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Title: Glimpses of Three Coasts
Author: Jackson, Helen Hunt, 1830-1885
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Glimpses of Three Coasts" ***

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     _Copyright, 1886_,

     University Press:





     FATHER JUNIPERO AND HIS WORK. I. II.               30

     SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA                                78

     ECHOES IN THE CITY OF THE ANGELS                  103

     CHANCE DAYS IN OREGON                             129



     A BURNS PILGRIMAGE                                153

     GLINTS IN AULD REEKIE                             175

     CHESTER STREETS                                   196



     BERGEN DAYS                                       221

     FOUR DAYS WITH SANNA                              245

     THE KATRINA SAGA. I. II.                          277

     ENCYCLICALS OF A TRAVELLER. I. II. III.           322

     THE VILLAGE OF OBERAMMERGAU                       384

     THE PASSION PLAY AT OBERAMMERGAU                  402






Climate is to a country what temperament is to a man,--Fate. The
figure is not so fanciful as it seems; for temperament, broadly
defined, may be said to be that which determines the point of view of
a man's mental and spiritual vision,--in other words, the light in
which he sees things. And the word "climate" is, primarily, simply a
statement of bounds defined according to the obliquity of the sun's
course relative to the horizon,--in other words, the slant of the sun.
The tropics are tropic because the sun shines down too straight.
Vegetation leaps into luxuriance under the nearly vertical ray: but
human activities languish; intellect is supine; only the passions,
human nature's rank weed-growths, thrive. In the temperate zone,
again, the sun strikes the earth too much aslant. Human activities
develop; intellect is keen; the balance of passion and reason is
normally adjusted: but vegetation is slow and restricted. As compared
with the productiveness of the tropics, the best that the temperate
zone can do is scanty.

There are a few spots on the globe where the conditions of the country
override these laws, and do away with these lines of discrimination in
favors. Florida, Italy, the South of France and of Spain, a few
islands, and South California complete the list.

These places are doubly dowered. They have the wealths of the two
zones, without the drawbacks of either. In South California this
results from two causes: first, the presence of a temperate current in
the ocean, near the coast; second, the configuration of the mountain
ranges which intercept and reflect the sun's rays, and shut South
California off from the rest of the continent. It is, as it were,
climatically insulated,--a sort of island on land. It has just enough
of sea to make its atmosphere temperate. Its continental position and
affinities give it a dryness no island could have; and its
climatically insulated position gives it an evenness of temperature
much beyond the continental average.

It has thus a cool summer and a temperate winter,--conditions which
secure the broadest and highest agricultural and horticultural
possibilities. It is the only country in the world where dairies and
orange orchards will thrive together.

It has its own zones of climate; not at all following lines parallel
to the equator, but following the trend of its mountains. The
California mountains are a big and interesting family of geological
children, with great gaps in point of age, the Sierra Nevada being
oldest of all. Time was when the Sierra Nevada fronted directly on the
Pacific, and its rivers dashed down straight into the sea. But that is
ages ago. Since then have been born out of the waters the numerous
coast ranges, all following more or less closely the shore line. These
are supplemented at Point Conception by east and west ranges, which
complete the insulating walls of South, or semi-tropic, California.
The coast ranges are the youngest of the children born; but the ocean
is still pregnant of others. Range after range, far out to sea, they
lie, with their attendant valleys, biding their time, popping their
heads out here and there in the shape of islands.

This colossal furrow system of mountains must have its correlative
system of valleys; hence the great valley divisions of the country.
There may be said to be four groups or kinds of these: the low and
broad valleys, so broad that they are plains; the high mountain
valleys; the rounded plateaus of the Great Basin, as it is called, of
which the Bernardino Mountains are the southern rim; and the river
valleys or cañons,--these last running at angles to the mountain and
shore lines.

When the air in these valleys becomes heated by the sun, it rushes up
the slopes of the Sierra Nevada as up a mighty chimney. To fill the
vacuum thus created, the sea air is drawn in through every break in
the coast ranges as by a blower. In the upper part of the California
coast it sucks in with fury, as through the Golden Gate, piling up and
demolishing high hills of sand every year, and cutting grooves on the
granite fronts of mountains.

The country may be said to have three distinct industrial belts: the
first, along the coast, a narrow one, from one to fifteen miles wide.
In this grow some of the deciduous fruits, corn, pumpkins, and grain.
Dairy and stock interests flourish. The nearness of the sea makes the
air cool, with fogs at night. There are many _ciénagas_, or marshy
regions, where grass is green all the year round, and water is near
the surface everywhere. Citrus fruits do not flourish in this belt,
except in sheltered spots at the higher levels.

The second industrial belt comprises the shorter valleys opening
toward the sea; a belt of country averaging perhaps forty miles in
width. In this belt all grains will grow without irrigation; all
deciduous fruits, including the grape, flourish well without
irrigation; the citrus fruits thrive, but need irrigation.

The third belt lies back of this, farther from the sea; and the land,
without irrigation, is worthless for all purposes except pasturage.
That, in years of average rain-fall, is good.

The soils of South California are chiefly of the cretaceous and
tertiary epochs. The most remarkable thing about them is their great
depth. It is not uncommon, in making wells, to find the soil the same
to a depth of one hundred feet; the same thing is to be observed in
cañons, cuts, and exposed bluffs on the sea-shore. This accounts for
the great fertility of much of the land. Crops are raised year after
year, sometimes for twenty successive years, on the same fields,
without the soil's showing exhaustion; and what are called volunteer
crops, sowing themselves, give good yields for the first, second, and
even third year after the original planting.

To provide for a wholesome variety and succession of seasons, in a
country where both winter and summer were debarred full reign, was a
meteorological problem that might well have puzzled even Nature's
ingenuity. But next to a vacuum, she abhors monotony; and to avoid it,
she has, in California, resorted even to the water-cure,--getting her
requisite alternation of seasons by making one wet and the other dry.

To define the respective limits of these seasons becomes more and more
difficult the longer one stays in California, and the more one studies
rain-fall statistics. Generally speaking, the wet season may be said
to be from the middle of October to the middle of April, corresponding
nearly with the outside limits of the north temperate zone season of
snows. A good description of the two seasons would be--and it is not
so purely humorous and unscientific as it sounds--that the wet season
is the season in which it can rain, but may not; and the dry season is
the season in which it cannot rain, but occasionally does.

Sometimes the rains expected and hoped for in October do not begin
until March, and the whole country is in anxiety; a drought in the wet
season meaning drought for a year, and great losses. There have been
such years in California, and the dread of them is well founded. But
often the rains, coming later than their wont, are so full and steady
that the requisite number of inches fall, and the year's supply is
made good. The average rain-fall in San Diego County is ten inches; in
Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties, fifteen; in Santa
Barbara, twenty. These five counties are all that properly come under
the name of South California, resting the division on natural and
climatic grounds. The political division, if ever made, will be based
on other than natural or climatic reasons, and will include two,
possibly three, more counties.

The pricelessness of water in a land where no rain falls during six
months of the year cannot be appreciated by one who has not lived in
such a country. There is a saying in South California that if a man
buys water he can get his land thrown in. This is only an epigrammatic
putting of the literal fact that the value of much of the land
depends solely upon the water which it holds or controls.

Four systems of irrigation are practised: First, flooding the land.
This is possible only in flat districts, where there are large heads
of water. It is a wasteful method, and is less and less used each
year. The second system is by furrows. By this system a large head of
water is brought upon the land and distributed in small streams in
many narrow furrows. The streams are made as small as will run across
the ground, and are allowed to run only twenty-four hours at a time.
The third system is by basins dug around tree roots. To these basins
water is brought by pipes or ditches; or, in mountain lands, by
flumes. The fourth system is by sub-irrigation. This is the most
expensive system of all, but is thought to economize water. The water
is carried in pipes laid from two to three feet under ground. By
opening valves in these pipes the water is let out and up, but never
comes above the surface.

The appliances of one sort and another belonging to these irrigation
systems add much to the picturesqueness of South California
landscapes. Even the huge, tower-like, round-fanned windmills by which
the water is pumped up are sometimes, spite of their clumsiness, made
effective by gay colors and by vines growing on them. If they had
broad, stretching arms, like the Holland windmills, the whole country
would seem a-flutter.

The history of the industries of South California since the American
occupation is interesting in its record of successions,--successions,
not the result of human interventions and decisions so much as of
climatic fate, which, in epoch after epoch, created different

The history begins with the cattle interest; hardly an industry,
perhaps, or at any rate an unindustrious one, but belonging in point
of time at the head of the list of the ways and means by which money
has been made in the country. It dates back to the old mission days;
to the two hundred head of cattle which the wise Galvez brought, in
1769, for stocking the three missions projected in Upper California.

From these had grown, in the sixty years of the friars' unhindered
rule, herds, of which it is no exaggeration to say that they covered
thousands of hills and were beyond counting. It is probable that even
the outside estimates of their numbers were short of the truth. The
cattle wealth, the reckless ruin of the secularization period,
survived, and was the leading wealth of the country at the time of its
surrender to the United States. It was most wastefully handled. The
cattle were killed, as they had been in the mission days, simply for
their hides and tallow. Kingdoms full of people might have been fed on
the beef which rotted on the ground every year, and the California
cattle ranch in which either milk or butter could be found was an
exception to the rule.

Into the calm of this half-barbaric life broke the fierce excitement
of the gold discovery in 1849. The swarming hordes of ravenous miners
must be fed; beef meant gold. The cattlemen suddenly found in their
herds a new source of undreamed-of riches. Cattle had been sold as low
as two dollars and a half a head. When the gold fever was at its
highest, there were days and places in which they sold for three
hundred. It is not strange that the rancheros lost their heads, grew
careless and profligate.

Then came the drought of 1864, which killed off cattle by thousands of
thousands. By thousands they were driven over steep places into the
sea to save pasturage, and to save the country from the stench and the
poison of their dying of hunger. In April of that year, fifty thousand
head were sold in Santa Barbara for thirty-seven and a half cents a
head. Many of the rancheros were ruined; they had to mortgage their
lands to live; their stock was gone; they could not farm; values so
sank, that splendid estates were not worth over ten cents an acre.

Then came in a new set of owners. From the north and from the interior
poured in the thriftier sheep men, with big flocks; and for a few
years the wide belt of good pasturage land along the coast was chiefly
a sheep country.

Slowly farmers followed; settling, in the beginning, around town
centres such as Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Ventura. Grains and
vegetables were grown for a resource when cattle and sheep should
fail. Cows needed water all the year round; corn only a few months. A
wheat-field might get time to ripen in a year when by reason of a
drought a herd of cattle would die.

Thus the destiny of the country steadily went on toward its
fulfilling, because the inexorable logic of the situation forced
itself into the minds of the population. From grains and vegetables to
fruits was a short and natural step, in the balmy air, under the sunny
sky, and with the traditions and relics of the old friars' opulent
fruit growths lingering all through the land. Each palm, orange-tree,
and vineyard left on the old mission sites was a way-signal to the new
peoples; mute, yet so eloquent, the wonder is that so many years
should have elapsed before the road began to be thronged.

Such, in brief, is the chronicle of the development of South
California's outdoor industries down to the present time; of the
successions through which the country has been making ready to become
what it will surely be, the Garden of the world,--a garden with which
no other country can vie; a garden in which will grow, side by side,
the grape and the pumpkin, the pear and the orange, the olive and the
apple, the strawberry and the lemon, Indian corn and the banana, wheat
and the guava.

The leading position which the fruit interest will ultimately take has
been reached only in Los Angeles County. There the four chief
industries, ranged according to their relative importance, stand as
follows: Fruit, grain, wool, stock, and dairy. This county may be said
to be pre-eminently the garden of the Garden. No other of the five
counties can compete with it. Its fruit harvest is nearly
unintermitted all the year round. The main orange crop ripens from
January to May, though oranges hang on the trees all the year. The
lemon, lime, and citron ripen and hang, like the orange. Apricots,
pears, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, currants, and figs are
plentiful in June; apples, pears, peaches, during July and August.
Late in July grapes begin, and last till January. September is the
best month of all, having grapes, peaches, pomegranates, walnuts,
almonds, and a second crop of figs. From late in August till
Christmas, the vintage does not cease.

The county has a sea-coast line of one hundred miles, and contains
three millions of acres; two thirds mountain and desert, the remaining
million good pasturage and tillable land. What is known as the great
Los Angeles valley has an area of about sixty miles in length by
thirty in width, and contains the three rivers of the county,--the
Los Angeles, the Santa Ana, and the San Gabriel. Every drop of the
water of these rivers and of the numberless little springs and streams
ministering to their system is owned, rated, utilized, and, one might
almost add, wrangled over. The chapters of these water litigations are
many and full; and it behooves every new settler in the county to
inform himself on that question first of all, and thoroughly.

In the Los Angeles valley lie several lesser valleys, fertile and
beautiful; most notable of these, the San Gabriel valley, where was
the site of the old San Gabriel Mission, twelve miles east of the town
of Los Angeles. This valley is now taken up in large ranches, or in
colonies of settlers banded together for mutual help and security in
matter of water rights. This colony feature is daily becoming more and
more an important one in the development of the whole country. Small
individual proprietors cannot usually afford the purchase of
sufficient water to make horticultural enterprises successful or safe.
The incorporated colony, therefore, offers advantages to large numbers
of settlers of a class that could not otherwise get foothold in the
country,--the men of comparatively small means, who expect to work
with their hands and await patiently the slow growth of moderate
fortunes,--a most useful and abiding class, making a solid basis for
prosperity. Some of the best results in South California have already
been attained in colonies of this sort, such as Anaheim, Riverside,
and Pasadena. The method is regarded with increasing favor. It is a
rule of give and take, which works equally well for both country and

The South California statistics of fruits, grain, wool, honey, etc.,
read more like fancy than like fact, and are not readily believed by
one unacquainted with the country. The only way to get a real
comprehension and intelligent acceptance of them is to study them on
the ground. By a single visit to a great ranch one is more enlightened
than he would be by committing to memory scores of Equalization Board
Reports. One of the very best, if not the best, for this purpose is
Baldwin's ranch, in the San Gabriel valley. It includes a large part
of the old lands of the San Gabriel Mission, and is a principality in

There are over a hundred men on its pay-roll, which averages $4,000 a
month. Another $4,000 does not more than meet its running expenses. It
has $6,000 worth of machinery for its grain harvests alone. It has a
dairy of forty cows, Jersey and Durham; one hundred and twenty
work-horses and mules, and fifty thoroughbreds.

It is divided into four distinct estates: the Santa Anita, of 16,000
acres; Puente, 18,000; Merced, 20,000; and the Potrero, 25,000. The
Puente and Merced are sheep ranches, and have 20,000 sheep on them.
The Potrero is rented out to small farmers. The Santa Anita is the
home estate. On it are the homes of the family and of the laborers. It
has fifteen hundred acres of oak grove, four thousand acres in grain,
five hundred in grass for hay, one hundred and fifty in orange
orchards, fifty of almond trees, sixty of walnuts, twenty-five of
pears, fifty of peaches, twenty of lemons, and five hundred in vines;
also small orchards of chestnuts, hazel-nuts, and apricots; and
thousands of acres of good pasturage.

From whatever side one approaches Santa Anita in May, he will drive
through a wild garden,--asters, yellow and white; scarlet pentstemons,
blue larkspur, monk's-hood; lupines, white and blue; gorgeous golden
eschscholtzia, alder, wild lilac, white sage,--all in riotous

Entering the ranch by one of the north gates, he will look southward
down gentle slopes of orchards and vineyards far across the valley,
the tints growing softer and softer, and blending more and more with
each mile, till all melt into a blue or purple haze. Driving from
orchard to orchard, down half-mile avenues through orchards skirting
seemingly endless stretches of vineyard, he begins to realize what
comes of planting trees and vines by hundreds and tens of hundreds of
acres, and the Equalization Board Statistics no longer appear to him
even large. It does not seem wonderful that Los Angeles County should
be reported as having sixty-two hundred acres in vines, when here on
one man's ranch are five hundred acres. The last Equalization Board
Report said the county had 256,135 orange and 41,250 lemon trees. It
would hardly have surprised him to be told that there were as many as
that in the Santa Anita groves alone. The effect on the eye of such
huge tracts, planted with a single sort of tree, is to increase
enormously the apparent size of the tract; the mind stumbles on the
very threshold of the attempt to reckon its distances and numbers, and
they become vaster and vaster as they grow vague.

The orange orchard is not the unqualifiedly beautiful spectacle one
dreams it will be; nor, in fact, is it so beautiful as it ought to be,
with its evergreen shining foliage, snowy blossoms, and golden fruit
hanging together and lavishly all the year round. I fancy that if
travellers told truth, ninety-nine out of a hundred would confess to a
grievous disappointment at their first sight of the orange at home. In
South California the trees labor under the great disadvantage of being
surrounded by bare brown earth. How much this dulls their effect one
realizes on finding now and then a neglected grove where grass has
been allowed to grow under the trees, to their ruin as fruit-bearers,
but incomparably heightening their beauty. Another fatal defect in the
orange-tree is its contour. It is too round, too stout for its height;
almost as bad a thing in a tree as in a human being. The uniformity of
this contour of the trees, combined with the regularity of their
setting in evenly spaced rows, gives large orange groves a certain
tiresome quality, which one recognizes with a guilty sense of being
shamefully ungrateful for so much splendor of sheen and color. The
exact spherical shape of the fruit possibly helps on this
tiresomeness. One wonders if oblong bunches of long-pointed and
curving fruit, banana-like, set irregularly among the glossy green
leaves, would not look better; which wonder adds to ingratitude an
impertinence, of which one suddenly repents on seeing such a tree as I
saw in a Los Angeles garden in the winter of 1882,--a tree not over
thirty feet high, with twenty-five hundred golden oranges hanging on
it, among leaves so glossy they glittered in the sun with the glitter
of burnished metal. Never the Hesperides saw a more resplendent sight.

But the orange looks its best plucked and massed; it lends itself then
to every sort and extent of decoration. At a citrus fair in the
Riverside colony in March, 1882, in a building one hundred and fifty
feet long by sixty wide, built of redwood planks, were five long
tables loaded with oranges and lemons; rows, plates, pyramids,
baskets; the bright redwood walls hung with great boughs, full as
when broken from the tree; and each plate and pyramid decorated with
the shining green leaves. The whole place was fairly ablaze, and made
one think of the Arabian Nights' Tales. The acme of success in orange
culture in California is said to have been attained in this Riverside
colony, though it is only six years old, and does not yet number two
thousand souls. There are in its orchards 209,000 orange-trees, of
which 28,000 are in bearing, 20,000 lemon trees, and 8,000 limes.

The profits of orange culture are slow to begin, but, having once
begun, mount up fast. Orange orchards at San Gabriel have in many
instances netted $500 an acre annually. The following estimate, the
result of sixteen years' experience, is probably a fair one of the
outlay and income of a small orange grove:--

     10 acres of land, at $75 per acre            $750.00
     1000 trees, at $75 per hundred                750.00
     Ploughing and harrowing, $2.50 per acre        25.00
     Digging holes, planting, 10 cents each        100.00
     Irrigating and planting                        10.00
     Cultivation after irrigation                    4.50
     3 subsequent irrigations during the year       30.00
     3 subsequent cultivations the first year       13.50
     Total cost, first year                     $1,683.00

     This estimate of cost of land is based on the price of the best
     lands in the San Gabriel valley. Fair lands can be bought in
     other sections at lower prices.

     Second year.--An annual ploughing in January  $25.00
     Four irrigations during year                   40.00
     Six cultivations during year                   27.00
     Third year                                    125.00
     Fourth year                                   150.00
     Fifth year                                    200.00
     Interest on investment                      1,000.00
     Total                                      $3,250.00

     If first-class, healthy, thrifty budded trees are planted, they
     will begin to fruit the second year. The third year, a few
     boxes may be marketed. The fourth year, there will be an
     average yield of at least 75 oranges to the tree, which will

     75,000, at $10 per thousand net                   $750.00
     The fifth year, 250 per tree, 250,000, at $10 per
       thousand                                       2,500.00
     Total                                           $3,250.00

     The orchard is now clear gain, allowing $1,000 as interest on
     the investment. The increase in the volume of production will
     continue, until at the end of the tenth year an average of
     1,000 oranges to a tree would not be an extraordinary yield.

To all these formulas of reckoning should be added one with the
algebraic _x_ representing the unknown quantity, and standing for
insect enemies at large. Each kind of fruit has its own, which must be
fought with eternal vigilance. No port, in any country, has more rigid
laws of quarantine than are now enforced in California against these
insect enemies. Grafts, cuttings, fruit, if even suspected, are seized
and compelled to go through as severe disinfecting processes as if
they were Cuban passengers fresh from a yellow fever epidemic.

The orange's worst enemy is a curious insect, the scale-bug. It looks
more like a mildew than like anything alive; is usually black,
sometimes red. Nothing but violent treatment with tobacco will
eradicate it. Worse than the scale-bug, in that he works out of sight
underground, is the gopher. He has gnawed every root of a tree bare
before a tooth-mark on the trunk suggests his presence, and then it is
too late to save the tree. The rabbit also is a pernicious ally in the
barking business; he, however, being shy, soon disappears from settled
localities; but the gopher stands not in fear of man or men. Only
persistent strychnine, on his door-sills and thrust down his winding
stairs, will save the orchard in which he has founded a community.

The almond and the walnut orchards are beautiful features in the
landscape all the year round, no less in the winter, when their
branches are naked, than in the season of their full leaf and bearing.
In fact, the broad spaces of filmy gray made by their acres when
leafless are delicious values in contrast with the solid green of the
orange orchards. The exquisite revelation of tree systems which
stripped boughs give is seen to more perfect advantage against a warm
sky than a cold one, and is heightened in effect standing side by side
with the flowing green pepper-trees and purple eucalyptus.

In the time of blossoms, an almond orchard, seen from a distance, is
like nothing so much as a rosy-white cloud, floated off a sunset and
spread on the earth. Seen nearer, it is a pink snow-storm, arrested
and set on stalks, with an orchestra buzz of bees filling the air.

It is a pity that the almond-tree should not be more repaying; for it
will be a sore loss to the beauty of the country when the orchards are
gone, and this is only a question of time. They are being uprooted and
cast out. The crop is a disappointing one, of uncertain yield, and
troublesome to prepare. The nuts must be five times handled: first
picked, then shucked, then dried, then bleached, and then again dried.
After the first drying, they are dipped by basketfuls into hot water,
then poured into the bleachers,--boxes with perforated bottoms.
Underneath these is a sulphur fire to which the nuts must be exposed
for fifteen or twenty minutes. Then they are again spread in a
drying-house. The final gathering them up to send to market makes
really a sixth handling; and after all is said and done, the nuts are
not very good, being flavorless in comparison with those grown in

The walnut orchard is a better investment, and no less a delight to
the eye. While young, the walnut-tree is graceful; when old, it is
stately. It is a sturdy bearer, and if it did not bear at all, would
be worth honorable place and room on large estates, simply for its
avenues of generous shade. It is planted in the seed, and transplanted
at two or three years old, with only twenty-seven trees to an acre.
They begin to bear at ten years, reach full bearing at fifteen, and do
not give sign of failing at fifty.

Most interesting of all South California's outdoor industries is the
grape culture. To speak of grape culture is to enter upon a subject
which needs a volume. Its history, its riches, past and prospective,
its methods, its beautiful panorama of pictures, each by itself is
worth study and exhaustive treatment. Since the days of Eschol, the
vine and the vineyard have been honored in the thoughts and the
imaginations of men; they furnished shapes and designs for the
earliest sacred decorations in the old dispensation, and suggestions
and symbols for divine parables in the new. No age has been without
them, and no country whose sun was warm enough to make them thrive. It
is safe to predict that so long as the visible frame of the earth
endures, "wine to make glad the heart of man" will be made, loved,
celebrated, and sung.

To form some idea of California's future wealth from the grape
culture, it is only necessary to reflect on the extent of her
grape-growing country as compared with that of France. In France,
before the days of the phylloxera, 5,000,000 of people were supported
entirely by the grape industry, and the annual average of the wine
crop was 2,000,000,000 gallons, with a value of $400,000,000. The
annual wine-yield of California is already estimated at about
10,000,000 gallons. Nearly one third of this is made in South
California, chiefly in Los Angeles County, where the grape culture is
steadily on the increase, five millions of new vines having been set
out in the spring of 1882.

The vineyards offer more variety to the eye than the orange orchards.
In winter, when leafless, they are grotesque; their stocky, twisted,
hunchback stems looking like Hindoo idols or deformed imps, no two
alike in a square mile, all weird, fantastic, uncanny. Their first
leafing out does not do away with this; the imps seem simply to have
put up green umbrellas; but presently the leaves widen and lap, hiding
the uncouth trunks, and spreading over all the vineyard a beautiful,
tender green, with lights and shades breaking exquisitely in the
hollows and curves of the great leaves. From this on, through all the
stages of blossoms and seed-setting, till the clusters are so big and
purple that they gleam out everywhere between the leaves,--sometimes
forty-five pounds on a single vine, if the vine is irrigated, twelve
if it is left to itself. Eight tons of grapes off one acre have been
taken in the Baldwin ranch. There were made there, in 1881, 100,000
gallons of wine and 50,000 of brandy. The vintage begins late in
August, and lasts many weeks, some varieties of grapes ripening later
than others. The vineyards are thronged with Mexican and Indian
pickers. The Indians come in bands, and pitch their tents just outside
the vineyard. They are good workers. The wine-cellars and the great
crushing-vats tell the vineyards' story more emphatically even than
the statistical figures. A vat that will hold 1,000 gallons piled full
of grapes, huge wire wheels driving round and round in the spurting,
foaming mass, the juice flying off through trough-like shoots on each
side into seventy great vats; below, breathless men working the
wheels, loads of grapes coming up momently and being poured into the
swirling vat, the whole air reeking with winy flavor. The scene makes
earth seem young again, old mythologies real; and one would not wonder
to see Bacchus and his leopards come bowling up, with shouting Pan

The cellars are still, dark, and fragrant. Forty-eight great
oval-shaped butts, ten feet in diameter, holding 2,100 gallons each, I
counted in one cellar. The butts are made of Michigan oak, and have a
fine yellow color, which contrasts well with the red stream of the
wine when it is drawn.

Notwithstanding the increase of the grape culture, the price of grapes
is advancing, some estimates making it forty per cent higher than it
was five years ago. It is a quicker and probably a more repaying
industry than orange-growing. It is reckoned that a vineyard in its
fourth year will produce two tons to the acre; in the seventh year,
four; the fourth year it will be profitable, reckoning the cost of the
vineyard at sixty dollars an acre, exclusive of the first cost of the
land. The annual expense of cultivation, picking, and handling is
about twenty-five dollars. The rapid increase of this culture has been
marvellous. In 1848 there were only 200,000 vines in all California;
in 1862 there were 9,500,000; in 1881, 64,000,000, of which at least
34,000,000 are in full bearing.

Such facts and figures are distressing to the advocates of total
abstinence; but they may take heart in the thought that a by no means
insignificant proportion of these grapes will be made into raisins,
canned, or eaten fresh.

The raisin crop was estimated at 160,000 boxes for 1881. Many
grape-growers believe that in raisin-making will ultimately be found
the greatest profit. The Americans are a raisin-eating people. From
Malaga alone are imported annually into the United States about ten
tons of raisins, one half the entire crop of the Malaga raisin
district. This district has an area of only about four hundred square
miles. In California an area of at least twenty thousand square miles
is adapted to the raisin.

A moderate estimate of the entire annual grape crop of California is
119,000 tons. "Allowing 60,000 tons to be used in making wines, 2,000
tons to be sent fresh to the Eastern States, and 5,000 tons to be made
into raisins, there would still remain 52,000 tons to be eaten fresh
or wasted,--more than one hundred pounds for each resident of
California, including children."[1]

The California wines are as yet of inferior quality. A variety of
still wines and three champagnes are made; but even the best are
looked on with distrust and disfavor by connoisseurs, and until they
greatly improve they will not command a ready market in America. At
present it is to be feared that a large proportion of them are sold
under foreign labels.

       *       *       *       *       *

Prominent among the minor industries is honey-making. From the great
variety of flowers and their spicy flavor, especially from the
aromatic sages, the honey is said to have a unique and delicious
taste, resembling that of the famous honey of Hymettus.

The crop for 1881, in the four southern counties, was estimated at
three millions of pounds; a statistic that must seem surprising to
General Fremont, who, in his report to Congress of explorations on the
Pacific coast in 1844, stated that the honey-bee could not exist west
of the Sierra Nevadas.

The bee ranches are always picturesque; they are usually in cañons or
on wooded foot-hills, and their villages of tiny bright-colored hives
look like gay Lilliputian encampments. It has appeared to me that men
becoming guardians of bees acquire a peculiar calm philosophy, and are
superior to other farmers and outdoor workers. It would not seem
unnatural that the profound respect they are forced to entertain for
insects so small and so wholly at their mercy should give them
enlarged standards in many things; above all, should breed in them a
fine and just humility toward all creatures.

A striking instance of this is to be seen in one of the most beautiful
cañons of the San Gabriel valley, where, living in a three-roomed,
redwood log cabin, with a vine-covered booth in front, is an old man
kings might envy.

He had a soldier's warranty deed for one hundred and sixty acres of
land, and he elected to take his estate at the head of a brook-swept
gorge, four fifths precipice and rock. In the two miles between his
cabin and the mouth of the gorge, the trail and the brook change sides
sixteen times. When the brook is at its best, the trail goes under
altogether, and there is no getting up or down the cañon. Here, with a
village of bees for companions, the old man has lived for a dozen
years. While the bees are off at work, he sits at home and weaves, out
of the gnarled stems and roots of manzanita and laurels, curious
baskets, chairs, and brackets, for which he finds ready market in Los
Angeles. He knows every tree and shrub in the cañon, and has a fancy
for collecting specimens of all the native woods of the region. These
he shapes into paper-cutters, and polishes them till they are like
satin. He came from Ohio forty years ago, and has lived in a score of
States. The only spot he likes as well as this gorge is Don Yana, on
the Rio Grande River, in Mexico. Sometimes he hankers to go there and
sit under the shadow of big oaks, where the land slopes down to the
river; but "the bee business," he says, "is a good business only for a
man who has the gift of continuance;" and "it's no use to try to put
bees with farms: farms want valleys, bees want mountains."

"There are great back-draws to the bee business, the irregularities of
the flowers being chief; some years there's no honey in the flowers at
all. Some explain it on one hypothesis and some on another, and it
lasts them to quarrel over."

His phrases astonish you; also the quiet courtesy of his manner, so at
odds with his backwoodsman's garb. But presently you learn that he
began life as a lawyer, has been a judge in his time; and when, to
show his assortment of paper-cutters, he lifts down the big book they
are kept in, and you see that it is Voltaire's "Philosophical
Dictionary," you understand how his speech has been fashioned. He
keeps a diary of every hive, the genealogy of every swarm.

"No matter what they do,--the least thing,--we note it right down in
the book. That's the only way to learn bees," he says.

On the outside wall of the cabin is fastened an observation hive, with
glass sides. Here he sits, watch in hand, observing and noting; he
times the bees, in and out, and in each one of their operations. He
watches the queen on her bridal tour in the air; once the drone
bridegroom fell dead on his note-book. "I declare I couldn't help
feeling sort of sorry for him," said the old man.

In a shanty behind the house is the great honey-strainer, a marvellous
invention, which would drive bees mad with despair if they could
understand it. Into a wheel, with perforated spokes, is slipped the
comb full of honey, the cells being first opened with a hot knife. By
the swift turning of this wheel, the honey flies out of the comb, and
pours through a cylinder into a can underneath, leaving the comb whole
and uninjured, ready to be put back into the hive for the patient
robbed bees to fill again. The receiving-can will hold fifteen hundred
pounds; two men can fill it in a day; a single comb is so quickly
drained that a bee might leave his hive on his foraging expedition,
and before he could get his little load of honey and return, the comb
could be emptied and put back. It would be vastly interesting to know
what is thought and said in bee-hives about these mysterious emptyings
of combs.

A still more tyrannical circumvention has been devised, to get extra
rations of honey from bees: false combs, wonderful imitations of the
real ones, are made of wax. Apparently the bees know no difference; at
any rate, they fill the counterfeit full of real honey. These
artificial combs, carefully handled, will last ten or twelve years in
continual use.

The highest yield his hives had ever given him was one hundred and
eighty pounds a hive.

"That's a good yield; at that rate, with three or four hundred hives,
I'd do very well," said the old man. "But you're at the mercy of
speculators in honey as well as everything else. I never count on
getting more than four or five cents a pound. They make more than I

The bee has a full year's work in South California: from March to
August inexhaustible forage, and in all the other months plenty to
do,--no month without some blossoms to be found. His time of danger is
when apricots are ripe and lady-bugs fly.

Of apricots, bees will eat till they are either drunk or stuffed to
death; no one knows which. They do not live to get home. Oddly enough,
they cannot pierce the skins themselves, but have to wait till the
lady-bug has made a hole for them. It must have been an accidental
thing in the outset, the first bee's joining a lady-bug at her feast
of apricot. The bee, in his turn, is an irresistible treat to the
bee-bird and lizard, who pounce upon him when he is on the flower; and
to a stealthy moth, who creeps by night into hives and kills hundreds.

"Nobody need think the bee business is all play," was our old
philosopher's last word. "It's just like everything else in life, and
harder than some things."

       *       *       *       *       *

The sheep industry is, on the whole, decreasing in California. In
1876, the wool crop of the entire State was 28,000 tons; in 1881, only
21,500. This is the result, in part, of fluctuations in the price of
wool, but more of the growing sense of the greater certainty of
increase from agriculture and horticulture.

The cost of keeping a sheep averages only $1.25 a year. Its wool sells
for $1.50, and for each hundred there will be forty-five lambs, worth
seventy-five cents each. But there have been droughts in California
which have killed over one million sheep in a year; there is always,
therefore, the risk of losing in one year the profits of many.

The sheep ranches are usually desolate places: a great stretch of
seemingly bare lands, with a few fenced corrals, blackened and
foul-smelling; the home and out-buildings clustered together in a
hollow or on a hill-side where there is water; the less human the
neighborhood the better.

The loneliness of the life is, of itself, a salient objection to the
industry. Of this the great owners need know nothing; they can live
where they like. But for the small sheepmen, the shepherds, and, above
all, the herders, it is a terrible life,--how terrible is shown by the
frequency of insanity among herders. Sometimes, after only a few
months of the life, a herder goes suddenly mad. After learning this
fact, it is no longer possible to see the picturesque side of the
effective groups one so often comes on suddenly in the wildernesses:
sheep peacefully grazing, and the shepherd lying on the ground
watching them, or the whole flock racing in a solid, fleecy, billowy
scamper up or down a steep hill-side, with the dogs leaping and
barking on all sides at once. One scans the shepherd's face alone,
with pitying fear lest he may be losing his wits.

A shearing at a large sheep ranch is a grand sight. We had the good
fortune to see one at Baldwin's, at La Puente. Three thousand sheep
had been sheared the day before, and they would shear twenty-five
hundred on this day.

A shed sixty feet long by twenty-five wide, sides open; small pens
full of sheep surrounding it on three sides; eighty men bent over at
every possible angle, eighty sheep being tightly held in every
possible position, eighty shears flashing, glancing, clipping; bright
Mexican eyes shining, laughing Mexican voices jesting. At first it
seemed only a confused scene of phantasmagoria. As our eyes became
familiarized, the confusion disentangled itself, and we could note the
splendid forms of the men and their marvellous dexterity in using the
shears. Less than five minutes it took from the time a sheep was
grasped, dragged in, thrown down, seized by the shearer's knees, till
it was set free, clean shorn, and its three-pound fleece tossed on a
table outside. A good shearer shears seventy or eighty sheep in a day;
men of extra dexterity shear a hundred. The Indians are famous for
skill at shearing, and in all their large villages are organized
shearing-bands, with captains, that go from ranch to ranch in the
shearing-season. There were a half-dozen Indians lying on the ground
outside this shearing-shed at Puente, looking on wistfully. The
Mexicans had crowded them out for that day, and they could get no
chance to work.

A pay clerk stood in the centre of the shed with a leathern wallet
full of five-cent pieces. As soon as a man had sheared his sheep, he
ran to the clerk, fleece in hand, threw down the fleece, and received
his five-cent piece. In one corner of the shed was a barrel of beer,
which was retailed at five cents a glass; and far too many of the
five-cent pieces changed hands again the next minute at the beer
barrel. As fast as the fleeces were tossed out from the shed, they
were thrown up to a man standing on the top of the roof. This man
flung them into an enormous bale-sack, swinging wide-mouthed from a
derrick; in the sack stood another man, who jumped on the wool to pack
it down tight.

As soon as the shearers perceived that their pictures were being drawn
by the artist in our party, they were all agog; by twos and threes
they left their work and crowded around the carriage, peering,
commenting, asking to have their portraits taken, quizzing those whose
features they recognized; it was like Italy rather than America. One
tattered fellow, whose shoeless feet were tied up in bits of
gunny-bags, was distressed because his trousers were too short. "Would
the gentleman kindly make them in the drawing a little farther down
his legs? It was an accident they were so short." All were ready to
pose and stand, even in the most difficult attitudes, as long as was
required. Those who had done so asked, like children, if their names
could not be put in the book; so I wrote them all down: "Juan Canero,
Juan Rivera, Felipe Ybara, José Jesus Lopez, and Domingo Garcia." The
space they will fill is a little thing to give; and there is a
satisfaction in the good faith of printing them, though the shearers
will most assuredly never know it.

The faces of the sheep being shorn were piteous; not a struggle, not a
bleat, the whole of their unwillingness and terror being written in
their upturned eyes. "As a sheep before her shearers is dumb" will
always have for me a new significance.

The shepherd in charge of the Puente ranch is an Italian named
Gaetano. The porch of his shanty was wreathed with vines and blossoms,
and opened on a characteristic little garden, half garlic, the other
half pinks and geraniums. As I sat there looking out on the scene, he
told me of a young man who had come from Italy to be herder for him,
and who had gone mad and shot himself.

"Three go crazy last year," he said. "Dey come home, not know noting.
You see, never got company for speak at all."

This young boy grew melancholy almost at once, was filled with
abnormal fears of the coyotes, and begged for a pistol to shoot them
with. "He want my pistol. I not want give. I say, You little sick; you
stay home in house; I send oder man. My wife she go town buy clothes
for baptism one baby got. He get pistol in drawer while she gone."
They found him lying dead with his catechism in one hand and the
pistol in the other. As Gaetano finished the story, a great flock of
two thousand shorn sheep were suddenly let out from one of the
corrals. With a great burst of bleating they dashed off, the colly
running after them. Gaetano seized his whistle and blew a sharp call
on it. The dog halted, looked back, uncertain for a second; one more
whistle, and he bounded on.

"He know," said Gaetano. "He take dem two tousand all right. I like
better dat dog as ten men."

       *       *       *       *       *

On the list of South California's outdoor industries, grain stands
high, and will always continue to do so. Wheat takes the lead; but
oats, barley, and corn are of importance. Barley is always a staple,
and averages twenty bushels to the acre.

Oats average from thirty to forty bushels an acre, and there are
records of yields of considerably over a hundred bushels.

Corn will average forty bushels an acre. On the Los Angeles River it
has grown stalks seventeen feet high and seven inches round.

The average yield of wheat is from twenty to twenty-five bushels an
acre, about thirty-three per cent more than in the States on the
Atlantic slope.

In grains, as in so many other things, Los Angeles County is far in
advance of the other counties. In 1879 there were in the county 31,500
acres in wheat; in 1881, not less than 100,000; and the value of the
wheat crop, for 1882 was reckoned $1,020,000.

The great San Fernando valley, formerly the property of the San
Fernando Mission, is the chief wheat-producing section of the county.
The larger part of this valley is in two great ranches. One of them
was bought a few years ago for $275,000; and $75,000 paid down, the
remainder to be paid in instalments. The next year was a dry year;
crops failed. The purchaser offered the ranch back again to the
original owners, with his $75,000 thrown in, if they would release him
from his bargain. They refused. The next winter rains came, the wheat
crop was large, prices were high, and the ranch actually paid off the
entire debt of $200,000 still owing on the purchase.

From such figures as these, it is easy to see how the California
farmer can afford to look with equanimity on occasional droughts.
Experience has shown that he can lose crops two years out of five, and
yet make a fair average profit for the five years.

The most beautiful ranch in California is said to be the one about
twelve miles west of Santa Barbara, belonging to Elwood Cooper. Its
owner speaks of it humorously as a little "pocket ranch." In
comparison with the great ranches whose acres are counted by tens of
thousands, it is small, being only two thousand acres in extent; but
in any other part of the world except California, it would be thought
a wild jest to speak of an estate of two thousand acres as a small

Ten years ago this ranch was a bare, desolate sheep ranch,--not a tree
on it, excepting the oaks and sycamores in the cañons. To-day it has
twelve hundred acres under high cultivation; and driving from field to
field, orchard to orchard, one drives, if he sees the whole of the
ranch, over eleven miles of good made road. There are three hundred
acres in wheat, one hundred and seventy in barley; thirty-five hundred
walnut trees, twelve thousand almond, five thousand olive, two
thousand fig and domestic fruit trees, and one hundred and fifty
thousand eucalyptus trees, representing twenty-four varieties; one
thousand grape-vines; a few orange, lemon, and lime trees. There are
on the ranch one hundred head of cattle, fifty horses, and fifteen
hundred sheep.

These are mere bald figures, wonderful enough as statistics of what
may be done in ten years' time on South California soil, but totally
inadequate even to suggest the beauty of the place.

The first relief to the monotony of the arrow-straight road which it
pleased an impatient, inartistic man to make westward from Santa
Barbara, is the sight of high, dark walls of eucalyptus trees on
either side of the road. A shaded avenue, three quarters of a mile
long, of these represents the frontages of Mr. Cooper's estate.
Turning to the right, through a break in this wall, is a road, with
dense eucalyptus woods on the left and an almond orchard on the right.
It winds and turns, past knolls of walnut grove, long lines of olive
orchard, and right-angled walls of eucalyptus trees shutting in
wheat-fields. By curves and bends and sharp turns, all the time with
new views, and new colors from changes of crop, with exquisite
glimpses of the sea shot through here and there, it finally, at the
end of a mile, reaches the brink of an oak-canopied cañon. In the
mouth of this cañon stands the house, fronting south on a sunny meadow
and garden space, walled in on three sides by eucalyptus trees.

To describe the oak kingdom of this cañon would be to begin far back
of all known kingdoms of the country. The branches are a network of
rafters upholding roof canopies of boughs and leaves so solid that the
sun's rays pierce them only brokenly, making on the ground a dancing
carpet of brown and gold flecks even in winter, and in summer a shade
lighted only by starry glints.

Farther up the cañon are sycamores, no less stately than the oaks,
their limbs gnarled and twisted as if they had won their places by
splendid wrestle.

These oak-and-sycamore-filled cañons are the most beautiful of the
South California cañons; though the soft, chaparral-walled cañons
would, in some lights, press them hard for supremacy of place. Nobody
will ever, by pencil or brush or pen, fairly render the beauty of the
mysterious, undefined, undefinable chaparral. Matted, tangled,
twisted, piled, tufted,--everything is chaparral. All botany may be
exhausted in describing it in one place, and it will not avail you in
another. But in all places, and made up of whatever hundreds of shrubs
it may be, it is the most exquisite carpet surface that Nature has to
show for mountain fronts or cañon sides. Not a color that it does not
take; not a bloom that it cannot rival; a bank of cloud cannot be
softer, or a bed of flowers more varied of hue. Some day, between 1900
and 2000, when South California is at leisure and has native artists,
she will have an artist of cañons, whose life and love and work will
be spent in picturing them,--the royal oak canopies; the herculean
sycamores; the chameleon, velvety chaparral; and the wild,
throe-built, water-quarried rock gorges, with their myriad ferns and

At the head of Mr. Cooper's cañon are broken and jutting sandstone
walls, over three hundred feet high, draped with mosses and ferns and
all manner of vines. I saw the dainty thalictrum, with its clover-like
leaves, standing in thickets there, fresh and green, its blossoms
nearly out on the first day of February. Looking down from these
heights over the whole of the ranch, one sees for the first time the
completeness of its beauty. The eucalyptus belts have been planted in
every instance solely with a view to utility,--either as wind-breaks
to keep off known special wind-currents from orchard or grain-field,
or to make use of gorge sides too steep for other cultivation. Yet,
had they been planted with sole reference to landscape effects, they
could not better have fallen into place. Even out to the very ocean
edge the groves run, their purples and greens melting into the purples
and greens of the sea when it is dark and when it is sunny
blue,--making harmonious lines of color, leading up from it to the
soft grays of the olive and the bright greens of the walnut orchards
and wheat-fields. When the almond trees are in bloom, the eucalyptus
belts are perhaps most superb of all, with their dark spears and
plumes waving above and around the white and rosy acres.

The leading industry of this ranch is to be the making of olive oil.
Already its oil is known and sought; and to taste it is a revelation
to palates accustomed to the compounds of rancid cocoanut and
cotton-seed with which the markets are full. The olive industry will
no doubt ultimately be one of the great industries of the whole
country: vast tracts of land which are not suitable or do not command
water enough for orange, grape, or grain culture, affording ample
support to the thrifty and unexacting olive. The hill-slopes around
San Diego, and along the coast line for forty or fifty miles up, will
no doubt one day be as thickly planted with olives as is the
Mediterranean shore. Italy's olive crop is worth thirty million
dollars annually, and California has as much land suited to the olive
as Italy has.

The tree is propagated from cuttings, begins to bear the fourth year,
and is in full bearing by the tenth or twelfth. One hundred and ten
can be planted to an acre. Their endurance is enormous. Some of the
orchards planted by the friars at the missions over a hundred years
ago are still bearing, spite of scores of years of neglect; and there
are records of trees in Nice having borne for several centuries.

The process of oil-making is an interesting spectacle, under Mr.
Cooper's oak trees. The olives are first dried in trays with slat
bottoms, tiers upon tiers of these being piled in a kiln over a
furnace fire. Then they are ground between stone rollers, worked by
huge wheels, turned by horse-power. The oil, thus pressed out, is
poured into huge butts or tanks. Here it has to stand and settle three
or four months. There are faucets at different levels in these butts,
so as to draw off different layers of oil. After it has settled
sufficiently, it is filtered through six layers of cotton batting,
then through one of French paper, before it is bottled. It is then of
a delicate straw color, with a slight greenish tint,--not at all of
the golden yellow of the ordinary market article. That golden yellow
and the thickening in cold are sure proofs of the presence of
cotton-seed in oil,--the pure oil remaining limpid in a cold which
will turn the adulterated oils white and thick. It is estimated that
an acre of olives in full bearing will pay fifteen hundred dollars a
year if pickled, and two thousand dollars a year made into oil.

In observing the industries of South California and studying their
history, one never escapes from an undercurrent of wonder that there
should be any industries or industry there. No winter to be prepared
for; no fixed time at which anything must be done or not done at all;
the air sunny, balmy, dreamy, seductive, making the mere being alive
in it a pleasure; all sorts of fruits and grains growing a-riot, and
taking care of themselves,--it is easy to understand the character,
or, to speak more accurately, the lack of character, of the old
Mexican and Spanish Californians.

There was a charm in it, however. Simply out of sunshine, there had
distilled in them an Orientalism as fine in its way as that made in
the East by generations of prophets, crusaders, and poets.

With no more curiosity than was embodied in "Who knows?"--with no
thought or purpose for a future more defined than "Some other time;
not to-day,"--without greeds, and with the unlimited generosities of
children,--no wonder that to them the restless, inquisitive,
insatiable, close-reckoning Yankee seemed the most intolerable of all
conquerors to whom they could surrender. One can fancy them
shuddering, even in heaven, as they look down to-day on his colonies,
his railroads, his crops,--their whole land humming and buzzing with
his industries.

One questions also whether, as the generations move on, the atmosphere
of life in the sunny empire they lost will not revert more and more to
their type, and be less and less of the type they so disliked. Unto
the third and fourth generation, perhaps, pulses may keep up the
tireless Yankee beat; but sooner or later there is certain to come a
slacking, a toning down, and a readjusting of standards and habits by
a scale in which money and work will not be the highest values. This
is "as sure as that the sun shines," for it is the sun that will bring
it about.




During the years when Saint Francis went up and down the streets of
Assisi, carrying in his delicate unused hands the stones for
rebuilding St. Damiano, he is said to have been continually singing
psalms, breaking forth into ejaculations of gratitude; his face
beaming as that of one who saw visions of unspeakable delight. How
much of the spirit or instinct of prophecy there might have been in
his exultant joy, only he himself knew; but it would have been strange
if there had not been vouchsafed to him at least a partial revelation
of the splendid results which must of necessity follow the carrying
out, in the world, of the divine impulses which had blazed up in his
soul like a fire. As Columbus, from the trend of imperfectly known
shores and tides, from the mysterious indications of vague untracked
winds, could deduce the glorious certainty of hitherto undreamed
continents of westward land, so might the ardent spiritual discoverer
see with inextinguishable faith the hitherto undreamed heights which
must be surely reached and won by the path he pointed out. It is
certain that very early in his career he had the purpose of founding
an order whose members, being unselfish in life, should be fit heralds
of God and mighty helpers of men. The absoluteness of self-renunciation
which he inculcated and demanded startled even the thirteenth
century's standard of religious devotion. Cardinals and pope alike
doubted its being within the pale of human possibility; and it was not
until after much entreaty that the Church gave its sanction to the
"Seraphic Saint's" band of "Fratri Minores," and the organized work
of the Franciscan Order began. This was in 1208. From then till now,
the Franciscans have been, in the literal sense of the word,
benefactors of men. Other of the orders in the Catholic Church have
won more distinction, in the way of learning, political power,
marvellous suffering of penances and deprivation; but the record of
the Franciscans is in the main a record of lives and work, like the
life and work of their founder; of whom a Protestant biographer has
written: "So far as can be made out, he thought little of himself,
even of his own soul to be saved, all his life. The trouble had been
on his mind how sufficiently to work for God and to help men."

Under the head of helping men, come all enterprises of discovery,
development, and civilization which the earth has known; and in many
more of these than the world generally suspects, has been an influence
dating back to the saint of Assisi. America most pre-eminently stands
his debtor. Of the three to whom belongs the glory of its discovery,
one, Juan Perez de Marchena, was a Franciscan friar; the other two,
Queen Isabella and Columbus, were members of Saint Francis's Third
Order; and of all the splendid promise and wondrous development on the
California coast to-day, Franciscan friars were the first founders.

In the Franciscan College at Santa Barbara is a daguerreotype, taken
from an old portrait which was painted more than a hundred years ago,
at the College of San Fernando, in Mexico. The face is one, once seen,
never to be forgotten; full of spirituality and tenderness and
unutterable pathos; the mouth and chin so delicately sensitive that
one marvels how such a soul could have been capable of heroic
endurance of hardship; the forehead and eyes strong, and radiant with
quenchless purpose, but filled with that solemn, yearning, almost
superhuman sadness, which has in all time been the sign and seal on
the faces of men born to die for the sake of their fellows. It is the
face of Father Junipero Serra, the first founder of Franciscan
missions in South California. Studying the lineaments of this
countenance, one recalls the earliest authentic portrait of Saint
Francis,--the one painted by Pisano, which hangs in the sacristy of
the Assisi church. There seems a notable likeness between the two
faces: the small and delicate features, the broad forehead, and the
expression of great gentleness are the same in both. But the saint had
a joyousness which his illustrious follower never knew. The gayety of
the troubadour melodies which Francis sung all through his youth never
left his soul: but Serra's first and only songs were the solemn chants
of the Church; his first lessons were received in a convent; his
earliest desire and hope was to become a priest.

Serra was born of lowly people in the island of Majorca, and while he
was yet a little child sang as chorister in the convent of San
Bernardino. He was but sixteen when he entered the Franciscan Order,
and before he was eighteen he had taken the final vows. This was in
the year 1730. His baptismal name, Michael Joseph, he laid aside on
becoming a monk, and took the name of Junipero, after that quaintest
and drollest of all Saint Francis's first companions; him of whom the
saint said jocosely, "Would that I had a whole forest of such

Studying in the Majorca Convent at the same time with Serra, were
three other young monks, beloved and intimate companions of
his,--Palon, Verger, and Crespí. The friendship thus early begun never
waned; and the hearty and loving co-operation of the four had much to
do with the success of the great enterprises in which afterward they
jointly labored, and to which, even in their student days, they looked
forward with passionate longing. New Spain was, from the beginning,
the goal of their most ardent wishes. All their conversations turned
on this theme. Long years of delay and monastic routine did not dampen
the ardor of the four friends. Again and again they petitioned to be
sent as missionaries to the New World, and again and again were
disappointed. At last, in 1749, there assembled in Cadiz a great body
of missionaries, destined chiefly for Mexico; and Serra and Palon
received permission to join the band. Arriving at Cadiz, and finding
two vacancies still left in the party, they pleaded warmly that Crespí
and Verger be allowed to go also. At the very last moment this
permission was given, and the four friends joyfully set sail in the
same ship.

It is impossible at this distance of time to get any complete
realization of the halo of exalted sentiment and rapture which then
invested undertakings of this kind. From the highest to the lowest,
the oldest to the youngest, it reached. Every art was lent to its
service, every channel of expression stamped with its sign. Even on
the rude atlases and charts of the day were pictures of monks
embarking in ships of discovery; the Virgin herself looking on from
the sky, with the motto above, "Matre Dei montravit via;" and on the
ships' sails, "Unus non sufficit orbis."

In the memoir of Father Junipero, written by his friend Palon, are
many interesting details of his voyage to Vera Cruz. It lasted
ninety-nine days: provisions fell short; starvation threatened;
terrific storms nearly wrecked the ship; but through all, Father
Junipero's courage never failed. He said, "remembering the end for
which they had come," he felt no fear. He performed mass each morning,
and with psalms and exhortations cheered the sinking spirits of all on

For nineteen years after their arrival in Mexico, Father Junipero and
his three friends were kept at work there, under the control of the
College of San Fernando, in founding missions and preaching. On the
suppression of the Jesuit Order, in 1767, and its consequent expulsion
from all the Spanish dominions, it was decided to send a band of
Franciscans to California, to take charge of the Jesuit missions
there. These were all in Lower California, no attempt at settlement
having been yet made in Upper California.

Once more the friends, glad and exultant, joined a missionary band
bound to new wildernesses. They were but three now, Verger remaining
behind in the College of San Fernando. The band numbered sixteen.
Serra was put in charge of it, and was appointed president of all the
California missions. His biographer says he received this appointment
"unable to speak a single word for tears." It was not strange, on the
realization of a hope so long deferred. He was now fifty-six years
old; and from boyhood his longing had been to labor among the Indians
on the western shores of the New World.

It was now the purpose of the Spanish Government to proceed as soon as
possible to the colonization of Upper California. The passion of the
Church allied itself gladly with the purpose of the State; and the
State itself had among its statesmen and soldiers many men who were
hardly less fervid in religion than were those sworn exclusively to
the Church's service. Such an one was Joseph de Galvez, who held the
office of Visitor-General and Commander, representing the person of
the King, and inspecting the working of the Government in every
province of the Spanish Empire. Upon him rested the responsibility of
the practical organization of the first expedition into Upper
California. It was he who ordered the carrying of all sorts of seeds
of vegetables, grains, and flowers; everything that would grow in Old
Spain he ordered to be planted in New. He ordered that two hundred
head of cattle should be taken from the northernmost of the Lower
California missions, and carried to the new posts. It was he also, as
full of interest for chapel as for farm, who selected and packed with
his own hands sacred ornaments and vessels for church ceremonies. A
curious letter of his to Palon is extant, in which he says laughingly
that he is a better sacristan than Father Junipero, having packed the
holy vessels and ornaments quicker and better than he. There are also
extant some of his original instructions to military and naval
commanders which show his religious ardor and wisdom. He declares that
the first object of the expedition is "to establish the Catholic
religion among a numerous heathen people, submerged in the obscure
darkness of paganism, to extend the dominion of the King our Lord, and
to protect this peninsula from the ambitious views of foreign

With no clearer knowledge than could be derived from scant records of
Viscayno's voyage in 1602, he selected the two best and most salient
points of the California coast, San Diego and Monterey, and ordered
the founding of a mission at each. He also ordered the selection of a
point midway between these two, for another mission to be called Buena
Ventura. His activity, generosity, and enthusiasm were inexhaustible.
He seems to have had humor as well; for when discussing the names of
the missions to be founded, Father Junipero said to him, "But is there
to be no mission for our Father St. Francis?" he replied, "If St.
Francis wants a mission, let him show us his post, and we will put one
there for him!"

The records of this first expedition into California are full of
interest. It was divided into two parts, one to go by sea, and one by
land; the sea party in two ships, and the land party in two divisions.
Every possible precaution and provision was thought of by the wise
Galvez; but neither precaution nor provision could make the journey
other than a terrible one. Father Junipero, with his characteristic
ardor, insisted on accompanying one of the land parties, although he
was suffering severely from an inflamed leg, the result of an injury
he had received twenty years before in journeying on foot from Vera
Cruz to the city of Mexico. Galvez tried in vain to detain him; he
said he would rather die on the road than not go, but that he should
not die, for the Lord would carry him through. However, on the second
day out, his pain became so great that he could neither sit, stand,
nor sleep. Portalá, the military commander of the party, implored him
to be carried in a litter; but this he could not brook. Calling one of
the muleteers to him, he said,--

"Son, do you not know some remedy for this sore on my leg?"

"Father," replied the muleteer, "what remedy can I know? I have only
cured beasts."

"Then consider me a beast," answered Serra; "consider this sore on my
leg a sore back, and give me the same treatment you would apply to a

Thus adjured, the muleteer took courage, and saying, "I will do it,
Father, to please you," he proceeded to mix herbs in hot tallow, with
which he anointed the wound, and so reduced the inflammation that
Father Junipero slept all night, rose early, said matins and mass, and
resumed his journey in comparative comfort. He bore this painful wound
to the end of his life; and it was characteristic of the man as well
as of the abnormal standards of the age, that he not only sought no
measures for a radical cure of the diseased member, but, obstinately
accepting the suffering as a cross, allowed the trouble to be
aggravated in every way, by going without shoes or stockings and by
taking long journeys on foot.

A diary kept by Father Crespí on his toilsome march from Velicatá to
San Diego is full of quaint and curious entries, monotonous in its
religious reiterations, but touching in its simplicity and
unconscious testimony to his own single-heartedness and patience. The
nearest approach to a complaint he makes is to say that "nothing
abounds except stones and thorns." When they journey for days with no
water except scanty rations from the precious casks they are carrying,
he always piously trusts water will be found on the morrow; and when
they come to great tracts of impenetrable cactus thickets, through
which they are obliged to hew a pathway with axes, as through a
forest, and are drenched to the skin in cold rains, and deserted by
the Christian Indians whom they had brought from Lower California as
guides, he mentions the facts without a murmur, and has even for the
deserters only a benediction: "May God guard the misguided ones!" A
far more serious grievance to him is that toward the end of the
journey he could no longer celebrate full mass because the wafers had
given out. Sometimes the party found themselves hemmed in by
mountains, and were forced to halt for days while scouts went ahead to
find a pass. More than once, hoping that at last they had found a
direct and easy route, they struck down to the sea-shore, only to
discover themselves soon confronted by impassable spurs of the Coast
Range, and forced to toil back again up into the labyrinths of mesas
and cactus plains. It was Holy Thursday, the 24th of March, when they
set out, and it was not until the 13th of May that they reached the
high ground from which they had their first view of the bay of San
Diego, and saw the masts of the ships lying at anchor there,--"which
sight was a great joy and consolation to us all," says the diary.

They named this halting-place "Espiritu Santo." It must have been on,
or very near, the ridge where now runs the boundary line between the
United States and Mexico, as laid down by the treaty of Guadalupe
Hidalgo. It is a grand promontory, ten miles southeast of San Diego,
thrusting out to sea; bare of trees, but matted thick with the dewy
ice-plant, and in early spring carpeted with flowers. An ugly monument
of stone stands there, bearing the names of the American and Mexican
commissioners who established this boundary line in October, 1849. It
would seem much more fitting to have there a monument bearing the
names of the heroic men--friars and soldiers of Spain--who on that
spot, on May 14, 1769, sang the first Easter hymn heard on California

It was a sore grief for Father Crespí that the commandant of the party
would not wait here for him to say a mass of thanksgiving; but with
the port in sight, impatience could not be restrained, and the little
band pushed on. As soon as the San Diego camp was seen, the soldiers
discharged a salute of fire-arms, which was answered instantly from
shore and ship. Great joy filled every heart. The friars who had come
by sea ran to meet and embrace their brothers. The gladness was
dampened only by the sad condition of the ships' crews, many of whom
were dead or dying. They had been four months, with their poor charts
and poorer ships, making their way from La Paz up to San Diego; and in
consequence of insufficient and unwholesome food, the scurvy had
broken out among them. It was a melancholy beginning for the new
enterprise. When, six weeks later, the second land party with Father
Junipero arrived, eager to proceed to the establishing of the mission,
they found that their first duty was to the sick and dying of their
own people. In fifteen days twenty-nine of the sailors and soldiers
died. The Indians, who at first had been gentle and friendly, grew
each day more insolent and thievish, even tearing off the clothes of
the sick lying helpless in the tents or tule huts on the beach. At
last, on the 16th of July, a cross was set up facing the port, and in
a rude booth of branches and reeds, mass was celebrated and the grand
hymn of "Veni Creator" was sung, the pilgrims "supplying the want of
an organ by discharging fire-arms," says the old record, and with only
the "smoke of muskets for incense." Thus was founded the Mission of
San Diego; and thus was laid the corner-stone of the civilization of
California on July 16, 1769.

Two days before this the indefatigable Crespí had set off with another
overland party, Portalá at its head, to find Monterey. On this
journey, also, Father Crespí kept a diary,--little suspecting,
probably, with how much interest it would be studied a century later.
It was not strange that with only a compass and seventeenth-century
charts to guide them along the zigzagging labyrinths of bays,
headlands, and sand-hills which make the California shore, they
toiled to no purpose seeking the Monterey harbor. It is pitiful to
read the record of the days when they were close upon it, setting up a
cross on one of its hills, and yet could not see it; even querying, so
bewildered and lost were they, if it might not have been filled up
with sands since Viscayno's time. Forty leagues north of it they went,
and discovered the present bay of San Francisco, which they at once
recognized by Viscayno's description; and recalling the speech of
Galvez in regard to Saint Francis pointing out a port if he wanted a
mission of his own name, the pious fathers thought it not unlikely
that the saint himself had hidden Monterey from their sight, and led
them to his own harbor. Month after month passed, and still they were
wandering. They were footsore, weary, hungry, but not disheartened.
Friendly Indians everywhere greeted them kindly, gave them nuts, and
shell-fish, and bread made from acorn flour. At one time seventeen of
the party were too ill to travel. Twice they halted and held council
on the question of abandoning the search. Some were ready to continue
as long as the provisions held out, then to eat their mules, and go
back on foot. Fathers Crespí and Gomez volunteered to be left behind

At last, on the 11th of November, it was decided to return by the
route by which they had come. On the 20th, finding that their flour
had been stolen by the soldiers, they divided the remainder into equal
parts, giving to each person enough to last him two days. On Christmas
Day they had a present of nuts from friendly Indians, and on New
Year's Day they had the luck to kill a bear and three cubs, which gave
them a feast for which they offered most devout thanksgivings. For the
rest, they lived chiefly on mussels, with now and then a wild goose.
On the 24th of January they came out on the table-lands above San
Diego, six months and ten days from the time of their departure.
Firing a salute, they were answered instantly by shots from the camp,
and saw an eager crowd running to meet them, great anxiety having been
felt at their long absence.

It is worth while, in studying the history of these Franciscan
missions, to dwell on the details of the hardships endured in the
beginning by their founders. Only narrow-minded bigotry can fail to
see in them proofs of a spiritual enthusiasm and exaltation of
self-sacrifice which are rarely paralleled in the world's history. And
to do justice to the results accomplished, it is necessary to
understand thoroughly the conditions at the outset of the undertaking.

The weary, returned party found their comrades in sorry plight. The
scurvy had spread, and many more had died. Father Junipero himself had
been dangerously ill with it; provisions were running low; the Indians
were only half friendly, and were not to be trusted out of sight. The
supply-ships looked for from Mexico had not arrived.

A situation more helpless, unprotected, discouraging, could not be
conceived than that of this little, suffering band, separated by
leagues of desert and leagues of ocean from all possible succor. At
last an examination showed that there were only provisions sufficient
left to subsist the party long enough to make the journey back to
Velicatá. It seemed madness to remain longer; and Governor Portalá,
spite of Father Junipero's entreaties, gave orders to prepare for the
abandonment of the missions. He fixed the 20th of March as the last
day he would wait for the arrival of the ship. This was Saint Joseph's
Day. On the morning of it Father Junipero, who had been praying night
and day for weeks, celebrated to Saint Joseph a high mass, with
special supplications for relief. Before noon a sail was seen on the
horizon. One does not need to believe in saints and saints'
interpositions to feel a thrill at this coincidence, and in fancying
the effect the sudden vision of the relief-ship must have produced on
the minds of devout men who had been starving. The ship appeared for a
few moments, then disappeared; doubtless there were some who scoffed
at it as a mere apparition. But Portalá believed, and waited; and,
four days later, in the ship came!--the "San Antonio," bringing
bountiful stores of all that was needed.

Courage and cheer now filled the very air. No time was lost in
organizing expeditions to go once more in search of the mysteriously
hidden Monterey. In less than three weeks two parties had set
off,--one by sea in the "San Antonio." With this went Father Junipero,
still feeble from illness. Father Crespí, undaunted by his former six
months of wandering, joined the land party, reaching the Point of
Pines, on Monterey Harbor, seven days before the ship arrived. As soon
as she came in sight, bonfires were lighted on the rocks, and the ship
answered by firing cannon. It was a great rejoicing. The next day,
June 1st, the officers of the two parties met, and exchanged
congratulations; and on the third they took formal possession of the
place: first, in the name of the Church, by religious ceremonies;
secondly, in the name of the King of Spain, unfurling the royal
standard, and planting it in the ground, side by side with the cross.

To one familiar with the beauty of the Monterey shore in June, the
picture of this scene is vivid. The sand-dunes were ablaze with color;
lupines in high, waving masses, white and yellow; and great mats of
the glittering ice-plant, with myriads of rose-colored umbels, lying
flat on the white sand. Many rods inland, the air was sweet with their
fragrance, borne by the strong sea-wind. On long cliffs of broken,
tempest-piled rocks stood ranks upon ranks of grand old
cypress-trees,--gnarled, bent, twisted, defiant, full of both pathos
and triumph in their loneliness, in this the only spot on earth to
which they are native.

The booth of boughs in which the mass was performed was built under a
large oak, on the same spot where Viscayno had landed and his
Carmelite monks had said mass one hundred and sixty-seven years
before. The ceremonies closed with a ringing Te Deum,--sailors,
soldiers, monks, alike jubilant.

When the news of the founding of this second mission reached the city
of Mexico, there was a furore of excitement. The bells of the city
were rung; people ran up and down the streets telling each other; and
the viceroy held at his palace a grand reception, to which went all
persons of note, eager to congratulate him and Galvez. Printed
proclamations, giving full accounts, were circulated, not only in
Mexico but throughout Spain. No province so remote, no home so lowly,
as to fail to hear the good news. It was indeed good news to both
State and Church. The fact of the occupation of the new country was
accomplished; the scheme for the conversion and salvation of the
savage race was fairly inaugurated; Monterey and San Diego being
assured, ultimate possession of the whole of the coast line between
would follow. Little these gladdened people in Spain and Mexico
realized, however, the cost of the triumph over which they rejoiced,
or the true condition of the men who had won it.

The history of the next fifteen years is a history of struggle,
hardship, and heroic achievement. The indefatigable Serra was the
mainspring and support of it all. There seemed no limit to his
endurance, no bound to his desires; nothing daunted his courage or
chilled his faith. When, in the sixth year after the founding of the
San Diego Mission, it was attacked by hostile Indians, one of the
fathers being most cruelly murdered, and the buildings burned to the
ground, Father Junipero exclaimed, "Thank God! The seed of the Gospel
is now watered by the blood of a martyr; that mission is henceforth
established;" and in a few months he was on the spot, with money and
materials, ready for rebuilding; pressing sailors, neophytes,
soldiers, into the service; working with his own hands, also, spite of
the fears and protestations of all, and only desisting on positive
orders from the military commander. He journeyed, frequently on foot,
back and forth through the country, founding a new mission whenever,
by his urgent letters to the College of San Fernando and to the
Mexican viceroys, he had gathered together men and money enough to do
so. In 1772, when perplexities seemed inextricably thickened and
supplies had fallen so short that starvation threatened the missions,
he took ship to San Blas. With no companion except one Indian boy, he
toiled on foot from San Blas to Guadalajara, two hundred and forty
miles. Here they both fell ill of fever, and sank so low that they
were supposed to be dying, and the Holy Viaticum was administered to
them. But they recovered, and while only partly convalescent, pushed
on again, reaching the city of Mexico in February, 1773. Hard-hearted
indeed must the Mexican viceroy have been to refuse to heed the
prayers of an aged man who had given such proofs as this of his
earnestness and devotion. The difficulties were cleared up, money and
supplies obtained, and Father Junipero returned to his post with a
joyful heart. Before leaving, he kissed the feet of the friars in the
college, and asked their blessing, saying that they would never behold
him more.

Father Junipero's most insatiable passion was for baptizing Indians;
the saving of one soul thus from death filled him with unspeakable
joy. His biographer illustrates this by the narrative of the first
infant baptism attempted at the San Diego Mission. The Indians had
been prevailed upon to bring an infant to receive the consecration.
Everything was ready: Father Junipero had raised his hand to sprinkle
the child's face; suddenly heathen terror got the better of the
parents, and in the twinkling of an eye they snatched their babe and
ran. Tears rolled down Father Junipero's cheeks: he declared that only
some unworthiness in himself could have led to such a disaster; and to
the day of his death he could never tell the story without tears,
thinking it must be owing to his sins that the soul of that particular
child had been lost.

When he preached he was carried out of himself by the fervor of his
desire to impress his hearers. Baring his breast, he would beat it
violently with a stone, or burn the flesh with a lighted torch, to
enhance the effect of his descriptions of the tortures of hell. There
is in his memoir a curious engraving, showing him lifted high above a
motley group of listeners, holding in his hands the blazing torch and
the stone.

In the same book is an outline map of California as he knew it. It is
of the coast line from San Diego to San Francisco, and the only
objects marked on it are the missions and dotted lines showing the
roads leading from one to another. All the rest is a blank.

There were nine of these missions, founded by Serra, before his death
in 1784. They were founded in the following order: San Diego, July 16,
1769; San Carlos de Monterey, June 3, 1770; San Antonio de Padua, July
14, 1771; San Gabriel, Sept. 8, 1771; San Luis Obispo, Sept. 1, 1772;
San Francisco (Dolores), Oct. 9, 1776; San Juan Capistrano, Nov. 1,
1776; Santa Clara, Jan. 18, 1777; San Buena Ventura, March 31, 1782.

The transports into which Father Junipero was thrown by the beginning
of a new mission are graphically told by the companion who went with
him to establish the mission of San Antonio. With his little train of
soldiers, and mules laden with a few weeks' supplies, he wandered off
into the unexplored wilderness sixty miles south of Monterey, looking
eagerly for river valleys promising fertility. As soon as the
beautiful oak-shaded plain, with its river swift and full even in
July, caught his eye, he ordered a halt, seized the bells, tied them
to an oak bough, and fell to ringing them with might and main, crying
aloud: "Hear, hear, O ye Gentiles! Come to the Holy Church! Come to
the faith of Jesus Christ!" Not a human creature was in sight, save
his own band; and his companion remonstrated with him. "Let me alone,"
cried Father Junipero. "Let me unburden my heart, which could wish
that this bell should be heard by all the world, or at least by all
the Gentiles in these mountains;" and he rang on till the echoes
answered, and one astonished Indian appeared,--the first instance in
which a native had been present at the foundation of a mission. Not
long afterward came a very aged Indian woman named Agreda, begging to
be baptized, saying that she had seen a vision in the skies of a man
clad like the friars, and that her father had repeated to her in her
youth the same words they now spoke.

The history of this San Antonio Mission justified Father Junipero's
selection. The site proved one of the richest and most repaying,
including, finally, seven large farms with a chapel on each, and being
famous for the best wheat grown, and the best flour made in the
country. The curious mill in which the flour was ground is still to be
seen,--a most interesting ruin. It was run by water brought in a
stone-walled ditch for many miles, and driven through a funnel-shaped
flume so as to strike the side of a large water-wheel, revolving
horizontally on a shaft. The building of this aqueduct and the placing
of the wheel were the work of an Indian named Nolberto, who took the
idea from the balance-wheel of a watch, and did all the work with his
own hands. The walls are broken now; and the sands have so blown in
and piled around the entrance, that the old wheel seems buried in a
cellar; linnets have builded nests in the dusky corners, and are so
seldom disturbed that their bright eyes gaze with placid unconcern at
curious intruders.

Many interesting incidents are recorded in connection with the
establishment of these first missions. At San Gabriel the Indians
gathered in great force, and were about to attack the little band of
ten soldiers and two friars preparing to plant their cross; but on
the unfurling of a banner with a life-size picture of the Virgin
painted on it, they flung away their bows and arrows, came running
toward the banner with gestures of reverence and delight, and threw
their beads and other ornaments on the ground before it, as at the
feet of a suddenly recognized queen.

The San Gabriel Indians seem to have been a superior race. They spoke
a soft, musical language, now nearly lost. Their name for God
signified "Giver of Life." They had no belief in a devil or in hell,
and persisted always in regarding them as concerning only white men.
Robbery was unknown among them, murder was punished by death, and
marriage between those near of kin was not allowed. They had names for
the points of the compass, and knew the North Star, calling it Runi.
They had games at which they decked themselves with flower garlands,
which wreathed their heads and hung down to their feet. They had
certain usages of politeness, such as that a child, bringing water to
an elder, must not taste it on the way; and that to pass between two
who were speaking was an offence. They had song contests, often
lasting many days, and sometimes handed down to the next generation.
To a people of such customs as these, the symbols, shows, and
ceremonies of the Catholic Church must needs have seemed especially
beautiful and winning.

The records of the founding of these missions are similar in details,
but are full of interest to one in sympathy either with their
spiritual or their historical significance. The routine was the same
in all cases. A cross was set up; a booth of branches was built; the
ground and the booth were consecrated by holy water, and christened by
the name of a saint; a mass was performed; the neighboring Indians, if
there were any, were roused and summoned by the ringing of bells swung
on limbs of trees; presents of cloth and trinkets were given them to
inspire them with trust, and thus a mission was founded. Two monks
(never, at first, more) were appointed to take charge of this cross
and booth, and to win, baptize, convert, and teach all the Indians to
be reached in the region. They had for guard and help a few soldiers,
and sometimes a few already partly civilized and Christianized
Indians; several head of cattle, some tools and seeds, and holy
vessels for the church service, completed their store of weapons,
spiritual and secular, offensive and defensive, with which to conquer
the wilderness and its savages. There needs no work of the imagination
to help this picture. Taken in its sternest realism, it is vivid and
thrilling; contrasting the wretched poverty of these single-handed
beginnings with the final splendor and riches attained, the result
seems wellnigh miraculous.

From the rough booth of boughs and reeds of 1770 to the pillars,
arched corridors, and domes of the stately stone churches of a
half-century later, is a change only a degree less wonderful than the
change in the Indian, from the naked savage with his one stone tool,
grinding acorn-meal in a rock bowl, to the industrious tiller of soil,
weaver of cloth, worker in metals, and singer of sacred hymns. The
steps of this change were slow at first. In 1772, at the end of five
years' work, five missions had been founded, and four hundred and
ninety-one Indians baptized. There were then, in these five missions,
but nineteen friars and sixty soldiers. In 1786, La Perouse, a French
naval commander, who voyaged along the California coast, leaves it on
record that there were but two hundred and eighty-two soldiers, and
about one hundred officers and friars, all told, in both Upper and
Lower California, from Cape Saint Lucas to San Francisco, a line of
eight hundred leagues. At this time there were five thousand one
hundred and forty-three Indians, in the missions of Upper California
alone. In the year 1800 there were, at the mission of San Diego,
fifteen hundred and twenty-one Indians; and the San Diego garrison,
three miles away from the mission, numbered only one hundred and
sixty-seven souls,--officers, soldiers, servants, women, and children.
Such figures as these seem sufficient refutation of the idea sometimes
advanced, that the Indians were converted by force and held in
subjection by terror. There is still preserved, in the archives of the
Franciscan College at Santa Barbara, a letter written by Father
Junipero to the Viceroy of Mexico, in 1776, imploring him to send a
force of eighty soldiers to be divided among seven missions. He
patiently explains that the friars, stationed by twos, at new
missions, from sixty to a hundred miles distant from each other,
cannot be expected to feel safe without a reasonable military
protection; and he asks pertinently what defence could be made, "in
case the enemy should tempt the Gentiles to attack us." That there was
so little active hostility on the part of the savage tribes, that they
looked so kindly as they did to the ways and restraints of the new
life, is the strongest possible proof that the methods of the friars
in dealing with them must have been both wise and humane.

During the first six years there was but one serious outbreak,--that
at San Diego. No retaliation was shown toward the Indians for this; on
the contrary, the orders of both friars and military commanders were
that they should be treated with even greater kindness than before;
and in less than two years the mission buildings were rebuilt, under a
guard of only a half-score of soldiers with hundreds of Indians
looking on, and many helping cheerfully in the work. The San Carlos
Mission at Monterey was Father Junipero's own charge. There he spent
all his time, when not called away by his duties as president of the
missions. There he died, and there he was buried. There, also, his
beloved friend and brother, Father Crespí, labored by his side for
thirteen years. Crespí was a sanguine, joyous man, sometimes called El
Beato, from his happy temperament. No doubt his gayety made Serra's
sunshine in many a dark day; and grief at his death did much to break
down the splendid old man's courage and strength. Only a few months
before it occurred, they had gone together for a short visit to their
comrade, Father Palon, at the San Francisco Mission. When they took
leave of him, Crespí said, "Farewell forever; you will see me no more."
This was late in the autumn of 1781, and on New Year's Day, 1782, he
died, aged sixty years, and having spent half of those years in
laboring for the Indians. Serra lived only two years longer, and is
said never to have been afterwards the same as before. For many years
he had been a great sufferer from an affection of the heart,--aggravated,
if not induced, by his fierce beatings of his breast with a stone
while he was preaching. But physical pain seemed to make no impression
on his mind. If it did not incapacitate him for action, he held it of
no account. Only the year before his death, being then seventy years
old, and very lame, he had journeyed on foot from San Diego to
Monterey, visiting every mission and turning aside into all the Indian
settlements on the way. At this time there were on the Santa Barbara
coast alone, within a space of eighty miles, twenty-one villages of
Indians, roughly estimated as containing between twenty and thirty
thousand souls. He is said to have gone weeping from village to
village because he could do nothing for them.

He reached San Carlos in January, 1784, and never again went away. The
story of his last hours and death is in the old church records of
Monterey, written there by the hand of the sorrowing Palon, the second
day after he had closed his friend's eyes. It is a quaint and touching

Up to the day before his death, his indomitable will upholding the
failing strength of his dying body, Father Junipero had read in the
church the canonical offices of each day, a service requiring an hour
and a half of time. The evening before his death he walked alone to
the church to receive the last sacrament. The church was crowded to
overflowing with Indians and whites, many crying aloud in
uncontrollable grief.

Father Junipero knelt before the altar with great fervor of manner,
while Father Palon, with tears rolling down his cheeks, read the
services for the dying, gave him absolution, and administered the Holy
Viaticum. Then rose from choked and tremulous voices the strains of
the grand hymn "Tantum Ergo,"--

     "Tantum ergo Sacramentum
       Veneremur cernui,
     Et antiquum documentum
       Novo cedat ritui;
     Præstet fides supplementum
       Sensuum defectui.

     "Genitori genitoque
       Laus et jubilatio,
     Salus, honor, virtus quoque
       Sit et benedictio;
     Procedenti ab utroque
       Compar sit laudatio."

A startled thrill ran through the church as Father Junipero's own
voice, "high and strong as ever," says the record, joined in the
hymn. One by one the voices of his people broke down, stifled by sobs,
until at last the dying man's voice, almost alone, finished the hymn.
After this he gave thanks, and returning to his cell-like room spent
the whole of the night in listening to penitential psalms and
litanies, and giving thanks to God; all the time kneeling or sitting
on the ground supported by the loving and faithful Palon. In the
morning, early, he asked for the plenary indulgence, for which he
again knelt, and confessed again. At noon the chaplain and the captain
of the bark "St. Joseph," then lying in port at Monterey, came to
visit him. He welcomed them, and cordially embracing the chaplain,
said, "You have come just in time to cast the earth upon my body."
After they took their leave, he asked Palon to read to him again the
Recommendations of the Soul. At its conclusion he responded earnestly,
in as clear voice as in health, adding, "Thank God, I am now without
fear." Then with a firm step he walked to the kitchen, saying that he
would like a cup of broth. As soon as he had taken the broth, he
exclaimed, "I feel better now; I will rest;" and lying down he closed
his eyes, and without another word or sign of struggle or pain ceased
to breathe, entering indeed into a rest of which his last word had
been solemnly prophetic.

Ever since morning the grief-stricken people had been waiting and
listening for the tolling death-bell to announce that all was over. At
its first note they came in crowds, breathless, weeping, and
lamenting. It was with great difficulty that the soldiers could keep
them from tearing Father Junipero's habit piecemeal from his body, so
ardent was their desire to possess some relic of him. The corpse was
laid at once in a coffin which he himself had ordered made many weeks
before. The vessels in port fired a salute of one hundred and one
guns, answered by the same from the guns of the presidio at
Monterey,--an honor given to no one below the rank of general. But the
hundred gun salutes were a paltry honor in comparison with the tears
of the Indian congregation. Soldiers kept watch around his coffin
night and day till the burial; but they could not hold back the
throngs of the poor creatures who pressed to touch the hand of the
father they had so much loved, and to bear away something, if only a
thread, of the garments he had worn.

His ardent and impassioned nature and his untiring labors had won
their deepest affection and confidence. It was his habit when at San
Carlos to spend all his time with them, working by their side in the
fields, making adobe, digging, tilling, doing, in short, all that he
required of them. Day after day he thus labored, only desisting at the
hours for performing offices in the church. Whenever an Indian came to
address him, he made the sign of the cross on his forehead, and spoke
to him some words of spiritual injunction or benediction. The
arbitrariness--or, as some of his enemies called it, haughty
self-will--which brought Serra at times into conflict with the
military authorities when their purposes or views clashed with his
own, never came to the surface in his spiritual functions, or in his
relation with the Indian converts. He loved them, and yearned over
them as brands to be snatched from the burning. He had baptized over
one thousand of them with his own hands; his whole life he spent for
them, and was ready at any moment to lay it down if that would have
benefited them more. Absolute single-heartedness like this is never
misunderstood by, and never antagonizes equally single-hearted people,
either high or low. But to be absolutely single-hearted in a moral
purpose is almost inevitably to be doggedly one-ideaed in regard to
practical methods; and the single-hearted, one-ideaed man, with a
great moral purpose, is sure to be often at swords' points with
average men of selfish interests and mixed notions. This is the
explanation of the fact that the later years of Serra's life were
marred by occasional collisions with the military authorities in the
country. No doubt the impetuosity of his nature made him sometimes hot
in resentment and indiscreet of speech. But in spite of these
failings, he yet remains the foremost, grandest figure in the
missions' history. If his successors in their administration had been
equal to him in spirituality, enthusiasm, and intellect, the mission
establishments would never have been so utterly overthrown and ruined.

Father Junipero sleeps on the spot where he labored and died. His
grave is under the ruins of the beautiful stone church of his
mission,--the church which he saw only in ardent and longing fancy.
It was perhaps the most beautiful, though not the grandest of the
mission churches; and its ruins have to-day a charm far exceeding all
the others. The fine yellow tint of the stone, the grand and unique
contour of the arches, the beautiful star-shaped window in the front,
the simple yet effective lines of carving on pilaster and pillar and
doorway, the symmetrical Moorish tower and dome, the worn steps
leading up to the belfry,--all make a picture whose beauty, apart from
hallowing associations, is enough to hold one spell-bound. Reverent
Nature has rebuilt with grass and blossoms even the crumbling
window-sills, across which the wind blows free from the blue ocean
just beyond; and on the day we saw the place, golden wheat, fresh
reaped, was piled in loose mounds on the south slope below the
church's southern wall. It reminded me of the tales I had heard from
many aged men and women of a beautiful custom the Indians had of
scattering their choicest grains on the ground at the friars' feet, as
a token of homage.

The roof of the church long ago fell in; its doors have stood open for
years; and the fierce sea-gales have been sweeping in, piling sands
until a great part of the floor is covered with solid earth on which
every summer grasses and weeds grow high enough to be cut by sickles.
Of the thousands of acres which the Mission Indians once cultivated in
the San Carlos valley, only nine were finally decreed by the United
States Government to belong to the church. These were so carelessly
surveyed that no avenue of approach was left open to the mission
buildings, and a part of the land had to be sold to buy a right of way
to the church. The remnant left makes a little farm, by the rental of
which a man can be hired to take charge of the whole place, and keep
it, if possible, from further desecration and ruin. The present keeper
is a devout Portuguese, whose broken English becomes eloquent as he
speaks of the old friars whose graves he guards.

"Dem work for civilize," he said, "not work for money. Dey work to

In clearing away the earth at the altar end of the church, in the
winter of 1882, this man came upon stone slabs evidently covering
graves. On opening one of these graves, it was found to hold three
coffins. From the minute description, in the old records, of Father
Junipero's place of burial, Father Carenova, the priest now in charge
of the Monterey parish, became convinced that one of these coffins
must be his. On the opposite side of the church is another grave,
where are buried two of the earliest governors of California.

It is a disgrace to both the Catholic Church and the State of
California that this grand old ruin, with its sacred sepulchres,
should be left to crumble away. If nothing is done to protect and save
it, one short hundred years more will see it a shapeless, wind-swept
mound of sand. It is not in our power to confer honor or bring
dishonor on the illustrious dead. We ourselves, alone, are dishonored
when we fail in reverence to them. The grave of Junipero Serra may be
buried centuries deep, and its very place forgotten; yet his name will
not perish, nor his fame suffer. But for the men of the country whose
civilization he founded, and of the Church whose faith he so
glorified, to permit his burial-place to sink into oblivion, is a
shame indeed!


If the little grief-stricken band of monks who stood weeping around
Junipero Serra's grave in 1784 could have foreseen the events of the
next thirty years, their weeping would have been turned into exultant
joy; but not the most daring enthusiast among them could have dreamed
of the harvest of power destined to be raised from the seed thus sown
in weakness.

Almost with his dying breath Father Junipero had promised to use "all
his influence with God" in behalf of the missions. In the course of
the next four months after his death more converts were baptized than
in the whole three years previous; and it became at once the common
belief that his soul had passed directly into heaven, and that this
great wave of conversions was the result of his prayers. Prosperity
continued steadily to increase. Mission after mission was successfully
founded, until, in 1804, the occupation of the sea-coast line from San
Francisco to San Diego was complete, there being nineteen mission
establishments only an easy day's journey apart from each other.

The ten new missions were founded in the following order: Santa
Barbara, Dec. 4, 1786; La Purissima, Dec. 8, 1787; Santa Cruz, Sept.
25, 1791; Soledad, Oct. 9, 1791; San José, June 11, 1797; San Juan
Bautista, June 24, 1797; San Miguel, July 25, 1797; San Fernando Rey,
Sept. 8, 1797; San Luis Rey de Francia, June 18, 1798; Santa Inez,
Sept. 7, 1804.

Beginnings had also been made on a projected second line, to be from
thirty to fifty miles back from the sea; and this inland chain of
settlements and development promised to be in no way inferior to the
first. The wealth of the mission establishments had grown to an almost
incredible degree. In several of them massive stone churches had been
built, of an architecture at once so simple and harmonious that, even
in ruins, it is to-day the grandest in America; and it will remain, so
long as arch, pillar, or dome of it shall stand, a noble and touching
monument of the patient Indian workers who built, and of the devoted
friars who designed, its majestic and graceful proportions.

In all of the missions were buildings on a large scale, providing for
hundreds of occupants, for all the necessary trades and manufactures,
and many of the ornamental arts of civilized life. Enormous tracts of
land were under high cultivation; the grains and cool fruits of the
temperate zone flourishing, in the marvellous California air, side by
side with the palm, olive, grape, fig, orange, and pomegranate. From
the two hundred head of cattle sent by the wise Galvez, had grown
herds past numbering; and to these had been added vast flocks of sheep
and herds of horses. In these nineteen missions were gathered over
twenty thousand Indians, leading regular and industrious lives, and
conforming to the usages of the Catholic religion.

A description of the San Luis Rey Mission, written by De Mofras, an
_attaché_ of the French Legation in Mexico in 1842, gives a clear
idea of the form, and some of the methods, of the mission

     "The building is a quadrilateral, four hundred and fifty feet
     square; the church occupies one of its wings; the façade is
     ornamented with a gallery. The building is two stories in
     height. The interior is formed by a court ornamented with
     fountains, and decorated with trees. Upon the gallery which
     runs around it open the dormitories of the monks, of the
     majors-domo, and of travellers, small workshops, schoolrooms,
     and storerooms. The hospitals are situated in the most quiet
     parts of the mission, where also the schools are kept. The
     young Indian girls dwell in halls called monasteries, and are
     called nuns. Placed under the care of Indian matrons, who are
     worthy of confidence, they learn to make cloth of wool, cotton,
     and flax, and do not leave the monastery until they are old
     enough to be married. The Indian children mingle in schools
     with those of the white colonists. A certain number chosen
     among the pupils who display the most intelligence learn music,
     chanting, the violin, flute, horn, violoncello, or other
     instruments. Those who distinguish themselves in the
     carpenters' shops, at the forge, or in agricultural labors are
     appointed alcaldes, or overseers, and charged with the
     directions of the laborers."

Surrounding these buildings, or arranged in regular streets upon one
side of them, were the homes of the Indian families. These were built
of adobe, or of reeds, after the native fashion. The daily routine of
the Indians' life was simple and uniform. They were divided into
squads of laborers. At sunrise the Angelus bell called them to mass.
After the mass they breakfasted, and then dispersed to their various
labors. At eleven they were again summoned together for dinner, after
which they rested until two, when they went again to work, and worked
until the evening Angelus, just before sunset. After prayers and
supper they were in the habit of dancing and playing games until
bedtime. Their food was good. They had meat at noon, accompanied by
_posale_, a sort of succotash made of corn, beans, and wheat, boiled
together. Their breakfast and supper were usually of porridge made
from different grains, called _atole_ and _pinole_.

The men wore linen shirts, pantaloons, and blankets. The overseers and
best workmen had suits of cloth like the Spaniards. The women
received every year two chemises, one gown, and a blanket. De Mofras

     "When the hides, tallow, grain, wine, and oil were sold at good
     prices to ships from abroad, the monks distributed
     handkerchiefs, wearing apparel, tobacco, and trinkets among the
     Indians, and devoted the surplus to the embellishment of the
     churches, the purchase of musical instruments, pictures, church
     ornaments, etc.; still they were careful to keep a part of the
     harvest in the granaries to provide for years of scarcity."

The rule of the friars was in the main a kindly one. The vice of
drunkenness was severely punished by flogging. Quarrelling between
husbands and wives was also dealt with summarily, the offending
parties being chained together by the leg till they were glad to
promise to keep peace. New converts and recruits were secured in many
ways: sometimes by sending out parties of those already attached to
the new mode of life, and letting them set forth to the savages the
advantages and comforts of the Christian way; sometimes by luring
strangers in with gifts; sometimes, it is said, by capturing them by
main force; but of this there is only scanty evidence, and it is not
probable that it was often practised. It has also been said that cruel
and severe methods were used to compel the Indians to work; that they
were driven under the lash by their overseers, and goaded with lances
by the soldiers. No doubt there were individual instances of cruelty;
seeds of it being indigenous in human nature, such absolute control of
hundreds of human beings could not exist without some abuses of the
power. But that the Indians were, on the whole, well treated and cared
for, the fact that so many thousands of them chose to remain in the
missions is proof. With open wilderness on all sides, and with
thousands of savage friends and relatives close at hand, nothing but
their own free will could have kept such numbers of them loyal and
contented. Forbes, in his history of California, written in 1832,

     "The best and most unequivocal proof of the good conduct of the
     fathers is to be found in the unbounded affection and devotion
     invariably shown toward them by their Indian subjects. They
     venerate them not merely as friends and fathers, but with a
     degree of devotion approaching to adoration."

The picture of life in one of these missions during their period of
prosperity is unique and attractive. The whole place was a hive of
industry: trades plying indoors and outdoors; tillers, herders,
vintagers by hundreds, going to and fro; children in schools; women
spinning; bands of young men practising on musical instruments; music,
the scores of which, in many instances, they had themselves written
out; at evening, all sorts of games of running, leaping, dancing, and
ball-throwing, and the picturesque ceremonies of a religion which has
always been wise in availing itself of beautiful agencies in color,
form, and harmony.

