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Title: Life at Puget Sound: With Sketches of Travel in Washington Territory, British Columbia, Oregon and California
Author: Leighton, Caroline C.
Language: English
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_All rights reserved._


The following selections from observations and experiences during a
residence of sixteen years on the Pacific Coast, while they do not claim
to describe fully that portion of the country, nor to give any account
of its great natural wealth and resources, yet indicate something of its
characteristic features and attractions, more especially those of the
Puget Sound region.

This remote corner of our territory, hitherto almost unknown to the
country at large, is rapidly coming into prominence, and is now made
easy of access by the completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad. The
vast inland sea, popularly known as Puget Sound, ramifying in various
directions, the wide-spreading and majestic forests, the ranges of
snow-capped mountains on either side, the mild and equable climate, and
the diversified resources of this favored region, excite the
astonishment and admiration of all beholders. To the lovers of the grand
and beautiful, unmarred as yet by any human interference, who appreciate
the freedom from conventionalities which pertain to longer-settled
portions of the globe, it presents an endless field for observation and
enjoyment. There is already a steady stream of emigration to this new
"land of promise," and every thing seems to indicate for it a vigorous
growth and development, and a brilliant and substantial future.




  At Sea.--Mariguana Island.--Sea-Birds.--Shipwreck.--Life on
  Roncador Reef.--The Rescue.--Isthmus of Panama.--Voyage to
  San Francisco.--The New Baby.                                         1


  Port Angeles.--Indian "Hunter" and his Wife.--Sailor's
  Funeral.--Incantation.--Indian Graves.--Chief Yeomans.--Mill
  Settlements.--Port Gamble Trail.--Canoe Travel.--The
  _Memaloost_.--Tommy and his Mother.--Olympic Range.--Ediz
  Hook.--Mrs. S. and her Children.--Grand Indian
  Wedding.--Crows and Indians.                                         18


  Indian Chief Seattle.--Frogs and Indians.--Spring Flowers
  and Birds.--The Red _Tamáhnous_.--The Little Pend
  d'Oreille.--Indian Legend.--From Seattle to Fort
  Colville.--Crossing the Columbia River Bar.--The River and
  its Surroundings.--Its Former Magnitude.--The Grande
  Coulée.--Early Explorers, Heceta, Meares, Vancouver,
  Grey.--Curious Burial-Place.--Chinese
  Miners.--Umatilla.--Walla Walla.--Sage-Brush and
  Bunch-Grass.--Flowers in the Desert.--"Stick"
  Indians.--Klickatats.--Spokane Indian.--Snakes.--Dead
  Chiefs.--A Kamas-Field.--Basaltic Rocks.                             38


  Two Hundred Miles on the Upper Columbia.--Steamer
  "Forty-Nine."--Navigation in a Cañon.--Pend d'Oreille River
  and Lake.--Rock Paintings.--Tributaries of the Upper
  Columbia.--Arrow Lakes.--Kettle
  Falls.--Salmon-Catching.--Salmon-Dance.--Goose-Dance.                63


  Old Fort Colville.--Angus McDonald and his Indian
  Family.--Canadian _Voyageurs_.--Father Joseph.--Hardships of
  the Early Missionaries.--The Coeurs d'Alêne and their
  Superstitions.--The Catholic Ladder.--Sisters of Notre
  Dame.--Skill of the Missionaries in instructing the
  Indians.--Father de Smet and the Blackfeet.--A Native
  Dance.--Spokanes.--Exclusiveness of the Coeurs
  d'Alêne.--Battle of Four Lakes.--The Yakima Chief and the
  Road-Makers.                                                         75


  Colville to Seattle.--"Red."--"Ferrins."--"Broke Miners."--A
  Rare Fellow-Traveller.--The Bell-Mare.--Pelouse
  Fall.--Red-Fox Road.--Early Californians.--Frying-Pan
  Incense.--Dragon-Flies.--Death of the Chief Seattle.                 93


  Port Angeles Village and the Indian Ranch.--A "Ship's
  _Klootchman_."--Indian _Muck-a-Muck_.--Disposition of an Old
  Indian Woman.--A Windy Trip to Victoria.--The Black
  _Tamáhnous_.--McDonald's in the Wilderness.--The Wild
  Cowlitz.--Up the River during a Flood.--Indian
  Boatmen.--Birch-Bark and Cedar Canoes.                              109


  Voyage to San Francisco.--Fog-Bound.--Port Angeles.--Passing
  Cape Flattery in a Storm.--Off Shore.--The "Brontes."--The
  Captain and his Men.--A Fair Wind.--San Francisco Bar.--The
  City at Night.--Voyage to Astoria.--Crescent
  City.--Iron-Bound Coast.--Mount St. Helen's.--Mount
  Hood.--Cowlitz Valley and its Floods.--Monticello.                  124


  Victoria.--Its Mountain Views, Rocks, and
  Flowers.--Vancouver's Admiration of the Island.--San Juan
  Islands.--Sir James Douglas.--Indian Wives.--Northern
  Indians.--Indian Workmanship.--The Thunder-Bird.--Indian
  Offerings to the Spirit of a Child.--Pioneers.--Crows and
  Sea-Birds.                                                          137


  Puget Sound and Adjacent Waters.--Its Early
  Explorers.--Towns, Harbors, and Channels.--Vancouver's
  Nomenclature.--Juan de Fuca.--Mount Baker.--Chinese
  "Wing."--Ancient Indian Women.--Pink Flowering Currant and
  Humming-Birds.--"Ah Sing."                                          151


  Rocky-mountain Region.--Railroad from Columbia River to
  Puget Sound.--Mountain Changes.--Mixture of
  Nationalities.--Journey to Coos Bay, Oregon.--Mountain
  Cañon.--A Branch of the Coquille.--Empire City.--Myrtle
  Grove.--Yaquina.--Genial Dwellers in the Woods.--Our Unknown
  Neighbor.--Whales.--Pet Seal and Eagle.--A Mourning
  Mother.--Visit from Yeomans.                                        165


  Puget Sound to San Francisco.--A Model Vessel.--The
  Captain's Relation to his Men.--Rough Water.--Beauty of the
  Sea.--Golden-Gate Entrance.--San Francisco Streets.--Santa
  Barbara.--Its Invalids.--Our Spanish Neighbors.--The
  Mountains and the Bay.--Kelp.--Old Mission.--A Simoom.--The
  Channel Islands.--A New Type of Chinamen.--An Old Spanish
  House.                                                              182


  Our Aerie.--The Bay and the Hills.--The Little
  Gnome.--Earthquake.--Temporary Residents.--The
  Trade-Wind.--Seal-Rocks.--Farallon Islands.--Exhilarating
  Air.--Approach of Summer.--Centennial
  Procession.--Suicides.--Mission Dolores.--Father Pedro Font
  and his Expedition.--The Mission Indians.--Chinese Feast of
  the Dead.--Curious Weather.                                         199


  Quong.--His _Protégé_.--His Peace-Offering.--The Chinese and
  their Grandmothers.--Ancient Ideas.--Irish, French, and
  Spanish Chinamen.--Chinese Ingenuity.--Hostility against the
  Chinese.--Their Proclamations.--Discriminations against
  them.--Their Evasion of the Law.--Their Perseverance against
  all Obstacles.--Their Reverence for their Ancestors, and
  Fear of the Dead.--Their Medical Knowledge.--Their Belief in
  the Future.--Their Curious Festivals.--Indian Names for the
  Months.--Resemblance between the Indians and
  Chinese.--Their Superstitions.                                      220


  Chun Fa's Funeral.--Alameda.--Gophers and Lizards.--Poison
  Oak.--Sturdy Trees.--Baby Lizards.--Old Alameda.--Emperor
  Norton.--California Generosity.--The Dead
  Newsboy.--Anniversary of the Goddess Kum Fa.--Chinese Regard
  for the Moon and Flowers.--A Shin Worshipper.                       242



     At Sea.--Mariguana Island.--Sea-Birds.--Shipwreck.--Life on
     Roncador Reef.--The Rescue.--Isthmus of Panama.--Voyage to San
     Francisco.--The New Baby.

  ATLANTIC OCEAN, May 26, 1865.

It is a great experience to feel the loneliness of the sea,--to see the
whole circle of the heavens, and nothing under it but the rising and
falling water, from morning till night, day after day.

The first night we were out the porpoises came up at twilight, and
sported round the vessel. I saw some sea-birds that seemed to be
playing,--running and sliding on the green, glassy waves. In the wake of
the vessel were most beautiful changing colors. Little Nelly S. sat with
us to watch the phosphorescence. She said, "The stars in the sea call to
me, with little fine voices, 'Nelly, Nelly, are you alive?'"

  MAY 27, 1865.

We have had our first sight of land,--Mariguana, a coral island, one of
the Bahamas. Every one stood in silence to see it, it was so beautiful.
The spray dashed so high, that, as it fell, we at first took it for
streams and cascades. It was just at sunrise; and we cast longing looks
at the soft green hills, bathed in light. Now it is gone, and we have
only the wide ocean again. But a new color has appeared in the water,--a
purplish pink, which looks very tropical; and there are blotches of
yellow seaweed. Some of it caught in the wheel, and stopped it. The
sailors drew it up, and gave it to the children to taste. It was like a
little fruit, and they say the birds eat it.

The sea is growing quite rough. I was thinking of being a little afraid,
the vessel plunged so; but Mother Cary's chickens came out, and I
thought I might as well consider myself as one of them, and not in any
more danger than they are.

  CARIBBEAN SEA, May 28, 1865.

We have had a great experience of really rough weather. The spray dashed
over the deck, and only the hardiest could keep up. Any one who tried to
move was thrown off his feet. Preparations were made for divine service
by lashing two boxes together in the middle of the deck, and spreading
a flag over them. It was conducted by a Scotch Presbyterian minister. As
he began his prayer, he received quite an addition to his congregation,
in a flock of great birds, that appeared on my side of the vessel. They
wheeled round, and settled down softly together. I do not know what they
are, but suppose they are gulls of some kind. They have long, narrow
wings, brown, with a little black, and snow-white underneath. I am half
inclined to envy these wild, soulless creatures, that know no fear.

  RONCADOR REEF, June 5, 1865.

On Tuesday morning, May 30, between three and four o'clock, we were
awakened by the sharp stroke of the engine-bell, a deep grinding sound,
and the sudden stopping of the vessel. We knew that we had not arrived
at our port of destination, and felt instinctively that something
extraordinary had happened. For a moment all was silence; then inquiries
arose from all sides, as to what was the matter. The engine seemed to be
in a great state of commotion; and the vessel began to writhe with a
heavy, laborious movement, as if attempting to free herself from the
grasp of some monster. We dressed hastily, and went into the cabin,
where we found a good many of the passengers, and learned that the
vessel had struck on a coral-reef. We put on life-preservers, and sat
waiting until daylight, expecting every moment the vessel would split.
As soon as it was light enough, we went upon deck, and saw the sailors
cut away the masts and smoke-stacks, which went over the side of the
ship. The water dashed over the deck, so that we were obliged to go
below. It seemed there as if we were under the ocean, with the water
breaking over our heads. Chandeliers, glasses, and other movable
articles were crashing together around us. The cabin was filled with
people, quietly sitting, ready for they knew not what. But among all the
seven hundred passengers there was no shrieking nor crying nor groaning,
except from the little children, who were disturbed by the noise and
discomfort. How well they met the expectation of death! Faces that I had
passed as most ordinary, fascinated me by their quiet, firm mouths, and
eyes so beautiful, I knew it must be the soul I saw looking through
them. Some parties of Swedish emigrants took out their little
prayer-books, and sat clasping each other's hands, and reading them. A
missionary bound for Micronesia handed out his tracts in all directions,
but no one took much notice of them. Generally, each one seemed to feel
that he could meet death alone, and in his own way.

In the afternoon a faint semblance of land was seen off on the horizon,
and a boat was sent out to explore. It was gone a long time, and as
night approached was anxiously looked for. Just about dark, it appeared
in sight. As it drew near, we saw the men in it waving their hats, and
heard them shouting, by which we knew they had succeeded in finding
land. The men on the vessel gave a hearty response, but the women could
not keep back their tears.

That night the women and children were lowered with ropes, over the side
of the vessel, into boats, and taken to a raft near by, hastily
constructed on the rocks at the surface of the water, from loose spars,
stateroom-doors, and such other available material as could be secured
from the vessel. All night long we lay there, watching the dim outline
of the ship, which still had the men on board, as she rose and fell with
each wave,--the engine-bell tolling with every shock. The lights that
hung from the side of the vessel increased the wild, funereal appearance
of every thing about us. They continually advanced and receded, and
seemed to motion us to follow them. There was a strange fascination
about them, which I could not resist; and I watched them through the
whole night.

At daylight the next morning the ship's boats began to take us over to
the island discovered the day before, which was slightly elevated above
the surface of the water, and about four miles distant from the wreck.
As we approached the shore, some new birds, unlike any I had seen
before,--indolent-looking, quiet, and amiable,--flew out, and hovered
over the boat, peering down at us, as if inquiring what strange
creatures were about to invade their home. Probably they had never seen
any human beings before. The sailors said they were "boobies;" and they
certainly appeared very unsophisticated, and quite devoid of the wit and
sprightliness of most birds.

Only a few persons could be landed at a time, and I wandered about at
first almost alone. It was two days before all the passengers were
transferred. Every thing was so new and strange, that I felt as if I had
been carried off to another planet; and it certainly was a great
experience, to walk over a portion of the globe just as it was made, and
wholly unaltered by man.

I thought of an account of a wreck on this same water I had once read,
in which the Caribbean was spoken of as the most beautiful though most
treacherous of seas, and the intensity of color was mentioned. Such
rose-color I never saw before as in the shells and mosses we find here,
nor such lovely pale and green tints as the water all about us shows.

We have been here on this bare reef six days, with the breakers all
around us, and do not know whether we shall get off or not. We amuse
ourselves every morning with looking at the pert little birds, as queer
as the boobies, though quite different from them, that sit and nod to
each other incessantly, and give each other little hits with their
bills, as if these were their morning salutations,--a rough way of
asking after each other's health.

  SAN FRANCISCO, July 2, 1865.

We are safely here at last, after forty-two days' passage,--longer than
the children of Israel were in the wilderness. When we return it will be
by a wagon-train, if the Pacific Railroad is not done.

When we landed on Roncador Reef, we had no data for conjecturing where
we were, except that we remembered passing the island of Jamaica at
twilight on the evening preceding the wreck. We were afterwards
informed that the vessel was seized by a strong current, and borne far
away from her proper course. How gay we were that night, with our music
and dancing, exhilarated all the more by the swiftness of the white,
rushing water that drove us on to our fate!

The heat on the island was so intense, that our greatest necessity was
for some shelter from the sun. The only materials which the place
furnished us were rocks of coral, with which we built up walls, over
which were spread pieces of sail from the vessel. We lived in these
lodges, in little companies. We sat together in ours in the daytime, and
could not leave our shelter for a moment without feeling as if we were
sunstruck. Every night we abandoned it, and slept out on the rocks; but
the frequent little showers proved so uncomfortable that we were driven
to great extremity to devise some covering. R.'s ingenuity proved equal
to the emergency. He secured an opportunity to visit the vessel (which
held together for some days) in one of the boats which were continually
plying between her and the island, bringing over all available stores.
All the mattresses and other bedding that could be secured had been
distributed, mostly to the mothers and children. His penetrating eye
detected the materials for a coverlet in the strips of painted canvas
nailed to the deck. He managed without tools to tear off some pieces,
and, by untwisting some tarred rope, to fasten them together; thus
providing a quilt, which, if not comfortable, was at least waterproof,
and served to draw over us when a shower came on. It was no protection,
however, against the crabs, large and small, that used to crawl under
it, and eat pieces out of our clothes, and even our boots, while we were
asleep. These crabs were of the _hermit_ order. Each one, from the
minutest to the largest, had taken possession of the empty shell of some
other creature, exactly large enough for him, and walked about with it
on his back, and drew himself snugly into it when molested. Every little
crevice in the rocks had a white or speckled egg in it when we landed,
and from these we made a few good meals. The one day the women spent on
the island alone with the birds passed in the most friendly manner; but
after the men and boys came, the larger ones abandoned us.

We felt sorry not to bring away some of the beautiful shells which were
plentiful there, and more gorgeous than any thing I ever saw before.
While the living creature is in them, they are much brighter than after
it is dead; and in the length of time it takes to bring them from
tropical countries, they fade almost like flowers. Mrs. S. was so
enterprising, and, I must say, so unæsthetic, as to try to concoct a
meal from the occupants of some of the large conch-shells taken from the
beach, cooking it for a considerable length of time in a large brass
kettle, the only available utensil. Those who partook of it in our
little group had cause to repent of their rashness; but we did not like
to charge the injury to the lovely creatures which were sacrificed for
this feast, preferring to "blame it on" to the brass kettle, as the
California children would express it. The more cautious ones contented
themselves with their two sea-biscuits and fragment of beef or pork per
day, which were the regular rations served to each from the stores saved
from the ship. Some surface water, found among the rocks, was carefully
guarded, and sparingly dealt out.

After we had been four or five days on the island, two of the ship's
boats were sent out to seek assistance, manned by volunteer crews; one
headed for Aspinwall, which was thought to be about two hundred and
fifty miles distant, and the other to search for what was supposed to be
the nearest land.

Very early on the morning of the tenth day we heard the cry of "A
sail!" We started up from our rocky beds, and stood, without daring to
speak. There was a little upright shadow, about as large as a finger,
against the sky. Every eye was turned to it, but no one yet dared to
confirm it; and, even if it were a sail, those on board the vessel might
not see our island, it was so low, or our flag of distress, as we had
nothing on which to raise it very high. We stood for several minutes,
without daring to look at each other with the consciousness that we were
saved. We presently saw that there were two little schooners beating up
against the wind, directly towards us, and that they carried the red
English flag. They had been catching turtles on the Mosquito Coast. As
soon as our boat reached them, they unloaded their turtles (which
occupied them a day), with the exception of three large ones which they
reserved for us, and then started at once.

These small vessels were unequal to carrying away half the people on the
island, and they had no arrangements for the comfort of passengers. A
considerable number decided to embark on them, and commenced doing so;
while the larger part of the company remained on the spot, to take their
chance of escape in some other way, since communication with the world
was now established.

The next day we were all rejoiced by the appearance of two United States
gunboats from Aspinwall, which point was reached by our other boat,
after a rough experience; the waves having capsized her during the
passage, and swallowed up the provisions and nautical instruments.

It was then decided that all the company should be taken to Aspinwall by
the United States vessels, and their boats and ours were at once put to
service in transferring the people from the island; who, as they
gathered up such fragments of their property as had been rescued from
the wreck, and tied it up in bedquilts or blankets, shouldered their
bundles, and moved slowly down to the point of departure,--their
garments weather-stained and crab-eaten, some of them without shoes or
hats, and all with much-bronzed faces,--presented a picturesque and
beggarly appearance, in striking contrast to their aspect before the

We were treated with the greatest kindness by every one connected with
the gunboats. They took us in their arms, and carried us into the boats,
and stood all night beside us, offering ice-water and wine. They greatly
bewailed our misfortunes, and told us, that, when they heard of our
condition, they put on every pound of steam the vessels would bear, in
order to reach us as speedily as possible, fearing that some greater
calamity might befall us,--that our supply of water might entirely fail,
or that the trade-wind might change, and a storm bring the sea over the
island. They told us, too, that we were very far off the track of
vessels; and, if our boats had failed to bring succor, in all
probability no one would ever have come there in search of us.

The two schooners decided to remain a while, and wreck the vessel. As we
steamed away from the reef, we passed her huge skeleton upon the rocks,
the bell still hanging to the iron part of the frame.

On the second day we reached Aspinwall, and disembarked. As we sat on
the wharf, in little groups, on pieces of lumber or on our bundles,
waiting for arrangements to be made for our transportation across the
Isthmus, a black man, employed there, fixed his eye upon our
dark-skinned Julia, and, approaching, asked if she "got free in the
Linkum war." I told him that she did, and asked him where he came from.
He said he was from Jamaica; and I said, "I suppose you have been free a
long time?" to which he, replied, with great energy, "Before I was
born, I was free," and repeated it again and again,--"before I was

We found that Julia, to whom all things were new in the land of freedom,
thought that the island where we spent so many days was a regular
stopping-place on the way to California, and that the wreck was a
legitimate mode of stopping; as one day she inquired if that was the way
they always went to San Francisco, and said, if she had known travelling
was so hard, she would not have started. This accounted for her
equanimity, which surprised me, after the vessel struck the reef, as she
sat quietly eating her cakes, while every thing was going to destruction
around us, and the sea broke above our heads.

In crossing the Isthmus of Panama, we were delighted with the neat
appearance of the natives, whom we saw along the roadside, or sitting in
their little huts near by, which were made of the trunks of the tall
palm-trees, in columns, open at the side, and thatched with leaves.
These people were clad in clean white garments, the women with muslins
and laces drooping from their bare shoulders, and with bright flowers in
their hair.

On reaching Panama, the women there greeted us with great kindness and
sympathy. One of them threw her arms around one of the first women of
our party that she saw, and exclaimed, "Oh, we have thought so much
about you! we were afraid you would die for want of water." It seemed
strange that they should have cared so much, when a little while before
they never knew of our existence. I felt as if I had hardly had a chance
before in my life to know what mere humanity meant, apart from
individual interest, and how strong a feeling it is. We realized still
more the kindness of these "dear, dark-eyed sisters," when we opened the
trunk of clothing which they sent on board the "America," the steamer
that took us to San Francisco.

The voyage up the Pacific coast was long and wearisome. For some days we
felt seriously the ill effects of the island life and the tropic heat,
and could only endure; until, one morning, we came up on deck, and there
were the beautiful serrated hills of Old California. We had rounded Cape
St. Lucas, and had a strong, exhilarating breeze from the coast, and
began to be ourselves again.

The monotony of our sea-life was broken by one event of special
interest,--the addition of another human being to our large number. I
must mention first,--for it seems as if they brought her,--that all one
day we sailed in a cloud of beautiful gray-and-white gulls, flying
incessantly over and around us, with their pretty orange bills and
fringed wings and white fan-tails. They were very gentle and dove-like.
They staid with us only that day. The last thing that I saw at night,
far into the dark, was one flying after us; and, the next morning, we
heard of the birth of the baby. She was christened in the cabin, the day
after, by the Micronesian missionary, in the presence of a large
company. A conch-shell from the reef served as the christening-basin.
The American flag was festooned overhead; and, as far as possible, the
cabin was put into festive array. She was named "Roncadora America,"
from the reef, and the vessel on which she was born. The captain gave
her some little garments he was carrying home to his own unborn baby,
and the gold ties for her sleeves. When her name was pronounced, the
ship's gun was fired; then the captain addressed the father, who held
her, and presented him with a purse of fifty dollars from the
passengers, ending in triumph with--

          "And now, my friends, see Roncadora,
          With freedom's banner floating o'er her."

The father then uncovered her; she having made herself quite apparent
before by wrestling with her little fists under the counterpane, and
uttering a variety of wild and incomprehensible sounds. She proved a
handsome baby, large and red, with a profusion of soft, dark hair.


     Port Angeles.--Indian "Hunter" and his Wife.--Sailor's
     Funeral.--Incantation.--Indian Graves.--Chief Yeomans.--Mill
     Settlements.--Port Gamble Trail.--Canoe Travel.--The
     _Memaloost_.--Tommy and his Mother. Olympic Range.--Ediz
     Hook.--Mrs. S. and her Children.--Grand Indian Wedding.--Crows and

  July 20, 1865.

We reached here day before yesterday, very early in the morning. We were
called to the forward deck; and before us was a dark sea-wall of
mountains, with misty ravines and silver peaks,--the Olympic Range, a
fit home for the gods.

A fine blue veil hung over the water, between us and the shore; and, the
air being too heavy for the smoke of the Indian village to rise, it lay
in great curved lines, like dim, rainbow-colored serpents, over sea and

I thought it was the loveliest place I had ever seen. The old Spanish
explorers must have thought so too, as they named it "Port of the

We found that the path to our house was an Indian trail, winding about
a mile up the bluff from the beach; the trees shutting overhead, and all
about us a drooping white spirea, a most bridal-looking flower. Here and
there, on some precipitous bank, was the red Indian-flame. Every once in
a while, we came to a little opening looking down upon the sea; and the
sound of it was always in our ears. At last we reached a partially
cleared space, and there stood the house; behind it a mountain range,
with snow filling all the ravines, and, below, the fulness and prime of
summer. We are nearly at the foot of the hills, which send us down their
snow-winds night and morning, and their ice-cold water. Between us and
them are the fir-trees, two hundred and fifty and three hundred feet
high; and all around, in the burnt land, a wilderness of bloom,--the
purple fireweed, that grows taller than our heads, and in the richest
luxuriance, of the same color as the Alpine rose,--a beautiful
foreground for snowy hills.

The house is not ready for us. We are obliged at present, for want of a
chimney, to stop with our nearest neighbor. But we pay it frequent
visits. Yesterday, as we sat there, we received a call from two Indians,
in extreme undress. They walked in with perfect freedom, and sat down
on the floor. We shall endeavor to procure from Victoria a dictionary of
the Haidah, Chinook, and other Indian languages, by the aid of which we
shall be able to receive such visitors in a more satisfactory manner. At
present, we can only smile very much at them. Fortunately, on this
occasion, our carpenter was present, who told us that the man was called
"Hunter," which served as an introduction. Hunter took from the woman a
white bag, in which was a young wild bird, and put it into my hands. The
carpenter said that this Indian had done some work for him, bringing up
lumber from the beach, etc., and had come for his pay; that he would not
take a white man's word for a moment, but if, in making an agreement
with him, a white man gave him a little bit of paper with _any thing_
written on it, he was perfectly satisfied, and said, "You my _tilikum_
[relation]--I wait."

The neighbor with whom we are stopping says, that, the night before we
came, a wildcat glared in at her as she sat at her window.

It looks very wild here, the fir-trees are so shaggy. I think the bears
yet live under them. Many of the trees are dead. When the setting sun
lights up the bare, pointed trunks, the great troops of firs look like
an army with spears of gold, climbing the hills.

  JULY 30, 1865.

To-day, as we were descending by the trail from the bluff to the beach,
we saw a funeral procession slowly ascending the wagon-road. It came
from the Sailors' Hospital. We waited until it passed. The cart
containing the coffin was drawn by oxen, and followed by a little white
dog and a few decrepit sailors. There was no sign of mourning, but a
reverent look in their faces. The body had been wrapped in a flag by
brotherly hands. The deep music of the surf followed them, and the dark
fir-branches met overhead.

In California, the poorest of people, by the competition of undertakers,
are furnished, at low rates, with the use of silver-mounted hearses and
nodding plumes, a shrouding of crape, and a long line of carriages. Even
those who have really loved the one who is gone seem, in some
incomprehensible way, to find a solace in these manifestations, and
would have considered this sailor's solitary funeral the extreme of
desolation. But Nature took him gently to her bosom; the soft sky and
the fragrant earth seemed to be calling him home.

We found by inquiry that it was the funeral of an entirely unknown
sailor, who had not even any distant friends to whom he wished messages
sent. His few possessions he left for the use of the children of the
place, and quietly closed his eyes among strangers, returning peacefully
to the unknown country whence he came.

  AUGUST 2, 1865.

We went this morning to an Indian _Tamáhnous_ (incantation), to drive
away the evil spirits from a sick man. He lay on a mat, surrounded by
women, who beat on instruments made by stretching deer-skin over a
frame, and accompanied the noise thus produced by a monotonous wail.
Once in a while it became quite stirring, and the sick man seemed to be
improved by it. Then an old man crept in stealthily, on all-fours, and,
stealing up to him, put his mouth to the flesh, here and there,
apparently sucking out the disease.

  AUGUST 17, 1865.

Hunter stopped to rest to-day on our door-steps. He had a haunch of
elk-meat on his back, one end resting on his head, with a cushion of
green fern-leaves. He called me "_Closhe tum-tum_" (Good Heart), and
gave me a great many beautiful smiles.

We find that there are a number of canoes suspended in the large
fir-trees on some of our land, with the mummies of Indians in them.
These are probably the bodies of chiefs, or persons of high rank. There
is also a graveyard on the beach, which is gay with bright blankets,
raised like flags, or spread out and nailed upon the roofs over the
graves, and myriads of tin pans: we counted thirty on one grave. A
looking-glass is one of the choicest of the decorations. On one we
noticed an old trunk, and others were adorned with rusty guns.

Last night there came a prolonged, heavy, booming sound, different from
any thing we had heard before. In the morning we saw that there had been
a great landslide on the mountain back of us, bringing down rocks and

  AUGUST 30, 1865.

Yeomans, an old Indian chief, the _Tyee_ of the Flat-heads at Port
Angeles, came to see us to-day. He pointed to himself, and said, "Me all
the same white man;" explaining that he did not paint his face, nor
drink whiskey. Mrs. S., at the light-house, said that she had frequently
invited him to dinner, and that he handled his napkin with perfect
propriety; although he is often to be seen sitting cross-legged on the
sand, eating his meal of sea-urchins.

He is very dramatic, and described to us by sounds only, without our
understanding any of the words, how wild the water was at Cape Flattery,
and how the ships were rocked about there. It was thrilling to hear the
sounds of the winds as he represented them: I felt as if I were in the
midst of a great storm.

His little tribe appear to have great respect for his authority as a
chief, and show a proper deference towards him. He is a mild and gentle
ruler, and not overcome by the pride and dignity of his position. He is
always ready to assist in dragging our boat on to the beach, and does
not disdain the dime offered him in compensation for the service.

His son, a grown man, no longer young, who introduced himself to us as
"Mr. Yeomans's son," and who appears to have no other designation, is
much more of a wild Indian than the old man. Sometimes I see him at
night, going out with his _klootchman_ in their little canoe; she,
crouched in her scarlet blanket at one end, holding the dark sail, and
the great yellow moon shining on them.

I used to wonder, when we first came here, what their interests were,
and what they were thinking about all the time. Little by little we find
out. To-night he came in to tell us that there was going to be a great
_potlach_ at the coal-mines, where a large quantity of _iktas_ would be
given away,--tin pans, guns, blankets, canoes, and money. How his eyes
glistened as he described it! It seems that any one who aspires to be a
chief must first give a _potlach_ to his tribe, at which he dispenses
among them all his possessions.

This afternoon, as I sat at my window, my attention was attracted by a
little noise. I looked up; and there was a beautiful young Indian girl,
holding up a basket of fruit, of the same color as her lips and cheeks.
It was a delicious wild berry that grows here, known as the red
huckleberry. Mrs. S. knew her, and told me that she was the daughter of
the old chief, lately betrothed to a Cape Flattery Indian.

  SEPTEMBER 20, 1865.

Everywhere about Puget Sound and the adjoining waters are little arms of
the sea running up into the land, like the fiords of Northern Europe.
Many of them have large sawmills at the head. We have been travelling
about, stopping here and there at the little settlements around the
mills. We were everywhere most hospitably received. All strangers are
welcomed as guests. Every thing seems so comfortable, and on such a
liberal scale, that we never think of the people as poor, although the
richest here have only bare wooden walls, and a few articles of
furniture, often home-made. It seems, rather, as if we had moved two or
three generations back, when no one had any thing better; or, as if we
might perhaps be living in feudal times, these great mill-owners have
such authority in the settlements. Some of them possess very large
tracts of land, have hundreds of men in their employ, own steamboats and
hotels, and have large stores of general merchandise, in connection with
their mill-business. They sometimes provide amusements for the men,
little dramatic entertainments, etc.,--to keep them from resorting to
drink; and encourage them to send for their families, and to make
gardens around their houses.

The house where we stopped at Port Madison was very attractive. The
maple-trees had been cut down to build it; but life is so vigorous here,
that they grew up under the porch, and then, as they became taller, came
outside, and curved up around it, so that it was a perfect nest. The
maple here is not just like the Eastern tree, but has a larger, darker
leaf. Inside, the rooms were large and low, with great fireplaces filled
with flaming logs, that illuminated them brilliantly.

