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Western wanderings : a record of travel in the evening land Boddam-Whetham, J. W. (John Whetham), 1843-1918 1874

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 BH^^^^HKiB^^SH^Hi^HnHBH ■ h^l ■! ■ n ih 1-ilHii hi llinni •
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ii The following sketches of Wanderings in the Far
West are presented to the Pubhc, not  so much as
having  pretensions to  literary merit, as possessing,
possibly, some degree of interest for those who have
never visited the Evening Land; and affording some
hints and information to those who mav be intending
to journey in that direction, and may care to diverge
occasionally from the beaten track.
May the truthfulness of the record atone for its
The poetry of motion—A growl—Rough weather—Fellow-passengers—A new-fashioned honeymoon—Emigrants—Life on the
ocean-wave—An arrival—The pilot-boat—The Harbour     .       .     1
Civil service—A free country—Street-cars—Hotels—Cookery—
Sight-seeing—Billiards—Central Park—Flowers—A naval engagement—The Hudson—A 'Pullman' car—The old lady and
her luggage—Susquehanna—An express train—Buffalo City       .     7
The Cataract House—Proffers of assistance—A soliloquy—The Falls
—Tolls—A want of caution—Curiosities—An elevator—Birds—
Over the Falls—A ' Sleeping-car \—Tobacco-chewing—Snorin <
Lake Michigan
Trials—Enterprise—A moving story—Pig-sticking—New version of
one of the Labours of Hercules—Hotel life versus home life—To
the Mississippi — Reserve—Tower—Farmers' Granges—A bad
track—Council Bluffs—Baths—The Missouri .       .   32 Vlll
Up the Missouri—Snakes—Nebraska—Indians—Prairie—Buffalo—
Eating-stations—Prairie dogs—Denver—Bedrocks—Indian races
—Agates—Indian battle—Sheep mountain—A storm—Echo
Canon—The Devil's Slide—Salt Lake City 47
Early days—The Tabernacle—A vision—Mormons—Ann Eliza—
Brigham Young—Mormon shops—American Fork Canon—Salt
Lake—A pageant—The Theatre—Mormonism—The Great
American Desert—Euchre—Tricks that are vain—Nevada—Train-
robbers—Americanisms—Reno   .......
Politicians—A silver mine—Sutro Tunnel—A commercial crisis—
Geysers—Lake Tahoe—Shakespeare—Donner Lake—The old
traveller—Two American forces—Cape Horn—Alabaster Cave—
Sacramento—Mosquitoes—The pedlar boy—The poor man's
carriage—Gold currency—Wages        ......
Stockton — Dust — Gophers — Quails—Staging—Tarantulas—Hydraulic mining—Mammoth Trees—A curious flower—A theory
—Table mountain—Deserted villages—Chinese Camp—Wine—
The Siamese Twins—Manzanita—The summit    .... 103
The descent—A patient steed—The Valley—The Hotel—A philosopher—Riding astride—The Yosemite Falls—Mirror Lake—A
legend—Bridal-veil Fall—Glacier Point and Sentinel Dome—
The Nevada and Vernal Falls—A rapid—The Cosmopolitan—Improvements—Impressions—Digger Indians—Departure
Stage jokes—The Golden City—Site—Vegetation—Dust-*-Over-
work—Lone mountain—Seal rocks—Mission Dolores—Bits—Bars
—Free lunch—Julep—A character—Architecture—Chinese—
High wages—Hoodlums—Chinese facetiae—Visit to the bad
Chinese quarter—Chinese superstitions and troubles   .       .       . 143
Peculiarities—Quacks—Farallone Islands—Woodward's Gardens—
Eucalyptus—Suicide and murders-—Schools—American politics—
The labouring class—Shoddy—Refinement—Literature—The
A critic       . 166
The Bay—Education of turkeys—The   sparrow—Larks—Golden
* w x.
grain—Stubble—Bad farming—Fruit—Marysville—Bank robbery
—A humming-bird fight—Staging—Companions—Highwaymen
—Scenery—No grumbling—'You bet'—Making oneself popular
—Grizzlies—Spiritualism—Castle Rocks—Soda Springs
Game—Foliage —Barrenness—Night—Morning — Clouds — The
Crater—Boiling Springs—View—Sunset—Red snow—Sisson's—
Play of colour—Packing—The trail—Our first deer—American
deer—Destruction of game out of season     .....
A frying-pan—Castle Lake—Famine—Fishing—Dinner—A song—
Fresh quarters—Deer-hunting—Ambush—Mountain-sides—Bears
—Wild flowers—Home—Camp ttfe—A duel—Woodpeckers-
Maternal love       , 214
Eaten by a bear—Forest fires—A desert—Sage-hens—Mountain-
sheep—Modocs—Indians—Belief—Cost of Indians—a liberal
Government—Indian Agents—Present policy—Reservations—
Issuing rations to Indians--Santanta and Big Tree—Red Cloud—
War Department ....<.->..* 226
Treachery—Treaties—War—Murders—Modoc success—Peace Commission—Captain Jack—An interview—Warning—Murder of the
Peace Commissioners—Marvellous escape—Lower Klamath Lake
—The camp—The Lava Beds—Panic—Savage squaws—Warm
Spring Indians — Surrender— Execution — Pelicans — Graves—
After dark ...*....... 239
A cttstom—Fort Klamath—The Agency—Dead Indian country—•
The Lake of the Woods—An Indian workshop—A canon—Snow-
fields—The crater's rim—A snow-^camp—An alarm—O-po-co-
ninne—Mystic Lake—A canoe—The medicine-man—The island—
Law of death—Midnight—Internal nres-^Surmises
Oregon forests—The Umpqua Canon—A poultry fancier—A female
hermit—Willamette Valley—Eugene City—The Three Sisters—
The Mackenzie River—Oregon City—Falls of the Willamette—
Portland—The Columbia River—Scenery—The Multenomah
Falls—Castle Rock—Cape Horn—The Cascades—A portage—
Coffin Rock—Dalles—A Sahara—Catching salmon—Great
Salmon Falls—Fish-eagles—A crane story	
A tedious journey—A terrible threat—An epithet—Olympia—Puget
Sound—Snokomish City—An Indian cemetery—Flat-heads—Use
of Indians — American diplomacy — Washington Territory —
Salmon not taking a fly—San Juan—Victoria—Dull times—
Terminus—A view—Climate—Roads—Esquimalt Harbour—
Sport—Indians—A red admiral—Superstition—Hospitality.       . 282
New Westminster—Stumps—Halcyon days—Fishing—A panther—
Ferns—Sal-la!—Burrard Inlet—Steam saw-mills—--Up the Fraser
—Anonymous gifts — Providence — Wood-cutters—Hope — A
silver-mine—Rapids—Yale—Hudson's Bay Company—Christianised Indians — Missionaries—A waggon road—A trail—Fatal
accident—Hell's Gate—Suspension-bridge—Scenery to Boston Bar
—Indian larders—Salmon—Fishing establishments—Boundary
line—Haro Straits—The Driard House—British Columbia .       .
Miners—Difficulties and dangers—Good and bad luck—- Gulf of
Georgia — Calculating birds — Nanaimo — Duck-shooting—An
Indian guide-^=-The beaver-dam—Fishing—A river—Stars—Merit
—An entertainment—The coast ...*.«. 314
Game in British Columbia—Grouse—rMud Bay—A day's shooting**—
Raccoons—No woodcocks—Summer ducks—Bears—--Indians of
British Columbia—Carving—Canoes—Chinook—Indian houses—
Burials—Door-posts—-Smuggling—Civilised and Christianised
Indians—The 'Prince Alfred,'—The coast—Grumbling settlers—
A Bohemian—Sunset—The Golden Gate   *       .       .       .       . 325 Xll
The race for theblue riband—' Coasting'—Games in America—To the
Geysers—Calistoga—The Petrified Forest—Foss—The Summit—
Speed—The Geyser Hotel—The Devil's Canon—The Witches'
Cauldron—The Pulpit—Indian legend—Indian duns—The Indian
bath—Quicksilver mines—Quails—Return ..... 337
Healdsburg —Porters— Jewellery—An art—Rainy season—Catarrh
—San Diego—The abalona-hunter—Shooting—Hotel mania—
Americans abroad—The West    ....... 354
Niagara Falls—Whirlpool Rapids
Niagara Falls—Entrance to Cave of the Wind  .   to face p.   23
Witch Rocks, Utah
Devil's Slide—Front View
Big Tree—Mother of the Forest
Father of the Forest
Sea Birds—Cormorants, &c.
South Farallone Island
Mount Shasta
View on the Columbia River
Vulcan's Steam Works
General View of the Valley from Prospect Point  . „  120
b JErrcvtwn.
Page 47, line 10, for Yauhton read Yancton. WESTERN  WANDERINGS.
The poetry of motion—A growl—Rough weather—Fellow-passengers—
A new-fashioned honeymoon—Emigrants—Life on the ocean-wave—
An arrival—The pilot-boat—The harbour.
At the present day the voyage to New York is of
as little importance and, generally, as devoid of
interest as the trip between Dover and Calais. In
fact, I think the latter, being shorter, has the more
interest and variety of the two. Theoretically, hanging over the side of the gallant ship—a ship is alwavs
gallant till she comes to grief—and watching the blue
waves as they dance in the sunlight, or shimmer with
a phosphoric gleam under the pale moonbeams, is all
very nice and poetic; but, practically, the stricken one
seldom realises the poetry of his position, and his
thoughts, if he has any, are apt to be very prosaic.
Will it ever be discovered that the safety of a ship
is not incompatible with space, ventilation, and cleanliness,   and   the  general  comfort  of its  passengers ?
People often say, ' Oh, it's no use grumbling ; we are
on board ship, and must put up with it.' Now, I
cannot help thinking that a great many improvements,
both on board ship and on land, are due to a little
good-natured  grumbling.     But whilst  I have  been
indulging in a quiet growl over the confined arrange-
ments of my cabin—yclept' state-room'—the ship has
weighed anchor, and we are already some distance
from the shore. In the morning a bright April sun
was shining, a favourable breeze blowing, and there
was every prospect of a speedy end to our troubles.
But on returning to the deck to enjoy the sea-air and
the conversation of my fellow passengers, how changed
the scene !
The brightness of the morning has vanished, and a
thick mist, evidently fresh from Scotland, shuts us out
from the land.    The waves are beginning to heave in
o o
an unpleasant manner, and it requires a pair of sea-
legs—which at present I am not possessed of—to pace
the deck with a gait which has any pretensions to
grace. Kain, too, begins to fall. No sign is there here
of a human being, save myself, and some two or three
of the crew, ominously wrapped in huge tarpaulins.
Not caring to occupy the deck ' alone in my glory,' I
make the dreariness of the scene an excuse for a
descent, more rapid than elegant, to the regions
The next day broke more propitiously.    Acquaintances were formed, and even friendships, destined to
last nine or ten days—that is, if nothing untoward
should happen in the interval.    We had amongst us
no professional  celebrities on their way to  fortune,
and had, therefore,  to  content   ourselves with  the
companionship of beings of commoner clay.     These
consisted  of  some four or five  merchants;   two or
three invalids; an old Californian, who told me he had
never had a day's illness in his life, but who was as
yellow as a guinea—a fact which set me speculating
whether the inhabitants of that land gradually change
into gold-dust:   several  children; a thin Methodist
preacher, who was going out to improve the Pintes; and
a very smart military gentleman,  from  Illinois.     I
never   exactly   ascertained  the rank of this gallant
son of Mars.    Sometimes I heard him addressed as
Captain, sometimes as General, but he was familiarly
known as c the Colonel.'    He informed us that he was
returning from Nice, where he had been passing his
honeymoon.    As  the  bride had not  yet made  her
appearance, some one remarked that he was afraid she
was suffering a great deal from sea-sickness; to which
4 the Colonel' replied that she had been spared  that
misery, as he had left her  at  Chicago.    I  wonder
whether this mode of enjoying a honeymoon is common
with Americans?
B 2
For the first few days I fancied we had none but
saloon passengers on board, but I was afterwards informed that we carried over eight hundred emigrants.
The capacity they exhibited for living down below
was something really wonderful. I hardly ever saw
a dozen of them on deck; and how they managed to
reach New York alive will ever remain a mystery to
Our amusements were not of a very varied description. There was only one complete set of chessmen,
and to obtain this it was necessary to get up before
daybreak, so great was the rush for it; and the
amount of misery thereby entailed was hardly compensated by the most brilliant check-mate. Then
there was an old i angling piano in the saloon, and
upon this one lady, as c the Colonel' said, ' played
considerable ;' and two elderly spinsters, who said they
delighted in music, once favoured us with a duet,
beginning with the appropriate words, ' Oh! ye voices
Whist and euchre whiled away a few hours for
most of us, but the latter game absorbed - the Colonel's '
every spare moment. He was indefatigable; morning,
noon, and night he played. And to some purpose
too, for I never entered the smoking-room without
seeing there a victim to his rapacity.
The ' Heathen Chinee' was a joke to him, and the ACROSS  THE ATLANTIC
only man I ever saw beat him was the Methodist
Life on board ship is very prosaic. At sea one
day is far more like another than on land, and the
smallest incidents assume there vast importance.
Speaking with another ship is an event to be remembered, and the sight of a shoal of porpoises causes as
much excitement as a pack of hounds running their
fox through a country town on a market-day. Time,
however, passed away pleasantly enough, in spite of
sea tea, cracked piano, and narrow berths. As regards
the berths, I am sure that walking the plank can
be nothing to sleeping in one of them, and that their
O X       o
invention can only be due to the fertile brain of an
ancient Inquisitor or that of a modern shipbuilder.
Our only event of any importance was the arrival
one stormy night of a fresh passenger. Nobody could
understand how it was possible for him to have
come on board in such weather, and nobody remem-
bered our stopping. Some of the ladies thought we
might, perhaps, have picked up a shipwrecked mariner,
but anxiety and conjecture were soon set at rest by the
information that ' both mother and child were doing
well.' There was much discussion as to the nationality
of the infant, and I do not know that the question was
eventually satisfactorily settled.
On the eleventh day a pilot-boat hove in sight,
and was the signal for numerous wagers amongst the
betting-men ; the number of the boat, and whether the
pilot would first place his right or left foot on deck,
causing as much interest as the running of a Derby
favourite. I believe if anyone had remarked that
the pilot would not stand on his head when he came
on board, some one would have been willing to bet
that he would.
One of the signs that we were approaching our
destination was a change in the kind of beverage in re-
quest on board. No longer did you hear pale ale or
claret called for, but mixed drinks—'cock-tails,'
'juleps,' 'smashes' &c.—were the order of the day ;
and the quantity and variety of these concoctions consumed by my Yankee fellow-passengers might have astonished me, had I not always heard that ' the bar'
was a great and favourite Institution with the Americans.
We had a glorious day for entering the harbour,
and the view was superb. Hills covered with trees, and
dotted with picturesquely pretty white houses; forts,
celebrated in history, Staten Island, Brooklyn, and the
great city stretching away in the distance on its low
level island, formed a picture as striking as it was
novel; whilst the river, with its numerous monster
ferry-boats, and crafts of all shapes and sizes, gave the
traveller a very fair idea of the busy active hfe he
might expect to witness in the city itself.
Civil service—A free country—Street-cars—Hotels—Cookery — Sight-
seeing—Billiards — Central Park—Flowers—A naval engagement
—The Hudson—A ' Pullman' car—The old lady and her luggage—
Susquehanna—An express train—Buffalo City.
About two hundred years ago the site of the City of
New York was bought from the Indians for the sum of
twenty dollars, or its equivalent; at the present day
that is the amount exacted by the Custom-house myrmidons from every four or five individuals who have
the privilege of landing there.    The ' feeing system ' is
certainly the only well-organised arrangement in the
Custom-house department.     For,  unless  you would
have your portmanteaus  opened  and their  contents
scattered over the floor, and are satisfied also to undergo a great deal of annoyance and badgering, called
' civil service,' it is absolutely necessary to   slip five
dollars into the expectant grasp of one of the rapacious
officers.    Nothing less will satisfy  these harpies; but
from the moment their wants are appeased your way
is clear, and though your boxes may be filled with 8
silks, laces, and other excisable articles, what is that
to them ? A friend of mine, who had weakly offered a
five-franc piece, thinking to save himself the trouble of
opening his luggage, was coolly informed by the inspecting officer that if he had no other money about
him he would be happy to wait on him at his hotel
the next morning. This piece of condescension my
friend did not avail himself of, and consequently, though
he had nothing subject to duty, he was soon surrounded
by the contents of his portmanteau and hat-box.
The drive to our hotel was another five dollars.
In England it would have been half-a-crown; but
then we wxere not in England, as the driver very
cleverly explained to us. But we quickly perceived we
were in a free country; that cabby was evidently free
to charge what he liked, and we, as we liked, free
to accept his services or not. The excessively high rate
of fares for carriages in New York entirely precludes the
general use of them. But there are plenty of street-cars ;
and the amusing scenes constantly to be witnessed in
them, and the necessity for a steady look-out that your
pockets are not picked, are as stimulating for the mental
powers as the jolts, jerks and struggles to obtain a seat
are for the bodily ones.
New York is undoubtedly great in three things—
hotels, oysters, and mixed drinks. In the first I
was disappointed,   with  the   second   delighted,  and ■PPBSPPP
astonished by the third. The hotels, magnificent
externally, and sufficiently .well-appointed, yet want a
home-like air; and the continual crowd and bustle you
find on entering some of the larger ones gives you the
impression of being yet in the street. They have a
terrible habit in American hotels of serving at meals
all the dishes at once, so that by the time one is
finished the rest are perfectly cold. Covers, apparently, are unknown luxuries, and the same may be
said of a sufficient supply of clean plates, knives and
forks, &c.
Mr. Henry Watterson, in a letter to the ' Louisville Courier Journal,' makes the following complimentary remarks on the English: ' The Enghsh are a
gross, material people. They hve on the coarsest food.'
Now, anyone who has travelled in America must have
noticed that at mdst of the hotels in large cities, and
at all of them in small towns, coarse food and extremely bad cooking are invariably found. The menu
makes a grand display, but will not stand analysing;
and after a short sojourn in America you might easily,
before arriving at any hotel in any town, write out the
bill of fare that will be found there.
Of course there are exceptions. At the Brevoort
House, in New York, as good food and as good
cooking will be found as can be wished for; but the
charge for these unusual luxuries is most exorbitant. IO
The hotel is conducted on the European plan, which
for English travellers will be found far preferable to the
American one. As for the wines, they are generally
good, especially in New York ; but the prices—I
suppose on account of the heavy duties—are so enormous that milk, tea, and water entirely take the place
of sherry, claret, and other light wines. It is the same
with beer—a bottle of Bass costing four or five times
its original price.
Finding fault is a very ungracious task ; but hotels
may be regarded as belonging to the travelling public.
Besides, I have seen so many letters from Americans in England to the different New York papers,
constantly abusing ' English cookery,' that it- is only
fair that the subject of ' American cookery' should be
touched upon by an Englishman.
To the oyster-lover America ought to be a paradise.
And to the great variety of those bivalves is added a
still greater variety in the manner of preparing them
for the table. The clams are not quite so good, and, as
with olives, an acquired taste is necessary to appreciate
them. When I first ate them I thought them hke
indiarubber boiled in brine.
Everybody has heard of Broadway, as he has heard
of the Eue Eivoli and of Eegent Street. Length is its
principal feature ; for the rest, it is ill-paved, badly **~m
lighted at night, and has very few shops, or stores, worth
looking at. On the whole, Broadway is remarkable for
little except the crowds that frequent it and their eager
haste—each man, seemingly, being bent on making
amends, as they say here, for having come into the
world half-an-hour too' late. The inventor of boots
with wheels, which enable the wearer to go as fast as
on a bicycle, ought to make his fortune very rapidly
in New York. The hare will never be beaten by the
tortoise in America.
Several of the New York churches are very beautiful, and some of the great marble buildings stand as
monuments of what can be effected by the persevering
industry of those who began hfe as penniless boys.
As London has its East end and West end, so New
York has its Bowery and Broadway. But instead of
the innumerable squares and streets of the West end
of London, the West end of New York is confined
to Fifth Avenue and a few of the adjacent streets;
and just as Paris is the paradise which every good
American hopes for when he dies, so, a house in Fifth
Avenue is what he most covets in this life.
The theatres are mostly fine handsome buildings.
They are well-managed, and you find there no disagreeable people on the look-out for a fee for showing
you to your seat or for handing a programme, as in
our London playhouses.    The acting, generally, is in-
« 12
different, one ' bright particular star' being the magnet
to attract an audience.
New York must be a very musical city, judging
from the immense number of piano stores. I should
say they are about as numerous, in proportion to
the population, as the drinking-bars—which are calculated at one to every hundred and twenty persons.
Yet the charge for hiring a piano is more than double
what it is in Europe. However, as a shilling in England, or a franc in France, goes as far as a dollar (four
shillings) in America, I suppose this is not a charge to
complain of.
We went one day to see a ' great billiard tourna-
ment' between some of the champions of America ; and
in spite of the wonderful play of Garnier and Dion, the
champions, we found the American game much more
tedious for spectators than the Enghsh one. Cannons
are apt to become monotonous after the first hundred,
even when the stakes are silver cups and diamond
In the large billiard halls it is very amusing to
watch the different players, and it is not difficult to
estimate a man's character by his play.
One player prefers ' following strokes ;' quietly and
delicately coaxing the hard balls to do what he wants
without their being aware of it. Another, is always
twisting and ' putting on side' and scoring just where NEW  YORK  TO NIAGARA.
you do not expect it; whilst another, by sheer straightforward play, drives the balls about with far-seeing
combinations. Then there is the cunning man, who
gets the balls in a corner and keeps on scoring till the
helpless opponent longs to hit him over the head with
the butt-end of his cue.
But let us get into the fresh air; and the Central
Park will be the very place to drive away the effects
of the hot bilhard-room.
This park, the pride of New York, is very picturesque ; it has a great variety of surface and ornamentation. But a short time ago it was a barren, bleak,
unwholesome stretch of land, a place of deposit for
rubbish and old bricks, with here and there a marshy
spot and a few stagnant pools. Now, it is most admirably laid out, planted with trees and shrubs, and
diversified by hills, rocks, slopes, plains, and lakes;
arranged, too, by the hand of a master, and with a most
thorough effect of natural scenery. All sorts of means
for elevating the surface and breaking the monotony of
outline have been used. Doubtless, in future ages
learned men will dig deep into some of the vast mounds
and wonder how volcanic action could raise and collect
in these spots such a wonderful assemblage of old
Indian curiosities, in the shape of tin cans, oyster-shells,
shoes, cast-off crinolines, and broken china.
The prohibition to walk on the grass seems rather 14
strange in a People's Park ; but perhaps during the hot
dry summers the grass would be so soon worn away
that the rule is necessary. At all events, the place is a
source of immense enjoyment and benefit to everyone.
In New York one misses very much the flowers and
' hanging gardens ' which make London houses so gay.
ODD O    J
It is a pity that houses whose interiors are so lavishly
adorned with works of art should not display on their
exteriors a few of the works of nature.
Whilst passing a few days at Eockaway, on Long
X D J J ' D
Island, we witnessed a very curious naval engagement.
There was a great noise one morning in front of the
hotel, and on going out to ascertain what was the
matter we saw a number of large porpoises in hot pursuit of what are called ' drum-fish.' Such a noise!
such splashing ! the porpoises striking with their tails,
and actually driving several of their enemies on shore.
More than twenty dead fish were taken out of the
shallow water. They must have weighed on an average twenty or thirty pounds each. One old porpoise
nearly stranded himself in his laudable endeavours to
outdo his friends in this onslaught; and he grunted
terribly, and seemed quite put out when the battle was
We had reserved the Hudson river for a bonne-
bouche, and very fortunately so, as we were thereby
enabled to carry away with us more pleasing impres- NEW   YORK TO NIAGARA.
sions of New York than we otherwise should have done.
The banks of very few rivers display more beautiful
and romantic scenery than do those of the magnificent
stream which flows beneath the Palisades.
From Hoboken to beyond West Point (the Staff
College of America) objects of great interest, historical
and legendary, present themselves at every turn;
whilst the natural beauty of the scenes, viewed from
the deck of most capitally-appointed steamers, combine
to make this trip one of the most charming imaginable.
In these river steamboats food for the body is not
lost sight of in -the intellectual treat, and in my re-
collections of the first glimpse of Poughkeepsie there
still lingers a reminiscence of the most delicious terra-
pene stew I ever tasted. To attempt any description of
the beautiful river after one rapid journey up and down
it would be absurd. It would require weeks to inspect but a part of its beauties, and even then I could
not do it anything hke justice.
Eeturning to New York, we said good-bye to the
many kind friends we had met in that hospitable city;
paid a last visit to busy Broadway and wealthy Wall
Street—the latter destined so soon to witness a terrible
financial crisis—gave ourselves a farewell dinner at
Delmonico's, and finally left the most Hibernian city to
be met with out of Ireland, and proceeded on our way
to Niagara.    We took the Erie Eoad, as it seemed by
■ i6
the map to pass through a more picturesque country
than the other routes, and on a dull damp morning
ensconced ourselves in a ' Pullman Silver Palace Drawing-room and Hotel Car.'   Such a high-sounding title
was enough to take one's breath away. It reminded
me of a palace scene in the 'Arabian Nights.' The
reality, however, was simply a long railway carriage,
with chairs like music-stools with arms; some nets, of
a size quite incapable of holding anything, and a brilliant array of spittoons. Nor must I forget the filter of
water, with one glass or tin cup chained to it, out of
which everybody, from the pea-nut~boy and porters,
was supposed to drink. What would life be to an
American without his filter of iced-water !
