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Complete Poetical Works by Bret Harte

Part 2 out of 5

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Not yet, O friend, not yet! the patient stars
Lean from their lattices, content to wait.
All is illusion till the morning bars
Slip from the levels of the Eastern gate.
Night is too young, O friend! day is too near;
Wait for the day that maketh all things clear.
Not yet, O friend, not yet!

Not yet, O love, not yet! all is not true,
All is not ever as it seemeth now.
Soon shall the river take another blue,
Soon dies yon light upon the mountain brow.
What lieth dark, O love, bright day will fill;
Wait for thy morning, be it good or ill.
Not yet, O love, not yet!


The strain was finished; softly as the night
Her voice died from the window, yet e'en then
Fluttered and fell likewise a kerchief white;
But that no doubt was accident, for when
She sought her couch she deemed her conduct quite
Beyond the reach of scandalous commenter,--
Washing her hands of either gallant wight,
Knowing the moralist might compliment her,--
Thus voicing Siren with the words of Mentor.


She little knew the youths below, who straight
Dived for her kerchief, and quite overlooked
The pregnant moral she would inculcate;
Nor dreamed the less how little Winthrop brooked
Her right to doubt his soul's maturer state.
Brown--who was Western, amiable, and new--
Might take the moral and accept his fate;
The which he did, but, being stronger too,
Took the white kerchief, also, as his due.


They did not quarrel, which no doubt seemed queer
To those who knew not how their friendship blended;
Each was opposed, and each the other's peer,
Yet each the other in some things transcended.
Where Brown lacked culture, brains,--and oft, I fear,
Cash in his pocket,--Grey of course supplied him;
Where Grey lacked frankness, force, and faith sincere,
Brown of his manhood suffered none to chide him,
But in his faults stood manfully beside him.


In academic walks and studies grave,
In the camp drill and martial occupation,
They helped each other: but just here I crave
Space for the reader's full imagination,--
The fact is patent, Grey became a slave!
A tool, a fag, a "pleb"! To state it plainer,
All that blue blood and ancestry e'er gave
Cleaned guns, brought water!--was, in fact, retainer
To Jones, whose uncle was a paper-stainer!


How they bore this at home I cannot say:
I only know so runs the gossip's tale.
It chanced one day that the paternal Grey
Came to West Point that he himself might hail
The future hero in some proper way
Consistent with his lineage. With him came
A judge, a poet, and a brave array
Of aunts and uncles, bearing each a name,
Eyeglass and respirator with the same.


"Observe!" quoth Grey the elder to his friends,
"Not in these giddy youths at baseball playing
You'll notice Winthrop Adams! Greater ends
Than these absorb HIS leisure. No doubt straying
With Caesar's Commentaries, he attends
Some Roman council. Let us ask, however,
Yon grimy urchin, who my soul offends
By wheeling offal, if he will endeavor
To find-- What! heaven! Winthrop! Oh! no! never!"


Alas! too true! The last of all the Greys
Was "doing police detail,"--it had come
To this; in vain the rare historic bays
That crowned the pictured Puritans at home!
And yet 'twas certain that in grosser ways
Of health and physique he was quite improving.
Straighter he stood, and had achieved some praise
In other exercise, much more behooving
A soldier's taste than merely dirt removing.


But to resume: we left the youthful pair,
Some stanzas back, before a lady's bower;
'Tis to be hoped they were no longer there,
For stars were pointing to the morning hour.
Their escapade discovered, ill 'twould fare
With our two heroes, derelict of orders;
But, like the ghost, they "scent the morning air,"
And back again they steal across the borders,
Unseen, unheeded, by their martial warders.


They got to bed with speed: young Grey to dream
Of some vague future with a general's star,
And Mistress Kitty basking in its gleam;
While Brown, content to worship her afar,
Dreamed himself dying by some lonely stream,
Having snatched Kitty from eighteen Nez Perces,
Till a far bugle, with the morning beam,
In his dull ear its fateful song rehearses,
Which Winthrop Adams after put to verses.


So passed three years of their novitiate,
The first real boyhood Grey had ever known.
His youth ran clear,--not choked like his Cochituate,
In civic pipes, but free and pure alone;
Yet knew repression, could himself habituate
To having mind and body well rubbed down,
Could read himself in others, and could situate
Themselves in him,--except, I grieve to own,
He couldn't see what Kitty saw in Brown!


At last came graduation; Brown received
In the One Hundredth Cavalry commission;
Then frolic, flirting, parting,--when none grieved
Save Brown, who loved our young Academician.
And Grey, who felt his friend was still deceived
By Mistress Kitty, who with other beauties
Graced the occasion, and it was believed
Had promised Brown that when he could recruit his
Promised command, she'd share with him those duties.


Howe'er this was I know not; all I know,
The night was June's, the moon rode high and clear;
"'Twas such a night as this," three years ago,
Miss Kitty sang the song that two might hear.
There is a walk where trees o'erarching grow,
Too wide for one, not wide enough for three
(A fact precluding any plural beau),
Which quite explained Miss Kitty's company,
But not why Grey that favored one should be.


There is a spring, whose limpid waters hide
Somewhere within the shadows of that path
Called Kosciusko's. There two figures bide,--
Grey and Miss Kitty. Surely Nature hath
No fairer mirror for a might-be bride
Than this same pool that caught our gentle belle
To its dark heart one moment. At her side
Grey bent. A something trembled o'er the well,
Bright, spherical--a tear? Ah no! a button fell!


"Material minds might think that gravitation,"
Quoth Grey, "drew yon metallic spheroid down.
The soul poetic views the situation
Fraught with more meaning. When thy girlish crown
Was mirrored there, there was disintegration
Of me, and all my spirit moved to you,
Taking the form of slow precipitation!"
But here came "Taps," a start, a smile, adieu!
A blush, a sigh, and end of Canto II.


Fades the light,
And afar
Goeth day, cometh night;
And a star
Leadeth all,
Speedeth all
To their rest!

Love, good-night!
Must thou go
When the day
And the light
Need thee so,--
Needeth all,
Heedeth all,
That is best?



Where the sun sinks through leagues of arid sky,
Where the sun dies o'er leagues of arid plain,
Where the dead bones of wasted rivers lie,
Trailed from their channels in yon mountain chain;
Where day by day naught takes the wearied eye
But the low-rimming mountains, sharply based
On the dead levels, moving far or nigh,
As the sick vision wanders o'er the waste,
But ever day by day against the sunset traced:


There moving through a poisonous cloud that stings
With dust of alkali the trampling band
Of Indian ponies, ride on dusky wings
The red marauders of the Western land;
Heavy with spoil, they seek the trail that brings
Their flaunting lances to that sheltered bank
Where lie their lodges; and the river sings
Forgetful of the plain beyond, that drank
Its life blood, where the wasted caravan sank.


They brought with them the thief's ignoble spoil,
The beggar's dole, the greed of chiffonnier,
The scum of camps, the implements of toil
Snatched from dead hands, to rust as useless here;
All they could rake or glean from hut or soil
Piled their lean ponies, with the jackdaw's greed
For vacant glitter. It were scarce a foil
To all this tinsel that one feathered reed
Bore on its barb two scalps that freshly bleed!