We began our expedition round the Sound in a plunger,--the most
atrocious little craft ever constructed. Its character is well expressed
by its name. These boats are dangerous enough in steady hands; but, as
they are exceedingly likely to be becalmed, the danger is very much
increased from the temptation to drink that seems always to assail the
captain and men in these wearisome delays.

To avoid waiting two or three days at Port Madison for the steamer, we
determined to cross to the next port by an Indian trail through the
woods; though we were told that it was very rough travelling, and that
no white woman had ever crossed there, and, also, that we might have to
take circuitous routes to avoid fires. We started early in the morning,
allowing the whole day for the journey. We passed through one of the
burnt regions, where the trees were still standing, so gray and spectral
that it was like a strange dream. Farther along we heard a prolonged,
mournful sound, that we could not account for; but, in a little while,
we came to where the bright flames were darting from the trunks and
branches, and curling around them. The poor old trees were creaking and
groaning, preparatory to falling. We were obliged, occasionally, to
abandon the trail; or, rather, it abandoned us, being burnt through.
Off the path, the underbrush was almost impassable; the vine-maple, with
crooked stems and tangled branches, with coarse briers and vines, knit
every thing together. It seemed more like a tropical than a northern
forest, there were so many glossy evergreen leaves. We recognized among
them the holly-leaf barberry (known also as the Oregon grape), one of
the most beautiful of shrubs. Its pretty clusters of yellow flowers were
withered, and its fruit not yet ripe. We found also the sallal,--the
Indian's berry,--the salmon-colored raspberry, and the coral-red
huckleberry. Occasionally we heard the scream of a hawk, or the whirring
of great wings above our heads; but, for the most part, we tramped on in
perfect silence. The woods were too dark and dense for small birds.

It was curious to notice how much some of the little noises sounded like
whispers, or like footsteps. There was hardly a chance that there could
be any other human beings there besides ourselves. It recalled to me the
Indian's dread of _skookums_ (spirits) in the deep woods. To him, the
mere flutter of a leaf had a meaning; the sighing of the wind was
intelligible language. So many generations of Indians had crossed that
trail, and so few white people, I felt as if some subtile aroma of
Indian spirit must linger still about the place, and steal into our
thoughts. Occasionally an owl stirred in the thicket beside us, or we
caught a glimpse of the mottled beauty of a snake gliding across our
path. The great boom and crash of the falling trees startled us, until
we were used to it, and understood it.

Whenever we left the trail, we felt some doubt lest we might not find it
again, or might happen upon an impassable stream that would cut us off
from farther progress; not feeling quite equal to navigating with a pole
on a snag, after the fashion of the Indians.

Near sunset, when the woods began to grow darker around us, we saw a
bird, about as large as a robin, with a black crescent on his breast.
His song was very different from that of the robin, and consisted of
five or six notes, regularly descending in minor key. It thrilled me to
hear it in the solitary woods: it was like the wail of an Indian spirit.

It began to be quite a serious question to us, what we were to do for
the night; as how near or how far Port Gamble might be, we could not
tell. There was no possibility of our climbing the straight fir-trees,
with branches high overhead; and to stop on the ground was not to be
thought of, for fear of wild beasts. We hastened on, but the trail
became almost undistinguishable before the lights of Port Gamble
appeared below us. As we descended to the settlement, we were met with
almost as much excitement on the part of the mill people, who had never
crossed the trail, as if we had risen from the water, or floated down
from the sky, among them.

We take great satisfaction in the recollection of this one day of pure
Indian life.

The next day we decided to try a canoe. We should not have ventured to
go alone with the Indians, not understanding their talk; but another
passenger was to go with us, who represented that he had learned the
only word it would be necessary to use. He explained to us, after we
started, that the word was "_hyac_," which meant "hurry up;" the only
danger being that we should not reach Port Townsend before dark, as they
were apt to proceed in so leisurely a way when left to themselves. After
a while, the bronze paddlers--two _siwashes_ (men) and two _klootchmen_
(women)--began to show some abatement of zeal in their work, and our
fellow-passenger pronounced the talismanic word, with some emphasis;
whereat they laughed him to scorn, and made some sarcastic remarks,
half Chinook and half English, from which we gathered that they advised
him, if he wanted to reach Port Townsend before dark, to tell the sun to
stop, and not tell them to hurry up. We could only look on, and admire
their magnificent indifference. They stopped whenever they liked, and
laughed, and told stories. The sky darkened in a very threatening way,
and a heavy shower came on; but it made not the slightest difference to
them. After it was over, there was a splendid rainbow, like the great
gate of heaven. This animated the Indians, and their spirits rose, so
that they began to sing; and we drifted along with them, catching enough
of their careless, joyous mood, not to worry about Port Townsend,
although we did not reach the wharf till two or three hours after dark.

A day or two after, we found, rather to our regret, that we should be
obliged to take a canoe again, from Port Discovery. The intoxicated
"Duke of Wellington"--an Indian with a wide gold band round his hat, and
a dilapidated naval uniform--came down, and invited us to go in his
sloop. We politely declined the offer, and selected Tommy, the only
Indian, we were told, who did not drink. With the aid of some of the
bystanders, we asked his views of the weather. He said there would
undoubtedly be plenty of wind, and plenty of rain, but it would not make
any difference: he had mats enough, and we could stop in the woods. But,
as we had other ideas of comfort, we waited two days; and, as the
weather was still unsettled, we took the precaution, before starting, to
give him his directions for the trip: "_Halo_ wind, Port Angeles; _hyiu_
wind, Dungeness," meaning that we were to have the privilege of stopping
at Dungeness if it should prove too stormy to go on. So he and his
little _klootchman_, about as big as a child of ten, took us off. When
we reached the portage over which they had to carry the canoe, he
pointed out the place of the _memaloost_ (the dead). I see the Indians
often bury them between two bodies of water, and have wondered if this
had any significance to them. I have noticed, too, that their
burial-places have always wild and beautiful surroundings. At this
place, the blue blankets over the graves waved in the wind, like the
wings of some great bird. A chief was buried here; and some enormous
wooden figures, rudely carved, stood to guard him. They looked old and
worn. They had long, narrow eyes, high cheek-bones, and long upper lips,
like true Indians, with these features somewhat exaggerated.

We tried to talk with Tommy a little about the _memaloost_. He said it
was all the same with an Indian, whether he was _memaloost_, or on the
_illahie_ (the earth); meaning that he was equally alive. We were told
at the store, that Tommy still bought sugar and biscuits for his child
who had died.

When we reached the other side of the portage, the surf roared so loud,
it seemed frightful to launch the canoe in it; but Tommy praised R. as
_skookum_ (very strong) in helping to conduct it over. He seemed much
more good-natured than the Indians we had travelled with before. He
smiled at the loon floating past us, and spoke to it.

When we reached Dungeness, he represented that it would be very rough
outside, in the straits. So he took us to a farmhouse. I began to
suspect his motive, when I saw that there was a large Indian encampment
there, and he pointed to some one he said was all the same as his mamma.
It was the exact representation of a sphinx,--an old gray creature lying
on the sand, with the upper part of her body raised, and her lower limbs
concealed by her blanket. I expected to see Tommy run and embrace her:
but he walked coolly by, without giving her any greeting whatever; and
she remained perfectly imperturbable, never stirred, and her expression
did not change in the least. I was horror-stricken, but afterwards
altered my views of her, and came to the conclusion that she was a good,
kind mother, only that it was their way to refrain from all appearance
of emotion. When we started the next morning, she came down to the canoe
with the little _klootchman_, loaded with presents, which she carried in
a basket on her back, supported by a broad band round her
head,--smoking-hot venison, and a looking-glass for the child's grave,
among them. The old lady waded into the water, and pushed us off with
great energy and strong ejaculations.

As we approached Port Angeles, we had a fine view of the Olympic Range
of mountains,--shining peaks of silver in clear outline; later, only
dark points emerging from seas of yellow light. Little clouds were drawn
towards them, and seemed like birds hovering over them, sometimes
lighting, or sailing slowly off.

  EDIZ HOOK LIGHT, September 23, 1865.

This light-house is at the end of a long, narrow sand-spit, known by the
unpoetical name of Ediz Hook, which runs out for three miles into the
Straits of Fuca, in a graceful curve, forming the bay of Port Angeles.
Outside are the roaring surf and heavy swell of the sea; inside that
slender arm, a safe shelter.

In a desolate little house near by, lives Mrs. S., whose husband was
recently lost at sea. She is a woman who awakens my deepest wonder, from
her being so able to dispense with all that most women depend on. She
prefers still to live here (her husband's father keeps the light), and
finds her company in her great organ. One of the last things her husband
did was to order it for her, and it arrived after his death. I think the
sailors must hear it as they pass the light, and wonder where the
beautiful music comes from. There is something very soft and sweet in
her voice and touch.

Sometimes I see the four children out in the boat. The little girls are
only four and six years old, yet they handle the oars with ease. As I
look at their bare bright heads in the sunshine, they seem as pretty as
pond-lilies. I feel as if they were as safe, they are so used to the

  PORT ANGELES, October 1, 1865.

Port Angeles has been the scene of a grand ceremony,--the marriage of
Yeomans's daughter to the son of a Makah chief. Many of the Makah tribe
attended it. They came in a fleet of fifty canoes,--large, handsome
boats, their high pointed beaks painted and carved, and decorated with
gay colors. The chiefs had eagle-feathers on their heads, great
feather-fans in their hands, and were dressed in black bear-skins. Our
Flat-heads in their blankets looked quite tame in contrast with them.
They approached the shore slowly, standing in the canoes. When they
reached the landing in front of Yeomans's ranch, the congratulations
began, with wild gesticulations, leapings, and contortions. They were
tall, savage-looking men. Some of them had rings in their noses; and all
had a much more primitive, uncivilized look, than our Indians on the
Sound. I could hardly believe that the gentlemanly old Yeomans would
deliver up his pretty daughter to the barbarians that came to claim her,
and looked to see some one step forward and forbid the banns; but the
ceremony proceeded as if every thing were satisfactory. There may be
more of the true old Indian in him than I imagined; or perhaps this is a
political movement to consolidate the friendship of the tribes. When
they landed, they formed a procession, bearing a hundred new blankets,
red and white, as a _potlach_ to the tribe. They brought also some of
the much-prized blue blankets, reserved for special ceremonies and the
use of chiefs.

What occurred inside the lodge, we could not tell; but were quite
touched at seeing Yeomans's son take the flag from his dead sister's
grave, and plant it on the beach at high-water mark, as if it were a
kind of participation, on the part of the dead girl, in the joy of the

  OCTOBER 5, 1865.

Flocks of crows hover continually about the Indian villages. The most
proverbially suspicious of all birds is here familiar and confiding. The
Indian exercises superstitious care over them, but whether from love or
fear we could never discover. It is very difficult to find out what an
Indian believes. We have sometimes heard that they consider the crows
their ancestors. It is a curious fact, that the Indians, in talking,
make so much use of the palate,--_kl_ and other guttural sounds
occurring so often,--and that the crow, in his deep "caw, caw," uses the
same organ. It may be significant of some psychological relationship
between them.


     Indian Chief Seattle.--Frogs and Indians.--Spring Flowers and
     Birds.--The Red _Tamáhnous_.--The little Pend d'Oreille.--Indian
     Legend.--From Seattle to Fort Colville.--Crossing the Columbia
     River Bar.--The River and its Surroundings.--Its Former
     Magnitude.--The Grande Coulée.--Early Explorers, Heceta, Meares,
     Vancouver, Grey.--Curious Burial-Place.--Chinese
     Miners.--Umatilla.--Walla Walla.--Sage-Brush and
     Bunch-Grass.--Flowers in the Desert.--"Stick"
     Indians.--Klickatats.--Spokane Indian.--Snakes.--Dead Chiefs.--A
     Kamas-Field.--Basaltic Rocks.

  November 5, 1865.

We saw here a very dignified Indian, old and poor, but with something
about him that led us to suspect that he was a chief. We found, upon
inquiry, that it was Seattle, the old chief for whom the town was named,
and the head of all the tribes on the Sound. He had with him a little
brown sprite, that seemed an embodiment of the wind,--such a swift,
elastic little creature,--his great-grandson, with no clothes about him,
though it was a cold November day. To him, motion seemed as natural as

Here we first saw Mount Rainier. It was called by the Indians _Tacoma_
(The nourishing breast). It is also claimed that the true Indian name is
_Tahoma_ (Almost to heaven). It stands alone, nearly as high as Mont
Blanc, triple-pointed, and covered with snow, most grand and

We have a great laurel-tree beside our house. It looks so Southern, it
is strange to see it among the firs. It has a dark outer bark, and a
soft inner skin; both of which are stripped away by the tree in growing,
and the trunk and branches are left bare and flesh-colored. It has
glossy evergreen leaves, and bright red berries, that look very cheerful
in contrast with the snow.

  APRIL 6, 1866.

The frogs have begun to sing in the marsh, and the Indians in their
camps. How well their voices chime together! All the bright autumn days,
we used to listen to the Indians at sunset; but after that, we heard no
sound of them for several months. They sympathize too much with Nature
to sing in the winter. Now the warm, soft air inspires them anew. All
through the cold and rainy months, as I looked out from my window, there
was always the little black figure in the canoe, as free and as
unembarrassed by any superfluities as the birds that circled around it.
It seemed a mistake, when the most severe weather came, for them to have
made no preparation whatever to meet it. It drove the women into our
houses, with their little bundles of "fire-sticks" (pitch-wood) to sell.
I offered one of them a pair of shoes; but she pointed to the snow, and
said it was "hot," and that it would make her feet too cold to wear

We were told, before we came here, that this climate was like that of
Asia; and now an Asian flower has come to confirm it. The marshes are
all gay with it: it is the golden club. The botany calls it the
Orontium, because it grows on the banks of the Orontes; and it is very
Asian-looking. It has a great wrapper, like the rich yellow silk in
which the Japanese brought their presents to President Lincoln. It is a
relation to the calla-lily, but is larger.

The very last day of winter, as if they could not possibly wait a day
longer, great flocks of meadow-larks came, and settled down on the field
next to us. They are about as large as robins, and have a braided work
of black-and-gold to trim off their wings, and a broad black collar on
their orange breasts. They appear to have a very agreeable consciousness
of being in the finest possible condition. The dear old robins look
rather faded beside them. With them came the crimson-headed linnets. In
trying to identify these little birds from our books, I found that great
confusion had prevailed in regard to them, because their nuptial plumage
differs so much from their ordinary dress. These darlings blushed all
over with life and joy, which told me their secret.

  APRIL 30, 1866.

In the winter we were told, that, when the spring came fully on, the
Indians would have the "_Red Tamáhnous_," which means "love." A little,
gray old woman appeared yesterday morning at our door, with her cheeks
all aglow, as if her young blood had returned. Besides the vermilion
lavishly displayed on her face, the crease at the parting of her hair
was painted the same color. Every article of clothing she had on was
bright and new. I looked out, and saw that no Indian had on any thing
but red. Even old blind Charley, whom we had never seen in any thing but
a black blanket, appeared in a new one of scarlet. But I was most
touched by the change in this woman, because she is, I suppose, the
oldest creature that I ever looked at. Nothing but a primeval rock ever
seemed to me so old; and when we had seen her before, she was like a
mummy generally in her clothing. These most ancient creatures have their
little stiff legs covered with a kind of blue cloth, sewed close round
them, just like the mummy-wrappings I have seen at Barnum's Museum. She
has more vivacity and animation than any one else I ever saw. If anybody
has a right to bright cheeks, she has. I like the Indians' painting
themselves, for in them it is quite a different thing from what it is in
fashionable ladies. They do it to show how they feel, not commonly
expressing their emotions in words.

This woman, who is a Pend d'Oreille, has the most extraordinary power of
modulation in her voice. The Indians, by prolonging the sound of words,
add to their force, and vary their meaning; so that the same word
signifies more or less, according as it is spoken quickly or slowly. She
has such a searching voice, especially when she is attempting to convict
me of any subterfuge or evasion, that I have to yield to her at once.
The Indians have no word, as far as I can learn, for "busy." So, when I
cannot entertain her, I have to make the nearest approach I can to the
truth, and tell her I am sick, or something of that kind; but nothing
avails, with her, short of the absolute truth. She is so very fantastic
and entertaining, that I should cultivate her acquaintance more, if it
were not for this deficiency in the language, which makes it impossible
to convey the idea to her when I want to get rid of her. As old as she
is, she still carries home the great sacks of flour--a hundred
pounds--on her back, superintends the salmon-fishery for the family,
takes care of the _tenas men_ (children), and looks after affairs in

  MAY 10, 1866.

We walked out to Lake Union, and found an Indian and his wife living in
a tree. The most primitive of the Indians, the old gray ones, who look
the most interesting, do not commonly speak the Chinook at all, or have
any intercourse with the whites. On the way there, we found the peculiar
rose that grows only on the borders of the fir-forest, the wild white
honeysuckle, and the glossy _kinni-kinnick_--the Indian tobacco.

We saw a nest built on the edge of the lake, rising and falling with the
water, but kept in place by the stalks of shrubs about it. A great brown
bird, with spotted breast, rose from it. I recognized it as the
dabchick. The Indians say that this bird was once a human being, wife to
an Indian with whom she quarrelled. He was transformed to the great
blue heron, and stalks about the marshes. With the remnant of her
woman's skill, she makes these curious nests, in sheltered nooks, on the
edges of lakes. She dived below the water, and we peeped in at her
babies. Their floating nest was overhung by white spirea. They had
silver breasts, and pale blue bills. I wondered that their little
bleating cry did not call her back; but, though below the water, she
seemed to know that we were near, and as long as we lingered about she
would not return.

We are going on a long journey to the north, part of it over a desert
table-land, where for four days there will be no house,--a part of the
country frequented by the Snake River Indians and the Nez Perces, who
are inclined to be hostile. It is near the territory of the Pend
d'Oreilles. I have seen one of them, with a pretty, graceful ornament in
her ear.

  June 8, 1866.

We travelled by steamer from Seattle to Portland, thence by a succession
of steamers as far as Wallulla. We then took the stage for Walla Walla,
at which point public accommodation for travel ceases. We stopped there
two or three days, seeking a conveyance across the country to this
point; and finally secured a wagoner, who agreed to transport us and our
luggage for a hundred dollars, the distance being two hundred miles.

The most interesting part of the journey was the passage of the
Columbia. The bar at the mouth of the river is a great hinderance to its
free navigation; and vessels are often detained for days, and even
weeks, waiting for a favorable opportunity to cross. We waited five days
outside in the fog, hearing all the time the deep, solemn warning of the
breakers, to keep off. Our steadfast captain, as long as he could see
nothing, refused to go on, knowing well the risk, though he sent the
ship's boats out at times to try to get his bearings. In all that time,
the fog never once lifted so that he could get the horizon-line. At the
end of the fifth day, he entered in triumph, with a clear view of the
river, the grandest sight I have ever seen. The passengers seemed hardly
to dare to breathe till we were over the bar. Some of them had witnessed
a frightful wreck there a few years before, when, after a similar
waiting in the fog for nearly a week, a vessel attempted to enter the
river, and struck on the bar. She was seen for two days from Astoria,
but the water was so rough that no life-boat could reach her. The
passengers embarked on rafts, but were swept off by the sea.

As we passed into the river, I sat on deck, looking about. All at once I
felt a heavy thump on my back, and a wave broke over my head,--a pretty
rough greeting from the sea. It seems that we slightly grounded, but
were off in an instant.

I had long looked forward to the wonderful experience of seeing this
immense river, seven miles broad, rolling seaward, and the great line of
breakers at the bar; but no one can realize, without actually seeing it,
how much its grandeur is enhanced by the surroundings of interminable
forest, and the magnificence of its snow-mountains. The character of the
river itself is in accordance with every thing about it, especially
where it breaks through the Cascade Mountains in four miles of rapids;
and still higher up, shut between basaltic walls, rushes with deafening
roar through the narrow passage of the Dalles, where it is compressed
into one-eighth of its width. For a long time I could not receive any
other sensation, nor admit any other thought, but of its terrific
strength. The Indians say that in former times the river flowed smoothly
where are now the whirling rapids of the Cascades, but that a landslide
from the banks dammed up the stream, and produced this great change. How
many generations have repeated the account of this wonderful occurrence,
from one to another, to bring it down to our times! This is now accepted
by scientific men as undoubtedly the fact.

It is hard to conceive the idea of the geologists, that this is only the
remnant of a vastly greater Columbia, that formerly occupied not only
its present bed, but other channels, now abandoned, including the Grande
Coulée, between whose immense walls it poured a current ten miles broad
at the mouth; and that the water was at some time one or two thousand
feet above the present level of the river, as shown by the terraces
along its banks, and fragments of drift caught in fissures of the rock.
The Grande Coulée is like an immense roofless ruin, extending north and
south for fifty miles. Strange forms of rock are scattered over the
great bare plain. To the Indians, it is the home of evil spirits. They
say there are rumblings in the earth, and that the rocks are hot, and
smoke. Thunder and lightning, so rare elsewhere on the western coast,
are here more common. The evidences of volcanic action are everywhere
apparent,--in the huge masses and curious columns of basaltic and
trap-rock, the lava-beds through which the rivers have found their way,
and the powdery alkaline soil. The marks of glaciers are also as
distinct in the bowlders, and the scooping-out of the beds of lakes. The
gravelly prairies between the Columbia and Puget Sound, and the
Snoqualmie, Steilaguamish, and other flats, show that the Sound was
formerly of much more extensive proportions than at present.

The Columbia was first discovered on the 15th of August, 1775, by Bruno
Heceta, a Spanish explorer, who found an opening in the coast, from
which rushed so strong a current as to prevent his entering. He
concluded that it was the mouth of some great river, or possibly the
Straits of Fuca, which might have been erroneously marked on his chart.
As this was the anniversary of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, he
named the opening _Enseñada de Asuncion_ (Assumption Inlet); and it was
afterwards called, in the charts published in Mexico, _Enseñada de
Heceta_, and _Rio de San Roque_. He gave to the point on the north side
the name of Cape _San Roque_; and, to that on the south, Cape _Frondoso_
(Leafy Cape).

Meares, in 1788, gave the name of Cape Disappointment to the northern
point, owing to his not being able to make the entrance of the river,
and the mouth he called Deception Bay, and asserted that there was no
such river as the St. Roc, as laid down in the Spanish charts.

Vancouver also, when exploring the Pacific coast in 1792, passed by this
great stream, without suspecting that there was a river of any
importance there. He noticed the line of breakers, and concluded, that,
if there was any river, it must be unnavigable, from shoals and reefs.
He had made up his mind, that all the streams flowing into the Pacific
between the fortieth and forty-eighth parallels of latitude were mere
brooks, insufficient for vessels to navigate, and not worthy his

Capt. Grey, who reached the place shortly after, with keener observation
and deeper in-sight, saw the indications of a great river there, and
after lying outside for nine days, waiting a favorable opportunity to
enter, succeeded in doing so on the 11th of May, 1792, being the first
to accomplish that feat, and explored the lower portion of it. He gave
to the river and to the southern point the names they now bear.

Vancouver failed in the same way to discover the Fraser, the great river
of British Columbia, although he actually entered the delta of the
river, and sailed about among the sand-banks, naming one of them
Sturgeon Bank; while the Spanish explorers, who were there about the
same time, recognized the fact of its existence far out at sea, in the
irregular currents, the sand-banks, the drift of trees and logs, and
also in the depression in the Cascade Mountains, which marks its

In 1805 Lewis and Clarke, who reached the mouth of the Columbia that
year, found that the Indians called the river "_Shocatilcum_" (friendly

Tourists have not yet discovered what a wonderful country this is for
sight-seeing, fortunately for us. On our passage up the Columbia, after
leaving Portland, we sat for two or three days, almost alone, on the
deck of the steamer, with nothing to break the silence but the deep
breathing of the boat, which seemed like its own appreciation of it; and
sailed past the great promontories, some of them a thousand feet high,
and watched the slender silver streams that fall from the rocks, and
felt that we were in a new world,--new to us, but older and grander than
any thing we had ever seen.

We were shown a high, isolated rock, rising far above the water, on
which was a scaffolding, where, for many generations, the Indians had
deposited their dead. They were wrapped in skins, tied with cords of
grass and bark, and laid on mats. Their most precious possessions were
placed beside them, first made unserviceable for the living, to secure
their remaining undisturbed. The bodies were always laid with the head
toward the west, because the _memaloose illahie_ (land of the dead) lay
that way.

In the instincts of children and of uncivilized people, there seems
something to trust. This idea of Heaven's lying toward the west appears
to have been held by the New-England Indians also, and is expressed in
Whittier's lines,--

              "O mighty Sowanna!
                Thy gateways unfold,
              From thy wigwam of sunset
                Lift curtains of gold!
          Take home the poor spirit whose journey is o'er--
          _Mat wonck kunna-monee!_ We see thee no more!"

The Chinese have also the "peaceful land in the west," lying far beyond
the visible universe.

Farther up the river, we passed some abandoned diggings, where little
colonies of patient, toilsome Chinamen had established themselves, and
were washing and sifting the earth discarded by previous miners; making,
we were told, on the average, two or three cents to the pan. The
Chinaman regularly pays, as a foreigner (and is almost the only
foreigner who does so), his mining-license tax to the State. He never
seeks to interfere with rich claims, and patiently submits to being
driven away from any neglected spot he may have chosen if a white man
takes a fancy to it.

We stopped one night at Umatilla City, a cheerless little settlement at
the junction of the Umatilla River with the Columbia, in the midst of a
bleak, dreary waste of sand and sage-brush, without a sign of a tree in
any direction, a perfect whirlwind blowing all the time. What could
induce people to live there, I could not imagine.

We stopped a day or two at Walla Walla, where one of the early forts was
established; the post having been transferred from Wallula, where it was
called Fort "Nez Perces," from the Indians in that vicinity, who wore in
their noses a small white shell, like the fluke of an anchor.

The journey from Walla Walla to Fort Colville occupied eleven days and
nights, during which time we did not take a meal in a house, nor sleep
in a bed. It was cold, rainy, and windy, a good deal of the time, but we
enjoyed it notwithstanding. To wake up in the clear air, with the
bright sky above us, when it was pleasant; and to reach at night the
little oases of willows and birches and running streams where we
camped,--was enough to repay us for a good deal of discomfort. At one of
the camping-grounds,--Cow Creek,--a beautiful bird sang all night; it
sounded like bubbling water.

For several days we saw only great sleepy-looking hills, stretching in
endless succession, as far as the horizon extended, from morning till
night, as if a billowy ocean had been suddenly transfixed in the midst
of its motion. They have only thin vegetation on them,--not enough to
disturb or conceal the beautiful forms, the curves which the waves leave
on the hills they deposit. Their colors are very subdued,--pale salmon
from the dead grass, or light green like a thin veil, with the red earth
showing dimly through. There is no change in looking at them, but from
light to shadow, as the clouds move over them.

We travelled, for a long distance, over sage-brush and alkali plains. In
this part of the country, sage-brush is a synonym for any thing that is
worthless. We found the little woody twigs of it available for our
camping-fires; but its amazing toughness reminded me of a story told by
Mr. Boller, in his book "Among the Indians." He was taking a band of
mustang half-breeds from California to Montana, when, to his surprise,
one of the mares presented him with a foal. Supposing it would be
impossible for it to keep up with the party, he took out his revolver to
shoot it. Twice he raised it, but the little fellow trotted along so
cheerily that his heart failed him, and he returned it to the holster.
The colt swam creeks breast-high for the horses, and travelled on with
sublime indifference to every thing but the gratification of its keen
little appetite. He resolved to take it through, thinking it would never
do to destroy an animal of so much pluck, and named it "Sage-brush." It
swam every stream, flinched from nothing, and arrived in good order in
Montana, a distance of three hundred miles, having travelled every day
from the time it was half an hour old. Its name was most appropriate, as
an illustration of the character of the plant.

Intermixed with the wastes of sage-brush were patches of bunch-grass.
The horses sniffed it with delight as luxuriant pasturage. It is curious
to see how nature here acts in the interest of civilization. The old
settlers told us that many acres formerly covered with sage-brush were
now all bunch-grass. It is a peculiarity of the sage-brush, that fire
will not spread in it. The bush which is fired will burn to the ground,
but the next will not catch from it. The grass steals in among the
sage-brush; and, when that is burned, it carries the fire from one bush
to another. Although the grass itself is consumed, the roots strike
deep; and it springs up anew, overrunning the dead sage-brush.

Then we came to the most barren country I ever saw,--nothing but broken,
rusty, worm-eaten looking rocks, where the rattlesnakes live. But here
grew the most beautiful flower, peach-blossom color. It just thrust its
head out of the earth, and the long pink buds stretched themselves out
over the dingy bits of rock; and that was all there was of it. We took
some of the roots, which are bulbous, and shall try to furnish them with
sufficient hardships to make them grow.

One night, while in this region, we camped on a hill where the cayotes
came up and cried round us, which made it seem quite wild.

Wherever there was any soil, there was another little plant that was
very pretty to notice, both for itself, and because of its adaptation to
the climate in the dry season. It was coated with a delicate fur; and
long after the hot sun was up, and when every thing else was dry, great
diamonds of dew glistened in its soft hair. We saw a great many plants
of the lupine family, in every variety of shade, from crimson, blue, and
purple, to white.

On the last days we had all the time before us dark mountains, with snow
on their summits, and troops of trees on their sides, and ravines with
sun-lighted mists travelling through them. It was like getting into an
inhabited country, to reach the trees again: they were almost like human
beings, after what we had seen. The Spokane River divides the great
treeless plain on the south from the timbered mountainous country to the

During this journey, we came upon various little bands of Indians, of
different tribes. We noticed the superiority of the "stick" Indians
(those who live in the woods) over those who live by the sea. The former
have herds of horses, and hunt for their living. The Indians who live by
fishing are of tamer natures, poor and degraded, compared to those of
the interior.

We saw at Walla Walla some of the Klickatats, from the mountains. They
were very bright and animated in their appearance, and wore fringed
dresses and ornamented leggings, and moccasins of buffalo-skin. They
were mounted upon fancy-colored and spotted horses, which they prize
above all others. They presented such a striking contrast to the lazy
Clalams on the Sound,--who used to say to us in reply to our inquiries
as to their occupations and designs, "_Cultus nannitsh, cultus
mitlight_" (look about and do nothing), as if that were their whole
business all day long,--that I was reminded of what some of the early
explorers said, that no two nations of Europe differed more widely from
each other than the different tribes of Indians.

One day we met an Spokane Indian, of very striking appearance, with a
face like Dante's, but with a happier expression. He was most becomingly
clothed in white blankets, compactly folded about him, with two or three
narrow red stripes across his bonnet of the same material, which had a
red peaked border, completely encircling the face, like an Irishwoman's
night-cap, or rather day-cap, but much more picturesque. He was scouring
the hills and plains between the Snake and Spokane Rivers, mounted on a
gay little pony, in search of stolen horses. Upon being questioned as to
his abiding-place, he informed us that he did not live anywhere.

We saw some representatives of another tribe of Indians, the Snakes.
They call themselves Shoshones, which means only "inland Indians." The
white people called them Snakes, probably because of their marvellous
power of eluding pursuit, by crawling off in the long grass, or diving
in the water. They seemed more wild and agile than any we had seen. The
Snakes were a very numerous tribe when the traders first came among
them. When questioned as to their number, by the agents of "The Great
White Chief," they said, "It is the same as the stars in the sky." They
were a proud, independent people, living mostly on the plains, hunting
the buffalo. They kept no canoes; depending only on temporary rafts of
bulrushes or willows, if not convenient to ford or swim across the
streams. They were the only Indians of this part of the country who had
any knowledge of working in clay,--their necessities obliging them to
make rude jugs in which to carry water across the bare plains. The
mountain Snakes were outlaws, enemies to all other tribes. They lived in
bands, in rocky caverns; and were said to have a wonderful power of
imitating all sounds of nature, from the singing of birds to the howling
of wolves,--by this means diverting attention from themselves, and
escaping detection in their roving, predatory expeditions.

