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Legends and Tales by Bret Harte

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This etext was prepared by Donald Lainson, charlie@idirect.com.


by Bret Harte











The cautious reader will detect a lack of authenticity in the
following pages. I am not a cautious reader myself, yet I confess
with some concern to the absence of much documentary evidence in
support of the singular incident I am about to relate. Disjointed
memoranda, the proceedings of ayuntamientos and early departmental
juntas, with other records of a primitive and superstitious people,
have been my inadequate authorities. It is but just to state,
however, that though this particular story lacks corroboration, in
ransacking the Spanish archives of Upper California I have met with
many more surprising and incredible stories, attested and supported
to a degree that would have placed this legend beyond a cavil or
doubt. I have, also, never lost faith in the legend myself, and in
so doing have profited much from the examples of divers grant-
claimants, who have often jostled me in their more practical
researches, and who have my sincere sympathy at the scepticism of a
modern hard-headed and practical world.

For many years after Father Junipero Serro first rang his bell in
the wilderness of Upper California, the spirit which animated that
adventurous priest did not wane. The conversion of the heathen
went on rapidly in the establishment of Missions throughout the
land. So sedulously did the good Fathers set about their work,
that around their isolated chapels there presently arose adobe
huts, whose mud-plastered and savage tenants partook regularly of
the provisions, and occasionally of the Sacrament, of their pious
hosts. Nay, so great was their progress, that one zealous Padre is
reported to have administered the Lord's Supper one Sabbath morning
to "over three hundred heathen Salvages." It was not to be
wondered that the Enemy of Souls, being greatly incensed thereat,
and alarmed at his decreasing popularity, should have grievously
tempted and embarrassed these Holy Fathers, as we shall presently

Yet they were happy, peaceful days for California. The vagrant
keels of prying Commerce had not as yet ruffled the lordly gravity
of her bays. No torn and ragged gulch betrayed the suspicion of
golden treasure. The wild oats drooped idly in the morning heat,
or wrestled with the afternoon breezes. Deer and antelope dotted
the plain. The watercourses brawled in their familiar channels,
nor dreamed of ever shifting their regular tide. The wonders of the
Yosemite and Calaveras were as yet unrecorded. The Holy Fathers
noted little of the landscape beyond the barbaric prodigality with
which the quick soil repaid the sowing. A new conversion, the
advent of a Saint's day, or the baptism of an Indian baby, was at
once the chronicle and marvel of their day.

At this blissful epoch there lived at the Mission of San Pablo
Father Jose Antonio Haro, a worthy brother of the Society of Jesus.
He was of tall and cadaverous aspect. A somewhat romantic history
had given a poetic interest to his lugubrious visage. While a
youth, pursuing his studies at famous Salamanca, he had become
enamored of the charms of Dona Carmen de Torrencevara, as that lady
passed to her matutinal devotions. Untoward circumstances,
hastened, perhaps, by a wealthier suitor, brought this amour to a
disastrous issue; and Father Jose entered a monastery, taking upon
himself the vows of celibacy. It was here that his natural fervor
and poetic enthusiasm conceived expression as a missionary. A
longing to convert the uncivilized heathen succeeded his frivolous
earthly passion, and a desire to explore and develop unknown
fastnesses continually possessed him. In his flashing eye and
sombre exterior was detected a singular commingling of the discreet
Las Casas and the impetuous Balboa.

Fired by this pious zeal, Father Jose went forward in the van of
Christian pioneers. On reaching Mexico, he obtained authority to
establish the Mission of San Pablo. Like the good Junipero,
accompanied only by an acolyte and muleteer, he unsaddled his mules
in a dusky canyon, and rang his bell in the wilderness. The
savages--a peaceful, inoffensive, and inferior race--presently
flocked around him. The nearest military post was far away, which
contributed much to the security of these pious pilgrims, who found
their open trustfulness and amiability better fitted to repress
hostility than the presence of an armed, suspicious, and brawling
soldiery. So the good Father Jose said matins and prime, mass and
vespers, in the heart of Sin and Heathenism, taking no heed to
himself, but looking only to the welfare of the Holy Church.
Conversions soon followed, and, on the 7th of July, 1760, the first
Indian baby was baptized,--an event which, as Father Jose piously
records, "exceeds the richnesse of gold or precious jewels or the
chancing upon the Ophir of Solomon." I quote this incident as best
suited to show the ingenious blending of poetry and piety which
distinguished Father Jose's record.

The Mission of San Pablo progressed and prospered until the pious
founder thereof, like the infidel Alexander, might have wept that
there were no more heathen worlds to conquer. But his ardent and
enthusiastic spirit could not long brook an idleness that seemed
begotten of sin; and one pleasant August morning, in the year of
grace 1770, Father Jose issued from the outer court of the Mission
building, equipped to explore the field for new missionary labors.

Nothing could exceed the quiet gravity and unpretentiousness of the
little cavalcade. First rode a stout muleteer, leading a pack-mule
laden with the provisions of the party, together with a few cheap
crucifixes and hawks' bells. After him came the devout Padre Jose,
bearing his breviary and cross, with a black serapa thrown around
his shoulders; while on either side trotted a dusky convert,
anxious to show a proper sense of their regeneration by acting as
guides into the wilds of their heathen brethren. Their new
condition was agreeably shown by the absence of the usual mud-
plaster, which in their unconverted state they assumed to keep away
vermin and cold. The morning was bright and propitious. Before
their departure, mass had been said in the chapel, and the
protection of St. Ignatius invoked against all contingent evils,
but especially against bears, which, like the fiery dragons of old,
seemed to cherish unconquerable hostility to the Holy Church.

As they wound through the canyon, charming birds disported upon
boughs and sprays, and sober quails piped from the alders; the
willowy water-courses gave a musical utterance, and the long grass
whispered on the hillside. On entering the deeper defiles, above
them towered dark green masses of pine, and occasionally the
madrono shook its bright scarlet berries. As they toiled up many a
steep ascent, Father Jose sometimes picked up fragments of scoria,
which spake to his imagination of direful volcanoes and impending
earthquakes. To the less scientific mind of the muleteer Ignacio
they had even a more terrifying significance; and he once or twice
snuffed the air suspiciously, and declared that it smelt of
sulphur. So the first day of their journey wore away, and at night
they encamped without having met a single heathen face.

It was on this night that the Enemy of Souls appeared to Ignacio in
an appalling form. He had retired to a secluded part of the camp
and had sunk upon his knees in prayerful meditation, when he looked
up and perceived the Arch-Fiend in the likeness of a monstrous
bear. The Evil One was seated on his hind legs immediately before
him, with his fore paws joined together just below his black
muzzle. Wisely conceiving this remarkable attitude to be in
mockery and derision of his devotions, the worthy muleteer was
transported with fury. Seizing an arquebuse, he instantly closed
his eyes and fired. When he had recovered from the effects of the
terrific discharge, the apparition had disappeared. Father Jose,
awakened by the report, reached the spot only in time to chide the
muleteer for wasting powder and ball in a contest with one whom a
single ave would have been sufficient to utterly discomfit. What
further reliance he placed on Ignacio's story is not known; but, in
commemoration of a worthy Californian custom, the place was called
La Canada de la Tentacion del Pio Muletero, or "The Glen of the
Temptation of the Pious Muleteer," a name which it retains to this

The next morning the party, issuing from a narrow gorge, came upon
a long valley, sear and burnt with the shadeless heat. Its lower
extremity was lost in a fading line of low hills, which, gathering
might and volume toward the upper end of the valley, upheaved a
stupendous bulwark against the breezy North. The peak of this
awful spur was just touched by a fleecy cloud that shifted to and
fro like a banneret. Father Jose gazed at it with mingled awe and
admiration. By a singular coincidence, the muleteer Ignacio
uttered the simple ejaculation "Diablo!"

As they penetrated the valley, they soon began to miss the
agreeable life and companionable echoes of the canyon they had
quitted. Huge fissures in the parched soil seemed to gape as with
thirsty mouths. A few squirrels darted from the earth, and
disappeared as mysteriously before the jingling mules. A gray wolf
trotted leisurely along just ahead. But whichever way Father Jose
turned, the mountain always asserted itself and arrested his
wandering eye. Out of the dry and arid valley, it seemed to spring
into cooler and bracing life. Deep cavernous shadows dwelt along
its base; rocky fastnesses appeared midway of its elevation; and on
either side huge black hills diverged like massy roots from a
central trunk. His lively fancy pictured these hills peopled with
a majestic and intelligent race of savages; and looking into
futurity, he already saw a monstrous cross crowning the dome-like
summit. Far different were the sensations of the muleteer, who saw
in those awful solitudes only fiery dragons, colossal bears and
break-neck trails. The converts, Concepcion and Incarnacion,
trotting modestly beside the Padre, recognized, perhaps, some
manifestation of their former weird mythology.

At nightfall they reached the base of the mountain. Here Father
Jose unpacked his mules, said vespers, and, formally ringing his
bell, called upon the Gentiles within hearing to come and accept
the Holy Faith. The echoes of the black frowning hills around him
caught up the pious invitation, and repeated it at intervals; but
no Gentiles appeared that night. Nor were the devotions of the
muleteer again disturbed, although he afterward asserted, that,
when the Father's exhortation was ended, a mocking peal of laughter
came from the mountain. Nothing daunted by these intimations of
the near hostility of the Evil One, Father Jose declared his
intention to ascend the mountain at early dawn; and before the sun
rose the next morning he was leading the way.

The ascent was in many places difficult and dangerous. Huge
fragments of rock often lay across the trail, and after a few
hours' climbing they were forced to leave their mules in a little
gully, and continue the ascent afoot. Unaccustomed to such
exertion, Father Jose often stopped to wipe the perspiration from
his thin cheeks. As the day wore on, a strange silence oppressed
them. Except the occasional pattering of a squirrel, or a rustling
in the chimisal bushes, there were no signs of life. The half-
human print of a bear's foot sometimes appeared before them, at
which Ignacio always crossed himself piously. The eye was
sometimes cheated by a dripping from the rocks, which on closer
inspection proved to be a resinous oily liquid with an abominable
sulphurous smell. When they were within a short distance of the
summit, the discreet Ignacio, selecting a sheltered nook for the
camp, slipped aside and busied himself in preparations for the
evening, leaving the Holy Father to continue the ascent alone.
Never was there a more thoughtless act of prudence, never a more
imprudent piece of caution. Without noticing the desertion, buried
in pious reflection, Father Jose pushed mechanically on, and,
reaching the summit, cast himself down and gazed upon the prospect.