At every mission were walled gardens with waving palms, sparkling
fountains, groves of olive trees, broad vineyards, and orchards of all
manner of fruits; over all, the sunny, delicious, winterless
California sky.

More than mortal, indeed, must the Franciscans have been, to have been
able, under these conditions, to preserve intact the fervor and spirit
of self-abnegation and deprivation inculcated by the rules of their
order. There is a half-comic pathos in the records of occasional
efforts made by one and another of the presidents to check the growing
disposition toward ease on the part of the friars. At one time several
of them were found to be carrying silver watches. The watches were
taken away, and sent to Guadalajara to be sold, the money to be paid
into the Church treasury. At another time an order was issued,
forbidding the wearing of shoes and stockings in place of sandals, and
the occupying of too large and comfortable rooms. And one zealous
president, finding that the friars occasionally rode in the carts
belonging to their missions, had all the carts burned, to compel the
fathers to go about on foot.

The friars were forced, by the very facts of their situation, into the
exercise of a constant and abounding hospitality; and this of itself
inevitably brought about large departures from the ascetic _régime_ of
living originally preached and practised. Most royally did they
discharge the obligations of this hospitality. Travellers' rooms were
kept always ready in every mission; and there were even set apart
fruit orchards called "travellers' orchards." A man might ride from
San Diego to Monterey by easy day's journeys, spending each night as
guest in a mission establishment. As soon as he rode up, an Indian
page would appear to take his horse; another to show him to one of the
travellers' rooms. He was served with the best of food and wine as
long as he liked to stay, and when he left he might, if he wished,
take from the mission herd a fresh horse to carry him on his journey.
All the California voyagers and travellers of the time speak in
glowing terms of this generous and cordial entertaining by the friars.
It was, undoubtedly, part of their policy as representatives of the
State, but it was no less a part of their duty as Franciscans.

Some of the highest tributes which have been paid to them, both as men
and as administrators of affairs, have come from strangers who, thus
sojourning under their roofs, had the best opportunity of knowing
their lives. Says Forbes:--

     "Their conduct has been marked by a degree of benevolence,
     humanity, and moderation probably unexampled in any other
     situation.... I have never heard that they have not acted with
     the most perfect fidelity, or that they ever betrayed a trust,
     or acted with inhumanity."

This testimony is of the more weight that it comes from a man not in
sympathy with either the religious or the secular system on which the
friars' labors were based.

The tales still told by old people of festal occasions at the missions
sound like tales of the Old World rather than of the New. There was a
strange difference, fifty years ago, between the atmosphere of life on
the east and west sides of the American continent: on the Atlantic
shore, the descendants of the Puritans, weighed down by serious
purpose, half grudging the time for their one staid yearly
Thanksgiving, and driving the Indians farther and farther into the
wilderness every year, fighting and killing them; on the sunny Pacific
shore, the merry people of Mexican and Spanish blood, troubling
themselves about nothing, dancing away whole days and nights like
children, while their priests were gathering the Indians by thousands
into communities, and feeding and teaching them.

The most beautiful woman known in California a half-century ago[2]
still lives in Santa Barbara, white-haired, bright-eyed,
eloquent-tongued to-day. At the time of her marriage, her husband
being a brother of the Superior of the Santa Barbara mission, her
wedding banquet was spread on tables running the whole length of the
outer corridor of the mission. For three days and three nights the
feasting and dancing were kept up, and the whole town was bid. On the
day after her wedding came the christening or blessing of the right
tower of the church. She and her husband, having been chosen godfather
and godmother to the tower, walked in solemn procession around it,
carrying lighted candles in their hands, preceded by the friar, who
sprinkled it with holy water and burned incense. In the four long
streets of Indians' houses, then running eastward from the mission,
booths of green boughs, decorated with flowers, were set up in front
of all the doors. Companies of Indians from other missions came as
guests, dancing and singing as they approached. Their Indian hosts
went out to meet them, also singing, and pouring out seeds on the
ground for them to walk on. These were descendants of the Indians who,
when Viscayno anchored off Santa Barbara in 1602, came out in canoes,
bringing their king, and rowed three times around Viscayno's ship,
chanting a chorus of welcome. Then the king, going on board the ship,
walked three times around the deck, chanting the same song. He then
gave to the Spaniards gifts of all the simple foods he had, and
implored them to land, promising that if they would come and be their
brothers, he would give to each man ten wives.

With the increase of success, wealth, and power on the part of the
missions came increasing complexities in their relation to the
military settlements in the country. The original Spanish plan of
colonization was threefold,--religious, military, and civil. Its first
two steps were a mission and a presidio, or garrison,--the presidio to
be the guard of the mission; later was to come the pueblo,[3] or
town. From indefiniteness in the understanding of property rights, and
rights of authority, as vested under these three heads, there very
soon arose confusion, which led to collisions,--collisions which have
not yet ceased, and never will, so long as there remains a land-title
in California to be quarrelled over. The law records of the State are
brimful of briefs, counter-briefs, opinions, and counter-opinions
regarding property issues, all turning on definitions which nobody has
now clear right to make, of old pueblo and presidio titles and bounds.

In the beginning there were no grants of land; everything was done by
royal decree. In the form of taking possession of the new lands, the
Church, by right of sacred honor, came first, the religious ceremony
always preceding the military. Not till the cross was set up, and the
ground consecrated and taken possession of, in the name of God, for
the Church's purposes, did any military commander ever think of
planting the royal standard, symbolizing the king's possession. In the
early days the relations between the military and the ecclesiastical
representatives of the king were comparatively simple: the soldiers
were sent avowedly and specifically to protect the friars; moreover,
in those earlier days, soldiers and friars were alike devout, and, no
doubt, had the mission interests more equally at heart than they did
later. But each year's increase of numbers in the garrisons, and of
numbers and power in the missions, increased the possibilities of
clashing, until finally the relations between the two underwent a
singular reversal; and the friars, if disposed to be satirical, might
well have said that, however bad a rule might be which would not work
both ways, a rule which did was not of necessity a good one, it being
now the duty of the missions to support the presidios; the military
governors being authorized to draw upon the friars not only for
supplies, but for contributions of money and for levies of

On the other hand, no lands could be set off or assigned for colonists
without consent of the friars, and there were many other curious and
entangling cross-purpose powers distributed between friars and
military governors quite sufficient to make it next to impossible for
things to go smoothly.

The mission affairs, so far as their own internal interests were
concerned, were administered with admirable simplicity and system. The
friars in charge of the missions were responsible directly to the
president, or prefect, of the missions. He, in turn, was responsible
to the president, or guardian, of the Franciscan College in San
Fernando, in Mexico. One responsible officer, called procurador, was
kept in the city of Mexico to buy supplies for the missions from
stipends due, and from the drafts given to the friars by the presidio
commanders for goods furnished to the presidios. There was also a
syndic, or general agent, at San Bias, who attended to the shipping
and forwarding of supplies. It was a happy combination of the minimum
of functionaries with the maximum of responsibility.

The income supporting the missions was derived from two sources, the
first of which was a fund, called the "Pious Fund," originally
belonging to the Jesuit order, but on the suppression of that order,
in 1868, taken possession of by the Spanish Government in trust for
the Church. This fund, begun early in the eighteenth century, was made
up of estates, mines, manufactories, and flocks,--all gifts of rich
Catholics to the Society of Jesus. It yielded an income of fifty
thousand dollars a year, the whole of which belonged to the Church,
and was to be used in paying stipends to the friars (to the Dominicans
in Lower as well as to the Franciscans in Upper California), and in
the purchasing of articles needed in the missions. The missions'
second source of income was from the sales of their own products:
first to the presidios,--these sales paid for by drafts on the Spanish
or Mexican Government; second, to trading ships, coming more and more
each year to the California coast.

As soon as revolutionary troubles began to agitate Spain and Mexico,
the income of the missions from abroad began to fall off. The Pious
Fund was too big a sum to be honestly administered by any government
hard pressed for money. Spain began to filch from it early, to pay the
bills of her wars with Portugal and England; and Mexico, as soon as
she had the chance, followed Spain's example vigorously, selling whole
estates and pocketing their price, farming the fund out for the
benefit of the State treasury, and, finally, in Santa Anna's time,
selling the whole outright to two banking-houses. During these
troublous times the friars not only failed frequently to receive their
regular stipends allotted from the interest of this Pious Fund, but
their agent was unable to collect the money due them for the supplies
furnished to the presidios. The sums of which they were thus robbed by
two governments--that, being ostensibly of the Catholic faith, should
surely have held the Church's property sacred--mounted up in a few
years to such enormous figures that restitution would have been
practically impossible, and, except for their own internal sources of
revenue, the missions must have come to bankruptcy and ruin.

However, the elements which were to bring about this ruin were already
at work,--were, indeed, inherent in the very system on which they had
been founded. The Spanish Government was impatient to see carried out,
and to reap the benefit of, the pueblo feature of its colonization
plan. With a singular lack of realization of the time needed to make
citizens out of savages, it had set ten years as the period at the
expiration of which the Indian communities attached to the missions
were to be formed into pueblos,--the missions to be secularized, that
is, turned into curacies, the pueblo being the parish. This was, no
doubt, the wise and proper ultimate scheme,--the only one, in fact,
which provided either for the entire civilization of the Indian or the
successful colonization of the country. But five times ten years would
have been little enough to allow for getting such a scheme fairly
under way, and another five times ten years for the finishing and
rounding of the work. It is strange how sure civilized peoples are,
when planning and legislating for savages, to forget that it has
always taken centuries to graft on or evolve out of savagery anything
like civilization.

Aiming towards this completing of their colonization plan, the
Spanish Government had very early founded the pueblos of Los Angeles
and San José. A second class of pueblos, called, in the legal phrase
of California's later days, "Presidial Pueblos," had originated in the
settlement of the presidios, and gradually grown up around them. There
were four of these,--San Diego, Monterey, Santa Barbara, and San

It is easy to see how, as these settlements increased, of persons more
or less unconnected with the missions, there must have grown up
discontent at the Church's occupation and control of so large a
proportion of the country. Ready for alliance with this discontent was
the constant jealousy on the part of the military authorities, whose
measures were often--and, no doubt, often rightly--opposed by the
friars. These fomenting causes of disquiet reacted on the impatience
and greed in Spain; all together slowly, steadily working against the
missions, until, in 1813, the Spanish Cortes passed an act decreeing
their secularization. This was set forth in sounding phrase as an act
purely for the benefit of the Indians, that they might become citizens
of towns. But it was, to say the least of it, as much for Spain as for
the Indians, since, by its provisions, one half of the mission lands
were to be sold for the payment of Spain's national debt. This act, so
manifestly premature, remained a dead letter; but it alarmed the
friars, and with reason. It was the tocsin of their doom, of the
downfall of their establishments, and the ruin of their work.

Affairs grew more and more unsettled. Spanish viceroys and Mexican
insurgents took turns at ruling in Mexico, and the representatives of
each took turns at ruling in California. The waves of every Mexican
revolution broke on the California shore. The College of San Fernando,
in Mexico, also shared in the general confusion, and many of its
members returned to Spain.

From 1817 to 1820 great requisitions were made by the Government upon
the missions. They responded generously. They gave not only food, but
money. They submitted to a tax, _per capita_, on all their thousands
of Indians, to pay the expenses of a deputy to sit in the Mexican
Congress. They allowed troops to be quartered in the mission
buildings. At the end of the year 1820 the outstanding drafts on the
Government, in favor of the missions, amounted to four hundred
thousand dollars.

It is impossible, in studying the records of this time, not to feel
that the friars were, in the main, disposed to work in good faith for
the best interests of the State. That they opposed the secularization
project is true; but it is unjust to assume that their motives in so
doing were purely selfish. Most certainly, the results of the carrying
out of that project were such as to prove all that they claimed of its
untimeliness. It is easy saying, as their enemies do, that they would
never have advocated it, and were not training the Indians with a view
to it: but the first assertion is an assumption, and nothing more; and
the refutation of the second lies in the fact that even in that short
time they had made the savages into "masons, carpenters, plasterers,
soap-makers, tanners, shoe-makers, blacksmiths, millers, bakers,
cooks, brick-makers, carters and cart-makers, weavers and spinners,
saddlers, ship hands, agriculturists, herdsmen, vintagers;--in a word,
they filled all the laborious occupations known to civilized
society."[5] Moreover, in many of the missions, plots of land had
already been given to individual neophytes who seemed to have
intelligence and energy enough to begin an independent life for
themselves. But it is idle speculating now as to what would or would
not have been done under conditions which never existed.

So long as Spain refused to recognize Mexico's independence, the
majority of the friars, as was natural, remained loyal to the Spanish
Government, and yielded with reluctance and under protest, in every
instance, to Mexico's control. For some years President Sarria was
under arrest for refusing to take the oath of allegiance to the
Mexican republic. Nevertheless, it not being convenient to remove him
and fill his place, he performed all his functions as president of the
missions through that time. Many other friars refused to take the
oath, and left the country in consequence. During three years the
secularization project was continually agitated, and at intervals
measures initiatory to it were decreed and sometimes acted upon.

The shifting governors of unfortunate California legislated for or
against the mission interests according to the exigencies of their
needs or the warmness or lukewarmness of their religious faith.

An act of one year, declaring the Indians liberated, and ordering the
friars to turn over the mission properties to administrators, would be
followed a few years later by an act restoring the power of the
friars, and giving back to them all that remained to be rescued of the
mission properties and converts. All was anarchy and confusion. During
the fifty-five years that California was under Spanish rule she had
but nine governors. During the twenty-four that she was under Mexican
misrule she had thirteen. It would be interesting to know what the
Indian populations thought, as they watched these quarrellings and
intrigues among the Christians who were held up to them as patterns
for imitation.

In a curious pamphlet left by one of the old friars, Father Boscana,
is told a droll story of the logical inferences some of them drew from
the political situations among their supposed betters. It was a band
of San Diego Indians. When they heard that the Spanish viceroy in the
city of Mexico had been killed, and a Mexican made emperor in his
place, they forthwith made a great feast, burned up their chief, and
elected a new one in his stead. To the stringent reproofs of the
horrified friars they made answer: "Have you not done the same in
Mexico? You say your king was not good, and you killed him. Well, our
captain was not good, and we burned him. If the new one turns out bad,
we will burn him too,"--a memorable instance of the superiority of
example to precept.

At last, in 1834, the final blow fell on the missions. The Governor of
California, in compliance with instructions received from Mexico,
issued an authoritative edict for their secularization. It was a long
document, and had many significant provisions in it. It said that the
Indians were now to be "emancipated." But the 16th article said that
they "should be obliged to join in such labors of community as are
indispensable, in the opinion of the political chief, in the
cultivation of the vineyards, gardens, and fields, which for the
present remain unapportioned." This was a curious sort of
emancipation; and it is not surprising to read, in the political
records of the time, such paragraphs as this: "Out of one hundred and
sixty Indian families at San Diego, to whom emancipation was offered
by Governor Figueroa, only ten could be induced to accept it." The
friars were to hand over all records and inventories to stewards or
administrators appointed. Boards of magistrates were also appointed
for each village. One half of the movable property was to be divided
among the "emancipated persons," and to each head of a family was to
be given four hundred square yards of land. Everything else--lands,
movable properties, property of all classes--was to be put into the
hands of the administrator, to be held subject to the Federal
Government. Out of these properties the administrators were to provide
properly for the support of the father or fathers left in charge of
the church, the church properties, and the souls of the "emancipated
persons." A more complete and ingenious subversion of the previously
existing state of things could not have been devised; and it is hard
to conceive how any student of the history of the period can see, in
its shaping and sudden enforcing, anything except bold and
unprincipled greed hiding itself under specious cloaks of right. Says
Dwinelle, in his "Colonial History:"--

     "Beneath these specious pretexts was undoubtedly a perfect
     understanding between the Government of Mexico and the leading
     men in California, that in such a condition of things the
     Supreme Government might absorb the Pious Fund, under the
     pretence that it was no longer necessary for missionary
     purposes, and thus had reverted to the State as a quasi
     escheat, while the co-actors in California should appropriate
     the local wealth of the missions by the rapid and sure process
     of administering their temporalities."

Of the manner in which the project was executed, Dwinelle goes on to

     "These laws, whose ostensible purpose was to convert the
     missionary establishments into Indian pueblos, their churches
     into parish churches, and to elevate the Christianized Indians
     to the rank of citizens, were after all executed in such a
     manner that the so-called secularization of the missions
     resulted in their plunder and complete ruin, and in the
     demoralization and dispersion of the Christianized Indians."

It is only just to remember, however, that these laws and measures
were set in force in a time of revolution, when even the best measures
and laws could have small chance of being fairly executed, and that a
government which is driven, as Mexico was, to recruiting its colonial
forces by batches of selected prison convicts, is entitled to pity, if
not charity, in our estimates of its conduct. Of course, the position
of administrator of a mission became at once a political reward and a
chance for big gains, and simply, therefore, a source and centre of
bribery and corruption.

Between the governors--who now regarded the mission establishments as
State property, taking their cattle or grain as freely as they would
any other revenue, and sending orders to a mission for tallow as they
would draw checks on the treasury--and the administrators, who equally
regarded them as easy places for the filling of pockets, the wealth of
the missions disappeared as dew melts in the sun. Through all this the
Indians were the victims. They were, under the administrators,
compelled to work far harder than before; they were ill-fed and
ill-treated; they were hired out in gangs to work in towns or on
farms, under masters who regarded them simply as beasts of burden;
their rights to the plots of land which had been set off for them
were, almost without exception, ignored. A more pitiable sight has not
often been seen on earth than the spectacle of this great body of
helpless, dependent creatures, suddenly deprived of their teachers and
protectors, thrown on their own resources, and at the mercy of
rapacious and unscrupulous communities, in time of revolution. The
best comment on their sufferings is to be found in the statistics of
the mission establishments after a few years of the administrators'

In 1834 there were, according to the lowest estimates, from fifteen to
twenty thousand Indians in the missions. De Mofras's statistics give
the number as 30,620. In 1840 there were left, all told, but six
thousand. In many of the missions there were less than one hundred.
According to De Mofras, the cattle, sheep, horses, and mules, in 1834,
numbered 808,000; in 1842, but 6,320. Other estimates put the figures
for 1834 considerably lower. It is not easy to determine which are
true; but the most moderate estimates of all tell the story with
sufficient emphasis. There is also verbal testimony on these points
still to be heard in California, if one has patience and interest
enough in the subject to listen to it. There are still living,
wandering about, half blind, half starved, in the neighborhood of the
mission sites, old Indians who recollect the mission times in the
height of their glory. Their faces kindle with a sad flicker of
recollected happiness, as they tell of the days when they had all they
wanted to eat, and the _padres_ were so good and kind: "Bueno tiempo!
Bueno tiempo," they say, with a hopeless sigh and shake of the head.

Under the new _régime_ the friars suffered hardly less than the
Indians. Some fled the country, unable to bear the humiliations and
hardships of their positions under the control of the administrators
or majors-domo, and dependent on their caprice for shelter and even
for food. Among this number was Father Antonio Peyri, who had been for
over thirty years in charge of the splendid mission of San Luis Rey.
In 1800, two years after its founding, this mission had 369 Indians.
In 1827 it had 2,686; it owned over twenty thousand head of cattle,
and nearly twenty thousand sheep. It controlled over two hundred
thousand acres of land, and there were raised in its fields in one
year three thousand bushels of wheat, six thousand of barley, and ten
thousand of corn. No other mission had so fine a church. It was one
hundred and sixty feet long, fifty wide, and sixty high, with walls
four feet thick. A tower at one side held a belfry for eight bells.
The corridor on the opposite side had two hundred and fifty-six
arches. Its gold and silver ornaments are said to have been superb.

When Father Peyri made up his mind to leave the country, he slipped
off by night to San Diego, hoping to escape without the Indians'
knowledge. But, missing him in the morning, and knowing only too well
what it meant, five hundred of them mounted their ponies in hot haste,
and galloped all the way to San Diego, forty-five miles, to bring him
back by force. They arrived just as the ship, with Father Peyri on
board, was weighing anchor. Standing on the deck, with outstretched
arms he blessed them, amid their tears and loud cries. Some flung
themselves into the water and swam after the ship. Four reached it,
and clinging to its sides, so implored to be taken that the father
consented, and carried them with him to Rome, where one of them became
a priest.

There were other touching instances in which the fathers refused to be
separated from their Indian converts, and remained till the last by
their side, sharing all their miseries and deprivations. De Mofras, in
his visit to the country in 1842, found, at the mission of San Luis
Obispo, Father Azagonais, a very old man, living in a hut, like the
Indians, sleeping on a rawhide on the bare ground, with no
drinking-vessel but an ox-horn, and no food but some dried meat
hanging in the sun. The little he had he shared with the few Indians
who still lingered there. Benevolent persons had offered him asylum;
but he refused, saying that he would die at his post. At the San
Antonio mission De Mofras found another aged friar, Father Gutierrez,
living in great misery. The administrator of this mission was a man
who had been formerly a menial servant in the establishment; he had
refused to provide Father Gutierrez with the commonest necessaries,
and had put him on an allowance of food barely sufficient to keep him

At Soledad was a still more pitiful case. Father Sarria, who had
labored there for thirty years, refused to leave the spot, even after
the mission was so ruined that it was not worth any administrator's
while to keep it. He and the handful of Indians who remained loyal to
their faith and to him lived on there, growing poorer and poorer each
day; he sharing his every morsel of food with them, and starving
himself, till, one Sunday morning, saying mass at the crumbling altar,
he fainted, fell forward, and died in their arms, of starvation. This
was in 1838. Only eight years before, this Soledad mission had owned
thirty-six thousand cattle, seventy thousand sheep, three hundred yoke
of working oxen, more horses than any other mission, and had an
aqueduct, fifteen miles long, supplying water enough to irrigate
twenty thousand acres of land.

For ten years after the passage of the Secularization Act, affairs
went steadily on from bad to worse with the missions. Each governor
had his own plans and devices for making the most out of them, renting
them, dividing them into parcels for the use of colonists,
establishing pueblos on them, making them subject to laws of
bankruptcy, and finally selling them. The departmental assemblies
sometimes indorsed and sometimes annulled the acts of the governors.
In 1842 Governor Micheltorena proclaimed that the twelve southern
missions should be restored to the Church, and that the Government
would not make another grant of land without the consent of the
friars. This led to a revolution, or rather an ebullition, and
Micheltorena was sent out of the country. To him succeeded Pio Pico,
who remained in power till the occupation of California by the United
States forces in 1846. During the reign of Pio Pico, the ruin of the
mission establishments was completed. They were at first sold or
rented in batches to the highest bidders. There was first a
preliminary farce of proclamation to the Indians to return and take
possession of the missions if they did not want them sold. These
proclamations were posted up in the pueblos for months before the
sales. In 1844 the Indians of Dolores, Soledad, San Miguel, La
Purissima, and San Rafael[6] were thus summoned to come back to their
missions,--a curious bit of half conscience-stricken, half politic
recognition of the Indians' ownership of the lands, the act of the
Departmental Assembly saying that if they (the Indians) did not return
before such a date, the Government would declare said missions to be
"without owners," and dispose of them accordingly. There must have
been much bitter speech in those days when news of these proclamations
reached the wilds where the mission Indians had taken refuge.

At last, in March, 1846, an act of the Departmental Assembly made the
missions liable to the laws of bankruptcy, and authorized the governor
to sell them to private persons. As by this time all the missions that
had any pretence of existence left had been run hopelessly into debt,
proceedings in regard to them were much simplified by this act. In the
same year the President of Mexico issued an order to Governor Pico to
use all means within his power to raise money to defend the country
against the United States; and under color of this double
authorization the governor forthwith proceeded to sell missions right
and left. He sold them at illegal private sales; he sold them for
insignificant sums, and for sums not paid at all; whether he was, to
use the words of a well-known legal brief in one of the celebrated
California land cases, "wilfully ignorant or grossly corrupt," there
is no knowing, and it made no difference in the result.

One of the last acts of the Departmental Assembly, before the
surrender of the country, was to declare all Governor Pico's sales of
mission property null and void. And one of Governor Pico's last acts
was, as soon as he had made up his mind to run away out of the
country, to write to some of his special friends and ask them if there
were anything else they would like to have him give them before his

On the 7th of July, 1846, the American flag was raised in Monterey,
and formal possession of California was taken by the United States.
The proclamation of Admiral Sloat on this memorable occasion included
these words: "All persons holding title to real estate, or in quiet
possession of lands under color of right, shall have those titles and
rights guaranteed to them." "Color of right" is a legal phrase,
embodying a moral idea, an obligation of equity. If the United States
Government had kept this guarantee, there would be living in
comfortable homesteads in California to-day many hundreds of people
that are now homeless and beggared,--Mexicans as well as Indians.

The army officers in charge of different posts in California, in these
first days of the United States' occupation of the country, were
perplexed and embarrassed by nothing so much as by the confusion
existing in regard to the mission properties and lands. Everywhere men
turned up with bills of sale from Governor Pico. At the San Diego
mission the ostensible owner, one Estudillo by name, confessed frankly
that he "did not think it right to dispose of the Indians' property in
that way; but as everybody was buying missions, he thought he might as
well have one."

In many of the missions, squatters, without show or semblance of
title, were found; these the officers turned out. Finally, General
Kearney, to save the trouble of cutting any more Gordian knots,
declared that all titles of missions and mission lands must be held
in abeyance till the United States Government should pronounce on

For several years the question remained unsettled, and the mission
properties were held by those who had them in possession at the time
of the surrender. But in 1856 the United States Land Commission gave,
in reply to a claim and petition from the Catholic Bishop of
California, a decision which, considered with reference to the
situation of the mission properties at the time of the United States'
possession, was perhaps as near to being equitable as the
circumstances would admit. But, considered with reference to the
status of the mission establishments under the Spanish rule, to their
original extent, the scope of the work, and the magnificent success of
their experiment up to the time of the revolutions, it seems a sadly
inadequate return of property once rightfully held. Still, it was not
the province of the United States to repair the injustices or make
good the thefts of Spain and Mexico; and any attempt to clear up the
tangle of confiscations, debts, frauds, and robberies in California,
for the last quarter of a century before the surrender, would have
been bootless work.

The Land Commissioner's decision was based on the old Spanish law
which divided church property into two classes, sacred and
ecclesiastical, and held it to be inalienable, except in case of
necessity, and then only according to provisions of canon law; in the
legal term, it was said to be "out of commerce." The sacred property
was that which had been in a formal manner consecrated to God,--church
buildings, sacred vessels, vestments, etc. Ecclesiastical property was
land held by the Church, and appropriated to the maintenance of divine
worship, or the support of the ministry; buildings occupied by the
priests, or necessary for their convenience; gardens, etc. Following a
similar division, the property of the mission establishments was held
by the Land Commission to be of two sorts,--mission property and
church property: the mission property, embracing the great tracts of
land formerly cultivated for the community's purpose, it was decided,
must be considered as government property; the church property,
including, with the church buildings, houses of priests, etc., such
smaller portions of land as were devoted to the immediate needs of the
ministry, it was decided must still rightfully go to the Church. How
many acres of the old gardens, orchards, vineyards, of the missions
could properly be claimed by the Church under this head, was of course
a question; and it seems to have been decided on very different bases
in different missions, as some received much more than others. But all
the church buildings, priests' houses, and some acres of land, more or
less, with each, were pronounced by this decision to have been "before
the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo solemnly dedicated to the use of the
Church, and therefore withdrawn from commerce;" "such an interest is
protected by the provisions of the treaty, and must be held inviolate
under our laws." Thus were returned at last, into the inalienable
possession of the Catholic Church, all that were left of the old
mission churches, and some fragments of the mission lands. Many of
them are still in operation as curacies; others are in ruins; of some
not a trace is left,--not even a stone.

At San Diego the walls of the old church are still standing, unroofed,
and crumbling daily. It was used as a cavalry barracks during the war
of 1846, and has been a sheepfold since. Opposite it is an olive
orchard, of superb hoary trees still in bearing; a cactus wall twenty
feet high, and a cluster of date palms, are all that remain of the
friars' garden.

At San Juan Capistrano, the next mission to the north, some parts of
the buildings are still habitable. Service is held regularly in one of
the small chapels. The priest lives there, and ekes out his little
income by renting some of the mouldering rooms. The church is a
splendid ruin. It was of stone, a hundred and fifty feet long by a
hundred in width, with walls five feet thick, a dome eighty feet high,
and a fine belfry of arches in which four bells rang. It was thrown
down by an earthquake in 1812, on the day of the Feast of the
Immaculate Conception. Morning mass was going on, and the church was
thronged; thirty persons were killed, and many more injured.

The little hamlet of San Juan Capistrano lies in harbor, as it were,
looking out on its glimpse of sea, between two low spurs of broken and
rolling hills, which in June are covered with shining yellow and blue
and green, iridescent as a peacock's neck. It is worth going across
the continent to come into the village at sunset of a June day. The
peace, silence, and beauty of the spot are brooded over and dominated
by the grand gray ruin, lifting the whole scene into an ineffable
harmony. Wandering in room after room, court after court, through
corridors with red-tiled roofs and hundreds of broad Roman arches,
over fallen pillars, and through carved doorways, whose untrodden
thresholds have sunk out of sight in summer grasses, one asks himself
if he be indeed in America. On the interior walls are still to be seen
spaces of brilliant fresco-work, in Byzantine patterns of superb red,
pale green, gray and blue; and the corridors are paved with tiles,
large and square. It was our good fortune to have with us, in San Juan
Capistrano, a white-haired Mexican, who in his boyhood had spent a
year in the mission. He remembered as if it were yesterday its
bustling life of fifty years ago, when the arched corridor ran
unbroken around the great courtyard, three hundred feet square, and
was often filled with Indians, friars, officers, and gay Mexican
ladies looking on at a bull-fight in the centre. He remembered the
splendid library, filled from ceiling to floor with books, extending
one whole side of the square: in a corner, where had been the room in
which he used to see sixty Indian women weaving at looms, we stood
ankle-deep in furzy weeds and grass. He showed us the doorway, now
closed up, which led into the friars' parlor. To this door, every
Sunday, after mass, came the Indians, in long processions, to get
their weekly gifts. Each one received something,--a handkerchief,
dress, trinket, or money. While their gifts were being distributed, a
band of ten or twelve performers, all Indians, played lively airs on
brass and stringed instruments. In a little baptistery, dusky with
cobweb and mould, we found huddled a group of wooden statues of
saints, which once stood in niches in the church; on their heads were
faded and brittle wreaths, left from the last occasion on which they
had done duty. One had lost an eye; another a hand. The gilding and
covering of their robes were dimmed and defaced. But they had a
dignity which nothing could destroy. The contours were singularly
expressive and fine, and the rendering of the drapery was indeed
wonderful,--flowing robes and gathered and lifted mantles, all carved
in solid wood.

There are statues of this sort to be seen in several of the old
mission churches. They were all carved by the Indians, many of whom
showed great talent in that direction. There is also in the office of
the justice--or alcalde, as he is still called--of San Juan
Capistrano, a carved chair of noticeably bold and graceful design made
by Indian workmen. A few tatters of heavy crimson brocade hang on it
still, relics of the time when it formed part of a gorgeous
paraphernalia and service.

Even finer than the ruins of San Juan Capistrano are those of the
church at San Luis Rey. It has a perfectly proportioned dome over the
chancel, and beautiful groined arches on either hand and over the
altar. Four broad pilasters on each side of the church are frescoed in
a curious mixing of blues, light and dark, with reds and black, which
have faded and blended into a delicious tone. A Byzantine pulpit
hanging high on the wall, and three old wooden statues in niches, are
the only decorations left. Piles of dirt and rubbish fill the space in
front of the altar, and grass and weeds are growing in the corners;
great flocks of wild doves live in the roof, and have made the whole
place unclean and foul-aired. An old Mexican, eighty years old, a
former servant of the mission, has the ruin in charge, and keeps the
doors locked still, as if there were treasure to guard. The old man is
called "alcalde" by the village people, and seems pleased to be so
addressed. His face is like wrinkled parchment, and he walks bent into
a parenthesis, but his eyes are bright and young. As he totters along,
literally holding his rags together, discoursing warmly of the
splendors he recollects, he seems indeed a ghost from the old times.

The most desolate ruin of all is that of the La Purissima Mission. It
is in the Lompoc valley, two days' easy journey north of Santa
Barbara. Nothing is left there but one long, low adobe building, with
a few arches of the corridor; the doors stand open, the roof is
falling in: it has been so often used as a stable and sheepfold, that
even the grasses are killed around it. The painted pulpit hangs half
falling on the wall, its stairs are gone, and its sounding-board is
slanting awry. Inside the broken altar-rail is a pile of stones,
earth, and rubbish, thrown up by seekers after buried treasures; in
the farther corner another pile and hole, the home of a badger;
mud-swallows' nests are thick on the cornice, and cobwebbed rags of
the old canvas ceiling hang fluttering overhead. The only trace of the
ancient cultivation is a pear-orchard a few rods off, which must have
been a splendid sight in its day; it is at least two hundred yards
square, with a double row of trees all around, so placed as to leave
between them a walk fifty or sixty feet wide. Bits of broken aqueduct
here and there, and a large, round stone tank overgrown by grass,
showed where the life of the orchard used to flow in, it has been many
years slowly dying of thirst. Many of the trees are gone, and those
that remain stretch out gaunt and shrivelled boughs, which, though
still bearing fruit, look like arms tossing in vain reproach and
entreaty; a few pinched little blossoms seemed to heighten rather than
lessen their melancholy look.

At San Juan Bautista there lingers more of the atmosphere of the olden
time than is to be found in any other place in California. The mission
church is well preserved; its grounds are enclosed and cared for; in
its garden are still blooming roses and vines, in the shelter of
palms, and with the old stone sun-dial to tell time. In the sacristy
are oak chests, full of gorgeous vestments of brocades, with silver
and gold laces. On one of these robes is an interesting relic. A lost
or worn-out silken tassel had been replaced by the patient Indian
workers with one of fine-shredded rawhide; the shreds wound with
silver wire, and twisted into tiny rosettes and loops, closely
imitating the silver device. The church fronts south, on a little
green locust walled plaza,--the sleepiest, sunniest, dreamiest place
in the world. To the east the land falls off abruptly, so that the
paling on that side of the plaza is outlined against the sky, and its
little locked gate looks as if it would open into the heavens. The
mission buildings used to surround this plaza; after the friars' day
came rich men living there; and a charming inn is kept now in one of
their old adobe houses. On the east side of the church is a succession
of three terraces leading down to a valley. On the upper one is the
old graveyard, in which it is said there are sleeping four thousand

In 1825 there were spoken at this mission thirteen different Indian

Just behind the church is an orphan girls' school, kept by the Sisters
of the Sacred Heart. At six o'clock every morning the bells of the
church ring for mass as they used to ring when over a thousand Indians
flocked at the summons. To-day, at the sound, there comes a procession
of little girls and young maidens, the black-robed sisters walking
before them with crossed hands and placid faces. One or two Mexican
women, with shawls over their heads, steal across the faint paths of
the plaza, and enter the church.

I shall always recollect the morning when I went, too. The silence of
the plaza was in itself a memorial service, with locust blossoms
swinging incense. It was barely dawn in the church. As the shrill yet
sweet childish voices lifted up the strains of the Kyrie Eleison, I
seemed to see the face of Father Junipero in the dim lighted chancel,
and the benediction was as solemn as if he himself had spoken it. Why
the little town of San Juan Bautista continues to exist is a marvel.
It is shut out and cut off from everything; only two or three hundred
souls are left in it; its streets are grass-grown; half its houses are
empty. But it has a charm of sun, valley, hill, and seaward off-look
unsurpassed in all California. Lingering out a peaceful century there
are many old men and women, whose memories are like magic glasses,
reproducing the pictures of the past. One such we found: a Mexican
woman eighty-five years old, portly, jolly, keen-tongued, keen-eyed;
the widow of one of the soldiers of the old mission guard. She had had
twelve children; she had never been ill a week in her life; she is now
the village nurse, and almost doctor. Sixty years back she remembered.
"The Indians used to be in San Juan Bautista like sheep," she said,
"by the thousand and thousand." They were always good, and the padres
were always kind. Fifty oxen were killed for food every eight days,
and everybody had all he wanted to eat. There was much more water then
than now, plenty of rain, and the streams always full. "I don't know
whether you or we were bad, that it has been taken away by God," she
said, with a quick glance, half humorous, half antagonistic.

The Santa Barbara Mission is still in the charge of Franciscans, the
only one remaining in their possession. It is now called a college for
apostolic missionary work, and there are living within its walls eight
members of the order. One of them is very old,--a friar of the ancient
_régime_; his benevolent face is well known throughout the country,
and there are in many a town and remote hamlet men and women who wait
always for his coming before they will make confession. He is like St.
Francis's first followers: the obligations of poverty and charity
still hold to him the literal fulness of the original bond. He gives
away garment after garment, leaving himself without protection against
cold; and the brothers are forced to lock up and hide from him all
provisions, or he would leave the house bare of food. He often kneels
from midnight to dawn on the stone floor of the church, praying and
chanting psalms; and when a terrible epidemic of small-pox broke out
some years ago, he labored day and night, nursing the worst victims of
it, shriving them, and burying them with his own hands. He is past
eighty, and has not much longer to stay. He has outlived many things
beside his own prime: the day of the sort of faith and work to which
his spirit is attuned has passed by forever.

The mission buildings stand on high ground, three miles from the
beach, west of the town and above it, looking to the sea. In the
morning the sun's first rays flash full on its front, and at evening
they linger late on its western wall. It is an inalienable benediction
to the place. The longer one stays there the more he is aware of the
influence on his soul, as well as of the importance in the landscape
of the benign and stately edifice.

On the corridor of the inner court hangs a bell which is rung for the
hours of the daily offices and secular duties. It is also struck
whenever a friar dies, to announce that all is over. It is the duty of
the brother who has watched the last breath of the dying one to go
immediately and strike this bell. Its sad note has echoed many times
through the corridors. One of the brothers said, last year,--

"The first time I rang that bell to announce a death, there were
fifteen of us left. Now there are only eight."

The sentence itself fell on my ear like the note of a passing-bell. It
seems a not unfitting last word to this slight and fragmentary sketch
of the labors of the Franciscan Order in California.

Still more fitting, however, are the words of a historian, who, living
in California and thoroughly knowing its history from first to last,
has borne the following eloquent testimony to the friars and their

     "The results of the mission scheme of Christianization and
     colonization were such as to justify the plans of the wise
     statesman who devised it, and to gladden the hearts of the
     pious men who devoted their lives to its execution.

     "At the end of sixty years the missionaries of Upper California
     found themselves in the possession of twenty-one prosperous
     missions, planted on a line of about seven hundred miles,
     running from San Diego north to the latitude of Sonoma. More
     than thirty thousand Indian converts were lodged in the mission
     buildings, receiving religious culture, assisting at divine
     worship, and cheerfully performing their easy tasks.... If we
     ask where are now the thirty thousand Christianized Indians who
     once enjoyed the beneficence and created the wealth of the
     twenty-one Catholic missions of California, and then
     contemplate the most wretched of all want of systems which has
     surrounded them under our own government, we shall not withhold
     our admiration from those good and devoted men who, with such
     wisdom, sagacity, and self-sacrifice, reared these wonderful
     institutions in the wilderness of California. They at least
     would have preserved these Indian races if they had been left
     to pursue unmolested their work of pious beneficence."[7]

     NOTE.--The author desires to express her acknowledgments to H.
     H. Bancroft, of San Francisco, who kindly put at her disposal
     all the resources of his invaluable library; also to the
     Superior of the Franciscan College in Santa Barbara, for the
     loan of important books and manuscripts and the photograph of
     Father Junipero.


The old laws of the kingdom of the Indies are interesting reading,
especially those portions of them relating to Indians. A certain fine
and chivalrous quality of honor toward the helpless and tenderness
toward the dependent runs all through their quaint and cumbrous

It is not until one studies these laws in connection with the history
of the confusions and revolutions of the secularization period, and of
the American conquest of California, that it becomes possible to
understand how the California Mission Indians could have been left so
absolutely unprotected, as they were, in the matter of ownership of
the lands they had cultivated for sixty years.

"We command," said the Spanish king, "that the sale, grant, and
composition of lands be executed with such attention that the Indians
be left in possession of the full amount of lands belonging to them,
either singly or in communities, together with their rivers and
waters; and the lands which they shall have drained or otherwise
improved, whereby they may by their own industry have rendered them
fertile, are reserved, in the first place, and can in no case be sold
or aliened. And the judges who have been sent thither shall specify
what Indians they may have found on the land, and what lands they
shall have left in possession of each of the elders of tribes,
caciques, governors, or communities."

Grazing estates for cattle are ordered to be located "apart from the
fields and villages of the Indians." The king's command is that no
such estates shall be granted "in any parts or place where any damage
can accrue to the Indians." Every grant of land must be made "without
prejudice to the Indians;" and "such as may have been granted to their
prejudice and injury" must be "restored to whomever they by right
shall belong."

"In order to avoid the inconveniences and damages resulting from the
sale or gift to Spaniards of tracts of land to the prejudice of
Indians, upon the suspicious testimony of witnesses," the king orders
that all sales and gifts are to be made before the attorneys of the
royal audiencias, and "always with an eye to the benefit of the
Indians;" and "the king's solicitors are to be protectors of the
Indians and plead for them." "After distributing to the Indians what
they may justly want to cultivate, sow, and raise cattle, confirming
to them what they now hold, and granting what they may want besides,
all the remaining land may be reserved to us," says the old decree,
"clear of any incumbrance, for the purpose of being given as rewards,
or disposed of according to our pleasure."

In those day's everything in New Spain was thus ordered by royal
decrees. Nobody had grants of land in the sense in which we use the
word. When the friars wished to reward an industrious and capable
Indian, and test his capacity to take care of himself and family, by
giving him a little farm of his own, all they had to do, or did, was
to mark off the portion of land, put the Indian on it and tell him it
was his. There would appear to have been little more formality than
this in the establishing of the Indian pueblos which were formed in
the beginning of the secularization period. Governor Figueroa, in an
address in 1834, speaks of three of these, San Juan Capistrano, San
Dieguito, and Las Flores, says that they are flourishing, and that the
comparison between the condition of these Indians and that of the
Spanish townsmen in the same region is altogether in favor of the

On Nov. 16, 1835, eighty-one "desafiliados"--as the ex-neophytes of
missions were called--of the San Luis Rey Mission settled themselves
in the San Pasqual valley, which was an appanage of that mission.
These Indian communities appear to have had no documents to show their
right, either as communities or individuals, to the land on which they
had settled. At any rate, they had nothing which amounted to a
protection, or stood in the way of settlers who coveted their lands.
It is years since the last trace of the pueblos Las Flores and San
Dieguito disappeared; and the San Pasqual valley is entirely taken up
by white settlers, chiefly on pre-emption claims. San Juan Capistrano
is the only one of the four where are to be found any Indians' homes.
If those who had banded themselves together and had been set off into
pueblos had no recognizable or defensible title, how much more
helpless and defenceless were individuals, or small communities
without any such semblance of pueblo organization!

Most of the original Mexican grants included tracts of land on which
Indians were living, sometimes large villages of them. In many of
these grants, in accordance with the old Spanish law or custom, was
incorporated a clause protecting the Indians. They were to be left
undisturbed in their homes: the portion of the grant occupied by them
did not belong to the grantee in any such sense as to entitle him to
eject them. The land on which they were living, and the land they were
cultivating at the time of the grant, belonged to them as long as they
pleased to occupy it. In many of the grants the boundaries of the
Indians' reserved portion of the property were carefully marked off;
and the instances were rare in which Mexican grantees disturbed or in
any way interfered with Indians living on their estates. There was no
reason why they should. There was plenty of land and to spare, and it
was simply a convenience and an advantage to have the skilled and
docile Indian laborer on the ground.

But when the easy-going, generous, improvident Mexican needed or
desired to sell his grant, and the sharp American was on hand to buy
it, then was brought to light the helplessness of the Indians'
position. What cared the sharp American for that sentimental clause,
"without injury to the Indians"? Not a farthing. Why should he? His
government, before him, had decided that all the lands belonging to
the old missions, excepting the small portions technically held as
church property, and therefore "out of commerce," were government
lands. None of the Indians living on those lands at the time of the
American possession were held to have any right--not even "color of
right"--to them. That they and their ancestors had been cultivating
them for three quarters of a century made no difference. Americans
wishing to pre-empt claims on any of these so-called government lands
did not regard the presence on them of Indian families or communities
as any more of a barrier than the presence of so many coyotes or
foxes. They would not hesitate to certify to the land office that such
lands were "unoccupied." Still less, then, need the purchaser of
tracts covered by old Mexican grants hold himself bound to regard the
poor cumberers of the ground, who, having no legal right whatever, had
been all their years living on the tolerance of a silly, good-hearted
Mexican proprietor. The American wanted every rod of his land, every
drop of water on it; his schemes were boundless; his greed insatiable;
he had no use for Indians. His plan did not embrace them, and could
not enlarge itself to take them in. They must go. This is, in brief,
the summing up of the way in which has come about the present pitiable
state of the California Mission Indians.

In 1852 a report in regard to these Indians was made to the Interior
Department by the Hon. B. D. Wilson, of Los Angeles. It is an
admirable paper, clear and exhaustive. Mr. Wilson was an old
Californian, had known the Indians well, and had been eyewitness to
much of the cruelty and injustice done them. He says:--

     "In the fall of the missions, accomplished by private cupidity
     and political ambition, philanthropy laments the failure of one
     of the grandest experiments ever made for the elevation of this
     unfortunate race."

He estimates that there were at that time in the counties of Tulare,
Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and San Diego over fifteen thousand
Indians who had been connected with the missions in those counties.
They were classified as the Tulareños, Cahuillas, San Luiseños, and
Diegueños, the latter two being practically one nation, speaking one
language, and being more generally Christianized than the others. They
furnished, Mr. Wilson says, "the majority of the laborers, mechanics,
and servants of San Diego and Los Angeles counties." They all spoke
the Spanish language, and a not inconsiderable number could read and
write it. They had built all the houses in the country, had taught the
whites how to make brick, mud mortar, how to use asphalt on roofs;
they understood irrigation, were good herders, reapers, etc. They were
paid only half the wages paid to whites; and being immoderate
gamblers, often gambled away on Saturday night and Sunday all they had
earned in the week. At that time in Los Angeles nearly every other
house in town was a grog-shop for Indians. In the San Pasqual valley
there were twenty white vagabonds, all rum-sellers, squatted at one
time around the Indian pueblo. The Los Angeles ayuntamiento had passed
an edict declaring that "all Indians without masters"--significant
phrase!--must live outside the town limits; also, that all Indians who
could not show papers from the alcalde of the pueblo in which they
lived, should be treated as "horse thieves and enemies."

On Sunday nights the squares and streets of Los Angeles were often to
be seen full of Indians lying about helpless in every stage of
intoxication. They were picked up by scores, unconscious, carried to
jail, locked up, and early Monday morning hired out to the highest
bidders at the jail gates. Horrible outrages were committed on Indian
women and children. In some instances the Indians armed to avenge
these, and were themselves killed.

These are a few out of hundreds of similar items to be gathered from
the newspaper records of the time. Conditions such as these could have
but one outcome. Twenty years later, when another special report on
the condition of the California Mission Indians was asked for by the
Government, not over five thousand Indians remained to be reported on.
Vice and cruelty had reaped large harvests each year. Many of the rich
valleys, which at the time of Mr. Wilson's report had been under
cultivation by Indians, were now filled by white settlers, the Indians
all gone, no one could tell where. In some instances whole villages of
them had been driven off at once by fraudulently procured and
fraudulently enforced claims. One of the most heart-rending of these
cases was that of the Temecula Indians.

The Temecula valley lies in the northeast corner of San Diego County.
It is watered by two streams and has a good soil. The Southern
California Railroad now crosses it. It was an appanage of the San Luis
Rey Mission, and the two hundred Indians who were living there were
the children and grandchildren of San Luis Rey neophytes. The greater
part of the valley was under cultivation. They had cattle, horses,
sheep. In 1865 a "special agent" of the United States Government held
a grand Indian convention there. Eighteen villages were represented,
and the numbers of inhabitants, stock, vineyards, orchards, were
reported. The Indians were greatly elated at this evidence of the
Government's good intentions toward them. They set up a tall
liberty-pole, and bringing forth a United States flag, which they had
kept carefully hidden away ever since the beginning of the civil war,
they flung it out to the winds in token of their loyalty. "It is
astonishing," says one of the San Diego newspapers of the day, "that
these Indians have behaved so well, considering the pernicious
teachings they have had from the secessionists in our midst."

There was already anxiety in the minds of the Temecula Indians as to
their title to their lands. All that was in existence to show that
they had any, was the protecting clause in an old Mexican grant. To be
sure, the man was still alive who had assisted in marking off the
boundaries of their part of this original Temecula grant; but his
testimony could establish nothing beyond the letter of the clause as
it stood. They earnestly implored the agent to lay the case before the
Interior Department. Whether he did or not I do not know, but this is
the sequel: On April 15, 1869, an action was brought in the District
Court, in San Francisco, by five men, against "Andrew Johnson,
Thaddeus Stevens, Horace Greeley, and one thousand Indians, and other
parties whose names are unknown." It was "a bill to quit title," an
"action to recover possession of certain real estate bounded thus and
thus." It included the Temecula valley. It was based on grants made by
Governor Micheltorena in 1844. The defendants cited were to appear in
court within twenty days.

The Indians appealed to the Catholic bishop to help them. He wrote to
one of the judges an imploring letter, saying, "Can you not do
something to save these poor Indians from being driven out?" But the
scheme had been too skilfully plotted. There was no way--or, at any
rate, no way was found--of protecting the Indians. The day came when a
sheriff, bringing a posse of men and a warrant which could not be legally
resisted, arrived to eject the Indian families from their house and drive
them out of the valley. The Indians' first impulse was as determined
as it could have been if they had been white, to resist the outrage.
But on being reasoned with by friends, who sadly and with shame
explained to them that by thus resisting, they would simply make it
the duty of the sheriff to eject them by force, and, if necessary,
shoot down any who opposed the executing of his warrant, they
submitted. But they refused to lift hand to the moving. They sat down,
men and women, on the ground, and looked on, some wailing and weeping,
some dogged and silent, while the sheriff and his men took out of the
neat little adobe houses their small stores of furniture, clothes, and
food, and piled them on wagons to be carried--where?--anywhere the
exiles chose, so long as they did not chance to choose a piece of any
white man's land.

A Mexican woman is now living in that Temecula valley who told me the
story of this moving. The facts I had learned before from records of
one sort and another. But standing on the spot, looking at the ruins
of the little adobe houses, and the walled graveyard full of graves,
and hearing this woman tell how she kept her doors and windows shut,
and could not bear to look out while the deed was being done, I
realized forcibly how different a thing is history seen from history
written and read.

It took three days to move them. Procession after procession, with
cries and tears, walked slowly behind the wagons carrying their
household goods. They took the tule roofs off the little houses, and
carried them along. They could be used again. Some of these Indians,
wishing to stay as near as possible to their old home, settled in a
small valley, only three miles and a half away to the south. It was a
dreary, hot little valley, bare, with low, rocky buttes cropping out
on either side, and with scanty growths of bushes; there was not a
drop of water in it. Here the exiles went to work again; built their
huts of reeds and straw; set up a booth of boughs for the priest, when
he came, to say mass in; and a rude wooden cross to consecrate their
new graveyard on a stony hill-side. They put their huts on barren
knolls here and there, where nothing could grow. On the tillable land
they planted wheat or barley or orchards,--some patches not ten feet
square, the largest not over three or four acres. They hollowed out
the base of one of the rocky buttes, sunk a well there, and found

I think none of us who saw this little refugee village will ever
forget it. The whole place was a series of pictures; and knowing its
history, we found in each low roof and paling the dignity of heroic
achievement. Near many of the huts stood great round baskets woven of
twigs, reaching half-way up to the eaves and looking like huge
birds'-nests. These were their granaries, holding acorns and wheat.
Women with red pottery jars on their heads and on their backs were
going to and from the well; old men were creeping about, bent over,
carrying loads of fagots that would have seemed heavy for a donkey;
aged women sitting on the ground were diligently plaiting baskets, too
busy or too old to give more than a passing look at us. A group of
women was at work washing wool in great stone bowls, probably hundreds
of years old. The interiors of some of the houses were exquisitely
neat and orderly, with touching attempts at adornment,--pretty baskets
and shelves hanging on the walls, and over the beds canopies of bright
calico. On some of the beds, the sheets and pillow-cases were trimmed
with wide hand-wrought lace, made by the Indian women themselves. This
is one of their arts which date back to the mission days. Some of the
lace is beautiful and fine, and of patterns like the old church laces.
It was pitiful to see the poor creatures in almost every one of the
hovels bringing out a yard or two of their lace to sell; and there was
hardly a house which had not the lace-maker's frame hanging on the
wall, with an unfinished piece of lace stretched in it. The making of
this lace requires much time and patience. It is done by first drawing
out all the lengthwise threads of a piece of fine linen or cotton;
then the threads which are left are sewed over and over into an
endless variety of intricate patterns. Sometimes the whole design is
done in solid button-hole stitch, or solid figures are filled in on an
open network made of the threads. The baskets were finely woven, of
good shapes, and excellent decorative patterns in brown and black on
yellow or white.

Every face, except those of the very young, was sad beyond
description. They were stamped indelibly by generations of suffering,
immovable distrust also underlying the sorrow. It was hard to make
them smile. To all our expressions of good-will and interest they
seemed indifferent, and received in silence the money we paid them for
baskets and lace.

The word "Temecula" is an Indian word, signifying "grief" or
"mourning." It seems to have had a strangely prophetic fitness for the
valley to which it was given.

While I am writing these lines, the news comes that, by an executive
order of the President, the little valley in which these Indians took
refuge has been set apart for them as a reservation. No doubt they
know how much executive orders creating Indian reservations are worth.
There have been several such made and revoked in California within
their memories. The San Pasqual valley was at one time set apart by
executive order as a reservation for Indians. This was in 1870. There
were then living in the valley between two and three hundred Indians;
some of them had been members of the original pueblo established there
in 1835.

The comments of the California newspapers on this executive order are
amusing, or would be if they did not record such tragedy. It was
followed by an outburst of virtuous indignation all along the coast.
One paper said:

     "The iniquity of this scheme is made manifest when we state the
     fact that the Indians of that part of the State are Mission
     Indians who are settled in villages and engaged in farming like
     the white settlers.... It would be gross injustice to the
     Indians themselves as well as to the white settlers in San
     Pasqual.... These Indians are as fixed in their habitations as
     the whites, and have fruit-trees, buildings, and other valuable
     improvements to make them contented and comfortable. Until
     within the past two or three years they raised more fruit than
     the white settlers of the southern counties. There is belonging
     to an Indian family there a fig-tree that is the largest in the
     State, covering a space sixty paces in diameter.... A
     remonstrance signed by over five hundred citizens and indorsed
     by every office-holder in the county has gone on to Washington
     against this swindle.... This act on the part of the Government
     is no better than highway robbery, and the persons engaged in
     it are too base to be called men. There is not a person in
     either of these valleys that will not be ruined pecuniarily if
     these orders are enforced."

Looking through files of newspapers of that time, I found only one
that had the moral courage to uphold the measure. That paper said,--

     "Most of the inhabitants are now Indians who desire to be
     protected in their ancient possessions; and the Government is
     about to give them that protection, after a long delay."

One editor, having nearly exhausted the resources of invective and
false statement, actually had the hardihood to say that Indians could
not be induced to live on this reservation because "there are no
acorn-bearing trees there, and the acorns furnish their principal

The congressmen and their clients were successful. The order was
revoked. In less than four years the San Pasqual Indians are heard
from again. A justice of the peace in the San Pasqual valley writes to
the district attorney to know if anything can be done to protect these

"Last year," he says, "the heart of this rancheria (village) was filed
on and pre-empted. The settlers are beginning to plough up the land.
The Los Angeles Land Office has informed the Indians that, not being
citizens, they cannot retain any claim. It seems very hard," says the
judge, "aside from the danger of difficulties likely to arise from

About this time a bill introduced in Congress to provide homes for the
Mission Indians on the reservation plan was reported unfavorably upon
by a Senate committee, on the ground that all the Mission Indians were
really American citizens. The year following, the chief of the Pala
Indians, being brought to the county clerk's office to register as a
voter, was refused on the ground that, being an Indian, he was not a
citizen. In 1850 a small band of Indians living in San Diego County
were taxed to the amount of six hundred dollars, which they paid, the
sheriff said, "without a murmur." The next year they refused. The
sheriff wrote to the district attorney, who replied that the tax must
be paid. The Indians said they had no money. They had only bows,
arrows, wigwams, and a few cattle. Finally, they were compelled to
drive in enough of their cattle to pay the tax. One of the San Diego
newspapers spoke of the transaction as "a small business to undertake
to collect taxes from a parcel of naked Indians."

The year before these events happened a special agent, John G. Ames,
had been sent out by the Government to investigate and report upon the
condition of the Mission Indians. He had assured them "of the sincere
desire of the Government to secure their rights and promote their
interests, and of its intention to do whatever might be found
practicable in this direction." He told them he had been "sent out by
the Government to hear their story, to examine carefully into their
condition, and to recommend such measures as seemed under the
circumstances most desirable."

Mr. Ames found in the San Pasqual valley a white man who had just
built for himself a good house, and claimed to have pre-empted the
greater part of the Indians' village. He "had actually paid the price
of the land to the register of the land office of the district, and
was daily expecting the patent from Washington. He owned that it was
hard to wrest from these well-disposed and industrious creatures the
homes they had built up. 'But,' said he, 'if I had not done it,
somebody else would; for all agree that the Indian has no right to
public lands.'"

This sketch of the history of the San Pasqual and Temecula bands of
Indians is a fair showing of what, with little variation, has been the
fate of the Mission Indians all through Southern California. The
combination of cruelty and unprincipled greed on the part of the
American settlers, with culpable ignorance, indifference, and neglect
on the part of the Government at Washington has resulted in an
aggregate of monstrous injustice, which no one can fully realize
without studying the facts on the ground. In the winter of 1882 I
visited this San Pasqual valley. I drove over from San Diego with the
Catholic priest, who goes there three or four Sundays in a year, to
hold service in a little adobe chapel built by the Indians in the days
of their prosperity. This beautiful valley is from one to three miles
wide, and perhaps twelve long. It is walled by high-rolling,
soft-contoured hills, which are now one continuous wheat-field. There
are, in sight of the chapel, a dozen or so adobe houses, many of which
were built by the Indians; in all of them except one are now living
the robber whites, who have driven the Indians out; only one Indian
still remains in the valley. He earns a meagre living for himself and
family by doing day's work for the farmers who have taken his land.
The rest of the Indians are hidden away in the cañons and rifts of the
near hills,--wherever they can find a bit of ground to keep a horse or
two and raise a little grain. They have sought the most inaccessible
spots, reached often by miles of difficult trail. They have fled into
secret lairs like hunted wild beasts. The Catholic priest of San Diego
is much beloved by them. He has been their friend for many years. When
he goes to hold service, they gather from their various hiding-places
and refuges; sometimes, on a special _fête_ day, over two hundred
come. But on the day I was there, the priest being a young man who was
a stranger to them, only a few were present. It was a pitiful sight.
The dilapidated adobe building, empty and comfortless; the ragged
poverty-stricken creatures, kneeling on the bare ground,--a few
Mexicans, with some gaudiness of attire, setting off the Indians'
poverty still more. In front of the chapel, on a rough cross-beam
supported by two forked posts, set awry in the ground, swung a bell
bearing the date of 1770. It was one of the bells of the old San Diego
Mission. Standing bareheaded, the priest rang it long and loud: he
rang it several times before the leisurely groups that were plainly to
be seen in doorways or on roadsides bestirred themselves to make any
haste to come. After the service I had a long talk, through an
interpreter, with an aged Indian, the oldest now living in the county.
He is said to be considerably over a hundred, and his looks
corroborate the statement. He is almost blind, and has snow-white
hair, and a strange voice, a kind of shrill whisper. He says he
recollects the rebuilding of the San Diego Mission; though he was a
very little boy then, he helped to carry the mud mortar. This was one
hundred and three years ago. Instances of much greater longevity than
this, however, are not uncommon among the California Indians. I asked
if he had a good time in the mission. "Yes, yes," he said, turning his
sightless eyes up to the sky; "much good time," "plenty to eat,"
"_atole_," "_pozzole_," "meat;" now, "no meat;" "all the time to beg,
beg;" "all the time hungry." His wife, who is older than he, is still
living, though "her hair is not so white." She was ill, and was with
relatives far away in the mountains; he lifted his hand and pointed in
the direction of the place. "Much sick, much sick; she will never walk
any more," he said, with deep feeling in his voice.

During the afternoon the Indians were continually coming and going at
the shop connected with the inn where we had stopped, some four miles
from the valley. The keeper of the shop and inn said he always trusted
them. They were "good pay." "Give them their time and they'll always
pay; and if they die their relations will pay the last cent." Some of
them he would "trust any time as high as twenty dollars." When I asked
him how they earned their money, he seemed to have no very distinct
idea. Some of them had a little stock; they might now and then sell a
horse or a cow, he said; they hired as laborers whenever they could
get a chance, working at sheep-shearing in the spring and autumn, and
at grape-picking in the vintage season. A few of them had a little
wheat to sell; sometimes they paid him in wheat. There were not nearly
so many of them, however, as there had been when he first opened his
shop; not half so many, he thought. Where had they gone? He shrugged
his shoulders. "Who knows?" he said.

The most wretched of all the Mission Indians now, however, are not
these who have been thus driven into hill fastnesses and waterless
valleys to wrest a living where white men would starve. There is in
their fate the climax of misery, but not of degradation. The latter
cannot be reached in the wilderness. It takes the neighborhood of the
white man to accomplish it. On the outskirts of the town of San Diego
are to be seen, here and there, huddled groups of what, at a distance,
might be taken for piles of refuse and brush, old blankets, old
patches of sail-cloth, old calico, dead pine boughs, and sticks all
heaped together in shapeless mounds; hollow, one perceives on coming
nearer them, and high enough for human beings to creep under. These
are the homes of Indians. I have seen the poorest huts of the most
poverty-stricken wilds in Italy, Bavaria, Norway, and New Mexico; but
never have I seen anything, in shape of shelter for human creatures,
so loathsome as the kennels in which some of the San Diego Indians are
living. Most of these Indians are miserable, worthless beggars,
drunkards of course, and worse. Even for its own sake, it would seem
that the town would devise some scheme of help and redemption for such
outcasts. There is a school in San Diego for the Indian children; it
is supported in part by the Government, in part by charity; but work
must be practically thrown away on children that are to spend eighteen
hours out of the twenty-four surrounded by such filth and vice.

Coming from the study of the records of the old mission times, with
the picture fresh and vivid of the tranquil industry and comfort of
the Indians' lives in the mission establishments, one gazes with
double grief on such a spectacle as this. Some of these Indian hovels
are within a short distance of the beach where the friars first
landed, in 1769, and began their work. No doubt, Father Junipero and
Father Crespí, arm in arm, in ardent converse, full of glowing
anticipation of the grand future results of their labors, walked again
and again, up and down, on the very spot where these miserable
wretches are living to-day. One cannot fancy Father Junipero's fiery
soul, to whatever far sphere it may have been translated, looking down
on this ruin without pangs of indignation.

There are still left in the mountain ranges of South California a few
Indian villages which will probably, for some time to come, preserve
their independent existence. Some of them number as many as two or
three hundred inhabitants. Each has its chief, or, as he is now
called, "capitan." They have their own system of government of the
villages; it is autocratic, but in the main it works well. In one of
these villages, that of the Cahuillas, situated in the San Jacinto
range, is a school whose teacher is paid by the United States
Government. She is a widow with one little daughter. She has built for
herself a room adjoining the school-house. In this she lives alone,
with her child, in the heart of the Indian village; there is not a
white person within ten miles. She says that the village is as
well-ordered, quiet, and peaceable as it is possible for a village to
be; and she feels far safer, surrounded by these three hundred
Cahuillas, than she would feel in most of the California towns. The
Cahuillas (pronounced Kaweeyahs) were one of the fiercest and most
powerful of the tribes. The name signifies "master," or "powerful
nation." A great number of the neophytes of the San Gabriel Mission
were from this tribe; but a large proportion of them were never
attached to any mission.

Their last great chief, Juan Antonio, died twenty years ago. At the
time of the Mexican War he received the title of General from General
Kearney, and never afterward appeared in the villages of the whites
without some fragmentary attempts at military uniform. He must have
been a grand character, with all his barbarism. He ruled his band like
an emperor, and never rode abroad without an escort of from twenty to
thirty men. When he stopped one of his Indians ran forward, bent down,
took off his spurs, then, kneeling on all-fours, made of his back a
stool, on which Juan stepped in dismounting and mounting. In 1850 an
Indian of this tribe, having murdered another Indian, was taken
prisoner by the civil authorities and carried to Jurupa to be tried.
Before the proceedings had begun, Juan, with a big following of armed
Indians, dashed up to the court-house, strode in alone, and demanded
that the prisoner be surrendered to him.

"I come not here as a child," he said. "I wish to punish my people my
own way. If they deserve hanging, I will hang them. If a white man
deserves hanging, let the white man hang him. I am done."

The prisoner was given up. The Indians strapped him on a horse, and
rode back to their village, where, in an open grave, the body of the
murdered man had been laid. Into this grave, on the top of the corpse
of his victim, Juan Antonio, with his own hands, flung the murderer
alive, and ordered the grave instantly filled up with earth.

There are said to have been other instances of his dealings with
offenders nearly as summary and severe as this. He is described as
looking like an old African lion, shaggy and fierce; but he was always
cordial and affectionate in his relations with the whites. He died in
1863, of small-pox, in a terrible epidemic which carried off thousands
of Indians.

This Cahuilla village is in a small valley, high up in the San Jacinto
range. The Indians are very poor, but they are industrious and
hard-working. The men raise stock, and go out in bands as
sheep-shearers and harvesters. The women make baskets, lace, and from
the fibre of the yucca plant, beautiful and durable mats, called
"cocas," which are much sought after by California ranchmen as
saddle-mats. The yucca fibres are soaked and beaten like flax; some
are dyed brown, some bleached white, and the two woven together in a
great variety of patterns.

In the San Jacinto valley, some thirty miles south of these Cahuillas,
is another Indian village called Saboba. These Indians have occupied
and cultivated this ground since the days of the missions. They have
good adobe houses, many acres of wheat-fields, little peach and
apricot orchards, irrigating ditches, and some fences. In one of the
houses I found a neatly laid wooden floor, a sewing-machine, and the
walls covered with pictures cut from illustrated newspapers which had
been given to them by the school teacher. There is a Government school
here, numbering from twenty to thirty; the children read as well as
average white children of their age, and in manners and in apparent
interest in their studies, were far above the average of children in
the public schools.

One of the colony schemes, so common now in California, has been
formed for the opening up and settling of the San Jacinto valley. This
Indian village will be in the colony's way. In fact, the colony must
have its lands and its water. It is only a question of a very little
time, the driving out of these Saboba families as the Temeculas and
San Pasquales were driven,--by force, just as truly as if at the point
of the bayonet.

In one of the beautiful cañons opening on this valley is the home of
Victoriano, an aged chief of the band. He is living with his daughter
and grandchildren, in a comfortable adobe house at the head of the
cañon. The vineyard and peach orchard which his father planted there,
are in good bearing. His grandson Jesus, a young man twenty years old,
in the summer of 1881 ploughed up and planted twenty acres of wheat.
The boy also studied so faithfully in school that year--his first year
at school--that he learned to read well in the "Fourth Reader;" this
in spite of his being absent six weeks, in both spring and autumn,
with the sheep-shearing band. A letter of his, written at my request
to the Secretary of the Interior in behalf of his people, is touching
in its simple dignity.

               SAN JACINTO, CAL., May 29, 1882.

     MR. TELLER.

     DEAR SIR,--At the request of my friends, I write you in regard
     to the land of my people.

     More than one hundred years ago, my great-grandfather, who was
     chief of his tribe, settled with his people in the San Jacinto
     valley. The people have always been peaceful, never caring for
     war, and have welcomed Americans into the valley.

     Some years ago a grant of land was given to the Estudillos by
     the Mexican Government. The first survey did not take in any of
     the land claimed by the Indians; but four years ago a new
     survey was made, taking in all the little farms, the stream of
     water, and the village. Upon this survey the United States
     Government gave a patent. It seems hard for us to be driven
     from our homes that we love as much as other people do theirs;
     and this danger is at our doors now, for the grant is being
     divided and the village and land will be assigned to some of
     the present owners of the grant.

     And now, dear sir, after this statement of facts, I, for my
     people (I ask nothing for myself), appeal to you for help.

     Cannot you find some way to right this great wrong done to a
     quiet and industrious people?

     Hoping that we may have justice done us, I am

          Respectfully yours,

               JOSÉ JESUS CASTILLO.

He was at first unwilling to write it, fearing he should be supposed
to be begging for himself rather than for his people. His father was a
Mexican; and he has hoped that on that account their family would be
exempt from the fate of the village when the colony comes into the
valley. But it is not probable that in a country where water is gold,
a stream of water such as runs by Victoriano's door will be left long
in the possession of any Indian family, whatever may be its relations
to rich Mexican proprietors in the neighborhood. Jesus's mother is a
tall, superbly formed woman, with a clear skin, hazel nut-brown eyes
that thrill one with their limpid brightness, a nose straight and
strong, and a mouth like an Egyptian priestess. She is past forty, but
she is strikingly handsome still; and one does not wonder at hearing
the tragedy of her early youth, when, for years, she believed herself
the wife of Jesus's father, lived in his house as a wife, worked as a
wife, and bore him his children. Her heart broke when she was sent
adrift, a sadder than Hagar, with her half-disowned offspring. Money
and lands did not heal the wound. Her face is dark with the sting of
it to-day. When I asked her to sell me the lace-trimmed pillow-case
and sheet from her bed, her cheeks flushed at first, and she looked
away haughtily before replying. But, after a moment, she consented.
They needed the money. She knows well that days of trouble are in
store for them.

Since the writing of this paper news has come that the long-expected
blow has fallen on this Indian village. The colony scheme has been
completed; the valley has been divided up; the land on which the
village of Saboba stands is now the property of a San Bernardino
merchant. Any day he chooses, he can eject these Indians as the
Temecula and the San Pasqual bands were ejected, and with far more
show of legal right.

In the vicinity of the San Juan Capistrano Mission are living a few
families of Indians, some of them the former neophytes of the mission.
An old woman there, named Carmen, is a splendid specimen of the best
longevity which her race and the California air can produce. We found
her in bed, where she spends most of her time,--not lying, but sitting
cross-legged, looking brisk and energetic, and always busy making
lace. Nobody makes finer lace than hers. Yet she laughed when we asked
if she could see to do such fine work without spectacles.

"Where could I get spectacles?" she said, her eyes twinkling. Then she
stretched out her hand for the spectacles of our old Mexican friend
who had asked her this question for us; took them, turned them over
curiously, tried to look through them, shook her head, and handed them
back to him with a shrug and a smile. She was twenty years older than
he; but her strong, young eyes could not see through his glasses. He
recollected her well, fifty years before, an active, handsome woman,
taking care of the sacristy, washing the priests' laces, mending
vestments, and filling various offices of trust in the mission. A
sailor from a French vessel lying in the harbor wished to marry her;
but the friars would not give their consent, because the man was a
drunkard and dishonest. Carmen was well disposed to him, and much
flattered by his love-making. He used to write letters to her, which
she brought to this Mexican boy to read. It was a droll sight to see
her face, as he, now white-haired and looking fully as old as she,
reminded her of that time and of those letters, tapping her jocosely
on her cheek, and saying some things I am sure he did not quite
literally translate to us. She fairly colored, buried her face in her
hands for a second, then laughed till she shook, and answered in
voluble Spanish, of which also I suspect we did not get a full
translation. She was the happiest Indian we saw; indeed, the only one
who seemed really gay of heart or even content.

A few rods from the old mission church of San Gabriel, in a hut made
of bundles of the tule reeds lashed to sycamore poles, as the San
Gabriel Indians made them a hundred years ago, live two old Indian
women, Laura and Benjamina. Laura is one hundred and two years old,
Benjamina one hundred and seventeen. The record of their baptisms is
still to be seen in the church books, so there can be no dispute as to
their age. It seems not at all incredible, however. If I had been told
that Benjamina was a three-thousand-year-old Nile mummy, resuscitated
by some mysterious process, I should not have demurred much at the
tale. The first time I saw them, the two were crouching over a fire on
the ground, under a sort of booth porch, in front of their hovel.
Laura was making a feint of grinding acorn-meal in a stone bowl;
Benjamina was raking the ashes, with her claw-like old fingers, for
hot coals to start the fire afresh; her skin was like an elephant's,
shrivelled, black, hanging in folds and welts on her neck and breast
and bony arms; it was not like anything human; her shrunken eyes,
bright as beads, peered out from under thickets of coarse grizzled
gray hair. Laura wore a white cloth band around her head, tied on with
a strip of scarlet flannel; above that, a tattered black shawl, which
gave her the look of an aged imp. Old baskets, old pots, old pans, old
stone mortars and pestles, broken tiles and bricks, rags, straw,
boxes, legless chairs,--in short, all conceivable rubbish,--were
strewn about or piled up in the place, making the weirdest of
backgrounds for the aged crones' figures. Inside the hut were two
bedsteads and a few boxes, baskets, and nets; and drying grapes and
peppers hung on the walls. A few feet away was another hut, only a
trifle better than this; four generations were living in the two.
Benjamina's step-daughter, aged eighty, was a fine creature. With a
white band straight around her forehead close to the eyebrows and a
gay plaid handkerchief thrown on above it, falling squarely each side
of her face, she looked like an old Bedouin sheik.

Our Mexican friend remembered Laura as she was fifty years ago. She
was then, even at fifty-two, celebrated as one of the swiftest runners
and best ball-players in all the San Gabriel games. She was a singer,
too, in the choir. Coaxing her up on her feet, patting her shoulders,
entreating and caressing her as one would a child, he succeeded in
persuading her to chant for us the Lord's Prayer and part of the
litanies, as she had been wont to do it in the old days. It was a
grotesque and incredible sight. The more she stirred and sang and
lifted her arms, the less alive she looked. We asked the step-daughter
if they were happy and wished to live. Laughing, she repeated the
question to them. "Oh, yes, we wish to live forever," they replied.
They were greatly terrified, the daughter said, when the railway cars
first ran through San Gabriel. They thought it was the devil bringing
fire to burn up the world. Their chief solace is tobacco. To beg it,
Benjamina will creep about in the village by the hour, bent double
over her staff, tottering at every step. They sit for the most part
silent, motionless, on the ground; their knees drawn up, their hands
clasped over them, their heads sunk on their breasts. In my drives in
the San Gabriel valley I often saw them sitting thus, as if they were
dead. The sight had an indescribable fascination. It seemed that to be
able to penetrate into the recesses of their thoughts would be to lay
hold upon secrets as old as the earth.

One of the most beautiful appanages of the San Luis Rey Mission, in
the time of its prosperity, was the Pala valley. It lies about
twenty-five miles east of San Luis, among broken spurs of the Coast
Range, watered by the San Luis River, and also by its own little
stream, the Pala Creek. It was always a favorite home of the Indians;
and at the time of the secularization, over a thousand of them used to
gather at the weekly mass in its chapel. Now, on the occasional visits
of the San Juan Capistrano priest, to hold service there, the
dilapidated little church is not half filled, and the numbers are
growing smaller each year. The buildings are all in decay; the stone
steps leading to the belfry have crumbled; the walls of the little
graveyard are broken in many places, the paling and the graves are
thrown down. On the day we were there, a memorial service for the dead
was going on in the chapel; a great square altar was draped with
black, decorated with silver lace and ghastly funereal emblems;
candles were burning; a row of kneeling black-shawled women were
holding lighted candies in their hands; two old Indians were chanting
a Latin Mass from a tattered missal bound in rawhide; the whole place
was full of chilly gloom, in sharp contrast to the bright valley
outside, with its sunlight and silence. This mass was for the soul of
an old Indian woman named Margarita, sister of Manuelito, a somewhat
famous chief of several bands of the San Luiseños. Her home was at the
Potrero,--a mountain meadow, or pasture, as the word signifies,--about
ten miles from Pala, high up the mountain-side, and reached by an
almost impassable road. This farm--or "saeter" it would be called in
Norway,--was given to Margarita by the friars; and by some exceptional
good fortune she had a title which, it is said, can be maintained by
her heirs. In 1871, in a revolt of some of Manuelito's bands,
Margarita was hung up by her wrists till she was near dying, but was
cut down at the last minute and saved.

One of her daughters speaks a little English; and finding that we had
visited Pala solely on account of our interest in the Indians, she
asked us to come up to the Potrero and pass the night. She said
timidly that they had plenty of beds, and would do all that they knew
how to do to make us comfortable. One might be in many a dear-priced
hotel less comfortably lodged and served than we were by these
hospitable Indians in their mud house, floored with earth. In my
bedroom were three beds, all neatly made, with lace-trimmed sheets and
pillow-cases and patchwork coverlids. One small square window with a
wooden shutter was the only aperture for air, and there was no
furniture except one chair and a half-dozen trunks. The Indians, like
the Norwegian peasants, keep their clothes and various properties all
neatly packed away in boxes or trunks. As I fell asleep, I wondered
if in the morning I should see Indian heads on the pillows opposite
me; the whole place was swarming with men, women, and babies, and it
seemed impossible for them to spare so many beds; but, no, when I
waked, there were the beds still undisturbed; a soft-eyed Indian girl
was on her knees rummaging in one of the trunks; seeing me awake, she
murmured a few words in Indian, which conveyed her apology as well as
if I had understood them. From the very bottom of the trunk she drew
out a gilt-edged china mug, darted out of the room, and came back
bringing it filled with fresh water. As she set it in the chair, in
which she had already put a tin pan of water and a clean coarse towel,
she smiled, and made a sign that it was for my teeth. There was a
thoughtfulness and delicacy in the attention which lifted it far
beyond the level of its literal value. The gilt-edged mug was her most
precious possession; and, in remembering water for the teeth, she had
provided me with the last superfluity in the way of white man's
comfort of which she could think.

The food which they gave us was a surprise; it was far better than we
had found the night before in the house of an Austrian colonel's son,
at Pala. Chicken, deliciously cooked, with rice and chile;
soda-biscuits delicately made; good milk and butter, all laid in
orderly fashion, with a clean table-cloth, and clean, white stone
china. When I said to our hostess that I regretted very much that they
had given up their beds in my room, that they ought not to have done
it, she answered me with a wave of her hand that "it was nothing; they
hoped I had slept well; that they had plenty of other beds." The
hospitable lie did not deceive me, for by examination I had convinced
myself that the greater part of the family must have slept on the bare
earth in the kitchen. They would not have taken pay for our lodging,
except that they had just been forced to give so much for the mass for
Margarita's soul, and it had been hard for them to raise the money.
Twelve dollars the priest had charged for the mass; and in addition
they had to pay for the candles, silver lace, black cloth, etc.,
nearly as much more. They had earnestly desired to have the mass said
at the Potrero, but the priest would not come up there for less than
twenty dollars, and that, Antonia said, with a sigh, they could not
possibly pay. We left at six o'clock in the morning; Margarita's
husband, the "capitan," riding off with us to see us safe on our way.
When we had passed the worst gullies and boulders, he whirled his
horse, lifted his ragged old sombrero with the grace of a cavalier,
smiled, wished us good-day and good luck, and was out of sight in a
second, his little wild pony galloping up the rough trail as if it
were as smooth as a race-course.

Between the Potrero and Pala are two Indian villages, the Rincon and
Pauma. The Rincon is at the head of the valley, snugged up against the
mountains, as its name signifies, in a "corner." Here were fences,
irrigating ditches, fields of barley, wheat, hay, and peas; a little
herd of horses and cows grazing, and several flocks of sheep. The men
were all away sheep-shearing; the women were at work in the fields,
some hoeing, some clearing out the irrigating ditches, and all the old
women plaiting baskets. These Rincon Indians, we were told, had
refused a school offered them by the Government; they said they would
accept nothing at the hands of the Government until it gave them a
title to their lands.

The most picturesque of all the Mission Indians' hiding-places which
we saw was that on the Carmel River, a few miles from the San Carlos
Mission. Except by help of a guide it cannot be found. A faint trail
turning off from the road in the river-bottom leads down to the
river's edge. You follow it into the river and across, supposing it a
ford. On the opposite bank there is no trail, no sign of one. Whether
it is that the Indians purposely always go ashore at different points
of the bank, so as to leave no trail; or whether they so seldom go
out, except on foot, that the trail has faded away, I do not know. But
certainly, if we had had no guide, we should have turned back, sure we
were wrong. A few rods up from the river-bank, a stealthy narrow
footpath appeared; through willow copses, sunk in meadow grasses,
across shingly bits of alder-walled beach it creeps, till it comes out
in a lovely spot,--half basin, half rocky knoll,--where, tucked away
in nooks and hollows, are the little Indian houses, eight or ten of
them, some of adobe, some of the tule-reeds: small patches of corn,
barley, potatoes, and hay; and each little front yard fenced in by
palings, with roses, sweet-peas, poppies, and mignonette growing
inside. In the first house we reached, a woman was living alone. She
was so alarmed at the sight of us that she shook. There could not be a
more pitiful comment on the state of perpetual distrust and alarm in
which the poor creatures live, than this woman's face and behavior. We
tried in vain to reassure her; we bought all the lace she had to sell,
chatted with her about it, and asked her to show us how it was made.
Even then she was so terrified that although she willingly took down
her lace-frame to sew a few stitches for us to see, her hands still
trembled. In another house we found an old woman evidently past
eighty, without glasses working button-holes in fine thread. Her
daughter-in-law--a beautiful half-breed, with a still more beautiful
baby in her arms--asked the old woman, for us, how old she was. She
laughed merrily at the silly question. "She never thought about it,"
she said; "it was written down once in a book at the Mission, but the
book was lost."

There was not a man in the village. They were all away at work,
farming or fishing. This little handful of people are living on land
to which they have no shadow of title, and from which they may be
driven any day,--these Carmel Mission lands having been rented out, by
their present owner, in great dairy farms. The parish priest of
Monterey told me much of the pitiable condition of these remnants of
the San Carlos Indians. He can do little or nothing for them, though
their condition makes his heart ache daily. In that half-foreign
English which is always so much more eloquent a language than the
English-speaking peoples use, he said: "They have their homes there
only by the patience of the thief; it may be that the patience do not
last to-morrow." The phrase is worth preserving: it embodies so much
history,--history of two races.

In Mr. Wilson's report are many eloquent and strong paragraphs,
bearing on the question of the Indians' right to the lands they had
under cultivation at the time of the secularization. He says:--

     "It is not natural rights I speak of, nor merely possessory
     rights, but rights acquired and contracts made,--acquired and
     made when the laws of the Indies had force here, and never
     assailed by any laws or executive acts since, till 1834 and
     1846; and impregnable to these.... No past maladministration of
     laws can be suffered to destroy their true intent, while the
     victims of the maladministration live to complain, and the
     rewards of wrong have not been consumed."

Of Mr. Wilson's report in 1852, of Mr. Ames's report in 1873, and of
the various other reports called for by the Government from time to
time, nothing came, except the occasional setting off of reservations
by executive orders, which, if the lands reserved were worth anything,
were speedily revoked at the bidding of California politicians. There
are still some reservations left, chiefly of desert and mountainous
lands, which nobody wants, and on which the Indians could not live.

The last report made to the Indian Bureau by their present agent
closes in the following words:--

     "The necessity of providing suitable lands for them in the form
     of one or more reservations has been pressed on the attention
     of the Department in my former reports; and I now, for the
     third and perhaps the last time, emphasize that necessity by
     saying that whether Government will immediately heed the pleas
     that have been made in behalf of these people or not, it must
     sooner or later deal with this question in a practical way, or
     else see a population of over three thousand Indians become
     homeless wanderers in a desert region."

I have shown a few glimpses of the homes, of the industry, the
patience, the long-suffering of the people who are in this immediate
danger of being driven out from their last footholds of refuge,
"homeless wanderers in a desert."

If the United States Government does not take steps to avert this
danger, to give them lands and protect them in their rights, the
chapter of the history of the Mission Indians will be the blackest one
in the black record of our dealings with the Indian race.

It must be done speedily if at all, for there is only a small remnant
left to be saved. These are in their present homes "only on the
patience of the thief; and it may be that the patience do not last


The tale of the founding of the city of Los Angeles is a tale for
verse rather than for prose. It reads like a page out of some new
"Earthly Paradise," and would fit well into song such as William
Morris has sung.

It is only a hundred years old, however, and that is not time enough
for such song to simmer. It will come later, with the perfume of
century-long summers added to its flavor. Summers century-long? One
might say a stronger thing than that of them, seeing that their
blossoming never stops, year in nor year out, and will endure as long
as the visible frame of the earth.

The twelve devout Spanish soldiers who founded the city named it at
their leisure with a long name, musical as a chime of bells. It
answered well enough, no doubt, for the first fifty years of the
city's life, during which not a municipal record of any sort or kind
was written,--"Nuestra Señora Reina de los Angeles," "Our Lady the
Queen of the Angels;" and her portrait made a goodly companion flag,
unfurled always by the side of the flag of Spain.

There is a legend, that sounds older than it is, of the ceremonies
with which the soldiers took possession of their new home. They were
no longer young. They had fought for Spain in many parts of the Old
World, and followed her uncertain fortunes to the New. Ten years some
of them had been faithfully serving Church and King in sight of these
fair lands, for which they hankered, and with reason.

In those days the soft, rolling, treeless hills and valleys, between
which the Los Angeles River now takes its shilly-shallying course
seaward, were forest slopes and meadows, with lakes great and small.
This abundance of trees, with shining waters playing among them, added
to the limitless bloom of the plains and the splendor of the
snow-topped mountains, must have made the whole region indeed a

Navarro, Villavicencia, Rodriguez, Quintero, Moreno, Lara, Banegas,
Rosas, and Canero, these were their names: happy soldiers all, honored
of their king, and discharged with so royal a gift of lands thus fair.

Looking out across the Los Angeles hills and meadows to-day, one
easily lives over again the joy they must have felt. Twenty-three
young children there were in the band, poor little waifs of camp and
march. What a "braw flitting" was it for them, away from the drum-beat
forever into the shelter of their own sunny home! The legend says not
a word of the mothers, except that there were eleven of them, and in
the procession they walked with their children behind the men.
Doubtless they rejoiced the most.

The Fathers from the San Gabriel Mission were there, with many Indian
neophytes, and Don Felipe, the military governor, with his showy guard
of soldiers.

The priests and neophytes chanted. The Cross was set up, the flag of
Spain and the banner of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels unfurled, and
the new town marked out around a square, a little to the north of the
present plaza of Los Angeles.

If communities, as well as individuals, are happy when history finds
nothing to record of them, the city of the Queen of the Angels must
have been a happy spot during the first fifty years of its life; for
not a written record of the period remains, not even a record of
grants of land. The kind of grant that these worthy Spanish soldiers
and their sons contented themselves with, however, hardly deserved
recording,--in fact, was not a grant at all, since its continuance
depended entirely on the care a man took of his house and the
improvement he put on his land. If he left his house unoccupied, or
let it fall out of repair, if he left a field uncultivated for two
years, any neighbor who saw fit might denounce him, and by so doing
acquire a right to the property. This sounds incredible, but all the
historical accounts of the time agree on the point. They say,--

     "The granting authorities could, and were by law required, upon
     a proper showing of the abandonment, to grant the property to
     the informant, who then acquired the same and no better rights
     than those possessed by his predecessor."

This was a premium indeed on staying at home and minding one's
business,--a premium which amounted to coercion. One would think that
there must have been left from those days teeming records of alienated
estates, shifted tenures, and angry feuds between neighbor and
neighbor. But no evidence remains of such strifes. Life was too
simple, and the people were too ignorant.

Their houses were little more than hovels, built of mud, eight feet
high, with flat roofs made of reeds and asphaltum. Their fields, with
slight cultivation, produced all they needed; and if anything lacked,
the rich vineyards, wheat-fields, and orchards of the San Gabriel
Mission lay only twelve miles away. These vineyards, orchards, and
granaries, so near at hand, must have been sore temptation to
idleness. Each head of a family had been presented, by the paternal
Spanish king, with "two oxen, two mules, two mares, two sheep, two
goats, two cows, one calf, an ass, and one hoe." For these they were
to pay in such small instalments as they were able to spare out of
their pay and rations, which were still continued by the generous

In a climate in which flowers blossom winter and summer alike, man may
bask in sun all the year round if he chooses. Why, then, should those
happy Spanish soldiers work? Even the king had thought it unnecessary,
it seems, to give them any implements of labor except "one hoe." What
could a family do, in the way of work, with "one hoe"? Evidently, they
did not work, neither they, nor their sons, nor their sons' sons after
them; for, half a century later, they were still living a life of
almost incredible ignorance, redeemed only by its simplicity and
childlike adherence to the old religious observances.

Many of those were beautiful. As late as 1830 it was the custom
throughout the town, in all the families of the early settlers, for
the oldest member of the family--oftenest it was a grandfather or
grandmother--to rise every morning at the rising of the morning star,
and at once to strike up a hymn. At the first note every person in the
house would rise, or sit up in bed and join in the song. From house to
house, street to street, the singing spread; and the volume of musical
sound swelled, until it was as if the whole town sang.

The hymns were usually invocations to the Virgin, to Jesus, or to some
saint. The opening line of many of them was,--

     "Rejoice, O Mother of God."

A manuscript copy of one of these old morning songs I have seen, and
had the good fortune to win a literal translation of part of it, in
the soft, Spanish-voiced, broken English, so pleasant to hear. The
first stanza is the chorus, and was repeated after each of the

     "Come, O sinners,
       Come, and we will sing
     Tender hymns
       To our refuge.

     "Singers at dawn,
       From the heavens above,
     People all regions;
       Gladly we too sing.

     "Singing harmoniously,
       Saying to Mary,
     'O beautiful Queen,
       Princess of Heaven!

     "'Your beautiful head
       Crowned we see;
     The stars are adorning
       Your beautiful hair;

     "'Your eyebrows are arched,
       Your forehead serene;
     Your face turned always
       Looks toward God;

     "'Your eyes' radiance
       Is like beautiful stars;
     Like a white dove,
       You are true to your spouse.'"

Each of these stanzas was sung first alone by the aged leader of the
family choir. Then the rest repeated it; then all joined in the

It is said that there are still to be found, in lonely country regions
in California, Mexican homes in which these sweet and holy "songs
before sunrise" are sung.

Looking forward to death, the greatest anxiety of these simple souls
was to provide themselves with a priest's cast-off robe to be buried
in. These were begged or bought as the greatest of treasures; kept in
sight, or always at hand, to remind them of approaching death. When
their last hour drew near, this robe was flung over their breasts, and
they died happy, their stiffening fingers grasping its folds. The dead
body was wrapped in it, and laid on the mud floor of the house, a
stone being placed under the head to raise it a few inches. Thus the
body must lie till the time of burial. Around it, day and night,
squatted, praying and singing, friends who wished not only to show
their affection for the deceased, but to win indulgences for
themselves; every prayer said thus, by the side of a corpse, having a
special and specified value.

A strange demarkation between the sexes was enforced in these
ceremonies. If it were a woman who lay dead, only women might kneel
and pray and watch with her body; if a man, the circle of watchers
must be exclusively of men.

A rough box, of boards nailed together, was the coffin. The body,
rolled in the old robe whose virtues had so comforted its last
conscious moments, was carried to the grave on a board, in the centre
of a procession of friends chanting and singing. Not until the last
moment was it laid in the box.

The first attempts to introduce more civilized forms of burial met
with opposition, and it was only by slow degrees that changes were
wrought. A Frenchman, who had come from France to Los Angeles, by way
of the Sandwich Islands, bringing a store of sacred ornaments and
trinkets, and had grown rich by sale of them to the devout, owned a
spring wagon, the only one in the country. By dint of entreaty, the
people were finally prevailed upon to allow their dead to be carried
in this wagon to the burial-place. For a long time, however, they
refused to have horses put to the wagon, but drew it by hand all the
way; women drawing women, and men drawing men, with the same
scrupulous partition of the sexes as in the earlier ceremonies. The
picture must have been a strange one, and not without pathos,--the
wagon, wound and draped with black and white, drawn up and down the
steep hills by the band of silent mourners.

The next innovation was the introduction of stately catafalques for
the dead to repose on, either in house or church, during the interval
between their death and burial. There had been brought into the town a
few old-fashioned, high-post, canopied bedsteads, and from these the
first catafalques were made. Gilded, decorated with gold and silver
lace, and hung with white and black draperies, they made a by no means
insignificant show, which doubtless went far to reconcile people's
minds to the new methods.

