people have before they come to see it for themselves--a straight
up-and-down slit in the earth, fabulously steep and fabulously deep;
nevertheless merely a slit. It is no such thing.

Imagine, if you can, a monster of a hollow approximately some hundreds
of miles long and a mile deep, and anywhere from ten to sixteen miles
wide, with a mountain range--the most wonderful mountain range in the
world--planted in it; so that, viewing the spectacle from above, you get
the illusion of being in a stationary airship, anchored up among the
clouds; imagine these mountain peaks--hundreds upon hundreds of
them--rising one behind the other, stretching away in endless, serried
rank until the eye swims and the mind staggers at the task of trying to
count them; imagine them splashed and splattered over with all the
earthly colors you ever saw and a lot of unearthly colors you never saw
before; imagine them carved and fretted and scrolled into all
shapes--tabernacles, pyramids, battleships, obelisks, Moorish
palaces--the Moorish suggestion is especially pronounced both in
colorings and in shapes--monuments, minarets, temples, turrets, castles,
spires, domes, tents, tepees, wigwams, shafts.

Imagine other ravines opening from the main one, all nuzzling their
mouths in her flanks like so many sucking pigs; for there are hundreds
of these lesser cañons, and any one of them would be a marvel were they
not dwarfed into relative puniness by the mother of the litter. Imagine
walls that rise sheer and awful as the Wrath of God, and at their base
holes where you might hide all the Seven Wonders of the Olden World and
never know they were there--or miss them either. Imagine a trail that
winds like a snake and climbs like a goat and soars like a bird, and
finally bores like a worm and is gone.

Imagine a great cloud-shadow cruising along from point to point, growing
smaller and smaller still, until it seems no more than a shifting purple
bruise upon the cheek of a mountain, and then, as you watch it, losing
itself in a tiny rift which at that distance looks like a wrinkle in the
seamed face of an old squaw, but which is probably a huge gash gored
into the solid rock for a thousand feet of depth and more than a
thousand feet of width.

Imagine, way down there at the bottom, a stream visible only at certain
favored points because of the mighty intervening ribs and chines of
rock--a stream that appears to you as a torpidly crawling yellow worm,
its wrinkling back spangled with tarnished white specks, but which is
really a wide, deep, brawling, rushing river--the Colorado--full of
torrents and rapids; and those white specks you see are the tops of
enormous rocks in its bed.

Imagine--if it be winter--snowdrifts above, with desert flowers blooming
alongside the drifts, and down below great stretches of green verdure;
imagine two or three separate snowstorms visibly raging at different
points, with clear, bright stretches of distance intervening between
them, and nearer maybe a splendid rainbow arching downward into the
great void; for these meteorological three-ring circuses are not
uncommon at certain seasons.

Imagine all this spread out beneath the unflawed turquoise of the
Arizona sky and washed in the liquid gold of the Arizona sunshine--and
if you imagine hard enough and keep it up long enough you may begin, in
the course of eight or ten years, to have a faint, a very faint and
shadowy conception of this spot where the shamed scheme of creation is
turned upside down and the very womb of the world is laid bare before
our impious eyes. Then go to Arizona and see it all for yourself, and
you will realize what an entirely inadequate and deficient thing the
human imagination is.

It is customary for the newly arrived visitor to take a ride along the
edge of the cañon--the rim-drive, it is called--with stops at Hopi Point
and Mohave Point and Pima Point, and other points where the views are
supposed to be particularly good. To do this you get into a smart coach
drawn by horses and driven by a competent young man in a khaki uniform.
Leaving behind you a clutter of hotel buildings and station buildings,
bungalows and tents, you go winding away through a Government forest
reserve containing much fine standing timber and plenty more that is not
so fine, it being mainly stunted piñon and gnarly desert growths.

Presently the road, which is a fine, wide, macadamized road, skirts out
of the trees and threads along the cañon until it comes to a rocky
flange that juts far over. You climb out there and, instinctively
treading lightly on your tiptoes and breathing in syncopated breaths,
you steal across the ledge, going slowly and carefully until you pause
finally upon the very eyelashes of eternity and look down into that
great inverted muffin-mold of a cañon.

You are at the absolute jumping-off place. There is nothing between you
and the undertaker except six-thousand feet, more or less, of dazzling
Arizona climate. Below you, beyond you, stretching both ways from you,
lie those buried mountains, the eternal herds of the Lord's cattlefold;
there are scars upon their sides, like the marks of a mighty branding
iron, and in the distance, viewed through the vapor-waves of melting
snow, their sides seem to heave up and down like the flanks of panting
cattle. Half a mile under you, straight as a man can spit, are gardens
of willows and grasses and flowers, looking like tiny green patches, and
the tents of a camp looking like scattered playing cards; and there is a
plateau down there that appears to be as flat as your hand and is
seemingly no larger, but actually is of a size sufficient for the
evolutions of a brigade of cavalry.

[Illustration: THERE WAS NOT A TURKEY TROTTER IN THE BUNCH]

When you have had your fill of this the guide takes you and leads
you--you still stepping lightly to avoid starting anything--to a spot
from which he points out to you, riven into the face of a vast
perpendicular chasm above a cave like a monstrous door, a tremendous
and perfect figure seven--the house number of the Almighty Himself. By
this I mean no irreverence. If ever Jehovah chose an earthly
abiding-place, surely this place of awful, unutterable majesty would be
it. You move a few yards farther along and instantly the seven is
gone--the shift of shadow upon the rock wall has wiped it out and
obliterated it--but you do not mourn the loss, because there are still
upward of a million things for you to look at.

And then, if you have timed wisely the hour of your coming, the sun
pretty soon goes down; and as it sinks lower and lower out of titanic
crannies come the thickening shades, making new plays and tricks of
painted colors upon the walls--purples and reds and golds and blues,
ambers and umbers and opals and ochres, yellows and tans and tawnys and
browns--and the cañon fills to its very brim with the silence of
oncoming night.

You stand there, stricken dumb, your whole being dwarfed yet
transfigured; and in the glory of that moment you can even forget the
gabble of the lady tourist alongside of you who, after searching her
soul for the right words, comes right out and gives the Grand Cañon her
cordial indorsement. She pronounces it to be just perfectly lovely! But
I said at the outset I was not going to undertake to describe the Grand
Cañon--and I'm not. These few remarks were practically jolted out of me
and should not be made to count in the total score.

Having seen the cañon--or a little bit of it--from the top, the next
thing to do is to go down into it and view it from the sides and the
bottom. Most of the visitors follow the Bright Angel Trail which is
handily near by and has an assuring name. There are only two ways to do
the inside of the Grand Cañon--afoot and on mule-back. El Tovar hotel
provides the necessary regalia, if you have not come prepared--divided
skirts for the women and leggings for the men, a mule apiece and a guide
to every party of six or eight.

At the start there is always a lot of nervous chatter--airy persiflage
flies to and fro and much laughing is indulged in. But it has a forced,
strained sound, that laughter has; it does not come from the heart, the
heart being otherwise engaged for the moment. Down a winding footpath
moves the procession, with the guide in front, and behind him in single
file his string of pilgrims--all as nervous as cats and some holding to
their saddle-pommels with death-grips. Just under the first terrace a
halt is made while the official photographer takes a picture; and when
you get back he has your finished copy ready for you, so you can see for
yourself just how pale and haggard and wall-eyed and how much like a
typhoid patient you looked.

The parade moves on. All at once you notice that the person immediately
ahead of you has apparently ridden right over the wall of the cañon. A
moment ago his arched back loomed before you; now he is utterly gone. It
is at this point that some tourists tender their resignations--to take
effect immediately. To the credit of the sex, be it said, the
statistics show that fewer women quit here than men. But nearly always
there is some man who remembers where he left his umbrella or something,
and he goes back after it and forgets to return.

In our crowd there was one person who left us here. He was a circular
person; about forty per cent of him, I should say, rhymed with jelly. He
climbed right down off his mule. He said:

"I'm not scared myself, you understand, but I've just recalled that my
wife is a nervous woman. She'd have a fit if she knew I was taking this
trip! I love my wife, and for her sake I will not go down this cañon,
dearly as I would love to." And with that he headed for the hotel. I
wanted to go with him. I wanted to go along with him and comfort him and
help him have his chill, and if necessary send a telegram for him to his
wife--she was in Pittsburgh--telling her that all was well. But I did
not. I kept on. I have been trying to figure out ever since whether this
showed courage on my part, or cowardice.

Over the ridge and down the steep declivity beyond goes your mule,
slipping a little. He is reared back until his rump almost brushes the
trail; he grunts mild protests at every lurching step and grips his
shoecalks into the half-frozen path. You reflect that thousands of
persons have already done this thing; that thousands of others--men,
women and children--are going to do it, and that no serious accident has
yet occurred--which is some comfort, but not much. The thought comes to
you that, after all, it is a very bright and beautiful world you are
leaving behind. You turn your head to give it a long, lingering
farewell, and you try to put your mind on something cheerful--such as
your life insurance. Then something happens.

The trail, that has been slanting at a downward angle which is a trifle
steeper than a ship's ladder, but not quite so steep perhaps as a board
fence, takes an abrupt turn to the right. You duck your head and go
through a little tunnel in the rock, patterned on the same general
design of the needle's eye that is going to give so many of our
prominent captains of industry trouble in the hereafter. And as you
emerge on the lower side you forget all about your life-insurance papers
and freeze to your pommel with both hands, and cram your poor cold feet
into the stirrups--even in warm weather they'll be good and cold--and
all your vital organs come up in your throat, where you can taste them.
If anybody had shot me through the middle just about then he would have
inflicted only a flesh wound.

You have come out on a place where the trail clings to the sheer side of
the dizziest, deepest chasm in the known world. One of your legs is
scraping against the everlasting granite; the other is dangling over
half a mile of fresh mountain air. The mule's off hind hoof grates and
grinds on the flinty trail, dislodging a fair-sized stone that flops
over the verge. You try to look down and see where it is going and find
you haven't the nerve to do it--but you can hear it falling from one
narrow ledge to another, picking up other boulders as it goes until
there must be a fair-sized little avalanche of them cascading down. The
sound of their roaring, racketing passage grows fainter and fainter,
then dies almost out, and then there rises up to you from those
unutterable depths a dull, thuddy little sound--those stones have
reached the cellar! Then to you there comes the pleasing reflection that
if your mule slipped and you fell off and were dashed to fragments, they
would not be large, mussy, irregular fragments, but little teeny-weeny
fragments, such as would not bring the blush of modesty to the cheek of
the most fastidious.

Only your mule never slips off! It is contrary to a mule's religion and
politics, and all his traditions and precedents, to slip off. He may
slide a little and stumble once in a while, and he may, with malice
aforethought, try to scrape you off against the outjutting shoulders of
the trail; but he positively will not slip off. It is not because he is
interested in you. A tourist on the cañon's rim a simple tourist is to
him and nothing more; but he has no intention of getting himself hurt.
Instinct has taught that mule it would be to him a highly painful
experience to fall a couple of thousand feet or so and light on a pile
of rocks; and therefore, through motives that are purely selfish, he
studiously refrains from so doing. When the Prophet of old wrote, "How
beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him," and so on, I judge he
had reference to a mule on a narrow trail.

My mule had one very disconcerting way about him--or, rather, about her,
for she was of the gentler sex. When she came to a particularly scary
spot, which was every minute or so, she would stop dead still. I
concurred in that part of it heartily. But then she would face outward
and crane her neck over the fathomless void of that bottomless pit, and
for a space of moments would gaze steadily downward, with a despondent
droop of her fiddle-shaped head and a suicidal gleam in her mournful
eyes. It worried me no little; and if I had known, at the time, that she
had a German name it would have worried me even more, I guess. But
either the time was not ripe for the rash act or else she abhorred the
thought of being found dead in the company of a mere tourist, so she did
not leap off into space, but restrained herself; and I was very grateful
to her for it. It made a bond of sympathy between us.

On you go, winding on down past the red limestone and the yellow
limestone and the blue sandstone, which is green generally; past huge
bat caves and the big nests of pack-rats, tucked under shelves of
Nature's making; past stratified millions of crumbling seashells that
tell to geologists the tale of the salt-water ocean that once on a time,
when the world was young and callow, filled this hole brim full; and
presently, when you have begun to piece together the tattered fringes of
your nerves, you realize that the cañon is even more wonderful when
viewed from within than it is when viewed from without. Also, you begin
to notice now that it is most extensively autographed.

Apparently about every other person who came this way remarked to
himself that this cañon was practically completed and only needed his
signature as collaborator to round it out--so he signed it and after
that it was a finished job. Some of them brought down colored chalk and
stencils, and marking pots, and paints and brushes, and cold chisels to
work with, which must have been a lot of trouble, but was worth it--it
does add so greatly to the beauty of the Grand Cañon to find it spangled
over with such names as you could hear paged in almost any dollar-a-day
American-plan hotel. The guide pointed out a spot where one of these
inspired authors climbed high up the face of a white cliff and, clinging
there, carved out in letters a foot long his name; and it was one of
those names that, inscribed upon a register, would instinctively cause
any room clerk to reach for the key to an inside one, without bath. I
regret to state that nothing happened to this person. He got down safe
and sound; it was a great pity, too.

By the Bright Angel Trail it is three hours on a mule to the plateau,
where there are green summery things growing even in midwinter, and
where the temperature is almost sultry; and it is an hour or so more to
the riverbed, down at the very bottom. When you finally arrive there and
look up you do not see how you ever got down, for the trail has
magically disappeared; and you feel morally sure you are never going to
get back. If your mule were not under you pensively craning his head
rearward in an effort to bite your leg off, you would almost be ready to
swear the whole thing was an optical illusion, a wondrous dream. Under
these circumstances it is not so strange that some travelers who have
been game enough until now suddenly weaken. Their nerves capsize and the
grit runs out of them like sand out of an overturned pail.

All over this part of Arizona they tell you the story of the lady from
the southern part of the state--she was a school teacher and the story
has become an epic--who went down Bright Angel one morning and did not
get back until two o'clock the following morning; and then she came
against her will in a litter borne by two tired guides, while two
others walked beside her and held her hands; and she was protesting at
every step that she positively could not and would not go another inch;
and she was as hysterical as a treeful of chickadees; her hat was lost,
and her glasses were gone, and her hair hung down her back, and
altogether she was a mournful sight to see.

Likewise the natives will tell you the tale of a man who made the trip
by crawling round the more sensational corners upon his hands and knees;
and when he got down he took one look up to where, a sheer mile above
him, the rim of the cañon showed, with the tall pine trees along its
edge looking like the hairs upon a caterpillar's back, and he announced
firmly that he wished he might choke if he stirred another step. Through
the miraculous indulgence of a merciful providence he was down, and that
was sufficient for him; he wasn't going to trifle with his luck. He
would stay down until he felt good and rested, and then he would return
to his home in dear old Altoona by some other route. He was very
positive about it. There were two guides along, both of them patient and
forbearing cowpunchers, and they argued with him. They pointed that
there was only one suitable way for him to get out of the cañon, and
that was the way by which he had got into it.

"The trouble with you fellows," said the man, "is that you are too
dad-blamed technical. The point is that I'm here, and here I'm going to
stay."

"But," they told him, "you can't stay here. You'd starve to death like
that poor devil that some prospectors found in that gulch yonder--turned
to dusty bones, with a pack rat's nest in his chest and a rock under his
head. You'd just naturally starve to death."

"There you go again," he said, "importing these trivial foreign matters
into the discussion. Let us confine ourselves to the main issue, which
is that I am not going back. This rock shall fly from its firm base as
soon as I," he said, or words to that effect.

So insisting, he sat down, putting his own firm base against the said
rock, and prepared to become a permanent resident. He was a grown man
and the guides were less gentle with him than they had been with the
lady school teacher. They roped his arms at the elbows and hoisted him
upon a mule and tied his legs together under the mule's belly, and they
brought him out of there like a sack of bran--only he made more noise
than any sack of bran has ever been known to make.

Coming back up out of the Grand Cañon is an even more inspiring and
amazing performance than going down. But by now--anyhow this was my
experience, and they tell me it is the common experience--you are
beginning to get used to the sensation of skirting along the raw and
ragged verge of nothing. Narrow turns where, going down, your hair
pushed your hat off, no longer affright you; you take them
jauntily--almost debonairly. You feel that you are now an old
mountain-scaler, and your soul begins to crave for a trip with a few
more thrills to the square inch in it. You get your wish. You go down
Hermit Trail, which its middle name is thrills; and there you make the
acquaintance of the Hydrophobic Skunk.