Below him lay a succession of valleys opening into each other like
gentle lakes, until they were lost to the southward. Westerly the
distant range hid the bosky canada which sheltered the mission of
San Pablo. In the farther distance the Pacific Ocean stretched
away, bearing a cloud of fog upon its bosom, which crept through
the entrance of the bay, and rolled thickly between him and the
northeastward; the same fog hid the base of mountain and the view
beyond. Still, from time to time the fleecy veil parted, and
timidly disclosed charming glimpses of mighty rivers, mountain
defiles, and rolling plains, sear with ripened oats, and bathed in
the glow of the setting sun. As Father Jose gazed, he was
penetrated with a pious longing. Already his imagination, filled
with enthusiastic conceptions, beheld all that vast expanse
gathered under the mild sway of the Holy Faith, and peopled with
zealous converts. Each little knoll in fancy became crowned with a
chapel; from each dark canyon gleamed the white walls of a mission
building. Growing bolder in his enthusiasm, and looking farther
into futurity, he beheld a new Spain rising on these savage shores.
He already saw the spires of stately cathedrals, the domes of
palaces, vineyards, gardens, and groves. Convents, half hid among
the hills, peeping from plantations of branching limes; and long
processions of chanting nuns wound through the defiles. So
completely was the good Father's conception of the future
confounded with the past, that even in their choral strain the
well-remembered accents of Carmen struck his ear. He was busied in
these fanciful imaginings, when suddenly over that extended
prospect the faint, distant tolling of a bell rang sadly out and
died. It was the Angelus. Father Jose listened with superstitious
exaltation. The mission of San Pablo was far away, and the sound
must have been some miraculous omen. But never before, to his
enthusiastic sense, did the sweet seriousness of this angelic
symbol come with such strange significance. With the last faint
peal, his glowing fancy seemed to cool; the fog closed in below
him, and the good Father remembered he had not had his supper. He
had risen and was wrapping his serapa around him, when he perceived
for the first time that he was not alone.

Nearly opposite, and where should have been the faithless Ignacio,
a grave and decorous figure was seated. His appearance was that of
an elderly hidalgo, dressed in mourning, with mustaches of iron-
gray carefully waxed and twisted around a pair of lantern-jaws.
The monstrous hat and prodigious feather, the enormous ruff and
exaggerated trunk-hose, contrasted with a frame shrivelled and
wizened, all belonged to a century previous. Yet Father Jose was
not astonished. His adventurous life and poetic imagination,
continually on the lookout for the marvellous, gave him a certain
advantage over the practical and material minded. He instantly
detected the diabolical quality of his visitant, and was prepared.
With equal coolness and courtesy he met the cavalier's obeisance.

"I ask your pardon, Sir Priest," said the stranger, "for disturbing
your meditations. Pleasant they must have been, and right
fanciful, I imagine, when occasioned by so fair a prospect."

"Worldly, perhaps, Sir Devil,--for such I take you to be," said the
Holy Father, as the stranger bowed his black plumes to the ground;
"worldly, perhaps; for it hath pleased Heaven to retain even in our
regenerated state much that pertaineth to the flesh, yet still, I
trust, not without some speculation for the welfare of the Holy
Church. In dwelling upon yon fair expanse, mine eyes have been
graciously opened with prophetic inspiration, and the promise of
the heathen as an inheritance hath marvellously recurred to me.
For there can be none lack such diligence in the True Faith, but
may see that even the conversion of these pitiful salvages hath a
meaning. As the blessed St. Ignatius discreetly observes,"
continued Father Jose, clearing his throat and slightly elevating
his voice, "'the heathen is given to the warriors of Christ, even
as the pearls of rare discovery which gladden the hearts of
shipmen.' Nay, I might say--"

But here the stranger, who had been wrinkling his brows and
twisting his mustaches with well-bred patience, took advantage of
an oratorical pause:--

"It grieves me, Sir Priest, to interrupt the current of your
eloquence as discourteously as I have already broken your
meditations; but the day already waneth to night. I have a matter
of serious import to make with you, could I entreat your cautious
consideration a few moments."

Father Jose hesitated. The temptation was great, and the prospect
of acquiring some knowledge of the Great Enemy's plans not the
least trifling object. And if the truth must be told, there was a
certain decorum about the stranger that interested the Padre.
Though well aware of the Protean shapes the Arch-Fiend could
assume, and though free from the weaknesses of the flesh, Father
Jose was not above the temptations of the spirit. Had the Devil
appeared, as in the case of the pious St. Anthony, in the likeness
of a comely damsel, the good Father, with his certain experience of
the deceitful sex, would have whisked her away in the saying of a
paternoster. But there was, added to the security of age, a grave
sadness about the stranger,--a thoughtful consciousness as of being
at a great moral disadvantage,--which at once decided him on a
magnanimous course of conduct.

The stranger then proceeded to inform him, that he had been
diligently observing the Holy Father's triumphs in the valley.
That, far from being greatly exercised thereat, he had been only
grieved to see so enthusiastic and chivalrous an antagonist wasting
his zeal in a hopeless work. For, he observed, the issue of the
great battle of Good and Evil had been otherwise settled, as he
would presently show him. "It wants but a few moments of night,"
he continued, "and over this interval of twilight, as you know, I
have been given complete control. Look to the West."

As the Padre turned, the stranger took his enormous hat from his
head, and waved it three times before him. At each sweep of the
prodigious feather, the fog grew thinner, until it melted
impalpably away, and the former landscape returned, yet warm with
the glowing sun. As Father Jose gazed, a strain of martial music
arose from the valley, and issuing from a deep canyon, the good
Father beheld a long cavalcade of gallant cavaliers, habited like
his companion. As they swept down the plain, they were joined by
like processions, that slowly defiled from every ravine and canyon
of the mysterious mountain. From time to time the peal of a
trumpet swelled fitfully upon the breeze; the cross of Santiago
glittered, and the royal banners of Castile and Aragon waved over
the moving column. So they moved on solemnly toward the sea,
where, in the distance, Father Jose saw stately caravels, bearing
the same familiar banner, awaiting them. The good Padre gazed with
conflicting emotions, and the serious voice of the stranger broke
the silence.

"Thou hast beheld, Sir Priest, the fading footprints of adventurous
Castile. Thou hast seen the declining glory of old Spain,--
declining as yonder brilliant sun. The sceptre she hath wrested
from the heathen is fast dropping from her decrepit and fleshless
grasp. The children she hath fostered shall know her no longer.
The soil she hath acquired shall be lost to her as irrevocably as
she herself hath thrust the Moor from her own Granada."

The stranger paused, and his voice seemed broken by emotion; at the
same time, Father Jose, whose sympathizing heart yearned toward the
departing banners, cried in poignant accents,--

"Farewell, ye gallant cavaliers and Christian soldiers! Farewell,
thou, Nunes de Balboa! thou, Alonzo de Ojeda! and thou, most
venerable Las Casas! Farewell, and may Heaven prosper still the
seed ye left behind!"

Then turning to the stranger, Father Jose beheld him gravely draw
his pocket-handkerchief from the basket-hilt of his rapier, and
apply it decorously to his eyes.

"Pardon this weakness, Sir Priest," said the cavalier,
apologetically; "but these worthy gentlemen were ancient friends
of mine, and have done me many a delicate service,--much more,
perchance, than these poor sables may signify," he added, with a
grim gesture toward the mourning suit he wore.

Father Jose was too much preoccupied in reflection to notice the
equivocal nature of this tribute, and, after a few moments'
silence, said, as if continuing his thought,--

"But the seed they have planted shall thrive and prosper on this
fruitful soil."

As if answering the interrogatory, the stranger turned to the
opposite direction, and, again waving his hat, said, in the same
serious tone,--

"Look to the East!"

The Father turned, and, as the fog broke away before the waving
plume, he saw that the sun was rising. Issuing with its bright
beams through the passes of the snowy mountains beyond, appeared a
strange and motley crew. Instead of the dark and romantic visages
of his last phantom train, the Father beheld with strange concern
the blue eyes and flaxen hair of a Saxon race. In place of martial
airs and musical utterance, there rose upon the ear a strange din
of harsh gutturals and singular sibilation. Instead of the
decorous tread and stately mien of the cavaliers of the former
vision, they came pushing, bustling, panting, and swaggering. And
as they passed, the good Father noticed that giant trees were
prostrated as with the breath of a tornado, and the bowels of the
earth were torn and rent as with a convulsion. And Father Jose
looked in vain for holy cross or Christian symbol; there was but
one that seemed an ensign, and he crossed himself with holy horror
as he perceived it bore the effigy of a bear.

"Who are these swaggering Ishmaelites?" he asked, with something of
asperity in his tone.

The stranger was gravely silent.

"What do they here, with neither cross nor holy symbol?" he again

"Have you the courage to see, Sir Priest?" responded the stranger,

Father Jose felt his crucifix, as a lonely traveller might his
rapier, and assented.

"Step under the shadow of my plume," said the stranger.

Father Jose stepped beside him, and they instantly sank through the

When he opened his eyes, which had remained closed in prayerful
meditation during his rapid descent, he found himself in a vast
vault, bespangled overhead with luminous points like the starred
firmament. It was also lighted by a yellow glow that seemed to
proceed from a mighty sea or lake that occupied the centre of the
chamber. Around this subterranean sea dusky figures flitted,
bearing ladles filled with the yellow fluid, which they had
replenished from its depths. From this lake diverging streams of
the same mysterious flood penetrated like mighty rivers the
cavernous distance. As they walked by the banks of this glittering
Styx, Father Jose perceived how the liquid stream at certain places
became solid. The ground was strewn with glittering flakes. One
of these the Padre picked up and curiously examined. It was virgin

An expression of discomfiture overcast the good Father's face at
this discovery; but there was trace neither of malice nor
satisfaction in the stranger's air, which was still of serious and
fateful contemplation. When Father Jose recovered his equanimity,
he said, bitterly,--

"This, then, Sir Devil, is your work! This is your deceitful lure
for the weak souls of sinful nations! So would you replace the
Christian grace of holy Spain!"

"This is what must be," returned the stranger, gloomily. "But
listen, Sir Priest. It lies with you to avert the issue for a
time. Leave me here in peace. Go back to Castile, and take with
you your bells, your images, and your missions. Continue here, and
you only precipitate results. Stay! promise me you will do this,
and you shall not lack that which will render your old age an
ornament and a blessing"; and the stranger motioned significantly
to the lake.