They brought with them, alas! a wounded foe,
Bound hand and foot, yet nursed with cruel care,
Lest that in death he might escape one throe
They had decreed his living flesh should bear:
A youthful officer, by one foul blow
Of treachery surprised, yet fighting still
Amid his ambushed train, calm as the snow
Above him; hopeless, yet content to spill
His blood with theirs, and fighting but to kill.


He had fought nobly, and in that brief spell
Had won the awe of those rude border men
Who gathered round him, and beside him fell
In loyal faith and silence, save that when
By smoke embarrassed, and near sight as well,
He paused to wipe his eyeglass, and decide
Its nearer focus, there arose a yell
Of approbation, and Bob Barker cried,
"Wade in, Dundreary!" tossed his cap and--died.


Their sole survivor now! his captors bear
Him all unconscious, and beside the stream
Leave him to rest; meantime the squaws prepare
The stake for sacrifice: nor wakes a gleam
Of pity in those Furies' eyes that glare
Expectant of the torture; yet alway
His steadfast spirit shines and mocks them there
With peace they know not, till at close of day
On his dull ear there thrills a whispered "Grey!"


He starts! Was it a trick? Had angels kind
Touched with compassion some weak woman's breast?
Such things he'd read of! Faintly to his mind
Came Pocahontas pleading for her guest.
But then, this voice, though soft, was still inclined
To baritone! A squaw in ragged gown
Stood near him, frowning hatred. Was he blind?
Whose eye was this beneath that beetling frown?
The frown was painted, but that wink meant--Brown!


"Hush! for your life and mine! the thongs are cut,"
He whispers; "in yon thicket stands my horse.
One dash!--I follow close, as if to glut
My own revenge, yet bar the others' course.
Now!" And 'tis done. Grey speeds, Brown follows; but
Ere yet they reach the shade, Grey, fainting, reels,
Yet not before Brown's circling arms close shut
His in, uplifting him! Anon he feels
A horse beneath him bound, and hears the rattling heels.


Then rose a yell of baffled hate, and sprang
Headlong the savages in swift pursuit;
Though speed the fugitives, they hope to hang
Hot on their heels, like wolves, with tireless foot.
Long is the chase; Brown hears with inward pang
The short, hard panting of his gallant steed
Beneath its double burden; vainly rang
Both voice and spur. The heaving flanks may bleed,
Yet comes the sequel that they still must heed!


Brown saw it--reined his steed; dismounting, stood
Calm and inflexible. "Old chap! you see
There is but ONE escape. You know it? Good!
There is ONE man to take it. You are he.
The horse won't carry double. If he could,
'Twould but protract this bother. I shall stay:
I've business with these devils, they with me;
I will occupy them till you get away.
Hush! quick time, forward. There! God bless you, Grey!"


But as he finished, Grey slipped to his feet,
Calm as his ancestors in voice and eye:
"You do forget yourself when you compete
With him whose RIGHT it is to stay and die:
That's not YOUR duty. Please regain your seat;
And take my ORDERS--since I rank you here!--
Mount and rejoin your men, and my defeat
Report at quarters. Take this letter; ne'er
Give it to aught but HER, nor let aught interfere."


And, shamed and blushing, Brown the letter took
Obediently and placed it in his pocket;
Then, drawing forth another, said, "I look
For death as you do, wherefore take this locket
And letter." Here his comrade's hand he shook
In silence. "Should we both together fall,
Some other man"--but here all speech forsook
His lips, as ringing cheerily o'er all
He heard afar his own dear bugle-call!


'Twas his command and succor, but e'en then
Grey fainted, with poor Brown, who had forgot
He likewise had been wounded, and both men
Were picked up quite unconscious of their lot.
Long lay they in extremity, and when
They both grew stronger, and once more exchanged
Old vows and memories, one common "den"
In hospital was theirs, and free they ranged,
Awaiting orders, but no more estranged.


And yet 'twas strange--nor can I end my tale
Without this moral, to be fair and just:
They never sought to know why each did fail
The prompt fulfillment of the other's trust.
It was suggested they could not avail
Themselves of either letter, since they were
Duly dispatched to their address by mail
By Captain X., who knew Miss Rover fair
Now meant stout Mistress Bloggs of Blank Blank Square.



This is the tale that the Chronicle
Tells of the wonderful miracle
Wrought by the pious Padre Serro,
The very reverend Junipero.

The heathen stood on his ancient mound,
Looking over the desert bound
Into the distant, hazy South,
Over the dusty and broad champaign,
Where, with many a gaping mouth
And fissure, cracked by the fervid drouth,
For seven months had the wasted plain
Known no moisture of dew or rain.
The wells were empty and choked with sand;
The rivers had perished from the land;
Only the sea-fogs to and fro
Slipped like ghosts of the streams below.
Deep in its bed lay the river's bones,
Bleaching in pebbles and milk-white stones,
And tracked o'er the desert faint and far,
Its ribs shone bright on each sandy bar.

Thus they stood as the sun went down
Over the foot-hills bare and brown;
Thus they looked to the South, wherefrom
The pale-face medicine-man should come,
Not in anger or in strife,
But to bring--so ran the tale--
The welcome springs of eternal life,
The living waters that should not fail.

Said one, "He will come like Manitou,
Unseen, unheard, in the falling dew."
Said another, "He will come full soon
Out of the round-faced watery moon."
And another said, "He is here!" and lo,
Faltering, staggering, feeble and slow,
Out from the desert's blinding heat
The Padre dropped at the heathen's feet.

They stood and gazed for a little space
Down on his pallid and careworn face,
And a smile of scorn went round the band
As they touched alternate with foot and hand
This mortal waif, that the outer space
Of dim mysterious sky and sand
Flung with so little of Christian grace
Down on their barren, sterile strand.

Said one to him: "It seems thy God
Is a very pitiful kind of God:
He could not shield thine aching eyes
From the blowing desert sands that rise,
Nor turn aside from thy old gray head
The glittering blade that is brandished
By the sun He set in the heavens high;
He could not moisten thy lips when dry;
The desert fire is in thy brain;
Thy limbs are racked with the fever-pain.
If this be the grace He showeth thee
Who art His servant, what may we,
Strange to His ways and His commands,
Seek at His unforgiving hands?"

"Drink but this cup," said the Padre, straight,
"And thou shalt know whose mercy bore
These aching limbs to your heathen door,
And purged my soul of its gross estate.
Drink in His name, and thou shalt see
The hidden depths of this mystery.
Drink!" and he held the cup. One blow
From the heathen dashed to the ground below
The sacred cup that the Padre bore,
And the thirsty soil drank the precious store
Of sacramental and holy wine,
That emblem and consecrated sign
And blessed symbol of blood divine.

Then, says the legend (and they who doubt
The same as heretics be accurst),
From the dry and feverish soil leaped out
A living fountain; a well-spring burst
Over the dusty and broad champaign,
Over the sandy and sterile plain,
Till the granite ribs and the milk-white stones
That lay in the valley--the scattered bones--
Moved in the river and lived again!

Such was the wonderful miracle
Wrought by the cup of wine that fell
From the hands of the pious Padre Serro,
The very reverend Junipero.


Of all the fountains that poets sing,--
Crystal, thermal, or mineral spring,
Ponce de Leon's Fount of Youth,
Wells with bottoms of doubtful truth,--
In short, of all the springs of Time
That ever were flowing in fact or rhyme,
That ever were tasted, felt, or seen,
There were none like the Spring of San Joaquin.