The Hydrophobic Skunk is a creature of such surpassing accomplishments
and vivid personality that I feel he is entitled to a new chapter. The
Hydrophobic Skunk will be continued in our next.



_RABID AND HIS FRIENDS_

[Illustration]

_Rabid and His Friends_


THE Hydrophobic Skunk resides at the extreme bottom of the Grand Cañon
and, next to a Southern Republican who never asked for a Federal office,
is the rarest of living creatures. He is so rare that nobody ever saw
him--that is, nobody except a native. I met plenty of tourists who had
seen people who had seen him, but never a tourist who had seen him with
his own eyes. In addition to being rare, he is highly gifted.

I think almost anybody will agree with me that the common, ordinary
skunk has been most richly dowered by Nature. To adorn a skunk with any
extra qualifications seems as great a waste of the raw material as
painting the lily or gilding refined gold. He is already amply equipped
for outdoor pursuits. Nobody intentionally shoves him round; everybody
gives him as much room as he seems to need. He commands respect--nay,
more than that, respect and veneration--wherever he goes. Joy-riders
never run him down and foot passengers avoid crowding him into a corner.
You would think Nature had done amply well by the skunk; but no--the
Hydrophobic Skunk comes along and upsets all these calculations. Besides
carrying the traveling credentials of an ordinary skunk, he is rabid in
the most rabidissimus form. He is not mad just part of the time, like
one's relatives by marriage--and not mad most of the time, like the
old-fashioned railroad ticket agent--but mad all the time--incurably,
enthusiastically and unanimously mad! He is mad and he is glad of it.

We made the acquaintance of the Hydrophobic Skunk when we rode down
Hermit Trail. The casual visitor to the Grand Cañon first of all takes
the rim drive; then he essays Bright Angel Trail, which is sufficiently
scary for his purposes until he gets used to it; and after that he grows
more adventurous and tackles Hermit Trail, which is a marvel of
corkscrew convolutions, gimleting its way down this red abdominal wound
of a cañon to the very gizzard of the world.

Alongside the Hermit, traveling the Bright Angel is the same as
gathering the myrtles with Mary; but the civil engineers who worked out
the scheme of the Hermit and made it wide and navigable for ordinary
folks were bright young men. They laid a wall along its outer side all
the way from the top to the bottom. Now this wall is made of loose
stones racked up together without cement, and it is nowhere more than a
foot or a foot and a half high. If your mule ever slipped--which he
never does--or if you rolled off on your own hook--which has not
happened to date--that puny little wall would hardly stop you--might not
even cause you to hesitate. But some way, intervening between you and a
thousand feet or so of uninterrupted fresh air, it gives a tremendous
sense of security. Life is largely a state of mind, anyhow, I reckon.

As a necessary preliminary to going down Hermit Trail you take a
buckboard ride of ten miles--ten wonderful miles! Almost immediately the
road quits the rocky, bare parapet of the gorge and winds off through
the noble, big forest that is a part of the Government reserve. Jays
that are twice as large and three times as vocal as the Eastern variety
weave blue threads in the green background of the pines; and if there is
snow upon the ground its billowy white surface is crossed and
criss-crossed with the dainty tracks of coyotes, and sometimes with the
broad, furry marks of the wildcat's pads. The air is a blessing and the
sunshine is a benediction.

Away off yonder, through a break in the conifers, you see one lone and
lofty peak with a cap of snow upon its top. The snow fills the deeper
ravines that furrow its side downward from the summit so that at this
distance it looks as though it were clutched in a vast white owl's claw;
and generally there is a wispy cloud caught on it like a white shirt on
a poor man's Monday washpole. Or, huddled together in a nest formation
like so many speckled eggs, you see the clutch of little mottled
mountains for which nobody seems to have a name. If these mountains were
in Scotland, Sir Walter Scott and Bobby Burns would have written about
them and they would be world-famous, and tourists from America would
come and climb their slopes, and stand upon their tops, and sop up
romance through all their pores. But being in Arizona, dwarfed by the
heaven-reaching ranges and groups that wall them in north, south and
west, they have not even a Christian name to answer to.

Anon--that is to say, at the end of those ten miles--you come to the
head of Hermit Trail. There you leave your buckboard at a way station
and mount your mule. Presently you are crawling downward, like a fly on
a board fence, into the depths of the chasm. You pass through rapidly
succeeding graduations of geology, verdure, scenery and temperature. You
ride past little sunken gardens full of wild flowers and stunty fir
trees, like bits of Old Japan; you climb naked red slopes crowned with
the tall cactus, like Old Mexico; you skirt bald, bare, blistered
vistas of desolation, like Old Perdition. You cross Horsethief's Trail,
which was first traced out by the moccasined feet of marauding Apaches
and later was used by white outlaws fleeing northward with their stolen
pony herds.

You pass above the gloomy shadows of Blythe's Abyss and wind beneath a
great box-shaped formation of red sandstone set on a spindle rock and
balancing there in dizzy space like Mohammed's coffin; and then, at the
end of a mile-long jog along a natural terrace stretching itself midway
between Heaven and the other place, you come to the residence of Shorty,
the official hermit of the Grand Cañon.

[Illustration: HE'D GARNER IN SOME FELLOWS THAT WASN'T SHEEPHERDERS]

Shorty is a little, gentle old man, with warped legs and mild blue eyes
and a set of whiskers of such indeterminate aspect that you cannot tell
at first look whether they are just coming out or just going back in. He
belongs--or did belong--to the vast vanishing race of old-time gold
prospectors. Halfway down the trail he does light housekeeping under an
accommodating flat ledge that pouts out over the pathway like a
snuffdipper's under lip. He has a hole in the rock for his chimney, a
breadth of weathered gray canvas for his door and an eighty-mile stretch
of the most marvelous panorama on earth for his front yard. He minds the
trail and watches out for the big boulders that sometimes fall in the
night; and, except in the tourist season, he leads a reasonably quiet
existence.

Alongside of Shorty, Robinson Crusoe was a tenement-dweller, and Jonah,
weekending in the whale, had a perfectly uproarious time; but Shorty
thrives on a solitude that is too vast for imagining. He would not trade
jobs with the most potted potentate alive--only sometimes in mid-summer
he feels the need of a change stealing over him, and then he goes afoot
out into the middle of Death Valley and spends a happy vacation of five
or six weeks with the Gila monsters and the heat. He takes Toby with
him.

Toby is a gentlemanly little woolly dog built close to the earth like a
carpet sweeper, with legs patterned crookedly--after the model of his
master's. Toby has one settled prejudice: he dislikes Indians. You have
only to whisper the word "Injun" and instantly Toby is off, scuttling
away to the highest point that is handy. From there he peers all round
looking for red invaders. Not finding any he comes slowly back, crushed
to the earth with disappointment. Nobody has ever been able to decide
what Toby would do with the Indians if he found them; but he and Shorty
are in perfect accord. They have been associated together ever since
Toby was a pup and Shorty went into the hermit business, and that was
ten years ago. Sitting cross-legged on a flat rock like a little gnome,
with his puckered eyes squinting off at space, Shorty told us how once
upon a time he came near losing Toby.

"Me and Toby," he said, "was over to Flagstaff, and that was several
years ago. There was a saloon man over there owned a bulldog and he
wanted that his bulldog and Toby should fight. Toby can lick mighty nigh
any dog alive; but I didn't want that Toby should fight. But this here
saloon man wouldn't listen. He sicked his bulldog on to Toby and in
about a minute Toby was taking that bulldog all apart.

"This here saloon man he got mad then--he got awful mad. He wanted to
kill Toby and he pulled out his pistol. I begged him mighty hard please
not to shoot Toby--I did so! I stood in front of Toby to protect him and
I begged that man not to do it. Then some other fellows made him put up
his gun, and me and Toby came on away from there." His voice trailed
off. "I certainly would 'a' hated to lose Toby. We set a heap of store
by one another--don't we, dog?" And Toby testified that it was
so--testified with wriggling body and licking tongue and dancing eyes
and a madly wagging stump tail.

As we mounted and jogged away we looked back, and the pair of
them--Shorty and Toby--were sitting there side by side in perfect
harmony and perfect content; and I could not help wondering, in a
country where we sometimes hang a man for killing a man, what would
have been adequate punishment for a brute who would kill Toby and leave
Shorty without his partner! In another minute, though, we had rounded a
jagged sandstone shoulder and they were out of sight.

About that time Johnny, our guide, felt moved to speech, and we
hearkened to his words and hungered for more, for Johnny knows the
ranges of the Northwest as a city dweller knows his own little side
street. In the fall of the year Johnny comes down to the Cañon and
serves as a guide a while; and then, when he gets so he just can't stand
associating with tourists any longer, he packs his warbags and journeys
back to the Northern Range and enjoys the company of cows a spell. Cows
are not exactly exciting, but they don't ask fool questions.

A highly competent young person is Johnny and a cowpuncher of parts.
Most of the Cañon guides are cowpunchers--accomplished ones, too, and of
high standing in the profession. With a touch of reverence Johnny
pointed out to us Sam Scovel, the greatest bronco buster of his time,
now engaged in piloting tourists.

"Can he ride?" echoed Johnny in answer to our question. "Scovel could
ride an earthquake if she stood still long enough for him to mount! He
rode Steamboat--not Young Steamboat, but Old Steamboat! He rode Rocking
Chair, and he's the only man that ever did do that and not be called on
in a couple of days to attend his own funeral."

This day he told us about one Tom, who lived up in Wyoming, where Johnny
came from. It appeared that in an easier day Tom was hired by some
cattle men to thin out the sheep herders who insisted upon invading the
public ranges. By Johnny's account Tom did the thinning with
conscientious attention to detail and gave general satisfaction for a
while; but eventually he grew careless in his methods and took to
killing parties who were under the protection of the game laws. Likewise
his own private collection of yearlings began to increase with a
rapidity which was only to be accounted for on the theory that a large
number of calves were coming into the world with Tom's brand for a
birthmark. So he lost popularity. Several times his funeral was privily
arranged, but on each occasion was postponed owing to the failure of the
corpse to be present. Finally he killed a young boy and was caught and
convicted, and one morning they took him out and hanged him rather
extensively.

"Tom was mighty methodical," said Johnny. "He got five hundred a head
for killing sheep herders--that was the regular tariff. Every time he
bumped one off he'd put a stone under his head, which was his private
mark--a kind of a duebill, as you might say. And when they'd find that
dead herder with the rock under his head they'd know there was another
five hundred comin' to Tom on the books; they always paid it, too. Once
in a while, though, he'd cut loose in a saloon and garner in some
fellows that wasn't sheep herders. There was quite a number that thought
Tom acted kind of ungentlemanly when he was drinkin'."

We went on and on at a lazy mule-trot, hearing the unwritten annals of
the range from one who had seen them enacted at first hand. Pretty soon
we passed a herd of burros with mealy, dusty noses and spotty hides,
feeding on prickly pears and rock lichens; and just before sunset we
slid down the last declivity out upon the plateau and came to a camp as
was a camp!

This was roughing it de luxe with a most de-luxey vengeance! Here were
three tents, or rather three canvas houses, with wooden half-walls; and
they were spick-and-span inside and out, and had glass windows in them
and doors and matched wooden floors. The one that was a bedroom had gay
Navajo blankets on the floor, and a stove in it, and a little bureau,
and a washstand with white towels and good lathery soap. And there were
two beds--not cots or bunks, but regular beds--with wire springs and
mattresses and white sheets and pillowslips. They were not veteran
sheets and vintage pillowslips either, but clean and spotless ones. The
mess tent was provided with a table with a clean cloth to go over it,
and there were china dishes and china cups and shiny knives, forks and
spoons. Every scrap of this equipment had been brought down from the top
on burro packs. The Grand Cañon is scenically artistic, but it is a
non-producing district. And outside there was a corral for the mules; a
canvas storehouse; hitching stakes for the burros; a Dutch oven, and a
little forge where the guides sometimes shoe a mule. They aren't
blacksmiths; they merely have to be. Bill was in charge of the camp--a
dark, rangy, good-looking young leading man of a cowboy, wearing his
blue shirt and his red neckerchief with an air. He spoke with the soft
Texas drawl and in his way was as competent as Johnny.

The sun, which had been winking farewells to us over the rim above,
dropped out of sight as suddenly as though it had fallen into a well.
From the bottom the shadows went slanting along the glooming walls of
the gorges, swallowing up the yellow patches of sunlight that still
lingered near the top like blacksnakes swallowing eggs. Every second the
colors shifted and changed; what had been blue a moment before was now
purple and in another minute would be a velvety black. A little lost
ghost of an echo stole out of a hole and went straying up and down,
feebly mocking our remarks and making them sound cheap and tawdry.

Then the new moon showed as a silver fish, balancing on its tail and
arching itself like a hooked skipjack. In a purpling sky the stars
popped out like pinpricks and the peace that passes all understanding
came over us. I wish to take advantage of this opportunity to say that,
in my opinion, David Belasco has never done anything in the way of
scenic effects to beat a moonrise in the Grand Cañon.

I reckon we might have been there until now--my companion and I--soaking
our souls in the unutterable beauty of that place, only just about that
time we smelled something frying. There was also a most delectable
sputtering sound as of fat meat turning over on a hot skillet; but just
the smell alone was a square meal for a poor family. The meeting
adjourned by acclamation. Just because a man has a soul is no reason he
shouldn't have an appetite.

That Johnny certainly could cook! Served on china dishes upon a
cloth-covered table, we had mounds of fried steaks and shoals of fried
bacon; and a bushel, more or less, of sheepherder potatoes; and green
peas and sliced peaches out of cans; and sourdough biscuits as light as
kisses and much more filling; and fresh butter and fresh milk; and
coffee as black as your hat and strong as sin. How easy it is for
civilized man to become primitive and comfortable in his way of eating,
especially if he has just ridden ten miles on a buckboard and nine more
on a mule and is away down at the bottom of the Grand Cañon--and there
is nobody to look on disapprovingly when he takes a bite that would be a
credit to a steam shovel!

[Illustration: BECAUSE A MAN HAS A SOUL IS NO REASON HE SHOULDN'T HAVE
AN APPETITE]

Despite all reports to the contrary, I wish to state that it is no
trouble at all to eat green peas off a knifeblade--you merely mix them
in with potatoes for a cement; and fried steak--take it from an old
steak-eater--tastes best when eaten with those tools of Nature's own
providing, both hands and your teeth. An hour passed--busy, yet
pleasant--and we were both gorged to the gills and had reared back with
our cigars lit to enjoy a third jorum of black coffee apiece, when
Johnny, speaking in an offhand way to Bill, who was still hiding away
biscuits inside of himself like a parlor prestidigitator, said:

"Seen any of them old hydrophobies the last day or two?"

"Not so many," said Bill casually. "There was a couple out last night
pirootin' round in the moonlight. I reckon, though, there'll be quite a
flock of 'em out tonight. A new moon always seems to fetch 'em up from
the river."

Both of us quit blowing on our coffee and we put the cups down. I think
I was the one who spoke.

"I beg your pardon," I asked, "but what did you say would be out
tonight?"

"We were just speakin' to one another about them Hydrophoby Skunks,"
said Bill apologetically. "This here Cañon is where they mostly hang out
and frolic 'round."

I laid down my cigar, too. I admit I was interested.

"Oh!" I said softly--like that. "Is it? Do they?"

"Yes," said Johnny. "I reckin there's liable to be one come shovin' his
old nose into that door any minute. Or probably two--they mostly travels
in pairs--sets, as you might say."

"You'd know one the minute you saw him, though," said Bill. "They're
smaller than a regular skunk and spotted where the other kind is
striped. And they got little red eyes. You won't have no trouble at all
recognizin' one."

It was at this juncture that we both got up and moved back by the stove.
It was warmer there and the chill of evening seemed to be settling down
noticeably.

"Funny thing about Hydrophoby Skunks," went on Johnny after a moment of
pensive thought--"mad, you know!"

"What makes them mad?" The two of us asked the question together.

"Born that way!" explained Bill--"mad from the start, and won't never do
nothin' to get shut of it."

"Ahem--they never attack humans, I suppose?"