In 1838 there was a memorable funeral of a woman over a hundred years
old. Fourteen old women watched with her body, which lay stretched on
the floor, in the ancient fashion, with only a stone beneath the head.
The youngest of these watchers was eighty-five. One of them, Tomasa
Camera by name, was herself over a hundred years old. Tomasa was
infirm of foot; so they propped her with pillows in a little cart, and
drew her to the house that she might not miss of the occasion. All
night long, the fourteen squatted or sat on rawhides spread on the
floor, and sang and prayed and smoked: as fine a wake as was ever
seen. They smoked cigarettes, which they rolled on the spot, out of
corn-husks slit fine for the purpose, there being at that day in Los
Angeles no paper fit for cigarettes.

Outside this body-guard of aged women knelt a circle of friends and
relatives, also chanting, praying, and smoking. In this outer circle
any one might come and go at pleasure; but into the inner ring of the
watching none must come, and none must go out of it till the night was

With the beginning of the prosperity of the City of the Angels, came
the end of its primeval peace. Spanish viceroys, Mexican alcaldes and
governors, United States commanders, naval and military, followed on
each other's heels, with or without frays, ruling California through a
succession of tumultuous years. Greedy traders from all parts of the
world added their rivalries and interventions to the civil and
military disputation. In the general anarchy and confusion, the
peaceful and peace-loving Catholic Fathers were robbed of their lands,
their converts were scattered, their industries broken up. Nowhere
were these uncomfortable years more uncomfortable than in Los Angeles.
Revolts, occupations, surrenders, retakings, and resurrenders kept the
little town in perpetual ferment. Disorders were the order of the day
and of the night, in small matters as well as in great.

The Californian fought as impetuously for his old way of dancing as
for his political allegiance. There are comical traditions of the
men's determination never to wear long trousers to dances; nor to
permit dances to be held in houses or halls, it having been the
practice always to give them in outdoor booths or bowers, with
lattice-work walls of sycamore poles lashed together by thongs of

Outside these booths the men sat on their horses looking in at the
dancing, which was chiefly done by the women. An old man standing in
the centre of the enclosure directed the dances. Stopping in front of
the girl whom he wished to have join the set, he clapped his hands.
She then rose and took her place on the floor; if she could not dance,
or wished to decline, she made a low bow and resumed her seat.

To look in on all this was great sport. Sometimes, unable to resist
the spell, a man would fling himself off his horse, dash into the
enclosure, seize a girl by the waist, whirl around with her through
one dance, then out again and into the saddle, where he sat, proudly
aware of his vantage. The decorations of masculine attire at this time
were such as to make riding a fine show. Around the crown of the
broad-brimmed sombrero was twisted a coil of gold or silver cord; over
the shoulders was flung, with ostentatious carelessness, a short cloak
of velvet or brocade; the waistcoats were embroidered in gold, silver,
or gay colors; so also were the knee-breeches, leggings, and
stockings. Long silken garters, with ornamented tassels at the ends,
were wound round and round to hold the stockings in place. Even the
cumbrous wooden stirrups were carved in elaborate designs. No wonder
that men accustomed to such braveries as these saw ignominy in the
plain American trousers.

They seem to have been a variety of Centaur, these early Californian
men. They were seldom off their horses except to eat and sleep. They
mounted, with jingling silver spur and glittering bridle, for the
shortest distances, even to cross a plaza. They paid long visits on
horseback, without dismounting. Clattering up to the window or
door-sill, halting, throwing one knee over the crupper, the reins
lying loose, they sat at ease, far more at ease than in a house. Only
at church, where the separation was inevitable, would they be parted
from their horses. They turned the near neighborhood of a church on
Sunday into a sort of picket-ground, or horse-trainers' yard, full of
horse-posts and horses; and the scene was far more like a horse-fair
than like an occasion of holy observance. There seems to have been a
curious mixture of reverence and irreverence in their natures. They
confessed sins and underwent penances with the simplicity of children;
but when, in 1821, the Church issued an edict against that
"escandalosisima" dance, the waltz, declaring that whoever dared to
dance it should be excommunicated, the merry sinners waltzed on only
the harder and faster, and laughed in their priests' faces. And when
the advocates of decorum, good order, and indoor dancing gave their
first ball in a public hall in Los Angeles, the same merry outdoor
party broke every window and door in the building, and put a stop to
the festivity. They persisted in taking this same summary vengeance on
occasion after occasion, until, finally, any person wishing to give a
ball in his own house was forced to surround the house by a cordon of
police to protect it.

The City of the Angels is a prosperous city now. It has business
thoroughfares, blocks of fine stone buildings, hotels, shops, banks,
and is growing daily. Its outlying regions are a great circuit of
gardens, orchards, vineyards, and corn-fields, and its suburbs are
fast filling up with houses of a showy though cheap architecture. But
it has not yet shaken off its past. A certain indefinable, delicious
aroma from the old, ignorant, picturesque times lingers still, not
only in byways and corners, but in the very centres of its newest

Mexican women, their heads wrapped in black shawls, and their bright
eyes peering out between the close-gathered folds, glide about
everywhere; the soft Spanish speech is continually heard; long-robed
priests hurry to and fro; and at each dawn ancient, jangling bells
from the Church of the Lady of the Angels ring out the night and in
the day. Venders of strange commodities drive in stranger vehicles up
and down the streets: antiquated carts piled high with oranges, their
golden opulence contrasting weirdly with the shabbiness of their
surroundings and the evident poverty of their owner; close following
on the gold of one of these, one has sometimes the luck to see another
cart, still more antiquated and rickety, piled high with something--he
cannot imagine what--terra-cotta red in grotesque shapes; it is
fuel,--the same sort which Villavicencia, Quintero, and the rest
probably burned, when they burned any, a hundred years ago. It is the
roots and root-shoots of manzanita and other shrubs. The colors are
superb,--terra-cotta reds, shading up to flesh pink, and down to dark
mahogany; but the forms are grotesque beyond comparison: twists,
querls, contortions, a boxful of them is an uncomfortable presence in
one's room, and putting them on the fire is like cremating the
vertebræ and double teeth of colossal monsters of the Pterodactyl

The present plaza of the city is near the original plaza marked out at
the time of the first settlement; the low adobe house of one of the
early governors stands yet on its east side, and is still a habitable

The plaza is a dusty and dismal little place, with a parsimonious
fountain in the centre, surrounded by spokes of thin turf, and walled
at its outer circumference by a row of tall Monterey cypresses, shorn
and clipped into the shape of huge croquettes or brad-awls standing
broad end down. At all hours of the day idle boys and still idler men
are to be seen basking on the fountain's stone rim, or lying, face
down, heels in air, in the triangles of shade made by the cypress
croquettes. There is in Los Angeles much of this ancient and ingenious
style of shearing and compressing foliage into unnatural and distorted
shapes. It comes, no doubt, of lingering reverence for the traditions
of what was thought beautiful in Spain centuries ago; and it gives to
the town a certain quaint and foreign look, in admirable keeping with
its irregular levels, zigzag, toppling precipices, and houses in tiers
one above another.

One comes sometimes abruptly on a picture which seems bewilderingly
un-American, of a precipice wall covered with bird-cage cottages, the
little, paling-walled yard of one jutting out in a line with the
chimney-tops of the next one below, and so on down to the street at
the base of the hill. Wooden staircases and bits of terrace link and
loop the odd little perches together; bright green pepper-trees,
sometimes tall enough to shade two or three tiers of roofs, give a
graceful plumed draping at the sides, and some of the steep fronts are
covered with bloom, in solid curtains, of geranium, sweet alyssum,
heliotrope, and ivy. These terraced eyries are not the homes of the
rich: the houses are lilliputian in size, and of cheap quality; but
they do more for the picturesqueness of the city than all the large,
fine, and costly houses put together.

Moreover, they are the only houses that command the situation, possess
distance and a horizon. From some of these little ten-by-twelve
flower-beds of homes is a stretch of view which makes each hour of the
day a succession of changing splendors,--the snowy peaks of San
Bernardino and San Jacinto in the east and south; to the west, vast
open country, billowy green with vineyard and orchard; beyond this, in
clear weather, shining glints and threads of ocean, and again beyond,
in the farthest outing, hill-crowned islands, misty blue against the
sky. No one knows Los Angeles who does not climb to these sunny
outlying heights, and roam and linger on them many a day. Nor, even
thus lingering, will any one ever know more of Los Angeles than its
lovely outward semblances and mysterious suggestions, unless he have
the good fortune to win past the barrier of proud, sensitive, tender
reserve, behind which is hid the life of the few remaining survivors
of the old Spanish and Mexican _régime_.

Once past this, he gets glimpses of the same stintless hospitality and
immeasurable courtesy which gave to the old Franciscan establishments
a world-wide fame, and to the society whose tone and customs they
created an atmosphere of simple-hearted joyousness and generosity
never known by any other communities on the American continent.

In houses whose doors seldom open to English-speaking people, there
are rooms full of relics of that fast-vanishing past. Strongholds also
of a religious faith, almost as obsolete, in its sort and degree, as
are the garments of the aged creatures who are peacefully resting
their last days on its support.

In one of these houses, in a poverty-stricken but gayly decorated
little bedroom, hangs a small oil-painting, a portrait of Saint
Francis de Paula. It was brought from Mexico, fifty-five years ago, by
the woman who still owns it, and has knelt before it and prayed to it
every day of the fifty-five years. Below it is a small altar covered
with flowers, candlesticks, vases, and innumerable knick-knacks. A
long string under the picture is hung full of tiny gold and silver
votive offerings from persons who have been miraculously cured in
answer to prayers made to the saint. Legs, arms, hands, eyes, hearts,
heads, babies, dogs, horses,--no organ, no creature, that could
suffer, is unrepresented. The old woman has at her tongue's end the
tale of each one of these miracles. She is herself a sad cripple; her
feet swollen by inflammation, which for many years has given her
incessant torture and made it impossible for her to walk, except with
tottering steps, from room to room, by help of a staff. This, she
says, is the only thing her saint has not cured. It is her "cross,"
her "mortification of the flesh," "to take her to heaven." "He knows
best." As she speaks, her eyes perpetually seek the picture, resting
on it with a look of ineffable adoration. She has seen tears roll down
its cheeks more than once, she says; and it often smiles on her when
they are alone. When strangers enter the room she can always tell, by
its expression, whether the saint is or is not pleased with them, and
whether their prayers will be granted. She was good enough to remark
that he was very glad to see us; she was sure of it by the smile in
his eye. He had wrought many beautiful miracles for her. Nothing was
too trivial for his sympathy and help. Once when she had broken a vase
in which she had been in the habit of keeping flowers on the altar,
she took the pieces in her hands, and standing before him, said: "You
know you will miss this vase. I always put your flowers in it, and I
am too poor to buy another. Now, do mend this for me. I have nobody
but you to help me." And the vase grew together again whole while she
was speaking. In the same way he mended for her a high glass
flower-case which stood on the altar.

Thus she jabbered away breathlessly in Spanish, almost too fast to be
followed. Sitting in a high chair, her poor distorted feet propped on
a cushion, a black silk handkerchief wound like a turban around her
head, a plaid ribosa across her shoulders, contrasting sharply with
her shabby wine-colored gown, her hands clasped around a yellow staff,
on which she leaned as she bent forward in her eager speaking, she
made a study for an artist.

She was very beautiful in her youth, she said; her cheeks so red that
people thought they were painted; and she was so strong that she was
never tired; and when, in the first year of her widowhood, a stranger
came to her "with a letter of recommendation" to be her second
husband, and before she had time to speak had fallen on his knees at
her feet, she seized him by the throat, and toppling him backward,
pinned him against the wall till he was black in the face. And her
sister came running up in terror, imploring her not to kill him. But
all that strength is gone now, she says sadly; her memory also. Each
day, as soon as she has finished her prayers, she has to put away her
rosary in a special place, or else she forgets that the prayers have
been said. Many priests have desired to possess her precious
miracle-working saint; but never till she dies will it leave her
bedroom. Not a week passes without some one's arriving to implore its
aid. Sometimes the deeply distressed come on their knees all the way
from the gate before the house, up the steps, through the hall, and
into her bedroom. Such occasions as these are to her full of solemn
joy, and no doubt, also, of a secret exultation whose kinship to pride
she does not suspect.

In another unpretending little adobe house, not far from this Saint
Francis shrine, lives the granddaughter of Moreno, one of the twelve
Spanish soldiers who founded the city. She speaks no word of English;
and her soft black eyes are timid, though she is the widow of a
general, and in the stormy days of the City of the Angels, passed
through many a crisis of peril and adventure. Her house is full of
curious relics, which she shows with a gentle, half-amused courtesy.
It is not easy for her to believe that any American can feel real
reverence for the symbols, tokens, and relics of the life and customs
which his people destroyed. In her mind Americans remain to-day as
completely foreigners as they were when her husband girded on his
sword and went out to fight them, forty years ago. Many of her relics
have been rescued at one time or another from plunderers of the
missions. She has an old bronze kettle which once held holy water at
San Fernando; an incense cup and spoon, and massive silver
candlesticks; cartridge-boxes of leather, with Spain's ancient seal
stamped on them; a huge copper caldron and scales from San Gabriel; a
bunch of keys of hammered iron, locks, scissors, reaping-hooks,
shovels, carding-brushes for wool and for flax: all made by the Indian
workmen in the missions. There was also one old lock, in which the key
was rusted fast and immovable, which seemed to me fuller of suggestion
than anything else there of the sealed and ended past to which it had
belonged; and a curious little iron cannon, in shape like an ale-mug,
about eight inches high, with a hole in the side and in the top, to be
used by setting it on the ground and laying a trail of powder to the
opening in the side. This gave the Indians great delight. It was fired
at the times of church festivals, and in seasons of drought to bring
rain. Another curious instrument of racket was the matrarca, a strip
of board with two small swinging iron handles so set in it that, in
swinging back and forth, they hit iron plates. In the time of Lent,
when all ringing of bells was forbidden, these were rattled to call
the Indians to church. The noise one of them can make when vigorously
shaken is astonishing. In crumpled bundles, their stiffened meshes
opening out reluctantly, were two curious rush-woven nets which had
been used by Indian women fifty years ago in carrying burdens. Similar
nets, made of twine, are used by them still. Fastened to a leather
strap or band passing around the forehead, they hang down behind far
below the waist, and when filled out to their utmost holding capacity
are so heavy that the poor creatures bend nearly double beneath them.
But the women stand as uncomplainingly as camels while weight after
weight is piled in; then slipping the band over their heads, they
adjust the huge burden and set off at a trot.

"This is the squaw's horse," said an Indian woman in the San Jacinto
valley one day, tapping her forehead and laughing good-naturedly, when
the shopkeeper remonstrated with her husband, who was heaping article
after article, and finally a large sack of flour, on her shoulders;
"squaw's horse very strong."

The original site of the San Gabriel Mission was a few miles to the
east of the City of the Angels. Its lands are now divided into ranches
and colony settlements, only a few acres remaining in the possession
of the Church. But the old chapel is still standing in a fair state of
preservation, used for the daily services of the San Gabriel parish;
and there are in its near neighborhood a few crumbling adobe hovels
left, the only remains of the once splendid and opulent mission. In
one of these lives a Mexican woman, eighty-two years old, who for more
than half a century has washed and mended the priests' laces, repaired
the robes, and remodelled the vestments of San Gabriel. She is worth
crossing the continent to see: all white from head to foot, as if
bleached by some strange gramarye; white hair, white skin, blue eyes
faded nearly to white; white cotton clothes, ragged and not over
clean, yet not a trace of color in them; a white linen handkerchief,
delicately embroidered by herself, always tied loosely around her
throat. She sits on a low box, leaning against the wall, with three
white pillows at her back, her feet on a cushion on the ground; in
front of her, another low box, on this a lace-maker's pillow, with
knotted fringe stretched on it; at her left hand a battered copper
caldron, holding hot coals to warm her fingers and to light her
cigarettes. A match she will never use; and she has seldom been
without a cigarette in her mouth since she was six years old. On her
right hand is a chest filled with her treasures,--rags of damask,
silk, velvet, lace, muslin, ribbon, artificial flowers, flosses,
worsteds, silks on spools; here she sits, day in, day out, making
cotton fringes and, out of shreds of silk, tiny embroidered scapulars,
which she sells to all devout and charitable people of the region.
She also teaches the children of the parish to read and to pray. The
walls of her hovel are papered with tattered pictures, including many
gay-colored ones, taken off tin cans, their flaunting signs reading
drolly,--"Perfection Press Mackerel, Boston, Mass.," "Charm Baking
Powder," and "Knowlton's Inks," alternating with "Toledo Blades" and
clipper-ship advertisements. She finds these of great use in both
teaching and amusing the children. The ceiling, of canvas, black with
smoke, and festooned with cobwebs, sags down in folds, and shows many
a rent. When it rains, her poor little place must be drenched in
spots. One end of the room is curtained off with calico; this is her
bedchamber. At the other end is a raised dais, on which stands an
altar, holding a small statuette of the Infant Jesus. It is a copy in
wood of the famous Little Jesus of Atoches in Mexico, which is
worshipped by all the people in that region. It has been her constant
companion and protector for fifty years. Over the altar is a canopy of
calico, decorated with paper flowers, whirligigs, doves, and little
gourds; with votive offerings, also, of gold or silver, from grateful
people helped or cured by the Little Jesus. On the statuette's head is
a tiny hat of real gold, and a real gold sceptre in the little hand;
the breast of its fine white linen cambric gown is pinned by a gold
pin. It has a wardrobe with as many changes as an actor. She keeps
these carefully hid away in a small camphor-wood trunk, but she
brought them all out to show to us.

Two of her barefooted, ragged little pupils scampered in as she was
unfolding these gay doll's clothes. They crowded close around her
knees and looked on, with open-mouthed awe and admiration: a purple
velvet cape with white fringe for feast days; capes of satin, of
brocade; a dozen shirts of finest linen, embroidered or trimmed with
lace; a tiny plume not more than an inch long, of gold exquisitely
carved,--this was her chief treasure. It looked beautiful in his hat,
she said, but it was too valuable to wear often. Hid away here among
the image's best clothes were more of the gold votive offerings it had
received: one a head cut out of solid gold; several rosaries of carved
beads, silver and gold. Spite of her apparently unbounded faith in the
Little Jesus' power to protect her and himself, the old woman thought
it wiser to keep these valuables concealed from the common gaze.

Holding up a silken pillow some sixteen inches square, she said, "You
could not guess with what that pillow is filled." We could not,
indeed. It was her own hair. With pride she asked us to take it in our
hands, that we might see how heavy it was. For sixteen years she had
been saving it, and it was to be put under her head in her coffin. The
friend who had taken us to her home exclaimed on hearing this. "And I
can tell you it was beautiful hair. I recollect it forty-five years
ago, bright brown, and down to her ankles, and enough of it to roll
herself up in." The old woman nodded and laughed, much pleased at this
compliment. She did not know why the Lord had preserved her life so
long, she said; but she was very happy. Her nieces had asked her to go
and live with them in Santa Ana; but she could not go away from San
Gabriel. She told them that there was plenty of water in the ditch
close by her door, and that God would take care of the rest, and so he
had; she never wants for anything; not only is she never hungry
herself, but she always has food to give away. No one would suppose
it, but many people come to eat with her in her house. God never
forgets her one minute. She is very happy. She is never ill; or if she
is, she has two remedies, which, in all her life, have never failed to
cure her, and they cost nothing,--saliva and ear-wax. For a pain, the
sign of the cross, made with saliva on the spot which is in pain, is
instantaneously effective; for an eruption or any skin disorder, the
application of ear-wax is a sure cure. She is very glad to live so
close to the church; the father has promised her this room as long as
she lives; when she dies, it will be no trouble, he says, to pick her
up and carry her across the road to the church. In a gay painted box,
standing on two chairs, so as to be kept from the dampness of the bare
earth floor, she cherishes the few relics of her better days: a shawl
and a ribosa of silk, and two gowns, one of black silk, one of dark
blue satin. These are of the fashions of twenty years ago; they were
given to her by her husband. She wears them now when she goes to
church; so it is as if she were "married again," she says, and is "her
husband's work still." She seems to be a character well known and
held in some regard by the clergy of her church. When the bishop
returned a few years ago from a visit to Rome, he brought her a little
gift, a carved figure of a saint. She asked him if he could not get
for her a bit of the relics of Saint Viviano. "Oh, let alone!" he
replied; "give you relics? Wait a bit; and as soon as you die, I'll
have you made into relics yourself." She laughed as heartily, telling
this somewhat unecclesiastical rejoinder, as if it had been made at
some other person's expense.

In the marvellously preserving air of California, added to her own
contented temperament, there is no reason why this happy old lady
should not last, as some of her Indian neighbors have, well into a
second century. Before she ceases from her peaceful, pitiful little
labors, new generations of millionnaires in her country will no doubt
have piled up bigger fortunes than this generation ever dreams of, but
there will not be a man of them all so rich as she.

In the western suburbs of Los Angeles is a low adobe house, built
after the ancient style, on three sides of a square, surrounded by
orchards, vineyards, and orange groves, and looking out on an
old-fashioned garden, in which southernwood, rue, lavender, mint,
marigolds, and gillyflowers hold their own bravely, growing in
straight and angular beds among the newer splendors of verbenas,
roses, carnations, and geraniums. On two sides of the house runs a
broad porch, where stand rows of geraniums and chrysanthemums growing
in odd-shaped earthen pots. Here may often be seen a beautiful young
Mexican woman, flitting about among the plants, or sporting with a
superb Saint Bernard dog. Her clear olive skin, soft brown eyes,
delicate sensitive nostrils, and broad smiling mouth, are all of the
Spanish madonna type; and when her low brow is bound, as is often her
wont, by turban folds of soft brown or green gauze, her face becomes a
picture indeed. She is the young wife of a gray-headed Mexican señor,
of whom--by his own most gracious permission--I shall speak by his
familiar name, Don Antonio. Whoever has the fortune to pass as a
friend across the threshold of this house finds himself transported,
as by a miracle, into the life of a half-century ago. The rooms are
ornamented with fans, shells, feather and wax flowers, pictures,
saints' images, old laces, and stuffs, in the quaint gay Mexican
fashion. On the day when I first saw them, they were brilliant with
bloom. In every one of the deep window-seats stood a cone of bright
flowers, its base made by large white datura blossoms, their creamy
whorls all turned outward, making a superb decoration. I went for but
a few moments' call. I stayed three hours, and left carrying with me
bewildering treasures of pictures of the olden time.

Don Antonio speaks little English; but the señora knows just enough of
the language to make her use of it delicious, as she translates for
her husband. It is an entrancing sight to watch his dark,
weather-beaten face, full of lightning changes as he pours out
torrents of his nervous, eloquent Spanish speech; watching his wife
intently, hearkening to each word she uses, sometimes interrupting her
urgently with, "No, no; that is not it,"--for he well understands the
tongue he cannot or will not use for himself. He is sixty-five years
of age, but he is young: the best waltzer in Los Angeles to-day; his
eye keen, his blood fiery quick; his memory like a burning-glass
bringing into sharp light and focus a half-century as if it were a
yesterday. Full of sentiment, of an intense and poetic nature, he
looks back to the lost empire of his race and people on the California
shores with a sorrow far too proud for any antagonisms or complaints.
He recognizes the inexorableness of the laws under whose workings his
nation is slowly, surely giving place to one more representative of
the age. Intellectually he is in sympathy with progress, with reform,
with civilization at its utmost; he would not have had them stayed, or
changed, because his people could not keep up, and were not ready. But
his heart is none the less saddened and lonely.

This is probably the position and point of view of most cultivated
Mexican men of his age. The suffering involved in it is inevitable. It
is part of the great, unreckoned price which must always be paid for
the gain the world gets, when the young and strong supersede the old
and weak.

A sunny little southeast corner room in Don Antonio's house is full of
the relics of the time when he and his father were foremost
representatives of ideas and progress in the City of the Angels, and
taught the first school that was kept in the place. This was nearly a
half-century ago. On the walls of the room still hang maps and charts
which they used; and carefully preserved, with the tender reverence of
which only poetic natures are capable, are still to be seen there the
old atlases, primers, catechisms, grammars, reading-books, which meant
toil and trouble to the merry, ignorant children of the merry and
ignorant people of that time.

The leathern covers of the books are thin and frayed by long handling;
the edges of the leaves worn down as if mice had gnawed them:
tattered, loose, hanging by yellow threads, they look far older than
they are, and bear vivid record of the days when books were so rare
and precious that each book did doubled and redoubled duty, passing
from hand to hand and house to house. It was on the old Lancaster
system that Los Angeles set out in educating its children; and here
are still preserved the formal and elaborate instructions for teachers
and schools on that plan; also volumes of Spain's laws for military
judges in 1781, and a quaint old volume called "Secrets of
Agriculture, Fields and Pastures," written by a Catholic Father in
1617, reprinted in 1781, and held of great value in its day as a sure
guide to success with crops. Accompanying it was a chart, a perpetual
circle, by which might be foretold, with certainty, what years would
be barren and what ones fruitful.

Almanacs, histories, arithmetics, dating back to 1750, drawing-books,
multiplication tables, music, and bundles of records of the branding
of cattle at the San Gabriel Mission, are among the curiosities of
this room. The music of the first quadrilles ever danced in Mexico is
here: a ragged pamphlet, which, no doubt, went gleeful rounds in the
City of the Angels for many a year. It is a merry music, simple in
melody, but with an especial quality of light-heartedness, suiting the
people who danced to it.

There are also in the little room many relics of a more substantial
sort than tattered papers and books: a branding-iron and a pair of
handcuffs from the San Gabriel Mission; curiously decorated clubs and
sticks used by the Indians in their games; boxes of silver rings and
balls made for decorations of bridles and on leggings and
knee-breeches. The place of honor in the room is given, as well it
might be, to a small cannon, the first cannon brought into California.
It was made in 1717, and was brought by Father Junipero Serra to San
Diego in 1769. Afterward it was given to the San Gabriel Mission, but
it still bears its old name, "San Diego." It is an odd little arm,
only about two feet long, and requiring but six ounces of powder. Its
swivel is made with a rest to set firm in the ground. It has taken
many long journeys on the backs of mules, having been in great
requisition in the early mission days for the firing of salutes at
festivals and feasts.

Don Antonio was but a lad when his father's family removed from the
city of Mexico to California. They came in one of the many unfortunate
colonies sent out by the Mexican Government during the first years of
the secularization period, having had a toilsome and suffering two
months, going in wagons from Mexico to San Blas, then a tedious and
uncomfortable voyage of several weeks from San Blas to Monterey, where
they arrived only to find themselves deceived and disappointed in
every particular, and surrounded by hostilities, plots, and dangers on
all sides. So great was the antagonism to them that it was at times
difficult for a colonist to obtain food from a Californian. They were
arrested on false pretences, thrown into prison, shipped off like
convicts from place to place, with no one to protect them or plead
their cause. Revolution succeeded upon revolution, and it was a most
unhappy period for all refined and cultivated persons who had joined
the colony enterprises. Young men of education and breeding were glad
to earn their daily bread by any menial labor that offered. Don
Antonio and several of his young friends, who had all studied medicine
together, spent the greater part of a year in making shingles. The one
hope and aim of most of them was to earn money enough to get back to
Mexico. Don Antonio, however, seems to have had more versatility and
capacity than his friends, for he never lost courage; and it was owing
to him that at last his whole family gathered in Los Angeles and
established a home there. This was in 1836. There were then only about
eight hundred people in the pueblo, and the customs, superstitions,
and ignorances of the earliest days still held sway. The missions
were still rich and powerful, though the confusions and conflicts of
their ruin had begun. At this time the young Antonio, being quick at
accounts and naturally ingenious at all sorts of mechanical crafts,
found profit as well as pleasure in journeying from mission to
mission, sometimes spending two or three months in one place, keeping
books, or repairing silver and gold ornaments.

The blowpipe which he made for himself at that time his wife exhibits
now with affectionate pride; and there are few things she enjoys
better than translating to an eager listener his graphic stories of
the incidents and adventures of that portion of his life.

While he was at the San Antonio Mission, a strange thing happened. It
is a good illustration of the stintless hospitality of those old
missions, that staying there at that time were a notorious gambler and
a celebrated juggler who had come out in the colony from Mexico. The
juggler threatened to turn the gambler into a crow; the gambler, after
watching his tricks for a short time, became frightened, and asked
young Antonio, in serious good faith, if he did not believe the
juggler had made a league with the devil. A few nights afterward, at
midnight, a terrible noise was heard in the gambler's room. He was
found in convulsions, foaming at the mouth, and crying, "Oh, father!
father! I have got the devil inside of me! Take him away!"

The priest dragged him into the chapel, showered him with holy water,
and exorcised the devil, first making the gambler promise to leave off
his gambling forever. All the rest of the night the rescued sinner
spent in the chapel, praying and weeping. In the morning he announced
his intention of becoming a priest, and began his studies at once.
These he faithfully pursued for a year, leading all the while a life
of great devotion. At the end of that time preparations were made for
his ordination at San José. The day was set, the hour came: he was in
the sacristy, had put on the sacred vestments, and was just going
toward the church door, when he fell to the floor, dead. Soon after
this the juggler was banished from the county, trouble and disaster
having everywhere followed on his presence.

On the first breaking out of hostilities between California and the
United States, Don Antonio took command of a company of Los Angeles
volunteers to repel the intruders. By this time he had attained a
prominent position in the affairs of the pueblo; had been alcalde and,
under Governor Michelorena, inspector of public works. It was like the
fighting of children,--the impetuous attempts that heterogeneous
little bands of Californians here and there made to hold their
country. They were plucky from first to last; for they were everywhere
at a disadvantage, and fought on, quite in the dark as to what Mexico
meant to do about them,--whether she might not any morning deliver
them over to the enemy. Of all Don Antonio's graphic narratives of the
olden time, none is more interesting than those which describe his
adventures during the days of this contest. On one of the first
approaches made by the Americans to Los Angeles, he went out with his
little haphazard company of men and boys to meet them. He had but one
cannon, a small one, tied by ropes on a cart axle. He had but one
small keg of powder which was good for anything; all the rest was bad,
would merely go off "pouf, pouf," the señora said, and the ball would
pop down near the mouth of the cannon. With this bad powder he fired
his first shots. The Americans laughed; this is child's play, they
said, and pushed on closer. Then came a good shot, with the good
powder, tearing into their ranks and knocking them right and left;
another, and another. "Then the Americans began to think, these are no
pouf balls; and when a few more were killed, they ran away and left
their flag behind them. And if they had only known it, the
Californians had only one more charge left of the good powder, and the
next minute it would have been the Californians that would have had to
run away themselves," merrily laughed the señora as she told the tale.

This captured flag, with important papers, was intrusted to Don
Antonio to carry to the Mexican headquarters at Sonora. He set off
with an escort of soldiers, his horse decked with silver trappings;
his sword, pistols, all of the finest: a proud beginning of a journey
destined to end in a different fashion. It was in winter time; cold
rains were falling. By night he was drenched to the skin, and stopped
at a friendly Indian's tent to change his clothes. Hardly had he got
them off when the sound of horses' hoofs was heard. The Indian flung
himself down, put his ear to the ground, and exclaimed, "Americanos!
Americanos!" Almost in the same second they were at the tent's door.
As they halted, Don Antonio, clad only in his drawers and stockings,
crawled out at the back of the tent, and creeping on all fours reached
a tree up which he climbed, and sat safe hidden in the darkness among
its branches listening, while his pursuers cross-questioned the
Indian, and at last rode away with his horse. Luckily, he had carried
into the tent the precious papers and the captured flag: these he
intrusted to an Indian to take to Sonora, it being evidently of no use
for him to try to cross the country thus closely pursued by his

All night he lay hidden; the next day he walked twelve miles across
the mountains to an Indian village where he hoped to get a horse. It
was dark when he reached it. Cautiously he opened the door of the hut
of one whom he knew well. The Indian was preparing poisoned arrows:
fixing one on the string and aiming at the door, he called out,
angrily, "Who is there?"--"It is I, Antonio."--"Don't make a sound,"
whispered the Indian, throwing down his arrow, springing to the door,
coming out and closing it softly. He then proceeded to tell him that
the Americans had offered a reward for his head, and that some of the
Indians in the rancheria were ready to betray or kill him. While they
were yet talking, again came the sound of the Americans' horses' hoofs
galloping in the distance. This time there seemed no escape. Suddenly
Don Antonio, throwing himself on his stomach, wriggled into a cactus
patch near by. Only one who has seen California cactus thickets can
realize the desperateness of this act. But it succeeded. The Indian
threw over the cactus plants an old blanket and some refuse stalks and
reeds; and there once more, within hearing of all his baffled pursuers
said, the hunted man lay, safe, thanks to Indian friendship. The
crafty Indian assented to all the Americans proposed, said that Don
Antonio would be sure to be caught in a few days, advised them to
search in a certain rancheria which he described, a few miles off, and
in an opposite direction from the way in which he intended to guide
Don Antonio. As soon as the Americans had gone, he bound up Antonio's
feet in strips of rawhide, gave him a blanket and an old tattered hat,
the best his stores afforded, and then led him by a long and difficult
trail to a spot high up in the mountains where the old women of the
band were gathering acorns. By the time they reached this place, blood
was trickling from Antonio's feet and legs, and he was well-nigh
fainting with fatigue and excitement. Tears rolled down the old
women's cheeks when they saw him. Some of them had been servants in
his father's house, and loved him. One brought gruel; another bathed
his feet; others ran in search of healing leaves of different sorts.
Bruising these in a stone mortar, they rubbed him from head to foot
with the wet fibre. All his pain and weariness vanished as by magic.
His wounds healed, and in a day he was ready to set off for home.
There was but one pony in the old women's camp. This was old, vicious,
blind of one eye, and with one ear cropped short; but it looked to Don
Antonio far more beautiful than the gay steed on which he had ridden
away from Los Angeles three days before. There was one pair of ragged
shoes of enormous size among the old women's possessions. These were
strapped on his feet by leathern thongs, and a bit of old sheepskin
was tied around the pony's body. Thus accoutred and mounted, shivering
in his drawers under his single blanket, the captain and flag-bearer
turned his face homeward. At the first friend's house he reached he
stopped and begged for food. Some dried meat was given to him, and a
stool on the porch offered to him. It was the house of a dear friend,
and the friend's sister was his sweetheart. As he sat there eating his
meat, the women eyed him curiously. One said to the other, "How much
he looks like Antonio!" At last the sweetheart, coming nearer, asked
him if he were "any relation of Don Antonio." "No," he said. Just at
that moment his friend rode up, gave one glance at the pitiful beggar
sitting on his porch, shouted his name, dashed toward him, and seized
him in his arms. Then was a great laughing and half-weeping, for it
had been rumored that he had been taken prisoner by the Americans.

From this friend he received a welcome gift of a pair of trousers,
many inches too short for his legs. At the next house his friend was
as much too tall, and his second pair of gift trousers had to be
rolled up in thick folds around his ankles.

Finally he reached Los Angeles in safety. Halting in a grove outside
the town, he waited till twilight before entering. Having disguised
himself in the rags which he had worn from the Indian village, he rode
boldly up to the porch of his father's house, and in an impudent tone
called for brandy. The terrified women began to scream; but his
youngest sister, fixing one piercing glance on his face, laughed out
gladly, and cried, "You can't fool me; you are Antonio."

Sitting in the little corner room, looking out through the open door
on the gay garden and breathing its spring air, gay even in midwinter,
and as spicy then as the gardens of other lands are in June, I spent
many an afternoon listening to such tales as this. Sunset always came
long before its time, it seemed, on these days.

Occasionally, at the last moment, Don Antonio would take up his
guitar, and, in a voice still sympathetic and full of melody, sing an
old Spanish love-song, brought to his mind by thus living over the
events of his youth. Never, however, in his most ardent youth, could
his eyes have gazed on his fairest sweetheart's face with a look of
greater devotion than that with which they now rest on the noble,
expressive countenance of his wife, as he sings the ancient and tender
strains. Of one of them, I once won from her, amid laughs and blushes,
a few words of translation:--

     "Let us hear the sweet echo
     Of your sweet voice that charms me.
     The one that truly loves you,
     He says he wishes to love;
     That the one who with ardent love adores you,
     Will sacrifice himself for you.
         Do not deprive me,
           Owner of me,
         Of that sweet echo
     Of your sweet voice that charms me."

Near the western end of Don Antonio's porch is an orange-tree, on
which were hanging at this time twenty-five hundred oranges, ripe and
golden among the glossy leaves. Under this tree my carriage always
waited for me. The señora never allowed me to depart without bringing
to me, in the carriage, farewell gifts of flowers and fruit: clusters
of grapes, dried and fresh; great boughs full of oranges, more than I
could lift. As I drove away thus, my lap filled with bloom and golden
fruit, canopies of golden fruit over my head, I said to myself often:
"Fables are prophecies. The Hesperides have come true."


The best things in life seem always snatched on chances. The longer
one lives and looks back, the more he realizes this, and the harder he
finds it to "make option which of two," in the perpetually recurring
cases when "there's not enough for this and that," and he must choose
which he will do or take. Chancing right in a decision, and seeing
clearly what a blunder any other decision would have been, only makes
the next such decision harder, and contributes to increased
vacillation of purpose and infirmity of will, until one comes to have
serious doubts whether there be not a truer philosophy in the "toss
up" test than in any other method. "Heads we go, tails we stay," will
prove right as many times out of ten as the most painstaking pros and
cons, weighing, consulting, and slow deciding.

It was not exactly by "heads and tails" that we won our glimpse of
Oregon; but it came so nearly to the same thing that our recollections
of the journey are still mingled with that sort of exultant sense of
delight with which the human mind always regards a purely fortuitous

Three days and two nights on the Pacific Ocean is a round price to pay
for a thing, even for Oregon, with the Columbia River thrown in. There
is not so misnamed a piece of water on the globe as the Pacific Ocean,
nor so unexplainable a delusion as the almost universal impression
that it is smooth sailing there. It is British Channel and North Sea
and off the Hebrides combined,--as many different twists and chops and
swells as there are waves. People who have crossed the Atlantic again
and again without so much as a qualm are desperately ill between San
Francisco and Portland. There is but one comparison for the motion: it
is as if one's stomach were being treated as double teeth are handled,
when country doctors are forced to officiate as dentists, and know no
better way to get a four-pronged tooth out of its socket than to turn
it round and round till it is torn loose.

Three days and two nights! I spent no inconsiderable portion of the
time in speculations as to Monsieur Antoine Crozat's probable reasons
for giving back to King Louis his magnificent grant of Pacific coast
country. He kept it five years, I believe. In that time he probably
voyaged up and down its shores thoroughly. Having been an adventurous
trader in the Indies, he must have been well wonted to seas; and being
worth forty millions of livres, he could afford to make himself as
comfortable in the matter of a ship as was possible a century and a
half ago. His grant was a princely domain, an empire five times larger
than France itself. What could he have been thinking of, to hand it
back to King Louis like a worthless bauble of which he had grown
tired? Nothing but the terrors of sea-sickness can explain it. If he
could have foreseen the steam-engine, and have had a vision of it
flying on iron roads across continents and mountains, how differently
would he have conducted! The heirs of Monsieur Antoine, if any such
there be to-day, must chafe when they read the terms of our Louisiana

Three days and two nights--from Thursday morning till Saturday
afternoon--between San Francisco and the mouth of the Columbia, and
then we had to lie at Astoria the greater part of Sunday night before
the tide would let us go on up the river. It was not waste time,
however. Astoria is a place curious to behold. Seen from the water, it
seems a tidy little white town nestled on the shore, and well topped
off by wooded hills. Landing, one finds that it must be ranked as
amphibious, being literally half on land and half on water. From
Astoria proper--the old Astoria, which Mr. Astor founded, and
Washington Irving described--up to the new town, or upper Astoria, is
a mile and a half, two thirds bridges and piers. Long wooden wharves,
more streets than wharves, resting on hundreds of piles, are built out
to deep water. They fairly fringe the shore; and the street nearest
the water is little more than a succession of bridges from wharf to
wharf. Frequent bays and inlets make up, leaving unsightly muddy
wastes when the tide goes out. To see family washing hung out on lines
over these tidal flats, and the family infants drawing their go-carts
in the mud below, was a droll sight. At least every other building on
these strange wharf streets is a salmon cannery, and acres of the
wharf surfaces were covered with salmon nets spread out to dry. The
streets were crowded with wild-looking men, sailor-like, and yet not
sailor-like, all wearing india-rubber boots reaching far above the
knee, with queer wing-like flaps projecting all around at top. These
were the fishers of salmon, two thousand of them, Russians, Finns,
Germans, Italians,--"every kind on the earth," an old restaurant-keeper
said, in speaking of them; "every kind on the earth, they pour in
here, for four months, from May to September. They're a wild set;
clear out with the salmon, 'n' don't mind any more 'n the fish do what
they leave behind 'em."

All day long they kill time in the saloons. The nights they spend on
the water, flinging and trolling and drawing in their nets, which
often burst with the weight of the captured salmon. It is a strange
life, and one sure to foster a man's worst traits rather than his best
ones. The fishermen who have homes and families, and are loyal to
them, industrious and thrifty, are the exception.

The site of Mr. Astor's original fort is now the terraced yard of a
spruce new house on the corner of one of the pleasantest streets in
the old town. These streets are little more than narrow terraces
rising one above the other on jutting and jagged levels of the
river-bank. They command superb off-looks across and up and down the
majestic river, which is here far more a bay than a river. The Astoria
people must be strangely indifferent to these views; for the majority
of the finest houses face away from the water, looking straight into
the rough wooded hillside.

Uncouth and quaint vehicles are perpetually plying between the old and
the new towns; they jolt along fast over the narrow wooden roads, and
the foot-passengers, who have no other place to walk, are perpetually
scrambling from under the horses' heels. It is a unique highway:
pebbly beaches, marshes, and salt ponds, alder-grown cliffs, hemlock
and spruce copses on its inland side; on the water-side, bustling
wharves, canneries, fishermen's boarding-houses, great spaces filled
in with bare piles waiting to be floored; at every turn shore and sea
seem to change sides, and clumps of brakes, fresh-hewn stumps, maple
and madrone trees, shift places with canneries and wharves; the sea
swashes under the planks of the road at one minute, and the next is an
eighth of a mile away, at the end of a close-built lane. Even in the
thickest settled business part of the town, blocks of water alternate
with blocks of brick and stone.

The statistics of the salmon-canning business almost pass belief. In
1881 six hundred thousand cases of canned salmon were shipped from
Astoria. We ourselves saw seventy-five hundred cases put on board one
steamer. There were forty eight-pound cans in each case; it took five
hours' steady work, of forty "long-shore men," to load them. These
long-shore men are another shifting and turbulent element in the
populations of the river towns. They work day and night, get big
wages, go from place to place, and spend money recklessly; a sort of
commercial Bohemian, difficult to handle and often dangerous. They
sometimes elect to take fifty cents an hour and all the beer they can
drink, rather than a dollar an hour and no beer. At the time we saw
them, they were on beer wages. The foaming beer casks stood at short
intervals along the wharf,--a pitcher, pail, and mug at each cask. The
scene was a lively one: four cases loaded at a time on each truck, run
swiftly to the wharf edge, and slid down the hold; trucks rattling,
turning sharp corners; men laughing, wheeling to right and left of
each other, tossing off mugs of beer, wiping their mouths with their
hands, and flinging the drops in the air with jests,--one half forgave
them for taking part wages in the beer, it made it so much merrier.

On Sunday morning we waked up to find ourselves at sea in the Columbia
River. A good part of Oregon and Washington Territory seemed also to
be at sea there. When a river of the size of the Columbia gets thirty
feet above low-water mark, towns and townships go to sea unexpectedly.
All the way up the Columbia to the Willamette, and down the
Willamette to Portland, we sailed in and on a freshet, and saw at once
more and less of the country than could be seen at any other time. At
the town of Kalama, facetiously announced as "the water terminus of
the Northern Pacific Railroad," the hotel, the railroad station, and
its warehouses were entirely surrounded by water, and we sailed, in
seemingly deep water, directly over the wharf where landings were
usually made. At other towns on the way we ran well up into the
fields, and landed passengers or freight on stray sand-spits, or
hillocks, from which they could get off again on the other side by
small boats. We passed scores of deserted houses, their windows open,
the water swashing over their door-sills; gardens with only tops of
bushes in sight, one with red roses swaying back and forth, limp and
helpless on the tide. It seemed strange that men would build houses
and make farms in a place where they are each year liable to be driven
out by such freshets. When I expressed this wonder, an Oregonian
replied lightly, "Oh, the river always gives them plenty of time.
They've all got boats, and they wait till the last minute always,
hoping the water'll go down."--"But it must be unwholesome to the last
degree to live on such overflowed lands. When the water recedes, they
must get fevers."--"Oh, they get used to it. After they've taken about
a barrel of quinine, they're pretty well acclimated."

Other inhabitants of the country asserted roundly that no fevers
followed these freshets; that the trade-winds swept away all malarial
influences; that the water did no injury whatever to the farms,--on
the contrary, made the crops better; and that these farmers along the
river bottoms "couldn't be hired to live anywhere else in Oregon."

The higher shore lines were wooded almost without a break; only at
long intervals an oasis of clearing, high up, an emerald spot of
barley or wheat, and a tiny farm-house. These were said to be usually
lumbermen's homes; it was warmer up there than in the bottom, and
crops thrived. In the not far-off day when these kingdoms of forests
are overthrown, and the Columbia runs unshaded to the sea, these hill
shores will be one vast granary.

The city of Portland is on the Willamette River, fourteen miles south
of the junction of that river with the Columbia. Seen from its water
approach, Portland is a picturesque city, with a near surrounding of
hills, wooded with pines and firs, that make a superb sky-line setting
to the town, and to the five grand snow-peaks, of which clear days
give a sight. These dark forests and spear-top fringes are a more
distinctive feature in the beauty of Portland's site than even its
fine waters and islands. It is to be hoped that the Portland people
will appreciate their value, and never let their near hills be shorn
of trees. Not one tree more should be cut. Already there are breaks in
the forest horizons, which mar the picture greatly; and it would take
but a few days of ruthless wood choppers' work to rob the city forever
of its backgrounds, turning them into unsightly barrens. The city is
on both sides of the river, and is called East and West Portland. With
the usual perversity in such cases, the higher ground and the sunny
eastern frontage belong to the less popular part of the city, the west
town having most of the business and all of the fine houses. Yet in
times of freshet its lower streets are always under water; and the
setting-up of back-water into drains, cellars, and empty lots is a
yearly source of much illness. When we arrived, two of the principal
hotels were surrounded by water; from one of them there was no going
out or coming in except by planks laid on trestle-work in the piazzas,
and the air in the lower part of the town was foul with bad smells
from the stagnant water.

Portland is only thirty years old, and its population is not over
twenty-five thousand; yet it is said to have more wealth per head than
any other city in the United States except New Haven. Wheat and lumber
and salmon have made it rich. Oregon wheat brings such prices in
England that ships can afford to cross the ocean to get it; and last
year one hundred and thirty-four vessels sailed out of Portland
harbor, loaded solely with wheat or flour.

The city reminds one strongly of some of the rural towns in New
England. The houses are unpretentious, wooden, either white or of
light colors, and uniformly surrounded by pleasant grounds, in which
trees, shrubs, and flowers grow freely, without any attempt at formal
or decorative culture. One of the most delightful things about the
town is its surrounding of wild and wooded country. In an hour,
driving up on the hills to the west, one finds himself in wildernesses
of woods: spruce, maple, cedar, and pine; dogwood, wild syringa,
honeysuckle, ferns and brakes fitting in for undergrowth; and below
all, white clover matting the ground. By the roadsides are Linnæa, red
clover, yarrow, May-weed, and dandelion, looking to New England eyes
strangely familiar and unfamiliar at once. Never in New England woods
and roadsides do they have such a luxurious diet of water and rich
soil, and such comfortable warm winters. The white clover especially
has an air of spendthrifty indulgence about it which is delicious. It
riots through the woods, even in their densest, darkest depths, making
luxuriant pasturage where one would least look for it. On these wooded
heights are scores of dairy farms, which have no clearings except of
the space needful for the house and outbuildings. The cows, each with
a bell at her neck, go roaming and browsing all day in the forests.
Out of thickets scarcely penetrable to the eye come everywhere along
the road the contented notes of these bells' slow tinkling at the
cows' leisure. The milk, cream, and butter from these dairy farms are
of the excellent quality to be expected, and we wondered at not seeing
"white clover butter" advertised as well as "white clover honey." Land
in these wooded wilds brings from forty to eighty dollars an acre;
cleared, it is admirable farm land. Here and there we saw orchards of
cherry and apple trees, which were loaded with fruit; the cherry trees
so full that they showed red at a distance.

The alternation of these farms with long tracts of forest, where
spruces and pines stand a hundred and fifty feet high, and myriads of
wild things have grown in generations of tangle, gives to the country
around Portland a charm and flavor peculiarly its own; even into the
city itself extends something of the same charm of contrast and
antithesis; meandering footpaths, or narrow plank sidewalks with
grassy rims, running within stone's-throw of solid brick blocks and
business thoroughfares. One of the most interesting places in the town
is the Bureau of Immigration of the Northern Pacific Railroad. In the
centre of the room stands a tall case, made of the native Oregon
woods. It journeyed to the Paris and the Philadelphia Expositions,
but nowhere can it have given eloquent mute answer to so many
questions as it does in its present place. It now holds jars of all
the grains raised in Oregon and Washington Territory; also sheaves of
superb stalks of the same grains, arranged in circles,--wheat six feet
high, oats ten, red clover over six, and timothy grass eight. To see
Swedes, Norwegians, Germans, Irish, come in, stand wonderingly before
this case, and then begin to ask their jargon of questions, was an
experience which did more in an hour to make one realize what the
present tide of immigration to the New Northwest really is than
reading of statistics could do in a year. These immigrants are pouring
in, it is estimated, at the rate of at least a hundred and fifty a
day,--one hundred by way of San Francisco and Portland, twenty-five by
the Puget Sound ports, and another twenty-five overland by wagons; no
two with the same aim, no two alike in quality or capacity. To listen
to their inquiries and their narratives, to give them advice and help,
requires almost preternatural patience and sagacity. It might be
doubted, perhaps, whether this requisite combination could be found in
an American; certainly no one of any nationality could fill the office
better than it is filled by the tireless Norwegian who occupies the
post at present. It was touching to see the brightened faces of his
countrymen, as their broken English was answered by him in the
familiar words of their own tongue. He could tell well which parts of
the new country would best suit the Hardanger men, and the men from
Eide. It must have been hard for them to believe his statements, even
when indorsed by the home speech. To the ordinary Scandinavian
peasant, accustomed to measuring cultivable ground by hand-breadths,
and making gardens in pockets in rocks, tales of hundreds of unbroken
miles of wheat country, where crops average from thirty-five to
forty-five bushels an acre, must sound incredible; and spite of their
faith in their countryman, they are no doubt surprised when their
first harvest in the Willamette or Umpqua valley proves that his
statements were under, rather than over, the truth.

The Columbia River steamers set off from Portland at dawn, or
thereabouts. Wise travellers go on board the night before, and their
first morning consciousness is a wonder at finding themselves
afloat,--afloat on a sea; for it hardly seems like river voyaging when
shores are miles apart, and, in many broad vistas, water is all that
can be seen. These vistas, in times of high water, when the Columbia
may be said to be fairly "seas over," are grand. They shine and
flicker for miles, right and left, with green feathery fringes of
tree-tops, and queer brown stippled points and ridges, which are house
gables and roof-trees, not quite gone under. One almost forgets, in
the interest of the spectacle, what misery it means to the owners of
the gables and roof-trees.

At Washougal Landing, on the morning when we went up the river, all
that was to be seen of the warehouse on the wharf at which we should
have made landing was the narrow ridge-line of its roof; and this was
at least a third of a mile out from shore. The boat stopped, and the
passengers were rowed out in boats and canoes, steering around among
tree-tops and houses as best they might.

The true shore-line of the river we never once saw; but it cannot be
so beautiful as was the freshet's shore of upper banks and
terraces,--dark forests at top, shifting shades of blue in every rift
between the hills, iridescent rainbow colors on the slopes, and gray
clouds, white-edged, piled up in masses above them, all floating apace
with us, and changing tone and tint oftener than we changed course.

As we approached the Cascade Mountains, the scenery grew grander with
every mile. The river cuts through this range in a winding cañon,
whose sides for a space of four or five miles are from three to four
thousand feet high. But the charm of this pass is not so much in the
height and grandeur as in the beauty of its walls. They vary in color
and angle, and light and shadow, each second,--perpendicular rock
fronts, mossy brown; shelves of velvety greenness and ledges of
glistening red or black stone thrown across; great basaltic columns
fluted as by a chisel; jutting tables of rock carpeted with yellow and
brown lichen; turrets standing out with firs growing on them; bosky
points of cottonwood trees; yellow and white blossoms and curtains of
ferns, waving out, hanging over; and towering above all these, peaks
and summits wrapped in fleecy clouds. Looking ahead, we could see
sometimes only castellated mountain lines, meeting across the river,
like walls; as we advanced they retreated, and opened with new vistas
at each opening. Shining threads of water spun down in the highest
places, sometimes falling sheer to the river, sometimes sinking out of
sight in forest depths midway down, like the famed fosses of the
Norway fjords. Long sky-lines of pines and firs, which we knew to be
from one hundred to three hundred feet tall, looked in the aerial
perspective no more than a mossy border along the wall. A little girl,
looking up at them, gave by one artless exclamation a true idea of
this effect. "Oh," she cried, "they look just as if you could pick a
little bunch of them." At intervals along the right-hand shore were to
be seen the white-tented encampments of the Chinese laborers on the
road which the Northern Pacific Railroad Company is building to link
St. Paul with Puget Sound. A force of three thousand Chinamen and two
thousand whites is at work on this river division, and the road is
being pushed forward with great rapidity. The track looked in places
as if it were not one inch out of the water, though it was twenty
feet; and tunnels which were a hundred and thirty feet high looked
only like oven mouths. It has been a hard road to build, costing in
some parts sixty-five thousand dollars a mile. One spot was pointed
out to us where twenty tons of powder had been put in, in seven
drifts, and one hundred and forty cubic yards of rock and soil blown
at one blast into the river. It is an odd thing that huge blasts like
this make little noise, only a slight puff; whereas small blasts make
the hills ring and echo with their racket.

Between the lower cascades and the upper cascades is a portage of six
miles, past fierce waters, in which a boat could scarcely live. Here
we took cars; they were overfull, and we felt ourselves much aggrieved
at being obliged to make the short journey standing on one of the
crowded platforms. It proved to be only another instance of the good
things caught on chances. Next to me stood an old couple, the man's
neck so burnt and wrinkled it looked like fiery red alligator's skin;
his clothes, evidently his best, donned for a journey, were of a
fashion so long gone by that they had a quaint dignity. The woman wore
a checked calico sun-bonnet, and a green merino gown of as quaint a
fashion as her husband's coat. With them was a veritable Leather
Stocking,--an old farmer, whose flannel shirt, tied loosely at the
throat with a bit of twine, fell open, and showed a broad hairy breast
of which a gladiator might have been proud.

The cars jolted heavily, making it hard to keep one's footing; and the
old man came near being shaken off the step. Recovering himself, he
said, laughing, to his friend,--

"Anyhow, it's easier'n a buckin' Cayuse horse."

"Yes," assented the other. "'T ain't much like '49, is it?"

"Were you here in '49?" I asked eagerly.

"'49!" he repeated scornfully. "I was here in '47. I was seven months
comin' across from Iowa to Oregon City in an ox team; an' we're livin'
on that same section we took up then; an' I reckon there hain't nobody
got a lien on to it yet. We've raised nine children, an' the youngest
on em's twenty-one. My woman's been sick for two or three years; this
is the first time I've got her out. Thought we'd go down to Columbus,
an' get a little pleasure, if we can. We used to come up to this
portage in boats, an' then pack everything on horses an' ride across."

"We wore buckskin clo'es in those days," interrupted Leather Stocking,
"and spurs with bells; needn't do more 'n jingle the bells, 'n' the
horse'd start. I'd like to see them times back agen, too. I vow I'm
put to 't now to know where to go. This civilyzation," with an
indescribably sarcastic emphasis on the third syllable, "is too much
for me. I don't want to live where I can't go out 'n' kill a deer
before breakfast any mornin' I take a notion to."

"Were there many Indians here in those days?" I asked.

"Many Injuns?" he retorted; "why, 'twas all Injuns. All this country
'long here was jest full on 'em."

"How did you find them?"

"Jest 's civil 's any people in the world; never had no trouble with
'em. Nobody never did have any thet treated 'em fair. I tell ye, it's
jest with them 's 't is with cattle. Now there 'll be one man raise
cattle, an' be real mean with 'em; an' they'll all hook, an' kick, an'
break fences, an' run away. An' there 'll be another, an' his cattle
'll all be kind, an' come ter yer when you call 'em. I don't never
want to know anythin' more about a man than the way his stock acts. I
hain't got a critter that won't come up by its name an' lick my hand.
An' it's jest so with folks. Ef a man's mean to you, yer goin' to be
mean to him, every time. The great thing with Injuns is, never to tell
'em a yarn. If yer deceive 'em once, they won't ever trust yer again,
's long's yer live, an' you can't trust them either. Oh, I know
Injuns, I tell you. I've been among 'em here more 'n thirty year, an'
I never had the first trouble yet. There's been troubles, but I wa'n't
in 'em. It's been the white people's fault every time."

"Did you ever know Chief Joseph?" I asked.

"What, old Jo! You bet I knew him. He's an A No. 1 Injun, he is. He's
real honorable. Why, I got lost once, an' I came right on his camp
before I knowed it, an' the Injuns they grabbed me; 't was night, 'n'
I was kind o' creepin' along cautious, an' the first thing I knew
there was an Injun had me on each side, an' they jest marched me up to
Jo's tent, to know what they should do with me. I wa'n't a mite
afraid; I jest looked him right square in the eye. That's another
thing with Injuns; you've got to look 'em in the eye, or they won't
trust ye. Well, Jo, he took up a torch, a pine knot he had burnin',
and he held it close't up to my face, and looked me up an' down, an'
down an' up; an' I never flinched; I jest looked him up an' down's
good's he did me; 'n' then he set the knot down, 'n' told the men it
was all right,--I was 'tum tum;' that meant I was good heart; 'n' they
gave me all I could eat, 'n' a guide to show me my way, next day, 'n'
I couldn't make Jo nor any of 'em take one cent. I had a kind o'
comforter o' red yarn, I wore round my neck; an' at last I got Jo to
take that, jest as a kind o' momento."

The old man was greatly indignant to hear that Chief Joseph was in
Indian Territory. He had been out of the State at the time of the Nez
Percé war, and had not heard of Joseph's fate.

"Well, that was a dirty mean trick!" he exclaimed,--"a dirty mean
trick! I don't care who done it."

Then he told me of another Indian chief he had known well,--"Ercutch"
by name. This chief was always a warm friend of the whites; again and
again he had warned them of danger from hostile Indians. "Why, when he
died, there wa'n't a white woman in all this country that didn't mourn
's if she'd lost a friend; they felt safe's long's he was round. When
he knew he was dyin' he jest bade all his friends good-by. Said he,
'Good-by! I'm goin' to the Great Spirit;' an' then he named over each
friend he had, Injuns an' whites, each one by name, and said good-by
after each name."

It was a strange half-hour, rocking and jolting on this crowded car
platform, the splendid tossing and foaming river with its rocks and
islands on one hand, high cliffs and fir forests on the other; these
three weather-beaten, eager, aged faces by my side, with their shrewd
old voices telling such reminiscences, and rising shrill above the din
of the cars.

From the upper cascades to the Dalles, by boat again; a splendid forty
miles' run, through the mountain-pass, its walls now gradually
lowering, and, on the Washington Territory side of the river, terraces
and slopes of cleared lands and occasional settlements. Great numbers
of drift-logs passed us here, coming down apace, from the rush of the
Dalles above. Every now and then one would get tangled in the bushes
and roots on the shore, swing in, and lodge tight to await the next

The "log" of one of these driftwood voyages would be interesting; a
tree trunk may be ten years getting down to the sea, or it may swirl
down in a week. It is one of the businesses along the river to catch
them, and pull them in to shore, and much money is made at it. One
lucky fisher of logs, on the Snake River Fork, once drew ashore six
hundred cords in a single year. Sometimes a whole boom gets loose from
its moorings, and comes down stream, without breaking up. This is a
godsend to anybody who can head it off and tow it in shore; for by the
law of the river he is entitled to one half the value of the logs.

At the Dalles is another short portage of twelve miles, past a portion
of the river which, though less grand than its plunge through the
Cascade Mountains, is far more unique and wonderful. The waters here
are stripped and shred into countless zigzagging torrents, boiling
along through labyrinths of black lava rocks and slabs. There is
nothing in all Nature so gloomy, so weird, as volcanic slag; and the
piles, ridges, walls, palisades of it thrown up at this point look
like the roof-trees, chimneys, turrets of a half-engulfed Pandemonium.
Dark slaty and gray tints spread over the whole shore, also; it is all
volcanic matter, oozed or boiled over, and hardened into rigid shapes
of death and destruction. The place is terrible to see. Fitting in
well with the desolateness of the region was a group of half-naked
Indians crouching on the rocks, gaunt and wretched, fishing for
salmon; the hollows in the rocks about them filled with the bright
vermilion-colored salmon spawn, spread out to dry. The twilight was
nearly over as we sped by, and the deepening darkness added momently
to the gloom of the scene.

At Celilo, just above the Dalles, we took boat again for Umatilla, one
hundred miles farther up the river.

Next morning we were still among lava beds: on the Washington
Territory side, low, rolling shores, or slanting slopes with terraces,
and tufty brown surfaces broken by ridges and points of the black
slag; on the Oregon side, high brown cliffs mottled with red and
yellow lichens, and great beaches and dunes of sand, which had blown
into windrows and curving hillock lines as on the sea-shore. This sand
is a terrible enemy for a railroad to fight. In a few hours,
sometimes, rods of the track are buried by it as deep as by snow in
the fiercest winter storms.

The first picture I saw from my state-room windows, this morning, was
an Indian standing on a narrow plank shelf that was let down by ropes
over a perpendicular rock front, some fifty feet high. There he stood,
as composed as if he were on _terra firma_, bending over towards the
water, and flinging in his salmon net. On the rocks above him sat the
women of his family, spreading the salmon to dry. We were within so
short a distance of the banks that friendly smiles could be distinctly
seen; and one of the younger squaws, laughing back at the lookers-on
on deck, picked up a salmon, and waving it in her right hand ran
swiftly along towards an outjutting point. She was a gay creature,
with scarlet fringed leggings, a pale green blanket, and on her head a
twisted handkerchief of a fine old Dürer red. As she poised herself,
and braced backwards to throw the salmon on deck, she was a superb
figure against the sky; she did not throw straight, and the fish fell
a few inches short of reaching the boat. As it struck the water she
made a petulant little gesture of disappointment, like a child, threw
up her hands, turned, and ran back to her work.

At Umatilla, being forced again to "make option which of two," we
reluctantly turned back, leaving the beautiful Walla Walla region
unvisited, for the sake of seeing Puget Sound. The Walla Walla region
is said to be the finest stretch of wheat country in the world. Lava
slag, when decomposed, makes the richest of soil,--deep and seemingly
of inexhaustible fertility. A failure of harvests is said never to
have been known in that country; the average yield of wheat is
thirty-five to forty bushels an acre, and oats have yielded a hundred
bushels. Apples and peaches thrive, and are of a superior quality. The
country is well watered, and has fine rolling plateaus from fifteen
hundred to three thousand feet high, giving a climate neither too cold
in winter nor too hot in summer, and of a bracing quality not found
nearer the sea. Hearing all the unquestionable tributes to the beauty
and value of this Walla Walla region, I could not but recall some of
Chief Joseph's pleas that a small share of it should be left in the
possession of those who once owned it all.

From our pilot, on the way down, I heard an Indian story, too touching
to be forgotten, though too long to tell here except in briefest
outline. As we were passing a little village, half under water, he
exclaimed, looking earnestly at a small building to whose window-sills
the water nearly reached: "Well, I declare, Lucy's been driven out of
her house this time. I was wondering why I didn't see her handkerchief
a-waving. She always waves to me when I go by." Then he told me Lucy's

She was a California Indian, probably of the Tulares, and migrated to
Oregon with her family thirty years ago. She was then a young girl,
and said to be the handsomest squaw ever seen in Oregon. In those days
white men in wildernesses thought it small shame, if any, to take
Indian women to live with them as wives, and Lucy was much sought and
wooed. But she seems to have had uncommon virtue or coldness, for she
resisted all such approaches for a long time.

Finally, a man named Pomeroy appeared; and, as Lucy said afterward, as
soon as she looked at him, she knew he was her "tum tum man," and she
must go with him. He had a small sloop, and Lucy became its mate. They
two alone ran it for several years up and down the river. He
established a little trading-post, and Lucy always took charge of that
when he went to buy goods. When gold was discovered at Ringgold Bar,
Lucy went there, worked with a rocker like a man, and washed out
hundreds of dollars' worth of gold, all which she gave to Pomeroy.
With it he built a fine schooner and enlarged his business, the
faithful Lucy working always at his side and bidding. At last, after
eight or ten years, he grew weary of her and of the country, and made
up his mind to go to California. But he had not the heart to tell Lucy
he meant to leave her. The pilot who told me this story was at that
time captain of a schooner on the river. Pomeroy came to him one day,
and asked him to move Lucy and her effects down to Columbus. He said
he had told her that she must go and live there with her relatives,
while he went to California and looked about, and then he would send
for her. The poor creature, who had no idea of treachery, came on
board cheerfully and willingly, and he set her off at Columbus. This
was in the early spring. Week after week, month after month, whenever
his schooner stopped there, Lucy was on the shore, asking if he had
heard from Pomeroy. For a long time, he said, he couldn't bear to tell
her. At last he did; but she would not believe him. Winter came on.
She had got a few boards together and built herself a sort of hut,
near a house where lived an eccentric old bachelor, who finally took
compassion on her, and to save her from freezing let her come into his
shanty to sleep. He was a mysterious old man, a recluse, with a morbid
aversion to women; and at the outset it was a great struggle for him
to let even an Indian woman cross his threshold. But little by little
Lucy won her way: first she washed the dishes; then she would timidly
help at the cooking. Faithful, patient, unpresuming, at last she grew
to be really the old man's housekeeper as well as servant. He lost his
health, and became blind. Lucy took care of him till he died, and
followed him to the grave, his only mourner,--the only human being in
the country with whom he had any tie. He left her his little house
and a few hundred dollars,--all he had; and there she is still, alone,
making out to live by doing whatever work she can find in the
neighborhood. Everybody respects her; she is known as "Lucy" up and
down the river. "I did my best to hire her to come and keep house for
my wife, last year," said the pilot. "I'd rather have her for nurse or
cook than any white woman in Oregon. But she wouldn't come. I don't
know as she's done looking for Pomeroy to come back yet, and she's
going to stay just where he left her. She never misses a time, waving
to me, when she knows what boat I'm on; and there isn't much going on
on the river she don't know."

It was dusk when the pilot finished telling Lucy's story. We were
shooting along through wild passages of water called Hell Gate, just
above the Dalles. In the dim light the basaltic columnar cliffs looked
like grooved ebony. One of the pinnacles has a strange resemblance to
the figure of an Indian. It is called the Chief, and the semblance is
startling,--a colossal figure, with a plume-crowned head, turned as if
gazing backward over the shoulder; the attitude stately, the drapery
graceful, and the whole expression one of profound and dignified
sorrow. It seemed a strangely fitting emphasis to the story of the
faithful Indian woman.

It was near midnight when we passed the Dalles. Our train was late,
and dashed on at its swiftest. Fitful light came from a wisp of a new
moon and one star; they seemed tossing in a tumultuous sea of dark
clouds. In this glimmering darkness the lava walls and ridges stood
up, inky black; the foaming water looked like molten steel, the whole
region more ghastly and terrible than before.

There is a village of three thousand inhabitants at the Dalles. The
houses are set among lava hillocks and ridges. The fields seemed
bubbled with lava, their blackened surfaces stippled in with yellow
and brown. High up above are wheat-fields in clearings, reaching to
the sky-line of the hills. Great slopes of crumbling and
disintegrating lava rock spread superb purple and slate colors between
the greens of forests and wheat-fields. It is one of the memorable
pictures on the Columbia.

To go both up and down a river is a good deal like spending a summer
and a winter in a place, so great difference does it make when right
hand and left shift sides, and everything is seen from a new

The Columbia River scenery is taken at its best going up, especially
the gradual crescendo of the Cascade Mountain region, which is far
tamer entered from above. But we had a compensation in the clearer sky
and lifted clouds, which gave us the more distant snow-peaks in all
their glory; and our run down from the Dalles to Portland was the best
day of our three on the river. Our steamer was steered by hydraulic
pressure; and it was a wonderful thing to sit in the pilot-house and
see the slight touch of a finger on the shining lever sway the great
boat in a second. A baby's hand is strong enough to steer the largest
steamboat by this instrument. It could turn the boat, the captain
said, in a maelstrom, where four men together could not budge the

The history of the Columbia River navigation would make by itself an
interesting chapter. It dates back to 1792, when a Boston ship and a
Boston captain first sailed up the river. A curious bit of history in
regard to that ship is to be found in the archives of the old Spanish
government in California. Whenever a royal decree was issued in Madrid
in regard to the Indies or New Spain, a copy of it was sent to every
viceroy in the Spanish Dominions; he communicated it to his next
subordinate, who in turn sent it to all the governors, and so on, till
the decree reached every corner of the king's provinces. In 1789 there
was sent from Madrid, by ship to Mexico, and thence by courier to
California, and by Fages, the California governor, to every port in
California, the following order:--

     "Whenever there may arrive at the port of San Francisco a ship
     named the 'Columbia,' said to belong to General Washington of
     the American States, commanded by John Kendrick, which sailed
     from Boston in 1787, bound on a voyage of discovery to the
     Russian settlements on the northern coast of the peninsula, you
     will cause said vessel to be examined with caution and
     delicacy, using for this purpose a small boat which you have in
     your possession."

Two months after this order was promulgated in the Santa Barbara
presidio, Captain Gray, of the ship "Washington," and Captain
Kendrick of the ship "Columbia," changed ships in Wickmanish harbor.
Captain Gray took the "Columbia" to China, and did not sail into San
Francisco harbor at all, whereby he escaped being "examined with
caution and delicacy" by the small boat in possession of the San
Francisco garrison. Not till the 11th of May, 1792, did he return and
sail up the Columbia River, then called the Oregon. He renamed it, for
his ship, "Columbia's River;" but the possessive was soon dropped.

When one looks at the crowded rows of steamboats at the Portland
wharves now, it is hard to realize that it is only thirty-two years
since the first one was launched there. Two were built and launched in
one year, the "Columbia" and the "Lot Whitcomb." The "Lot Whitcomb"
was launched on Christmas Day; there were three days' feasting and
dancing, and people gathered from all parts of the Territory to
celebrate the occasion.

It is also hard to realize, when standing on the Portland wharves,
that it is less than fifty years since there were angry discussions in
the United States Congress as to whether or not it were worth while to
obtain Oregon as a possession, and in the Eastern States manuals were
being freely distributed, bearing such titles as this: "A general
circular to all persons of good character wishing to emigrate to the
Oregon Territory." Even those statesmen who were most earnest in favor
of the securing of Oregon did not perceive the true nature of its
value. One of Benton's most enthusiastic predictions was that an
"emporium of Asiatic commerce" would be situated at the mouth of the
Columbia, and that "a stream of Asiatic trade would pour into the
valley of the Mississippi through the channel of Oregon." But the
future of Oregon and Washington rests not on any transmission of the
riches of other countries, however important an element in their
prosperity that may ultimately become. Their true riches are their own
and inalienable. They are to be among the great feeders of the earth.
Gold and silver values are unsteady and capricious; intrigues can
overthrow them; markets can be glutted, and mines fail. But bread the
nations of the earth must have. The bread-yielder controls the
situation always. Given a soil which can grow wheat year after year
with no apparent fatigue or exhaustion, a climate where rains never
fail and seed-time and harvest are uniformly certain, and conditions
are created under which the future success and wealth of a country may
be predicted just as surely as the movements of the planets in the

There are three great valleys in western Oregon,--the Willamette, the
Umpqua, and the Rogue River. The Willamette is the largest, being
sixty miles long by one hundred and fifty wide. The Umpqua and Rogue
River together contain over a million of acres. These valleys are
natural gardens; fertile to luxuriance, and watered by all the
westward drainage of the great Cascade Range, the Andes of North
America, a continuation of the Sierra Nevada. The Coast Range
Mountains lie west of these valleys, breaking, but not shutting out,
the influence of the sea air and fogs. This valley region between
these two ranges contains less than a third of the area of Washington
and Oregon. The country east of the Cascade Mountains is no less
fertile, but has a drier climate, colder winters, and hotter summers.
Its elevation is from two to four thousand feet,--probably the very
best elevations for health. A comparison of statistics of yearly
death-rates cannot be made with absolute fairness between old and
thick-settled and new and sparsely settled countries. Allowance must
be made for the probably superior health and strength of the men and
women who have had the youth and energy to go forward as pioneers.
But, making all due allowance for these, there still remains
difference enough to startle one between the death-rates in some of
the Atlantic States and in these infant empires of the New Northwest.
The yearly death-rate in Massachusetts is one out of fifty-seven; in
Vermont one out of ninety-seven; in Oregon one out of one hundred and
seventy-two; and in Washington Territory one out of two hundred and

As we glided slowly to anchorage in Portland harbor, five dazzling
snow-white peaks were in sight on the horizon,--Mount Hood, of
peerless shape, strong as if it were a bulwark of the very heavens
themselves, yet graceful and sharp-cut as Egypt's pyramids; St.
Helen's, a little lower, yet looking higher, with the marvellous
curves of its slender shining cone, bent on and seemingly into the
sky, like an intaglio of ice cut in the blue; miles away in the
farthest north and east horizons, Mounts Tacoma and Adams and Baker,
all gleaming white, and all seeming to uphold the skies.

These eternal, unalterable snow-peaks will be as eternal and
unalterable factors in the history of the country as in its beauty to
the eye. Their value will not come under any head of things reckonable
by census, statistics, or computation, but it will be none the less
real for that: it will be an element in the nature and character of
every man and woman born within sight of the radiant splendor; and it
will be strange if it does not ultimately develop, in the empire of
this New Northwest, a local patriotism and passionate loyalty to soil
as strong and lasting as that which has made generations of Swiss
mountaineers ready to brave death for a sight of their mountains.


[1] John G. Hittell's Commerce and Industries of the Pacific Coast.

[3] "The term 'pueblo' answers to that of the English word 'town,' in
all its vagueness and all its precision. As the word 'town' in English
generally embraces every kind of population from the village to the
city, and also, used specifically, signifies a town corporate and
politic, so the word 'pueblo' in Spanish ranges from the hamlet to the
city, but, used emphatically, signifies a town corporate and
politic."--DWINELLE'S _Colonial History of San Francisco_.

[4] In the decade between 1801 and 1810 the missions furnished to the
presidios about eighteen thousand dollars' worth of supplies each

[5] Special Report of the Hon. B. D. Wilson, of Los Angeles, Cal., to
the Interior Department in 1852.

[6] The missions of San Rafael and San Francisco de Solano were the
last founded; the first in 1819, and the latter in 1823,--too late to
attain any great success or importance.

[7] John W. Dwinelle's Colonial History of San Francisco, pp. 44-87.






A shining-beached crescent of country facing to the sunset, and rising
higher and higher to the east till it becomes mountain, is the county
of Ayrshire, fair and famous among the southern Scotch highlands. To a
sixty-mile measure by air, between its north and south promontories,
it stretches a curving coast of ninety; and when Robert Burns strolled
over its breezy uplands, he saw always beautiful and mysterious silver
lines of land thrusting themselves out into the mists of the sea,
pointing to far-off island peaks, seeming sometimes to bridge and
sometimes to wall vistas ending only in sky. These lines are as
beautiful, elusive, and luring now as then, and in the inalienable
loyalty of nature bear testimony to-day to their lover.

This is the greatest crown of the hero and the poet. Other great men
hold fame by failing records which moth and fire destroy. The places
that knew them know them no more when they are dead. Marble and canvas
and parchment league in vain to keep green the memory of him who did
not love and consecrate by his life-blood, in fight or in song, the
soil where he trod. But for him who has done this,--who fought well,
sang well,--the morning cloud, and the wild rose, and broken blades of
grass under men's feet, become immortal witnesses; so imperishable,
after all, are what we are in the habit of calling the "perishable
things of this earth."

More than two hundred years ago, when the followers and holders of the
different baronies of Ayrshire compared respective dignities and
values, they made a proverb which ran:--

     "Carrick for a man; Kyle for a coo;
     Cunningham for butter and cheese; Galloway for woo."

Before the nineteenth century set in, the proverb should have been
changed; for Kyle is the land through which "Bonnie Doon" and Irvine
Water run, and there has been never a man in all Carrick of whom
Carrick can be proud as is Kyle of Robert Burns. It has been said that
a copy of his poems lies on every Scotch cottager's shelf, by the side
of the Bible. This is probably not very far from the truth. Certain it
is, that in the villages where he dwelt there seems to be no man, no
child, who does not apparently know every detail of the life he lived
there, nearly a hundred years ago.

"Will ye be drivin' over to Tarbolton in the morning?" said the pretty
young vice-landlady of the King's Arms at Ayr, when I wrote my name in
her visitors' book late one Saturday night.

"What made you think of that?" I asked, amused.

"And did ye not come on account o' Burns?" she replied. "There's been
a many from your country here by reason of him this summer. I think
you love him in America a'most as well as we do oursel's. It's vary
seldom the English come to see anythin' aboot him. They've so many
poets o' their own, I suppose, is the reason o' their not thinkin'
more o' Burns."

All that there was unflattering in this speech I forgave by reason of
the girl's sweet low voice, pretty gray eyes, and gentle, refined
hospitality. She might have been the daughter of some country
gentleman, welcoming a guest to the house; and she took as much
interest in making all the arrangements for my drive to Tarbolton the
next morning as if it had been a pleasure excursion for herself. It is
but a dull life she leads, helping her widowed mother keep the King's
Arms,--dull, and unprofitable too, I fear; for it takes four
men-servants and seven women to keep up the house, and I saw no
symptom of any coming or going of customers in it. A stillness as of a
church on weekdays reigned throughout the establishment. "At the races
and when the yeomanry come," she said, there was something to do; but
"in the winter nothing, except at the times of the county balls. You
know, ma'am, we've many county families here," she remarked with
gentle pride, "and they all stop with us."

There is a compensation to the lower orders of a society where rank
and castes are fixed, which does not readily occur at first sight to
the democratic mind naturally rebelling against such defined
distinctions. It is very much to be questioned whether, in a republic,
the people who find themselves temporarily lower down in the social
scale than they like to be or expect to stay, feel, in their
consciousness of the possibility of rising, half so much pride or
satisfying pleasure as do the lower classes in England, for instance,
in their relations with those whom they serve, whose dignity they seem
to share by ministering to it.

The way from Ayr to Tarbolton must be greatly changed since the day
when the sorrowful Burns family trod it, going from the Mount Oliphant
farm to that of Lochlea. Now it is for miles a smooth road, on which
horses' hoofs ring merrily, and neat little stone houses, with pretty
yards, line it on both sides for some distance. The ground rises
almost immediately, so that the dwellers in these little suburban
houses get fine off-looks seaward and a wholesome breeze in at their
windows. The houses are built joined by twos, with a yard in common.
They have three rooms besides the kitchen, and they rent for
twenty-five pounds a year; so no industrious man of Ayr need be badly
lodged. Where the houses leave off, hedges begin,--thorn and beech,
untrimmed and luxuriant, with great outbursts of white honeysuckle and
sweet-brier at intervals. As far as the eye could see were waving
fields of wheat, oats, and "rye-grass," which last being just ripe was
of a glorious red color. The wheat-fields were rich and full, sixty
bushels to the acre. Oats, which do not take so kindly to the soil and
air, produce sometimes only forty-eight.

Burns was but sixteen when his father moved from Mount Oliphant to the
Lochlea farm, in the parish of Tarbolton. It was in Tarbolton that he
first went to dancing-school, joined the Freemasons, and organized the
club which, no doubt, cost him dear, "The Bachelors of Tarbolton." In
the beginning this club consisted of only five members besides Burns
and his brother; afterward it was enlarged to sixteen. Burns drew up
the rules; and the last one--the tenth--is worth remembering, as an
unconscious defining on his part of his ideal of human life:--

     "Every man proper for a member of this society must have a
     friendly, honest, open heart, above everything dirty or mean,
     and must be a professed lover of one or more of the sex. The
     proper person for this society is a cheerful, honest-hearted
     lad, who, if he has a friend that is true, and a mistress that
     is kind, and as much wealth as genteelly to make both ends
     meet, is just as happy as this world can make him."

Walking to-day through the narrow streets of Tarbolton, it is wellnigh
impossible to conceive of such rollicking good cheer having made
abiding-place there. It is a close, packed town, the houses of stone
or white plaster,--many of them low, squalid, with thatched roofs and
walls awry; those that are not squalid are grim. The streets are
winding and tangled; the people look poor and dull. As I drove up to
the "Crown Inn," the place where the Tarbolton Freemasons meet now,
and where some of the relics of Burns's Freemason days are kept, the
"first bells" were ringing in the belfry of the old church opposite,
and the landlord of the inn replied with a look of great embarrassment
to my request to see the Burns relics,--

"It's the Sabbath, mem."

Then he stood still, scratching his head for a few moments, and then
set off, at full run, down the street without another word.

"He's gone to the head Mason," explained the landlady. "It takes three
to open the chest. I think ye'll na see it the day." And she turned on
her heel with a frown and left me.

"They make much account o' the Sabbath in this country," said my
driver. "Another day ye'd do better."

Thinking of Burns's lines to the "Unco Guid," I strolled over into the
churchyard opposite, to await the landlord's return. The bell-ringer
had come down, and followed me curiously about among the graves. One
very old stone had carved upon it two high-top boots; under these,
two low shoes; below these, two kneeling figures, a man and a woman,
cut in high relief; no inscription of any sort.

"What can it mean?" I asked.

The bell-ringer could not tell; it was so old nobody knew anything
about it. His mother, now ninety years of age, remembered seeing it
when she was a child, and it looked just as old then as now.

"There's a many strange things in this graveyard," said he; and then
he led me to a corner where, enclosed by swinging chains and stone
posts, was a carefully kept square of green turf, on which lay a
granite slab. "Every year comes the money to pay for keeping that
grass green," he said, "and no name to it. It's been going on that way
for fifty years."

The stone-wall around the graveyard was dilapidated, and in parts was
falling down.

"I suppose this old wall was here in Burns's time," I said.

"Ay, yes," said the bell-ringer; and pointing to a low, thatched
cottage just outside it, "and yon shop--many's the time he's been in
it playin' his tricks."

The landlord of the inn now came running up, with profuse apologies
for the ill success of his mission. He had been to the head Mason,
hoping he would come over and assist in the opening of the chest, in
which were kept a Mason's apron worn by Burns, some jewels of his, and
a book of minutes kept by him. But "bein' 's it's the Sabbath," and
"he's sick in bed," and it was "against the rules to open the regalia
chest unless three Masons were present," the kindly landlord, piling
up reason after reason, irrespective of their consistency with each
other, went on to explain that it would be impossible; but I might see
the chair in which Burns always sat. This was a huge oaken chair,
black with age, and furrowed with names cut deep in the wood. It was
shaped and proportioned like a child's high-chair, and had precisely
such a rest for the feet as is put on children's high-chairs. To this
day the Grand Mason sits in it at their meetings, and will so long as
the St. James Lodge exists.

"They've been offered hundreds of pounds for that chair, mem, plain as
it is. You'd not think it; but there's no money'd buy it from the
lodge," said the landlord.

The old club-house where the jolly "Bachelors of Tarbolton" met in
Burns's day is a low, two-roomed, thatched cottage, half in ruins. The
room where the bachelors smoked, drank, and sang is now little more
than a cellar filled with rubbish and filth,--nothing left but the old
fireplace to show that it was ever inhabited. In the other half of the
cottage lives a laborer's family,--father, mother, and a young child:
their one room, with its bed built into the wall, and their few delf
dishes on the dresser, is probably much like the room in which Burns
first opened his wondrous eyes. The man was lying on the floor playing
with his baby. At the name of Burns, he sprang up with a hearty "Ay,
weel," and ran out in his blue-stocking feet to show me the cellar, of
which, it was plainly to be seen, he was far prouder than of his more
comfortable side of the house. The name by which the inn was called in
Burns's day he did not know. But "He's a Mason over there; he'll
know," he cried; and before I could prevent him, he had darted, still
shoeless, across the road, and asked the question of a yet poorer
laborer, who was taking his Sunday on his door-sill with two bairns
between his knees. He had heard, but had "forgotten." "Feyther'll
know," said the wife, coming forward with the third bairn, a baby, in
her arms. "I'll rin an' ask feyther." The old man tottered out, and
gazed with a vacant, feeble look at me, while he replied impatiently
to his daughter: "Manson's Inn, 't was called; ye've heard it times

"I dare say you always drink Burns's health at the lodge when you
meet," I said to the laborer.

"Ay, ay, his health's ay dronkit," he said, with a coarse laugh, "weel

A few rods to the east, and down the very road Burns was wont to come
and go between Lochlea and Tarbolton, still stands "Willie's
mill,"--cottage and mill and shed and barn, all in one low, long,
oddly joined (or jointed) building of irregular heights, like a
telescope pulled out to its full length; a little brook and a bit of
gay garden in front. In the winter the mill goes by water from a lake
near by; in the summer by steam,--a great change since the night when
Burns went

     "Todlin' down on Willie's mill,"

and though he thought he

     "Was na fou, but just had plenty,"

could not for the life of him make out to count the moon's horns.

     "To count her horns, wi' a' my power,
             I set mysel';
     But whether she had three or four
             I could na tell."

To go by road from Tarbolton to Lochlea farm is to go around three
sides of a square, east, north, and then west again. Certain it is
that Burns never took so many superfluous steps to do it; and as I
drove along I found absorbing interest in looking at the little
cluster of farm buildings beyond the fields, and wondering where the
light-footed boy used to "cut across" for his nightly frolics. There
is nothing left at Lochlea now of him or his; nothing save a worn
lintel of the old barn. The buildings are all new; and there is a look
of thrift and comfort about the place, quite unlike the face it must
have worn in 1784. The house stands on a rising knoll, and from the
windows looking westward and seaward there must be a fine horizon and
headlands to be seen at sunset. Nobody was at home on this day except
a barefooted servant-girl, who was keeping the house while the family
were at church. She came to the door with an expression of almost
alarm, at the unwonted apparition of a carriage driving down the lane
on Sunday, and a stranger coming in the name of a man dead so long
ago. She evidently knew nothing of Burns except that, for some reason
connected with him, the old lintel was kept and shown. She was
impatient of the interruption of her Sabbath, and all the while she
was speaking kept her finger in her book--"Footprints of Jesus"--at
the place where she had been reading, and glanced at it continually,
as if it were an amulet which could keep her from harm through the
worldly interlude into which she had been forced.

"It's a pity ye came on the Sabba-day," remarked the driver again, as
we drove away from Lochlea. "The country people 'ull not speak on the
Sabbath." It would have been useless to try to explain to him that the
spectacle of this Scottish "Sabba-day" was of itself of almost as much
interest as the sight of the fields in which Robert Burns had walked
and worked.

The farm of Mossgiel, which was Burns's next home after Lochlea, is
about three miles from Tarbolton, and only one from Mauchline. Burns
and his brother Gilbert had become tenants of it a few months before
their father's death in 1784. It was stocked by the joint savings of
the whole family; and each member of the family was allowed fair rates
of wages for all labor performed on it. The allowance to Gilbert and
to Robert was seven pounds a year each, and it is said that during the
four years that Robert lived there, his expenses never exceeded this

To Mossgiel he came with new resolutions. He had already reaped some
bitter harvests from the wild oats sown during the seven years at
Lochlea. He was no longer a boy. He says of himself at this time,--

"I entered on Mossgiel with a full resolution, 'Come, go; I will be

Driving up the long, straight road which leads from the highway to the
hawthorn fortress in which the Mossgiel farm buildings stand, one
recalls these words, and fancies the brave young fellow striding up
the field, full of new hope and determination. The hawthorn hedge
to-day is much higher than a man's head, and completely screens from
the road the farm-house and the outbuildings behind it. The present
tenants have lived on the farm forty years, the first twenty in the
same house which stood there when Robert and Gilbert Burns pledged
themselves to pay one hundred and twenty pounds a year for the farm.
When the house was rebuilt, twenty years ago, the old walls were used
in part, and the windows were left in the same places; but, instead of
the low, sloping-roofed, garret-like rooms upstairs, where Burns used
to sleep and write, are now comfortable chambers of modern fashion.

"Were you not sorry to have the old house pulled down?" I said to the
comely, aged farm-wife.

"'Deed, then, I was very prood," she replied; "it had na 'coomodation,
and the thatch took in the rain an' all that was vile."

In the best room of the house hung two autograph letters of Burns's
plainly framed: one, his letter to the lass of ----, asking her
permission to print the poem he had addressed to her; the other, the
original copy of the poem. These were "presented to the house by the
brother of the lady," the woman said, and they had "a great value
now." But when she first came to this part of the country she was
"vary soorpreezed" to find the great esteem in which Burns's poetry
was held. In the North, where she had lived, he was "na thocht weel
of." Her father had never permitted a copy of his poems to be brought
inside his doors, and had forbidden his children to read a word of
them. "He thocht them too rough for us to read." It was not until she
was a woman grown, and living in her husband's house, that she had
ever ventured to disobey this parental command, and she did not now
herself think they were "fitted for the reading of young pairsons."
"There was much more discreet writin's," she said severely; an opinion
which there was no gainsaying.

There is a broader horizon to be seen, looking westward from the
fields of Mossgiel, than from those of Lochlea; the lands are higher
and nobler of contour. Superb trees, which must have been superb a
century ago, stand to right and left of the house,--beeches, ashes,
oaks, and planes. The fields which are in sight from the house are now
all grass-grown. I have heard that twenty years ago, it was
confidently told in which field Burns, ploughing late in the autumn,
broke into the little nest of the

     "Wee sleekit, cow'rin', tim'rous beastie,"

whom every song-lover has known and pitied from that day to this, and
whose misfortunes have answered ever since for a mint of reassuring
comparison to all of us, remembering that "the best-laid schemes o'
mice an' men" must "gang aft aglee;" and the other field, also near
by, where grew that mountain daisy,

     "Wee, modest, crimson-tippèd flower,"

whose name is immortal in our hearts as that of Burns. This farm-wife,
however, knew nothing about them. The stern air of the north country
in which she had been reared still chilled somewhat her thoughts of
Burns and her interest in his inalienable bond on the fields of her

It is but a mile from Mossgiel's gate to Mauchline, the town of
"bonnie Jean" and Nansie Tinnoch and Gavin Hamilton. Surely a
strange-assorted trio to be comrades of one man. Their houses are
still standing: Jean's a tumble-down thatched cottage, looking out of
place enough between the smart, new houses built on either side of it;
Gavin Hamilton's, a dark, picturesque stone house, joined to the ruins
of Mauchline Castle; and Nansie Tinnoch's, a black and dilapidated
hovel, into which it takes courage to go. It stands snugged up against
the wall of the old graveyard, part below it and part above it,--a
situation as unwholesome as horrible; a door at the head of the narrow
stairway opening out into the graveyard itself, and the slanting old
stones leering in at the smoky windows by crowds. In the days when all
the "country side" met at the open-air services in this churchyard,

     "Some thinkin' on their sins, an' some on their claes,"

no doubt Nancy Tinnoch's was a lighter, whiter, cheerier place than
now; else the "Jolly Beggars" would never have gone there to tipple.

It was the nooning between services when I reached Mauchline, and
church-goers from a distance were taking their beer and crackers
decorously in the parlor of the inn. As the intermission was only
three quarters of an hour long, this much of involuntary dissipation
was plainly forced on them; but they did not abuse it, I can testify.
They partook of it as of a passover: young men and maidens as sober
and silent as if they had been doing solemn penance for sins, as
indeed, from one point of view, it might perhaps be truly said that
they were.

By dint of some difficult advances I drew one or two of them into
conversation about the Mossgiel farm and the disappearance of the old
relics of Burns's life in that region. It was a great pity, I said,
that the Mossgiel house had to be taken down.

"'Deed, then, it was na such thing," spoke up an elderly man. "It was
na moor than a wreck, an' I'm the mon who did it."

He was the landlord of the farm, it appeared. He seemed much amused at
hearing of the farm-wife's disapproval of Burns's verses, and of her
father's prohibition of them.

"He was a heepocritical auld Radical, if ye knows him," he said
angrily. "I hope we'll never have ony worse readin' in our country
than Robert Bur-r-r-ns." The prolongation of the "r" in the Scotch way
of saying "Burns" is something that cannot be typographically
represented. It is hardly a rolling of the "r," nor a multiplication
of it; but it takes up a great deal more time and room than any one
"r" ought to.