For the privilege of entering these luxurious structures an extra three dollars per day (if I remember
aright) had to be paid. And as the common first-class
carriages in America are most uncomfortable, and the
second-class quite unfit for anybody to travel in, the
consequence is the ' Pullmans' are the receptacles for
all sorts and conditions of men, and are often crowded
in a manner conducive to anything rather than good-
temper. In speaking of the cheapness of American
railway travelling in comparison with that of other
nations, this extra charge for the absolutely necessary
convenience of a Pullman car is generally overlooked.
A  first journey  across a strange land is always NEW  YORK  TO NIAGARA.
entertaining, even if the scenery should present but
few attractions ; but on our route, though the day was
a wet one, we saw much that was interesting—quaint
wooden villages, mountains covered with forest-trees,
and rich valleys with their numerous farm-houses,
giving evidence of a wealthy country and a thriving
DO v «/ D
population. At Port Jervis, a most voluble old lady
entered the car, bringing with her an extraordinary
assortment of luggage.    She had two bandboxes, a
DO    O '
dog, a flower-pot, an iimbrella, a jug of. milk, a
luncheon-basket, a parcel of figs, and a boy of fifteen,
whose age she gave at the ticket-office as nine. I
heard her tell her nearest neighbour of that fact, and
she chuckled over it as if she had performed a most
virtuous action. Her face, though, fell very considerably when the conductor, after inspecting the
youth, informed her that unless she at once paid his
proper fare they must go with him to the superintendent. That boy's life must have been a misery to
him for daring to be over half-fare age; for when the
pair got out at Buffalo the old lady gave him such a
swingeing box on the ear that it resounded through the
station. Certainly, the boy had given the wretched
poodle a kick-when he thought the old lady was not
looking, but that alone could not account for the
terrific force of the blow she inflicted.
Leaving on our right the Catskill Mountains, where
i**— 18
poor Eip Van Winkle slept his sleep of twenty
years, the road runs along the Delaware Eiver, and we
presently enter the Valley of the Susquehanna—a
splendid agricultural country, with neat farm-houses,
broad fields, and rolling uplands. A picture of rare
beauty, indeed, is this valley, with its river winding far
down below us and reaching away through the undu-
lating hills to the misty blue mountains in the distance.
Our ' express' train was really a most obliging one; it
stopped at all the small stations in the most thoughtful
manner, not to let them feel of less importance than
the bigger ones, I suppose, as we rarely ever took up
or set down a passenger. We crawled over the
Starucca Viaduct at a pace which gave us ample time
to inspect one of the greatest engineering achievements of the route, and as darkness set in we found ourselves entering the city of Buffalo.
First impressions are the most lasting; therefore,
Buffalo ought to be seen for the first time from the
lake. It is a beautiful city, and worth more attention
than is usually bestowed on it—we, in fact, had been
advised not to stop there. A long breakwater protects
it in front from the treacherous lake, whose waters
sometimes .rise suddenly and without the slightest
apparent cause, and storms of the most appalling character then ensue. A whole navy might ride in the
wide and spacious harbour formed by the breakwater. IP
Fleets of grain-laden vessels cover the lake, whilst on
D '
the shores the huge elevators and extensive store-
houses are evidence of the source of wealth of this
busy town.
The Buffalo people are apparently very fond of
trees; two and sometimes three rows of elms and
other trees line either side of many of the streets; and
as they are constantly adding row to row, some parts
of the city appear as if built in a forest. The view
from the fort presents a charming panorama, extending
over many miles of land and water. We passed a very
pleasant day at Buffalo ; then, taking the cars, we arrived in a couple of hours at Niagara.
c2 20
The Cataract House—Profiers of assistance—A soliloquy—The' Falls—
Tolls—A want of caution—Curiosities—An elevator—Birds—Over
the Falls — A ' sleeping-car' — Tobacco-chewing—Snoring—Lake
As it was late when we arrived at the ' Cataract
House,' where we had engaged rooms, we deferred
•» DO7
taking our first view of the Great Falls until the following morning.    The bedrooms at the above-named
hotel are about the size of an ordinary ship's cabin,
their numerousness probably making up for their
diminutiveness; at all events, in the eyes of the proprietor.
After ah early ' current bath' of the most intensely
cold water I ever bathed in, we made our way to the
chief of the natural ' wonders of the world.' Guides
and touts of all descriptions pressed their services upon
us; urged us to take carriages, though the distance
was only a few hundred yards, and generally proffered
assistance, which, having no need of, we resolutely
declined.    Then, conscious of having brought on our- 'NIAGARA   TO CHICAGO.
selves the utter contempt of the crowd of would-be
showmen, yet remaining firm in our determination
not to be ' done,' we were all the more prepared to
enjoy the magnificent spectacle awaiting us.
Most of us, probably, have mentally pictured to
ourselves the famous Falls of Niagara; almost as soon,
D * '
perhaps, as we were able to read or first heard
with shuddering interest the numerous tales that are
told of boats swept with their human freight down the
rushing rapids, never again to he seen. Having always
had a great love for bold natural scenery, the pleasure
experienced from it being intensified when water forms
its prominent feature, it had ever seemed to me that
the Niagara Falls must be the culminating point of
D D     XT
grandeur in nature. I had looked forward so much to
the day when I should first behold them ; but now,
when almost in their presence, I hesitated to look at
them—so fearful, so almost convinced did I feel that in
them, as in most other things, the reahty would fall
short of the ideal.
With this impression on my mind I walked rapidly
over the small bridges to a point on Goat Island
whence a good general view of the Falls was to bo
obtained. Beaching this, I raised my eyes to take in
the whole scene at once, and, with an unpleasant lbre-»
boding that my overwrought expectations were about
to be disappointed, I looked, and—the   stupendous 22
grandeur of the scene that met my gaze far surpassed
all I had imagined.
Niagara has been regarded with various feelings
and from various mental points of view. Men of business have thought it has a good site for building; John
D D D *
Bull has pronounced it ' a very nice waterfall, and a"
bigger stream than the Thames.'    Sentimental girls
have gazed into its misty splendours with superstitious
awe, and faneied they saw their fates there. The
Yankee calls Niagara ' some^ in the way of water-
power.' The Eed Indian prays to it, c Oh, Father of
mighty waters, grant a blessing on your child.' But
with whatever feeling the traveller from the East may
view the Falls of Niagara, his eyes can have looked on
no grander picture ; and far as he may wander towards
the setting sun, he cannot hope to see another so
All this time we have been looking at the great
Horse-shoe Fall, over which the enormous mass of
water pours with tremendous force. Till it reaches
half-way down, the water seems to hang like a green
curtain as it rolls over the cliff; then, gradually breaking, the mighty mass spreads out in foam and falls into
the gulf below. It is not its rapidity but its slowness which is so awe-inspiring:
' Wie das Gestern,
Ohne Hast
Aber, ohne Kast.'  NIAGARA  FALLS.—Entrance to Cave of the Wind
But no words can describe the grandeur of such a
We were told that the Horse shoe Fall is gradually
assuming a triangular form, the force of the water
O D '
wearing away the rocky bed and forming a narrow
chasm, so that in time the water will have the appearance of faffing from two opposite walls. Strangely
enough, the water never encroaches on the land on
D     *"
either side. The old tower which for so long stood
sentry over this fall was becoming dangerous to ascend,
and was blown up the day we were there.
We retraced our steps a short distance towards the
American Fall, which is smaller than the Horse-shoe
or Canadian Fall, but equally impressive. Descending
a few steep steps, we suddenly found ourselves on the
brink of the precipice over which the water was pouring and disappearing into a great blue cavern, 150 feet
below. This Fall had a greater charm for me than the
Horse-shoe Fall, perhaps because we were so much
closer to it and were able to look straight down into
its misty depths. This also is changing its form, and
gradually taking a horse-shoe curve. The httle
islands in the rapids above, splendidly wooded and
covered with all sorts of wild flowers, add greatly to
the beauty of the scene. We walked round Goat
Island and visited the Three Sisters; small islands connected by rustic bridges to one another and to the 24
main island, and extending out into the middle of
the rapids. Here, the river rushes down a steep
descent, and the foaming and tossing waters are angry
and disturbed like the waves of the sea after a fierce
storm. The extraordinary fascination ascribed to
Niagara is no myth, and its attractive power no mere
fancy of the poet.
The minor drawbacks to visiting Niagara are the
great number of tolls and the numerous touts. Ee-
garding the former, if they would only charge so much
on arrival, instead of giving you the trouble of putting
your hand in your pocket every time you look at the
Falls, it would be pleasanter; as for the latter, not one
of them ought to be allowed near the place. If there
is one thing more wanted than another, it is a pleasant
drive or ride without a toll-gate at every mile, and this
could be easily made along the shore of the Niagara
»/ O D
river towards La Salle. The Goat Island toll is right
enough, as keeping up the bridges and other expenses
are incurred; but all other tolls are wrong, being wholly
On the second day we drove over the magnificent
suspension-bridge to the Canadian side, whence we had
a fine full view of both Falls. The garrulous driver
was very careful to point out the exact spot where
Blondin crossed on the tight-rope. It was a long way
below the Falls, and therefore no more danger incurred NIAGARA   TO  CHICAGO
than in walking on a rope stretched across the fountains of the Crystal Palace—perhaps not even so much.
This and another spot, from which somebody once
jumped into the river, were evidently of much deeper
interest to the mind of our Jehu than the glorious
Falls themselves. We were inveigled into a house in
front of the Horse-shoe Fall by the assurance of the
proprietor that the view from the top was magnificent,
and that no charge was made; but the view did not
seem to us finer from above than from below. Incautiously entering another room, we discovered a shop
full of photographs, Indian fans, &c. (made in Birmingham, probably), and offered for sale by some fascinatinj
young ladies, who could not allow us to leave without
a souvenir of Niagara.
We were afterwards induced to change our clothes
for waterproof ones, and to descend with a guide beneath,
or rather behind the Fall. I am mot sure that this
part of the programme repaid us for getting very hot
and wet; but the proprietor when he had pocketed our
dollars seemed to think it all right—so we had to look
comfortable and happy. A slight shade passed over
his countenance when he found he could not induce us
to be photographed ' in connection with the Falls,' as
he expressed it. But that soon passed off, as he saw a
carriage-load of gay tourists approaching, ' got up,' apparently, with the intention of having their likenesses. I
taken, not only ' in connection with the Falls,' but in
any other aspiring position that the artist might suggest.
On our return to the American side we were asked if
we had any articles to declare; but as we had no
specimens of Niagara spar, fresh from Derbyshire, and
no curious Indian-Parisian bead-work or embroidery,
and the few photographs were considered too insignificant for duty, we were allowed to pass free.
The rapids, below the Falls, and the whirlpool,
still lower down, well deserve a visit, although the
romance of the former is rather diminished by an
elevator which takes visitors up and down the cliff.
The view on reaching the water's edge is exceedingly
fine—the rushing torrent eddying down, and the wild
waste of whirling water being a sight second only to
the Falls themselves.
We saw a great many beautiful birds, both in the
surrounding woods and on the islands. There were two
or three sorts of orioles, blue-birds, cardinal grosbeaks,
and numbers of the American robins; birds as ubiquitous
as our sparrows, and about the size of a large blackbird.
Unfortunately, they are considered good eating, and
therefore, as they are very tame, become an easy prey
to every little wretch who carries a gun.
Many stories are told of victims hurried down the
rapids; now clinging to a rock against which the
strong current has carried them, and now swept on
— "•-.       1 ...   "..   .       .'.       ■       uruifr"    Mil 1     .'."'... NIAGARA   TO  CHICAGO.
again by its resistless force, until, with a last shriek, they
disappear for ever in the cruel waters of the mighty
Fall. These stories are all too true; since our visit two
boats and their occupants have in this way been lost.
When will thoughtless mortals learn that the treacherous
current draws slowly but surely on till they are beyond
earthly aid ? Not, I suppose, until the great St. Lawrence is dried up, and the hanging cliffs of the giant
Falls can be ascended from their base.
But we must be speeding onwards: and so with a
farewell look at Niagara, as we cross the great suspension-bridge on our way to Chicago, we leave behind us
D «/ D    "
one of the grandest of Nature's handiworks.
We make our journey to Chicago in a ' Silver Palace
Drawing-room and Sleeping-car;' and as there is not
much outside to claim our attention, we may as well
occupy ourselves with an examination of this renowned
invention of the New World. The only visible articles
of furniture are sofa-seats, placed vis-a-vis, and the
inevitable spittoons. The latter nasty articles intrude
themselves everywhere. It is all very well for Americans to say, ' You do not find them in the abundance
often stated;' all I can say is, you do find them where-
ever you go, and, what is worse, see a constant use of
them. It is said they owe their origin to the devil,
and the story runs thus: ' When the Christian navi- '
gators first discovered America the devil was greatly
annoyed, and was afraid (without reason, I think) of
losing his hold on the people there. However, he
whispered in confidence to some of his Indian friends
and acquaintance that he had found out a way of being
revenged on the new-comers. He would teach them,
he said, to chew tobacco, and that the filthy habit
should cling to them for ever, and make them a bye*
word among the nations.' He certainly has kept hia
As our ' sleeping-car' afforded no signs of sleeping
accommodation, I waited with curiosity for bedtime. 1$
came at last, and the chamber-maid, in the shape of a
black-man, entered, and asked me to move, as he was
going to make the beds. He then gave a pull upon
the sofa-cushions on each side, and the bottom ones
came together in the original space between the seats,
whilst the back ones took the places of these; a sufficiently good sort of arrangement on which, to make up
a bed. A handle above was then pulled, and what
had looked like part of the ceiling of the car came
down to within about three feet of the lower bed.
This formed the attic. From out of this concealed
bedstead, came a couple of mattresses, one of which
was placed on the lower bed, the other remaining for
the occupant of the story above. Sheets, blankets, and
pillows were then produced from the same recess, and a walnut partition was disclosed, which divided these
berths from those next door. A heavy curtain fell
down in front of the beds, separating them from the
rest of the carriage, and the chambers were ready for
their guests. All these arrangements were very -good
in themselves, but there was no possible way of making
use of them with the smallest degree of comfort. If
there had only been a few hooks for hanging hats,
coats, and other garments upon, and a place to put
boots in, it would have been something to be thankful
for. For, usually, boots were to be found in the morning at different ends of the car, or else on the wrong
person's feet.
The space between what may be called the upper
and lower deck does not allow of the occupant of the
bed sitting up ; the double windows are kept shut,
that he may not be smothered in dust and ashes, and
the night is passed in the most luxurious misery.
The man who slept in the berth next to mine
snored frightfully, in fact, night was made hideous by
the unmusical sounds issuing from all parts of the car;
but no snoring came up to my neighbour's, and I was
not astonished at this on looking at him in the morning.
D 3
Evidently, he was a German Jew, and his nose, acoustically considered, seemed well adapted for the involuntary transmission of vast volumes of sound. An
ingenious Yankee has patented a cure for snoring which 3°
all snorers ought to purchase previous to night-travelling.
It consists, I beheve, of an indiarubber tube, of which
one end is fastened to the nose and the other enters
the tympanum of the ear; so that the snorer is so
terrified by his own noise that he instantly awakes,
and a few nights of this agony suffice to cure him of
any further propensity to snore. The horrors of that
first night in a ' Pullman' car are indelibly impressed
on my mind. The atmosphere ran a close heat with
that of the ' Black Hole of Calcutta.' On my asking
the porter why he had kept a fire burning all night,
he said he had to sit up, and it would never do for
him to catch cold.
If going to bed is misery, getting up in the morning
is simply agony. If you are late, you have to wait
some hours before you can get a turn at the one wash-
hand basin. If you are early, you have to stand out-
side on the steps in the dust and smoke, until the beds
are once more metamorphosed into seats, there being
no room or other place to retire to until that operation
is performed.
Leaving Detroit, we passed through a country
thickly wooded at intervals, and scattered here and
there with towns and villages, some busy and active,
others looking sleepy and lazy—the latter by far the
more attractive of the two. NIAGARA   TO  CHICAGO.
After some hours of steady travelling, we arrived
at Chicago, which is situated on the great inland sea
whose shores are skirted by the railway up to the fine
avenue that graces the approach to the city. 32
Trials—Enterprise—A moving story—Pig-sticking—New version of one
of the labours of Hercules — Hotel life versus home life—To the
Mississippi — Reserve—Iowa—Farmers' granges—A bad track—
Council Bluffs—Baths—The Missouri.
Chicago, within little more than the last two years, has
been most sorely tried. The first disaster was the
great fire, which burnt down about two-thirds of the
city; in the following year business was almost suspended because of the raging epizootic; and, more
recently, an almost unparalleled financial collapse has
occurred, bringing with it distress and ruin. Phoenixlike, she rose from the ashes of the conflagration in an
incredibly short space of time, and with .handsomer
buildings and more magnificent warehouses even than
before. The vitality of Chicago is remarkable, and we
may form in this city a correct idea of the wealth
and prosperity of a great nation.
The statement may sound extraordinary, but it is
nevertheless a fact, that there was built and completed CHICAGO  TO  OMAHA.
in the burnt district of Chicago a brick, stone, or iron
warehouse every hour of each working day during
the space of seven months of 1872. So rapid a growth
of a city is unprecedented in the history of any nation
in the world, and equally unprecedented are the energy
and pluck to which it was due, as evinced by a people
who had just witnessed such an enormous destruction
of their property by fire.
Nothing   seems too   bold or difficult for Chicago
enterprise. A year or two ago it was thought that the
business quarter of the city lay too low, and could not
be properly drained; thereupon, the whole quarter was
raised bodily about eight feet higher.
Everything must keep moving in Chicago. The
houses are continually shifting their position, and a
moving building is no longer an uncommon sight. We
were greatly amused one day by suddenly coming upon
a good-sized three-storied house, standing dejectedly
in the middle of a street, as if it did not know where
to settle down. The next day, and for two or three
following ones, we were continually meeting this same
house, and always at different places. The fading ivy
which clung to it gave it so mournful an expression
that I quite pitied it. It was evidently a little weak
in the upper story, poor thing; but whether it eventually took it into its head to prance off to New York,
or whether it was accommodated with an acre or two
f, t
D 7
in the grounds of the State Lunatic Asylum, I never
satisfactorily discovered.
There are numerous tunnels under the river, and
they are of great importance in facilitating intercourse
between the different parts of the city; for the river
divides Chicago into three sections, and these are connected by drawbridges, which are great obstacles  to
traffic, as they are   always   open when  carriages or
pedestrians wish to cross, and closed when vessels want
to pass through.
^    The enormous new Pacific hotel seems as if it had
been intended to  accommodate  all  the people who
visited the Vienna Exhibition, only had been built in
the wrong place.    I do not see how such a caravansary
can be made to answer in a town where   there  are
already several very fine  large hotels.    I hear that,
amongst other improvements, the ' Pacific' has a new
kind  of stairs,  which  are  warranted  not  to  creak
when the gentlemen of the resident famihes return
home late.    I cannot answer for the fact; but if such
stairs are there, they will doubtless prove an attraction.
Hog-killing is now recognised in America as one of
the fine arts, and together with pork-packing may be
seen to great advantage in Chicago. We were highly
edified and amused by a visit to one of the large hog--
killing   estabhshments. 1 The | houses    are   spacious CHICAGO  TO  OMAHA.
substantial buildings, two stories high; the pigs are
driven up an inclined gangway to the second story and
into the ' feeding pens ' in lots of about a hundred at a
time. About twenty of them are then driven into the
' clutch-pen,' where each hog is seized by the hind leg
with a pair of tongs ; a pulley then hoists him up head
downwards, and puts him on wheels ready to be moved
forward. After a train of about half-a-dozen pigs has
been made up, the shding-door is opened and the
victims find themselves in the presence of the executioner, who cuts their throats and presently slides them
down the incline into the scalding-vat. Then follows
scraping, cleaning, washing, and drying; in fact, a sort
of Turkish bath, only perhaps not so pleasant for the
pigs. Afterwards, the cutting up and trimming takes
place. The dexterity with which the men work is
astonishing; a couple of blows severs the head from
the body, and with a like number the hams and
shoulders are separated. Each part is hurled to its
own particular spot, and the air is positively ahve
with trimmings flying to their destination. Every
place is neat and cleanly in the extreme; and after
passing though such refining influences it is not surprising that such 'pretty pork' should be extracted
from such ugly pigs. While visiting this poetic establishment, where all idea of such gross things as hogs
was done away with, I was reminded of the boy who
D 36
9   i
was once asked what pig was called ^hen prepared for
the table.   He was rather puzzled at first, but a thought
suddenly struck him, and he rephed,' Grunt mutton ;'
a very happy name for it, I think.
:V   Shortly after our arrival at Chicago we went for a
long drive by the lake-shore to Evanston, and past a
succession of country houses and villas, with gardens
and hothouses, quite in the English style.   Very seldom
are the beautiful lawns and the carefully-kept gardens
so universal in England seen in America—the price of
labour being too great to admit of its being applied to
the uncommercial realm of flowers.    The boldest project of the citizens of Chicago,  and one which  met
with complete success, was changing the cotirse of the
Chicago   river and making it  flow  south instead of
north.     The sluggish waters of that Stygian  stream
crept slowly under bridges, across which you had to
run to escape the sickening odours that pursued you.
Here and there, ne&x where the waters were thickest
and most polluted, placards might be read declaring
in hideous irony that boys who bathed there would
be taken up.     If such an event had happened, the
boys  would certainly  have  been  mistaken   for   the
' genii fangose' in   Dante's   Seventh Circle  of Hell.
Nothing lived in these poisonous waters except bullfrogs, whose croaking must  have  made  hfe   a perpetual romance to the dwellers along the banks. CHICAGO  TO OMAHA.
All this had to be altered. I And as the sewage-
laden stream flowed north into the lake, why not cut
down the level inland to make it flow south, and thus
bring the pure lake water in a fresh and abundant
stream past their very doors? This scheme was
carried out to perfection, and the Herculean task of
cleansing the Augean stables by the rivers Alpheus
and Peneus was equalled at Chicago by the engineering skill of Mr. Chesebrough.
Attracted by some flaming advertisements telling
how an operatic company was about to give ' positively
its last performance,' we visited the theatre, and, out of
regard to the actors, I will only say that the 'Huguenots'
were more vilely murdered that night than they
could have been on the fatal eve of St. Bartholomew.
At Chicago, as well as in every other city in
America, you cannot help being struck by the absence
of anything hke home, and the prevalence of hotel hfe.
You are told that families can hve so much cheaper at
hotels, on account of the great difficulty in obtaining
servants ; but I cannot help thinking that the trouble
of house-keeping has a great deal to do with the prosperity of hotels. | Besides, only certain locahties and
only a certain grade of building and style of furniture are
considered 'respectable.' ' Eespectable' hfe in America
is very expensive. The rent for a respectable house is
enormous; for everything—business, hving, hospitality
i: t8
—must be done on a large scale. There really are
no suitable dwellings for a family of moderate means.
Low-priced hotels are not fashionable, and low-priced
houses are either unfit to live in, or are not in' genteel *
locahties. In New York there are only two classes,
the rich and the poor. The middle class go out of the
city to find their homes, and the words ' To Let' stare
from the windows of a multitude of houses that
nobody can afford to hire. Perhaps—yet I greatly
doubt it—the late great commercial disaster may have
the effect of overthrowing existing prices, and establishing another and better system of living. The
effects of hotel life on the hves and manners of young
people ajre but too evident. I have no wish to preach
a sermon on the subject, even were I capable; all I
would say is, home is not a name, a form, or a routine ;
it is a spirit, a presence, a principle, and I do not think
these are to be found in hotels.
To gain information by travelling it is of importance to study a map of the country through which one
is about to pass; so that the locations of rivers,
mountains, towns, &c. may be observed and remembered. On this occasion, our map was spread out
before us as we ascended to the top of a lofty
grain-elevator, to enjoy a bird's-eye view of the surrounding country. But the panorama did not come
up to our expectations; whether it was owing to the \m
flatness of the prairies, the sharp wind from the lake,
or the dust from the streets, with which the air was
filled, I do not know; but, at all events, we returned
to our hotel sadder if not wiser than when we started,
and all the more ready to resume our Western journey
on the following day. We chose the 'Burlington
and Quincy' road, in preference to the other two
routes to Omaha, and again had the pleasure of looking
forward to another long night in a sleeping-car.
The road hes through a rich, flat, cultivated prairie
worthy of its name, the ' Garden State.' The further
we go the more thinly scattered become the white
wooden houses ; and gradually the finished neatness of
a suburban district melts into the larger and freer forms
of cultivation. The prairie land is the place for steam-
ploughs, reaping, mowing, and threshing machines;
for with them one family can do the work of a dozen
Until the Mississippi is reached you are hardly ever
out of sight of farms or woods and plantations. And even
by the railway-side tracts of prairie can still be seen—
prairie in all its wildness—that looks friendless, desolate, and doomed. The long grasses sway heavily in
the wind, and now and then a string of wild ducks rises
from a weird-looking reedy lake close beside us, or a
covey of prairie-chickens springs from the waving
grass and flies away hke a covey of the partridges of
% ■lr*
Old England. We pass great flat farms of great square
flat fields, with but httle fencing between them ; plantations of tall leafy Indian corn, as yet unripened by
the hot summer sun. Here, are orchards laid down
in regular rows, there, a line of poplars; but no fine
spreading tree is anywhere to be seen. The vastness
of the immense unconfined plain is oppressive, stretching onward for miles and miles with a silvery mist
in the distance, which might be the sea; but still it
stretches onward and onward—repaying with wealth
and comfort thousands of toilers, gathered to it out of
poverty and dependence in other lands.