"Don't they?" said Johnny, as if surprised at such ignorance. "Why,
humans is their favorite pastime! Humans is just pie to a Hydrophoby
Skunk. It ain't really any fun to be bit by a Hydrophoby Skunk neither."
He raised his coffee cup to his lips and imbibed deeply.

"Which you certainly said something then, Johnny," stated Bill. "You
see," he went on, turning to us, "they aim to catch you asleep and they
creep up right soft and take holt of you--take holt of a year
usually--and clamp their teeth and just hang on for further orders. Some
says they hang on till it thunders, same as snappin' turtles. But that's
a lie, I judge, because there's weeks on a stretch down here when it
don't thunder. All the cases I ever heard of they let go at sun-up."

"It is right painful at the time," said Johnny, taking up the thread of
the narrative; "and then in nine days you go mad yourself. Remember that
fellow the Hydrophoby Skunk bit down here by the rapids, Bill? Let's
see now--what was that hombre's name?"

"Williams," supplied Bill--"Heck Williams. I saw him at Flagstaff when
they took him there to the hospital. That guy certainly did carry on
regardless. First he went mad and his eyes turned red, and he got so he
didn't have no real use for water--well, them prospectors don't never
care much about water anyway--and then he got to snappin' and bitin' and
foamin' so's they had to strap him down to his bed. He got loose
though."

"Broke loose, I suppose?" I said.

"No, he bit loose," said Bill with the air of one who would not deceive
you even in a matter of small details.

"Do you mean to say he bit those leather straps in two?"

"No, sir; he couldn't reach them," explained Bill, "so he bit the bed in
two. Not in one bite, of course," he went on. "It took him several. I
saw him after he was laid out. He really wasn't no credit to himself as
a corpse."

I'm not sure, but I think my companion and I were holding hands by now.
Outside we could hear that little lost echo laughing to itself. It was
no time to be laughing either. Under certain circumstances I don't know
of a lonelier place anywhere on earth than that Grand Cañon.

Presently my friend spoke, and it seemed to me his voice was a mite
husky. Well, he had a bad cold.

"You said they mostly attack persons who are sleeping out, didn't you?"

"That's right, too," said Johnny, and Bill nodded in affirmation.

"Then, of course, since we sleep indoors everything will be all right,"
I put in.

"Well, yes and no," answered Johnny. "In the early part of the evening a
hydrophoby is liable to do a lot of prowlin' round outdoors; but toward
mornin' they like to get into camps--they dig up under the side walls or
come up through the floor--and they seem to prefer to get in bed with
you. They're cold-blooded, I reckin, same as rattlesnakes. Cool nights
always do drive 'em in, seems like."

"It's going to be sort of coolish to-night," said Bill casually.

It certainly was. I don't remember a chillier night in years. My teeth
were chattering a little--from cold--before we turned in. I retired with
all my clothes on, including my boots and leggings, and I wished I had
brought along my earmuffs. I also buttoned my watch into my lefthand
shirt pocket, the idea being if for any reason I should conclude to move
during the night I would be fully equipped for traveling. The door would
not stay closely shut--the doorjamb had sagged a little and the wind
kept blowing the door ajar. But after a while we dozed off.

It was one-twenty-seven A.M. when I woke with a violent start. I know
this was the exact time because that was when my watch stopped. I peered
about me in the darkness. The door was wide open--I could tell that.
Down on the floor there was a dragging, scuffling sound, and from almost
beneath me a pair of small red eyes peered up phosphorescently.

"He's here!" I said to my companion as I emerged from my blankets; and
he, waking instantly, seemed instinctively to know whom I meant. I used
to wonder at the ease with which a cockroach can climb a perfectly
smooth wall and run across the ceiling. I know now that to do this is
the easiest thing in the world--if you have the proper incentive behind
you. I had gone up one wall of the tent and had crossed over and was in
the act of coming down the other side when Bill burst in, his eyes
blurred with sleep, a lighted lamp in one hand and a gun in the other.

I never was so disappointed in my life because it wasn't a Hydrophobic
Skunk at all. It was a pack rat, sometimes called a trade rat, paying us
a visit. The pack or trade rat is also a denizen of the Grand Cañon. He
is about four times as big as an ordinary rat and has an appetite to
correspond. He sometimes invades your camp and makes free with your
things, but he never steals anything outright--he merely trades with
you; hence his name. He totes off a side of meat or a bushel of meal and
brings a cactus stalk in; or he will confiscate your saddlebags and
leave you in exchange a nice dry chip. He is honest, but from what I
can gather he never gets badly stuck on a deal.

Next morning at breakfast Johnny and Bill were doing a lot of laughing
between them over something or other. But we had our revenge! About
noon, as we were emerging at the head of the trail, we met one of the
guides starting down with a couple that, for the sake of convenience, we
had christened Clarence and Clarice. Shorty hailed us.

"How's everything down at the camp?" he inquired.

"Oh, all right!" replied Bill--"only there's a good many of them
Hydrophoby Skunks pesticatin' about. Last night we seen four."

Clarence and Clarice crossed startled glances, and it seemed to me that
Clarice's cheek paled a trifle; or it may have been Clarence's cheek
that paled. He bent forward and asked Shorty something, and as we
departed full of joy and content we observed that Shorty was composing
himself to unload that stock horror tale. It made us very happy.

By common consent we had named them Clarence and Clarice on their
arrival the day before. At first glance we decided they must have come
from Back Bay, Boston--probably by way of Lenox, Newport and Palm Beach;
if Harvard had been a co-educational institution we should have figured
them as products of Cambridge. It was a shock to us all when we learned
they really hailed from Chicago. They were nearly of a height and a
breadth, and similar in complexion and general expression; and
immediately after arriving they had appeared for the ride down the
Bright Angel in riding suits that were identical in color, cut and
effect--long-tailed, tight-buttoned coats; derby hats; stock collars;
shiny top boots; cute little crops, and form-fitting riding trousers
with those Bartlett pear extensions midships and aft--and the prevalent
color was a soft, melting, misty gray, like a cow's breath on a frosty
morning. Evidently they had both patronized the same tailor.

He was a wonder, that tailor. Using practically the same stage effects,
he had, nevertheless, succeeded in making Clarence look feminine and
Clarice look masculine. We had gone down to the rim to see them off. And
when they passed us in all the gorgeousness of their city bridle-path
regalia, enthroned on shaggy mules, behind a flock of tourists in
nondescript yet appropriate attire, and convoyed by a cowboy who had no
reverence in his soul for the good, the sweet and the beautiful, but
kept sniggering to himself in a low, coarse way, we felt--all of
us--that if we never saw another thing we were amply repaid for our
journey to Arizona.

The exactly opposite angle of this phenomenon was presented by a certain
Eastern writer, a member, as I recall, of the Jersey City school of Wild
West story writers, who went to Arizona about two years ago to see if
the facts corresponded with his fiction; if not he would take steps to
have the facts altered--I believe that was the idea. He reached El Tovar
at Grand Cañon in the early morning, hurried at once to his room and
presently appeared attired for breakfast. Competent eyewitnesses gave
me the full details. He wore a flannel shirt that was unbuttoned at the
throat to allow his Adam's apple full sweep, a hunting coat, buckskin
pants and high boots, and about his waist was a broad belt supporting on
one side a large revolver--one of the automatic kind, which you start in
to shooting by pulling the trigger merely and then have to throw a
bucket of water on it to make it stop--and on the other side, as a
counterpoise, was a buck-handled bowie knife such as was so universally
not used by the early pioneers of our country.

As he crossed the lobby, jangling like a milk wagon, he created a
pronounced impression upon all beholders. The hotel is managed by an
able veteran of the hotel business, assisted by a charming and
accomplished wife; it is patronized by scientists, scholars and
cosmopolitans, who come from all parts of the world to see the Grand
Cañon; and it is as up-to-the-minute in its appointments and service as
though it fronted on Broadway, or Chestnut Street, or Pennsylvania
Avenue.

Our hero careened across the intervening space. On reaching the dining
room he snatched off his coat and, with a gesture that would have turned
Hackett or Faversham as green with envy as a processed stringbean, flung
it aside and prepared to enter. It was plain that he proposed to put on
no airs before the simple children of the desert wilds. He would eat his
antelope steak and his grizzly b'ar chuck in his shirt-sleeves, the way
Kit Carson and Old Man Bridger always did.

[Illustration: HE WAS A REGULAR MOVING PICTURE COWBOY AND GAVE GENERAL
SATISFACTION]

The young woman who presides over the dining room met him at the door.
In the cool, clarified accents of a Wellesley graduate, which she is,
she invited him to have on his things if he didn't mind. She also
offered to take care of his hardware for him while he was eating. He
consented to put his coat back on, but he clung to his weapons--there
was no telling when the Indians might start an uprising. Probably at the
moment it would have deeply pained him to learn that the only Indian
uprising reported in these parts in the last forty years was a carbuncle
on the back of the neck of Uncle Hopi Hooligan, the gentle
copper-colored floorwalker of the white-goods counter in the Hopi House,
adjacent to the hotel!

However, he stayed on long enough to discover that even this far west
ordinary human garments make a most excellent protective covering for
the stranger. Many of the tourists do not do this. They arrive in the
morning, take a hurried look at the Cañon, mail a few postal cards, buy
a Navajo blanket or two and are out again that night. Yet they could
stay on for a month and make every hour count. To begin with, there is
the Cañon, worth a week of anybody's undivided attention. Within easy
reach are the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forests--thousands of
acres of trees turned to solid agate. If these things were in Europe
they would be studded thick with hotels and Americans by the thousand
would flock across the seas to look at them. There are cliff-dwellers'
ruins older than ancient Babylon and much less expensive.

The reservations of the Hopis and the Navajos, most distinctive of all
the Southern tribes, are handy, while all about stretches a big
Government reserve full of natural wonders and unnatural ones,
too--everything on earth except a Lover's Leap. There are unexcelled
facilities for Lover's Leaps, too--thousands of appropriate places are
within easy walking distance of the hotel; but no lover ever yet cared
to leap where he would have to drop five or six thousand feet before he
landed. He'd be such a mussy lover; no satisfaction to himself then--or
to the undertaker, either.

However, as I was saying, most of the tourists run in on the morning
train and out again on the evening train. To this breed belonged a youth
who dropped in during our stay; I think he must have followed the crowd
in. As he came out from breakfast I chanced to be standing on the side
veranda and I presume he mistook me for one of the hired help. This
mistake has occurred before when I was stopping at hotels.

"My friend," he said to me in the patronizing voice of an experienced
traveler, "is there anything interesting to see round here at this time
of day?"

Either he had not heard there was a Grand Cañon going on regularly in
that vicinity or he may have thought it was open only for matinees and
evenings. So I took him by the hand and led him over to the curio store
and let him look at the Mexican drawnwork. It seemed to satisfy him,
too--until by chance he glanced out of a window and discovered that the
Cañon was in the nature of a continuous performance.

The same week there arrived a party of six or eight Easterners who
yearned to see some of those real genuine Wild Western characters such
as they had met so often in a film. The manager trotted out a troupe of
trail guides for them--all ex-cowboys; but they, being merely half a
dozen sunburned, quiet youths in overalls, did not fill the bill at all.
The manager hated to have his guests depart disappointed. Privately he
called his room clerk aside and told him the situation and the room
clerk offered to oblige.

The room clerk had come from Ohio two years before and was a mighty
accommodating young fellow. He slipped across to the curio store and put
on a big hat and some large silver spurs and a pair of leather chaps
made by one of the most reliable mail-order houses in this country. Thus
caparisoned, he mounted a pony and came charging across the lawn,
uttering wild ki-yis and quirting his mount at every jump. He steered
right up the steps to the porch where the delighted Easterners were
assembled, and then he yanked the pony back on his haunches and held him
there with one hand while with the other he rolled a brown-paper
cigarette--which was a trick he had learned in a high-school frat at
Cincinnati--and altogether he was the picture of a regular
moving-picture cowboy and gave general satisfaction.

If the cowboys are disappointing in their outward aspect, however,
Captain Jim Hance is not. The captain is the official prevaricator of
the Grand Cañon. It is probably the only salaried job of the sort in the
world--his competitors in the same line of business mainly work for the
love of it. He is a venerable retired prospector who is specially
retained by the Santa Fe road for the sole purpose of stuffing the
casual tourist with the kind of fiction the casual tourist's system
seems to crave. He just moons round from spot to spot, romancing as he
goes.

Two of the captain's standbys have been advertised to the world. One of
them deals with the sad fate of his bride, who on her honeymoon fell off
into the Cañon and lodged on a rim three hundred feet below. "I was two
days gettin' down to the poor little thing," he tells you, "and then I
seen both her hind legs was broke." Here the captain invariably pauses
and looks out musingly across the Cañon until the victim bites with an
impatient "What happened then?" "Oh, I knew she wouldn't be no use to me
any more as a bride--so I shot her!" The other tale he saves up until
some tenderfoot notices the succession of blazes upon the treetrunks
along one of the forest trails and wants to know what made those
peculiar marks upon the bark all at the same height from the earth.
Captain Hance explains that he himself did it--with his elbows and
knees--while fleeing from a war party of Apaches.

His newest one, though--the one he is featuring this year--is, in the
opinion of competent judges, the gem of the Hance collection. It
concerns the fate of one Total Loss Watkins, an old and devoted friend
of the captain. As a preliminary he leads a group of wide-eared,
doe-eyed victims to the rim of the Cañon. "Right here," he says
sorrowfully, "was where poor old Total slipped off one day. It's two
thousand feet to the first ledge and we thought he was a gone fawnskin,
sure! But he had on rubber boots, and he had the presence of mind to
light standing up. He bounced up and down for two days and nights
without stoppin', and then we had to get a wingshot to kill him in order
to keep him from starvin' to death."

The next stop will be Southern California, the Land of Perpetual
Sunshine--except when it rains!



_HOW DO YOU LIKE THE CLIMATE?_

[Illustration]

_How Do You Like the Climate?_


ONCE upon a time a stranger went to Southern California; and when he was
asked the customary question--to wit: "How do you like the climate?" he
said: "No, I don't like it!" So they destroyed him on the spot. I have
forgotten now whether they merely hanged him on the nearest tree or
burned him at the stake; but they destroyed him utterly and hid his
bones in an unmarked grave.

History, that lying jade, records that when Balboa first saw the Pacific
he plunged breast-deep into the waves, drew his sword and waved it on
high, probably using for that purpose the Australian crawl stroke; and
then, in that generous and carefree way of the early discoverers,
claimed the ocean and all points west in the name of his Catholic
Majesty, Carlos the Cutup, or Pedro the Impossible, or whoever happened
to be the King of Spain for the moment. Personal investigation convinces
me that the current version of the above incident was wrong.

What Balboa did first was to state that he liked the climate better than
any climate he'd ever met; was perfectly crazy about it, in fact, and
intended to sell out back East and move West just as soon as he could
get word home to his folks; after which, still following the custom of
the country, he bought a couple of Navajo blankets and some moccasins
with blue beadwork on the toes, mailed a few souvenir postcards to close
friends, and had his photograph taken showing him standing in the midst
of the tropical verdure, with a freshly picked orange in his hand. And
if he waved his sword at all it was with the idea of forcing the
real-estate agents to stand back and give him air. I am sure that these
are the correct details, because that is what every round-tripper does
upon arriving in Southern California; and, though Balboa finished his
little jaunt of explorations at a point some distance below the
California state line, he was still in the climate belt. Life out there
in that fair land is predicated on climate; out there climate is
capitalized, organized and systematized. Every native is a climate
booster; so is every newcomer as soon as he has stuck round long enough
to get the climate habit, which is in from one to three days. They talk
climate; they think climate; they breathe it by day; they snore it by
night; and in between times they live on it. And it is good living,
too--especially for the real-estate people and the hotel-keepers.

Southern Californians brag of their climate just as New York brags of
its wickedness and its skyscrapers, and as Richmond brags of its cooking
and its war memories. I don't blame them either; the California climate
is worth all the brags it gets. Back East in the wintertime we have
weather; out in Southern California they never have weather--nothing but
climate. For hours on hours a native will stand outdoors, with his hat
off and his head thrown back, inhaling climate until you can hear his
nostrils smack. And after you've been on the spot a day or two you're
doing the same thing yourself, for, in addition to being salubrious, the
California climate is catching.