After the landlady had shown to me the big hall where the Freemasons
meet, "the Burns' Mother Lodge," and the chest which used to hold the
regalia at Tarbolton in Burns's day, and the little bedroom in which
Stedman and Hawthorne had slept,--coming also to look at Burns's
fields,--she told me in a mysterious whisper that there was a nephew
of Burns's in the kitchen, who would like to see me, if I would like
to see him. "A nephew of Burns's!" I exclaimed. "Weel, not exactly,"
she explained, "but he's a grand-nephew of Burns's wife; she thet was
Jean, ye know," with a deprecating nod and lowering of the eyelid. So
fast is the clutch of a Scotch neighborhood on its traditions of
offended virtue, even to-day poor Jean cannot be mentioned by a
landlady in her native town without a small stone cast backward at

Jean's grand-nephew proved to be a middle-aged man; not "ower
weel-to-do," the landlady said. He had tried his hand at doctoring
both in Scotland and America,--a rolling stone evidently, with too
much of the old fiery blood of his race in his veins for quiet and
decorous prosperity. He, too, seemed only half willing to speak of
poor "Jean,"--his kinswoman; but he led me to the cottage where she
had lived, and pointed out the window from which she was said to have
leaned out many a night listening to the songs of her lover when he
sauntered across from the Whiteford Arms, Johnny Pigeon's house, just
opposite, "not fou, but having had plenty" to make him merry and
affectionate. Johnny Pigeon's is a "co-operative store" now; and new
buildings have altered the line of the street so that "Rob Mossgiel"
would lose his way there to-day.

The room in which Burns and his "bonnie Jean" were at last married in
Gavin Hamilton's house, by Hamilton himself, is still shown to
visitors. This room I had a greater desire to see than any other spot
in Mauchline. "We can but try," said the grand-nephew; "but it's a
small chance of seeing it the Sabba."

The sole tenant of this house now is the widow of a son of Gavin
Hamilton's. Old, blind, and nearly helpless, she lives there alone
with one family servant, nearly as old as herself, but hale, hearty,
and rosy as only an old Scotchwoman can be. This servant opened the
door for us, her cap, calico gown, and white apron all alike bristling
with starch, religion, and pride of family. Her mistress would not
allow the room to be shown on the Sabbath, she said. Imploringly it
was explained to her that no other day had been possible, and that I
had come "all the way from America."

"Ye did na do weel to tak the Sabbath," was her only reply, as she
turned on her heel to go with the fruitless appeal to her mistress.
Returning, she said curtly,--

"She winna shew it on the Sabbath."

At this crisis my companion, who had kept in the background, stepped
forward with,--

"You don't know me, Elspie, do ye?"

"No, sir," she said stiffly, bracing herself up mentally against any
further heathenish entreaties.

"What, not know ----?" repeating his name in full.

Presto! as if changed by a magician's trick, the stiff, starched,
religious, haughty family retainer disappeared, and there stood, in
the same cap, gown, and apron, a limber, rollicking, wellnigh improper
old woman, who poked the grand-nephew in the ribs, clapped him on the
shoulder, chuckling, ejaculating, questioning, wondering, laughing,
all in a breath. Reminiscence on reminiscence followed between them.

"An' do ye mind Barry, too?" she asked. (This was an old man-servant
of the house.) "An' many's the quirrel, an' many's the gree we had."

Barry was dead. Dead also was the beautiful girl whom my companion
remembered well,--dead of a broken heart before she was eighteen years
of age. Forbidden to marry her lover, she had drooped and pined. He
went to India and died. It was in a December the news of his death
came, just at Christmas time, and in the next September she followed

"Ay, but she was a bonnie lass," said Elspie, the tears rolling down
her face.

"I dare say she [nodding his head toward the house]--I dare say she's
shed many a salt tear over it; but naebody 'ill ever know she
repentit," quoth the grand-nephew.

"Ay, ay," said Elspie. "There's a wee bit closet in every hoos."

"'Twas in that room she died," pointing up to a small ivy-shaded
window. "I closed her eyes wi' my hands. She's never spoken of. She
was a bonnie lass."

The picture of this desolate old woman, sitting there alone in her
house, helpless, blind, waiting for death to come and take her to meet
that daughter whose young heart was broken by her cruel will, seemed
to shadow the very sunshine on the greensward in the court. The broken
arches and crumbling walls of the old stone abbey ruins seemed, in
their ivy mantles, warmly, joyously venerable by contrast with the
silent, ruined, stony old human heart still beating in the house they

In spite of my protestations, the grand-nephew urged Elspie to show us
the room. She evidently now longed to do it; but, casting a fearful
glance over her shoulder, said: "I daur na! I daur na! I could na open
the door that she'd na hear 't." And she seemed much relieved when I
made haste to assure her that on no account would I go into the room
without her mistress's permission. So we came away, leaving her gazing
regretfully after us, with her hand shading her eyes from the sun.

Going back from Mauchline to Ayr, I took another road, farther to the
south than the one leading through Tarbolton, and much more beautiful,
with superb beech-trees meeting overhead, and gentlemen's
country-seats, with great parks, on either hand.

On this road is Montgomerie Castle, walled in by grand woods, which
Burns knew so well.

     "Ye banks and braes and streams around
       The castle o' Montgomery,
     Green be your woods and fair your flowers,
       Your waters never drumlie!
     There simmer first unfauld her robes,
       And there the langest tarry,
     For there I took the last fareweel
       O' my sweet Highland Mary."

Sitting in the sun, on a bench outside the gate-house, with his little
granddaughter on his lap, was the white-haired gate-keeper. As the
horses' heads turned toward the gate, he arose slowly, without a
change of muscle, and set down the child, who accepted her altered
situation also without a change of muscle in her sober little face.

"Is it allowed to go in?" asked the driver.

"Eh--ye'll not be calling at the hoos?" asked the old man, surprised.

"No, I'm a stranger; but I like to see all the fine places in your
country," I replied.

"I've no orders," looking at the driver reflectively; "I've no
orders--but--a decent pairson"--looking again scrutinizingly at
me,--"I think there can be no hairm." And he opened the gate.

Grand trees, rolling tracts of velvety turf, an ugly huge house of
weather-beaten stone, with white pillars in front; conservatories
joining the wings to the centre; no attempt at decorative landscape
art; grass, trees, distances,--these were all; but there were miles of
these. It was at least a mile's drive to the other entrance to the
estate, where the old stone gateway house was in ruin. I fancy that it
was better kept up in the days before an Earl of Eglinstoune sold it
to a plain Mr. Patterson.

At another fine estate nearer Ayr, where an old woman was gate-keeper,
and also had "no orders" about admitting strangers, the magic word
"America" threw open the gates with a sweep, and bent the old dame's
knees in a courtesy which made her look three times as broad as she
was long. This estate had been "always in the Oswald family, an' is
likely always to be, please God," said the loyal creature, with
another courtesy at the mention, unconsciously devout as that of the
Catholic when he crosses himself. "An' it's a fine country ye've
yersel' in America," she added politely. The Oswald estate has acres
of beautiful curving uplands, all green and smooth and open; a lack of
woods near the house, but great banks of sunshine instead, make a
beauty all their own; and the Ayr Water, running through the grounds,
and bridged gracefully here and there, is a possession to be coveted.
From all points is a clear sight of sea, and headlands north and
south,--Ayr harbor lying like a crescent, now silver, now gold, afloat
between blue sky and green shore, and dusky gray roof-lines of the

The most precious thing in all the parish of Ayr is the cottage in
which Burns was born. It is about two miles south from the centre of
the town, on the shore of "Bonnie Doon," and near Alloway Kirk. You
cannot go thither from Ayr over any road except the one Tam o' Shanter
took: it has been straightened a little since his day, but many a rod
of it is the same that Maggie trod; and Alloway Kirk is as ghostly a
place now, even at high noon, as can be found "frae Maidenkirk to
Johnny Groat's." There is nothing left of it but the walls and the
gable, in which the ancient bell still hangs, intensifying the silence
by its suggestion of echoes long dead.

The Burns cottage is now a sort of inn, kept by an Englishman whose
fortunes would make a tale by themselves. He fought at Balaklava and
in our civil war; and side by side on the walls of his dining-room
hang, framed, his two commissions in the Pennsylvania Volunteers and
the menu of the Balaklava Banquet, given in London to the brave
fellows that came home alive after that fight. He does not love the
Scotch people.

"I would not give the Americans for all the Scotch ever born," he
says, and is disposed to speak with unjust satire of their apparent
love of Burns, which he ascribes to a perception of his recognition by
the rest of the world and a shamefaced desire not to seem to be
behindhand in paying tribute to him.

"Oh, they let on to think much of him," he said. "It's money in their

The room in which Burns was born is still unaltered, except in having
one more window let in. Originally, it had but one small square window
of four panes. The bed is like the beds in all the old Scotch
cottages, built into the wall, similar to those still seen in Norway.
Stifling enough the air surely must have been in the cupboard bed in
which the "waly boy" was born.

     "The gossip keekit in his loof;
     Quo' scho, 'Wha lives will see the proof,--
     This waly boy will be nae coof;
       I think we'll ca' him Robin.'"

Before he was many days old, or, as some traditions have it, on the
very night he was born, a violent storm "tirled" away part of the roof
of the poor little "clay biggin," and mother and babe were forced to
seek shelter in a neighbor's cottage. Misfortune and Robin early
joined company, and never parted. The little bedroom is now the
show-room of the inn, and is filled with tables piled with the
well-known boxes, pincushions, baskets, paper-cutters, etc., made from
sycamore wood grown on the banks of Doon and Ayr. These articles are
all stamped with some pictures of scenery associated with Burns or
with quotations from his verses. It is impossible to see all this
money-making without thinking what a delicious, rollicking bit of
verse Burns would write about it himself if he came back to-day. There
are those who offer for sale articles said to be made out of the old
timbers of the Mossgiel house; but the Balaklava Englishman scouts all
that as the most barefaced imposture. "There wasn't an inch of that
timber," he says,--and he was there when the house was taken
down--"which wasn't worm-eaten and rotten; not enough to make a
knife-handle of!"

One feels disposed to pass over in silence the "Burns Monument," which
was built in 1820, at a cost of over three thousand pounds; "a
circular temple supported by nine fluted Corinthian columns,
emblematic of the nine muses," say the guide-books. It stands in a
garden overlooking the Doon, and is a painful sight. But in a room in
the base of it are to be seen some relics at which no Burns lover can
look unmoved,--the Bibles he gave to Highland Mary, the ring with
which he wedded Jean (taken off after her death), and two rings
containing some of his hair.

It is but a few steps from this monument down to a spot on the "banks
o' bonnie Doon," from which is a fine view of the "auld brig." This
shining, silent water, and the overhanging, silent trees, and the
silent bell in the gable of Alloway Kirk, speak more eloquently of
Burns than do all nine of the Corinthian muse-dedicated pillars in his

So do the twa brigs of Ayr, which still stand at the foot of High
Street, silently recriminating each other as of old.

     "I doubt na, frien', ye'll think ye'r nae sheep-shank
     When ye are streekit o'er frae bank to bank,"

sneers the Auld; and

     "Will your poor, narrow foot-path of a street,
     Where twa wheelbarrows tremble when they meet,
     Your ruined, formless bulk o' stane and lime,
     Compare wi' bonny brigs o' modern time?"

retorts the New; and "the sprites that owre the brigs of Ayr preside"
never interrupt the quarrel. Spite of all its boasting, however, the
new bridge cracked badly two years ago, and had to be taken down and
entirely rebuilt.

The dingy little inn where

             "Tam was glorious,
     O'er a' the ills o' life victorious,"

is still called by his name, and still preserves, as its chief claims
to distinction, the big wooden mug out of which Tam drank, and the
chair in which he so many market-nights

     "Gat planted unco richt."

The chair is of oak, wellnigh black as ebony, and furrowed thick with
names cut upon it. The smart young landlady who now keeps the house
commented severely on this desecration of it, and said that for some
years the house had been "keepit" by a widow, who was "in no sense up
to the beesiness," and "a' people did as they pleased in the hoos in
her day." The mug has a metal rim and base; but spite of these it has
needed to be clasped together again by three ribs of cane, riveted on.
"Money couldn't buy it," the landlady said. It belongs to the house,
is mentioned always in the terms of lease, and the house has changed
hands but four times since Tam's day.

In a tiny stone cottage in the southern suburbs of Ayr, live two
nieces of Burns, daughters of his youngest sister, Isabella. They are
vivacious still, and eagerly alive to all that goes on in the world,
though they must be well on in the seventies. The day I called they
had "just received a newspaper from America," they said. "Perhaps I
knew it. It was called 'The Democrat.'" As I was not able to identify
it by that description, the younger sister made haste to fetch it. It
proved to be a paper printed in Madison, Iowa. The old ladies were
much interested in the approaching American election, had read all
they could find about General Garfield, and were much impressed by the
wise reticence of General Grant. "He must be a vary cautious man;
disna say enough to please people," they said, with sagacious nods of
approbation. They remembered Burns's wife very well, had visited her
when she was living, a widow, at Dumfries, and told with glee a story
which they said she herself used to narrate, with great relish, of a
pedler lad who, often coming to the house with wares to sell in the
kitchen, finally expressed to the servant his deep desire to see Mrs.
Burns. She accordingly told him to wait, and her mistress would, no
doubt, before long come into the room. Mrs. Burns came in, stood for
some moments talking with the lad, bought some trifle of him, and went
away. Still he sat waiting. At last the servant asked why he did not
go. He replied that she had promised he should see Mrs. Burns.

"But ye have seen her; that was she," said the servant.

"Eh, eh?" said the lad. "Na! never tell me now that was 'bonnie

Burns's mother, too (their grandmother), they recollected well, and
had often heard her tell of the time when the family lived at Lochlea,
and Robert, spending his evenings at the Tarbolton merry-makings with
the Bachelors' Club or the Masons, used to come home late in the
night, and she used to sit up to let him in. These doings sorely
displeased the father; and at last he said grimly, one night, that he
would sit up to open the door for Robert. Trembling with fear, the
mother went to bed, and did not close her eyes, listening
apprehensively for the angry meeting between father and son. She heard
the door open, the old man's stern tone, Robert's gay reply; and in a
twinkling more the two were sitting together over the fire, the father
splitting his sides with half-unwilling laughter at the boy's
inimitable descriptions and mimicry of the scenes he had left. Nearly
two hours they sat there in this way, the mother all the while
cramming the bed-clothes into her mouth, lest her own laughter should
remind her husband how poorly he was carrying out his threats. After
that night "Rob" came home at what hour he pleased, and there was
nothing more heard of his father's sitting up to reprove him.

They believed that Burns's intemperate habits had been greatly
exaggerated. Their mother was a woman twenty-five years old, and the
mother of three children when he died, and she had never once seen him
the "waur for liquor." "There were vary mony idle people i' the warld,
an' a great deal o' talk," they said. After his father's death he
assumed the position of the head of the house, and led in family
prayers each morning; and everybody said, even the servants, that
there were never such beautiful prayers heard. He was a generous soul.
After he left home he never came back for a visit, however poor he
might be, without bringing a present for every member of the family;
always a pound of tea for his mother, "and tea was tea then," the old
ladies added. To their mother he gave a copy of Thomson's "Seasons,"
which they still have. They have also some letters of his, two of
which I read with great interest. They were to his brother, and were
full of good advice. In one he says:--

     "I intended to have given you a sheetful of counsels, but some
     business has prevented me. In a word, learn taciturnity. Let
     that be your motto. Though you had the wisdom of Newton or the
     wit of Swift, garrulousness would lower you in the eyes of your

In the other, after alluding to some village tragedy, in which great
suffering had fallen on a woman, he says,--

     "Women have a kind of steady sufferance which qualifies them to
     endure much beyond the common run of men; but perhaps part of
     that fortitude is owing to their short-sightedness, as they are
     by no means famous for seeing remote consequences in their real

The old ladies said that their mother had liked "Jean" on the whole,
though "at first not so weel, on account of the connection being what
it was." She was kindly, cheery, "never bonny;" but had a good figure,
danced well and sang well, and worshipped her husband. She was "not
intellectual;" "but there's some say a poet shouldn't have an
intellectual wife," one of the ingenuous old spinsters remarked
interrogatively. "At any rate, she suited him; an' it was ill speering
at her after all that was said and done," the younger niece added,
with real feeling in her tone. Well might she say so. If there be a
touching picture in all the long list of faithful and ill-used women,
it is that of "bonnie Jean,"--the unwedded mother of children, the
forgiving wife of a husband who betrayed others as he had betrayed
her,--when she took into her arms and nursed and cared for her
husband's child, born of an outcast woman, and bravely answered all
curious questioners with, "It's a neebor's bairn I'm bringin' up." She
wrought for herself a place and an esteem of which her honest and
loving humility little dreamed.

There is always something sad in seeking out the spot where a great
man has died. It is like living over the days of his death and burial.
The more sympathetically we have felt the spell of the scenes in which
he lived his life, the more vitalized and vitalizing that life was,
the more are we chilled and depressed in the presence of places on
which his wearied and suffering gaze rested last. As I drove through
the dingy, confused, and ugly streets of Dumfries, my chief thought
was, "How Burns must have hated this place!" Looking back on it now, I
have a half-regret that I ever saw it, that I can recall vividly the
ghastly graveyard of Saint Michael's, with its twenty-six thousand
gravestones and monuments, crowded closer than they would be in a
marble-yard, ranged in rows against the walls without any pretence of
association with the dust they affect to commemorate. What a ballad
Burns might have written about such a show! And what would it not have
been given to him to say of the "Genius of Coila, finding her favorite
son at the plough, and casting her mantle over him,"--that is, the
sculptured monument, or, as the sexton called it, "Máwsolem," under
which he has had the misfortune to be buried. A great Malvern
bathwoman, bringing a bathing-sheet to an unwilling patient, might
have been the model for the thing. It is hideous beyond description,
and in a refinement of ingenuity has been made uglier still by having
the spaces between the pillars filled in with glass. The severe Scotch
weather, it seems, was discoloring the marble. It is a pity that the
zealous guardians of its beauty did not hold it precious enough to be
boarded up altogether.

The house in which Burns spent the first eighteen months of his dreary
life in Dumfries is now a common tenement-house at the lower end of a
poor and narrow street. As I was reading the tablet let into the wall,
bearing his name, a carpenter went by, carrying his box of tools slung
on his shoulder.

"He only had three rooms there," said the man, "those three up there,"
pointing to the windows; "two rooms and a little kitchen at the back."

The house which is usually shown to strangers as his is now the home
of the master of the industrial school, and is a comfortable little
building joining the school. Here Burns lived for three years; and
here, in a small chamber not more than twelve by fifteen feet in size,
he died on the 21st of July, 1796, sadly harassed in his last moments
by anxiety about money matters and about the approaching illness of
his faithful Jean.

Opening from this room is a tiny closet, lighted by one window.

"They say he used to make up his poetry in here," said the
servant-girl; "but I dare say it is only a supposeetion; still, it 'ud
be a quiet place."

"They say there was a great lot o' papers up here when he died," she
added, throwing open the narrow door of a ladder-like stairway that
led up into the garret, "writin's that had been sent to him from all
over the world, but nobody knew what become of them. Now that he's so
much thought aboot, I wonder his widow did not keep them. But, ye
know, the poor thing was just comin' to be ill; that was the last
thing he wrote when he knew he was dyin', for some one to come and
stay with her; and I dare say she was in such a sewither she did not
know about anything."

The old stone stairs were winding and narrow,--painted now, and neatly
carpeted, but worn into depressions here and there by the plodding of
feet. Nothing in the house, above or below, spoke to me of Burns so
much as did they. I stood silent and rapt on the landing, and saw him
coming wearily up, that last time; after which he went no more out
forever, till he was borne in the arms of men, and laid away in Saint
Michael's graveyard to rest.

That night, at my lonely dinner in the King's Arms, I had the
Edinburgh papers. There were in them three editorials headed with
quotations from Burns's poems, and an account of the sale in
Edinburgh, that week, of an autograph letter of his for ninety-four

Does he think sadly, even in heaven, how differently he might have
done by himself and by earth, if earth had done for him then a tithe
of what it does now? Does he know it? Does he care? And does he listen
when, in lands he never saw, great poets sing of him in words simple
and melodious as his own?

     "For now he haunts his native land
     As an immortal youth: his hand
         Guides every plough;
     He sits beside each ingle-nook,
     His voice is in each rushing brook,
         Each rustling bough.

     "His presence haunts this room to-night,
     A form of mingled mist and light
         From that far coast.
     Welcome beneath this roof of mine!
     Welcome! this vacant chair is thine,
         Dear guest and ghost!"[8]


As soon as one comes to know Edinburgh, he feels a gratitude to that
old gentleman of Fife who is said to have invented the affectionate
phrase "Auld Reekie." Perhaps there never was any such old gentleman;
and perhaps he never did, as the legend narrates, regulate the hours
of his family prayers, on summer evenings, by the thickening smoke
which he could see rising from Edinburgh chimneys, when the cooking of
suppers began.

"It's time now, bairns, to tak the beuks an' gang to our beds; for
yonder's Auld Reekie, I see, putting on her nichtcap," are the words
which the harmless little tradition puts into his mouth. They are
wisely dated back to the reign of Charles II., a time from which none
now speak to contradict; and they serve as well as any others to
introduce and emphasize the epithet which, once heard, is not
forgotten by a lover of Edinburgh, remaining always in his memory,
like a pet name of one familiarly known.

It is not much the fashion of travellers to become attached to
Edinburgh. Rome for antiquity, London for study and stir, Florence for
art, Venice for art and enchantment combined,--all these have pilgrims
who become worshippers, and return again and again to them, as the
devout return to shrines. But few return thus to Edinburgh. It
continually happens that people planning routes of travel are heard to
say, "I have seen Edinburgh," pronouncing the word "seen" with a
stress indicating a finality of completion. Nobody ever uses a phrase
in that way about Rome or Venice. It is always, "We have been in,"
"spent a winter in," "a summer in," or "a month in" Rome, or Venice,
or any of the rest; and the very tone and turn of the phrase tell the
desire or purpose of another winter, or summer, or month in the
remembered and longed-for place.

But Edinburgh has no splendors with which to woo and attract. She is
"a penniless lass;" "wi' a lang pedigree," however,--as long and as
splendid as the best, reaching back to King Arthur at least, and some
say a thousand years farther, and assert that the rock on which her
castle stands was a stronghold when Rome was a village. At any rate,
there was a fortress there long before Edinburgh was a town, and that
takes it back midway between the five hundredth and six hundredth year
of our Lord. From that century down to this it was the centre of as
glorious and terrible fighting and suffering as the world has ever
seen. Kingly besieged and besiegers, prisoners, martyrs, men and women
alike heroic, their presences throng each doorway still; and the very
stones at a touch seem set ringing again with the echoes of their
triumphs and their agonies.

To me, the castle is Edinburgh. Looking from the sunny south windows
of Prince's Street across at its hoary front is like a wizard's
miracle, by which dead centuries are rolled back, compressed into
minutes. At the foot of its north precipices, where lay the lake in
which, in the seventeenth century, royal swans floated and plebeian
courtesans were ducked, now stretches a gay gardened meadow, through
which flash daily railway trains. Their columns of blue smoke scale
the rocks, coil after coil, but never reach the citadel summit, being
tangled, spent, and lost in the tops of trees, which in their turn
seem also to be green-plumed besiegers, ever climbing, climbing. For
five days I looked out on this picture etched against a summer sky: in
black, by night; in the morning, of soft sepia tints, or gray,--tower,
battlement, wall, and roof, all in sky lines; below these the wild
crags and precipices, a mosaic of grays, two hundred feet down, to a
bright greensward dotted with white daisies. Set steadily to the
sunrise, by a west wind which never stopped blowing for the whole five
days, streamed out the flag. To have read on its folds,
"Castelh-Mynyd-Agned," or "Castrum Puellarum," would not have seemed
at any hour a surprise. There is nowhere a relic of antiquity which so
dominates its whole environment as does this rock fortress. Its
actuality is sovereign; its personality majestic. The thousands of
modern people thronging up and down Prince's Street seem perpetrating
an impertinent anachronism. The times are the castle's times still;
all this nineteenth-century haberdashery and chatter is an
inexplicable and insolent freak of interruption. Sitting at one's
Prince's Street windows, one sees it not; overlooks it as meaningless
and of no consequence. Instead, he sees the constable's son, in
Bruce's day, coming down that two hundred feet of precipice, hand over
hand, on a bit of rope ladder, to visit the "wench in town" with whom
he was in love; and anon turning this love-lore of his to patriotic
account, by leading Earl Douglas, with his thirty picked Scots, up the
same precipices, in the same perilous fashion, to surprise the English
garrison, which they did to such good purpose that in a few hours they
retook the castle, the only one then left which Bruce had not
recovered. Or, when morning and evening mists rise slowly up from the
meadow, veil the hill, and float off in hazy wreaths from its summit,
he fancies fagots and tar-barrels ablaze on the esplanade, and the
beauteous Lady Glammis, with her white arms crossed on her breast,
burning to death there, with eyes fixed on the windows of her
husband's prison. Scores of other women with "fayre bodies" were
burned alive there; men, too, their lovers and sons,--all for a crime
of which no human soul ever was or could be guilty. Poor, blinded,
superstitious earth, which heard and saw and permitted such things!
Even to-day, when the ground is dug up on that accursed esplanade,
there are found the ashes of these martyrs to the witchcraft madness.

That grand old master-gunner, too, of Cromwell's first
following,--each sunset gun from the castle seemed to me in honor of
his memory, and recalled his name. "May the devil blaw me into the
air, if I lowse a cannon this day!" said he, when Charles's men bade
him fire a salute in honor of the Restoration. Every other one of
Cromwell's men in the garrison had turned false, and done ready
service to the king's officers; but not so Browne. It was only by main
force that he was dragged to his gun, and forced to fire it. Whether
the gun were old, and its time had come to burst, or whether the
splendid old Puritan slyly overweighed his charge, it is open to each
man's preference to believe; but burst the gun did, and, taking the
hero at his word, "shuites his bellie from him, and blew him quyte
over the castle wall," says the old record. I make no doubt myself
that it was just what the master-gunner intended.

Thirty years later there were many gunners in Edinburgh Castle as
brave as he, or braver,--men who stood by their guns month after
month, starving by inches and freezing; the snow lying knee-deep on
the shattered bastions; every roof shelter blown to fragments; no
fuel; their last well so low that the water was putrid; raw salt
herrings the only food for the men, and for the officers oatmeal,
stirred in the putrid water. This was the Duke of Gordon's doing, when
he vowed to hold Edinburgh Castle for King James, if every other
fortress in Scotland went over to William. When his last hope failed,
and he gave his men permission to abandon the castle and go out to the
enemy, if they chose, not a man would go. "Three cheers for his
grace," they raised, with their poor starved voices, and swore they
would stay as long as he did. From December to June they held out, and
then surrendered, a handful of fifty ghastly, emaciated, tottering
men. Pity they could not have known how much grander than victories
such defeats as theirs would read by and by!

Hard by the castle was the duke's house, in Blair's Close; in this he
was shut up prisoner, under strict guard. The steps up which he walked
that day, for the first time in his life without his sword, are still
there; his coronet, with a deer-hound on either side, in dingy stone
carving, above the low door. It is one of the doorways worth haunting,
in Edinburgh. Generations of Dukes of Gordon have trodden its
threshold, from the swordless hero of 1689 down to the young lover
who, in George the Third's day, went courting his duchess, over in
Hyndford's Close, at the bottom of High Street. She was a famous
beauty, daughter of Lady Maxwell; and thanks to one gossip and
another, we know a good deal about her bringing-up. There was still
living in Edinburgh, sixty years ago, an aged and courtly gentleman,
who recollected well having seen her riding a sow in High Street; her
sister running behind and thumping the beast with a stick. Duchesses
are not made of such stuff in these days. It almost passes belief what
one reads in old records of the ways and manners of Scottish nobility
in the first half of the eighteenth century. These Maxwells' fine
laces were always drying in the narrow passage from their front stair
to their drawing-room; and their undergear hanging out on a pole from
an upper window in full sight of passers-by, as is still the custom
with the poverty-stricken people who live in Hyndford's Close.

On the same stair with the Maxwells lived the Countess Anne of
Balcarres, mother of eleven children, the eldest of whom wrote "Auld
Robin Gray." She was poor and proud, and a fierce Jacobite to the
last. To be asked to drink tea in Countess Anne's bedchamber was great
honor. The room was so small that the man-servant, John, gorgeous in
the Balcarres livery, had to stand snugged up to the bedpost. Here,
with one arm around the post, he stood like a statue, ready to hand
the teakettle as it was needed. When the noble ladies differed about a
date or a point of genealogy, John was appealed to, and often so far
forgot his manners as to swear at the mention of assumers and
pretenders to baronetcies.

There is an endless fascination in going from house to house, in their
old wynds and closes, now. A price has to be paid for it,--bad smells,
filth underfoot, and, very likely, volleys of ribald abuse from
gin-loosened tongues right and left and high up overhead; but all this
only emphasizes the picture, and makes one's mental processions of
earls and countesses all the livelier and more vivid.

Some of these wynds are so narrow and dark that one hesitates about
plunging into them. They seem little more than rifts between dungeons:
seven, eight, and nine stories high, the black walls stretch up. If
there is a tiny courtyard, it is like the bottom of a foul well; and
looking to the hand's-breadth of sky visible above, it seems so far up
and so dark blue, one half expects to see its stars glimmering at
noonday. A single narrow winding stone stair is the only means of
going up and down; and each floor being swarming full of wretched
human beings, each room a tenement house in itself, of course this
common stairway becomes a highway of contentions, the very
battle-ground of the house. Progress up or down can be stopped at a
second's notice; a single pair of elbows is a blockade. How sedan
chairs were managed in these corkscrew crevices is a puzzle; yet we
read that the ladies of quality went always in sedan chairs to balls
and assemblies.

In the Stamp Office Close, now the refuge of soot-venders, old-clothes
dealers, and hucksters of lowest degree, tramps, beggars, and skulkers
of all sorts, still is locked tight every night a big carved door, at
foot of the stair down which used to come stately Lady Eglintoune, the
third, with her seven daughters, in fine array. It was one of the
sights of the town to see the procession of their eight sedan chairs
on the way to a dance. The countess herself was six feet tall, and her
daughters not much below her; all strikingly handsome, and of such
fine bearing that it went into the traditions of the century as the
"Eglintoune air." There also went into the traditions of the century
some details of the earl's wooing, which might better have been kept a
secret between him and his father-in-law. The second Lady Eglintoune
was ailing, and like to die, when Sir Archibald Kennedy arrived in
Edinburgh, with his stalwart but beautiful daughter Susanna. She was
much sought immediately; and Sir Archibald, in his perplexity among
the many suitors, one day consulted his old friend Eglintoune. "Bide a
wee, Sir Archy," replied the earl,--"bide a wee; my wife's very
sickly." And so, by waiting, the fair Susanna became Countess of
Eglintoune. It would seem as if Nature had some intent to punish the
earl's impatient faithlessness to his sickly wife; for, year after
year, seven years running, came a daughter, and no son, to the house
of Eglintoune. At last the earl, with a readiness to ignore marital
obligations at which his third countess need not have been surprised,
bluntly threatened to divorce her if she bore him no heir. Promptly
the spirited Susanna replied that nothing would please her better,
provided he would give her back all she brought him. "Every penny of
it, and welcome!" retorted the earl, supposing she referred to her
fortune. "Na, na, my lord," replied the lady, "that winna do. Return
me my youth, beauty, and virginity, and dismiss me when you please;"
upon which the matter dropped. In the end, the earl fared better than
he deserved, three sons being given him within the next five years.

For half a century Lady Eglintoune was a prominent figure in Scottish
social life. Her comings and goings and doings were all chronicled,
and handed down. It is even told that when Johnson and Boswell visited
her at her country-place, she was so delighted with Johnson's
conversation that she kissed him on parting,--from which we can argue
her ladyship's liking for long words. She lived to be ninety-one, and
amused herself in her last days by taming rats, of which she had a
dozen or more in such subjection that at a tap on the oak wainscoting
of her dining-room they came forth, joined her at her meal, and at a
word of command retired again into the wainscot.

When twenty-first-century travellers go speiring among the dingy ruins
of cities which are gay and fine now, they will not find relics and
traces of such individualities as these. The eighteenth century left a
most entertaining budget, which we of to-day are too busy and too well
educated to equal. No chiel among us all has the time to take gossip
notes of this century; and even if he did, they would be dull enough
in comparison with those of the last.

Groping and rummaging in Hyndford's Close, one day, for recognizable
traces of Lady Maxwell's house, we had the good fortune to encounter a
thrifty housewife, of the better class, living there. She was coming
home, with her market-basket on her arm. Seeing our eager scenting of
the old carvings on lintels and sills, and overhearing our mention of
the name of the Duchess of Gordon, she made bold to address us.

"It waur a strange place for the nobeelity to be livin' in, to be
sure," she said. "I'm livin' mysil in ane o' the best of 'im, an' it's
na mair space to 't than ud turn a cat. Ye're welcome to walk up, if
ye like to see what their dwellin's waur like in the auld time. It's a
self-contained stair ye see," she added with pride, as she marshalled
us up a twisting stone stairway, so narrow that even one person, going
alone, must go cautiously to avoid grazing elbows and shins on the
stone walls, at every turn. "I couldna abide the place but for the
self-contained stair: there's not many has them," she continued. "Mind
yer heads! mind yer heads! There's a stoop!" she cried; but it was too
late. We had reached, unwarned, a point in the winding stair where it
was necessary to go bent half double; only a little child could have
stood upright. With heads dizzy from the blow and eyes half blinded
by the sudden darkness, we stumbled on, and brought out in a
passage-way, perhaps three feet wide and ten long, from which opened
four rooms: one the kitchen, a totally dark closet, not over six feet
square; a tiny grate, a chair, table, and a bunk in the wall, where
the servant slept, were all its furniture. The woman lighted a candle
to show us how convenient was this bunk for the maid "to lie."
Standing in the middle of the narrow passage, one could reach his head
into kitchen, parlor, and both bedrooms without changing his position.
The four rooms together would hardly have made one good-sized chamber.
Nothing but its exquisite neatness and order saved the place from
being insupportable! Even those would not save it when herring suppers
should be broiling in the closet surnamed kitchen. Up a still smaller,
narrower crevice in the wall led a second "self-contained stair," dark
as midnight, and so low roofed there was no standing upright in it,
even at the beginning. This led to what the landlady called the
"lodgers' flairt." We had not courage to venture up, though she was
exceedingly anxious to show us her seven good bedrooms, three double
and four single, which were nightly filled with lodgers, at a shilling
a night.

Only the "verra rayspectable," she said, came to lodge with her. Her
husband was "verra pairticular." Trades-people from the country were
the chief of their customers, "an' the same a-comin' for seven year,
noo." No doubt she has as lively a pride, and gets as many
satisfactions between these narrow walls, as did the lords and ladies
of 1700. Evidently not the least of her satisfactions was the fact
that those lords and ladies had lived there before her.

Nowhere are Auld Reekie's antitheses of new and old more emphasized
than in the Cowgate. In 1530 it was an elegant suburb. The city walls
even then extended to enclose it, and it was eloquently described, in
an old divine's writings, as the place "ubi nihil est humile aut
rusticum, sed omnia magnifica."

In one of its grassy lanes the Earl of Galloway built a mansion. His
countess often went to pay visits to her neighbors, in great state,
driving six horses; and it not infrequently happened that when her
ladyship stepped into her coach, the leaders were standing opposite
the door at which she intended to alight.

Here dwelt, in 1617, the famous "Tam o' the Cowgate," Earl of
Haddington, boon companion of King James, who came often to dine with
him, and gave him the familiar nickname of Tam. Tam was so rich he was
vulgarly believed to have the philosopher's stone; but he himself once
gave a more probable explanation of his wealth, saying that his only
secret lay in two rules,--"never to put off till to-morrow that which
could be done to-day," and "never to trust to another what his own
hand could execute."

To-day there is not in all the world, outside the Jewish Ghetto of
Rome, so loathly wretched a street as this same Cowgate. Even at high
noon it is not always safe to walk through it; and there are many of
its wynds into which no man would go without protection of the police.
Simply to drive through it is harrowing. The place is indescribable.
It seems a perpetual and insatiable carnival of vice and misery. The
misery alone would be terrible enough to see; but the leering,
juggling, insolent vice added makes it indeed hellish. Every
curbstone, door-sill, alley mouth, window, swarms with faces out of
which has gone every trace of self-respect or decency; babies' faces
as bad as the worst, and the most aged faces worst of all. To pause on
the sidewalk is to be surrounded, in a moment, by a dangerous crowd of
half-naked boys and girls, whining, begging, elbowing, cursing, and
fighting. Giving of an alms is like pouring oil on a fire. The whole
gang is ablaze with envy and attack: the fierce and unscrupulous
pillage of the seventeenth century is re-enacted in miniature in the
Cowgate every day, when an injudicious stranger, passing through,
throws a handful of pennies to the beggars. The general look of
hopeless degradation in the spot is heightened by the great number of
old-clothes shops along the whole line of the street. In the days when
the Cowgate was an elegant suburb, the citizens were permitted by law
to extend their upper stories seven feet into the street, provided
they would build them of wood cut in the Borough Forest, a forest that
harbored robbers dangerous to the town. These projecting upper stories
are invaluable now to the old-clothes venders, who hang from them
their hideous wares, in double and treble lines, fluttering over the
heads and in the faces of passers-by; the wood of the Borough Forest
thus, by a strange irony of fate, still continuing to harbor dangers
to public welfare. If these close-packed tiers of dangling rags in the
Cowgate were run out in a straight single line, they would be miles
long; a sad beggars' arras to behold. The preponderance of tattered
finery in it adds to its melancholy: shreds of damask; dirty lace;
theatrical costumes; artificial flowers so crumpled, broken, and
soiled that they would seem to have been trodden in gutters,--there
was an indefinable horror in the thought that there could be even in
the Cowgate a woman creature who could think herself adorned by such
mockeries of blossoms. But I saw more than one poor soul look at them
with longing eyes, finger them, haggle at the price, and walk away
disappointed that she could not buy.

The quaint mottoes here and there in the grimy walls, built in when
the Cowgate people were not only comfortable but pious, must serve
often now to point bitter jests among the ungodly. On one wretched,
reeking tenement is: "Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt
his name together. 1643." On another, "All my trist is in ye Lord."

A token I saw in the Cowgate of one life there not without hope and
the capacity of enjoyment. It was in a small window, nine stories up
from the ground, in a wynd so close that hands might be clasped from
house to house across it. It was a tiny thing, but my eye fell on it
with as much relief as on a rift of blue sky in a storm: it was a
little green fern growing in a pot. Outside the window it stood, on a
perilously narrow ledge. As I watched it I grew frightened, lest the
wind should blow it down, or a vicious neighbor stone it off. It
seemed the brave signal flying of a forlorn hope, of a dauntless,
besieged soul that would never surrender; and I shall recollect it
long after every other picture of the Cowgate scenes has grown dim.

The more respectable of the pawnbrokers' or second-hand-goods shops in
Edinburgh are interesting places to rummage. If there were no other
record of the slow decay and dwindling fortunes of the noble Scottish
folk, it could be read in the great number of small dealers in relics
of the olden time.

Old buckles and brooches and clan badges; chains, lockets, seals,
rings; faded miniatures, on ivory or in mosaics, of women as far back
as Mary's time, loved then as well as was ever Mary herself, but
forgotten now as if they had never been; swords rusty, bent, battered,
and stained; spoons with forgotten crests; punch-ladles worn smooth
with the merry-makings of generations,--all these one may find in
scores of little one-roomed shops, kept perhaps by aged dames with the
very aroma of the antique Puritanism lingering about them still.

In such a room as this I found a Scotch pebble brooch with a quaint
silver setting, reverently and cautiously locked in a glass case. On
the back of it had been scratched, apparently with a pin, "Margret
Fleming, from her brother." I bore it away with me triumphantly, sure
that it had belonged to an ancestor of Pet Marjorie.

Almost as full of old-time atmosphere as the pawnbrokers' shops are
the antiquarian bookstores. Here one may possess himself, if he likes,
of well-thumbed volumes with heraldic crests on titlepages, dating
back to the earliest reading done by noble earls and baronets in
Scotland; even to the time when not to know how to read was no
indelible disgrace. In one of these shops, on the day I bought Margret
Fleming's brooch, I found an old torn copy of "Pet Marjorie." Speaking
of Dr. Brown and Rab to the bookseller,--himself almost a relic of
antiquity,--I was astonished and greatly amused to hear him reply:
"It's a' a feection.... He can't write without it.... I knoo that
darg.... A verra neece darg he was, but--a--a--a"--with a shake of the
head--"it's a verra neece story, verra neece.... He wrote it up, up;
not but that Rab was a verra neece darg. I knoo the darg wull."

Not a word of more definite disclaimer or contradiction could I win
from the canny old Scot. But to have hastily called the whole story a
lee, from beginning to end, would hardly have shaken one's confidence
in it so much as did the thoughtful deliberation of his "He was a
verra neece darg. I knoo the darg wull."

One of our "cawdies," during our stay in Edinburgh, was a remarkable
fellow. After being for twenty years a gentleman's servant, he had
turned his back on aristocracy, and betaken himself to the streets
for a living; driving cabs, or piloting strangers around the city, as
might be. But his earlier habits of good behavior were strong in him
still, and came to the surface quickly in associations which revived
them. His conversation reminded us forcibly of somebody's excellent
saying that Scotland would always be Scott-land. Not a line of Scott's
novels which this vagabond cawdie did not seemingly know by heart.
Scottish history, too, he had at his tongue's end, and its most
familiar episodes sounded new and entertaining as he phrased them.
Even the death of Queen Mary seemed freshly stated, as he put it,
when, after summing up the cruelties she had experienced at the hands
of Elizabeth, he wound up with, "And finally she beheaded her, and
that was the last of her,"--a succinctness of close which some of
Mary's historians would have done well to simulate.

Of Jeanie Deans and Dumbiedikes he spoke as of old acquaintances. He
pointed out a spot in the misty blue distance where was Dumbiedikes'
house, where Jeanie's sweetheart dwelt, and where the road lay on
which Jeanie went to London.

"It was there the old road to London lay; and wouldn't you think it
more natural, sir, that it was that way she went, and it was there she
met Dumbiedikes, and he gave her the purse? I'll always maintain, sir,
that it was there she got it."

Of the two women, Jeanie Deans and Mary Queen of Scots, Jeanie was
evidently the vivider and more real in his thoughts.

The second day of our stay in Edinburgh was a gay day in the castle.
The 71st Highlanders had just returned from a twelvemonth's stay at
Gibraltar. It was people's day. Everywhere the bronzed, tired,
happy-looking fellows, in their smartened uniforms, were to be
encountered, strolling, lounging, sitting with sweethearts or
wives,--more of the former than the latter. It struck me also that the
women were less good-looking than the men; but they were all
beautified by happiness, and the merry sounds of their laughter, and
the rumble of skittles playing filled all the place. Inside the
castle, the room in which the regalia were on exhibition was thronged
with country people, gazing reverently on its splendors.

"Keep yer eye on't, as ye walk by, an' mark the changes o' 't," I
heard one old lady say to her husband, whose wandering gaze seemed to
her neglectful of the opportunity.

A few gay-dressed women, escorted by officers, held themselves apart
from the soldiers' sweethearting, and were disposed, I thought, to
look a little scornfully on it. The soldiers did not seem to mind the
affront, if they saw it; no doubt, they thought their own sweethearts
far the better looking, and if they had ever heard of it would have
quoted with hearty good-will the old ballad,--

     "The lassies o' the Cannongate,
       Oh, they are wondrous nice:
     They winna gie a single kiss,
       But for a double price.

     "Gar hang them, gar hang them,
       Hie upon a tree;
     For we'll get better up the gate,
       For a bawbee!"

Most picturesque of all the figures to be seen in Edinburgh are the
Newhaven fishwives. With short, full blue cloth petticoats, reaching
barely to their ankles; white blouses and gay kerchiefs; big,
long-sleeved cloaks of the same blue cloth, fastened at the throat,
but flying loose, sleeves and all, as if thrown on in haste; the girls
bareheaded; the married women with white caps, standing up stiff and
straight in a point on the top of the head; two big wickerwork creels,
one above the other, full of fish, packed securely, on their broad
shoulders, and held in place by a stout leather strap passing round
their foreheads, they pull along at a steady, striding gait, up hill
and down, carrying weights that it taxes a man's strength merely to
lift. In fact, it is a fishwife's boast that she will run with a
weight which it takes two men to put on her back. By reason of this
great strength on the part of the women, and their immemorial habit of
exercising it; perhaps also from other causes far back in the early
days of Jutland, where these curious Newhaven fishing-folk are said to
have originated,--it has come about that the Newhaven men are a
singularly docile and submissive race. The wives keep all the money
which they receive for the fish, and the husbands take what is given
them,--a singular reversion of the situation in most communities. I
did not believe this when it was told me; so I stopped three fishwives
one day, and without mincing matters put the question direct to them.
Two of them were young, one old. The young women laughed saucily, and
the old woman smiled; but they all replied unhesitatingly, that they
had the spending of all the money.

"It's a' spent i' the hoos," said one, anxious not to be thought too
selfish,--"it's a' spent i' the hoos. The men, they cam home an' tak
their sleep, an' then they'll be aff agen."

"It 'ud never do for the husbands to stoop in tha city, an' be
spendin' a' the money," added the old woman, with severe emphasis.

I learned afterward that on the present system of buying and selling
the fish, the fishermen do receive from their labor an income
independent of their wives. They are the first sellers of the
fish,--selling them in quantity to the wholesale dealers, who sell in
turn at auction to the "retail trade," represented by the wives. This
seems an unjust system, and is much resented by both husbands and
wives; but it has been established by law, and there is no help for
it. It came in with the introduction of the steam trawlers. "They're
the deestrooction o' the place," said one of the fish women. "A mon
canna go oot wi' his lines an' mak a livin' noo. They just drag
everything; they tak a' the broods; they're dooin' a worrld o' harrm.
There's somethin' a dooin' aboot it in the House o' Commons, noo, but
a canna till hoo it wull go. They ull be the deestrooction o' this
place, if they're na pit stop to." And she shook her fist vindictively
at a puffing trawler which had just pushed away from the wharf.

Whoever would see the Newhaven fishwives at their best must be on the
Newhaven wharf by seven o'clock in the morning, on a day when the
trawlers come in and the fish is sold. The scene is a study for a

The fish are in long, narrow boxes, on the wharf, ranged at the base
of the sea wall; some sorted out, in piles, each kind by itself:
skates, with their long tails, which look vicious, as if they could
kick; hake, witches, brill, sole, flounders, huge catfish, crayfish,
and herrings, by the ton. The wall is crowded with men, Edinburgh
fishmongers, come to buy cheap on the spot. The wall is not over two
feet wide; and here they stand, lean over, jostle, slip by to right
and left of each other, and run up and down in their eager haste to
catch the eye of one auctioneer, or to get first speech with another.
The wharf is crowded with women,--an army in blue, two hundred, three
hundred, at a time; white caps bobbing, elbows thrusting, shrill
voices crying, fiery blue eyes shining, it is a sight worth going to
Scotland for. If one has had an affection for Christie Johnstone, it
is a delightful return of his old admiration for her. A dozen faces
which might be Christie's own are flashing up from the crowd; one
understands on the instant how that best of good stories came to be
written. A man with eyes in his head and a pen in his hand could not
have done less. Such fire, such honesty, such splendor of vitality,
kindle the women's faces. To spend a few days among them would be to
see Christie Johnstone dramatized on all sides.

On the morning when I drove out from Edinburgh to see this scene, a
Scotch mist was simmering down,--so warm that at first it seemed of no
consequence whatever, so cold that all of a sudden one found himself
pierced through and through with icy shivers. This is the universal
quality of a Scotch mist or drizzle.

The Newhaven wharf is a narrow pier running out to sea. On one side
lay the steam trawlers, which had just unloaded their freight; on the
other side, on the narrow, rampart-like wall of stone, swarmed the
fishmonger men. In this line I took my place, and the chances of the
scramble. Immediately the jolly fishwives caught sight of me, and
began to nod and smile. They knew very well I was there to "speir" at

"Ye'll tak cauld!" cried one motherly old soul, with her white hair
blowing wildly about almost enough to lift the cap off her head. "Com
doon! Ye'll tak cauld."

I smiled, and pointed to my water-proof cloak, down which, it must be
admitted, the "mist" was trickling in streams, while the cloak itself
flapped in the wind like a loose sail. She shook her head scornfully.

"It's a grat plass to tak cauld!" she cried. "Ye'll doo wull to com

There were three auctioneers: one, a handsome, fair-haired, blue-eyed
young fellow, was plainly a favorite with the women. They flocked
after him as he passed from one to another of the different lots of
fish. They crowded in close circles around him, three and four deep;
pushing, struggling, rising on tiptoes to look over each other's
shoulders and get sight of the fish.

"What's offered for this lot o' fine herrings? One! One and sax!
Thrippence ha'! Going, going, gone!" rang above all the clatter and
chatter of the women's tongues. It was so swift that it seemed over
before it was fairly begun; and the surging circles had moved along to
a new spot and a new trade. The eyes of the women were fixed on the
auctioneer's eyes; they beckoned; they shook forefingers at him; now
and then a tall, stalwart one, reaching over less able-bodied
comrades, took him by the shoulder, and compelled him to turn her way;
one, most fearless of all, literally gripped him by the ear and pulled
his head around, shrieking out her bid. When the pressure got
unbearable, the young fellow would shake himself like a Newfoundland
dog, and, laughing good-naturedly, whirl his arms wide round to clear
a breathing space; the women would fall back a pace or two, but in a
moment the rings would close up again, tighter than ever.

The efforts of those in the outer ring to break through or see over
the inner ones were droll. Arms and hands and heads seemed fairly
interlinked and interwoven. Sometimes a pair of hands would come into
sight, pushing their way between two bodies, low down,--just the two
hands, nothing more, breaking way for themselves, as if in a thicket
of underbrush; presently the arms followed; and then, with a quick
thrust of the arms to right and left, the space would be widened
enough to let in the head, and when that was fairly through the
victory was won. Straightening herself with a big leap, the woman
bounded in front of the couple she had so skilfully separated, and a
buzzing "bicker" of angry words would rise for a moment; but there was
no time to waste in bad temper where bargains were to be made or lost
in the twinkling of an eye.

An old sailor, who stood near me on the wall, twice saved me from
going backwards into the sea, in my hasty efforts to better my
standpoint. He also seemed to be there simply as a spectator, and I
asked him how the women knew what they were buying; buying, as they
did, by the pile or the box.

"Oh, they'll giss, verra near," he said; "they've an eye on the fish
sense they're bawn. God knows it's verra little they mak," he added,
"an' they'll carry's much's two men o' us can lift. They're extrawnery

As a lot of catfish were thrown down at our feet, he looked at them
with a shudder and exclaimed,--

"I'd no eat that."

"Why not?" said I. "Are they not good?"

"Ah, I'd no eat it," he replied, with a look of superstitious terror
spreading over his face. "It doesna look richt."

A fresh trawler came in just as the auction had nearly ended. The
excitement renewed itself fiercely. The crowd surged over to the
opposite side of the pier, and a Babel of voices arose. The skipper
was short and fat, and in his dripping oilskin suit looked like a
cross between a catfish and a frog.

"Here, you Rob," shouted the auctioneer, "what do you add to this fine
lot o' herrin'?"

"Herring be d----d!" growled the skipper, out of temper, for some
reason of his own; at which a whirring sound of ejaculated
disapprobation burst from the women's lips.

The fish were in great tanks on the deck. Quickly the sailors dipped
up pails of the sea-water, dashed it over them, and piled them into
baskets, in shining, slippery masses: the whole load was on the pier,
sorted, and sold in a few minutes.

Then the women settled down to the work of assorting and packing up
their fish. One after another they shouldered their creels and set off
for Edinburgh. They seemed to have much paying back and forth of
silver among themselves, one small piece of silver that I noticed
actually travelling through four different hands in the five minutes
during which I watched it. Each woman wore under her apron, in front,
a sort of apron-like bag, in which she carried her money. There was
evidently rivalry among them. They spied closely on each other's
loads, and did some trafficking and exchange before they set off. One
poor old creature had bought only a few crayfish, and as she lifted
her creel to her back, and crawled away, the women standing by looked
over into her basket, and laughed and jeered at her; but she gave no
sign of hearing a word they said.

Some of them were greatly discontented with their purchases when they
came to examine them closely, especially one woman who had bought a
box of flounders. She emptied them on the ground, and sorted the few
big ones, which had been artfully laid on the top; then, putting the
rest, which were all small, in a pile by themselves, she pointed
contemptuously to the contrast, and, with a toss of her head, ran
after the auctioneer, and led him by the sleeve back to the spot where
her fish lay. She was as fierce as Christie herself could have been at
the imposition. She had paid the price for big flounders, and had got
small ones. The auctioneer opened his book and took out his pencil to
correct the entry which had been made against her.

"Wull, tak aff saxpence," he said.

"Na! na!" cried she. "They're too dear at seven saxpence."

"Wull, tak aff a saxpence; it is written noo,--seven shillin'."

She nodded, and began packing up the flounders.

"Will you make something on them at that price?" I asked her.

"Wull, I'll mak me money back," she replied; but her eyes twinkled,
and I fancy she had got a very good bargain, as bargains go in
Newhaven; it being thought there a good day's work to clear three
shillings,--a pitiful sum, when a woman, to earn it, must trudge from
Newhaven to Edinburgh (two miles) with a hundred pounds of fish on her
back, and then toil up and down Edinburgh hills selling it from door
to door. One shilling on every pound is the auctioneer's fee. He has
all the women's names in his book, and it is safe to trust them; they
never seek to cheat, or even to put off paying. "They'd rather pay
than not," the blue-eyed auctioneer said to me. "They're the honestest
folks i' the warld."

As the last group was dispersing, one old woman, evidently in a state
of fierce anger, approached and poured out a torrent of Scotch as
bewildering and as unintelligible to me as if it had been Chinese. Her
companions gazed at her in astonishment; presently they began to
reply, and in a few seconds there was as fine a "rippet" going on as
could have been heard in Cowgate in Tam's day. At last a woman of near
her own age sprang forward, and approaching her with a determined
face, lifted her right hand with an authoritative gesture, and said in
vehement indignation, which reminded me of Christie again,--

"Keep yersil, an' haud yer tongue, noo!"

"What is she saying?" I asked. "What is the matter?"

"Eh, it is jist nathin' at a'," she replied. "She's thet angry, she
doesna knaw hersil."

The faces of the Newhaven women are full of beauty, even those of the
old women: their blue eyes are bright and laughing, long after the sea
wind and sun have tanned and shrivelled their skins and bleached their
hair. Blue eyes and yellow hair are the predominant type; but there
are some faces with dark hazel eyes of rare beauty and very dark
hair,--still more beautiful,--which, spite of its darkness, shows
glints of red in the sun. The dark blue of their gowns and cloaks is
the best color-frame and setting their faces could have; the bunched
fulness of the petticoat is saved from looking clumsy by being so
short, and the cloaks are in themselves graceful garments. The walking
in a bent posture, with such heavy loads on the back, has given to all
the women an abnormal breadth of hip, which would be hideous in any
other dress than their own. This is so noticeable that I thought
perhaps they wore under their skirts, to set them out, a roll, such as
is worn by some of the Bavarian peasants. But when I asked one of the
women, she replied,--

"Na, na, jist the flannel; a' tuckit."

"Tucked all the way up to the belt?" said I.

"Na, na," laughing as if that were a folly never conceived of,--"na,
na." And in a twinkling she whipped her petticoat high up, to show me
the under petticoat, of the same heavy blue cloth, tucked only a few
inches deep. Her massive hips alone were responsible for the strange
contour of her figure.

The last person to leave the wharf was a young man with a creel of
fish on his back. My friend the sailor glanced at him with contempt.

"There's the only man in all Scotland that 'ud be seen carryin' a
creel o' fish on his back like a woman," said he. "He's na pride aboot

"But why shouldn't men carry creels?" I asked. "I'm sure it is very
hard work for women."

The sailor eyed me for a moment perplexedly, and then as if it were
waste of words to undertake to explain self-evident propositions,

"He worked at it when he was a boy, with his mother; an' now he's no
pride left. There's the whole village been at him to get a barrow; but
he'll not do't. He's na pride aboot him."

What an interesting addition it would be to the statistics of foods
eaten by different peoples to collect the statistics of the different
foods with which pride's hunger is satisfied in different countries!
Its stomach has as many and opposite standards as the human digestive
apparatus. It is, like everything else, all and only a question of
climate. Not a nabob anywhere who gets more daily satisfaction out of
despising his neighbors than the Newhaven fishermen do out of their
conscious superiority to this poor soul, who lugs his fish in a basket
on his back like a woman, and has "na pride aboot him."

If I had had time and opportunity to probe one layer farther down in
Newhaven society, no doubt I should have come upon something which
even this pariah, the fish-carrying man, would scorn to be seen doing.

After the last toiling fishwife had disappeared in the distance, and
the wharf and the village had quieted down into sombre stillness, I
drove to "The Peacock," and ate bread and milk in a room which, if it
were not the very one in which Christie and her lover supped, at least
looked out on the same sea they looked upon. And a very gray, ugly sea
it was, too; just such an one as used to stir Christie's soul with a
heat of desire to spin out into it, and show the boys she was without
fear. On the stony beach below the inn a woman was spreading linen to
dry. Her motions as she raised and bent, and raised and bent, over her
task were graceful beyond measure. Scuds of rain-drops swept by now
and then; and she would stop her work, and straightening herself into
a splendid pose, with one hand on her hip, throw back her head, and
sweep the whole sky with her look, uncertain whether to keep on with
her labor or not; then bend again, and make greater haste than before.

As I drove out of the village I found a knot of the women gossiping at
a corner. They had gathered around a young wife, who had evidently
brought out her baby for the village to admire. It was dressed in very
"braw attire" for Newhaven,--snowy white, and embroidery, and blue
ribbons. It was but four weeks old, and its tiny red face was nearly
covered up by the fine clothes. I said to a white-haired woman in the

"Do you recollect when it was all open down to the sea here,--before
this second line of newer cottages was built?"

She shook her head and replied, "I'm na so auld 's I luik; my hair it
wentit white--" After a second's pause, and turning her eyes out to
sea as she spoke, she added, "A''t once it wentit white."

A silence fell on the group, and looks were exchanged between the
women. I drove away hastily, feeling as one does who has unawares
stepped irreverently on a grave. Many grief-stricken queens have trod
the Scottish shores; the centuries still keep their memory green, and
their names haunt one's thoughts in every spot they knew. But more
vivid to my memory than all these returns and returns the thought of
the obscure fisherwoman whose hair, from a grief of which the world
never heard, "a' 't once wentit white."


If it be true, as some poets think, that every spot on earth is full
of poetry, then it is certainly also true that each place has its own
distinctive measure; an indigenous metre, so to speak, in which, and
in which only, its poetry will be truly set or sung.

The more one reflects on this, in connection with the spots and places
he has known best in the world, the truer it seems. Memories and
impressions group themselves in subtle co-ordinations to prove it.
There are surely woods which are like stately sonnets, and others of
which the truth would best be told in tender lyrics; brooks which are
jocund songs, and mountains which are Odes to Immortality. Of cities
and towns it is perhaps even truer than of woods and mountains;
certainly, no less true. For instance, it would be a bold poet who
should attempt to set pictures of Rome in any strain less solemn than
the epic; and is it too strong a thing to say that only a foolish one
would think of framing a Venice glimpse or memory in anything save
dreamy songs, with dreamiest refrains? Endless vistas of reverie open
to the imagination once entered on the road of this sort of
fancy,--reveries which play strange pranks with both time and place,
endow the dreamer with a sort of _post facto_ second sight, and leave
him, when suddenly roused, as lost as if he had been asleep for a
century. For sensations of this kind Chester is a "hede and chefe
cyte." Simply to walk its streets is to step to time and tune of
ballads; the very air about one's ears goes lilting with them; the
walls ring; the gates echo; choruses rollic round corners,--ballads,
always ballads, or, if not a ballad, a play, none the less lively,--a
play with pageants and delightful racket.

Such are the measure and metre to-day of "The Cyte of Legyons, that is
Chestre in the marches of Englonde, towards Wales, betwegne two armes
of the see, that bee named Dee and Mersee. Thys cyte in tyme of
Britons was hede and chefe cyte of Venedocia, that is North Wales.
Thys cyte in Brytyshe speech bete Carthleon, Chestre in Englyshe, and
Cyte of Legyons also. For there laye a wynter, the legyons that Julius
Cæsar sent to wyne Irlonde. And after, Claudius Cæsar sent legyons out
of the cyte for to wynn the Islands that bee called Orcades. Thys cyte
hath plenty of cyne land, of corn, of flesh, and specyally of samon.
Thys cyte receyveth grate marchandyse and sendeth out also.
Northumbres destroyed this cyte but Elfleda Lady of Mercia bylded it
again and made it mouch more."

This is what was written of Chester, more than six hundred years ago,
by one Ranulph Higden, a Chester Abbey monk,--him who wrote those old
miracle plays, except for which we very like had never had such a
thing as a play at all, and William Shakspeare had turned out no
better than many another Stratford man.

All good Americans who reach England go to Chester. They go to see the
cathedral, and to buy old Queen Anne furniture. The cathedral is very
good in its way, the way of all cathedrals, and the old Queen Anne
furniture is now quite well made; but it is a marvel that either
cathedral or shop can long hold a person away from Chester streets.
One cannot go amiss in them; at each step he is, as it were,
button-holed by a gable, an arch, a pavement, a door-sill, a sign, or
a gate with a story to tell. A story, indeed? A hundred, or more; and
if anybody doubts them, or has by reason of old age, or
over-occupation with other matters, got them confused in his mind, all
he has to do is to step into a public library, which is kept in a very
private way, in a by-street, by two aged Cestrian citizens and a
parish boy. Here, if he can convince these venerable Cestrians of his
respectability, he may go a-junketing by himself in that delicious
feast of an old book, the "Vale-Royale" of England, published in
London in 1656, and written, I believe, a half-century or so earlier.

Never was any bit of country more praised than this beautiful Chester
County, "pleasant and abounding in plenteousness of all things
needful and necessary for man's use, insomuch that it merited and had
the name of the Vale-Royale of England."

The old writer continues:--

     "The ayr is very wholesome, insomuch that the people of the
     Country are seldome infected with Diseases or Sicknesses;
     neither do they use the help of the Physicians nothing so much
     as in other countries. For when any of them are sick they make
     him a Posset and tye a kerchief on his head, and if that will
     not amend him, then God be merciful to him!"

And of the river Dee,--

     "To which water no man can express how much this ancient city
     hath been beholden; nay, I suppose if I should call it the
     Mother, the Nurse, the Maintainer, the Advancer and Preserver
     thereof, I should not greatly erre."

And again, of the shifting "sands o' Dee," this ancient and devout
man, taking quite another view than that of the thoughtless or pensive
lyrists, later, says,--

     "The changing and shifting of the water gave some occasion to
     the Britons in that Infancy of the Christian Religion to
     attribute some divine honor and estimation to the said water:
     though I cannot believe that to be any cause of the name of

His pious deduction from the exceeding beauty of the situation of the
city is that it is "worthy, according to the Eye, to be called a city
guarded with Watch of Holy and Religious men, and through the Mercy of
our Saviour always fenced and fortified with the merciful assistance
of the Almighty." To keep it thus guarded, the monks of Vale-Royale
did their best. Witness the terms in which their grant was couched:--

     "All the mannours, churches, lands and tenements aforesaid, in
     free pure and perpetual alms forever; with Homages, Rents,
     Demesnes, Villenages, Services of Free Holders and Bond, with
     Villains and their Families, Advowsons, Wards, Reliefs,
     Escheates, Woods, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Wayes, Pathes,
     Heaths, Turfs, Forests, Waters, Ponds, Parks, Fishing, Mills in
     Granges, Cottages within Borough and without, and in all other
     places with all Easments, Liberties, Franchises and Free
     Customs any way belonging to the aforesaid Mannours, Churches,
     lands and tenements."

Plainly, if the devil or any of his followers were caught in the
Vale-Royale, they could be legally ejected as trespassers.

He was not, however, without an eye to worldly state, this devout
writer, for he speaks with evident pride of the fine show kept up by
the mayor of Chester:--

     "The Estate that the Mayor of Chester keepeth is great. For he
     hath both Sword Bearer and Mace Bearer Sergeants, with their
     silver maces, in as good and decent order as in any other city
     in England. His housekeeping accordingly; but not so chargeable
     as in all other cities, because all thing are better cheap
     there.... He remaineth, most part of the day at a place called
     the Pendice which is a brave place builded for the purpose at
     the high Crosse under St. Peters Church, and in the middest of
     the city, of such a sort that a man may stand therein and see
     into the markets or four principal streets of the city."

Nevertheless, there was once a mayor of Chester who did not see all he
ought to have seen in the principal streets of the city; for his own
daughter, out playing ball "with other maids, in the summer time, in
Pepur Street," stole away from her companions, and ran off with her
sweetheart, through one of the city gates, at the foot of that street,
which gate the enraged mayor ordered closed up forever, as if that
would do any good; and some sharp-tongued and sensible Cestrian
immediately phrased the illogical action in a proverb: "When the
daughter is stolen, shut the Pepur gate." This saying is to be heard
in Chester to this day, and is no doubt lineal ancestor of our own
broader apothegm, "When the mare's stolen, lock the stable."

There are many lively stories about mayors of Chester. There was a
mayor in 1617 who made a very learned speech to King James, when he
rode in through East Gate, with all the train soldiers of the city
standing in order, "each company with their ensigns in seemly sort,"
the array stretching up both sides of East Gate Street. This mayor's
name was Charles Fitton. He delivered his speech to the king;
presented to him a "standing cup with a cover double gilt, and therein
a hundred jacobins of gold;" likewise delivered to him the city's
sword, and afterward bore it before him, in the procession. But when
King James proposed, in return for all these civilities, to make a
knight of him, Charles Fitton sturdily refused; which was a thing so
strange for its day and generation that one is instantly possessed by
a fire of curiosity to know what Charles Fitton's reasons could have
been for such contempt of a knight's title. No doubt there is a story
hanging thereby,--something to do with a lady-love, not unlikely; and
a fine ballad it would make, if one but knew it. The records, however,
state only the bare fact.

Then there was, a hundred years later than this, a man who got to be
mayor of Chester by a very strange chance. He was a ribbon-weaver, in
a small way, kept a shop in Shoemaker's Row, and lived in a little
house backing on the Falcon Inn. All of a sudden he blossomed out into
a rich silk-mercer; bought a fine estate just outside the city, built
a grand house, and generally assumed the airs and manners of a
dignitary. As is the way of the world now, so then: people soon took
him at his surface showing, forgot all about the mystery of his sudden
wealth, and presently made him mayor of Chester. Afterward it came
out, though never in such fashion that anything was done about it, how
the mayor got his money. Just before the mysterious rise in his
fortunes, a great London banking-house had been robbed of a large sum
of money by one of its clerks, who ran away, came to Chester, and went
into hiding at the Falcon Inn. He was tracked and overtaken late one
night. Hearing his pursuers on the stairs, he sprang from his bed and
threw the treasure bags out of the window, plump into the
ribbon-weaver's back-yard; where the disappointed constables naturally
never thought of looking, and went back to London much chagrined,
carrying only the man, and no money. None of the money having been
found on the robber, he escaped conviction, but subsequently, for
another offence, was tried, convicted, and executed. I take it for
granted that it must have been he who told in his last hours what he
did with the money bags: for certainly no one else knew,--that is, no
one else except Mr. Samuel Jarvis, the ribbon-weaver, who, much
astonished, had picked them up before daylight, the morning after they
had been thrown into his back-yard. It is certain that he kept his
mouth shut, and proceeded to turn the money to the best possible
account in the shortest possible time. But an evil fate seemed to
attach to the dishonestly gotten riches; Jarvis dying without issue,
his estate all went to a man named Doe, "a gardener, at Greg's Pit,"
whose sons and grandsons spent the last penny of it in riotous living.
So there is now "nothing to show for" that money, for the stealing of
which one man was tried for his life, and another man made mayor of
Chester; which would all come in capitally in a ballad, if a
ballad-monger chose.

Of the famous Chester Rows, nobody has ever yet contrived to give a
description intelligible to one who had not seen them. The more
familiarly they are known, the more fantastic and bewildering they
seem, and the less one is sure how to speak of them. Whether it is
that the sidewalk goes upstairs, or the front second-story bedroom
comes down into the street; whether the street itself be in the
basement or the cellar, or the sidewalk be on the roofs of the
houses;--where any one of them all begins or leaves off, it would be a
courageous narrator that tried to explain. They appear to have been as
much of a puzzle two hundred years ago as to-day; for the devout old
chronicler of the Vale-Royale, essaying to describe them, wrote the
following paragraph, which, delicious as it is to those who know
Chester, I think must be a stumbling-block and foolishness to those
who do not. He says there is "a singular property of praise to this
city, whereof I know not the like of any other: there be towards the
street fair rooms, both for shops and dwelling-houses, to which there
is rather a descent than an equal height with the floor or pavement of
the street. Yet the principal dwelling-houses and shops for the
chiefest Trades are mounted a story higher, and before the Doors and
Entries a continued Row, on either side the street, for people to pass
to and fro all along the said houses, out of all annoyance of Rain, or
other foul weather, with stairs fairly built, and neatly maintained to
step down out of those Rowes into the open streets: almost at every
second house: and the said Rowes built over the head with such of the
Chambers and Rooms for the most part as are the best rooms in every
one of the said houses.

"It approves itself to be of most excellent use, both for dry and easy
passage of all sorts of people upon their necessary occasions, as
also for the sending away, of all or the most Passengers on foot from
the passage of the street, amongst laden and empty Carts, loaden and
travelling Horses, lumbering Coaches, Beer Carts, Beasts, Sheep,
Swine, and all annoyances, which what a confused trouble it makes in
other cities, especially where great stirring is, there's none that
can be ignorant."

He also suggests another advantage of this arrangement, which seems by
no means unlikely to have been part of its original reason for being;
namely, that "when the enemy entered they might avoid the danger of
the Horsemen, and might annoy the Enemies as they passed through the
Streets." Probably in this writer's day the marvel of the construction
of the Rows was even greater than it is now; in many instances the
first story was excavated out of solid rock, so you began by going
downstairs at the outset. These first stories of the ancient Cestrians
are beneath the cellars of the Rows to-day; and every now and then, in
deepening a vault or cellar-way, workmen come on old Roman altars,
built there by the "Legyons" of Julius, or Claudius Cæsar, dedicated
to "Nymphs and Fountains," or other genii of the day; baths, too, with
their pillars and perforated tiles still in place, as they were in the
days when cleanly and luxurious Roman soldiers took Turkish baths
there, after hot victories. Knowing about these lower strata adds a
weird charm to the fascination of strolling along in the balconies
above, looking in, now at a jeweller's window, now at a smart
haberdashery shop, now at some neat housekeeper's bedroom window, now
into a mysterious chink-like passage-way winding off into the heart of
the building; and then, perhaps, presto! descending a staircase a few
feet, to another tier of similar shop-windows, domiciles, garret
alleys, and dormer-window bazars; and the next thing, plump down
again, ten feet or so more, into the very street itself. Indeed are
they, as the "Vale-Royale" says, "a singular property of praise to
this city, whereof I know not the like of any other."

One manifest use and enjoyment of this medley of in and out, up and
down, above and below, balconies, basements, attics, dormer windows,
gables, and casements, the old chronicler failed to mention, but there
can never have been a day or a generation which has not discovered
it, and that is the convenient overlooking of all that goes on in the
street below. What rare and comfortable nooks for the spying on
processions, and all manner of shows and spectacles! To sit snug in
one's best chamber, ten feet above the street, ten feet out into it,
with windows looking up and down the highway,--what vantage it must
have been in the days when the Miracle Plays went wheeling along from
street to street, played on double scaffolded carts; the players
attiring themselves on the lower scaffold, while the play was
progressing on the upper! They began to do this in Chester in the year
of our Lord 1268. There were generally in use at one time twenty-four
of the wheeled stages; as soon as one play was over, its stage was
wheeled along to the next street, and another took its place. The
plays were called Mysteries, and were devised for the giving of
instruction in the Old and New Testament, which had been so long
sealed books to the people. Luther gave them his sanction, saying,
"Such spectacles often do more good and produce more impression than

The old chronicles are full of quaint and interesting entries in
regard to these plays. The different trades and guilds of the city
represented different acts in the holy dramas:--

The Barkers and Tanners, _The Fall of Lucifer_.

Drapers and Hosiers, _The Creation of the World_.

Drawers of Dee and Water Leaders, _Noe and his Shippe_.

Barbers, Wax Chandlers, and Leeches, _Abraham and Isaac_.

Cappers, Wire Drawers, and Pinners, _Balak and Balaam with Moses_.

Wrights, Slaters, Tylers, Daubers, and Thatchers, _The Nativity_.

In 1574 these plays were played for the last time. There had been
several attempts before to suppress them. One Chester mayor, Henry
Hardware by name, being a "godly and zealous man, caused the gyauntes
in the mid-somer show to be broken up, not to go; and the devil in his
feathers he put awaye, and the caps, and the canes, and dragon and the
naked boys."

But it was reserved for another mayor, Sir John Savage, Knight, to
have the honor of finally putting an end to the pageants. "Sir John
Savage, knight, being Mayor of Chester, which was the laste time they
were played, and we praise God, and praye that we see not the like
profanation of holy Scriptures, but O, the mercie of God for the time
of our ignorance!" says an old history, written in 1595.

At intervals between these pious suppressions, carnal and
pleasure-loving persons made great efforts to restore the plays; and
there are some very curious accounts of expenditures made in Chester,
under mayors less godly than Hardware and Savage, for the
rehabilitation of some of the old properties of the sacred pageants:--

     "For finding all the materials with the workmanship of the four
     great giants, all to be made new, as neere as may be, lyke as
     they were before, at five pounds a giant, the least that can
     be, and four men to carry them at two shillings and sixpence

These redoubtable giants, which could not be made at less than five
pounds apiece, were constructed out of "hoops, deal boards, nails,
pasteboard, scale-board, paper of various sorts, buckram size cloth,
old sheets for their bodies, sleeves and shirts, tinsille, tinfoil,
gold and silver leaf, colors of different kinds, and glue in
abundance." Last, not least, came the item, "For arsknick to put into
the paste to save the giants from being eaten by the rats, one
shilling and fourpence."

It is at first laughable to think of a set of city fathers summing up
such accounts as these for a paper baby show, but upon second thought
the question occurs whether city funds are any better administered in
these days. The paper giants, feathered devils, and dragons were
cheaper than champagne suppers and stationery now-a-days in "hede and
chefe" cities.

When the Mystery Plays were finally forbidden, it seemed dull times
for a while in Chester; but at last the people contrived an ingenious
resuscitation of the old amusements under new names, and with new
themes, to which nobody could object. They dramatized old stories,
legends, histories of kings, and the like. The story of Æneas and
Queen Dido was one of the first played. No doubt all the "gyauntes"
and hobble-de-horses which had not been eaten up by rats and moths
came in as effectively in the second dispensation as in the first. The
only one of the later plays of which an account has been preserved was
played in 1608, in honor of the oldest son of James I., by the sheriff
of Chester, who himself wrote a flaming account of it. He says:--

     "Zeal produced it, love devized it, boyes performed it, men
     beheld it, and none but fools dispraised it.... The chiefest
     part of this people-pleasing spectacle consisted in three Bees,
     that is, Boyes, Beastes, and Bels."

Allegory, mythology, music, fireworks, and ground and lofty tumbling
were jumbled together in a fine way, in the sheriff's show. Envy was
on horseback with a wreath of snakes around her head; Plenty, Peace,
Fame, and Joy were personated; Mercury came down from heaven with
wings, in a cloud; a "wheele of fire burning very cunningly, with
other fireworks, mounted the Crosse by the assistance of ropes, in the
midst of heavenly melody;" and, to top off with, a grotesque figure
climbed up to the top of the "Crosse," and stood on his head, with his
feet in the air, "very dangerously and wonderfully to the view of the
beholders, and casting fireworks very delightfull." Truly, the
sheriff's language seems hardly too strong, when he says that none but
fools dispraised his spectacle.

These secular shows never attained the popularity of the old Mystery
Plays. That mysterious halo of attraction which always invests the
forbidden undoubtedly heightened the reputed charm of the
never-more-to-be-seen sacred pageants, and led people to continually
depreciate the value of all entertainments offered as substitutes for
them. Probably in the midst of the heavenly melodies and "fireworks
very delightfull," at the sheriff's grand show, old men went about
shaking their heads regretfully, and saying, "Ah, but you should have
seen the gyaunts we used to have forty years ago, and the way they
played the Fall of Lucifer in 1574; there's never been anything like
it since;" and immediately all the young people who had never seen a
Miracle Play began to be full of dissatisfied wonder as to what they
were like.

But what the shows and pageants lacked in the early days of the
seventeenth century, grand processions went a long way towards making
up. It is evident that Chester people never missed an occasion for
turning out in fine array; and there being always somebody who took
the trouble to write a full account of the parade, we of to-day know
almost as much about it as if we had been on the spot. The old
chronicles in the Chester public library are running over with quaint
and gay stories of such doings as the following:

     "Came to Chester, being Saturday, the Duchess of Tremoyle, from
     France, mother-in-law to the Lord Strange: and all the Gentry
     of Cheshier, Flintshier, and Denbighshier went to meet her at
     Hoole's Heath, with the Earl of Derby; being at least six
     hundred horse. All the Gentle Men of the artelery yard lately
     erected in Chester, met her in Cow Lane, in very stately
     manner, all with greate white and blew fethers, and went before
     her chariot, in march, to the Bishop's Pallas, and making a
     yard, let her thro the middest, and then gave her three volleys
     of shot, and so returned to their yard.... So many knights,
     esquires, and Gentle Men never were in Chester, no, not to meet
     King James when he went to Chester."

This Cow Lane is now called Frodsham Street; and on one of its corners
is the building in which William Penn, in his day, preached more than
once, setting forth doctrines which the Duchess of Tremoyle would have
much disrelished in her day, as would also the "artelery Gentle Men"
with their "greate white and blew fethers." King James himself is said
to have once dropped in at this Quaker meeting-house when Penn was
preaching, and to have sat, attentive, through the entire discourse.

And so we come down through the centuries, from the pasteboard
"gyaunt" and glued dragon, winged Mercury with fire-wheel, Duchess of
Tremoyle with her plumed horsemen, to the grim but gentle Quaker,
holding feathers pernicious, plays deadly, and permitting to the
people nothing but plain yea and nay. Of all this, and worlds more
like it, and gayer and wilder,--sadder, too,--is the Chester air so
brimful that, as I said in the beginning, it seems perpetually to go
lilting about one's ears.

Leaving the library, with its quaint and fascinating old records, and
turning aside at intervals from the more ancient landmarks of the
streets to observe the ways and conditions of the Cestrians now, the
traveller is no less repaid. Every rod of the sidewalk is a study for
its present as well as for its past. The venders are a guild by
themselves, as much to-day as they were in the sixteenth century. They
build up their stuffs, their old chairs, chests, brooms, crockery and
tinware, in stacks of confusion, in shelf-like balconies, on beams
hanging overhead and in corners and nooks underfoot, all along the
most ancient of the Rows. It is a piece of good luck to walk past half
a dozen doors there without jostling something on the right or left,
and bringing down a clattering pile on one's heels. From shadowy
recesses, men and women eager for trade dart out, eying the stranger
sharply. They are connoisseurs in customers, if in nothing else, the
Cestrian dealers of to-day. They know at a glance who will give ten
shillings and sixpence for a cream jug without any nose, and with a
big crack in one side, on the bare chance of its being old Welsh.
There is much excuse for their spreading out their goods over the
highway, as they do, for the shops themselves are closets,--six by
eight, eight by ten; ten by twelve is a spacious mart, in comparison
with the average. Deprived of the outside nooks between the pillars of
the arcade, the dealers would be sorely put to it for room. It is
becoming, however, a disputed question whether the renting of these
shops includes any right to the covered ways in front of them; and
there is great anxiety among the inhabitants of the more dilapidated
portions of the Rows in consequence.

"There's a deespute with the corporation, mem, as to whether we hown
the stalls or not," said an energetic furniture-wife (if fish-wife,
why not furniture-wife?) to me one day, as I was laughingly steering a
cautious passage among her shaky pyramids of fourth or twentieth hand
furniture. "It's lasted a while now, an' they've not forced us to give
'em hup as yet; but I'm afeard they may bring it about," she added,
with the dogged humility of her class. "They've everything their own
way,--the corporation."

It is worth while to take a turn down some of the crevice-like alleys
in these Rows, and see where the people live; see also where the
nobility gets part of its wherewithal to eat, drink, and be clothed.

Often there is to be seen at the far end of these crevices a point of
sunlight; like the gleaming point of light seen ahead, in going
through a rayless tunnel. This betokens a tiny court-yard in the rear.
These court-yards are always well worth seeing. They are paved,
sometimes with tiles evidently hundreds of years old. The different
properties of the dozens of families living in tenements opening on
the court are arranged around its sides, apparently each family
keeping scrupulously to its own little hand's-breadth of room;
frequently a tiny flower-bed, or a single plant in a pot, gives a
gleam of cheer to the place. In such a court-yard as this, I found,
one morning, a yellow-haired, blue-eyed little maid, scrubbing away
for dear life, with a broom and soap-suds, on the old tiles. She was
not over nine years old; her bare legs and feet were pink and chubby,
and she had a smile like a sunbeam.

"I saw the sun shining in here so brightly that I walked up the alley
to see how it got in," I said to her.

"Yes, mem," she said, with a courtesy. "It do shine in here
beautiful." And she looked up at the sky, smiling.

"Have you lived here long?" I asked.

"About nine months, mem. I'm only in service, mem," she continued with
a deprecating courtesy, modestly anxious to disclaim the honor of
having any proprietary right in the place.

"We've five rooms, mem," she went on. "It's a very nice lodging, if
you'd like to see it." And she threw open a door into an infinitesimal
parlor, out of which opened a still smaller dining-room, lighted only
by a window in the parlor door. There were two bedrooms above, reached
by a nearly upright stairway, not over two feet wide. The fifth room
was a "beautiful washroom," which the little maiden exhibited with
even more pride than she had shown the parlor. "It's three families
has it together, mem," she explained. "It's a great thing to get a
washroom. And we've a coal-hole, too, mem," she said eagerly; "you
passed it, coming up." And she stepped a few paces down the alley, and
threw open a door into a rayless place possibly five by seven feet in
size. "It used to be a bedroom, mem, to the opposite house; but it's
empty now, so we gets it for coal." I could not take my eyes from the
child's face, as she prattled and pattered along. She looked like an
angel. Her face shone with loyalty, pride, and happiness. I envied the
poverty-stricken dwellers in this court their barefooted handmaiden,
and would have taken her then and there, if I could, into my own
service for her lifetime. As we stood talking, another door opened,
and a grizzled old head popped out.

"Good-morning, mem," said the child cheerily, making the same
respectful courtesy she had made to me. "I'm just showin' the lady
what nice lodgin's we've 'ere in the court."

"Humph," said the old woman gruffly, as she tottered out, leaving her
door wide open; "they're nothin' to boast of."

Her own lodging certainly was not. It was literally little more than a
chamber in the wall: it had no window, except one small square pane
above the door. You could hardly stand upright in it, and not much
more than turn around. The walls were hung full: household utensils,
clothes, even her two or three books, were hung up by strings; there
being only room for one tiny table, besides the stove. In one corner
stood a step-ladder, which led up through a hole in the ceiling to the
cranny overhead in which she slept. This was all the old woman had.
She lived here alone, and she paid to the Duke of Westminster two
shillings and sixpence a week for the rent of the place. "It's dear at
the rent," she said; "but it's a respectable place, an' I think a deal
o' that." And she sighed.

The name of the Duke of Westminster and the value of that two and
sixpence to his grace meant more to me that morning than it would have
done twenty-four hours earlier; for on the previous afternoon we had
visited his palace, the famous Eaton Hall. We had walked there for
weary hours over marble floors, under frescoed domes, through long
lines of statues, of pictures, of stained-glass windows, hangings,
carvings, and rare relics and trophies innumerable. We had seen the
duchess's window balcony, one waving mass of yellow musk. "Her
ladyship is very fond of musk. It is always to be kept flowering at
her window," we were told.

We had walked also through a glass corridor three hundred and
seventy-five yards long, draped with white clematis and heliotrope on
one side, and on the other banked high with geraniums, carnations,
and all manner of flowers. Opening at intervals in these banks of
flowers were doors into other conservatories: one was filled chiefly
with rare orchids, like an enchanted aviary of hummingbirds, arrested
on the wing; gold and white, purple and white, brown and gold, green,
snowy white, orange; some of them as large as a fleur-de-lis. Another
house was filled with ferns and palms, green, luxuriant, like a bit of
tropical forest brought across seas for his grace's pleasure. The most
superb sight of all was the lotus house. Cleopatra herself might have
flushed with pleasure at beholding it. A deep tank, sixty feet long,
and twenty wide, filled with white and blue and pink blossoms,
floating, swaying, lolling on the dark water; while, seemingly to
uphold the glass roof canopying this lotus-decked sea, rose slender
columns, wreathed with thunbergia vines in full bloom, yellow, orange,
and white; the glass walls of the building were set thick and high
with maiden-hair and other rare ferns, interspersed at irregular
intervals with solid masses of purple or white flowers. The spell of
the place, of its warm, languid air, was beyond words: it was

All this being vivid in my mind, I started at hearing his grace's name
from the old woman's lips.

"So these houses belong to the Duke of Westminster, do they?" I

"Yes, 'ee's the 'ole o' 't," she answered; "an' a power o' money it
brings 'im in, considerin' its size. 'Ee 's big rents in this town.
Mebbe ye've bin out t' 'is 'all? It's a gran' sight, I'm told. I've
never seen it."

I was minded then to tell about the duke's flowers. It would have been
only a bit of a fairy story to the little maid, a bright spot in her
still bright horizons; but I forebore, for the sake of the old woman's
soul, already enough wrung and embittered by the long strain of her
hard lot, and its contrast with that of her betters, without having
that contrast enforced by a vivid picture of the duke's hothouses. My
own memory of them was darkened forever,--unreasonably so, perhaps;
but the antithesis came too suddenly and soon for me ever to separate
the pictures.

The archæologist in Chester will frequently be lured from its streets
to its still more famous walls. This side Rome there is no such piece
of Roman masonry work, to be seen. Here, indeed, is the air full of
ballad measures, to which one must step, if he go his way thinking at
all. The four great gates, north, south, east, and west,--three kept
by earls, and only one owned by the citizens; the lesser posterns,
with commoner names, born of their different sorts of traffic, or the
fords to which they led; the towers and turrets, fought over, lost and
won, and won and lost, trod by centuries of brave fighters whose names
live forever; bridgeways and arches in their own successions, of as
noble lineage as any lineages of men,--of such are the walls of
Chester. They surround the old city; are nearly two miles in length,
and were originally of the width prescribed in the ancient Roman
manual of Vitruvius, "that two armed men may pass each other without
impediment." There are many places, now, however, which would by no
means come up to that standard; Nature having usurped much space with
her various growths, and time having been chipping away at them as
well. In fact, on some portions of the wall, there is only a narrow
grassy footpath, such as might wind around in a village churchyard. To
come up by hoary stone stairs, out of the bustling street, atop of the
wall, and out on such a bit of footpath as this, with an outlook over
the Rood Eye meadow and off toward the region of the old Welsh
castles, is a fine early-morning treat in Chester. Some of the towers
are now sunk to the ignoble uses of heterogeneous museums. Old women
have the keys, and for a fee admit curious people to the ancient
chambers and keeps, where, after having the satisfaction of standing
where kings have stood, and looking off over fields where kings'
battles were fought, they can gaze at glass cases full of curiosities
and relics of one sort and another, sometimes of an incredible
worthlessness. In the tower known as King Charles's Tower, from the
fact of Charles I. having stood there, on the 27th of September, 1645,
overlooking the to him luckless battle of Rowton Moor, is the most
miscellaneous collection of odds and ends ever offered to public gaze.
A very old woman keeps the key of this tower, and is herself by no
means the least of the curiosities in it. She was born in Chester, and
recollects well when all the space outside the old walls, which is now
occupied by the modern city, was chiefly woods; she used to go, in
her childhood, to play and to gather flowers in them. The fact that
King Charles once looked through the window of this turret has grown,
by a sort of geometrical ratio relative to the number of years she has
been reiterating the statement, into a colossally disproportionate
place in her mind.

"The king, mem, stood just where you're standin' now," she says over
and over and over, in a mechanical manner, as long as you remain in
the tower. I wondered if she said it all night, in her sleep; and if,
if one were to spend a whole day in the tower, she would never stop
saying it. She was an enthusiastic show-woman of her little store;
undismayed by any amount of indifference on the part of her listeners.
"'Ere 's a face you know, mem, I dare say," producing from one corner
of the glass case a cheap newspaper picture, much soiled, of General
Grant. "'Ee was in this tower last summer, and 'ee was much

Next to General Grant's portrait came "a ring snake from Kentucky."
"It's my brother, mem, brought that over: twenty years ago, 'ee was in
Hamerica. You must undustand the puttin' of 'em hup better than we do,
mem, for 'ere's these salamanders was only put hup two years ago, an'
they've quite gone a'ready, in that time."

She had a statuette of King Charles, Cromwell's chaplain's broth bowl,
a bit of a bedquilt of Queen Anne's, a black snake from Australia, a
fine-tooth comb from Africa, a tattered fifty-cent piece of American
paper currency, and a string of shell money from the South Sea
Islands, all arranged in close proximity. Taking up the bit of
American currency, she held it out toward us, saying inquiringly,
"Hextinct now, mem, I believe?" I think she can hardly have recovered
even yet from the bewilderment into which she was thrown by our
convulsive laughter and ejaculated reply, "Oh, no! Would that it

In a clear day can be seen from this tower, a dozen or so miles to the
south, the ruins of a castle built by Earl Randel Blundeville. He was
the Earl Randel of whom Roger Lacy, constable of Cheshire in 1204,
made a famous rescue, once on a time. The earl, it seems, was in a
desperate strait, besieged in one of his castles by the Welsh; perhaps
in this very castle. Roger Lacy, hearing of the earl's situation,
forthwith made a muster of all the tramps, beggars, and rapscallions
he could find,--"a tumultuous rout," says the chronicle, "of loose,
disorderly, and dissolute persons, players, minstrels, shoemakers and
the like,--and marched speedily towards the enemy." The Welsh, seeing
so great a multitude coming, raised their siege and fled; and the
earl, thus delivered, showed his gratitude to Constable Roger by
conferring upon him perpetual authority over the loose, idle persons
in Cheshire; making the office hereditary in the Lacy family. A
thankless dignity, one would suppose, at best; by no means a sinecure,
at any time, and during the season of the Midsummer Fairs a terrible
responsibility: it being the law of the land that during those fairs
the city of Chester was for the space of one month a free city of
refuge for all criminals, of whatsoever degree; in token of which a
glove was hung out at St. Peter's Church, on the first day of the

There is another good tale of Roger Lacy's prowess. He seems to have
been a roving fighter, for he once held a castle in Normandy, for King
John, against the French, "with such gallantry that after all his
victuals were spent, having been besieged almost a year, and many
assaults of the enemy made, but still repulsed by him, he mounts his
horse, and issues out of the castle with his troop into the middest of
his enemies, chusing rather to die like a soldier, than to starve to
death. He slew many of the enemy, but was at last with much difficulty
taken prisoner; so he and his soldiers were brought prisoners to the
King of France, where, by the command of the king, Roger Lacy was to
be held no strict prisoner, for his great honesty and trust in keeping
the Castle so gallantly.... King John's letter to Roger Lacy
concerning the keeping of the said castle, you may see among the
Norman writings put out by Andrew du Chesne, and printed at Paris in
1619." Of all of which, if no ballad have ever been written, it is
certain that songs must have been sung by minstrels at the time; and
the name of the brave Roger's lady-love was well suited to minstrelsy,
she being one Maud de Clare. Plain Roger Lacy and Maud de Clare! The
dullest fancy takes a leap at the sound of the two names.