It was here, the legend discreetly relates, that the Devil showed--
as he always shows sooner or later--his cloven hoof. The worthy
Padre, sorely perplexed by his threefold vision, and, if the truth
must be told, a little nettled at this wresting away of the glory
of holy Spanish discovery, had shown some hesitation. But the
unlucky bribe of the Enemy of Souls touched his Castilian spirit.
Starting back in deep disgust, he brandished his crucifix in the
face of the unmasked Fiend, and in a voice that made the dusky
vault resound, cried,--

"Avaunt thee, Sathanas! Diabolus, I defy thee! What! wouldst thou
bribe me,--me, a brother of the Sacred Society of the Holy Jesus,
Licentiate of Cordova and Inquisitor of Guadalaxara? Thinkest thou
to buy me with thy sordid treasure? Avaunt!"

What might have been the issue of this rupture, and how complete
might have been the triumph of the Holy Father over the Arch-Fiend,
who was recoiling aghast at these sacred titles and the flourishing
symbol, we can never know, for at that moment the crucifix slipped
through his fingers.

Scarcely had it touched the ground before Devil and Holy Father
simultaneously cast themselves toward it. In the struggle they
clinched, and the pious Jose, who was as much the superior of his
antagonist in bodily as in spiritual strength, was about to treat
the Great Adversary to a back somersault, when he suddenly felt the
long nails of the stranger piercing his flesh. A new fear seized
his heart, a numbing chillness crept through his body, and he
struggled to free himself, but in vain. A strange roaring was in
his ears; the lake and cavern danced before his eyes and vanished;
and with a loud cry he sank senseless to the ground.

When he recovered his consciousness he was aware of a gentle
swaying motion of his body. He opened his eyes, and saw it was
high noon, and that he was being carried in a litter through the
valley. He felt stiff, and, looking down, perceived that his arm
was tightly bandaged to his side.

He closed his eyes and after a few words of thankful prayer,
thought how miraculously he had been preserved, and made a vow of
candlesticks to the blessed Saint Jose. He then called in a faint
voice, and presently the penitent Ignacio stood beside him.

The joy the poor fellow felt at his patron's returning consciousness
for some time choked his utterance. He could only ejaculate, "A
miracle! Blessed Saint Jose, he lives!" and kiss the Padre's
bandaged hand. Father Jose, more intent on his last night's
experience, waited for his emotion to subside, and asked where he
had been found.

"On the mountain, your Reverence, but a few varas from where he
attacked you."

"How?--you saw him then?" asked the Padre, in unfeigned astonishment.

"Saw him, your Reverence! Mother of God, I should think I did!
And your Reverence shall see him too, if he ever comes again within
range of Ignacio's arquebuse."

"What mean you, Ignacio?" said the Padre, sitting bolt-upright in
his litter.

"Why, the bear, your Reverence,--the bear, Holy Father, who
attacked your worshipful person while you were meditating on the
top of yonder mountain."

"Ah!" said the Holy Father, lying down again. "Chut, child! I
would be at peace."

When he reached the Mission, he was tenderly cared for, and in a
few weeks was enabled to resume those duties from which, as will be
seen, not even the machinations of the Evil One could divert him.
The news of his physical disaster spread over the country; and a
letter to the Bishop of Guadalaxara contained a confidential and
detailed account of the good Father's spiritual temptation. But in
some way the story leaked out; and long after Jose was gathered to
his fathers, his mysterious encounter formed the theme of thrilling
and whispered narrative. The mountain was generally shunned. It
is true that Senor Joaquin Pedrillo afterward located a grant near
the base of the mountain; but as Senora Pedrillo was known to be a
termagant half-breed, the Senor was not supposed to be over-

Such is the Legend of Monte del Diablo. As I said before, it may
seem to lack essential corroboration. The discrepancy between the
Father's narrative and the actual climax has given rise to some
scepticism on the part of ingenious quibblers. All such I would
simply refer to that part of the report of Senor Julio Serro, Sub-
Prefect of San Pablo, before whom attest of the above was made.
Touching this matter, the worthy Prefect observes, "That although
the body of Father Jose doth show evidence of grievous conflict in
the flesh, yet that is no proof that the Enemy of Souls, who could
assume the figure of a decorous elderly caballero, could not at the
same time transform himself into a bear for his own vile purposes."



One pleasant New Year's Eve, about forty years ago, Padre Vicentio
was slowly picking his way across the sand-hills from the Mission
Dolores. As he climbed the crest of the ridge beside Mission
Creek, his broad, shining face might have been easily mistaken for
the beneficent image of the rising moon, so bland was its smile and
so indefinite its features. For the Padre was a man of notable
reputation and character; his ministration at the mission of San
Jose had been marked with cordiality and unction; he was adored by
the simple-minded savages, and had succeeded in impressing his
individuality so strongly upon them that the very children were
said to have miraculously resembled him in feature.

As the holy man reached the loneliest portion of the road, he
naturally put spurs to his mule as if to quicken that decorous pace
which the obedient animal had acquired through long experience of
its master's habits. The locality had an unfavorable reputation.
Sailors--deserters from whaleships--had been seen lurking about the
outskirts of the town, and low scrub oaks which everywhere beset
the trail might have easily concealed some desperate runaway.
Besides these material obstructions, the devil, whose hostility to
the church was well known, was said to sometimes haunt the vicinity
in the likeness of a spectral whaler, who had met his death in a
drunken bout, from a harpoon in the hands of a companion. The
ghost of this unfortunate mariner was frequently observed sitting
on the hill toward the dusk of evening, armed with his favorite
weapon and a tub containing a coil of line, looking out for some
belated traveller on whom to exercise his professional skill. It
is related that the good Father Jose Maria of the Mission Dolores
had been twice attacked by this phantom sportsman; that once, on
returning from San Francisco, and panting with exertion from
climbing the hill, he was startled by a stentorian cry of "There
she blows!" quickly followed by a hurtling harpoon, which buried
itself in the sand beside him; that on another occasion he narrowly
escaped destruction, his serapa having been transfixed by the
diabolical harpoon and dragged away in triumph. Popular opinion
seems to have been divided as to the reason for the devil's
particular attention to Father Jose, some asserting that the
extreme piety of the Padre excited the Evil One's animosity, and
others that his adipose tendency simply rendered him, from a
professional view-point, a profitable capture.

Had Father Vicentio been inclined to scoff at this apparition as a
heretical innovation, there was still the story of Concepcion, the
Demon Vaquero, whose terrible riata was fully as potent as the
whaler's harpoon. Concepcion, when in the flesh, had been a
celebrated herder of cattle and wild horses, and was reported to
have chased the devil in the shape of a fleet pinto colt all the
way from San Luis Obispo to San Francisco, vowing not to give up
the chase until he had overtaken the disguised Arch-Enemy. This
the devil prevented by resuming his own shape, but kept the
unfortunate vaquero to the fulfilment of his rash vow; and
Concepcion still scoured the coast on a phantom steed, beguiling
the monotony of his eternal pursuit by lassoing travellers,
dragging them at the heels of his unbroken mustang until they were
eventually picked up, half-strangled, by the roadside. The Padre
listened attentively for the tramp of this terrible rider. But no
footfall broke the stillness of the night; even the hoofs of his
own mule sank noiselessly in the shifting sand. Now and then a
rabbit bounded lightly by him, or a quail ran into the bushes. The
melancholy call of plover from the adjoining marshes of Mission
Creek came to him so faintly and fitfully that it seemed almost a
recollection of the past rather than a reality of the present.

To add to his discomposure one of those heavy sea-fogs peculiar to
the locality began to drift across the hills and presently
encompassed him. While endeavoring to evade its cold embraces,
Padre Vicentio incautiously drove his heavy spurs into the flanks
of his mule as that puzzled animal was hesitating on the brink of a
steep declivity. Whether the poor beast was indignant at this
novel outrage, or had been for some time reflecting on the evils of
being priest-ridden, has not transpired; enough that he suddenly
threw up his heels, pitching the reverend man over his head, and,
having accomplished this feat, coolly dropped on his knees and
tumbled after his rider.

Over and over went the Padre, closely followed by his faithless
mule. Luckily the little hollow which received the pair was of
sand that yielded to the superincumbent weight, half burying them
without further injury. For some moments the poor man lay
motionless, vainly endeavoring to collect his scattered senses. A
hand irreverently laid upon his collar, and a rough shake, assisted
to recall his consciousness. As the Padre staggered to his feet he
found himself confronted by a stranger.

Seen dimly through the fog, and under circumstances that to say the
least were not prepossessing, the new-comer had an inexpressibly
mysterious and brigand-like aspect. A long boat-cloak concealed
his figure, and a slouched hat hid his features, permitting only
his eyes to glisten in the depths. With a deep groan the Padre
slipped from the stranger's grasp and subsided into the soft sand

"Gad's life!" said the stranger, pettishly, "hast no more bones in
thy fat carcass than a jellyfish? Lend a hand, here! Yo, heave
ho!" and he dragged the Padre into an upright position. "Now,
then, who and what art thou?"

The Padre could not help thinking that the question might have more
properly been asked by himself; but with an odd mixture of dignity
and trepidation he began enumerating his different titles, which
were by no means brief, and would have been alone sufficient to
strike awe in the bosom of an ordinary adversary. The stranger
irreverently broke in upon his formal phrases, and assuring him
that a priest was the very person he was looking for, coolly
replaced the old man's hat, which had tumbled off, and bade him
accompany him at once on an errand of spiritual counsel to one who
was even then lying in extremity. "To think," said the stranger,
"that I should stumble upon the very man I was seeking! Body of
Bacchus! but this is lucky! Follow me quickly, for there is no
time to lose."

Like most easy natures the positive assertion of the stranger, and
withal a certain authoritative air of command, overcame what slight
objections the Padre might have feebly nurtured during this
remarkable interview. The spiritual invitation was one, also, that
he dared not refuse; not only that; but it tended somewhat to
remove the superstitious dread with which he had begun to regard
the mysterious stranger. But, following at a respectful distance,
the Padre could not help observing with a thrill of horror that the
stranger's footsteps made no impression on the sand, and his figure
seemed at times to blend and incorporate itself with the fog, until
the holy man was obliged to wait for its reappearance. In one of
these intervals of embarrassment he heard the ringing of the far-
off Mission bell, proclaiming the hour of midnight. Scarcely had
the last stroke died away before the announcement was taken up and
repeated by a multitude of bells of all sizes, and the air was
filled with the sound of striking clocks and the pealing of steeple
chimes. The old man uttered a cry of alarm. The stranger sharply
demanded the cause. "The bells! did you not hear them?" gasped
Padre Vicentio. "Tush! tush!" answered the stranger, "thy fall
hath set triple bob-majors ringing in thine ears. Come on!"