When we reached the ferry on the Snake River, we saw some Indians
swimming their horses across. They were a bunting-party of Spokanes and
Nez Perces. Strapped on to one of the horses, with a roll of blankets,
was a Nez Perces baby. This infant, though apparently not over a year
and a half old, sat erect, grasping the reins, with as spirited and
fearless a look as an old warrior's.

At one of the portages, we saw some graves of chiefs; the bodies
carefully laid in east-and-west lines, and the opening of the lodge
built over them was toward the sunrise. On a frame near the lodge were
stretched the hides of their horses, sacrificed to accompany them to
another world. The missionaries congratulate themselves that these
barbarous ceremonies are no longer observed, that the Indian is weaned
from his idea of the happy hunting-ground, and the sacrilegious thought
of ever meeting his horse again is eradicated from his mind. I thought
with satisfaction that the missionary really knows no more about the
future than the Indian, who seems ill adapted to the conventional idea
of heaven. For my part, I prefer to think of him, in the unknown future,
as retaining something of his earthly wildness and freedom, rather than
as a white-robed saint, singing psalms, and playing on a harp.

Between the Snake and the Spokane are several beautiful lakes. We met a
hunter coming from one of them, who had shot a white swan. He said he
found it circling round and round its dead mate, in so much distress
that he thought it was a kindness to kill it.

We passed two great smoking mounds, and, on alighting to investigate,
found that we were in the midst of a kamas-field, where a great many
Indian women and children were busy digging the root, and roasting it in
the earth.

Some of the old women wore the fringed skirt, made of cloth spun and
woven from the soft inner bark of the young cedar, which they used to
wear before blankets were introduced.

The Indians eat other roots beside the kamas, but that is the one on
which they chiefly depend. As soon as the snow is off the ground, they
begin to search for a little bulbous root they call the _pohpoh_. It
looks like a small onion, and has a dry, spicy taste. In May they get
the _spatlam_, or bitter-root. This is a delicate white root, that
dissolves in boiling, and forms a bitter jelly. The Bitter Root River
and Mountains get their name from this plant. In June comes the kamas.
It looks like a little hyacinth-bulb, and when roasted is as nice as a
chestnut. We have seen it in blossom, when its pale-blue flowers
covered the fields so closely that, at a little distance, we took it for
a lake. One of the women, seeing our curiosity as we watched them, drew
some of the bulbs out of the earth ovens, and handed them to us. As we
tasted them, they explained that they were not ready to eat; that it
would take two or three days to roast them sufficiently. This they live
upon for two or three months; with the salmon, it is their chief article
of food. The women stop at the kamas-grounds, while the men go to the

In August they gather the choke-berry and service-berry, to dry for the
winter. When they are reduced to great extremity for food, they
sometimes boil and eat the moss and lichens on the trees, which the deer
eats. Most of the work of digging the roots, and picking the berries,
falls upon the women. On this account, a Spokane man in marrying joins
the tribe of his wife, instead of her joining his tribe; thinking, if he
takes her away from the places where she has been accustomed to find her
roots and berries, she may not succeed, in a new place, in discovering

We saw, in the vicinity of the Pelouse River, some remarkable basaltic
rocks, that looked like buildings with columns and turrets and
bastions. Some of them were like my idea of the great kings' tombs of
the Egyptians. The colors on them were often very Egyptian-like,--bright
sulphur-yellow, and brown, and sometimes orange and dark
red,--incrustations of lichen and weather-staining. We saw, also, walls
of pentagonal columns of rock, packed closely together. Where the
Pelouse enters the Snake River, are immense ledges of square blocks.
When we camped there, and I lay down beneath them at night, "Swedish
_trappa_, a stair," from the geological text-book, was always running in
my mind,--this black trap-rock made such great steps that led up towards
the sky.

We have seen here a splendid specimen of gold, which is to be sent to
the Exposition at Paris. It is granulated, and sparkles as I never saw
gold before. Some one suggests that a thin film of quartz may be
crystallized over it.

Next week we hope to go up within sight of the whirlpools of Death's
Rapids, a long distance above here, on the Columbia River. These rapids
are so named on account of the number of persons who have been lost in
attempting to navigate them. Their names are cut into the rocks at the
side of the passage; their bodies have never been found.


     Two Hundred Miles on the Upper Columbia.--Steamer
     "Forty-Nine."--Navigation in a Cañon.--Pend d'Oreille River and
     Lake.--Rock Paintings.--Tributaries of the Upper Columbia.--Arrow

  FORT COLVILLE, July 20, 1866.

We have just returned from a trip on the Columbia River, extending two
hundred miles north into British Columbia, on the little steamer built
in this vicinity for the purpose of carrying passengers and supplies to
the Big Bend and other mines in the upper country. We did not get to the
"Rapids of the Dead." The boat, this time, did not complete her ordinary
trip. Some of the passengers came to the conclusion that the river was
never intended to be navigated in places she attempted to run through.
It is a very adventurous boat, called the "Forty-nine," being the first
to cross that parallel,--the line separating Washington Territory from
British Columbia. The more opposition she meets with, and the more
predictions there are against her success, the more resolute she is to
go through; on which account, we were kept three weeks on the way, the
ordinary length of the passage being four days. I was surprised, when we
came to the first of what was called the "bad water," to see the boat
aim directly for it. It was much better, the captain said, to go "head
on," than to run the risk of being carried in by an eddy. I never saw
any river with such a tendency to whirl and fling itself about as the
Upper Columbia has. It is all eddies, in places where there is the least
shadow of a reason for it, and even where there is not; influenced, I
suppose, by the adjoining waters. Some of these whirl-pits are ten or
fifteen feet deep, measured by the trees that are sucked down into them.

The most remarkable part of the river is where it is compressed to
one-sixth of its width, in passing through a mountain gorge
three-quarters of a mile long. The current is so strong there, that it
takes from four to six hours for the steamer to struggle up against it,
and only one minute to come down. The men who have passed down through
it, in small boats, say that it is as if they were shot from the mouth
of a cannon.

When we reached this cañon, our real difficulties began. We attempted
to enter it in the afternoon, but met with an accident which delayed us
until the next morning. Meanwhile the river began to rise. It goes up
very rapidly, fifty, sixty, I believe even seventy, feet, sometimes. We
waited twelve days in the woods for it to subside. The captain cut us a
trail with his axe; and we sat and looked at the great snow-fields up on
the mountains, so brilliant that the whitest clouds looked dark beside
them. The magnificence of the scenery made every one an artist, from the
captain to the cook, who produced a very beautiful drawing of three
snow-covered peaks, which he called "The Three Sisters."

Everybody grew very impatient; and at length, one night, the captain
said he would try it the next morning, although he had never before been
up when the water was so high. A heavy rain came on, lasting all night,
so that it seemed rather desperate to attempt going through, if the
river was too high the night before; and I could hardly believe it, when
I heard the engineer getting up the steam to start. The wildest weather
prevailed at this time, and on all important occasions. As soon as we
went on board the boat, in first starting, a violent thunder-storm came
on, lightning, hail, and rain; and a great pine-tree came crashing
down, and fell across the bow of the boat. A similar storm came again
the first time we tried to enter the cañon; and the drift it brought
down so interfered with the steering, that it led to the accident before
mentioned. On this last morning, there were most evident signs of
disapproval all about us,--the sky perfect gloom, and the river
continually replenishing its resources from the pouring rain, and
strengthening itself against us. But we steamed up to the entrance of
the cañon. Then the boat was fastened by three lines to the shore, and
the men took out a cable six hundred feet in length, which they carried
along the steep, slippery rocks, and fastened to a great tree. One of
them rolled down fifty feet into the water, but was caught by his
companions before he was whirled away. They then returned to the boat,
let on all the steam, and began to wind up the cable on the capstan.
With the utmost power of the men and steam, it was sometimes impossible
to see any progress. Finally, however, that line was wound up; and the
boat was again secured to the bank, and the cable put out the second
time. This part of the passage was still more difficult; and, after the
line was arranged, two men were left on shore with grappling-irons to
keep it off the rocks,--a great, fine-looking one, who appeared equal to
any emergency, and a little, common one, with sandy hair and a
lobster-colored face and neck. We watched them intently; and, as we drew
near, we saw that the line had caught on something beneath the surface
of the water, so that they could not extricate it. The little man toiled
vigorously at it, standing in the water nearly up to his head; but
appeared to be feebly seconded, by the big one, who remained on the
rocks. It seemed as if the line would part from the strain, or the boat
strike the next moment. The mate shouted and gesticulated to them; but
no voice could be heard above the raging water, and they either could
not understand his motions, or could not do as they were directed. The
boat bore directly down upon them. Presently it seemed evident to us
that the little man must sacrifice himself for the steamer; but I did
not know how it looked to him,--people are all so precious to
themselves. He stopped a second, then flung back his cap and pole, and
threw himself under the boiling water. Up came the rope to the surface,
but the man was gone. Instantly after, he scrambled up the bank; and the
great magnificent man did nothing but clutch him on the back when he
was safely out.

We had then wound up about two-thirds of the cable. Immediately after,
this remarkable occurrence took place: The great heavy line came wholly
up out of the water. A bolt flew out of the capstan, which was a signal
for the men who were at work on it to spring out of the way. The captain
shouted, "Cut the rope!" but that instant the iron capstan was torn out
of the deck, and jumped overboard, with the cable attached to it. I felt
thankful for it, for I knew it was the only thing that could put an end
to our presumptuous attempt. I had felt that this rope would be a great
snare to us in case of accident. Three of our four rudders were broken;
but the remaining one enabled us to get into an eddy that carried us to
a little cove, where we stopped to repair damages sufficiently to come
down the river.

All day, the rain had never ceased; and the river had seemed to me like
some of those Greek streams that Homer tells of, which had so much
personal feeling against individuals. I felt as if we were going to be
punished for an audacious attempt, instead of rewarded for what might
otherwise have been considered a brave one. When the capstan
disappeared, it was just as if some great river-god, with a whiff of
his breath, or a snap of his fingers, had tossed it contemptuously
aside. So we turned back defeated. But there was a great deal to enjoy,
when we came to think of it afterwards, and were safely out of it. We
had seen nothing so bold and rugged before. An old Scotchman, who knows
more about it than any one else here, had said to us before we started,
"That British Columbia is such a terrible country, very little can ever
be known of it." But there was a great deal that was beautiful too. I
was particularly struck with the manner in which the Pend d'Oreille
springs into the Columbia. Glen Ellis Fall, gliding down in its
swiftness, always seemed to me more beautiful than almost any thing else
I ever saw. But this river is more demonstrative. It springs up, and
falls again in showers of spray, and comes with great leaps out of the
cañon, in a way that I cannot describe. There is in it more freedom and
strength and delight than in any thing else I ever saw. Far to the
south-east, this stream widens into Lake Pend d'Oreille. On this lake
are the wonderful painted rocks, rising far above the water, upon which,
at the height of several hundred feet, are the figures of men and
animals, which the Indians say are the work of a race that preceded
them. They are afraid to approach the rocks, lest the waters should rise
in anger, and ingulf them. There are also hieroglyphic figures far up on
the rocks of Lake Chelan, which is supposed to have once been an arm of
the Columbia. These paintings or picture-writings must have been made
when the water was so high in the lakes that they could be done by men
in boats.

Most of the tributaries of the Upper Columbia are similar in character
to the main stream,--wild, unnavigable rivers, flowing through deep
cañons, and full of torrents and rapids. With Nature so vigorous and
unsubdued about us, all conventionalities seemed swept away; and
something fresh and strong awoke in us, as if it had long slumbered
until the presence of its kindred in these mountain streams called it to
consciousness,--something of the force and freedom of these wild,
tireless Titans, that poured down their white floods to the sea.

Most of these streams rise in lakes, and in some part of their course
spread again into one or more lakes; as, the Arrow Lakes of the
Columbia, the Flat-head, Kootenay, Pend d'Oreille, and Coeur d'Alêne,
and the beautiful string of lakes of the Okinakane, and many others.

As we passed through the Upper Arrow Lake and Lower Arrow Lake, which
lie in British Columbia, we had some splendid views of mountain scenery.
The Upper Lake is thirty-three miles long, and three in width,
crystalline water, surrounded by snow-covered peaks and precipices, and
forests of pine and cedar. The second is sixteen miles below the first,
forty-two miles in length, and two and a half wide. Innumerable arrows
were sticking in the crevices of the rocks. Formerly every Indian who
passed deposited an arrow,--intended probably as an offering to the
spirit that rules over the chase, just as the Indian medicine-man, when
he gathers his roots, makes an offering to the earth.

The Catholic missionaries were much surprised to find crosses erected
sometimes in lonely places, and at first supposed some other priests
must have preceded them; but learned that they were set up by the
Indians, in honor of the moon, to induce her to favor their nightly
expeditions for robbery or the chase.

  JULY 22, 1866.

We have been on an excursion to Kettle Falls on the Columbia, where the
river dashes over the huge rocks in a most picturesque way. These falls
were called _La Chaudière_ by the Canadian _voyageurs_, because the
pool below looks like a great boiling caldron. We noticed that limestone
there replaced the black basalt, of which we had seen so much, the water
falling over a tabular bed of white marble.

There we saw some Indians engaged in spearing salmon, as the fish were
attempting to leap the falls, in their passage up the stream to their
breeding-places. They do not always succeed in passing the falls at
their first leap, sometimes falling back two or three times. Many of
them are dashed on the rocks at the Cascades, and at other points where
the river presents obstacles to their progress. An immense number become
victims to the nets of the fishermen, and the traps and spears of the
Indians; and those that escape these dangers, and reach the upper
waters, are very much bruised and battered,--"spent salmon" they are
called. After their long journey of six or seven hundred miles from the
sea, it seems as if they would be filled with despair at the sight of
these boiling cataracts. They refuse bait on the way, apparently never
stopping for food, from the time they leave the salt water. Often with
fins and tails so worn down as to be almost useless, their noses worn to
the bone, their eyes sunken, sometimes wholly extinguished, they
struggle on to the last gasp, to ascend the streams to their sources. In
calm weather they swim near the surface, and close to the shore, to
avoid the strong current; and they are so possessed with this one
purpose, and so regardless of every thing about them, that the Indians
catch hundreds of them by merely slipping the gaff-hook under their
bodies, and lifting them out of the water,--selecting the best to
preserve for food, and throwing aside those that they consider as
worthless. These pale, emaciated creatures, I looked at with the
greatest interest. How strong is the impulse that carries them through,
in spite of these almost insurmountable obstacles! It is beyond our
knowledge, why, in coming in from the sea, they pass certain streams to
enter others; but this they are known to do, so perfectly do they
understand the mysterious direction given them.

The early explorers witnessed many ceremonies among the Indians not now
observed by them; as, the salmon-dance, to celebrate the taking of the
first salmon in the river. When the earliest spring salmon was caught in
the Columbia, the Indians were extremely particular in their dealings
with it. No white man could obtain it at any price, lest, by opening it
with a knife instead of a stone, he should drive all following salmon
from the river. Certain parts must be eaten with the rising, and others
with the falling, tide; and many other minute regulations carefully
observed. After the salmon-berry ripened, they relaxed their vigilance,
feeling that by that time the influx was secure.

The Gros Ventres celebrated the goose-dance, to remind the wild geese,
as they left in the autumn, that they had had good food all summer, and
must come back in the spring. This dance was performed by women, each
one carrying a bunch of long seed-grass, the favorite food of the wild
goose. They danced to the sound of the drum, circling about with
shuffling steps.


     Old Fort Colville.--Angus McDonald and his Indian Family.--Canadian
     _Voyageurs_.--Father Joseph.--Hardships of the Early
     Missionaries.--The Coeurs d'Alêne and their Superstitions.--The
     Catholic Ladder.--Sisters of Notre Dame.--Skill of the Missionaries
     in instructing the Indians.--Father de Smet and the Blackfeet.--A
     Native Dance.--Spokanes.--Exclusiveness of the Coeurs
     d'Alêne.--Battle of Four Lakes.--The Yakima Chief and the

  FORT COLVILLE, July 25, 1866.

We have been making a little visit to Old Fort Colville, one of the
Hudson Bay stations, kept by Angus McDonald, an old Scotchman, who has
been there for a great many years. He is an educated gentleman, of a
great deal of character and intelligence; and his wife is an Indian
woman, who cannot live more than half the year in the house, and has to
wander about, the rest of it, with her _tilicums_ (relations and

It was interesting to see how this cultivated man, accustomed to the
world as he had been, had adapted himself to life in this solitary spot
on the frontier, with his Indian children for his only companions. He
has about ten. In some of them the Scotch blood predominated, but in
most the Indian blood was more apparent. The oldest son, a grown man,
was a very dark Indian, decorated with wampum. Christine, the oldest
daughter, resembled her father most. She kept house for him, because, as
she explained to us, her mother could not be much in-doors. She spoke,
too, of disliking to be confined. I asked her where she liked best to
be; and she said, with the Blackfeet Indians, because they had the
prettiest dances, and could do such beautiful bead-work; and described
their working on the softened skins of elk, deer, and antelope, making
dresses for chiefs and warriors. We had a sumptuous meal of
Rocky-Mountain trout, buffalo-tongues, and pemmican. Although Christine
was, in some respects, quite a civilized young lady, she occasionally
betrayed her innocence of conventionalities, as when she came and
whispered to me, before the meal was announced, what the chief dishes
were to be. She mentioned, as one of the delicacies of the Blackfeet,
berries boiled in buffalo-blood.

Mr. McDonald told us many stories about the Canadian _voyageurs_
employed by the Hudson Bay Company, illustrating their power of
endurance and their elastic temperament. One of their men, he said, was
lost for thirty-five days in the woods, and finally discovered by the
Indians, crawling on his hands and feet towards a brook, nearly
exhausted, but still keeping up his courage. He asked us if we could
conjecture how he had kept alive all that time, with no means whatever,
outside of himself, to procure food. He had actually succeeded in making
a fine net from his own hair, with which he caught small fishes,
devouring them raw, accompanied by a little grass or moss; not daring to
eat any roots or berries, lest they might be poisonous, as the country
was new to him. These Canadians are as brown as Indians, from their
constant exposure to the sun and wind, and have adapted themselves
completely to Indian ways, wearing a blanket _capote_, leather trousers,
moccasins, and a fur cap, with a bright sash or girdle to hold a knife
and a tobacco-pouch. Their half-breed children are generally excellent
canoe-men and hunters, with the vivacity of the father, and the
endurance of the mother's race. Marcel Bernier, one of these French
Canadians, was one of the early settlers in the Cowlitz Valley; and we
have travelled with him between the Columbia River and Puget Sound, and
once stopped at his house over night. It was quite different from the
common Indian houses; having pillow-cases trimmed with ruffles and lace,
and great bear-skin mats on the door. The baby slept in a little hammock
swung from the ceiling. The family were devoted Catholics, and sung
matins and vespers, and had pictures and images of saints about the
room. We were quite impressed by the advance in civilization which the
little admixture of French blood had brought.

Christine took us to see an ancient Indian woman, who remembers the
country when there were no white people in it. She has the fifth
generation of her children about her. She is wholly blind, her eyes
mostly closed, only little bloodshot traces of them left. She sat
serenely in the sunshine, hollowing out a little canoe of pine-bark for
the youngest, two little girls who swam in the arm of the river before
the tent-door.

We went with Christine also up on the bluff to see Father Joseph, a
Catholic priest, who represented to me a new class of men, whom I had
known before only in books. His eyes were as clear blue as Emerson's
ideal ones, that tell the truth; and I knew he meant it, when he
answered a question I asked him, in a way that surprised me, and which I
should have taken, in some men, for cant. I asked him if it was not
ever solitary there; and he said, "It is enough like my own home
[Switzerland] for that, but all countries are alike to me. We have no
home here below." For twenty-five years he has lived on the top of that
hill, with only miserable Indians around him, who could repay him very
little for all his efforts. In the Indian war, he was supposed to be so
strongly on the side of the Indians, that the government agent, as I
find by the printed report, recommended his removal; although he
admitted that it was hard to say any thing against a man who had made
such unbounded sacrifices for what he considered the good of the
Indians. He had books in all languages on his shelves, and was very
intelligent and courteous.

He described the condition of the country when the first little band of
Jesuits, of whom he was one, entered upon the Oregon mission,--Oregon
then extending east as far as the Rocky Mountains. They had often to
travel through dark forests, into which the daylight never entered, and,
axe in hand, make their own paths through the wilderness, sometimes
crawling on all-fours through labyrinths of fallen trees, fording rivers
where the water reached to their shoulders, travelling afterwards in
their wet clothes, with swollen limbs, and moccasins soaked in blood
from laceration of their feet by the thorns of the prickly pear, and
lying down at night on their beds of brushwood, wrapped in their
buffalo-robes. The Indians were full of curiosity to know what they were
in search of, and listened with great interest when they attempted to
talk with them. The first group that Father Joseph gathered about him
sat all night to hear him, although they had come from hard labor of
hunting and fishing, and digging roots. He said, that, however degraded
they were, they were all eager to find some power superior to man.

The tribe among whom he first established himself--the Coeurs
d'Alêne--were renowned among all the tribes for their belief in sorcery;
and he experienced great difficulty in making an impression upon them,
from the opposition of the medicine-men (jugglers). Among this tribe he
found two relics held in great esteem, of which the Indians gave him
this account:--

They said that the first white man they ever saw wore a spotted-calico
shirt--which to them appeared like the small-pox--and a great white
comforter. They thought the spotted shirt was the Great Manitou himself,
the master of the alarming disease that swept them off in such vast
numbers, and that the white comforter was the Manitou of the snow; that,
if they could only secure and worship them, the small-pox would be
banished, and abundant snows would drive the buffalo down from the
mountains. The white man agreed to give them up, receiving in exchange
several of their best horses; and for many years these two Manitous were
carried in solemn procession to a hill consecrated to superstitious
rites, laid reverently on the grass, and the great medicine-pipe (which
is offered to the earth, the sun, and the water) was presented to them;
the whole band singing, dancing, and howling around them.

Father Joseph treated the Indians altogether as children, and devised a
system of object-teaching, making little images representing what they
were to shun, and what to seek, to which he pointed in instructing them.
He considered it a miracle, that they yielded their hearts to his
teaching; but it seemed to me, that if the good priest's gentle ways and
entire devotion to their welfare had produced no effect, it would have
been as contradictory to all the laws of nature as any miracle could be.
While instructing some savages from Puget Sound, he said the idea came
into the mind of one of the priests, to represent by a ladder, which he
made on paper, the various truths and mysteries of religion, in their
chronological order. This proved vastly beneficial in instructing them.
It was called the "Catholic ladder," and disseminated widely among the
Indians; their progress in religion being measured by their knowledge of
this ladder. At the same time that he sent the ladder among them, he
sent also roots and seeds and agricultural tools. I could hardly repress
a smile at seeing that he spoke with the same enthusiasm of their
success with the beans and potatoes, as with the ladder. The truth is,
that he had deeply at heart the good of these, his "wild children of the
forest," as he always called them. It was quite touching to him, he
said, to see how ready they were to believe that God took charge of
earthly things as well as of heavenly.

One of his associates in the early missions was a Belgian priest, whose
journal he showed us. He brought over, to aid in the work, six sisters
of Notre Dame, in 1844. The vessel which brought them to the Pacific
coast stopped at Valparaiso and Lima, to inquire how to enter the
Columbia River. Not receiving any satisfactory information, they sailed
north till they reached the forty-sixth degree of latitude. Then they
explored for several days, and at length saw a sail coming out of what
appeared to be the mouth of a river. They immediately sent an officer to
find out from this vessel how to enter; but, as he did not return, they
were obliged to approach alone the "vast and fearful mouth of the
river," and soon found themselves in the terrible southern channel, into
which, they were assured afterwards, no vessel had ever sailed before.
The commander of the fort at Astoria had endeavored, by hoisting flags,
by great signal-fires, and guns, to warn them of their danger. They saw
the signals, but did not suspect their intention. They sailed two miles
amidst fearful breakers. When at length they reached stiller water, a
canoe approached them, containing an American man and some Clatsop
Indians. The white man told them he would have come sooner to their aid,
but the Indians refused to brave the danger; and said that he expected
every moment to see the vessel dashed into a thousand pieces. The
Indians, seeing it ride triumphantly over the dreadful bar, considered
it under the special guidance of the Great Spirit, and greeted it with
wild screams of delight. This was the introduction of the serene sisters
to their field of labor. My idea of the sisters generally had been of
pale, sad beings, whose most appropriate place was by the side of
death-beds. These sisters of Notre Dame were brisk, energetic women, of
lively temperaments. Finding the building which was preparing for them
not yet provided with doors and windows, from the scarcity of mechanics,
they themselves set about planing, glazing, and painting, to make every
thing neat and comfortable. Wilkes, in his account of his exploring
expedition, speaks regretfully of the poor appearance the Protestant
missions presented, when compared with those of the Catholics; there
being among the former an unthrifty, dilapidated look, and the Indians
he saw there appeared to be employed only as servants.

The Catholics took pains to make all their ceremonies as imposing as
circumstances would permit; making free use of musketry, bright colors,
and singing,--things most attractive to an Indian,--remarking often,
"Noise is essential to the Indian's enjoyment," and, "Without singing,
the best instruction is of little value." They showed the Indians that
they regarded the comfort and good of their bodies, as well as of their
souls; giving them at Easter a great feast of potatoes, parsneps,
turnips, beets, beans, and pease, to impress upon them the advantages of
civilization, and taking pains that the requirements of religion should
not interfere with the fishery or the chase. All the good customs and
practices already established among them, they confirmed and approved,
and found much to sympathize with in the Indians. The suavity and
dignified simplicity of the chiefs particularly pleased them, and the
relation of the chief to the people,--they consulting him in regard to
every public or private undertaking, as when about to take a journey, or
when entering upon marriage; he regulating the gathering of roots and
berries, the hunting and fishing, and the division of spoils. The
priests said of the chief, "He speaks calmly, but never in vain." They
admired the self-control of the Indians, who never showed any impatience
when misfortunes befell them; and said, that, the farther they
penetrated into the wilderness, the better Indians they found. They were
especially pleased with those about the sources of the Columbia, and
said of their converts in that region, "If it be true that the prayer of
him who possesses the innocence, the simplicity, and the faith of a
child, pierces the clouds, then will the prayers of these dear children
of the forest reach the ear of Heaven." They were interested in the
different views of the future life held by the different tribes. To
those who lived by woods and waters, heaven was a country of lakes,
streams, and forests; but the Blackfoot heaven was of great sandhills,
stretching far and wide, abounding in game.

They devoted themselves with great zeal to reconciling hostile tribes,
particularly the Blackfeet and Flat-heads. All the tribes feared the
Blackfeet, especially that terrible sub-tribe called the "Blood
Indians." The Snakes, too, were a common enemy to all the river-tribes.
Father De Smet, the Belgian priest, with great intrepidity started for
the Blackfoot country, although receiving numerous warnings of the risk
he incurred. He encamped in the heart of their country. One of their
chiefs sought him out, and took a fancy to the fearless old man at
sight, embracing him in savage fashion, "rough but cordial." This chief
was ornamented from head to foot with eagle-feathers, and dressed in
blue as a mark of distinction. With this powerful friend, he immediately
gained a footing among them. He conducted towards them with great wisdom
and kindness, interfering as little as possible with their old customs.
After he had made many converts among them, they asked him, on one of
the great days of the Church, if he would like to see them manifest
their joy in their own way,--by painting, singing, and dancing; to
which he gave courteous assent. The dance was performed wholly by women
and children, although in the dress of warriors. Some of them carried
arms, others only green boughs. All took part in it, from the toddling
infant to the ancient grandam whose feeble limbs required the aid of a
staff. They carried caskets of plumes, which nodded in harmony with
their movements, and increased the graceful effect. There was also
jingling of bells, and drums beaten by the men who surrounded them, and
joined in the songs. To break the monotony, occasionally a sudden
piercing scream was added. If the dance languished, haranguers and those
most skilful in grimaces came to its aid. The movement consisted of a
little jump, more or less lively according to the beat of the drum. It
was danced on a beautiful green plain, under a cluster of pines. All the
Indians climbed the trees, or sat round on their horses, to see it.

The missionaries secured some of their readiest converts among the
Spokanes (children of the sun), who lived mostly on a great open plain.
Instead of being crafty and reserved, like most of the tribes about
them, they were free and genial. They welcomed the earliest explorers,
and lived on friendly terms with the settlers. They were more
susceptible to civilization and improvement than most of the other

Father De Smet was enthusiastic in his enjoyment of the forests and the
mountains; speaking often of the "skyward palaces and holy towers" among
the hills, "the immortal pine," the "rock-hung flower," the "fantastic
grace of the winding rivers." The desert country through which he
travelled, and of which we also saw something in coming to this place,
he called "a little Arabia shut in by stern, Heaven-built walls of
rock." In the narrow valleys at the foot of the Cascade Mountains, he
found magnificent groves of rhododendrons, thousands of them together,
fifteen or twenty feet high,--green arches formed underneath by their
intertwined branches; above, bouquets of splendid flowers, shading from
deepest crimson to pure white.

He mourned very much over the superstitions of the Indians; but said,
nevertheless, that an attack of severe illness, which he suffered after
one of his journeys, was no doubt sent as a punishment for his too
carnal admiration of nature.

       *       *       *       *       *

While we were talking with Father Joseph, and looking over the journal,
a messenger rode up to the door, and told him that _Tenas Marie_ (Little
Mary) was dying. The Indian agent, who stood by, said, "It is not much
of a loss; she is a worthless creature." Father Joseph turned to him in
a most dignified way, and said, "It is a human being;" and then to
Christine, and asked if she would lend him a horse, she having a whole
herd at command. Presently he started off for a whole night's ride. I
thought, if I were Little Mary, after my bad life, when I must enter
into account for it, I should be a good deal cheered and supported to
see his kind eyes, and hear his firm voice directing me at the last.

The Coeurs d'Alêne (pointed hearts, or hearts of arrows--flint)[1]
were so called from their determined resistance to having the white men
come among them. They did not desire to have one of the Hudson Bay
Company's posts upon their land, although the other tribes favored their
establishment among them, wishing to barter their skins and obtain
fire-arms; but said, that, if the white men saw their country, they
would want to take it from them, it was so beautiful.

Father Joseph was their interpreter in the negotiations between them
and the United States Government. They attacked Col. Steptoe, while he
was passing through their territory, because they had heard that the
white men were going to build a road which would drive away the deer and
the buffalo. It was explained to them, that, although this was so, other
advantages would more than compensate for it. This was beyond their
comprehension. To them, the advantages of civilization bore no
comparison to the charm of their free, roving life. When the army
officers entered the Coeur d'Alêne country, they declared that no
conception of heaven could surpass the beauty of its exquisite lakes,
embosomed in the forest. This tribe held firm against all propositions
of the government to treat with them, until Donati's comet appeared in
1858; when, supposing it to be a great fiery broom sent to sweep them
from the earth, they accepted a treaty.

The "Battle of Four Lakes" was fought in this country. An old man whom
we met at the fort in Walla Walla, who saw this battle, gave us some
account of it. The lakes are surrounded with rocks covered with pine.
Beyond them is a great rolling country of grassy hills. For about two
miles, he said, this open ground was all alive with the wildest, most
fantastic figures of mounted Indians, with painted horses, having
eagle-feathers braided into their tails and manes; each Indian fighting
separately on his own account. He described to us the appearance of the
war chief as he rode to battle, his own head hidden by a wolf's head,
with stiff, sharp ears standing erect, ornamented with bears' claws, and
under it a circlet of feathers. From this head depended a long train of
feathers that floated down his back; the loss of which would be the loss
of his honor, and as great a disaster to him as, to a Chinaman, the loss
of his cue. His war-horse was painted, as well as his own person, and
also profusely decorated with feathers on head and tail. The Indians
have such a fancy for feathers, that, in some of their medicine
ceremonies, they smear their heads with a sticky substance, and cover
them all over with swan's-down.