In the same old chronicle which gives these and many other narratives
of Roger Lacy is the history of a singular, half-witted being, who
was known in Vale-Royale, in the fifteenth century, as Nixon the
Prophet. How much that the old records claim for him, in the way of
minute and minutely fulfilled prophecies, is to be set down to the
score of ignorant superstition, it is hard now to say; but there must
have been some foundation in fact for the narrative. Robert Nixon was
the son of a farmer in Cheshire County, and was born in the year 1467.
His stupidity and ignorance were said to be "invincible." No efforts
could make him understand anything save the care of cattle, and even
in this he showed at times a brutish and idiotic cruelty. He had a
very rough, coarse voice, but said little, sometimes passing whole
months without opening his lips to speak. He began very early to
foretell events, and with an apparently preternatural accuracy. When
he was a lad, he was seen, one day, to abuse an ox belonging to his
brother. To a person threatening to inform his brother of this act,
Robert replied that three days later his brother would not own the ox.
Sure enough, on the next day a life inheritance came into the estate
on which his brother was a tenant, and that very ox was taken for the
"heriot bond to the new owner." One of the abbey monks having
displeased him, he exclaimed,--

     "When you the harrow come on high,
      Soon a raven's nest will be."

The couplet was thought at the time to be simple nonsense; but as it
turned out, the last abbot of that monastery was named Harrow, and
when the king suppressed the monastery he gave the domain to Sir
Thomas Holcroft, whose crest was a raven.

It was also one of Nixon's predictions that the two abbeys of
Vale-Royale and Norton should meet on Orton bridge and the thorn
growing in the abbey yard should be its door.

When the abbeys were pulled down, in the time of the Reformation,
stones taken from each of them were used in rebuilding that bridge;
and the thorn-tree was cut down, and placed as a barrier across the
entrance to the abbey court, to keep the sheep from entering there.

The most remarkable of Nixon's predictions or revelations was at the
time of the battle on Bosworth Field between Richard III. and Henry
VII. On that day, as he was driving a pair of oxen, he stopped
suddenly, and with his whip pointing now one way, now another, cried
aloud, "Now, Richard," "Now, Harry!" At last he said, "Now, Harry, get
over that ditch, and you gain the day!" The ploughmen with him were
greatly amazed, and related to many persons what had passed. When a
courier came through the country announcing the result of the battle,
he verified every word Nixon had said.

This courier, when he returned to court, recounted Nixon's
predictions; and King Henry was so impressed by them that he at once
sent orders to have him brought to the palace.

Before this messenger arrived, Nixon ran about like a madman, weeping
and crying that the king was about sending for him, and that he must
go to court to be starved to death.

In a few days the royal messenger appeared. Nixon was turning the spit
in his brother's kitchen. Just before the messenger came in sight, he
shrieked out, "He is on the road! He is coming for me! I shall be

Lamenting loudly, he was carried away almost by force, and taken into
the presence of the king, who tried him with various tests: among
others, he hid a diamond ring, and commanded Nixon to find it; but all
the answer he got from the cunning varlet was, "He that hideth can
find." The king caused all he said to be carefully noted and put down
in writing; gave him the run of the palace, and commanded that no one
should molest or offend him in any way.

One day, when the king was setting off on a hunt, Nixon ran to him,
crying and begging to be allowed to go too; saying that his time had
come now, and he would be starved if he were left behind. To humor his
whim and ease his fears, the king gave him into the especial charge
and keeping of one of the chief officers of the court. The officer, in
turn, to make sure that no ill befell the poor fellow, locked him up
in one of his private rooms, and with his own hands carried food to
him. But after a day or two, a very urgent message from the king
calling this officer suddenly away, in the haste of his departure he
forgot Nixon, and left him locked up in the apartment. No one missed
him or discovered him; and when at the end of three days the officer
returned, Nixon was found dead,--dead, as he had himself foretold, of
starvation. It is a strange and pitiful story, a tale suited to its
century, and could not be left out were there ever to be written a
ballad-history of the Vale-Royale's olden days.

It is a question, in early mornings in Chester, whether to take a turn
on the ancient walls, listening to echoes such as these from all the
fair country in sight in embrace of the Dee, or to saunter through the
market, and hear the shriller but no less characteristic voice of
Cestrian life to-day.

Markets are always good vantage-grounds for studying the life and
people of a place or region. The true traveller never feels completely
at home in a town till he has been in the markets. Many times I have
gathered from the chance speech of an ignorant market man or woman
information I had been in search of for days. Markets are especially
interesting in places where caste and class lines are strongly drawn,
as in England. The market man or woman whose ancestors have been of
the same following, and who has no higher ambition in life than to
continue, and if possible enhance, the good will and the good name of
the business, is good authority to consult on all matters within his
range. There is a self-poise about him, the result of his satisfaction
with his own position, which is dignified and pleasing.

On my last morning in Chester, I spent an hour or two in the markets,
and encountered two good specimens of this class. One was a fair,
slender girl, so unexceptionably dressed in a plain, well-cut ulster
that, as I observed her in the crowd of market-women, I supposed she
was a young housekeeper, out for her early marketing; but presently,
to my great astonishment, I saw her with her own hands measuring
onions into a huckster-woman's basket. On drawing nearer, I discovered
that she was the proprietress of a natty vegetable cart, piled full of
all sorts of green stuff, which she was selling to the sellers. She
could not have been more than eighteen. Her manner and speech were
prompt, decisive, business-like; she wasted no words in her
transactions. Her little brother held the sturdy pony's reins, and she
stood by the side of the cart, ready to take orders. She said that she
lived ten miles out of town; that she and her three brothers had a
large market garden, of which they did all the work with their own
hands, and she and this lad brought the produce to market daily.

"I make more sellin' 'olesale than sellin' standin'," she said; "an'
I'm 'ome again by ten o'clock, to be at the work."

I observed that all who bought from her addressed her as "miss," and
bore themselves toward her with a certain respectfulness of demeanor,
showing that they considered her avocation a grade or so above their

A matronly woman, with pink cheeks and bright hazel eyes, had walked
in from her farm, a distance of six miles, because the load of greens,
eggs, poultry, and flowers was all that her small pony could draw.
Beautiful moss roses she had, at "thrippence" a bunch.

"No, no, Ada, not any more," she said, in a delicious low voice, to a
child by her side, who was slyly taking a rose from one of the
baskets. "You've enough there. It hurts them to lie in the 'ot
sun.--My daughter, mem," she explained, as the little thing shrunk
back, covered with confusion, and pretended to be very busy arranging
the flowers on a little board laid across two stones, behind which she
was squatted,--"my daughter, mem. All the profits of the flowers they
sell are their own, mem. They puts it all in the missionary box.
They'd eighteen an' six last year, mem, in all, besides what they put
in the school box. Yes, mem, indeed they had."

It struck me that this devout mother took a strange view of the
meaning of the word "own," and I did not spend so much money on Ada's
flowers as I would have done if I had thought Ada would have the
spending of it herself, in her own childish way. But I bought a big
bunch of red and white daisies, and another of columbines, white
pinks, ivy, and poppies; and the little maid, barely ten years old,
took my silver, made change, and gave me the flowers with a winsome
smile and a genuine market-woman's "Thank you, mem."

It was a pretty scene: the open space in front of the market building,
filled with baskets, bags, barrows, piles of fresh green things,
chiefly of those endless cabbage species, which England so proudly
enumerates when called upon to mention her vegetables; the dealers
were principally women, with fresh, fair faces, rosy cheeks, and soft
voices; in the outer circle, scores of tiny donkey-carts, in which the
vegetables had been brought. One chubby little girl, surely not more
than seven, was beginning her market-woman's training by minding the
donkey, while her mother attended to trade. As she stood by the
donkey's side, her head barely reached to his ears; but he entered
very cleverly into the spirit of the farce of being kept in place by
such a mite, and to that end employed her busily in feeding him with
handfuls of grass. If she stopped, he poked his nose into her neck and
rummaged under her chin, till she began again. All had flowers to
sell, if it were only a single bunch, or plant in a pot; and there
were in the building several fine stalls entirely filled with
flowers,--roses, carnations, geraniums, and wonderful pansies.
Noticing, in one stall, a blossom I had never before seen, I asked the
old woman who kept the stand to tell me its name. She clapped her hand
to her head tragically. "'Deed, mem, it's strange. Ye're the second
has asked me the name o' that flower; an' it's gone out o' my head. If
the young lady that has the next stand was here, she'd tell ye. It was
from her I got the roots: she's a great botanist, mem, an' a fine
gardener. Could I send ye the name o' 't, mem? I'd be pleased to
accommodate ye, an' may be ye'd like a root or two o' 't. It's a free
grower. We've 'ad a death in the house, mem,--my little grandchild,
only a few hours ill,--an' it seems like it 'ad confused the 'ole
'ouse. We've not 'ad 'eart to take pains with the flowers yet."

The old woman's artless, garrulous words smote like a sudden bell-note
echo from a far past,--an echo that never ceases for hearts that have
once known how bell-notes sound when bells toll for beloved dead! The
thoughts her words woke seemed to span Chester's centuries more
vividly than all the old chronicle traditions and legends, than
sculptured Roman altar, or coin, or graven story in stone. The strange
changes they recorded were but things of the surface, conditions of
the hour. Through and past them all, life remained the same. Grief and
joy do not alter shape or sort. Love and love's losses and hurts are
the same yesterday, to-day, and forever.


[8] Longfellow.






The hardest way to go to Norway is by way of the North Sea. It is two
days' and two nights' sail from Hull to Bergen; and two days and two
nights on the North Sea are nearly as bad as two days and two nights
on the English Channel would be. But the hardest way is the best way,
in this as in so many other things. No possible approach to Norway
from the Continent can give one the sudden characteristic impression
of Norway sea and shore which he gets as he sails up the Stavanger
Fjord, and sees the town of Stavanger looking off from its hillside
over the fleets of island and rock that lie moored in its harbor.

At first sight it seems as if there were no Norway coast at all, only
an endless series of islands beyond islands, never stayed by any
barrier of mainland; or as if the mainland itself must be being
disintegrated from its very centre outwards, breaking up and crumbling
into pieces. Surely, the waters, when they were commanded to stay from
off the earth, yielded the command but a fragmentary obedience so far
as this region was concerned.

The tradition of the creation of Norway seems a natural outgrowth of
the place,--the only way, in fact, of accounting for the lay of the
land. The legend declares that Norway was made last, and in this wise:
On the seventh day, while God was resting from his labors, the devil,
full of spite at seeing so fair a world, hurled into the ocean a
gigantic rock,--a rock so large that it threatened to break the axis
of the universe. But the Lord seized it, and fixed it firm in place,
with its myriad jutting points just above the waters. Between these
points he scattered all the earth he had left; nothing like enough to
cover the rock, or to make a respectable continent,--only just enough
to redeem spots here and there, and give man a foothold on it. The
fact that forty per cent of the whole surface of Norway is over three
thousand feet above the sea is certainly a corroboration of this

This island fringe gives to the coast of Norway an indefinable
charm,--the charm of endless maze, vista, expectation, and surprise;
lure, also, suggestion, dim hint, and reticent revelation, like a
character one cannot fathom, and behavior one can never reckon on.
Though the ship sail in and out of the labyrinths never so safely and
quickly, fancy is always busy at deep-sea soundings; bewildered by the
myriad shapes, and half conscious of a sort of rhythm in their swift,
perpetual change, as if they, and not the ship, were gliding. The
vivid verdure on them in spots has more the expression of something
momentarily donned and worn than of a growth. It seems accidental and
decorative, flung on suddenly; then, again, soft, thick,
inexhaustible, as if the islands might be the tops of drowned forests.

Stavanger is one of the most ancient towns in Norway. It looks as if
it were one of the most ancient in the world; its very brightness,
with its faded red houses, open windows, and rugged pavements, being
like the color and smile one sees sometimes on a cheerful, wrinkled,
old face. The houses are packed close together, going up-hill as hard
as they can; roofs red tiled; gable ends red tiled also, which gives a
droll eyebrow effect to the ends of the houses, and helps wonderfully
to show off pretty faces just beneath them, looking out of windows.
All the windows open in the middle, outwards, like shutters; and it
would not be much risk to say that there is not a window-sill in all
Stavanger without flowers. Certainly, we did not see one in a three
hours' ramble. From an old watchtower, which stands on the top of the
first sharp hill above the harbor, is a sweeping off-look, seaward and
coastward, to north and south: long promontories, green and curving,
with low red roofs here and there, shot up into relief by the sharp
contrast of color; bays of blue water breaking in between; distant
ranges of mountains glittering white; thousands of islands in sight at
once. Stavanger's approach strikes Norway's key-note with a bold
hand, and old Norway and new Norway meet in Stavanger's market-place.
An old cathedral, the oldest but one in the country, looks down a
little inner harbor, where lie sloops loaded with gay pottery of
shapes and colors copied from the latest patterns out in
Staffordshire. These are made by peasants many miles away, on the
shores of the fjords: bowls, jars, flower-pots, jugs, and plates,
brown, cream-colored, red, and white; painted with flowers, and
decorated with Grecian and Etruscan patterns in simple lines. The
sloop decks are piled high with them,--a gay show, and an odd enough
freight to be at sea in a storm. The sailors' heads bob up and down
among the pots and pans, and the salesman sits flat on the deck, lost
from view, until a purchaser appears. Miraculously cheap this pottery
is, as well as fantastic of shape and color; one could fit out his
table off one of these crockery sloops, for next to nothing. Along the
wharves were market-stands of all sorts: old women selling fuchsias,
myrtles, carrots, and cabbages, and blueberries, all together; piles
of wooden shoes, too,--clumsy things, hollowed out of a single chunk
of wood, shaped like a Chinese junk keel, and coarsely daubed with
black paint on the outside; no heel to hold them on, and but little
toe. The racket made by shuffling along on pavements in them is
amazing, and "down at the heel" becomes a phrase of new significance,
after one has heard the thing done in Norway.

Just outside the market-place we came upon our first cariole; it was
going by like the wind, drawn by a little Norwegian pony, which seemed
part pincushion, part spaniel, part fat snowbird, and the rest pony,
with a shoe-brush, bristles up, for a mane. Such good-will in his
trot, and such a sense of honor and independence in the wriggle of his
head, and such affectionateness all over him, no wonder the Norwegians
love such a species of grown-up useful pet dogs. Hardy they are, and,
if they choose, swift; obey voices better than whips, and would rather
have bread than hay to eat, at any time of day. The cariole is a kind
of compressed sulky, open, without springs; the narrow seat, narrow
even for one person, set high up on elastic wooden shafts, which rest
on the axle-tree at the back, and on a sort of saddle-piece in front.
The horse is harnessed very far forward in the low thills, and has
the direct weight on his shoulders. A queerer sight than such a
vehicle as this, coming at a Norwegian pony's best rate towards you,
with a pretty Norwegian girl driving, and standing up on the
cross-piece behind her a handsome Norwegian officer, with his plumed
head above hers, bent a little to the right or left, and very close,
lovers of human nature in picturesque situations need not wish to see.
Less picturesque, and no doubt less happy for the time being, but no
less characteristic, was the first family we saw in Stavanger taking
an airing; a square wooden box for a wagon,--nothing more than a
vegetable bin on wheels. This held two large milk-cans, several
bushels of cabbages, four children, and their mother. The father
walked sturdily beside the wagon, his head bent down, like his pony's;
serious eyes, a resolute mouth, and a certain look of unjoyous content
marked him as a good specimen of the best sort of Norwegian peasant.
The woman and the children wore the same look of unjoyous and
unmirthful content; silent, serious, satisfied, they all sat still
among the cabbages. So solemn a thing is it to be born in latitude
north. Had those cabbages grown in the Campagna, the man would have
been singing, the woman laughing, and the young ones rolling about in
the cart like kittens.

From Stavanger to Bergen is a half-day's sail: in and out among
islands, promontories, inlets, rocks; now wide sea on one hand, and
rugged shore on the other; now a very archipelago of bits of land and
stone flung about in chaotic confusion, on all sides. Many of the
islands are nothing but low beds of granite, looking as if it were in
flaky slices like mica, or else minutely roughened and stippled, as
though cooled suddenly from a tremendous boil. Some of these islands
have oases of green in them; tiny red farm-houses, sunk in hollows,
with narrow settings of emerald around them; hand's-breadth patches of
grain here and there, left behind as from some harvest, which the
hungry sea is following after to glean. No language can describe the
fantastic, elusive charm of this islet and rocklet universe: half
sadness, half cheer, half lonely, half teeming, altogether brilliant
and brimming with beauty; green land, gray rock, and blue water,
surging, swaying, blending, parting, dancing together, in stately and
contagious pleasure. On the north horizon rise grand snow-topped
peaks; broad blue bays make up into the land walled by mountains; snow
fjelds and glaciers glitter in the distance; and waterfalls, like
silver threads, shine from afar on the misty clouds. At every new turn
is a hamlet or house, looking as if it had just crept into shelter;
one solitary boat moored at the base of its rock, often the only token
of a link kept with the outer world.

The half-day's sail from Stavanger to Bergen is all like this, except
that after one turns southward into the Bergen Fjord the mysterious
islanded shores press closer, and the hill shores back of them rise
higher, so that expectancy and wonder deepen moment by moment, till
the moment of landing on Bergen's water rim. "Will there be carriages
at the wharf?" we had asked of the terrible stewardess who had
tyrannized over our ship for two days, like a French Revolution
fishwoman. "Carriages!" she cried, with her arms akimbo. "The streets
in Bergen are so steep carriages can't drive down them. The horses
would tumble back on the carriage,"--a purely gratuitous fiction on
her part, for what motive it is hard to conceive. But it much enhanced
the interest with which we gazed at the rounding hills, slowly hemming
us in closer and closer, and looking quite steep enough to justify the
stewardess's assertion. By clocks, it was ten o'clock at night; by
sky, about dawn, or just after sunset; by air, atmosphere, light, no
time which any human being ever heard named or defined. There is
nothing in any known calendar of daylight, twilight, or nightlight
which is like this Norwegian interval between two lights. It is weird,
bewildering, disconcerting. You don't know whether you are glad or
sorry, pleased or scared; whether you really can see or not; whether
you'd better begin another day's work at once, or make believe it is
time to go to bed.

If somebody would invent a word which should bear the same
interesting, specific, and intelligible relation to light and dark
that "amphibious" does to land and water, it would be, in describing
Norway twilight, of more use than all the rest of the English language
put together. Perhaps the Norwegians have such a word. I think it
highly probable they have, and I wish I knew it.

In this strange illuminated twilight, we landed on the silent Bergen
wharf. The quay was in shadow of high warehouses. A few nonchalant and
leisurely men and boys were ambling about; custom-house men, speaking
the jargon of their race, went through the farce of appearing to
ransack our luggage. Our party seemed instantaneously to have
disintegrated, in the half darkness, into odds and ends of unassorted
boxes and people, and it was with gratitude as for a succession of
interpositions of a superior and invincible power that we finally
found ourselves together again in one hotel, and decided that, on the
whole, it was best to go to bed, in spite of the light, because, as it
was already near midnight, it would very soon be still lighter, and
there would be no going to bed at all.

The next day, we began Bergen by driving out of it (a good way always,
to begin a place). No going out of Bergen eastward or westward except
straight up skyward, so steep are the slopes. Southward the country
opens by gentler ascents, and pretty country houses are built along
the road for miles,--all of wood, and of light colors, with much
fantastic carving about them; summer-houses perched on the terraces,
among lime, birch, and ash trees. One which we saw was in octagon
shape, and had the roof thick sodded with grass, which waved in the
wind. The eight open spaces of the sides were draped with bright
scarlet curtains, drawn away tight on each side, making a Gothic arch
line of red at each opening. It looked like somebody's gay palanquin
set down to wait.

Our driver's name was Nils. He matched it: short, sturdy, and
good-natured; red cheeks and shining brown eyes. His ponies scrambled
along splendidly, and stopped to rest whenever they felt like it,--not
often, to be sure, but they had their own way whenever they did, and
were allowed to stand still. Generally they put their heads down and
started off of their own accord in a few seconds; occasionally Nils
reminded them by a chuckle to go on.

There is no need of any society for the prevention of cruelty to
animals in Norway. The Norwegian seems to be instinctively kind to all
beasts of bondage. At the foot of steep hills is to be seen everywhere
the sign, "Do not forget to rest the horses." The noise Nils made when
he wished to stop his ponies gave us a fright, the first time we
heard it. It is the drollest sound ever invented for such a use: a
loud call of rolling _r's_; an ingenious human parody on a watchman's
rattle; a cross between a bellow and a purr. It is universal in
Norway, but one can never become accustomed to it unless he has heard
it from infancy up.

The wild and wooded country through which we drove was like parts of
the northern hill country of New England: steep, stony hills; nooks
full of ferns; bits of meadow in sunlight and shadow, with clover, and
buttercups, and bluebells, and great mossy bowlders; farm-houses
snugged down in hollows to escape the wind; lovely dark tarns, with
pond-lilies afloat, just too far from the shore for arms to reach
them. Only when we met people, or when the great blue fjord gleamed
through the trees below us, did we know we were away from home. It is
a glory when an arm of the sea reaches up into the heart of a hill
country, so that men may sail to and from mountain bases. No wonder
that the Vikings went forth with the passion of conquering, and yet
forever returned and returned, with the passion of loving their _gamle

When we came back to the inn, we were invited into the landlady's own
parlor, and there were served to us wine and milk and sweet tarts, in
a gracious and simple hospitality. The landlady and her sister were
beautiful old ladies, well past sixty, with skins like peaches, and
bright eyes and quick smiles. High caps of white lace, trimmed with
sky-blue ribbons, and blue ostrich feathers laid on them like wreaths
above the forehead, gave to their expression a sort of infantile
elegance which was bewitching in its unworldliness; small white shawls
thrown over their shoulders, and reaching only just below the belt,
like those worn by old Quaker women, corroborated the simplicity of
the blue ribbons, and added to the charm. They had all the freshness
and spotlessness of Quakers, with color and plumes added; a
combination surely unique of its kind. One of these old ladies was as
gay a chatterer as if she were only seventeen. She had not one tooth
in her mouth; but her mouth was no more made ugly by the absence of
teeth, as are most old women's mouths, than a baby's mouth is made
ugly by the same lack. The lips were full and soft and red; her face
was not wrinkled; and when she talked and laughed and nodded, the blue
ostrich feathers bobbing above, she looked like some sort of
miraculous baby, that had learned to talk before "teething."

Her niece, who was our only interpreter, and too shy to use quickly
and fluently even the English she knew, was in despair at trying to
translate her. "It is too much, too much," she said. "I cannot follow;
I am too far behind," and she laughed as heartily as her aunt. The old
lady was brimful of stories: she had known Bergen, in and out, for
half a century, and forgotten nothing. It was a great pleasure to set
her going, and get at her narrative by peeps, as one sees a landscape
through chinks in a fence, when one is whirling by in a railway train.
One of her best stories was of "the man who was brought back from the
dead by coffee."

It seemed that when she was young there lived in Bergen three old
women, past whose house an eccentric old bachelor used to walk every
day at a certain hour. When he came back from his walk, he always
stopped at their house and drank a cup of coffee. This he had done for
a great many years. "He was their watch to tell the time by," and when
he first passed the house they began to make the coffee, that it
should be ready on his return. At last he fell ill and died, and two
of these old women were hired to sit up one night and watch the
corpse. It is the custom in Norway to keep all dead bodies one week
before burial, if not in the house where they have died, then in the
chapel at the graveyard. "When we do die on a Wednesday, we shall not
be buried till another Wednesday have come," said the niece,
explaining this custom.

These old women were sitting in the room with the corpse, talking and
sipping hot coffee together, and saying how they should miss him; that
never more would he go by their house and stop to get his coffee.

"At any rate, he shall taste the coffee once more," said one of them,
and she put a spoonful of the hot coffee into the corpse's lips, at
which the old gentleman stirred, drew a long breath, and began to lift
himself up, upon which the women uttered such shrieks that the city
watchman, passing by, broke quickly into the house, to see what was
the matter. Entering the room, he found the watchers senseless on the
floor, and the corpse sitting bolt upright in his coffin, looking
around him, much bewildered. "And he did live many years after that
time,--many, many years. My aunt did know him well," said the niece.

Other of her stories were of the sort common to the whole
world,--stories of the love, sorrow, tragedy, mystery, which are
inwoven in the very warp and woof of human life; the same on the bleak
North Sea coast as on bright Southern shores. It seemed, however, a
little more desolate to have lived in the sunless North seventy years
of such life as had been dealt to one Bergen woman, who had but just
passed away. Seventy years she had lived in Bergen, the last thirty
alone, with one servant. In her youth she had been beautiful; and when
she was still little more than a child had come to love very dearly
the eldest son in a neighbor's house. Their parents were friends; the
young people saw each other without restraint, familiarly, fondly, and
a great love grew up between them. They were suffered to become
betrothed, but for some unassigned reason their marriage was
forbidden. For years they bore with strange patience their parents'
apparently capricious decision. At last the blow fell. One of the
fathers, lying at the point of death, revealed a terrible secret. This
faithful betrothed man and woman were own brother and sister. The
shame of two homes, the guilt of two unsuspected wrong-doers, was
told; the mystery was cleared up, and more than one heart broken.
Bitter as was the grief of the two betrothed, who could now never wed,
there must have been grief still more terrible in the hearts of those
long ago wedded, and so long deceived. The father died as soon as he
had confessed the guilty secret. The young man left Norway, and died
in some far country. The girl lived on,--lived to be seventy,--alone
with her sorrow and disgrace.

Two other Bergen lovers had had better fate. Spite of fathers and
mothers who had forbidden them to meet, it fell out for them to be
safely married, one night, in the very teeth of the closest watching.
The girl was permitted to go, under the escort of a faithful
man-servant, to a wedding dance at a friend's house. The man-servant
was ordered to stand guard at the door, till the dance was over; if
the lover appeared, the girl was to be instantly taken home. Strange
oversight, for parents so much in earnest as that, to forget that
houses have more than one door! When the mirth was at its height, the
girl stole away by the back door, and fled to her lover. At length the
dance was over, and the guests were leaving; anxiously the faithful
servitor, who had never once left the doorstep, looked for his young
mistress. The last guest departed; his mistress did not appear. In
great terror he entered; the house was searched in vain; no one knew
when she had taken her leave. Trembling, he ran back to the father
with the unwelcome news; and both going in hot haste to the lover's
house, there they found the two young people sitting gay and happy
over cake and wine, with the excellent clergyman who had that very
hour made them man and wife.

The old lady had a firm and unalterable belief in ghosts, as indeed
she had some little right to have, one was forced to admit, after
hearing her stories. "And could you believe that after a man is dead
he should be seen again as if he were alive?" said the niece. "My aunt
is so sure, so sure she have seen such; also my aunt's sister, they
did both did see him."

At one time the two sisters hired a house in Bergen, and lived
together. In one of the upper halls stood a small trunk, which had
been left there by a sailor, in payment of a debt he had owed to the
owner of the house. One day, in broad daylight, there suddenly
appeared, before the younger sister, the shape of a man in sailor's
dress. He walked toward her, holding out a paper. She spoke to him
wonderingly, asking what he wanted. At the sound of her voice he
vanished into thin air. She fainted, and was for some weeks seriously
ill. A few months later, the same figure appeared in the bedroom of
the eldest sister (the old lady who told these stories). He came in
the night, and approached her bed holding out a white paper in his
hands. "My aunt say she could cut the shape in paper like the hat he
wore on his head; she did see it so plain to-day as she have seen it
then, and it shall be fifty years since he did come by her bed. She
was so scared she would not have the trunk of the sailor to stand in
the house longer; and after the trunk had gone away he did come no
more to their house."

Another instance of this ghost-seeing was truly remarkable, and not so
easily explained by any freak of imagination. Walking, one day, in a
public garden, with a friend, she saw coming down the path toward them
a singular old woman in a white nightcap and short white
bedgown,--both very dirty. The old woman was tossing her arms in the
air, and behaving so strangely that she thought she must be drunk, and
turned laughingly to her friend, about to say, "What can be the matter
with this old woman?" when, to her surprise, she saw her friend pale,
fainting, ready to fall to the ground. She seized her in her arms,
called for help, and carried her to a seat. On returning to
consciousness, her friend exclaimed, "It was my mother! It was my
mother!" The mother had been dead some months, had always worn in her
illness this white cotton nightcap and short bedgown, and had been, it
seemed, notoriously untidy.

"Now my aunt did never see that old woman in all her life," continued
the niece. "So what think you it was, in that garden, that both them
did see the same thing at one time? And my aunt's friend she get so
very sick after that, she were sick in bed for a long time. My aunt
will believe always she did see the mother's ghost; and she says she
have seen a great many more that she never tells to anybody."

All this ghost-seeing has not sobered or saddened the old lady a whit,
and she looks the last person in the world to whom sentimental or
mischief-making spirits would be likely to address themselves: but
there is certainly something uncanny, to say the least of it, in these
experiences of hers.

One of the most novel pleasures in Bergen is old-silver hunting. There
are shops where old silver is to be bought in abundance and at dear
prices: old belts, rings, slides, buttons, brooches, spoons, of quaint
and fantastic styles, some of them hundreds of years old. But the
connoisseur in old-silver hunting will not confine his search for
treasures to the large shops on the thoroughfares. He will roam the
city, keeping a sharp eye for little boxes tucked up on walls of
houses, far down narrow lanes and by-ways,--little boxes with glass
sides, and a silver spoon or two, or an old buckle or brooch, shining
through. This is the sign that somewhere in that house he will come on
a family that has tucked away in some closet a little box of old
silver that they will sell. Often they are workers in silver in a
small way; have a counter in the front parlor, and a tiny work-room
opening out behind, where they make thin silver spoons with twisted
handles, and brooches with dangling disks and crosses, such as all the
peasant women wear to-day, and a hundred years hence their
grandchildren will be selling to English and American travellers as
"old silver." The next century, however, will not gather such
treasures as this one; there is no modern silver to compare with the
ancient. It is marvellous to see what a wealth of silver the old
Norwegians wore: buckles and belts which are heavy, buttons which
weigh down any cloak, and rings under which nineteenth-century
fingers, and even thumbs, would ache. And the farther back we go the
weightier become the ornaments. In the Museum of Northern Antiquities
in Copenhagen are necklaces of solid gold, which it seems certain that
noble Norwegian women wore in King Olaf's time,--necklaces in shape of
a single snake, coiled, so heavy that they are not easily lifted in
one hand; bracelets, also of the same snake shape, which a modern
wrist could not wear half an hour without pain.

In these out-of-the-way houses where old silver is to be bought one
sees often picturesque sights. Climbing up a narrow stairway, perhaps
two, you find a door with the upper half glass, through which you look
instantly into the bosom of the family,--children playing, old ladies
knitting, women cooking; it seems the last place in the world to come
shopping; but at the first glimpse of the foreign face and dress
through the window, somebody springs to open the door. They know at
once what it means. You want no interpreter to carry on your trade:
the words "old silver" and "how much?" are all you need. They will not
cheat you. As you enter the room, every member of the family who is
sitting will rise and greet you. The youngest child will make its
little bow or courtesy. The box of old silver will be brought out and
emptied on a table, and you may examine its miscellany as long as you
like. If an article pleases you, and you ask its price, it is taken
into the work-room to be weighed; a few mysterious Norsk words come
back from the weigher, and the price is fixed. If you hesitate at the
sum, they will lower it if they can; if not, they will await your
departure quietly, with a dignity of hospitable instinct that would
deem it an offence to betray any impatience. I had once the good luck
to find in one of these places a young peasant woman, who had come
with her lover to bargain for the silver-and-gilt crown without which
no virtuous Bergen bride will wed. These crowns are dear, costing
often from fifty to a hundred dollars. Sometimes they are hired for
the occasion; but well-to-do families have pride in possessing a crown
which is handed down and worn by generation after generation. These
lovers were evidently not of the rich class: they wore the plainest of
clothes, and it was easy to see that the prices of the crowns
disquieted them. I made signs to the girl to try one of them on. She
laughed, blushed, and shook her head. I pressed my entreaties as well
as I could, being dumb; but "Oh, do!" is intelligible in all
languages, if it is enforced by gesture and appealing look. The old
man who had the silver to sell also warmly seconded my request, lifted
the crown himself, and set it on the girl's head. Turning redder and
redder, she cried, "Ne, ne!" but did not resist; and once the crown
was on her head she could not leave off looking at herself in the
glass. It was a very pretty bit of human nature. The lover stole up
close behind her, shy, but glowing with emotion, reached up, and just
touched the crown timidly with one finger: so alike are men in love
all the world over and all time through. The look that man's face wore
has been seen by the eyes of every wife since the beginning of Eden,
and it will last the world out. I slipped away, and left them standing
before the glass, the whole family crowding around with a chorus of
approving and flattering exclamations. Much I fear she could not
afford to buy the crown, however. There was a hopeless regret in her
pretty blue eyes. As I left the house I stepped on juniper twigs at
the very next door; the sidewalk and the street were strewn thick with
them, the symbol of death either in that home or among its friends.
This is one of the most simple and touching of the Norwegian customs:
how much finer in instinct and significance than the gloomy streamer
of black crape used by the civilization calling itself superior!

The street was full of men and women going to and from the
market-place: women with big wooden firkins strapped on their backs,
and a firkin under each arm (these firkins were full of milk, and the
women think nothing of bringing them in that way five or six miles);
men with big sacks of vegetables strapped on in the same way, one
above another, almost as high as their heads. One little girl, not
nine years old, bore a huge basket of green moss, bigger than herself,
lashed on her fragile shoulders. The better class brought their things
in little two-wheeled carts, they themselves mounted up on top of
sacks, firkins, and all; or, if the cart were too full, plodding along
on foot by its side, just as bent as those who were carrying loads on
their back. A Bergen peasant man or woman who stands upright is a rare
thing to see. The long habit of carrying burdens on the back has given
them a chronic stoop, which makes them all look far older than they

The sidewalks were lined with gay displays of fruit, flowers, and
wooden utensils. Prettiest among these last were the bright wooden
trunks and boxes which no Norwegian peasant will be without. The
trunks are painted bright scarlet, with bands and stripes of gay
colors; small boxes to be carried in the hand, called _tines_
(pronounced teeners), are charming. They are oval, with a high perch
at each end like a squirrel trap; are painted bright red, with wreaths
of gay flowers on them, and mottoes such as "Not in every man's garden
can such flowers grow," or, "A basket filled by love is light to
carry." Bowls, wooden plates, and drinking-vessels, all of wood, are
also painted in gay colors and designs, many of which seem to have
come from Algiers.

Everybody who can sell anything, even the smallest thing, runs, or
stands, or squats in the Bergen streets to sell it. Even spaces under
high doorsteps are apparently rented for shops, rigged up with a sort
of door, and old women sit crouching in them, selling blueberries and
dark bread. One man, clad in sheepskin that looked a hundred years
old, I saw trying to sell a bit of sheepskin nearly as old as that he
was wearing; another had a basket with three bunches of wild
monkshood, pink spiræa, and blue larkspur, and one small saucer full
of wild strawberries; boys carrying one pot with a plant growing in
it, or a tub of sour milk, or a string of onions, or bunch of juniper
boughs; women sitting on a small butter-tub upside down, their butter
waiting sale around them in tubs or bits of newspaper, they knitting
for dear life, or sewing patches on ragged garments; other groups of
women sitting flat on the stones, surrounded by piles of juniper,
moss, green heath, and wreaths made of kinni-kinnick vines, green
moss, and yellow flowers. These last were for graves. The whole
expression of the scene was of dogged and indomitable thriftiness, put
to its last wits to turn a penny and squeeze out a living. Yet nobody
appeared discontented; the women looked friendly, as I passed, and
smiled as they saw me taking out my note-book to write them down.

The Bergen fish-market is something worth seeing. It isn't a market at
all; or rather it is a hundred markets afloat and bobbing on water, a
hundred or more little boats all crowded in together in an armlet of
the sea breaking up between two quays. To see the best of it one must
be there betimes in the morning, not later than seven. The quays will
be lined with women, each woman carrying a tin coal-scuttle on her
arm, to take home her fish in. From every direction women are coming
running with tin scuttles swinging on their arms; in Bergen, fish is
never carried in any other way. The narrow span of water between the
quays is packed as close as it can be with little boats shooting among
the sloops and _jagts_, all pushing up to the wharf. The steps leading
down to the water are crowded with gesticulating women; screaming and
gesticulating women hang over the railings above, beckoning to the
fishermen, calling to them, reaching over and dealing them sharp
whacks with their tin scuttles, if they do not reply. "Fisherman! I
say, Fisherman! Do you hear me or not?" they shout. Then they point to
one particular fish, and insist on having it handed up to them to
examine; if it does not please them, they fling it down with a jerk,
and ask for another. The boats were full of fish: silver-skinned
herring, mackerel, salmon, eels, and a small fish like a perch, but of
a gorgeous dark red color; others vermilion and white, or iridescent
opal, blue, and black; many of them writhing in death, and changing
color each second. Every few minutes a new boat would appear darting
in, wriggling its way where it had seemed not one boat more could
come; then a rush of the women to see what the new boat had brought,
a fresh outburst of screams and gesticulations; then a lull and a
sinking back to the noisy monotone of the previous chaffering. Some of
the boats were rowed by women,--splendid creatures, in gay red bodices
and white head-dresses, standing with one foot on the seat, and
sculling their little craft in and out, dexterously shoving everybody
to make way.

On the wharf were a few dealers with stands and baskets of fish; these
were for the poorer people. "Fish that have died do be to be brought
there," said my guide, with a shudder and an expressive grimace, "for
very little money; it is the poor that take." Here were also great
tubs of squirming eels, alive in every inch from tip to tip. "Too
small to cook," said one woman, eying them contemptuously; and in a
twinkling she thrust her arm into the squirming mass, grasped a dozen
or more at once, lifted them out and flirted them into the seller's
face, then letting them fall back with a splash into the tub, "H'm,
pretty eels those are!" she said. "Put them back into the water with
their mothers:" at which a great laugh went up, and the seller
muttered something angrily which my guide would not translate for me.

On our way home I stopped to look at a group of peasant women in gay
costumes. Two of them were from the Hardanger county, and wore the
beautiful white head-dress peculiar to that region: a large triangular
piece of fine crimped dimity pinned as closely as a Quaker cap around
the face; the two corners then rolled under and carried back over a
wooden frame projecting several inches on each side the head; the
central point hanging down behind, over the shoulders,--by far the
most picturesque of all the Norwegian head-dresses. A gentleman
passing by, seeing my interest in these peasant dresses, spoke to the
friend who was with me, whom he knew slightly, and said that if the
American lady would like to examine one of those peasant costumes he
had one which he would be happy to show to me.

The incident is worth mentioning as a fair illustration of the quick,
ready, and cordial good-will of which Norwegians are full. Is there
any other country in the world where a man would take that sort and
amount of trouble for a chance traveller, of whom he knew nothing?

This Norwegian led us to his house, and opened two boxes in which were
put away the clothes of his wife, who had been dead two years. This
peasant costume which he showed to us she had had made to wear to the
last ball she had attended. It was a beautiful costume; strictly
national and characteristic, and made of exquisite materials. The belt
was of silver-gilded links, with jewels set in them; the buttons for
wrists and throat of the white blouse were of solid silver, with gold
Maltese crosses hanging from them; the brooches and vest ornaments the
same; the stomacher of velvet, embroidered thick with beads and gold;
the long white apron with broad lace let in. All were rich and
beautiful. It was strange to see the dead woman's adornments thus
brought out for a stranger to admire; but it was done with such
simplicity and kindliness that it was only touching, as no shadow of
disrespect was in it. I felt instantly, like a friend, reverent toward
the relics of the woman I had never seen.

One of our pleasantest Bergen days was a day that wound up with a
sunset picnic on the banks of a stray bit of sea, which had gone so
far on its narrow roadway east, among hill and meadow and rock, that
it was like an inland lake; and the track by which its tides slipped
back and forth looked at sunset like little more than a sunbeam,
broader and brighter than the rest which were slanting across. We had
come to it by several miles' driving to the north and east, over steep
and stony hills, up which the road wound in loops, zigzagging back and
forth, with superb views out seaward at every turn; at the top,
another great sweep of view away from the sea, past a desolate lake
and stony moor, to green hills and white mountains in the east. We
seemed above everything except the snow-topped peaks. At our feet, to
the west, lay the little sunny fjord; green meadows and trees and a
handful of houses around it; daisies and clover and tangles of
potentilla by the roadside; clumps of ragged robin also, which goes
better named in Norway, being called "silken blossom;" mountain ash,
larch, maple, and ash trees: bowlders of granite covered with mosses
and lichens, bedded on every side,--it was as winning a spot as sun
and sea and summer could make anywhere. On the edge of the fjord,
lifted a little above it, as on a terrace, was a small white cottage,
with a bit of garden, enclosed by white palings, running close to the
water. Roses, southernwood, currants, lilacs, cherry-trees, potatoes,
and primroses filled it full. We leaned over the paling and looked. An
old woman, with knitting in her hand, came quickly out, and begged us
to come in and take some flowers. No sooner had we entered the garden
than a second old woman came hurrying with scissors to cut the
flowers; and in a second more a third old woman with a basket to hold
them. It was not easy to stay their hands. Then, nothing would do but
we must go into the house and sit down, and see the brothers: two old
men, one a clergyman, the other stone blind. "I can English read in my
New Testament," said the clergyman, "but I cannot understand." "Yes,
to be sure," said the blind brother, echoing him. And it was soon
evident to us that it was not only sight of which the old man had been
bereft; his wits were gone too; all that he could do now was to echo
in gentle iteration every word that his brother or sisters said. "Yes,
to be sure," was his instantaneous comment on every word spoken. "I
think they are all just a little crazy. I am more happy now that we
are away," said my friend, as we departed with our roses. "I do know I
have heard that to be crazy is in that family." Crazy or not, they
were a very happy family on that sunny terrace, and sane enough to
have chosen the loveliest spot to live in within ten miles of Bergen.

Another of our memorable Bergen days was marked by a true Norwegian
dinner in a simple Bergen home. "The carriage that shall take you will
come at six," the hostess had said. Punctual to the hour it came;
red-cheeked Nils and the cheery little ponies. On the threshold we
were met by the host and hostess, both saying, "Welcome." As soon as
we took our seats at table a toast was offered: "Welcome to the table"
(_Welkommen tilbords_). The meal was, as we had requested, a simple
Norwegian dinner. First, a soup, with balls made of chicken: the meat
scraped fine while it is raw; then pounded to a paste with cream in a
marble mortar, the cream added drop by drop, as oil is added to salad
dressing; this, delicately seasoned, made into small round balls and
cooked in the boiling soup, had a delicious flavor, and a consistency
which baffled all our conjecture. Next came salmon, garnished with
shreds of cucumber, and with clear melted butter for sauce. Next,
chickens stuffed tight with green parsley, and boiled; with these were
brought vegetables, raspberry jam, and stewed plums, all delicious.
Next, a light omelet, baked in a low oval tin pan, in which it was
brought to the table, the pan concealed in a frame of stiff white
dimity with a broad frill embroidered in red. Cheese and many other
dishes are served in this way in Norway, adorned with petticoats, or
frills of embroidered white stuffs. With this omelet were eaten cherry
sweetmeats, with which had been cooked all the kernels from the
cracked stones, giving a rare flavor and richness to the syrup. After
this, nuts, coffee, and cordials. When the dinner was over, the host
and the hostess stood in the doorway, one on either hand; as we passed
between them, they bowed to each one, saying, "God be with you." It is
the custom of each guest to say, "_Tak fur maden_" ("Thanks for the
meal"). After dinner our hostess played for us Norwegian airs, wild
and tender, and at ten o'clock came Nils and the ponies to take us

The next day the jagts came in, a sight fine enough to stir one's
blood; ten of them sailing into harbor in line, the same as they
sailed in Olaf's day,--their prows curling upward, as if they stepped
high on the waters from pride, and their single great square sail set
on their one mast doggedly across their decks, as if they could compel
winds' courses to suit them. They had been only four days running down
from Heligoland, ahead of a fierce north wind, which had not so much
as drawn breath even night or day, but blown them down flying. A rare
piece of luck for the jagts to hit such a wind as that: when the wind
faces them, they are sometimes four weeks on the way; for their one
great stolid sail amidships, which is all very well with the wind
behind it, is no kind of a sail to tack with, or to make headway on a
quartering wind. The Vikings must have had a hard time of it, often,
manoeuvring their stately craft in Mediterranean squalls, and in the
Bay of Biscay. One of these jagts bore a fine scarlet silk flag with a
yellow crown on it. It was called the king's jagt, because, a year
ago, the king had visited it, spent some time on board, and afterward
sent this flag as a gift to the captain. We hired an old boatman to
row us alongside, and clambered on board up a swinging ladder; then up
another ladder, still longer, to the top of the square mountain of
salt codfish which filled three fourths of the deck. Most of it was to
go to Spain, the skipper said,--to Spain and the Mediterranean. "It
was well for Norway that there were so many Roman Catholic Countries:"
no danger of an overstock of the fish market in Europe so long as good
Catholics keep Lent every spring and Fridays all the year round. If
the Catholics were to be converted, Norway would be plunged into
misery. One tenth of her whole population live off, if not on, fish;
the value of the fisheries is reckoned at over ten millions of dollars
a year. Not a fish goes free on the Norway coast. Even the shark has
to give up his liver for oil, from which item alone the Norwegians get
about half a million of dollars yearly. The herring, shining, silvery,
slippery fellows that they are, are the aristocrats of the Norway
waters; the cod is stupid, stays quietly at home on his banks, breeds
and multiplies, and waits to be caught year after year in the same
places. But the herring shoals are off and on, at capricious pleasure,
now here, now there, and to be watched for with unremitting vigilance.
Kings' squadrons might come to Norway with less attention than is
given to them. Flash, flash, flash, by electric telegraph from point
to point all along the Norway shore, is sent like lightning the news
of the arrival of their majesties the herring.

Our boatman rowed us across the harbor to the landing at the foot of
the market-place. Climbing the steep hill, so steep that the roadway
for vehicles zigzags five times across it between bottom and top, we
looked back. Four more of the jagts were coming in,--colors flying,
sails taut; six more were in sight, it was said, farther out in the
fjord. The harbor was crowded with masts; the gay-colored houses and
red roofs and gables of the city on the east side of the harbor stood
out in relief against the gray, stony background of the high hill to
which they cling. The jagts seem to change the atmosphere of the whole
scene, and set it three centuries back. In the sunset light, they
looked as fine and fierce as if they had just brought Sigurd home from

Another memorable Bergen day was a day at Valestrand, on the island
Osteroën. Valestrand is a farm which has been in the possession of Ole
Bull's family for several generations, and is still in the possession
of Ole Bull's eldest son. It lies two hours' sail north from
Bergen,--two hours, or four according to the number of lighters loaded
with cotton bales, wood, etc., which the steamer picks up to draw.
Steamers on Norway fjords are like country gentlemen who go into the
city every day and come out at night, always doing unexpected errands
for people along the road. No steamer captain going out from Bergen
may say how many times he will stop on his journey, or at what hour he
will reach its end: all of which is clear profit for the steamboat
company, no doubt, but is worrying to travellers; especially to those
who leave Bergen of a morning at seven, as we did, invited to
breakfast at Valestrand at nine, and do not see Osteroën's shore till
near eleven. People who were not going to Valestrand to breakfast that
day were eating breakfast on board, all around us: poor people eating
cracknels and dry bread out of baskets; well-to-do people eating
sausage, eggs, and coffee, neatly served at little tables on deck, and
all prepared in a tiny coop below-stairs, hardly big enough for one
person to turn around in. It is an enticing sight always for hungry
people to see eating going on; up to a certain point it whets
appetite, but beyond that it is both insult and injury.

The harbor of Valestrand is a tiny amphitheatre of shallow water. No
big craft can get to the shore. As the steamer comes to a stop
opposite it, the old home of Ole Bull is seen on a slope at the head
of the harbor, looking brightly out over a bower of foliage to the
southern sun. It appears to be close to the water, but, on landing,
one discovers that he is still a half hour's walk away from it. A
little pathway of mossy stones, past an old boat-house, on whose
thatched roof flowering grasses and a young birch-tree were waving,
leads up from the water to the one road on the island. Wild pansies,
white clover, and dandelions, tinkling water among ferns and mosses,
along the roadsides, made the way beautiful; low hills rose on either
side, softly wooded with firs and birches feathery as plumes; in the
meadows, peasant men and women making hay,--the women in red jackets
and white blouses, a delight to the eye. Just in front of the house
is a small, darkly shaded lake, in which there is a mysterious
floating island, which moves up and down at pleasure, changing its
moorings often.

The house is wooden, and painted of a pale flesh-color. The
architecture is of the light and fantastic order of which so much is
to be seen in Norway,--the instinctive reaction of the Norwegian
against the sharp, angular, severe lines of his rock-made, rock-bound
country; and it is vindicated by the fact that fantastic carvings,
which would look trivial and impertinent on houses in countries where
Nature herself had done more decorating, seem here pleasing and in
place. Before the house were clumps of rose-bushes in blossom, and
great circles of blazing yellow eschscholtzias. In honor of our
arrival, every room had been decorated with flowers and ferns; and
clumps of wild pansies in bloom had been set along the steps to the
porch. Ole Bull's own chamber and music-room are superb rooms,
finished in yellow pine, with rows of twisted and carved pillars, and
carved cornices and beams and panels, all done by Norwegian workmen.

Valestrand was his home for many years, abandoned only when he found
one still more beautiful on the island of Lysoen, sixteen miles
southwest of Bergen.

A Norwegian supper of trout freshly caught, and smothered in cream,
croquettes, salad, strawberries, goat's-milk cheese, with
fine-flavored gooseberry wine, served by a Norwegian maid in a
white-winged head-dress, scarlet jacket, and stomacher of gay beads,
closed our day. As we walked back to the little moss-grown wharf, we
found two peasants taking trout from the brook. Just where it dashed
foaming under a little foot-bridge, a stake-lined box trap had been
plunged deep in the water. As we were passing, the men lifted it out,
dripping, ten superb trout dashing about wildly in it, in terror and
pain; the scarlet spots on their sides shone like garnet crystals in
the sun, as the men emptied them on the ground, and killed them, one
by one, by knocking their heads against a stone with a sharp, quick
stroke, which could not have been so cruel as it looked.

On our way back to Bergen we passed several little rowboats, creeping
slowly along, loaded high with juniper boughs. They looked like
little green islands broken loose from their places and drifting out
to sea.

"For somebody's sorrow!" we said thoughtfully, as we watched them
slowly fading from sight in the distance; but we did not dream that in
so few days the green boughs would have been strewn for the burial of
the beloved musician whose home we had just left.

The day of the burial of Ole Bull is a day that will never be
forgotten in Bergen. From mothers to children and to children's
children will go down the story of the day when from every house in
Bergen Norway's flag floated at half-mast, because Ole Bull was dead,
and the streets of Bergen for two miles--all the way from the quay to
the cemetery--were strewn with green juniper boughs, for the passage
of the procession bearing his body in sad triumph to the grave. It
must have been a touching sight. Early in the morning a steamer had
gone down to Lysoen to receive the body. This steamer on entering the
Bergen Fjord was met by fifteen others, all draped in black, to act as
its convoy. As the fleet approached the harbor, guns fired from the
fort, and answered by the steamers, made peals of echoes rolling away
gloriously among the hills. The harbor was crowded with shipping from
all parts of the world; every vessel's flag was at half-mast. The quay
was covered thick with green juniper, and festoons of green draped its
whole front to the very water's edge. Every shop and place of business
was shut; the whole population of the city stood waiting, silent,
reverent, for the landing of the dead body of the artist who had loved
Norway even as well as he loved the art to which his heart and life
had been given. While the body was borne from the boat and placed in
the high catafalque, a band played national airs of his arranging.
Young girls dressed in black bore many of the trophies which had been
given to him in foreign countries. His gold crown and orders were
carried by distinguished gentlemen of Bergen. As the procession passed
slowly along, flowers were showered on the coffin, and tears were seen
on many faces, but the silence was unbroken.

At the grave, Norway's greatest orator and poet, Björnstjerne
Björnson, spoke a few words of eloquent love and admiration. The grave
was made on a commanding spot in the centre of Bergen's old cemetery,
in which interments had been forbidden for many years. This spot,
however, had been set apart more than thirty years ago, to be reserved
for the interment of some great man. It had been refused to the father
and framer of the Norwegian Constitution, Christie, whose statue
stands in Bergen, but it was offered for Ole Bull; so much more
tenderly does the world love artists than statesmen! The grave was
lined with flowers and juniper, and juniper and flowers lay
thick-strewn on the ground for a great space about. After the coffin
had been put in the grave, and the relatives had gone away, there was
paid a last tribute to Ole Bull,--a tribute more touching and of more
worth than the king's letter, the gold crown, all the orders, and the
flags of the world at half mast; meaning more love than the
pine-strewn streets of the silent city and the tears on its people's
faces,--a tribute from poor peasants, who had come in from the country
far and near, men who knew Ole Bull's music by heart, who in their
lonely, poverty-stricken huts had been proud of the man who had played
their "Gamle Norge" before the kings of the earth. These men were
there by hundreds, each bringing a green bough, or a fern, or a
flower; they waited humbly till all others had left the grave, then
crowded up, and threw in, each man, the only token he had been rich
enough to bring. The grave was filled to the brim; and it is not
irreverent to say that to Ole Bull, in heaven, there could come no
gladder memory of earth than that the last honors paid him there were
wild leaves and flowers of Norway, laid on his body by the loving
hands of Norway peasants.


A pair of eyes too blue for gray, too gray for blue; brown hair as
dark as hair can be, being brown and not black; a face fine without
beauty, gentle but firm; a look appealing, and yet full of a certain
steadfastness, which one can see would be changed to fortitude at once
if there were need; a voice soft, low, and of a rich fulness, in which
even Norwegian _sks_ flow melodiously and broken English becomes
music,--this is a little, these are a few features, of the portrait of
Sanna, all that can be told to any one not knowing Sanna herself. And
to those who do know her it would not occur to speak of the eyes, or
the hair, or the shy, brave look: to speak of her in description would
be lost time and a half-way impertinence; she is simply "Sanna."

When she said she would go with me and show me two of the most
beautiful fjords of her country, her beloved Norway, I found no words
in which to convey my gladness. He who journeys in a foreign country
whose language he does not know is in sorrier plight for the time
being than one born a deaf-mute. Deprived all of a sudden of his two
chief channels of communication with his fellows, cut off in an hour
from all which he has been wont to gain through his ears and express
by his tongue, there is no telling his abject sense of helplessness.
The more he has been accustomed to free intercourse, exact replies,
ready compliance, and full utterance among his own people, the worse
off he feels himself now. It is ceaseless humiliation added to
perpetual discomfort. And the more novel the country, and the greater
his eagerness to understand all he sees, the greater is his misery:
the very things which, if he were not this pitiful deaf-mute, would
give him his best pleasures, are turned into his chief torments; even
evident friendliness on the part of those he meets becomes as
irritating a misery as the sound of waterfalls in the ears of
Tantalus. Nowhere in the world can this misery of unwilling dumbness
and deafness be greater, I think, than it is in Norway. The evident
good-will and readiness to talk of the Norwegian people are as
peculiarly their own as are their gay costumes and their flower-decked
houses. Their desire to meet you half-way is so great that they talk
on and on, in spite of the palpable fact that not one word of all they
say conveys any idea to your mind; and at last, when your despair has
become contagious, and they accept the situation as hopeless, they
seize your hand in both of theirs, and pressing it warmly let it fall
with a smile and a shake of the head, which speak volumes of regret
both for their own loss and for yours.

It took much planning to contrive what we could best do in the four
days which were all that we could have for our journey. The comings
and goings of steamboats on the Norway fjords, their habits in the
matter of arriving and departing, the possibilities and
impossibilities of carioles, caleches, peasant carts and horses, the
contingencies and uncertainties of beds at inns,--all these things,
taken together, make any programme of journeying, in any direction in
Norway, an aggregate of complications, risks, and hindrances enough to
deter any but the most indomitable lovers of Nature and adventure.
Long before it was decided which routes promised us most between a
Saturday afternoon and the next Wednesday night, I had abandoned all
effort to grapple understandingly with the problems, and left the
planning entirely to my wiser and more resolute companion. Each
suggestion that I made seemed to involve us in deeper perplexities.
One steamer would set off at three in the morning; another would
arrive at the same hour; a third would take us over the most beautiful
parts of a fjord in the night; on a fourth route nothing in the way of
vehicles could be procured, except the peasant's cart, a thing in
which no human being not born a Norwegian peasant can drive for half a
day without being shaken to a jelly; on a fifth we should have to wait
three days for a return boat; on another it was unsafe to go without
having received beforehand the promise of a bed, the accommodations
for travellers being so scanty. The old puzzle of the fox and the
goose and the corn is an _a b c_ in comparison with the dilemma we
were in. At last, when I thought I had finally arranged a scheme which
would enable us to see two of the finest of the fjords within our
prescribed time, a scheme which involved spending a day and a night in
the little town of Gudvangen, in the valley of Nerodal, Sanna
exclaimed, shuddering, "We cannot! we cannot! The mountains are over
us. We can sleep at Gudvangen; but a whole day? No! You shall not like
a whole day at Gudvangen. The mountains are so--" And she finished her
sentence by another shudder and a gesture of cowering, which were more
eloquent than words. So the day at Gudvangen was given up, and it was
arranged that we were to wait one day at some other point on the road,
wherever it might seem good, and upon no account come to Gudvangen for
anything more than to take the steamer away from it.

The heat of a Bergen noon is like a passing smile on a stern face. It
was cold at ten, and it will be cold again long before sunset; you
have your winter wrap on your arm, and you dare not be separated from
it, but the mid-day glares at and down on you, and makes the wrap seem
not only intolerable but incongruous. As we drove to the steamer at
twelve o'clock, with fur-trimmed wraps and heavy rugs filling the
front seat of the carriage, and our faces flushed with heat, I said,
"What an absurd amount of wraps for a midsummer journey! I have a mind
to let Nils carry back this heavy rug."

"I think you shall be very glad if you have it," remarked Sanna. "Oh!"
she exclaimed with a groan, "there is Bob."

Bob is Sanna's dog,--a small black spaniel, part setter, with a
beautiful head and eye, and a devotion to his mistress which lovers
might envy. Never, when in her presence, does he remove his eyes from
her for many minutes. He either revolves restlessly about her like an
alert scout, or lays himself down with a sentry-like expression at her

"Oh, what is to do with Bob?" she continued, gazing helplessly at me.
The rascal was bounding along the road, curvetting, and wagging his
tail, and looking up at us with an audacious leer on his handsome
face. "He did understand perfectly that he should not come," said
Sanna; hearing which, Bob hung back, behind the carriage.

"Nils must carry him back," I said. Then, relenting, seeing the look
of distress on Sanna's face, I added, "Could we not take him with us?"

"Oh, no, it must be impossible," she replied. "It is for the lambs. He
does drive them and frighten them. He must stay, but we shall have

Fast the little Norwegian ponies clattered down to the wharf. No Bob.
As we went on board he was nowhere to be seen. Anxiously Sanna
searched for him, to give him into Nils's charge. He was not to be
found. The boat began to move. Still no Bob. We settled ourselves
comfortably; already the burdensome rug was welcome. "I really think
Bob must have missed us in the crowd," I said.

"I do not know, I do not think," replied Sanna, her face full of
perplexity. "Oh!" with a cry of dismay. "He is here!"

There he was! Abject, nearly dragging his body on the deck like a
snake, his tail between his legs, fawning, cringing, his eyes fixed on
Sanna, he crawled to her feet. Only his eyes told that he felt any
emotion except remorse; they betrayed him; their expression was the
drollest I ever saw on a dumb creature's face. It was absurd; it was
impossible, incredible, if one had not seen it; as plainly as if words
had been spoken, it avowed the whole plot, the distinct exultation in
its success. "Here I am," it said, "and I know very well that now the
steamer has begun to move you are compelled to take me with you. My
heart is nearly broken with terror and grief at the thought of your
displeasure, but all the same I can hardly contain myself for delight
at having outwitted you so completely." All this while he was
wriggling closer and closer to her feet, watching her eye, as a child
watches its mother's, for the first show of relenting. Of course we
began to laugh. At the first beginning of a smile in Sanna's eyes, he
let his tail out from between his legs, and began to flap it on the
deck; as the smile broadened, he gradually rose to his feet; and by
the time we had fairly burst into uncontrolled laughter, he was erect,
gambolling around us like a kid, and joining in the chorus of our
merriment by a series of short, sharp yelps of delight, which, being
interpreted, would doubtless have been something like, "Ha, ha! Beat
'em, and they 're not going to thrash me, and I'm booked for the whole
journey now, spite of fate! Ha, ha!" Then he stretched himself at our
feet, laid his nose out flat on the deck, and went to sleep as
composedly as if he had been on the hearth-rug at home; far more
composedly than he would had he dreamed of the experiences in store
for him.

"Poor Bob!" said Sanna. "It must be that we shall send him back by the
steamer." Poor Bob, indeed! Long before we reached our first landing,
Bob was evidently sea-sick. The beautiful water of the great Hardanger
Fjord was as smooth as an inland lake; changing from dark and
translucent green in the narrowing channels, where the bold shores
came so near together that we could count the trees, to brilliant and
sparkling blue in the wider opens. But little cared Bob for the beauty
of the water; little did it comfort him that the boat glided as gently
as is possible for a boat to move. He had never been on a boat before,
and did not know it was smooth. Piteously he roamed about, from place
to place, looking off; then he would come and stand before Sanna,
quivering in every fibre, and looking up at her with sorrowful appeal
in his eyes. His thoughts were plainly written in his countenance now,
as before; but nobody could have had the heart to laugh at him. Poor
fellow! He was not the first creature that has been bowed down by the
curse of a granted prayer.

Presently there came a new trouble. All along the Hardanger Fjord are
little hamlets and villages and clusters of houses, tucked in in nooks
among rocks and on rims of shore at the base of the high, stony walls
of mountains, and snugged away at the heads of inlets. Many of these
are places of summer resort for the Bergen people, who go out of town
into the country in summer, I fancy, somewhat as the San Francisco
people do, not to find coolness, but to find warmth; for the air in
these sheltered nooks and inlets of the fjords is far softer than it
is in Bergen, which has the strong sea wind blowing in its teeth all
the while. On Saturdays the steamers for the Hardanger country are
crowded with Bergen men going out to spend the Sunday with their
families or friends who are rusticating at these little villages. At
many of these spots there is no landing except by small boats; and it
was one of the pleasantest features of the sail, the frequent pausing
of the steamer off some such nook, and the putting out of the rowboats
to fetch or to carry passengers. They would row alongside, half a
dozen at a time, bobbing like corks, and the agile Norwegians would
skip in and out of and across them as deftly as if they were stepping
on firm floor. The Norwegian peasant is as much at home in a boat as a
snail in his shell,--women as well as men; they row, stand, leap,
gesticulate, lift burdens, with only a rocking plank between their
feet and fathomless water, and never seem to know that they are not on
solid ground. In fact, they are far more graceful afloat than on
ground: on the land they shuffle and walk in a bent and toil-worn
attitude, the result of perpetual carrying of loads on their backs;
but they bend to their oars with ease and freedom, and wheel and turn
and shoot and back their little skiffs with a dexterity which leaves
no room for doubt that they can do anything they choose on water. It
would not have astonished me, any day, to see a Norwegian coming
towards me in two boats at once, one foot in each boat, walking on the
water in them, as a man walks on snow in snow-shoes. I never did see
it, but I am sure they could do it.

When these boats came alongside, Bob peered wistfully over the
railings, but did not offer to stir. The connection between this new
variety of water craft and _terra firma_ he did not comprehend. But at
the first landing which we reached, he gazed for a moment intently,
and then bounded forward like a shot, across the gangway, in among the
crowd on the wharf, in a twinkling.

"Oh!" shrieked Sanna, "Bob is on shore!" And she rushed after him, and
brought him back, crestfallen. But he had learned the trick of it; and
after that, his knack at disappearing some minutes before we came to a
wharf--thereby luring us into a temporary forgetfulness of him--and
then, when we went to seek him, making himself invisible among the
people going on shore, was something so uncanny that my respect for
him fast deepened into an awe which made an odd undercurrent of
anxiety, mingling with my enjoyment of the beauties of the fjord. It
was strange, while looking at grand tiers of hills rising one behind
the other, with precipitous fronts, the nearer ones wooded, the
farther ones bare and stony, sometimes almost solid rock, walling the
beautiful green and blue water as if it had been a way hewn for it to
pass; shining waterfalls pouring down from the highest summits,
straight as a beam of light, into the fjord, sometimes in full
torrents dazzling bright, sometimes in single threads as if of
ravelled cloud, sometimes in a broken line of round disks of
glittering white on the dark green, the course of the water in the
intervals between being marked only by a deeper green and a sunken
line in the foliage,--it was strange, side by side with the wonder at
all this beauty, to be wondering to one's self also what Bob would do
next. But so it was hour by hour, all of our way up the Hardanger
Fjord, till we came, in the early twilight at half-past ten o'clock,
to Eide, our journey's end. The sun had set--if in a Norway summer it
can ever be truly said to set--two hours before, and in its slow
sinking had turned the mountains, first pink, then red, then to an
opaline tint, blending both pink and red with silver gray and white;
all shifting and changing so fast that the mountains themselves seemed
to be quivering beneath. Then, of a sudden, they lost color and turned
gray and dark blue. Belts and downstretching lines of snow shone out
sternly on their darkened summits; a shadowy half-moon rose above them
in the southeast, and the strange luminous night lit up the little
hamlet of Eide, almost light like day, as we landed.

At first sight Eide looked as if the houses, as well as the people,
had just run down to the shore to meet the boat: from the front
windows of the houses one might easily look into the cabin windows of
the boat,--so narrow strips of shore do the mountain walls leave
sometimes along these fjords, and such marvellous depth of water do
the fjords bring to the mountains' feet.

"Have you written for rooms? Where are you going? There isn't a bed in
Eide," were the first words that greeted us from some English people
who had left Bergen days before, and whom we never expected to see
again. The disappearing, reappearing, and turning up of one's
travelling acquaintances in Norway is one of the distinctive
experiences of the country. The chief routes of tourist travel are so
involved with each other, and so planned for exchange, interchange,
and succession of goers and comers, that the perpetual _rencontres_ of
chance acquaintances are amusing. It is like a performance of the
figures of a country-dance on a colossal scale, so many miles to a
figure; and if one sits down quietly at any one of the large inns for
a week, the great body of Norway tourists for that week will be pretty
sure to pass under his inspection.

At Holt's, in Bergen, one sees, say forty travellers, at breakfast,
any morning. Before supper at eight in the evening these forty have
gone their ways, and a second forty have arrived, and so on; and
wherever he goes during the following week he will meet detachments of
these same bands: each man sure that he has just done the one thing
best worth doing, and done it in the best way; each eloquent in praise
or dispraise of the inns, the roads, and the people, and ready with
his "Oh, but you must be sure to see" this, that, or the other.

There were those who sat up all night in Eide, that night, for want of
a bed; but Bob and we were well lodged in a pretty bedroom, with two
windows white-curtained and two beds white-ruffled to the floor, on
which were spread rugs of black-and-white goatskins edged with coarse
home-made blue flannel. In the parlor and the dining-room of the
little inn, carved book-cases and pipe-cases hung on the walls; ivies
trained everywhere; white curtains, a piano, black-worsted-covered
high-backed chairs, spotless table linen, and old silver gave an air
of old-fashioned refinement to the rooms, which was a surprise.

The landlady wore the peasant's costume of the Hardanger country: the
straight black skirt to the ankles, long white apron, sleeveless
scarlet jacket, with a gay beaded stomacher over a full white blouse,
shining silver ornaments at throat and wrists, and on her head the
elegant and dignified head-dress of fine crimped white lawn, which
makes the Hardanger wives by far the most picturesque women to be seen
in all Norway.

At seven in the morning a young peasant girl opened our bedroom door
cautiously to ask if we would have coffee in bed. Bob flew at her with
a fierce yelp, which made her retreat hastily, and call for
protection. Being sharply reproved by Sanna, Bob stood doggedly
defiant in the middle of the floor, turning his reproachful eyes from
her to the stranger, and back again, plainly saying, "Ungrateful one!
How should I know she was not an enemy? That is the way enemies
approach." The girl wore the peasant maiden's dress: a short black
skirt bound with scarlet braid, sewed to a short sleeveless green
jacket, which was little wider than a pair of suspenders between the
shoulders behind. Her full, long-sleeved white blouse came up high in
the throat, and was fastened there by two silver buttons with Maltese
crosses hanging from them by curiously twisted chains. Her yellow hair
was braided in two thick braids, and wound tight round her head like a
wreath. She had a fair skin, tender, honest blue eyes, and a face
serious enough for a Madonna. But she laughed when she brought us the
eggs for our breakfast, kept warm in many folds of linen napkin held
down by a great motherly hen of gray china with a red crest on its

The house was a small white cottage; at the front door a square porch,
large enough to hold two tables and seats for a dozen people; opposite
this a vine-wreathed arch and gate led into a garden, at the foot of
which ran a noisy little river. An old bent peasant woman was always
going back and forth between the house and the river, carrying water
in two pails hung from a yoke on her shoulders. A bit of half-mowed
meadow joined the garden. It had been mowed at intervals, a little
piece at a time, so that the surface was a patchwork of different
shades of green. The hay was hung out to dry on short lines of fence
here and there. Grass is always dried in this way in Norway, and can
hang on the fences for two weeks and not be hurt, even if it is
repeatedly wet by rain. One narrow, straggling street led off up the
hillside, and suddenly disappeared as if the mountains had swallowed
it. The houses were thatched, with layers of birch bark put under the
boards; sods of earth on top; and flowers blooming on them as in a
garden. One roof was a bed of wild pansies, and another of a tiny pink
flower as fine as a grass; and young shoots of birch waved on them
both. The little river which ran past the inn garden had come down
from the mountains through terraced meadows, which were about half and
half meadow and terrace; stony and swampy, and full of hillocks and
hollows. New England has acres of fields like them; only here there
were big blue harebells and pink heath, added to clover and
buttercups, wild parsley and yarrow. On tiny pebbly bits of island
here and there in the brook grew purple thistles, "snow flake," and
bushes of birch and ash.

Bob rollicked in the lush grass, as we picked our way among the moist
hollows of this flowery meadow. In Sanna's hand dangled a bit of rope,
which he eyed suspiciously. She had brought it with her to tie him up,
when the hour should come for him to be carried on board the steamer.
He could not have known this, for he had never been tied up in his
life. But new dangers had roused new wariness in his acute mind: he
had distinctly heard the word "steamer" several times that morning,
and understood it. I said to him immediately after breakfast, "Bob,
you have to go home by the steamer this morning." He instantly crept
under the sofa, his tail between his legs, and cowered and crouched in
the farthest corner; no persuasions could lure him out, and his eyes
were piteous beyond description. Not until we had walked some distance
from the house, in a direction opposite to the steamer wharf, did he
follow us. Then he came bounding, relieved for the time being from
anxiety. At last Sanna, in a feint of play, tied the rope around his
neck. His bewilderment and terror were tragic. Setting all four feet
firmly on the ground, he refused to stir, except as he was dragged by
main force. It was plain that he would be choked to death before he
would obey. The rope project must be abandoned. Perhaps he could be
lured on board, following Sanna. Vain hope! Long before we reached the
wharf, the engine of the boat gave a shrill whistle. At the first
sound of it Bob darted away like the wind, up the road, past the
hotel, out of sight in a minute. We followed him a few rods, and then
gave it up. Again he had outwitted us. We walked to the steamer,
posted a letter, sat down, and waited. The steamer blew five
successive signals, and then glided away from the wharf. In less than
three minutes, before she was many rods off, lo, Bob! back again,
prancing around us with glee, evidently keeping his eye on the
retreating steamboat, and chuckling to himself at his escape.

"O Bob, Bob!" groaned Sanna. "What is to do with you?"

We were to set off for Vossevangen by carriage at three; at half-past
two poor Bob was carried, struggling, into the wood-shed, and tied up.
His cries were piteous, almost more than we could bear. I am sure he
understood the whole plot; but the worst was to come. By somebody's
carelessness, the wood-shed door was opened just as we were driving
away from the porch. With one convulsive leap and cry, Bob tore his
rope from the log to which it was tied, and darted out. The stable
boys caught him, and held him fast; his cries were human. Sanna buried
her face in her hands and exclaimed, "Oh, say to the driver that he go
so fast as he can!" And we drove away, leaving the poor, faithful,
loving creature behind, to be sent by express back to Bergen on the
steamer the next day. It was like leaving a little child alone among
strangers, heart-broken and terrified. When we returned to Bergen we
learned that he had touched neither food nor drink till he reached
home, late the next night.

To go from Eide to Vossevangen, one must begin by climbing up out of
Eide. It is at the bottom of a well, walled by green hills and
snow-topped mountains; at the top of the well the country spreads out
for a little, only to meet higher hills, higher mountains. Here lies a
great lake, rimmed by broad borders of reeds, which shook and
glistened in the wind and sun like the spears of half-drowned armies
as we passed. Clumps and groves of ash-trees on the shores of this
lake looked like huge clumsy torches set in the ground: their tops had
been cut down again and again, till they had grown as broad as they
were high. The leaves are used for the feed of sheep, and the boughs
for firewood; and as in the frugal Norwegian living nothing that can
be utilized is left to lie idle, never an ash-tree has the chance to
shoot up, become tall and full of leaf. Magpies flitted in and out
among them.

"One is for sorrow, and two are for joy, three must be a marriage, and
four do bring good fortune, we do say in Norway," said Sanna. "But I
think we shall have all sorrow and joy, and to be married many times
over, if it be true," she added, as the noisy, showy creatures
continued to cross our road by twos and threes.

High up on the hills, just in the edge of snow patches, sæters were
to be seen, their brown roofs looking as much a part of the lonely
Nature as did the waterfalls and the pine-trees. On all sides shone
the water,--trickling fosses down precipices, outbursting fosses from
ravines and dells; just before us rose a wall some three thousand feet
high, over which leaped a foaming cataract.

"We shall go there," said Sanna, pointing up to it. Sure enough, we
did. By loops so oval and narrow they seemed twisted as if to thread
their way, as eyes of needles are threaded, the road wound and
doubled, and doubled and wound, six times crossing the hill front in
fifteen hundred feet. At each double, the valley sank below us; the
lake sank; the hills which walled the lake sank; the road was only a
broad rift among piled bowlders. In many places these bowlders were
higher than our heads; but there was no sense of danger, for the road
was a perfect road, smooth as a macadamized turnpike. Along its outer
edge rows of thickly set rocks, several feet high, and so near each
other that no carriage could possibly fall between; in the most
dangerous places stout iron bars were set from rock to rock; these
loops of chain ladder up the precipice were as safe as a summer
pathway in a green meadow. On a stone bridge of three arches we
crossed the waterfall: basins of rocks above us, filled with spray;
basins and shelves and ledges of rocks below us, filled with spray;
the bridge black and slippery wet, and the air thick with spray, like
a snow-storm; precipices of water on the right and the left. It was
next to being an eagle on wing in a storm to cross that bridge in
upper air. At the sixth turn we came out abreast of the top of the
waterfall, and in a moment more had left all the stress and storm and
tumult of waters behind us, and glided into a sombre, still roadway
beside a calm little river deep in a fir forest. Only the linnæa had
won bloom out of this darkness; its courageous little tendrils
wreathed the tree trunks nestled among the savage rocks, and held up
myriads of pink cups wet with the ceaseless spray. It was a dreary,
lonely place; miles of gaunt swamp, forest, and stony moor; here and
there a farm-house, silent as if deserted.

"Where are all the people? Why do we not see any one moving about the
houses?" I asked.

"In the house, reading, every one," replied Sanna. "On a Sunday
afternoon, if there is no service in church, all Norwegian farm people
do go into their houses, and spend all afternoon in reading and in

At last we reached a more open country,--an off look to the west; new
ranges of snow-topped mountains came in sight. We began to descend;
another silent river slipping down by our side; two more dark, shining
lakes. On the shore of one, a peasant man--the first living creature
we had seen for ten miles--was taking his cart out of a little shed by
the roadside. This shed was the only sign of human habitation to be
seen in the region. His horse stood near by, with a big barrel slung
on each side: they were barrels of milk, which had just been brought
down in this way from a sæter which we could see, well up in the
cloud region, far above the woods on the left. Down the steep path
from this sæter the man had walked, and the horse bearing the
barrels of milk had followed. Now the barrels were to be put in the
cart, and carried to Eide. Ten miles more that milk was to be carried
before it reached its market; and yet, at the little inn in Eide, for
a breakfast, at which one may drink all the milk he desires, he will
be asked to pay only thirty-five cents. What else beside milk? Fresh
salmon, trout, two kinds of rye bread and two of white, good butter,
six kinds of cheese, herrings done in oil and laurel leaves in tiny
wooden barrels, cold sausage, ham, smoked salmon (raw), coffee and
tea, and perhaps--wild strawberries: this will be the Eide
summer-morning breakfast. The cheese feature in the Norwegian
breakfast is startling at first: all colors, sizes, shapes, and smells
known of cheese; it must be owned they are not savory for breakfast,
but the Norwegian eats them almost as a rite. He has a proverb in
regard to cheese as we have of fruit: "Gold in the morning, silver at
noon, and lead at night;" and he lives up to it more implicitly than
we do to ours.

As we neared Vossevangen, the silent river grew noisier and noisier,
and at last let out all its reserves in a great torrent which leaped
down into the valley with a roar. This torrent also was bridged at its
leap; and the bridge seemed to be in a perpetual quiver from the shock
of it. The sides of the rocky gorge below glistened black like ebony;
they had been worn into columnar grooves by the centuries of whirling
waters; the knotted roots of a fir forest jutted out above them, and
long spikes of a beautiful white flower hung out from their crevices
in masses of waving snowy bloom. It looked like a variety of the
house-leek, but no human hand could reach it to make sure.

Vossevangen is a little farming hamlet on the west shore of a
beautiful lake. The region is one of the best agricultural districts
in western Norway; the "Vos" farmers are held to be fortunate and well
to do, and their butter and cheese always bring high prices in market.

On the eastern shore of the lake is a chain of mountains, from two to
four thousand feet high; to the south, west, and north rise the green
hills on which the farms lie; above these, again, rise other hills,
higher and more distant, where in the edges of the snow tracts or
buried in fir forests are the sæters, the farmers' summer homes.

As we drove into the village we met the peasants going home from
church: the women in short green or black gowns, with gay jackets and
white handkerchiefs made into a flying-buttress sort of head-dress on
their heads; the men with knee-breeches, short vests, and jackets
thick trimmed with silver buttons. Every man bowed and every woman
courtesied as we passed. To pass any human being on the highway
without a sign or token of greeting would be considered in Norway the
height of ill manners; any child seen to do it would be sharply
reproved. Probably few things would astonish the rural Norwegian more
than to be told that among the highly civilized it is considered a
mark of good breeding, if you chance to meet a fellow-man on the
highway, to go by him with no more recognition of his presence than
you would give to a tree or a stone wall.

It is an odd thing that a man should be keeping the Vossevangen Hotel
to-day who served in America's civil war, was for two years in one of
the New York regiments, and saw a good deal of active service. He was
called back to Norway by the death of his father, which made it
necessary for him to take charge of the family estate in Vossevangen.
He has married a Vossevangen woman, and is likely to end his days
there; but he hankers for Chicago, and always will. He keeps a fairly
good little hotel, on the shores of the lake, with a row of
willow-trees in front; dwarf apple-trees, gooseberry and currant
bushes, and thickets of rhubarb in his front yard; roses, too, besides
larkspur and phlox; but the rhubarb has the place of honor. The
dining-room and the parlor were, like those at Eide, adorned with
ivies and flowering plants; oleanders in the windows and potted
carnations on the table. In one corner of the dining-room was a large
round table covered with old silver for sale: tankards, chains, belts,
buttons, coins, rings, buckles, brooches, ornaments of all
kinds,--hundreds of dollars' worth of things. There they lay, day and
night, open to all who came; and they had done this, the landlady
said, for years, and not a single article had ever been stolen: from
which it is plain that not only is the Norwegian honest himself, there
must be a contagion in his honesty, which spreads it to all travellers
in his country.

The next morning, early, we set off in a peasant's cart to visit some
of the farm-houses.

"Now you shall see," said Sanna, "that it was not possible if you had
all day to ride in this kind of wagon."

It did not take long to prove the truth of her remark. A shallow
wooden box set on two heavy wheels; a wooden seat raised on two
slanting wooden braces, so high that one's feet but just reach the
front edge of the box; no dasher, no sides to seat, no anything,
apparently, after you are up, except your hard wooden seat and two
pounding wheels below,--this is the peasant wagon. The horse, low down
between two heavy thills, is without traces, pulls by a breast collar,
is guided by rope reins, and keeps his heels half the time under the
front edge of the box. The driver stands up in the box behind you, and
the rope reins are in your hair, or on your neck, shoulders, ears, as
may be. The walloping motion of this kind of box, drawn by a frisky
Norwegian horse over rough roads, is droll beyond description. But
when it comes to going down hills in it, and down hills so steep that
the box appears to be on the point of dumping you between the horse's
ears at each wallop, it ceases to be droll, and becomes horrible. Our
driver was a splendid specimen of a man,--six feet tall, strong built,
and ruddy. When he found that I was an American, he glowed all over,
and began to talk rapidly to Sanna. He had six brothers in America.

"They do say that they all have it very good there," interpreted
Sanna; "and he thinks to go there himself so soon as there is money to
take all. It must be that America is the best country in the world, to
have it so good there that every man can have it good."

The roads up the hills were little more than paths. Often for many
rods there was no trace of wheels on the stony ledges; again the track
disappeared in a bit of soft meadow. As we climbed, the valley below
us rounded and hollowed, and the lake grew smaller and smaller to the
eye; the surrounding hills opened up, showing countless valleys
winding here and there among them. It was a surpassingly beautiful
view. Vast tracts of firs, inky black in the distances, emphasized the
glittering of the snow fields above them and the sunny green of the
nearer foregrounds below.

The first farm which we visited lay about three miles north of the
village,--three miles north and up. The buildings were huddled
together, some half dozen of them, in a haphazard sort of way, with no
attempt at order, no front, no back, and no particular reason for
approaching one way rather than another. Walls of hewn logs, black
with age; roofs either thatched, or covered with huge slabs of slate,
laid on irregularly and moss-grown; rough stones or logs for
doorsteps; so little difference between the buildings that one was at
a loss to know which were meant for dwellings and which for barns,--a
more unsightly spot could hardly be imagined. But the owners had as
quick an instinct of hospitality as if they dwelt in a palace. No
sooner did Sanna mention that I was from America, and wished to see
some of the Norwegian farm-houses, than their faces brightened with
welcome and good-will, and they were ready to throw open every room
and show me all their simple stores.

"There is not a man in all Vos," they said, "who has not a relative in
America." And they asked eager question after question, in insatiable
curiosity, about the unknown country whither their friends had gone.

The wives and daughters of the family were all away, up at the
sæter with the cows; only the men and the servant maids were left
at home to make the hay. Would I not go up to the sæter? The
mistress would be distressed that an American lady had visited the
farm in her absence. I could easily go to the sæter in a day. It
was only five hours on horseback, and about a half-hour's walk, at the
last, over a path too rough even for riding. Very warmly the men urged
Sanna to induce me to make the trip. They themselves would leave the
haying and go with me, if I would only go; and I must never think I
had seen Norwegian farming unless I had seen the sæter also, they

The maids were at dinner in the kitchen. It was a large room, with
walls not more than eight feet high, black with smoke; and in the
centre a square stone trough, above which was built a funnel chimney.
In this hollow trough a fire smouldered, and above it hung an enormous
black caldron, full of beer, which was being brewed. One of the maids
sprang from her dinner, lifted a trap door in the floor, disappeared
in the cellar, and presently returned, bringing a curious wooden
drinking-vessel shaped like a great bowl, with a prow at each side for
handles, and painted in gay colors. This was brimming full of new
beer, just brewed. Sanna whispered to me that it would be bad manners
if we did not drink freely of it. It was passed in turn to each member
of the party. The driver, eying me sharply as I forced down a few
mouthfuls of the nauseous drink, said something to Sanna.

"He asks if American ladies do not like beer," said Sanna. "He is
mortified that you do not drink. It will be best that we drink all we
can. It is all what they have. Only I do hope that they give us not

There was no window in the kitchen, no ventilation except through the
chimney and the door. A bare wooden table, wooden chairs, a few
shelves, where were ranged some iron utensils, were all the furniture
of the gloomy room. The maids' dinner consisted of a huge plate of
fladbröd and jugs of milk; nothing else. They would live on that,
Sanna said, for weeks, and work in the hay-fields from sunrise till

Opposite the kitchen was the living-room,--the same smoky log walls,
bare floors, wooden chairs and benches. The expression of poverty was

"I thought you said these people were well to do!" I exclaimed.

"So they are," replied Sanna. "They are very well off; they do not
know that it is not comfort to be like this. They shall have money in
banks, these people. All the farmers in Vos are rich."

Above the living-room were two bedrooms and clothes-rooms. Here, in
gay painted scarlet boxes and hanging from lines, were the clothes of
the family and the bed linen of the house. Mistress and maid alike
must keep their clothes in this common room. The trunks were ranged
around the sides of the room, each locked with a key big enough to
lock prison doors. On one side of one of the rooms were three bunk
beds built in under the eaves. These were filled with loose straw, and
had only blankets for covers. Into this straw the Norwegian burrows by
night, rolled in his blankets. The beds can never be moved, for they
are built in with the framework of the house. No wonder that the
Norwegian flea has, by generations of such good lodging and food,
become a triumphant Bedouin marauder, in comparison with whom the
fleas of all other countries are too petty to deserve mention.

The good-natured farmer opened his mother's box as well as his wife's,
and with awkward and unaccustomed hands shook out their Sunday
costumes for us to see. From another box, filled with soft blankets
and linen, he took out a bottle of brandy, and pouring some into a
little silver bowl, with the same prow-shaped handles as the wooden
one we had seen in the kitchen, pressed us to drink. One drop of it
was like liquid fire. He seemed hurt that we refused more, and poured
it down his own throat at a gulp, without change of a muscle. Then he
hid the brandy bottle again under the blankets, and the little silver
cup in the till of his mother's chest, and locked them both up with
the huge keys.

Downstairs we found an aged couple, who had come from another of the
buildings, hearing of our presence. These were the grandparents. The
old woman was eighty-four, and was knitting briskly without glasses.
She took us into the storerooms, where were bins of flour and grain;
hams of beef and pork hanging up; wooden utensils of all sorts,
curiously carved and stained wooden spoons, among other things,--a
cask full of them, put away to be used "when they had a merry-making."
Here also were stacks of fladbröd. This is the staple of the
Norwegian's living; it is a coarse bread made of dark flour, in cakes
as thin as a wafer and as big round as a barrel. This is baked once a
year, in the spring, is piled up in stacks in the storerooms, and
keeps good till the spring baking comes round again. It is very sweet
and nutritious: one might easily fare worse than to have to make a
meal of it with milk. On one of the storeroom shelves I spied an old
wooden drinking-bowl, set away with dried peas in it. It had been
broken, and riveted together in the bottom, but would no longer hold
water, so had been degraded to this use. It had once been gayly
painted, and had a motto in old Norwegian around the edge: "Drink in
good-will, and give thanks to God." I coveted the thing, and offered
to buy it. It was a study to see the old people consult with each
other if they should let it go. It seemed that when they first went to
housekeeping it had been given to them by the woman's mother, and was
an old bowl even then. It was certainly over a hundred years old, and
how much more there was no knowing. After long discussion they decided
to sell it to me for four kroner (about one dollar), which the son
thought (Sanna said) was a shameful price to ask for an old broken
bowl. But he stood by in filial submission, and made no loud objection
to the barter. The old woman also showed us a fine blanket, which had
been spun and woven by her mother a hundred years ago. It was as gay
of color and fantastic of design as if it had been made in Algiers.
This too she was willing to sell for an absurdly small price, but it
was too heavy to bring away. At weddings and other festivities these
gay blankets are hung on the walls; and it is the custom for neighbors
to lend all they can on such occasions.

The next farm we visited belonged to the richest people in Vos. It lay
a half-mile still higher up, and the road leading to it seemed
perilously steep. The higher we went, the greater the profusion of
flowers: the stony way led us through tracts of bloom, in blue and
gold; tall spikes of mullein in clumps like hollyhocks, and
"shepherd's bells" in great purple patches.

The buildings of this farm were clustered around a sort of court-yard
enclosure, roughly flagged by slate. Most of the roofs were also
slated; one or two were thatched, and these thatched roofs were the
only thing that redeemed the gloom of the spot, the sods on these
being bright with pansies and grasses and waving raspberry bushes.
Here also we found the men of the family alone at home, the women
being gone on their summering at the sæter. The youngest son showed
us freely from room to room, and displayed with some pride the trunks
full of blankets and linen, and the rows of women's dresses hanging in
the chambers. On two sides of one large room these were hung thick one
above another, no variety in them, and no finery; merely a succession
of strong, serviceable petticoats, of black, green, or gray woollen.
The gay jackets and stomachers were packed away in trunks; huge
fur-lined coats, made of the same shape for men and for women, hung in
the storeroom. Some of the trunks were red, painted in gay colors;
some were of polished cedar, finished with fine brass mountings. As
soon as a Norwegian girl approaches womanhood, one of these trunks is
given her, set in its place in the clothes-room, and her accumulations
begin. Clothes, bedding, and silver ornaments seem to be the only
things for which the Norwegian peasant spends his money. In neither of
these houses was there an article of superfluous furniture, not even
of ordinary comfort. In both were the same bunk beds, built in under
the eaves; the same loose, tossed straw, with blankets for covering;
and only the coarsest wooden chairs and benches for seats. The young
man opened his mother's trunk, and took from one corner a beautiful
little silver beaker, with curling, prow-shaped handles. In this the
old lady had packed away her silver brooches, buttons, and studs for
the summer. Side by side with them, thrown in loosely among her white
head-dresses and blouses, were half a dozen small twisted rolls of
white bread. Sanna explained this by saying that the Norwegians never
have this bread except at their most important festivals; it is
considered a great luxury, and these had no doubt been put away as a
future treat, as we should put away a bit of wedding-cake to keep.
Very irreverently the son tipped out all his mother's ornaments into
the bottom of the trunk, and proceeded to fill the little beaker with
fiery brandy from a bottle which had been hid in another corner. From
lip to lip it was passed, returning to him wellnigh untasted; but he
poured the whole down at a draught, smacked his lips, and tossed the
cup back into the trunk, dripping with the brandy. Very much that good
old Norwegian dame, when she comes down in the autumn, will wonder, I
fancy, what has happened to her nicely packed trunk of underclothes,
dry bread, and old silver.

There were several storerooms in these farm buildings, and they were
well filled with food, grain, flour, dried meats, fish, and towers of
fladbröd. Looms with partly finished webs of cloth in them were there
set away till winter; baskets full of carved yellow spoons hung on the
wall. In one of the rooms, standing on the sill of the open window,
were two common black glass bottles, with a few pond-lilies in
each,--the only bit of decoration or token of love of the beautiful we
had found. Seeing that I looked at the lilies with admiration, the
young man took them out, wiped their dripping stems on his
coat-sleeve, and presented them to me with a bow that a courtier might
have envied. The grace, the courtesy, of the Norwegian peasant's bow
is something that must date centuries back. Surely there is nothing in
his life and surroundings to-day to create or explain it. It must be a
trace of something that Olaf Tryggveson--that "magnificent,
far-shining man"--scattered abroad in his kingdom eight hundred years
ago, with his "bright, airy, wise way" of speaking and behaving to
women and men.

One of the buildings on this farm was known, the young man said, to be
at least two hundred years old. The logs are moss-grown and black, but
it is good for hundreds of years yet. The first story is used now for
a storeroom. From this a ladder led up to a half-chamber overhead, the
front railed by a low railing; here, in this strange sort of balcony
bedroom, had slept the children of the family, all the time under
observation of their elders below.

Thrust in among the rafters, dark, rusty, bent, was an ancient sword.
Our guide took it out and handed it to us, with a look of awe on his
face. No one knew, he said, how long that sword had been on the farm.
In the earliest writings by which the estate had been transferred,
that sword had been mentioned, and it was a clause in every lease
since that it should never be taken away from the place. However many
times the farm might change hands, the sword must go with it, for all
time. Was there no legend, no tradition, with it? None that his father
or his father's father had ever heard; only the mysterious entailed
charge, from generation to generation, that the sword must never be
removed. The blade was thin and the edge jagged, the handle plain and
without ornament; evidently the sword had been for work, and not for
show. There was something infinitely solemn in its inalienable estate
of safe and reverent keeping at the hands of men all ignorant of its
history. It is by no means impossible that it had journeyed in the
company of that Sigurd who sailed with his splendid fleet of sixty
ships for Palestine, early in the twelfth century. Sigurd
Jorsalafarer, or Traveller to Jerusalem, he was called; and no less an
authority than Thomas Carlyle vouches for him as having been "a wise,
able, and prudent man," reigning in a "solid and successful way."
Through the Straits of Gibraltar to Jerusalem, home by way of
Constantinople and Russia, "shining with renown," he sailed, and took
a hand in any fighting he found going on by the way. Many of his men
came from the region of the Sogne Fjord; and the more I thought of it
the surer I felt that this old sword had many a time flashed on the
deck of his ships.

Our second day opened rainy. The lake was blotted out by mist; on the
fence under the willows sat half a dozen men, roosting as
unconcernedly as if it were warm sunshine.