The Padre was only too glad to accept the explanation conveyed in
this discourteous answer. But he was destined for another singular
experience. When they had reached the summit of the eminence now
known as Russian Hill, an exclamation again burst from the Padre.
The stranger turned to his companion with an impatient gesture; but
the Padre heeded him not. The view that burst upon his sight was
such as might well have engrossed the attention of a more
enthusiastic temperament. The fog had not yet reached the hill,
and the long valleys and hillsides of the embarcadero below were
glittering with the light of a populous city. "Look!" said the
Padre, stretching his hand over the spreading landscape. "Look,
dost thou not see the stately squares and brilliantly lighted
avenues of a mighty metropolis. Dost thou not see, as it were,
another firmament below?"

"Avast heaving, reverend man, and quit this folly," said the
strange; dragging the bewildered Padre after him. "Behold rather
the stars knocked out of thy hollow noddle by the fall thou hast
had. Prithee, get over thy visions and rhapsodies, for the time is
wearing apace."

The Padre humbly followed without another word. Descending the
hill toward the north, the stranger leading the way, in a few
moments the Padre detected the wash of waves, and presently his
feet struck the firmer sand of the beach. Here the stranger
paused, and the Padre perceived a boat lying in readiness hard by.
As he stepped into the stern sheets, in obedience to the command of
his companion, he noticed that the rowers seemed to partake of the
misty incorporeal texture of his companion, a similarity that
became the more distressing when he perceived also that their oars
in pulling together made no noise. The stranger, assuming the
helm, guided the boat on quietly, while the fog, settling over the
face of the water and closing around them, seemed to interpose a
muffled wall between themselves and the rude jarring of the outer
world. As they pushed further into this penetralia, the Padre
listened anxiously for the sound of creaking blocks and the
rattling of cordage, but no vibration broke the veiled stillness or
disturbed the warm breath of the fleecy fog. Only one incident
occurred to break the monotony of their mysterious journey. A one-
eyed rower, who sat in front of the Padre, catching the devout
father's eye, immediately grinned such a ghastly smile, and winked
his remaining eye with such diabolical intensity of meaning that
the Padre was constrained to utter a pious ejaculation, which had
the disastrous effect of causing the marine Cocles to "catch a
crab," throwing his heels in the air and his head into the bottom
of the boat. But even this accident did not disturb the gravity of
the rest of the ghastly boat's crew.

When, as it seemed to the Padre, ten minutes had elapsed, the
outline of a large ship loomed up directly across their bow.
Before he could utter the cry of warning that rose to his lips, or
brace himself against the expected shock, the boat passed gently
and noiselessly through the sides of the vessel, and the holy man
found himself standing on the berth deck of what seemed to be an
ancient caravel. The boat and boat's crew had vanished. Only his
mysterious friend, the stranger, remained. By the light of a
swinging lamp the Padre beheld him standing beside a hammock,
whereon, apparently, lay the dying man to whom he had been so
mysteriously summoned. As the Padre, in obedience to a sign from
his companion, stepped to the side of the sufferer, he feebly
opened his eyes and thus addressed him:--

"Thou seest before thee, reverend father, a helpless mortal,
struggling not only with the last agonies of the flesh, but beaten
down and tossed with sore anguish of the spirit. It matters little
when or how I became what thou now seest me. Enough that my life
has been ungodly and sinful, and that my only hope of absolution
lies in my imparting to thee a secret which is of vast importance
to the holy Church, and affects greatly her power, wealth, and
dominion on these shores. But the terms of this secret and the
conditions of my absolution are peculiar. I have but five minutes
to live. In that time I must receive the extreme unction of the

"And thy secret?" said the holy father.

"Shall be told afterwards," answered the dying man. "Come, my time
is short. Shrive me quickly."

The Padre hesitated. "Couldst thou not tell this secret first?"

"Impossible!" said the dying man, with what seemed to the Padre a
momentary gleam of triumph. Then, as his breath grew feebler, he
called impatiently, "Shrive me! shrive me!"

"Let me know at least what this secret concerns?" suggested the
Padre, insinuatingly.

"Shrive me first," said the dying man.

But the priest still hesitated, parleying with the sufferer until
the ship's bell struck, when, with a triumphant, mocking laugh from
the stranger, the vessel suddenly fell to pieces, amid the rushing
of waters which at once involved the dying man, the priest, and the
mysterious stranger.

The Padre did not recover his consciousness until high noon the
next day, when he found himself lying in a little hollow between
the Mission Hills, and his faithful mule a few paces from him,
cropping the sparse herbage. The Padre made the best of his way
home, but wisely abstained from narrating the facts mentioned
above, until after the discovery of gold, when the whole of this
veracious incident was related, with the assertion of the padre
that the secret which was thus mysteriously snatched from his
possession was nothing more than the discovery of gold, years
since, by the runaway sailors from the expedition of Sir Francis


On the northerly shore of San Francisco Bay, at a point where the
Golden Gate broadens into the Pacific stands a bluff promontory.
It affords shelter from the prevailing winds to a semicircular bay
on the east. Around this bay the hillside is bleak and barren, but
there are traces of former habitation in a weather-beaten cabin and
deserted corral. It is said that these were originally built by an
enterprising squatter, who for some unaccountable reason abandoned
them shortly after. The "Jumper" who succeeded him disappeared one
day, quite as mysteriously. The third tenant, who seemed to be a
man of sanguine, hopeful temperament, divided the property into
building lots, staked off the hillside, and projected the map of a
new metropolis. Failing, however, to convince the citizens of San
Francisco that they had mistaken the site of their city, he
presently fell into dissipation and despondency. He was frequently
observed haunting the narrow strip of beach at low tide, or perched
upon the cliff at high water. In the latter position a sheep-
tender one day found him, cold and pulseless, with a map of his
property in his hand, and his face turned toward the distant sea.

Perhaps these circumstances gave the locality its infelicitous
reputation. Vague rumors were bruited of a supernatural influence
that had been exercised on the tenants. Strange stories were
circulated of the origin of the diabolical title by which the
promontory was known. By some it was believed to be haunted by the
spirit of one of Sir Francis Drake's sailors who had deserted his
ship in consequence of stories told by the Indians of gold
discoveries, but who had perished by starvation on the rocks. A
vaquero who had once passed a night in the ruined cabin, related
how a strangely dressed and emaciated figure had knocked at the
door at midnight and demanded food. Other story-tellers, of more
historical accuracy, roundly asserted that Sir Francis himself had
been little better than a pirate, and had chosen this spot to
conceal quantities of ill-gotten booty, taken from neutral bottoms,
and had protected his hiding-place by the orthodox means of hellish
incantation and diabolic agencies. On moonlight nights a shadowy
ship was sometimes seen standing off-and-on, or when fogs
encompassed sea and shore the noise of oars rising and falling in
their row-locks could be heard muffled and indistinctly during the
night. Whatever foundation there might have been for these
stories, it was certain that a more weird and desolate-looking spot
could not have been selected for their theatre. High hills,
verdureless and enfiladed with dark canadas, cast their gaunt
shadows on the tide. During a greater portion of the day the wind,
which blew furiously and incessantly, seemed possessed with a
spirit of fierce disquiet and unrest. Toward nightfall the sea-fog
crept with soft step through the portals of the Golden Gate, or
stole in noiseless marches down the hillside, tenderly soothing the
wind-buffeted face of the cliff, until sea and sky were hid
together. At such times the populous city beyond and the nearer
settlement seemed removed to an infinite distance. An immeasurable
loneliness settled upon the cliff. The creaking of a windlass, or
the monotonous chant of sailors on some unseen, outlying ship, came
faint and far, and full of mystic suggestion.

About a year ago a well-to-do middle-aged broker of San Francisco
found himself at nightfall the sole occupant of a "plunger,"
encompassed in a dense fog, and drifting toward the Golden Gate.
This unexpected termination of an afternoon's sail was partly
attributable to his want of nautical skill, and partly to the
effect of his usually sanguine nature. Having given up the
guidance of his boat to the wind and tide, he had trusted too
implicitly for that reaction which his business experience assured
him was certain to occur in all affairs, aquatic as well as
terrestrial. "The tide will turn soon," said the broker,
confidently, "or something will happen." He had scarcely settled
himself back again in the stern-sheets, before the bow of the
plunger, obeying some mysterious impulse, veered slowly around and
a dark object loomed up before him. A gentle eddy carried the boat
further in shore, until at last it was completely embayed under the
lee of a rocky point now faintly discernible through the fog. He
looked around him in the vain hope of recognizing some familiar
headland. The tops of the high hills which rose on either side
were hidden in the fog. As the boat swung around, he succeeded in
fastening a line to the rocks, and sat down again with a feeling of
renewed confidence and security.

It was very cold. The insidious fog penetrated his tightly
buttoned coat, and set his teeth to chattering in spite of the aid
he sometimes drew from a pocket-flask. His clothes were wet and
the stern-sheets were covered with spray. The comforts of fire and
shelter continually rose before his fancy as he gazed wistfully on
the rocks. In sheer despair he finally drew the boat toward the
most accessible part of the cliff and essayed to ascend. This was
less difficult than it appeared, and in a few moments he had gained
the hill above. A dark object at a little distance attracted his
attention, and on approaching it proved to be a deserted cabin.
The story goes on to say, that having built a roaring fire of
stakes pulled from the adjoining corral, with the aid of a flask of
excellent brandy, he managed to pass the early part of the evening
with comparative comfort.

There was no door in the cabin, and the windows were simply square
openings, which freely admitted the searching fog. But in spite of
these discomforts,--being a man of cheerful, sanguine temperament,--
he amused himself by poking the fire, and watching the ruddy glow
which the flames threw on the fog from the open door. In this
innocent occupation a great weariness overcame him, and he fell

He was awakened at midnight by a loud "halloo," which seemed to
proceed directly from the sea. Thinking it might be the cry of
some boatman lost in the fog, he walked to the edge of the cliff,
but the thick veil that covered sea and land rendered all objects
at the distance of a few feet indistinguishable. He heard,
however, the regular strokes of oars rising and falling on the
water. The halloo was repeated. He was clearing his throat to
reply, when to his surprise an answer came apparently from the very
cabin he had quitted. Hastily retracing his steps, he was the more
amazed, on reaching the open door, to find a stranger warming
himself by the fire. Stepping back far enough to conceal his own
person, he took a good look at the intruder.