There is great amusement, and a httle instruction as
well, to be derived from the people one meets in these
long railway journeys. like a parrot in a strange cage,
they will not talk much the first day, but wait a day or
two. Then if you will listen you may learn the personal
and family history of most of your fellow-passengers.
By the way, it has appeared to me that Americans
at home are much more reserved than when abroad.
In Europe, nearly every American you meet is ' hail-
fellow-well-met,' and ready to discuss his private
affairs with you on the very slightest encouragement.
In their own country, they seem to have lost, in some
measure, their colloquial propensities, not only amongst
strangers but amongst themselves. In their pubhc
dining-rooms, you rarely hear the steady hum of con- IIP
versation you mostly do in Europe. But this may be
because the servants make so much noise that all other
soimds are drowned by it.
But to return to our ' car.' Take, for example, two
' feminines ' who have had the same section assigned to
them, and watch how the reserve of the first day gradually wears away on the second, and by the eve of the
third how completely the ice has melted. The family
records have been faithfully aired, and a friendship has
been formed which ends when they finally scatter and
separate with a gushing ' Now do write to me,' from
one, and a sacred promise not to fail doing so, from
another. As a rule, the loving remembrance lasts about
half-an-hour; and I do not beheve the consequent
forgetfulness ever caused the death of either from a
broken heart.
We are now approaching Burhngton, and having
crossed the Mississippi, we find ourselves in that pretty,
well-built town, where we are to stay for a couple of
days, to recover from the effects of 'Pullman' and
to see what we can of the great river.
After leaving the Mississippi we gradually ascend
until we reach the high plateau which divides that
river from the Missouri. There is no doubt about
its being a*' rolling prairie,' as the undulations of the
ground recall the round swell and deep dips and
hollows of the roll of the sea.    In Iowa the ' Farmers'
y E'
Hi   It
Granges' are most numerous. They number over
two thousand in that State alone. A ' Grange' is a
sort of co-operative society, and its grand object is not
only the general improvement in husbandry but the
increase of the general happiness, wealth, and prosperity of the country. First organised less than seven
years ago, the number of ' Granges ' at present amounts
to over six thousand, distributed throughout the land,
with a membership of probably over four hundred
thousand persons. To resist railroad monopohes was
their first determination; and now they have set themselves to resist monopohes of all kinds; avoiding politics, because they hold—and rightly, I beheve—that
the trade of politics in America is the source of all
infamous impositions.
Their business embraces everything that can be
advantageous to the members. They have a systematic arrangement for obtaining and disseminating
information regarding crops, the aspect of demand and
supply, and facihties for procuring help and labour at
home, and from abroad. They have a ready means
for the exchange of hve stock, seeds, plants, &c., and a
well-guarded system for testing the merits of new
implements and other inventions. The ' Farmers'
movement' may be also of great value when looked at
from its social side. Anyone who has visited the agricultural districts in America must have remarked the CHICAGO  TO  OMAHA.
loneliness and isolation of farm-life. This isolation is
too often accompanied by an intellectual poverty, and a
too great devotion to money-making and money-savim
A pleasant feature, therefore, of the movement is the
prominence given to social intercourse amongst the
members; and the formation of ' Granges' would be
almost impossible without a certain ratio of lady
The farmers take their wives and daughters to the
' Grange meetings,' and thus gradually discover that the
tastes of their children are as well worth cultivating as
their acres. A good library, an organ or piano, a
microscope, botanical collections, &c, are amongst the
items with which each Grange is furnished, and all sorts
D '
of means are employed for drawing out the hardworking, taciturn farmer, and inspiring him with a
fellow-feeling for the neighbourhood.    He is taught
that to breed pigs and plant potatoes are not the only
objects of life, but that books, flowers, and pictures
have as real a value as threshing and mowing ma-
Ladies become 'patrons of husbandry' in more
senses than one, and soon take a greater interest in
agriculture than they perhaps otherwise would do; and
there is little doubt that the establishment of ' Granges 1
will have a most beneficial effect not only on individuals
but on the community at large. 11
But while we have been talking our car has been
bumping about in a most extraordinary manner. On
looking back at the long lines of rails over which we
have just passed they seem so unevenly laid, so rugged
with ups and downs, that it is a wonder how we kept
on the metals at all. One of the passengers has meekly
remarked to the conductor that the roads seem rather
rough. ' Wal, yes,' he answers, ' guess they air;
trains do jump about some, but it's enough for us if
they keep anywhere between the two fences.' However,
we have managed to keep not only between the fences
but actually on the track, and are gradually approaching
the town of ' Council Bluffs,' which stands on the east
side of the Missouri, right opposite the more prosperous
Council Bluffs is built at the foot of some steep
banks which probably have at some time been the
boundary of the river; but now, the Missouri, being a
wayward, wandering stream, constantly changing its
channel, has moved off to see what the Omaha side is
like, and has left Council Bluffs high and dry about
three miles east,    A duller town, or rather village,
7 D    •>
than Council Bluffs I never saw; certainly it was very
hot, and everyone may have been asleep when we
arrived, but they could not have remained sleeping all
day 5 ye^ hardly a soul was stirring, and at last
we thought we must have found our way to ' Drowsie- CHICAGO   TO  OMAHA.
town,' so well described by the author of ' White Eose
and Eed,' where there was
Nothing coming:, nothing going,
D Til o   O o/
Locusts grating, one cock crowing;
Few things moving up and down,
All things drowsy—DrowsietOwn!
It was a relief to hear that this village and Omaha
were at fierce war with one another about railroad
matters, but I am ignorant as to where the energy for
" D D«/
conducting such a conflict was to come from.
Black water is a specialty at Council Bluffs, and
bathing in it is like bathing  in ink.    This reminds
me that travellers in America will do well to provide themselves with indiarubber baths. Fortunately, I had taken that precaution, and found it of
immense service. At the hotel at Council Bluffs they
had never heard of such a thing as a bath, and were
horrified when I produced mine and asked them to fill
it. They said it would spoil the carpet. However,
they filled it; but in the morning in emptying it they
did not take it up in the right place, and the pressure
of water on one side caused it to collapse, and in a
moment the whole room was flooded. You should
have seen the landlord's face when he heard of the
disaster. Baths are prohibited in that estabhshment
henceforth and for ever. In the large cities, if you are
fortunate enough to get a bedroom with a bath-room 46
,j-r ■
attached, you are charged a dollar (four shillings) extra,
per night; but that is better than having to wander
about the hotel in your dressing-gown and slippers in
quest of a bath that costs you only half-a-dollar. In
moderate-sized towns the only baths to be found are
in the barbers' shops. Hip or sponge baths are unknown ; the reason for dispensing with them being, as
I was told, that it would not do to give servants too
' D
much trouble. Perhaps the day will come when baths,
large and small, will be considered as necessary an adjunct to every hotel in America, as they are in every
other civilised country.
We very soon had had enough of Council Bluffs. We
crossed the dull, muddy river, with its low, flat banks,
on a fine iron bridge sixty feet above high water mark.
The ' Transfer Company' put * through' passengers to
much unnecessary inconvenience here, and when they
do arrive at Omaha they have more trouble still, with
their luggage and changing of cars. Eailway company
disputes are the cause of all this inconvenience, which
will probably not be remedied until more routes are
opened to Cahfornia and the Far West.
My travelling companion, much to my regret, left
me here, as he had to proceed straight through to San
Francisco, in order to catch the mail-steamer—for his
destination was China.   I
Up the Missouri—Snakes! — Nebraska — Indians—Prairie—Buffalo—
Eating-stations—Prairie-dogs—Denver—The Red Rocks—Indian races
—Agates—Indian battle—Sheep mountain—A storm—Echo canon
—The Devil's Slide—Salt Lake City.
Omaha is about as interesting as Council Bluffs. Its
hotel is large enough to contain all the inhabitants of
the town; but it was closed, and the business done by
the two or three wretched little inns seemed to be very
small indeed. I was glad, therefore, to get on board
a small steamer for a cruise up the Missouri as far as
Yauhton. The hotel was built, I believe, by the well-
known Mr. Train, and I should think he was hardly
satisfied with, his speculation. The wharfage at Omaha
is of a very peculiar kind; steamers and other vessels
simply run against the mud, and stick there. Indeed,
mud-banks are the principal features of the place.
The steamer in which I embarked was a large flat
.   D
boat, open at the sides hke a. raft, and with its furnaces
in full view; above, resting on posts, was the cabin,
extending nearly the whole length of the hull.    Above
s f«
that again was a smaller cabin, which was surmounted
by the pilot-house, and the whole was crowned by the
high smoke-stacks, which are necessary to secure a
draught for the high-pressure engines.
D D       L D
It was hke a card-house which children build up as
high as possible without toppling over. Very often on
these boats there is a band to enliven the voyage ; on
J    D     '
this occasion, however, the only music on board was
one banjo and no ' bones.'
The navigation is very difficult, on account of the
innumerable sand-bars and endless number of roots of
trees, which, when washed away from the bank, float
into the stream and stick in the mud, with their stems
rising just above' the surface of the water. They
always he with their sharp ends pointing down stream,
and are consequently very dangerous to steamers when
ascending it. The river was so shallow that I sometimes
doubted whether we should be able to proceed at
all; in fact, navigation for any distance is practicable
only for a very few months in the year. A story is
told of an old toper, who, when travelling on this river,
was asked why he drank nothing but whisky, to which
he replied ' that he felt absolutely compelled to do so,
as every drop of water was required to float the boat.'
We passed a small village called Florence, whose
only resemblance to its Italian namesake was that a
river   flowed   past   it.     With   all   their   inventions, HP
Americans cannot invent names, and not only are Old
World names given to towns and villages in the New
one, but there are sometimes duplicates of them in
the same State.
Slowly we steamed up through the mud and sand.
Hardly was the monotony of the boundless grass plains
on either side broken by a bluff, and scarcely did a
breath of air temper the fierce rays of the hot sun
till late in the day; then, suddenly, the high-lying
stretches of rye-grass were struck into long silvery
waves by the evening breeze, and across the western
sky a glare of pale gold, gradually opening out into a
bewildering haze which extended far away to the
horizon, gave to the surrounding country the appearance of a wild golden desert. ' Quite a scenery,' as a
fellow-passenger ably remarked.
There is a very curious rock, called Eattlesnake
Peak, a few miles up the Big Sioux river, near Sioux
City. Steep ledges lead up to the top of the bluff, and
hundreds of snakes of all sizes and descriptions may be
seen basking on the hmestone, dashing in and out of
the crevices of the rock, and hanging from the boughs
of the stunted oaks, hke the ringlets on the head of
Medusa. In fact, a more uncomfortable place for
spending an hour on a hot summer's day cannot well
be imagined.
After leaving Sioux City, where I had expected to
! r
E 5o
see a number of the red-skin warriors, and perhaps one
of their encampments, but where there were only a few
hideous specimens of demi-semi-civilised savages, I
was told to keep my eye ' peeled' for buffaloes. As I
supposed that meant I was to be on the look-out for
them, I gazed steadily into the distance for hours without seeing anything resembling a buffalo. But just
before we arrived at Yancton, the cry was raised from
one of the upper stories that a large herd was in sight,
and being driven towards the river by a party of
Indians on a hunting expedition. Expectation was now
raised to boiling point, and presently, over a low bank,
there came snorting and foaming, with their tails over
D D'
their backs, and, as those who had glasses said, looking
terribly enraged, a large number of tame cows, hurrying to the river to bathe and drink! From that time
buffaloes hunted by wild Indians had no charms for
me; and after spending a short time at Yancton I
returned to Omaha, to continue my journey Westward.
I was glad to get away without having my luggage
entirely knocked to pieces, as Omaha is celebrated for
its  ' baggage-smashers.'     There  were  several boxes
DD    D
lying about, whose owners could only recognise them
by their contents. Many a handsome box must have
left Chicago as a ' Saratoga' and arrived at San Fran-
cisco mere lumber.
At present there is but one route from: Omaha to OMAHA   TO SALT LAKE CITY.
the Far West—that of the Union-Pacific. For a few
miles the traveller passes along high bluffs, and thence
to the open prairie, in the fertile land of Nebraska.
Groves of trees are scattered here and there, and tracts
of cultivated land frequently intervene; but these soon
disappear, and he is hurrying over that wide barren
tract so lately known as the ' Great American Desert,'
and which spreads out in one vast unbroken waste
from the Missouri to the Eocky Moimtains. The soil
is rich and easily cultivated; but a serious check to
agriculture is the scarcity of water. Hardly any rain
used to fall on this immense region, but it is now much
o -*
more abundant. Some people say that the railroad is
the cause of this, on account of the displacement of
the atmosphere by the rushing train. Probably the
planting of trees and shrubs*has more to do with it.
The great influence of forests on the climate, the
moisture, and the fertility of a country is well known.
The destruction of the forests of the Vosges and
Cevennes has sensibly deteriorated the fertihty of
Alsace and the rich valley of the Ehone. Since the
Alps and Appenines have been deprived of their forests
the shores of the Mediterranean have lost much of
their original verdure and fertility. The tremendous
ravages of the settler's axe, and the still more destruc-
D •»
tive one of the lumber-men, in America, bid fair to
introduce an era of climatic deterioration that must in
E 2
liar ■V*.
1 i
time reduce its fair and salubrious aspect to the condition of a Sahara. The French have carried thejr
system of tree-culture to Algeria, and have already
added several rainy days to July and August. Perhaps
in America the French system is impossible, but the
work of preservation and careful husbanding can
proceed from the people. One generation will plant
for another, and the saphng of to-day will be a monarch
of the forest fifty or a hundred years hence. Along
the line of railway, plantations of ' locust' trees have
been formed, not only as an ornamental improvement
but to provide material for ties, &c.
Near the Platte river and other smaller streams
that intersect the prairie, agriculture can be pushed
most advantageously. The grass which grows over the
whole is excellent fodder for cattle.   Grazing, of course,
D-" '
is impossible without water; but more numerous
and more widely-spread experiments, of how far this
want can be supphed by sinking wells in places far
from streams, are required, to solve this question, so
constantly debated on the plains.
The extraordinary effects produced by the system
of irrigation used by the Mormons and the farmers
round Denver and elsewhere, will spread the influence
of streams much further than the adjacent lands,
and show that it is not merely close to rivers that
cultivation can be successful.    Western men are san- 1) ip
guine that as irrigation and culture gain ground and
the old hard crust of soil is broken up, the chmate
will change and become more moist and rainy. Some
of the new settlements seem thriving, but I know not
from what source their support is derived ; as lager-
bier saloons, whisky-shops, and what they call hotels,
are often the only houses to be seen in the village.
And this is what is termed the ' march of intellect'
across the continent!
Groups of ' noble savages' are now to be met
with at most of the stations ; but those who expect to
see in them the heroes, or their descendants, of Fenni-
more Cooper's novels, will be woefully disappointed.
The traditional Indian is a romance, and his ' wild
turkey' appearance is pretty in a picture, though not
in the reahty—at all events, not near a railway station.
The ' squaws' have certainly settled a point much discussed lately, relating to extravagance in dress ; and
a work entitled ' How to Dress on Nothing a Year
hke a Pawnee, by a Pawnee,' might be a success, but
would hardly be approved of by Worth or Madame
Elise. There is a quaint Indian proverb which says :
' The smiles of a pretty woman are the tears of the
purse;' but where either the pretty woman or the
purse is to come from is matter of conjecture. What
the Indian woman would do with a purse if she had
one I cannot tell. ;^w__
. I
, ,
I t
The ' braves' carry bows and arrows, with which
they try to knock down any small pieces of coin that
a sporting white man may feel inclined to put up as a
target. They insert the coin in a small piece of stick
which they fasten in the ground; then retiring about
twenty paces, they begin shooting. As far as my
observation went, they generally succeeded in knocking the coin down about once in twenty shots, and
then only by firing short and the arrow accidentally
ricochetting against the stick—the bow being held
parallel with the ground.
The women will inform you that they are good
squaws, and sometimes produce a dirty scrap of paper
on which is written a certificate of good character and
the information that they can wash well. From their
appearance you cannot help thinking that they perhaps
could wash well, but unfortunately never do.
After reading and handing back this interesting
document a demand for ten cents will be made, and
if not at once comphed with you will be looked upon
as a 4 mean white,' and one who has obtained valuable
information under false pretences.
The ' Pawnees' congregate at most of the railway
stations, and are very fond of a short trip by train.
They are allowed to ride free on any car on to which:
they can jump when the train is in motion; the consequence is, the tribe is being rapidly reduced.    It has OMAHA   TO SALT LAKE CITY
been proposed to introduce the same system at other
places, wherever there are Indians.
All through Nebraska we pass broad valleys,
which afford immense fields for grazing ; rich farming
lands, and deserted houses and cabins, once the resting-
places of gangs of roughs and desperadoes, who followed in the track of the railroad as it pushed its way
towards the West; whilst,
' Spreading between the streams are the wondrous, beautiful prairies,
Billowy bays of grass ever rolling in shadow and sunshine:
Bright with luxuiiant clusters of roses and purple amorphas.
Over them wander the buffalo herds and the elk and the roebuck;
Over them wander the wolves, and herds of riderless horses;'
And for all we knew there might have been an ' Evan-
gehne' in some of those small unshaded houses we
passed ; cheering with her bright presence the terrible
! lonehness of pioneer life in the wide prairie, and
watching, with a mother's love, children destined to
become types of the every-day, active, vivacious
Western citizen—of the class of men who people the
prairies, fell forests, reclaim swamps, and tunnel the
Now and then, a few antelopes may be seen in the
early morning, gazing curiously at the passing train,
and after a minute inspection bounding gracefully
away. Sometimes, one braver than the rest will not
move at all, but with a httle stamp of its foot will express its indignation at our trespassing on land owned 56
by its grandfathers and great grandfathers from time
Along the Platte valley may be traced the old
emigrant-road ; and sometimes a lonely grave with a
rude head-board will be seen, marking the resting-place
of some poor traveller, struck down by sickness or by
the arrows of the savage Indians.
After leaving Grand Island we are constantly passing scenes of Indian massacres; and near O'Fallon
station we see the bluffs on the opposite side of the
river, where was a celebrated lurking-place of the redskins, the abrupt canons aiid gulches affording them
excellent hiding-places whence to swoop down on the
unfortunate emigrant trains, when a general slaughter
O ' O D
On the south side of the Platte, at Fort Kearney,
buffaloes used to be so numerous that orders were
issued forbidding soldiers to shoot them on the parade-
ground. We did not see any until we passed a station
called Brady Island. There, a fine herd was feeding
along the banks of the river, well in the open, and far*
removed from any chance of a surprise. It was a relief to see the long-looked for animals at last; for only
those who have felt it can understand what a dreadful
thing it is to want to see a buffalo, and not to be able
to do so.
It was near this spot that, on one occasion, an old OMAHA   TO  SALT LAKE  CITY.
lady, alone and unattended, except by an umbrella,
was obhged to cross some miles of prairie to visit a
sick friend; hearing a snorting behind her, she looked
round, and found herself face to face with a huge
buffalo. With great presence of mind, she instantly
opened wide her umbrella which so exasperated him
that he turned round and rushed off! Since then, old
ladies crossing the prairie always carry umbrellas.
The eating-stations, all along the route, call for
great improvement; some of them are moderately
good, but, as a rule, the food is ill-cooked and worse
served. Morning, noon, and night, the same cry greets
you at every meal: ' Mutton-chop, beefsteak, ham
and eggs, sir?' No change of any sort, from the time
you leave New York until you arrive at San Francisco.
Everybody has heard, and too many have partaken, of the dry chops, the gutta-percha steaks, the
bean-coffee, and the currant-leaf tea to be found at
railway eating-places. Then there are desperate
skirmishes with the waiter, who persists in bringing
tea when you want coffee, and who tells you ' it's all
the same, sir ;' the struggles with your vis-a-vis for the
bread or sugar; and, if you happen to be late, the hateful cry of f All aboard' ringing in your ears, and obliging you to rush off, leaving the proprietor counting his
money and arranging the victuals for the next batch.
It is wonderful how expert the people who keep
ij 58
these places become in collecting their money. Needless to say, the ubiquitous pie is to be found in all its
glory at these places. The number of victims to intemperance in pie-eating must be enormous in
America. I beheve pumpkin-pie is the least injurious
of all pies, as it contains only half the poison of the
double-crusted mince-pie. A ' light hand for pastry'
would be useless in making these pies; a hand that
can manufacture a pie, every inch of which means
nightmare for a week, is the one most in request here.
On approaching Potter we meet with the suburban
residences of the prairie-dogs, and presently a large city
of them appears. These little animals are not dogs, but
rabbits that make a curious barking noise. Their
dwellings consist of a mound with a hole in the top.
When anyone approaches they scamper off to these
houses, and having arrived there, sit on their hams, or
stand up on their hind feet and bark.
The plains about here are arid, and produce httle
except the prickly cactus, thistles, and white poppies;
but we soon again enter a great grazing country, with
low hills covered with the nutritious ' bunch' grass,
and evidently better watered than any we have yet
passed. Before long, we catch a first glimpse of the
Eocky Mountains, and after a few more miles arrive at
Cheyenne, whence I branch off to Denver.
This journey of about six hours through the Colorado OMAHA   TO SALT LAKE  CITY.
plains was dreary enough, and with httle but the dog-
cities to enliven the prospect. After Greeley, the country
becomes more interesting, and there are fine stretches
of grassy plain and upland. Water-courses are easily
traced, and there are actually trees of good size and in
tolerable abundance. Denver is certainly blessed in its
chmate, as well as in its site. The view is magnificent
from the outskirts of the town. The Eocky Mountains
rise abruptly from the plains, about fourteen miles off,
range piled above range, and the long white sky-line
in sharp contrast with the brilliantly blue sky.
The plains are covered with flowers of various kinds,
gold and red being the predominating colours. There
are quantities of our common garden-flowers, such as
marigolds, sunflowers, yuccas, and numerous others.
The most beautiful of them was a large white, flower,
growing in numberless blooms on branches to a height
o o D
of about two feet. The blossoms open only at night,
and close soon after sunrise.
One of the pleasantest excursions to be made from
Denver is to the famous Eed Eocks and the Platte
canon. We (a very agreeable American gentleman
and his wife; the host of the hotel, who acted as
guide, and myself) started very early one morning, and
soon found ourselves crossing a great prairie farming
country, on our way to the canon. Those who have
seen the never-ending sweep of the Great Plains can /•*■*--
understand the feeling of—well—call it self-sufficiency,
that Western men have been accused of displaying.
The sight of, and the possession of these boundless seas
of wealth give a sense of power and freedom hardly to
be estimated by the inhabitants of the city. The prairie
is indeed a silent land, but it is full of charm, and never
wearisome. We passed a small cabin, once the home
of Jim Beck with, a celebrated Indian scout. In his
youth he fell in with the Crow Indians, who adopted
him and made him a chief. Tired at last with the
monotonous country life of scalping and bear-hunting,
he left the Crows and roved over Cahfornia and Mexico.
He then paid his old friends a visit, to their great joy,
and they determined he should not leave them again ;
so they made a great feast, and in his favourite dish they
put poison. His ashes are still preserved in the dismal
recesses of the Eookery.
Mrs. F. remained at a small farm-house, where we
intended passing the night, while we explored the
canon as far we were able. After two or three
hours of hard scrambling, we at length reached some
D' D
cool shadows on the bank of the stream which flowed
at the foot of the rocky precipices that formed the
walls of the canon. A beautiful vale stretched awav,
bordered with trees, forming a long arched lane, and
carpeted with bracken and briar-roses. Squirrels were
nut-gathering ; the garrulous and important jay flitted
w - 1
about; the woodpeckers hammered away on the dead
boughs, and for a moment I fancied myself in the quiet
glade of a far-off English woodland. Ah ! in spite of the
surroundings of mighty cliffs and the solemn grandeur
of great natural wonders, there is, after all, no scenery
like English scenery, no resting-places like our old
Enghsh homes!
After several hours of exploration and the expenditure of a great amount of shoe-leather (an extravagance to be avoided in these parts) we returned to a
capital supper and a good night's rest at the farm.
Next morning we wended our way towards the
Eed Eocks, where we soon arrived, after crossing
the Platte. These rocks, which give the territory its
name, are of red sandstone, and extremely grand and
picturesque. They he at the foot of the mountains for
miles and miles. Some of them are in the shape of
towers and turrets, others have graceful spires and
pinnacles, while numbers of them, several hundred feet
high, are perched on one another like the family of
a Cyclopean acrobat balancing on the top of a pole
which is sustained by the uplifted chin of their steady-
going old parent.
On our return to Denver we saw some Indian races,
which were not in the least suggestive of Ascot or
Goodwood. The Utes performed wild acts of generosity
which  would   hardly  have  been   countenanced   by ('
■!■■ I
1   b
civihsed jockeys ; although instances have been known,
I beheve, of similar performances on their part, though
from very different motives. If, for instance, a Ute
thought he was coming in too far ahead of the other
ponies, he would pull up and wait for his competitors, a
proceeding which in several cases would have lost him
the race, had not etiquette forbade the winning of it by
the distanced red-men.
The Utes are, if possible, uglier and more repulsive-
looking than the Pawnees, and have as much expression in their countenances as a turnip.
After a day at Greeley, where nothing goes on
except irrigation and irritation (the latter on account of
the mosquitoes), I returned to Cheyenne, and went out
for a day's agate-hunting. Colorado is rich in precious
stones, and around Cheyenne beautiful moss agates are
frequently found. I only succeeded, after several hours'
search, in obtaining a few indifferent specimens, and
therefore turned my attention to prairie-dogs.
I got an old Indian to dig out a few of their holes,
as I wanted to see whether it was true that their habitations always contained owls and rattlesnakes.