Anno Domini eighteen-seven,
Father Dominguez (now in heaven,--
Obiit eighteen twenty-seven)
Found the spring, and found it, too,
By his mule's miraculous cast of a shoe;
For his beast--a descendant of Balaam's ass--
Stopped on the instant, and would not pass.

The Padre thought the omen good,
And bent his lips to the trickling flood;
Then--as the Chronicles declare,
On the honest faith of a true believer--
His cheeks, though wasted, lank, and bare,
Filled like a withered russet pear
In the vacuum of a glass receiver,
And the snows that seventy winters bring
Melted away in that magic spring.

Such, at least, was the wondrous news
The Padre brought into Santa Cruz.
The Church, of course, had its own views
Of who were worthiest to use
The magic spring; but the prior claim
Fell to the aged, sick, and lame.
Far and wide the people came:
Some from the healthful Aptos Creek
Hastened to bring their helpless sick;
Even the fishers of rude Soquel
Suddenly found they were far from well;
The brawny dwellers of San Lorenzo
Said, in fact, they had never been so;
And all were ailing,--strange to say,--
From Pescadero to Monterey.

Over the mountain they poured in,
With leathern bottles and bags of skin;
Through the canyons a motley throng
Trotted, hobbled, and limped along.
The Fathers gazed at the moving scene
With pious joy and with souls serene;
And then--a result perhaps foreseen--
They laid out the Mission of San Joaquin.

Not in the eyes of faith alone
The good effects of the water shone;
But skins grew rosy, eyes waxed clear,
Of rough vaquero and muleteer;
Angular forms were rounded out,
Limbs grew supple and waists grew stout;
And as for the girls,--for miles about
They had no equal! To this day,
From Pescadero to Monterey,
You'll still find eyes in which are seen
The liquid graces of San Joaquin.

There is a limit to human bliss,
And the Mission of San Joaquin had this;
None went abroad to roam or stay
But they fell sick in the queerest way,--
A singular maladie du pays,
With gastric symptoms: so they spent
Their days in a sensuous content,
Caring little for things unseen
Beyond their bowers of living green,
Beyond the mountains that lay between
The world and the Mission of San Joaquin.

Winter passed, and the summer came
The trunks of madrono, all aflame,
Here and there through the underwood
Like pillars of fire starkly stood.
All of the breezy solitude
Was filled with the spicing of pine and bay
And resinous odors mixed and blended;
And dim and ghostlike, far away,
The smoke of the burning woods ascended.
Then of a sudden the mountains swam,
The rivers piled their floods in a dam,
The ridge above Los Gatos Creek
Arched its spine in a feline fashion;
The forests waltzed till they grew sick,
And Nature shook in a speechless passion;
And, swallowed up in the earthquake's spleen,
The wonderful Spring of San Joaquin
Vanished, and never more was seen!

Two days passed: the Mission folk
Out of their rosy dream awoke;
Some of them looked a trifle white,
But that, no doubt, was from earthquake fright.
Three days: there was sore distress,
Headache, nausea, giddiness.
Four days: faintings, tenderness
Of the mouth and fauces; and in less
Than one week--here the story closes;
We won't continue the prognosis--
Enough that now no trace is seen
Of Spring or Mission of San Joaquin.


You see the point? Don't be too quick
To break bad habits: better stick,
Like the Mission folk, to your ARSENIC.



Bells of the Past, whose long-forgotten music
Still fills the wide expanse,
Tingeing the sober twilight of the Present
With color of romance!

I hear your call, and see the sun descending
On rock and wave and sand,
As down the coast the Mission voices, blending,
Girdle the heathen land.

Within the circle of your incantation
No blight nor mildew falls;
Nor fierce unrest, nor lust, nor low ambition
Passes those airy walls.

Borne on the swell of your long waves receding,
I touch the farther Past;
I see the dying glow of Spanish glory,
The sunset dream and last!

Before me rise the dome-shaped Mission towers,
The white Presidio;
The swart commander in his leathern jerkin,
The priest in stole of snow.

Once more I see Portala's cross uplifting
Above the setting sun;
And past the headland, northward, slowly drifting,
The freighted galleon.

O solemn bells! whose consecrated masses
Recall the faith of old;
O tinkling bells! that lulled with twilight music
The spiritual fold!

Your voices break and falter in the darkness,--
Break, falter, and are still;
And veiled and mystic, like the Host descending,
The sun sinks from the hill!




Looking seaward, o'er the sand-hills stands the fortress, old and
By the San Francisco friars lifted to their patron saint,--

Sponsor to that wondrous city, now apostate to the creed,
On whose youthful walls the Padre saw the angel's golden reed;

All its trophies long since scattered, all its blazon brushed away;
And the flag that flies above it but a triumph of to-day.

Never scar of siege or battle challenges the wandering eye,
Never breach of warlike onset holds the curious passer-by;

Only one sweet human fancy interweaves its threads of gold
With the plain and homespun present, and a love that ne'er grows old;

Only one thing holds its crumbling walls above the meaner dust,--
Listen to the simple story of a woman's love and trust.


Count von Resanoff, the Russian, envoy of the mighty Czar,
Stood beside the deep embrasures, where the brazen cannon are.

He with grave provincial magnates long had held serene debate
On the Treaty of Alliance and the high affairs of state;

He from grave provincial magnates oft had turned to talk apart
With the Commandante's daughter on the questions of the heart,

Until points of gravest import yielded slowly one by one,
And by Love was consummated what Diplomacy begun;

Till beside the deep embrasures, where the brazen cannon are,
He received the twofold contract for approval of the Czar;

Till beside the brazen cannon the betrothed bade adieu,
And from sallyport and gateway north the Russian eagles flew.


Long beside the deep embrasures, where the brazen cannon are,
Did they wait the promised bridegroom and the answer of the Czar;

Day by day on wall and bastion beat the hollow, empty breeze,--
Day by day the sunlight glittered on the vacant, smiling seas:

Week by week the near hills whitened in their dusty leather cloaks,--
Week by week the far hills darkened from the fringing plain of oaks;

Till the rains came, and far breaking, on the fierce southwester tost,
Dashed the whole long coast with color, and then vanished and were

So each year the seasons shifted,--wet and warm and drear and dry
Half a year of clouds and flowers, half a year of dust and sky.

Still it brought no ship nor message,--brought no tidings, ill or meet,
For the statesmanlike Commander, for the daughter fair and sweet.

Yet she heard the varying message, voiceless to all ears beside:
"He will come," the flowers whispered; "Come no more," the dry hills

Still she found him with the waters lifted by the morning breeze,--
Still she lost him with the folding of the great white-tented seas;

Until hollows chased the dimples from her cheeks of olive brown,
And at times a swift, shy moisture dragged the long sweet lashes down;

Or the small mouth curved and quivered as for some denied caress,
And the fair young brow was knitted in an infantine distress.

Then the grim Commander, pacing where the brazen cannon are,
Comforted the maid with proverbs, wisdom gathered from afar;

Bits of ancient observation by his fathers garnered, each
As a pebble worn and polished in the current of his speech:

"'Those who wait the coming rider travel twice as far as he;'
'Tired wench and coming butter never did in time agree;'

"'He that getteth himself honey, though a clown, he shall have flies;'
'In the end God grinds the miller;' 'In the dark the mole has eyes;'

"'He whose father is Alcalde of his trial hath no fear,'--
And be sure the Count has reasons that will make his conduct clear."