Lieut. Mullan's surveying expedition roused many of the tribes to
desperation. Owhi, the Yakima chief, when urged to give up his
land,--or, what amounted to the same thing, to allow free passage to the
surveying party and the road-makers,--argued that he could not give away
the home of his people; saying, "It is not mine to give. The Great
Spirit has _measured_ it to my people." Not being successful in his
arguments, he organized the outbreak of the following winter. The army
destroyed the caches filled with dried berries, and the pressed cake
which the Indians prepare from roots for their winter food, many lodges
filled with grain, and hundreds of horses; the officers mentioning in
their report, that it would insure the Indians a winter of great
suffering, and concluding in these words: "Seldom has an expedition been
undertaken, the recollection of which is invested with so much that is
agreeable, as that against the Northern Indians."


[1] To the Canadian _voyageur_, the word _alêne_ (awl) meant any
sharp-pointed instrument.


     Colville to Seattle.--"Red."--"Ferrins."--"Broke Miners."--A Rare
     Fellow-Traveller.--The Bell-Mare.--Pelouse Fall.--Red-Fox
     Road.--Early Californians.--Frying-Pan
     Incense.--Dragon-Flies.--Death of the Chief Seattle.

  SEATTLE, August 23, 1866.

We were detained at Fort Colville several days longer than we desired,
seeking an opportunity to get back to the Columbia River, by some chance
wagon going down from the mines, or from some of the supply-stations in
the upper country. In our expedition on the "Forty-nine," we had seen a
great many miners, and, among them, one horrid character, with a flaming
beard, who was known by every one as "Red." He had been mining in the
snow mountains, far up in British Columbia, and joined us to go down on
the steamer to Colville. He was terribly rough and tattered-looking. The
mining-season in those northern mountains is so short, that he said he
was going back to winter at the mines, so as to be on the spot for work
in the spring, and that he should take up about forty gallons of grease
to keep himself warm through the winter.

He and his companions told great stories about their rough times in the
mountains. Some of them mentioned having been reduced to the extremity
of living on "ferrins" when all other food had failed. These accounts
were generally received, by the rest of the miners, with great outbursts
of laughter. That appeared to be their customary way of regarding all
their misfortunes,--at least, in the retrospect. We wondered what the
"ferrins" could be. Nobody seemed to resort to them, except in the
direst need. Upon inquiry, we found out that they were _boiled ferns_. I
have always noticed that even insects of all kinds pass by ferns. I
suspect that even the hungriest man would find them rather unsatisfying,
but this light diet seemed to have kept them in the most jovial spirits.

R. was rather averse to travelling in such company, and always presented
"Red" to me as the typical miner, when opportunities offered for our
getting down from Colville with a party from the mines. Finally I
persuaded him to accept either "Buffalo Bill," who offered to take us by
ourselves, or an Irishman who insisted upon having a few miners with
him. I think he was rather prejudiced against the former, on account of
his name; and we therefore made an agreement with the latter, to take
us, with only two miners, instead of ten as he at first desired, that R.
should see them before we started, and that we should have the wagon to
ourselves at night. As it happened, we left in haste, and did not see
the miners until they leaped from the wagon, and began to assist in
putting in our baggage. That was not an occasion, of course, for
criticising them. Besides that, I saw, when I first looked at them, that
they were rather harder to read than most people I had met; and I could
not in a minute tell what to make of them. Our wagoner said they were
"broke miners." I did not know exactly what that meant, but thought they
might be very desperate characters, made more so by special
circumstances. One of them looked like a brigand, with his dark hair and
eyes. But I didn't mind; for I was tired of travelling about, and
anxious to get home. I thought I would sleep most of the way down; so I
put back my head, and shut my eyes. Presently the dark man began to talk
with R., in a musical voice, about the soft Spanish names of places in
California; and I could not sleep much. Then he spoke of the primitive
forms in which minerals crystallized, the five-sided columns of volcanic
rock, and the little cubes of gold. I could make no pretence at sleep
any longer; I had to open my eyes; and once in a while I asked a
question or two, although I would not show much interest, and determined
not to become at all acquainted with him, because we were necessarily to
be very intimate, travelling all day together, and camping together at
night. But I watched him a great deal, and listened to his conversation
upon many subjects. I think, that not only on this journey, but in all
the time since we came to this coast, we have not enjoyed any thing else
so much. He had uncommon powers of expression, and of thought and
feeling too, and took great interest in every thing. He had even a
little tin box of insects. He showed us the native grains, wild rice,
etc., the footprints of animals, the craters of old volcanoes, and
called us to listen to the wild doves at night, and the cry of the loon
and the curlew.

We travelled in a large freight-wagon, drawn by four mules. A pretty
little "bell-mare" followed the wagon. At night she was tied out on the
plain; and the mules were turned loose to feed, and were kept from
wandering far away by the tinkle of the bell hung on her neck. We slept
on beautiful flowering grass, which our wagoner procured for us on the
way. When he tied great bunches of it on the front of the wagon, to feed
the animals when they came to a barren place, it looked as if we were
preparing to take part in some floral procession. The first night, we
camped in the midst of the pine-trees. When I woke in the night, and
looked round me, the row of dark figures on either side seemed like the
genii in "The Arabian Nights," that used to guard sleeping princesses.

Besides the knowledge which our fellow-traveller possessed of the
country through which we were passing, which made him a valuable
companion to us then, his general enthusiasm would have made him
interesting anywhere. I remember a little incident at one of our noon
stopping-places, which we thought was very much to his credit. He always
hastened to make a fire as soon as we stopped. It was rather hard to
find good places, sheltered from the wind, where it would burn, and
which would furnish us, too, with a little shade. On this occasion there
was a magnificent tree very near us. We were passing out of the region
of trees, so it was a particularly welcome sight. He started the fire
close to it. It happened to be too near; the pitch caught fire, and
presently the trunk was encircled with flame. He was desperate to think
that he should have been guilty of an act of "such wanton
destructiveness," as he called it,--especially as it was the last fine
tree on the road. He abandoned all idea of dinner, and did nothing
through that fiery noon, when we could hardly stir from the
shade,--which we found farther off,--but rush between the stream near by
and the tree, with his little camp-kettle of water, to try to save it.
He looked back with such a grateful face, as we left the spot, to see
that the flames were smothered. There was something like a child about
him; that is, an uncommon freedom from the wickedness that seems to
belong to most met, certainly the class he is in the habit of
associating with. I doubt if there is one of the men we saw on the
"Forty-nine" who would not have been delighted to burn that tree down;
and how few of them would have thought, as he did, to put the little
pieces of wood that we had to spare, where fuel was scarce, into the
road, so that "some other old fellow, who might chance to come along,
might see them and use them "!

He told us one beautiful story about miners, though, in connection with
the loss of the "Central America." He had a friend on board among the
passengers, who were almost all miners going home. When they all
expected to perish with the vessel, a Danish brig hove in sight, and
came to the rescue. But the passengers could not all be transferred to
her. They filled the ship's boats with their wives and their treasure,
and sent them off; and the great body of them went down with a cheer and
a shout, as the vessel keeled over.

The event of special interest, in our journey home, was our visit to the
Pelouse Fall. We had heard that there was a magnificent fall on the
Pelouse, twelve miles by trail from the wagon-road, which we were very
desirous of seeing; but no one could give us exact directions for
finding it. Our friend the miner wanted very much to see it also; and as
he seemed to have quite an instinct for finding his way, by rock
formations and other natural features of the country, we ventured to
attempt it with him. The little bell-mare, which was a _cayuse_ (Indian)
horse, was offered for my use, and an old Spanish wooden saddle placed
upon her back. I had no bridle; but I had been presented at the fort
with a _hackama_ (a buffalo-hair rope), such as the Indians use with
their horses. This was attached to the head of the horse, so that the
miner could lead her. My saddle had an arrangement in front by which to
attach the lasso, in catching animals. The miner said that just the same
pattern was still in use in Andalusia and other Spanish provinces. I
felt as if I were starting on quite a new career. When he lifted me on
to the horse, he said, "How light you are!" It was because every care
had dropped off from me.

We rode over the wildest desert country, with great black walls of rock,
and wonderful cañons, with perpendicular sides, extending far down into
the earth. Mr. Bowles, in his book, "Across the Continent," says he
cannot compare any thing else to the exhilaration of the air of the
upland plains; neither sea nor mountain air can equal it. The extreme
heat, too, seemed to intensify every thing in us, even our power of
enjoyment, notwithstanding the discomfort of it. The thermometer marked
117° in the shade. I felt as if I had never before known what breezes
and shadows and streams were. Just as we had reached the last limit of
possible endurance, the shadow of some great wall of rock would fall
upon us, or a little breeze spring up, or we would find the land
descending to the bed of a stream. At length our miner, who had been
for the last part of the way looking and listening with the closest
attention, struck almost directly to the spot, hardly a step astray. It
was all below the surface of the earth, so that hardly any sound rose
above; and there was no sign of any path to it, not a tree, nor shrub,
nor blade of grass near, but an amphitheatre of rock, and the beautiful
white river, in its leap into the cañon falling a hundred and ninety
feet. The cliffs and jagged pinnacles of basaltic rock around it were
several hundred feet high. It looked like a great white bridal veil. It
was made up of myriads of snowy sheaves, sometimes with the faintest
amethyst tint. It shattered itself wholly into spray before it struck
the water below,--that is, the outer circumference of it,--and the inner
part was all that made any sound.

The miner looked upon it with perfect rapture. He said to me, "It is a
rare pleasure to travel with any one who enjoys any thing of this kind."
I felt it so too.

His striking directly at the spot, after many miles of travel, without
any landmarks, reminded me of the experience of Ross, the Hudson Bay
trader, when he travelled from Fort Okanagan on foot, two hundred miles
to the coast, taking with him an Indian, who told him they would go by
the Red Fox road; that is, the road by which Red Fox the chief and his
men used to go. After they had travelled a long distance over a pathless
country, without any sign of a trail, or climbed along the rocky banks
of streams, he asked his guide when they would reach the Red Fox road.
"This is it, you are on," was the reply. "Where?" eagerly inquired Ross:
"I see no road here, not even so much as a rabbit could walk on."--"Oh,
there is no road," answered the Indian: "this is the place where they
used to pass."

At another time, when he was travelling with an Indian guide, who was
accompanied by some of his relatives, the latter were left at a place
called Friendly Lake, and were to be called for on their return. They
went on to their journey's end, and on their way back, some days after,
stopped at the place; but no sign of the relatives appeared. The guide,
however, searched about diligently, and presently pointed to a small
stick, stuck up in the ground, with a little notch in it. He said, "They
are there," pointing in the direction in which the stick slanted,--"one
day's journey off." Exactly there they were found.

There was a kind of generosity about this "broke miner," that made us
ready to forgive a great deal in him. No doubt there would have been a
great deal to forgive if we had known him more. He was, very likely, in
the habit of drinking and gambling, like the others that we saw. I know
he was a terrible tobacco chewer and smoker. He has been seventeen years
on the Pacific side of the continent, came out as a "forty-niner," has
travelled a great deal, and taken notes of all he has seen, and said he
thought of making use of them some time, if his employments would ever
admit of it. I think he is the best fitted to describe the country, of
all the persons I have met.

He gave us quite a vivid idea of the semi-barbarous life of the
California pioneers, and of the intense desire they sometimes felt for a
glimpse of their homes, their wives, and children. I remembered Starr
King's saying that women and children had been more highly appreciated
in California ever since, on account of their scarcity during the first
few years. I rather think the sentiment of the miners was somewhat
intensified by the extreme difficulty they found in doing women's work.
One of them, now an eminent physician, pricked and scarred his fingers
in the most distressing manner, in attempting to sew on his buttons,
and patch the rents in his garments. Another member of the camp, who
was afterwards governor of the State, won his first laurels as a cook,
by the happy discovery, that, by combining an acid with the alkali used
in the making of their bread, the result was vastly more satisfactory
than where the alkali alone was used. In crossing the plains, they had
used the alkali water found there for this purpose.

A travelling theatrical company, who presented themselves with the
announcement that they would perform a drama entitled "The Wife," met
with unbounded appreciation. Carpenters were employed at sixteen dollars
a day to prepare for its presentation. This was the first play ever
acted in San Francisco. The company were encouraged to remain, and give
other performances; but, as there was only one lady actor, every play
had to be altered to conform to this condition of things.

The most tempting advertisement a restaurant could offer was, "potatoes
at every meal." Those who indulged in fresh eggs did so at an expense of
one dollar per egg.

When the signal from Telegraph Hill announced the arrival of the monthly
mail-steamer, there was a general rush for the post-office; and a long
line was formed, reaching from the office out to the tents in the
chapparal. The building was a small one, and the facilities for
assorting and delivering the mail so limited, that many hours were
consumed in the work. Large prices were often paid for places near the
head of the line; and some of the more eager ones would wrap their
blankets around them, and stand all night waiting, in order to get an
early chance.

Thus, with endless stories and anecdotes, accounts of his adventures as
a miner and explorer, and descriptions of the new and wonderful places
he had visited, and the curious people he had met, our fellow-traveller
beguiled the tediousness of the journey, and continually entertained us.

As we approached Walla Walla, we made our last camp at the Touchet, a
lovely stream. I woke in the morning feeling as if some terrible
misfortune had befallen us. I could not tell what, until I was fully
roused, and found it could be nothing else than that we must sleep in a
bed that night.

We left our miner in Walla Walla, to get work, I think, as a machinist.
My acquaintance with him was a lesson to me, never to judge any one by
appearance or occupation. We met afterwards some little, common-looking
men, who had been so successful at the mines that they could hardly
carry their sacks of gold-dust, which made hard white ridges in their
hands. They had fifteen thousand dollars or more apiece. I thought, how
unequally and unwisely Fate distributes her gifts; but then, as Mrs. S.
said when there was such a rush for the garments brought on board the
steamer for us at Panama, after our shipwreck, "Let those have them who
can least gracefully support the want of them."

Among the miners of the upper country, who had not seen a white woman
for a year, I received such honors, that I am afraid I should have had a
very mistaken impression of my importance if I had lived long among
them. At every stopping-place they made little fires in their
frying-pans, and set them around me, to keep off the mosquitoes, while I
took my meal. As the columns of smoke rose about me, I felt like a
heathen goddess, to whom incense was being offered. The mosquitoes were
terrible; but we found our compensation for them in the journey
homeward. I remember the entomology used to call the dragon-fly the
"mosquito-hawk;" and such dragon-flies I never before saw as we met with
near the rivers, especially at the Pelouse. There seemed to be a
festival of them there, and one kind of such a green as I believe never
was seen before on earth,--so exquisite a shade, and so vivid. There
were also burnished silver and gold ones, and every beautiful variety of
spotting and marking. A little Indian boy appeared there, dressed in
feathers, with a hawk on his wrist,--a wild, spirited-looking little

On Sunday we reached Olympia, and saw the waters of the Sound, and the
old headlands again. I had no idea it could look so homelike; and when
the mountain range began to reveal itself from the mist, I felt as if
nothing we had seen while we were gone had been more beautiful, more
really impressive, than what we could look at any day from our own

As we approached Seattle, we began to gather up the news. It is very
much more of an event to get back, when you have had no newspapers, and
only the rarest communication of any kind, while you have been gone.

Seattle, the old chief, had died. When he was near his end, he sent word
over to the nearest settlement, that he wished Capt. Meigs, the owner of
the great sawmill at Port Madison, to come when he was dead, and take
him by the hand, and bid him farewell.

We learned that the beautiful Port Angeles was to be
abandoned,--Congress having decided to remove the custom-house to Port
Townsend,--and that no vessels would go in there. It seemed like leaving
Andromeda on her rock. We are going down to make a farewell visit.


     Port Angeles Village and the Indian Ranch.--A "Ship's
     _Klootchman_."--Indian _Muck-a-Muck_.--Disposition of an Old Indian
     Woman.--A Windy Trip to Victoria.--The Black
     _Tamáhnous_.--McDonald's in the Wilderness.--The Wild Cowlitz.--Up
     the River during a Flood.--Indian Boatmen.--Birch-Bark and Cedar

  EDIZ HOOK, October 21, 1866.

We are making a visit at the end of Ediz Hook. No one lives here now but
the light-keepers. When we feel the need of company, we look across to
the village of Port Angeles and the Indian ranch. It is very striking to
see how much more picturesque one is than the other, in the distance. In
the village, all the trees have been cut down; but the lodges of the
Indians stand in the midst of a maple grove, and in this Indian-summer
weather there is always a lovely haze about it, bright leaves, and blue
beams of mist across the trees. Living so much out of doors as they do,
and in open lodges, their little fires are often seen, giving their
ranch a hospitable look, and making the appearance of the village very
uninviting in comparison.

  OCTOBER 26, 1866.

We have had a great storm; and last night, about dark, a white figure of
a woman appeared in the water, rising and falling, outside the breakers.
Some Indians went out in their canoes, and took her in to the shore. One
of them came to tell us about it. A "ship's _klootchman_" (wife or
woman), he said it was, and a "_hyas_ [big] ship" must have gone down.
It was the figure-head of a vessel. The next morning, I saw that the
Indians had set it up on the sand, with great wings--which they made of
broken pieces of spars--at the sides. It was the large, handsome figure
of a woman, twice life-size. They seemed to regard it as a kind of
goddess; and I felt half inclined to, myself, she looked out so serenely
at the water. I sat down by her side, thinking about what had probably
happened, to try to get her calm way of regarding it. A sloop was sent
over from the custom-house, to take it across the bay for
identification; but that proved impracticable. The captain said that he
knew the work,--it was English carving. Soon after, a vessel came in,
having lost her figure-head. The men on board said that a strange ship
ran into her in the night, and immediately disappeared. They supposed
she was much injured, as they afterwards saw a deck-load of lumber
floating, which they thought had come from her. They said it might be
the "Radama," bound for China.

  OCTOBER 29, 1866.

To-day, when we were coasting along the shore, we saw Yeomans preparing
his canoe for a long excursion. It was lined with mats. In the middle
were two of the baskets the Indians weave from roots, filled with red
salmon-spawn. Against them lay a gray duck, with snowy breast; then,
deer-meat, and various kinds of fishes. Over the whole he had laid great
green leaves that looked like the leaves of the tulip-tree. The narrow
end of the canoe was filled with purple sea-urchins, all alive, and of
the most vivid color. I took one up, and asked him if they were good to
eat. He said, "Indian _muck-a-muck_, not for Bostons" (whites). His
arrangements looked a great deal more picturesque than our preparations
for picnics.

The light-keeper at Ediz Hook told us to-day that he had exhumed an old
Indian woman, whom some of her tribe had buried alive, or, rather,
wrapped up and laid away in one of the little wooden huts in their
graveyard, according to their custom of disposing of the dead. They had
apparently become tired of the care of her, and concluded to anticipate
her natural exit from the world by this summary disposition of her. Mr.
S. heard her cries, and went to the rescue. He restored her to the
tribe, with a reprimand for their barbarity, and told them the Bostons
would not tolerate such _mesahchie_ (outrageous) proceedings.

  PORT ANGELES, October 31, 1866.

We made a spirited voyage to Victoria, across the Straits of Fuca. There
had been a very severe storm, which we thought was over; but it had a
wild ending, after we were on our way, and beyond the possibility of
return. We saw the California steamer, ocean-bound, putting back to
port. Our only course was to hasten on. The spray was all rainbows, and
there were low rainbows in the sky,--incomprehensible rainbows above and
below,--and the strongest wind that ever blew. It was all too wonderful
for us to be afraid: it was like a new existence; as if we had cast off
all connection with the old one, and were spirits only. We flew past the
high shores, and looked up at the happy, homelike houses, with a strange
feeling of isolation and independence of all earthly ties.

I staid on deck till every man had gone in, feeling that I belonged
wholly to wind and wave, borne on like a bird. But the captain came and
took me in, lest I should be swept from the deck. When we reached
Victoria, great wooden signs were being blown off the stores, and
knocking down the people in the streets. This is certainly the home of
the winds.

  NOVEMBER 20, 1866.

To-day we met on the beach Tleyuk (Spark of Fire), a young Indian with
whom we had become acquainted. Instead of the pleasant "_Klahowya_" (How
do you do?), with which he was accustomed to greet us, he took no notice
of us whatever. On coming nearer, we saw hideous streaks of black paint
on his face, and on various parts of his body, and inquired what they
meant. His English was very meagre; but he gave us to understand, in a
few hoarse gutturals, that they meant hostility and danger to any one
that interfered with him. We noticed afterwards other Indians, with
dark, threatening looks, and daubed with black paint, gathering from
different directions. The old light-keeper was launching his boat to
cross over to the spit, and we turned to him for an explanation. He
warned us to keep away from the Indians, as this was the time of the
"Black _Tamáhnous_," when they call up all their hostility to the
whites. He pointed to some Indian children, who had a white elk-horn,
like a dwarf white man, stuck up in the sand to throw stones at. I had
noticed for the last few days, when I met them in the narrow paths in
the woods, that they stopped straight before me, obliging me to turn
aside for them.

We saw them withdraw to an old lodge in the woods, as if to hold a
secret council. We did not feel much concerned as to the result of it
for ourselves, as we held such friendly relations to Yeomans, the old
chief, and had always given the Indians all the sea-bread they
wanted,--that being the one article of our food that they seemed most to
appreciate. As it proved, it was a mere thunder-cloud, dissipated after
a few growls.

  MCDONALD'S, December 18, 1866.

Not knowing the name of the nearest town, I date this from McDonald's,
that having been our last stopping-place. It is on the stage-route
between Columbia River and Puget Sound, and a place worth remembering. I
wish I could give an idea of its cheeriness, especially after travelling
a fortnight in the rain, as we have done. At this season of the year,
every thing is deluged; and the roads, full of deep mudholes and
formidable stumps, are now at their worst. The heavy wagons move slowly
and laboriously forward, sometimes getting so deep in the mire that it
is almost impossible to extricate them, and at times impeded by fallen
trees, which the driver has to cut away. They are poorly protected
against the searching rains, and for the last two days we have been

When we caught the first glimpse of the red light in the distance, we
felt very much inclined to appreciate any thing approaching comfort,
tired and dripping as we were; but what our happy Fates had in store for
us, we never for a moment imagined. We had hardly entered the house
before we felt that it was no common place. The fireplace was like a
great cavern, full of immense logs and blazing bark. It lighted up a
most hospitable room. From a beam in the low ceiling, hung a great
branch of apples. I counted twenty-three bright red and yellow apples
shining out from it.

Two stages meet here, and the main business at this time of the year is
drying the passengers sufficiently for them to proceed on their way the
next day. The host and his family stood round the fire, handling and
turning the wet garments with unbounded good-nature and patience. The
stage-drivers cracked jokes and told stories. A spirit of perfect
equality prevailed, and a readiness to take every thing in the best
possible part. The family are Scotch,--hard-working people; but they
have not worked so hard as to rub all the bloom off their lives, as so
many people have that we have seen.

When supper was announced, another surprise awaited us. Instead of the
unvarying round of fried meat and clammy pie with which we had hitherto
been welcomed, we were refreshed with a dish of boiled meat, a
corn-starch pudding, and stewed plums. Why some other dweller in the
wilderness could not have introduced a little variety into his bill of
fare, we could never conceive. It seemed a real inspiration in McDonald,
to send to California or Oregon for a little dried fruit and some papers
of corn-starch. He gave us, too, what was even more delightful than his
wholesome food,--a little glimpse of his home-life. To a tired
traveller, what could be more refreshing than a sight of somebody's
home? Generally, at whatever place we stopped, we saw only the
"men-folks;" the family, often half-breed, being huddled away in the
rear. Here, in the room in which the guests were received, lay the
smiling baby in its old-fashioned cradle. Two blithe little girls danced
in and out, and the old grandfather sat holding a white-haired boy. When
dinner was over, the great business of drying the clothes was resumed by
the travellers and the family; and we held our wrappings by the fire,
and turned them about, until we became so drowsy that we lost all sense
of responsibility. We found, the next morning, that our host sat up and
finished all that were left undone. He had become so accustomed to this
kind of work, that he did not seem to consider it was any thing extra,
or that it entitled him to any further compensation than the usual one
for a meal and a night's lodging. When we offered something more, he
pointed to a little box nailed up beside the door, over which was a
notice that any one who wished might contribute something for a school
which the Sisters were attempting to open for the children of that
neighborhood. Being Scotch people, I could hardly believe they were
Catholics; but found upon inquiry that their views were so liberal as to
enable them to appreciate the advantages of education, by whomsoever
offered. I was quite touched by McDonald's little contribution to
civilization, in the midst of the wilderness. As I looked back, in
leaving, at the great trees and the exquisitely curved slope of his
little clearing, I felt that in the small log house was something worthy
of the fine surroundings.

  OLYMPIA, December 23, 1866.

When we reached Cowlitz Landing, we found the river quite different in
character from what we had known it before. It had risen many feet above
its ordinary level, and was still rising, and had become a wide, fierce,
and rushing stream, bearing on its surface great trees and fragments of
wrecked buildings, swiftly sailing down to the Columbia. How serenely we
descended the river last year, floating along at sunset, admiring the
lovely valley and the hills, reaching over the side of the canoe, and
soaking our biscuits in the glacier-water, without once thinking of the
vicissitudes to which we were liable from its mountain origin!

The little steamer that recently had begun to compete with the Indian
canoes in the traffic of the river, and the carrying of passengers, did
not dare to attempt to ascend it. Navigation was not to be thought of by
ordinary boats, or by white men, and was possible only by canoes in the
most trusty hands. No land-conveyance could be had at this point. We
were told that we might take the stream, by those familiar with it, if
we could find good Indians willing to go with us. One called "Shorty"
was brought forward to negotiate with us. He has the same dwarfed
appearance I have noticed in the old women, and that strange,
Egyptian-looking face and air. It would be impossible for any one to
tell, by his appearance, whether he personally were old or young; but
the ancientness of the type is deeply impressed upon him. If
half-civilized Indians had been offered, or those that had had much
intercourse with the whites, I should have hesitated more to trust them;
but he was such a pure Indian, it seemed as if he were as safe as any
wild creature. Whether he would extend any help, in emergencies, to his
clumsy civilized passengers, was a more doubtful question. However, as
the alternative was to wait indefinitely, and the character of the
stopping-places, as a rule, drives one to desperate measures, we
confided ourselves to his hands, and embarked with him and his
assistant, a fine athletic young Indian.

We fixed our eyes intently upon him, as if studying our fates. He was
perfectly imperturbable, and steered only, the other poling the canoe
along the edge of the stream, and grasping the overhanging trees to
pull it along, using the paddle only when these means were not
available. His work required unceasing vigilance and activity, and was
so hard that it would have exhausted any ordinary man in a few hours;
but he kept on from early morning till dark. Always in the most
difficult places, or if his energy seemed to flag in the least, Shorty
would call out to him, in the most animated manner, mentioning a canoe,
a hammock, and a _hyas closhe_ (very nice) _klootchman_; at which the
young man would laugh with delight, and start anew. I considered it was
probably his stock in life, the prospect of an establishment, which was
presented to rouse and cheer him on. Shorty had been recommended to us
as one of the best hands on the river. I began to see that it was for
his power of inspiring others, as well as for his extreme vigilance in
keeping out of the eddies, and avoiding the drift in crossing the river,
to be caught in which would have been destruction. We crossed several
times, to secure advantages which his quick eye perceived. I noticed
that whenever he pointed out any particular branch on the shore to be
seized, how certain the other was to strike it at once. With white men,
how much blundering and missing there would have been!

I never felt before, so strongly, how many vices attend civilization,
which it seems as if men might just as well be free from, as when I
compared these Indians with the common white people about us,--the
stage-drivers, mill-men, and others,--with no smoking nor drinking nor
tobacco-chewing, and so strong and graceful, and sure in their aim, that
no gymnast I have ever seen could compare with them. The ingenious ways
in which they helped themselves along in places where any boat of ours
would have been immediately overturned, converting obstacles often into
helps, were fascinating to study. As night came on, I began to wish that
their consciences were a little more developed, or, rather, that they
had a little more sense of responsibility with regard to us. The safety
of their passengers is no burden whatever on the minds of the Indians.
Their spirits seem to rise with danger. They know that they could very
well save themselves in an emergency, and I believe they prefer that
white people should be drowned. I could only look into the imperturbable
faces of our boatmen, and wonder where we were to spend the night.
Finally, with a terrible whirl, which I felt at the time must be our
last, they entered a white foaming slough (a branch of the river), and
drew up on the bank. They announced to us then that we were to walk a
mile through the woods, to a house. I think no white man, even the most
surly of our drivers, would have asked us to do that,--in perfect
blackness, the trees wet and dripping,--but would have managed to bring
us to some inhabited place. They started off at a rapid gait, and we
followed. We could not see their forms; but one carried something white
in his hand, which we faintly discerned in the darkness, which served as
our guide. They sang and shouted, and sounded their horn, all the way. I
supposed it was to keep off bad spirits, but the next day we heard that
in those woods bears and panthers were sometimes found. At length a
light appeared. We felt cheered; but when we approached it, two furious
dogs rushed out at us. They were immediately followed by their master,
who took us in. After consultation with him, we concluded to abandon our
Indians, as he said he could take us, on the following day, through the
woods to the next stopping-place, with his ox-team. The quiet comfort of
being transported by oxen was something not to be resisted, after having
our nerves so racked. We felt an immense satisfaction in coming again
upon our own kind, even if it were only in an old log cabin, where the
children were taken out of their bed to put us in.

We have seen no bark canoes here; they are all of cedar. No doubt there
is good canoe-birch on the river-banks, but something more durable is
needed. The North-west Fur Company, in early days, sent out a cargo of
birch from Montreal to London, to be shipped from there round Cape Horn
to the north-west coast of America, to be made into canoes for their men
to navigate the Columbia and its branches; in direst ignorance of the
requirements of the country, as well as of its productions.


     Voyage to San Francisco.--Fog-Bound.--Port Angeles.--Passing Cape
     Flattery in a Storm.--Off Shore.--The "Brontes."--The Captain and
     his Men.--A Fair Wind.--San Francisco Bar.--The City at
     Night.--Voyage to Astoria.--Crescent City.--Iron-Bound
     Coast.--Mount St. Helen's.--Mount Hood.--Cowlitz Valley and its

  SAN FRANCISCO, February 20, 1867.

We are here at last, contrary to all our expectations for the last ten
days. We left Puget Sound at short notice, taking passage on the first
lumber-vessel that was available, with many misgivings, as she was a
dilapidated-looking craft. We went on board at Port Madison, about
dusk,--a dreary time to start on a sea-voyage, but we had to accommodate
ourselves to the tide. The cabin was such a forlorn-looking place, that
I was half tempted to give it up at the last; when I saw, sitting beside
the rusty, empty stove, a small gray-and-white cat, purring, and rubbing
her paws in the most cheery manner. The contrast between the great,
cold, tossing ocean, and that little comfortable creature, making the
best of her circumstances, so impressed me, that I felt ashamed to
shrink from the voyage, if she was willing to undertake it. So I
unpacked my bundles, and settled down for a rough time. There were only
two of us as passengers, lumber-vessels not making it a part of their
business to provide specially for their accommodation.

The sky looked threatening when we started; and the captain said, if he
thought there was a storm beginning, he would not try to go on. But as
we got out into the Straits of Fuca, the next day, a little barque, the
"Crimea," came up, and said she had been a week trying to get out of the
straits, and thought the steady south-west wind, which had prevented
her, could not blow much longer. We continued beating down towards the
ocean, and in the afternoon a dense fog shut us in. The last thing we
saw was an ocean-steamer, putting back to Victoria for shelter. Our
captain said his vessel drew too much water for Victoria Harbor, and the
entrance was too crooked to attempt; but, if he could find Port Angeles,
he would put in there. A gleam of sunshine shot through the fog, and
showed us the entrance; and we steered triumphantly for that refuge. Two
other vessels had anchored there. But just as we were about rounding
the point to enter, and were congratulating ourselves on the quiet night
we hoped to spend under the shelter of the mountains, the captain spied
a sail going on towards the ocean. He put his vessel right about,
determined to face whatever risks any other man would. But the vessel
seemed unwilling to go. All that night, and the next day, and the next
night, we rode to and fro in the straits, unable to get out.