"It does wonder me," said Sanna, "that I find here so many men
standing idle. When the railroad come, it shall be that the life must
be different."

A heroic English party, undeterred by weather, were setting off in
carioles and on horseback. Delays after delays occurred to hinder
them. At the last moment their angry courier was obliged to go and
fetch the washing, which had not arrived. There is a proverb in
Norway, "When the Norwegian says 'immediately,' look for him in half
an hour."

Finally, at noon, in despair of sunshine, we also set off: rugs,
water-proofs; the india-rubber boot of the carriage drawn tight up to
the level of our eyes; we set off in pouring sheets of rain for
Gudvangen. For the first two hours the sole variation of the monotony
of our journey was in emptying the boot of water once every five
minutes, just in time to save a freshet in our laps. High mountain
peaks, black with forests or icy white with snow, gleamed in and out
of the clouds on either hand, as we toiled and splashed along.
Occasional lightings up revealed stretches of barren country, here and
there a cluster of farm-houses or a lowly church. On the shores of a
small lake we passed one of these lonely churches. Only two other
buildings were in sight in the vast expanse: one, the wretched little
inn where we were to rest our horses for half an hour; the other, the
parsonage. This last was a pretty little cottage, picturesquely built
of yellow pine, half bowered in vines, looking in that lonely waste as
if it had lost itself and strayed away from some civilized spot. The
pastor and his sister, who kept house for him, were away; but his
servant was so sure that they would like to have us see their home
that we allowed her to show it to us. It was a tasteful and cosey
little home: parlor, study, and dining-room, all prettily carpeted and
furnished; books, flowers, a sewing-machine, and a piano. It did one's
heart good to see such an oasis of a home in the wilderness. Drawn up
on rests in a shed near the house, was an open boat, much like a
wherry. The pastor spent hours every day, the maid said, in rowing on
the lake. It was his great pleasure.

Up, up we climbed: past fir forests, swamps, foaming streams,--the
wildest, weirdest road storm-driven people ever crossed. Spite of the
rain, half-naked children came flying out of hovels and cabins to open
gates: sometimes there would be six in a row, their thin brown hands
all stretched for alms, and their hollow eyes begging piteously; then
they would race on ahead to open the next gate. The moors seemed but a
succession of enclosed pasture-lands. Now and then we passed a little
knot of cabins close to the road, and men who looked kindly, but as
wild as wild beasts, would come out and speak to the driver; their
poverty was direful to see. At last, at the top of a high hill, we
halted; the storm stayed; the clouds lifted and blew off. At our feet
lay a black chasm; it was like looking down into the bowels of the
earth. This was the Nerodal Valley; into it we were to descend. Its
walls were three and four thousand feet high. It looked little more
than a cleft. The road down this precipitous wall is a marvel of
engineering. It is called the Stalheimscleft, and was built by a
Norwegian officer, Captain Finne. It is made in a series of zigzagging
loops, which are so long and so narrow that the descent at no point
appears steep; yet as one looks up from any loop to the loop next
above, it seems directly over his head. Down this precipice into the
Nerodal Valley leap two grand fosses, the Stalheimfos and the
Salvklevfos; roaring in ceaseless thunder, filling the air, and
drenching the valley with spray. Tiny grass-grown spaces between the
bowlders and the loops of the road had all been close mowed; spaces
which looked too small for the smallest reaping-hook to swing in were
yet close shorn, and the little handfuls of hay hung up drying on
hand's-breadths of fence set up for the purpose. Even single blades of
grass are too precious in Norway to be wasted.

As we walked slowly down this incredible road, we paused step by step
to look first up, then down. The carriage waiting for us below on the
bridge looked like a baby wagon. The river made by the meeting of
these two great cataracts at the base of the precipice was only a
little silver thread flowing down the valley. The cataracts seemed
leaping from the sky, and the sky seemed resting on the hill-tops;
masses of whirling and floating clouds added to the awesome grandeur
of the scene. The Stalheimfos fell into a deep, basin-shaped ravine,
piled with great bowlders, and full of birch and ash shrubs; in the
centre of this, by some strange play of the water, rose a distinct and
beautifully shaped cone, thrown up closely in front of the fall,
almost blending with it, and thick veiled in the tumultuous spray,--a
fountain in a waterfall. It seemed the accident of a moment, but its
shape did not alter so long as we watched it; it is a part of the

Five miles down this cleft, called valley, to Gudvangen run the road
and the little river and the narrow strips of meadow, dark, thin, and
ghastly; long months in utter darkness this Nerodal lies, and never,
even at summer's best and longest, has it more than a half-day of sun.
The mountains rise in sheer black walls on either hand,--bare rock in
colossal shafts and peaks, three, four, and even five thousand feet
high; snow in the rifts at top; patches of gaunt firs here and there;
great spaces of tumbled rocks, where avalanches have slid; pebbly and
sandy channels worn from side to side of the valley, where torrents
have rushed down and torn a way across; white streams from top to
bottom of the precipices, all foam and quiver, like threads spun out
on the sward, more than can be counted; they seem to swing down out of
the sky as spider threads swing swift and countless in a dewy morning.

Sanna shuddered. "Now you see, one could not spend a whole day in
Nerodal Valley," she said. "It does wonder me that any people will
live here. Every spring the mountains do fall and people are killed."

On a narrow rim of land at base of these walls, just where the fjord
meets the river, is the village of Gudvangen, a desolate huddle of
half a dozen poor houses. A chill as of death filled the air; foul
odors arose at every turn. The two little inns were overcrowded with
people, who roamed restlessly up and down, waiting for they knew not
what. An indescribable gloom settles on Gudvangen with nightfall. The
black waters of the fjord chafing monotonously at the base of the
black mountains; the sky black also, and looking farther off than sky
ever looked before, walled into a strip, like the valley beneath it;
hemmed in, forsaken, doomed, and left seems Gudvangen. What hold life
can have on a human being kept in such a spot it is hard to imagine.
Yet we found three very old women hobnobbing contentedly there in a
cave of a hut. Ragged, dirty, hideous, hopeless one would have thought
them; but they were all agog and cheery, and full of plans for
repairing their house. They were in a little log stable, perhaps ten
feet square, and hardly high enough to stand upright in: they were
cowering round a bit of fire in the centre; their piles of straw and
blankets laid in corners; not a chair, not a table. Macbeth's witches
had seemed full-dressed society women by the side of these. We peered
timidly in at the group, and they all came running towards us,
chattering, glad to see strangers, and apologizing for their
condition, because, as they said, they had just turned in there
together for a few days, while their house across the way was being
mended. Not a light of any description had they, except the fire. The
oldest one hobbled away, and returned with a small tallow candle,
which she lit and held in her hand, to show us how comfortable they
were, after all; plenty of room for three piles of straw on the rough
log floor. Their "house across the way" was a little better than this;
not much. One of the poor old crones had "five children in America."
"They wanted her to come out to America and live with them, but she
was too old to go away from home," she said. "Home was the best place
for old people," to which the other two assented eagerly. "Oh, yes,
home was the best place. America was too far."

It seemed a miracle to have comfort in an inn in so poverty-stricken a
spot as this, but we did. We slept in straw-filled bunks, set tight
into closets under the eaves; only a narrow doorway by which to get in
and out of bed; but there were two windows in the room, and no need to
stifle. And for supper there was set before us a stew of lamb,
delicately flavored with curry, and served with rice, of which no
house need be ashamed. That so palatable a dish could have issued from
the place which answered for kitchen in that poor little inn was a
marvel; it was little more than a small dark tomb. The dishes were all
washed out-of-doors in tubs set on planks laid across two broken
chairs at the kitchen door; and the food and milk were kept in an
above-ground cellar not three steps from the same door. This had been
made by an immense slab of rock which had crashed down from the
mountain top, one day, and instead of tearing through the house and
killing everybody had considerately lodged on top of two other
bowlders, roofing the space in, and forming a huge stone refrigerator
ready to hand for the innkeeper. The enclosed space was cold as ice,
and high enough and large enough for one to walk about in it
comfortably. I had the curiosity to ask this innkeeper how much he
could make in a year off his inn. When he found that I had no sinister
motive in the inquiry, he was freely communicative. At first he
feared, Sanna said, that it might become known in the town how much
money he was making, and that demands might be made on him in
consequence. If the season of summer travel were very good, he said he
would clear two hundred dollars; but he did not always make so much as
that. He earned a little also by keeping a small shop, and in the
winter that was his only resource. He had a wife and two children, and
his wife was not strong, which made it harder for them, as they were
obliged always to keep a servant.

Even in full sunlight, at nine of the morning, Gudvangen looked grim
and dangerous, and the Nerö Fjord water black. As we sailed out, the
walls of the valley closed up suddenly behind us, as with a snap which
might have craunched poor little Gudvangen to death. The fjord is as
wild as the pass; in fact, the same thing, only that it has water at
bottom instead of land, and you can sail closer than you can drive at
base of the rocky walls. Soon we came to the mouth of another great
fjord, opening up another watery road into the mountains; this was the
Aurland, and on its farther shore opened again the Sognedal Fjord, up
which we went a little way to leave somebody at a landing. Here were
green hills and slopes and trees, and a bright yellow church, shaped
like a blancmange mould in three pyramid-shaped cones, each smaller
than the one below.

"Here is the finest fruit orchard in all Scandinavia," said Sanna,
pointing to a pretty place just out of the town, where fields rose one
above the other in terraces on south-facing slopes, covered thick with
orchards. "It belongs to an acquainted with me: but she must sell it.
She is a widow, and she cannot take the care to herself."

Back again across the mouth of the Aurland Fjord, and then out into
the great Sogne Fjord, zigzagging from side to side of it, and up into
numerous little fjords where the boat looked to be steering straight
into hills,--we seemed to be adrift, without purpose, rather than on a
definite voyage with a fixed aim of getting home. The magnificent
labyrinths of walled waters were calm as the heavens they reflected;
the clouds above and clouds below kept silent pace with each other,
and we seemed gliding between two skies. Great snow fjelds came in
sight, wheeled, rose, sank, and disappeared, as we passed; sometimes
green meadows stretched on either side of us, then terrible gorges and
pinnacles of towering rock. Picture after picture we saw, of
gay-colored little villages, with rims of fields and rocky
promontories; snow fjelds above, and fir forests between; glittering
waterfalls shooting from the sky line to the water, like white
lightning down a black stone front, or leaping out in spaces of
feathery snow, like one preternatural blooming of the forests all the
way down the black walls rising perpendicularly thousands of feet;
tiers of blue mountains in the distance, dark blue on the nearest, and
shading off to palest blue at the sky line; the fjord dark purple in
the narrows, shading to gray in the opens; illuminated spaces of
green, now at the shore, now half-way up, now two-thirds-way up to the
sky; tops of hills in sunlight; bars of sunlight streaming through
dark clefts. Then a storm-sweep across the fjord, far in our
wake,--swooping and sweeping, and gone in a half-hour; blotting out
the mountains; then turning them into a dark-slate wall, on which
white sails and cross-sunbeams made a superb shining. And so, between
the sun and the storm, we came to Valestrand, and sent off and took on
boat-loads of pleasuring people,--the boats with bright flags at prow
and stern, and gay-dressed women with fantastic parasols like
butterflies poised on their edges,--Valestrand, where, as some say,
Frithiof was born; and as all say, he burnt one of Balder's great
temples. Then Ladvik, on a green slope turning to gold in the sun; its
white church with a gray stone spire relieved against a bank of purple
gloom; the lights sinking lower and the shadows stretching farther
every minute; shadows of hills behind which the sun had already gone,
thrown sharp and black on hills still glowing in full light; hills
before us, shimmering in soft silver gray and pale purple against a
clear golden west; hills behind us, folding and folded in masses of
rosy vapor; shining fosses leaping down among them; the colors
changing like the colors of a prism minute by minute along the tops of
the ranges,--this was the way our day on the Sogne Fjord drew near its
ending. Industriously knitting, with eyes firm fastened on her
needles, sat an English matron near us on the deck. Not one glance of
her eye did she give to the splendors of sky and water and land about

"I do think that lady must be in want of stockings very much,"
remarked Sanna quietly; "but she need not to come to Norway to knit."

Far worse, however, than the woman who knitted were the women and the
men who talked, loudly, stupidly, vulgarly, around us. It was
mortifying that their talk was English, but they were not Americans.
At last they drove us to another part of the deck, but not before a
few phrases of their conversation had been indelibly stamped on my

"Well, we were in Dresden two days: there's only the gallery there;
that's time enough for that."

"Raphaels,--lots of Raphaels."

"I don't care for Raphaels, anyhow. I'll tell you who I like; I like

"Well, I'm very fond of Tintoretto."

"I like Titians; they're so delicate, don't you know?"

"Well, who's that man that's painted such dreadful things,--all mixed
up, don't you know? In some places you see a good many of them."

"You don't mean Rembrandt, do you? There are a lot of Rembrandts in

"There was one picture I liked. I think it was a Christ; but I ain't
sure. There were four children on the ground, I remember."

When the real sunset came we were threading the rocky labyrinths of
the Bergen Fjord. It is a field of bowlders, with an ocean let in;
nothing more. Why the bowlders are not submerged, since the water is
deep enough for big ships to sail on, is the perpetual marvel; but
they are not. They are as firm in their places as continents, myriads
of them only a few feet out of water; and when the sun as it sinks
sends a flood of gold and red light athwart them, they turn all
colors, and glow on the water like great smoke crystals with fire
shining through. To sail up this fjord in the sunset is to wind
through devious lanes walled with these jewels, and to look off, over
and above them, to fields of purple and gray and green, islands on
islands on islands, to the right and to the left, with the same
jewel-walled lanes running east and west and north and south among
them; the sky will stream with glowing colors from horizon to horizon,
and the glorious silence will be broken by no harsher sound than the
low lapsing of waters and the soft whirr of gray gulls' wings.

And so we came to Bergen in the bright midnight of the last of our
four days.

Months afterwards Sanna sent me a few extracts from descriptions given
by a Norwegian writer of some of the spots we had seen in the dim
upper distances along the fjords,--some of those illuminated spaces
of green high up among the crags, which looked such sunny and peaceful

Her English is so much more graphic than mine that I have begged her
permission to give the extracts as she wrote them:--

     "Grand, glorious, and serious is the Sogne Fjord. Serious in
     itself, and still more serious we find it when we know where
     and how people do live there between mountains. And we must
     wonder or ask, Is there really none places left, or no kind of
     work for those people to get for the maintenance of the life,
     but to go to such desolate and rather impassable a place?...

     "More than half of the year are the two families who live on
     the farm of Vetti separated from all other human beings. During
     the winter can the usual path in the grass not be passed in
     case of snow, ice, and perpetual slips, which leave behind
     trace long out in the summer, because the sun only for a short
     time came over this long enormous abyss, and does not linger
     there long, so that the snow which has been to ice do melt very
     slow, and seldom disappear earlier than in July. The short time
     in the winter when the river Utla is frozen may the bottom of
     the pass well be passed, though not without danger, on account
     of the mentioned slips, which, with the power of the hurricane,
     are whizzing down in the deep, and which merely pressure of the
     air is so strong that it throw all down.

     "Late in the autumn and in the spring is all approach to and
     from Vetti quite stopped; and late in the autumn chiefly with
     ground and snow slips, which then get loosened by the frequent
     rain. The farm-houses is situate on a steep slope, so that the
     one end of the lowest beam is put on the mere ground, and the
     other end must be put on a wall almost three yards high. The
     fields are so steep, and so quite near the dreadful precipice,
     that none unaccustomed to it do venture one's self thither; and
     when one from here look over the pass, and look the meadows
     which is more hanging than laying over the deep, and which have
     its grass mowed down with a short scythe, then one cannot
     comprehend the desperate courage which risk to set about and
     occupy one's self here, while the abyss has opened its swallow
     for receiving the foolhardy.

     "A little above the dwelling-houses is a quite tolerable plain;
     and when one ask the man why he has not built his houses there,
     he answers that owing to the snow-slips it is impossible to
     build there.

     "Through the valley-streams the Afdals River comes from the
     mountains, run in a distance of only twenty yards from the
     farm-houses, and about one hundred yards from the same pour
     out itself with crash of thunder in a mighty foss. The rumble
     of the same, and that with its hurling out caused pressure of
     the air, is in the summer so strong that the dwelling-houses
     seems to shiver, and all what fluids there in open vessels get
     placed on the table is on an incessant trembling, moving almost
     as on board a ship in a rough sea. The wall and windows which
     turns to the river are then always moistened of the whipped
     foam, which in small particles continually is thrown back from
     the foss.

     "By the side of this foss, in the hard granite wall which it
     moisten, is a mined gut (the author says he can't call it a
     road, though it is reckoned for that), broad enough that one
     man, and in the highest one small well-trained horse, however
     not by each other's side, can walk therein. This gut, which
     vault is not so high that an full-grown man can walk upright,
     is the farm's only road which rise to a considerable height.

     "But as this gut could not get lightened in a suitable height,
     one has filled up or finished the remaining gap with four
     timber beams, four or five yards long, which is close to the
     gut, and with its upper end leans on a higher small mountain
     peak, which beside this is the fastening for the bridge over
     the waterfall. In these beams is cut in flukes, just as the
     steps of a staircase, and when one walks up these flukes one
     looks between the beams the frothing foss beneath one's self,
     while one get wrapped up of its exhalation clouds.

     "The man told me that the pass also is to be passed with horse,
     the time of the summer, and that all then is to be carried in a
     pack-saddle to the farm, of his own horse, which is accustomed
     to this trip. And when one know the small Lærdalske horses'
     easiness, and the extraordinary security wherewith they can go
     upon the most narrow path on the edge of the most dreadful
     precipices, in that they place or cast the feet so in front of
     each other that no path is too narrow for them, then it seems a
     little less surprising.

     "From the Vetti farm continues the pass in a distance of about
     twenty-one English miles, so that the whole pass, then, is a
     little more than twenty-four miles, and shall on the other side
     of the farm be still more narrow, more difficult, and more
     dreadful. The farmer himself and his people must often go there
     to the woods, and for other things for his farm. There belongs
     to this farm most excellent sæter and mountain fields,
     wherefore the cattle begetting is here of great importance; and
     also the most excellent tract of firs belong to this farm.

     "I was curious to know how one had to behave from here to get
     the dead buried, when it was impossible that two men could walk
     by the side of each other through the pass, and I did even not
     see how one could carry any coffin on horseback. I got the
     following information: The corpse is to be laid on a thin
     board, in which there is bored holes in both ends in which
     there is to be put handles of rope; to this board is the corpse
     to be tied, wrapped up in its linen cloth. And now one man in
     the front and one behind carry it through the pass to the farm
     Gjelde, and here it is to be laid into the coffin, and in the
     common manner brought to the churchyard. If any one die in the
     winter, and the bottom of the pass must be impassable then as
     well as in the spring and in the autumn, one must try to keep
     the corpse in an hard frozen state, which is not difficult,
     till it can be brought down in the above-mentioned manner.

     "A still more strange and sad manner was used once at a
     cottager place called Vermelien. This place is lying in the
     little valley which border to the Vetti's field. Its situation
     by the river deep down in the pass is exceedingly horrid, and
     it has none other road or path than a very steep and narrow
     foot-path along the mountain wall side with the most dreadful
     precipice as by the Vetti.

     "Since the cottager people here generally had changed, no one
     had dead there. It happened, then, the first time a boy, on
     seventeen years old, died. One did not do one's self any
     hesitation about the manner to bring him to his grave, and they
     made a coffin in the house. The corpse was put in the coffin,
     and then the coffin brought outside; and first now one did see
     with consternation that it was not possible to carry the corpse
     with them in this manner. What was to do then?

     "At last they resolved to let the coffin be left as a _memento
     mori_, and to place the dead upon a horse, his feet tied up
     under the belly of the horse; against the mane on the horse was
     fastened a well-stuffed fodder bag, that the corpse may lean to
     the same, to which again the corpse was tied. And so the dead
     must ride over the mountain to his resting-place by Fortun's
     church in Lyster."



"Forr English Ladies." This was the address on the back of a
much-thumbed envelope, resting on top of the key-rack in the
dining-room of our Bergen hotel. If "For" had been spelled correctly,
the letter would not have been half so likely to be read; but that
extra outsider of an _r_ was irresistibly attractive. The words of the
letter itself were, if not equally original in spelling, at least as
unique in arrangement, and altogether the advertisement answered its
purposes far better than if it had been written in good English. The
_naïveté_ with which the writer went on to say, "I do recommend me,"
was delicious; and when she herself appeared there was something in
her whole personal bearing entirely in keeping with the childlike and
unconscious complacency of her phraseology. "I do recommend me" was
written all over her face; and, as things turned out, if it had been
"I do guarantee me," it had not been too strong an indorsement. A more
tireless, willing, thoughtful, helpful, eager, shrewd little creature
than Katrina never chattered. Looking back from the last day to the
first of my acquaintance with her, I feel a remorseful twinge as I
think how near I came to taking instead of her, as my maid for a
month's journeying, a stately young woman, who, appearing in answer to
my advertisement, handed me her card with dignity, and begged my
pardon for inquiring precisely what it would be that she would have to
do for me, besides the turning of English into Norwegian and _vice
versa_. The contrast between this specific gravity and Katrina's
hearty and unreflecting "I will do my best to satisfy you in all
occasions," did not sufficiently impress me in the outset. But many a
time afterward did I recall it, and believe more than ever in the
doctrine of lucky stars and good angels.

When Katrina appeared, punctually to the appointed minute, half an
hour before the time for setting off, I saw with pleasure that she was
wrapped in a warm cloak of dark cloth. I had seen her before, flitting
about in shawls of various sorts, loosely pinned at the throat in a
disjointed kind of way, which gave to her appearance an expression
that I did not like,--an expression of desultory if not intermittent
respectability. But wrapped in this heavy cloak, she was decorum

"Ah, Katrina," I said, "I am very glad to see you are warmly dressed.
This summer you keep in Norway is so cold, one needs winter clothes
all the time."

"Yes, I must," she replied. "I get fever and ague in New York, and
since then it always reminds me. That was six years ago; but it
reminds me,--the freezing at my neck," putting her hand to the back of
her neck.

It was in New York, then, that she had learned so much English. This
explained everything,--the curious mixture of volubility and
inaccuracy and slang in her speech. She had been for several months a
house-servant in New York, "with an Irish lady; such a nice lady. Her
husband, he took care of a bank: kept it clean, don't you see, and all
such tings. And we lived in the top in the eight story: we was always
going up and down in the elewator."

After this she had been a button-hole maker in a great clothing-house,
and next, had married one of her own countrymen; a nephew, by the way,
of the famous Norwegian giant at Barnum's Museum,--a fact which
Katrina stated simply, without any apparent boast, adding, "My
husband's father were guyant, too. There be many guyants in that part
of the country."

Perhaps it was wicked, seeing that Katrina had had such hopes of
learning much English in her month with me, not to have told her then
and there that _g_ in the English word _giant_ was always soft. But I
could not. Neither did I once, from first to last, correct her
inimitable and delicious pronunciations. I confined my instructions to
the endeavor to make her understand clearly the meanings of words, and
to teach her true synonymes; but as for meddling with her
pronunciations, I would as soon have been caught trying to teach a
baby to speak plain. I fear, towards the last, she began to suspect
this, and to be half aware of the not wholly disinterested pleasure
which I took in listening to her eager prattle; but she did not accuse
me, and I let her set off for home not one whit wiser in the matter of
the sounds of the English language than she had been when she came
away, except so far as she might have unconsciously caught them from
hearing me speak. It is just as well: her English is quite good enough
as it is, for all practical purposes in Norway, and would lose half
its charm and value to English-speaking people if she were to learn to
say the words as we say them.

To set off by boat from Bergen means to set off by boats; it would not
be an idle addition to the phrase, either, to say, not only by boats,
but among boats, in, out, over, and across boats; and one may consider
himself lucky if he is not called upon to add,--the whole truth being
told,--under boats. Arriving at the wharf, he is shown where his
steamer lies, midway in the harbor; whether it be at anchor, or
hoisted on a raft of small boats, he is at first at a loss to see.
However, rowing alongside, he discovers that the raft of small boats
is only a crowd, like any other crowd, of movable things or creatures,
and can be shoved, jostled, pushed out of the way, and compelled to
give room. A Norwegian can elbow his boat through a tight-packed mass
of boats with as dexterous and irresistible force as another man can
elbow his way on foot, on dry land, in a crowd of men. So long as you
are sitting quiet in the middle of the boat, merely swayed from side
to side by his gyrations, with no sort of responsibility as to their
successive direction, and with implicit faith in their being right, it
is all very well. But when your Norwegian springs up, confident,
poises one foot on the edge of his own boat, the other foot on the
edge of another boat, plants one of his oars against the gunwale of a
third boat, and rests the other oar hard up against the high side of a
steamboat, and then authoritatively requests you to rise and make
pathway for yourself across and between all these oars and boats, and
leap varying chasms of water between them and the ladder up the
steamer's side, dismay seizes you, if you are not to the water born.
I did not hear of anybody's being drowned in attempting to get on
board a Bergen steamer. But why somebody is not, every day in the
week, I do not know, if it often happens to people to thread and
surmount such a labyrinth of small rocking boats as lay around the
dampskib "Jupiter," in which Katrina and I sailed for Christiania.

The Northern nations of Europe seem to have hit upon signally
appropriate names for that place of torment which in English is called
steamboat. There are times when simply to pronounce the words
_dampskib_ or _dampbaad_ is soothing to the nerves; and nowhere
oftener than in Norway can one be called upon to seek such relief. It
is an accepted thing in Norway that no steamboat can be counted on
either to arrive or depart within one, two, or three hours of its
advertised time. The guide-books all state this fact; so nobody who,
thus forewarned, has chosen to trust himself to the dampskib has any
right to complain if the whole plan of his journey is disarranged and
frustrated by the thing's not arriving within four hours of the time
it had promised. But it is not set down in the guide-books, as it
ought to be, that there is something else on which the traveller in
Norwegian dampskibs can place no dependence whatever; and that is the
engaging beforehand of his stateroom. To have engaged a stateroom one
week beforehand, positively, explicitly, and then, upon arriving on
board, to be confronted by a smiling captain, who states in an
off-hand manner, as if it were an every-day occurrence, that "he is
very sorry, but it is impossible to let you have it;" and who, when he
is pressed for an explanation of the impossibility, has no better
reason to give than that two gentlemen wanted the stateroom, and as
the two gentlemen could not go in the ladies' cabin, and you, owing to
the misfortune of your sex, could, therefore the two gentlemen have
the stateroom, and you will take the one remaining untenanted berth in
the cabin,--this is what may happen in a Norwegian dampskib. If one is
resolute enough to halt in the gangway, and, ordering the porters
bearing the luggage to halt also, say calmly, "Very well; then I must
return to my hotel, and wait for another boat, in which I can have a
stateroom; it would be quite out of the question, my making the
journey in the cabin," the captain will discover some way of
disposing of the two gentlemen, and without putting them into the
ladies' cabin; but this late concession, not to the justice of your
claim, only to your determination in enforcing it, does not in any
wise conciliate your respect or your amiability. The fact of the
imposition and unfairness is the same. I ought to say, however, that
this is the only matter in which I found unfairness in Norway. In
regard to everything else the Norwegian has to provide or to sell, he
is just and honest; but when it comes to the question of dampskib
accommodations, he seems to take leave of all his sense of obligation
to be either.

As I crept into the narrow trough called a berth, in my hardly won
stateroom, a vision flitted past the door: a tall and graceful figure,
in a tight, shabby black gown; a classic head, set with the grace of a
lily on a slender neck; pale brown hair, put back, braided, and wound
in a knot behind, all save a few short curls, which fell lightly
floating and waving over a low forehead; a pair of honest, merry gray
eyes, with a swift twinkle at the corners, and a sudden serious
tenderness in their depths; a straight nose, with a nostril spirited
and fine as an Arabian's; a mouth of flawless beauty, unless it might
be that the upper lip was a trifle too short, but this fault only
added to the piquancy of the face. I lifted myself on my elbow to look
at her. She was gone; and I sank back, thinking of the pictures that
the world raved over, so few short years ago, of the lovely Eugénie.
Here was a face strangely like hers, but with far more fire and
character,--a Norwegian girl, evidently poor. I was wondering if I
should see her again, and how I could manage to set Katrina on her
track, and if I could find out who she was, when, lo, there she stood
by my side, bending above me, and saying something Norwegian over and
over in a gentle voice; and Katrina behind her, saying, "This is the
lady what has care of all. She do say, 'Poor lady, poor lady, to be so
sick!' She is sorry that you are sick." I gazed at her in stupefied
wonder. This radiant creature the stewardess of a steamboat! She was
more beautiful near than at a distance. I am sure I have never seen so
beautiful a woman. And coming nearer, one could see clearly, almost as
radiant as her physical beauty, the beauty of a fine and sweet nature
shining through. Her smile was transcendent. I am not over-easy to be
stirred by women's fair looks. Seldom I see a woman's face that gives
me unalloyed pleasure. Faces are half-terrifying things to one who
studies them, such paradoxical masks are they; only one half mask, and
the other half bared secrets of a lifetime. Their mere physical
beauty, however great it may be, is so underlaid and overlaid by
tokens and traces and scars of things in which the flesh and blood of
it have played part that a fair face can rarely be more than half
fair. But here was a face with beauty such as the old Greeks put into
marble; and shining through it the honesty and innocence of an
untaught child, the good-will and content of a faithful working-girl,
and the native archness of a healthful maiden. I am not unaware that
all this must have the sound of an invention, and there being no man
to bear witness to my tale, except such as have sailed in the
Norwegian dampskib "Jupiter," it will not be much believed;
nevertheless, I shall tell it. Not being the sort of artist to bring
the girl's face away in a portfolio, the only thing left for me is to
try to set it in the poor portraiture of words. Poor enough
portraiture it is that words can fashion, even for things less subtle
than faces,--a day or a sky, a swift passion or a thought. Words seem
always to those who work with them more or less failures; but most of
all are they impotent and disappointing when a face is to be told. Yet
I shall not cast away my sketch of the beautiful Anna. It is the only
one which will ever be made of her. Now that I think of it, however,
there is one testimony to be added to mine,--a testimony of much
weight, too, taken in the connection, for it was of such

On the second day of my voyage in the "Jupiter," in the course of a
conversation with the captain, I took occasion to speak of the
good-will and efficiency of his stewardess. He assented warmly to my
praise of her; adding that she was born of very poor parents, and had
little education herself beyond knowing how to read and write, but was
a person of rare goodness.

I then said, "And of very rare beauty, also. I have never seen a more
beautiful face."

"Yes," he replied; "there is something very not common about her. Her
face is quite antic." "Antique," he meant, but for the first few
seconds I could not imagine what it was he had intended. He also,
then, had recognized, as this phrase shows, the truly classic quality
of the girl's beauty; and he is the only witness I am able to bring to
prove that my description of her face and figure and look and bearing
are not an ingenious fable wrought out of nothing.

From Katrina, also, there came testimonies to Anna's rare quality.

"I have been in long speech with Anna," she said before we had been at
sea a day. "I tink she will come to Bergen, by my husband and me. She
can be trusted; I can tell in one firstest minute vat peoples is to be
trusted. She is so polite always, but she passes ghentlemens without
speaking, except she has business. I can tell."

Shrewd Katrina! Her husband has a sort of restaurant and billiard-room
in Bergen,--a place not over-creditable, I fear, although keeping
within the pale of respectability. It is a sore trial to Katrina, his
doing this, especially the selling of liquor. She had several times
refused her consent to his going into the business, "but dis time,"
she said, "he had it before I knowed anyting, don't you see? He didn't
tell me. I always tink dere is de wifes and children, and maybe de
mens don't take home no bread; and den to sit dere and drink, it is
shame, don't you see? But if he don't do, some other mans would; so
tere it is, don't you see? And tere is money in it, you see." Poor
Katrina had tried in vain to shelter herself and appease her
conscience by this old sophistry. Her pride and self-respect still so
revolted at the trade that she would not go to the place to stay. "He
not get me to go tere. He not want me, either. I would not work in
such a place."

But she had no scruples about endeavoring to engage Anna as a
waiter-girl for the place.

"She will be by my husband and me," she said, "and it is always shut
every night at ten o'clock; and my husband is very strict man. He will
have all right. She can have all her times after dat; and here she
have only four dollars a mont, and my husband gives more tan dat. And
I shall teach to her English; I gives her one hour every day. Dat is
great for her, for she vill go to America next year. If she can
English speak, she get twice the money in America. Oh, ven I go to
America, I did not know de name of one ting; and every night I cry and
cry; I tink I never learn; but dat Irish lady I live by, she vas so
kind to me as my own mother. Oh, I like Irish peoples; the Irish and
the Americans, dey are what I like best. I don't like de English; and
Chermans, I don't like dem; dey vill take all out of your pocket. She
is intended;[9] and dat is good. When one are intended one must be
careful; and if he is one you love, ten you don't vant to do anyting
else; and her sweetheart is a nice young fellow. He is in the engyne
in a Hamburg boat. She has been speaking by me about him."

The dampskib "Jupiter" is a roller. It is a marvel how anything not a
log can roll at such a rate. The stateroom berths being built across
instead of lengthwise, the result is a perpetual tossing of heads
_versus_ feet. As Katrina expressively put it, "It is first te head,
and den te feets up. Dat is te worstest. Dat makes te difference."

Ill, helpless, almost as tight-wedged in as a knife-blade shut in its
handle, I lay in my trough a day and a night. The swinging port-hole,
through which I feebly looked, made a series of ever-changing
vignettes of the bits of water, sky, land it showed: moss-crowned
hillocks of stone; now and then a red roof, or a sloop scudding by.
The shore of Norway is a kaleidoscope of land, rock, and water broken
up. To call it shore at all seems half a misnomer. I have never heard
of a census of the islands on the Norway coast, but it would be a
matter of great interest to know if it needs the decimals of millions
to reckon them. This would not be hard to be believed by one who has
sailed two days and two nights in their labyrinths. They are a more
distinctive feature in the beauty of Norway's seaward face than even
her majestic mountain ranges. They have as much and as changing beauty
of color as those, and, added to the subtle and exhaustless beauty of
changing color, they have the still subtler charm of that mysterious
combination of rest and restlessness, stillness and motion, solidity
and evanescence, which is the dower of all islands, and most of all of
the islands of outer seas. Even more than from the stern solemnity of
their mountain-walled fjords must the Norwegians have drawn their
ancient inspirations, I imagine, from the wooing, baffling, luring,
forbidding, locking and unlocking, and never-revealing vistas,
channels, gates, and barriers of their islands. They are round and
soft and mossy as hillocks of sphagnum in a green marsh. You may sink
above your ankles in the moist, delicious verdure, which looks from
the sea like a mere mantle lightly flung over the rock. Or they are
bare and gray and unbroken, as if coated in mail of stone; and you
might clutch in vain for so much as the help of a crevice or a shrub,
if you were cast on their sides. Some lie level and low, with oases of
vividest green in their hollows; these lift and loom in the noon or
the twilight, with a mirage which the desert cannot outdo. Some rise
up in precipices of sudden wall, countless Gibraltars, which no mortal
power can scale, and only wild creatures with tireless wings can
approach. They are lashed by foaming waves, and the echoes peal like
laughter among them; the tide brings them all it has; the morning sun
lights them up, top after top, like beacons of its way out to sea, and
leaves them again at night, lingeringly, one by one; changing them
often into the semblance of jewels by the last red rays of its sinking
light. They seem, as you sail swiftly among them, to be sailing too, a
flotilla of glittering kingdoms; your escort, your convoy; shifting to
right, to left, in gorgeous parade of skilful display, as for a
pageant. When you anchor, they too are of a sudden at rest; solid,
substantial land again, wooing you to take possession. There are
myriads of them still unknown, untrodden, and sure to remain so
forever, no matter how long the world may last; as sure as if the old
spells were true, and the gods had made them invincible by a charm, or
lonely under an eternal curse. At the mouths of the great fjords they
seem sometimes to have fallen back and into line, as if to do honor to
whomever might come sailing in. They must have greatly helped the
splendor of the processions of viking ships, a thousand years ago, in
the days when a viking thought nothing of setting sail for the south
or the east with six or seven hundred ships in his fleet. If their
birch-trees were as plumy then as now, there was nothing finer than
they in all that a viking adorned his ships with, not even the gilt
dragons at the prow.

Before the close of the second day of our voyage, the six passengers
in the ladies' cabin had reached the end of their journey and left the
boat. By way of atonement for his first scheming to rob me of my
stateroom, the captain now magnanimously offered to me the whole of
the ladies' cabin, for which he had no further use. How gladly I
accepted it! How gleefully I watched my broad bed being made on a
sofa, lengthwise the rolling "Jupiter"! How pleased was Katrina, how
cheery the beautiful stewardess!

"Good-night! Good-night! Sleep well! Sleep well!" they both said as
they left me.

"Now it will be different; not te head and feets any more. De oder way
is bestest," added Katrina, as she lurched out of the room.

How triumphantly I locked the door! How well I slept! All of which
would be of no consequence here, except that it makes such a
background for what followed. Out of a sleep sound as only the sleep
of one worn out by seasickness can be, I was roused by a dash of water
in my face. Too bewildered at first to understand what had happened, I
sat up in bed quickly, and thereby brought my face considerably nearer
the port-hole, directly above my pillow, just in time to receive
another full dash of water in my very teeth; and water by no means
clean, either, as I instantly perceived. The situation explained
itself. The port-hole had not been shut tight; the decks were being
washed. Swash, swash, it came, with frightful dexterity, aimed, it
would seem, at that very port-hole, and nowhere else. I sprang up,
seized the handle of the port-hole window, and tried to tighten it. In
my ignorance and fright I turned it the wrong way; in poured the dirty
water. There stood I, clapping the window to with all my might, but
utterly unable either to fasten it or to hold it tight enough to keep
out the water. Calling for help was useless, even if my voice could
have been heard above the noise of the boat; the door of my cabin was
locked. Swash, swash, in it came, more and more, and dirtier and
dirtier; trickling down the back of the red velvet sofa, drenching my
pillows and sheets, and spattering me. One of the few things one never
ceases being astonished at in this world is the length a minute can
seem when one is uncomfortable. It couldn't have been many minutes,
but it seemed an hour, before I had succeeded in partially fastening
that port-hole, unlocking that cabin door, and bringing Anna to the
rescue. Before she arrived the dirty swashes had left the first
port-hole and gone to the second, which, luckily, had been fastened
tight, and all danger was over. But if I had been afloat and in danger
of drowning, her sympathy could not have been greater. She came
running, her feet bare,--very white they were, too, and rosy pink on
the outside edges, like a baby's, I noticed,--and her gown but partly
on. It was only half-past four, and she had been, no doubt, as sound
asleep as I. With comic pantomime of distress, and repeated
exclamations of "Poor lady, poor lady!" which phrase I already knew by
heart, she gathered up the wet bed, made me another in a dry corner,
and then vanished; and I heard her telling the tale of my disaster, in
excited tones, to Katrina, who soon appeared with a look half
sympathy, half amusement, on her face.

"Now, dat is great tings," she said, giving the innocent port-hole
another hard twist at the handle. "I tink you vill be glad ven you
comes to Christiania. Dey say it vill be tere at ten, but I tink it is
only shtories."

It was not. Already we were well up in the smoothness and shelter of
the beautiful Christiania Fjord,--a great bay, which is in the
beginning like a sea looking southward into an ocean; then reaches up
northward, counting its miles by scores, shooting its shining inlets
to right and left, narrowing and yielding itself more and more to the
embrace of the land, till, suddenly, headed off by a knot of hills, it
turns around, and as if seeking the outer sea it has left behind runs
due south for miles, making the peninsula of Nesodden. On this
peninsula is the little town of Drobak, where thirty thousand pounds'
worth of ice is stored every winter, to be sold in London as "Wenham
Lake ice." This ice was in summer the water of countless little lakes.
The region round about the Christiania Fjord is set full of them,
lily-grown and fir-shaded. Once they freeze over, they are marked for
their destiny; the snow is kept from them; if the surface be too much
roughened it is planed; then it is lined off into great squares, cut
out by an ice plough, pried up by wedges, loaded on carts, and
carried to the ice-houses. There it is packed into solid bulk, with
layers of sawdust between to prevent the blocks from freezing together

The fjord was so glassy smooth, as we sailed up, that even the
"Jupiter" could not roll, but glided; and seemed to try to hush its
jarring sounds, as if holding its breath, with sense of the shame it
was to disturb such sunny silence. The shores on either hand were
darkly wooded; here and there a country-seat on higher ground, with a
gay flag floating out. No Norwegian house is complete without its
flagstaff. On Sundays, on all holidays, on the birthdays of members of
the family, and on all days when guests are expected at the house, the
flag is run up. This pretty custom gives a festal air to all places,
since one can never walk far without coming on a house that keeps
either a birthday or a guest-day.

There seemed almost a mirage on the western shore of the bay. The
captain, noticing this, called my attention to it, and said it was
often to be seen on the Norway fjords, "but it was always on the
head." In reply to my puzzled look, he went on to say, by way of
making it perfectly clear, that "the mountains stood always on their
heads;" that is, "their heads down to the heads of the other
mountains." He then spoke of the strange looming of the water-line
often seen in Holland, where he had travelled; but where, he said he
never wished to go again, they were "such dirty people." This
accusation brought against the Dutch was indeed startling. I exclaimed
in surprise, saying that the world gave the Dutch credit for being the
cleanliest of people. Yes, he said, they did scrub; it was to be
admitted that they kept their houses clean; "but they do put the
spitkin on the table when they eat."

"Spitkin," cried I. "What is that? You do not mean spittoon, surely?"

"Yes, yes, that is it; the spitkin in which to spit. It is high, like
what we keep to put flowers in,--so high," holding his hand about
twelve inches from the table; "made just like what we put for flowers;
and they put it always on the table when they are eating. I have
myself seen it. And they do eat and spit, and eat and spit, ugh!" And
the captain shook himself with a great shudder, as well he might, at
the recollection. "I do never wish to see Holland again."

I took the opportunity then to praise the Norwegian spitkin, which is
a most ingenious device; and not only ingenious, but wholesome and
cleanly. It is an open brass pan, some four inches in depth, filled
with broken twigs of green juniper. These are put in fresh and clean
every day,--an invention, no doubt, of poverty in the first place; for
the Norwegian has been hard pressed for centuries, and has learned to
set his fragrant juniper and fir boughs to all manner of uses unknown
in other countries; for instance, spreading them down for outside
door-mats, in country-houses,--another pretty and cleanly custom. But
the juniper-filled spitkin is the triumph of them all, and he would be
a benefactor who would introduce its civilization into all countries.
The captain seemed pleased with my commendation, and said

"There is a tale, that. They do say,--excuse me," bowing
apologetically,--"they do say that it is in America spitted
everywhere; and that an American who was in Norway did see the spitkin
on the stove, but did not know it was spitkin."

This part of the story I could most easily credit, having myself
looked wonderingly for several days at the pretty little oval brass
pan, filled with juniper twigs, standing on the hearth of the
turret-like stove in my Bergen bedroom, and having finally come to the
conclusion that the juniper twigs must be kept there for kindlings.

"So he did spit everywhere on the stove; it was all around spitted.
And when the servant came in he said, 'Take away that thing with green
stuff; I want to spit in that place.'"

The captain told this story with much hesitancy of manner and repeated
"excuse me's;" but he was reassured by my hearty laughter, and my
confession that my own ignorance of the proper use of the juniper
spitkin had been quite equal to my countryman's.

Christiania looks well, as one approaches it by water; it is snugged
in on the lower half of an amphitheatre of high wooded hills, which
open as they recede, showing ravines, and suggesting countless
delightful ways up and out into the country. Many ships lie in the
harbor; on either hand are wooded peninsulas and islands; and
everywhere are to be seen light or bright-colored country-houses. The
first expression of the city itself, as one enters it, is
disappointingly modern, if one has his head full of Haralds and Olafs,
and expects to see some traces of the old Osloe. The Christiania of
to-day is new, as newness is reckoned in Norway, for it dates back
only to the middle of the sixteenth century; but it is as
characteristically Norwegian as if it were older,--a pleasanter place
to stay in than Bergen, and a much better starting-point for Norway

       "A cautious guest,
     When he comes to his hostel,
         Speaketh but little;
     With his ears he listeneth,
     With his eyes he looketh:
         Thus the wise learneth,"

an old Norwegian song says.

When walking through the labyrinths of the Victoria Hotel in
Christiania, and listening with my ears, I heard dripping and plashing
water, and when, looking with my eyes, I saw long dark corridors, damp
courtyards, and rooms on which no sun ever had shone, I spoke little,
but forthwith drove away in search of airier, sunnier, drier quarters.
There were many mysterious inside balconies of beautiful gay flowers
at the Victoria, but they did not redeem it.

"I tink dat place is like a prison more tan it is like a hótle," said
Katrina, as we drove away; in which she was quite right. "I don't see
vhy tey need make a hótle like dat; nobody vould stay in prison!" At
the Hotel Scandinavie, a big room with six sides and five windows
pleased her better. "Dis is vat you like," she said; "here tere is

Light! If there had only been darkness! In the Norway summer one comes
actually to yearn for a little Christian darkness to go to bed by;
much as he may crave a stronger sun by day, to keep him warm, he would
like to have a reasonable night-time for sleeping. At first there is a
stimulus, and a weird sort of triumphant sense of outwitting Nature,
in finding one's self able to read or to write by the sun's light till
nearly midnight of the clock. But presently it becomes clear that the
outwitting is on the other side. What avails it that there is light
enough for one to write by at ten o'clock at night, if he is tired
out, does not want to write, and longs for nothing but to go to sleep?
If it were dark, and he longed to write, nothing would be easier than
to light candles and write all night, if he chose and could pay for
his candles. But neither money nor ingenuity can compass for him a
normal darkness to sleep in. The Norwegian house is one-half window:
in their long winters they need all the sun they can get; not an
outside blind, not an inside shutter, not a dark shade, to be seen;
streaming, flooding, radiating in and round about the rooms, comes the
light, welcome or unwelcome, early and late. And to the words "early"
and "late" there are in a Norway summer new meanings: the early light
of the summer morning sets in about half-past two; the late light of
the summer evening fades into a luminous twilight about eleven.
Enjoyment of this species of perpetual day soon comes to an end. After
the traveller has written home to everybody once by broad daylight at
ten o'clock, the fun of the thing is over: normal sleepiness begins to
hunger for its rights, and dissatisfaction takes the place of
wondering amusement. This dissatisfaction reaches its climax in a few
days; then, if he is wise, the traveller provides himself with several
pieces of dark green cambric, which he pins up at his windows at
bedtime, thereby making it possible to get seven or eight hours' rest
for his tired eyes. But the green cambric will not shut out sounds:
and he is lucky if he is not kept awake until one or two o'clock every
night by the unceasing tread and loud chatter of the cheerful
Norwegians, who have been forced to form the habit of sitting up half
their night-time to get in the course of a year their full quota of

"I tink King Ring lived not far from dis place," said Katrina,
stretching her head out of first one and then another of the five
windows, and looking up and down the busy streets; "not in
Christiania, but I tink not very far away. Did ever you hear of King
Ring? Oh, dat is our best story in all Norway,--te saga of King

"Cannot you tell it to me, Katrina?" said I, trying to speak as if I
had never heard of King Ring.

"Vell, King Ring, he loved Ingeborg. I cannot tell; I do not remember.
My father, you see,--not my right father, but my father the hatter, he
whose little home I showed you in Bergen,--he used to take books out
vere you pay so much for one week, you see; and I only get half an
hour, maybe, or few minutes, but I steal de book, and read all vat I
can. I vas only little den: oh, it is years ago. But it is our best
story in all Norway. Ingeborg was beauty, you see, and all in te
kings' families vat vanted her: many ghentlemens, and Ring, he killed
three or four I tink; and den after he killed dem three or four, den
he lost her, after all, don't you see; and tat was te fun of it."

"But I don't think that was funny at all, Katrina," I said. "I don't
believe King Ring thought it so."

"No, I don't tink, either; but den, you see, he had all killed for
nothing, and den he lost her himself. I tink it was on the ice: it
broke. A stranger told dem not to take the ice; but King Ring, he
would go. I tink dat was te way it was."

It was plain that Katrina's reminiscences of her stolen childish
readings of the Frithiof's Saga were incorrect as well as fragmentary,
but her eager enthusiasm over it was delicious. Her face kindled as
she repeated, "Oh, it is our best story in all Norway!" and when I
told her that the next day she should go to a circulating library and
get a copy of the book and read it to me, her eyes actually flashed
with pleasure.

Early the next morning she set off. A nondescript roving commission
she bore: "A copy of the Frithiof's Saga in Norwegian, [how guiltily I
feared she might stumble upon it in an English translation!] and
anything in the way of fruit or vegetables." These were her
instructions. It was an hour before she came back, flushed with
victory, sure of her success and of my satisfaction. She burst into
the room, brandishing in one hand two turnips and a carrot; in the
other she hugged up in front of her a newspaper, bursting and
red-stained, full of fresh raspberries; under her left arm, held very
tight, a little old copy of the Frithiof's Saga. Breathless, she
dropped the raspberries down, newspaper and all, in a rolling pile on
the table, exclaiming, "I tink I shall not get tese home, after I get
te oders in my oder hand! Are tese what you like?" holding the turnips
and carrot close up to my face. "I vas asking for oranges," she
continued, "but it is one month ago since they leaved Christiania."

"What!" I exclaimed.

"One mont ago since dey were to see in Christiania," she repeated
impatiently. "It is not mont since I vas eating dem in Bergen. I
tought in a great place like Christiania dere would be more tings as
in Bergen; but it is all shtories, you see."

How well I came to know the look of that little ragged old copy of the
grand Saga, and of Katrina's face, as she bent puzzling over it, every
now and then bursting out with some ejaculated bit of translation,
beginning always with, "Vell, you see!" I kept her hard at work at it,
reading it to me, while I lingered over my lonely breakfasts and
dinners, or while we sat under fragrant fir-trees on country hills.
Wherever we went, the little old book and Katrina's Norwegian and
English Dictionary, older still, went with us.

Her English always incalculably wrong and right, in startling
alternations, became a thousand times droller when she set herself to
deliberate renderings of the lines of the Saga. She went often, in one
bound, in a single stanza, from the extreme of nonsense to the climax
of poetical beauty of phrase; her pronunciation, always as unexpected
and irregular as her construction of phrases, grew less and less
correct, as she grew excited and absorbed in the tale. The troublesome
_th_ sound, which in ordinary conversation she managed to enunciate in
perhaps one time out of ten, disappeared entirely from her poetry; and
in place of it, came the most refreshing _t_'s and _d_'s. The worse
her pronunciation and the more broken her English, the better I liked
it, and the more poetical was the translation. Many men have tried
their hand at translation of the Frithiof's Saga, but I have read none
which gave me so much pleasure as I had from hearing Katrina's;
neither do I believe that any poet has studied and rewritten it,
however cultured he might be, with more enthusiasm and delight than
this Norwegian girl of the people, to whom many of the mythological
allusions were as unintelligible as if they had been written in
Sanskrit. She had a convenient way of disposing of those when she came
to such as she did not understand: "Dat's some o' dem old gods, you
see,--dem gods vat dey used to worship." It was evident from many of
Katrina's terms of expression, and from her peculiar delight in the
most poetical lines and thoughts in the Saga, that she herself was of
a highly poetical temperament. I was more and more impressed by this,
and began at last to marvel at the fineness of her appreciations. But
I was not prepared for her turning the tables suddenly upon me, as she
did one day, after I had helped her to a few phrases in a stanza over
which she had come to a halt in difficulties.

"As sure 's I'm aliv," she exclaimed, "I believe you're a poet your
own self, too!" While I was considering what reply to make to this
charge, she went on: "Dat's what tey call me in my own country. I can
make songs. I make a many: all te birtdays and all te extra days in
our family, all come to me and say, 'Now, Katrina, you has to make
song.' Dey tink I can make song in one minute for all! [What a kinship
is there, all the world over, in some sorts of misery!] Ven I've went
to America, I made a nice song," she added. "I vould like you to see."

"Indeed, I would like very much to see it, Katrina," I replied. "Have
you it here?"

"I got it in my head, here," she said, laughing, tapping her broad
forehead. "I keeps it in my head."

But it was a long time before I could persuade her to give it to me.
She persisted in saying that she could not translate it.

"Surely, Katrina," I said, "it cannot be harder than the Frithiof's
Saga, of which you have read me so much."

"Dat is very different," was all I could extract from her. I think
that she felt a certain pride in not having her own stanzas fail of
true appreciation owing to their being put in broken English. At last,
however, I got it. She had been hard at work a whole forenoon in her
room with her dictionary and pencil. In the afternoon she came to me,
holding several sheets of much-scribbled brown paper in her hand, and
said shyly, "Now I can read it." I wrote it down as she read it, only
in one or two instances helping her with a word, and here it is:--


     The time of departure is near,
       And I am no more in my home;
     But, God, be thou my protector.
       I don't know how it will go,
     Out on the big ocean,
       From my father and mother;
     I don't know for sure where at last
       My dwelling-place will be on the earth.

     My thanks to all my dear,
       To my foster father and mother;
     In the distant land, as well as the near,
       Your word shall be my guide.
     It may happen that we never meet on earth,
       But my wish is that God forever
     Be with you and bless you.

     Don't forget; bring my compliments over
       To that place where my cradle stood,--
     The dear Akrehavnske waves,
       What I lately took leave of.
     Don't mourn, my father and mother,
       It is to my benefit;
     My best thanks for all the goodness
       You have bestowed on me.

     A last farewell to you
       All, my dear friends;
     May the life's fortune, honor, and glory
       Be with you wherever you are!
     I know you are all standing
       In deep thoughts
     When Harald Haarfager weighs anchor,
       And I am away from you.

     A wreath of memory
       I will twine or twist round
     My dear native land,
       And as a lark happy sing
     This my well-meaned song.
       Oh, that we all may be
     Wreathed with glory,
       And in the last carry our wreaths of glory
     In heaven's hall!

Watching my face keenly, she read my approbation of her simple little
song, and nodding her head with satisfaction, said,--

"Oh, sometime you see I ain't quite that foolish I look to! I got big
book of all my songs. Nobody but myself could read dem papers. It is
all pulled up, and five six words standing one on top of oder."


Murray's Guide-book, that paradoxical union of the false and the true,
says of Christiania, "There is not much of interest in the town, and
it may be seen in from four to five hours." The person who made that
statement did not have Katrina with him, and perhaps ought therefore
to be forgiven. He had not strolled with her through the market square
of a morning, and among the old women, squatted low, with half a dozen
flat, open baskets of fruit before them: blueberries, currants,
raspberries, plums, pears, and all shades, sizes, and flavors of
cherries, from the pale and tasteless yellow up to those wine-red and
juicy as a grape; the very cherry, it must have been, which made
Lucullus think it worth while to carry the tree in triumphal
procession into Rome. Queer little wooden boxes set on four low
wheels, with a short pole, by which a strong man or woman can draw
them, are the distinctive features of out-door trade in the
Christiania market-places. A compacter, cheaper device for combining
storage, transportation, and exhibition was never hit on. The boxes
hold a great deal. They make a good counter; and when there are twenty
or thirty of them together, with poles set up at the four corners, a
clothes-line fastened from pole to pole and swung full of cheap stuffs
of one sort and another, ready-made garments, hats, caps, bonnets,
shoes, clothespins, wooden spoons, baskets, and boxes,--the venders
sitting behind or among their wares, on firkins bottom side up,--it is
a spectacle not to be despised; and when a market-place, filled with
such many-colored fluttering merchandise as this, is also flanked by
old-clothes stalls which are like nothing except the Ghetto, or Rag
Fair in London, it is indeed worth looking at. To have at one's side
an alert native, of frugal mind and unsparing tongue, belonging to
that class of women who can never see a low-priced article offered for
sale without, for the moment, contemplating it as a possible purchase,
adds incalculably to the interest of a saunter through such a market.
The thrifty Katrina never lost sight of the possibility of lighting
upon some bargain of value to her home housekeeping; and our rooms
filled up from day to day with her acquisitions. She was absolutely
without false pride in the matter of carrying odd burdens. One day she
came lugging a big twisted door-mat with, "You see dat? For de door.
In Bergen I give exact double." The climax of her purchases was a fine
washboard, which she brought in in her arms, and exclaimed, laughing,
"What you tink the porter say to me? He ask if I am going to take in
washing up here. I only give two crowns for dat," she said, eying it
with the fondest exultation, and setting it in a conspicuous place,
leaning against the side of the room; "it is better as I get for four
in Bergen." Good little Katrina! her hands were too white and pretty
to be spoiled by hard rubbing on a washboard. They were her one
vanity, and it was pardonable.

"Did you ever see hand like mine?" she said one day, spreading her
right hand out on the table. "Dere was two English ladies, dey say it
ought to be made in warx, and send to see in Crystal Palace. See dem?"
she continued, sticking her left forefinger into the four dimples
which marked the spots where knuckles are in ordinary hands; "dem is
nice." It was true. The hand was not small, but it was a model: plump,
solid, dimples for knuckles, all the fingers straight and shapely;
done in "warx," it would have been a beautiful thing, and her pleasure
in it was just as guileless as her delight in her washboard.

As she delved deeper in her Frithiof's Saga, she discovered that she
had been greatly wrong in her childish impressions of the story. "It
was not as I tought," she said: "King Ring did get Ingeborg after; but
he had to die, and leaved her."

When we went out to Oscar's Hall, which is a pretty country-seat of
the king's, on the beautiful peninsula of Ladegaardsöen, she was far
more interested in the sculptured cornice which told the story of
Frithiof and Ingeborg, than in any of the more splendid things, or
those more suggestive of the life of the king. The rooms are showily
decorated: ceilings in white with gold stars, walls panelled with
velvet; gay-colored frescos, and throne-like chairs in which "many
kings and queens have sat," the old woman who kept the keys said.
Everywhere were the royal shields with the crown and the lion; at the
corners of the doors, at the crossings of ceiling beams, above
brackets, looking-glasses, and on chair-backs.

"I tink the king get tired looking at his crown all de time," remarked
Katrina, composedly. "I wonder vere dey could put in one more."

The bronze statues of some of the old kings pleased her better. She
studied them carefully: Olaf and Harald Haarfager, Sverre Sigurdson
and Olaf Tryggvesson; they stand leaning upon their spears, as if on
guard. The face of Harald looks true to the record of him: a
fair-haired, blue-eyed man, who stopped at nothing when he wanted his
way, and was just as ready to fall in love with six successive women
after he had labored hard twelve years for Gyda, and won her, as

"He is de nicest," said Katrina, lingering before his statue, and
reaching up and fingering the bronze curiously. "Ain't it wonderful
how dey can make such tings!" she added with a deep-drawn sigh. But
when I pointed to the cornice, and said, "Katrina, I think that must
be the story of the Frithiof's Saga," she bounded, and threw her head
back, like a deer snuffing the wind. "Ja, ja," cried the old woman,
evidently pleased that I recognized it, and then she began to pour out
the tale. Is there a peasant in all Norway that does not know it, I
wonder? The first medallion was of the children, Frithiof and
Ingeborg, playing together. "Dere," said Katrina, "dat is vat I told
you. Two trees growed in one place, nicely in the garden; one growed
with de strongth of de oak, dat was Frithiof; and de rose in the green
walley, dat was Ingeborg de beauty."

Very closely she scanned the medallions one after the other,
criticising their fidelity to the record. When she came to the one
where Frithiof is supporting King Ring on his knee, fainting, or
sleeping, she exclaimed, "Dere, if he had been dat bad, he could have
killed King Ring den, ven he was sleeping; but see, he have thrown his
sword away;" and at last, when the sculpture represented King Ring
dying, and bequeathing his beautiful queen and her children to
Frithiof, she exclaimed, "Dere, dem two boys belongs to King Ring; but
now Frithiof gets her. Dat is good, after all dat dem two had gone
through with."

King Oscar makes very little use of this pretty country-house. He
comes there sometimes once or twice in the course of a summer, for a
day, or part of a day, but never to sleep, the old woman said. All the
rest of the time it is empty and desolate, with only this one poor old
woman to keep it tidy; a good berth for her, but a pity that nobody
should be taking comfort all summer in the superb outlooks and
off-looks from its windows and porch, and in the shady walks along the
banks of the fjord. One of the old Norway kings, Hakon, thought the
peninsula beautiful enough for a wedding morning gift to his queen;
but it seems not to have been held so dear by her as it ought, for she
gave it away to the monks who lived on the neighboring island of
Hovedöen. Then, in the time of the Reformation, when monks had to
scatter and go begging, and monastic properties were lying about loose
everywhere, the Norwegian kings picked up Ladegaardsöen again, and it
has been a crown property ever since.

One of the most charming of the short drives in what Katrina called
"the nearance" of Christiania is to the "Grefsens Bad," a water-cure
establishment only two miles away, by road, to the north, but lying so
much higher up than the town that it seems to lie in another
world,--as in fact it does; for, climbing there, one rises to another
and so different air that he becomes another man, being born again
through his lungs. It is a good pull up a stony and ill-kept road, to
reach the place; but it is more than worth while, for the sake of the
clear look-out to sea, over a delicious foreground of vivid green
fields and woods.

"This is the place where all the sick peoples in Norway do come when
de doctors cannot do nottings more for dem," said Katrina; "den dey
comes here. Here came our last king, King Oscar, and den he did die
on the dock ven he vas coming away. He had all de climb dis hill vor
notting. Ven it is the time, one has to go, no matter how much money
dey will pay; dere is One"--here she stopped hesitating for a
word--"you know all vat I mean: dere is One what has it all his own
way, not de way we wish it shall be." This she said devoutly, and was
silent for an unwonted length of time afterwards.

As we were driving down the steepest part of the hill, a man came
running after us, calling so loudly to us to stop that we were
alarmed, thinking something must be wrong with our carriage or in the
road. Not at all. He was a roadside merchant; not precisely a pedler,
since he never went out of his own town, but a kind of aristocratic
vender in a small circuit, it seemed; we saw him afterwards in other
suburbs, bearing with him the same mysterious basket, and I very much
fear, poor fellow, the same still more mysterious articles in it. Not
even on Norwegian country-roads, I think, could there be found many
souls so dead to all sense of beauty as to buy the hideous and costly
combinations which he insisted upon laying in my lap: a sofa-cushion,
square, thick, and hard, of wine-colored velvet, with a sprawling tree
and bird laid upon it in an appliqué pattern cut out of black and
white velvet; a long and narrow strip of the same velvet, with the
same black and white velvet foliage and poultry, was trimmed at the
ends with heavy fringe, and intended for a sideboard or a bureau; a
large square tablecloth to match completed the list of his
extraordinary wares. It was so odd a wayside incident that it seemed
to loom quite out of its normal proportions as a mere effort at
traffic. He insisted on spreading the articles in my lap. He could not
be persuaded to take them away. The driver turning round on his seat,
and Katrina leaning over from hers, both rapt in admiration of the
monstrosities, were stolidly oblivious of my indifference. The things
seemed to grow bigger and bigger each moment, and more and more
hideous, and it was at last only by a sudden effort of sternness, as
if shaking off a spell, that I succeeded in compelling the man to lift
them from my knees and fold them away in his basket. As soon as he had
gone, I was seized with misgivings that I had been ungracious; and
these misgivings were much heightened by Katrina's soliloquizing as

"He! I tink he never take dem tings away. His wife are sick; dat is de
reason he is on de road instead of her. He was sure you would buy

I hope they are sold. I wish I could know.

The suburbs of Christiania which lie along the road to the Grefsens
Bad are ugly, dusty, and unpleasing. "I tink we go some oder way dan
way we came," said Katrina. "Dere must be better way." So saying, she
stopped the driver abruptly, and after some vigorous conversation he
took another road.

"He ask more money to go by St. John's Hill, but I tell him you not
pay any more. I can see it is not farther; I ask him if he tink I got
eyes in de head," she said scornfully, waving her fat fingers towards
the city which lay close at hand.

"Ah, dat is great day," she continued, "St. John's Day. Keep you dat
in America? Here it is fires all round, from one hill to one hill. Dat
is from de old time. I tink it is from Catolics. Dey did do so much
for dem old saints, you see. I tink dat is it; but I tink dey do not
just know in Norway to-day what for dey do it. It has been old custom
from parents to parents."

Then I told her about Balder and his death, and asked her if she had
never seen the country people put a boat on the top of their bonfire
on St. John's Eve.

"Yes, I did see dat, once, in Stavanger," she replied, "but it was old
boat; no use any more. I tink dat be to save wood. It are cheapest
wood dey have, old boat. Dat were not to give to any god."

"No, you are mistaken, Katrina," I said. "They have done that for
hundreds of years in Norway. It is to remind them of Balder's great
ship, the Hringhorn, and to commemorate his death."

"May be," she said curtly, "but I don't tink. I only see dat once; and
all my life I see de fires, all round Bergen, and everywhere, and dere
was no boat on dem. I don't tink."

We drove into the city through one of the smaller fruit markets,
where, late as it was, the old women still lingered with their baskets
of cherries, pears, and currants. They were not losing time, for they
were all knitting, fast as their fingers could fly; such a thing as a
Norwegian wasting time is not to be seen, I verily believe, from the
North Cape to the Skager Rack, and one would think that they knit
stockings enough for the whole continent of Europe; old men, old
women, little girls, and even little boys, all knitting, knitting,
morning, noon, and night, by roadsides, on door-sills, in
market-places; wherever they sit down, or stand, to rest, they knit.
As our carriage stopped, down went the stockings, balls rolling, yarn
tangling, on the sidewalk, and up jumped the old women, all crowding
round me, smiling, each holding out a specimen of her fruit for me to
taste. "Eat, lady, eat. It is good." "Eat and you will buy." "No such
cherries as these in Christiania." "Taste of my plums." A chorus of
imploring voices and rattling hail of _sks_. Hurried and confused talk
in the Norwegian tongue as spoken by uneducated people is a
bewildering racket; it hardly sounds like human voices. If the smiles
did not redeem it, it would be something insupportable; but the smiles
do redeem it, transfigure it, lift it up to the level of superior
harmonies. Such graciousness of eye and of smiling lips triumphs over
all possible discord of sound, even over the Norwegian battery of

Katrina fired back to them all. I fear she reproved them; for they
subsided suddenly into silence, and left the outstretched withered
palms holding the fruit to speak for themselves.

"I only tell dem you cannot buy all de market out. You can say vat you
like," she said.

Pears and cherries, and plums too, because the old plum-woman looked
poorer than the rest, I bought; and as we drove away the chorus
followed us again with good wishes. "Dey are like crazy old vomans,"
remarked Katrina; "I never heard such noise of old vomans to once time
before." A few minutes after we reached the house she disappeared
suddenly, and presently returned with a little cantaloupe melon in her
hands. Standing before me, with a curious and hesitating look on her
face, she said, "Is dis vat you like?"

"Oh, yes," I exclaimed, grateful for the sight. "I was longing for one
yesterday. Where did you get it?"

"I not get it. I borrow it for you to see. I tell the man I bring it
back," she replied, still with the same curious expressions of doubt
flitting over her queer little face.

"Why, whose melon is it?" I exclaimed. "What did you bring it for if
it were not for sale?"

"Oh, it is for selled, if you like to buy," she said, still with the
hesitant expression.

"Of course I like to buy it," I said impatiently. "How much does it

"Dat is it," replied Katrina, sententiously. "It is too dear to buy, I
tell the man; but he said I should bring it to you, to see. I tink you
vill not buy it;" still with the quizzical look on her face.

Quite out of patience, I cried, "But why don't you tell me the price
of it? I should like it very much. It can't be so very dear."

"Dat it can," answered Katrina, chuckling, at last letting out her
suppressed laugh. "He ask six kroner for dat ting; and I tink you not
buy it at such price, so I bring to make you laugh."

One dollar and sixty-two cents for a tiny cantaloupe! Katrina had her
reward. "Oh, but I am dat glad ven I make you laugh," she said
roguishly, picking up her melon, as I cried out with surprise and

"I should think not. I never heard of such a price for a melon."

"So I tink," said Katrina. "I ask de man who buy dem melons, and he
say plenty peoples; but I tink it is all shtories." And she ran
downstairs laughing so that I heard her, all the way, two flights down
to the door.

High up on the dark wooded mountain wall which lies to the north and
northwest of Christiania is a spot of light color. In the early
morning it is vivid green; sometimes at sunset it catches a tint of
gold; but neither at morn nor at night can it ever be overlooked. It
is a perpetual lure to the eye, and stimulus to the imagination. What
eyry is it that has cleared for itself this loop-hole in the solid
mountain-forest? Is it a clearing, or only a bit of varied wooding of
a contrasting color to the rest? For several days I looked at it
before I asked; and I had grown so impressed by its mystery and charm,
that when I found it was a house, the summer home of a rich
Christiania family, and one of the places always shown to travellers,
I felt more than half-way minded not to go near it,--to keep it still
nothing more than a far-away, changing, luring oasis of sunny gold or
wistful green on the mountain-side. Had it been called by any other
name, my instinct to leave it unknown might have triumphed; but the
words "Frogner Sæter" were almost as great a lure to the imagination
as the green oasis itself. The sæter, high up on some mountain-side,
is the fulfilling of the Norwegian out-door life, the key-note of the
Norwegian summer. The gentle kine know it as well as their mistresses
who go thither with them. Three months in the upper air, in the spicy
and fragrant woods,--no matter if it be solitary and if the work be
hard, the sæter life must be the best the Norwegians know,--must
elevate and develop them, and strengthen them for their long, sunless
winters. I had looked up from the Vossevangen Valley, from Ringeriket,
and from the Hardanger country to many such gleaming points of lighter
green, tossed up as it were on the billowy forests. They were beyond
the reach of any methods of ascent at my command; unwillingly I had
accepted again and again the wisdom of the farm people, who said "the
road up to the sæter was too hard for those who were not used to it."
Reluctantly I had put the sæter out of my hopes, as a thing to be
known only by imagination and other people's descriptions. Therefore
the name of the Frogner Sæter was a lure not to be resisted; a sæter
to which one might drive in a comfortable carriage over a good road
could not be the ideal sæter of the wild country life, but still it
was called "sæter;" we would go, and we would take a day for the going
and coming.

"Dat will be bestest," said Katrina. "I tink you like dat high place
better as Christiania."

On the way we called at the office of a homoeopathic physician,
whose name had been given to me by a Bergen friend. He spoke no
English, and for the first time Katrina's failed. I saw at once that
she did not convey my meanings to him, nor his to me, with accuracy.
She was out of her depth. Her mortification was droll; it reached the
climax when it came to the word "dynamic." Poor little child! How
should she have known that!

"I vill understand! I vill!" she exclaimed; and the good-natured
doctor took pains to explain to her at some length; at the end of his
explanation she turned to me triumphantly, with a nod: "Now I know
very well; it is another kind of strongth from the strongth of a
machine. It is not such strongth that you can see, or you can make
with your hands; but it is strongth all the same,"--a definition which
might be commended to the careful attention of all persons in the
habit or need of using the word "dynamic."

It is five miles from Christiania out and up to the Frogner Sæter,
first through pretty suburban streets which are more roads than
streets, with picturesque wooden houses, painted in wonderful
colors,--lilac, apple-green, white with orange-colored settings to
doors and windows, yellow pine left its own color, oiled, and
decorated with white or with maroon red. They look like the gay
toy-houses sold in boxes for children to play with. There is no one of
them, perhaps, which one would not grow very weary of, if he had to
see it every day, but the effect of the succession of them along the
roadside is surprisingly gay and picturesque. Their variety of shape
and the pretty little balconies of carved lattice-work add much to
this picturesqueness. They are all surrounded by flower-gardens of a
simple kind,--old-fashioned flowers growing in clumps and straight
borders, and every window-sill full of plants in bloom; windows all
opening outward like doors, so that in a warm day, when every
window-sash is thrown open, the houses have a strange look of being
a-flutter. There is no expression of elegance or of the habits or
standards of great wealth about these suburban houses of Christiania;
but there is a very rare and charming expression of comfort and good
cheer, and a childlike simplicity which dotes on flowers and has not
outgrown the love of bright colors. I do not know anywhere a region
where houses are so instantly and good-naturedly attractive, with a
suggestion of good fellowship, and sensible, easy-going good times
inside and out.

The last three miles of the road to the sæter are steadily up, and all
the way through dense woods of fir and spruce,--that grand Norway
spruce, which spreads its boughs out generously as palms, and loads
down each twig so full that by their own weight of shining green the
lower branches trail out along the ground, and the upper ones fold a
little and slant downwards from the middle, as if avalanches of snow
had just slid off on each side and bent them. Here were great beds of
ferns, clusters of bluebells, and territories of Linnæa. In June the
mountain-side must be fragrant with its flowers.

Katrina glowed with pleasure. In her colder, barrener home she had
seen no such lavishness as this.

"Oh, but ven one tinks, how Nature is wonderful!" she cried. "Here all
dese tings grow up, demselves! noting to be done. Are dey not wort
more dan in gardens? In gardens always must be put in a corn before
anyting come up; and all dese nice tings come up alone, demselves."

"Oh, but see vat God has done; how much better than all vat people
can; no matter vat dey make."

Half-way up the mountain we came to a tiny house, set in a clearing
barely big enough to hold the house and let a little sun in on it from

"Oh, I wish-shed I had dat little house!" she exclaimed. "Dat house
could stand in Bergen. I like to carry dat home and dem trees to it;
but my husband, he would not like it. He likes Bergen house bestest."

As we drew near the top, we met carriages coming down. Evidently it
was the custom to drive to the Frogner Sæter.

"I tink in dat first carriage were Chews," said Katrina, scornfully.
"I do hate dem Chews. I can't bear dat kind of people."

"Why not, Katrina?" I asked. "It is not fair to hate people because of
their religion."

"Oh, dat I don't know about deir religion," she replied carelessly. "I
don't tink dey got much religion anyhow. I tink dey are kind of
thieves. I saw it in New York. Ven I went into Chew shop, he say a
ting are tree dollar; and I say, 'No, dat are too dear.' Den he say,
'You can have for two dollar;' and I say, 'No, I cannot take;' and den
he say, 'Oh, have it for one dollar and half;' and I tink all such
tings are not real. I hate dem Chews. Dey are all de same in all
places. Dey are chust like dat if dey come in Norway. Very few Chews
comes in Norway. Dat is one good ting."

In a small open, part clearing, part natural rocky crest of the hill,
stood the sæter: great spaces of pink heather to right and left of it,
a fir wood walling it on two sides; to the south and the east, a clear
off-look over the two bays of the Christiania Fjord, past all their
islands, out to sea, and the farthest horizon. Christiania lay like an
insignificant huddle of buildings in the nearer foreground; its only
beauty now being in its rich surrounding of farm-lands, which seemed
to hold it like a rough brown pebble in an emerald setting.

The house itself fronted south. Its piazza and front windows commanded
this grand view. It was of pine logs, smoothed and mortised into each
other at the corners. Behind it was a hollow square of the farm
buildings: sheds, barns, and the pretty white cottage of the overseer.
The overseer's wife came running to meet us, and with cordial
good-will took us into the house, and showed us every room. She had
the pride of a retainer in the place; and when she found that none of
its beauty was lost on me, she warmed and grew communicative. It will
not be easy to describe the charm of this log-house: only logs inside
as well as out; but the logs are Norway pine, yellow and hard and
shining, taking a polish for floors and ceiling as fine as ash or
maple, and making for the walls belts and stripes of gold color better
than paper; all cross beams and partitions are mortised at the
joinings, instead of crossing and lapping. This alone gives to these
Norwegian houses an expression quite unlike that of ordinary
log-houses. A little carved work of a simple pattern, at the cornices
of the rooms and on the ceiling beams, was the only ornamentation of
the house; and a great glass door, of a single pane, opening on the
piazza, was the only luxurious thing about it. Everything else was
simply and beautifully picturesque. Old Norwegian tapestries hung here
and there on the walls, their vivid reds and blues coming out superbly
on the yellow pine; curious antique corner cupboards, painted in
chaotic colors of fantastic brightness; old fireplaces built out into
the room, in the style of the most ancient Norwegian farm-houses; old
brasses, sconces, placques, and candlesticks; and a long dining-table,
with wooden benches of hollowed planks for seats, such as are to be
seen to-day in some of the old ruined baronial castles in England.

In the second-story rooms were old-fashioned bedsteads: one of carved
pine, so high that it needed a step-ladder to mount it; the other
built like a cupboard against the wall, and shut by two sliding doors,
which on being pushed back disclosed two narrow bunks. This is the
style of bed in many of the Norwegian farm-houses still. On the
sliding door of the upper bunk was a small photograph of the prince
imperial; and the woman told us with great pride that he had slept one
night in that bed.

Upstairs again, by narrow winding stairs, and there we found the whole
floor left undivided save by the big chimney-stack which came up in
the middle; the gable ends of the garret opened out in two great doors
like barn-doors; under the eaves, the whole length of each side, was a
row of bunk beds, five on each side, separated only by a board
partition. This was a great common bedroom, "used for gentlemen at
Christmas-time," the woman said. "There had as many as fifteen or
twenty gentlemen slept in that room."

At Christmas, it seems, it is the habit of the family owning this
unique and charming country-house to come up into the woods for a two
weeks' festivity. The snow is deep. The mercury is well down near zero
or below; but the road up the mountain is swept level smooth: sledges
can go easier in winter than carriages can in summer; and the vast
outlook over the glittering white land and shining blue sea full of
ice islands must be grander than when the islands and the land are
green. Pine logs in huge fireplaces can warm any room; and persons of
the sort that would think of spending Christmas in a fir-wood on a
mountain-top could make a house warm even better than pine logs could
do it. Christmas at the Frogner Sæter must be a Christmas worth

"The house is as full as ever it can hold," said the woman, "and fifty
sit down to dinner sometimes; they think nothing of driving up from
Christiania and down again at midnight."

What a place for sleigh-bells to ring on a frosty night; that rocky
hill-crest swung out as it were in clear space of upper air, with the
great Christiania Fjord stretching away beneath, an ice-bound,
ice-flaked sea, white and steel-black under the winter moon! I fancied
the house blazing like a many-sided beacon out of the darkness of the
mountain front at midnight, the bells clanging, the voices of lovers
and loved chiming, and laughter and mirth ringing. I think for years
to come the picture will be so vivid in my mind that I shall find
myself on many a Christmas night mentally listening to the swift bells
chiming down the mountain from the Frogner Sæter.

The eastern end of the piazza is closed in by a great window, one
single pane of glass like the door; so that in this corner, sheltered
from the wind, but losing nothing of the view, one can sit in even
cold weather. Katrina cuddled herself down like a kitten, in the sun,
on the piazza steps, and looking up at me, as I sat in this sheltered
corner, said approvingly,--

"Dis you like. I ask de voman if we could stay here; but she got no
room: else she would like to keep us. I tink I stay here all my life:
only for my husband, I go back."

Then she pulled out the Saga and read some pages of Ingeborg's Lament,
convulsing me in the beginning by saying that it was "Ingeborg's
Whale." It was long before I grasped that she meant "Wail."

"What you say ven it is like as if you cry, but you do not cry?" she
said. "Dat is it. It stands in my dictionary, whale!" And she
reiterated it with some impatience at my stupidity in not better
understanding my own language. When I explained to her the vast
difference between "whale" and "wail," she was convulsed in her turn.
"Oh, dere are so many words in English which do have same sound and
mean so different ting," she said, "I tink I never learn to speak
English in dis world."

While we were sitting there, a great speckled woodpecker flew out from
the depths of the wood, lighted on a fir near the house, and began
racing up and down the tree, tapping the bark with his strong bill,
like the strokes of a hammer.

"There is your Gertrude bird, Katrina," said I. She looked bewildered.
"The woman that Christ punished," I said, "and turned her into the
Gertrude bird; do you not know the old story?" No, she had never heard
it. She listened with wide-open eyes while I told her the old
Norwegian legend, which it was strange that I knew and she did
not,--how Christ and Peter, stopping one day at the door of a woman
who was kneading her bread, asked her for a piece. She broke a piece
for them; but as she was rolling it out, it grew under her roller till
it filled her table. She laid it aside, saying it was too large, broke
off another piece, rolled it out with the same result; it grew larger
every moment. She laid that aside, and took a third bit, the smallest
she could possibly break off: the same result; that too grew under her
roller till it covered the table. Then her heart was entirely
hardened, and she laid this third piece on one side, saying, "Go your
ways, I cannot spare you any bread to-day." Then Christ was angry, and
opened her eyes to see who he was. She fell on her knees, and implored
his forgiveness; but he said, "No. You shall henceforth seek your
bread from day to day, between the wood and the bark." And he changed
her into a bird,--the Gertrude bird, or woodpecker. The legend runs,
however, that, relenting, the Lord said that when the plumage of the
bird should become entirely black, her punishment should be at an end.
The Gertrude bird grows darker and darker every year, and when it is
old, has no white to be seen in its plumage. When the white has all
disappeared, then the Lord Christ takes it for his own, so the legend
says; and no Norwegian will ever injure a Gertrude bird, because he
believes it to be under God's protection, doing this penance.

"Is dat true?" asked Katrina, seriously. "Dat must have been when de
Lord was going about on dis earth; ven he was ghost. I never hear

I tried to explain to her the idea of a fable.

"Fable," she said, "fable,--dat is to teach people to be giving ven
dey got, and not send peoples away vidout notings. Dat's what I see,
many times I see. But I do not see dat de peoples dat is all for
saving all dey got, gets any richer. I tink if you give all the time
to dem dat is poorer, dat is de way to be richer. Dere is always some
vat is poorer."

In the cosey little sitting-room of her white cottage, the farmer's
wife gave us a lunch which would not have been any shame to any lady's
table,--scrambled eggs, bread, rusks, milk, and a queer sort of
election cake, with raisins but no sugar. This Katrina eyed with the
greed of a child; watched to see if I liked it, and exclaimed, "We
only get dat once a year, at Christmas time." Seeing that I left a
large piece on my plate, she finally said, "Do you tink it would be
shame if I take dat home? It is too good to be leaved." With great
glee, on my first word of permission, she crammed it into her
omnivorous pocket, which already held a dozen or more green apples
that she had persisted in picking up by the roadside as we came.

As we drove down the mountain, the glimpses here and there, between
the trees, of the fjord and islands were even more beautiful than the
great panorama seen from the top. Little children ran out to open
gates for us, and made their pretty Norwegian courtesies, with smiles
of gratitude for a penny. We met scores of peasant women going out to
their homes, bearing all sorts of burdens swung from a yoke laid
across their shoulders. The thing that a Norwegian cannot contrive to
swing from one side or the other of his shoulder-yoke must be very big
indeed. The yokes seem equally adapted to everything, from a
butter-firkin to a silk handkerchief full of cabbages. Weights which
would be far too heavy to carry in any other way the peasants take in
this, and trot along between their swinging loads at as round a pace
as if they had nothing to carry. We drove a roundabout way to our
hotel, to enable Katrina to see an old teacher of hers; through street
after street of monotonous stucco-walled houses, each with a big open
door, a covered way leading into a court behind, and glimpses of
clothes-lines, or other walls and doorways, or green yards, beyond.
Two thirds of the houses in Christiania are on this plan; the families
live in flats, or parts of flats. Sometimes there are eight or ten
brass bell-handles, one above another, on the side of one of these big
doorways, each door-bell marking a family. The teacher lived in a
respectable but plain house of this kind,--she and her sister; they
had taught Katrina in Bergen when she was a child, and she retained a
warm and grateful memory of them; one had been married, and her
husband was in America, where they were both going to join him soon.
Everywhere in Norway one meets people whose hearts are in
America,--sons, husbands, daughters, lovers. Everybody would go if it
were possible; once fourteen thousand went in one year, I was told.
These poor women had been working hard to support themselves by
teaching and by embroidering. Katrina brought down, to exhibit to me,
a dog's head, embroidered in the finest possible silks,--silks that
made a hair-stroke like a fine pen; it was a marvellously ingenious
thing, but no more interesting than the "Lord's Prayer written in the
circumference of two inches," or any of that class of marvels.

"Dey take dese to America," Katrina said. "Did you ever see anyting
like dem dere? Dey get thirty kroner for one of dem dogs. It is chust
like live dog."

After we returned, Katrina disappeared again on one of her mysterious
expeditions, whose returns were usually of great interest to me. This
time they brought to both of us disappointment. Coming in with a
radiant face, and the usual little newspaper bundle in her hand, she
cried out, "Now I got you de bestest ting yet," and held out her
treasures,--a pint of small berries, a little larger than
whortleberries, and as black and shining as jet. "Dis is de bestest
berry in all Norway," she exclaimed, whipping one into her own mouth;
"see if you like."

I incautiously took three or four at once. Not since the days of
old-fashioned Dover's and James's powders have I ever tasted a more
nauseous combination of flavors than resided in those glittering black

"You not like dem berries?" cried poor Katrina, in dismay at my
disgust, raising her voice and its inflections at every syllable. "You
not like dem berries? I never hear of nobody not liking dem berries.
Dey is bestest we got! Any way, I eat dem myself," she added
philosophically, and retreated crestfallen to her room, where I heard
her smacking her lips over them for half an hour. I believe she ate
the whole at a sitting. They must have been a variety of black
currant, and exclusively intended by Nature for medicinal purposes;
but Katrina came out hearty and well as ever the next day, after
having swallowed some twelve or sixteen ounces of them.

By way of atoning for her mishap with the berries, she ran out early
the next morning and bought a little packet of odds and ends of
strong-scented leaves and dust of several kinds, and, coming up behind
my chair, held it close under my nose, with,--

"Ain't dat nice smell? Ain't dat better as dem berries? Oh, I tink I
never stop laughing ven I am at home ven I tink how you eat dem
berries. Dey are de bestest berries we got."

On my approving the scent, she seemed much pleased, and laid the
little packet on my table, remarking that I could "chust smell it ven
I liked." She added that in the winter-time they kept it in all
Norwegian houses, and strewed it on the stoves when they were hot, and
it "smelled beautiful." They called it "king's smoke," she said, and
nobody would be without it.

It is easy to see why the Norwegians, from the king down, must need
some such device as this to make tolerable the air in their
stove-heated rooms in winter. It was appalling to look at their four
and five storied stoves, and think how scorched the air must be by
such a mass of heated iron. The average Norwegian stove is as high as
the door of the room, or even higher. It is built up of sections of
square-cornered hollow iron pipe, somewhat as we build card-houses;
back and forth, forward and back, up and across, through these hollow
blocks of cast-iron, goes the heated air. It takes hours to get the
tower heated from bottom to top; but once it is heated there is a
radiating mass of burnt iron, with which it must be terrible to be
shut up. The open spaces between the cross sections must be very
convenient for many purposes,--to keep all sorts of things hot; and a
man given to the habit of tipping back in his chair, and liking to sit
with his feet higher than his head, could keep his favorite attitude
and warm his feet at the same time,--a thing that couldn't be done
with any other sort of stove.

One of my last days in Christiania was spent on the island of
Hovedöen, a short half-hour's row from the town. Here are the ruins of
an old monastery, dating back to the first half of the twelfth
century, and of priceless interest to antiquarians, who tell, inch by
inch, among the old grass-grown stones, just where the abbot sat, and
the monks prayed, and through which arch they walked at vespers. Bits
of the old carved cornices are standing everywhere, leaning up against
the moss-grown walls, which look much less old for being hoary with
moss. One thing they had in the monastery of Hovedöen,--a well of
ice-cold, sparkling water, which might have consoled them for much
lack of wine; and if the limes and poplars and birches were half as
beautiful in 1147 as they are now, the monks were to be envied, when a
whole nunneryful of nuns took refuge on their island in the time of
the first onslaught on convents. What strolls under those trees! There
are several species of flowers growing there now which grow nowhere
else in all the region about, and tradition says that these nuns
planted them. The paths are edged with heather and thyme and
bluebells, and that daintiest of little vetches, the golden yellow,
whose blossoms were well named by the devout sisters "Mary's golden
shoes." As we rowed home at sunset over the amber and silver water,
Katrina sang Norwegian songs; her voice, though untrained and shrill,
had sweet notes in it, and she sang with the same childlike heartiness
and innocent exultation that she showed in everything else. "Old
Norway" was the refrain of the song she liked most and sang best; and
more than one manly Norwegian voice joined in with hers with good-will
and fervor.

At the botanical gardens a Victoria regia was on the point of
blooming. Day after day I had driven out there to see it; each day
confident, each day disappointed. The professor, a quaint and learned
old man, simple in speech and behavior, as all great scientific men
are, glided about in a linen coat, his shears hanging in a big sheath
on one side his belt, his pruning-knife on the other, and a big
note-book in his breast-pocket. His life seemed to me one of the few
ideal ones I had ever seen. His house stands on a high terrace in the
garden, looking southward, over the city to the fjord. It is a long,
low cottage, with dormer windows sunk deep in the red-tiled roof,
shaded by two great horsechestnut trees, which are so old that clumps
of grass have grown in their gnarled knots. Here he plants and watches
and studies; triumphs over the utmost rigors of the Norway climate,
and points with pride to a dozen varieties of Indian corn thriving in
his grounds. Tropical plants of all climes he has cajoled or coerced
into living out-of-doors all winter in Norway. One large house full of
begonias was his special pride; tier after tier of the splendid velvet
leaves, all shades of color in the blossoms: one could not have
dreamed that the world held so many varieties of begonia. He was
annoyed by his Victoria regia's tardiness. There it lay, lolling in
its huge lake,--in a sultry heated air which it was almost dangerous
for human lungs to breathe. Its seven huge leaves spread out in round
disks on which a child could stand safe. In the middle, just out of
the water, rose the mysterious red bud. It was a plant he had himself
raised in one year from seed; and he felt towards it as to a child.

"I cannot promise. I did think it should have opened this morning. It
has lifted itself one inch since last night," he said. "It is not my
fault," he added apologetically, like a parent who cannot make a child
obey. Then he showed me, by his clasped hands, how it opened; in a
series of spasmodic unclosings, as if by throes, at intervals of five
or six minutes; each unclosing revealing more and more of the petals,
till at last, at the end of a half-hour, the whole snowy blossom is
unfolded: one day open, then towards night, by a similar series of
throe-like movements, it closes, and the next morning, between nine
and eleven, opens again in the same way, but no longer white. In the
night it has changed its color. One look, one taste, one day, of life
has flushed it rose-red. As the old professor told me this tale, not
new, but always wonderful and solemn, his face kindled with delight
and awe. No astronomer reckoning the times and colors of a recurring
planet could have had a vivider sense of the beauty and grandeur of
its law. The last thing I did in Christiania was to drive for the
third time to see if this flower had unfolded. It had apparently made
no movement for twenty-four hours.

"I tought you not see dat flower," said Katrina, who had looked with
some impatience on the repeated bootless journeys. "I tink it is
hoombug. I tink it is all shtories."

To me there was a half-omen in the flower's delay. Norway also had
shown me only half its beauty; I was going away wistful and
unsatisfied. "You must have another Victoria next summer," I said to
the quaint old professor, when I bade him good-by; and as Katrina ran
swiftly off the deck of the steamer, that I might not see any tears in
her eyes, bidding me farewell, I said also to her, "Next summer,
Katrina. Study the Frithiof's Saga, and read me the rest of it next

I hope she will not study it so well as to improve too much in her
renderings. Could any good English be so good as this?


     Two trees growed bold and silent: never before the north never
     seen such beauties; they growed nicely in the garden.

     The one growed up with the strongth of the oak; and the stem
     was as the handle of the spear, but the crown shaked in the
     wind like the top on the helmet.

     But the other one growed like a rose,--like a rose when the
     winter just is going away; but the spring what stands in its
     buds still in dreams childly is smiling.

     The storm shall go round the world. In fight with the storm the
     oak will stand: the sun in the spring will glow on the heaven.
     Then the rose opens its ripe lips.

     So they growed in joy and play; and Frithiof was the young oak,
     but the rose in the green walley was named Ingeborg the Beauty.

     If you seen dem two in the daylight, you would think of Freya's
     dwelling, where many a little pair is swinging with yellow
     hair, and vings like roses.

     But if you saw dem in the moonlight, dancing easy around, you
     would tink to see an erl-king pair dancing among the wreaths of
     the walley. How he was  glad--

"Dem's the nicest vairses, I tink."

     --how he was glad, how it was dear to him, when he got to write
     the first letter of her name, and afterwards to learn his
     Ingeborg, that was to Frithiof more than the king's honor.

     How nicely when with the little sail, ven they vent over the
     surface of the water, how happy with her little white hands she
     is clapping ven he turns the rudder.

     How far up it was hanging in the top of the tree, to the
     bird's-nest, he found up; sure was not either the eagle's nest,
     when she stand pointing down below.

     You couldn't find a river, no matter how hard it was, without
     he could carry her over. It is so beautiful when the waves are
     roaring to be keeped fast in little white arms.

     The first flower brought up in the spring, the first strawberry
     that gets red, the first stem that golden bended down, he happy
     brought his Ingeborg.