I found the former—pretty little bhnking ground-
owls—but no signs of the latter. I fancy owls are too
wise to make bedfellows of rattlesnakes. I had a couple
of the ' dogs' cooked for supper, and found them excellent—quite as good as rabbits.    They live on roots and OMAHA   TO  SALT LAKE   CITY.
grasses, and are invariably very plump and tender—
much better, in fact, than the tasteless and tough ante-
lope and buffalo steaks which they feed you on in these
It seems—and I ought to have mentioned it before
—that a very exciting scene had taken place in the
Eepublican Valley, not far from Omaha, a few days
before we arrived there. The Pawnees had prepared
for a buffalo-hunt. Their enemies, the Sioux, being
aware of this, stripped their ponies and distributed them
round an adjoining hill, to lead the Pawnees to beheve
them to be buffaloes. As soon as the Pawnee ' braves'
left their camp the Sioux immediately attacked it, and
succeeded in killing about fifty squaws before the
warriors returned. When they did return they fought
bravely for about ten hours ; but they were at last
obhged to retreat, and fled across the river, having lost
over a hundred men. The Sioux loss amounted to about
thirty. The soldiers from Fort M'Pherson arrived after
the fight, and drove the Sioux back to their 'reservation.'
The Pawnees were at Elm Creek Station when
we arrived, and I never saw more miserable-looking
They brightened up a httle at the sight of some
food, and a few dollars which were collected for them.
Somebody having offered to buy from one of them a
knife which had a very cut-throat appearance, they
If Ii :^
all began to offer for sale whatever they had about
them—and that was not much.
One of them offered me a most disgusting-looking
scalp, with the remark,' One much heap hair, one dollar,'
and seemed surprised that I did not at once close with
the offer. Finally, he disposed of the horrid object to
a veteran relic-hunter for the sum of fifty cents, and
I should think the proprietor would have been glad to
have paid double that amount, a short time after, to anyone who would have taken it away. On the occasion
of the fight, the Sioux were commanded by ' Young
Spotted Tail'—' Old Spotted Tail' having preferred remaining at home. The Pawnees were under Sky-Chief,
who, with a very natural determination, under the circumstances, has sworn to avenge his losses. But as the
7 D
Sioux know how to take very good care of themselves,
and invariably get the better of the Pawnees, and as the
latter are not particularly fond of fighting unless they
are in overpowering -numbers, I think revenge for the
buffalo trick and the subsequent slaughter is likely to
be handed down, as a pleasure to come, to future generations.
After leaving Cheyenne we ascend a very steep
grade, through   Granite   Canon,   with   wild   rugged
(D 1 O ' DD
mountains of granite piled up on either side, and with
an occasional opening, through which we see the lofty
mountain-tops away to the south, and Pike's Peak— OMAHA   TO SALT LAKE  CITY
plainly visible three hundred miles away. At Sherman
we are at the most elevated railroad station in the world,
and enthusiastic tourists are much given to telegraphing
that information to distant friends. Here a lady, with
what some one expressed as a rush of lace to the head,
entered the car; she had evidently been astomshing
the natives of Sherman with the latest fashions, and
was proceeding on her philanthropical expedition still
further West.
At Laramie I made a long tedious excursion, in
company with two officers of the U.S. army, to Crystal
Lake, about forty-five miles distant. The road was
dreadfully rough for the unfortunate ponies, besides
being very steep; but the view from the summit of
Sheep mountain was superb. On the way, we passed
a lonely httle cabin, whose sole occupant was a poor
melancholy-looking white woman. She asked us in
to rest ourselves, and refreshed us with some most
dehciously cold water. Her husband, she told us, had
gone to the town, as she called Laramie, and she seemed
quite frightened at being left there all alone. Amidst
bursts of tears, she said they had lately lost their only
child, a httle girl of about five years old. It was
really painful to see anyone so nervous and so utterly
broken down.    She insisted on our going in to look at
D o
a small  neat white-curtained inner-room, where her
httle daughter had hved and died.    Everything was |K       *L   *
1 i
m    I«   u
left as if she still expected ner, and the poor creature
would hsten every now and then, as if she heard the
footfall of her child—yes,
' There was a little white rose of a bed,
But its fragrance had passed away.'
We pleased her with a promise to pay another short
visit when we returned, which promise we kept, and
found her and her husband packing up their household
goods, as they were going to settle in the town.
The dense forest through which we passed has
abundance of game, in the shape of bears, panthers,
and wild sheep ; but we saw none of them, though we
now and then came across the track of deer. When
we arrived at the top of the mountain and emerged
from the deep gloom of the forest into the sunlight, we
looked down on banks of fleecy cloud floating far
below us, whilst around and above rose innumerable
peaks whose snow-clad heights were lost to view in
the hazy distance. The black masses of rock visible
through the ghstening misty vapour, and the gleaming
clouds of a passing thunder-storm, seemed the realisation of Shelley's fancifully descriptive hues :—
1 The billowy clouds
Edged with intolerable radiancy,
Towering like rocks of jetr
Crowned with a diamond wreath.'
Away down the mountain was a wide open green hi
space, and in its centre lay the beautiful lake, clear as
crystal, and reflecting every object on its banks. It
looked like a huge basin of quicksilver with the sun
shining on it. It was difficult to beheve that it was
water, so still and mirror-like was its surface. The
contrast between the lovely view of the lake and the
distant grandeur of the mountain-peaks was particularly
striking, and more impressive than anything I had then
seen, or indeed afterwards saw? in the Eocky Mountains.
On our way back the following day, we found some
hideous horned toads, and they were about the only
specimens of animal hfe that we saw.
After leaving Laramie and entering the district of
alkali and sage-brush, I must say I began to get rather
tired of the monotony of the view. It is all very
interesting, as long as you are on the prairie, on the
perpetual look-out for antelopes, and are constantly
seeing (in your mind's eye) buffalo herds pursued by
wild Indians, with the white waggons of emigrants
corraQed to receive the attack of the scalping gentlemen ; but when nothing but sage-brush greets the
eyes, except small particles of alkali, which makes
them smart terribly, the scene is apt to become rather
We were relieved at last from absolute monotony
by a tremendous storm; but I think the remedy was
worse than the disease, for we were thereby detained for
v 2
m 68
1 is
1     B '■
}■   u  1
|  ]
fifteen hours on a siding.    It was evening when the
storm began, and the guard was afraid to go on in the
dark, lest the rails should have been washed away, or
a bridge have been broken down anywhere.
Towards sunset the clouds in the west had assumed
a most threatening aspect, and every form of stormlike beauty was then combined in the sky. To the
south-east, the most lovely blue was bordered with
vast mountains of fleecy white clouds; right in front
of us, and rapidly extending overhead, was an enormous mass of black clouds tipped with fiery red, whilst
away towards the north was an expanse of grey-
coloured mist, from which torrents of rain were
pouring and fast approaching us. The air was suddenly
charged on all sides with electricity, and from the huge
dense black mass burst forth an overwhelming rush
of water, while the lightning afforded as magnificent a
7 Do D
show of fireworks as can be imagined—the whole west
sometimes appearing as a ball of flame, from which the
crags and peaks of the mountains stood out distinctly
and grandly. The storm continued far into the night,
the crashing, echoing, and re-echoing of the heavy
peals of thunder entirely preventing sleep.. There was
an old lady in the car who was quite unmoved by the
raging of the storm, but was so dreadfully afraid of
being scalped that she kept continually running to the
door and looking out, in the expectation of beholding 1
the approach of her red-skin horrors. I was the more
surprised at this fear on her part, because, ' raising her
hair' would only have been performing an operation
which she went through of her own accord every
evening. Before retiring, she combed out the disordered wig, and hung it up in the most conspicuous
place over her berth, ready to be put on the first thing
in the morning; and this she did with • an air of
the most complete nonchalance, and a coolness only to
be acquired by a long course of travelling in a Pullman's car.
It was very fortunate, as it turned out," that our
engineer did stop the train; for when we proceeded
on our journey next day we found the track being
repaired in two or three places, and in one spot we had
a further delay of some hours, while at least a ton of
rock was removed from the hne.
At Evanston I was told I should find everything
'real nice;' and certainly it was the best dining-
station along the hne. The table was neatly arranged,
the napkins and tablecloth were white and clean, and
the cooking far better than usual. Fortunately, there
was no military post near, and so it was impossible
to obtain the condemned articles of the commissary for
the passengers' consumption.
From Evanston our way ran through Echo Canon,
and we  soon plunged amongst  its red rocky bluffs.
1 .  9 -        •CjC>i
■S        H
pecuharly bold in form, and of great beauty and variety
of colour. Grand indeed are the pictures presented
in these strange ravines,  and the effect is increased
D '
by the unexpected manner in which the traveller
comes upon them. The shapes, too, taken by these
rocks, like those in Colorado, are wonderful. Sometimes you* see a cathedral, with spires and windows ;
then a castle, with battlements and turrets; domes and
pillars are everywhere. The Witch rocks are also pecuharly striking and weird.
Presently, we pass the spot where the Mormons
erected their fortifications; and on a precipitous rock,
a thousand feet above us, are the huge stones that were
7 D
piled up one upon another ready to be hurled down on
their foes. The huge boulders were never used, and
now stand as a monument of folly and superstition. A
little farther on rises ' Pulpit Eock,' from which
Brigham Young preached his first sermon, on that side
of the Eocky mountains, to his strange, devoted people.
Vast circles of rocks rise story upon story, and lofty
precipices frown down upon us as we pass, whilst right
across the smooth broad brow of a towering cliff may be
read in letters several feet in height,' A thing of beauty
and a joy for ever'—' Try our rising sun stove-polish !'
After such a sudden fall from the sublime to the ridiculous half the poetry and romance of the scenery
vanishes for ever
1 Hw
On we go through Weber Canon, picturesque
certainly, but not to be compared to Echo, and we
come then to the 'Devil's Slide.' What a gymnast
the old gentleman must have been, if he really accomplished a quarter of the feats we put down to him! in
fact, a great part of his existence must have been spent
in jumping through rocks, like a clown through a
paper hoop, and sliding down hills and mountains hke
-a naughty boy down a bannister. In the case in
question, he was probably well whipped when he
went home, as, from the rugged state of the rocks, his
pantaloons must have been in a most unenviable condition by the time he reached the foot of the mountain.
The river Weber frets and rages along its course
just beneath us, and presently we pass a solitary pine
tree on our left. A board on it states that the distance
from Omaha is 1,000 miles. Here another storm
passed us, taking the usual north-easterly direction ; we
therefore only came in for a very small part of it. Just
where the river rushes between two great walls of
rock the road crosses the stream, and we enter the
valley of Salt Lake. Passing through a cultivated
country, with well-tilled farms on either side, we soon
arrive at Ogden, where I was very glad to leave the
the main road, and after a few hours of slow travelling
reached Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah, and the
' desert home of the Mormons.' 72
Early days—The Tabernacle—A vision—Mormons—Ann Eliza—Brigham
Young—Mormon    shops—American   Fork   Oafion—Salt   Lake—A.
pageant—The theatre—Mormonism—The   great American  desert—
Euehre—Tricks that are vain—Nevada—Train-robbers—Anieriean-
. isms—Reno.
What a wonderful change there is in the Salt Lake
valley of the present day compared with its aspect
before the arrival of the Mormons ! After encountering almost superhuman difficulties, after leaving scores
of their companions dead on the long terrible road
they had journeyed over, they arrived in 1847 in this
valley; and finding that the parched sandy desert and
the high mountain-peaks were insuperable barriers
against their foes, they determined to make it their
home, and to hve there according to their own peculiar
ideas. Persecution had strengthened their faith ; they
believed imphcitly in'the divinity of their martyred
prophet, Joseph Smith, and considered themselves the
' Chosen People.' With the greatest rehgious enthusiasm
—a httle augmented, perhaps, by personal requirements
—they built houses, planted trees, and irrigated and
cultivated the land. The circumstances in which they
were placed furnished an incentive to exertion. There
was noway of escape for them out of the valley, and they
could only exist by toiling to the fullest extent of their
powers. The success they have achieved is evident in
the garden-like appearance of the beautiful valley.
On the morning after my arrival I set off to visit
the town. The first thing that struck me was the
number of trees bordering the streets, along the sides
D -" D
of which runs a clear stream of water from the mountains.
The houses are not particularly tasteful, but the
great amount of fohage surrounding them gives them
a secluded home-like air.
Orchards of peach, apricot, cherry, and apple trees
abound everywhere, and the soil is evidently extremely
fertile, where it is irrigated.
The great object of interest is the Tabernacle,
whose huge oval roof gives the building the exact
appearance of a roc's egg. On entering its precincts
I met a gentleman, who, seeing that I was a stranger,
kindly offered to show me over the building. He
proved to be one of the Apostles, and a very entertaining and agreeable one too. The Tabernacle is about
two hundred and fifty feet long, and a hundred and
fifty feet wide, and will hold fifteen thousand people.
The enormous roof is self-sustaining, and springs from 74
Ill i
a number of stone cofamns. The large organ, built
by a member of the flock, is the most conspicuous
object in the interior. In front of the organ is the
pulpit from which Brigham preaches. Next below is
one for the councillors, then one for the bishops, and
finally one for the deacons. The seats are all of plain
pine, and the absence of paint gives the building a very
cold and formal appearance.
Adjacent to the Tabernacle is the Temple, or rather
what will be the Temple, as at present the foundation
is but httle above the level of the ground. From the
plan which my friend (if I may so call an Apostle)
showed me, it will be a most magnificent building, if ever
? O D7
finished; but there is not, I imagine, the very slightest
probability of it, as it was begun near twenty years
ago, and funds are now at a very low ebb, in fact, so
low that there was not a single workman then at work
on the edifice. The plan, they say, was given to
Brigham Young in a vision; if so, it must have been
by the united spirits of Sir Christopher Wren and
The Apostle introduced me to his house, but I saw
nothing of his wives, of whom he had three, as I was
later informed. From the quiet home-like look about
the place, there seemed to be more peace in it than I
should have thought probable from the presence there
of such disturbing elements.   I beheve, however, before SALT LAKE  CITY TO   VIRGINIA   CITY.
a Mormon takes his second or third wife the consent
of the first is usually obtained.
I noticed a peculiar air of depression, and even sadness, amongst the Mormon women—a patient suffering
look, which seemed the natural consequence of adopting a creed many of whose doctrines must be repugnant
to the chaste impulses of woman5s nature, however
sincere her faith may be in its strange delusions. The
Mormon men looked particularly jolly and free from
care, and certainly appeared to leave the burden of
the ' cross,' about which they talk a good deal, to be
borne by their wives.
My kind guide was unable to obtain for me an
introduction to President Young himself, but showed
me what he could of his dwelling-houses, chief of
which are the Lion House and the Bee-hive House, so
called from the carved figures over them, emblematic
D '
of strength and industry. They are surrounded by a
high wall, which gives a dignified and secluded air to
otherwise unimportant-looking buildings.
From the account of Mrs. Young, nee Ann Eliza
Webb—the seventeenth, and, I beheve, the last wife of
the President—his family life does not run very smoothly.
She (the seventeenth) had lately left the house he had
provided for her, and had taken apartments in one of
the hotels. Amongst other grievances, she showed
that Brigham, like Socrates, had his Xantippe.    This
ii! 76
Xantippe was allowed carte blanche at the Lion cooperative store, and arrayed herself in silk attire, while
the more meek and humble, but not less deserving,
Ann Eliza could only dress herself in homespun. She
further objected, and with good reason, to the extremely
frugal means of subsistence allowed by her husband.
A lawsuit ensued, in which she endeavoured to obtain
an annual allowance suitable to her position. How it
was settled I do not know, but the case was a difficult
one. The law did not recognise her as a wife. To do
so would be to put a premium on polygamy; and if
she was not a wife she could not legally be allowed
ahmony. However, should the revelations made by this
seventeenth wife find their way to Europe, they may
act as a warning to young women against being deluded
by Mormon doctrines, and in that case Ann Eliza will
have done something for her sex.
Within the precincts of the Lion house and the Bee
house are the ' tithing-houses.' Thither, the Mormon
farmers and gardeners bring yearly a tenth part of
their produce. Merchants, miners, mechanics, &c.
bring a tenth part of their income.
On Sunday I attended service in the Tabernacle, and
there saw the President in his accustomed place of
honour. I was in hopes he was going to preach,
but in this was disappointed. He is a tall, quiet-
looking man, with a calm firm face ; but I could see SALT LAKE  CITY  TO   VIRGINIA   CITY.
nothing to which to attribute the extraordinary influence he has obtained over the minds of his followers.
He looked like a man to whom physical exertions for
the benefit of the state were of greater consideration
and importance than spiritual ones ; and yet he calls
himself a Prophet, and declares he has received
revelations from God himself.
The service was very simple; prayer, music, and
singing by the choir, with a sermon, followed by a
discourse, and a blessing from the Prophet constituted
the entire ceremony; after which the congregation of
about two thousand souls departed to their homes.
The Mormon shops are known by a sign placed
over their doors, on which is written' Hohness to the
Lord. Zion's Co-operate Mercantile Institution.' The
true followers are expected to trade there; but I have
strong suspicions that even Mormons like trading where
they can obtain the cheapest and best goods, and that
the Gentile stores are as much patronised as the
The scenery of Utah is magnificent. A long
excursion I made to the American Fork Canon, about
thirty miles distant from the city, was full of picturesque
surprises. The old mill, in the Canon, presented as
charming a picture as could well be found. The ride
to it was over hanging hilljs, whose tops were fringed
with trees and at whose base flowed a winding stream, 78
and through a narrow gorge filled with all sorts of wild
flowers.   After rounding a high barren rock, the old
CD <D '
mill suddenly appeared, perched up amongst the trees,
and surrounded by the foaming white water that was
rushing down the ravine. The country around is very
rich in minerals; the Emma mine, said to be the
richest in Utah, is situated in Little Cottonwood
Canon,   adjacent  to   the  picturesque  scene   of   the
The Mormon city lies east of the south end of the
great Salt Lake;, and some miles from it. There is no
doubt about the saltness or the buoyancy of its waters,
for while bathing I found it difficult, indeed almost
impossible, to stand on the bottom. In spite of all
e fforts to maintain my ground, my heels would fly out
of the water. Eggs and potatoes will float in it hke
corks, and any but a swimmer would fare badly if he
trusted himself to the tender mercies of its briny
depths, as his head would go down and his feet fly up.
Bathers in the salt lake are said to come forth from its
waters white and sparkling. For my own part, I
must confess that I was not mare dazzled by my appearance after coming out than before going in,
although the salt coating I received necessitated a
plunge into a fresh-water stream before dressing. The
Mormons say it is good for the health to leave the
salt on the body, and dress without drying the skin. SALT LAKE  CITY TO   VIRGINIA   CITY.
There are numerous islands on the lake. One of them,
called Antelope Island, is about fifteen miles long; it
swarms with deer, but shooting is not allowed.    One
** D
day, whilst enjoying the view over the lake from
Ensign Park, above the city, I saw a gorgeous procession advancing, glittering with silver and all ' the
pomp and circumstance of war.' I hastened down to the
streets, and met people hurrying along from every
direction to view the pageant." I thought that it was,
probably, some municipal display, and that I was about
to witness some curious demonstration of the Saints.
Slowly the procession wound its way through the
shadow and sunshine, ghstening  hke some gigantic
7     D D O D
monster with scales of gold and silver. Ladies in
historical costumes swept by on their cream-white
palfreys; knights in armour, and mounted on magnificent chargers, trooped past. A magnificent chariot,
with pink and white plumes, and drawn by eight
camels, with their African attendants, rolled proudly on ;
and by the time a cage of lions and other wild animals
had passed me I began to reahse the fact that the
' New York and New Orleans Great American Circus
and Menagerie' had arrived, and that a performance
would take place in the ' Mammoth Tent' that evening. Indians in fall dress—that is, hideously painted
with streaks of red and yellow ochre—followed the
procession  in  great numbers, and  for  once looked
m: ;
r  i 8o
astonished. They evidently thought the gaudy
pageant the most imposing spectacle they could
possibly witness. Part of the evening's entertainment
was   the   exhibition   of  a   fat   woman;   I   forget
*•* «D
what   she   weighed,   but     she     created     immense
O 7
amusement by singing, the then popular song, ' Put
me in my httle bed.' Even the red-skins saw the joke,
or the laughter of the audience proved infectious—for
they gave vent to their delight in many guttural' Ugh!
At the theatre one has a good opportunity of
observing the Mormon ladies. The President is often
present, with several of his wives and endless sons and
daughters. The Apostles are also in force, attended by
their wives; whilst the rest of the house is composed of
the lesser Saints, some with only a modest couple of
wives, and some with but one wife. Yet everywhere
may be seen the same sad dead-alive look amongst
the women that I had before remarked. Whether
they would have allowed that they were unhappy,
or whether they even knew that they were, I cannot
tell—they looked so, and that was enough.
J 7 D
Discussion on the subject of polygamy in Salt Lake
City is useless. But we Gentiles have one argument
against it which cannot be gamsayed.    Looking at the
question from a purely social and domestic point of
view, is not woman man's equal, if not his superior? SALT LAKE  CITY TO   VIRGINIA   CITY.
Most undoubtedly she is.    But to the Mormon she is
not even his equal—she is simply his slave.
Mormonism has also its ludicrous aspect. A man
may not wish to have more than one wife, but if
Brigham chooses he can order him to marry some poor
forlorn creature, and should he not hke her, all he can
do is either to turn her out to grass—that is, send her
to his farm, if he is fortunate enough to possess one—or
pension her off, as best he can. How odd, too, it must
be for the wives to talk of ' our husband,' or ' our
piano,' and they all seem to have a joint-stock even in
' our baby!' I was told that one particular trait in the
Mormon women's character is a total absence of the
love of scandal. The story of the woman who used
her tongue to slander other women is a favourite one
in their schools. This woman confessed her sin to
the priest and desired a penance. He gave her a
thistle-top and told her to go in various directions and
scatter the seeds, one by one. She obeyed, then returned to her confessor and told him she had done so.
He then bade her go back and gather the scattered
seeds. She answered that it would be impossible. Still
more difficult, he rephed, would it be to gather up and
destroy the ill effects of the evil reports she had circulated about others. As to Brigham Young, it must be
admitted that, considering the elements he has had to
deal with—men from the poorest and most ignorant
1 82
classes—considering also the enormous toil and labour
caused by the hard conditions of early emigration, his
formation of the colony is an unparalleled achievement.
He has ruled and guided his people with wonderful
skill and tact.    And though schisms and divisions are
now common amongst them, and the Mormons, as a
rehgious sect, are fast losing their footing; yet, in spite of
his mysterious doctrines and the many faults attributed
to him, he will leave a name behind him as a benefactor
of the poor and the founder of a new commonwealth.
I was quite sorry to have to say good-bye to the quaint
Mormon capital, but did so, bearing away with me a
bag of its most delicious peaches, by way of consolation ; then, returning to Ogden, I resumed my journey.
After skirting the north side of the Great Salt
Lake we entered upon that vast plateau which is the
true Great American Desert.    And it is worthy of its
name.    For more than seventy miles nothing is to be
seen  except  dull  sage-brush   and   white  dust,  and
in the  distance dry, brown, bare  mountains.     The
showers of alkali-dust make the journey most painful
for the eyes ; but, as there is nothing to be seen, you
have no loss if you keep them closed.    Lizards are the
only hving things found on this desert tract;  and as
there is no rainfall it must always remain a desert, and
a very bitter one too.    With ordinary rainfall,  the
water, percolating through the soil, would carry off the SALT LAKE CITY TO   VIRGINIA   CITY.
alkali into the lakes and rivers, and an agricultural
future might possibly be expected.
The Palisades are grand and picturesque; and the
Humboldt Valley, through which we ran, has many
pleasant features, not the least of them being that at
the eating-stations we were waited upon by quiet Celestials instead of uncouth, rough-mannered white men.
At one of the small stations we were startled by
the entrance into our car of a very finely-dressed
individual. His appearance was quite dazzling. His
coat was of velvet, and his hat—a tall .white one—had
a deep crape band, whilst on his immaculate shirt-front
reposed what was apparently the wreck of a large
At the next station a big jolly-looking man, in
appearance a well-to-do farmer, entered and sat down
by the last comer, whom he did not recognise as a
friend, but with whom he soon entered into a httle
hght conversation about the crops, mining, &c. Presently a game of cards was proposed, just to while away
the time, and the two played for about half-an-hour,
when the farmer said he was tired of playing. Our
friend in the black velvet with a bland smile then
asked his vis-a-vis if he would like to take a hand.
Now, the individual to whom this question, was addressed was a young man from the country, who had
entered the train the day before, and was going to see
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the city—San Francisco—for the first time. His father
bade him good-bye at the station, and his last words
to him, in our hearing, were * Beware of card-sharpers,
swindlers, and all such cattle,' as he expressed it.
The young man imagined himself too shrewd to be
taken in by anybody; in fact, it was this shrewdness, I
fancy, which made him prefer slow death in the city to
slow life in the country. He had played euchre before
at the store up in his village ; so he answered, ' Wal, I
guess I will take a small spell at the keerds.' -    -
As he crossed over and sat down at the board prepared for the occasion by the kind gentleman in velvet,
it was just possible to detect the suspicion of a wink
between Velvety and his late opponent, the farmer.