He was a man of about forty, with a cadaverous face. But the
oddity of his dress attracted the broker's attention more than his
lugubrious physiognomy. His legs were hid in enormously wide
trousers descending to his knee, where they met long boots of
sealskin. A pea-jacket with exaggerated cuffs, almost as large as
the breeches, covered his chest, and around his waist a monstrous
belt, with a buckle like a dentist's sign, supported two trumpet-
mouthed pistols and a curved hanger. He wore a long queue, which
depended half-way down his back. As the firelight fell on his
ingenuous countenance the broker observed with some concern that
this queue was formed entirely of a kind of tobacco, known as
pigtail or twist. Its effect, the broker remarked, was much
heightened when in a moment of thoughtful abstraction the
apparition bit off a portion of it, and rolled it as a quid into
the cavernous recesses of his jaws.

Meanwhile, the nearer splash of oars indicated the approach of the
unseen boat. The broker had barely time to conceal himself behind
the cabin before a number of uncouth-looking figures clambered up
the hill toward the ruined rendezvous. They were dressed like the
previous comer, who, as they passed through the open door,
exchanged greetings with each in antique phraseology, bestowing at
the same time some familiar nickname. Flash-in-the-Pan, Spitter-
of-Frogs, Malmsey Butt, Latheyard-Will, and Mark-the-Pinker, were
the few sobriquets the broker remembered. Whether these titles
were given to express some peculiarity of their owner he could not
tell, for a silence followed as they slowly ranged themselves upon
the floor of the cabin in a semicircle around their cadaverous

At length Malmsey Butt, a spherical-bodied man-of-war's-man, with a
rubicund nose, got on his legs somewhat unsteadily, and addressed
himself to the company. They had met that evening, said the
speaker, in accordance with a time-honored custom. This was simply
to relieve that one of their number who for fifty years had kept
watch and ward over the locality where certain treasures had been
buried. At this point the broker pricked up his ears. "If so be,
camarados and brothers all," he continued, "ye are ready to receive
the report of our excellent and well-beloved brother, Master Slit-
the-Weazand, touching his search for this treasure, why, marry,
to 't and begin."

A murmur of assent went around the circle as the speaker resumed
his seat. Master Slit-the-Weazand slowly opened his lantern jaws,
and began. He had spent much of his time in determining the exact
location of the treasure. He believed--nay, he could state
positively--that its position was now settled. It was true he had
done some trifling little business outside. Modesty forbade his
mentioning the particulars, but he would simply state that of the
three tenants who had occupied the cabin during the past ten years,
none were now alive. [Applause, and cries of "Go to! thou wast
always a tall fellow!" and the like.]

Mark-the-Pinker next arose. Before proceeding to business he had a
duty to perform in the sacred name of Friendship. It ill became
him to pass an eulogy upon the qualities of the speaker who had
preceded him, for he had known him from "boyhood's hour." Side by
side they had wrought together in the Spanish war. For a neat hand
with a toledo he challenged his equal, while how nobly and
beautifully he had won his present title of Slit-the-Weazand, all
could testify. The speaker, with some show of emotion, asked to be
pardoned if he dwelt too freely on passages of their early
companionship; he then detailed, with a fine touch of humor, his
comrade's peculiar manner of slitting the ears and lips of a
refractory Jew, who had been captured in one of their previous
voyages. He would not weary the patience of his hearers, but would
briefly propose that the report of Slit-the-Weazand be accepted,
and that the thanks of the company be tendered him.

A beaker of strong spirits was then rolled into the hut, and cans
of grog were circulated freely from hand to hand. The health of
Slit-the-Weazand was proposed in a neat speech by Mark-the-Pinker,
and responded to by the former gentleman in a manner that drew
tears to the eyes of all present. To the broker, in his
concealment, this momentary diversion from the real business of the
meeting occasioned much anxiety. As yet nothing had been said to
indicate the exact locality of the treasure to which they had
mysteriously alluded. Fear restrained him from open inquiry, and
curiosity kept him from making good his escape during the orgies
which followed.

But his situation was beginning to become critical. Flash-in-the-
Pan, who seemed to have been a man of choleric humor, taking fire
during some hotly contested argument, discharged both his pistols
at the breast of his opponent. The balls passed through on each
side immediately below his arm-pits, making a clean hole, through
which the horrified broker could see the firelight behind him. The
wounded man, without betraying any concern, excited the laughter of
the company, by jocosely putting his arms akimbo, and inserting his
thumbs into the orifices of the wounds, as if they had been arm-
holes. This having in a measure restored good-humor, the party
joined hands and formed a circle preparatory to dancing. The dance
was commenced by some monotonous stanzas hummed in a very high key
by one of the party, the rest joining in the following chorus,
which seemed to present a familiar sound to the broker's ear.

"Her Majestie is very sicke,
Lord Essex hath ye measles,
Our Admiral hath licked ye French--
Poppe! saith ye weasel!"

At the regular recurrence of the last line, the party discharged
their loaded pistols in all directions, rendering the position of
the unhappy broker one of extreme peril and perplexity.

When the tumult had partially subsided, Flash-in-the-Pan called the
meeting to order, and most of the revellers returned to their
places, Malmsey Butt, however, insisting upon another chorus, and
singing at the top of his voice:--

"I am ycleped J. Keyser--I was born at Spring, hys Garden,
My father toe make me ane clerke erst did essaye,
But a fico for ye offis--I spurn ye losels offeire;
For I fain would be ane butcher by'r ladykin alwaye."

Flash-in-the-Pan drew a pistol from his belt, and bidding some one
gag Malmsey Butt with the stock of it, proceeded to read from a
portentous roll of parchment that he held in his hand. It was a
semi-legal document, clothed in the quaint phraseology of a bygone
period. After a long preamble, asserting their loyalty as lieges
of Her most bountiful Majesty and Sovereign Lady the Queen, the
document declared that they then and there took possession of the
promontory, and all the treasure trove therein contained, formerly
buried by Her Majesty's most faithful and devoted Admiral Sir
Francis Drake, with the right to search, discover, and appropriate
the same; and for the purpose thereof they did then and there form
a guild or corporation to so discover, search for, and disclose
said treasures, and by virtue thereof they solemnly subscribed
their names. But at this moment the reading of the parchment was
arrested by an exclamation from the assembly, and the broker was
seen frantically struggling at the door in the strong arms of Mark-

"Let me go!" he cried, as he made a desperate attempt to reach the
side of Master Flash-in-the Pan. "Let me go! I tell you,
gentlemen, that document is not worth the parchment it is written
on. The laws of the State, the customs of the country, the mining
ordinances, are all against it. Don't, by all that's sacred, throw
away such a capital investment through ignorance and informality.
Let me go! I assure you, gentlemen, professionally, that you have
a big thing,--a remarkably big thing, and even if I ain't in it,
I'm not going to see it fall through. Don't, for God's sake,
gentlemen, I implore you, put your names to such a ridiculous
paper. There isn't a notary--"

He ceased. The figures around him, which were beginning to grow
fainter and more indistinct, as he went on, swam before his eyes,
flickered, reappeared again, and finally went out. He rubbed his
eyes and gazed around him. The cabin was deserted. On the hearth
the red embers of his fire were fading away in the bright beams of
the morning sun, that looked aslant through the open window. He
ran out to the cliff. The sturdy sea-breeze fanned his feverish
cheeks, and tossed the white caps of waves that beat in pleasant
music on the beach below. A stately merchantman with snowy canvas
was entering the Gate. The voices of sailors came cheerfully from
a bark at anchor below the point. The muskets of the sentries
gleamed brightly on Alcatraz, and the rolling of drums swelled on
the breeze. Farther on, the hills of San Francisco, cottage-
crowned and bordered with wharves and warehouses, met his longing

Such is the Legend of Devil's Point. Any objections to its
reliability may be met with the statement, that the broker who
tells the story has since incorporated a company under the title of
"Flash-in-the-Pan Gold and Silver Treasure Mining Company," and
that its shares are already held at a stiff figure. A copy of the
original document is said to be on record in the office of the
company, and on any clear day the locality of the claim may be
distinctly seen from the hills of San Francisco.



The church clocks in San Francisco were striking ten. The Devil,
who had been flying over the city that evening, just then alighted
on the roof of a church near the corner of Bush and Montgomery
Streets. It will be perceived that the popular belief that the
Devil avoids holy edifices, and vanishes at the sound of a Credo or
Pater-noster, is long since exploded. Indeed, modern scepticism
asserts that he is not averse to these orthodox discourses, which
particularly bear reference to himself, and in a measure recognize
his power and importance.

I am inclined to think, however, that his choice of a resting-place
was a good deal influenced by its contiguity to a populous
thoroughfare. When he was comfortably seated, he began pulling out
the joints of a small rod which he held in his hand, and which
presently proved to be an extraordinary fishing-pole, with a
telescopic adjustment that permitted its protraction to a
marvellous extent. Affixing a line thereto, he selected a fly of a
particular pattern from a small box which he carried with him, and,
making a skilful cast, threw his line into the very centre of that
living stream which ebbed and flowed through Montgomery Street.

Either the people were very virtuous that evening or the bait was
not a taking one. In vain the Devil whipped the stream at an eddy
in front of the Occidental, or trolled his line into the shadows of
the Cosmopolitan; five minutes passed without even a nibble. "Dear
me!" quoth the Devil, "that's very singular; one of my most popular
flies, too! Why, they'd have risen by shoals in Broadway or Beacon
Street for that. Well, here goes another." And, fitting a new fly
from his well-filled box, he gracefully recast his line.

For a few moments there was every prospect of sport. The line was
continually bobbing and the nibbles were distinct and gratifying.
Once or twice the bait was apparently gorged and carried off in the
upper stories of the hotels to be digested at leisure. At such
times the professional manner in which the Devil played out his
line would have thrilled the heart of Izaak Walton. But his
efforts were unsuccessful; the bait was invariably carried off
without hooking the victim, and the Devil finally lost his temper.
"I've heard of these San Franciscans before," he muttered; "wait
till I get hold of one,--that's all!" he added malevolently, as he
rebaited his hook. A sharp tug and a wriggle foiled his next
trial, and finally, with considerable effort, he landed a portly
two-hundred-pound broker upon the church roof.