Passing Cape Flattery is the great event of the voyage. It is always
rough there, from the peculiar conformation of the land, and the
conflict of the waters from the Gulf of Georgia, and other inlets, with
the ocean-tides. Our captain had been sailing on this route for fifteen
years, but said he had never seen a worse sea than we encountered. We
asked him if he did not consider the Pacific a more uncertain ocean than
the Atlantic. At first he said "Yes;" then, "No, it is pretty certain to
be bad here at all times." What could Magellan's idea have been in so
naming it? He, however, sailed in more southern latitudes, where it may
be stiller. We expected to sail _on_ the water; but our vessel drove
_through_ it, just as I have seen the snow-plough drive through the
great drifts after a storm. Going to sea on a steamer gives one no idea
of the winds and waves,--the real life of the ocean,--compared to what
we get on a sailing-vessel. Every time we tried to round the point,
great walls of waves advanced against us,--so powerful and
defiant-looking, that I could only shut my eyes when they drew near. It
did not seem as if I made a prayer, but as if I were myself a prayer,
only a winged cry. I knew then what it must be to die. I felt that I
fled from the angry sea, and reached, in an instant, serene heights
above the storm.

Finally, as the result of all these desperate efforts, in which we
recognized no gain, the captain announced that we had made the point,
but we could get no farther until the wind changed; and, while we still
felt the fury of the contrary sea, it was hard to recognize that we had
much to be grateful for. We saw one beautiful sight, though,--a vessel
going home, helped by the wind that hindered us. It was at night; and
the light struck up on her dark sails, and made them look like wings, as
she flew over the water. What bliss it seemed, to be nearing home, and
all things in her favor!

I could hear all about us a heavy sound like surf on the shore, which
was quite incomprehensible, as we were so far from land. But the water
drove us from the deck. The vessel plunged head foremost, and reeled
from side to side, with terrible groaning and straining. If we attempted
to move, we were violently thrown in one direction or another; and
finally found that all we could do was to lie still on the cabin-floor,
holding fast to any thing stationary that we could reach. We could hear
the water sweeping over the deck above us, and several times it poured
down in great sheets upon us. We ventured to ask the captain what he was
attempting to do. "Get out to sea," he said, "out of the reach of
storms." That is brave sailing, I thought, though I would not have gone
if I could have helped it. We struggled on in this way for a day and a
night, and then he said we were beyond the region of storms from land. I
am afraid I should, if left to myself, linger always with the
faint-hearted mariners who hug the shore, notwithstanding this great
experience of finding our safety by steering boldly off from every thing
wherein we had before considered our only security lay. After this, I
performed every day the great exploit of climbing to the deck, and
looking out at the waste of water. I saw only one poor old vessel,
pitching and reeling like a drunken man. I wondered if we could look so
to her. She was always half-seas-over. I came to the conclusion it was
best not to watch her, but it was hard to keep my eyes off of her. She
was our companion all the way down, always re-appearing after every gale
we weathered, though often far behind. I remember, just as we were
fairly under way, hearing a man sing out, "There's the old 'Brontes'
coming out of the straits." My associations with the name were gloomy in
the extreme.

When the wind and sea were at their worst, considering the extremity, we
felt called upon to offer some advice to the captain, and suggested
that, under such circumstances, it might be advisable to travel under
bare poles; but that, he assured us, was only resorted to when a man's
voice could not possibly be heard in giving orders.

The captain was quite a study to us. On shore he presented the most
ordinary appearance. When we had been out two or three days, I noticed
some one I had not seen before on deck, and thought to myself, "That is
an apparition for a time of danger,--a man as resolute as the sea
itself, so stern and gray-looking." I was quite bewildered, for I
thought I must certainly before that have seen every one on board. It
proved to be the captain in his storm-clothes. One of the sailors was a
Russian serf, running away, as he said, from the Czar of Russia, not
wholly believing in the safety of the serfs. He had shipped as a
competent sea-man; but when he was sent up to the top of the
mizzen-mast, to fix the halliards for a signal, he stopped in the most
perilous place, and announced that he could not go any farther. It seems
that every man on board was a stranger to the captain. It filled us with
anxiety to think how much depended on that one man. One night there was
an alarm of "A man overboard!" If it had been the captain, how aimlessly
we should have drifted on! I liked to listen, when we were below, to
hear the men hoisting the sails, and shouting together. It sounded as if
they were managing horses, now restraining them, and now cheering them
on. When the captain put his hand on the helm, we could always tell
below. There was as much difference as in driving. In the midst of the
wildest plunging, he would suddenly quiet it by putting the vessel in
some other position, just as he would have held in a rearing horse.

Two or three times, when there was a little lull, I went on deck; and
the air was as balmy as from a garden. What can it mean, this fragrance
of fresh flowers in the midst of the sea?

Some virtues, I think, are admirably cultivated at sea. Night after
night, as we lay there, I said to the captain, "What is the meaning of
those clouds?" or "that dull red sky?" And he answered so composedly,
"It's going to be squally," that I admired his patience; but it wore
upon us very much.

At length, one night, as I lay looking up through our little skylight,
at the flapping of the great white spanker-sheet,--my special enemy and
dread, because the captain would keep it up when I thought it unsafe, it
seemed such a lawless thing, and so ready to overturn us every time it
shifted,--a great cheerful star looked in. It meant that all trouble was
over. One after another followed it. I could not speak, I was so glad. I
could only look at them, and feel that our safety was assured. The wind
had changed. I appreciated the delight of Ulysses in "the fresh North
Spirit" Calypso gave him "to guide him o'er the sea,"--the rest of our
voyage was so exhilarating.

We had one more special risk only,--crossing the bar of San Francisco
Bay. The captain said, if he reached it at night, he expected to wait
until daylight to enter; but I knew that his ambitious spirit would
never let him, if it were possible to get over. About three o'clock in
the morning, I heard a new sound in the water, like the rippling of
billows, as if it were shallow. I hastened upon deck, and found that we
were apparently on the bar. The captain and the mate differed about the
sounding. Immediately after, I heard the captain tell a man to run down
and see what time it was; and, upon learning the hour, heard him
exclaim, in the deepest satisfaction, "Flood-tide, sure! Well, we had a
chance!" I felt as if we had had a series of chances from the time we
left Port Angeles Harbor, to the running in without a pilot, and
drifting, as we did, into the revenue-cutter, just as we anchored. We
had a beautiful entrance, though. It is a long passage, an hour or two
after crossing the bar. San Francisco lay in misty light before us, like
one of the great bright nebulæ we used to look at in Hercules, or the
sword-handle of Perseus. It is splendidly lighted. As we drew nearer,
there seemed to be troops of stars over all the hills.

  ASTORIA, ORE., October 17, 1868.

In making the voyage from San Francisco, I could hardly go on deck at
all, until the last day; but, lying and looking out at my little
port-hole, I saw the flying-fish, and the whales spouting, and the
stormy-petrels and gulls.

On Sunday the boat was turned about; and when we inquired why, we were
told that the wind and sea were so much against us, we were going to put
back into Crescent City. It came at once into our minds, how on Sunday,
three years before, the steamer "Brother Jonathan," in attempting to do
the same thing, struck a rock, and foundered, and nearly all on board
were lost.

Crescent City is an isolated little settlement, a depot for supplies for
miners working on the rivers in Northern California. It has properly no
harbor, but only a roadstead, filled with the wildest-looking black
rocks, of strange forms, standing far out from the shore, and affords a
very imperfect shelter for vessels if they are so fortunate as to get
safely in. The Coast Survey Report mentions it as "the most dangerous of
the roadsteads usually resorted to, filled with sunken rocks and reefs."
It further says, that "no vessel should think of gaining an anchorage
there, without a pilot, or perfect knowledge of the hidden dangers. The
rocks are of peculiar character, standing isolated like bayonets, with
their points just below the surface, ready to pierce any unlucky craft
that may encounter them." The "Dragon Rocks" lie in the near vicinity,
at the end of a long reef that makes out from Crescent City. All the
steamers that enter or depart from there must pass near them.

It is very remarkable, that, while the Atlantic coast abounds in
excellent harbors, on the Pacific side of the continent there is no good
harbor where a vessel can find refuge in any kind of weather between San
Francisco Bay and San Diego to the south, and Port Angeles, on the
Straits of Fuca, to the north. It is fitly characterized by Wilkes as an
"iron-bound coast."

We reached here Saturday night. Sunday morning, hearing a silver
triangle played in the streets, we looked out for tambourines and
dancing-girls, but saw none, and were presently told it was the call to
church. We were quite tempted to go and hear what the service would be,
but the sound of the breakers on the bar enchained us to stop and listen
to them.

  PORTLAND, ORE., October 20, 1868.

In coming up the river from Astoria, we had always in view the
snow-white cone of St. Helen's, one of the principal peaks of the
Cascade Range. Nothing can be conceived more virginal than this form of
exquisite purity rising from the dark fir forests to the serene sky.
Mount Baker's symmetry is much marred by the sunken crater at the
summit; Mount Rainier's outline is more complicated: this is a pure,
beautiful cone. It is so perfect a picture of heavenly calm, that it is
as hard to realize its being volcanic as it would be to imagine an
outburst of passion in a seraph. Frémont reports having seen columns of
smoke ascending from it, and showers of ashes are known to have fallen
over the Dalles.

As we approached Portland, the sharp-pointed form of Mount Hood came
prominently into view. Portland would be only a commonplace city, the
Willamette River being quite tame here, and the shores low and
unattractive; but this grand old mountain, and the remnant of forest
about it, give it an ancient, stately, and dignified look.

  OLYMPIA, October 30, 1868.

In crossing from the Columbia River to the Sound, we saw, along the
Cowlitz Valley, marks of the havoc and devastation caused by the floods
of last winter. The wild mountain stream had swept away many familiar
landmarks since we were last there; in fact, had abandoned its bed, and
taken a new channel. It gave us a realizing sense of the fact that great
changes are still in process on our globe. Where we had quietly
slumbered, is now the bed of the stream. We mourned over the little
place at Monticello, where for eight years a nice garden, with rows of
trim currant-bushes, had gladdened the eyes of travellers, and the neat
inn, kept by a cheery old Methodist minister, had given them hospitable
welcome,--not a vestige of the place now remaining. Civilization is so
little advanced in that region, that few men would have the heart or the
means to set out a garden.


     Victoria.--Its Mountain Views, Rocks, and Flowers.--Vancouver's
     Admiration of the Island.--San Juan Islands.--Sir James
     Douglas.--Indian Wives.--Northern Indians.--Indian
     Workmanship.--The Thunder-Bird.--Indian Offerings to the Spirit of
     a Child.--Pioneers.--Crows and Sea-Birds.

  VICTORIA, B.C., November 15, 1868.

We are to stay for several months in this place. We are delightfully
situated. The house has quite a Christmas look, from the holly and other
bright berries that cluster round the windows. The hall is picturesquely
ornamented with deer's horns and weapons and Indian curiosities. But the
view is what we care most about. On our horizon we have the exquisite
peaks of silver, the summits of the Olympic Range, at the foot of which
we lived in Port Angeles. We look across the blue straits to them.
Immediately in front is an oak grove, and on the other side a great
extent of dark, Indian-looking woods. There are nearer mountains, where
we can see all the beautiful changes of light and shade. Yesterday they
were wrapped in haze, as in the Indian summer, and every thing was soft
and dreamy about them; to-day they stand out bold and clear, with great
wastes of snow, ravines, and landslides, and dark prominences, all
distinctly defined. When the setting sun lights up the summits, new
fields of crystal and gold, and other more distant mountains, appear.

It is very refreshing to get here, the island has such a rich green look
after California. It is quite rocky about us; but the rocks even are
carpeted deep with moss, and the old gnarled branches of the oaks have a
coating of thick, bright velvet. It is now the middle of November; and
the young grass is springing up after the rain, and even where it does
not grow there is no bare earth, but brown oak-leaves and brakes, with
soft warm colors, particularly when the sun strikes across them. The
skies, too, are like those at home, with the magnificent sunrise and
sunset that only clouds can give. The California sky is, much of the
time, pure unchanging blue.

When we first landed here, we were very much impressed by the appearance
of the coast, it being bold and rocky, like that of New England; while
on the opposite side of the straits, and almost everywhere on the Sound,
are smooth, sandy shores, or high bluffs covered with trees. The trees,
too, at once attracted our attention,--large, handsome oaks, instead of
the rough firs, and a totally different undergrowth, with many flowers
wholly unknown on the opposite side, which charmed us with their
brilliancy and variety of color; among them the delicate cyclamen, and
others that we had known only in greenhouses. They continually recalled
to us the surprise of some of the early explorers at seeing an
uncultivated country look so much like a garden. We were told that much
less rain falls here than on the American side; the winds depositing
their moisture as snow on the mountains before they reach Victoria,
which gives it a dryer winter climate.

Vancouver, in his narrative, repeatedly speaks of the serenity of the
weather here, and says that the scenery recalled to him delightful
places in England. He felt as if the smooth, lawn-like slopes of the
island must have been cleared by man. Every thing unsightly seemed to
have been removed, and only what was most graceful and picturesque
allowed to remain. He says, "I could not possibly believe that any
uncultivated country had ever been discovered exhibiting so rich a
picture." When requested by the Spanish Seignor Quadra to select some
harbor or island to which to give their joint names, in memory of their
friendship, and the successful accomplishment of their business (they
having been commissioned respectively by their governments to tender and
receive the possessions of Nootka, given back by Spain to Great
Britain), he selected this island as the fairest and most attractive
that he had seen, and called it the "Island of Quadra and Vancouver."
The "Quadra," as was usual with the Spanish names, was soon after

Between Vancouver's Island and Washington Territory lie the
long-disputed islands of the San Juan group; the British claiming that
Rosario Strait is the channel indicated in the Treaty of 1846, which
would give them the islands; while the United States claim that De Haro
Strait is the true channel, and that the islands belong to them.

These islands are valuable for their pasturage and their harbors, and
most of all for their situation in a military point of view. While this
question is still in dispute, the British fort at one end of San Juan,
and the American fort at the other, observe towards each other a
respectful silence.

  DECEMBER 1, 1868.

Sir James Douglas, the first governor of British Columbia, selected the
site of Victoria. Owing to his good taste, the natural beauty of the
place has been largely preserved. The oak groves and delicate
undergrowth are a great contrast to the rude mill-sites of the Sound,
where every thing is sacrificed to sending off so much lumber. He lives
at Victoria in a simple, unpretending way. It was made a law in British
Columbia, that no white man should live with an Indian woman as wife,
without marrying her. He set the example himself, by marrying one of the
half-breed Indian women. Some of the chief officers of the Hudson Bay
Company did the same. The aristocracy of Victoria has a large admixture
of Indian blood. The company encouraged their employés, mostly French
Canadians, to take Indian wives also. They were absolute in prohibiting
the sale of intoxicating drinks to the Indians, and dismissed from their
employ any one who violated this rule. They gave the Indians better
goods than they got from the United States agents; so that they even now
distinguish between a King George (English) blanket, and a Boston
(American) blanket, as between a good one and a bad one.

It was, no doubt, owing to the influence of Sir James Douglas, that
Lady Burdett Coutts sent out and established a high school here for boys
and girls.

  DECEMBER 5, 1868.

We saw here some of the Northern Indians of the Haidah tribe, from Queen
Charlotte's Islands. They came in large canoes, some of which would hold
a hundred men, and yet each was hollowed out of a single log of cedar.
They came down to bring a cargo of dogfish-oil to the light-house at
Cape Flattery. They camped for two weeks on the beach, and we went often
to see them. Having led such an isolated life on their islands,
surrounded by rough water, and hardly known to white men, they have
preserved many peculiarities of their tribe, and are quite different in
their looks and habits from the Indians of Puget Sound. Some of the old
women had a little piece of bone or pearl shell stuck through the lower
lip, which gave them a very barbarous appearance; but in many ways the
men had more knowledge of arts and manufactures than any other Indians
we have seen. They showed us some ornaments of chased silver, which they
offered for sale; also bottle-shaped baskets, made of roots and bark, so
closely woven together as to hold water. But most curious to us were
some little black, polished columns, about a foot high, that looked like
ebony. They were covered with carvings, very skilfully executed. When we
took them into our hands, we were surprised at their weight, and found
that they were made of a fine, black coal-slate. A man who stood by
explained to us that this slate is a peculiar product of their islands.
When first quarried, it is so soft as to be easily cut; and when
afterward rubbed with oil, and exposed to the air, it becomes intensely
hard. At the foot of the column was the bear, who guards the entrance of
their lodges; at the top, the crow, who presides over every thing. On
some were frogs and lizards. One was surmounted by the "thunder-bird," a
mythological combination of man and bird, who lives among the mountains.
When he sails out from them, the sky is darkened; and the flapping of
his wings makes the thunder, and the winking of his eyes the lightning.
It is very strange that the "thunder-bird" should be one of the deities
of the Indians of the North-west, where thunder is so rare as to be
phenomenal. We heard of him in other parts of British Columbia, and see
him represented in carvings from Sitka. Tatoosh Island, off Cape
Flattery, where the Makah Indians live, derives its name from
_Tootootche_, the Nootka name for the "thunder-bird." The Makahs
originally came from the west coast of Vancouver's Island. They deem
themselves much superior to the tribes of the interior, because they go
out on the ocean. Their home being on the rocky coast islands, they
naturally look to the water to secure their living. Their chief business
is to hunt the whale, they being the only Indians who engage in this

Sometimes we found the Indians so deeply interested in a game they were
playing, that they took no notice of us. It was played with slender
round sticks, about six inches long, made of yew wood, so exquisitely
polished that it had a gloss like satin. Some of the sticks were inlaid
with little bits of rainbow pearl, and I saw one on which the figure of
a fish was very skilfully represented. It is quite incomprehensible, how
they can do such delicate work with the poor tools they have. They use
only something like a cobbler's knife.

They shuffled the sticks under tow of cedar-bark, droning all the time a
low, monotonous chant. It is curious that any thing so extremely simple
can be so fascinating. They will sit all day and night, without stopping
for food, and gamble away every thing they possess. It appeared to be
identical with the old game of "Odd or Even" played by the ancient
Greeks, as described by Plato.

We saw here the great conical hat worn by the Cape Flattery Indians,
similar in form to the Chinese hat; and also some blankets of their own
manufacture, woven of dog's hair.

  April 4, 1869.

This afternoon we rode past the graveyard of the Indians on the beach.
It is a picturesque spot, as most of their burial-places are. They like
to select them where land and water meet. A very old woman, wrapped in a
green blanket, was digging clams with her paddle in the sand. She was
one of those stiff old Indians, whom we occasionally see, who do not
speak the Chinook at all, and take no notice whatever of the whites. I
never feel as if they even see me when I am with them. They seem always
in a deep dream. Her youth must have been long before any white people
came to the country. When she dies, her body will be wrapped in the
tattered green blanket, and laid here, with her paddle, her only
possession, stuck up beside her in the sand.

We saw two Indians busy at one of the little huts that cover the
graves. They were nailing a new red covering over it. We asked them if a
chief was dead. A _klootchman_ we had not noticed before looked up, and
said mournfully, "No," it was her "little woman." I saw that she had
before her, on the sand, a number of little bright toys,--a doll wrapped
in calico, a musical ball, a looking-glass, a package of candy and one
of cakes, a bright tin pail full of sirup, and two large sacks, one of
bread, and the other of apples.

Another and older woman was picking up driftwood, and arranging it for a
fire. When the men had finished their work at the hut, they came and
helped her. They laid it very carefully, with a great many openings, and
level on the top, and lighted it.

Then the grandmother brought a little purple woollen shawl, and gave it
to the old man. He held it out as far as his arm could reach, and waved
it, and apparently called to the spirit of the child to come and receive
it; and he then cast it into the fire. He spoke in the old Indian
language, which they do not use in talking with us. It sounded very
strange and thrilling. Each little toy they handled with great care
before putting it into the flames. After they had burned up the bread
and the apples, they poured on some sugar, and smothered the flames,
making a dense column of smoke.

Then they all moved a little farther back, and motioned us to also. We
wondered they had tolerated us so long, as they dislike being observed;
but they seemed to feel that we sympathized with them. The old man staid
nearest. He lay down on the sand, half hidden by a wrecked tree. He
stripped his arms and legs bare, and pulled his hair all up to the top
of his head, and knotted it in a curious way, so that it nodded in a
shaggy tuft over his forehead. Then he lay motionless, looking at the
fire, once in a while turning and saying something to the women,
apparently about the child, as I several times distinguished the word
_tenas-tenas_ (the little one). I thought perhaps he might be describing
her coming and taking the things. At times he became very animated. They
did not stir, only answered with a kind of mournful "Ah--ah," to every
thing he said.

At last their little dog bounded forward, as if to meet some one. At
that, they were very much excited and pleased, and motioned us to go
farther off still, as if it were too sacrilegious for us to stay there.
They all turned away but the old man, and he began to move in a stealthy
way towards the fire. All the clumsiness and weight of a man seemed to
be gone. He was as light and wiry as a snake, and glided round the old
drift that strewed the sand, with his body prostrate, but his head held
erect, and his bright eyes fixed on the fire, like some wild desert
creature, which he appeared to counterfeit. The Indians think, that, by
assuming the shape of any creature, they can acquire something of its
power. When he had nearly reached the fire, he sprang up, and caught
something from it. I could not tell whether it was real or imaginary. He
held it up to his breast, and appeared to caress it, and try to twine it
about his neck. I thought at first it was a coal of fire; perhaps it was
smoke. Three times he leaped nearly into the flames in this way, and
darted at something which he apparently tried to seize. Then he seemed
to assure the others that he had accomplished his purpose; and they all
went immediately off, without looking back.

  APRIL 20, 1869.

We are surprised to find so many New-England people about us. Many of
those who are interested in the sawmills are lumbermen from Maine. The
two men who first established themselves in the great wilderness, with
unbroken forest, and only Indians about them, are still living near us.
They are men of resources, as well as endurance. A man who comes to do
battle against these great trees must necessarily be of quite a
different character from one who expects, as the California pioneer did,
to pick up his fortune in the dust at his feet. I am often reminded of
Thoreau's experience in the Maine woods. He says, "The deeper you
penetrate into the woods, the more intelligent, and, in one sense, less
countrified, do you find the inhabitants; for always the pioneer has
been a traveller, and to some extent a man of the world; and, as the
distances with which he is familiar are greater, so is his information
more general and far-reaching."

  MAY 30, 1869.

The gulls and crows give parties to each other on the sand, at low-tide.
Farther out are the ducks, wheeling about, and calling to each other,
with sharp, lively voices. It is curious to watch them, and try to
understand their impulses. Sometimes they are all perfectly motionless,
sitting in companies of hundreds, in the deepest calm; sometimes all in
a flutter, tripping over the water, with their wings just striking it,
uttering their shrill cry. They dive, but never come to shore. What one
does, all the rest immediately do. Sometimes the whole little fleet is
gone in an instant, and the water unruffled above them.

The prettiest among them is the spirit-duck,--its motion is so
beautiful, as it breasts the little billows, or glides through the still
water. Their bosoms are so like the white-caps, I have to look for their
little black heads, to see where they are. Once in a while, a loon comes
sailing along, in its slow, stately way, turning its slender, graceful
neck from side to side, as if enjoying the scenery. We never see more
than two of them together, and they generally separate soon.


     Puget Sound and Adjacent Waters.--Its Early Explorers.--Towns,
     Harbors, and Channels.--Vancouver's Nomenclature.--Juan de
     Fuca.--Mount Baker.--Chinese "Wing."--Ancient Indian Women.--Pink
     Flowering Currant and Humming-Birds.--"Ah Sing."

  PORT TOWNSEND, September 10, 1869.

We have been spending a day or two in travelling about the Sound by
steamer, touching at the various mill-towns and other ports, where the
boat calls, to receive and deliver the mails, or for other business.
Every time we pass over these waters, we admire anew their extent and
beauty, and their attractive surroundings, their lovely bays and
far-reaching inlets, their bold promontories and lofty shores, their
setting in the evergreen forest, and the great mountains in the
distance, standing guard on either side.

The early explorers who visited this part of the country evidently had a
high appreciation of it, as their accounts of it show. Vancouver, who
came in 1792, expressed so much admiration of these waters and their
surroundings, that his statements were received with hesitation, and it
was supposed that his enthusiasm as an explorer had led him to
exaggeration. But Wilkes, who followed him many years afterwards,
confirmed all that he had said, and, in his narrative, writes as follows
regarding this great inland sea:--

     "Nothing can exceed the beauty of these waters, and their safety.
     Not a shoal exists within the Straits of San Juan de Fuca,
     Admiralty Inlet, Puget Sound, or Hood's Canal, that can in any way
     interrupt their navigation by a seventy-four-gun ship. I venture
     nothing in saying there is no country in the world that possesses
     waters equal to these."

     In another account Wilkes writes: "One of the most noble estuaries
     in the world; without a danger of any kind to impede navigation;
     with a surrounding country capable of affording all kinds of
     supplies, harbors without obstruction at any season of the year,
     and a climate unsurpassed in salubrity."

More recently the United States Coast Survey Report of 1858 declares,
that, "For depth of water, boldness of approaches, freedom from hidden
dangers, and the immeasurable sea of gigantic timber coming down to the
very shores, these waters are unsurpassed, unapproachable."

We were at first puzzled by the various names given to the different
waters over which we travelled; but soon discovered, that, while the
term "Puget Sound" is popularly applied to the whole of them, it
properly belongs only to the comparatively small body of water lying
beyond the "Narrows," at the southern end, and the arms and inlets that
branch therefrom.

The great natural divisions of this system are: the Straits of Juan de
Fuca, extending from the ocean eastward about eighty miles, and then
branching into the vast Gulf of Georgia to the north, and Admiralty
Inlet to the south; Hood's Canal, branching from the latter, on the west
side, near the entrance, and running south-west about sixty miles;
Possession Sound, branching from the east side, and extending north
between Whidby Island and the mainland, as far as Rosario Straits; and
Puget Sound, connected with the southerly end of Admiralty Inlet by the

We commenced our recent trip at Victoria, and crossed the Straits of
Fuca,--through which the west wind draws as through a tunnel,--to Port
Angeles. This place was named by Don Francisco Elisa, who was sent out
to this region in 1791 by the Mexican Viceroy. Of course Don Francisco
must compliment the Viceroy by giving his name to some important points.
This royal personage had a string of ten proper names, besides his
titles. These Don Francisco distributed according to his judgment. Being
apparently a religious man, he was mindful also of the claims of saints
and angels; and, when he reached the first good harbor on the upper
coast, he called it _Puerto de los Angeles_ (Port of the Angels).

Proceeding eastward, the next point of interest is New Dungeness, so
called by Vancouver from its resemblance in situation to Dungeness on
the British Channel. The harbor of this place, like that of Port
Angeles, is formed by a long sand-spit that curves out from the shore.
On account of this resemblance, Vancouver gave to Port Angeles the name
of False Dungeness, thinking it might be mistaken for the other. But
this name has been dropped, and the more poetical designation of the
Spaniard retained. The pious Elisa called the long-pointed sand-spit at
Dungeness "the Point of the Holy Cross."

The great body of water north of Vancouver's Island, which had not yet
received its name, he called _Canal de Nuestra Señora del Rosario_ (the
Channel of Our Lady of the Rosary). When Vancouver, in the following
year, gave his own name to the island, he called this body of water the
Gulf of Georgia, in honor of George III., the reigning king of England.
The name given by Elisa is still retained by the strait east of the De
Haro Archipelago.

The next place at which we stopped was Port Townsend. This was named, by
Vancouver, Marrowstone Point, from the cliff of marrowstone at the head
of the peninsula; but this name was afterwards given to the headland on
the opposite side of the entrance to Port Townsend Bay, to the
south-east of the town, and the name of Townshend, one of the lords of
the Admiralty, was given to the bay. The town afterwards took the same
name, dropping the _h_ from it. Admiralty Inlet commences here, and was
named by Vancouver in honor of the Board of Admiralty for whom he
sailed. Hood's Canal was named for another of the lord-members of the

Opposite, across the inlet, to the north and east, lies Whidby Island,
which Vancouver named for one of his lieutenants. It is a pity it could
not have had some more poetic name, it is so beautiful a place; it is
familiarly known here as the "Garden of the Territory." It was formerly
owned and occupied by the Skagit Indians, a large tribe, who had several
villages there, and fine pasture-grounds; their name being still
retained by the prominent headland at the southern extremity of the
island. I heard one of the passengers remark that there were formerly
white deer there. I strained my eyes as long as it was in sight, hoping
to see one of these lovely creatures emerge from the dark woods; but in
vain. Wilkes says that the Skagit Indians had large, well-built lodges
of timber and planks. But, since so many tribes have been swept away by
the small-pox, most of them have lost their interest in making
substantial houses, feeling that they have so little while to live.
North of Whidby is Fidalgo Island, named for a Spanish officer. Between
them is a narrow passage, called Deception Pass, very intricate and full
of rocks, above and below the water, and most difficult to navigate,--in
striking contrast to the waters of the Sound in general.

We called at Port Ludlow and Port Gamble, the latter on Hood's Canal,
near the entrance,--_Teekalet_ being its Indian name. Returning to
Admiralty Inlet, we presently passed Skagit Head, at the entrance of
Possession Sound, so named by Vancouver to commemorate the formal
taking possession, by him, of all the territory around the Straits of
Fuca and Admiralty Inlet, on the king's birthday.

We steamed serenely on, over the clear, still water, to Port Madison,
and then crossed the inlet to Seattle. Thence we proceeded south, and
passed Vashon Island, which has many attractive features.
Quartermaster's Harbor, at the southern end, is a lovely place; and
beautiful shells and fossils are to be found there. Occasionally we came
across a great boom of logs, travelling down to some sawmill; or a
crested cormorant, seated on a fragment of drift, sailed for a while in
our company. We passed on through the "Narrows," and entered Puget Sound
proper, named for Peter Puget, one of Vancouver's lieutenants, who
explored it.

All Vancouver's friends, patrons, and officers--lieutenants, pursers,
pilots, and pilot's mates--are abundantly honored in the names scattered
about this region. He appears, too, to have had a good appreciation of
nature, and praised, in his report, the landscape and the flowers. He
regarded somewhat, in his nomenclature, the natural features of the
country; as in Point Partridge, the eastern headland of Whidby Island;
Hazel Point, on Hood's Canal; Cypress Island, one of the San Juan
group; and Birch Bay, south of the delta of Fraser River.

The Spanish explorers in this region do not seem to have taken much
pains to record and publish the result of their discoveries. Vancouver
held on to his with true English grip, and often supplanted their names
by others of his own choosing.

At night we reached Steilacoom, where there was formerly a military
post. It has an imposing situation, with a fine mountain view; and there
are some excellent military roads leading from it in various directions.

We spent a pleasant day at Olympia, which lies at the southern extremity
of the Sound, and resembles a New-England village, with its maples
shading the streets, and flower-gardens. It has an excellent class of
people, as have the towns upon the Sound in general; and the evidences
of taste and culture, which are continually seen, are one of the
pleasantest characteristics of this new and thinly settled part of the

There are no sawmills on the Straits of Fuca, and the slight
settlements along its shores have scarcely marred their primitive
wildness and beauty. The original forest-line is hardly broken; the deer
still come down to the water's edge; and the face of the country has
apparently not changed since Vancouver, nearly a hundred years ago,
stooped to gather the May roses at Dungeness; or Juan de Fuca, two
centuries earlier, "sailed into that silent sea," and looked round at
the mountains,--not less beautiful, though more imposing, than those
that lay about his own home on the distant Mediterranean.

  DECEMBER 10, 1869.