[Illustration: THE BOY WHO SELLS YOU A PAPER AND THE YOUTH WHO BLACKENS
YOUR SHOES BOTH SHOW SOLICITUDE]

Just as soon as you cross the Arizona line you discover that you have
entered the climate belt. As your train whizzes past the monument that
marks the boundary an earnest-minded passenger leans over, taps you on
the breastbone and informs you that you are now in California, and
wishes to know, as man to man, whether you don't regard the climate as
about the niftiest article in that line you ever experienced! At the
hotel the young lady of the telephone switchboard, who calls you in the
morning, plugs in the number of your room; and when you drowsily answer
the bell she informs you that it is now eight-thirty and--What do you
think of the climate? The boy who sells you a paper and the youth who
blackens your shoes both show solicitude to elicit your views upon this
paramount subject.

At breakfast the waiter finds out--if he can--how you like the climate
before finding out how you like your eggs. When you pay your bill on
going away the clerk somehow manages to convey the impression that the
charges have been remarkably moderate considering what you have enjoyed
in the matter of climate. Punching your round-trip ticket on the train
starting East, the conductor has a few well-merited words to speak on
behalf of the climate of the Glorious Southland, the same being the
favorite pet name of the resident classes for the entire lower end of
the state of California.

Everybody is doing it, including press, pulpit and general public. The
weather story--beg pardon, the climate story--is the most important
thing in the daily paper, especially if a blizzard has opportunely
developed back East somewhere and is available for purposes of
comparison. At Los Angeles, which is the great throbbing heart of the
climate belt, I went as a guest to a stag given at the handsome new
clubhouse of a secret order renowned the continent over for its
hospitality and its charities. We sat, six or seven hundred of us, in a
big assembly hall, smoked cigars and drank light drinks, and witnessed
some corking good sparring bouts by non-professional talent. There were
two or three ministers present--fine, alert representatives of the
modern type of city clergymen. When eleven o'clock came the master of
ceremonies announced the toast, To Our Absent Brothers! and called upon
one of those clergymen to respond to it.

The minister climbed up on the platform--a tall man, with a thick crop
of hair and a profile as clean cut as a cameo and as mobile as an
actor's, the face of a born orator. He could talk, too, that preacher!
In language that was poetic without being sloppy he paid a tribute to
the spirit of fraternity that fairly lifted us out of our chairs. Every
man there was touched, I think--and deeply touched; no man who believed
in the brotherhood of man, whether he practiced it or not, could have
listened unmoved to that speech. He spoke of the absent ones. Some of
them he said had answered the last rollcall, and some were stretched
upon the bed of affliction, and some were unavoidably detained by
business in the East; and he intimated that those in the last category
who had been away for as long as three weeks wouldn't know the old place
when they got back!--Applause.

This naturally brought him round to the subject of Los Angeles as a city
of business and homes. He pointed out its marvelous growth--quoting
freely from the latest issue of the city directory and other reliable
authorities to prove his figures; he made a few heartrousing predictions
touching on its future prospects, as tending to show that in a year or
less San Francisco and other ambitious contenders along the Coast would
be eating at the second table; he peopled the land clear back to the
mountains with new homes and new neighbors; and he wound up, in a burst
of vocal glory, with the most magnificent testimonial for the climate I
ever heard any climate get. Did he move his audience then? Oh, but
didn't he move them, though! Along toward the close of the third minute
of uninterrupted cheering I thought the roof was gone.

On the day after my arrival I made one very serious mistake; in fact, it
came near to being a fatal one. I met a lady, and naturally right away
she asked me the customary opening question. Every conversation between
a stranger and a resident begins according to that formula. Still it
seemed to me an inopportune hour for bringing up the subject. It was
early in March and the day was one of those days which a greenhorn from
the East might have been pardoned for regarding as verging upon the
chilly--not to say the raw. Also, it seemed to be raining. I say it
seemed to be raining, because no true Southern Californian would admit
any actual defects in the climatic arrangements. If pressed he might
concede that ostensibly an infinitesimal percentage of precipitation was
descending, and that apparently the mercury had descended a notch or two
in the tube. Further than that, in the absence of the official reports,
he would not care to commit himself.

You never saw such touching loyalty anywhere! Those scoffing neighbors
of Noah who kept denying on there was going to be any flood right up to
the moment when they went down for the third time were rank amateurs
alongside a seasoned resident of Los Angeles. I was newly arrived,
however, and I hadn't acquired the ethics yet; and, besides, I had
contracted a bad cold and had been taking a number of things for it and
for the moment was, as you might say, full of conflicting emulsions. So,
in reply to this lady's question, I said it occurred to me that the
prevalent atmospheric conditions might for the nonce stand a few
trifling alterations without any permanent ill effects.

I repeat that this was a mistake; for this particular lady was herself a
recent arrival, and of all the incurable Californians, the new ones are
the most incurable. She gave me one look--but such a look! From a
reasonably solid person I became first a pulp and then a pap; and then,
reversing the processes of creation as laid down in Genesis, first
chapter, and first to fifth verses, I liquefied and turned to gas, and
darkness covered me, and I became void and without form, and passed off
in the form of a vapor, leaving my clothes inhabited only by a blushing
and embarrassed emptiness. When the outraged lady abated the intensity
of her scornful gaze and I painfully reassembled my astral body out of
space and projected it back into my earthly tenement again, I found I'd
shrunk so in these various processes that nothing I wore fitted me any
longer.

I shall never commit that error again. I know better now. If I were a
condemned criminal about to die on a gallows at the state penitentiary,
I would make the customary announcement touching on my intention of
going straight to Heaven--condemned criminals never seem to have any
doubt on that point--and then in conclusion I would add that after
Southern California, I knew I wouldn't care for the climate Up There.
Then I would step serenely off into eternity, secure in the belief that,
no matter how heinous my crime might have been, all the local papers
would give me nice obituary notices.

I'd be absolutely sure of the papers, because the papers are the last to
concede that there ever was or ever will be a flaw in the climate
anywhere. In a certain city out on the Coast there is one paper that
refuses even to admit that a human being can actually expire while
breathing the air of Southern California. It won't go so far as to say
that anybody has died--"passed away" is the term used. You read in its
columns that Medulla Oblongata, the Mexican who was kicked in the head
by a mule last Sunday afternoon, has passed away at the city hospital;
or that, during yesterday's misunderstanding in Chinatown between the
Bing Bangs and the Ok Louies, two Tong men were shot and cut in such a
manner that they practically passed away on the spot. When I was there I
traveled all one day over the route of an unprecedented cold snap that
had happened along a little earlier and mussed up the citrus groves;
and, though I will not go so far as to say that the orange crop had
died or that it had been killed, it did look to me as though it had
passed away to a considerable extent.

This sort of visitation, however, doesn't occur often; in fact, it never
had occurred before--and the chances are it never will occur again. Next
to taxes and the high cost of living, I judge the California climate to
be about the most dependable institution we have in this country--yes,
and one of the most satisfactory, too. To its climate California is
indebted for being the most extravagantly beautiful spot I've seen on
this continent. It isn't just beautiful in spots--it is beautiful all
over; it isn't beautiful in a sedate, reserved way--there is a prodigal,
riotous, abandoned spendthriftiness to its beauty.

I don't know of anything more wonderful than an automobile ride through
one of the fruit valleys in the Mission country. In one day's
travel--or, at most, two--you can get a taste of all the things that
make this farthermost corner of the United States at once so diversified
and so individual--sky-piercing mountain and mirage-painted desert;
seashore and upland; ranch lands, farm lands and fruit lands; city and
town; traces of our oldest civilization and stretches of our newest;
wilderness and jungle and landscape garden; the pines of the snows, the
familiar growths of the temperate zone, the palms of the tropics; and
finally--which is California's own--the Big Trees. All day you may ride
and never once will your eye rest upon a picture that is commonplace or
trumpery.

Going either North or South, your road lies between mountains. To the
eastward, shutting out the deserts from this domain of everlasting
summer, are the Sierras--great saw-edged old he-mountains, masculine as
bulls or bucks, all rugged and wrinkled, bearded with firs and pines
upon their jowls, but bald-headed and hoar with age atop like the
Prophets of old. But the mountains of the Coast Range, to the westward,
are full-bosomed and maternal, mothering the valleys up to them; and
their round-uddered, fecund slopes are covered with softest green. Only
when you come closer to them you see that the garments on their breasts
are not silky-smooth as they looked at a distance, but shirred and
gored, gathered and smocked. I suppose even a lady mountain never gets
too old to follow the fashions!

Now you pass an orchard big enough to make a hundred of your average
Eastern orchards; and if it be of apples or plums or cherries, and the
time be springtime, it is all one vast white bridal bouquet; but if it
be of almonds or peaches the whole land, maybe for miles on end, blazes
with a pink flame that is the pinkest pink in the world--pinker than the
heart of a ripe watermelon; pinker than the inside of a blond cow.

Here is a meadowland of purest, deepest green; and flung across it, like
a streak of sunshine playing hooky from Heaven, is a slash of wild
yellow poppies. There, upon a hillside, stands a clump of gnarly,
dwarfed olives, making you think of Bible times and the Old Testament.
Or else it is a great range, where cattle by thousands feed upon the
slopes. Or a crested ridge, upon which the gum trees stand up in long
aisles, sorrowful and majestic as the funereal groves of the ancient
Greeks--that is, provided it was the ancient Greeks who had the funereal
groves.

Or, best of all and most striking in its contrasts, you will see a hill
all green, with a nap on it like a family album; and right on the top of
it an old, crumbly gray mission, its cross gleaming against the skyline;
and, down below, a modern town, with red roofs and hipped windows, its
houses buried to their eaves in palms and giant rose bushes, and huge
climbing geraniums, and all manner of green tropical growths that are
Nature's own Christmas trees, with the red-and-yellow dingle-dangles
growing upon them. Or perhaps it is a gorge choked with the enormous
redwoods, each individual tree with a trunk like the Washington
Monument. And, if you are only as lucky as we were, up overhead, across
the blue sky, will be drifting a hundred fleecy clouds, one behind the
other, like woolly white sheep grazing upon the meadows of the
firmament.

Everywhere the colors are splashed on with a barbaric, almost a
theatrical, touch. It's a regular backdrop of a country; its scenery
looks as though it belonged on a stage--as though it should be painted
on a curtain. You almost expect to see a chorus of comic-opera brigands
or a bevy of stage milkmaids come trooping out of the wings any minute.
Who was the libelous wretch who said that the flowers of California had
no perfume and the birds there had no song? Where we passed through
tangled woods the odors distilled from the wild flowers by the sun's
warmth were often almost suffocating in their sweetness; and in a
yellow-tufted bush on the lawn at Coronado I came upon a mocking-bird
singing in a way to make his brother minstrel of Mobile or Savannah feel
like applying for admission to a school of expression and learning the
singing business all over again.

[Illustration: OUT FROM UNDER A ROCK SOMEWHERE WILL CRAWL A REAL ESTATE
AGENT]

At the end of the valley--top end or bottom end as the case may be--you
come to a chain of lesser mountains, dropped down across your path like
a trailing wing of the Indians' fabled thunder-bird, vainly trying to
shut you out from the next valley. You climb the divide and run through
the pass, with a brawling river upon one side and tall cliffs upon the
other; and then all of a sudden the hills magically part and you are
within sight--almost within touch--of the ocean; for in this favored
land the mountains come right down to the sea and the sea comes right up
to the mountains. It may be upon a tiny bay that you have emerged, with
the meadows sloping straight to tidemark, and out beyond the wild fowl
feeding by the kelp beds.

Or perhaps you have come out upon a ragged, rugged headland, crowned
belike with a single wind-twisted tree, grotesquely suggesting a frizzly
chicken; and away below, straight and sheer, are the rocks rising out of
the water like the jaws of a mangle. Down there in that ginlike reef
Neptune is forever washing out his shirt in a smother of foamy lather.
And he has spilled his bluing pot, too--else how could all the sea be so
blue? On the outermost rocks the sea-lions have stretched themselves,
looking like so many overgrown slugs; and they lie for hours and sun
themselves and bellow--or, at least, I am told they do so on occasion.
There was unfortunately no bellowing going on the day I was there.

The unearthly beauty of the whole thing overpowers you. The poet that
lives in nearly every human soul rouses within you and you feel like
withdrawing to yon dense grove or yon peaked promontory to commune with
Nature. But be advised in season. Restrain yourself! Carefully refrain!
Do not do so! Because out from under a rock somewhere will crawl a
real-estate agent to ask you how you like the climate and take a dollar
down as first payment on a fruit ranch, or a suburban lot, or a seaside
villa--or something.

Climate did it and he can prove it. Only he doesn't have to prove
it--you admit it. I had never seen the Mediterranean when I went West;
but I saw the cypresses of Del Monte, and the redwood grove in the cañon
just below Harry Leon Wilson's place, down past Carmel-by-the-Sea; and
that was sufficient. I had no burning yearning to see Naples and die, as
the poet suggested. I felt that I would rather see Monterey Bay again on
a bright March day and live!

And for all of this--for fruit, flowers and scenery, for real-estate
agents, and for a race of the most persistent boosters under the
sun--the climate is responsible. Climate advertised is responsible for
the rush of travel from the East that sets in with the coming of winter
and lasts until well into the following spring; and climate realized is
responsible for the string of tourist hotels that dot the Coast all
along from just below San Francisco to the Mexican border.

Both externally and internally the majority of these hotels are
singularly alike. Mainly they are rambling frame structures done in a
modified Spanish architecture--late Spanish crossed on Early
Peoria--with a lobby so large that, loafing there, you feel as though
you were in the waiting-room of the Grand Central Terminal, and with a
dining room about the size of the state of Rhode Island, and a sun
parlor that has windows all round, so as to give its occupants the
aspect, when viewed from without, of being inmates of an aquarium; and a
gorgeous tea room done in the style of one of the French Louies--Louie
the Limit, I guess. There are some notable exceptions to the rule--some
of the places have pleasing individualities of their own, but most of
them were cut off the same pattern. Likewise the bulk of their winter
patrons are cut off the same pattern.

The average Eastern tourist is a funny biped anyhow, and he is at his
funniest out in California. Living along the Eastern seaboard are a
large number of well-to-do people who harken not to the slogan of See
America First, because many of them cannot see America at any price;
they can just barely recognize its existence as a suitable place for
making money, but no place for spending it. What makes life worth living
to them is the fact that Europe is distant only a four-day run by the
four-day boat, the same being known as a four-day boat because only four
days are required for the run between Daunt's Rock and Ambrose Channel,
which is a very convenient arrangement for deep-sea divers and
long-distance swimmers desiring to get on at Daunt's Rock and get off in
Ambrose Channel, but slightly extending the journey for passengers who
are less amphibious by nature.

These people constitute one breed of Eastern tourists. There is the
other breed, who are willing to see America provided it is made over to
conform with the accepted Eastern model. Those who can afford the
expense go to Florida in the winter; but it requires at least a million
in small change to feel at home in that setting, and so a good many who
haven't quite a million to spare, head for Southern California as the
next best spot on the map. Arriving there, they endeavor to reproduce on
as exact a scale as possible the life of the ultra fashionable Florida
resorts; the result is what a burlesque manager would call a Number Two
Palm Beach company playing the Western Wheel.

Up and down the Coast these tourists traipse for months on end,
spending a week here and two weeks there, and doing the same things in
the same way at each new stopping place. You meet them, part from them,
and meet them again at the next stand, until the monotony of it grows
maddening; and always they are intently following the routine you saw
them following last week or the week before, or the week before that.
They have traveled clear across the continent to practice such
diversions as they might have had within two hours' ride of Philadelphia
or New York; and they are going to practice them, too, or know the
reason why.

Of course they are not all constituted this way; I am speaking now of
the impression created in California by tourists in bulk. They decline
to do the things for which this country is best adapted; they will not
see the things for which it is most famous. Few of them take the
roughing trips up into the mountains; fewer still visit the desert
country. All about them the tremendous engineering contracts that have
made this land a commercial Arabian Nights' Entertainment are being
carried out--the mighty reclamation schemes; the irrigation projects;
the damming up of cañons and the shoveling away of mountains--but your
average group of Eastern tourists pass these by with dull and glazed
eyes, their souls being bound up in the desire to reach the next hotel
on the route with the least possible waste of time, and take up the
routine where it was broken off at the last hotel.