As the victim lay there gasping, it was evident that the Devil was
in no hurry to remove the hook from his gills; nor did he exhibit
in this delicate operation that courtesy of manner and graceful
manipulation which usually distinguished him.

"Come," he said, gruffly, as he grasped the broker by the
waistband, "quit that whining and grunting. Don't flatter yourself
that you're a prize either. I was certain to have had you. It was
only a question of time."

"It is not that, my lord, which troubles me," whined the
unfortunate wretch, as he painfully wriggled his head, "but that I
should have been fooled by such a paltry bait. What will they say
of me down there? To have let 'bigger things' go by, and to be
taken in by this cheap trick," he added, as he groaned and glanced
at the fly which the Devil was carefully rearranging, "is what,--
pardon me, my lord,--is what gets me!"

"Yes," said the Devil, philosophically, "I never caught anybody yet
who didn't say that; but tell me, ain't you getting somewhat
fastidious down there? Here is one of my most popular flies, the
greenback," he continued, exhibiting an emerald-looking insect,
which he drew from his box. "This, so generally considered
excellent in election season, has not even been nibbled at.
Perhaps your sagacity, which, in spite of this unfortunate
contretemps, no one can doubt," added the Devil, with a graceful
return to his usual courtesy, "may explain the reason or suggest a

The broker glanced at the contents of the box with a supercilious
smile. "Too old-fashioned, my lord,--long ago played out. Yet,"
he added, with a gleam of interest, "for a consideration I might
offer something--ahem!--that would make a taking substitute for
these trifles. Give me," he continued, in a brisk, business-like
way, "a slight percentage and a bonus down, and I'm your man."

"Name your terms," said the Devil, earnestly.

"My liberty and a percentage on all you take, and the thing's done."

The Devil caressed his tail thoughtfully, for a few moments. He
was certain of the broker any way, and the risk was slight.
"Done!" he said.

"Stay a moment," said the artful broker. "There are certain
contingencies. Give me your fishing-rod and let me apply the bait
myself. It requires a skilful hand, my lord; even your well-known
experience might fail. Leave me alone for half an hour, and if you
have reason to complain of my success I will forfeit my deposit,--I
mean my liberty."

The Devil acceded to his request, bowed, and withdrew. Alighting
gracefully in Montgomery Street, he dropped into Meade & Co.'s
clothing store, where, having completely equipped himself a la
mode, he sallied forth intent on his personal enjoyment.
Determining to sink his professional character, he mingled with the
current of human life, and enjoyed, with that immense capacity for
excitement peculiar to his nature, the whirl, bustle, and
feverishness of the people, as a purely aesthetic gratification
unalloyed by the cares of business. What he did that evening does
not belong to our story. We return to the broker, whom we left on
the roof.

When he made sure that the Devil had retired, he carefully drew
from his pocket-book a slip of paper and affixed it on the hook.
The line had scarcely reached the current before he felt a bite.
The hook was swallowed. To bring up his victim rapidly, disengage
him from the hook, and reset his line, was the work of a moment.
Another bite and the same result. Another, and another. In a very
few minutes the roof was covered with his panting spoil. The
broker could himself distinguish that many of them were personal
friends; nay, some of them were familiar frequenters of the
building on which they were now miserably stranded. That the
broker felt a certain satisfaction in being instrumental in thus
misleading his fellow-brokers no one acquainted with human nature
will for a moment doubt. But a stronger pull on his line caused
him to put forth all his strength and skill. The magic pole bent
like a coach-whip. The broker held firm, assisted by the
battlements of the church. Again and again it was almost wrested
from his hand, and again and again he slowly reeled in a portion of
the tightening line. At last, with one mighty effort, he lifted to
the level of the roof a struggling object. A howl like Pandemonium
rang through the air as the broker successfully landed at his feet--
the Devil himself!

The two glared fiercely at each other. The broker, perhaps mindful
of his former treatment, evinced no haste to remove the hook from
his antagonist's jaw. When it was finally accomplished, he asked
quietly if the Devil was satisfied. That gentleman seemed absorbed
in the contemplation of the bait which he had just taken from his
mouth. "I am," he said, finally, "and forgive you; but what do you
call this?"

"Bend low," replied the broker, as he buttoned up his coat ready to
depart. The Devil inclined his ear. "I call it WILD CAT!"




In the second year of the reign of the renowned Caliph Lo there
dwelt in SILVER LAND, adjoining his territory, a certain terrible
ogress. She lived in the bowels of a dismal mountain, where she
was in the habit of confining such unfortunate travellers as
ventured within her domain. The country for miles around was
sterile and barren. In some places it was covered with a white
powder, which was called in the language of the country AL KA LI,
and was supposed to be the pulverized bones of those who had
perished miserably in her service.

In spite of this, every year, great numbers of young men devoted
themselves to the service of the ogress, hoping to become her
godsons, and to enjoy the good fortune which belonged to that
privileged class. For these godsons had no work to perform,
neither at the mountain nor elsewhere, but roamed about the world
with credentials of their relationship in their pockets, which they
called STOKH, which was stamped with the stamp and sealed with the
seal of the ogress, and which enabled them at the end of each moon
to draw large quantities of gold and silver from her treasury. And
the wisest and most favored of those godsons were the Princes
BADFELLAH and BULLEBOYE. They knew all the secrets of the ogress,
and how to wheedle and coax her. They were also the favorites of
SOOPAH INTENDENT, who was her Lord High Chamberlain and Prime
Minister, and who dwelt in SILVER LAND.

One day, SOOPAH INTENDENT said to his servants, "What is that which
travels the most surely, the most secretly, and the most swiftly?"

And they all answered as one man, "LIGHTNING, my lord, travels the
most surely, the most swiftly, and the most secretly!"

Then said SOOPAH INTENDENT, "Let Lightning carry this message
secretly, swiftly, and surely to my beloved friends the Princes
BADFELLAH and BULLEBOYE, and tell them that their godmother is
dying, and bid them seek some other godmother or sell their STOKH
ere it becomes badjee,--worthless."

"Bekhesm! On our heads be it!" answered the servants; and they ran
to Lightning with the message, who flew with it to the City by the
Sea, and delivered it, even at that moment, into the hands of the

Now the Prince BADFELLAH was a wicked young man; and when he had
received this message he tore his beard and rent his garment and
reviled his godmother, and his friend SOOPAH INTENDENT. But
presently he arose, and dressed himself in his finest stuffs, and
went forth into the bazaars and among the merchants, capering and
dancing as he walked, and crying in a loud voice, "O, happy day!
O, day worthy to be marked with a white stone!"

This he said cunningly, thinking the merchants and men of the
bazaars would gather about him, which they presently did, and began
to question him: "What news, O most worthy and serene Highness?
Tell us, that we make merry too!"

Then replied the cunning prince, "Good news, O my brothers, for I
have heard this day that my godmother in SILVER LAND is well." The
merchants, who were not aware of the substance of the real message,
envied him greatly, and said one to another: "Surely our brother
the Prince BADFELLAH is favored by Allah above all men"; and they
were about to retire, when the prince checked them, saying: "Tarry
for a moment. Here are my credentials, or STOKH. The same I will
sell you for fifty thousand sequins, for I have to give a feast to-
day, and need much gold. Who will give fifty thousand?" And he
again fell to capering and dancing. But this time the merchants
drew a little apart, and some of the oldest and wisest said: "What
dirt is this which the prince would have us swallow? If his
godmother were well, why should he sell his STOKH? Bismillah! The
olives are old and the jar is broken!" When Prince BADFELLAH
perceived them whispering, his countenance fell, and his knees
smote against each other through fear; but, dissembling again, he
said: "Well, so be it! Lo, I have much more than shall abide with
me, for my days are many and my wants are few. Say forty thousand
sequins for my STOKH and let me depart in Allah's name. Who will
give forty thousand sequins to become the godson of such a healthy
mother?" And he again fell to capering and dancing, but not as
gayly as before, for his heart was troubled. The merchants,
however, only moved farther away. "Thirty thousand sequins," cried
Prince BADFELLAH; but even as he spoke they fled before his face,
crying: "His godmother is dead. Lo, the jackals are defiling her
grave. Mashalla! he has no godmother." And they sought out PANIK,
the swift-footed messenger, and bade him shout through the bazaars
that the godmother of Prince BADFELLAH was dead. When he heard
this, the prince fell upon his face, and rent his garments, and
covered himself with the dust of the market-place. As he was
sitting thus, a porter passed him with jars of wine on his
shoulders, and the prince begged him to give him a jar, for he was
exceeding thirsty and faint. But the porter said, "What will my
lord give me first?" And the prince, in very bitterness of spirit,
said, "Take this," and handed him his STOKH, and so exchanged it
for a jar of wine.

Now the Prince BULLEBOYE was of a very different disposition. When
he received the message of SOOPAH INTENDENT he bowed his head, and
said, "It is the will of God." Then he rose; and without speaking
a word entered the gates of his palace. But his wife, the peerless
MAREE JAHANN, perceiving the gravity of his countenance, said, "Why
is my lord cast down and silent? Why are those rare and priceless
pearls, his words, shut up so tightly between those gorgeous
oyster-shells, his lips?" But to this he made no reply. Thinking
further to divert him, she brought her lute into the chamber and
stood before him, and sang the song and danced the dance of BEN
KOTTON, which is called IBRAHIM's DAUGHTER, but she could not lift
the veil of sadness from his brow.

When she had ceased, the Prince BULLEBOYE arose and said, "Allah is
great, and what am I, his servant, but the dust of the earth! Lo,
this day has my godmother sickened unto death, and my STOKH become
as a withered palm-leaf. Call hither my servants and camel-
drivers, and the merchants that have furnished me with stuffs, and
the beggars who have feasted at my table, and bid them take all
that is here, for it is mine no longer!" With these words he
buried his face in his mantle and wept aloud.

But MAREE JAHANN, his wife, plucked him by the sleeve. "Prithee,
my lord," said she, "bethink thee of the BROKAH or scrivener, who
besought thee but yesterday to share thy STOKH with him and gave
thee his bond for fifty thousand sequins." But the noble Prince
BULLEBOYE, raising his head, said: "Shall I sell to him for fifty
thousand sequins that which I know is not worth a SOO MARKEE? For
is not all the BROKAH'S wealth, even his wife and children, pledged
on that bond? Shall I ruin him to save myself? Allah forbid!
Rather let me eat the salt fish of honest penury, than the kibobs
of dishonorable affluence; rather let me wallow in the mire of
virtuous oblivion, than repose on the divan of luxurious wickedness."