     But the days of childhood goes quickly away. There stands a
     youth; and in a while the hope, the brave, and the fire is
     standing in his face. There stands a maiden, with the bosom

     Very often Frithiof went out a-hunting. Such a hunting would
     frighten many; without spear and sword the brave would fetch
     the bear: they were fighting breast to breast; and after the
     glory, in an awful state, the hunter went home with what he

     What girl wouldn't like to take that?

"Ven he had been fighting that way, you see, without any sword or

     Then dear to the women is the fierce of a man. The strongth is
     wort the beauty, and they will fit well for another, as well as
     the helm fits the brain of an hero.

     But if he in the winter evening, with his soul fierce, by the
     fire's beam was reading of bright Walhalla, a song, a song of
     the  gods--

"Veil, dat's the mans; vat's the vomens?"


"Vell, dat's it."

     --a song of the gods and goddesses' joy, he was tinking, Yellow
     is the hair of Freya. My  Ingeborg--

"Vat's a big field called when it is all over ripe?"


"No,"--a shake of the head.

     --is like the fields when easy waves the summer wind a golden
     net round all the flower bundles.

     Iduna's bosom is rich, and beautiful it waves under the green
     satin. I know a twin satin wave in where light Alfs hid

     And the eyes of Frigga are blue as the heavenly whole; still
     often I looked at two eyes under the vault of heaven: against
     dem are a spring day dark to look at.

     How can it be they praise Gerda's white cheeks, and the
     new-come snow in the north light beam?

     I looked at cheeks, the snow mountain's beam ain't so beautiful
     in the red of the morning.

     I know a heart as soft as Nanna's, if not so much spoken of.

     Well praised of the skalds you, Nanna's happy Balder!

     Oh, that I as you could die missed of the soft and honest
     maiden, your Nanna like. I should glad go down to Hell's the
     dark kingdom.

     But the king's daughter sat and sung a hero song, and weaved
     glad into the stuff all things the hero have done, the blue
     sea, the green walley, and rock-rifts.

     There growed out in snow-white vool the shining shields  of--

"Ain't there a word you say spinned?"

     --spinned gold; red as the lightning flew the lances of the
     war, and stiff of silver was every armor.

     But as she quickly is weaving and nicely, she gets the heroes
     Frithiof's shape, and as she comes farther into the weave, she
     gets red, but still she sees them with joy.

     But Frithiof did cut in walley and field many an I and F in the
     bark  of--

"He cut all round. Wherever he come, he cut them two."

     --the trees. These Runes is healed with happy and joy, just
     like the young hearts together.

     When the daylight stands in its  emerald--

Here we had a long halt, Katrina insisting on saying "smaragd," and
declaring that that was an English word; she had seen it often, and
"it could not be pronounced in any other way;" she had seen it in
"Lady Montaig in Turkey,"--"she had loads of smaragds and all such
things." Her contrition, when she discovered her mistake, was

She had read this account of "Lady Montagu in Turkey," in her "Hundred
Lessons," at school so many times she knew it by heart, which she
proceeded to prove by long quotations.

     --and the king of the light with the golden hair, and the mens,
     is busy wandering, then they did only think one on each other.

     When the night is standing in its emerald, and the mother of
     the sleep with dark hair and all are silent, and the stars are
     wandering, den they only is dreaming of each other.

     Thou Earth dat fix thee [or gets new] every spring, and is
     braiding the flowers into your hair, the beautifullest of them,
     give me friendly, for a wreath to reward Frithiof.

     Thou Ocean, dat in thy dark room has pearls in thousands, give
     me the best, the beautifullest, and the beautifullest neck I
     will bind them to.

     Thou button on Odin's king-chair, Thou World's Eye Golden Sun,
     if you were mine, your shining round I would give Frithiof as

     Thou lantern in the All-Father's Home, the moon with the pale
     torch, if you were mine, I would give it as an emerald for my
     beautiful hand-maiden.

     Then Hilding said, "Foster son,
     Your love wouldn't be any good to you.
     Different lots Norna gives out.
     That maiden is daughter to King Bele.
     To Odin hisself in the Star-place
           Mounts her family.
     You, de son of Thorstein peasant,
     Must give way, because like thrives best with like."

"He have to leave because he vas poor, you see."

     But Frithiof smiled: "Very easy
     My arm will win me king's race.
     The king of the wood fall,
     The king of the forest fall in spite of claw and howl;
     His race I inherit with the Skin."

     The free-born man wouldn't move,
     Because the world belongs to the free.
     Easy, courage can reconcile fortune,
     And de Hope carries a king's crown.

     Most noble is all Strongth. Because Thor--

"He was fader of all dem oder gods, you see."

     The ancestor lives in Thrudvang,
     He weighs not de burden, but de wort;

"Look now, all dese be strange words."

     A mighty wooer is also the Sword.

     I will fight for my young bride.
     If it so were, vid de God of de Tunder;
     Grow safe, grow happy, my white lily,
     Our covenant are fast as the Norna's will.

This is her translation of the last stanzas of the account of
Ingeborg's marriage to Frithiof:--

     In come Ingeborg in hermine sack, and bright jewels, followed
     of a crowd of maids like de stars wid de moon. Wid de tears in
     de beautiful eyes she fall to her brother's heart; but he lead
     the dear sister up to Frithiof's noble breast; and over the
     God's altar she reach-ched her hand to de childhood's friend,
     to her heart's beloved.

A few days before I left Christiania, Katrina had come shyly up to my
table, one evening, and tossed down on it a paper, saying,--

"Dere is anoder. Dis one is for you."

On looking at it, I found it contained four stanzas of Norwegian
verse, in which my name occurred often. No persuasions I could bring
to bear on her would induce her to translate it. She only laughed,
said she could not, and that some of my Norwegian friends must read it
to me. She read it aloud in the Norwegian, and to my ignorant ear the
lines had a rhythmical and musical sound. She herself was pleased with
it. "It is nice song, dat song," she said; but turn it into English
for me she would not. Each day, however, she asked if I had had it
translated, and finding on the last day that I had not, she darted
into her room, shut the door, and in the course of two hours came out,
saying, "I got it part done; but dey tell you better, as I tell you."

The truth was, the tribute was so flattering, she preferred it should
come to me second hand. She shrank from saying directly, in open
speech, all that it had pleased her affectionate heart to say in the
verses. Three of the stanzas I give exactly as she wrote them. The
rest is a secret between Katrina and me.


     The duty command me to honor
       You, who with me
     Were that kind I set her beside
     My parents. Like a sunbeamed picture
     For my look, you painted stands.
     My wishes here translated
     With you to Colorado go.

     Happy days! oh, happy memories
       Be with me on the life's way.
     Let me still after a while find or meet
     You energisk. I wouldn't forget.
       God, be thou a true guide
     For her over the big ocean;
       Keep away from her all torments
       That she happy may reach her home.

     Take my thanks and my farewell
       As remembrance along with you home,
     Though a stranger I am placed
       And as servant for you,
     The heaven's best reward I pray down
     For all you did to me.
       Good luck and honor
       Be with you till you die.

The last verse seems to me to sound far better in Norwegian than in
English, and is it not more fitting to end the Katrina Saga in a few
of her words in her own tongue?

     "Modtag Takken og Farvellet
     Som Erindring med dem hjem,
     Sjönt som Fremmed jeg er stillet
     Og som Tjener kun for dem.
     Himlen's rige Lön nedbeder
     Jeg for Lidet og for Stort,
     Mrs. Jackson, Held og Hæder
     Fölge dem til Döden's Port."



Dear People,--We had a fine send-off from Christiania. The landlord of
the Scandinavie sent up to know if we would do him the honor to drive
down to the steamer in his private carriage. Katrina delivered the
message with exultant eyes. "You see," she said, "he likes to show dat
he do not every day get such in de house." We sent word back that we
should consider ourselves most honored; and so when we went
downstairs, there stood a fine landau open, with bouquets lying on the
seats, and a driver in livery; and the landlord himself in the
doorway, and the landlord's wife, who had sent us the bouquets,
Katrina said, peering from behind the curtains. When she saw Katrina
pointing her out, she threw the curtains back and appeared full in
view, smiling and waving her hand; we lifted up our bouquets, and
waved them to her, and smiled our thanks. Katrina sprang up, with my
cloak on her arm, to the coachman's seat. "I tink I go down too," she
exclaimed, "I see you all safe;" and so we drove off, with as much
smiling and bowing and "fare-welling" as if we had been cousins and
aunts of everybody in the Scandinavie. How we did hate to leave our
great corner rooms, with five windows in them, the fifth window being
across the corner, which is not a right-angled corner, but like a huge
bay-window! This utilization of the corner is a very noticeable
feature in the streets of Christiania. In the greater part of the best
houses the corner is cut off in this way; the door into the room being
across the opposite corner (also cut off), thus making a six-sided
room. The improvement in the street-fronts of handsome blocks of
buildings made by this shape instead of the usual rectangular corner
is greater than would be supposed, and the rooms made in this fashion
are delightfully bright, airy, and out of the common.

I did not quite fancy sailing in a steamer named "Balder,"--one gets
superstitious in Norway,--but I think we had flowers enough on board
to have saved us if Loki herself had wished us ill. Nothing in all
Norway is more striking than the Norwegian's love of flowers. It is no
exaggeration to say that one does not see a house without flowers in
the window. In the better houses every window in the front, even up to
the little four-paned window in the gable, has its row of flower-pots;
and even in the very poorest hovels there will be at least one window
flower-filled. This general love and culture of flowers makes it the
most natural thing in the world for the Norwegian, when he travels, to
be carrying along something in the shape of a plant. He is either
taking it home or carrying it as a gift to some one he is going to
visit. I have not yet been on a steamboat where I did not see at least
a dozen potted plants, of one sort or another, being carefully carried
along, as hand luggage, by men or women; and as for bouquets, they are
almost as common as hats and bonnets. Of the potted plants, five out
of seven will be green myrtles, and usually the narrow leaf. There is
a reason for this,--the Norwegian bride, of the better class, wears
always a chaplet of green myrtle, and has her white veil trimmed with
little knots of it from top to bottom. The chaplet is made in front
somewhat after the shape of the high gilded crowns worn by the peasant
brides; but at the back it is simply a narrow wreath confining the
veil. After I knew this, I looked with more interest at the pots of
myrtle I met everywhere, journeying about from place to place; and I
observed, after this, what I had not before noticed, that every house
had at least one pot of myrtle in its windows.

There were a dozen different varieties of carnations in our bouquets.
The first thing I saw as we moved off from the wharf was a shabbily
dressed little girl with a big bouquet entirely of carnations, in
which there must have been many more. In a few minutes a woman, still
shabbier than the little girl, came down into the cabin with a great
wooden box of the sort that Norwegian women carry everything in, from
potatoes up to their church fineries: it is an oval box with a little
peak at each end like a squirrel cage; the top, which has a hole in
the middle, fits down around these peaks so tight that the box is
safely lifted by this handle; and, as I say, everything that a
Norwegian woman wants to carry, she puts into her _tine_ (pronounced,
"teener"). Some of them are painted in gay colors; others are left
plain. Setting down the box, she opened it, and proceeded to sprinkle
with water one of the most beautiful wreaths I have ever seen,--white
lilies, roses, and green myrtle. I think it came from a wedding; but
as she knew no English, and I no Norwegian, I could not find out. Two
nights and a day she was going to carry it, however, and she sprinkled
it several times a day. An hour later, when I went down into the
cabin, there was a row of bouquets filling the table under the
looking-glass; five pots of flowers standing on the floor, and in
several staterooms whose doors were standing open I saw still more of
both bouquets and plants. This is only a common illustration of the
universal custom. It is a beautiful one, and in thorough keeping with
the affectionate simplicity of the Norwegian character.

Christiania looked beautiful as we sailed away. It lies in the hollow,
or rather on the shore rim of the fine amphitheatre of hills which
makes the head of the Christiania Fjord. _Fjord_ is a much more
picturesque word than _bay_; and I suppose when a bay travels up into
the heart of a country scores of miles, slips under several narrow
strips of land one after the other, making lakes between them, it is
entitled to be called something more than plain _bay_; but I wish it
had been a word easier to pronounce. I never could say "fjord," when I
read the word in America; and all that I have gained on the
pronouncing of it by coming to Norway is to become still more
distinctly aware that I always pronounce it wrong. I do not think
Cadmus ever intended that _j_ should be _y_, or that one should be
called on to pronounce _f_ before it.

The Christiania Fjord has nothing of grandeur about it, like the
wilder fjords on the west coast of Norway. It is smiling and gracious,
with beautifully rounded and interlocking hills,--intervals of pine
woods, with green meadows and fields, pretty villages and hamlets,
farm-houses and country-seats, and islands unnumbered, which deceive
the eye continually, seeming to be themselves the shore. We left
Christiania at two o'clock; at that hour the light on a Norway summer
day is like high noon in other parts of the world,--in fact, it's noon
till four o'clock in the afternoon, and then it is afternoon till ten,
and then a good, long, very light twilight to go to bed by at eleven
or twelve, and if you want to get up again at three o'clock in the
morning you can wake without any trouble, for it is broad daylight:
all of which is funny for once or twice, or perhaps for ten times, but
not for very long.

It was not till four or five o'clock that we began to see the full
beauty of the fjord; then the sun had gone far enough over to cast a
shadow,--soften all the forest tops on the west side, and cast shadows
on the east side. The little oases of bright green farm-lands, with
their clusters of houses, seemed to sink deeper and deeper into their
dark pine-tree settings,--the fjord grew wider and wider, and was as
smooth as a lake: now and then we drew up by a little village and half
stopped,--it seemed no more than that,--and somebody would climb on or
off the steamer by little cockles of boats that bobbed alongside.
Sometimes we came to a full stop, and lay several minutes at a wharf,
loading or unloading bags of grain. I think we took on just as many as
we took off,--like a game of bean-bags between the villages. The
sailors carried them off and on their backs, one set standing still in
their places to lift the bags up on their comrades' backs; they lifted
with a will, and then folded their arms and waited till the
bag-carriers came back to be loaded up again. If I could have spoken
Norwegian, I should have asked whether those sets of men took turn and
turn about, or whether one set always lifted up the loads and the
others lugged them,--probably the latter. That's the way it is in
life; but I never saw a more striking example of it than in the
picture these sailors made standing with folded arms doing nothing,
waiting till their fellows came back again to be loaded down like
beasts of burden. It was at "Moss" we saw this,--a pretty name for a
little town with a handful of gay-colored houses, red, yellow, and
white, set in green fields and woods. Women came on board here with
trays of apples and pears to sell,--little wizened pears red high up
on one side, like some old spinsters' cheeks in New England. Children
came too, with cherries tied up in bunches of about ten to a bunch;
they looked dear, but it was only a few hundredths of a quarter of a
dollar that they cost. Since I have found out that a kroner is only
about twenty-seven cents, and that it takes one hundred ore to make a
kroner, all the things that cost only a few ore seem to me so
ridiculously cheap as not to be worth talking about. These children
with the cherries were all barefoot, and they were so shy that they
curled and mauled their little brown toes all the time they were
selling their cherries, just as children one shade less shy twist and
untwist their fingers.

We left Moss by a short cut, not overland exactly, but next door to
it,--through land. The first thing we knew we were sailing through a
bridge right into the town, in a narrow canal,--we could have thrown
an apple into the windows of some of the houses as we glided by; then
in a few moments out we were again into the broad open fjord.

At six o'clock we went down to our first Danish supper. The "Balder"
is a Danish boat, and sailed by a Danish captain, and conducted on
Danish methods; and they pleased us greatly. The ordinary Norwegian
supper is a mongrel meal of nobody knows how many kinds of sausage,
raw ham, raw smoked salmon, sardines, and all varieties of cheese. The
Danish we found much better, having the addition of hot fish, and
cutlets, and the delicious Danish butter. One good result of Denmark's
lying low, she gets splendid pasturage for her cows, and makes a
delicious butter, which brings the highest prices in the English and
other markets.

When we came up from supper we found ourselves in a vast open sea; dim
shores to be seen in the east and west,--in the east pink and gray, in
the west dark with woods. The setting sun was sinking behind them, and
its yellow light etched every tree-top on the clear sky. Here and
there a sail gleamed in the sun, or stood out white in the farther
horizon. A pink halo slowly spread around the whole outer
circumference of the water; and while we were looking at this, all of
a sudden we were not in an open sea at all, but in among islands
again, and slowly coming to a stop between two stretches of lovely
shore,--big solid green fields like America's on one side, and a low
promontory of mossy rocks on the other. A handful of houses, with one
large and conspicuous one in the centre, stood between the green
fields and the shore. A sign was printed on this house in big letters;
and as I was trying to spell it out, a polite Norwegian at my elbow
said, "Shoddy factory! We make shoddy there; we call it so after the
English," bowing flatteringly as if it were a compliment to the
English. _Kradsuld_ is Norwegian for shoddy, and sounds worlds more
respectable, I am sure.

The roof of this shoddy factory had four dormer windows in it, with
their tiled roofs running up full width to the ridge-pole, which gave
the roof the drollest expression of being laid in box-plaits. I wish
somebody would make a series of photographs of roofs in Norway and
Denmark. They are the most picturesque part of the scenery; and as for
their "sky-line," it is the very poetry of etching. I thought I had
seen the perfection of the beauty of irregularity in the sky-line in
Edinburgh; but Edinburgh roofs are monotonous and straight in
comparison with the huddling of corners and angles in Scandinavian
gables and ridges and chimneys and attics. Add to this freaky and
fantastic and shifting shape the beauty of color and of fine
regularity of small curves in the red tile, and you have got as it
were a mid-air world of beauty by itself. As I was studying out the
points where these box-plaited dormer windows set into their roof, the
same polite Norwegian voice said to a friend by his side, "I have read
it over twenty-five ones." He pronounced the word _read_ as for the
present indicative, which made his adverbs of time at the end still
droller. Really one of the great pleasures of foreign travel is the
English one hears spoken; and it is a pleasure for which we no doubt
render a full equivalent in turn when we try speaking in any tongue
except our own. But it is hard to conceive of any intelligible English
French or German being so droll as German or French English can be and
yet be perfectly intelligible. Polite creatures that they all are,
never to smile when we speak their language!

As the sun sank, the rosy horizon-halo gathered itself up and floated
about in pink fleeces; the sky turned pale green, like the sky before
dawn. Latitude plays strange pranks with sunsets and sunrises. Norway,
I think, must be the only place in the world where you could mistake
one for the other; but it is literally true that in Norway it would be
very easy to do so if you happened not to know which end of the day it

When we went down into our staterooms sorrow awaited us. To the eye
the staterooms had been most alluring. One and all, we had exclaimed
that never had we seen so fine staterooms in a Norwegian steamboat.
All the time we were undressing we eyed with complacency the two fine
red sofas, on one of which we were to sleep. Strangely enough, no one
of us observed the shape of the sofa, or thought to try the
consistency of it. Our experiences, therefore, were nearly
simultaneous, and unanimous to a degree, as we discovered afterwards
on comparing notes. The first thing we did on lying down on our bed
was to roll off it. Then we got up and on again, and tried to get
farther back on it. As it was only about the width of a good-sized
pocket-handkerchief, and rounded up in the middle, this proved to be
impossible. Then we got up and tried to pull it out from the wall.
Vain! It was upholstered to the board as immovable as the stack-pipe
of the boat. Then we tried once more to adjust ourselves to it.
Presently we discovered that it was not only narrow and rounding, but
harder than it would have seemed possible that anything in shape of
tufted upholstered velvet could be. We began to ache in spots; the
ache spread: we ached all over; we could neither toss, twist, nor turn
on the summit of this narrow tumulus. Misery set in; indignation and
restlessness followed; seasickness, in addition, seemed for once a
trifle. The most indefatigable member of the party, being also the
most fatigued, succeeded at last in procuring a half-dozen small
square pillows,--one shade less hard than the sofa, she thought when
she first lay down on them, but long before morning she began to
wonder whether they were not even harder. Such a night lingers long in
one's memory; it was a closing chapter to our experience of Norwegian
beds,--a fitting climax, if anything so small could be properly called
a climax. How it has ever come about that the Norwegian notion of a
bed should be so restricted, I am at a loss to imagine. They are
simply child's cribs,--no more; as short as narrow, and in many
instances so narrow that it is impossible to turn over quickly in them
without danger. I have again and again been suddenly waked, finding
myself just going over the edge. The making of them is as queer as the
size. A sort of _bulkhead_ small mattress is slipped in under the
head, lifting it up at an angle admirably suited to an asthmatic
patient who can't breathe lying down, or to a small boy who likes to
coast down-hill in his bed of a morning. The single pillow is placed
on this; the short, narrow sheet flung loosely over it; blanket,
ditto; coverlet, ditto--it may or may not be straight or smooth. The
whole expression of the bed is as if it had been just hastily smoothed
up temporarily till there should be time enough to make it. In perfect
good faith I sent for a chambermaid one night, in the early days of my
Norway journey, and made signs to her that I would like to have my bed
made, when the poor thing had already made it to the very best of her
ability, and entirely in keeping with the customs of her country.

It is very needless to say that we all were up early the next morning;
and there was something ludicrous enough in the tone in which each
inquired eagerly of each, "Did you ever know such beds?" At ten we
were anchored off the little town of Frederikssund; and here the boat
lay five mortal hours, doing nothing but unloading and taking on bags
of bran.

Another big steamer was lying alongside, doing the same thing. This
was our first glimpse of Denmark. Very flat it looked,--just out of
water, and no more,--like Holland. The sailors who were carrying the
bags of bran wore queer pointed hoods on their heads, with long,
tail-like pieces coming down behind, which made them look like
elves,--at least it did for the first hour; after that they no longer
looked queer. If we had gone on shore, we could have seen the Royal
Estate of Iaegerspriis, which has belonged to kings of Denmark ever
since the year 1300, and has a fine park, and a house decorated by
sculptures by Wiedewelt,--a Danish sculptor of the last century,--and
an old sepulchre which dates back to the stone age, and, best of all,
a great old oak, called the King's Oak, which is the largest in
Denmark, and dates back farther than anybody will know till it dies.
A tree is the only living thing which can keep the secret of its own
age, is it not? Nobody can tell within a hundred or two of years
anything about it so long as the tree can hold its head up. The
circumference of this tree is said to be forty-two feet four feet from
the ground,--a pretty respectable tree, considering the size of
Denmark itself. Now we begin to see where the old Vikings got the oak
to build their ships. They carried it up from Denmark, which must have
been in those days a great forest of beech and oak to have kept so
many till now. It is only a few miles from Frederikssund, also, to
Havelse, which is celebrated for its "kitchen middings,"--the
archæological name for kitchen refuse which got buried up hundreds of
years ago. Even potato parings become highly important if you keep
them long enough! They will at least establish the fact that somebody
ate potatoes at that date; and all things hang together so in this
queer world that there is no telling how much any one fact may prove
or disprove. For myself, I don't care so much for what they ate in
those days as for what they wore,--next to what they did in the way of
fighting and making love. I saw the other day, in Christiania, a whole
trayful of things which were taken from a burial mound opened in
Norway last spring. A Viking had been buried there in his ship. The
hull was entire, and I have stood in it; but not even the old
blackened hull, nor the oars, stirred me so much as the ornaments he
and his horses had worn,--the bosses of the shields, and queer little
carved bits of iron and silver which had held the harnesses together;
one exquisitely wrought horse's head, only about two inches long,
which must have been a beautiful ornament wherever it was placed. If
there had been a fish-bone found left from his last dinner or from the
funeral feast which the relations had at his wake, I should not have
cared half so much for it. But tastes differ.

An afternoon more of sailing and another awful night on the red velvet
ridges, and we came to Copenhagen itself, at five of the morning. At
four we had thought it must be near,--long strips of green shore, with
trees and houses,--so flat that it looked narrow, and seemed to unroll
like a ribbon as we sailed by; but when we slipped into the harbor we
saw the difference,--wharves and crowds of masts and warehouses, just
like any other city, and the same tiresome farce of making believe
examine your luggage. I should respect customs and custom-houses more
if they did as they say they will do. As it is, to smuggle seems to me
the easiest thing in the world as well as the most alluring. I have
never smuggled because I have never had the means necessary to do it;
but I _could_ have smuggled thousands of dollars worth of goods, if I
had had them, through every custom-house I have ever seen. A
commissionnaire with a shining beaver hat stood on the shore to meet
us, we having been passed on with "recommendations" from the kindly
people of the Scandinavie in Christiania to the King of Denmark Hotel
people in Copenhagen. Nothing is so comfortable in travelling as to be
waited for by your landlord. The difference between arriving unlooked
for and arriving as an expected customer is about like the difference
between arriving at the house of a friend and arriving at that of an
enemy. The commissionaire had that pathetic air of having seen better
days which is so universal in his class. One would think that the last
vocation in the world which a "decayed" gentleman would choose would
be that of showing other gentlemen their way about cities; it is only
to be explained by the same morbid liking to be tantalized which makes
hungry beggars stand by the hour with their noses against the outside
of the panes of a pastry-cook's window,--which they all do, if they
can! Spite of our flaming "recommendations," which had preceded us
from our last employer, the landlord of the Scandinavie, satisfactory
rooms were not awaiting us. Sara Bernhardt was in town, and every
hotel was crowded with people who had come for a night or two to see
and hear her. It is wonderful how much room a person of her sort can
take up in a city; and if they add, as she does, the aroma of a
distinct and avowed disreputability, they take up twice as much room!
Since her visit to England I wonder she does not add to her open
avowal of disregard of all the laws and moralities which decent people
hold in esteem, "By permission of the Queen," or "To the Royal

But this is not telling you about Copenhagen. It was five o'clock when
we landed, and before seven I had driven with the commissionnaire to
each one of the four first-class hotels in Copenhagen in search of
_sunny_ rooms. None to be had! All four of the hotels were fully
occupied, as I said, by Sara Bernhardt in some shape or other. So we
made the best of the best we could do,--breakfasted, slept, lunched,
and at two o'clock were ready to begin to see Copenhagen. At first we
were disappointed, as in Christiania, by its modern look. It is a
dreadful pity that old cities will burn down and be rebuilt, and that
all cities must have such a monotony of repetitions of blocks of
houses. By the end of another century there won't be an old city left
anywhere in the world. There are acres of blocks of houses in
Copenhagen to-day that might have been built anywhere else, and fit in
anywhere else just as well as here. When you look at them a little
more closely, you see that there are bits of terra-cotta work in
friezes and pilasters and brackets here and there, which would not
have been done anywhere except in the home of Thorwaldsen. If he had
done nothing else for art than to stamp a refined and graceful
expression on all the minor architectural decorations of his native
city, that would have been worth while. There is not an architectural
monstrosity in the city,--not one; and many of the buildings have an
excellent tone of quiet, conventional decoration which is pleasing to
the eye. The brick-work particularly is well done; and simple
variations of design are effectively used. You see often recurring
over doorways and windows terra-cotta reproductions of some of
Thorwaldsen's popular figures; and they are never marred by anything
fantastic or bizarre in cornice or moulding above or around them.
Among the most noticeable of the modern blocks are some built for the
dwellings of poor people. They are in short streets leading to the
Reservoir, and having therefore a good sweep of air through them. They
are but two stories and a half high, pale yellow brick, neatly
finished; and each house has a tiny dooryard filled with flowers.
There are three tenements to a house, each having three rooms. The
expression of these rows of gay little yellow houses with red roofs
and flower-filled dooryards and windows, and each doorway bearing its
two or three signs of trade or artisanry, was enough to do one's heart
good. The rents are low, bringing the tenements within easy reach of
poor people's purses. Yet there is evidently an obligation--a certain
sort of social standard--involved in the neighborhood which will keep
it always from squalor or untidiness. I doubt if anybody would dare to
live in those rows and not have flowers in his front yard and windows.
For myself, I would far rather live in one of these little houses than
in either of the four great palaces which make the Royal Square,
Amalienborg, and look as much like great penitentiaries as like
anything else,--high, bulky, unadorned gray piles, flat and straight
walls, and tiresome, dingy windows, and the pavements up to their
door-sills. They may be splendid the other side the walls,--probably
are; but they are dreary objects to look at as you come home of an
evening. The horse-cars are the most unique thing in the modern parts
of Copenhagen. How two horses can draw them I don't see: but they do;
and if two horses can draw two-story horse-cars, why don't we have
them in America, and save such overcrowding? The horse-cars here not
only have a double row of seats on top as they have in London, but
they have a roof over those seats, which nearly doubles the apparent
height. As they come towards you they look like a great
square-cornered boat, with a long pilot-house on top. Of course they
carry just double the number. Women never ride on the top; but men do
not mind going upstairs outside a horse-car and sitting in mid-air
above the heads of the crowd; and if two horses really are able to
draw so many, it is a gain.

The one splendid sight in Copenhagen is its great dragon spire. This,
one could stand and gaze at by the day. It is made of four dragons
twisted together, heads down, tails up; heads pointing to the four
corners of the earth; tails tapering and twisting, and twisting and
tapering, till they taper out into an iron rod, which mounts still
higher, with three gilded balls, and three wrought gilded circles on
it, and finally ends in a huge gilded open-work weather-cock. This is
on an old brick building now used as the Exchange. It was built early
in 1600 by Christian IV., who seems to me to have done everything best
worth doing that was ever done in Denmark. His monogram (C) is forever
cropping out on all the splendid old things. They are enlarging this
Exchange now; and the new red brick and glaring white marble make a
very unpleasing contrast to the old part of the building, although
every effort has been made to copy the style of it exactly. It is
long, and not high, the wall divided into spaces by carved pilasters
between every two windows. Each pilaster begins as a man or a
woman,--arms cut off at the shoulders, breasts and shoulders looking
from a distance grotesquely like four humps. Where the legs should
begin, the trunk ends in a great gargoyle,--a lion's head, or a man's,
or a bull's,--some grotesque, some beautiful; below this, a
conventional tapering support. In the pointed arch of each of the
lower windows, also a carved head, no two of them alike, many of them
beautiful. It is a grand old building, and one might study it and draw
from it by the week. Passing this and crossing an arm of the
sea,--which, by the way, you are perpetually doing in Copenhagen to go
anywhere, the sea never having fully made up its mind to abandon the
situation,--you come to another quaint old building in the suburbs,
called Christianshaven. This is Vor Frelser's Church (Our Saviour's
Church), built only fifty years later than the Exchange. It is a dark
red brick church, with tiny flat dormer windows let in and painted
green on a shining tile roof; a square belfry; clock face painted red,
black, and blue; above this, a spire, first six-sided and then round,
288 feet high, covered with copper, which is bright green in places,
and wound round and round by a glittering gilded staircase, which goes
to the very top and ends under a huge gilt ball, under which twelve
people can stand. This also is a fine kind of spire to have at hand at
sunset; it flames out like a ladder into the sky.

One more old church has a way up, which is worth telling, though you
can't see it from the outside. This is another of that same Christian
IV.'s buildings,--it was built for an observatory, and used for that
for two hundred years, but then joined to a church. The tower is
round, 115 feet high, 48 feet in diameter, and made of two hollow
cylinders. Between these is the way up, a winding stone road, smooth
and broad; and if you'll believe it, in 1716 that rascal Catherine of
Russia actually drove up to the top of it in a coach and four, Peter
going ahead on horseback. I walked up two of the turns of this stone
roadway, and it made me dizzy to think what a clatter the five
horses' hoofs must have made, with stone above, below, and around
them; and what a place it would have been to have knocked brains out
if the horses had been frightened! In this inside cylinder all the
University treasures were hidden when the English bombarded the city
in 1807, and a very safe place it must have been.

Opposite this church is still another of Christian IV.'s good
works,--a large brick building put up for the accommodation of poor
students at the University. One hundred poor students still have free
lodgings in this building, but part of it looks as if its roof would
fall in before long.

Along the arms of the sea which stretch into or across the city--for
some of them go way through, come out, and join the outer waters
again--are rows of high warehouses for grain, some seven and eight
stories high. These have two-storied dormer windows, and terraced
roofs, and a great beak like a ship's prow projecting from the
ridge-pole of the dormer window. From this the grain is lowered and
hoisted to and from the ships below. The ships lie crowded in these
narrow arms, as in a harbor, and make picturesque lanes of mast-tops
through the city. On many of them are hung great strings of flounders
drying, festooned on cords, from rope to rope, scores of them on a
single sloop. They look better than they smell; you could not spare
them out of the picture.

The last thing we saw this afternoon was the statue of Hans Christian
Andersen, which has just been put up in the great garden of Rosenborg
Castle. This garden is generally called Kongen's Have ("The King's
Garden"). It was planned by the good Christian, but contains now very
little of his original design. Two splendid avenues of horse-chestnut
trees and a couple of old bronze lions are all that is left as he saw
it. It is a great place of resort for the middle classes with their
children. A yearly tax of two kroners (about fifty cents) permits a
family to take its children there every day; and I am sure there must
have been two hundred children in sight as I walked up the dark dense
shaded avenue of linden trees at the upper end of which sits the
beloved Hans Christian, with the sunlight falling on his head. "The
children come here every day," said the commissionnaire; "and that is
the reason they put him here, so they can see him." He looked as if he
also saw them. A more benignant, lifelike, tender look was never
wrought in bronze. He sits, half wrapped in a cloak, his left hand
holding a book carelessly on his knee, the right hand lifted as if in
benediction of the children. The statue is raised a few feet on a
plain pedestal, in a large oval bed of flowers: on one side the
pedestal is carved the "Child and the Stork;" on the other, the group
of ducks, with the "ugly" one in the middle,--pictures that every
little child will understand and love to see; on the front is his name
and a wreath of the bay he so well earned. Written above is,--


and I thought as I stood there that he was more to be envied than
Christian IV. with his splendors of art and architecture, or than the
whole Danish dynasty, with their priceless treasures and their
jewelled orders. And so ended our first day in Copenhagen.

The next morning, Sunday, I drove out to church in the island of
Amager, of which that paradoxical compound of truth and falsehood,
Murray, says: "It offers absolutely nothing of interest." I always
find it very safe to go to places of which that is said. Amager is
Copenhagen's vegetable garden. It is an island four miles square, and
absolutely flat,--as flat as a piece of pasteboard; in fact, while I
was driving on it, it seemed to me to bear the same relation to
flatness that the Irishman's gun did to recoiling,--"If it recoiled at
all, it recoiled forrards,"--so it was a very safe gun. If Amager is
anything more or less than flat, it is bent inwards; for actually when
I looked off to the water it seemed to be higher than the land, and
the ships looked as if they might any minute come sailing down among
the cabbages. Early in the sixteenth century it was filled up by Dutch
people; and there they are to this day, wearing the same clothes and
raising cabbages just as they did three hundred years ago. To reach
Amager from Copenhagen, you cross several arms of the sea and go
through one or two suburbs called by different names; but you would
never know that you were not driving in Copenhagen all the time until
you come out into the greenery of Amager itself. It was good luck to
go of a Sunday. All the Dutch dames were out and about in their best,
driving in carts and walking, or sitting in their doorways. The women
were "sights to behold." The poorer ones wore shirred sunbonnets on
their heads, made of calico, coming out like an old poke-bonnet in
front, and with full capes which set out at a fly-away angle behind.
They seemed to have got the conception of the cape from the arms of
their own windmills (of which, by the way, there are several on the
island; and their revolving arms add to the island's expression of
being insecurely at sea!). Next below the sunbonnet came a gay
handkerchief crossed on the breast, over a black gown with tight
sleeves; a full bright blue apron, reaching half-way round the waist
and coming down to within two inches of the bottom of the overskirt,
completed their rig. It was droller than it sounds. Some of them wore
three-cornered handkerchiefs pinned outside their poke-bonnets, pinned
under their chins, and the point falling over the neck behind. These
were sometimes plain colors, sometimes white, embroidered or trimmed
with lace. The men looked exactly like any countrymen in England or
Scotland or America. If we haven't an international anything else, we
have very nearly an international costume for the masculine human
creature; and it is as ugly and unpicturesque a thing as malignity
itself could devise. The better class of women wore a plain black
bonnet, made in the same poke shape as the sunbonnets, but without any
cape at all on the back, only a little full crown tucked in, and the
fronts coming round very narrow in the back of the neck, and tied
there with narrow black ribbons. Don't fancy these were the only
strings that held the roof in its place,--not at all. Two very broad
strings, of bright blue, or red, or purple, as it might be, came from
somewhere high up inside the front, and tied under the chin in a huge
bow, so that their faces looked as if they had first been tied up in
broad ribbon for the toothache, and then the huge bonnet put on
outside of all. Strangely enough, the effect on the faces was not
ugly. Old faces were sheltered and softened, double chins and scraggy
necks were hid, and younger faces peered out prettily from under the
scoop and among the folds of ribbon; and the absolute plainness of the
bonnet itself, having no trimming save a straight band across the
middle, gave the charm of simplicity to the outline, and vindicated
the worth of that most emphatically when set side by side in the
church pews with the modern bonnets,--all bunches and bows, and angles
and tilts of feathers and flowers and rubbish generally.

The houses were all comfortable, and some of them very pretty. Low,
long, chiefly of a light yellow straw, latticed off by dark lines of
wood-work, some of them entirely matted with ivy, like cottages in the
English lake district, all of them with either red-tiled or thatched
roofs, and the greater part surrounded by hedges. The thatched roofs
were delightful. The thatch is held on and fastened down at the
ridge-pole by long bits of crooked wood, one on each side, the two
crossing and lapping at the ridge-pole and held together there by
pins. The effect of a long, low roof set thick with these cross-pieces
at the top is almost as if dozens of slender fishes were set there
with forked tails up in the air; and when half a dozen sparrows are
flitting and alighting on these projecting points of board, the effect
is of a still odder trimming. Some of the red-tiled roofs have a set
pattern in white painted along the ridge-pole, corners, and eaves.
These are very gay; and some of the thatched roofs are grown thick
with a dark olive-green moss, which in a cross sunlight is as fine a
color as was ever wrought into an old tapestry, and looks more like
ancient velvet.

The church in Amager is new, brick, and ugly of exterior. But the
inside is good; the wood-work, choir, pulpit, sounding-board,
railings, pews, all carved in a simple conventional pattern, and
painted dark-olive brown, relieved by claret and green,--in a
combination borrowed no doubt from some old wood-work centuries back.
In the centre a candelabra, hanging by a red cord, marked off by six
gilded balls at intervals; the candelabra itself being simply a great
gilded ball, with the simplest possible candle-holders projecting from
it. Two high candle-holders inside the railing had each three brass
candlesticks in the shape of a bird, with his long tail curled under
his feet to stand on,--a fantastic design, but singularly graceful,
considering its absurdity. The minister wore a long black gown and
high, full ruff, exactly like those we see in the pictures of the
divines of the Reformation times. He had a fine and serious face, of
oval contour; therefore the ruff suited him. On short necks and below
round faces it is simply grotesque, and no more dignified than a
turkey-cock's ruffled feathers. He preached with great fervor and
warmth of manner; but as I could not understand a word he said, I
should have found the sermon long if I had not been very busy in
studying the bonnets and faces, and choir of little girls in the
gallery. More than half the congregation were in the ordinary modern
dress, and would have passed unnoticed anywhere. All the men looked
like well-to-do New England farmers, coloring and all; for the
blue-eyed, fair-haired type prevails. But the women who had had the
sense and sensibility to stick to their own national clothes were as
pretty as pictures, as their faces showed above the dark olive-brown
pews, framed in their front porches of bonnets,--for that is really
what they are like, the faces are so far back in them. Some were lined
with bright lavender satin, full-puffed; some with purple; some with
blue. The strings never matched the lining, but were of a violent
contrast,--light blue in the purple, gay plaid in the lavender, and so
on. The aprons were all of the same shade of vivid blue,--as blue as
the sky, and darker. They were all shirred down about two inches below
the waist; some of them trimmed down the sides at the back with lace
or velvet, but none of them on the bottom. One old woman who sat in
front of me wore a conical and pointed cap of black velvet and plush,
held on her head by broad gray silk strings, tied with a big bow under
her chin, covering her ears and cheeks. The cap was shaped like a
funnel carried out to a point, which projected far behind her, stiff
and rigid; yet it was not an ungraceful thing on the head. These, I am
told, are rarely seen now.

When the sermon was done, the minister disappeared for a moment, and
came back in gorgeous claret velvet and white robes, with a great gilt
cross on his back. The candles on the altar were lighted, and the
sacrament was administered to a dozen or more kneeling outside the
railing. This part of the ceremony seemed to me not very Lutheran; but
I suppose that is precisely the thing it was,--Luther-an,--one of the
relics he kept when he threw overboard the rest of the superstitions.
Before this ceremony the sexton came and unlocked the pew we
occupied, and I discovered for the first time that I and the
commissionnaire had been all that time locked in. After church the
sexton told us that there would be a baptismal service there in an
hour,--eleven babies to be baptized. That was something not to be
lost; so I drove away for half an hour, went to a farm-house and
begged milk, and then, after I had got my inch, asked for my habitual
ell,--that is, to see the house. The woman was, like all housekeepers,
full of apologies, but showed me her five rooms with good-will,--five
in a row, all opening together, the kitchen in the middle, and the
front door in the back yard by the hen-coop and water-barrel! The
kitchen was like the Norwegian farm-house kitchens,--a bare shed-like
place, with a table, and wall-shelves, and a great stone platform with
a funnel roof overhead; sunken hollows to make the fire in; no oven,
no lids, no arrangement for doing anything except boiling or frying. A
huge kettle of boiling porridge was standing over a few blazing
sticks. _Havremels grod_--which is Norwegian, and Danish also, for
oatmeal pudding--is half their living. All the bread they have they
buy at the baker's.

The other rooms were clean. Every one had in it a two-storied bed
curtained with calico, neat corner cupboards, and bureaus. There were
prints on the wall, and a splendid brass coffee-pot and urn under pink
mosquito netting. But the woman herself had no stockings on her feet,
and her wooden shoes stood just outside the door.

When we reached the church again, the babies were all there. A wail as
of bleating lambs reached us at the very door. A strange custom in
Denmark explained this bleating: the poor babies were in the hands of
godmothers, and not their own mothers. The mothers do not go with
their babies to the christening; the fathers, godfathers, and
godmothers go,--two godmothers and one godfather to each baby. The
women and the babies sat together, and rocked and trotted and shook
and dandled and screamed, in a perfect Babel of motion and sound.
Seven out of those eleven babies were crying at the top of their
lungs. The twenty-two godmothers looked as if they would go crazy.
Never, no, never, did I see or hear such a scene! The twenty-two
fathers and godfathers sat together on the other side of the aisle,
stolid and unconcerned. I tried to read in their faces which men owned
the babies, but I could not. They all looked alike indifferent to the
racket. Presently the sexton marshalled the women with their babies in
a row outside the outer railing. He had in his hand a paper with the
list of the poor little things' names on it, which he took round, and
called the roll, apparently so as to make sure all was right. Then the
minister came in, and went the round, saying something over each baby
and making the sign of the cross on its head and breast. I thought he
was through when he had once been round doing this; but no,--he had to
begin back again at the first baby and sprinkle them. Oh, how the poor
little things did scream! I think all eleven were crying by this time,
and I couldn't stand it; so at the third baby I signed to my
commissionnaire that we would go, and we slipped out as quietly as we
could. "Will there be much more of the service?" I asked him. "Oh,
yes," he said. "He will preach now to the fathers and to the
godfathers and godmothers." I doubt if the godmothers knew one word he
said. The babies all wore little round woollen hoods, most of them
bright blue, with three white buttons in a row on the back. Their
dresses were white, but short; and each baby had a long white apron on
to make a show with in front. This was as long as a handsome infant's
robe would be made anywhere; but it was undisguisedly an apron, open
all the way behind, and in the case of these poor little screaming
creatures flying in all directions at every kick and writhing
struggle. I was glad enough to escape the church; but twenty-two women
must have come out gladder still a little later. On the way home I
passed a windmill which I could have stayed a day to paint if I had
been an artist. It was six-sided; the sails were on red beams; a red
balcony all round it, with red beams sloping down as supports, resting
on the lower story; the first story was on piles, and the spaces
between filled up solid with sticks of wood,--the place where they
kept their winter fuel. Next to this came a narrow belt painted light
yellow; then a black belt, with windows in it rimmed with white; then
the red balcony; then a drab or gray space,--this made of plain
boards; then the rest to the top shingled like a roof; in this part
one window, with red rims in each side. A long, low warehouse of
light yellow stuccoed walls, lined off with dark brown, joined the
mill by a covered way; and the mill-owner's house was close on the
other side, also with light yellow stuccoed walls and a red-tiled
roof, and hedges and vines and an orchard in front. Paint this,
somebody; do!

This is the tale of the first two days in Copenhagen. In my next I
will tell you about the museums if I come out of them alive; it sounds
as if nobody could. One ought to be here at least two weeks to really
study the superb collections of one sort and another.

I will close this first section of my notions of Denmark with a brief
tribute to the Danish flea. I considered myself proof against fleas. I
had wintered them in Rome, had lived familiarly with them in Norway,
and my contempt for them was in direct proportion to my familiarity. I
defied them by day, and ignored them by night. But the Danish flea is
as David to Saul! He is a cross between a bedbug and a wasp. He is the
original of the famous idea of the Dragon, symbolized in all the
worships of the world. I bow before him in terror, and trust most
devoutly he never leaves the shores of Denmark.

Good-by. Bless you all!


Dear People,--I promised to tell you about the museums in Copenhagen.
It was a very rash promise: and there was a rash promise which I made
to myself back of that,--that is, to _see_ the Copenhagen museums. I
had looked forward to them as the chief interest of our visit; they
are said to be among the finest in the world, in some respects
unequalled. One would suppose that the Dane's first desire and impulse
would be to make it easy for strangers to see these unrivalled
collections, the pride of his capital; on the contrary, he has done,
it would seem, all that lay in his power to make it quite out of the
power of travellers to do anything like justice to them. To really
see the three great museums of Copenhagen--the Ethnographic, the
Museum of Northern Antiquities, and the Rosenborg Castle
collection--one would need to stay in Copenhagen at least two weeks,
and even then he would have had but fourteen hours for each museum.

The Ethnographic is open only on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and
Sunday, and open only two hours at a time,--on Sunday, from twelve to
two; on the week days, from ten to twelve. There are in this museum
over thirty large rooms, and nearly six hundred cases of labelled and
numbered objects. All the rooms are of great interest; one could
easily spend the whole two hours of the allotted time in any one of
them. To attempt even to walk through the whole museum in the two
hours is undertaking too much.

The Museum of Northern Antiquities is open on Thursdays, Saturdays,
and Sundays, from twelve to two; on Tuesdays, from five to seven. On
Sundays, you see, it is at the same hour as the Ethnographic! In this
museum are eighteen large rooms filled with objects of the greatest
interest, from the old "dust heaps" of the lake dwellers down to Tycho
Brahe's watch.

The Rosenborg Castle Collection is probably, to travellers in general,
the most interesting of all the collections. It is called a
"Chronological Collection of the Kings of Denmark,"--which, being
interpreted, means that it is a collection of dresses, weapons,
ornaments, etc., the greater proportion of which have belonged to
Danish kings, from the old days of Christian IV. (1448) down to the
present time. These are most admirably arranged in chronological
order, so that you see in each room or division a graphic picture of
the royal life and luxury of that period. The whole of the great
Rosenborg Castle, three floors, is devoted to this collection. How
many rooms there are, I do not know,--certainly twenty; and there is
not one of them in which I would not like to spend a half-day. Now,
how do you think the Danish Government (for this is a national
property) arranges for the exhibition of this collection? You may see
it, on any day, by applying for a ticket the day beforehand; the hour
at which you can be admitted will be marked on your ticket; you will
arrive, with perhaps twelve others (that being the outside number for
whom tickets are issued for any one hour); you will be walked through
that whole museum in _one hour_, by one of the Government Inspectors
of the museum; he will give you a rapid enumeration of the chief
objects of interest as you pass; and you will have no clearer idea of
any one thing than if you had been _fired_ through the rooms out of a

Have I spoken unjustly when I say that the Dane appears to have done
all in his power to shut up from the general public of travellers
these choicest collections of his country?

Now I will tell you all I know of the Rosenborg Collection, and how it
happens that I know anything; and my history begins like so many of
the old Danish histories, with a fight.

In the outset I paid for a full ticket, as there happened to be no one
else who had applied to go in that afternoon. Later, two Englishmen
wishing to see the museum, their commissionnaire came to know if I
would not like to have them go at the same time, which would reduce
the price of the tickets by two thirds. This I declined to do,
preferring to have the entire time of the Museum Inspector for my own
benefit in way of explanations, etc. With the guide all to myself, I
thought I should be able far better to understand and study the

Equipped with my note-book and pen and catalogue, and with the
faithful Harriet by my side, I entered, cheerful, confident, and full
of enthusiasm, especially about any and all relics of the famous old
Christian IV., whose impress on his city and country is so noticeable
to this day.

The first scene of my drama opens with the arrival of the Inspector
whose duty it was on that occasion to exhibit the museum. There are
three of these Inspectors, who take turns in the exhibition. He was a
singularly handsome man,--a keen blue eye; hair about white, whiter
than it should have been by age, for he could not have been more than
fifty or fifty-five; a finely cut face, with great mobility, almost a
passionateness of vivacity in its expression; a tall and graceful
figure: his whole look and bearing gave me a great and sudden pleasure
as he approached. And when he began to speak in English, my delight
was kindled anew; I warmed at once in anticipation of my afternoon.
Mistaken dream!

I said to him, "I am very sorry, indeed, that we have so short a time
in which to see these beautiful and interesting collections. Two hours
is nothing."

"Oh, I shall explain to you everything," he said hastily, and
proceeded to throw open the doors of mysterious wall-closets in the
room which was called the Presence Chamber of Christian IV.

The walls of this room are of solid oak, divided off into panels by
beautiful carved pillars, with paintings between. The ceiling is like
the walls, and the floor is of marble. In the south wall are four
closets filled with more rare and exquisite things than I could
describe in a hundred pages; all these in one side of the first room!
The first thing which my noble Dane pointed out was the famous old
Oldenborg horn, of which I had before read, and wished much to
see,--an old drinking-horn of silver, solid chased, from brim to tip.
The legend is that it was given to Count Otto of Oldenborg by a
mountain nymph in a forest one day in the year 909.

As he pointed out this horn, I opened my catalogue to find the place
where it was mentioned there, that I might make on the margin some
notes of points which I wished to recollect. I think I might have been
looking for this perhaps half of a minute, possibly one whole minute,
when thundering from the mouth of my splendid Dane came, "Do you
prefer that you read it in the catalogue than that I tell you?"

I am not sure, but my impression is that I actually jumped at his
tone. I know I was frightened enough to do so. I then explained to him
that I was not looking for it in the catalogue to read then and there,
only to associate what I saw with its place and with the illustrations
in the catalogue, and to make notes for future use. He hardly heard a
word I said. Putting out his hand and waving my poor catalogue away,
he said, "It is all there. You shall find everything there, as I tell
you; will you listen?"

Quite cowed, I tried to listen; but I found that unless I carried out
my plan of following his explanations by the list in the catalogue,
and made little marginal notes, I should remember nothing; moreover,
that it was impossible to look at half the things, as he rapidly
enumerated them. I opened my catalogue again, and began to note some
of the more interesting things. The very sight of the catalogue open
in my hands seemed to act upon him like a scarlet flag on a bull.
Instantly he burst out upon me again; and when I attempted to explain,
he interrupted me,--did not give me time to finish one sentence,--did
not apparently comprehend what I meant, or what it was that I wished
to do, except that it reflected in some way on him as a guide and
explainer. In vain I tried to stem the tide of his angry words; and
the angrier he got, the less intelligible became his English.

"Perhaps you take me for a servant in this museum," he said. "Perhaps
my name is as good in my country as yours is in your own!"

"Oh, do--do listen to me one minute," I said. "If you will only hear
me, I think I can make you understand. I do implore you not to be so

"I am not angry. I have listen to you every time,--too many time. I
have not time to listen any more!"

This he said so angrily that I felt the tears coming into my eyes. I
was in despair. I turned to Harriet and said, "Very well, Harriet, we
will go."

"You shall not go!" he exclaimed. "Twenty years I have shown this
museum, and never yet was any one before dissatisfied with what I tell
them. I have myself written this catalogue you carry," he cried,
tapping my poor book with his fingers. "Now I will nothing say, and
you can ask if you wish I should explain anything." And thereupon he
folded his arms, and stepped back, the very picture of a splendid man
in a sulk. Could anything be imagined droller, more unnecessary? I
hesitated what to do. If I had not had a very strong desire to see the
museum, I would have gone away, for he had really been almost
unpardonably rude; yet I sympathized fully in his hot and hasty
temper. I saw clearly wherein his mistake lay, and that on his theory
of the situation he was right and I was wrong; and I thought perhaps
if he watched me for a few minutes quietly he would see that I was
very much in earnest in studying the collection, and that nothing had
been further from my mind than any distrust of his knowledge. So I
gulped down my wounded feelings, and went on looking silently at the
cases and making my notes. Presently he began to cool down, to see his
mistake, and before we had gone through the second room was telling me
courteously about everything, waiting while I made my notes, and
pointing out objects of especial interest. In less than half an hour
he had ceased to be hostile, and before the end of the hour he had
become friendly, and more,--seized both my hands in his, exclaiming,
"We shall be good friends,--good!" He was as vivacious, imperious, and
overwhelming in his friendliness as in his anger. "You must come again
to Rosenborg; you must see it all. I will myself show you every room.
No matter who sends to come in, they shall not be admitted. I go alone
with you."

In vain I explained to him that I had only one more day in Copenhagen,
and that I must spend that in going to Elsinore.

"No, you are not to go to Elsinore. It is not necessary. You shall not
leave Copenhagen without seeing Rosenborg. Promise me that you will
come again to Rosenborg. Promise! Take any hour you please, and I will
come. You shall have four--five hours. Promise! Promise!" And he
seized my hand in both of his, and held it, repeating, "Promise me!
Promise! Oh, we shall be very good friends,--very good."

"Ah," I said, "I knew, if you only understood, you would be friendly;
but I really cannot come again."

He pulled out his watch, made a gesture of despair. "I have to leave
town in one little half-hour; and there are yet seventeen rooms you
have not seen. You shall not leave Copenhagen till you have seen. Do
you promise?"

I believe if I had not promised I should be still standing in the
halls of the Rosenborg. When I finally said, "Yes, I promise," he
wrung my hand again, and said,--

"Now we are good friends, we shall be all good friends. I will show to
you all Rosenborg. Do you promise?"

"Yes," I said, "I promise," and drove away, leaving him standing on
the sidewalk, his steel blue eyes flashing with determination and
fire, and a smile on his face which I shall not forget. Never before
did I see such passionate, fierce fulness of life in a man whose hair
was white.

I promised, but I did not go. From the Rosenborg I drove to the Museum
of Northern Antiquities,--from five to seven of that day being my only
chance of seeing it at all. By the time I had spent two hours in the
hurried attempt to see the most interesting things in this second
collection, my brain was in a state of chaos, and I went back to my
hotel with a sense of loathing of museums, only to be compared to the
feeling one would have about dinners if he had eaten ten hearty ones
in one day. One does not sleep off such an indigestion in one night.
The next morning, nothing save actual terror could have driven me into
a museum; and as my noble Dane was not present to cow me into
obedience, I had energy enough to write him a note of farewell and
regret. The regret was indeed heartfelt, not so much for the museum as
for him. I would have liked to see those blue eyes flash out from
under the gray eyebrows once more. I too felt that we would be "good

Now I will try to tell you a little of the little I remember of the
Rosenborg. I only got as far as Frederick IV.'s time, 1730. Many of
the most beautiful things in the museum I did not see, and of many
that I did see I recollect nothing, especially of all which I looked
at while I was in disgrace with the guide; I might as well not have
seen them at all.

One little unpretending thing interested me greatly: it was a plain
gold ring, with a small uncut sapphire in it; round the circle is
engraved, "Ave Maria gr. [gratiosissima]." It was given by King
Christian to his wife, Elizabeth, on their wedding-day, Aug. 12,
1515,--three hundred years and two weeks before the day I saw it. It
lay near the great Oldenborg drinking-horn, and few people would care
much for it by the side of the other, I suppose. Then there was
another bridal ornament of a dead queen,--it had belonged to Dorothea,
wife of Christian III.,--a gold plate, four or five inches square,
with an eagle in the centre, bearing an escutcheon with the date 1557:
on the eagle's breast a large uncut sapphire; over the eagle, an
emerald and a sapphire; and under it, a sapphire and an amethyst, all
very large. There are also pearls set here and there in the plate.
This was given to the city of Copenhagen by the queen, to be worn by
the daughters of the richest and most honored of the Danish people on
their wedding-day. It was for many generations kept and used in this
way, but finally the custom fell into disuse; and now the Copenhagen
brides think no more of Queen Dorothea at their weddings, than of any
other old gone-by queen,--which is a pity, it seems to me, for it
surely was a lovely thought of hers to ally her memory to the bridals
of young maidens in her land for all time.

There was in this room, also, Frederick II.'s Order of the Elephant,
the oldest in existence, and held in great veneration by people who
esteem ornaments of that sort. It is much less beautiful than some
other orders of less distinction. The elephant is a clumsy beast,
carve him never so finely, enamel him all you will, and call him what
you like.

There is also here the Order of the Garter, of that same
king--twenty-six enamelled red roses on blue shields held together by
twists of gold cord; diamonds and pearls make it splendid, and that
bit of gospel truth "Evil to him that evil thinks," is written on it
in rubies, as it deserves to be written everywhere.

This Frederick must have been a gay fellow; for here stands a glass
goblet, five inches in diameter, and fifteen high, out of which he and
his set of boon companions fell to drinking one day on wagers to see
who could drink the most, and scratched their names on the glass as
they drank, each man his mark and record, little thinking that the
glass would outlive them three centuries and more, as it has; and is
likely now, unless Rosenborg burns down, to last the world out.

The thing I would rather own, of all this Frederick's possessions,
would be one--I would be quite content with one--of the plates which
Germany sent to him as a present. They are red in the middle, with
gold escutcheons enamelled on them; the borders are of plain clear
amber, rimmed with silver,--one big circle of amber! The piece from
which it was cut was big enough to have made the whole plate, if they
had chosen, but it was more beautiful to set it simply as a rim.
Nothing could be dreamed of more beautiful in the way of a plate than

I told you in my last letter what a stamp Christian IV. had left on
the capital of his kingdom. I fancy, without knowing anything about
it, that he must have been one of the greatest kings Denmark ever had;
at any rate, he built well, planned well for poor people, worked with
a free hand for art and science, fought like a tiger, and loved--well,
he loved like a king, I suppose; for he had concubines from every
country in Europe, and no end of illegitimate princes and princesses
whom he brought up, maintained, and educated in the most royal
fashion. He lived many years in this Rosenborg; and when he found he
must die, was brought back here, and died in a little room we should
think small to-day for a man to lie mortally ill in; but he lived only
one week after he was brought back, and it was in winter-time, so the
open fireplace ventilated the room.

The upper half of the walls is covered with dark green moire silk,
with gold flowers on it; the lower half is covered with paintings,
many portraits among them; and in places of honor among the portraits,
the king's favorite dogs, Wild-brat and Tyrk.

Here are his silver compasses and his ship hand-lantern; the silver
scales in which he weighed out his gold and silver; a little hand
printing-press, dusty and worn, with the brass stamp with his monogram
on it,--his occupation in rainy days of leisure. Here, also, are the
tokens of his idle moments,--a silver goblet made out of money won by
him from four courtiers, who had all betted with him, on one 6th of
February, which would be first drunk before Easter. These were the
things that I cared most for,--more than for the splendors, of which
there were closets full, glass cases full, tables full: goblets of
lapis lazuli, jasper, agate, and crystal, gold and silver; lamps of
crystal; cabinets of ebony; orders and rings and bracelets and seals
and note-books and clocks and weapons, all of the costliest and most
beautiful workmanship; rubies and diamonds and pearls, set and sewed
wherever they could be; a medicine spoon, with gold for its handle and
a hollowed sapphire for its bowl, for instance,--the sapphire nearly
one inch across. One might swallow even allopathic medicine out of
such a spoon as that: and I dare say that it was when she was very
ill, and had a lot of nasty doses to take, that Madame Kirstin--one of
the left-handed wives--got from the sympathizing king this dainty
little gift. "C" and "K" are wrought into a monogram on the handle,
which is three inches long, of embossed gold. Another sapphire, clear
as a drop of ocean water with sunlight piercing it, and one inch
square, is in the same case with the medicine spoon. A chalice, with
wafer-box, paten, and cup, all of the finest gold, engraved,
enamelled, and set thick with precious stones, has a gold death's-head
and cross-bones on the stem of the chalice; and the eyes of the
death's-head are two great rose diamonds, which gleam out frightfully.
Another gold chalice has on its under side a twisted network of
Arabesque, with sixty-six enamelled rosettes, all openwork on it.

In the room called Christian's workroom is a set of caparisons for a
horse,--saddle, saddle-cloth, housing, and holsters, all of black
velvet, sewn thick, even solid, with pearls and gold, rubies,
sapphires, and rose diamonds. The sight of them flashing in sunlight
on a horse's back must have been dazzling. These were a wedding
present from King Christian to his son.

In this room also are several suits of Christian's clothes,--jerkin,
trousers, and mantle, in the fashion of that day, dashing enough, even
when made of common stuffs; but these are of cloth of gold, silver
moire, black Brabant lace, trimmed in the most lavish way with gold
and silver laces, and embroidered with pearls and gold. There is a
suit of dirty and blood-stained linen hanging in one of the locked
cabinets which does him more credit than these. It is the suit he wore
at the great naval battle where he lost his eye. A shell exploding on
the deck, a fragment of it flew into his face and instantly destroyed
his right eye. His men thought all was lost; but he, seizing his
handkerchief, clapped it into the bleeding socket, and fought on. One
reads of such heroic deeds as this with only a vague thrill of wonder
and admiration; but to see and touch the very garments the hero wore
is another thing. This old blood-stained velvet jerkin is worth more
to the Danish people than all the scores of bejewelled robes in the
Rosenborg; and I think there are literally scores of them.

Next to Christian IV. came Frederick III.; and in his reign the rococo
style ruled everything. Three rooms in the Rosenborg are devoted to
the relics of this king's reign; and a great deal of hideous
magnificence they hold, it must be confessed,--cabinets and tables
and candlesticks and ceilings and walls, which are as jarring to the
eye as the Chinese gong is to the ear, and appear to be just about as
civilized. But the rococo had not yet spoiled everything. The jewelled
cups and boxes and spoons and miniatures are as beautiful as ever; a
set of glass spoons with handles of gold and of agate and of crystal;
the gold knives and forks that Frederick III. and his queen used to
travel with. In those days when you were asked to tea you carried your
own implements; ivory cups, gold goblets, and goblets of crystal, a
goblet made out of one solid topaz, and a great tankard made of
amber,--these are a few of the little necessaries of every-day life to
Frederick's court. His motto was "Dominus providebit;" it is on half
of his splendid possessions,--on his mosaic tables and his jewelled
canes and pomade boxes; everywhere it looms up, in unwitting but
delicious satire on the habit Frederick had of providing for himself,
and most lavishly too, all sorts of superfluities, which the Lord
never would think of providing for any human being!--such, for
instance, as a jewel box of silver, with fifteen splendidly cut
crystals let into the sides, so that one can look through into the box
and see on the bottom a fine bit of embossed work, the picture of the
Judgment of Paris. Around these crystals sixty-two large garnets are
set, and these again are surrounded by wreaths of flowers and leaves
in embossed work, set thick with more diamonds than could be counted.
A very pretty thing in its way, to stand on a dressing-table and hold
the kind of rings worn at this time by the kind of persons who reigned
in Denmark! Another pretty little thing he had,--not so useful as the
jewel-box, but in far more perfect taste,--was a crystal goblet, in
shape of a shell, resting on the back of a bending Cupid. Eight
beautiful heads are cut on the sides of this cup, and there is
standing on its curling base a winged boy. Its translucent shades and
shadows are beautiful beyond words. It is said to be the most
beautiful specimen in the world of work in pure crystal. The topaz
goblet and the amber tankard, however, would outrival it in most eyes.
I longed to see the topaz cup held up to the sun, filled with pale
wine. I believe you could _hear_ it shine! The third of the rooms
devoted to Frederick and his reign is called the Marble Chamber, and
is a superb icy place; floor and walls all marble. In cabinets in this
room are some of Frederick's clothes,--every-day clothes, such as dark
brown cloth, ornamented down every seam with gold and silver lace; and
a dress of his queen's, the only dress of a woman which has come down
from that age. It is one solid mass of embroidery in gold and gay
colors on silk, stiff as old tapestry; loops of faded pink ribbon down
the front, and a long jabot of old point lace all the way down the
front. There are also a sword and sword-belt, and a gun bearing the
initials of this lady. The gun has a medallion of ivory let in at the
butt end, with her initials, "S. A.," and her motto, "In God is my
hope." There is something uncommonly droll in these mottoes of faith
in God's providing, inscribed on so many articles of luxury by people
who must have certainly spent a good part of their time in providing
for themselves.

In the last part of the seventeenth century things in Denmark were
more and more stamped by the French influence. Christian V., who
succeeded to Frederick III., had spent some time in the court of Louis
XIV., and wanted to make his own court as much like it as possible. So
we find, in the rooms devoted to Christian V.'s reign, tapestries and
cabinets which might all have come from France. One of the saloons is
hung with superb tapestry, all with a red ground; and the tables and
mirrors and chairs are all gilded and carved in the last degree of
fantastic decoration. This red room used to be Christian's
dining-room; and the plate-warmers still stand before the
fireplace,--two feet high, round, solid silver, every inch engraved.

Caskets of amber, of ivory; drinking-horns,--one-third horn and
two-thirds embossed silver,--bowls and globes of wrought silver,
hunting-cups of solid silver made to fit into deer's antlers and with
coral knobs for handles; closets full of fowling-pieces, pistols,
silver-sheathed hunting-knives, falcon hoods set with real pearls and
embroidered in gold,--orders of all sorts known to Denmark; elephants
and St. Georges in silver and crystal and cameo; gold jugs, gold
beakers, bowls of green jade, with twisted snakes for handles and
dragons' heads at bottom; goblets of solid crystal, of countless
shapes and sizes,--one in shape of a flying-fish borne by two
dolphins; onyx and jasper and agate and porcelain, made into no end of
shapes and uses;--these are a few of the things which "God provided"
for this Danish king and queen. One of these rooms is hung with
tapestries of lilac silk and gold moire, embroidered with gold and
silver threads and colors. These were provided by Frederick himself,
who brought them from Italy.

But you don't care a fig who brought the things, or when they were
brought; and perhaps you don't care very much about the things anyhow.
I dare say they do not sound half as superb as they were; but I must
tell you of a few more. What do you think of a room with walls,
ceiling, and a large space in the centre of the floor all of plate
glass, the rest of the floor being of exquisite mosaic in wood; and of
a coat of crimson velvet embroidered thick with silver thread, to be
worn with a pale blue waistcoat, also embroidered stiff with silver
thread; and of cups cut out of rubies; and a great bowl of obsidian
set with rubies and garnets; and of topazes big enough to cut heads on
in fine relief? There are hundreds and hundreds more of things I have
not mentioned, and hundreds of things I did not see even, in the rooms
I walked through; and there were seventeen rooms more into which I did
not even go. If I had, I should have seen twelve superb tapestries, 12
feet in height, by 10 to 20 feet broad, each giving a picture of a
battle, and all strictly historical; the Royal Font, of solid embossed
silver, inside which is placed at every christening another dish of
gold; one whole room full of the costliest and rarest porcelain from
all parts of the world,--here is the splendid and famous "Flora
Danica" service. I saw at a porcelain shop a reproduction of this
service, every article bearing some Danish flower most exquisitely
painted. A great platter heaped full of wild roses was as lovely as a
day in June. Here also are the Danish Regalia, kept in a room hung
with Oriental carpets, and with a floor of black and white marble. "In
the middle of the floor a pyramid arises behind clear thick plate
glass, from the flat sides of which, covered with red velvet, the rays
of gold and precious stones flash upon us, whilst the summit is
adorned by a magnificent and costly crown." This sentence is from the
catalogue written by my friend the noble Dane, and is a very
favorable specimen of his English. Bless him, how I do wish I had gone
back to that museum! At this distance of time it seems incomprehensible
to me that I did not. But that day I felt as if one more look at the
simple door of a museum would make a maniac of me. So this is all I
can tell you about the famous Rosenborg. And with the others I will
not bore you much, for I have made this so long; only I must tell you
that in the Ethnographic, which is in some respects, I suppose, the
most valuable of them all, having five rooms full of _Prehistoric_
antiquities from the stone, bronze, and early iron ages in every part
of the world, and twenty or thirty rooms more full of characteristic
things,--dresses, implements, ornaments, weapons, of the uncultivated
savage or semi-savage races, also of the Chinese, Persians, Arabians,
Turks, East Indians, etc.;--in this museum I found a most important
place assigned to the North American Indian; and Dr. Steinhauer, the
director of the museum, a man whose ethnographical studies and
researches have made him known to all antiquarians in the world was
full of interest in them, and appreciation of their noble qualities,
of their skill and taste in decoration, and still more of the
important links between them and the old civilizations. Here were
portraits of all the most distinguished of our Indian chiefs; a whole
corridor filled with glass cases full of their robes, implements,
weapons, decorations; several life-size figures in full war-dress: and
their trappings were by no means put to shame, in point of design and
color, by the handsomest trappings in Rosenborg; in fact, they were
far more wonderful, being wrought by an uncivilized race, living in
wildernesses, with only rude paints, porcupine quills, and glass beads
to work with. My eyes filled with tears, I confess, to find at last in
little Denmark one spot in the world where there will be kept a
complete pictorial record of the race of men that we have done our
best to wipe out from the face of the earth,--where historical justice
will be done to them in the far future, as a race of splendid
possibilities, and attainments marvellous, considering the time in
which they were made. Here was a superb life-size figure of a
Blackfeet warrior on his horse; the saddle, trappings, etc., are
exactly the same in shape and style as an old Arab saddle used
hundreds of years ago. On the warrior's breast is a round disk of
lines radiating from a centre, in gay colors, of straw and beads, of a
device identical with a rich Moorish ornament; the same device Dr.
Steinhauer pointed out to me on a medicine-bag of the Blackfeet tribe.

Here was a figure of a chief of the Sacs and Foxes, in full array; by
his side the portrait of his father, with the totem of the tribe
tattooed on his breast. With enthusiasm Dr. Steinhauer pointed out to
me how in one generation the progress had been so great that on the
robe of the son was set in a fine and skilful embroidery the same
totem which the father had rudely tattooed on his breast. Here were
specimens of the handiwork of every tribe,--of their dresses, of their
weapons; those of each tribe carefully assorted by themselves. Dr.
Steinhauer knew more, I venture to say, about the different tribes,
their race affinities and connections, than any man in America knows
to-day. When I told him a little about the scorn and hatred which are
felt in America towards the Indians, the indifference with which their
fate is regarded by the masses of the people, and the cruel injustice
of our government towards them, he listened to me with undisguised
astonishment, and repeated again and again and again, "It is
inexplicable; I cannot understand."

You can imagine what a thrilling pleasure all this was to me. But it
was marred by the keenest sense of shame of my country, that it should
have been left for Denmark alone to keep a place in historical
archives for a fair showing and true appreciation of the "wards of the
United States Government."

I might fill another letter with accounts of the "Collection of
Northern Antiquities;" but don't be frightened: I won't, only to tell
you that it is far the largest and most complete in Europe. And you
may see there a specimen of everything that has been made, wrought,
and worn in the way of stone, bronze, iron, or gold and silver, in the
north countries, from the rude stone chisel with which the prehistoric
man pried open his oyster and clam shells at picnics on the shore, and
went away and left his shells and "openers" in a careless pile behind
him, so that we could dig them all up together some thousands of
years later, down to the superb gold bracelets worn by the
strong-armed women who queened it in Norway ten centuries ago. It is a
great thing for us that those old fellows had such a way of flinging
their ornaments into lakes as offerings to gods, and burying them by
the wheelbarrow-full in graves. It wasn't a safe thing to do, even as
long ago as that, however; for there are traces in many of these
burial-mounds of their having been opened and robbed at some period
far back. In one of the rooms of this museum are several huge oak
coffins, with the mummied or half-petrified bodies lying in them, just
as they were buried sixteen hundred years ago. The coffins were made
of whole trunks of trees, hollowed out so as to make a sort of trough
with a lid; and in this the body was laid, with all its usual garments
on. There is an indescribable and uncanny fascination in the sight of
one of these old mummies,--the eyeless sockets, the painful cheekbone,
the tight-drawn forehead; they look so human and unhuman at once, so
awfully dead and yet somehow so suggestive of having been alive, that
it stimulates a far greater curiosity to know what they did and
thought and felt, than it is possible to feel about neighbors to-day.
I never see half a dozen of these mummies together without wishing
they would sit up and take up the thread of their gossip where they
left it off,--so different from the feeling one has about live
gossips, and so utterly unreasonable too; for gossip is gossip all the
same, and nothing but an abomination in any age, whether that of
Pharaoh or Ulysses Grant. If I did not feel a dreadful misgiving that
you had had enough museum already, and would be bored by more, I
really would like to tell you about a few more of these things: a
necklace, found in a peat bog by a poor devil who had begged leave to
cut a bit of turf there to burn, and to be sure he found eleven
beautiful gold things of one sort and another. The necklace is very
heavy to lift. I asked permission to take it in my hands. I laid it
around my neck, and it would have hurt to wear it ten minutes. It was
a great snake coil of solid gold, the body half as big as my wrist! If
Queen Thyra wore it, she must have been a giantess, or else have had a
wadded "chest protector" underneath her necklaces. She and her
husband, King Gorm, were buried in two enormous mounds in Jutland,
some fourteen hundred years ago. The mounds were so high that they
nearly overtopped the little village church; and yet, at some time or
other, robbers had burrowed into them, and carried off a lot of
things, so that when the mounds were scientifically excavated, few
relics were found. Stealing from that sort of grave seems to make the
modern methods of body-snatching quite insignificant. Even A. T.
Stewart's body would have been safe if it had been in a mound as high
as the church steeple.

Now I must tell you a little more about Harriet. She leaves me
to-morrow, and I shall grieve at parting with the garrulous old soul.
Niobe, I call her in my own mind; for she melts into tears at the
least emotion. I am afraid nobody has ever been very good to her; for
the smallest kindness touches her to the quick, and she cannot refrain
from perpetually breaking out into expressions of fondness for me, and
gratitude, which are sometimes tiresome. The explanation of her good
English is that her parents were English, though she was born in
Copenhagen, has lived there all her life, and married a Dane when she
was quite young. He was a tradesman, and they lived in comparative
comfort, though, as she said, "we never could lay up a penny, because
we always sent the children to the best schools; and for ten children,
ma'am, it does take a heap of schooling!"

Of the ten children, six are still living; and Harriet, at sixty-four,
has thirty-six grandchildren. When she first came to me she looked ten
years older than she does now. Good food, freedom from care, and her
enjoyment of her journey have almost worked miracles on her face.
Every morning she has come out looking better than she did the night
before. I see that she must have been a very handsome woman in her
day,--delicate features, and a soft dark brown eye, with very great
native refinement and gentleness of manner. Poor soul! her hardest
days are before her, I fear; for the daughter with whom she lives, and
for whom she works night and day, is the wife of that worthless
fellow, our commissionnaire. He is a drunkard, and not much more than
four fifths "witted." Harriet is pew-opener at the English church, and
gets a little money from that; the clergyman is very kind to her, and
she has the promise of a place at last in a sort of "Old Lady's Home"
in Copenhagen. This is her outlook! I must send you the verses she
presented to me yesterday. I had left her alone for the greater part
of the forenoon, and she took to her pen for company. That was the way
Katrina used to amuse herself when I left her alone. I always found
her sitting with her elbows on the table, a pile of scribbled sheets
in front of her, her hair pushed off her forehead, and a general
expression of fine frenzy about her. Katrina's English did not compare
with Harriet's at all; that is, it was not so good. I liked it far
better. It was one perpetual fund of amusement to me; but I think
Katrina had more nearly a vein of genius about her, and she was not
sentimental; whereas Harriet is a sentimentalist of the first
water,--no, of the "seventy thousandth"!

               PARIS, September 19.

     I kept my letter and brought it here to tell you about Ole
     Bull's funeral, full accounts of which reached the H----'s just
     before we left Munich on the 9th. It was a splendid tribute to
     the dear old man; I shall always regret that I did not see it.
     His home is on a beautiful island about sixteen miles from
     Bergen. If it were only possible to make you understand how
     much more the word _island_ means in Norway than anywhere else!
     But it is not. To those of you who know the sort of mountain
     pasture in which great hillocks of moss and stone are thrown
     up, piled up, crowded in, in such labyrinths that you go
     leaping from one to the other, winding in and out in
     crevice-like paths, never knowing where moss leaves off and
     stone begins,--where you will strike firm footing, and where
     you will plunge your foot down suddenly into moss above your
     ankles; and to those of you who love the country and the spring
     in the country so well that you know just the look of a
     feathery young birch-tree on the first day of June, and of
     slender young spruce-trees all the year round, it is enough to
     say that if you take a dozen miles or so of such a pasture, and
     make the hillocks many feet high, and then set in here and
     there little hollows full of the birches, and a ravine or two
     full of the young spruces, and then launch your hillocks and
     birches and spruces straight out into deep blue sea, you'll
     have something such an island as there are thousands of on the
     Norway coast. Ole Bull's home was on such an island as this,
     and he had made it an ideally beautiful place. Eighteen miles
     of pathway he had made in the labyrinths of the island; had
     brought soil from the shore, and set gardens in hollows here
     and there. The house is a picturesque and delightful one; and
     in the great music-room, nearly a hundred feet long, there he
     lay dead, two days, in state like a king, with steamers full of
     sorrowing friends and mourning strangers coming to take their
     last look at his face. The king sent a letter of condolence to
     Mrs. Bull, and the peasants came weeping to the side of his
     bed; from highest to lowest, Norway mourned. On the day of the
     funeral, after some short services at the house, the body was
     carried on board a steamer, to be taken to Bergen. The steamer
     was draped with black and strewn with green. I believe I have
     told you of the beautiful custom the Norwegians have of
     strewing green juniper twigs in the street in front of their
     houses whenever they have lost a friend. No matter how far away
     the friend may have lived, when they hear of his death they
     strew the juniper around their house to show that a death has
     given them sorrow. It was a commentary on human life (and
     death!) that I never went out in Bergen without seeing in some
     street, and often in many, the juniper-strewn sidewalks. As the
     steamer with Ole Bull's body approached the entrance of Bergen
     harbor, sixteen steamers, all draped in black, with flags at
     half-mast, sailed out to meet it, turned, and fell into line on
     either side to convoy it to shore. Bands were playing his music
     all the way. At the wharf they were met by nearly all Bergen;
     and the body was borne in grand procession through the streets,
     which were strewn thick with juniper from the wharf to the
     cemetery, at least two or three miles. The houses were all
     draped with black, and many of the people had put on black. The
     golden wreath which was given him in San Francisco was borne in
     the procession by one of his friends, and a procession of
     little girls bore wreaths and bouquets of flowers. The grave
     was hidden and half filled with flowers; and last of all, after
     the body had been laid there,--last and most touching of all,
     came the peasants, crowds of them, gathering close, and each
     one flinging in a fern leaf or a juniper bough or a bunch of
     flowers. Every one had brought something, and the grave was
     nearly filled up with their offerings. It is worth while to be
     loved like that by a people. Whatever scientific critics may
     say of Ole Bull's playing, he played so that he swayed the
     hearts of the common people; and his own nation loved him and
     were proud of him, just as the Danes loved Hans Christian
     Andersen, with a love that asked no indorsement and admitted no
     question from the outside world. The school of music to which
     Ole Bull belonged has passed away; but what scientific art has
     gained the people have lost. It will never be seen that one of
     these modern violinists can make uneducated people smile and
     weep as he did. The flowers that are dying on his coffin are
     all immortelles. Such blossoms as these will never again be
     strewn by peasant hands in a player's grave.

     It took two days to come from Munich to Paris,--two hard days,
     from seven in the morning till six at night. We broke the
     journey by sleeping at Strasburg, where we had just one hour to
     see the wonderful cathedral and its clock. The clock I didn't
     care so much about, though the trick of it is a marvel; but the
     twilight of the cathedral, lit up by its great roses of topaz
     and amethyst, I shall never forget as long as I live. In my
     next letter I will tell you about it. But now I have only time
     to copy Harriet's verses, and send off this letter. Here they


     When again in your own bright land you are,
       And with all that dearly you love,
     And at times you look up at the Northern Star
       That stands on the sky above,
     Remember, then, that near forgot,
       Here, near the Gothic strand,
     There is on the globe a little spot,--
       'T is Denmark, a beautiful land.
     Now at harvest time from there you flew,
       Like the birds from its tranquil shore;
     They return at springtime, kind and true:
       May, like them, you return once more!

     Dear Mrs. Jakson, I remain your humble and thankful servant,

Poor thing! when she bade me good-by she began to shed tears, and I
had to be almost stern with her to stop their flow. "Tell your
husband," she said, "that there's a little creature in Denmark that
you've made very happy, that'll never forget you," and she was gone.
In about ten minutes a tap at the door; there was Harriet again, with
a big paper of grapes and a deprecating face. "Excuse me, ma'am, but
they were only one mark and a half a pound, and they 're much better
than you'd get them in the hotel. Oh, I'll not lose my train, ma'am;
I've plenty of time." And with another kiss on my hand she ran out of
the room. Faithful creature! I shall never see her again in this
world, but I shall remember her with gratitude as long as I live.
Surely nowhere except in Norway and Denmark could it have happened to
a person to find in the sudden exigency of the moment two such devoted
servants as Katrina and Harriet; and that they should have both been
rhymers was a doubling up of coincidences truly droll.

Paris is as detestable as ever,--literally a howling and waste place!
Of all the yells and shrieks that ever made air discordant, surely the
cries of Paris are the loudest and worst. My room looks on the street;
and I should say that at least three different Indian tribes in
distress and one in drunken hilarity were wailing and shouting under
my windows all the time! As for the fiacre-men,--how like _fiasco_,
_fiacre_ looks written!--they drive as if their souls' salvation
depended on just grazing the wheel of every vehicle they pass. When
two of them yell out at once, as they go by each other, it is enough
to deafen one.


Dear People,--I couldn't give you a better illustration of what
happens to you in foreign countries when you pin your faith on people
who are said to "speak English here," than by giving you the tale of
how I went from Copenhagen to Lubeck. To begin with, I explained to
the porter of the König von Denmark Hotel, who is one of the
English-speaking _attachés_ of that very good hotel, that I wished,
in going to Lubeck, to avoid water as much as possible. I endeavored
to convey to him that my horror of it was in fact hydrophobic, and
that I could go miles out of my way to escape it. He understood me
perfectly, he said; and he explained to me a fine route by which I was
to cross island after island by rail, have only short intervals of
water between, and come comfortably to Lubeck by eight in the evening,
provided I would leave Copenhagen at 6.45 in the morning, which I was
only too happy to do for the sake of escaping a long steamboat
journey. So I arranged everything to that end; explained to the one
waiter who spoke English that I must have breakfast on the table at
5.40, as I was to leave the house at 6.15. He understood perfectly, he
said. (I also commissioned him to buy a pound of grapes for my
lunch-basket; the relevancy of this will appear later.) I then
carefully explained to the worthy old lady who had promised for a
small consideration to take me to Munich, that she must be on the spot
at six, with her luggage; and that she was on no account to bring
anything to lift in her hands, because my own hand-luggage would be
all she could well handle. Then I asked for my bill, that it might be
settled the night beforehand, to have nothing on hand in the morning
but to get off. This was doubly important, as the landlord had
promised to change my Danish money into German money for me,--the
Danish bankers having no German money. They so hate Germany that they
consider it a disgrace, I believe, even to handle marks and pfennigs.
The clerk, who also "speaks English," said he understood me perfectly;
so I went upstairs cheerful and at ease in my mind. In half an hour my
bill arrived; and I sent down by the waiter, who spoke "a leetle"
English, five hundred Danish crowns to pay my bill, and have four
hundred crowns returned to me in marks. Waited one hour, no money;
rang, same waiter appeared.

"Where is my money?"

"Yees, it have gone out; it will soon return. He is not here."

Waited half an hour longer; rang again.

"Where is my money?"

"Yees, strachs. He shall all right, strachs."

"But I am very tired; I wish to go to bed."

"Yees, it shall be kommen."

Waited another half-hour,--it was now quarter of eleven; wrote on a
bit of paper, "I have gone to bed; cannot take the money to-night.
Have it ready for me at six in the morning." Rang, and gave it to the
waiter, ejaculating, "Bureau;" and pointing downstairs, shut the door
on him and went to bed. The last thing I heard from him, as I shut the
door, was, "Strachs, strachs!" That means "Immediately;" and there is
a Norwegian proverb that "when the Norwegian says 'Strachs,' he will
be with you in half an hour."

At twenty-five minutes before six I was in the dining-room, bonneted,
all ready; no sign or symptom of breakfast. I went to the little room
beyond, where the waiters are to be found. There was the one who
speaks least English. "Oh, goodness!" said I, "where _is_ Wilhelm?"
Wilhelm being the one mainstay of the establishment in the matter of
English, and the one who had waited upon me during all my stay.

"Ya, ya. Wilhelm here; soon will be kommen."

"But I must have my breakfast; I leave the house in half an hour."

"Ya, ya. Wilhelm is not yet. He sleeps." And the good-natured little
fellow darted off to call him. Poor Wilhelm had indeed overslept; but
he appeared in a miraculously short time, got my breakfast together by
bits, got the money from the clerk, and did his best to explain to me
how it was that a given sum of money was at once more and less in
marks than it was in kroner. I crammed it all into my pocket, and ran
downstairs to find--no old lady; her "knapsack" on the driver's seat,
but she herself not there. Four different people said something to me
about it, and I could not understand one word they said; so I stepped
into the carriage, sat down, and resigned myself to whatever was
coming next. After about ten minutes she appeared, breathless, coming
down the stairs of the hotel. She had mounted to my room, and,
unmindful of the significant fact that the door was wide open and all
my luggage gone, had been waiting there for me. This augured well for
the journey! However, there was no time for misgivings; and we drove
off at a tearing rate, late for the train. Suddenly I spied a most
disreputable-looking parcel on the seat,--large, clumsy, done up in an
old dirty calico curtain, from which a few brass rings were still

"What is that?" I exclaimed.

"Only my best gown, ma'am, and my velvet cloak. I couldn't disgrace
you, ma'am."

"Disgrace me!" thought I. "I was never before disgraced by such a

"But I told you to bring nothing whatever to carry in your hands," I
said; "you must put that into your knapsack. My roll and basket are
all you can possibly lift."

"Oh, ma'am, it would ruin it to put it in the knapsack. I'm not a rich
lady, like you, ma'am; it's all I've got: but I'd not like to disgrace
you. I was out last night trying to hire a small trunk to bring; but
you wouldn't believe it, ma'am, they wanted eight kroner down for the
deposit for the value of it. But I'll not disgrace you, ma'am, and
I'll forget nothing. I've a good head at counting. You'll see I'll not
overlook anything."

"Never mind," I said; "you must wear your cloak [she had on only a
little thin, clinging, black crape shawl,--the most pitiful of
garments, and no more protection than a pocket-handkerchief against
cold], and the dress must go into the knapsack at Lubeck. I will put
it into my own roll as soon as we are in the cars."

At the station--luckily, as I thought--the ticket-seller spoke
English, and replied readily to my inquiry for a ticket to Lubeck, _by
rail_, "Yes, by Kiel." Then there came a man who wanted three kroner
more because my trunk was heavy, and another who wanted a few pfennigs
for having helped the first one lift it. I tried for a minute to count
out the sum he had mentioned, and then I said, "Oh, good gracious,
take it all!" emptying the few little coppers and tiny silver
bits--which I knew must be, all told, not a quarter of a dollar--into
his hand. He said something which, in my innocence, I supposed was
thanks, but Brita told me afterwards that he was a "fearfully rough
man, and what he said was to call me a 'damned German devil!' You see,
ma'am, they all hate the Germans so, and hearing me speak English, he
thought it was German. The French, too, ma'am,--they hate the Germans
too. They say that Sara Bernhardt,--I dare say you've seen her,
ma'am,--they say she nearly starved herself all in her travelling
through Germany, because she wouldn't eat the German food."

At the train to see me off were two dear warm-hearted Danish
women,--mother and daughter,--to whom I had brought a letter from
friends in America. With barely time to thank them and say good-by, I
and my old lady and her bundle and my own three parcels were all
hustled into a carriage, the door slammed and locked, and we were off.
Then I sank back and considered the situation. I had fancied that all
that was necessary was to have a person who could speak,--that if I
had but a tongue at my command, it would answer my purposes almost as
well in another person's head as in my own. But I was fast learning my
mistake. This good old woman, who had never been out of Denmark in her
life, had no more idea which way to turn or what to do in a railway
station than a baby. The first five minutes of our journey had shown
that. She stood, bundles in hand, her bonnet falling off the back of
her head, her crape shawl clinging limp to her figure; her face full
of nervous uncertainty,--the very ideal of a bewildered old woman,
such as one always sees at railway stations. The thought of being
taken charge of, all the way from Copenhagen to Munich, by this type
of elderly female, was, at the outset, awful; but very soon the
comical side of it came over me so thoroughly that I began to think it
would, on the whole, be more entertaining.

When she had told me the day before, as we were driving about in
Copenhagen, that she had never in her life been out of Denmark, though
she was sixty-four years old, I said, "Really that is a strange
thing,--for you to be taking your first journey at that age."

"Oh, well, ma'am," she said, "I'm such a child of Nature that I shall
enjoy it as much as if I were younger, and I've all the Danish
history, ma'am, at my tongue's end, ma'am. There's nothing I can't
tell you, ma'am. Though we've been very hard-working, I've always been
one that was for making all I could: and I've been with my children at
their lessons always,--we gave them all good schooling; and I've a
volume of Danish poetry I've written, ma'am,--a volume _that_ thick,"
marking off at least two inches on her finger.

"Danish?" said I. "Why did you not write it in English?"

"Well, ma'am, being raised here, the Danish tongue is more my own,
much as I spoke English always till my parents died; but I'll write
some in English for you, ma'am, before we part."

So I had for the third time alighted on a poet. "Birds of a feather,"
thought I to myself; but it really is extraordinary. Norwegian,
Dane--I wonder, if I take a German maid to carry me to Oberammergau,
if she also will turn out "a child of Nature" and a scribbler of

The way from Copenhagen southward and westward by land is delightful.
It plunges immediately into a rich farming-country, level as an
Illinois prairie, and with comfortable farm-houses set in enclosures
of trees, as they are there; and I presume for the same reason,--to
break the force of the winds which might sweep from one end of Denmark
to the other, without so much as a hillock to stay them: no fences,
only hedges, and great tracts without even a hedge, marked off and
divided by differing colors from the different crops. The second crop
of clover was in full flower; acres of wheat or barley, just being
sheaved; wagons piled full, rolling down shaded roads with long lines
of trees on each side. Roeskilde, Ringsted, Soro,--three towns, but
seemingly only one great farm, for seventeen miles out of Copenhagen.
Then we began to smell the salt water, and to get a fresh breeze in at
the windows; and presently we came to Kosör, where we were to take
boat. A big man in uniform stood at the door of the station, looked at
our tickets, said "Kiel," and waved his hand toward a little steamer
lying at the dock.

"They say they fear it will be rough, ma'am, as the wind is from the
southeast," said the old lady.

"Oh, well," said I, "it is only an hour and a half across. We cross
the Big Belt to Nyborg."

She accepted my statement as confidingly as a child, and we made
ourselves comfortable on the upper deck. It was half-past nine
o'clock. I took out my guide-book and studied up the descriptions of
the different towns we were to pass through after our next landing. A
green dome-like island came into sight, with a lighthouse on top,
looking like the stick at the top of a haystack. "That's in the
middle of the Belt, ma'am," said Brita. "In the winter many's the time
the passengers across here have to land there and stay a day, or maybe
two; and sometimes they come on the ice-boats. Very dangerous they
are; they pull them on the ice, and if the ice breaks, jump in and row

It seemed to me that we were bearing strangely to the south: land was
disappearing from view; the waves grew bigger and higher; spray dashed
on the deck; white-caps tossed in all directions.

"I believe we are going out to sea," said I.

"It does look like it, ma'am," replied the "child of Nature." "Shall I
go and ask?"

"Yes," I replied, "go and ask." She returned with consternation in
every line of her aged face.

"Oh, ma'am, it's strange they should have told you so wrong. We're on
this boat till four in the afternoon."

And so we were, and a half-hour to boot, owing to the southeast wind
which was dead ahead all the way. Everybody was ill,--my poor old
protectress most of all, and for the first time in her life.