We have just seen an English gentleman who came over to this country for
the purpose of ascending Mount Baker, first called by the Spaniards
_Montaña del Carmêlo_. He was three years in trying to get a small
company to attempt the expedition with him. Indians do not at all
incline to ascending mountains; they seem to have some superstitious
fear about it. I believe this mountain has never been explored to any
extent. He describes the colors of the snow and ice as intensely
beautiful. He has travelled among the Alps, but saw an entirely new
phenomenon on the summit of Mount Baker,--the snow like little tongues
of flame. In the deep rifts was a most exquisite blue. On the last day's
upward journey, they were obliged to throw away all their blankets,--as
they were not able to carry any weight,--and depend on chance for the
night's shelter. How well Fate rewarded them for trusting her! They
happened at night upon a warm cavern, where any extra coverings would
have been quite superfluous. It was part of the crater, but they slept
quietly notwithstanding.

  JANUARY 15, 1870.

We have now a little Chinese boy to live with us; that is, he represents
himself as a boy, but he seems more as if he were a most ancient man. He
might have stepped out of some Ninevite or Egyptian sculpture. He is
like the little figures in the processions on the tombs, and his face is
perfectly grave and unchanging all the time. I feel about him, as I do
about some of the Indians,--as if he had not only his own age, but the
age of his race, about him.

There never could be any thing more inappropriate than that he should be
named "Wing," for no creature could be farther from any thing light or
airy. One reason, I think, why he seems so different from any of his
countrymen that we have seen, is because he has never lived in a city,
but only in a small village, which he says has no name that we should

He works in the slowest possible way, but most faithfully and
incessantly, and never shows the slightest desire for any recreation or
rest. Even the anticipation of the great national Chinese feast, which
is to be celebrated next month, and which occurs only once in a thousand
years, has failed to arouse any enthusiasm in him, and he is apparently
quite indifferent to it.

Our goat has taken a great dislike to him,--I think just because he is
so different from herself. She is always making thrusts at him with her
horns, and trying to butt him over. But he preserves, even toward her,
his uniform sweet manner; calls her a "sheep," entirely ignoring her
rude, fierce ways; leads her to pasture every day, under great
difficulties; and attempts to milk her, at the risk of his life. The
serenity of these people is really to be envied; they go on their way so
perfectly undisturbed, whatever happens.

  APRIL 30, 1870.

The tides are very peculiar here. Every alternate fortnight they run
very low, and then the beach is uncovered so far out that we can take
long rides on it, as far as the head of the bay.

We are very much entertained with seeing the old Indian crones digging
clams. They appear to be equally amused with us, and chuckle with
delight as we pass. It seems very strange to see human beings without
the least approach to any thing civilized or artificial, with the single
exception of the old blankets knotted about them with pieces of rope;
but when I compare them with civilized women of the same age, who are
generally helpless, I see that they have a great advantage over them.
They are out everywhere, in all weathers, and do always the hardest of
the work. We meet them often in the woods, so bowed down under the loads
of bark on their backs, that it looks as if the bark itself had a stout
pair of legs, and were walking. Our horse is always frightened, and can
never get used to them.

We can ride now for hours on the beach, looking at the water on one
side, and on the other at the densely wooded bluffs, now most
beautifully lighted up by the pink flowering currant. It is like the
rhodora at home, in respect to coming very early,--the flowers before
the leaves. At first it is of a delicate faint pink; but as the season
advances it becomes very deep and rich in color, and contrasts most
beautifully with the drapery of light-gray moss, and the dark fir-trees.

This flower attracts the humming-bird, and furnishes its earliest food.
This delicate, tropical-looking little creature is the first bird to
arrive; coming often in March from its winter home in California, where
it lives on another species of flowering currant that blooms through the

In making some excavations here, there have been found the bones and
teeth of the American elephant, and with them a bone made into a wedge,
such as the Indians here use in splitting wood; which seems to imply
great antiquity for their race.

  AUGUST 10, 1870.

We have a new China boy, Ah Sing, who is very impulsive and
enthusiastic, quite a different character from the unemotional Wing. He
is almost too zealous to learn. R. began to teach him his letters, to
make him contented. I hear him now repeating them over and over to
himself, with great emphasis, while he is washing the clothes. He is so
big and strong, that they come out with great force. A few nights ago,
after everybody had gone to bed, he came down past our room, and went
into the kitchen. R. followed him to see what was the matter, and, as
the boy looked a little wild, thought perhaps he was going into a fit.
He had seized the primer, and was flourishing it about and
gesticulating with it; and finally R., who has a wonderful faculty for
comprehending the Chinese, divined that he had gone to bed without a
lesson, and could not sleep until he had learned something.


     Rocky-mountain Region.--Railroad from Columbia River to Puget
     Sound.--Mountain Changes.--Mixture of Nationalities.--Journey to
     Coos Bay, Oregon.--Mountain Cañon.--A Branch of the
     Coquille.--Empire City.--Myrtle Grove.--Yaquina.--Genial Dwellers
     in the Woods.--Our Unknown Neighbor.--Whales.--Pet Seal and
     Eagle.--A Mourning Mother.--Visit from Yeomans.

  PORT TOWNSEND, November 18, 1872.

We had quite a pleasant journey back from the East, and saw some things
we must have passed in the night on our trip thither. About the
Rocky-mountain region we saw what appeared to be immense ruins; but they
were really natural formations, resembling old castles, with ramparts
and battlements and towers. I could not help feeling as if they must
belong to some gigantic extinct race. On the wide, solitary plains they
were most imposing.

At the Laramie Plains, where we stopped a while, we were so blinded by
the glittering crystals of quartz and specks of mica, we could well
understand why the name of the Glittering Mountains was first given to
the Rocky-mountain Range.

We saw at Cheyenne a most curious cactus. Outside, it was only a green,
prickly ball; inside, was a deep nest, filled with a cluster of pink

We looked into the beautiful Blue Cañon--blue with mist. Hundreds of
feet below us was the gliding silver line of a stream.

At one of our stopping-places was a team of buffalo and oxen working
together. To see this chief Manitou of the Indians so degraded, was like
seeing a captive Jugurtha.

We found great changes had taken place within a year between Columbia
River and Puget Sound. Where we used to cross alone, in the deepest
solitude of the forest, there were cars running, gangs of Chinamen
everywhere at work, great burnt tracts, and piles of firewood. Once in a
while a stray deer bounded by, and turned back to look at us, with
pretty, innocent curiosity. And there were still some of the old trees
left standing, gnarled and twisted, and so thickly coated with moss,
that great ferns grew out of it, and hung down from the branches. What a
pity to destroy the work of centuries, the like of which we shall never
see again!

We saw to-day some of the pretty spotted sea-doves, that have just
arrived to spend the winter with us. Puget Sound, with its mild climate,
is their Florida or Bermuda. In early spring they return to the rocky
lagoons of the North, to pair and breed.

  DECEMBER 15, 1872.

With our wider range from the hill-top to which we have removed, we
notice more how the appearance of the mountains changes with the changes
of the sky. This morning they were all rose-color; and are now so
ghostly, the snow like shrouds about them. Before, we had only single
chains and solitary peaks; here, we look into the bosom of a mountainous
country, and every change in the light reveals something new. Where we
have many times looked without seeing any thing, at length some
beautiful new outline appears in faint silver on the distant horizon.
Heaven ought to be more real to us for living in sight of what is so
inaccessible, and so full of beauty and mystery.

  MARCH 9, 1873.

We are very much struck with the mixture of nationalities upon this
coast. We were so fortunate as to secure last winter the services of a
splendid great Swedish girl, the heartiest and healthiest creature I
ever saw. There did not seem to be a shadow of any kind about her, nor
any thing more amiss with her in any way than there is with the sunshine
or the blue sky. All kinds of work she took alike, with equal readiness,
and never admitted to her mind a doubt or anxiety on any subject.

We felt sorry enough, when we had had her only three weeks, to have the
foreman of the mill come and beg us to release her. It seems they were
engaged to be married when they left Sweden; but, being of thrifty
natures, they had agreed to work each a year before settling down in
marriage. The constant sight of her charms proved too much for him, and
they decided that all they needed to begin life together was their
wealth of affection and their exuberant health and spirits.

Her size may be imagined, when I mention that her lover brought up six
rings in succession, to try to find one big enough to go over her
finger. Finally he squeezed on the largest one he could obtain, as an
absolutely essential ceremony to bind them together, and smiled with
delight to see that it could never be taken off.

The only help we could find in her place, at such short notice, was a
Russian boy, lately arrived from Kodiac. When we first saw him, we were
quite disheartened at his appearance, his mouth and eyes were so like
those of a fish, and he seemed so terribly uncivilized. I attempted to
intimate that I thought we could not undertake to do any thing with him.
He seemed to suspect what I thought,--although he could not understand
my words,--and took up a piece of paper, and wrote some Russian words on
it. I asked him what they meant; and he said, "Jesus Christ, he dead; he
get up again; men and devils he take them all up." I supposed the most
civilized person he had ever seen was the priest; and, as the priest had
taught him that, he thought it was a kind of introduction for him, and
that I should feel it to be a bond of union between us. I did not feel
quite so much as if he were a fish or a seal afterward. All the time,
even over the hot cooking-stove, he kept his rough fur cap on his head.
His great staring eyes rolled round in every direction; and he looked so
utterly uncouth and so bewildered, that I doubted very much if he could
ever be adapted to our needs.

To my great surprise, however, he learned very fast, stimulated by his
curiosity to know about every thing. What made him appear so very
stupid at first was, that he felt so strongly the newness of all his
surroundings. After he learned to talk with us, he interested us very
much with accounts of his own country, and with the letters he read us
from his father, an old man of ninety, who had spent his life in charge
of convicts in Siberia. He wrote his father that he was homesick; and
the old man replied: "You homesick--work! work by and by make you
strong!" His letters were directed only: "Son mine--George Olaf." He
seemed to trust to some one on the way, to take an interest in their
reaching him.

The boy generally set up his hymn-book in some place where he could
occasionally glance at it, and chant his Russian hymns, while he was
about his work. On the other side, the nurse sang Dutch songs to the

  JULY 1, 1873.

We have just returned from a long, rough journey in southern and western
Oregon. We crossed the Coast Range of mountains,--not so high and
snow-capped as the Cascades, but beautiful to watch in their variations
of light and shade, always the shadows of clouds travelling over them,
and mists stealing up through the dark ravines. A Dutchwoman--our
fellow-passenger--was in ecstasies, exclaiming continually: "How
beautiful is the land here! How _bracht_ [bright]!"--noticing all the
sun-lighted places; but I was more attracted by the shadows. I heard
another hard-looking woman say to a man, that she cried when she saw the
hills, they were so beautiful. There was a deep welcome in them;
something human and responsive seemed to fill the stillness. In these
solitary places, remote from all other associations, it seems as if
Nature could communicate more directly with us.

I noticed, more than I ever did before, the difference in the appearance
and bearing of the flowers; how some seemed only to flaunt themselves,
and others had so much more character. As we passed a little opening in
the woods, a great dark purple flower, that was a stranger to me, fixed
its gaze upon me so that I felt the look, as we sometimes do from human
eyes. Any thing supernatural is so in keeping with these solitary
places, I felt as if some one had assumed that form to greet me. There
were some beautiful new flowers; among them a snow-white iris, which was
very lovely. It seemed like a miracle that this fair little creature
should come up so unsoiled out of the rough, black earth.

We crossed the mountain range through a cañon. The road wound round and
round the sides of it, sometimes so narrow that it seemed hardly more
than an Indian trail. We had a true California driver, who shouted out
to us every few minutes, to hold on tight, or all to get together on one
side, or something equally suspicious; but dashed on without any regard
to danger. We were in constant expectation of being hurled to the
bottom; but it quickened our senses to enjoy the beauty about us, to
feel that any moment might be our last. We saw below us great trees that
filled the cañon. They were so very tall, that it appeared as if, after
having grown into what would be recognized everywhere as lofty trees,
they had altered their views altogether as to what a tall tree really
should be, and started anew. We did not wholly enjoy looking down at
their great mossy arms, stretched out as if to receive us. Everywhere
was the most exquisite fragrance, from the Linnæa and other flowers. At
the bottom was a little thread of a brook. After we passed through the
cañon, the brook came out, and went down the mountain side with us. It
was very lively company. Sometimes it hid from us, but we could tell
where it was, by the rushing of the water. Then it would appear again,
whirling and eddying about the rocks. In some places, its bed was of
pure, hard stone, with basins full of foam. Sometimes the rocks were
covered with dark, rich moss. There were retired little falls in it,
that seemed like nuns, so unregarding as they were of all the commotion
about them. Then the whole body of water would gather itself up, and
shoot down some rock, and cut like a sword-blade into the still water
below. We shall long remember that little, leaping, dancing branch of
the Coquille, that runs from the Coast Mountains to the sea.

Upon learning that we were approaching "Empire City," we attempted a
hasty toilet,--as appropriate for entering a metropolis as circumstances
would permit,--but we were kindly informed that we might spare ourselves
the trouble, as the place consisted at present of but a single house; a
carpenter having established himself there, and, with a far-seeing eye,
given the place its name, and started a settlement by building his own
dwelling, and a play-house in the woods for his little daughter.

We spent one night in a myrtle-grove. The trees leaned gracefully
together, and the whole grove for miles was made of beautiful arched
aisles. Coming from our shaggy firs, and the rough undergrowth that is
always beneath them, to these smooth, glossy leaves, and clear, open
spaces of fine grass, was like entering fairy-land, or the "good green
wood" of the ballads. I looked for princes and lovers wandering among
them, and felt quite transformed myself. The driver I regarded as a
different man from that moment; to think that he should show so much
good taste as to draw up for the night in that lovely place.

In coming from the mountain, we had to ride a good deal of the way
without seeing where we were going; and once we found ourselves with a
great roof over our heads, hollowed out of the solid rock, and covered
with dripping maiden's-hair. All the rock about was like flint, and worn
into strange shapes by the water.

One day we were accompanied quite a distance through the woods by a
female chief, Yaquina. I think that she is a celebrated woman in Oregon,
and that Yaquina Bay was named for her. She was mounted on a little
pony, and riding along in a free and joyous way, looking about at the
green leaves and the sunshine. I thought of Victoria with her heavy
crown, that gives her the sick headache, and wondered how she would like
to exchange with her.

We were quite interested in some of the people we saw, one of them
especially,--a man whose house had no windows. We felt at first as if we
could not stop with him; but he came out to our wagon, looking so bright
and clean, and had such an air of welcome as he said, "We are not very
well provided, but we are very accommodating," that we at once decided
to stop, particularly as the driver said the horses could not possibly
go enough farther to get to any better place that night. He ushered us
in very hospitably, and looking round the room--the chairs being rather
scarce--said, "There are plenty of seats--on the floor." I saw some
books on a shelf, and, going to look at them, found "Mill's Logic," and
"Tyndall on Sound," and several others, scientific and historical. We
found him, as he said we should, eager to make us comfortable. He
noticed that the baby did not look well, and went out into the woods,
and cut down a little tree that he said would do her good, and urged us
to take it with us. He said that he was generally called in by his
neighbors, in case of sickness or accident. He had learned to help
himself in most ways, as he came there originally with only fifty cents
in his pocket.

Another old man, at the next stopping-place, made a beautiful picture,
as he sat inside his open door, in a great, rough, home-made armchair,
with a black bear-skin for a pillow,--a large, strong man, with long,
shining, silver hair. We were very much pleased to find that we were to
spend the night there, he looked so interesting. All his talk was about
fights with wild beasts and Indians, and cutting down the big trees, and
making the terrible roads we had been over. There was a good deal of
refinement and gentleness, too, about him. He had in his arms a dear
little child. He had adopted her, he said, because his were all grown
up. She seemed like a soft little bird, so timid and clinging.

When we came to see our accommodations, we were delighted to find every
thing so clean and agreeable. We expressed our pleasure to him, and he
said, "Yes; a woman, I think, will go a mile or two farther for a clean
sheet; and even a man does not altogether like to be tucked into bed
with a stranger;" which suggests what the customs are there.

  DECEMBER 20, 1873.

We were startled to learn, a few days since, that one of our neighbors
had been found dead,--a man about whom there had always been a good
deal of mystery in the village. He lived alone, and never spoke of any
relations or friends. He was a man of very courteous manners, but on
this point he would allow no questions. There was no one to notify of
his death, and nobody appeared to claim his property.

The first time we ever saw him, he was riding in the woods, on a
handsome horse, with a bright scarlet blanket. He looked so picturesque,
and there was so much grace and dignity about him, that I felt as if he
did not belong anywhere about here. It seemed as if he might have come
riding out of some foreign land, or some distant age,--like a knight
going to a tournament.

When we came to know him, we could not help wondering what could induce
him to live here. He was thought to be Southern, and it was generally
supposed that some difficulties arising at the time of the war had
brought him here. He seemed disposed to make the best of our dull life,
and always had something that interested him to show us,--a new flower,
or curious shell, or some pretty Indian child.

The last time we saw him was Saturday night. It must have been only a
few hours before his death, but he appeared in his usual fine health.
The next we knew of him was Monday morning, when some men who lived
near us said that nothing had been seen of him since his light
disappeared Saturday night. As he did not open his house, as usual, on
Sunday, they said to themselves, "He does not like to be disturbed," and
waited till Monday, when they went to the window; and the dog inside,
hearing the noise, came and tore down the curtain, and went back and sat
down beside his master, where he lay on the bed, and licked his face;
and they saw that he was dead. He was tenderly buried by the people of
the village, without religious ceremonies; but they dropped little green
branches into his grave in the way of the Free Masons. I was surprised
at the delicacy of feeling shown in regard to his desire to remain
unknown, rude curiosity concerning any thing peculiar being everywhere
so common.

  MAY 20, 1874.

This afternoon we went out a little farther than usual in our boat, and
saw a herd of whales in the distance,--great free creatures, puffing and
snorting, spouting and frolicking, together. The boatman said that a
flap from one of their tails would send our boat clean out of the water,
and turned hastily about, hallooing in the wildest way, to keep them

On our way back we passed some deserted buildings on a sandy point. We
inquired about them, and were told that they were the commencement of a
city, originally called "New York;" but, having disappointed its
founders, the Indian name of _Alki_ (By and By) was given to it in

We saw in the woods near here some magnificent rhododendrons, ten or
twelve feet tall, covered with clusters of rose-colored flowers.

One of the boatmen has a pet seal that we sometimes take out in the boat
with us. We put him occasionally into the water, feeling that he must be
longing to go; but he always stays near the boat, and comes back if we
whistle to him, and seems quite companionable. Who would have believed
that one of these cold sea creatures could ever have been enticed into
such intimacy? Our only idea of them, before this experience, had been
of a little dark head here and there in the distance, in the midst of
great wastes of water, where, as Lowell says, they--

          "Solemnly lift their faces gray,
           Making it yet more lonely."

One of the captains we sailed with told us that he had at one time a
gray eagle he had tamed when young, that often took coasting-voyages
with him, leaving the vessel occasionally, and returning to it, even
when it had sailed many miles; never, by mistake, alighting on another
craft instead of his. Sometimes, when out on a voyage to San Francisco,
it would leave the vessel, and return to his house on Port Discovery

  OCTOBER 15, 1874.

As we were passing along near the shore to-day, in our boat, we saw an
Indian woman sitting alone on the beach, moaning, and dipping her hands
continually in the water. Her canoe was drawn up beside her. We stopped,
and asked her if any one was dead. She pointed to a square box[2] in the
canoe, and said, "_mika tenas_" (my child). She said, afterwards, that
she was as tall as I, and "_hyas closhe_" (so good)!

As the poor Indian mother looked round at the waves and the sky to
comfort her, I thought, what is there, after all, that civilization can
offer, beyond what is given by Nature alone, to every one in deepest

Yeomans, our old Port Angeles friend, called on us to-day. Every year
since we left there, he has included us in his annual visit to the
Seattle tribes. Each time we see him I think must be the last, he looks
so very old; but every autumn brings him back, apparently unchanged. He
seems to alter as slowly as the old firs about him. I am surprised
always at his light tread; he bears so little weight on his feet, but
glides along as if he were still in the woods, and would not have a leaf


[2] The crouching position, the favorite one of the Indians in life, is
preserved by them in the disposition of their dead.


     Puget Sound to San Francisco.--A Model Vessel.--The Captain's
     Relation to his Men.--Rough Water.--Beauty of the Sea.--Golden-Gate
     Entrance.--San Francisco Streets.--Santa Barbara.--Its
     Invalids.--Our Spanish Neighbors.--The Mountains and the
     Bay.--Kelp.--Old Mission.--A Simoom.--The Channel Islands.--A New
     Type of Chinamen.--An Old Spanish House.

  SAN FRANCISCO, March 20, 1875.

We reached here last night, after a rough voyage from Puget Sound. We
had all our worst weather first. After three or four days came a bright,
clear morning, and the captain called me on deck to see the sunrise. It
was all so changed, so beautiful, so joyous,--all around the exquisite
green light flashing through the waves as they broke; and as far off as
we could see, in every direction, the water leaping and tossing itself
into spray. A strong wind had taken the vessel in charge; and it flew
swiftly over the water, with no changes needed, no altering of sails, no
orders of any kind, and nobody seemed to be about. The captain fixed me
a hammock in a sail; and I lay there hour after hour, with no company
but the warm, bright sunshine straying over the deck. I felt as if it
were an enchanted vessel, on which I was travelling alone.

Cleopatra's barge could not have been more carefully kept. When the men
came out to their daily work, all their spare moments were spent in
polishing and cleaning every little tarnished or dingy spot. At first it
used to seem to me like a wanton risk of life, with the vessel rearing
and plunging so that we did not dare to stir on deck, to see them climb
the tall masts, and cling there, scraping and oiling them, to bring out
the veining of the wood. Perhaps it was partly as a discipline in
steadiness, that they were directed to do it,--to get used to working at
such a height. What a contrast to the tawdriness of the steamers we had
been accustomed to, to see every thing about us made beautiful by
exquisite neatness, done chiefly, too, for their own eyes! I saw, then,
why the sunshine was so pleasant on the deck; it was because there was
nothing about the vessel out of keeping with the pure beauty of nature.
I felt safer, too, to think how all things, small and great, conformed
to the laws of Heaven.

One day I asked the captain if he had many of the same men with him as
on the last voyage we took with him. I remembered his pointing out to me
then the fair, honest face of a young Swedish sailor at the wheel. He
said most of his men made many voyages with him. I spoke of another
captain, who told us his men were almost all new every time. He said
that was generally the master's fault; that a captain should not speak
to his men just the same in fair weather and in foul. I looked with
interest, afterward, to see his management of them, and found that,
while every thing went on smoothly, he took pains to converse with them,
and to become somewhat acquainted with each man. Then, in emergencies,
his brief, clear directions were immediately comprehended, and promptly
obeyed. I began to understand the secret of his short voyages (for his
vessel had the reputation of being the fastest sailer between San
Francisco and the Sound): it was partly from his management of the ship,
and partly from his management of the men.

We started in a snow-storm, and at first every thing seemed to be
against us. He had told us that March was not generally a very quiet
month on the water. We took a tug-boat to tow us out to the entrance of
the Straits; but, as the weather grew continually worse, the steamer
was obliged to leave us, with wind dead ahead, and against that we had
to beat out. As soon as we had made Cape Flattery, the wind changed, and
became what would have been a good wind for getting out, but was just
the opposite of what we wanted for going down the coast. These reverses
the captain received with unruffled serenity; although he dearly
delights in his quick trips, and was ready to seize with alacrity the
least breath in his favor. After all, he made one of his best voyages,
by the help of the strong, steady wind that drove him on at the last. It
was perhaps as much, however, from his vigilance in watching when there
was so little to take advantage of, and seizing all the little bits of
help it was possible to get, as it was from the great help of that
powerful wind; for other vessels that started with us, and even days
before us, have not come in yet, and they all had the great wind alike.

R---- ventured to inquire of the captain one day, when we were beating
about the mouth of the Straits, as to the feasibility of going into
Neeah Bay, while it was yet possible to do so; but the captain said he
preferred to beat about, and then he was ready to take advantage of the
first chance in his favor, which he might lose if he were in shelter.

One day it was more than I could enjoy. The wind roared so loud, and the
sound of the waves was so heavy, that I retreated to my berth, and lay
down; but I could not keep my mind off the thought of how deep the water
was under us. After a while I went on deck and sat there again, and the
vessel began to plunge so that it seemed as if it were trying to stand
upon one end. I felt so frightened that I thought I would speak to the
captain, and ask him if he ever knew a lumber-vessel to tip over; and if
I dared I would suggest that he should carry a little less sail. I knew
that he was once on a vessel that turned bottom upward in the Straits,
and he was left on the overturned hull for three days, in a snow-storm,
before help came to him. I spoke to him, and he did not give me much of
an answer; but, a little while after, he came to me, and said, "Are you
able to go to the forward part of the ship with me? I should like to
have you, if you can." So he helped me along to the bow, where it seemed
almost too frightful to go, and said, "Kneel down;" and knelt down by
me, and said, "Look under the ship." It was one of the most beautiful
sights I ever saw,--such a height of foam, and rainbows over it. The
dark water beside it seemed to be full of little, sharp, shining
needles. I suppose it was moving so quickly that made the elongated
drops appear so. Then he took me to the other side, that was in shadow;
and there the water was whirled into the most beautiful shapes, standing
out distinct from each other, from the swiftness of the motion, that
held them poised, like exquisite combinations of snowflakes, only more

Presently he said, "Men don't often speak of these things to each other,
but I feel the beauty of it. Nights when the vessel is moving so fast, I
come and watch here for hours and hours, and dream over it." When I
thought about it afterward, I wondered how he could know that the way to
answer my fear was to show me what was so beautiful. I was not afraid
any more, whatever the vessel did.

Those three days and nights of lonely watching, floating about in the
Straits, must have been a great experience to him, and made him
different from what he would otherwise have been; certainly different
from most men.

Before sunrise, yesterday morning, we passed the "Seal-Rocks;" as the
light just began to reveal a little of the dark, dreamy hills on each
side of the long, beautiful entrance to the harbor. A flood of light
filled it as we entered, and it must have looked just as it did when it
was first named the "Golden Gate." All along, for miles, the water
throws itself up into the air, and falls in fountains on the rocky
shore. I cannot conceive of a more beautiful harbor in the world; and,
as we were two or three hours in coming from the sea up to the city, we
had time enough to enjoy it.

The southern headland of the entrance is Point Lobos (_Punta de los
Lobos_, Point of Wolves); the northern, Point Bonita (Beautiful Point).

  MARCH 25, 1875.

We could never have stepped out of our wilderness into a stranger city
than this. From the variety of foreign names and faces that I see in the
streets, I should think I were travelling over the whole world. On one
side of us lives a Danish family, on the other a French. I walk along
and look up at the signs,--"Scandinavian Society;" "Yang Tzy Association
of Shanghae;" "Nuevo Continente Restaurant Mejicano;" "Angelo Beffa,
Helvetia Exchange," with the white cross and plumed hat of Switzerland.
One street is all Chinese, with shiny-haired women, and little mandarins
with long cues of braided red silk. The babies seem to be dressed in
imitation of the idol in the temple; their tight caps have the same
tinsel and trimmings, and the resemblance their little dry faces bear to
it is very curious.

Next to "Tung Wo," "Sun Loy," and "Kum Lum," come "Witkowski,"
"Bukofski," "Rowminski,"--who keep Russian caviar, etc. Some day, when
we feel a little tired of our ordinary food, we think of trying the
caviar, or perhaps a gelatinous bird's nest, for variety.

Besides the ordinary residents, we meet many sailors from the hundreds
of vessels always in the harbor,--Greeks, Lascars, Malays, and Kanakas.
Their picturesque costumes and Oriental faces add still more to the
foreign look of the place.

In the midst of the greatest rush and confusion of one of the principal
business streets, stands a man with an electrical machine, bawling in
stentorian tones, "Nothing like it to steady the nerves, and strengthen
the heart,"--ready, for a small fee, to administer on the spot a current
of greater or less intensity to whoever may desire it. The contrast is
most ludicrous between the need that undoubtedly exists for some such
quieting influence, and the utter inefficacy of it, if applied, under
such circumstances.

  OCTOBER 20, 1875.

We have just returned from Santa Barbara. How buoyant the air seems, and
how brisk the people, after our languid, dreamy life there! I, who went
there in robust health, spent six months in bed, for no other reason,
that I could understand, than the influence of the climate. Perhaps, on
homoeopathic principles, as Santa Barbara makes sick people well, it
makes well people sick. A physician that I have seen since coming here
tells me that he went there himself for his own health, and was so much
affected by the general atmosphere of sickness, that he was obliged to
return. It is a depressing sight, certainly, to see so many feeble,
consumptive-looking people about, as we did there. Where we lived I
think it was also malarious, from the _estero_ that winds like a snake
about the lowlands near the bay. The favorite part of the city is near
the foot-hills. It is probably more healthful there, but we cannot live
without seeing at least one little silver line of the sea. So we took up
our abode in the midst of the Spanish population, near the water.

We found it very difficult to get any one to help us in our work,
although we had supposed that in the midst of poor people we should be
favorably situated in that respect. We were told, however, that the
true Castilian, no matter how poor, never works; that we might perhaps
find some one among the Mexicans to assist us.

Our neighbors were quite interesting to watch, and we were pleased with
the simplicity of their lives. They had no apparent means of support,
unless it might be lassoing and taming some wild mustangs, which they
were sometimes engaged in doing; but this seemed to be more of a
recreation than a business with them. They were never harassed nor
hurried about any thing. They lived mostly outside their little dark
dwelling, only seeking it at noon for a _siesta_. In the morning they
placed a mat under the trees, and put the babies down naked to play on
it, shaking dawn the leaves for play-things. Sometimes they cut a great
piece of meat into narrow strips, and hung it all over our fence to dry.
This dried meat, and melons, constituted a large part of their food. The
old mother was called _Gracia_, but she could never in her youth have
been more graceful than now. She was as picturesque still as she could
ever have been, and perfectly erect. She wore a little black cap, like a
priest's cap, on the top of her head, and her long gray hair floated out
from it over her shoulders; and, with her black mantle thrown as
gracefully about her as any young person could have worn it, we used to
see her starting out every morning to enjoy herself abroad. She appeared
one morning at our window, before we were up, with her arms full of
roses covered with dew, eager to give them to us while they were so

We noticed her sometimes out in the yard, preparing some of the family
food, by the aid of a curious flat stone supported on three legs, and a
stone pestle or roller,--a very primitive arrangement. Kneeling down
upon the ground, she placed her corn, or Chili peppers--or whatever
article she wished to grind--upon the stone; and, taking the hand-stone,
she rolled it vigorously back and forth over the flat surface, crushing
up the material, which fell off at the lower end into a dish below. We
saw her making _tomales_, composed of bruised green corn,--crushed by
the process just described,--mixed with chopped meat, and seasoned with
Chili peppers or other pungent flavoring, and made up into slender
rolls, each enveloped in green-corn leaves, tied at the ends, and baked
in the ashes,--resulting in a very savory article of food.

Our only New-England acquaintances at Santa Barbara had evidently
modified very much their ideas of living. We found them with bare
floors; a great bunch of pampas grass, and a guitar hanging against the
wall, in true Spanish fashion; the room being otherwise mostly empty.

We had on one side the dark Santa Ynez Mountains, and on the other the
sea. The mountains are not very high but bold in their outlines; and the
number of crags and ravines gives them a beautiful play of light and
shadow. Very early one morning I saw a great gray eagle fly overhead,
back to his home in their dark recesses. Some of the slopes are covered
with grape-vines, and some with olive-trees. Far up in the hollows can
be seen the little white houses of the people who keep the bee-ranches.
They live up so high because the flowers last longer there. The
mountains form a semicircle on one side of the town; on the other is the
beach. An immense bed of kelp, extending for miles and miles along the
shore, forms the most beautiful figures, rising and falling as it floats
on the water,--so gigantic, and at the same time so graceful. It is of
every beautiful shade of pale yellow and brown. In winter the gales
sometimes drive it shoreward in such vast quantities that vessels are
compelled to anchor outside of it.