Then the voice sententious faltered, and the wisdom it would teach
Lost itself in fondest trifles of his soft Castilian speech;

And on "Concha" "Conchitita," and "Conchita" he would dwell
With the fond reiteration which the Spaniard knows so well.

So with proverbs and caresses, half in faith and half in doubt,
Every day some hope was kindled, flickered, faded, and went out.


Yearly, down the hillside sweeping, came the stately cavalcade,
Bringing revel to vaquero, joy and comfort to each maid;

Bringing days of formal visit, social feast and rustic sport,
Of bull-baiting on the plaza, of love-making in the court.

Vainly then at Concha's lattice, vainly as the idle wind,
Rose the thin high Spanish tenor that bespoke the youth too kind;

Vainly, leaning from their saddles, caballeros, bold and fleet,
Plucked for her the buried chicken from beneath their mustang's feet;

So in vain the barren hillsides with their gay serapes blazed,--
Blazed and vanished in the dust-cloud that their flying hoofs had

Then the drum called from the rampart, and once more, with patient
The Commander and his daughter each took up the dull routine,--

Each took up the petty duties of a life apart and lone,
Till the slow years wrought a music in its dreary monotone.


Forty years on wall and bastion swept the hollow idle breeze,
Since the Russian eagle fluttered from the California seas;

Forty years on wall and bastion wrought its slow but sure decay,
And St. George's cross was lifted in the port of Monterey;

And the citadel was lighted, and the hall was gayly drest,
All to honor Sir George Simpson, famous traveler and guest.

Far and near the people gathered to the costly banquet set,
And exchanged congratulations with the English baronet;

Till, the formal speeches ended, and amidst the laugh and wine,
Some one spoke of Concha's lover,--heedless of the warning sign.

Quickly then cried Sir George Simpson: "Speak no ill of him, I pray!
He is dead. He died, poor fellow, forty years ago this day,--

"Died while speeding home to Russia, falling from a fractious horse.
Left a sweetheart, too, they tell me. Married, I suppose, of course!

"Lives she yet?" A deathlike silence fell on banquet, guests, and
And a trembling figure rising fixed the awestruck gaze of all.

Two black eyes in darkened orbits gleamed beneath the nun's white hood;
Black serge hid the wasted figure, bowed and stricken where it stood.

"Lives she yet?" Sir George repeated. All were hushed as Concha drew
Closer yet her nun's attire. "Senor, pardon, she died, too!"



As you look from the plaza at Leon west
You can see her house, but the view is best
From the porch of the church where she lies at rest;

Where much of her past still lives, I think,
In the scowling brows and sidelong blink
Of the worshiping throng that rise or sink

To the waxen saints that, yellow and lank,
Lean out from their niches, rank on rank,
With a bloodless Saviour on either flank;

In the gouty pillars, whose cracks begin
To show the adobe core within,--
A soul of earth in a whitewashed skin.

And I think that the moral of all, you'll say,
Is the sculptured legend that moulds away
On a tomb in the choir: "Por el Rey."

"Por el Rey! "Well, the king is gone
Ages ago, and the Hapsburg one
Shot--but the Rock of the Church lives on.

"Por el Rey!" What matters, indeed,
If king or president succeed
To a country haggard with sloth and greed,

As long as one granary is fat,
And yonder priest, in a shovel hat,
Peeps out from the bin like a sleek brown rat?

What matters? Naught, if it serves to bring
The legend nearer,--no other thing,--
We'll spare the moral, "Live the king!"

Two hundred years ago, they say,
The Viceroy, Marquis of Monte-Rey,
Rode with his retinue that way:

Grave, as befitted Spain's grandee;
Grave, as the substitute should be
Of His Most Catholic Majesty;

Yet, from his black plume's curving grace
To his slim black gauntlet's smaller space,
Exquisite as a piece of lace!

Two hundred years ago--e'en so--
The Marquis stopped where the lime-trees blow,
While Leon's seneschal bent him low,

And begged that the Marquis would that night take
His humble roof for the royal sake,
And then, as the custom demanded, spake

The usual wish, that his guest would hold
The house, and all that it might enfold,
As his--with the bride scarce three days old.

Be sure that the Marquis, in his place,
Replied to all with the measured grace
Of chosen speech and unmoved face;

Nor raised his head till his black plume swept
The hem of the lady's robe, who kept
Her place, as her husband backward stept.

And then (I know not how nor why)
A subtle flame in the lady's eye--
Unseen by the courtiers standing by--

Burned through his lace and titled wreath,
Burned through his body's jeweled sheath,
Till it touched the steel of the man beneath!

(And yet, mayhap, no more was meant
Than to point a well-worn compliment,
And the lady's beauty, her worst intent.)

Howbeit, the Marquis bowed again:
"Who rules with awe well serveth Spain,
But best whose law is love made plain."

Be sure that night no pillow prest
The seneschal, but with the rest
Watched, as was due a royal guest,--

Watched from the wall till he saw the square
Fill with the moonlight, white and bare,--
Watched till he saw two shadows fare

Out from his garden, where the shade
That the old church tower and belfry made
Like a benedictory hand was laid.

Few words spoke the seneschal as he turned
To his nearest sentry: "These monks have learned
That stolen fruit is sweetly earned.

"Myself shall punish yon acolyte
Who gathers my garden grapes by night;
Meanwhile, wait thou till the morning light."

Yet not till the sun was riding high
Did the sentry meet his commander's eye,
Nor then till the Viceroy stood by.

To the lovers of grave formalities
No greeting was ever so fine, I wis,
As this host's and guest's high courtesies!

The seneschal feared, as the wind was west,
A blast from Morena had chilled his rest;
The Viceroy languidly confest

That cares of state, and--he dared to say--
Some fears that the King could not repay
The thoughtful zeal of his host, some way

Had marred his rest. Yet he trusted much
None shared his wakefulness; though such
Indeed might be! If he dared to touch

A theme so fine--the bride, perchance,
Still slept! At least, they missed her glance
To give this greeting countenance.

Be sure that the seneschal, in turn,
Was deeply bowed with the grave concern
Of the painful news his guest should learn:

"Last night, to her father's dying bed
By a priest was the lady summoned;
Nor know we yet how well she sped,

"But hope for the best." The grave Viceroy
(Though grieved his visit had such alloy)
Must still wish the seneschal great joy

Of a bride so true to her filial trust!
Yet now, as the day waxed on, they must
To horse, if they'd 'scape the noonday dust.

"Nay," said the seneschal, "at least,
To mend the news of this funeral priest,
Myself shall ride as your escort east."

The Viceroy bowed. Then turned aside
To his nearest follower: "With me ride--
You and Felipe--on either side.

"And list! Should anything me befall,
Mischance of ambush or musket-ball,
Cleave to his saddle yon seneschal!

"No more." Then gravely in accents clear
Took formal leave of his late good cheer;
Whiles the seneschal whispered a musketeer,

Carelessly stroking his pommel top:
"If from the saddle ye see me drop,
Riddle me quickly yon solemn fop!"

So these, with many a compliment,
Each on his own dark thought intent,
With grave politeness onward went,

Riding high, and in sight of all,
Viceroy, escort, and seneschal,
Under the shade of the Almandral;

Holding their secret hard and fast,
Silent and grave they ride at last
Into the dusty traveled Past.