They tennis and they golf, and some go horseback riding and some take
drives; and at one or two places there is polo in the season. Likewise,
in accordance with the rules laid down by the Palm Beach authorities,
the women change clothes as often as possible during the course of the
day; and in the evening all hands appear in full dress for dinner, the
same being very wearing on men and very pleasing to women--that is, all
of them do except a few obstinate persons who defy convention and remain
comfortable. After dinner some of the younger people dance and some of
the older ones play bridge; but the vast majority sit round--and then
sit round some more and wonder whether eleven o'clock will ever come so
they can go to bed!

A good many take the wrong kind of clothes out there with them. They
have read in the advertisements that Southern California is a land of
perpetual balm, where flowers bloom the year round; and they pack their
trunks with the lightest and thinnest wearing apparel they own, which is
a mistake. The natives know better than that. The all-wool sweater is
the national garment of the Western Coast--both sexes and all ages go to
it unanimously. Experience proves it the ideal thing to wear; for in
Southern California in the winter it is never really hot in the sun and
it is often exceedingly cool in the shade. Besides, there is a sea wind
that blows pretty regularly and which makes a specialty of working
through the crannies in a silk shirt or a lingerie blouse. The
chilliest, most pallid-looking things I ever saw in my life were a pair
of white linen trousers I found in the top tray of my trunk when I
reached the extreme lower end of California. I had to cover them under
two blankets and a bedspread that night to keep the poor things from
freezing stiff.

The medium-weight garments an Easterner wears between seasons are
admirably suited for the West Coast in the winter; but the guileless
tenderfoot who is making his first trip to California usually doesn't
learn this until it is too late. If he is wise he studies out the
situation on his arrival, and thereafter takes his overcoat with him
when he goes riding and his sweater when he goes walking; but there are
many others who will be summer boys and girls though they perish in the
attempt.

At Coronado I witnessed a mighty pitiable sight. It was a cool day,
cooler than ordinary even, with a stiff wind blowing skeiny shreds of
sea fog in off the gray ocean; and a beating rain was falling at
frequent intervals. The veranda was full of Easterners trying to look
comfortable in summer clothes and not succeeding, while the road in
front was dotted with Westerners, comfortable and cozy in their thick
sweaters. There emerged upon the wind-swept porch a youth who would have
been a sartorial credit to himself on a Florida beach in February or
upon a Jersey board-walk in August; but he did not coincide with the
atmospheric scheme of things on a rainy March day down in Southern
California.

[Illustration: HE FELT HE WAS PROPERLY DRESSED FOR THE TIME, THE PLACE
AND THE OCCASION]

To begin with, he was a spindly and fragile person, with a knobby
forehead and a fade-away face. Dressed in close-fitting black and turned
sidewise, with his profile to you, he would instantly suggest a neatly
rolled umbrella with a plain bone handle. But he was not dressed in
black; he was dressed in white--all white, like a bride or a bandaged
thumb; white silk shirt; white flannel coat, with white pearl buttons
spangled freely over it; white trousers; white Panama hat; white socks;
white buckskin shoes, with white rubber soles on them. He was, in short,
all white except his face, which was a pinched, wan blue, and his nose,
which was a suffused and chilly red. If my pencil had had an eraser
on it I'm satisfied I could have backed him up against the wall and
rubbed him right out; but he bore up splendidly.

It was plain he felt that he was properly dressed for the time, the
place and the occasion; and to him that was ample compensation for his
suffering. I heard afterward that he lost three sets of tennis and had a
congestive chill--all in the course of the same afternoon.

The unconquerable determination of the Eastern tourist to have Southern
California conform to his back-home standards is responsible for the
fact that many of the tourist hotels out there are not so typical of the
West as they might be--and as in my humble judgment they should be--but
are as Eastern as it is possible to make them--Eastern in cuisine, in
charges and in their operating schedules. Here, again, there are some
notable exceptions.

In the supposedly wilder sections of the West, lying between the Rockies
and the Sierras, the situation is different. It is notably different in
Arizona and New Mexico in the South, and in Utah, Montana and Wyoming
in the North. There the person who serves you for hire is neither your
menial nor your superior; whereas in the East he or she is nearly always
one or the other, and sometimes both at once. This particular type of
Westerner doesn't patronize you; neither does he cringe to you in
expectation of a tip. He gives you the best he has in stock, meanwhile
retaining his own self-respect and expecting you to do the same. He
ennobles and dignifies personal service.

Out on the Coast, however--or at least at several of the big hotels out
on the Coast--the system, thanks to Eastern influence, has been changed.
The whole scheme is patterned after the accepted New York model. The
charges for small services are as exorbitant as in New York, and the
iniquities of the tipping system are worked out as amply and as wickedly
as in the city where they originated.

Somebody with a taste for statistics figured it out once that if a man
owned a three-dollar hat and wore it for two months, lunching every day
at a New York café, and if he dined four nights a week at a New York
restaurant and attended the theater twice a week, his hat at the end of
those two months would cost him in tips eighteen dollars and seventy
cents! No, on second thought, I guess it was a pair of earmuffs that
would have cost him eighteen-seventy.

A hat would have been more.

It would be more in Southern California--I'm sure of that. There the
tipping habit is made more expensive by reason of the prevalent spirit
of Western generosity. The born Westerner never has got used to dimes
and nickels. To him quarters are still chicken-feed and a half dollar is
small change. So the tips are just as numerous as in New York and for
the same service they are frequently larger.

A lot has been said and written about the marvelous palms of Lower
California and a lot more might be said--for they are outstretched
everywhere; and if you don't cross them with silver at frequent
intervals you would do well to try camping out for a change. Likewise a
cursory glance at the prices on some of the menus is calculated to make
a New Yorker homesick--they're so familiarly and unreasonably steep. And
frequently the dishes you get aren't typical of the country; they
are--thanks again be to the Easterner--mostly transplanted imitations of
the concoctions of the Broadway and the Fifth Avenue chefs.

There are compensations, though. There are some hotels that are operated
on admirably different lines, and there are abundant opportunities for
escaping altogether from hotel life and seeing this Land of the Living
Backdrop where it is untainted and unspoiled; where the hills are
clothed in green and yellow; where little Spanishy looking towns nestle
below the Missions, and the mocking-birds sing, and the real-estate
boomer leaps from crag to crag, sounding his flute-like note. And don't
forget the climate! But that is unnecessary advice. You won't have a
chance to forget it--not for a minute you won't!



_IN THE HAUNT OF THE NATIVE SON_

[Illustration]

_In the Haunt of the Native Son_


THERE are various ways of entering San Francisco, and the traveling
general passenger agent of any one of half a dozen trunklines stands
ready to prove to you--absolutely beyond the peradventure of a
doubt--that his particular way is incomparably the best one; but to my
mind a very satisfactory way is to go overland from Monterey.

The route we followed led us lengthwise through the wonderful Santa
Clara country, straight up a wide box plait of valley tucked in between
an ornamental double ruffle of mountains. I suppose if we passed one
ranch we passed a thousand--cattle ranches, fruit ranches, hen ranches,
chicken ranches, bee ranches--all the known varieties and subvarieties.

In California you mighty soon get out of the habit of speaking of farms;
for there are no farms--only ranches. The particular ranch to which you
have reference may be a ten-thousand-acre ranch, where they raise enough
beef critters to feed a standing army, or it may be a half-acre ranch,
where somebody is trying to make things home-like and happy for eight
hens and a rooster; but a ranch it always is, and usually it is a model
of its kind, too. The birds in California do not build nests. They build
ranches.

Most of the way along the Santa Clara Valley our tires glided upon an
arrow-straight, unbelievably smooth stretch of magnificent automobile
road, which--when it is completed--will extend without a break from the
Oregon line to the Mexican line, and will be the finest, costliest, best
thoroughfare to be found within the boundaries of any state of the
Union, that being the scale upon which they work out their
public-utility plans in the West.

Eventually the road changes into a paved and curbed avenue, lined with
seemingly unending aisles of the tall gum trees. Soon you begin to
skitter past the suburban villas of rich men, set back in ornamental
landscape effects of green lawns and among tropical verdure. You emerge
from this into a gently rolling plateau, upon which flower gardens of
incomparable richness are interspersed with the homely structures that
inevitably mark the proximity of any great city. There, rising ahead of
you, are the foothills that protect, upon its landward side, San
Francisco, the city that has produced more artists, more poets, more
writers, more actors, more pugilists, more sudden millionaires--cries of
Question! Question! from the Pittsburgh delegation--more good fiction
and more Native Sons than any community in the Western Hemisphere.

You aren't there yet, however. Next you round a sloping shoulder of a
hill and slide down into a shore road, with the beating, creaming surf
on one side, and on the other a long succession of the sort of
architectural triumphs that have made Coney Island famous. You negotiate
another small ridge and there, suddenly spread out before you, is the
Golden Gate, with the city itself cuddled in between the ocean and the
friendly protecting mountains at its back. The Seal Rocks are there, and
the Cliff House, and the Presidio, and all. New York has a wonderful
harbor entrance; Nature did some of it and man did the rest. San
Francisco has an even more wonderful one, and the hand of man did not
need to touch it. When Nature got through with it, it was a complete and
satisfactory job.

The first convincing impression the newcomer gets of San Francisco is
that here is a permanent city--a city that has found itself, has
achieved its own personality, and is satisfied with it. Perhaps, because
they are growing so fast, certain of the other Coast cities strike the
casual observer as having just been put up. I was told that a man who
lives on a residential street of San Diego has to mark his house with
chalk when he leaves of a morning in order to know it when he gets home
at night. A real-estate agent told me so, and I do not think a Southern
California real-estate agent would deceive anybody--more particularly a
stranger from the East. So it must be true. And Los Angeles' main
business district is like a transverse slice chopped out of the middle
of Manhattan Island. It isn't Western. It is typically New Yorky--as
alive as New York and as handsomely done. You can almost imagine you are
at the corner of Broadway and Forty-second Street.

San Francisco, it seems to me, isn't like any city on earth except San
Francisco. Once you get away from the larger hotels, which are accurate
copies of the metropolitan article of the East, even to the afternoon
tea-fighting mêlées of the women, you find yourself in a city that is
absolutely individual and distinctive. It impresses its originality upon
you; it presents itself with an air of having been right there from the
beginning--and this, too, in spite of the fact that the ravages of the
great fire are still visible in old cellar excavations and piles of
débris. Practically every building in the main part of the town has
been rebuilt within eight years and is still new. The scars are fresh,
but the spirit is old and abides.

This same essence of individuality tinctures the lives, the manners and
the conversations of the people. They do not strike you as being
Westerners or as being transplanted Easterners; they are San
Franciscans. Even when all other signs fail you may, nevertheless,
instantly discern certain unfailing traits--to wit, as follows: 1--A San
Franciscan shudders with ill-concealed horror when anybody refers to his
beloved city as Frisco--which nobody ever does unless it be a raw alien
from the other side of the continent; 2--He does not brag of the climate
with that constancy which provides his neighbor of Los Angeles a
never-failing topic of congenial conversation; and 3--He assures you
with a regretful sighing note in his voice that the old-time romance
disappeared with the destruction of the old-time buildings, the old-time
resorts and the old-time neighborhoods.

It has been my experience that romance is always in the past tense
anyhow. Romance is a commodity that was extremely plentiful last week or
last year or last century, but for the moment they are entirely out of
it, and can't say with any degree of certainty when a fresh stock will
be coming in. This is largely true of all the formerly romantic cities I
know anything about, and it appears to be especially true of San
Francisco. Romance invariably acquires added value after it has
vanished; in this respect it is very much like a history-making epoch.
An epoch rarely seems to create any great amount of excitement when it
is in process of epoching, or at least the excitement is only temporary
and soon abates. Afterward we look back upon it with a feeling of
longing, but when it was actually coming to pass we took it--after the
first shock of surprise--as a matter of course.

No doubt our children and our children's children will read in the
text-books that the first decade of the twentieth century was
distinguished as the age when the auto and tango came into use, and
people learned to fly, and grown men wore bracelet watches and carried
their handkerchiefs up their cuffs; and they will repine because they,
too, did not live in those stirring times. But we of the present
generation who recently passed through these experiences have already
accepted them without undue excitement, just as our forefathers in their
day accepted the submarine cable, the galvanic battery and the congress
gaiter.

[Illustration: EVEN THE PLACE WHERE THE TURKEY TROT ORIGINATED WAS
TROTLESS AND QUIET]

Age and antiquity give an added value to everything except an egg. In my
own case I know how it was with regard to the Egyptian scarab. For years
I felt that I could never rest satisfied until I had gone to Egypt and
had personally broken into the tomb of some sleeping Pharaoh or some
crumbly old Rameses, and with my own hands had ravished from it a
mummified specimen of that fabled beetle which the ancients worshiped
and buried with them in their tombs. But not long ago I made the
discovery that, in coloring, habits, customs and general walk and
conversation, the scarab of the Egyptians was none other than the
common tumblebug of the Southern dirt roads. Right there was where I
lost interest in the scarab. He was no novelty to me--not after that he
wasn't. As a boy I had known him intimately.

So, when I was repeatedly assured that the old-time romance had vanished
from San Francisco, and with it the atmosphere that bred Bohemianism and
developed literature and art, and kept alive the spirit of the
Forty-niner times, and all that, I made my own allowances. Those who
mourned for the fire-blasted past may have been right, in a measure.
Certainly the old-time Chinatown isn't there any more--or, at any rate,
isn't there in its physical aspects. The rebuilt Chinatown of San
Francisco, though infinitely larger, isn't so picturesque really or so
Chinesey looking as New York's Chinatown.

I did not dare to give utterance to this treasonable statement until I
was well away from San Francisco, but it is true all the same. I cruised
the shores of the far-famed and much-written-about Barbary Coast; and
it seemed to me that in its dun-colored tiresomeness and in its
miserable transparent counterfeit of joy it was up to the general
metropolitan average--that it was just as tiresome and humdrum as the
avowedly wicked section of any city always is.

However, I was told that I had arrived just one week too late to see the
Barbary Coast at its best--meaning by that its worst; for during the
week before the police, growing virtuous, had put the crusher on the
dance-halls and the hobble on the tango-twisters. Even the place where
the turkey trot originated--a place that would naturally be a shrine to
a New Yorker--was trotless and quiet--in mourning for its firstborn.

The so-called French restaurants, which for years gave an unwholesome
savor to certain phases of San Francisco life, had likewise been
sterilized and purified. I wished I might have got there before the
housecleaning took place; but, even so, I should probably have been
disappointed. What makes the vice of ancient Babylon seem by contrast
more seductive to us than the vice of the Bowery is that Babylon is gone
and the Bowery isn't.

Likewise the night life of San Francisco, of which in times past I had
read so much, was disillusionizing, because it wasn't visible to the
naked eye. On this proposition Los Angeles puts it all over San
Francisco; for this, though, there is an easy explanation. Los Angeles
boasts what is said to be the completest trolley system in the world;
undoubtedly it is the noisiest in the world. The tracks seem to run
through every street; there is a curve at every corner, I think, and a
switch in the middle of every block. Every thirty seconds or so a car
comes along, and it always comes at top speed and takes the curve
without slackening up; and the motorman is always clanging his gong in a
whole-souled manner that would entitle him to membership in the Swiss
Bellringers.

Naturally the folks in Los Angeles stay up late--they can't figure on
doing much sleeping anyhow; but either San Francisco has fewer trolley
cars to the acre or else the motormen are not quite so musically
inclined, and people may get to bed at a Christian hour. Most of them do
it, too, if I am one to judge. At night in San Francisco I didn't see a
single owl lunch wagon or meet a single beggar. Newsboys were remarkably
scarce and taxicabs seemed to be few and far between. These things help
to make any other city; without them San Francisco still manages to be a
city--another proof of her individuality.

The old romance of the Old San Francisco may be dead and buried--the
residents unite in saying that it is, and they ought to know; but, even
so, New San Francisco may well brag today of a greater romance than any
it ever knew--the romance of achievement. Somebody said not long ago
that the greatest of all monuments to American pluck was San Francisco
rebuilt; but if there was pluck in it there was romance too. And there
is romance, plenty of it, in the exposition these people have planned
and are now carrying out to commemorate the opening of the Panama
Canal.

To begin with, citizens of San Francisco and of the state of California
are paying the whole bill themselves--they did not ask the Federal
Government to contribute a red cent of the millions being spent and that
will be spent, and to date the Federal Government has not contributed a
red cent either. Climatic conditions are in their favor. Other
expositions have had to contend with hot weather--sometimes with beastly
hot weather; those other expositions could not open up until well into
the spring, and they closed perforce with the coming of cold weather in
the fall. But San Francisco is never very hot and never really cold, and
California becomes an out-of-door land as soon as the rains end; so this
fair will be actively and continuously in operation for nine months
instead of being limited to four or five months as the period of its
greatest activities.