There is an old mission there, built in the Moorish style, where all
visitors are hospitably received by the Franciscan friars in charge.
This mission, like all those we have seen, has a choice situation,
sheltered from wind, and with good soil about it. The old monks knew how
to make themselves comfortable. Their cattle roamed over boundless
pastures, herded by mounted _vaqueros_; their grain-fields ripened under
cloudless skies; their olive-orchards, carefully watered and tended by
their Indian subjects, yielded rich returns.

We made the acquaintance of a gentleman from Morocco, who says that the
climate there is almost the same as that of Santa Barbara. I suppose the
simoom we had there in the summer was a specimen of it. A fierce, hot
wind blew from the Mojave desert. There was no possibility of comfort in
the house, nor out of it. We could escape the storm of wind and dust by
going in, but there was still the choking feeling of the air. The
residents of the place could say nothing in defence of it,--only that
did not occur often.

We are told that on the 17th of June, 1859, there was much more of a
genuine simoom. So hot a blast of air swept over the town as to fill the
people with terror. This burning wind raised dense clouds of fine dust.
Birds dropped dead from the trees. The people shut themselves up in
their thick adobe houses. The mercury rapidly rose to 133 degrees, and
continued so for three hours. Trees were blighted, and gardens ruined.

Sailors approaching the coast in a fog can recognize the Santa Barbara
Channel by the smell of bitumen which floats on the water. Some of the
old navigators thought their vessels were on fire when they noticed it.
It gives a luminous appearance to the water at night.

On one side of Santa Barbara is a great table-land, called the _Mesa_,
where there is always a sea-breeze that blows across fields of grain and
fragrant grass. That would be a beautiful place to live, but there is no
water. The experiment of artesian wells is about being tried.

From the _Mesa_ we looked off to the channel islands,--Santa Cruz, Santa
Rosa, San Miguel, and Anacapa,--bold, rocky, and picturesque. Anacapa
was formerly a great resort for the seal and otter; and the natives from
Alaska came down to hunt them, and collected large quantities of their
valuable skins. The island is of sandstone, all honeycombed with
cavities of different sizes, sometimes making beautiful arches. There is
no water on this island, and only cactus and coarse grass grow there.
Others of the group have wood and water, and settlements of fishermen.
On some of them, interesting historical relics have been
discovered,--supposed to be the remains of a temple to the sun, with
idols and images. There are also beautiful fossils and corals and
abalone shells.

It was hard to make up our minds to leave so lovely a place; but as I
looked back, the last morning, to fix the picture of it in my mind, I
saw the little white clouds that come before the hot wind, rising above
the mountains, and was glad that we were going. Two immense columns of
smoke rose out of the cañons, and stood over the place, like genii. In
the dry weather it seems that the mountains are almost always on fire,
which modifies what is called the natural climate of Santa Barbara, so
as to make it very uncomfortable. Its admirers must come from some worse
place,--probably often from the interior; no one from Puget Sound ever
praises it. We met several families from that region; and they were all
anxious to get back to the clear mountain atmosphere of their northern
climate, which is as equable as that of Santa Barbara, though far
different in character.

We saw there some Chinese quite unlike any that we have met before. We
have heard that most of those who come to the Pacific Coast are of an
inferior kind, chiefly Tartars. There we saw some quite handsome ones,
who had more of an Arab look, and had also elegant manners,--one,
especially, who had a little office near us. On the birthday of the
Emperor of China, his room was ornamented with a picture of Confucius,
before which he burned scented wood; and hanging over it was an
air-castle, with the motto, "God is Love."

We visited one day an interesting-looking old house, near our quarter of
the town, to see if we could live in it. It was one of the finest there
before the place became Americanized, and belonged to an old Spanish
don. It stands in the centre of spacious and beautiful grounds, and the
avenue leading to it is bordered with olive-trees, which were in bloom.
There was a curious, delicate fragrance in the air, quite new to me,
which I attributed to them. It was as different from all other odors, as
their color is from that of all other trees. They have a little greenish
blossom, something like a daphne, and the foliage is of beautiful shades
of gray-green, from an almost black to light silvery color. They seem
like old Spaniards themselves, they have such an ancient, reserved look.
Two magnificent pepper-trees, with their light, graceful foliage
trailing from the branches, stand near the door. The house is shut in
with dark heavy porches on all sides, and covered with vines. The
windows are in such deep recesses, owing to the great thickness of the
walls of the house, that the rooms were but dimly lighted, although it
was early in the afternoon. Some of the windows are of stained glass,
and others of ground glass, to lessen the light still more. It is an
adobe house; and the walls are so damp that I gave up all idea of living
in it, as soon as I laid my hand on them. The Spaniards, I see, all
build their houses on a plan that originated in a hot country, where the
idea of comfort was all of coolness and shade. This house, and the one
opposite where we lived, are covered with passion-flowers. Near the
latter are two dark evergreen-trees,--the Santa Cruz spruce,--trimmed so
as to be very stiff and straight, standing like dark wardens before the
door. There is a hedge of pomegranate, with its flame-like flowers,
which seem to be filled with light. The pepper-tree abounds in Santa
Barbara, and the eucalyptus is being planted a good deal. It has a
special power to absorb malaria from the air, and makes unhealthy places


     Our Aerie.--The Bay and the Hills.--The Little
     Gnome.--Earthquake.--Temporary Residents.--The
     Trade-Wind.--Seal-Rocks.--Farallon Islands.--Exhilarating
     Air.--Approach of Summer.--Centennial
     Procession.--Suicides.--Mission Dolores.--Father Pedro Font and his
     Expedition.--The Mission Indians.--Chinese Feast of the
     Dead.--Curious Weather.

  SAN FRANCISCO, October 30, 1875.

We have found a magnificent situation. Our little house is perched on
such a height, that every one wonders how we ever discovered it. The
site of the city was originally a collection of immense sandhills, on
the sides and tops of which the houses were built, many of them before
the streets were laid out and graded. When the grades were finally
determined, and the hills cut through,--as some of them were,--houses
were often left perched far above, on the edge of a cliff, and almost as
inaccessible as a feudal castle. I feel as if ours might be an eagle's
nest, and enjoy the wildness and solitude of it. So does our Scotch
shepherd dog, who has been used to lonely places. Sometimes, just as the
sun is rising, we see him sitting out on the sandhills, looking about
with such a contented expression that it seems as if he smiled. He opens
his mouth to drink in the wind, as if it were a delicious draught to

The hills are covered with sage-brush, full of little twittering birds.
My bed is between two windows, and they fly across from one to the
other, without minding me at all. Opposite is Alcatraz, a fortified
island, but very peaceful-looking, the waves breaking softly all around
it. It has still the Spanish name of the white pelicans with which it
used to be covered. The commander of the fort died since we came here,
and was carried across the water, with music, to Angel Island, to be

Across the bay is a low line of hills, with softly rounded outlines.
They are of pale russet color, from the red earth, and thin, dried
grass, that covers them. Farther to the north is Mount Tamalpias, with
sharper outlines.

  NOVEMBER 8, 1875.

The China boys generally refuse to come out here to live with us, saying
it is "too far, too far." The unsettled appearance of this part of the
city does not please them. To-day we succeeded in securing a small one.
He is a curious-looking little creature, with a high pointed head,
stiff, black hair, and small, sparkling eyes. He seems like a little
gnome, and might have been living in the bowels of the earth, in mines
and caverns, with black coal and bright jewels about him. Before he
would agree to come, he said he must go and consult the idol in the
temple. He burned little fragrant sticks before him; but how he divined
what his pleasure might be, I could not tell.

We hesitated about taking him, considering his very stunted appearance;
but he said, "Me heap smart," and that settled it. "Heap" must be a word
the Chinese have picked up at the mines. It is in constant requisition
in any attempt to converse with them.

Last night we had a heavy shock of earthquake. How different it is from
merely reading that the crust of the earth is thin, and that there is
fire under it, to feel it tremble under your feet! I was glad to have
one thing more made real to me, that before meant nothing. It was a
strange, deep trembling, as if every thing were sliding away from us.

  NOVEMBER 18, 1875.

It gives one a lonesome feeling to see how many people here lead
unsettled lives, looking upon some other place as their home. Even the
children, hearing so much talk about the East, seem to have an idea that
they really belong somewhere else. One of our little neighbors said to
me, "I have never been home;" although she, and all her grown-up
brothers and sisters, were born and brought up here. Many of the customs
of the place are adapted to a temporary way of living. In most parts of
the city, it would be hard to find a street without signs of "Furnished
rooms to let." Besides innumerable restaurants, a flying kitchen travels
about, with every thing cooking as it goes along, and clean-looking men,
with white aprons, to serve the food; one ringing a bell, and looking
out in every direction, to see what is wanted.

The numerous windmills, for raising water, give the city a lively look.
The wind keeps them always in motion. The constant whirring of the
wheels, and the general breezy look of things, distinguish this place
from all others that I have seen. Sir Francis Drake, entering the bay
nearly three hundred years ago, refers, with great delight, to "a franke
wind," that took him "into a safe and good baye." There was, for a long
time, some doubt as to which of several ports he made. I think that
mention of the wind settles it. The identical wind has been blowing with
undiminished vigor ever since. In summer (the time he was here), it will
carry a vessel in against the strongest tide.

The city is built mostly of wood. The absence of foliage, and the
neutral color of the houses, give the streets a dull gray look, here and
there redeemed by the scarlet geranium, which, if not a native, is most
thoroughly naturalized,--it grows so sturdily, even in the poorest

  APRIL 30, 1876.

We had a long ride out to the Seal-Rocks, past great wavy hills, with
patches of gold, brighter than the dandelions and buttercups are at
home. This was the eschcholtzia, or California poppy. Occasionally we
passed great tracts of lupine. The lowland was a sea of blue iris.

Suddenly, as we surmounted a height, the ocean rolled in before us, line
after line of breakers, on a broad beach. When we reached Point Lobos we
saw the two great rocks, far out in the water, covered with brown seals
that lay in the sun like flocks of sheep, and little slippery, shining
ones all the time crawling up out of the water, and dropping back again.
As the vessels pass out of the bay, they go near enough to hear them
bark; but nothing frightens them away, nor discomposes them in the
least, although they are only a few miles from the city, and have a
great many visitors. They are protected by law from molestation.

We looked off to the Farallon Islands, which are one of the chief
landmarks for vessels approaching the Golden Gate. There was formerly a
settlement of Russians there, who hunted the seal and the otter. These
islands are still a great resort for seals, also for cormorants and
sea-gulls; and the large speckled eggs of the birds are gathered in
quantities, and brought to the San Francisco market for sale. They were
called by the Spaniards "_Farallons de los Frayles_" (Islands of the
Friars), _farallon_ being a sharp-pointed island.

There is a marvellous exhilaration in the air. The enthusiastic Bayard
Taylor said, that, in his first drive round the bay, he felt like Julius
Cæsar, Milo of Crotana, and Gen. Jackson, rolled into one. It is an
acknowledged fact, that both men and animals can work harder and longer
here, without apparent injury or fatigue, than anywhere on the Eastern
coast. We have heard it suggested that the abundant actinic rays in the
dry, cloudless atmosphere are the cause of this invigoration, and also
of the unusual brilliancy of the flowers.

  JUNE 1, 1876.

The only way in which we know that summer is coming is by the more
chilling winds, the increased dust, the tawny color of the hills, and
the general dying look of things. Every thing is bare, sunny, and sandy.

We are surrounded with great wastes of sand, which the wind drives
against the house, so that it seems always like a storm. Sometimes, when
I sit at work at the window, a gopher comes out of the sandhill, and
sits down outside it. His company makes me feel still more remote from
all civilized things.

  JULY 4, 1876.

We had a splendid Centennial procession. Things that we imitate at home
are all real here. Instead of having our own people dressed up in
foreign costume, we have Italians, French, Swiss, Russians, Germans,
Chinese, Turks, etc., all ready for any occasion. The newspapers
mentioned as a remarkable fact, that there were no suicides for a week
beforehand; every one seemed to have something to look forward to.

The night before the celebration, the French residents built up a great
arch, as high as the highest buildings, with fine decorations, for the
procession to pass under. Some doubt was expressed about the Germans
liking to pass beneath the French arch; so three thousand Germans, to
show their good-will, went and sung the Marseillaise under it.

The Jews have the handsomest church in San Francisco, which they
decorated with the greatest enthusiasm, and had Centennial services, in
which they said that they, of all people in the world, ought to
appreciate America, as, before they came here, they were outcasts
everywhere, while here they were unmolested and prosperous.

I liked best in the procession the Highlanders, who were real Scotchmen,
in plaids, and bonnets with eagle feathers. Every one had a claymore by
his side, and a thistle on his breast; and there were pipers playing on
bagpipes to lead them.

There are a great many Germans in San Francisco, and the brewers had a
car dressed with yellow barley and other ripe grains. The great fat men
looked so full of enjoyment, it was really picturesque to see them,
under the nodding grain. For the first time in my life I appreciated
them, as I saw how poorly a thin man would convey the idea of comfort.
There are a good many Italian fishermen here too. They are always just
fit for processions, without any alteration whatever; their pretty green
boat "Venezia," and their Captain Cæsar Celso Morena, seem made for it.
They had Roman guards, in golden scale armor. The California Jaegers
with their wild brown faces, that seemed to transport us to the great
hot plains where they herd and lasso the half-tamed animals, walked too
in the procession; and the baby camel, born lately in San Francisco, a
great pet. They were led by the silver cornet band, whose music was
exquisitely clear and sweet.

  AUGUST 2, 1876.

In this homeless city, built upon sandhills, and continually desolated
by winds, it is no wonder that the blue bay looks attractive, especially
to any one thrust aside in the continual vicissitudes of this unsettled
life. The first news we heard, on our return from Santa Barbara, was
that Ralston, the great banker, and one of the chief favorites in social
life, had sought the calm of its still depths as better than any thing
life could offer. How serenely the water lay in the sunshine, as we
looked at it, hearing this news, which had stirred the city to its
utmost! Here all secrets are guarded, all perplexities end. The passion
for suicide seeks mostly this pathway, though there is an unprecedented
number of intentional deaths of all kinds.

This morning's paper records the suicide of a Frenchman, who half
reconciled me to his view, by the cheerful, intelligent way in which he
spoke. He left a letter stating that he died with no ill feeling toward
any one, and full of faith in God as a Father; that he did not consider
that he was to blame for what he was about to do, as he had tried in
vain to get work,--probably because he was wholly deaf. He made so
little fuss about what almost every one would have considered a terrible
calamity,--that his life should end in this way,--that it seemed a pity
it could not otherwise have been made known what kind of a man he was.
He gave a little account of himself, beginning, "I was born in the
province of Haute Vienne, in France, and have lived mostly at the
mines," going on to speak as quietly of what he was about to do, as he
might if he were going to move from one town to another, not having
succeeded in the first; ending by saying, "I have taken the poison,--an
acid taste, but not disagreeable." He made only one request,--that a
package of old letters should be laid on his breast, and buried with
him. A valuable member of society might have been saved, if the result
in his case could have been the same as with a man we knew in Santa
Barbara, who, becoming discouraged by continual rheumatism, combined
with poverty, took a large dose of strychnine, with suicidal intent,
but, to his astonishment, was entirely cured of his rheumatism; and the
notoriety he acquired presently procured him an abundance of work.

In the winter a man who called himself Professor Blake, a "mind-reader,"
gave some exhibitions of his power, which were considered wonderful. It
might have been better for him, however, not to know what people
thought, as it proved. A few weeks ago a man was discovered dead, with
this letter beside him: "I die of a weary and a heavy heart, but of a
sound mind. If there should be one or two persons to whom I should be
known, let them, out of charity to the living, withhold their knowledge.
Should my eyes be open, close them, that I may not chance, even in
death, to see any more of this hated world." Notwithstanding his wish,
of course every effort was made to find out who he was; and it proved to
be this "mind-reader."

These cases are very depressing to think of; only that it makes one feel
more certain of another life, to see how unfinished and unsatisfactory
some things are here.

  SEPTEMBER 6, 1876.

I have found two beautiful places to visit,--the old Spanish graveyard
of the Mission Dolores, and Lone Mountain Cemetery. They have long, deep
grass, and bright, exquisite flowers. On the waste tracks about the
cemetery, I can still find the fragrant little _yerba buena_ (good
herb), from which the Spanish Fathers named the spot where San Francisco
now stands, in the primitive times, long before gold was discovered. The
cross on the summit of Lone Mountain, erected by the Franciscan friars,
is quite impressive from its height and size. It is seen from all parts
of the city.

The Mission Dolores (Mission of our Lady of Sorrow) is south of the
city, sheltered from the wind, with a clear stream flowing near. The
fathers displayed their customary shrewdness in the selection of this
situation. The bleak sandhills to the north they left for the future
city, and settled themselves in this pleasant valley. The pioneer
missionary of Northern California--Father Junipero Serra, that rigorous
old Spaniard who used to beat his breast with stones--established
himself here, with his Franciscan monks, in the fall of 1776. His old
church is still standing,--an adobe building, with earthen floor, the
walls and ceiling covered with rude paintings of saints and angels.

The Presidio of San Francisco was established in the spring preceding,
by a colony sent out by the Viceroy of Mexico, accompanied by a military
command. Father Pedro Font came with the expedition. He was a scientific
man, and recorded his observations of the country and the people. Just
before starting, a mass was sung for their happy journey, to the Most
Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe, whom they chose for their patroness,
together with the Archangel Michael and their Father Saint Francis.

When they reached the vicinity of the Gila River, the governors of
several of the rancherias came out to meet them, with the alcalde, and a
body of Pimas Indians, mounted on horses, who presented them with the
scalps of several Apaches they had slain the day before. At the next
stopping-place along the river, they were met by about a thousand
Indians, who were very hospitable, and made a great shed of green
boughs for them, in which to pass the night.

Father Pedro observed that the country must formerly have been inhabited
by a different race, as the ground was strewn with fragments of painted
earthenware, which the Pimas did not understand making. He saw also the
ruins of an ancient building, with walls four and six feet thick. On the
east and west sides were round openings, through which, according to the
Indian traditions, the prince who lived there used to salute the rising
and setting sun.

The company travelled on, singing masses, and resting by the way, until
they reached what Father Pedro called "a miracle of Nature, the port of
ports" (San Francisco Bay). He ascended a table-land, that ended in a
steep white rock, to admire what he calls the "delicious
view,"--including the bay and its islands, and the ocean, with the
_Farallons_ in the distance, of which he made a sketch. He mentioned
Angel Island, which still bears that name. The commandant planted a
cross on the steep white rock, as the symbol of possession, and also at
Point Reyes (Point of Kings), and selected the table-land for the site
of the Presidio. Father Font explored the country about the bay, and
made some surveys. He noticed some Indians with launches made of
_tules_ (bulrushes), in which they navigated the streams.

It would have been fortunate for the Indians if all the priests sent
among them had been of as gentle a spirit as Father Pedro. He says, in
his account of this expedition, that they received him everywhere with
demonstrations of joy, with dancing and singing. But, some years after,
we hear that the soldiers were sent out from the Presidio to lasso the
Indians. They were brought in like wild beasts, immediately baptized,
and their Christianization commenced. Kotzebue, one of the early Russian
explorers, says that in his time (1824) he saw them at Santa Clara
driven into the church like a flock of sheep, by an old ragged Spaniard,
armed with a stick. Some of the more humane priests complained bitterly
of this violent method of converting the heathen, and insisted that all
the Indians who had been brought in by force should be restored "to
their gentile condition."

In the old Mission of Santa Barbara, we saw some of the frightful
pictures considered so very effective in converting them. One special
painting, representing in most vivid colors the torments of hell, was
said of itself alone to have led to hosts of conversions; but a picture
of paradise, in the same church, which was very subdued in its
treatment and coloring, had failed to produce any effect.

The services of the Indians belonged for life to the missions to which
they were attached. They were taught many useful things. They watered
and kept the gardens and fields of grain, and tended the immense herds
of cattle that roamed over the hills. Traders came to the coast to buy
hides and tallow from the ranches and the missions, and the product of
their fields. For seventy years, these old monks, supported by Spain,
were the rulers of California. Spain's foreign and colonial troubles,
however, led her to appropriate to other purposes the "Pious Fund" by
which the missions were maintained. Jealousy of their growing power, and
revolutions in Mexico, hastened their downfall. The discovery of gold in
1848 introduced the element which was to prove their final destruction.

It is a curious fact that the first adventurer who ever set foot on this
soil, Sir Francis Drake, although he was here for only a month,
repairing his ship, became convinced that there was no earth about here
but had some probable show of gold or silver in it. If news had spread
then as rapidly as now, in these days of newspapers and telegraphs, it
would not have lain two hundred and seventy years untouched, and then
been discovered only by accident.

  NOVEMBER 3, 1876.

A few days ago, I wandered on to the solitary Chinese quarter of Lone
Mountain, and happened upon the celebration of the Feast of the Dead.
Hundreds and hundreds of Chinamen were bowing over the graves in the
sand. Each grave had on it little bright-colored tapers burning,
sometimes large fires beside, made of the red and silver paper they use
at the New Year. Each had curious little cups and teapots and
chop-sticks, rice, sugar-cane, and roast chicken. I saw some little
white cakes, inscribed with red letters, similar to children's Christmas
cakes with names on them. Every thing that seems nice to a Chinaman was
there. They were so engrossed in what they were doing, that they took no
notice whatever of my observation of them. At each grave they spread a
mat, and arranged the food. Then some one that I took for the nearest
friend clasped his hands, and bowed in a sober, reverent way over the
grave; then poured one of the little cups of rice wine out on the sand.
It reminded me of the offerings I saw made to the spirit of the dead
Indian child, at Port Townsend. Then two dead men were brought out to
be buried, while we stood there; and the instant they were covered with
the sand, the Chinamen called to each other, "fy, fy!" (quick,
quick!),--to light the fire, as if it were to guide them on the way, as
the Indians think. They threw into the air a great many little papers. I
asked if those were letters to the dead Chinamen, and they said,
"Yes,"--but I am not sure if they understood me.

It produced such a strange effect, in this wild, desert-looking place,
to see all these curious movements, and the fires and the feasts on the
graves, that I felt utterly lost. It was as if I had stepped, for a few
moments, into another world.

The Chinamen are so very saving, never wasting any thing, and they have
to work so hard for all their money, and pay such high duty on the
things they import from home, that they would not incur all this expense
unless they felt sure that it answered some end. It is a matter for
endless pondering what they really believe about it. They are satisfied
with a very poor, little, frugal meal for themselves; but on this
occasion every thing was done in the greatest style. At one place was a
whole pig, roasted and varnished; and every grave had a fat, roasted
chicken, with its head on, and dressed and ornamented in the most
fanciful manner. The red paper which they use for visiting-cards at the
New Year, and seem to be very choice of then, they sacrificed in the
most lavish way at this time. They fired off a great many crackers to
keep off bad spirits.

Most of the graves were only little sand-mounds for temporary use, until
the occupants should be carried back to China; but one was a great
semi-circular vault, so grand and substantial-looking that it suggested
the Egyptian Catacombs. Over one division of the graveyard, I saw a
notice which I could partly read, saying that no woman or child could be
buried there.

The Chinese are so out of favor here now, that the State Government is
trying to limit the number that shall be allowed to come. About a
thousand arrive on each steamer. How foolish it seems to be afraid of
them, especially for their good qualities! the chief complaint against
them being that they are so industrious, economical, and persevering,
that sooner or later all the work here will fall into their hands.

  JANUARY 9, 1877.

We have been having some very strange weather here,--earthquake weather,
it is called by some persons. It seems as if it came from internal
fires. It has been so warm at night that we could not sleep, even with
two open windows.

The chief thought of every one is, "When will it rain?" Prayers are
offered in the churches for rain. It is also the subject of betting; and
the paper this morning said that several of the prominent stockbrokers
were confined to their rooms, with low spirits, on account of the
condition of stocks, caused by the general depression from the dry
season. We watch the sky a good deal. Strange clouds appear and
disappear, but nothing comes of them. To-day, when I first looked out of
my window, there were two together, before it, most human-like in
appearance, that seemed to hold out their arms, as if in appeal; but, as
I watched them, they only drew their beautiful trailing drapery after
them, and moved slowly away.

There is a curious excitement about this weather, coming in the middle
of winter. These extremes of dryness, and this strange heat at this
season, reversing all natural order, may be one cause of the
peculiarities of the Californians; and they are certainly peculiar
people. I recently took a little excursion to Oakland, crossing the bay
by the ferry, and riding some distance in the cars. A pleasant feeling
came over me as I saw that it was like crossing the Merrimac from
Newburyport to Salisbury; the distance was about as far, and there were
the same low trees and green grass on the opposite side. I felt quite at
home, until, on entering the cars, my eyes lighted on this notice,
posted conspicuously everywhere: "Passengers will beware of playing
three-card monte, strap, or any other game of chance, with strangers. If
you do, you will surely be robbed." All visions of respectable New
England vanished at that sight.


     Quong.--His _Protégé_.--His Peace-Offering.--The Chinese and their
     Grandmothers.--Ancient Ideas.--Irish, French, and Spanish
     Chinamen.--Chinese Ingenuity.--Hostility against the
     Chinese.--Their Proclamations.--Discriminations against
     them.--Their Evasion of the Law.--Their Perseverance against all
     Obstacles.--Their Reverence for their Ancestors, and Fear of the
     Dead.--Their Medical Knowledge.--Their Belief in the Future.--Their
     Curious Festivals.--Indian Names for the Months.--Resemblance
     between the Indians and Chinese.--Their Superstitions.

  SAN FRANCISCO, February 20, 1877.

Some time since, we asked the washman to send us a new boy. One evening,
in the midst of a great storm of wind and rain, the most grotesque
little creature appeared at the door, with his bundle under his arm, as
if he were sure of being accepted. We thought we must keep him for a day
or two, on account of the weather, and just to show him that he could
not do what we wanted; but he proved too amusing for us to think of
letting him go. His name is Quong. He is shorter than Margie, who is
only nine, and has much more of a baby face, but a great deal of
dignity; and he assures me, when they go out together, that he shall
take good care of Margie and the baby, and if there is any trouble he
will call the police. We felt a little afraid to trust them with him at
first, because the Chinese are so often attacked in the streets; but he
has unbounded confidence in the police, and has a little whistle with
which to call them. It reminds me of Robin Hood; he takes such great
pleasure in making use of it, and comes out so safe from all dangers by
the help of it.

The first Sunday that he was here, we told him that he could go out for
a while, as all the Chinese do on that day. When he came back, I asked
him where he had been. These little boys are all petted a good deal at
the wash-houses, and I supposed he had been there enjoying himself. But
he said that he went every Sunday to see a small boy that he had charge
of, who was too young to work; that he sent him now to school, but next
year he should tell him, "No work, no eat;" and, if he did not do
something to support himself, he should not give him clothes any more. I
remember reading that the Chinese were considered men at fourteen. It is
very comical to see such a little creature assume these
responsibilities, and take such pride in them. He says that he is ten,
but his face is perfectly infantine; and he is a baby too in his plays.
He rolls and tumbles about like a young dog or kitten. If it rains, he
seems like a wild duck, he is so pleased with it; and then, when the sun
comes out, he hardly knows how to express his enjoyment of it; he looks
at me with such a radiant face, saying, "Oh, nice sun, nice!" I feel
ready at that moment to forgive him for every thing that we ever have to
blame him for,--such a sun seems to shine out of him; and I feel as if
we made a mistake to be critical about his little faults, which are
mainly attributable to his extreme youth.

He has lately been away to celebrate the new year. "Going home to
China," he calls it, because at that time the Chinese eat their national
food, and observe their own customs. We told him, before he left, that
he must be sure to come back in two days; but three passed, with no sign
of him. Then R---- went down to the wash-house, and left word that he
must come directly back. In the course of the afternoon, he walked in.
The moment he opened the door, we said to him, very severely, "What for
you stop too long?" But he walked up to me, without a word, and put down
before me a little dirty handkerchief, all tied up in knots, which I
finally made up my mind to open. It was full of the most curious
sweet-meats and candy, little curls of cocoanut, frosted with sugar;
queer fruits, speckled with seeds; and some nuts that looked exactly
like carved ram's-heads with horns. We had to accept this as a
peace-offering, and put aside our anger.

He is much pleased to be where there is a woman. Although he is so
young, he says that he has lived generally only with men,--Spanish men,
he says, where there was "too much tree." I suppose it was some rather
unsettled place,--a sheep-ranch, perhaps.

He is so unsophisticated that he will answer all our questions, as the
older ones will not, if they can. I asked him, one day, about the
ceremonies that I saw at Lone Mountain,--what they burned the red and
silver paper on the graves for; and he said that in the other world the
Chinamen were dressed in paper, and, if they did not burn some for them
on their graves, they would not have any clothes. I told him I saw a boy
kneel down on a grave, and take a cup of rice wine, and sip a little,
and then pour it out on the sand. He said, Oh, no, that he did not drink
any, only put it to his lips, and said, "Good-by, good-by," because the
dead Chinaman would come no more.

Whenever he speaks of any thing mysterious, we can see, by the darkening
of his face, how he feels the awe of it. One of his friends, in hurrying
to get his ironing done, to get ready to celebrate the new year, brought
on an attack of hemorrhage of the lungs. Of course, it was necessary to
keep him entirely still, which his companions knew; but, at the same
time, they were so afraid that he might die where he was, that they
insisted on carrying him to another place, a long way off, which killed
him. For, they said, if he died at the wash-house, he would come back
there; and then all the Chinamen would leave, or they would have to move
the house. His grandmother, the boy said, came back in a blue flame, and
asked for something to eat, and they had to move the house; then she
came back to where the house stood before, but could not get any

The Chinese stand in great awe of their grandmothers. In their estimate
of women, as in many of their other ideas, they are quite different from
the rest of the world; with them a woman increases in value as she grows
older. The young girl who is a slave to her mother can look forward to
the prospect of being a goddess to her grandchildren.

  MARCH 20, 1877.

Quong observes every thing, and asks endless questions about what he
sees. He says that the French and Spanish people here like the Chinamen
"too much" (a good deal); and that the "Melicans half likee, half no
likee;" but the Irishmen "no likee nothing,"--seeing so plainly who
their true enemies are. Many of the principal people here are Irish. On
St. Patrick's Day, R---- told him that he was going to take Margie to
see the procession, and that he could go too; but he said, with an air
of immense superiority, that he did not care to go and see the "whiskey
men;" he would rather stop at home, and do his work.

I feel now that all my responsibilities are shared. A while ago, R----
was obliged to stay out one night till twelve o'clock; and, when he came
home, he found the boy, with his little black head on the kitchen table,
fast asleep. When he waked him, and asked him what he was there for, he
said, that, as every one else was asleep, he staid there to take care of
the house. On another occasion, when R---- was to be out late again, I
took pains to tell him to go right to bed, as soon as he had washed the
dishes. He looked up at me, as if he were going to suggest the most
insuperable obstacle to that, and asked, "Who fuff the light?" (put it

One thing that I am always very much impressed with, in regard to the
Chinese, is the feeling of there being something ancient about them, no
matter how young they may be themselves; not only because many of them
wear clothes which appear to have been handed down from their remotest
ancestors, but they have ancient ideas. This boy, although he is of such
a cheerful temperament, seems always to keep his own death in view, as
much as the old Egyptian kings ever did. He pays a kind of burial-fee,
amounting to nearly a quarter of his wages, every month, to some one
appointed by the Chinese company to which he belongs; and when R----
remonstrated with him, and told him how foolish and unnecessary it was,
and how much better it would be to spend the money for something else,
he seemed to regard his remarks with great horror, and said he _must_
pay it; to leave off wasn't to be thought of, for then, he said, he
should have "no hole to get into" (meaning no grave), and there would be
no apples thrown away at his funeral.