Even like this they passed away
Two hundred years ago to-day.
What of the lady? Who shall say?

Do the souls of the dying ever yearn
To some favored spot for the dust's return,
For the homely peace of the family urn?

I know not. Yet did the seneschal,
Chancing in after-years to fall
Pierced by a Flemish musket-ball,

Call to his side a trusty friar,
And bid him swear, as his last desire,
To bear his corse to San Pedro's choir

At Leon, where 'neath a shield azure
Should his mortal frame find sepulture:
This much, for the pains Christ did endure.

Be sure that the friar loyally
Fulfilled his trust by land and sea,
Till the spires of Leon silently

Rose through the green of the Almandral,
As if to beckon the seneschal
To his kindred dust 'neath the choir wall.

I wot that the saints on either side
Leaned from their niches open-eyed
To see the doors of the church swing wide;

That the wounds of the Saviour on either flank
Bled fresh, as the mourners, rank by rank,
Went by with the coffin, clank on clank.

For why? When they raised the marble door
Of the tomb, untouched for years before,
The friar swooned on the choir floor;

For there, in her laces and festal dress,
Lay the dead man's wife, her loveliness
Scarcely changed by her long duress,--

As on the night she had passed away;
Only that near her a dagger lay,
With the written legend, "Por el Rey."

What was their greeting, the groom and bride,
They whom that steel and the years divide?
I know not. Here they lie side by side.

Side by side! Though the king has his way,
Even the dead at last have their day.
Make you the moral. "Por el Rey!"



Drunk and senseless in his place,
Prone and sprawling on his face,
More like brute than any man
Alive or dead,
By his great pump out of gear,
Lay the peon engineer,
Waking only just to hear,
Angry tones that called his name,
Oaths and cries of bitter blame,--
Woke to hear all this, and, waking, turned and fled!

"To the man who'll bring to me,"
Cried Intendant Harry Lee,--
Harry Lee, the English foreman of the mine,--
"Bring the sot alive or dead,
I will give to him," he said,
"Fifteen hundred pesos down,
Just to set the rascal's crown
Underneath this heel of mine:
Since but death
Deserves the man whose deed,
Be it vice or want of heed,
Stops the pumps that give us breath,--
Stops the pumps that suck the death
From the poisoned lower levels of the mine!"

No one answered; for a cry
From the shaft rose up on high,
And shuffling, scrambling, tumbling from below,
Came the miners each, the bolder
Mounting on the weaker's shoulder,
Grappling, clinging to their hold or
Letting go,
As the weaker gasped and fell
From the ladder to the well,--
To the poisoned pit of hell
Down below!

"To the man who sets them free,"
Cried the foreman, Harry Lee,--
Harry Lee, the English foreman of the mine,--
"Brings them out and sets them free,
I will give that man," said he,
"Twice that sum, who with a rope
Face to face with Death shall cope.
Let him come who dares to hope!"
"Hold your peace!" some one replied,
Standing by the foreman's side;
"There has one already gone, whoe'er he be!"

Then they held their breath with awe,
Pulling on the rope, and saw
Fainting figures reappear,
On the black rope swinging clear,
Fastened by some skillful hand from below;
Till a score the level gained,
And but one alone remained,--
He the hero and the last,
He whose skillful hand made fast
The long line that brought them back to hope and cheer!

Haggard, gasping, down dropped he
At the feet of Harry Lee,--
Harry Lee, the English foreman of the mine.
"I have come," he gasped, "to claim
Both rewards. Senor, my name
Is Ramon!
I'm the drunken engineer,
I'm the coward, Senor"-- Here
He fell over, by that sign,
Dead as stone!



Good!--said the Padre,--believe me still,
"Don Giovanni," or what you will,
The type's eternal! We knew him here
As Don Diego del Sud. I fear
The story's no new one! Will you hear?

One of those spirits you can't tell why
God has permitted. Therein I
Have the advantage, for I hold
That wolves are sent to the purest fold,
And we'd save the wolf if we'd get the lamb.
You're no believer? Good! I am.

Well, for some purpose, I grant you dim,
The Don loved women, and they loved him.
Each thought herself his LAST love! Worst,
Many believed that they were his FIRST!
And, such are these creatures since the Fall,
The very doubt had a charm for all!

You laugh! You are young, but I--indeed
I have no patience . . . To proceed:--
You saw, as you passed through the upper town,
The Eucinal where the road goes down
To San Felipe! There one morn
They found Diego,--his mantle torn,
And as many holes through his doublet's band
As there were wronged husbands--you understand!

"Dying," so said the gossips. "Dead"
Was what the friars who found him said.
May be. Quien sabe? Who else should know?
It was a hundred years ago.
There was a funeral. Small indeed--
Private. What would you? To proceed:--

Scarcely the year had flown. One night
The Commandante awoke in fright,
Hearing below his casement's bar
The well-known twang of the Don's guitar;
And rushed to the window, just to see
His wife a-swoon on the balcony.

One week later, Don Juan Ramirez
Found his own daughter, the Dona Inez,
Pale as a ghost, leaning out to hear
The song of that phantom cavalier.
Even Alcalde Pedro Blas
Saw, it was said, through his niece's glass,
The shade of Diego twice repass.

What these gentlemen each confessed
Heaven and the Church only knows. At best
The case was a bad one. How to deal
With Sin as a Ghost, they couldn't but feel
Was an awful thing. Till a certain Fray
Humbly offered to show the way.

And the way was this. Did I say before
That the Fray was a stranger? No, Senor?
Strange! very strange! I should have said
That the very week that the Don lay dead
He came among us. Bread he broke
Silent, nor ever to one he spoke.
So he had vowed it! Below his brows
His face was hidden. There are such vows!

Strange! are they not? You do not use
Snuff? A bad habit!

Well, the views
Of the Fray were these: that the penance done
By the caballeros was right; but one
Was due from the CAUSE, and that, in brief,
Was Dona Dolores Gomez, chief,
And Inez, Sanchicha, Concepcion,
And Carmen,--well, half the girls in town
On his tablets the Friar had written down.

These were to come on a certain day
And ask at the hands of the pious Fray
For absolution. That done, small fear
But the shade of Diego would disappear.

They came; each knelt in her turn and place
To the pious Fray with his hidden face
And voiceless lips, and each again
Took back her soul freed from spot or stain,
Till the Dona Inez, with eyes downcast
And a tear on their fringes, knelt her last.

And then--perhaps that her voice was low
From fear or from shame--the monks said so--
But the Fray leaned forward, when, presto! all
Were thrilled by a scream, and saw her fall
Fainting beside the confessional.

And so was the ghost of Diego laid
As the Fray had said. Never more his shade
Was seen at San Gabriel's Mission. Eh!
The girl interests you? I dare say!
"Nothing," said she, when they brought her to--
"Only a faintness!" They spoke more true
Who said 'twas a stubborn soul. But then--
Women are women, and men are men!

So, to return. As I said before,
Having got the wolf, by the same high law
We saved the lamb in the wolf's own jaw,
And that's my moral. The tale, I fear,
But poorly told. Yet it strikes me here
Is stuff for a moral. What's your view?
You smile, Don Pancho. Ah! that's like you!


Know I not whom thou mayst be
Carved upon this olive-tree,--
"Manuela of La Torre,"--
For around on broken walls
Summer sun and spring rain falls,
And in vain the low wind calls
"Manuela of La Torre."