Then, again, there is another advantage--the exposition grounds are
situated well within the city; the site is within easy riding distance
of the civic center and not miles away from the middle of town, as has
been the case in certain other instances in this country where big
expositions were held. It is a place admirably devised by Nature for the
purposes to which it is now being put--a six-hundred-acre tract
stretching along the water-front, with the Presidio at its farther end,
the high hills behind it, and in front of it the exquisite panorama of
the Golden Gate, with emerald islands rising beyond; and Berkeley and
Oakland just across the way; and on beyond, northward across the
narrowing portals of the harbor, the big green mountain of Tamalpais,
rising sheer out of the sea.

Moreover, the president of the exposition and his aides promised that
the whole thing, down to the minutest detail, would be completed and
ready months before the date set for opening the gates--which furnishes
another strikingly novel note in expositions, if their words come true;
and they declared that, for beauty of conception and harmony of design,
their exposition of 1915 would surpass any exposition ever seen in this
country or in any other country. Probably they are right. I know that,
when I was there, the view from the first rise back of the grounds,
looking down upon that long flat where men by thousands were toiling,
and building after building was rising, made a picture sufficiently
inspiring to warm the enthusiasm and brisken the imagination of any man,
be he alien or native.

There isn't any doubt, though, that the people of San Francisco are
going to have their hands full when the exposition visitors begin to
pile in. By that I do not mean that the housing and feeding
accommodations and the transit facilities will be deficient; but it is
going to be a most overpoweringly big job to educate the pilgrims up to
the point where they will call San Francisco by its full name. All true
San Franciscans are very touchy on this point--touchy as hedgehogs, they
are; the prejudice extends to all classes, with the possible exception
of the Chinese.

I heard a story of a seafaring person, ignorant and newly arrived, who
drifted into a waterfront saloon, called for a simple glass of beer and
spoke a few casual words of greeting to the barkeeper--and woke up the
next morning in the hospital with a very bad headache and a bandage
round his throbbing brows. It developed that he had three times in rapid
succession referred to the city as Frisco, and on being warned against
this practice had inquired:

"Well, wot do you want me to call her--plain Fris?"

That was the last straw. The barkeeper took a bung-starter and felled
him as flat as a felled seam--and all present agreed that it served him
right.

An even worse breach of etiquette on the part of the outlander is to
intimate that an earthquake preceded the great fire. That is positively
the unforgivable sin! In any quarter of the city you could get many
subscriptions for a fund to buy something with silver handles on it for
any man who would insist upon talking of earthquakes. To make my meaning
clearer, I will state that there are only two objects of general use in
the civilized world that have silver handles on them, and one of them is
a loving cup; but this article would not be a loving cup. A native will
willingly concede that there was a fire, which burned its memories deep
into the consciousness of the city that recovered from it with such
splendid courage and such inconceivable rapidity; but by common consent
there was nothing else. It does not take the stranger long to get this
point of view, either.

If I were in charge of the publicity work of the San Francisco Fair I
should advertise two attractions that would surely appeal to all the
women in this country, and to most of the men. In my press work I would
dwell at length upon the fact that in this part of California a woman
may wear any weight and any style of clothes--spring clothes, summer
clothes, fall clothes or winter clothes--and not only be perfectly
comfortable while so doing, but be in the fashion besides; and to be in
the fashion is a thing calculated to make a woman comfortable whether
she otherwise is or not.

To see a group of four women promenading a San Francisco street on a
pleasant morning is to be reminded of that ballet representing the Four
Seasons, which we used to see in the second act of every well-regulated
extravaganza. The woman nearest the walls has on her furs--it is always
cool in the shade; the one next to her is wearing the very latest
wrinkles in spring garniture; the third one, let us say, is dressed in
the especially becoming frock she bought last October; and the one on
the outside, where the sun shines the brightest, is as summery in her
white ducks and her white slippers as though she had just stepped off
the cover of the August number of a magazine. There is something, too,
about the salt-laden breezes of San Francisco that gives women wonderful
complexions; that detail, properly press-agented, ought to fetch the
entire female population of the United States.

[Illustration: THE WOMAN NEAREST THE WALL HAS ON HER FURS--IT IS ALWAYS
COOL IN THE SHADE]

For drawing the men, I would exploit the great cardinal fact that
nowhere in the country--not even in Norfolk or Baltimore or New
Orleans--can you get better things to eat than in San Francisco. For its
size, I believe there are more good clubs and more good restaurants
right there than in any other spot on the habitable globe. Particularly
in the preparation of the typical dishes of the Coast do the San
Francisco cooks excel; their cuisine is based on a sane American
foundation, with a delectable suggestion of the Spanish in it, and
sometimes with a traceable suggestion of the best there is in the
Italian and the Chinese schools of cookery.

To one whose taste in oysters has been developed by eating the
full-chested bi-valve of the Eastern seaboard and the deep-lunged,
long-bodied product of the Louisiana bayous, the native oyster does not
greatly appeal. A lot has been written and printed about the California
oyster, but in my opinion he will always have considerable difficulty in
living up to his press notices. It takes about a thousand of him to make
a quart and about a hundred of him to make a taste. Even then he doesn't
taste much like a real oyster, but more like an infinitesimal scrap of
sponge where a real oyster camped out overnight once.

There is a dream of a little fish, however, called a sand dab--he is a
tiny, flounder-shaped titbit hailing from deep water; and for eating
purposes he is probably the best fish that swims--better even than the
pompano of the Gulf--and when you say that you are saying about all
there is to be said for a fish. And the big crabs of the Pacific side
are the hereditary princes of the crab family. They look like
spread-eagles; and properly prepared they taste like Heaven. I often
wonder what the crabsters buy one-half so precious as the stuff they
sell--which is a quotation from Omar, with original interpolations by
me. The domestic cheese of the Sierras is not without its attractions
also, whether you eat it fresh or whether you keep it until its general
aspect and prevalent atmosphere are such as to satisfy even one of those
epicurean cheese-eaters who think that no cheese is fit to eat until you
can't.

Another thing worthy of mention in connection with this California
school of cookery is that you can pay as little as you please for your
dinner or as much as you please. There are three standbys of the
exchange editor that may be counted upon to appear in the newspapers
about once in so often. One is the hoary-headed and toothless tale
regarding the artist who was hired to renovate religious paintings in a
church in Brussels, and turned in an itemized account including such
entries as--"Correcting the Ten Commandments"; "Restoring the Lost
Souls"; "Renewing Heaven"; and winding up with "Doing Several Odd Jobs
for the Damned."

The second of the set comes out of retirement at frequent
intervals--whenever some trusting soul runs across a time-stained number
of the Ulster Gazette giving details of the death of George
Washington--I wonder how many million copies of that venerable
counterfeit were printed--and writes in to his home editor about it.

And the third, the most popular clipping of the three, concerns the
prices that used to govern at the mining camps in the days of the early
gold rush. The story that is most commonly quoted has to do with the
menu of the El Dorado Hotel, at Placerville, where bean soup was a
dollar a plate; hash, lowgrade, seventy-five cents; hash,
eighteen-carat, a dollar--and so on down the list to seventy-five cents
for two Irish potatoes, peeled.

The cost of living may have gone down subsequently in those parts, but
it has gone back up again--at certain favored spots. If the Argonauts,
those hardy adventurers who flung their gold round so regardlessly and
were not satisfied unless they paid outrageously big prices for
everything, could come back today they would have no cause to complain
at the contemptible paucity of the bill after they had dined at any one
of half a dozen ultra-expensive hotels that are to be found dotted along
the Coast.

I append herewith a few items selected at random from the price card of
a fashionable establishment in one of the larger Coast cities: caviar
impérial d'Astracan, two dollars for a double portion; buffet
Russe--whatever that is--ninety cents; German asparagus, a single
helping, one dollar and forty cents; blue-point oysters, fifty cents;
fifty cents for clams; Gorgonzola cheese, fifty cents a portion; and,
in a land where peaches and figs grow anywhere and everywhere,
seventy-five cents for an order of brandied peaches and fifty cents for
an order of spiced figs. Even seasoned New Yorkers have been known to
breathe hard on receiving a check for a full meal at certain restaurants
in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

On the other hand, you can step round any corner in San Francisco and
walk into that institution which people in other large cities are
forever seeking and never finding--a table-d'hôte restaurant where a
perfect meal is to be had at a most moderate price. The best Italian
restaurant in the world--and I wish to say, after personal experience,
that Sunny Italy itself is not barred--is a little place on the fringe
of the Barbary Coast.

There is another place not far away where, for a dollar, you get a
bottle of good domestic wine and a selection from the following range of
dishes: Celery, ripe olives, green olives, radishes, onions, lettuce,
sliced tomatoes, combination salad or crab-meat salad; soup--onion or
consommé; fish--sole, salmon, bass, sand dabs, mussels or clams;
entrées--sweetbreads with mushrooms, curry of lamb, calf's tongue, tripe
with peppers, tagliatini a l'Italienne, or boiled kidney with bacon;
vegetables--asparagus, string-beans and cauliflower; roast--spring lamb
with green peas, broiled chicken or broiled pig's feet; dessert--rhubarb
pie, ice cream and cake, apple sauce, stewed fruits, baked pear or baked
apple, mixed fruits; cheese of three varieties, and coffee to wind up
on.

The proprietor doesn't cut out his portions with a pair of buttonhole
scissors, either, or sauce them with a medicine-dropperful of gravy. He
gives a big, full, satisfying helping, well cooked and well served.
There is some romance in the San Francisco cooking, too, if the
oldtimers who bemourn the old days only realized it.

If this seeming officiousness on the part of a passing wayfarer may be
excused there is one more suggestion I should like to throw off for the
benefit of the promoters of the exposition. Living somewhere in
California is a man who should be looked up before the gates are opened,
and he should be retained at a salary and staked out in suitable
quarters as a special and added attraction. He is the most magnificent
fish-liar in the known world! I do not know his name--he was so busy
pouring fish stories down a party of us that he didn't take time to stop
and tell his name--but no great difficulty should be experienced in
finding him. There is only one of him alive--these world's wonders never
occur in pairs. That would cheapen them and make them commonplace.

He swam into our ken--if a mixed metaphor may be pardoned--on a train
leaving Oakland for the East. We were sitting in the club car--half a
dozen or so of us--when he drifted along. At first look no one would
have suspected him of being so gifted a creature as he proved himself to
be. He was a round, short, tub-shaped man, with a button nose, and a
double chin that ran all the way round and lapped over at the back. But,
though his appearance was deceiving, anybody could tell with half an
eye that he excelled in extemporaneous conversation. Right off he began
shadow-boxing and sparring about, waiting for an opening. In a minute he
got it.

The tall man with the long face and the stiff white pompadour, who
looked like a patent toothbrush, gave him his chance. The tall man
happened to look out of the car window and see in an inlet a fleet of
beached fishing boats, and he remarked on their picturesqueness. That
was the cue.

"Speaking of fishing," said the button-nosed man, "I'll tell you people
something that'll maybe interest you. You may not believe it, either, me
being a stranger to you; but it's the Gospel truth or I wouldn't be
sitting here a-telling it. I reckon I've done more fishing in my day and
more different kinds of fishing than any man alive. I come originally
from a prime fishing state--Michigan--and I've lived in Colorado and
Montana and Oregon and all the other good fishing states out West. But,
take it from me, friends, California is the best fishing state there is.
Yes, sir; when it comes to fishing, old California lays it over 'em
all--she takes the rag right off the bush! I'm the one that oughter know
because I've fished her from end to end and crossways--sea fishing,
creek fishing, lake fishing and all.

"Down at Catalina they'll tell you, if you ask 'em, that I'm the man
that ketched the biggest tuna that ever come out of that ocean. It took
me fourteen hours and forty-five minutes to land him, and during that
time he towed me and an eighteen-foot boat, and the fellow I had along
for boatman, over forty-four miles--I measured it afterward to be
sure--and the friction of the reel spinning round wore my line down till
it wasn't no thicker in places than a cobweb. But tunas ain't my regular
specialty--trouts and basses are my special favorites; and up in the
mountains is where I mostly do my fishing.

"I'm just sort of hanging round now waiting for the snow to move out
so's I can go up there and start fishing.

"Well, sirs, it's funny, ain't it, the way luck will run fishing? Oncet
when I was living up there I fished stiddy, day in and day out, for two
seasons and never got a bite that you could rightly call a bite. And
then all of a sudden one afternoon the luck switched and in exactly
forty-five minutes by the watch--by this here very watch I'm carrying
now in my pocket--I ketched seventy-two of them big old black basses out
of one hole; and they averaged five pounds apiece!"

We looked at one another silently. A total of seventy-two five-pound
bass in three-quarters of an hour seemed a little too much to be taken
as a first dose from a strange practitioner. And it was hard to believe
they had all been basses; if only for the sake of variety there should
have been at least one barytone. We felt that we needed time for
reflection--and digestion.

Evidently realizing this, one of our number undertook to throw himself
into the breach. As I recollect, this volunteer was the fat coffin
drummer from Des Moines who had the round, smooth face and the round,
bald head, and wore the fuzzy green hat with the bow at the back. I
think he wore the bow there purposely--it simplified matters so when you
were trying to decide which side of his head his face grew on. He heaved
a pensive sigh out of his system and remarked upon the clearness of the
air in these parts.

"You're right there, mister," broke in the button-nosed man, snapping
him up instantly. "The air is tolerable clear here today; but you
oughter to see the air up in the mountains! Why, it's so clear up there
it would make this here hill-country air look like a fog. I remember
oncet I was browsing along a cliff up in that country, toting my
fishpole, and I happened to look over the bluff--just so--and down below
I saw a hole in the creek that was just crawling with them big
trouts--steel-head trouts and rainbow trouts. I could see the spots on
their sides and their fins waving, and their gills working up and down.

"I figured out that it was fully a hundred feet down to the water and
the water would natchelly be tolerable deep; so I let all my line run
off the reel, a hundred and sixty feet of it; and I fished and fished
and fished--and didn't get a strike, let alone a nibble. Yet I could
look over and see all these hungry trouts down below looking up with
expectant looks in their eyes--I could see their eyes--and jumping round
regardless; and yet not a bite! So I changed bait--changed from live
bait to dead bait, and back again to live--and still there wasn't
nothing doing. So I says to myself: 'Something's wrong, sure! This
thing'll stand looking into.'

[Illustration: IT'S A GREAT THING OUT THERE TO BE A NATIVE SON]

"So I snoops round and finds a place where there's a sort of a sloping
place in the bluff; and I braces my pole in a rock and leaves it there;
and I climbs down--and then I sees what's the matter. It was that there
clear air that had fooled me! It was three hundred feet if it was an
inch down from the top of that there bluff to the creek, and the hole
was fully a hundred feet deep--maybe more; and away down at the plumb
bottom all them trouts was congregated in a circlelike, looking up
mighty greedy and longing at my bait, which was a live frog, dangling
two hundred and forty-odd feet up in the air. But, speaking of clear
air, that wasn't nothing at all compared to some other things I could
tell you about. Another time----"

At this point I rose and escaped to the diner. When I got back at the
end of an hour the other survivors told me that, up to the time he got
off at Sacramento, the button-nosed man had been getting better and
better all the time. He certainly ought to be rounded up and put on
exhibition at the Fair to show those puny and feeble Eastern fish-liars
what the incomparable Western climate can produce.

I almost forgot to mention San Francisco's chief product--Native Sons. A
Native Son is one who has acquired special merit by being born in the
state. You would think credit would be given to the subject's parents,
where it belongs; but, no--that is not the California way. It's a great
thing out there to be a Native Son. It counts in politics, and in
society, and at the clubs.

And, after that, the next best thing is to be a Southerner, either by
birth or descent. People who have Southern blood in their veins are
very proud of it and can join a club on the strength of it; and some of
them do a lot of talking about it. The definition is rather
elastic--anybody whose ancestors worked on the Southern Pacific is
eligible, I think.

Of course, there are a lot of real Southerners; but there are a whole
lot more who--so it seemed to me--are giving remarkably realistic
imitations of the type known in New York as the Professional Southerner.
San Francisco excels in Southerners--the regular kind and the self-made
kind both.