Just to make the game interesting, they each put up
twenty-five cents. Our country friend could never
have had better luck. Pool after pool he wins;
becomes astonished at the facility with which money
can be made, and gives it as his opinion that playing
euchre is better than hoeing corn. Presently the velvet
o-entleman says, quite carelessly, that he has a good
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poker hand. Our rural friend is surprised to find
that he too has a good poker hand. A httle bet of
five dollars is made, and Eurality wins again. The
farmer here makes the remark, ' You always was a fool,
Bill.' Tins, to say the least of it, was a strange remark
from a man who, from his previous manner, had never SALT LAKE  CITY TO   VIRGINIA   CITY.
before met the gentleman he thus addressed. However, the game was resumed, and after a few more deals
the countryman got four kings. Here was a chance
of making a small fortune ; such an opportunity might
never occur again. Strange to say, the gentleman in
black velvet thought that he also had a good hand.
Eurahty bet fifty dollars and gasped, Black Velvet went
fifty more and smiled. Eurahty then bet a hundred,
which was quickly covered, and the pool further increased by yet another hundred. Eather trembhngly
our rural friend threw down his cards, saying, ' Four
kings—what have you got ?'
' Four aces,' rephed our bland friend, showing his
cards with one hand and raking in the money with the
other. The country youth swore and raved, but all to
no purpose, and the two gentlemen smiled as sweetly
as ever. At the next station they were just about to
get out for ' lunch,' as they said, when the conductor,
who had recognised them, and two gentlemen, who
had watched their proceedings, seized them and'marched
them off to the office of the station officials, where they
were made to disgorge their ill-gotten gains—much to
the delight of our country friend, who then said he
thought' hoeing corn was after all better than u poker."
Thieves and gamblers are to be met with all along the
hne, and notices in all the cars bid you beware of such
people.    They dog the steps of persons leaving a town,
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and by means of the telegraph and other agencies
known only to the initiated, their accomplices are
advised of any f game' that may be passing.
One of their contrivances is called the ' green-back
reflector,' and consists of a one dollar green-back note,
having a stiff piece of paper pasted on it. A small
piece of wood is pinned to the paper, having on its
face a small glass mirror.    When the game commences
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this is laid on the table, and dollars are placed upon it,
so as to conceal the mirror. The cards are dealt directly
over this reflector j and thus, knowing his opponent's
hand, the gambler has easy work in fleecing his victim.
All through Nevada the scenery is most forbidding:
nothing but vast tracts of sand, and sage-brush, and
glittering alkah. Occasionally near the stations there
may be a small patch of cultivated land, but that will
be all. The only incident likely to occur is the stopping of the train by a band of the ' Train-robbers ;' but
as this only happens on an average two or three times
a year, it is difficult to suit your journey so as to hit off
the exact time.
A few months ago a train with cars containing some
Chinese of high rank was stopped and ransacked. The
moon-faced Celestials must have been pleased with
their first adventure in a strange land! I beheve they
simply remarked on the occasion, j Hi-yah ! too muchee SALT LAKE  CITY  TO   VIRGINIA   CITY.
gun; no can fightee all that bobbery!' and wished
themselves back in Pekin.
We are now in the region of ' square meals,' whatever they may be, and slang terms are more prevalent
than they were in the East. I had often been told
that Americanisms were only to be found in novels.
My experience differs entirely from that assumed fact.
Slang is heard only amongst the lower classes (if the
Great Eepubhc will admit of there being classes),
but Americanisms are heard everywhere. America
originally forgot to furnish herself with an independent language, but she is working hard to supply the
deficiency, and in time there will be an American language, concise and significant. One cannot help being
struck by the number of words and even sentences that
are repeated on all possible occasions. Such a poverty
of expression becomes at last quite annoying. ' Hurry
up ' are words that can never be forgotten by a traveller
in America ; and I do not beheve it is possible to converse for five minutes without hearing a dozen times
the remark, 'You don't say so.'    In the West that
terrible word 'say' (not 'I say') is prefixed to every
sentence;  and the epithet  ' elegant' is  bestowed on
the  most inappropriate objects.    Fancy an ' elegant
day,' and yet you hear that expression continually!
Our  ' awfuls'  and  ' awfully jolly'  are bad enough,
but   they   are   not   reiterated   with   the   provoking
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frequency with which domestic Americanisms assail the
You meet 'real (pronounced 'reel') nice' people
wherever you go, and are constantly asked if you have
had a ' real fine time.' It may be said they are not the
'best' people who use those expressions—I beg to
differ—and besides, in travelling you must judge from
the people you meet. I have lately seen papers
denying the existence of Americanisms at all, and
virtually agreeing with a lady who once said to another
in my hearing,' Oh! I knew you were English by your
accent;' so I hke ±o add my testimony in a humble
way and. show what my experience of the American
language has been.
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You certainly do not hear so much slang, in the
ordinary acceptation of the word, as in England; but
what is slang, after all, but an effort to be concise ?
And, for my part, I prefer an ocasional slang term to
the constant use of hackneyed Americanisms.
Thank God we are approaching Eeno; and although
it is two o'clock in the morning I am very glad to leave
the train and make my way to Virginia City and
the mining districts of the Sierras.
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Politicians—A silver mine — Sutro tunnel—A commercial crisis—
Geysers—Lake Tahoe—Shakespeare—Donner Lake—The old traveller—Two American forces—Cape Horn—Alabaster cave—SaGra-
mento—Mosquitoes—The pedlar-boy—The poor man's carriage—Gold
Of all the desolate, grim scenery to be found in
America that around Virginia City takes the lead. The
great brown hills are scarred and seamed and bare.
No wonder the town itself obtained the distinction of
being the \ cussedest' in the land ; but even that proud
epithet no longer distinguishes it, and the title has been
assumed by newer and less frequented villages.
The hotel at which I was staying was crowded with
people who called themselves pohticians, but who might
have been more appropriately designated agitators—
men who seemed angry because they could not get into
Congress, that they might become people of some importance.
What they were doing in Virginia City I cannot
imagine, as it seemed to me a very inappropriate place
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in which to air their sentiments. They all appeared to
think, and I beheve the belief is widely spread in
America, that the Eepublic of the United States
was founded after mature deliberation upon the
comparative merits of the ■ various forms of government. People who beheve this will not understand
that it was American society that produced their
form of government, and that the founders of the
Eepublic merely provided the machines for administer-
ing that form, and simply took existing materials and
built up with them such a political fabric as society
The Eepubhc of the present day is very different
from the old Eepubhc; and this change has been
brought about, not by lectures from political agitators
on forms of government, but by changes in the national
manners and the material conditions of the country.
One of the politicians asked me how we would hke a
republic in England, and seemed quite astonished when
I answered that very few would like it at all; but
that, if such a calamity ever should happen, the red-hot
repubhcans would probably like it least of all, as we
had too many great and well educated men—men of
position and good feeling—who would come forward, as
they do now, to see that the country was properly
governed. And what would become of the noisy
agitators then ?    In spite of our differences of opinion VIRGINIA   CITY  TO  STOCKTON.
he seemed very sociable; and as he knew the superintendent of one of the mines, he kindly offered to accompany me on a visit to it.
We descended into the silvery deeps by means of a
' cage,' a sort of elevator, and a great improvement on
the ' bucket,' by which you are taken down in some of
the mines. We went down several hundred feet, and
walked about the tunnels and saw all the different processes of mining, and had a very enjoyable and instructive expedition.
The number of mills around Virginia City which
work on the silver ore from the great Comstock Lode
is about eighty, and this lode is the richest in the
country. It extends in a broad belt along the mountain-side, and under Virginia and Gold Hill Cities, which
are thoroughly undermined. The whole mountain is a
series of tunnels, shafts, and caverns, from which the
ore has been taken.
Enormous as is the amount of silver taken out of
these mines, yet the net profit is ridiculously small;
so true is the saying that ' it takes a mine to work a
mine.' A tunnel is now being driven into Mount
Davidson, on whose slope Virginia City is built, to
intersect the Comstock Lode at the depth of 2,000
Mr. Sutro is the projector of the tunnel, and it
has been named after him.   There are different opinions
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regarding this gigantic enterprise, but one thing" is
certain, it will either ruin its promoters or make each
of them a Croesus. The distance to be pierced is
over four miles. The drive to this tunnel through
Six-Mile Canon is very interesting, but not picturesque.
There are numbers of sluices, reservoirs, and crushing-
mills to be seen, besides other buildings and appurtenances of a mining district. I went into the tunnel for a
long way, where the blasting of the hard granite was
going on, and I must say I cannot beheve that the
work will ever be accomplished unless Government
takes it in hand.
The rise of Nevada was very sudden. When the
' Washoe' range was first prospected and pronounced to
be a mass of silver, the ' rush' to Mount Davidson was
unprecedented, even in that era of ' rushes.' Cities
were laid out, and every available piece of flat ground
was sold for town lots, and the maddest speculations
were entered upon. But of all the so-called ' cities' that
were then founded, about two, and those on the very
smallest scale, ever were built; and of all the companies
formed to work the claims but a very small proportion
ever paid a dividend.
The only sign discoverable at Virginia City of the
great commercial crisis at New York was that one
morning, when I asked for some butter at breakfast, I
was informed that there was none, as butter lately had VIRGINIA   CITY TO STOCKTON.
been very ' panicky:' a circumstance so unusual that I
thought it worth while making a note of.
From Virginia City T went to Carson, where there
are some famous hot-springs, said to be a certain cure
for rheumatism. All the springs have wonderful
legends and stories attached to them. Hot-springs are
numerous in Nevada, and are utilised in various ways,
some families dispensing altogether with patent stoves
and doing all their cooking by means of a domestic
From Carson a capital road, but a very steep one,
took me to Glenbrook House, a pleasant httle inn,
situated on Lake Tahoe. Mark Twain, in one of his
amusing books—f Innocents Abroad,' I think—says that
this lake is superior to the Italian lakes. I suppose
he means its situation is higher, as, although very
beautiful, it wants the variety of scene and the lovely
islands and villas which give such wondrous views to
those delightful lakes.
Entirely surrounded by mountains covered with
sad forests of gigantic pines, Lake Tahoe would present
rather a sombre aspect if it were not for its marvellously clear and sparkling water, in which you may
' try and drown many worms,' as the poacher said
when caught fishing in preserved waters. Perhaps I
was more disappointed wLth the lake than I should
otherwise have been from having been told there was
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capital shooting amongst the surrounding hills, but
finding, after many long trudges and many conversations with wood-cutters, &c. on the subject, that there
was no game at all worth speaking of, as all birds and
animals had been driven away by the advance of civilisation. There is a singular natural curiosity on the
face of a high rock in full view of the lake. It is a
profile of Shakespeare, and not at all a bad likeness.
It has been formed by depressions in the stone hke a
gigantic natural intaglio.
A little steamer carried me to Tahoe City, on the
opposite side of the lake, crossing the line on its way,
as the division between Nevada and California runs
north and south through the lake. The lake is about
twenty miles long and ten broad, and there are many
points of interest around it. Caves, hot-springs,
and beautiful little bays and inlets abound, and the
valley of Lake Creek is one of the most fertile in the
Sierras, and is dotted over with farms and milk
ranches. The shores of Lake Tahoe have been chosen
for the site of the Lick Observatory, the princely
gift of Mr. lick to the State. Another point of interest will soon, therefore, be added to the charming
From Tahoe City, a drive of about twelve miles
along the river-bank and across green meadows brought
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me to Truckee station, whence, after visiting Donner <f
Lake, which is a miniature Tahoe, I proceeded on my
Tunnels and snow-sheds now begin to appear, and
continually shut out from view the finest scenery along
the road. Just before reaching Summit Station we
caught a glorious view of Dormer Lake, which lay three
miles below us, and which is infinitely more picturesque
when seen from a distant height than it looks when
standing at its edge. When we saw it, the morning
sun had just spread a ghttering sheen over the lake,
leaving some corners hidden in deep shadow, which
presented the strangest contrasts of sombre purple
hues. The soft yellow tints of early morning enveloped the north side, whilst the eastern slopes were
shaded by a dark purple haze, wonderfully contrasting
with the brightness of the sun and the lake. From our
distant point of view, it looked deserving of its name—
i The Gem of the Sierras.'
How easy it is to distinguish the old traveller from
the new at the' meal stations!' As the train draws up
he is already on the platform outside the carriage, and
before the train stops is dashing wildly towards the
saloon, and straight to a seat, ordering coffee as he
goes, and taking up the right thing at once. He is
aware of the exact time allowed, and at its expiration, he is out on the platform picking his teeth and
talking of I real estate' before the young traveller has
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got his first cup of tea. At these stations, too, the
knife-swallowers may be seen in great numbers, giving
entertainments ' quite gratuitous.' Sometimes, if there
is a wearisome delay before the train starts, some fiery
republican will give vent to his feelings through that
animating power known as ' stump oratory,' giving
decision to his arguments by the handling of that other
great American force—the revolver. He is aware that
he would not be hstened to unless he is known to be
capable of knocking anybody down who interrupts
him; and so he likes it to be generally understood
that he is quite able to take care of himself. One of
these individuals was holding forth at Summit Station
when we were there, and really gave a most amusing
and intelligent discourse.
Summit Station is over 7,000 feet above the level
of the sea, and in .the next 70 miles after leaving the
grade descends* 6,000 feet. The railroad passage over
these mountains is the greatest engineering feat on the
whole line. The track is carried along the edge of
precipices stretching downward for 2,000 and 3,000
feet, and in some parts men- had to be swung from the
upper rocks in baskets in order to excavate the mountain-side.
It is fortunate that the envious snow-sheds do not
shut out the view on rounding Cape Horn. The scene
there is magnificent.    The train is close to the brink
-of the precipice, at the bottom of which the river,
2,500 feet below us, looks hke a winding silver thread,
whilst far above, on our rigjat hand, rise towering
masses of rock, forming a colossal wall of unbroken
At Auburn, we left the train for a visit to ' Alabaster
Cave,' and reached it after a drive of about ten miles
through a country uncommonly dry and yellow-looking:,
but relieved by the rich dark, foliage of the white oaks
and the bushes of handsome j bujkeye,' the flower of
which is something like our horse-chestnu^
Just before reaching the cave we passed a lime-kiln,
where a large portion of the hme used in San Francisco
is made.
After entering the cave and descending a few steps
we found ourselves in a large room, in which was the
inevitable register. In America you are always regis-
tering your name, and you cannot get a room at the
hotels until that formahfy has been gone through.
I once heard a passengir in a sfltge-coach say that he
■would have liked to have gone to the Vienna Exhill||
tion, if only for the pleasure of seeing his name in the
registers of the large hotels.
But to return to the cave. After traversing another
passage we came to the ' Dungeon of Enchantment;' a
large broad chamber, about a hundred feet in length
and sixty in breath, and. varying from four to twenty
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feet in height.     Here, irregular rows of bright stal-
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actites hang down, in every variety of shape, and every
tint from snow-white   to   salmon-pink—in  brilliant
relief to the dark arches above, and the black and
brown ridges on either side.    Some of the groups of
stalactites are most beautiful, and vary in size from
fine needle-like pendants to miniature pine trees, growing head downwards, and thus adapting themselves
to circumstances with an   amiabihty hardly to be
expected from   such hard-looking   creatures.     Presently we come to ' Lot's. Wife ;' and if the stalagmite at all resembles her, the poor petrified lady must
have been a dwarf, and of a very peculiar shape, as its
altitude is only about four feet and its circumference
Passing on, over what is apparently an ice-covered
floor, we look down into an immense abyss whose sides
are covered with icicles and transparent moss. Entering
another chamber, with formations in the roof like
streams of water turned to ice, we pass a beautiful
bell-shaped bower, and emerge into the most magnificent chamber of all, called ' the Holy of Holies.' This
room is completely draped with the most wonderful
alabaster sterites, of a hght creamy pink. Brilliant
stone icicles, coral, moss, and what look hke fleeces of
fine wool covered with petrified dew, adorn the walls.
On one side stands a most magnificent pulpit, dome-
shaped at the top, and covered with undulating folds,
arranged with wonderful grace and seemingly carved
out of alabaster. When brilliantly illuminated with
coloured hghts tbe scene is grand and most imposing.
Our Aladdin's cave seems then a stern reality, until
Abanazar, in the shape of the custodian, knocks loudly
at the entrance and intimates that our time is up and
that another party of sight-seers wishes to inspect the
wonderful grotto.
As it seldom rains in California from March to
November, you may imagine the parched dried-up
appearance of the country by about August. It is
difficult to understand where cattle and sheep find
sufficient food to keep them alive. Very httle verdure
is to be seen until we approach the Sacramento river,
which we cross before reaching the State capital,.and
which, from the colour of its water, looks as if it were
liquid mud. The Capitol building is the grand feature
of Sacramento, and is a very conspicuous landmark.
In appearance, it somewhat resembles the magnificent
structure at Washington, but on a very diminutive
scale, and might in fact be taken for a junior member
of the same house. The city may be very remarkable,
but I was not particularly struck with it, and the
intense heat drove me awav sooner than I had intended.
The mosquitoes, too, warned me that I was in the
' Mammoth' State, and from their size I began to think
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there was some truth in the story they tell of a
band of these terrible insects having once attacked and
killed a.mule ; and when they had eaten all the flesh
several of the largest were seen sitting on the carcase
picking their teeth with the ribs.
After leaving Sacramento, that terrible nuisance
on the trains, the youth who sells books, fruit, &c.
seemed to become more annoying than ever, I suppose because the weather was so hot. This dreadful
bore on all American trains begins his persecutions
and proceeds on his rounds as soon as the train
starts. He first offers books, new and second-hand;
if you say you do not want any, he at once. throws
two or three into your lap or down by your side,
and begs you just to look at them. On his return
from his journey through the cars, he sweeps them
up again with an injured air, if you still do not want
one. He then leaves you, but only to return in a few
minutes with decayed pears, pea-nuts, apples, and
peaches, When that round is completed you lie down
perhaps in a corner for a doze, when suddenly his shrill
voice yells in your ear, ' Figs, cigars, and chewing
candy.' Indignantly you return to your seat, only
to find he has made a stall of it by piling up his books
and depositing his basket of pea-nuts in it. If you
go to the smoking carriage for a quiet smoke, you
encounter this young pedlar in aU his glory, as the VIRGINIA   CITY TO STOCKTON.
smoking-car is the stronghold where he keeps his
supplies, in sundry large chests, and where he can
enjoy passages of arms and wordy warfare with the
breakmen and rowdies of all sorts, who generally
occupy the second-class cars. I have often wondered
how people who cannot afford the high fares of first-
class and Pullman cars get through the long journey
from New York to San Francisco, or vice versa.
The second-class are the smoking-carriages ; they
are without carpets, the seats often without cushions, and
not a place for a sick man or child to he down, day
or night, and no room for change of position. Crowded
indiscriminately with whites, blacks, and Chinese,
people of cultivated minds and habits have to herd
with the vulgar and low mannered, and the journey
altogether must be as near an approach to a seven
days' purgatory as is possible.
The name of the ' Golden State ' is very appropriate
to California: everything is golden—the light, the
landscape, and the soil. The currency is in gold also,
which is anything but pleasant. Paper-money for
travellers has many advantages over coin, in being more
easily carried, and affording fewer opportunities for
robbery.    Besides, with gold the loss is very great.
In the East, for a,n Enghsh note say of twenty pounds,
you will receive nearly one hundred and twenty dollars
in green-backs ; in California, you will not receive for
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it one hundred dollars in gold. And yet prices, are
just the same. It is very well to say you receive
more value for your money, but you do not in fact;
at all events, travellers do not. You pay the same
number of dollars per day at the hotels in the West as
in the East, and a dollar is a dollar in both places,
no more and no less. Eetail traders, and hotel and
bar keepers are the people who chiefly gain by it—and
their gains must be enormous.
It has appeared to me that throughout America the
high rate of wages is merely nominal. As wages rise
so do prices. The price of clothing in America is so
high that persons accustomed to European prices
would hardly beheve what the cost of a coat or a
pair of boots is. Yet if the Irish bog-trotter hears
that he can get two dollars a day for his work in
America, off he rushes to receive his high wages,
7 O D       '
without the shghtest consideration of the still far
higher price he will have to pay for his daily necessaries. No wonder the duty on imported articles of
clothing is so enormous in America, for if it were not,
I think everything would be obtained from Europe.
As it is, smugghng has obtained quite a prominent place
amongst the arts practised in the East.
But here we are at Stockton, which is my starting-
point for the Big Trees of Calaveras and the celebrated
Yosemite Valley.
w tfiu-m-y...:^.-...-,^
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BIG  TREE.—Mother of the Forest.
P. 111.
Stockton—Dust — Gophers —Quails—Staging—Tarantulas—Hydraulic
mining—Mammoth trees—A curious flower—A theory—Table Mountain—Deserted villages—Chinese camp—Wine—The Siamese twins—
Manzanita—The summit.
I shall always look back on my visit to Stockton—the
City of Windmills—with a pleasant remembrance of its
beautiful gardens. All sweet-scented flowers seemed
to grow there, and with a greater luxuriance than I had
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seen anywhere else.
Some of the gardens were a httle unkempt and over-
luxuriant, like gardens to which the hired man comes
once a week only, or tends in the intervals of knife-
cleaning and boot-blacking; but the houses were covered
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with roses, myrtles, and honeysuckles, which climbed to
the very roofs, and every window was set in a frame
of heliotrope and jessamine. The borders were all filled
with Old World flowers, and numbers of our hot-house
plants grew there as trees and bushes.
Stockton is neither a pretty nor a well-situated town,
as it is on the borders of the tule-lands which are formed
' 1 104
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by the overflow of the San Joaquin and Sacramento
rivers. Numbers of little channels, with long wooden
bridges over them, run in all directions, at least, they
run when there is any water in them, which is seldom.
The outskirts of the town seem to be entirely under
water, as the main channel winds all round them.
There is, however, one beautiful view, that of Mount
Diablo; miles away, but standing out boldly across the
flat country, and the spectacle at sunset is worth a
visit to Stockton to see.
I had the good fortune" to meet there two American
gentlemen—one of whom was an ex-colonel of the
United States army—who kindly asked me to join
them in their expedition to the Big Trees and the
Valley. I gladly accepted their invitation, and most
delightful and agreeable companions I found them.
The Colonel was just as enthusiastic and as determined
to see everything that was to be seen as he could have
been when twenty years younger, and he Tiad a fund
of quiet humour, which entertained us as much as his
knowledge of botany and other subjects instructed us.
A branch line of the railway took us to Milton, a
small station about thirty miles from Stockton, and
thenceforth our journey was by stage-coach. If you
are so unfortunate as to be unable to obtain a box
seat, staging in this part of the world is simply agony.
From the moment you get on the coach" till the time STOCKTON TO THE  YOSEMITE   VALLEY.      105
you get off, you are in one perpetual cloud of thick
yellow dust. Dust-coats, veils, &c. are useless, although
you must wear them. Every halting-place has its
supply of basins of water, and innumerable brushes to
assist you in getting rid of some of the dust. But in
less than two minutes after you start again, eyes, hair,
mouth, ears, and clothes are once more filled with the
penetrating sand, and you become irritable to a degree
if you think about it and try to keep clean. It is
better, therefore, to bear it stoically, and to become
as begrimed and dirty as you'possibly can at your
earliest convenience. Our thirty miles' journey to
Murphy's, where we were to remain for the night,
was through a country, yellow of course, parched, and
without much variety of scenery, but alive with
squirrels and gophers. These pests to the farmers
increase every year, and do almost as much damage to
the crops as a flight of locusts. For every one that a
farmer may destroy on his land, ten survive to avenge
his death. Individual efforts to exterminate them have
hitherto been ineffectual, and to get rid of them entirely,
5ome general system will be necessary, which must be
carried out fully and thoroughly, so as to leave no
corner in which the enemy, once routed, can take refuge
and recuperate. A gopher is like a small* mole, and
is even more destructive than a squirrel.
We. saw many of the beautiful Californian quails, io6
dusting themselves in the road, and looking so \ game '
with their erect feathery top-knots. These, and the
black-and-white woodpeckers and small doves, are the
principal birds found in these regions, and they make
up by their numbers for the scarcity of other varieties.
The only animals we saw were jackass-rabbits—thin
gaunt-looking animals, with enormous ears, from
which, I suppose, they derive their name.
Stage-driving in California is widely different from
staging in other parts of the world. The drivers, as a
rule, are quaint, clever, companiable men, and splendid
whips. At first, the break-neck speed at which they
always drive down-hill is rather appalling, but you
soon get accustomed to it. To find yourself whirling
down a very steep hill, along a narrow road, round
sharp corners with a steep precipice on one side, and as
fast as four and sometimes six horses can go, is so
novel a sensation, so exciting, and so opposed to the
usual steady down-hill sort of pace, that you cannot
help cheering on the horses, in spite of a very probable
upset on the brow of an almost perpendicular rock
several hundred feet in height. The horses, too, seem
to enjoy it, and I must say I attribute the absence of
accidents as much to their knowingness and sure-footed-
ness as to the certainly brilliant attainments of the
' knights of the whip.' Generally, each driver has some
specialty of his own—for instance, one is well up in STOCKTON TO THE  YOSEMITE  VALLEY.      107
botany ; another knows something of natural history ;
and I remember one who knew the height of every
mountain we saw, the length of every bridge we crossed,
and the number of inhabitants in each village we passed
through. His successor afterwards informed me, that
he was of so statistical a turn that he had counted the
hairs on his children's heads and pasted the number in
their hats; but I am inchned to think that must have
been an exaggeration.
Murphy's Camp is a quiet httle mining town.
Perhaps we found it quiet because we happened not to
be there on a Saturday night, which is anything but a
quiet night at most mining towns. It is then that the
' poor but honest miner' spends his week's earnings in
liquor, and the village whisky-shops and bars are the
scenes of one long round of general dissipation.