Of that song no words remain
But the musical refrain,--
"Manuela of La Torre."
Yet at night, when winds are still,
Tinkles on the distant hill
A guitar, and words that thrill
Tell to me the old, old story,--
Old when first thy charms were sung,
Old when these old walls were young,
"Manuela of La Torre."


It was the morning season of the year;
It was the morning era of the land;
The watercourses rang full loud and clear;
Portala's cross stood where Portala's hand
Had planted it when Faith was taught by Fear,
When monks and missions held the sole command
Of all that shore beside the peaceful sea,
Where spring-tides beat their long-drawn reveille.

Out of the mission of San Luis Rey,
All in that brisk, tumultuous spring weather,
Rode Friar Pedro, in a pious way,
With six dragoons in cuirasses of leather,
Each armed alike for either prayer or fray;
Handcuffs and missals they had slung together,
And as an aid the gospel truth to scatter
Each swung a lasso--alias a "riata."

In sooth, that year the harvest had been slack,
The crop of converts scarce worth computation;
Some souls were lost, whose owners had turned back
To save their bodies frequent flagellation;
And some preferred the songs of birds, alack!
To Latin matins and their souls' salvation,
And thought their own wild whoopings were less dreary
Than Father Pedro's droning miserere.

To bring them back to matins and to prime,
To pious works and secular submission,
To prove to them that liberty was crime,--
This was, in fact, the Padre's present mission;
To get new souls perchance at the same time,
And bring them to a "sense of their condition,"--
That easy phrase, which, in the past and present,
Means making that condition most unpleasant.

He saw the glebe land guiltless of a furrow;
He saw the wild oats wrestle on the hill;
He saw the gopher working in his burrow;
He saw the squirrel scampering at his will:--
He saw all this, and felt no doubt a thorough
And deep conviction of God's goodness; still
He failed to see that in His glory He
Yet left the humblest of His creatures free.

He saw the flapping crow, whose frequent note
Voiced the monotony of land and sky,
Mocking with graceless wing and rusty coat
His priestly presence as he trotted by.
He would have cursed the bird by bell and rote,
But other game just then was in his eye,--
A savage camp, whose occupants preferred
Their heathen darkness to the living Word.

He rang his bell, and at the martial sound
Twelve silver spurs their jingling rowels clashed;
Six horses sprang across the level ground
As six dragoons in open order dashed;
Above their heads the lassos circled round,
In every eye a pious fervor flashed;
They charged the camp, and in one moment more
They lassoed six and reconverted four.

The Friar saw the conflict from a knoll,
And sang Laus Deo and cheered on his men:
"Well thrown, Bautista,--that's another soul;
After him, Gomez,--try it once again;
This way, Felipe,--there the heathen stole;
Bones of St. Francis!--surely that makes TEN;
Te Deum laudamus--but they're very wild;
Non nobis Domine--all right, my child!"

When at that moment--as the story goes--
A certain squaw, who had her foes eluded,
Ran past the Friar, just before his nose.
He stared a moment, and in silence brooded;
Then in his breast a pious frenzy rose
And every other prudent thought excluded;
He caught a lasso, and dashed in a canter
After that Occidental Atalanta.

High o'er his head he swirled the dreadful noose;
But, as the practice was quite unfamiliar,
His first cast tore Felipe's captive loose,
And almost choked Tiburcio Camilla,
And might have interfered with that brave youth's
Ability to gorge the tough tortilla;
But all things come by practice, and at last
His flying slip-knot caught the maiden fast.

Then rose above the plain a mingled yell
Of rage and triumph,--a demoniac whoop:
The Padre heard it like a passing knell,
And would have loosened his unchristian loop;
But the tough raw-hide held the captive well,
And held, alas! too well the captor-dupe;
For with one bound the savage fled amain,
Dragging horse, Friar, down the lonely plain.

Down the arroyo, out across the mead,
By heath and hollow, sped the flying maid,
Dragging behind her still the panting steed
And helpless Friar, who in vain essayed
To cut the lasso or to check his speed.
He felt himself beyond all human aid,
And trusted to the saints,--and, for that matter,
To some weak spot in Felipe's riata.

Alas! the lasso had been duly blessed,
And, like baptism, held the flying wretch,--
A doctrine that the priest had oft expressed,
Which, like the lasso, might be made to stretch,
But would not break; so neither could divest
Themselves of it, but, like some awful fetch,
The holy Friar had to recognize
The image of his fate in heathen guise.

He saw the glebe land guiltless of a furrow;
He saw the wild oats wrestle on the hill;
He saw the gopher standing in his burrow;
He saw the squirrel scampering at his will:--
He saw all this, and felt no doubt how thorough
The contrast was to his condition; still
The squaw kept onward to the sea, till night
And the cold sea-fog hid them both from sight.

The morning came above the serried coast,
Lighting the snow-peaks with its beacon-fires,
Driving before it all the fleet-winged host
Of chattering birds above the Mission spires,
Filling the land with light and joy, but most
The savage woods with all their leafy lyres;
In pearly tints and opal flame and fire
The morning came, but not the holy Friar.

Weeks passed away. In vain the Fathers sought
Some trace or token that might tell his story;
Some thought him dead, or, like Elijah, caught
Up to the heavens in a blaze of glory.
In this surmise some miracles were wrought
On his account, and souls in purgatory
Were thought to profit from his intercession;
In brief, his absence made a "deep impression."

A twelvemonth passed; the welcome Spring once more
Made green the hills beside the white-faced Mission,
Spread her bright dais by the western shore,
And sat enthroned, a most resplendent vision.
The heathen converts thronged the chapel door
At morning mass, when, says the old tradition,
A frightful whoop throughout the church resounded,
And to their feet the congregation bounded.

A tramp of hoofs upon the beaten course,
Then came a sight that made the bravest quail:
A phantom Friar on a spectre horse,
Dragged by a creature decked with horns and tail.
By the lone Mission, with the whirlwind's force,
They madly swept, and left a sulphurous trail:
And that was all,--enough to tell the story,
And leave unblessed those souls in purgatory.

And ever after, on that fatal day
That Friar Pedro rode abroad lassoing,
A ghostly couple came and went away
With savage whoop and heathenish hallooing,
Which brought discredit on San Luis Rey,
And proved the Mission's ruin and undoing;
For ere ten years had passed, the squaw and Friar
Performed to empty walls and fallen spire.

The Mission is no more; upon its wall.
The golden lizards slip, or breathless pause,
Still as the sunshine brokenly that falls
Through crannied roof and spider-webs of gauze;
No more the bell its solemn warning calls,--
A holier silence thrills and overawes;
And the sharp lights and shadows of to-day
Outline the Mission of San Luis Rey.




I speak not the English well, but Pachita,
She speak for me; is it not so, my Pancha?
Eh, little rogue? Come, salute me the stranger

Sir, in my country we say, "Where the heart is,
There live the speech." Ah! you not understand? So!
Pardon an old man,--what you call "old fogy,"--
Padre Felipe!

Old, Senor, old! just so old as the Mission.
You see that pear-tree? How old you think, Senor?
Fifteen year? Twenty? Ah, Senor, just fifty
Gone since I plant him!

You like the wine? It is some at the Mission,
Made from the grape of the year eighteen hundred;
All the same time when the earthquake he come to
San Juan Bautista.