We one day heard him speaking of one of his countrymen as an Irish
Chinaman; and, when we asked him what he meant, he said there were
Irish Chinamen, French Chinamen, and Spanish Chinamen. Our own
observation seems to confirm this idea. We see often among them the
light, careless temperament which marks the French; these are the men
who support the theatres, and patronize the gaming-dens. The grave,
serene Spanish is the common type; and, since the hoodlum spirit has
broken out among the Californians, it has called out a coarse, rough
class among the Chinese, corresponding to the lower grades of the Irish.
To this class belong the "Highbinders,"--men bound by secret oaths to
murder, robbery, and outrage. The actual crimes that can be justly
charged against the Chinese in this country are due, almost wholly, to
the spirit that evoked these men.

Their ingenuity is equal to their perseverance in accomplishing an end.
The Six Companies having made a regulation in regard to the wash-houses,
that there should be at least fifteen houses between every two of them,
one of the washmen was notified that he must give up his business, there
being only fourteen houses between his and the next establishment.
Although the Six Companies' directions are absolute law, he had no idea
of doing this. He carefully examined the fourteen buildings, and found
among them a deserted pickle manufactory, which he hired for one day,
with the privilege of putting up a partition which would divide it into
two houses,--in that way fulfilling the requirements of the law.

  APRIL 30, 1877.

There has lately been a great excitement about the Chinese here, and
several meetings have been held to consider how to get rid of them; and
anti-Chinese processions, carrying banners with crossed daggers, have
paraded the streets. One night the Chinese armed themselves, and went up
on to the tops of their houses, prepared to fire on a mob. They issued a
proclamation, saying, that they were not much accustomed to fighting (I
remember learning, in the geography, that they dressed themselves in
quilted petticoats when they went to battle), but they should sell their
lives as dearly as they could.

Another proclamation which they sent out was very characteristic of
them; it showed so good an understanding of the subject, suggesting so
artfully that, if the Chinamen were not allowed unlimited freedom to
come here, Americans should not be allowed to go to China.

In an "Address to the Public" which they recently put forth, they
explained, that, instead of taking the places of better men, as they
are accused of doing, they considered that, in performing the menial
work they did, they opened the way to higher and more lucrative
employments for others; saying several times, in their simple,
impressive way, "We lift others up."

In regard to the other chief accusation,--that they do not profit the
country any, do not invest any thing here, but send every thing home to
China,--they said, "The money that you pay us for our labor, we send
home; but the work remains for you,"--as, for instance, the Pacific

In trying to accumulate arguments against them, the anti-Chinese party
have made a great deal of the fact that they are bound to companies, who
advance money for them to come here, and say that the cooly trade is
like the slave-trade. One of the anti-Chinese speakers said he helped
make California a free state, and seemed to think he was employed in the
same meritorious way now. Upon investigation, it proved that many of
them do mortgage themselves--that is, their services--for a number of
years, to get here; and that it is often in order that they may support
poor relatives at home, who would otherwise starve. This shows some of
their heathen virtues. A good deal of the objection to them seems to be
on the ground of their being Pagans; some of the speakers saying that it
is "so very demoralizing to our Christian youth," that they should be
here,--quite overlooking a very large class of the population who are
worse than Pagans, and vastly more dangerous.

The idea now seems to be, to drive them away by discriminating against
them in State and city regulations; as, for instance, by enforcing the
"pure-air ordinance," by which every Chinaman who sleeps where there is
less than five hundred cubic feet of air for each person, pays a fine of
ten dollars, but white people sleep as they choose. Then, as they value
their cues above all things, and are greatly disgraced if they lose
them,--having even been known to commit suicide when deprived of
them,--an old ordinance is restored, by which every one who is put in
jail must have his hair cropped close. They are often arrested on false
charges. Then a special tax is levied on their wash-houses, and a new
regulation made, by which no one can carry baskets on poles across the
sidewalks; that being the way they carry about vegetables to sell. All
these little teasing things, and a great many other annoyances which
have not any pretence of legality, they bear with patience, and seem in
all ways to show more forbearance even, and give, if possible, less
ground for complaint, than before.

The poll-tax, which is levied on all males over twenty-one years of age,
is rigorously collected from the Chinamen, while no special effort is
made to collect it from the whites. In crossing the ferry to Oakland,
they are often pounced upon by the collector,--in many instances when
they are under age; and, unless they can show a tax receipt, their
travelling bags or bundles are taken from them, and retained until the
requirements of the collector are satisfied. Their wit and shrewdness
avail them, however, to avoid this trouble; and a Chinaman who has
occasion to cross the ferry can usually borrow the tax receipt of some
one who has already paid. This serves as a passport, as it is not easy
for a white man to distinguish them as individuals, on account of their
similarity in dress, manners, and general appearance.

The police, being extremely vigilant in respect to all violations of law
by the Chinese, have sought out their gambling-dens with great
diligence, and made many arrests. The Chinese, not to be
baffled,--besides resorting to labyrinthine passages, underground
apartments, barricades of various kinds, and other modes of secluding
themselves, to indulge in their games undisturbed,--have adopted one
medium after another in place of cards, substituting something that
could be quickly concealed in case the police should surprise them. At
one time they made use of squash or melon seeds for this purpose,
cutting on them the necessary devices. These could be much more easily
concealed about the folds of their loose garments than cards. When this
ruse was detected, they made use of almonds in the same way; and, when
surprised, hastily devoured them, leaving not a particle of evidence
upon which a policeman could base an arrest.

  MAY 10, 1877.

One of the strongest arguments against the Chinese has been that they
could never affiliate with our people, nor enter into the spirit of our
institutions; that they had no desire to become citizens, and had no
families here. Now that they have petitioned for common-school
privileges for their children, stating how many there are here, and to
what extent they are taxed to support schools, there is a louder outcry
than ever against them, for such audacity. They are slowly asserting
themselves, in different ways, and showing that they understand a good
deal that we thought they did not. One of them has now protested against
being imprisoned for violating the "pure-air ordinance." The city has
made a good deal of money by the fines paid on this account, but it has
been thought expedient to stop the arrests while this case is being

Then they are making an effort against the injustice of the city in
discriminating against them by charging more for laundry licenses where
the clothes are carried about by hand, than where horses are used; in
this way obliging any one who does a small business to pay more in
proportion than one who does a large business. There are a great many
large French laundries here, that all send about wagons. The Chinese
carry every thing by hand; they seem altogether too meek and timid to
have horses; but, as they adapt themselves to every thing, they have
looked about, and met the difficulty, in part, by securing quite a
number of poor, abject animals, with which they are beginning to appear
in the streets. There is no change they are not willing to make; and
their patience and perseverance are unconquerable, about staying and
going on with their work. As an Eastern writer said of them: "They bow
to the storm, and rise up, and plod on in the intervals." It is very
true of them, as we see them here,--so unresisting, and yet so

We have lately made the acquaintance of a man who has lived thirty years
in Shanghae, who explained many of their customs and ideas. He confirmed
some things that our boys had told us, but we understood them better
from him. He said that the Chinese have such perfect faith in continued
life after death, and in a man's increased power in another life, that
it was not an unusual thing for any one who had some great injury to
avenge, to kill himself, in order to get into a position to do it more
effectually. To them a dead man is more important than a living one; and
the one great feature of their religion is the worship of their
ancestors. They make a great many offerings to them,--as we saw them do
at Lone Mountain. If any one dies at sea, or in a foreign country, where
there is no friend or relative to do this for him, he becomes a beggar
spirit. It is the duty of the Chinese at home to make offerings to
beggar spirits as well as to their own relatives. If any great
misfortune happens to a man, he thinks he must have neglected or
offended some dead relative, or perhaps one of these beggar spirits; and
will impoverish himself for years, to atone for it by a great feast.
They are very much afraid of the spirits, and build their houses with
intricate passages, and put up screens, to keep them from seeing what
happens; and they especially avoid openings north and south, as they
think the spirits move only in north and south lines. What is more
important than almost any thing in a man's life, is to be placed right
after his death,--toward the south, that he may receive genial and
reviving influences from it; but if he is toward the north, and gets
chilling influences from that direction, he wreaks his vengeance on his
living relatives who placed him there.

We learn a good deal from the boys we have. I should like very much to
go into their schools, they are so well taught in many respects. One of
our boys once took some fruit-wax, and modelled a perfect little duck.
He said he was taught at school how to do it. He also drew several
animals with an exceedingly life-like appearance. This early instruction
is no doubt the basis of the acknowledged superiority of the Chinese as
carvers in wood and ivory.

I have often wondered that more of them do not die in coming to a
climate so different from their own, and adopting such new modes of life
as most of them are obliged to do. But they all seem to have been
taught the rudiments of medicine. A young American boy, if he is sick,
has not the remotest idea what to do for himself; but the Chinese boys
know in most cases. We have often seen them steeping their little tin
cups of seeds, roots, or leaves on the kitchen stove, which they said
was medicine for some ailment or other, but "Melican man no sabbe
Chinaman medicine;" and sometimes, when they did not have their own
remedies at hand, I have offered them pellets or tinctures from my
homoeopathic supply, which they could rarely be induced to accept,
alleging that "Melican medicine no good for Chinaman." One of our little
boys went to a Chinese doctor for himself one day, and when he came
back, I asked him what the doctor said. He told me that he pressed with
his finger here and there on his flesh, to see if it rose readily, and
the color came back. I saw that he meant if any one was not very sick,
that the flesh was elastic; and I thought it was quite a good test, and
one that might perhaps be useful to our doctors. They have one curious
idea in their treatment, which is, that, if any one is sick, he is to
eat an additional meal instead of less. Nevertheless, they seem to get
well with this arrangement.

The belief in a future life, and in improved conditions hereafter,
seems to be universal among them. A poor Chinaman was found dead near
us, with a letter beside him, which was translated at the inquest held
over the body.

  THIRD MONTH, 27th DAY [May 4].

     TO MY FATHER AND MOTHER,--I came to this country, and spent my
     money at the gambling-table, and have not accomplished any thing.
     Where I am now, I cannot raise money to return home. I am sick, and
     have not long to live. My life has been a useless one. When you
     have read this letter, do not cry yourselves sick on my account.
     Let my brothers' wives rear and educate my two cousins. I wish to
     be known as godfather to one of them. I desire Chow He, my wife, to
     protect and assist you. When you both are dead, she may marry if
     she wishes. In this world I can do no more for you, father and
     mother. You must look to the next world for any future benefit to
     be received from me.


  SEPTEMBER 10, 1877.

The Chinese generally appear unwilling to talk with us about their
religious customs and ideas, apparently from superstitious feelings.
Occasionally we meet with an intelligent one, who readily answers our
questions, and tells us about many of their festivals celebrated at
home, which are not recognized here. Notwithstanding their solemn faces
and methodical ways, they are as fond of celebrations as the San
Francisco people themselves. They celebrate the Festival of the Little
Cold, and of the Great Cold; of the Little Snow, and of the Great Snow;
of the Moderate Heat, and of the Great Heat. Early in the autumn comes
the Festival of Pak-lo, or the White Dew; later in the autumn, the
Festival of Hon-lo, or the Cold Dew. About the time of our harvest moon,
the fifteenth day of eighth moon, they celebrate the Festival of the
Full Moon, eating moon-cakes, and sending presents to their friends, of
tea, wine, and fruits; in February, the Festival of Rain and Water;
early in the spring (the sixth day of second moon), the Festival of
Enlivened Insects. On the third day of third moon they celebrate, for
three days and nights, the birthday of Pak Tai, god of the extreme
north; in spring, the birthday of the god of health; in spring also, the
great Festival of Tsing Ming (Clear and Bright). On this occasion, they
visit and worship at the tombs. In all great festivals the ancestors
must share. In early summer occurs the Festival of the Prematurely
Ripened. The hour for the offering of each sacrifice is most carefully
chosen,--that of the spring sacrifice being at the first glimmering of

This shows as close observation of nature on their part as the Indians
display, and reminds me of the names the Makahs give to the months:
December, the moon when the gray whale appears; March, the moon of the
fin-back whale; April, the moon of sprouts and buds; May, the moon of
the salmon-berry; June, the moon of the red huckleberry; November, the
moon of winds and screaming birds. The Makahs select the time of the
full moon as an especially favorable one to communicate with the Great

I do not know whether it is now considered that our Indians are of
Oriental origin. It seems at first as if two races could hardly differ
more than Indians and Chinese; but, after living long among them, many
resemblances attract our attention. We have seen, occasionally, Indians
with quite Mongolian features, and short, square frames. Flattening the
head among the Indians is considered a mark of distinction, as
compressing the feet is with the Chinese; no slave being allowed to
practise either. The reverence of the Indians for the graves of their
fathers approaches the worship of ancestors among the Chinese. No
outrage is greater to the Indians than to desecrate the burial-places of
their dead. They often make sacrifices to them, and celebrate
anniversaries of the dead with dancing and feasting. The Chinese feast
their dead at regular intervals, and carry them thousands of miles
across the ocean from foreign countries to rest in their own land at
last. The Manitous (ruling spirits) of earth, air, and water, with the
Indians, are, in some respects, like the Shin of the Chinese,--spirits
that inhabit all nature; but the Shin are inferior deities, not having
much power, being employed rather as detectives,--as the kitchen god, or
hearth spirit, who at the end of the year reports the conduct of the
family to Shang-te, the God of Heaven. Both races are firm believers in
the power and efficacy of charms: the Chinaman, in his green-jade
bracelet, is demon-proof; the Indian warrior, in a white wolf-skin,
rides to certain victory. Both are excessively superstitious,
considering that the ruling spirits are sometimes friendly, sometimes
hostile; and feel it necessary, in all the commonest acts of their
lives, to be constantly on the watch to guard against malign
influences,--attributing great power for harm to the spirits of the
dead. An Indian, like a Chinaman, will frequently abandon his lodge,
thinking some dead relative whom he has offended has discovered him
there. He is afraid to speak the name of any one who is dead, and often
changes his own name, that the dead person, not hearing the old name
spoken, may not so readily find him. Indians and Chinese are alike in
the habit of changing their names, having one for youth, another for
manhood, and a third for old age; taking new names many times in the
course of their lives,--as after any great event or performance.

They resemble each other in their infatuation for gambling,--a Chinaman,
after all his possessions have been staked and lost, sometimes selling
himself for a term of years, to keep up the game; or an Indian gambling
away a hand, an arm, a leg, and so on, and at last the head, until the
whole body is lost at the play, and then he goes into perpetual slavery.
The Indians will sometimes gamble away their children, though they are
usually very fond of them,--the typical "bad Indian" with them being one
who is cowardly, or who neglects his children.


     Chun Fa's Funeral.--Alameda.--Gophers and Lizards.--Poison
     Oak.--Sturdy Trees.--Baby Lizards.--Old Alameda.--Emperor
     Norton.--California Generosity.--The Dead Newsboy.--Anniversary of
     the Goddess Kum Fa.--Chinese Regard for the Moon and Flowers.--A
     Shin Worshipper.

  ALAMEDA, CAL., April 5, 1878.

We have left San Francisco, and come across the bay to live. The last
thing I did there was to go to a Chinawoman's funeral. I saw in the
papers that Chun Fa, the wife of Loy Mong, was dead; and he would like
to have all the Christian Chinese and their friends come to the funeral.
I thought I would go. Especially at this time, when the Chinese meet
with so much bad treatment, we are glad of an opportunity to show our
good-will and sympathy; but I did not expect to be so much interested as
I was. The columns in the chapel were wreathed with ivy and lilies, and
every thing was very quiet and pleasant in the bright forenoon. One side
of the church was filled with Chinese women and girls. It is very hard
to tell which are women, and which are children, they all have such
childlike faces. I suppose it is because they are so undeveloped. Their
uncovered heads, and smooth, shining black hair, looked to me at first
all exactly alike; all the company seemed of one pattern. But, when I
had noticed them longer, I saw some variety in their manners and
expressions. To sit there among them, and feel the differences between
them and us, and the resemblances,--so much stronger than the
differences,--was a curious experience.

It was a school, I found, and Chun Fa seemed to have been the flower of
it. They all mourned very much at losing her. She was the wife of one of
their principal merchants,--but their wives are often children. She had
a sweet, innocent face; and we heard that she was very intelligent, and
eager to learn. With her fair, open look, it seemed as if one could have
done a great deal with her in the way of development.

An American man first made a prayer in Chinese; then they all sang--

          "Shall we gather at the river?"

in English. They sang with so much fervor, that, although it was so
unmusical, I felt more like crying than laughing, to think it was for
one of those Chinese women who have been so badly spoken of; the papers
often saying that they are all prostitutes, that there are no families
among them, and that the California people must purify their State by
getting rid of them. Then a serene-looking Chinaman chanted something
that sounded very soothing and musical, and another made a prayer. Then
we went, each one, and took leave of poor little Chun Fa. I thought I
should have been willing to have it my funeral, every thing was so
genuine about it; no cant, and nothing superfluous.

We met with quite a disappointment in leaving San Francisco, to find
that our little Quong could not go with us. We thought we had obtained
leave from the proper patron; but at the last a brother appeared who
claimed to be superior authority, and forbade his going. As he seemed a
very gruff, disagreeable person, and, as the boy said, had never treated
him kindly, we advised him to disobey him; but he said it would never do
for a little China boy to disobey a father or an older brother; but,
when he was old enough, he would take ten dollars, and buy a pistol, and
shoot him.

  APRIL 30, 1878.

We are only an hour's ride by cars and steamer from San Francisco. It is
hard to believe it, it is so wholly different a place. Before us is a
field of blue nemophilas. To see them waving in the wind, recalled to me
what Emerson said about its restoring any one to reason and faith to
live in the midst of nature,--so many trivial cares and anxieties
disappeared at the sight of it. On the other side, the water rolls
softly up to our very door. We bathe in it, floating about at will in
warm or cold currents.

The first morning after we moved here, I noticed two small hills and
holes, newly dug, beside our door. A curious little head thrust itself
out of one, and two small eyes peered at me. They belonged to one of the
little underground creatures, called gophers, that we have all about us.
They eat roots, and it is almost impossible to cultivate any thing where
they are. They appeared to have come just because they saw that the
house was going to be occupied. I think they like human company, only
they want to keep their own distance. They and the lizards quite animate
the landscape. The gopher's wise, old-fashioned looking head is quite a
contrast to that of the lizard, with its eager, inquisitive expression.
There is always a little twisted-up head and bright eye, or a sharp
little tail, appearing and disappearing, wherever we look. They spend
their whole time in coming and going. Their purpose seems to be
accomplished, if they succeed in seeing us, and getting safely away.

The wagoner who moved us over from San Francisco made some commiserating
remarks concerning me, as he deposited the last load of furniture;
saying that it was a good place to raise children, but would be very
solitary for the woman.

It is a lonely place here, but the water is constant company. As I
write, the only sound I can hear is the gentle roll of waves, and now
and then an under sound that seems to come from far-off caverns,--so
soft and so deep. I never lived so close to the water before, so that
its changes made a part of my every-day life. Even when I am so busy
that I do not look at it, I feel how the tide is creeping in, filling up
all the little inlets, and making all waste places bright and full.

  MAY 10, 1878.

We made inquiries of some of the old residents, in reference to the
wind, before we decided to come here; but people who live in
half-settled places, I find, are very apt to misrepresent,--they are so
eager for neighbors. How much wiser we should have been to have
consulted the trees!--they show so plainly that they have fought all
their lives against a strong sea-wind, bending low, and twisting
themselves about, trying to get away from it.

We find that where we live is not Alameda proper, but is called the
Encinal District,--_encinal_ being the Spanish for _oak_. I do not know
whether they mean by it the old dusky evergreens, or the poison oak
which is every where their inseparable companion. Soon after we arrived,
we found ourselves severely affected by it. It was then in flower, and
we attributed its strength to that circumstance; but every change it
passes through re-enforces its life,--when it ripens its berries, when
its leaves turn bright, or when the autumn rains begin. Every thing
suits it; moisture or dryness, whichever prevails, appears to be its
element. Thoreau, who liked to see weeds overrun flowers, would have
rejoiced in its vigor. We never touch it; but any one sensitive to its
influence cannot pass near it, nor breathe the air where it grows,
without being affected by it. Alameda seems hardly ready for human
occupancy yet, unless something effectual can be done to exterminate
it. We often see superficial means taken, like burning it down to the
level of the earth; but what short-sighted warfare is that which gives
new strength after a brief interval! On one account I forgive it many
injuries,--that it furnishes our only bright autumn foliage, turning
into most vivid and beautiful shades of red. Except for the poison oak,
and a few of the long, narrow leaves of the Eucalyptus, that hang like
party-colored ribbons on the trees, we have no change in the foliage
between summer and winter; there are always the same old dingy evergreen
oaks everywhere about us.

There are some cultivated grounds and gardens in the neighborhood, but
everywhere interspersed among them are wild fields. The trees have a
determined look, as they stand and hold possession of them. The
cultivated ones that border the streets, in contrast with them, appear
quite tame. I find myself thinking of the latter sometimes as if they
were artificial, and only these old aborigines were real; they have so
much more character and expression. I heard a lady criticising Alameda,
saying that there were so many trees, you could not see the place. We
have a general feeling, all the time, as if we were camping out, and
everybody else were camping out too. The trees are scattered
everywhere; and it is quite the fashion, in this humble part of the
town, for people to live in tents while they build their own houses.
These trees are of a very social kind, bending low, and spreading their
branches wide, so that any one could almost live in them just as they
are. They are a great contrast to the firs which we had wholly around us
on Puget Sound. They have strange fancies for twisting and turning. I
have never seen two alike, nor one that grew up straight. It is not
because they are so yielding,--they are as stiff and rugged as they can
be,--it must be their own wild nature that makes them like to grow in
strange, irregular ways. Sometimes, when I look at great fields of them,
I feel as if I were in the midst of a storm, every thing has such a
wind-swept look, although it is perfectly still at the time. One day I
came upon a body of them, that appeared as if they had all been stopped
by some sudden enchantment, in the midst of running away. Often we see
trees that look as if they had come out of the wars, with great clefts
in their sides, and holes through them. Their foliage is very slight;
there is very little to conceal their muscular look. It seems as if we
could feel in them the will that tightened all the fibres.

  MAY 15, 1878.

The great event to us lately has been the advent of the baby lizards.
The streets are all laid with planks, clean and sunny. The lizards
delight in them, they are so bright and warm. I like to see, as I walk
along, these curious little bodies, in old-fashioned scale armor,
stopping and looking about, as if they were drinking in the comfort of
the sunshine, just as I am. Although they stop a great deal, it is very
difficult to catch one, for their movements are like a flash. I did
succeed once in holding one long enough to examine his beautiful
steel-blue bands. The babies are as delicate as if they were made of
glass, and as light and airy as if they belonged to fairy-land. They
run, all the time, backward and forward, just for the pleasure of
moving, over the sidewalk, and under it.

When I read in the papers, every week, about the people who kill
themselves in San Francisco,--and they generally say that they do it
because there does not seem to be any thing worth living for,--I wonder
if it would not make a difference to them if they lived in the country,
and saw how entertaining the world looks to the lively little creatures
about us, who think it worth while to move so quickly, and look well
about on every side, for fear they may miss seeing something.

  JULY 2, 1878.

When we first came here in the spring, and found the ground all blue and
yellow and white with blossoms, I thought how interested I should be, to
watch the succession of flowers. But that was all. In these dry places,
we have only _spring_ flowers. I did, though, the other day, see
something red in the distance, and, going to it, found a clump of
thistles, almost as tall as I am, of a bright crimson color. The fields
are very dry now, and it seems to be the season of the snakes. Under the
serpent-like branches, we find nothing but the cast-off skins of the

There are some curious old men here who tend cattle, sitting under the
trees, with their knitting. I think they are Germans. They do not appear
to understand when I speak to them. I thought they might be "broke
miners," who are generally the most curious people here-abouts.

One of these "broke miners" is employed to take care of two little
children near us, whose mother is dead. He dresses them with their
clothes hind-side before, and liable at any moment to drop entirely off;
but seems to succeed very well in amusing them, quilting up his
dishcloths into dolls for them, and transforming their garments into
kites. His failing seems to be that a kind of dreamy mood is apt to
steal over him, in which he wanders on the beach, regardless of hours;
and the master of the house, coming home, has to hunt high and low for
him, to come and prepare the meal. On the last bright moonlight night,
he wholly disappeared.

  OCTOBER 15, 1878.

We have finally been driven off by the wind from our cottage on the bay.
Margie has been so accustomed to moving, that she takes it as easily as
an Indian child would. A few days before we left, she gave me an account
of the moving of the man opposite, which was all accomplished before
breakfast in the morning. First, she said, he put all his things on a
wagon, and then took his house to pieces, and put that on; and then he
and the wagoner sat down and drank a pot of coffee together, and started
off, on their load.

We did not take our house with us, but found a rather dilapidated one,
in what is called Old Alameda. It is quite attractive, from the trees
and vines about it, and the spacious garden in which it stands. It is
owned by an old German woman, who lives next to us. She is rich now,
and owns the whole block, but still holds to her old peasant customs,
and wears wooden shoes. Opposite is a French family, who go off every
year to a vineyard, to make wine; and, next to them, a poor Spanish
family, who carry round mussels to sell.

  MARCH 3, 1879.

We have had a real winter; not that it was very cold or snowy,--that it
never is here,--but so excessively rainy as to keep us a good deal
in-doors. The grass grew up in the house, and waved luxuriantly round
the edges of the rooms. The oak-trees surprised us by bursting out into
fresh young green, though we had not noticed that they had lost any of
their hard, evergreen leaves.

  APRIL 10, 1879.

While we were crossing the ferry between San Francisco and Oakland one
day, a peculiar-looking person appeared on the deck of the boat, who
saluted the assembled company in a most impressive manner. He was a
large man, serene and self-possessed, with rather a handsome face. On
his broad shoulders he wore massive epaulets, a sword hung by his side,
and his hat was crowned with nodding peacock feathers. I noticed that he
passed the gates where the tickets are delivered, unquestioned, giving
only a courteous salute, instead of the customary passport. Upon
inquiry, I learned that he was the "Emperor Norton, ruler of
California," according to his fancy; and that he passed free wherever he
chose to go,--theatres opening their doors to him, railroads and
steamers conveying him without charge. He was an old pioneer, distraught
by misfortunes, and humored in this hallucination by the people. He was
in the habit of ordering daily telegraphic despatches sent to the
different crowned heads of Europe. He had once been known to draw his
sword upon his washer-woman, because she presumed to demand payment for
his washing; whereupon the Pioneer Society, learning of the affair, took
upon itself the charge of meeting all little expenses of this nature.

The Californians have a jolly, good-natured way of regarding
idiosyncrasies, and a kind of lavish generosity in the distribution of
their alms, quite different from the careful and judicious method of the
Eastern people. We hear that some of the early miners, passing along the
streets of San Francisco, just after it had been devastated by one of
the terrible fires that swept every thing before them, and seeing a lone
woman sitting and weeping among the ruins, flung twenty-dollar gold
pieces and little packages of gold dust at her, until all her losses
were made good, and she had a handsome overplus to start anew.

I noticed in Oakland a man who drew the whole length of his body along
the sidewalk, like an enormous reptile, moving slowly by the help of
his hands, unable to get along in any other way, holding up a bright,
sunny, sailor face. On his back was a pack of newspapers, from which men
helped themselves, and flung him generally a half or a quarter of a
dollar, always refusing the change. That such a man could do business in
the streets, was a credit to the kindliness of the people incommoded by
him. I hardly think he would have been tolerated in New York or Boston;
but his pleasant face and fast-disappearing papers showed that he was
not made uncomfortably aware of the inconvenience he caused.

One day, while waiting at the ferry, I saw two men employed in a way
that attracted the attention of every one who passed. One of them, who
had in his hand a pair of crutches, ascended some steps, and, crossing
them, nailed them to the wall, close to the gateway where the passengers
passed to the boat. The other arranged some light drapery in the form
of wings above them. Below they put a small table, with the photograph
of a little newsboy on it. All the business-men, the every-day
passengers crossing to their homes on the Oakland side, appeared to
understand it, and quietly laid some piece of money beside the picture.
It seems that it was the stand of a little crippled boy who had for a
year or two furnished the daily papers to the passengers passing to the
boat. The money was for his funeral expenses, and to help his family. It
was very characteristic of the Californians to take this dramatic and
effective way of collecting a fund. Men who would have been very likely
to meet a subscription-paper with indifference, on being appealed to in
this poetic manner, with no word spoken, only seeing the discarded
crutches and the white wings above, with moist eyes laid their little
tribute below, as if it were a satisfaction to do so. I thought how the
little newsboy's face would have brightened if he could have seen it,
and hoped that he might not be beyond all knowledge of it now.

We have had an opportunity to observe some fine-looking Chinamen who
have been at work on the railroad all winter opposite our house. There
are a hundred or more of them. We understand that they are from the
rural districts of China. They are large, strong, and healthy, quite
different from the miserable, stunted, sallow-faced creatures from the
cities, of whom we see so many, showing that this inferiority is not
inherent in the race, but is the effect of unfavorable circumstances.

  MAY 15, 1879.

Day before yesterday was the anniversary of the birthday of the Chinese
goddess Kum Fa, or Golden Flower, guardian of children. She is
worshipped chiefly by women; but some of the workers on the railroad
begged branches of the feathery yellow acacia, which is now in bloom, to
carry with them to the temple in San Francisco. They are so unpoetic in
many ways, that we should hardly expect them to be so fond of flowers;
but they mourn very much if the bulbs which they keep growing in stones
and water in their houses in the winter do not open for the new year.

The moon and the flowers they enjoy more than any thing else. In many
things they are children, and like what children like. The moon holds a
very important place to them, and the dates of the new year and all
their festivals are determined by its changes. We used to see one of our
boys standing, sometimes for hours together, with his arms folded,
gazing into the moonlit sky. When questioned as to what he was doing, he
said he was "looking at the garden in the moon," and listening to "hear
the star-men sing."

This boy appeared to be a Shin worshipper. He made many drawings
representing these spirits, with astonishing facility and artistic
skill, but, when pressed to explain them, said it was not good to speak
much about them. Some rode upon clouds; some thrust their heads out of
the water, or danced upon the backs of fishes; some looked out of caves
among the hills. There were serene, peaceful ones, with flowers or
musical instruments in their hands; others were fierce and hostile,
brandishing weapons, and exploding bombs. Everywhere was the wildest
freedom and grace, and apparently much symbolic meaning which we could
not understand.







The vast inland sea, popularly known as Puget Sound, ramifying in
various directions, the wide-spreading and majestic forests, the ranges
of snow-capped mountains on either side, the mild and equable climate,
and the diversified resources of this favored region, excite the
astonishment and admiration of all beholders. To the lovers of the grand
and beautiful, unmarred as yet by any human interference, and
untrammelled by the conventionalities which pertain to longer settled
portions of the globe, it presents an endless field for observation and
enjoyment. There is already a steady stream of emigration to this new
"land of promise," and everything seems to indicate for it a vigorous
growth and development, and a brilliant and substantial future.


A uniform edition of unequalled selections from the best religious
authors. Edited by Mrs. C.A. Means. Dainty volumes, in gold and colors,
each, $1.25. Comprising:--


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By MARGERY DEANE. Cloth. gilt top, $1.50. Being chapters of travel
through Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Switzerland.

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     does, information in regard to the expenses of a European trip that
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LEE AND SHEPARD, Publishers,
Boston, Mass.



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A Personal Narrative of Sea Experiences. By Robert B. Dixon. 16mo.
Cloth. 320 pages. Price, $1.25.

     This is a book which, like the famous "Two Years Before the Mast,"
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     a sea-lover. It has the air of VRAISEMBLANCE, and holds one with
     the fascination of real struggles with storms and fire and mutiny,
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Sold by all Booksellers, and sent by mail, post-paid, on receipt of

LEE AND SHEPARD, Publishers,


Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as
possible, including obsolete and variant spellings. Date entries have
been normalized. Obvious typographical errors in punctuation have been
fixed. Corrections [in brackets] in the text are noted below:

  Page 168 succestion [succession]
  Page 198 heavp [heavy]
  Page 201 boy [boys]
  Page 204 comorants [cormorants]
  Page 204 in in [in]
  Page 255 the the [the]

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