Murphy's is a great place for tarantulas' nests ; indeed,
the chief business of the little village consists in the
sale of these curiosities. The nest is composed of a
house of clay, rough outside but pohshed in the interior, and having a little clay door swinging on a
perfect hinge. If you look at this door carefully on
the inside you will see two very small holes, and into
.these the tarantula, when at home, and an intruder
wishes to open the door, sticks two of his hind legs, holding on at the same time to the other end of his room
with his fore legs; by which means he makes it im- f    .
possible to gain access to him.  Sometimes you are asked
to buy a nest with the huge spider inside, but that is an
advantage I should advise no one to avail himself of.
Mining is carried on to the very back door of the
hotel, and by this time, I have no doubt, underneath it.
We had there a good opportunity of seeing hydraulic
mining, which is, I think, the most interesting kind of
mining.    For this sort of work, the water is brought
D ? D
down from a river or stream, in narrow ditches dug
around the sides of the hills. In some places, where
water is scarce, ditches have been made extending for
more than seventy miles. From these ditches the
water is conducted through a long narrow trough of
wood, called a ' flume,' stretching out over the ' claim'
*" ' D
or tract which is to be worked. A hose, with
nozzle, is attached to it, from which the water flows
in a continual stream, and is directed by the
miners against the hill-side. By this action the soft
dirt is washed away from the gravel, and, forming
one liquid mass, is carried through a ' tail-race' into
long ' flumes.' Within these ' flumes' are placed
{riffles '—httle steps, as it were, attached to the bottom
of   the   ' flume'—for arresting   the gold, which,  on
D D ' '
account of its own weight, sinks to the bottom, and thus
is caught.    When these ' riffles' are supposed to be
full the water is turned off and the dirt is taken out.
The next process is using the ' long-torn,' which is STOCKTON TO THE  YOSEMITE   VALLEY.      109
a box of sheet-iron with a duplicate perforated bottom,
extending diagonally over a little more than half the
box. Under it, in pockets, is placed the quicksilver;
the ' long-torn' is then attached to a sluice-way and
the water turned through it—the dirt being taken from
the ' riffles' and shovelled upon this perforated plate,
when the particles of gold fall through and unite their
atoms with the quicksilver. The amalgam is then removed, placed in a retort and heated, when the quicksilver being sublimed passes away in vapour, leaving
the gold. The economy of human labour effected by
the hydrauhc method of mining is very great; but it is
immensely expensive where long ditches and flumes
have to be built; and besides, with every precaution,
much of the gold is carried away. The whole tract of
the mining-land at Murphy's, as at most other places
where the hydrauhc method is used, was doubtless once
the channel of a large,mountain stream, which piled up
the great beds within which are found the fine particles
of gold, worn away from the great quartz mountains
by the action of the water. It is extraordinary what
this constant flow of water has done in so short a
time. The soil has been wasted clean away from the
underlying rock, which presents a most jagged and
strange appearance; the denuded rocks standing up
in enormous fangs and reefs, resembhng the gnarled and
.twisted stumps of old oak trees.
CT no
B>    f
The drive from Murphy's to the Big Trees, a distance of sixteen miles, was all up-hill, consequently very
tedious, and the dust was worse than on the preceding
day. The road winds up a narrow gorge by the side
of a picturesque stream, and groves of oaks and pines
give a pleasant shade from the hot rays of the sun.
The grounds of the hotel are entered by a road
between two splendid specimens of the Sequoias, or
Big Trees, and are called ' The Sentinels.' The Mammoth Tree Grove of Calaveras is situated nearly 4,500
Teet above the sea-level, and consists of about one
hundred of the Big Trees, a species now known as the
' Sequoia gigantea.' The valley and ridges are'heavily
timbered with spruce, fir, sugar pine, and cedar trees—
the latter much resembling the Sequoias.
We first .paid our respects to the ' Mammoth Tree
Stump,' on which a pavihon has been built, and where
church-service was performed on the Sunday we were
there. This tree was cut down several years ago, and
it took twenty-three days to accomplish the sacrilegious act. The sohd wood of this stump, which is perfectly smooth, and sound, and stands about six feet from
the ground, measures thirty-one feet across. Just
imagine the stump of a tree over ten yards in diameter!
Botanists say that each concentric circle is the growth
of one year; and as nearly three thousand of these
circles can be counted in this stump, there is little doubt STOCKTON TO  THE  YOSEMITE  VALLEY.      in
that the age of the Big Trees in this grove is nearly
three thousand years. ' This,' says the • Gardener's
Calendar,' ' may very well be true, if the tree does not
grow above two inches in diameter in twenty years,
which we believe to be the fact.'
In my humble opinion the growth of these trees is
at least four inches in diameter in twenty years, and
I base it upon the appearance of the bark, which
gives the idea of extremely rapid growth ; also from
the fact that several of the plates inscribed with the
names of these trees, and which had been firmly nailed
on the trunks, have, after a comparatively short period,
been burst open and dislodged by the growth of the
A short walk brought us into the heart of the grove:
O D '
and there, like stately guardians of their smaller
brethren—such as enormous sugar pines and lordly
cedars—towered high above them these majestic
monuments of the solemn silent ages. Nearly the
whole of the trees have been injured by the desolating fires which have swept over the forests at different
periods, and most of them have been deformed by the
wind-storms which at certain seasons traverse these
hills and valleys with irresistible fury. The ' Mother of
the Forest' presents a very melancholy appearance, as
she was flayed alive some years ago. The bark on an
average was about twelve inches thick, though in some
D J O 112
il 1
places it was over two feet. It was stripped off to a
height of about 120 feet, and sent to England, where,
D D ' 7
at the great fire at the Crystal Palace, it was burnt. Of
course the poor ' Mother ' died when she lost her skin,
but that did not matter to those who profited by the
sale of it.
The ' Father of the Forest' lies prostrate, and is
half-buried in the soil. This tree measures 112 feet in
circimrference at the roots. It is 200 feet to the
first branch. The whole of it is hollow, and you
can walk through it erect. It is estimated that when
standing the tree could not have been less than 440
feet in height. At 300 feet from the roots it was
broken off by striking against another large tree in its
fall, and at that height it is twenty feet in diameter.
Near its base is a spring of clear cold * water. Ladders
are placed against some of the fine old prostrate trees,
by which means you can mount the trunk and walk
along by a good path to the top branches—a grand
trunk road, in fact. One fallen tree you can ride
through on horseback for a considerable distance.
The height and circumference of a few of the
largest of these wonderful trees, as far as I have been
able to ascertain them, are as follows:—
Name Height
Mother of the Forest .       .       .325 feet
Father of the Forest (estimated)     440 „
Empire State      ....    330 „
95 feet
115   ,,
90   „
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—    "< I
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i   .Is
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t    i i it
f    *-£
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The Mammoth Tree   .
.    310 feet
102 feet
Pride of the Forest
.    280 „
65 „
The Two Sentinels      .
.          .     olO   ..
70 & 66 „
Uncle Tom's Cabin
.   310 „
95 „
The Burnt Tree .
.   340 „
100 „
We rode out one day to the South Grove, which has
only lately been made accessible by tract. It is the
largest and finest grove of Sequoias yet discovered in
California, and contains about fourteen hundred Big
Trees, some of which are much larger than any we had
before seen. Sixteen horsemen may congregate in one
of them, and through the prostrate trunk of another a
large stage-coach crowded with passengers might be
driven for a distance of 200 feet. If ever you wish to
feel yourself a pigmy, go and stand at the feet of these
giants, or he on your back and look up at their vast
lofty canopies.
The ' Sequoia gigantea' belongs to the same family
as the Eed Wood, of which magnificent specimens are
constantly seen in California. The wood is red hke the
cedar; much harder than that of the Sequoia, and
the shape of the tree is more symmetrical. Indeed, but
few of the big trees are symmetrical in their outlines;
they have battled too long with the storms of centuries
to preserve a graceful appearance. The enormous
weight which each tree carries makes it more difficult
for it to bear the force of the gales, as it overtops other
forest trees and receives no shelter.    Its leaf is very
E? ff
like that of the cedar. The cone is small and insignificant, and the wood is wonderfully light, almost like
cork. The bark is also very hght, porous, and reddish
in colour.
In the North Grove we found some very curious
plants, called by the natives ' snow-plants,' from their
springing up in great profusion when snow is on the
ground. There was no snow when we were there, but
we found several of these plants. The flower is blood-
red ; it is of a flesh-like substance, and in growth
much resembles a hyacinth. Its stems are clustered,
from five to ten inches high, with long erect scales.
O     7 D
We gathered several specimens, but could not preserve the wonderful red colour. The flower when
plucked turned black. That, however, did not prevent
the Colonel from carrying away several large bottles in
which he had placed the flowers for preservation. But
these, together with a quantity of the enormous cones
from the sugar pines, and several blocks of petrified
wood and pieces of bark from the Big Trees, formed an
amount of extra luggage that was so strongly objected
to by our Jehu, that most of it, on our return from the
grove, was perforce left at Murphy's, where most hkely
it was afterwards disposed of to stray travellers at exorbitant prices.
Our drive back to Murphy's was much pleasanter
than the ascent had been ; and as we each had our own STOCKTON TO  THE   YOSEMITE   VALLEY.
theory about the Big Trees, the discussion was very animated. I was looked upon as a heathen, because my
idea was that each tree had been originally two or three
trees growing near to each other, the stems of which, as
they grew, had gradually approached until they touched;
the quick-growing spongy bark then uniting, and
thus in time forming one tree. The concentric circles
to be seen in the trunks of the cut-down trees had in
some degree confirmed me in my idea. Besides, the
trees are hardly ever single, but are divided, at different
heights from the ground, into two and often three
distinct stems, which look as if they yet might unite
My hypothesis was well laughed at, but I intend to
hold to it until I hear of more hkely conditions for the
production of these forest monsters. The isolation of
the Sequoia is almost as remarkable as its size. A belt
of them runs along the slopes of the Sierras, and near
Visaha there is a group of them, but there are very few
other places where they are known.
In China I once saw a tree called the f Glyptostro-
bus,' and in Japan one of the same kind called the
' Gingko;' both were of the Eed Wood species, and
were looked upon there as of extraordinary size. But
they were not to be compared to the Big Trees of
California; and though they were classed as specimens
of the ' Sequoia gigantea' they had not much more
12 II
right to that distinction than a mushroom has—at least,
not when put into competition with the trees of the
Mammoth Grove of Calaveras.
From Murphy's our road ran for the most part
through old mining districts, abandoned now, but suggestive of all the struggles, sorrows, and passions to
which flesh^is heir. I do not know which looked the
more desolate, the worked-out diggings or the closed
7 DD      D
and ruined houses of the mining villages.
We crossed the ' Stanislaus,' and there saw one of
the most interesting features of scenery on the journey.
This was ' Table Mountain,' a long level ridge of solidified lava.
Ages ago a vast stream of lava must have poured
down from the mountains beyond the Big Trees of
Calaveras, and after flowing some forty miles, hardening in its course, at last stopped altogether. It must
have run between mountains and have followed probably the channel of some river. The mountains
which formed walls for this enormous stream of lava
being of slate, have gradually wasted away, and now
nothing remains but this flat smooth mountain of hard
basaltic lava, upon which thousands of centuries have
hardly made a furrow. The surrounding country has
been nearly washed away, and all round, as well as
beneath Table Mountain, the miners have been very
busy.    In  some  cases, the  profits have  been  very
large, but, as usual, more, on the whole, has been put
into the mountain than has been taken out of it.
Passing through Sonora—a quiet shady httle village—we traversed the melancholy deserted mining
district. Here and there might be seen a persevering
Chinaman, pensively shaking his rocker, and gleaning
what he could from what had already been sifted over
and over again. Soon after, we arrived at Chinese
Camp, where we purposed remaining the night. Camp
seemed the proper name for these almost abandoned
mining towns. Destined to exist only so long as the
hunt for gold proved profitable, when fortune turned,
tents were pitched in fresh places, and these in their
turn were deserted, leaving only long streets of empty
drinking saloons and gambhng hells as relics of the
past. When I think of the hotel at Chinese Camp
it brings vividly to my remembrance a terribly hot
night, a certain spring-bed with all the springs
broken, and the worst food met with during
the whole of the journey. I can only hope that the
incapable landlord, who was a Pole, and consequently
a Count, has ere this closed his hotel and returned to
his native land.
We started very early next mornings so as to be
some miles on our way before the dust* which had been
partly laid by heavy rain that had fallen in the
night, should again rise in clouds on the roads. n8
We passed a large vineyard, which the driver told
us was the most famous one in those parts. The vineyard may have been, but I hope it did not produce
the most famous wine; for we tasted of the vintage,
and, to say the best of it, found it but indifferent. The
owner, however, thought it excellent.
We crossed the Tuolumne river, rushing along in a
tremendous hurry, and again found ourselves in a
ravaged and disfigured district.    We dined at a little
village bearing the suggestive name of Garotte; and after
D D DO '
toiling up steep hills, from which there were magnificent views, we arrived at a small ranch called Hardin's,
where we remained for the night. On the following
day we drove through the Tuolumne grove of Big
Trees, consisting of about thirty Sequoias, two of
which grow from the same root, and unite a few feet
above the base. They are called ' The Siamese Twins.'
Together, they are about one hundred and fifteen
feet in circumference at the ground, consequently
about thirty-eight feet in diameter. According to my
theory, these two trees will gradually unite and in a
century or two become one tree, that is, if they remain
undisturbed; but I beheve the intention, is to widen
and heighten the present unconnected parts, so that the
carriage-drive may pass through the Twins.
Our road lay through what are in the spring, grassy
meadows interspersed among the mountain districts; STOCKTON TO   THE   YOSEMITE   VALLEY.
but we saw no signs of vegetation, flocks of sheep
having eaten up all the grass and as much as they
could of the shrubs. At the dividing ridge of the
Tuolumne and Merced rivers, there are beautiful views
of the snow-clad p%eaks of the Sierras; and timber-
covered gorges and ridges stretch away to the distant
horizon. We are here 7,000 feet above the level of
the ocean.
Everywhere are seen the red flesh-like arms and
limbs of the Manzanita—a wood which takes a most
brilliant polish—enormous sugar pines, oaks of different
kinds, and the chaparral, forming a thorny, impervious
shrubbery, which at certain seasons has a very unpleasant smell. Singular groups of granite rocks are now
passed, many of them most quaint and picturesque
in form, and therefore, probably, named after objects
which they least resemble.
At this point, the fresh track of a large bear caused
us some excitement. But Bruin was too shy to show
himself; and by the time we had recovered from our
disappointment at not seeing him we had arrived at
the summit, where we mounted our ponies to descend
into the Yosemite Valley. *
The descent—A patient steed—The valley—The hotel—A philosopher—
Eiding astride—The Yosemite FaUs—Mirror Lake—A legend—Bridal
VeU FaU—Glacier Point and Sentinel Dome—The Nevada and Vernal
Falls—A rapid—The Cosmopolitan—Improvements—Impressions—
Digger Indians—Departure.
The descent of the mountain is very gradual as far as
Prospect Point; a rocky promontory from which the
Merced river is seen, winding its way under steep cliffs
and through rocky canons as it rushes, cold and
sparkling, from its snowy home among the Sierras.
Nearly opposite to us, and beyond a thread-like waterfall of about 800 feet, is ' Inspiration Point.' This
Point is passed when entering the Valley by the
Mariposa route. We were to visit it later, as the view
from it, looking up through the canon and into the
Valley, was said to be inexpressibly grand.
Here the descent really begins, and certainly one
or two places are ' real steep.' But the animals knew
every inch of the trail, and were as sure-footed as goats.
Mine happened to be a mule, which our guide informed
me was a strong patient animal.    I had very httle GENERAL   VIEW   OF   THE   VALLEY   FROM   PROSPECT   POINT P. 120. ■ ■■■ -
1  ii
opportunity to test the former quality, as the latter was
so marked that after the first half-hour nothing would
induce the brute to move, and I at last reluctantly
dismounted and left the obtuse animal patiently standing and looking over a precipice, several hundred feet
deep, at the view below. I never heard of the arrival
of that mule at the hotel; but I suppose it did eventually succeed in reaching it, or I should on leaving have
seen in my bill, amongst other items, ' To one mule
lost,' so much.
The pack-mule did not make his appearance till
some time after we had arrived, and might just as well
have picked up his patient brother and brought him
on with him.
After about an hour and a half, slowly but surely
descending, we arrived at Mecca—i.e. we found ourselves at the end of our pilgrimage and in the Yosemite Valley. We followed the trail along the right
bank of the Merced, a broad rushing river, which
gladdens one's heart to hear and to look at, and out of
which some wretched-looking Digger Indians were then
taking trout. After a ride (or rather walk in my case)
of about a mile, we found, at a spot where the trail
widens into a road, a carriage waiting, which was to
take us to Hutchings's Hotel.
I must here attempt to give a general idea of the^
Valley.    §
v 122
|| 111
Its length is a httle over six miles. Its breadth varies
from half a mile to a mile and a half, and its sides rise
up almost perpendicularly; sometimes quite so. Its area
is nearly flat, and sunken about a mile below the general
level of the mountain region around it.
Its principal features, and those which make it so
different from other valleys, are the altitude and verti-
cahty of its walls, the absence of broken rock and
debris at the base of the cliffs, the great height of the
waterfalls, and the variety and beauty of the flowers
that bloom there as in a vast garden.
On our way to the hotel we drove by many grand
points of interest. The length of time it took to reach
and pass some of the more prominent of the mountain-
walls is a proof of their unrealised altitudes.
Large pines *and shady oaks grew along the road,
and perpendicular cliffs rose on either side, between
3,000 and 4,000 feet in height.
We slowly approached the naked granite wall
called ' El Capitan,' whose white broad brow and bold
form make it, as its name indicates, the Great Chief
of the Valley. There is no slope to 'El Capitan,'
its massive sides are destitute of vegetation, and its
aspect is more majestic and grand than words can
Opposite the ' Chief,' and across the Valley, is the
beautiful waterfall named Pahono—Bridal Veil Fall— THE   YOSEMITE   VALLEY.
which leaps a distance of 940 feet before it touches the
Then come in sight' Pom-pom-pa-sus'—mountains
playing leap-frog—and a glimpse is caught of the
' Yosemite Fall,' the huge ' North Dome,'' Clouds Best,'
and other magnificent sights—all to be closely inspected
later—and after twice crossing the river the hotel is
The hotel and its surrounding cottages are decidedly
hght airy buildings. Too strong a gale might blow
them away.
The partitions of the bedrooms are of cotton cloth,
and the doors are sheets, consequently, conversations
conducted under these circumstances have to be discreet.
Mr. Hutchings himself is a poet, author, and philosopher ; presumably, therefore, extremely ill-suited for
the post of hotel-keeper, an employment requiring
more practical qualifications.
Crowds of tourists—you may call yourself a
traveller, but on this expedition you will have to own
yourself a tourist—all bent on different excursions, and
all looking for the distracted proprietor, would turn the
brain of the most matter-of-fact and most experienced
host. But when Mr. Hutchings is up in the clouds,
and dreaming of nature and her grandeur, he smilingly
and thoughtfully assents to whatever you may have to
say, and the next moment forgets all about you and your ill
j 24
, {
pleadings, and philosophically returns to the contemplation of the magnitude of his waterfalls. But Mr.
Hutchings' good nature and desire to please, make
ample amends for any little discomforts; and if you can
only find him— that's the difficulty—when you want
any help or information, and stick to him when found,
you are sure to obtain all you wish.
On our first expedition in the Valley we took a
guide with us, but soon found that there was no necessity for one, and that there is no difficulty in finding
the way about alone. We hired our horses for the
day, and were perfectly independent. Unless a great
many visitors should happen to be in the Valley,
horses are easily obtained, numbers of them being
always kept tied up under the trees near the hotel,
saddled and bridled, and only waiting to be mounted.
Strong-minded ladies here ride astride, and
declare that it is easier and more comfortable than
the orthodox mode; it certainly is not so graceful.
A grim Amazon in a short skirt, thick boots, large
hat, and green spectacles, riding astride a horse or a
mule, is about as ludicrous—not to say ungainly—
an exhibition as you cordd well contemplate. One of
the best ways of enjoying the Yosemite is simply to ride
up and down the Valley, under the trees and by the
river-side, and to gaze in a state of pleasurable sensation
on the new aspects which open freshly upon you, at least, THE   YOSEMITE  VALLEY.
every half-mile. The atmosphere is delicious; days
bright and warm, nights cool and pleasant. Perhaps
the sun is sometimes a httle too hot; but there is
nearly always a breeze blowing in from the Pacific.
The most important of the numerous waterfaUs in
the Valley is called the Yosemite—which means' large
grizzly bear '—and it is exactly opposite the hotel. The
stream flows over a precipice into the Valley below—
a depth of 2,634 feet. The Fall has almost the appearance of one grand shoot of water, but it has in reality
three leaps.    At the first leap of 1,600 feet it plunges
into a vast rocky basin; gathering strength, it again
takes a leap of 434 feet—finally, after another fall of
600 feet, plunging into the Valley.     There is sufficient
water to give a bright foaming sweep to the entire
cataract. To my mind, the immense height of the Falls
does not make up for their want of breadth, although
the breadth of the Yosemite Fall, at the top, is nearly
forty feet.    Seen from a distance, however, this width
dwindles down to apparently four or five feet.    For
grandeur I think it is not to be compared to Niagara,
though many people consider it far superior.    The
rumble   and   roar   of   the   Falls  are  heard  at   all
times, and the sound has a pecuhar double tone—a
distinct monotonous boom,  broken   into at intervals
by  a loud  thundering crash  hke  the  sea  and  the
breaking of the surf on a rocky shore.    Our first visit
1 126
fcu )
was to those falls, to get a closer inspection of their
Having crossed the bridge over the main stream,
we presently arrived at a most picturesque ford. Oaks,
maples, and cottonwood trees, overarched the broad
shallow stream, and in the background the lower fall
of the Yosemite was descending in a sheet of mist
and spray, behind a dark middle distance of firs and
pines. As we approached the Falls a change of temperature was perceptible, and a heavy shower of spray soon
brought us to a stand-still. When seen from such close
quarters they are certainly very grand. Overhanging
mountains of sohd granite hemmed us in, huge boulders
D 7 D
of sharp, angular rocks lay scattered about, and ferns,
flowers, and grasses grew in profusion all around. The
great mass of falling water, apparently grown so wide now
we were near it, seemed more hke a snowy avalanche
than a hquid stream; and we lingered there for some
hours, gazing on this wonderful scene of wood and
and water, and even then we were loth to leave. But our
appetites finally prevailed, and we returned to the hotel
for luncheon.
The rides in the fresh morning were very delightful.
My favourite gallop was to Mirror Lake, the ride for
a great part of the way being over fresh springy turf.
The path takes you to the base of the great North IV1-'."--*!
Dome, a mountain of bare granite, which towers up
to a height of nearly 4,000 feet. Its sides are perpendicular for over 2,000 feet. Colossal arches have been
formed in them, doubtless by the falling of sections of
Crossing a plateau, then following a very rough
rocky trail, you reach a small sheet of clear water with
the most picturesque surroundings. On the north
and west lie enormous rocks that have been detached
from the mountains above; various kinds of trees
and shrubs grow among them and overhang the margin
of the lake. On the south-east stands the splendid
' South Dome,' about 4,600 feet above the Valley.
Half of this immense mass has fallen, but its strange
oval head and majestic appearance make it one of the
greatest attractions of the Valley. The great beauty
of the Mirror Lake consists in its marvellously clear
reflection of the surrounding trees and mountains. The
best time to go there is before the sun has appeared
above the hills. The calm of the water is then usually
undisturbed, and the reflection of the sun rising over
' D
the mountains has a very charming effect.
Around this spot was the traditionary home of the
guardian spirit, the valley of the angel Tis-sa-ack, after
whom her devoted Indian worshippers have named the
majestic mountain called the ' South Dome.'
I heard the following legend of Tis-sa-ack.    It is
1 ti m
1 i <■■
i l-s.-r-n
!        1
I, 1
interwoven with the story of El Capitan, or Ta-tock-
' In the great long-ago the sun-children dwelt in
Yo Semite. All was happiness. Ta-tock-ak-na-lak sat
on high in his rocky home and cared for his well-loved
people. Leaping over the plains, he herded the wild
deer that his people might choose the fattest for their
feasts. He drove the bears from their caverns, that the
braves might hunt. He prayed to the Great Spirit for
rain, that the seed in the valley might grow. The
smoke of his pipe curled into the air, and through its
blue haze the yellow sun shone warm and bright and
ripened the crops, that the women might gather them
in. When he laughed, the face of the river was rippled
with smiles; when he sighed, the wind swept sadly
through the singing pines; when he spoke, the sound
was like the deep voice of the cataract. His form was
straight hke the arrow, and supple hke the bow. His
foot was swifter than the red deer, and his glance was
strong and bright like the rising sun.
' One morning, as he roamed, a bright vision came
before him, and then the soft colours of the West were in
his lustrous eyes. A maiden sat upon the southern dome
of granite that raises its bare head above the high peaks.
' She was not hke the dark maidens of the tribe
below, for golden hair rolled over her dazzling form,
hke golden waters over silver rocks ; her feet shone THE   YOSEMITE   VALLEY.
like the snow-tufts on the wintry pines, and were arched
like the spring of a bow.
4 Two cloud-hke wings fluttered on her dimpled
shoulders, and her voice was like the sweet sad tone of
the night-bird. "Ta-tock-ak-na-lak " she softly whispered ; then, gliding up the steep dome, she vanished
over its rounded top. Keen was the eye, quick was the
ear, swift was the foot of the youth as he sped in pursuit ; but the soft down of her wings was wafted into
his eyes and he saw her no more.
f Every morning did the love-stricken Ta-tock-ak-
na-lak wander over the mountains to meet the beautiful Tis-sa-ack. Each day he laid sweet acorns and wild
flowers upon her dome. His ear caught her footstep,
though it was hght as the falling leaf, his eye gazed on
her wondrous form and into her gentle eyes, but never
did he speak before her, and never again did her sweet-
toned voice fall upon his ear.