But Pancha is twelve, and she is the rose-tree;
And I am the olive, and this is the garden:
And "Pancha" we say, but her name is "Francisca,"
Same like her mother.

Eh, you knew HER? No? Ah! it is a story;
But I speak not, like Pachita, the English:
So! if I try, you will sit here beside me,
And shall not laugh, eh?

When the American come to the Mission,
Many arrive at the house of Francisca:
One,--he was fine man,--he buy the cattle
Of Jose Castro.

So! he came much, and Francisca, she saw him:
And it was love,--and a very dry season;
And the pears bake on the tree,--and the rain come,
But not Francisca.

Not for one year; and one night I have walk much
Under the olive-tree, when comes Francisca,--
Comes to me here, with her child, this Francisca,--
Under the olive-tree.

Sir, it was sad; . . . but I speak not the English;
So! . . . she stay here, and she wait for her husband:
He come no more, and she sleep on the hillside;
There stands Pachita.

Ah! there's the Angelus. Will you not enter?
Or shall you walk in the garden with Pancha?
Go, little rogue--st! attend to the stranger!
Adios, Senor.

PACHITA (briskly).

So, he's been telling that yarn about mother!
Bless you! he tells it to every stranger:
Folks about yer say the old man's my father;
What's your opinion?


In sixteen hundred and forty-one,
The regular yearly galleon,
Laden with odorous gums and spice,
India cottons and India rice,
And the richest silks of far Cathay,
Was due at Acapulco Bay.

Due she was, and overdue,--
Galleon, merchandise and crew,
Creeping along through rain and shine,
Through the tropics, under the line.
The trains were waiting outside the walls,
The wives of sailors thronged the town,
The traders sat by their empty stalls,
And the Viceroy himself came down;
The bells in the tower were all a-trip,
Te Deums were on each Father's lip,
The limes were ripening in the sun
For the sick of the coming galleon.

All in vain. Weeks passed away,
And yet no galleon saw the bay.
India goods advanced in price;
The Governor missed his favorite spice;
The Senoritas mourned for sandal
And the famous cottons of Coromandel;
And some for an absent lover lost,
And one for a husband,--Dona Julia,
Wife of the captain tempest-tossed,
In circumstances so peculiar;
Even the Fathers, unawares,
Grumbled a little at their prayers;
And all along the coast that year
Votive candles wore scarce and dear.

Never a tear bedims the eye
That time and patience will not dry;
Never a lip is curved with pain
That can't be kissed into smiles again;
And these same truths, as far as I know,
Obtained on the coast of Mexico
More than two hundred years ago,
In sixteen hundred and fifty-one,--
Ten years after the deed was done,--
And folks had forgotten the galleon:
The divers plunged in the gulf for pearls,
White as the teeth of the Indian girls;
The traders sat by their full bazaars;
The mules with many a weary load,
And oxen dragging their creaking cars,
Came and went on the mountain road.

Where was the galleon all this while?
Wrecked on some lonely coral isle,
Burnt by the roving sea-marauders,
Or sailing north under secret orders?
Had she found the Anian passage famed,
By lying Maldonado claimed,
And sailed through the sixty-fifth degree
Direct to the North Atlantic Sea?
Or had she found the "River of Kings,"
Of which De Fonte told such strange things,
In sixteen forty? Never a sign,
East or west or under the line,
They saw of the missing galleon;
Never a sail or plank or chip
They found of the long-lost treasure-ship,
Or enough to build a tale upon.
But when she was lost, and where and how,
Are the facts we're coming to just now.

Take, if you please, the chart of that day,
Published at Madrid,--por el Rey;
Look for a spot in the old South Sea,
The hundred and eightieth degree
Longitude west of Madrid: there,
Under the equatorial glare,
Just where the east and west are one,
You'll find the missing galleon,--
You'll find the San Gregorio, yet
Riding the seas, with sails all set,
Fresh as upon the very day
She sailed from Acapulco Bay.

How did she get there? What strange spell
Kept her two hundred years so well,
Free from decay and mortal taint?
What but the prayers of a patron saint!

A hundred leagues from Manilla town,
The San Gregorio's helm came down;
Round she went on her heel, and not
A cable's length from a galliot
That rocked on the waters just abreast
Of the galleon's course, which was west-sou'-west.

Then said the galleon's commandante,
General Pedro Sobriente
(That was his rank on land and main,
A regular custom of Old Spain),
"My pilot is dead of scurvy: may
I ask the longitude, time, and day?"
The first two given and compared;
The third--the commandante stared!
"The FIRST of June? I make it second."
Said the stranger, "Then you've wrongly reckoned;
I make it FIRST: as you came this way,
You should have lost, d'ye see, a day;
Lost a day, as plainly see,
On the hundred and eightieth degree."
"Lost a day?" "Yes; if not rude,
When did you make east longitude?"
"On the ninth of May,--our patron's day."
"On the ninth?--YOU HAD NO NINTH OF MAY!
Eighth and tenth was there; but stay"--
Too late; for the galleon bore away.

Lost was the day they should have kept,
Lost unheeded and lost unwept;
Lost in a way that made search vain,
Lost in a trackless and boundless main;
Lost like the day of Job's awful curse,
In his third chapter, third and fourth verse;
Wrecked was their patron's only day,--
What would the holy Fathers say?

Said the Fray Antonio Estavan,
The galleon's chaplain,--a learned man,--
"Nothing is lost that you can regain;
And the way to look for a thing is plain,
To go where you lost it, back again.
Back with your galleon till you see
The hundred and eightieth degree.
Wait till the rolling year goes round,
And there will the missing day be found;
For you'll find, if computation's true,
That sailing EAST will give to you
Not only one ninth of May, but two,--
One for the good saint's present cheer,
And one for the day we lost last year."

Back to the spot sailed the galleon;
Where, for a twelvemonth, off and on
The hundred and eightieth degree
She rose and fell on a tropic sea.
But lo! when it came to the ninth of May,
All of a sudden becalmed she lay
One degree from that fatal spot,
Without the power to move a knot;
And of course the moment she lost her way,
Gone was her chance to save that day.

To cut a lengthening story short,
She never saved it. Made the sport
Of evil spirits and baffling wind,
She was always before or just behind,
One day too soon or one day too late,
And the sun, meanwhile, would never wait.
She had two Eighths, as she idly lay,
Two Tenths, but never a NINTH of May;
And there she rides through two hundred years
Of dreary penance and anxious fears;
Yet, through the grace of the saint she served,
Captain and crew are still preserved.

By a computation that still holds good,
Made by the Holy Brotherhood,
The San Gregorio will cross that line
In nineteen hundred and thirty-nine:
Just three hundred years to a day
From the time she lost the ninth of May.
And the folk in Acapulco town,
Over the waters looking down,
Will see in the glow of the setting sun
The sails of the missing galleon,
And the royal standard of Philip Rey,
The gleaming mast and glistening spar,
As she nears the surf of the outer bar.
A Te Deum sung on her crowded deck,
An odor of spice along the shore,
A crash, a cry from a shattered wreck,--
And the yearly galleon sails no more
In or out of the olden bay;
For the blessed patron has found his day.


Such is the legend. Hear this truth:
Over the trackless past, somewhere,
Lie the lost days of our tropic youth,
Only regained by faith and prayer,
Only recalled by prayer and plaint:
Each lost day has its patron saint!