I was out there too early in the year to meet the justly celebrated San
Francisco flea. He's a Native Son, too; but there isn't so much bragging
being done on his account.



_LOOKING FOR LO_

[Illustration]

_Looking for Lo_


IF it is your desire to observe the Red Indian of the Plains engaged in
his tribal sports and pastimes wait for the Wild West Show; there is
sure to be one coming to your town before the season is over. Or if you
are bloodthirsty by nature and yearn to see him prancing round upon the
warpath, destroying the hated paleface and strewing the soil with his
shredded fragments, restrain your longings until next fall and then
arrange to take in the football game between Carlisle and Princeton.
But, whatever you do, do not go journeying into the Far West in the hope
of finding him in great number upon his native heath, for the chances
are that you won't find him there in great number; and if you do he will
probably be a considerable disappointment to you; because, unless he is
paid for it, the red brother absolutely declines to be picturesque.

I am reliably informed that he is still reasonably numerous in Oklahoma,
in North and South Dakota, and in Montana and Washington; but my
itinerary did not include those states. I did not see a live
Indian--that is to say, a live Indian recognizable as such--in Nevada or
in Colorado or in Utah, or in a four-hour run across one corner of
Wyoming.

In upward of a thousand miles of travel through California I saw just
one Indian--a bronze youth of perhaps twenty summers and, I should say,
possibly half that many baths. He was wearing the scenario of a pair of
overalls and a straw hat in an advanced state of decrepitude, and he was
working in a truckpatch; if a native had not told me what he was I would
have passed him by for a sunburnt hired hand.

I saw a few Indians in New Mexico and a few more in Arizona, but not a
great many at that; and these, as I found out later, were mainly engaged
to linger in the vicinity of stations and hotels along the line for the
purpose of adding a touch of color to the surroundings and incidentally
selling souvenirs to the tourists.

Mind you, I'm not saying there are not plenty of Indians in those
states; but they mostly stay on their reservations and the reservations
unfortunately are not, as a rule, near the railroad stations. A traveler
going through the average small Southern town sees practically the
entire strength of the colored citizenry gathered at the depot and jumps
at the conclusion that the population is from ninety to ninety-five per
cent. black. In the West he sees maybe one little Indian settlement in a
stretch of five or six hundred miles, and he figures that the Indian is
practically an extinct species.

Of course, though, he is not extinct. In these piping commercial days of
acute competition he has no time to be gallivanting down to the depot
every time a through train rolls in, especially as the depot is
frequently eighty or ninety miles distant from his domicile. He is
closely confined at home turning out souvenirs. It is a pity, too, that
he cannot spare more of his time for this simple and inexpensive
pleasure. In one week's study of the passing tourist breed he could see
enough funny sights and hear enough funny things--unintentionally funny
things--to keep his family entertained on many a long winter's evening
as they sit peacefully in the wigwam making knickknacks for the Eastern
trade.

[Illustration: EACH NAVAJO SQUAW WEAVES ON AN AVERAGE NINE THOUSAND
BLANKETS A YEAR]

No, sirree! Those Southwestern tribes are far from being
extinct--especially the Navajos. You can, in a way, approximate the
tribal strength of the Navajos by the number of Navajo blankets you see.
From Colorado to the Coast the Navajo blanket carpets the earth. I'll
bet any amount within reason that in six weeks' time I saw ten million
Navajo blankets if I saw one. As for other things--bows and arrows, for
example--well, I do not wish to exaggerate; but had I bought all the
wooden bows and arrows that were offered to me I could take them and
build a rustic footbridge across the Delaware River at Trenton, with a
neat handrail all the way over. Taking the figures of the last census as
a working basis I calculate that each Navajo squaw weaves, on an
average, nine thousand blankets a year; and while she is so engaged her
husband, the metal worker of the establishment, is producing a couple of
tons of silver bracelets set with turquoises. For prolixity of output I
know of no female in the entire animal kingdom that can compare with the
Navajo squaw--unless it is the lady Potomac shad.

Right here I wish to claim one proud distinction: I went from the
Atlantic to the Pacific and back again--and I did not buy a single
blanket! Since the return of the Lewis & Clark expedition I am probably
the only white person who has ever done this. Goodness knows the call
was strong enough and the opportunities abundant enough; blankets were
available for my inspection at every railroad station, at every hotel,
and at every one of two hundred thousand souvenir stores that I
encountered--but I was under orders from headquarters.

As we were bidding farewell to our family before starting West, our wife
said to us in firm, decided accents: "I have already picked out a place
where we can hide the Cheyenne war-bonnet. We can get rid of the
moccasins and the stone hatchets and the beadwork breastplates by
storing them in a trunk up in the attic. But do not bring a Navajo
blanket back to this already crowded establishment!" So we restrained
ourselves. But it was a hard struggle and took a heroic effort.

I recall one blanket, done in gray and black and red and white, and
decorated with the figures of the Thunder Bird and the Swastika, the
Rising Sun and the Jig Saw, and other Indian signs, symbols and emblems.
It was with the utmost difficulty that I wrenched myself away from the
vicinity of this treasure. And then, when I got back home, feeling proud
as Punch over having withstood temptation in all its forms, almost the
first words I heard, spoken in tones of deep disappointment, were these:
"Well, why didn't you bring a Navajo blanket for the den? You know we've
always wanted one!" Wasn't that just like a woman?

Though I refrained from seeking bargains in the blankets of the
aborigine, I sought diligently enough for the aborigine himself. I had
my first glimpse of him in Northern New Mexico just after we had come
down out of Colorado. Accompanied by his lady, he was languidly reposing
on the platform in front of a depot, with his wares tastefully arranged
at his feet. As a concession to the acquired ideals of the Eastern
visitor he had a red sofa tidy draped round his shoulders, and there was
a tired-looking hen-feather caught negligently in his back hair; and his
squaw displayed ornamented leggings below the hems of her simple calico
walking skirt. But these adornments, I gathered, constituted the calling
costume, so to speak.

When at home in his village the universal garment of the Pueblo male is
the black sateen shirt of commerce. He puts it on and wears it until it
is taken up by absorption, and then it is time to put on another. These
shirts do not require washing; but, among the best Pueblo families, I
understand it is customary--once in so often--to have them searched.
And thus is the wild life of the West kept down.

Farther along the line, in Arizona, we met the Hopi and the
Navajo--delegations from both of these tribes having been imported from
the reservations to give an added touch of picturesqueness to the
principal hotel of the Grand Cañon. The Hopi, who excels at snake
dancing and pottery work, is a mannerly little chap; and his daughter,
with her hair done up in elaborate whorl effects in fancied imitation of
the squash blossom--the squash being the Hopi emblem of purity--is a
decidedly attractive feature of the landscape.

The Hopi women are industrious little bodies, clever at basket
weaving--and the men work, too, when not engaged in attending lodge; for
the Hopis are the ritualists of the Southwest, and every Hopi is a
confirmed joiner. Their secret societies exist to-day, uncorrupted and
unchanged, just as they have survived for hundreds and perhaps thousands
of years. In the Hopi House at Grand Cañon there is a reproduction of a
kiva or underground temple. It isn't underground--it is located
upstairs; but in all other regards it is supposed to conform exactly to
one of the real ceremonial chambers of the Hopis. The dried-mud walls
are covered thickly with symbolic devices, painted on; and there is an
altar tricked out with totems of the Powamu clan, one of the biggest of
these societies.

Just in front of the altar, with its wooden figures of the War God, the
God of Growing Things, and the God of Thunder, is a sand painting set in
the floor like a mosaic. When one of the clans is getting ready for a
service the official high priest or medicine man of that particular clan
sprinkles clean brown sand upon the flat earth before the altar and upon
this foundation, by trickling between his thumb and forefinger tiny
streams of sands of other colors, he makes the mystic figures that he
worships. After the rites are over he obliterates the design with his
hand, leaving the space bare for the next clan.

In the Hopi House at Grand Cañon a sand painting sacred to the Antelope
clan is preserved under glass for the benefit of visitors. The manager
of the establishment, a Mr. Smith, who has spent most of his life among
the tribes of Arizona, told us a story about this.

Two years ago this summer, a party of Mystic Shriners on an excursion
visited the cañon. Mr. Smith chaperoned one group of them on their tour
through the Hopi House. In the sand painting of the kiva they seemed to
find something that particularly interested them. They put their heads
together, talking in undertones and pointing--so Smith said--first at
one design and then at another. An old Hopi buck, a priest of the
Antelope clan, was lounging in the low doorway watching them. What the
Shriners said to one another could have had no significance for him,
even admitting that he heard them, for he did not understand a word of
English; but suddenly he reached forth a withered hand and plucked Smith
by the sleeve. I am letting Smith tell the rest of the tale just as he
told it to us:

"The Hopi pointed to one of the Shriners, an elderly man who came, I
think, from somewhere in Illinois, and in his own tongue he said to me:
'That man with the white hair is a Hopi--and he is a member of my clan!'
I said to him: 'You speak foolishness--that man comes from the East and
never until to-day saw a Hopi in his whole life!' The medicine man
showed more excitement than I ever saw an Indian show.

"'You are lying to me!' he said. 'That white-haired man is a Hopi, or
else his people long ago were Hopis.' I laughed at him and that ruffled
his dignity and he turned away, and I couldn't get another word out of
him.

"As the Shriners were passing out I halted the white-haired man and said
to him: 'The Hopi medicine man insists that you are a Hopi and that you
know something about his clan.' 'Well,' he said, 'I'm no Hopi; but I
think I do know something about some of the things he seems to revere.
Where is this medicine man?'

"I pointed to where the old Indian was squatted in a corner, sulking; he
walked right over to him and motioned to him, and the Hopi got up and
they went into the kiva together. I do not know what passed between
them--certainly no words passed--but in about ten minutes the Shriner
came out, and he had a puzzled look on his face.

"'I've just had the most wonderful experience,' he said to me, 'that
I've ever had in my whole life. Of course that Indian isn't a Mason, but
in a corrupted form he knows something about Masonry; and where he
learned it I can't guess. Why, there are lodges in this country where I
actually believe he could work his way in.'"

Not being either a Mason or a Hopi, I cannot undertake to vouch for the
story or to contradict it; but Smith has the reputation of being a
truthful man.

The Navajos are the aristocrats of the Southwestern country. They are
dignified, cleanly in their personal habits, and orderly; and they are
wonderful artisans. In addition to being wonderful weavers and excellent
silversmiths, they shine at agriculture and at stock raising and sheep
raising. They are born horse-traders, too, and at driving a bargain it
is said a buck Navajo can spot a Scotchman five balls any time and beat
him out; but they have the name of being absolutely honest and
absolutely truthful.

This same Mr. Smith, who has lived several years on the Navajo
reservation and who is an adopted member of the tribe, took several of
us to pay a formal call upon a Navajo subchief, who spends the tourist
season at the Grand Cañon. The old chap, long-haired and the color of a
prime smoke-cured ham, received us with perfect courtesy into his winter
residence, the same being a circular hut contrived by overlapping
timbers together in a kind of basket design and then coating the logs
inside and out with adobe clay.

The place was clean and free from all unpleasant odors. In the middle of
the floor a fire burned, the smoke escaping through a hole in the roof.
At one side was the primitive forge, where the head of the house worked
in metals; and against the far wall his squaw was hunkered down,
weaving a blanket on her wooden loom. A couple of his young offspring
were playing about, dressed simply in their little negligee-strings. The
mud walls were hung with completed blankets. Long, stringy strips of
dried beef and mutton--the national dishes of the tribe--were dangling
from cross-pieces overhead; and on a rug upon the earthen floor lay a
glittering pile of bracelets and brooches that had been made by the old
man out of Mexican dollars. When we came away, after spending fifteen
minutes or so as their guests, the whole family came with us; but the
old man tarried a minute to fasten a small brass padlock through a hasp
upon his wattled wooden door.

"Up on the reservation, away from the railroads and the towns, there are
no locks upon the doors," Smith said.

"Why is that?" I asked.

Smith grinned. "I'll tell the old man what you said and let him answer."

He clucked in guttural monosyllables to the chief, and the chief clucked
back briefly, meanwhile eyeing me with a whimsical squint out of his
puckered old eyes. And then Smith translated:

"Why should we lock our doors in the place where we live? There are no
white men there!"

I will confess that as a representative of the dominant Caucasian stock
I had, for the moment, no apt reply ready. Later I thought of a very
fitting retort, which undoubtedly would have flattened that impertinent
Indian as flat as a flounder; unfortunately, though, it only came to me
after several days of study, and by that time I was upward of a thousand
miles away from him. But I am saving it to use on him the next time I go
back to the Grand Cañon. No mere Indian can slander our race, even if he
is telling the truth--not while I'm around!

Down in Southern California I rather figured on finding a large swarm of
Mission Indians clustering about every Mission; but, alas! they weren't
there, either. We saw a few worshipers and plenty of tourists, but no
Indians--at least, I didn't see any personally. There is something
wonderfully impressive about a first trip to any one of those old gray
churches; everything about it is eloquent with memories of that older
civilization which this Western country knew long before the Celt and
the Anglo-Saxon breeds came over the Divide and down the Pacific Slope,
filled with their lust for gold and lands, craving ever more power and
more territory over which to float the Stars and Stripes.

The vanished day of the Spaniard now lives only within the walls of the
early Missions, but it invests them with that added veneration which
attaches to whatever is old and traditional and historic. We haven't a
great deal that is very old in our own country; maybe that explains why
we fuss over it so when we come across it in Europe.

[Illustration: AS SHE LEVELED THE LENS A YELL WENT UP FROM SOMEWHERE]

There is one Mission which in itself, it seemed to me, is almost worth a
trip clear across the continent to see--the one at Santa Barbara. It is
up the side of a gentle foothill, with the mountains of the Coast Range
behind it. Down below the roofs and spires of a brisk little city
show through green clumpage, and still farther beyond the blue waters of
the Pacific may be seen.

Parts of this Mission are comparatively new; there are retouchings and
restorations that date back only sixty or seventy years, but most of it
speaks to you of an earlier century than this and an earlier race than
the one that now peoples the land. You pass through walls of solid
masonry that are sixteen feet thick and pierced by narrow passages; you
climb winding stairs to a squat tower where sundry cracked brazen bells,
the gifts of Spanish gentlemen who died a hundred years ago perhaps,
swing by withes of ancient rawhide from great, worm-gnawed, hand-riven
beams; you walk through the Mission burying-ground, past crumbly old
family vaults with half-obliterated names and titles and dates upon
their ovenlike fronts, and you wander at will among the sunken
individual graves under the palms and pepper trees.

Most convincing of all to me were the stone-flagged steps at the door of
the church itself, for they are all worn down like the teeth of an old
horse--in places they are almost worn in two. Better than any guidebook
patter of facts and figures--better than the bells and the graves and
the hand-made beams--these steps convey to the mind a sense of age.

You stand and look at them, and you see there the tally of vanished
generations--the heavy boot of the conquistador; the sandaled foot of
the old padre; the high heel of a dainty Spanish-born lady; the bare,
horny sole of the Indian convert--each of them taking its tiny toll out
of stone and mortar--each of them wearing away its infinitesimal
mite--until through years and years the firm stone was scored away and
channeled out and left at it is now, with curves in it and deep hollows.

Given a dime's worth of imagination to start on, almost any one could
people that spot with the dead-and-gone figures of that shadowy past;
could forget the trolley cars curving right up to the walls; the
electric lights strung in globular festoons along the ancient ceilings
of the porticoes; the roofs of the new, shiny modern bungalows dotting
the gentle slopes below--could forget even that the brown-cowled,
rope-girthed father who served as guide spoke with a strong German
accent; could almost forgive the impious driver of the rig that brought
one here for referring to this place as the Mish. But be sure there
would be one thing to bring you hurtling back again to earth, no matter
how far aloft your fancy soared--and that would be the ever-present
souvenir-collecting tourist, to whom no shrine is holy and no memory is
sacred.

There is no charge for admission to the Mission. All comers, regardless
of breed or creed, are welcomed; and on constant duty is a gentle-voiced
priest, ready to lead the way to the inner rooms where priceless relics
of the day when the Spaniards first came to California are displayed;
and into the church itself, with its candles burning before the high
altar and the quaint old holy pictures ranged thick upon the walls; and
through the burying-ground--and to all the rest of it; and for this
service there is nothing to pay. On departing the visitor, if he
chooses, may leave a coin behind; but he doesn't have to--it isn't
compulsory.