\ So strong was his love for the fair maid that he
forgot the crops of Yo Semite. Without rain they
quickly drooped their heads and shrank. The wind
whistled mournfully through the pines, the wild bee
stowed no more honey in the hollow tree, for the
flowers had lost their freshness, and the green leaves1
turned brown.
' Ta-tock-ak-na-lak saw not.this, for his eyes were
dazzled by the shining wings of Tis-sa-ack.   She looked
K i%o
i IB
with grief over the neglected valley, and kneehng on
the smooth hard rock, besought the Great Spirit to
bring again bright flowers, grasses, green trees, and
waving corn.
' With an awful sound the dome of granite opened
beneath her feet, and the mountain was riven asunder,
whilst the melting snows from the Nevada gushed
through the wonderful gorge. Quickly they formed a
lake between the perpendicular walls of the cleft mountain and sent a sweet murmuring river through the
valley. All was then changed. The moisture crept
silently through the parched soil; the flowers sent up a
fragrant incense of thanks; the corn raised its drooping
head, and the sap with velvet footfall ran up into the
trees, giving hfe and energy to all.. But the maid, for
whom the valley had suffered, and through whom it was
again clothed with beauty, had disappeared. Yet, that
all might hold her memory in their hearts, she left the
quiet lake, the winding river, and the half-dome which
still bears her name, "Tis-sa-ack," and which every
evening catches the last rosy rays that are reflected from
the snowy peaks.
' When Ta-tock-ak-na-lak knew that she was gone
for ever he left his rocky heights and wandered away
in search of his lost love. That the Yo Semites might
never forget him, he carved with his hunting-knife the
.outlines of his majestic head upon the face of the rock
that bears his name. There they still remain, and may
be plainly distinguished, guarding the entrance to this
much-loved valley.'
The excursion to the Bridal Veil Fall is a very
favourite one with the ladies, and a very dehghtful ride
it is. The trail leads first through groves of white
azaleas, which grow to perfection near the river's banks.
But after skirting Sentinel rock—a lofty solitary peak,
on which the Lidians used to light their watch-fires—it
passes under the Cathedral rocks, which look like
granite church-spires, their rugged sides rising abruptly
from base to pinnacle.
Threading our way over rocks and through streams^
we at length arrived at a spot where we were obliged
to dismount. We then tied our animals to the trees,
and proceeded on foot for the rest of the way—which,
fortunately, was but a very short distance.
The ' Pohono,' or ' Bridal Veil' Fall, is exceedingly
graceful and undulating. The glittering sheets of spray
throw a misty drapery over the falling torrent, which is
said to receive its waving motion from a strong wind
that always blows on the lake which is the source of the
Towards evening as the sun sinks in the west a
glorious rainbow is formed in the glistening spray. The
effect  is  magical, and  most lovely—only by being
x2 rn
seen can the faintest idea be formed of it. The Indians
think the stream and its fall are bewitched; hence
its musical name, Pohono, i.e. an evil spirit, whose
breath   is   a   blighting   and  fatal   wind.     On   this
account, too, when passing it, they hasten by as fast as
they can.
Nothing would induce them to sleep near it; but
that feeling may arise from their intense dislike to
water in any form—at least such is my unpoetical
We had not been many days in the Valley before
we were anxious to ascend to some high peak and look
down upon what we had hitherto been looking up to.
We started, therefore, early one morning to make a long
day's excursion to Glacier Point and Sentinel Dome.
A steep but well-made trail, winding amongst ferns
and flowering shrubs and under the shadows of great
rocks, brought us, after a nearly three hours' ride, to
the summit of Glacier Point. The view from this
Point is the most comprehensive of any, as it
embraces the upper waterfalls, rocks, and canons,
and the magnificent views of the High Sierras.
Standing near the edge of the precipice, you look
down into the Valley, which lies below at a depth of
nearly 4,000 feet. Mirror Lake appears only as a httle
silver speck, and splendid trees, some of them 200 feet THE   YOSEMITE  VALLEY.
high, look hke the trees in a child's toy farm-yard.
The Merced winds along hke a silken thread, and the
D -*
high mountains seem so to narrow the Valley that from
some points, you fancy you could almost jump over it.
The North Dome, the magnificent Nevada Fall, the Cap
of Liberty, the Vernal Fall, and the Yosemite Fall are
all visible ; but the Great South Dome stands out preeminent above them all, and eclipses the lesser wonders
by its commanding appearance and the extraordinary
formation of its untrodden summit.
Haif-an-hour's ride brought us to Sentinel Dome, on
which there is no vegetation, and from whose barren
O 7
heights rise up all around, thousands of snow-clad
peaks—shining like mountains of silver in the morning sun. The view of the valley itself is nearly the
same as that from Glacier Point, but farther off—and
to my mind not so impressive. The Coast Range can
be distinctly seen, and the valleys of the Sacramento and
the San Joaquin spread themselves out like a garden;
while the great heights-—Mount Lyell, Mount Dana,
Mount Hoffman, Mount Star King, and others; averaging between 12,000 and 13,000 feet—give a strange
Alp-like appearance to the vast snowy regions in this
grand and beautiful panorama.
We found, on our way back to Glacier Point, several
of the curious snow-plants; but we refrained from
gathering them, remembering our experience at the if Is' J
Big Trees. We also saw a pretty golden cavy,
basking in the sun on the rocks. I dismounted
and tried to intercept him in his retreat, but he was
too quick for me, and I had the pleasure of seeing him
•disappear through a narrow fissure from which it was
useless to attempt to turn him out.* This was the
only wild animal we saw during our visit to Yosemite.
There were also very few birds in the Valley. It
would seem as if they, as well as Indians and wild
animals, were afraid of it.
After another long gaze at the wondrous scene from
D  D
the Point, and after watching for some time the
splendid colouring of El Capitan and hosts of other
precipices, some pearly grey, others reddish purple,
their tints incessantly varying with the receding hght,
we retraced our steps, carrying with us the pleasant
memory of a grand and never-to-be-forgotten picture,
and arriving at our hotel with agonisingly stiff knees,
caused by the great strain on them from the extreme
steepness of the descent.
Of all the delightful excursions in the Valley none
equal that to the Vernal Fall; and of all its glorious
* I do not know what the little animal was doing there, for the cavy
is a native of South America—Brazil, I think. I was near enough to see
its golden-brown hair. It sat up, too, as the cavies do j and when it ran
off I noticed the absence of tail. There were acorns strewed about also.
So altogether I think I could not have been mistaken about it, though
these animals are not supposed to inhabit the Sierras.
scenes I prefer the view of the rapids between the
Nevada and Vernal Falls to anything else.
The  trail to these Falls winds  up  the  Merced
Canon and past acres of azaleas—\
1 One boundless blush, one white empurpled shower
Of mingled blossoms.'
Over sparkling streams, under high granite walls,
through green woods, fragrant with all sorts of aro-
DO 7 D
matic shrubs, and along the side of a swift brawhng
? D D
river, whose banks are covered with ferns and rare
grasses, you are finally led to the Pi-wy-ack, or
Vernal Fall. The former name means ' a shower of
crystals,' and a more appropriate one could hardly have
been chosen. It is a vast shower of sparkling diamonds.
The height of the Fall is about 350 feet; I do
not know to whom it owes its Enghsh name. I could
see nothing ' vernal' about it; and the Indian name is
more suitable and infinitely prettier. A vast body of
water flows over the precipice, for the Merced is a
broad, deep river, rising high up in the mountains.
It makes a descent of over 2,000 feet in two miles, and
forms in its course the Nevada and the Vernal Falls.
At one side of the Fall, ladders have been raised, by
which the perpendicular wall of rock can be ascended,
and a short walk then brings you to the Nevada Fall.
The spray through which you must pass to reach the
Ladders   soaks you fo the skin almost immediately. 136
We therefore put off our ducking until we returned,
and, remounting our animals, continued to ascend by a
long steep trail.
The Nevada Fall is superb, and grander than any
other of the Valley Falls, on account of its great volume
of water. It differs in shape from the others, having
a peculiar twist in the upper part of it; the whirling
motion being caused by a projecting rock at the lip of
the Fall. It descends perpendicularly for about three-
quarters of its height—600 feet—then, striking the
smooth surface of the rock, it spreads into a magnifi-
7 x O
cent sheet of white spray, 200 feet in width. I enjoyed
gazing on the wonderful cataract between the two
Falls more than anything I had seen. The distance
between them is some hundred yards, and the
water rushes through a deep narrow gorge—over
which a bridge has been built—with a rapidity and
noise far greater than the rapids above Niagara.
Nothing is to be seen but running foam, as white as
snow, amidst which enormous logs are tossed about
and hurried along like feathers ; the angry waters in
their irresistible force and power having a fascination
even more spell-like than the Falls themselves. The
Cap of Liberty, a great mass of perpendicular rock,
stands boldly out on the north side of the Nevada
Fall. It can be ascended on its western side ; and we
were told that the view froni the top of the vertical
precipice of the Nevada Fall is magnificent; but we did
not make the ascent.
On our return we sent our horses round by the
trail and made the descent of the Vernal Fall by the
Ladders. Before descending we reached a natural
wall of granite, breast-high, and looking exactly over
the Fall. It seemed as if it had been made on
purpose to prevent those people who always feel inclined to throw themselves over, when looking down an
abyss, from doing so. At the foot of the Ladders
there are beautiful httle grottos, full of all kinds of
ferns and mosses. They are kept green and fresh by
the perpetual spray from the Fall. After leaving these
hanging gardens we found ourselves enveloped in
blinding mist, driven with such force as to resemble a
storm of rain. Gasping and blinded, it was difficult to
keep to the shppery and narrow path, and in the few
minutes occupied in rounding the cliff we became so
thoroughly wet through, that we had to hang ourselves out to dry on the rocks for a long half-hour
before returning home.
For full half a mile below the Falls nothing can be
seen but torrents of foaming water, and the scene is
wild and picturesque in the extreme. One visit to these
Falls is sure to lead to others, as there is more variety
and charm to be found here than anywhere else in the
Valley.    For my own part, I recall  Pi-wy-ack  and 133
Nevada with greater satisfaction than any other part
of the Yosemite.
I was pleased to see that a large flat rock,
from which a fine view of the Vernal Fall can be obtained, was pointed out to us with some pride as Lady
Franklin's rock; that brave lady having visited the
Yosemite in her travels, and having often watched
the descending waters from this her favourite standpoint.
And all this time I have never mentioned the
greatest wonder of the Valley—' The Cosmopolitan
Saloon,' kept by Mr. John Smith! This gentleman
visited the Yosemite about four years ago, and
fore seeing a brilliant future in store for it, resolved to
anticipate its needs. Consequently, he built a spacious
house close to Hutchings's Hotel, and fitted it up with
capital hot and cold baths, billiard-tables, a reading
and writing room, hair-cutting establishment, and a
bar, where he concocts the most refreshing drinks imaginable. The undertaking was no light one, as furniture, supplies, and the materials for building, with the
exception of the rough lumber, had all to be packed
on mules and brought into the Valley over a mountain-trail of at least ten or twelve miles. But he conquered all difficulties, and now his bright ' Cosmopolitan ' is the resort of all Yosemite pilgrims, who
generally leave the Valley with a feeling that J. Smith THE   YOSEMITE   VALLEY.
has certainly done a very great deal to render their
visit most thoroughly enjoyable.
I shall say no more about picturesque river-scenes,
waterfalls, and cliff-views, for I have mentioned what
seemed to us the principal sights. Other rides and
rambles would be merely a wearisome repetition.
But let me sum up, if I can, the general feeling and
ideas of our party about the, Yosemite Valley.
Too much credit cannot be given to Mr. Hutchings for
his skill, and the trouble he has taken, in providing capital trails along precipitous mountain-sides, or for his
general superintendence and careful endeavour to make
a visit to the Valley even as comfortable as it is. But
surely it is time for the Government to take in hand
the improvements so sadly needed, now that the Yosemite has been granted to the State of Cahfornia as a
national park. The Valley itself should be cared for
like a garden; trees and shrubs tended, swamps
drained, bridges built, drives made, and grass sown
where it is necessary. Irrigation would be simple, and
where now there is nothing but marsh, or tracts of dust,
there would very soon be flowers and verdure. If a
good roomy hotel were built, visitors would remain
weeks instead of days, and what is at present a mere
scrambling resort would soon become a favourite
summer residence. The rights of tollgate-keepers
should be bought up; for although their charges are \\pS
If I
by no means excessive, considering the enormous
amount of labour that has been employed in making
good paths up the mountain-sides, yet a pubhc park
ought to have no tolls, I should imagine.
D 7 D
I wonder whether others have felt the same vague
sense of imprisonment and oppression that was
general with us in the Valley.     This  feeling drove
D «/ O
away some English friends of mine sooner than they
had intended to leave. In their Sussex home, they
must since have had many a laugh over their Valley
sensations, and many a wild dream of domes, waterfalls,
and precipices, mixed up with steady steeds, steep
trails, and Smith's sherry cobblers. While in the
Valley, a longing is felt to get to the top of the mountains again and into the world once more. There is a
strange weird perception of indefinite vastness, as if the
ghostly precipices and solemn Falls had no right to be
there; as if it would occasion no surprise if the waters
were to vanish, the rocks to grow higher, and the
7 DO"
smooth plain to sink lower and lower till it reached
the distant abode of the winged mortals of the
' Coining Race.'
There were various opinions as to whether the
Valley is seen better from above or from the plain
itself. For my part, I infinitely preferred looking up
at the giant rocks ; they seemed then so much grander,
and it was so much easier to appreciate their immense THE   YOSEMITE   VALLEY.
perpendicular heights and their strange fantastic outlines. However, all were agreed as to the awful grandeur of the Yosemite, and the stupendousness of the
wonders contained in its Valley. But, whilst some
thought one visit sufficient for a life time, others would
have been glad to return year after year and to linger
long by the banks of the swift and sounding Merced.
As we rode out of the Valley we passed a small
encampment of ' Digger' Indians. These Indians are
the aborigines of Cahfornia, and are perhaps the lowest
tribe of the human race. They are probably a branch
of the Aztecs. They have very dark skins, high cheekbones, deep bushy eyebrows, and masses of long
straight black hair growing low over their foreheads.
The men are short and very small-limbed, the women
a httle taller in proportion, and all filthily dirty. They
hve on roasted acorns and manzanita seed, but their
favourite dishes are crickets and roasted grasshoppers.
They hardly ever hunt, seldom fish, and never cultivate the soil. They have no skill in carving ornaments or images, no war implements, no idols, and no
rehgion. They have a tradition that they descended
from animals, and they beheve that their progenitor
was a coyote, a sort of wolf, and that when the coyote
died his body became filled with spirits in the shape of
deer, foxes, and squirrels, most of which took wings and
flew away.    To prevent the depopulation of the earth
4 1 Ik
by such a continual flight, the old coyotes determined
that the bodies should in future be burned, a custom
still kept up by the Diggers. From that time the
bodies of the coyotes gradually assumed the form 01
man, first walking on all-fours, then acquiring a finger
then a toe, and so on. Soon this creature got into the
habit of sitting, and wore off his tail.
This, to this day, is a subject of great grief to the
Digger, who considers a tail an ornament of considerable beauty, and often adorns himself with one on
festive occasions.    Thus,, the   Digger  Indian, at  all
•» DO '
events, is not opposed to the Darwinian theory, and
his appearance is certainly conducive to the behef of
its correctness. These miserable-looking creatures did
not seem out of place in the Valley, any more than their
forefathers the wolves would have been. They chattered like apes, and waved us a friendly good-bye in a
most cheerful manner. We soon lost sight of their
httle bough-huts and their beds of leaves, but for
some time after we could hear the Diggers laughing
and jabbering as we slowly pursued our upward trail,
After a few hours' struggle on our spiritless horses and
dejected mules, we again reached the summit, and our
visit to the glorious Yosemite Valley was ended. TO SAN FRANCISCO.
Stage jokes—The Golden City—Site—Vegetation—Dust—Over-work—
Lone Mountain—Seal Rocks—Mission Dolores—Bits—Bars—Free
lunch—Julep—A character—Architecture—Chinese—High wages—-■
Hoodlums—Chinese facetiae—Visit to the bad Chinese quarter—*
Chinese superstitions and troubles.
We returned to Stockton by a place called Knight's
Ferry, where there were the most magnificent oleanders
I had ever seen. For miles away the masses of
pink blossom could easily be distinguished, and several
gardens were entirely filled with large bushes of both
the pink and white sorts.
Our driver informed us that this was the town
which was so healthy that when they wanted to ' dedicate ' the cemetery a man had to be shot for the
purpose. His anecdote, however, did not gain much
applause, as we had been told the same story by two
other drivers at other places. We therefore set it
down as a standing ' stage joke.' We were ready to
believe many of the stories we heard; but when the
same terrible struggles with grizzly bears and robbers
were repeated by successive drivers, each one being the ft J
hero of the same tale, we began to have doubts of the
strict truth of some of the enthralling events. The
stage-drivers doubtless are, as a rule, very intelligent,
and may be relied on; but some of them have really
such excessive regard for the truth that they use it
with almost penurious frugality.
From Stockton to San Francisco, through the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, and over the Coast
Range, is an uninteresting j ourney. We were very glad
when we reached Oakland, which is to San Francisco
what Brooklyn is to New York. Here the train ran
out into the bay, for a distance of more than two miles,
on a substantial pier. We were then transferred to
the ferry-boat, which took us three miles across the
water to the City of San Francisco. The sudden
change from heat to cold was rather severe. A perfect
hurricane was blowing in through the Golden Gate. A
gentleman informed us, with tears in his eyes—whether
from sorrow or from the coldness of the wind I do not
know—that it was always the same in the summer
months. The wind in the bay, he said, was nothing
to the breeze on shore, and that the consequent dust
was the eyesore of ' the Golden City of the West.'
It was getting dark when we approached San Francisco. Lights twinkled from thousands of houses rising tier
above tier to all sorts of heights and distances; and with
the forest of masts in the foreground the city presented TO SAN FRANCISCO.
almost a fac-simile of the view of Genoa when entered
from the bay. Fortunately, landing is not the same
dreadful business as at the latter place, and we walked
on shore from the huge ferry-boats as comfortably as
we embarked from the railway-carriages. The hotel-
runners, and touters in general were in far too great force
to be pleasant; but as we had already chosen our
hotel there was httle difficulty about our luggage, and
the coach speedily deposited us at our destination.
San Francisco is all ups and downs, rather annoying for
building purposes, perhaps, but giving a wonderfully
picturesque appearance to the city. It is a much
easier matter to distinguish the hills on which San
Francisco is built than it is to make out the Seven Hills
of Rome.
The difficulties of building the town must have
been immense. No street could be made without
cutting down a hill or filling up a ravine. Half the
site was occupied by the shallow waters of the bay, and
the other half was composed of sand-hills, destitute of
even the scantiest vegetation. Now, the present ever-
improving great city stands there a proof of what can
be accomplished by perseverance and energy.
The extraordinary luxuriance of vegetation, wherever plenty of water is used, shows the power of the mild
and equable chmate. I beheve that if a walking-stick
were planted in a patch of sand, and irrigated: well, in a JW\
I  B  iff
Vt Tt "^ 1
E     ft          1
ill 1
f.,\ i]
IIJ 111
week or so there would spring forth a crop of young
canes. Every garden makes a splendid show of flowers,
which bloom perennially. Verbenas and hehotropes
become shrubs; scarlet geraniums form thick hedges,
ten and fifteen feet high; passion-flowers and jessamines climb all over the houses; oleanders and arbu-
tilons grow to a height, and blossom in profusion and
beauty perfectly amazing. One of the most beautiful
shrubs I ever saw, and which on enquiry I was told was
the Pittisforum nigrum, a native of New Zealand, is to
be seen in every garden, sometimes growing to a height
of twenty to thirty feet. It bears a strong resemblance
to the ebony-stemmed fern—I do not know the correct
name—and has an extremely graceful appearance.
Many houses have beautiful lawns, always kept green
by a hydrant. From the hydrant a hose is led to a
sprinkler, which stands on the lawn, and can be moved
from place to place.
Artesian wells are everywhere; the windmill standing on the top of a tank from which water is distributed
to the house and over the grounds. The garden-hose
is kept playing morning, noon, and night, and the result
is a most astonishing vegetation. There are no trees
lining the streets; but in the few squares and in the
plaza there are various kinds of choice evergreens, as
well as cedars, loquats, pepper trees, acacias, and palms.
The great objection to San Francisco in the summer TO SAN FRANCISCO,
months is the strong wind which blows from the Pacific,
bringing with it clouds of dust from the sand-hills.    It is
o    o
wonderful that these acres of shifting sand are not r -
claimed. Shrubs and plants—such as the beach-plum and
yellow lupin—would soon imprison the sand and form a
complete barricade against drifts.    The western side of
the city is at present made desolate by these sands, and
many people who would like to hve in San Francisco
during the summer months leave on account of the sand-
storms.    Thus this carpeting with verdure would add
greatly to the wealth of the city, to say nothing of the
increase of comfort.    It is the wind which modifies the
climate, which is said to be the most exhilarating in the
world.    It is never too hot or too cold for outdoor
work or exercise.    With a sun as hot as in Southern
France, and with the cool Pacific breeze and an air
crisp and dry, people work on without relaxation till,
abruptly, the vital cord snaps.    Men die here most
suddenly, without any warning.-   The temptation to
overwork is excessive.    There are no useful avocations
rendered necessary by a long spell of hot weather, as on
the Eastern coast, and a man feels under a constant
pressure of excitement.    Doctors say there is nowhere
so much insanity, in proportion to the population.    In
time, I suppose, people will learn to adapt their mode
of hving to the climate and its requirements.
Summer is considered the severest season; it is
H f
I      I
I  f I     f
undoubtedly the most unpleasant, on account of the
wind and dust. It is the fashion for Californians, when
away from their country, to say they wear hght
clothing in winter and warm wraps in summer. From
my own short experience of the climate, I can only say
that the winter is very cold, and warm clothing indispensable ; fires, too, are often very necessary. In
summer, in spite of the wind, hght clothing is essential
to comfort, although overcoats may be worn towards
Our first drive was to the Cliff House, to see the
wonderful ' sea-lions' and their play-house. We
started pretty early, so as to return before ten o'clock,
at which hour the wind generally rises. We drove
through some fine streets, all having wooden side-walks,
and many entirely paved with wood. The houses were
gay with flowers, and from the white walls were wafted
the delicious odours of the jessamine, honey-suckle,
clematis, and myrtle.. These gardens looked strangely
in contrast with the bare sand-hills between which we
continually hurried, and which render the space that
separates the town and the ocean most bleak and drear-
Our road lay between the cemeteries of Laurel
Hill and Lone Mountain. Peaceful and beautiful
spots they are; suitable resting-places, whether for
the wealthy, whose names are engraved on the tall
obelisks and marble monuments raised there to their
memory, or for the poor man, whose lowly grave is
marked only by the buds and blossoms of the lilies
and fuchsias and scarlet geraniums, which loving hands
have planted there and carefully tended.
After a drive along a broad, splendidly kept, and
well-watered road—which was very lively with numbers of celebrated 'fast-trotters,' and is in fact the
Rotten Row of San Francisco—we arrived at the Cliff
House. It is built on a bluff overhanging the sea, and
has a glorious outlook toward the Farallone Islands
and the ' Golden Gate,' of which we had caught occasional ghmpses on our journey. From the verandah
of the hotel we saw the Seal Rocks, only a few hundred
yards off, and covered with sea-lions, who filled the
air with their strange dismal roaring.     Of all Cali-
fornia's ' natural wonders' these are, I think, the most
curious. The huge, grotesque, ungainly creatures
crawling up the steep rocks, taking magnificent headers
into the sea, or lashing the rocks with their finny tails,
and eternally bellowing 'Yoi-hoi,' with their deep-
mouthed bay; the thousands of sea-birds—gulls, guillemots, pelicans, and cormorants—-flying around or
perched on the rocks amongst the seals, form a natural
curiosity that has a wonderful fascination for spectators,
and is all the more astonishing from its close proximity
to a large city.    Some of these sea-lions are of enor- M
|i 8
9 tiki
'    ;
mous size, and weigh, we are told, over ten or twelve
hundred pounds. The extraordinary thing is, how
they manage to climb to the top of almost perpendicular rocks; but they do, and without much apparent
difiiculty. A siesta on a pinnacle in the hot sun seems
the height of enjoyment to them. The sea-birds appear to get on very amicably with them. Now and
then when a pelican settles on the back of one, or
approaches too near to his majesty, he will look the
bird steadily in the face and then give a roar, which
effectually disposes of the intruder; but, on the whole,
they do not quarrel much.
The law, fortunately, affords the benefit of its protection to the Seal Rocks, and allows nobody to fire
a gun in the neighbourhood. The creatures would
otherwise soombe driven away. Already an outcry
has been made about their consumption of fish, some
people going so far as to declare that there will soon
be no supply for the market. If there is a falling off
at all, it might much more reasonably be accounted
for by the immense and wanton destruction of fish
going on at all times and seasons in the bay of San
After breakfast we drove back by the old Mission
Dolores, the road for some distance being over the firm
sandy beach. Very few rehcs of the early Spanish
occupation of the country are now to be found.    The
old-fashioned church called San Francisco, in honour
of the patron saint, St. Francis, yet exists, but the
attached monastic buildings are used as stores and
saloons. The Franciscan fathers had considerable
power over the Indians, who used to congregate at the
Mission two or three times a year to enjoy a week's
holiday, bringing with them their own cattle and provisions—thus making up a sort of tribal picnic. A few
of the buildings that were set apart for the natives may
still be seen; but most of the mission lands and houses
have been destroyed, or taken possession of by strangers.