When the prince had given utterance to this beautiful and edifying
sentiment, a strain of gentle music was heard, and the rear wall of
the apartment, which had been ingeniously constructed like a flat,
opened and discovered the Ogress of SILVER LAND in the glare of
blue fire, seated on a triumphal car attached to two ropes which
were connected with the flies, in the very act of blessing the
unconscious prince. When the walls closed again without attracting
his attention, Prince BULLEBOYE arose, dressed himself in his
coarsest and cheapest stuffs, and sprinkled ashes on his head, and
in this guise, having embraced his wife, went forth into the
bazaars. In this it will be perceived how differently the good
Prince BULLEBOYE acted from the wicked Prince BADFELLAH, who put on
his gayest garments to simulate and deceive.

Now when Prince BULLEBOYE entered the chief bazaar, where the
merchants of the city were gathered in council, he stood up in his
accustomed place, and all that were there held their breath, for
the noble Prince BULLEBOYE was much respected. "Let the BROKAH,
whose bond I hold for fifty thousand sequins, stand forth!" said
the prince. And the BROKAH stood forth from among the merchants.
Then said the prince: "Here is thy bond for fifty thousand sequins,
for which I was to deliver unto thee one half of my STOKH. Know,
then, O my brother,--and thou, too, O Aga of the BROKAHS,--that
this my STOKH which I pledged to thee is worthless. For my
godmother, the Ogress of SILVER LAND, is dying. Thus do I release
thee from thy bond, and from the poverty which might overtake thee
as it has even me, thy brother, the Prince BULLEBOYE." And with
that the noble Prince BULLEBOYE tore the bond of the BROKAH into
pieces and scattered it to the four winds.

Now when the prince tore up the bond there was a great commotion,
and some said, "Surely the Prince BULLEBOYE is drunken with wine";
and others, "He is possessed of an evil spirit"; and his friends
expostulated with him, saying, "What thou hast done is not the
custom of the bazaars,--behold, it is not BIZ!" But to all the
prince answered gravely, "It is right; on my own head be it!"

But the oldest and wisest of the merchants, they who had talked
with Prince BADFELLAH the same morning, whispered together, and
gathered around the BROKAH whose bond the Prince BULLEBOYE had torn
up. "Hark ye," said they, "our brother the Prince BULLEBOYE is
cunning as a jackal. What bosh is this about ruining himself to
save thee? Such a thing was never heard before in the bazaars. It
is a trick, O thou mooncalf of a BROKAH! Dost thou not see that he
has heard good news from his godmother, the same that was even now
told us by the Prince BADFELLAH, his confederate, and that he would
destroy thy bond for fifty thousand sequins because his STOKH is
worth a hundred thousand! Be not deceived, O too credulous BROKAH!
for this what our brother the prince doeth is not in the name of
ALLAH, but of BIZ, the only god known in the bazaars of the city."

When the foolish BROKAH heard these things he cried, "Justice, O
Aga of the BROKAHS,--justice and the fulfilment of my bond! Let
the prince deliver unto me the STOKH. Here are my fifty thousand
sequins." But the prince said, "Have I not told that my godmother
is dying, and that my STOKH is valueless?" At this the BROKAH only
clamored the more for justice and the fulfilment of his bond. Then
the Aga of the BROKAHS said, "Since the bond is destroyed, behold
thou hast no claim. Go thy ways!" But the BROKAH again cried,
"Justice, my lord Aga! Behold, I offer the prince seventy thousand
sequins for his STOKH!" But the prince said, "It is not worth one
sequin!" Then the Aga said, "Bismillah! I cannot understand this.
Whether thy godmother be dead, or dying, or immortal, does not seem
to signify. Therefore, O prince, by the laws of BIZ and of ALLAH,
thou art released. Give the BROKAH thy STOKH for seventy thousand
sequins, and bid him depart in peace. On his own head be it!"
When the prince heard this command, he handed his STOKH to the
BROKAH, who counted out to him seventy thousand sequins. But the
heart of the virtuous prince did not rejoice, nor did the BROKAH,
when he found his STOKH was valueless; but the merchants lifted
their hands in wonder at the sagacity and wisdom of the famous
Prince BULLEBOYE. For none would believe that it was the law of
ALLAH that the prince followed, and not the rules of BIZ.


Towards the close of the nineteenth century the city of San
Francisco was totally ingulfed by an earthquake. Although the
whole coast-line must have been much shaken, the accident seems to
have been purely local, and even the city of Oakland escaped.
Schwappelfurt, the celebrated German geologist, has endeavored to
explain this singular fact by suggesting that there are some things
the earth cannot swallow,--a statement that should be received with
some caution, as exceeding the latitude of ordinary geological

Historians disagree in the exact date of the calamity. Tulu Krish,
the well-known New-Zealander, whose admirable speculations on the
ruins of St. Paul as seen from London Bridge have won for him the
attentive consideration of the scientific world, fixes the
occurrence in A. D. 1880. This, supposing the city to have been
actually founded in 1850, as asserted, would give but thirty years
for it to have assumed the size and proportions it had evidently
attained at the time of its destruction. It is not our purpose,
however, to question the conclusions of the justly famed Maorian
philosopher. Our present business lies with the excavations that
are now being prosecuted by order of the Hawaiian government upon
the site of the lost city.

Every one is familiar with the story of its discovery. For many
years the bay of San Francisco had been famed for the luscious
quality of its oysters. It is stated that a dredger one day raked
up a large bell, which proved to belong to the City Hall, and led
to the discovery of the cupola of that building. The attention of
the government was at once directed to the spot. The bay of San
Francisco was speedily drained by a system of patent siphons, and
the city, deeply embedded in mud, brought to light after a burial
of many centuries. The City Hall, Post-Office, Mint, and Custom-
House were readily recognized by the large full-fed barnacles which
adhered to their walls. Shortly afterwards the first skeleton was
discovered; that of a broker, whose position in the upper strata of
mud nearer the surface was supposed to be owing to the exceeding
buoyancy or inflation of scrip which he had secured about his
person while endeavoring to escape. Many skeletons, supposed to be
those of females, encompassed in that peculiar steel coop or cage
which seems to have been worn by the women of that period, were
also found in the upper stratum. Alexis von Puffer, in his
admirable work on San Francisco, accounts for the position of these
unfortunate creatures by asserting that the steel cage was
originally the frame of a parachute-like garment which distended
the skirt, and in the submersion of the city prevented them from
sinking. "If anything," says Von Puffer, "could have been wanting
to add intensity to the horrible catastrophe which took place as
the waters first entered the city, it would have been furnished in
the forcible separation of the sexes at this trying moment. Buoyed
up by their peculiar garments, the female population instantly
ascended to the surface. As the drowning husband turned his eyes
above, what must have been his agony as he saw his wife shooting
upward, and knew that he was debarred the privilege of perishing
with her? To the lasting honor of the male inhabitants, be it said
that but few seemed to have availed themselves of their wives'
superior levity. Only one skeleton was found still grasping the
ankles of another in their upward journey to the surface."

For many years California had been subject to slight earthquakes,
more or less generally felt, but not of sufficient importance to
awaken anxiety or fear. Perhaps the absorbing nature of the San
Franciscans' pursuits of gold-getting, which metal seems to have
been valuable in those days, and actually used as a medium of
currency, rendered the inhabitants reckless of all other matters.
Everything tends to show that the calamity was totally unlooked
for. We quote the graphic language of Schwappelfurt:--

"The morning of the tremendous catastrophe probably dawned upon the
usual restless crowd of gold-getters intent upon their several
avocations. The streets were filled with the expanded figures of
gayly dressed women, acknowledging with coy glances the respectful
salutations of beaux as they gracefully raised their remarkable
cylindrical head-coverings, a model of which is still preserved in
the Honolulu Museum. The brokers had gathered at their respective
temples. The shopmen were exhibiting their goods. The idlers, or
'Bummers,'--a term applied to designate an aristocratic, privileged
class who enjoyed immunities from labor, and from whom a majority
of the rulers are chosen,--were listlessly regarding the promenaders
from the street-corners or the doors of their bibulous temples. A
slight premonitory thrill runs through the city. The busy life of
this restless microcosm is arrested. The shopkeeper pauses as he
elevates the goods to bring them into a favorable light, and the
glib professional recommendation sticks on his tongue. In the
drinking-saloon the glass is checked half-way to the lips; on the
streets the promenaders pause. Another thrill, and the city begins
to go down, a few of the more persistent topers tossing off their
liquor at the same moment. Beyond a terrible sensation of nausea,
the crowds who now throng the streets do not realize the extent of
the catastrophe. The waters of the bay recede at first from the
centre of depression, assuming a concave shape, the outer edge of
the circle towering many thousand feet above the city. Another
convulsion, and the water instantly resumes its level. The city is
smoothly ingulfed nine thousand feet below, and the regular swell of
the Pacific calmly rolls over it. Terrible," says Schwappelfurt, in
conclusion, "as the calamity must have been, in direct relation to
the individuals immediately concerned therein, we cannot but admire
its artistic management; the division of the catastrophe into three
periods, the completeness of the cataclysms, and the rare combination
of sincerity of intention with felicity of execution."