"Oh, ma'am, I did not think it could be like this," she gasped. "I
never did feel so awful." I sat grimly still in one spot on the deck
all that day. What a day it was! About noon it occurred to me that
some grapes would be a relief to my misery. Opening the basket and
taking out the bag in which the English-speaking waiter had told me
were my grapes, I put in my hand and drew out--a hard, corky,
tasteless pear! Thanks to the southeast wind, we came a half-hour late
to Kiel, and thereby missed the train to Lubeck which we should have
taken, waited two hours and a half in the station, and then had to
take three different trains one after the other, and pay an extra fare
on each one; how we ever stumbled through I don't know, but we did,
and at half-past eleven we were in Lubeck, safe and sound, and not
more than three quarters dead! and I shall laugh whenever I think of
it as long as I live.

Lubeck is an old town, well worth several days' study; and the Stadt
Hamburg is a comfortable house to sleep and be fed in. You can have a
mutton-chop there, and that is a thing hard to find in Germany; and
you can have your mutton-chop brought to you by an "English-speaking"
waiter who speaks English; and you may have it delicately served in
your own room, or in a pretty dining-room, or on a front porch, walled
in thick by oleander-trees, ten and fifteen feet high,--a lustrous
wall of green, through which you have glimpses of such old gables and
high peaked roofs, red-tiled, and scooped into queer curves, as I do
not know elsewhere except in Nuremberg. It all dates back to 1100 and
1200, and thereabouts,--which does not sound so very old to you when
you have just come from Norway, where a thing is not ancient unless it
dates back to somewhere near Christ's time; but for a mediæval town,
Lubeck has a fine flavor of antiquity about it. It has some splendid
old gateways, and plenty of old houses, two-thirds roof, one-third
gable, and four-fifths dormer-window, with door-posts and corners
carved in the leisurely way peculiar to that time. Really, one would
think a man must have his house ordered before he was born, to have
got it done in time to die in, in those days. I have speculated very
much about this problem, and it puzzles me yet. So many of these old
houses look as if it must have taken at least the years of one
generation to have made the carvings on them; perhaps the building and
ornamentation of the house was a thing handed down from father to son
and to son's son, like famous games of chess. Nothing less than this
seems to me to explain the elaboration of fine hand-wrought
decorations in the way of carving and tapestries, which were the chief
splendors of splendid living in those old times. There is a room in
the Merchants' Exchange in Lubeck, which is entirely walled and ceiled
with carved wood-work taken out of an ancient house belonging to one
of Lubeck's early burgomasters. These carvings were done in 1585 by
"an unknown master," and were recently transferred to this room to
preserve them. The panels of wood alternate with panels of exquisitely
wrought alabaster; two rows of these around the room. There were old
cupboard doors, now firmly fastened on the wall, never to swing again;
and one panel, with a group of wood-carvers at work, said--or
guessed--to be the portraits of the carver and his assistants. The old
shutters are there,--each decorated with a group, or single
figure,--every face as expressive as if it were painted in oil by a
master's hand. Every inch of the wall is wrought into some form of
decorations; the ceiling is carved into great squares, with alabaster
knobs at the intersections; a superb chandelier of ancient Venetian
glass hangs in the middle; and the new room stands to-day exactly as
the old one stood in the grand old burgomaster's day. It is kept
insured by the Merchants' Guild for $30,000, but twice that sum could
not replace it. The Merchants' Guild of Lubeck must contain true
art-lovers; a large room opening from this one has also finely carved
walls, and a frieze of the old burgomasters' portraits, and another
fine Venetian glass chandelier, two centuries old. Through the window
I caught a glimpse of a spiral stair outside the building; it wound in
short turns, and the iron balustrade was a wall of green vines; it
looked like the stair to the chamber of a princess, but it was only
the outside way to another room where the Merchants held their

The largest of the Lubeck churches is the Church of Saint Mary. This
was built so big, it is said, simply to outdo the cathedral in size,
the Lubeck citizens being determined to have their church bigger than
the bishop's. The result is three hundred and thirty-five feet of a
succession of frightful rococo things, enough to drive the thought of
worship out of any head that has eyes in it. The exterior is fine,
being of the best style of twelfth-century brick-work, and there are
some fine and interesting things to be seen inside; but the general
effect of the interior is indescribably hideous, with huge grotesque
carvings in black and white marble and painted wood, at every pillar
of the arches. In one of the chapels is a series of paintings,
ascribed to Holbein,--"The Dance of Death." It is a ghastly picture,
with a certain morbid fascination about it,--a series of fantastic
figures, alternating with grim skeleton figures of Death. The emperor,
the pope, the king and queen, the law-giver, the merchant, the
peasant, the miser,--all are there, hand in hand with the grim,
grappling, leaping skeleton, who will draw them away. Under each
figure is a stanza of verse representing his excuse for delay, his
reply to Death,--all in vain. This chapel had the most uncanny
fascination to my companion.

"Oh, ma'am! oh, indeed, ma'am, it is too true!" she exclaimed, walking
about, and peering through her spectacles at each motto. "It is all
the same for the pope and the emperor. Death calls us all; and we all
would like to stay a little longer."

By a fine bronze reclining statue of one of the old bishops she
lingered. "Is it not wonderful, ma'am, the pride there is in this poor
world?" she said. The reflection seemed to me a very just one, as I
too looked at the old man lying there in his mitre, with the sacred
wafer ostentatiously held in one hand, and his crosier in the other;
every inch of him, and of the great bronze slab on which he lay,
wrought as exquisitely as the finest etching.

At twelve o'clock every day a crowd gathers in this church to see a
procession of little figures come out of the huge clock; the Lubeck
people, it seems, never tire of this small miracle. It must be
acknowledged that it is a droll sight: but one would think, seeing
that there are only forty thousand people in the town, that there
would now and then be a day without a crowd; yet the sacristan said,
that, rain or shine, every day, the little chapel was full at the
striking of the first stroke of twelve. The show is on the back of the
clock, which detracts very much from its effect. At the instant of
twelve a tiny white statue lifted its arm, struck a hammer on the bell
twelve times; at the first stroke a door opened, and out came a
procession of eight figures, called the Emperor and the Electors; each
glided around the circle, paused in the middle, made a jerky bow to
the figure of Christ in the centre, and then disappeared in a door in
the other side, which closed after them. The figures seemed only a few
inches tall at that great height; and the whole thing like part of a
Punch and Judy show, and quite in keeping with the rococo ornaments on
the pillars. But the crowd gazed as devoutly as if it had been the
elevation of the Host itself; and I hurried away, fearing that they
might resent the irreverent look on my countenance.

There are some carved brass tablets which are superb, and a curious
old altar-piece, with doors opening after doors, like a succession of
wardrobes, one inside the other, the first doors painted on the
inside, the second also painted, and disclosing, on being opened, a
series of wonderful wood carvings of Scriptural scenes, these opening
out again and showing still others; a fine canopy of wrought wood
above them, as delicate as filigree. These are disfigured, as so many
of the exquisite wood carvings of this time are, by being painted in
grotesque colors; but the carving is marvellous. The thing that
interested me most in this church was a tiny little stone mouse carved
at the base of one of the pillars. You might go all your life to that
church and never see it. I searched for it long before I found it. It
is a tiny black mouse gnawing at the root of an oak; and some old
stone-worker put it in there six hundred years ago, because it was the
ancient emblem of the city. There was also a line of old saints and
apostles carved on the ends of the pews, that were fine; a Saint
Christopher with the child on his shoulder that I would have liked to
filch and carry away.

In the Jacobi Kirche--a church not quite so old--is a remarkable old
altar, which a rich burgomaster hit on the device of bestowing on the
church and immortalizing his own family in it at the same time. To
make it all right for the church, he had the scene of the crucifixion
carved in stone for the centre; then on the doors, which must be
thrown back to show this stone carving, he had himself and his family
painted. And I venture to say that the event justifies his
expectations; for one looks ten minutes at the burgomaster's sons and
daughters and wife for one at the stone carving inside. It is a family
group not to be forgotten,--the burgomaster and his five sons behind
him on one door, and his wife with her five daughters in front of her
on the other door. They are all kneeling, so as to seem to be adoring
the central figures,--all but the burgomaster's wife, who stands tall
and stately, stiff in gold brocade, with a missal in one hand and a
long feather in the other; a high cap of the same brocade, flying
sleeves at the shoulder, and a long bodice in front complete the
dame's array. Three of the daughters wear high foolscaps of white;
white robes trimmed with ermine, falling from the back of the neck,
thrown open to show fine scarlet gowns, with bodices laced over white,
and coming down nearly to their knees in front. Two little things in
long-sleeved dark-green gowns--"not out" yet, I suppose--kneel
modestly in front; and a nun and a saint or a Virgin Mary are thrown
into the group to make it holy. The burgomaster is in a black
fur-trimmed robe, kneeling with a book open before him,--the very
model of a Pharisee at family prayers,--his five sons kneeling behind
him in scarlet robes trimmed with dark fur.

The sacristan said something in German to Brita, which she instantly
translated to me as "Oh, ma'am, to think of it! They're all buried
here under our very feet, ma'am,--the whole family! And they'd to
leave all that finery behind them, didn't they, ma'am?" The thought of
their actual dust being under our feet at that moment seemed to make
the family portraits much more real. I dare say that burgomaster never
did anything worthy of being remembered in all his life; but he has
hit on a device which will secure him and his race a place in the
knowledge of men for centuries to come.

In the Rathhaus--which is one of the quaintest buildings in
Lubeck--there is an odd old chimney-piece. It is downstairs, in what
one would call vaults, except that they are used for the rooms of a
restaurant. It has been for centuries a Lubeck custom that when a
couple have been married in the Church of Saint Mary (which adjoins
the Rathhaus), they should come into this room to drink their first
winecup together; and, by way of giving a pleasant turn to things for
the bridegroom, the satirical old wood-carvers wrought a chimney-piece
for this room with a cock on one side, a hen on the other, the
Israelitish spies bearing the huge bunch of the over-rated grapes of
Eshcol between them, and in the centre below it this motto: "Many a
man sings loudly when they bring him his bride. If he knew what they
brought him, he might well weep." It is an odd thing how universally,
when this sort of slur upon marriage is aimed at, it is the man's
disappointment which is set forth or predicted, and not the woman's.
It is a very poor rule, no doubt; but it may at least be said to "work
both ways." There used to be an underground passage-way by which they
came from the church into this room, but it is shut up now. While we
sat waiting in the outer hall upstairs for the janitor to come and
show us this room, a bridal couple came down and passed out to their
carriage,--plain people of the working class. She wore a black alpaca
gown, and had no bridal sign or symptom about her, except the green
myrtle wreath on her head. But few brides look happier than she did.

The Rathhaus makes one side of the Market-place, which was, like all
market-places, picturesque at eleven in the morning, dirty and dismal
at four in the afternoon. I drove through it several times in the
course of the forenoon; and at last the women came to know me, and
nodded and smiled as we passed. Their hats were wonderful to
see,--cocked up on top of a neat white cap, with its frill all at the
back and none in front; the hats shaped--well, nobody could say how
they were shaped--like _half_ a washbowl bent up, with the little
round centre rim left in behind! I wonder if that gives an idea to
anybody who has not seen the hat. The real wonder, however, was not in
the shape, but in the material. They are made of wood,--actually of
wood,--split up into the finest threads, and sewed like straw; and the
women make them themselves. All the vegetable women had theirs bound
with bright green, with long green loops hanging down behind; but the
fishwomen had theirs bound with narrow black binding round the edge,
lined with purple calico, and with black ribbon at the back. Finally,
after staring a dozen of the good souls out of countenance looking at
their heads, I bought one of the bonnets outright! It was the cleanest
creature ever seen that sold it to me. She pulled it off her head, and
sold it as readily as she would have sold me a dozen eels out of her
basket; and I carried it on my arm all the way from Lubeck to Cassel,
and from Cassel to Munich, to the great bewilderment of many railway
officials and travellers. Before I had concluded my bargain there was
a crowd ten deep all around the carriage. Everybody--men, women,
children--left their baskets and stalls, and came to look on. I
believe I could have bought the entire wardrobe of the whole crowd, if
I had so wished,--so eager and pleased did they look, talking volubly
with each other, and looking at me. It was a great occasion for Brita,
who harangued them all by instalments from the front seat, and
explained to them that the bonnet was going all the way to America,
and that her "lady" had a great liking for all "national" things,
which touched one old lady's patriotism so deeply that she pulled off
her white cap and offered it to me, making signs that my wooden bonnet
was incomplete without the cap, as it certainly was. On Brita's
delicately calling her attention to the fact that her cap was far
from clean, she said she would go home and wash it and flute it
afresh, if the lady would only buy it; and three hours later she
actually appeared with it most exquisitely done up, and not at all
dear for the half-dollar she asked for it. After buying this bonnet I
drove back to the hotel with it, ate my lunch in the oleander-shaded
porch, and then set off again to see the cathedral. This proved to me
a far more interesting church than Saint Mary's, though the
guide-books say that Saint Mary's is far the finer church of the two.
There is enough ugliness in both of them, for that matter, to sink
them. But in the cathedral there are some superb bronzes and brasses,
and a twisted iron railing around the pulpit, which is so marvellous
in its knottings and twistings that a legend has arisen that the devil
made it.

"How very much they seem to have made of the devil in the olden time,
ma'am, do they not?" remarked Brita, entirely unconscious of the fact
that she was philosophizing; "wherever we have been, there have been
so many things named in his honor!"

The clock in this church has not been deemed worthy of mention in the
guide-books; but it seemed to me far more wonderful than the one at
Saint Mary's. I shall never forget it as long as I live; in fact, I
fear I shall live to wish I could. The centre of the dial plate is a
huge face of gilt, with gilt rays streaming out from it; two enormous
eyes in this turn from side to side as the clock ticks, right, left,
right, left, so far each time that it is a squint,--a horrible,
malignant, diabolical squint. It seems almost irreverent even to tell
you that this is to symbolize the never-closing eye of God. The
uncanny fascination of these rolling eyes cannot be described. It is
too hideous to look at, yet you cannot look away. I sat spellbound in
a pew under it for a long time. On the right hand of the clock stands
a figure representing the "Genius of Time." This figure holds a gold
hammer in its hand, and strikes the quarter-hours. On the other side
stands Death,--a naked skeleton,--with an hour-glass. At each hour he
turns his hour-glass, shakes his head, and with a hammer in his right
hand strikes the hour. I heard him strike "three," and I confess a
superstitious horror affected me. The thought of a congregation of
people sitting Sunday after Sunday looking at those rolling eyes, and
seeing that skeleton strike the hour and turn his hour-glass, is
monstrous. Surely there was an epidemic in those middle ages of
hideous and fantastic inventions. I am not at all sure that it has not
stamped its impress on the physiognomy of the German nation. I never
see a crowd of Germans at a railway station without seeing in dozens
of faces resemblance to ugly gargoyles. And why should it not have
told on them? The women of old Greece brought forth beautiful sons and
daughters, it is said, because they looked always on beautiful statues
and pictures. The German women have been for a thousand years looking
at grotesque and leering or coarse and malignant gargoyles carved
everywhere,--on the gateways of their cities, in their churches, on
the very lintels of their houses. Why should not the German face have
been slowly moulded by these prenatal influences?

Above this malevolent clock was a huge scaffold beam, crossing the
entire width of the church, and supporting four huge figures, carved
with some skill; the most immodest Adam and Eve I ever beheld; a
bishop and a Saint John and a Mary,--these latter kneeling in
adoration of a crucifixion above. The whole combination--the guilty
Adam and Eve, the pompous bishop, the repulsive crucifixion, the
puppet clock with its restless eyes and skeleton, and the loud
tick-tock, tick-tock, of the pendulum,--all made up a scene of
grotesqueness and irreverence mingled with superstition and devotion,
such as could not be found anywhere except in a German church of the
twelfth century. It was a relief to turn from it and go into the
little chapel, where stands the altar-piece made sacred as well as
famous by the hands of that tender spiritual painter, Memling. These
altar-pieces look at first sight so much like decorated wardrobes that
it is jarring. I wish they had fashioned them otherwise. In this one,
for instance, it is almost a pain to see on the outside doors of what
apparently is a cupboard one of Memling's angels (the Gabriel) and the
Mary listening to his message. Throwing these doors back, you see
life-size figures of four saints,--John, Jerome, Blasius, and Ægidius.
The latter is a grand dark figure, with a head and face to haunt one.
Opening these doors again, you come to the last,--a landscape with the
crucifixion in the foreground, and other scenes from the Passion of
the Saviour. This is less distinctively Memling-like; in fact, the
only ones of them all which one would be willing to say positively no
man's hand but Memling's had touched, are the two tender angels in
white on the outside shutters.

We left Lubeck very early in the morning. As we drove to the station,
the milkmen and milkwomen were coming in, in their pretty carts, full
of white wooden firkins, brass bound, with queer long spouts out on
one side; brass measures of different sizes, and brass dippers, all
shining as if they had been fresh scoured that very morning, made the
carts a pretty spectacle. And the last thing of all which I stopped to
look at in Lubeck was the best of all,--an old house with a turreted
bay-window on the corner, and this inscription on the front between
the first and second stories of the house:--

     "North and south, the world is wide:
     East and west, home is best."

It was in Platt Deutsch; and oddly enough, the servant of the house,
who was at the door, did not know what it meant; and the first two men
we asked did not know what it meant,--stared at it stupidly, shrugged
their shoulders, and shook their heads. It was a lovely motto for a
house, but not a good one for wanderers away from home to look at. It
brought a sudden sense of homesickness, like an odor of a flower or a
bar of music which has an indissoluble link with home.

It took a whole day to go from Lubeck to Cassel, but the day did not
seem long. It was a series of pictures, and poor Brita's raptures over
it all were at once amusing and pathetic. As soon as we began to see
elevated ground, she became excited. "Oh, oh, ma'am," she exclaimed,
"talk about scenery in Denmark! It is too flat. I am so used to the
flat country, the least hill is beautiful." "Do you not call this
grand?" she would say, at the sight of a hill a hundred or two feet
high. It was a good lesson of the meaning of the word _relative_.
After all, one can hardly conceive what it must be to live sixty-four
years on a dead level of flatness. A genuine mountain would probably
be a terror to a person who had led such a life. Brita's face, when I
told her that I lived at the foot of mountains more than twelve times
as high as any she had seen, was a study for incredulity and wonder. I
think she thought I was lying. It was the hay harvest. All the way
from Lubeck to Cassel were men and women, all hard at work in the
fields; the women swung their scythes as well as the men, but looked
more graceful while raking. Some wore scarlet handkerchiefs over their
heads, some white; all had bare legs well in sight. At noon we saw
them in groups on the ground, and towards night walking swiftly along
the roads, with their rakes over their shoulders. I do not understand
why travellers make such a to-do always about the way women work in
the fields in Germany. I am sure they are far less to be pitied than
the women who work in narrow, dark, foul streets of cities; and they
look a thousand times healthier. Our road lay for many hours through a
beautiful farm country: red brick houses and barns with high thatched
roofs, three quarters of the whole building being thatched roof; great
sweeps of meadow, tracts of soft pines, kingdoms of beeches,--the
whole forest looking like a rich yellow brown moss in the distance,
and their mottled trunks fairly shining out in the cross sunbeams, as
if painted; wide stretches of brown opens, with worn paths leading off
across them; hedges everywhere, and never a fence or a wall;
mountain-ash trees, scarlet full; horse-chestnuts by orchards; towns
every few minutes, and our train halting at them all long enough for
the whole town to make up their minds whether they could go or not,
pack their bags, and come on board; bits of marsh, with labyrinths of
blue water in and out in it, so like tongues of the sea that,
forgetting where I was, I said, "I wonder if that is fresh water." "It
must be, ma'am," replied the observant Brita, "inasmuch as the white
lilies are floating beautiful and large in it."

"Oh," she suddenly ejaculated, "how strange it was! Napoleon III. he
thought he would get a good bit of this beautiful Germany for a
birthday present, and be in Berlin on his birthday; and instead of
that the Prussians were in Berlin on his birthday."

At Lüneburg we came into the heather. I thought I knew heather, but I was
to discover my mistake. All the heather of my life heretofore--English,
Scotch, Norwegian--had been no more than a single sprig by the side
of this. "The dreary Lüneburg Heath," the discriminating Baedeker
calls it. The man who wrote that phrase must have been not only
color-blind, he must have been color-dead! If a mountain is "dreary"
when it turns purple pink or pink purple five minutes before the
rising sun is going to flash full on its eastern front, then the
Lüneburg Heath is "dreary." Acres of heather, miles of heather; miles
after miles, hour after hour, of swift railroad riding, and still
heather! The purple and the pink and the browns into which the purple
and pink blended and melted, shifted every second, and deepened and
paled in the light and the shadow, as if the earth itself were gently
undulating. Two or three times, down vistas among the low birches, I
saw men up to their knees in the purple, apparently reaping it with a
sickle. A German lady in the car explained that they cut it to strew
in the sheep-stalls for the sheep to sleep on, and that the sheep ate
it: bed, bed-blanket, and breakfast all in one! Who would not be a
sheep? Here and there were little pine groves in this heath; the pine
and the birch being the only trees which can keep any footing against
heather when it sets out to usurp a territory, and even they cannot
grow large or freely. Three storks rose from these downs as we passed,
and flew slowly away, their great yellow feet shining as if they had
on gold slippers.

"The country people reckon it a great blessing, ma'am, if a stork will
build its nest on their roof," said Brita. "I dare say it is thought
so in America the same." "No, Brita, we have no storks in America," I
said. "I dare say some other bird, then, you hold the same," she
replied, in a tone so taking it for granted that no nation of people
could be without its sacred domestic bird that I was fain to fall back
on the marten as our nearest approach to such a bird; and I said
boastfully that we built houses for them in our yards, that they never
built on roofs.

At Celle, when she caught sight of the castle where poor Caroline
Matilda died, she exclaimed, "Oh, ma'am, that is where our poor queen
died. It was the nasty Queen Dowager did it; it was, indeed, ma'am.
And the king had opened the ball with her that very night that he
signed the order to send her away. They took her in her ball-dress,
just as she was. If they had waited till morning the Danes would have
torn her out of the wagon, for they worshipped her. She screamed for
her baby, and they just tossed it to her in the wagon; and she was
only twenty."

Pages of guide-book could not have so emphasized the tragedy of that
old gray castle as did Brita's words and her tearful eyes, and "nasty
old Queen Dowager." I suppose the truth will never be known about that
poor young queen; history whiffles round so from century to century
that it seems hardly worth while to mind about it. At any rate, it
can't matter much to either Caroline or Struensee, her lover, now.

Cassel at nine o'clock. Friendly faces and voices and hands, and the
very air of America in every room. It was like a dream; and like a
dream vanished, after twenty-four hours of almost unceasing talk and
reminiscence and interchange. "Blessings brighten," even more than
"when they take their flight," when they pause in their flight long
enough for us to come up with them and take another look at them.

Cassel is the healthiest town in all Germany; and when you see it you
do not wonder. High and dry and clear, and several hundred feet up
above the plain, it has off-looks to wide horizons in all directions.
To the east and south are beautiful curves of high hills, called
mountains here; thickly wooded, so that they make solid spaces of
color, dark green or purple or blue, according to the time calendar of
colors of mountains at a distance. (They have their time-tables as
fixed as railway trains, and much more to be depended on.) There is no
town in Germany which can compare with Cassel as a home for people
wishing to educate children cheaply and well, and not wishing to live
in the fashions and ways and close air of cities. It has a
picture-gallery second to only one in Germany; it has admirable
museums of all sorts; it has a first-rate theatre; good masters in all
branches of study are to be had at low rates; living is cheap and
comfortable (for Germany). The water is good; the climate also (for
Germany); and last, not least, the surrounding country is full of
picturesque scenery,--woods, high hills, streams; just such a region
as a lover of Nature finds most repaying and enjoyable. In the matter
of society, also, Cassel is especially favored, having taken its tone
from the days of the Electors, and keeping still much of the old fine
breeding of culture and courtesy.

It is a misfortune to want to go from Cassel to Munich in one day. It
can be done; but it takes fourteen hours of very hard work,--three
changes,--an hour's waiting at one place, and half an hour at another,
and the road for the last half of the day so rough that it could
honestly be compared to nothing except horseback riding over bowlders
at a rapid rate. This is from Gemunden to Munich: if there is any
other way of getting there, I think nobody would go by this; so I
infer that there is not. You must set off, also, at the unearthly hour
of 5 A.M.,--an hour at which all virtues ooze out of one; even honesty
out of cabmen, as I found at Cassel, when a man to whom I had paid
four marks--more than twice the regular fare--for bringing us a five
minutes' distance to the railway station, absolutely had the face to
ask three marks more. Never did I so long for a command of the German
tongue. I only hope that the docile Brita translated for me literally
what I said, as I handed him twelve cents more, with, "I gave one
dollar because you had to get up so early in the morning. You know
very well that even half that sum is more than the price at ordinary
times. I will give you this fifty pfennigs for yourself, and not
another pfennig do you get!" I wish that the man that invented the
word _pfennig_ had to "do a pour of it for one tousand year," as dear
old Dr. Pröhl said of the teapot that would not pour without spilling.
I think it is the test-word of the German language. The nearest
direction I could give for pronouncing it would be: fill your mouth
with hasty-pudding, then say _purr-f-f-f-f-f_, and then gulp the
pudding and choke when you come to the _g_,--that's a _pfennig_; and
the idea of such a name as that for a contemptible thing of which it
takes one hundred to make a quarter of a dollar! They do them up in
big nickel pieces too,--heavy, and so large that in the dark you
always mistake them for something else. Ten hundredths of a
quarter!--you could starve with your purse loaded down with them.

In the station, trudging about as cheerily as if they were at home, was
a poor family,--father, mother, and five little children,--evidently
about to emigrate. Each carried a big bundle; even the smallest
toddler had her parcel tied up in black cloth with a big cord. The
mother carried the biggest bundle of all,--a baby done up in a
bedquilt, thick as a comforter; the child's head was pinned in tight
as its feet,--not one breath of air could reach it.

"Going to America, ma'am," said Brita, "I think they must be. Oh,
ma'am, there was five hundred sailed in one ship for America, last
summer,--all to be Mormons; and the big fellow that took them, with
his gold spectacles, I could have killed him. They'll be wretched
enough when they come to find what they've done. Brigham Young's dead,
but there must be somebody in his place that's carrying it on the
same. They'd not be allowed to stay in Denmark, ma'am,--oh, no,
they've got to go out of the country."

All day again we journeyed through the hay harvest,--the same
picturesque farm-houses, with their high roofs thatched or dark-tiled,
their low walls white or red or pink, marked off into odd-shaped
intervals by lattice-work of wood; no fences, no walls; only the
coloring to mark divisions of crops. Town after town snugged round its
church; the churches looked like hens with their broods gathered close
around them, just ready to go under the wings. We had been told that
we need not change cars all the way to Munich; so, of course, we had
to change three times,--bundled out at short notice, at the last
minute, to gather ourselves up as we might. In one of these hurried
changes I dropped my stylographic pen. Angry as I get with the thing
when I am writing with it, my very heart was wrung with sorrow at its
loss. Without much hope of ever seeing it again, I telegraphed for it.
The station-master who did the telegraphing was profoundly impressed
by Brita's description of the "wonderful instrument" I had lost. "A
self-writing pen,"--she called it. I only wish it were! "You shall
hear at the next station if it has been found," he said. Sure enough,
at the very next station the guard came to the door. "Found and will
be sent," he said; and from that on he regarded me with a sort of
awe-stricken look whenever he entered the car. I believe he considered
me a kind of female necromancer from America! and no wonder, with two
self-writing pens in my possession, for luckily I had my No. 2 in my
travelling-bag to show as sample of what I had lost.

At Elm we came into a fine hilly region,--hills that had to be
tunnelled or climbed over by zigzags; between them were beautiful
glimpses of valleys and streams. Brita was nearly beside herself, poor
soul! Her "Oh's" became something tragic. "Oh, ma'am, it needs no
judge to see that God has been here!" she cried. "We must think on the
Building-Master when we see such scenery as this."

As we came out on the broader plains, the coloring of the villages
grew colder; unlatticed white walls, and a colder gray to the roofs,
the groups of houses no longer looked like crowds of furry creatures
nestled close for protection. Some rollicking school girls, with long
hair flying, got into our carriage, and chattered, and ate cake, and
giggled; the cars rocked us to and fro on our seats as if we were in a
saddle on a run-away horse in a Colorado cañon. All the rough roads I
have ever been on have been smooth gliding in comparison with this. At
nine o'clock, Munich, and a note from the dear old "Fraulein" to say
that her house was full, but she had rooms engaged for me near by. The
next day I went to see her, and found her the same old inimitable dear
as ever,--the eyes and the smile not a day older, and the drollery and
the mimicry all there; but, alas! old age has come creeping too close
not to hurt in some ways, and an ugly rheumatism prevents her from
walking and gives her much pain. I had hoped she could go to
Oberammergau with me; but it is out of the question. At night she sent
over to me the loveliest basket of roses and forget-me-nots and
mignonette, with a card, "Good-night, my dear lady,--I kiss you;" and
I am not too proud to confess that I read it with tears in my eyes.
The dear, faithful, loving soul!


Mountains and valleys and rivers are in league with the sun and
summer--and, for that matter, with winter too--to do their best in the
Bavarian Highlands. Lofty ranges, ever green at base, ever white at
top, are there tied with luminous bands of meadow into knots and
loops, and knots and loops again, tightening and loosening, opening
and shutting in labyrinths, of which only rivers know the secret and
no man can speak the charm. Villages which find place in lands like
these take rank and relation at once with the divine organic
architecture already builded; seem to become a part of Nature; appear
to have existed as long as the hills or the streams, and to have the
same surety of continuance. How much this natural correlation may have
had to do with the long, unchanging simplicities of peoples born and
bred in these mountain haunts, it would be worth while to analyze.
Certain it is that in all peasantry of the hill countries in Europe,
there are to be seen traits of countenance and demeanor,--peculiarities
of body, habits, customs, and beliefs which are indigenous and
lasting, like plants and rocks. Mere lapse of time hardly touches
them; they have defied many centuries; only now in the mad
restlessness of progress of this the nineteenth do they begin to
falter. But they have excuse when Alps have come to be tunnelled and
glaciers are melted and measured.

Best known of all the villages that have had the good fortune to be
born in the Bavarian Highlands is Oberammergau, the town of the famous
Passion Play. But for the Passion Play the great world had never found
Oberammergau out, perhaps; yet it might well be sought for itself. It
lies 2,600 feet above the sea, at the head of a long stretch of
meadow lands, which the River Ammer keeps green for half the year,--at
the head of these, and in the gateway of one of the most beautiful
walled valleys of the Alps. The Ammer is at once its friend and foe;
in summer a friend, but malicious in spring, rising suddenly after
great rains or thaws, and filling the valley with a swift sea, by
which everything is in danger of being swept away. In 1769 it tore
through the village with a flood like a tidal wave, and left only
twelve houses standing.

High up on one of the mountain-sides, northeast of the village, is a
tiny spot of greensward, near the course of one of the mountain
torrents which swell the Ammer. This green spot is the Oberammergauers'
safety-gauge. So long as that is green and clear the valley will not
be flooded; as soon as the water is seen shining over that spot it is
certain that floods will be on in less than an hour, and the whole
village is astir to forestall the danger. The high peaks, also, which
stand on either side the town, are friend and foe alternately. White
with snow till July, they keep stores of a grateful coolness for
summer heats; but in winter the sun cannot climb above them till nine
o'clock, and is lost in their fastnesses again at one. Terrible
hail-storms sometimes whirl down from their summits. On the 10th of
May, 1774, there were three of these hail-storms in one day, which
killed every green blade and leaf in the fields. One month later, just
as vegetation had fairly started again, came another avalanche of
hail, and killed everything a second time. On the 13th of June, 1771,
snow lay so deep that men drove in sledges through the valley. This
was a year never to be forgotten. In 1744 there was a storm of rain,
thunder, and lightning, in which the electric fire shot down like
javelins into the town, set a score of houses on fire, and destroyed
the church. One had need of goodly devotion to keep a composed mind
and contented spirit in a dwelling-place surrounded by such dangers.
The very elements, however, it seems, are becoming tamed by the
inroads of civilization; for it is more than fifty years since
Oberammergau has seen such hail or such lightning.

The village is, like all Tyrolean villages, built without apparent
plan,--no two houses on a line, no two streets at right angles,
everybody's house slanting across or against somebody else's house,
the confusion really attaining the dignity of a fine art. If a child
were to set out a toy village on the floor, decide hastily to put it
back in its box, sweep it all together between his two hands, then
change his mind, and let the houses remain exactly as they had fallen,
with no change except to set them right side up, I think it would make
a good map of Oberammergau. The houses are low, white-plastered, or
else left of the natural color of the wood, which, as it grows old, is
of a rich dark brown. The roofs project far over the eaves, and are
held down by rows of heavy stones to keep them from blowing off in
wind-storms. Tiny open-work balconies are twined in and out
capriciously, sometimes filled with gay flowers, sometimes with hay
and dried herbs, sometimes with the firewood for winter. Oberammergau
knows in such matters no law but each man's pleasure. It is at each
man's pleasure, also, where he will keep his manure-heap; and usually
he elects to keep it close to the street, joining his barn or his
house, or his neighbor's barn or house, at convenience. Except that
there are many small sluices and rivulets and canals of spring water
wandering about the village to carry off the liquidation, this would
be intolerable, and surely would create pestilences. As it is, the
odors are abominable, and are a perpetual drawback to the delight one
would otherwise take in the picturesque little place.

There are many minute gardens and bits of orchard of all possible
shapes,--as many and as many-sided as the figures in the first pages
of Euclid. I saw one, certainly not containing more than eight square
feet, which was seven-sided, fenced and joined to two houses. Purple
phlox, dahlias, and lilacs are the favorite out-door flowers. Of these
there were clumps and beds which might have been transported from New
England. In the balconies and window-sills were scarlet geranium,
white alyssum, and pansies.

The most striking natural feature of Oberammergau is the great
mountain-peak to the southwest, called the Kofel. This is a bare,
rocky peak of singularly bold contour. On its summit is set a large
cross, which stands out always against the sky with a clearness almost
solemn. The people regard this Kofel as the guardian angel of their
village; and it is said that the reply was once made to persons who
were urging the Passion Play actors to perform their play in England
or America,--

"We would do so if it were possible; but to do that, it would be
needful to take the entire village and our guardian spirit, the

I arrived in Oberammergau on a Wednesday, and counted on finding
myself much welcomed, three days in advance of the day of the play.
Never was a greater mistake. A country cousin coming uninvited to make
a visit in the middle of a busy housewife's spring house-cleaning
would be as welcome. As I drove into the village the expression of
things gave me alarm. Every fence, post, roof, bush, had sheets,
pillow-cases, or towels drying on it; the porches and grass-plots were
strewn with pillows and mattresses; a general fumigation and
purification of a quarantined town could not have produced a greater
look of being turned wrong side out. This is what the cleanly
Oberammergau women do every week during the Passion Play season. It
takes all the time intervening between the weekly representations of
the play to make ready their bedrooms and beds.

I was destined to greater alarms and surprises, however. The Frau
Rutz, to whom I had written for lodgings, and to whose house I drove
all confident, had never heard of my name. It became instantaneously
apparent to me that I probably represented to her mind perhaps the
eleven hundred and thirty-seventh person who had stopped at her door
with the same expectation. Half of her house was being re-roofed, "to
be done by Sunday;" all her bed-linen was damp in baskets in the
kitchen; and she and her sister were even then ironing for dear life
to be done in time to begin baking and brewing on the next day.
Evidently taking time by the forelock was a good way to come to a
dead-lock in Oberammergau. To house after house I drove,--to Frau
Zwink's bird-cage, perched on the brink of a narrow canal, and half
over it, it seemed. Just before me stood a post-carriage, at Frau
Zwink's door; and as I stepped out two English ladies with bags,
bundles, and umbrellas disappeared within Frau Zwink's door, having
secured the only two available perches in the cage. The Frau came
running with urgent solicitations that I should examine a closet she
had, which she thought might answer.

"Oh, is she the lady of the house, and she barefoot?" exclaimed my
Danish maid, aghast at the spectacle. Yet I afterwards heard that the
Frau Zwink's was one of the notably comfortable lodging-places in the
town. In another house were shown to us two small dark rooms, to reach
which one must climb a ladder out of the common living-room of the
family. From house after house came the response, "No rooms; all
promised for Saturday." At intervals I drove back to Frau Rutz's for
further suggestions. At last she became gradually impressed with a
sense of responsibility for our fortunes; and the mystery of her
knowing nothing about my letter was cleared up. Her nephew had charge
of the correspondence; she never saw the letters; he had not yet had
time to answer one half of the letters he had received. Most probably
my letter might be in his pocket now. Friendship grew up between my
heart and the heart of the Frau Rutz as we talked. Who shall fathom or
sound these bonds which create themselves so quickly with one, so
slowly with another? She was an Oberammergau peasant, who knew no word
of my tongue; I a woman of another race, life, plane, who could not
speak one word she could comprehend, and our interpreter was only a
servant; but I think I do not exaggerate when I say that the Frau and
I became friends. I know I am hers; and I think if I were in
Oberammergau in need, I should find that she was mine.

By some unexplained accident (if there be such things) the best room
in all Oberammergau was still left free,--a great sunny room, with a
south window and east windows, a white porcelain stove, an
old-fashioned spinnet, a glass-doored corner-cupboard full of
trinkets, old-fashioned looking-glasses, tables, and two good beds;
and of this I took possession in incredulous haste. It was in the
house of George Lang, merchant, the richest man in the town. The
history of the family of which he is now the leading representative is
identified with the fortunes of Oberammergau for a century past. It is
an odd thing that this little village should have had its line of
merchant princes,--a line dating back a hundred years, marked by the
same curious points of heredity as that of the Vanderbilts or Astors
in America, and the Rothschilds in Europe; men as shrewd, sharp,
foreseeing, fore-planning, and executive in their smaller way, and
perhaps as arbitrary in their monopolies, as some of our

In 1765 there lived in the service of the monastery at Ettal a man
named Joseph Lang. He was a trusted man, a sort of steward and general
supervisor. When the monastery was suppressed, Joseph Lang's
occupation was gone. He was a handy man, both with tools and with
colors, and wandering down to Oberammergau, halted for a little to see
if he could work himself in with the industry already established
there of toy-making. At first he made simply frames, and of the
plainest sort; soon--perhaps from a reverent bias for still
ministering to the glory of the church, but probably quite as much
from his trader's perception of the value of an assured market--he
began to paint wooden figures of saints, apostles, Holy Virgins, and
Christs. These figures at first he imported from the Tyrol, painted
them, and sent them back there to be sold. Before long he had a large
majority of the Oberammergau villagers working under his direction as
both carvers and colorers in this business,--a great enlargement of
their previous trade of mere toy-making.

This man had eleven sons. Ten of them were carvers in wood, one was a
painter and gilder. All these sons worked together in the continuing
and building up of their father's business. One of them, George Lang,
perceiving the advantage of widening business connections, struck out
for the world at large, established agencies for his house in many
countries, chiefly in Russia, and came home to die. He had six sons
and four or five daughters, it is not certainly known which; for, as
the present George Lang said, telling this genealogical history in his
delightful English: "The archives went up in fire once, so they did
not know exactly." All six of these sons followed the trades of
carving, painting, and gilding. One of them, the youngest, Johann,
continued the business, succeeding to his father's position in 1824.
He was perhaps the cleverest man of the line. He went from country to
country, all over Europe, and had his agents in America, England,
Australia, Russia. He was on terms of acquaintance with people in
high position everywhere, and was sometimes called "The King of
Oberammergau." Again and again the villagers wished to make him
burgomaster or magistrate, but he would not accept the position.
Nevertheless it finally came to pass that all legal writings of the
town, leases, conveyances, etc., made, were signed by his name as well
as by the names of the recognized officials. First, "the magistracy of
Oberammergau," then, "Johann Lang, Agent," as he persisted in calling
himself, ran in the records of the parties to transactions in
Oberammergau at that time.

In 1847 the village began to be in great trouble. A large part of it
was burned; sickness swept it; whole families were homeless, or
without father or brother to support them. Now shone out the virtues
of this "King of Oberammergau," who would not be its burgomaster. He
supported the village: to those who could work he gave work, whether
the work had present value to him or not; to those who could not work
he gave food, shelter, clothes. He was a rich man in 1847, when the
troubles began. In 1849 he was poor, simply from his lavish giving. He
had only two sons, to both of whom he gave an education in the law.
Thus the spell of the succession of the craft of wood-workers was
broken. No doubt ambition had entered into the heart of the "King of
Oberammergau" to place his sons higher in the social scale than any
success in mere trade could lift them. One of these sons is now
burgomaster of the village; he is better known to the outside world as
the Caiaphas of the Passion Play. To one knowing the antecedents of
his house, the dramatic power with which he assumes and renders the
Jewish High-Priest's haughty scorn, impatience of opposition, contempt
for the Nazarene, will be seen to have a basis in his own pride of
birth and inherited habit of authority.

The other son, having been only moderately successful in making his
way in the world as a lawyer, returned to Oberammergau, succeeded to
his father's business in 1856, but lived only a short time, dying in
1859. He left a widow and six children,--three sons and three
daughters. For a time the widow and a sister-in-law carried on the
business. As the sons grew up, two of them gradually assumed more and
more the lead in affairs, and now bid fair to revive and restore the
old traditions of the family power and success. One of them is in
charge of a branch of the business in England, the other in
Oberammergau. The third son is an officer in the Bavarian army. The
aunt is still the accountant and manager of the house, and the young
people evidently defer to her advice and authority.

The daughters have been educated in Munich and at convents, and are
gentle, pleasing, refined young women. At the time of the Passion Play
in 1880 they did the honors of their house to hundreds of strangers,
who were at once bewildered and delighted to find, standing behind
their chairs at dinner, young women speaking both English and French,
and as courteously attentive to their guests' every wish as if they
had been extending the hospitality of the "King of Oberammergau," a
half-century back.

Their house is in itself a record. It stands fronting an irregular
open, where five straggling roadways meet, making common centre of a
big spring, from which water runs ceaselessly day and night into three
large tanks. The house thus commands the village, and it would seem no
less than natural that all post and postal service should centre in
it. It is the largest and far the best house in the place. Its two
huge carved doors stand wide open from morning till night, like those
of an inn. On the right-hand side of the hall is the post-office,
combined with which is the usual universal shop of a country village,
holding everything conceivable, from a Norway dried herring down to
French sewing-silk. On the left-hand side are the warerooms of
wood-carvings: the first two rooms for their sale; behind these, rooms
for storing and for packing the goods, to send away; there are four of
these rooms, and their piled-up cases bear testimony to the extent of
the business they represent.

A broad, dark, winding stairway leads up to the second floor. Here are
the living-rooms of the family; spacious, sunny, comfortable. At the
farther end of this hall a great iron door leads into the barn;
whenever it is opened, a whiff of the odor of hay sweeps through; and
to put out your head from your chamber-door of a morning, and looking
down the hall, to see straight into a big haymow, is an odd experience
the first time it happens. The house faces southeast, and has a dozen
windows, all the time blazing in sunlight,--a goodly thing in
Oberammergau, where shadow and shade mean reeking damp and chill. On
the south side of the house is an old garden, chiefly apple-orchard;
under these trees, in sunny weather, the family take their meals, and
at the time of the Passion Play more than fifty people often sat down
at outdoor tables there. These trees were like one great aviary, so
full were they of little sparrow-like birds, with breasts of cinnamon
brown color, and black crests on their heads. They chatted and
chattered like magpies, and I hardly ever knew them to be quiet except
for a few minutes every morning, when, at half-past five, the village
herd of fifty cows went by, each cow with a bell at her neck; and all
fifty bells half ringing, half tolling, a broken, drowsy, sleepy,
delicious chime, as if some old sacristan, but half awake, was trying
to ring a peal. At the first note of this the birds always
stopped,--half envious, I fancied. As the chime died away, they broke
out again as shrill as ever, and even the sunrise did not interrupt

The open square in front of the house is a perpetual stage of
tableaux. The people come and go, and linger there around the great
water-tanks as at a sort of Bethesda, sunk to profaner uses of
every-day cleansing. The commonest labors become picturesque performed
in open air, with a background of mountains, by men and women with
bare heads and bare legs and feet. Whenever I looked out of my windows
I saw a picture worth painting. For instance, a woman washing her
windows in the tanks, holding each window under the running stream,
tipping it and turning it so quickly in the sunshine that the waters
gliding off it took millions of prismatic hues, till she seemed to be
scrubbing with rainbows; another with two tubs full of clothes, which
she had brought there to wash, her petticoat tucked up to her knees,
her arms bare to the shoulder, a bright red handkerchief knotted round
her head, and her eyes flashing as she beat and lifted, wringing and
tossing the clothes, and flinging out a sharp or a laughing word to
every passer; another coming home at night with a big bundle of green
grass under one arm, her rake over her shoulder, a free, open glance,
and a smile and a bow to a gay postilion watering his horses; another
who had brought, apparently, her whole stock of kitchen utensils
there to be made clean,--jugs and crocks, and brass pans. How they
glittered as she splashed them in and out! She did not wipe them, only
set them down on the ground to dry, which seemed likely to leave them
but half clean, after all. Then there came a dashing young fellow from
the Tyrol, with three kinds of feathers in his green hat, short brown
breeches, bare knees, gray yarn stockings with a pattern of green
wreath knit in at the top, a happy-go-lucky look on his face, stooping
down to take a mouthful of the swift-running water from the spout, and
getting well splashed by missing aim with his mouth, to the uproarious
delight of two women just coming in from their hay-making in the
meadows, one of them balancing a hay-rake and pitchfork on her
shoulder with one hand, and with the other holding her dark-blue
petticoat carefully gathered up in front, full of hay; the other
drawing behind her (not wheeling it) a low, scoop-shaped wheelbarrow
full of green grass and clover,--these are a few of any day's
pictures. And thither came every day Issa Kattan, from Bethlehem of
Judæa,--a brown-skinned, deer-eyed Syrian, who had come all the way
from the Holy Land to offer to the Passion Play pilgrims
mother-of-pearl trinkets wrought in Jerusalem; rosaries of pearl, of
olive-wood, of seeds, scarlet, yellow, and black, wonderfully smooth,
hard, and shining. He wore a brilliant red fez, and told his gentle
lies in a voice as soft as the murmuring of wind in pines. He carried
his wares in a small tray, hung, like a muff, by a cord round his
neck, the rosaries and some strips of bright stuffs hanging down at
each side and swinging back and forth in time to his slow tread. Issa
paced the streets patiently from morn till night, but took good care
to be at this watering-place many times in the course of the day,
chiefly at the morning, and when the laborers were coming home at

Another vender, as industrious as he, but less picturesque, also
haunted the spot: a man who, knowing how dusty the Passion Play
pilgrims would be, had brought brushes to sell,--brushes big, little,
round, square, thick, thin, long, short, cheap, dear, good, bad, and
indifferent; no brush ever made that was not to be found hanging on
that man's body, if you turned him round times enough. That was the
way he carried his wares,--in tiers, strings, strata, all tied
together and on himself in some inexplicable way. One would think he
must have slipped himself into a dozen "cat's-cradles" of twine to
begin with, and then had the brushes netted in and out on this
foundation. All that remained to be seen of him was his head, above
this bristling ball, and his feet shuffling below. To cap the climax
of his grotesqueness, he wore on his back a wooden box, shaped like an
Indian pappoose frame; and in this stood three or four lofty
long-handled brushes for sweeping, which rose far above his head.

Another peasant woman--a hay-maker--I remember, who came one night;
never again, though I watched longingly for her, or one like her. She
wore a petticoat of umber-brown, a white blouse, a blue apron, a
pink-and-white handkerchief over her head, pinned under her chin;
under one arm she carried a big bunch of tall green grasses, with the
tasselled heads hanging loose far behind her. On the other shoulder
rested her pitchfork, and in the hand that poised the pitchfork she
held a bunch of dahlias, red, white, and yellow.

But the daintiest and most memorable figure of all that flitted or
tarried here, was a little brown-eyed, golden-haired maiden, not more
than three years old. She lived near by, and often ran away from home.
I saw her sometimes led by the hand, but oftenest without guide or
protector,--never alone, however; for, rain or shine, early or late,
she carried always in her arms a huge puppet, with a face bigger than
her own. It wore a shawl and a knit hood, the child herself being
always bareheaded. It was some time before I could fathom the mystery
of this doll, which seemed shapeless yet bulky, and heavier than the
child could well lift, though she tugged at it faithfully and with an
expression of care, as we often see poor babies in cities lugging
about babies a little younger than themselves. At last I caught the
puppet out one day without its shawl, and the mystery was revealed. It
was a milliner's bonnet-block, on which a face had been painted. No
wonder it seemed heavy and shapeless; below the face was nothing but a
rough base of wood. It appeared that as soon as the thing was given to
the child, she conceived for it a most inconvenient and unmanageable
affection,--would go nowhere without it, would not go to sleep
without it, could hardly be induced to put it for one moment out of
her tired little arms, which could hardly clasp it round. It seemed
but a fitting reward to perpetuate some token of such faithfulness;
and after a good deal of pleading I induced the child's aunt, in whose
charge she lived, to bring her to be photographed with her doll in her
arms. It was not an easy thing to compass this; for the only
photographer of the town, being one of the singers in the chorus, had
small leisure for the practice of his trade in the Passion Play year;
but, won over by the novelty of the subject, he found an odd hour for
us, and made the picture. The little thing was so frightened at the
sight of the strange room and instruments that she utterly refused to
stand alone for a second, which was not so much of a misfortune as I
thought at first, for it gave me the aunt's face also; and a very
characteristic Oberammergau face it is.

At the same time I also secured a photograph of the good Frau Rutz. It
was an illustration of the inborn dramatic sense in the Oberammergau
people, that when I explained to Frau Rutz that I wished her to sit
for a picture of an Oberammergau woman at her carving, she took the
idea instantly, and appeared prompt to the minute, with a vase of her
own carving, her glue-pot, and all her tools, to lay on the table by
her side. "Do you not think it would be better with these?" she said
simply; then she took up her vase and tool, as if to work, seated
herself at the table in a pose which could not be improved, and looked
up with, "Is this right?" The photographer nodded his head, and,
presto! in five seconds it was done; and Frau Rutz had really been
artist of her own picture. The likeness did her less than justice. Her
face is even more like an old Memling portrait than is the picture.
Weather-beaten, wrinkled, thin,--as old at forty-five as it should be
by rights at sixty,--hers is still a noble and beautiful countenance.
Nothing would so surprise Frau Rutz as to be told this. She laughed
and shook her head when, on giving her one of the photographs, I said
how much I liked it. "If it had another head on it, it might be very
good," she said. She is one of the few women in Oberammergau who do
delicate carving. In the previous winter she had made thirty vases of
this pattern, besides doing much other work.

Very well I came to know Frau Rutz's chiselled and expressive old face
before I left Oberammergau. The front door of her house stood always
open; and in a tiny kitchen opposite it,--a sort of closet in the
middle of the house, lighted only by one small window opening into the
hall, and by its door, which was never shut,--she was generally to be
seen stirring or skimming, or scouring her bright saucepans. Whenever
she saw us, she ran out with a smile, and the inquiry if there was
anything she could do for us. On the day before the Passion Play she
opened her little shop. It was about the size of a steamboat
stateroom, built over a bit of the sidewalk,--Oberammergau
fashion,--and joined at a slant to the house; it was a set of shelves
roofed over, and with a door to lock at night, not much more: eight
people crowded it tight; but it was packed from sill to roof with
carvings, a large part of which had been made by herself, her husband
and sons, or workmen in their employ, and most of which, I think, were
sold by virtue of the Frau's smile, if it proved as potent a lure to
other buyers as to me. If I drove or walked past her house without
seeing it, I felt as if I had left something behind for which I ought
to go back; and when she waved her hand to us, and stood looking after
us as our horses dashed round the corner, I felt that good luck was
invoked on the drive and the day.

Driving out of Oberammergau, there are two roads to choose from,--one
up the Ammer, by way of a higher valley, and into closer knots of
mountains, and so on into the Tyrol; the other down the Ammer, through
meadows, doubling and climbing some of the outpost mountains of the
range, and so on out to the plains. On the first road lies Ettal, and
on the other Unterammergau, both within so short a distance of
Oberammergau that they are to be counted in among its pleasures.

Ettal is one of the twelve beautiful houses which the ecclesiastics
formerly owned in this part of Bavaria. These old monks had a quick
eye for beauty of landscape, as well as a shrewd one for all other
advantages of locality; and in the days of their power and prosperity
they so crowded into these South Bavarian highlands that the region
came to be called "Pfaffenwinkel," or "The Priest's Corner." Abbeys,
priories, and convents--a dozen of them, all rich and powerful--stood
within a day's journey of one another. Of these, Ettal was pre-eminent
for beauty and splendor. It was founded early in the fourteenth
century by a German emperor, who, being ill, was ready to promise
anything to be well again, and being approached at this moment by a
crafty Benedictine, promised to found a Benedictine monastery in the
valley of the Ammer, if the Holy Virgin would restore him to health.
An old tradition says that as the emperor came riding up the steep
Ettaler Berg, at the summit of which the monastery stands, his horse
fell three times on his knees, and refused to go farther. This was
construed to be a sign from heaven to point out the site of the
monastery. But to all unforewarned travellers who have approached
Oberammergau by way of Ettal, and been compelled to walk up the
Ettaler Berg, there will seem small occasion for any suggestion of a
supernatural cause for the emperor's horse tumbling on his knees. A
more unmitigated two miles of severe climb was never built into a
road; the marvel is that it should have occurred to mortal man to do
it, and that there is as yet but one votive tablet by the roadside in
commemoration of death by apoplexy in the attempt to walk up. It was
Alois Pfaurler who did thus die in July, 1866,--and before he was
half-way up, too. Therefore this tablet on the spot of his death has a
depressing effect on people for the latter half of their struggle, and
no doubt makes them go slower.

How much the Benedictines of Ettal had to do with the Passion Play
which has made Oberammergau so famous, it is now not possible to know.
Those who know most about it disagree. In 1634, the year in which the
play was first performed, it is certain that the Oberammergau
community must have been under the pastoral charge of some one of the
great ecclesiastical establishments in that region; and it is more
than probable that the monks, who were themselves much in the way of
writing and performing in religious plays, first suggested to the
villagers this mode of working for the glory and profit of the Church.

Their venerable pastor, Daisenberger, to whom they owe the present
version of the Passion Play, was an Ettal monk; and one of the many
plays which he has arranged or written for their dramatic training is
"The Founding of the Monastery of Ettal." The closing stanzas of this
well express the feeling of the Oberammergauer to-day, and no doubt of
the Ettal monk centuries ago, in regard to the incomparable Ammer Thal

     "Let God be praised! He hath this vale created
       To show to man the glory of his name!
     And these wide hills the Lord hath consecrated
       Where he his love incessant may proclaim.

     "Ne'er shall decay the valley's greatest treasure,
       Madonna, thou the pledge of Heaven's grace!
     Her blessings will the Queen of Heaven outmeasure
       To her quiet Ettal and Bavaria's race."

Most travellers who visit Oberammergau know nothing of Unterammergau,
except that the white and brown lines of its roofs and spires make a
charming dotted picture on the Ammer meadows, as seen from the higher
seats in the Passion Play theatre. The little hamlet is not talked
about, not even in guide-books. It sits, a sort of Cinderella, and
meekly does its best to take care of the strangers who come grumbling
to sleep there, once in ten years, only because beds are not to be had
in its more favored sister village farther up the stream. Yet it is no
less picturesque, and a good deal cleaner, than is Oberammergau; gets
hours more of sunshine, a freer sweep of wind, and has compassing it
about a fine stretch of meadow-lands, beautiful to look at, and rich
to reap.

Its houses are, like those in Oberammergau, chiefly white stucco over
stone, or else dark and painted wood, often the lower story of white
stucco and the upper one of dark wood, with a fringe of balconies,
dried herbs, and wood-piles where the two stories join. Many of the
stuccoed houses are gay with Scripture frescos, more than one hundred
years old, and not faded yet. There are also many of the curious
ancient windows, made of tiny round panes set in lead. When these are
broken, square panes have to be set in. Nobody can make the round ones
any more. On the inside of the brown wooden shutters are paintings of
bright flowers; over the windows, and above the doors, are also
Scripture frescos. One old house is covered with them. One scene is
Saint Francis lying on his back, with his cross by his side; and
another, the coronation of the Virgin Mary, in which God the Father
is represented as a venerable man wrapped in a red and yellow robe,
with a long white beard, resting his hand on the round globe, while
Christ, in a red mantle, is putting the crown on the head of Mary, who
is resplendent in bright blue and red. On another wall is Saint
Joseph, holding the infant Christ on his knee. There must have been a
marvellous secret in the coloring of these old frescos, that they have
so long withstood the snows, rains, and winds of the Ammer valley. The
greater part of them were painted by one Franz Zwink, in the middle of
the last century. The peasants called him the "wind painter," because
he worked with such preternatural rapidity. Many legends attest this;
among others, a droll one of his finding a woman at her churning one
day and asking her for some butter. She refused. "If you'll give me
that butter," said Zwink, "I'll paint a Mother of God for you above
your door." "Very well; it is a bargain," said the woman, "provided
the picture is done as soon as the butter," whereupon Zwink mounted to
the wall, and, his brushes flying as fast as her churn dasher, lo!
when the butter was done, there shone out the fresh Madonna over the
door, and the butter had been fairly earned. Zwink was an athletic
fellow, and walked as swiftly as he painted; gay, moreover, for there
is a tradition of his having run all the way to Munich once for a
dance. Being too poor to hire a horse, he ran thither in one day,
danced all night, and the next day ran back to Oberammergau, fresh and
merry. He was originally only a color-rubber in the studio of one of
the old rococo painters; but certain it is that he either stole or
invented a most triumphant system of coloring, whose secret is unknown
to-day. It is said that in 1790 every house in both Ober and Unter
Ammergau was painted in this way. But repeated fires have destroyed
many of the most valuable frescos, and many others have been
ruthlessly covered up by whitewash. An old history of the valley says
that when the inhabitants saw flames consuming these sacred images,
they wept aloud in terror and grief, not so much for the loss of their
dwellings as for the irreparable loss of the guardian pictures. The
effect of these on a race for three generations,--one after another
growing up in the habit, from earliest infancy, of gazing on the
visible representations of God and Christ and the Mother of God,
placed as if in token of perpetual presence and protection on the very
walls and roofs of their homes--must be incalculably great. Such a
people would be religious by nature, as inherently and organically as
they were hardy of frame by reason of the stern necessities of their
existence. It is a poor proof of the superiority of enlightened,
emancipated, and cultivated intellect, with all its fine analyses of
what God is not, if it tends to hold in scorn or dares to hold in pity
the ignorance which is yet so full of spirituality that it believes it
can even see what God is, and feels safer by night and day with a
cross at each gable of the roof.

One of the Unterammergau women, seeing me closely studying the frescos
on her house, asked me to come in, and with half-shy hospitality, and
a sort of childlike glee at my interest, showed me every room. The
house is one of some note, as note is reckoned in Unterammergau: it
was built in 1700, is well covered with Zwink's frescos, and bears an
inscription stating that it was the birthplace of one "Max Anrich,
canon of St. Zeno." It is the dwelling now of only humble people, but
has traces of better days in the square-blocked wooden ceilings and
curious old gayly-painted cupboards. Around three sides of the
living-room ran a wooden bench, which made chairs a superfluous
luxury. In one corner, on a raised stone platform, stood a square
stove, surrounded by a broad bench; two steps led up to this bench,
and from the bench, two steps more to the lower round of a ladder-like
stair leading to the chamber overhead. The kitchen had a brick floor,
worn and sunken in hollows; the stove was raised up on a high stone
platform, with a similar bench around it, and the woman explained that
to sit on this bench with your back to the fire was a very good thing
to do in winter. Every nook, every utensil, was shining clean. In one
corner stood a great box full of whetstones, scythe-sharpeners; the
making of these was the industry by which the brothers earned the most
of their money, she said; surely very little money, then, must come
into the house. There were four brothers, three sisters, and the old
mother, who sat at a window smiling foolishly all the time, aged,
imbecile, but very happy. As we drove away, one of the sisters came
running with a few little blossoms she had picked from her balcony;
she halted, disappointed, and too shy to offer them, but her whole
face lighted up with pleasure as I ordered the driver to halt that I
might take her gift. She little knew that I was thinking how much the
hospitality of her people shamed the cold indifference of so-called
finer breeding.

A few rods on, we came to a barn, in whose open doorway stood two
women threshing wheat with ringing flails. Red handkerchiefs twisted
tight round their heads and down to their eyebrows, barefooted,
bare-legged, bare-armed to the shoulders, swinging their flails
lustily, and laughing as they saw me stop my horses to have a better
look at them; they made one of the vividest pictures I saw in the
Ammer valley. Women often are hired there for this work of threshing,
and they are expected to swing flails with that lusty stroke all day
long for one mark.


The stir the Passion Play brings does not begin in Oberammergau till
the Friday afternoon before the Sabbath of the play. Then, gradually,
as a hum begins and swells in a disturbed hive of bees, begins and
swells the bustle of the incoming of strangers into the little place.
By sunset the crooked lanes and streets are swarming with people who
have all fancied they were coming in good season before the crowd. The
open space in front of George Lang's house was a scene for a painter
as the sun went down on Friday, Sept. 5, 1880. The village herd of
cows was straggling past on its easy homeward way, the fifty bells
tinkling even more sleepily than in the morning; a little goat-herd,
with bright brown eyes, and bright brown partridge feathers in his
hat, was worrying his little flock of goats along in the jam; vehicles
of all sorts,--einspanners, diligences, landaus,--all pulling,
twisting, turning, despairing, were trying to go the drivers did not
know where, and were asking the way helplessly of each other. To
heighten the confusion, a load of hay upset in the middle of the
crowd. Twenty shoulders were under it in a twinkling, and the cart was
rolled on, limping, on three wheels, friendly hands holding up the
corner. Thirty-four vehicles, one after another, halted in front of
George Lang's door. Out of many of them the occupants jumped
confidently, looking much satisfied at sight of so comfortable a
house, and presenting little slips of white paper consigning them to
Mr. Lang's care. Much crestfallen, they re-entered their vehicles, to
be driven to the quarters reserved for them elsewhere. Some argued;
some grumbled; some entreated: all in vain. The decrees of the house
of Lang are like those of the Medes and Persians.

It was long after midnight before the sound of wheels and voices and
the cracks of postilions' whips ceased under my windows; and it began
again before daylight the next morning. All was hurry and
stir,--crowds going to the early mass; still greater crowds, with
anxious faces, besieging the doors of the building where were to be
issued the numbered tickets for seats at the Play; more crowds coming
in, chiefly pedestrians; peasant men and women in all varieties and
colors of costume; Englishmen in natty travelling-clothes, with white
veils streaming from their hats; Roman Catholic priests in squads,
their square-brimmed hats and high black coats white with dust. Eager,
intent, swift, by hundreds and hundreds they poured in. Without seeing
it, one can never realize what a spectacle is produced by this rushing
in of six thousand people into a little town in the space of
thirty-six hours. There can be nothing like it except in the movements
of armies. Being in the streets was like being in a chorus or
village-fair scene on an opera stage a mile big, and crowded full from
corner to corner. The only thing to do was to abandon one's self to
currents, like a ship afloat, and drift, now down this street and now
down that, now whirl into an eddy and come to a stop, and now hurry
purposelessly on, just as the preponderating push might determine.
Mingled up in it all, in everybody's way and under all the horses'
feet, were dozens of little mites of Oberammergauers, looking five,
six, seven years of age, like lost children, offering for sale "books
of the Passion Play." Every creature above the age of an infant is
busy at this time in other ways in Oberammergau; so it is left for the
babies to hawk the librettos round the streets, and very shrewdly they
do it. Little tots that are trusted with only one book at a time,--all
they can carry,--as soon as it is sold, grab the pennies in chubby
hands and toddle home after another.

As the day wore on, the crowd and the hum of it increased into a jam
and a racket. By four o'clock it was a din of wheels, cracking whips,
and postilions' cries. Great diligences, loaded down till they
squeaked and groaned on their axles; hay-wagons of all sizes, rigged
with white cloth stretched on poles for a cover, and rough planks
fastened to the sides for seats, came in procession, all packed with
the country people; hundreds of shabby einspanners, bringing two or
three, and sometimes a fourth holding on behind with dangling feet;
fine travelling-carriages of rich people, their postilions decked in
blue and silver, with shining black hats, and brass horns swung over
their shoulders by green and white cords and tassels,--on they came
into the twist and tangle, making it worse, minute by minute.

Most remarkable among all the remarkable costumes to be seen was that
of an old woman from Dachau. She was only a peasant, but she was a
peasant of some estate and degree. She had come as escort and maid for
four young women belonging to a Roman Catholic institution, and
wearing its plain uniform. The contrast between the young ladies'
conventional garb of black and white and the blazing toilet of their
guide and protector was ludicrous. She wore a jacket of brocade stiff
with red, green, and silver embroidery; the sleeves puffed out big at
the shoulder, straight and tight below to the wrist. It came down
behind only a little lower than her shoulder-blades, and it was open
in front from the throat to the waist-belt, showing beneath a solid
mass of gold and silver braid. Nine enormous silver buttons were sewed
on each side the fronts; a scarf of soft black silk was fastened tight
round her throat by a superb silver ornament, all twists and chains
and disks. Her black woollen petticoat was laid in small, close
flutings, straight from belt to hem, edged with scarlet, and
apparently was stiff enough to stand alone. It was held out from her
body, just below the belt, by a stiff rope coil underneath it, making
a tight, hard, round ridge just below her waist, and nearly doubling
her apparent size. All the women in Dachau must be as "thick" as that,
she said; and "lovers must have long arms to reach round them!" The
jacket, petticoat, and scarf, and all her ornaments, had belonged to
her grandmother. What a comment on the quality of the fabrics and the
perpetuity of a fashion! She was as elegant to-day as her ancestor had
been nearly a century before her. On her head she wore a structure of
brocaded black ribbon, built up into high projecting horns or towers,
and floating in streamers behind. As she herself was nearly six feet
tall, this shining brocade fortress on the top of her head moved about
above the heads of the crowd like something carried aloft for show in
a procession.

Another interesting sight was the peasants who had come bringing
edelweiss and blue gentians to sell,--great bunches of the lovely dark
blue chalices, drooping a little, but wonderfully fresh to have come
two days, or even three, from home; the edelweiss blossoms were there
by sheaves, and ten pfennigs a flower seemed none too much to pay to a
man who had climbed among dangerous glaciers to pick it, and had
walked three whole days to bring it to market.

The very poor people, who had walked, were the most interesting. They
came in groups, evidently families, two women to one man; carrying
their provisions in baskets, bundles, or knapsacks; worn and haggard
with dust and fatigue, but wearing a noticeable look of earnestness,
almost of exaltation. Many of them had walked forty or fifty miles;
they had brought only black bread to eat; they would sleep the two
nights on hay in some barn,--those of them who had had the great good
fortune to secure such a luxury; the rest--and that meant
hundreds--would sit on the ground anywhere where they could find a
spot clear and a rest for their heads; and after two nights and a day
of this, they trudged back again their forty miles or fifty,
refreshed, glad, and satisfied for the rest of their lives. This is
what the Passion Play means to the devout, ignorant Catholic peasant
of Bavaria to-day, and this is what it has meant to his race for
hundreds of years.

The antagonism and enlightenment of the Reformation did not reach the
Bavarian peasant,--did not so much as disturb his reverence for the
tangible tokens and presentations of his religion. He did not so much
as know when miracle plays were cast out and forbidden in other
countries. But it was sixty-one years later than this that the
Oberammergau people, stricken with terror at a plague in their
village, knew no better device to stay it than to vow to God the
performance of a Play of the Divine Passion of Christ. It is as holy a
thing to the masses of them now as it was then; and no one can do
justice to the play, even as a dramatic spectacle, who does not look
at it with recognition of this fact.

The early history of the Play itself is not known. The oldest
text-book of it now extant bears the date 1662,--nearly a generation
later than the first performance of it in Oberammergau. This
manuscript is still in possession of the Lang family, and is greatly
amusing in parts. The prologue gives an account of the New Testament
plan of salvation, and exhorts all people to avail themselves of it
with gratitude and devotion. At this juncture in rushes a demon
messenger from the devil, bearing a letter, which he unfolds and
reads. In this letter the devil requests all the people not to yield
to the influence of this play, asks them to make all the discordant
noises they can while it is going on, and promises to reward them well
if they will do so. The letter is signed: "I, Lucifer, Dog of Hell, in
my hellish house, where the fire pours out of the windows." The demon,
having read the letter aloud, folds it up and addresses the audience,
saying: "Now you have heard what my master wishes. He is a very good
master, and will reward you! Hie, Devil! up and away!" with which he
leaps off the stage, and the play at once begins, opening with a scene
laid in Bethany,--a meeting between Christ and his disciples. These
grotesque fancies, quips, and cranks were gradually banished from the
Play. Every year it was more or less altered, priest after priest
revising or rewriting it, down to the time of the now venerable
Daisenberger, who spent his youth in the monastery of Ettal, and first
saw the Passion Play acted at Oberammergau in 1830.

In 1845 the Oberammergau people, in unanimous enthusiasm, demanded to
have Daisenberger appointed as their pastor. He at once identified
himself warmly with the dramatic as well as the spiritual life of the
community; and it is to his learning and skill that the final
admirable form of the Passion Play, and the villagers' wonderful
success in rendering it, are due. He has written many Biblical dramas
and historical plays founded on incidents in the history of Bavaria.
Chief among these are: "The Founding of the Monastery of Ettal,"
"Theolinda," "King Heinrich and Duke Arnold of Bavaria," "Otto Von
Wittelsbach at the Veronese Hermitage," "The Bavarians in the
Peasants' War," "Luitberge, Duchess of Bavaria." He has also
dramatized some of the legends of the saints, and has translated the
"Antigone" of Sophocles and arranged it for the Oberammergau stage. A
half-century's training under the guidance of so learned and dramatic
a writer, who added to his learning and fine dramatic faculty a
profound spirituality and passionate adherence to the faiths and
dogmas of the Church, might well create, in a simple religious
community, a capacity and a fervor even greater than have been shown
by the Oberammergau people. To understand the extent and the method of
their attainment, it is needful to realize all this; but no amount of
study of the details of the long process can fully convey or set forth
the subtle influences which must have pervaded the very air of the
place during these years. The acting of plays has been not only the
one recreation of their life, otherwise hard-worked, sombre, and
stern,--it has been their one channel for the two greatest passions of
the human heart,--love of approbation and the instinct of religious
worship; for the Oberammergau peasant, both these passions have
centred on and in his chance to win fame, please his priest, and honor
God, by playing well some worthy part in the Passion Play. The hope
and the ambition for this have been the earliest emotions roused in
the Oberammergau child's breast. In the tableaux of the Play even very
young children take part, and it is said that it has always been the
reward held up to them as soon as they could know what the words
meant: "If thou art good, thou mayest possibly have the honor of being
selected to play in the Passion Play when the year comes round." Not
to be considered fit to take any part in the Play is held, in
Oberammergau, to be disgrace; while to be regarded as worthy to render
the part of the Christus is the greatest honor which a man can receive
in this world. To take away from an actor a part he has once played is
a shame that can hardly be borne; and it is on record that once a man
to whom this had happened sank into a melancholy which became madness.

When the time approaches for the choice of the actors and the
assignment of the parts, the whole village is in a turmoil. The
selections and assignments are made by a committee of forty-five,
presided over by the priest and by the venerable "Geistlicher Rath"
Daisenberger, who, now in his eightieth year, still takes the keenest
interest in all the dramatic performances of his pupils. The election
day is in the last week of December of the year before the Play; and
the members of the committee, before going to this meeting, attend a
mass in the church. The deciding as to the players for 1880 took
three days' time, and great heart-burnings were experienced in the
community. In regard to the half-dozen prominent parts there is rarely
much disagreement; but as there are some seven hundred actors required
for the Play, there must inevitably be antagonisms and jealousies
among the minor characters. However, when the result of the
discussions and votes of the committee is made public, all dissension
ceases. One of the older actors is appointed to take charge of the
rehearsals, and from his authority there is no appeal. Each player is
required to rehearse his part four times a week; and as early in the
spring as the snow is out of the theatre the final rehearsals begin.
Thus each Passion Play year is a year of very hard work for the
Oberammergauers. Except for their constant familiarity with stage
routine and unbroken habit of stage representation through the
intervening years, they would never be able to endure the strain of
the Passion Play summers; and as it is, they look wan and worn before
the season is ended.

It is a thankless return that they have received at the hands of some
travellers, who have seen in the Passion Play little more than a show
of mountebanks acting for money. The truth is that the individual
performers receive an incredibly small share of the profits of the
Play. There is not another village in the world whose members would
work so hard, and at so great personal sacrifice, for the good of
their community and their Church. Every dollar of the money received
goes into the hands of a committee selected by the people. After all
the costs are paid, the profits are divided into four portions: one
quarter is set aside to be expended for the Church, for the school,
and for the poor; another for the improvement of the village, for
repairs of highways, public buildings, etc.; a third is divided among
the tax-paying citizens of the town who have incurred the expense of
preparing for the Play, buying the costumes, etc. The remaining
quarter is apportioned among the players, according to the importance
of their respective parts; as there are seven hundred of them, it is
easy to see that the individual gains cannot be very great.

The music of the Play, as now performed, was written in 1814, by
Rochus Dedler, an Oberammergau schoolmaster. It has for many years
been made a _sine qua non_ of this position in Oberammergau that the
master must be a musician, and, if possible, a composer; and Dedler is
not the only composer who has been content in the humble position of
schoolmaster in this village of peasants. Every day the children are
drilled in chorus singing and in recitative; with masses and other
church music they are early made familiar. Thus is every avenue of
training made to minister to the development of material for the
perfection of the Passion Play.

Dedler is said to have been a man of almost inspired nature. He wrote
often by night, and with preternatural rapidity. The music of the
Passion Play was begun on the evening of Trinity Sunday; he called his
six children together, made them kneel in a circle around him, and
saying, "Now I begin," ordered them all to devote themselves to
earnest prayer for him that he might write music worthy of the good
themes of the Play. The last notes were written on the following
Christmas Day, and they are indeed worthy of the story for which they
are at once the expression and the setting. The harmonies are
dignified, simple, and tender, with movements at times much resembling
some of Mozart's Masses. Many of the chorals are full of solemn
beauty. A daughter of Dedler's is still living in Munich; and to her
the grateful and honest-minded Oberammergau people have sent, after
each performance of the Passion Play, a sum of money in token of their
sense of indebtedness to her father's work.

The Passion Play cannot be considered solely as a drama; neither is it
to be considered simply as a historical panorama, presenting the
salient points in the earthly career of Jesus called Christ. To
consider it in either of these ways, or to behold it in the spirit
born of either of these two views, is to do only partial justice to
it. Whatever there might have been in the beginning of theatrical show
and diversion and fantastic conceit about it, has been long ago
eliminated. Generation after generation of devout and holy men have
looked upon it more and more as a vehicle for the profoundest truths
of their religion, and have added to it, scene by scene, speech by
speech, everything which in their esteem could enhance its solemnity
and make clear its teaching. However much one may disagree with its
doctrines, reject its assumptions, or question its interpretations,
that is no reason for overlooking its significance as a tangible and
rounded presentation of that scheme of the redemption of the world in
which to-day millions of men and women have full faith. It is by no
means distinctively a Roman Catholic presentation of this scheme; it
is Christian. The Holy Virgin of the Roman Catholic Church is, in this
play, from first to last, only the mother of Jesus,--the mother whom
all lovers and followers of Jesus, wherever they place him or her,
however they define his nature and her relations to him, yet hold
blessed among the women who have given birth to leaders and saviors of

This presentation of the scheme of redemption seeks to portray not
only the scenes of the life of Jesus on earth, but the typical
foreshadowing of it in the Old Testament narratives,--its prophecy as
well as its fulfilment. To this end there are given, before each act
of the Play, tableaux of Old Testament events, supposed to be directly
typical, and intended to be prophetic, of the scenes in Christ's life
which are depicted in the act following. These are selected with
skill, and rendered with marvellous effect. For instance, a tableau of
the plotting of Joseph's brethren to sell him into Egypt, is given
before the act in which the Jewish priests in the full council of the
Sanhedrim plot the death of Jesus; a tableau of the miraculous fall of
manna for the Israelites in the wilderness, before the act in which is
given Christ's Last Supper with his Disciples; the sale of Joseph to
the Midianites before the bargain of Judas with the priests for the
betrayal of Jesus; the death of Abel, and Cain's despair, before the
act in which Judas, driven mad by remorse, throws down at the feet of
the priests the "price of blood," and rushes out to hang himself;
Daniel defending himself to Darius, before the act in which Jesus is
brought into the presence of Pilate for trial; the sacrifice of Isaac,
before the scourging of Jesus and his crowning with the thorns: these
are a few of the best and most relevant ones.

The Play is divided into eighteen acts, and covers the time from
Christ's entry into Jerusalem at the time of his driving the
money-changers out of the temple till his ascension. The salient
points, both historical and graphic, are admirably chosen for a
continuous representation. In the second act is seen the High Council
of the Jewish Sanhedrim plotting measures for the ruin and death of
Jesus. This is followed by his Departure from Bethany, the Last
Journey to Jerusalem, the Last Supper, the Final Interview between
Judas and the Sanhedrim, the Betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The performance of the Play up to this point consumes four hours; and
as there is here a natural break in the action, an interval of an
hour's rest is taken. It comes none too soon, either to actors or
spectators, after so long a strain of unbroken attention and deep

The next act is the bringing of Jesus before the High-Priest Annas;
Annas orders him taken before Caiaphas, and this is the ninth act of
the Play. Then follow: The Despair of Judas and his Bitter Reproaches
to the Sanhedrim, The Interview between Jesus and Pilate, His
Appearance before Herod, His Scourging and Crowning with Thorns, The
Pronouncing of his Death Sentence by Pilate, The Ascent to Golgotha,
The Crucifixion and Burial, The Resurrection and Ascension. The whole
lesson of Christ's life, the whole lesson of Christ's death, are thus
shown, taught, impressed with a vividness which one must be callous
not to feel. The quality or condition of mind which can remain to the
end either unmoved or antagonistic is not to be envied. But, setting
aside all and every consideration of the moral quality of the Play,
looking at it simply as a dramatic spectacle, as a matter of acting,
of pictorial effects, it is impossible to deny to it a place among the
masterly theatrical representations of the world. One's natural
incredulity as to the possibility of true dramatic skill on the part
of comparatively unlettered peasants melts and disappears at sight of
the first act, The Entry of Christ into Jerusalem.

The stage, open to the sky, with a background so ingeniously arranged
as to give a good representation of several streets of the city, is
crowded in a few moments by five hundred men and women and children,
all waving palm branches, singing hosannas, and crowding around the
central figure of Jesus riding on an ass. The verisimilitude of the
scene is bewildering. The splendor of the colors is dazzling. Watching
this crowd of five hundred actors closely, one finds not a single
man, woman, or little child performing his part mechanically or
absently. The whole five hundred are acting as if each one regarded
his part as the central and prominent one; in fact, they are so acting
that it does not seem acting: this is characteristic of the acting
throughout the play. There is not a moment's slighting or tameness
anywhere. The most insignificant part is rendered as honestly as the
most important, and with the same abandon and fervor. There are
myriads of little by-plays and touches, which one hardly recognizes in
the first seeing of it, the interest is so intense and the movement so
rapid; but, seeing it a second time, one is almost more impressed by
these perfections in minor points than by the rendering of the chief
parts. The scribes who sit quietly writing in the foreground of the
Sanhedrim Court; the disciples who have nothing to do but to appear to
listen while Jesus speaks; the money-changers picking up their coins;
the messengers who come with only a word or two to speak; the soldiers
drawing lots among themselves in a group for Jesus' garments, at a
moment when all attention might be supposed to be concentrated on the
central figures of the Crucifixion,--every one of these acts with an
enthusiasm and absorption only to be explained by the mingling of a
certain element of religious fervor with native and long-trained
dramatic instinct.

This dramatic instinct is shown almost as much in the tableaux as in
the acting. The poses and grouping are wonderful, and the power of
remaining a long time motionless is certainly a trait which the
Oberammergau people possess to a well-nigh superhuman extent. The
curtain remained up, during many of these tableaux, five and seven
minutes; and there was not a trace of unsteadiness to be seen in one
of the characters. Even through a powerful glass I could not detect so
much as the twitching of a muscle. This is especially noticeable in
the tableau of the Fall of Manna in the Wilderness, which is one of
the finest of the Play. There are in it more than four hundred
persons; one hundred and fifty of them are children, some not over
three years of age. These children are conspicuously grouped in the
foreground; many of them are in attitudes which must be difficult to
keep,--bent on one knee or with outstretched hand or with uplifted
face,--but not one of the little creatures stirs head or foot or eye.
Neither is there to be seen, as the curtain begins to fall, any tremor
of preparation to move. Motionless as death they stand till the
curtain shuts even their feet from view. Too much praise cannot be
bestowed on the fidelity, accuracy, and beauty of the costumes. They
are gorgeous in color and fabric, and have been studied carefully from
the best authorities extant, and are not the least among the surprises
which the Play affords to all who go to see it expecting it to be on
the plane of ordinary theatrical representations. The splendor of some
of the more crowded scenes is rarely equalled: such a combination of
severe simplicity of outlines and contours, classic models of drapery,
with brilliancy of coloring, is not to be seen in any other play now

The high-water mark of the acting in the Play seems to me to be
reached, not in the Christus, but by Judas. This part is played by an
old man, Gregory Lechner. He is over sixty years of age, and his snowy
beard and his hair have to be dyed to the red hue which is desired for
the crafty Judas's face. From the time when, in Simon's house, he
stands by, grumbling at the waste of the precious ointment poured by
Mary Magdalene on the feet of Jesus, to the last moment of his
wretched existence, when he is seen wandering in a desolate
wilderness, about to take his own life in his remorse and despair,
Judas' acting is superb. Face, attitudes, voice, action,--all are
grandly true to the character, and marvellously full of life. It would
be considered splendid acting on any stage in the world. Nothing could
surpass its subtlety and fineness of conception, or the fire of its
rendering. It is a conception quite unlike those ordinarily held of
the character of Judas; ascribes the betrayal neither to a wilful,
malignant treachery, nor, as is sometimes done, to a secret purpose of
forcing Jesus to vindicate his claims to divine nature by working a
miracle of discomfiture to his enemies, but to pure, unrestrained
avarice,--the deadliest passion which can get possession of the human
soul. This theory is tenable at every point of Judas' career as
recorded in the Bible, and affords far broader scope for dramatic
delineation than any other theory of his character and conduct. It is,
in fact, the only theory which seems compatible with the entire
belief in the supernatural nature of Jesus. Expecting up to the last
minute that supernatural agencies would hinder the accomplishment of
the Jews' utmost malice, he thought to realize the full benefit of the
price of the betrayal, and yet not seriously imperil either the
ultimate ends or the personal safety of Jesus. The struggle between
the insatiable demon of avarice in his heart and all the nobler
impulses restraining it is a struggle which is to be seen going on in
his thoughts and repeated in his face in every scene in which he
appears; and his final despair and remorse are but the natural
culmination of the deed which he did only under the temporary control
of a passion against which he was all the time struggling, and which
he himself held in detestation and scorn. The gesture and look with
which he at last flings down the bag of silver in the presence of the
assembled Sanhedrim, exclaiming,--

     "Ye have made me a betrayer!
     Release again the innocent One! My
     Hands shall be clean,"

are a triumph of dramatic art never to be forgotten. His last words as
he wanders distraught in the dark wastes among barren trees, are one
of the finest monologues of the Play. It was written by the priest

     "Oh, were the Master there! Oh, could I see
     His face once more! I'd cast me at his feet,
     And cling to him, my only saving hope.
     But now he lieth in prison,--is, perhaps,
     Already murdered by his raging foe,--
     Alas, through my own guilt, through my own guilt!
     I am the outcast villain who hath brought
     My benefactor to these bonds and death!
     The scum of men! There is no help for me!
     For me no hope! My crime is much too great!
     The tearful crime no penance can make good!
     Too late! Too late! For he is dead--and I--
     I am his murderer!

                         Thrice unhappy hour
     In which my mother gave me to the world!
     How long must I drag on this life of shame,
     And bear these tortures in my outcast breast?
     As one pest-stricken, flee the haunts of men,
     And be despised and shunned by all the world?
     Not one step farther! Here, O life accursed,--
     Here will I end thee!"

The character of Christ is, of necessity, far the most difficult part
in the Play. Looking at it either as a rendering of the supernatural
or a portraying of the human Christ, there is apparent at once the
well-nigh insurmountable difficulty in the way of actualizing it in
any man's conception. Only the very profoundest religious fervor could
carry any man through the effort of embodying it on the theory of
Christ's divinity; and no amount of atheistic indifference could carry
a man through the ghastly mockery of acting it on any other theory.
Joseph Maier, who played the part in 1870, 1871, and 1880, is one of
the best-skilled carvers in the village, and, it is said, has never
carved anything but figures of Christ. He is a man of gentle and
religious nature, and is, as any devout Oberammergauer would be,
deeply pervaded by a sense of the solemnity of the function he
performs in the Play. In the main, he acts the part with wonderful
dignity and pathos. The only drawback is a certain undercurrent of
self-consciousness which seems ever apparent in him. Perhaps this is
only one of the limitations inevitably resulting from the over-demand
which the part, once being accepted and regarded as a supernatural
one, must perforce make on human powers. The dignity and dramatic
unity of the Play are much heightened by the admirable manner in which
a chorus is introduced, somewhat like the chorus of the old Greek
plays. It consists of eighteen singers, with a leader styled the
_Choragus_. The appearance and functions of these _Schutzgeister_, or
guardian angels, as they are called, has been thus admirably described
by a writer who has given the best detailed account ever written of
the Passion Play:--

     "They have dresses of various colors, over which a white tunic
     with gold fringe and a colored mantle are worn. Their
     appearance on the stage is majestic and solemn. They advance
     from the recesses on either side of the proscenium, and take up
     their position across the whole extent of the theatre, forming
     a slightly concave line. After the chorus has assumed its
     position, the choragus gives out in a dramatic manner the
     opening address or prologue which introduces each act; the tone
     is immediately taken up by the whole chorus, which continues
     either in solo, alternately, or in chorus, until the curtain is
     raised in order to reveal a _tableau vivant_. At this moment
     the choragus retires a few steps backward, and forms with one
     half of the band a division on the left of the stage, while
     the other half withdraws in like manner to the right. They thus
     leave the centre of the stage completely free, and the
     spectators have a full view of the tableau thus revealed. A few
     seconds having been granted for the contemplation of this
     picture, made more solemn by the musical recitation of the
     expounders, the curtain falls again, and the two divisions of
     the chorus coming forward resume their first position, and
     present a front to the audience, observing the same grace in
     all their motions as when they parted. The chanting still
     continues, and points out the connection between the picture
     which has just vanished and the dramatic scene which is
     forthwith to succeed. The singers then make their exit. The
     task of these Spirit-singers is resumed in the few following
     points: They have to prepare the audience for the approaching
     scenes. While gratifying the ear by delicious harmonies, they
     explain and interpret the relation which shadow bears to
     substance,--the connection between the type and its fulfilment.
     And as their name implies, they must be ever present as
     guardian spirits, as heavenly monitors, during the entire
     performance. The addresses of the choragus are all written by
     the Geistlicher Rath Daisenberger. They are written in the form
     of the ancient strophe and anti-strophe, with the difference
     that while in the Greek theatre they were spoken by the
     different members of the chorus, they are delivered in the
     Passion Play by the choragus alone."

It is impossible for any description, however accurate and minute, to
give a just idea of the effects produced by this chorus. The handling
of it is perhaps the one thing which, more than any other, lifts the
play to its high plane of dignity and beauty. The costumes are
brilliant in color, and strictly classic in contour,--a full white
tunic, edged with gold at hem and at throat, and simply confined at
the waist by a loose girdle. Over these are worn flowing mantles of
either pale blue, crimson, dull red, grayish purple, green, or
scarlet. These mantles or robes are held in place carelessly by a band
of gold across the breast. Crowns or tiaras of gold on the head
complete the dress, which, for simplicity and grace of outline and
beauty of coloring, could not be surpassed. The rhythmic precision
with which the singers enter, take place, open their lines, and fall
back on the right and left, is a marvel, until one learns that a
diagram of their movement is marked out on the floor, and that the
mysterious exactness and uniformity of their positions are simply the
result of following each time the constantly marked lines on the
stage. Their motions are slow and solemn, their expressions exalted
and rapt; they also are actors in the grand scheme of the Play.

On the morning of the Play the whole village is astir before light; in
fact, the village proper can hardly be said to have slept at all, for
seven hundred out of its twelve hundred inhabitants are actors in the
play, and are to be ready to attend a solemn mass at daylight.

Before eight o'clock every seat in the theatre is filled. There is no
confusion, no noise. The proportion of those who have come to the play
with as solemn a feeling as they would have followed the steps of the
living Christ in Judæa is so large that the contagion of their devout
atmosphere spreads even to the most indifferent spectators, commanding
quiet and serious demeanor.

The firing of a cannon announces the moment of beginning. Slow,
swelling strains come from the orchestra; the stately chorus enters on
the stage; the music stops; the leader gives a few words of prologue
or argument, and immediately the chorus breaks into song.

From this moment to the end, eight long hours, with only one hour's
rest at noon, the movement of this play is continuous. It is a
wonderful instance of endurance on the part of the actors; the stage
being entirely uncovered, sun and rain alike beat on their unprotected
heads. The greater part of the auditorium also is uncovered, and there
have been several instances in which the play has been performed in a
violent storm of rain, thousands of spectators sitting drenched from
beginning to end of the performance.

How incomparably the effects are, in sunny weather, heightened by this
background of mountain and sky, fine distances, and vistas of mountain
and meadow, and the canopy of heaven overhead, it is impossible to
express; one only wonders, on seeing it, that outdoor theatres have
not become a common summer pleasure for the whole world.

When birds fly over, they cast fluttering shadows of their wings on
the front of Pilate's and Caiaphas' homes, as naturally as did Judæan
sparrows two thousand years ago. Even butterflies flitting past cast
their tiny shadows on the stage; one bird paused, hovered, as if
pondering what it all could mean, circled two or three times over the
heads of the multitude, and then alighted on one of the wall-posts and
watched for some time. Great banks of white cumulus clouds gathered
and rested, dissolved and floated away, as the morning grew to
noonday, and the noonday wore on toward night. This closeness of
Nature is an accessory of illimitable effect; the visible presence of
the sky seems a witness to invisible presences beyond it, and a direct
bond with them. There must be many a soul, I am sure, who has felt
closer to the world of spiritual existences, while listening to the
music of the Oberammergau Passion Play, than in any other hour of his
life; and who can never, so long as he lives, read without emotion the
closing words of the venerable Daisenberger's little "History of

     "May the strangers who come to this Holy Passion Play become,
     by reading this book, more friendly with Ammergau; and may it
     sometimes, after they have returned to their homes, renew in
     them the memory of this quiet mountain valley."

     University Press: John Wilson & Son, Cambridge.


[9] Betrothed.

_Messrs. Roberts Brothers' Publications._



12mo Cloth. Price $1.50

_The Atlantic Monthly_ says of the author that she is "a Murillo in
literature," and that the story "is one of the most artistic creations
of American literature." Says a lady: "To me it is the most
distinctive piece of work we have had in this country since 'Uncle
Tom's Cabin,' and its exquisite finish of style is beyond that
classic." "The book is truly an American novel," says the _Boston
Advertiser_. "Ramona is one of the most charming creations of modern
fiction," says Charles D Warner. "The romance of the story is
irresistibly fascinating," says _The Independent_.

"The best novel written by a woman since George Eliot died, as it
seems to me, is Mrs. Jackson's 'Ramona.' What action is there! What
motion! How _entrainant_ it is! It carries us along as if mounted on a
swift horse's back, from beginning to end, and it is only when we
return for a second reading that we can appreciate the fine handling
of the characters, and especially the Spanish mother, drawn with a
stroke as keen and firm as that which portrayed George Eliot's
'Dorothea.'"--_T. W. Higginson._

Unsolicited tribute of a stranger, a lady in Wisconsin:--

"I beg leave to thank you with an intense heartiness for your public
espousal of the cause of the Indian. In your 'Century of Dishonor' you
showed to the country its own disgrace. In 'Ramona' you have dealt
most tenderly with the Indians as men and women. You have shown that
their stoicism is not indifference, that their squalor is not always
of their own choosing. You have shown the tender grandeur of their
love, the endurance of their constancy. While, by 'Ramona,' you have
made your name immortal, you have done something which is far greater.
You are but one: they are many. You have helped those who cannot help
themselves. As a novel, 'Ramona' must stand beside 'Romola,' both as
regards literary excellence and the portrayal of life's deepest, most
vital, most solemn interests. I think nothing in literature since
Goldsmith's 'Vicar of Wakefield' equals your description of the flight
of Ramona and Alessandro. Such delicate pathos and tender joy, such
pure conception of life's realities, and such loftiness of
self-abnegating love! How much richer and happier the world is with
'Ramona' in it!"

     _Sold by all booksellers. Mailed, post-paid, by the publishers_,


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