There is a kind of traveler who repays this hospitality by defiling the
walls with his inconsequential name, scratched in or scrawled on, and by
toting away as a souvenir whatever portable object he can confiscate
when nobody is looking. Up in the bell tower the masonry is all defaced
and pocked where these vandals have dug at it with pocketknives; and as
we were coming away, one of them--a typical specimen--showed me with
deep pride half of a brick pouched in his coat pocket. It seemed that
while the priest's back was turned he had pried it loose from the
frilled ornamentation of a vault in the burying-ground at the cost only
of his self-respect--admitting that he had any of that commodity in
stock--and a broken thumbnail. It was, indeed, a priceless treasure and
he valued it accordingly. And yet, at a distance of ten feet in an
ordinary light, no one not in the secret could have said offhand whether
that half-brick came out of a Mission tomb in California or a
smokehouse in Arkansas.

We didn't see any Indians when we ran down into Mexico. However, we only
ran into Mexico for a distance of a mile and a half below the California
state boundary, and maybe that had something to do with it. By
automobile we rode from San Diego over to the town of Tia Juana,
signifying, in our tongue, Aunt Jane. Ramona, heroine of Helen Hunt
Jackson's famous novel, had an aunt called Jane. I guess they had a
grudge against the lady; they named this town after her.

Selling souvenirs to tourists, who come daily on sightseeing coaches
from Coronado Beach and San Diego, is the principal pastime of the
natives of Tia Juana. Weekdays they do this; and sometimes on a Sunday
afternoon they have a bullfight in their little bullring. On such an
occasion the bullfighting outfit is specially imported from one of the
larger towns farther inland. Sometimes the whole troupe comes from
Juarez and puts on a regular metropolitan production, with the original
all-star cast. There is the gallant performer known as the armadilla,
who teases the bull to desperation by waving a red shawl at him; the no
less daring parabola, sticking little barbed boleros in the bull's
withers; and, last of all, the intrepid mantilla, who calmly meets the
final rush of the infuriated beast and, with one unerring thrust of his
trusty sword, delivers the porte-cochère, or fatal stroke, just behind
the left shoulder-blade, while all about the assembled peons and
pianolas rend the ambient air with their delighted cry: _"Hoi Polloi!
Hoi Polloi! Dolce far niente!"_

Isn't it remarkable how readily the seasoned tourist masters the
difficulties of a foreign language? Before I had been in Mexico an hour
I had picked up the intricate phraseology of the bullfight; and I was
glad afterward that I took the trouble to get it all down in my mind
correctly, because such knowledge always comes in handy. You can use it
with effect in company--it stamps you as a person of culture and
travel--and it impresses other people; but then I always could pick up
foreign languages easily. I do not wish to boast--but with me it amounts
to a positive gift.

It was a weekday when we visited Tia Juana, and so there was no
bullfight going on; in fact, there didn't seem to be much of anything
going on. Once in a while a Spigotty lady would pass, closely followed
by a couple of little Spigots, and occasionally the postmaster would
wake up long enough to accept a sheaf of postcards from a tourist and
then go right back to sleep again. We had sampled the tamales of the
country, finding them only slightly inferior to the same article as sold
in Kansas City, Kansas; and we had drifted--three of us--into a Mexican
café. It was about ten feet square and was hung with chromos furnished
by generous Milwaukee brewers and other decorations familiar to all who
have ever visited a crossroads bar-room on our own side of the line.
Bottled beer appeared to be the one best bet in the drinking line, and
the safest one, too; but somehow I hated--over here upon the soil of
another country--to be calling for the domestic brews of our own St.
Louis! Personally I desired to conform my thirst to the customs of the
country--only I didn't know what to ask for. I had learned the
bullfighting language, but I hadn't progressed very far beyond that
point. While I was deliberating a Mexican came in and said something in
Spanish to the barkeeper and the barkeeper got a bottle of a clear,
almost colorless fluid out from under the counter and poured him a
sherry glassful of it. So then, by means of a gesture that is universal
and is understood in all climes, I indicated to the barkeeper that I
would take a little of the same.

The moment, though, that I had swallowed it I realized I had been too
hasty. It was mescal--an explosive in liquid form that is brewed or
stilled or steeped, or something, from the juices of a certain variety
of cactus, according to a favorite family prescription used by Old Nick
several centuries ago when he was residing in this section. For its size
and complexion I know of nothing that is worthy to be mentioned in the
same breath with mescal, unless it is the bald-faced hornet of the Sunny
South. It goes down easily enough--that is not the trouble--but as soon
as it gets down you have the sensation of having swallowed a comet.

As I said before, I didn't see any Indians in Old Mexico, but if I had
taken one more swig of the national beverage I am satisfied that not
only would I have seen a great number of them, but, with slight
encouragement, might have been one myself. For the purpose of assuaging
the human thirst I would say that it is a mistake on the part of a
novice to drink mescal--he should begin by swallowing a lighted kerosene
lamp for practice and work up gradually; but the experience was
illuminating as tending to make me understand why the Mexicans are so
prone to revolutions. A Mexican takes a drink of mescal before
breakfast, on an empty stomach, and then he begins to revolute round
regardless.

On leaving Tia Juana we stopped to view the fort, which was the
principal attraction of the place. It was located in the outskirts just
back of the cluster of adobe houses and frame shacks that made up the
town. The fort proper consisted of a mud wall about three feet high,
inclosing perhaps half an acre of bare clayey soil. Outside the wall
was a moat, upward of a foot deep, and inside was a barrack. This
barrack--I avoid using the plural purposely--was a wooden shanty that
had been whitewashed once, but had practically recovered from it since;
and its walls were pierced--for artillery-fire, no doubt--with two
windows, to the frames of which a few fragments of broken glass still
adhered. Overhead the flag of the republic was flying; and every
half-minute, so it seemed to us, a drum would beat and a bugle would
blow and the garrison would turn out, looking--except for their
guns--very much like a squad of district-telegraph messengers. They
would evolute across the parade ground a bit and then retire to quarters
until the next call to arms should sound.

We could not get close enough to ascertain what all the excitement was
about, because they would not let us. We were not allowed to venture
within fifty yards of the outer breastworks, or kneeworks; and even
then, so the village authorities warned us, we must keep moving. A woman
camera fiend from Coronado was along, and she unlimbered her favorite
instrument with the idea of taking a few snapshots of this martial
scene.

As she leveled the lens a yell went up from somewhere, and out of the
barrack and over the wall came skipping a little officer, leaving a
trail of inflammatory Spanish behind him in a way to remind you of the
fireman cleaning out the firebox of the Through Limited. He was not much
over five feet tall and his shabby little uniform needed the attention
of the dry cleanser, but he carried a sword and two pistols, and wore a
brass gorget at his throat, a pair of huge epaulets and a belt; and he
had gold braid and brass buttons spangled all over his sleeves and the
front of his coat, and a pair of jingling spurs were upon his heels.
There was a long feather in his cap, too--and altogether, for his size,
he was most impressive to behold. He charged right up to the abashed
camera lady and, through an interpreter, explained to her that it was
strictly against the rules to permit a citizen of a foreign power to
make any pictures of the fortifications whatsoever. He appeared to nurse
a horrid fear that the secret of the fortifications might become known
above the line, and that some day, armed with this information, the Boy
Scouts or a Young Ladies' High School might swoop down and capture the
whole works. He explained to the lady, that, much as he regretted it, if
she persisted in her suspicious and spylike conduct, he would have to
smash her camera for her. So she desisted.

The little officer and his merry men had ample reason for being a mite
nervous just then. Their country was in the midst of its spring
revolution. The Madero family had just been thinned out pretty
extensively, and it was not certain yet whether the Diaz faction or the
Huerta faction, or some other faction, would come out on top. Besides,
these gallant guardians of the frontier were a long way from
headquarters and in no position to figure out in advance which way the
national cat would jump next. All they knew was that she was jumping.

[Illustration: AS THE OCCUPANTS SPILLED SPRAWLINGLY THROUGH THE GAP, A
FRONT TIRE EXPLODED WITH A LOUD REPORT]

Every morning, so we heard, they were taking a vote to decide whether
they would be Federalists that day or Liberalists, or what not; and the
vote was invested with a good deal of personal interest, too, because
there was no telling when a superior force might arrive from the
interior; and if they had happened to vote wrong that day there was
always the prospect of their being backed up against a wall, with
nothing to look at except a firing squad and a row of newmade graves.

We were told that one morning, about three or four weeks before the date
of our visit, the garrison had been in the barrack casting their usual
ballot. They were strong Huertaists that morning--it was Viva Huerta!
all the way. Just about the time the vote was being announced a couple
of visiting Americans in an automobile came down the road flanking the
fort. There had been a rain and the road was slippery with red mud. As
the driver took the turn at the corner his wheels began skidding and he
lost control. The car skewed off at a tangent, hurdled the moat, and
tore a hole in the mud wall; and, as the occupants spilled sprawlingly
through the gap, a front tire exploded with a loud report. The garrison
took just one look out the front door, jumped to the conclusion that the
Villa crowd had arrived and were shooting automobiles at them, and
unanimously adjourned by the back way into the woods. Some of them did
not get back until the shades of night had descended upon the troubled
land.

Such is military life in our sister republic in times of war, and yet
they sometimes have a very realistic imitation of the real thing over
there. Revolution before last there were two separate engagements in
this little town of Tia Juana. A lot of belligerents were killed and a
good many more were wounded.

In an iron letter box in front of the post-office we saw a round hole
where a steel-jacketed bullet had passed through after first passing
through a prominent citizen. We did not see this citizen. It became
necessary to bury him shortly after the occurrence referred to.

In vain I sought the red brother on my saunterings through California.
In San Francisco I once thought I had him treed. On Pacific Street, a
block ahead of me, I saw a group of pedestrians, wrapped in loose
flowing garments of many colors. Even at that distance I could make out
that they were dark-skinned and had long black hair. I said to myself:
"It is probable that these persons are connected with Doctor Somebody's
Medicine Show; but I don't care if they are. They are Indians--more
Indians than I have seen in one crowd at one time since Buffalo Bill was
at Madison Square Garden last spring. I shall look them over."

So I ran and caught up with them--but they were not Indians. They were
genuine Egyptian acrobats, connected with a traveling carnival company.
When Moses transmitted the divine command to the Children of Israel that
they should spoil the Egyptians, the Children of Israel certainly did a
mighty thorough job of it. That was several thousand years ago and those
Egyptians I saw were still spoiled. I noticed it as soon as I got close
to them.

In Salt Lake City I saw half a dozen Indians, but in a preserved form
only. They were on display in a museum devoted to relics of the early
days. In my opinion Indians do not make very good preserves, especially
when they have been in stock a long time and have become shopworn, as
was the case with these goods. Personally, I would not care to invest.
Besides, there was no telling how old they were. They had been dug out,
mummified, from the cliff-dwellers' ruins in the southern part of the
state, along with their household goods, their domestic utensils, their
weapons of war and their ornaments; and there they were laid out in
glass cases for modern eyes to see. There were plenty of other
interesting exhibits in this museum, including several of Brigham
Young's suits of clothes. For a man busied with statecraft and military
affairs and domestic matters, Brigham Young must have changed clothes
pretty often. I couldn't keep from wondering how a man with a family
like his was found the time for it.

To my mind the most interesting relic in the whole collection was the
spry octogenarian who acted as guide and showed us through the
place--for he was one of the few living links between the Old West and
the New. As a boy-convert to Mormonism he came across the desert with
the second expedition that fled westward from Gentile persecution after
Brigham Young had blazed the trail. He was a pony express rider in the
days of the overland mail service. He was also an Indian fighter--one of
the trophies he showed was a scalp of his own raising practically, he
having been present when it was raised by a friendly Indian scout from
the head of the hostile who originally owned it--and he had lived in
Salt Lake City when it was a collection of log shanties within the walls
of a wooden stockade. And now here he was, a man away up in his
eighties, but still brisk and bright, piloting tourists about the upper
floor of a modern skyscraper.

We visited the museum after we had inspected the Mormon Tabernacle and
had looked at the Mormon Temple--from the outside--and had seen the
Beehive and the Lion House and the Eagle Gate and the painfully ornate
mansion where Brigham Young kept his favorite wife, Amelia. The
Tabernacle is famous the world over for its choir, its organ and its
acoustics--particularly its acoustics. The guide, who is a Mormon elder
detailed for that purpose, escorts you into the balcony, away up under
the domed wooden roof; and as you wait there, listening, another elder,
standing upon a platform two hundred feet away, drops an ordinary pin
upon the floor--and you can distinctly hear it fall. At first you are
puzzled to decide exactly what it sounds like; but after a while the
correct solution comes to you--it sounds exactly like a pin falling.
Next to the Whispering Gallery in the Capitol at Washington, I don't
know of a worse place to tell your secrets to a friend than the Mormon
Tabernacle. You might as well tell them to a woman and be done with it!

In Salt Lake City I had rather counted upon seeing a Mormon out walking
with three or four of his wives--all at one time. I felt that this would
be a distinct novelty to a person from New York, where the only show
one enjoys along this line is the sight of a chap walking with three or
four other men's wives--one at a time. But here, as in my quest for the
Indian, I was disappointed some more. Once I thought I was about to
score. I was standing in front of the Zion Coöperative Mercantile
Establishment, which is a big department store owned by the Church, but
having all the latest improvements, including bargain counters and
special salesdays. Out of the door came an elderly gentleman attired in
much broadcloth and many whiskers, and behind him trailed half a dozen
soberly dressed women of assorted ages.

Filled with hope, I fell in behind the procession and followed it across
to the hotel. There I learned the disappointing truth. The broadclothed
person was not a Mormon at all.

He was a country bank president from somewhere back East and the women
of his party were Ohio school-teachers. Anywhere except in Utah I doubt
if he could have fooled me, either, for he had the kind of whiskers
that go with the banking profession. For some reason whiskers are
associated with the practice of banking all over this country; hallowed
by custom, they have come to stand for financial responsibility. A New
York banker wears those little jib-boom whiskers on the sides of his
head and sometimes a pennon on his chin, whereas a country banker
usually has a full-rigged face. This man's whiskers were of the old
square barkentine cut. I should have known who he was by his sailing
gear.

And so, disappointed in my dreams of seeing Indians on the hoof and
Mormon households taking the air in family groups, I left Salt Lake
City, with its fine wide streets and its handsome business district and
its pure air and its background of snow-topped mountains, and started on
the long homebound hike. It was late in the afternoon. We had quit Utah,
with its flat plains, its garden spots reclaimed from the desert, and
its endless succession of trim red-brick farmhouses, which seem to be
the universal dwelling-places of the prosperous Mormon farmer.

We had departed from the old trail that Mark Twain crawled over in a
stage-coach and afterward wrote about in his immortal Roughing It. The
Limited, traveling forty-odd miles an hour, was skipping through the
lower part of Wyoming before turning southward into Colorado. We were in
the midst of an expanse of desolation and emptiness, fifteen miles from
anywhere, and I was sitting on the observation platform of the rear car,
watching how the shafts of the setting sun made the colors shift and
deepen in the cañons and upon the sides of the tall red mesas, when I
became aware that the train was slowing down.

Through the car came the conductor, with a happy expression upon his
face. Behind him was a pleased-looking flagman leading by the arm a
ragged tramp who had been caught, up forward somewhere, stealing a free
ride.

The tramp was not resisting exactly, but at every step he said:

"You can't put me off the train between stations! It's the law that you
can't put me off the train between stations!"

Neither the conductor nor the flagman said a word in answer. As the
conductor reached up and jerked the bellcord the tramp, in the tone and
manner of one who advances an absolutely unanswerable argument, said:

"You know, don't you, you can't put me off the train between stations?"

The train halted. The conductor unfastened a tail-gate in the
guard-rail, and the flagman dropped his prisoner out through the
opening. As the tramp flopped off into space I caught this remark:

"You can't put me off the train between stations."

The conductor tugged another signal on the bellcord, and the wheels
began to turn faster and faster. The tramp picked himself up from
between the rails. He brushed some adhering particles of roadbed off
himself and, facing us, made a megaphone of his hands and sent a message
after our diminishing shapes. By straining my ears I caught his words.
He spoke as follows:

"You can't put me off the train between stations!"

In my whole life I never saw a man who was so hard to convince of a
thing as that tramp was.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Note:

Minor spelling, hyphenation, and punctuation errors have been corrected.





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