I had been stage-ridden and bewildered all day, and when we swept
down with the darkness into the Arcadian hamlet of "Wingdam," I
resolved to go no farther, and rolled out in a gloomy and dyspeptic
state. The effects of a mysterious pie, and some sweetened
carbonic acid known to the proprietor of the "Half-Way House" as
"lemming sody," still oppressed me. Even the facetiae of the
gallant expressman who knew everybody's Christian name along the
route, who rained letters, newspapers, and bundles from the top of
the stage, whose legs frequently appeared in frightful proximity to
the wheels, who got on and off while we were going at full speed,
whose gallantry, energy, and superior knowledge of travel crushed
all us other passengers to envious silence, and who just then was
talking with several persons and manifestly doing something else at
the same time,--even this had failed to interest me. So I stood
gloomily, clutching my shawl and carpet-bag, and watched the stage
roll away, taking a parting look at the gallant expressman as he
hung on the top rail with one leg, and lit his cigar from the pipe
of a running footman. I then turned toward the Wingdam Temperance

It may have been the weather, or it may have been the pie, but I
was not impressed favorably with the house. Perhaps it was the
name extending the whole length of the building, with a letter
under each window, making the people who looked out dreadfully
conspicuous. Perhaps it was that "Temperance" always suggested to
my mind rusks and weak tea. It was uninviting. It might have been
called the "Total Abstinence" Hotel, from the lack of anything to
intoxicate or inthrall the senses. It was designed with an eye to
artistic dreariness. It was so much too large for the settlement,
that it appeared to be a very slight improvement on out-doors. It
was unpleasantly new. There was the forest flavor of dampness
about it, and a slight spicing of pine. Nature outraged, but not
entirely subdued, sometimes broke out afresh in little round,
sticky, resinous tears on the doors and windows. It seemed to me
that boarding there must seem like a perpetual picnic. As I
entered the door, a number of the regular boarders rushed out of a
long room, and set about trying to get the taste of something out
of their mouths, by the application of tobacco in various forms. A
few immediately ranged themselves around the fireplace, with their
legs over each other's chairs, and in that position silently
resigned themselves to indigestion. Remembering the pie, I waived
the invitation of the landlord to supper, but suffered myself to be
conducted into the sitting-room. "Mine host" was a magnificent-
looking, heavily bearded specimen of the animal man. He reminded
me of somebody or something connected with the drama. I was
sitting beside the fire, mutely wondering what it could be, and
trying to follow the particular chord of memory thus touched, into
the intricate past, when a little delicate-looking woman appeared
at the door, and, leaning heavily against the casing, said in an
exhausted tone, "Husband!" As the landlord turned toward her, that
particular remembrance flashed before me in a single line of blank
verse. It was this: "Two souls with but one single thought, two
hearts that beat as one."

It was Ingomar and Parthenia his wife. I imagined a different
denouement from the play. Ingomar had taken Parthenia back to the
mountains, and kept a hotel for the benefit of the Alemanni, who
resorted there in large numbers. Poor Parthenia was pretty well
fagged out, and did all the work without "help." She had two
"young barbarians," a boy and a girl. She was faded, but still

I sat and talked with Ingomar, who seemed perfectly at home and
told me several stories of the Alemanni, all bearing a strong
flavor of the wilderness, and being perfectly in keeping with the
house. How he, Ingomar, had killed a certain dreadful "bar," whose
skin was just up "yar," over his bed. How he, Ingomar, had killed
several "bucks," whose skins had been prettily fringed and
embroidered by Parthenia, and even now clothed him. How he,
Ingomar, had killed several "Injins," and was once nearly scalped
himself. All this with that ingenious candor which is perfectly
justifiable in a barbarian, but which a Greek might feel inclined
to look upon as "blowing." Thinking of the wearied Parthenia, I
began to consider for the first time that perhaps she had better
married the old Greek. Then she would at least have always looked
neat. Then she would not have worn a woollen dress flavored with
all the dinners of the past year. Then she would not have been
obliged to wait on the table with her hair half down. Then the two
children would not have hung about her skirts with dirty fingers,
palpably dragging her down day by day. I suppose it was the pie
which put such heartless and improper ideas in my head, and so I
rose up and told Ingomar I believed I'd go to bed. Preceded by
that redoubtable barbarian and a flaring tallow candle, I followed
him up stairs to my room. It was the only single room he had, he
told me; he had built it for the convenience of married parties who
might stop here, but, that event not happening yet, he had left it
half furnished. It had cloth on one side, and large cracks on the
other. The wind, which always swept over Wingdam at night-time,
puffed through the apartment from different apertures. The window
was too small for the hole in the side of the house where it hung,
and rattled noisily. Everything looked cheerless and dispiriting.
Before Ingomar left me, he brought that "bar-skin," and throwing it
over the solemn bier which stood in one corner, told me he reckoned
that would keep me warm, and then bade me good night. I undressed
myself, the light blowing out in the middle of that ceremony,
crawled under the "bar-skin," and tried to compose myself to sleep.

But I was staringly wide awake. I heard the wind sweep down the
mountain-side, and toss the branches of the melancholy pine, and
then enter the house, and try all the doors along the passage.
Sometimes strong currents of air blew my hair all over the pillow,
as with strange whispering breaths. The green timber along the
walls seemed to be sprouting, and sent a dampness even through the
"bar-skin." I felt like Robinson Crusoe in his tree, with the
ladder pulled up,--or like the rocked baby of the nursery song.
After lying awake half an hour, I regretted having stopped at
Wingdam; at the end of the third quarter, I wished I had not gone
to bed; and when a restless hour passed, I got up and dressed
myself. There had been a fire down in the big room. Perhaps it
was still burning. I opened the door and groped my way along the
passage, vocal with the snores of the Alemanni and the whistling of
the night wind; I partly fell down stairs, and at last entering the
big room, saw the fire still burning. I drew a chair toward it,
poked it with my foot, and was astonished to see, by the upspringing
flash, that Parthenia was sitting there also, holding a faded-looking

I asked her why she was sitting up.

"She did not go to bed on Wednesday night before the mail arrived,
and then she awoke her husband, and there were passengers to 'tend

"Did she not get tired sometimes?"

"A little, but Abner" (the barbarian's Christian name) "had
promised to get her more help next spring, if business was good."

"How many boarders had she?"

"She believed about forty came to regular meals, and there was
transient custom, which was as much as she and her husband could
'tend to. But HE did a great deal of work."

"What work?"

"O, bringing in the wood, and looking after the traders' things."

"How long had she been married?"

"About nine years. She had lost a little girl and boy. Three
children living. HE was from Illinois. She from Boston. Had an
education (Boston Female High School,--Geometry, Algebra, a little
Latin and Greek). Mother and father died. Came to Illinois alone,
to teach school. Saw HIM--yes--a love match." ("Two souls," etc.,
etc.) "Married and emigrated to Kansas. Thence across the Plains
to California. Always on the outskirts of civilization. HE liked

"She might sometimes have wished to go home. Would like to on
account of her children. Would like to give them an education.
Had taught them a little herself, but couldn't do much on account
of other work. Hoped that the boy would be like his father, strong
and hearty. Was fearful the girl would be more like her. Had
often thought she was not fit for a pioneer's wife."


"O, she was not strong enough, and had seen some of his friends'
wives in Kansas who could do more work. But he never complained,--
was so kind." ("Two souls," etc.)

Sitting there with her head leaning pensively on one hand, holding
the poor, wearied, and limp-looking baby wearily on the other arm,
dirty, drabbled, and forlorn, with the firelight playing upon her
features no longer fresh or young, but still refined and delicate,
and even in her grotesque slovenliness still bearing a faint
reminiscence of birth and breeding, it was not to be wondered that
I did not fall into excessive raptures over the barbarian's
kindness. Emboldened by my sympathy, she told me how she had given
up, little by little, what she imagined to be the weakness of her
early education, until she found that she acquired but little
strength in her new experience. How, translated to a backwoods
society, she was hated by the women, and called proud and "fine,"
and how her dear husband lost popularity on that account with his
fellows. How, led partly by his roving instincts, and partly from
other circumstances, he started with her to California. An account
of that tedious journey. How it was a dreary, dreary waste in her
memory, only a blank plain marked by a little cairn of stones,--a
child's grave. How she had noticed that little Willie failed. How
she had called Abner's attention to it, but, man-like, he knew
nothing about children, and pooh-poohed it, and was worried by the
stock. How it happened that after they had passed Sweetwater, she
was walking beside the wagon one night, and looking at the western
sky, and she heard a little voice say "Mother." How she looked
into the wagon and saw that little Willie was sleeping comfortably
and did not wish to wake him. How that in a few moments more she
heard the same voice saying "Mother." How she came back to the
wagon and leaned down over him, and felt his breath upon her face,
and again covered him up tenderly, and once more resumed her weary
journey beside him, praying to God for his recovery. How with her
face turned to the sky she heard the same voice saying "Mother,"
and directly a great bright star shot away from its brethren and
expired. And how she knew what had happened, and ran to the wagon
again only to pillow a little pinched and cold white face upon her
weary bosom. The thin red hands went up to her eyes here, and for
a few moments she sat still. The wind tore round the house and
made a frantic rush at the front door, and from his couch of skins
in the inner room--Ingomar, the barbarian, snored peacefully.

"Of course she always found a protector from insult and outrage in
the great courage and strength of her husband?"

"O yes; when Ingomar was with her she feared nothing. But she was
nervous and had been frightened once!"


"They had just arrived in California. They kept house then, and
had to sell liquor to traders. Ingomar was hospitable, and drank
with everybody, for the sake of popularity and business, and
Ingomar got to like liquor, and was easily affected by it. And how
one night there was a boisterous crowd in the bar-room; she went in
and tried to get him away, but only succeeded in awakening the
coarse gallantry of the half-crazed revellers. And how, when she
had at last got him in the room with her frightened children, he
sank down on the bed in a stupor, which made her think the liquor
was drugged. And how she sat beside him all night, and near
morning heard a step in the passage, and, looking toward the door,
saw the latch slowly moving up and down, as if somebody were trying
it. And how she shook her husband, and tried to waken him, but
without effect. And how at last the door yielded slowly at the top
(it was bolted below), as if by a gradual pressure without; and how
a hand protruded through the opening. And how as quick as
lightning she nailed that hand to the wall with her scissors (her
only weapon), but the point broke, and somebody got away with a
fearful oath. How she never told her husband of it, for fear he
would kill that somebody; but how on one day a stranger called
here, and as she was handing him his coffee, she saw a queer
triangular scar on the back of his hand."

She was still talking, and the wind was still blowing, and Ingomar
was still snoring from his couch of skins, when there was a shout
high up the straggling street, and a clattering of hoofs, and
rattling of wheels. The mail had arrived. Parthenia ran with the
faded baby to awaken Ingomar, and almost simultaneously the gallant
expressman stood again before me addressing me by my Christian
name, and inviting me to drink out of a mysterious black bottle.
The horses were speedily watered, and the business of the gallant
expressman concluded, and, bidding Parthenia good by, I got on the
stage, and immediately fell asleep, and dreamt of calling on
Parthenia and Ingomar, and being treated with pie to an unlimited
extent, until I woke up the next morning in Sacramento. I have
some doubts as to whether all this was not a dyspeptic dream, but I
never witness the drama, and hear that noble sentiment concerning
"Two souls," etc., without thinking of Wingdam and poor Parthenia.

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