* See notes at end.



Say there! P'r'aps
Some on you chaps
Might know Jim Wild?
Well,--no offense:
Thar ain't no sense
In gittin' riled!

Jim was my chum
Up on the Bar:
That's why I come
Down from up yar,
Lookin' for Jim.
Thank ye, sir! YOU
Ain't of that crew,--
Blest if you are!

Money? Not much:
That ain't my kind;
I ain't no such.
Rum? I don't mind,
Seein' it's you.

Well, this yer Jim,--
Did you know him?
Jes' 'bout your size;
Same kind of eyes;--
Well, that is strange:
Why, it's two year
Since he came here,
Sick, for a change.

Well, here's to us:
The h--- you say!
That little cuss?

What makes you star',
You over thar?
Can't a man drop
's glass in yer shop
But you must r'ar?
It wouldn't take
D----d much to break
You and your bar.

Why, thar was me,
Jones, and Bob Lee,
Harry and Ben,--
No-account men:
Then to take HIM!

Well, thar-- Good-by--
No more, sir--I--
What's that you say?
Why, dern it!--sho!--
No? Yes! By Joe!

Sold! Why, you limb,
You ornery,
Derned old
Long-legged Jim.


Beautiful! Sir, you may say so. Thar isn't her match in the county;
Is thar, old gal,--Chiquita, my darling, my beauty?
Feel of that neck, sir,--thar's velvet! Whoa! steady,--ah, will you,
you vixen!
Whoa! I say. Jack, trot her out; let the gentleman look at her paces.

Morgan!--she ain't nothing else, and I've got the papers to prove it.
Sired by Chippewa Chief, and twelve hundred dollars won't buy her.
Briggs of Tuolumne owned her. Did you know Briggs of Tuolumne?
Busted hisself in White Pine, and blew out his brains down in 'Frisco?

Hedn't no savey, hed Briggs. Thar, Jack! that'll do,--quit that
Nothin' to what she kin do, when she's got her work cut out before her.
Hosses is hosses, you know, and likewise, too, jockeys is jockeys:
And 'tain't ev'ry man as can ride as knows what a hoss has got in him.

Know the old ford on the Fork, that nearly got Flanigan's leaders?
Nasty in daylight, you bet, and a mighty rough ford in low water!
Well, it ain't six weeks ago that me and the Jedge and his nevey
Struck for that ford in the night, in the rain, and the water all
round us;

Up to our flanks in the gulch, and Rattlesnake Creek just a-bilin',
Not a plank left in the dam, and nary a bridge on the river.
I had the gray, and the Jedge had his roan, and his nevey, Chiquita;
And after us trundled the rocks jest loosed from the top of the

Lickity, lickity, switch, we came to the ford, and Chiquita
Buckled right down to her work, and, a fore I could yell to her rider,
Took water jest at the ford, and there was the Jedge and me standing,
And twelve hundred dollars of hoss-flesh afloat, and a-driftin' to

Would ye b'lieve it? That night, that hoss, that 'ar filly, Chiquita,
Walked herself into her stall, and stood there, all quiet and dripping:
Clean as a beaver or rat, with nary a buckle of harness,
Just as she swam the Fork,--that hoss, that 'ar filly, Chiquita.

That's what I call a hoss! and-- What did you say?-- Oh, the nevey?
Drownded, I reckon,--leastways, he never kem beck to deny it.
Ye see the derned fool had no seat, ye couldn't have made him a
And then, ye know, boys will be boys, and hosses--well, hosses is



Dow's Flat. That's its name;
And I reckon that you
Are a stranger? The same?
Well, I thought it was true,--
For thar isn't a man on the river as can't spot the place at first

It was called after Dow,--
Which the same was an ass,--
And as to the how
Thet the thing kem to pass,--
Jest tie up your hoss to that buckeye, and sit ye down here in the

You see this 'yer Dow
Hed the worst kind of luck;
He slipped up somehow
On each thing thet he struck.
Why, ef he'd a straddled thet fence-rail, the derned thing'd get up
and buck.

He mined on the bar
Till he couldn't pay rates;
He was smashed by a car
When he tunneled with Bates;
And right on the top of his trouble kem his wife and five kids from
the States.

It was rough,--mighty rough;
But the boys they stood by,
And they brought him the stuff
For a house, on the sly;
And the old woman,--well, she did washing, and took on when no one
was nigh.

But this 'yer luck of Dow's
Was so powerful mean
That the spring near his house
Dried right up on the green;
And he sunk forty feet down for water, but nary a drop to be seen.

Then the bar petered out,
And the boys wouldn't stay;
And the chills got about,
And his wife fell away;
But Dow in his well kept a peggin' in his usual ridikilous way.

One day,--it was June,
And a year ago, jest--
This Dow kem at noon
To his work like the rest,
With a shovel and pick on his shoulder, and derringer hid in his

He goes to the well,
And he stands on the brink,
And stops for a spell
Jest to listen and think:
For the sun in his eyes (jest like this, sir!), you see, kinder made
the cuss blink.

His two ragged gals
In the gulch were at play,
And a gownd that was Sal's
Kinder flapped on a bay:
Not much for a man to be leavin', but his all,--as I've heer'd the
folks say.

And--That's a peart hoss
Thet you've got,--ain't it now?
What might be her cost?
Eh? Oh!--Well, then, Dow--
Let's see,--well, that forty-foot grave wasn't his, sir, that day,

For a blow of his pick
Sorter caved in the side,
And he looked and turned sick,
Then he trembled and cried.
For you see the dern cuss had struck--"Water?"--Beg your parding,
young man,--there you lied!

It was GOLD,--in the quartz,
And it ran all alike;
And I reckon five oughts
Was the worth of that strike;
And that house with the coopilow's his'n,--which the same isn't bad
for a Pike.

Thet's why it's Dow's Flat;
And the thing of it is
That he kinder got that
Through sheer contrairiness:
For 'twas WATER the derned cuss was seekin', and his luck made him
certain to miss.

Thet's so! Thar's your way,
To the left of yon tree;
But--a--look h'yur, say?
Won't you come up to tea?
No? Well, then the next time you're passin'; and ask after Dow,--
and thet's ME.


Didn't know Flynn,--
Flynn of Virginia,--
Long as he's been 'yar?
Look 'ee here, stranger,
Whar HEV you been?

Here in this tunnel
He was my pardner,
That same Tom Flynn,--
Working together,
In wind and weather,
Day out and in.

Didn't know Flynn!
Well, that IS queer;
Why, it's a sin
To think of Tom Flynn,--
Tom with his cheer,
Tom without fear,--
Stranger, look 'yar!

Thar in the drift,
Back to the wall,
He held the timbers
Ready to fall;
Then in the darkness
I heard him call:
"Run for your life, Jake!
Run for your wife's sake!
Don't wait for me."
And that was all
Heard in the din,
Heard of Tom Flynn,--
Flynn of Virginia.

That's all about
Flynn of Virginia.
That lets me out.
Here in the damp,--
Out of the sun,--
That 'ar derned lamp
Makes my eyes run.
Well, there,--I'm done!

But, sir, when you'll
Hear the next fool
Asking of Flynn,--
Flynn of Virginia,--
Just you chip in,
Say you knew Flynn;
Say that you've been 'yar.



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