The priests who taught and educated the people are
all gone, and have left only a few Spanish MSS. and
printed volumes behind them, which, with the old
church, alone serve as remembrances of the devoted
hves of the early missionaries.
Amongst the peculiar 'institutions' of California
that of the ' bit' is most singular. A ' bit' is a small
coin of the value of ten cents, or five pence. In general
use, there is no coin of less value than a' bit,' though, I
beheve, a five-cent-piece is now and then met with. A
quarter-dollar is called two 'bits,' a half-dollar four
' bits,' and there is no copper currency. The system
is absurd, and ought to be stopped at once. A
quarter-dollar, or shilling, is, or rather ought to be,
twenty five cents; but if you purchase anything the price
of which is one 'bit,' and offer a quarter-dollar in pay* 152
weMtern wanderings.
ment, for change you will rec&ve back only one' bit,' the
seller always getting the best of the exchange.    If you
buy anything for two ' bits/ and pay for it with two ten-
cent-pieces instead of a quarter-dollar, you are. looked
upon as j very mean,' and sometimes they are actually refused.    The loss on every retail purchase is twenty-five
per cent.; but the dealers, who of course buy in quantities"?
do not lose.    The price of a cigar, a newspaper, a glass
of beer, or having your boots cleaned, &c, is a 'bit,' or
has a' bit' imported into it for the sake of the exchange.
As at every other place in America, drinking-bars
may be counted by the hun||:ed at San Francisco.    But
there they are frequently fitted up in the most gorgeous
style, and often very artistically.   The wood of the beautiful California laurel is that most frequently used for the
purpose.   In some cases the entire room is fitted up with
it, and the appurtenances of the bar are of pure silver.
At all these places a 'free lunch' is ready at certain
hours; and often it is a most elaborate set-out.   One can
hardly understand how it can answer, and allow a man
profitably to carry on the estabhshment; yet not only
does it succeed, but immense fortunes are thus made.
After lunch you are supposed to take a ' drink' at the
bar, for which you pay two ' bits,' and in some places
only one. Supper is carried on in the same way.  I never
could comprehend how a man could have the audacity
to eat the greater part of a roast leg of mutton, and a TO SAN FRANCISCO.
lobster, finishing off with bread-and-cheese and fruit;
and then, after tossing off a huge julep, offer fivepence
in payment, and walk away with a contented conscience.
Yet I have seen that done, and doubtless the same sort
of thing often occurs. By the way, juleps are not an
American drink, as is generally supposed. I think they
must have been prepared from Milton's receipt in the
' Masque of Cornus,' where the son of Bacchus says :—
"And first behold this cordial julep here,
That flames and dances in his crystal bounds,
With spirits of balm and fragrant syrups mixed j
Not that nepenthes, which the wife of Thone
In Egypt gave to Jove-born Helena,
Is of such power to stir up joy as this,
To life so friendly or so cool to thirst."
There is the name—julep—and even the ingredients—mint, sugar, spirits, and ice—are mentioned.
A great patron of ' free lunch,' and free everything
else he can obtain, is a local celebrity known by the
sobriquet of ' Emperor Norton.' The strange appearance of this individual invariably attracts attention, and
he lives, I believe, by being the butt of the town. He
scorns all attire, save military garments, and is always
dressed in the cast-off uniform of some military or naval
officer. Often he sports a mixture of the two—despising the costume of no rank, from a full private to that
of a general. I He carries with him on all occasions a
huge carved stick. His appearance and method of
getting promoted reminded me strongly of a well-known 154
character who was once pointed out to me in Paris.
' General • Van — the man I allude to—was a Dutchman, and a lieutenant in the Dutch army. Anxious to
rise in his profession, and believing his merits to be
ignored, he took to promoting himself. He made Paris
his residence, lived on his means, and always wore uniform. After being for some years a heutenant he felt
that he deserved promotion, and raised himself to the
rank of captain—of course, making the necessary
change in his uniform.  Again, in due time he conferred
D D *'
on himself further advancement; he became major, and
afterwards lieutenant-colonel. At the time of the
Crimean war another rise in his profession naturally
suggested itself, and a full colonelcy was the result. In
1860 he bestowed on himself the riband of a Dutch
order; and in 1870, finding his health fail, he assumed
the rank of general. In all probabihty, he would have
received more honours and distinctions had not death
shortly after brought his brilliant military career to a
close. In the announcement of his death, which I saw
in the papers, it was not stated whether he was buried
with military honours, but I presume that he was not.
San Francisco, like other cities on the Pacific coast,
is subject to occasional earthquakes, consequently new
houses are now nearly all built of wood, and of no
great height. Some builders undertake to build a
house ' earthquake-proof—rather a difficult matter, I TO SAN FRANCISCO.
should think. American architects build houses as if
for the purpose of feeding a fire. It is well and right
to build them of wood in a country subject to earthquakes, but there surely is no necessity for hollow
partitions and combustible staircases. Stop the draft
and you stop the fire. The Fire Department of San
Francisco is extremely efficient, but the rate of insurance is nearly ten times higher than in Europe. The
difference in combustibility, arising from the manner of
placing the wood and its surroundings, is worth considering when building wooden houses.
There are great varieties of architecture in San
Francisco,   and   all   kinds   of quaint   conceits   and
whims of form and shape; but very often they are
attractive and charming.
Perhaps there is a redundancy of ornamentation
about some of the houses; but they invariably look
so clean and airy—sometimes perched on cliffs, sometimes shding down slopes or nestling in gardens, and
girt with strange trees and beautiful flowers, and always
wearing a pleasant and comfortable air. The houses,
too, not only give an idea of the character of their
occupants, but also of their personal appearance—perhaps I ought rather to say of the appearance of those
who ought to occupy them. There is, for instance, the
dwellingmot much bigger than a good-sized baby-house,
with two great staring windows, resembling the wide- ft
open eyes of the infant who ought to be the proprietor.
Then there is the tall, narrow, prim-looking building
with a neat old-maidish appearance. Then comes the
habitation with a decided matronly aspect; and finally
the tottering, tumble-down old thing that a  breath
. D' D
would topple over, and which has a beseeching air, as if
asking for a strong gale to come and end its miseries.
Houses, in feet, differing as much in style as characters
and dispositions differ in individuals.
Throughout the whole of California the Chinese
emigrant forms a striking feature amongst the population, but in San Francisco he seems to form the chief
part of the stream of humanity that flows through its
streets. The violent prejudice against the Celestials is
so marked in this city that strangers naturally seek for
the reasons for this antipathy.
Amongst the lowest classes—those who persecute
John Chinaman most—the reason is evident enough,
D     7
viz. because the Chinese are extremely industrious, and
will work for less than half the wages of a white
man. The better classes say that the Chinese impoverish the country, as they send all their savings
home, and even import their own food and clothing;
that they have no land, no real estate, nothing to give
.them an interest in the country; that they are heathen,
and, worst of all, they are yellow. TO SAN FRANCISCO.
It is generally admitted that John is sober, peaceable, hardworking, and patient. If he had not possessed
a vast amount of meekness and patience he would long
x O
ago have been driven back to his own country. As a
labourer, he is most industrious and steady; as a servant,
clean, quiet, and attentive. As a business man and a
good hand at a bargain,' the heathen Chinee' is a match
for even an American ; and as a poker-player he has
no equal—but, he wears a tail, and that counter
balances his good quahties, and he is despised.
White labour can never compete with Chinese as
long as clothing and necessaries remain at their present
enormous prices, and as long as whisky, high wages,
and universal suffrage, which are the real enemies of
the people, occupy the prominent position they now do.
There is no likehhood of there ever being a strike
against high wages; but I believe a considerable re-
duction would do a great deal towards putting the
Chinaman out of work. How are the common wages
of eight, ten, or twelve shillings a day usually spent ?
Why, in the bar-rooms, at the theatres, and in the
purchase of cigars. Ten shillings a day is poor wages
for a thirsty free man. But making cigars is a favourite
employment amongst the Chinese, and so the injured
white man spends half his time and money in giving
them employment.
There is in San Francisco an order of beings of the ififl
type of ' roughs' and ' loafers,' but known there by the
name of ' hoodlums;' these individuals are rapidly
becoming a formidable element in the population, and
often cause considerable annoyance and trouble to white
people. But their chief delight is to attack and ill-
treat a Chinaman, especially if a number of them can
catch him alone. A Chinaman very seldom walks
about the streets of San Francisco with his pig-tail
hanging down his back, as he does in other countries—
except in his own part of the town. If he did, he would
stand a very good chance of having it cut off, and that
would be the greatest misfortune that could happen to
him ; for he knows he could not then go to heaven, as
there would be nothing to pull him up by.
Fortunately, the general sentiment of the people is
just, and they agree that the Chinese who arrive here
under the stipulations of the treaty with China ought to
be protected from violence and persecution. At the same
time they feel that their emigration has reached to such
a pitch that the Govenment ought—by making some
re-adjustment of the treaty—to restrain it for a time.
The Chinese are by no means the cowards they
have been represented; and I have been gratified on
three or four occasions by seeing a. very complete
thrashing administered to  some great hulking hood-
lum by an inoffensive-looking John Chinaman, whose
patience had been exhausted by the attacks of his TO SAN FRANCISCO.
cowardly and astonished enemy. There are placards
in some of the shop-windows stating that no Chinese
labour is employed by the proprietors. One man—a
bird-dealer—carried his hatred to the Chinese element
so far as to inform the public that' No Chinese birds
are sold here.'
The Chinese are great in the laundry business,
which they have almost entirely monopolised; and the
only instance I ever saw of John's facetiousness was on
the signboard over the door of one of their houses. On
it was written in very large letters,' Wa-Shing and Ironing.' Underneath was the supposed resemblance of a
flaViron and a tub of soapsuds.
Whether the firm really bore that name or whether
it was a Chinese joke, I am unable to say.
Of course there are the bad as well as the good
Chinamen ; and as one of the sights that should be seen
in San Francisco is the ' bad Chinese quarter,' we went
the rounds one evening, accompanied by a detective,
who possessed the ' open sesame' of the various dens.
We were first introduced to a house with an open
court in the centre, and containing small rooms fitted
up with shelves one over another, like the berths in a
ship. This was a favourite resort of the thieves who,
previous to the passing of the ' Space Ordinance,' used
to pack themselves away here hke herrings in a barrel.
The Chinese are certainly great in the science of 1ST
Ii; I    h
stowage, and packing is their chief forte. The few we
saw were quietly smoking opium ; and though most of
them had villanous countenances, they seemed not at
all discomposed at the sight of the police-officer, but
treated us with silent contempt until we were ready to
depart, when they opened the doors with much alacrity.
They bade us a sulky good-night, and then chattered
away with supreme disgust at our unwelcome intrusion.
Hurrying on over a treacherous bridge of loose
planks, we descended a flight of rickety steps leading to
the mouth of a blind alley, which twisted about into the
centre of a block of buildings that towered three and
four stories high above us on one side, whilst on the
other the houses were more hke neglected hen-roosts
than dwellings. The alley,was dark, and strewed with
rubbish from end to end, so that in case of a hunt after
a criminal the chase might be impeded as much as
After dodging about in a labyrinth for some time,
and taking care to keep as near our guide as possible,
we stopped in front of a small door, which the officer
kicked open, and disclosed to view a most disgusting-
looking apartment, without a window or ventilation of
any sort. This box of a building measured about eight
feet square, and was occupied by two receivers of stolen
goods. Their repulsive appearance is indescribable.
One of them gave a ghastly grin, and tried to appear TO SAN FRANCISCO.
guileless, and happy to see us, when, by the light of the
candle he carried, he caught sight of the officer's face.
The other remained on the couch—which was made of
a lot of loose boards—-and, in spite of the prods he
received from our conductor, steadily refused to show
his face. The floor was heaped up to the ceiling with
miscellaneous articles of a most untempting aspect,
and we. speedily made a retreat from this loathsome
We visited other haunts of the heathen thieves—all
answering to the same description, and all extremely
filthy. Some of the narrow winding passages led us
into the basements, where it would be very easy to lose
one's way, even with the light of a candle, and where
an unprotected stranger would fare but badly. But we
met with no opposition; and having glanced at them,
were glad to breathe fresh air again.
At the gambling-houses the usual game was going
on. It is simply this :—The proprietor sits at the head
of a long table, and before him is a -large heap of ' cash '
—a Chinese copper coin. A handful of these is taken
up and placed in the middle of the table. Bets are
then made on the number in the heap, whether it is
odd or even. The coins are then slowly drawn away
two at a time with an ivory stick, and the number left
determines the winning of the bet. If one remains, odd
wins, if none are left, even is the gainer.
1 II
V 1'1
V ••!
Our last visit was to the home of a venerable heathen
who had attained quite a celebrity amongst his people
on account of his skill as a ' snapper up of unconsidered trifles.' His habitation was ' on the cold
ground,' and only to be approached by steps dug out
of the earth. It was more hke a cave than anything
else, for water trickled down the sides and oozed from
the roof. The floor consisted of a couple of planks,
floating about at will in a bed of slimy water, and the
only articles of furniture to be seen were a filthy couch
of boards and a wooden box.
From what we heard, the skill of the wretched
being lay in contriving habitually to dispose of articles
of value before he returned to his domicile ; by which
means he generally evaded the clutches of the police.
He had no companions, and always lived alone ; no one,
it was said, cared for him, and I should imagine that
1 7 D
he himself had not much regard for anyone.
The streets in the Chinese quarter of the city are
very like those which are seen in every town in the
Celestial Empire, and a stranger suddenly deposited
in the middle of one of them might well imagine himself in China. There are the Joss-houses, in which
they carry on many of the heathenish observances
and the superstitious rites of their native land.
Here they have their hideous images of good and
evil, before which fire is always kept burning, and
small dishes filled with food for these idols to eat.
The priest is always in his httle office, writing prayers
or muttering the words of a legend. The former
are put into boxes, called ' praying-boxes,' which are
placed before the idols, and are so constructed that
they unroll the strips of paper on which the petitions
are inscribed. This has all the efficacy of oral prayer,
with the advantage that the petitioner, meanwhile, can
be attending to his worldly business or pleasure, as the
case may be.
In the httle town of Amoy, which lies between
Hongkong and Canton, there dwells an ingenious
Chinaman whose praying-machine was attached to a
water-wheel by the side of a running stream. He was
thus free from all anxiety in regard to his devotions.
The praying-wheel went round day and night, and its
owner had the satisfaction of knowing that, whether
asleep or awake, he was always praying. There is
another favourite mode of praying. You bring your
prayer, and having set fire to it in the flame of the
lamp that burns before the image of your deity, you
devoutly watch the smoke as it ascends into the air.
Sticks of incense will do just as well, and are supposed
to be very acceptable to the divinities. Thus your
devotions need only be limited by the extent of the
resources of your pocket.
The Chinese have another custom similar to 'prayer-
M 2 164
burning,' that of sending home letters by the dead.
No Chinaman allows his remains to be buried in a
foreign land, if he can avoid it; and very often, when
a man dies who is too poor to pay his own expenses,
the necessary funds are provided by his friends. When
a native of the ' Flowery Land' dies abroad, his spirit
is supposed to return to his own country, and all his
countrymen, far and near, entrust him with letters to
their friends and relatives at home.
The missives are laid around his dead body until
it is enclosed in its coffin, when they are solemnly
burned, and the soul of the deceased is supposed to
carry the messages to the shores of the Celestial Empire and there faithfully to dehver them. There is no
return mail, for the ghosts of deceased Chinese do not
visit alien shores; the failure to receive replies, therefore, does not diminish their faith in ' the dead man's
When Chinese leave their homes for foreign lands
bits of paper may often be seen on the deck of the
ship ; these are prayers for their safe return offered
by the spectators of their departure. Scattering
prayer-papers is a very favourite and certainly an innocent employment. In San Francisco the Chinese
have also secret societies (notably the Hip Yo Sing),
which exercise a very baneful influence, and before
whose tribunals the poor wretches of their own nation
who have incurred their displeasure are frequently
mulcted of large sums of money. If they refuse to
pay they stand in great danger of losing their lives.
So, what with hoodlums, and secret associations, and a
general feehng of insecurity, John Chinaman's existence is not altogether a safe or a happy one. But he
adapts himself to circumstances, smokes opium and
gambles; buys prayers, keeps his tail tight round his
head, attends his theatre to witness interminable
dramas, and generally makes enough money to enable
him after a few years to return to his native land, there
to pass the remainder of his hfe in the universal abuse
of and utter contempt for ' the foreign devils.' ff
Peculiarities — Quacks — FaraUone Islands — Woodward's Gardens—
Eucalyptus—Suicide and murders—Schools—American politics—The
labouring class—Shoddy—Refinement—Literature—The Press—Advertisements—Side-walks—Street-cars—Occupations—A critic.
Montgomery and Kearney Streets, the two principal
ones in San Francisco, afford a fund of amusement and
instruction. At the intersection of Cahfornia and
Montgomery Streets crowds of eager-looking men are
always assembled, who appear to do nothing but talk,
and whose conversation is only of stocks, mines, real
estate, and the condition of the money market. This
spot is the San Francisco Stock Exchange, where
' bulls' and ' bears,' and other hopeful or despondent
animals, of a species known only to brokers and business men, most do congregate.
There is a pleasant custom in San Francisco of
fastening horses to a ring in the side-walk whilst their
owners pursue their business inside the stores or
saloons. As the animals object to be run into by passing vehicles, they move on to the pavement, and thus
the passage intended for pedestrians becomes wholly
occupied by horses.
The hardware dealer decorates the pavement before
his door with old boxes and bundles of straw. Over
these you stumble and climb only to find yourself
opposite a second-hand shop, whose proprietor also
has placed his entire stock of furniture outside his
front door. There are chairs of all sizes and designs ;
tables, round and square; sofas that can be converted
into beds at a moment's notice ; old dishes, watering-
pots, carpets and pieces of oil-cloth ; in fact, everything
appertaining to domestic use, lies carelessly scattered
around. Presently you pass a laundry, or a carpenter's
shop. As soon as you have been able to get round
the large pile of wood, invariably heaped up before
the door, and intended for at least a month's consumption, your toes are run over by a large barrel—
that is, if you have escaped being knocked down by
a street-car—for the wine-merchant, whose house you
are passing, will probably be taking in his consignment of new vintages and, of course, through the front
Quack doctors, and vendors of all sorts of curious
and valuable compounds, ply their trade in the street,
with much energy and much cunning. I was often
amused by one of these persons, who used to deliver a
long lecture on geography, concluding with a descrip- 111*1
! u
pi ,
tion of the situation of some place lately visited by a
pestilence, yellow fever, or cholera. He would then
show how San Francisco might, and probably would
be scourged in a like manner; in which case it would
be as well to be provided beforehand with a small
bottle of his elixir. Fortunately he had a few bottles
left, which he would reluctantly dispose of at a very
reduced rate.
Another individual would stand for hours giving a
free course of instruction in mathematics. According
to him, all arithmetic was in future to be done by
' dodges.' Half-an-hour's study, he said, of one of
his books was worth all the schooling you could get
in a year, and it would be downright insanity not to
avail yourself of an opportunity like that, and for the
ridiculous sum of one dollar. He called himself the
< Lightning Calculator.'
All these people are ' Professors,' a title which has
become so common in America, that, when some wag on
once entering a drinking-saloon called out in a loud
cheery voice, 'Now, Professor, come and have a
drink;' six men who were sitting in a row reading
the newspapers ; a shoe-black who had his. stand just
outside the door, and a corn-doctor who chanced to be
passing, all smilingly stepped up to the bar.
Having accepted an invitation to visit the Farallone  i IV
►flirt ■""'•
SEA   BIRDS.—Cormorants, <!fec.
Islands—a small rocky group lying about thirty miles
west of San Francisco—we passed through the Golden
Gate one lovely calm day, and in about four hours
reached the islands. The Farallones are of importance, on account of the great quantity of sea-birds', eggs
which are gathered there for the Cahfornia market.
As we approached the islands the air was literally
black with birds, which at first seem disposed to prevent our landing. The scene on these islands completely echpsed that on the Cliff House rocks. The
sea-hons were there in thousands, and were of all
sizes and ages, from the tawny grandfather to the
few weeks' old baby. The old ones evidently did not
like our intrusion. They moved away, showing their
two long tusks, when we touched their children, and
either disappeared in the water or sat at the edge
ready to plunge in, should we approach too near.
The rocks were covered with myriads of birds—
pigeons, tufted puffins, coots, cormorants, and gulls.
But the most numerous were the murre, or guillemot,
whose eggs are very large, for the size of the bird, and
are extremely good to eat. They lay their eggs on
the bare rock, both the male and the female taking
their turn at incubation. The gulls are great enemies
of the guillemots, and take every opportunity.of stealing
their eggs.
A pathway up the rock brought us to the light- 1411
If 11 •
J 70
house, which resembled all other buildings of that
nature, and had everything about it beautifully bright
and clean. On our way down to what is called the
' West End,' we passed through rows of foolish guillemots, standing strictly to attention, like white-breasted
soldiers. After crossing a narrow inlet we obtained a
most picturesque view of sharp rocks, caves, deep fissures, and, in the distance, an arch not less than fifty
feet in height, and completely covered with birds.
Through the window thus formed in the rock the birds
flew in flocks, and the seals made use of it as a short
cut to reach the other side.
The ' Big Rookery,' on the north-west of the island,
is well-protected from winds, and is the favourite resort
of innumerable birds. It is almost impossible for the
imagination to realise how extraordinary is the multitude of sea-fowl that make these islands their home.
It is almost as extraordinary that so few people ever
take the trouble to pay a visit to the Farallones. But
some persons I believe would not go a yard out of their
way even to see an angel.
Sunday is a great holiday for the people of San
Francisco; most of the shops are closed and all the
theatres open. Half the population pic-nic in the adjacent country, and the other half swarm to 'Woodward's Gardens.' SAN FRANCISCO.
These gardens belong to a public-spirited gentleman, sent by Providence to California to provide for
the comfort and amusement of his fellow-citizens. The
gardens contain in themselves a museum of stuffed
birds and animals, a collection of curiosities, an art
gallery, in which may be seen copies, gorgeously
framed, of many celebrated pictures from the Eoman
galleries; conservatories, sea-lions, aviaries, an aquarium,
a large skating-rink, swings of the boat order, in which
you can make yourself ill in company with four or five
other social beings equally bent on pleasure ; and swings
on which you may gain a proud pre-eminence alone.
There are bars and poles, on which you can exercise
your skill as a gymnast; and when tired of muscular
employment, you may retire to a cushioned seat in a
circular vessel which is propelled round the httle pond
without the trouble of oars or sails, and you may remain there with the pleasant illusion of being at sea,
until an attack of vertigo drives you on shore again.
Afterwards, you may proceed to the Hippodrome,
which is surrounded by cages containing wild animals ;
and, if you are fond of driving, there is a little four-in-
hand goat-carriage, always ready ; whilst for the equestrians, camels are constantly in attendance. The more
ambitious may gratify their taste by trying to ride the
accomplished jackass which is warranted to throw anyone who may attempt to mount him.    Hoodlums are
.y %
II   I IJ   fl •'- n
HI P! *
great at this exercise, and it would seem as if there
were some natural affinity between them and the
animal they try to ride.
' Feeding' the sea-lions is a great attraction. The
monsters know the accustomed hour, and swim about
as restlessly as lions and tigers pace their dens when
the gratifying time approaches. Sea-lions and seals are
more intelligent even than porpoises, and may easily be
tamed. They would certainly be somewhat cumbersome for a person moving about much to carry, and as
pets they might be in the way in a room; still, they
are very docile and affectionate.    At the Gardens there
is one tremendously big fellow. He can catch in his
mouth anything  that  comes near   him,  and would
make an admirable point at cricket. He always gets
great applause when, after climbing to the top of a rock
and there exhibiting his skill, he plunges into the water,
splashing it over the wistful spectators, whose interest
in him is, after that feat, considerably damped.
Balloons, too, are continually' going,' but seldom, get
up ; fire or high winds invariably preventing the ascent.
People who have visited the Gardens on five occasions,
on purpose to see the ascent of a balloon, are apt to be
disappointed if, on the sixth visit, the balloon still steadily
refuses to be inflated. But those who have been disappointed of seeing the balloon capsize and the aeronaut come to grief, can enter the ' Great Pavilion' and SAN FRANCISCO.
witness performances on the trapeze, and acrobatic
feats just as hkely to end with broken necks or dislocated hmbs.
The quaintest bird I have ever seen is the venerable
pelican, which stalks about the gardens with an air
of absolute proprietorship. Perhaps you are looking at
the seals or the ducks, when suddenly you hear a deep
croak and feel a slight tap. On looking down, there
will be the old gentleman at your side, gazing up at you
with his httle twinkling black eyes, and with his
enormous bill wide open; evidently asking for your
pocket-handkerchief, or a newspaper, or anything with
which to stuff his capacious pouch. I once saw him
take off a child's hat and .waddle on demurely as if
nothing had happened. But his chief delight is to steal
the fish intended for the dinner of the sea-lions ; and
unless a very sharp look-out is kept, he will not only
pouch the greater part of the provisions but also walk
off with the basket. Altogether, Woodward's is a very
amusing place, and, for the present, supplies a great want
in the city.
A very fine park is now being laid out beyond the
limits of the town, but it will be some time before the
trees and shrubberies have attained a sufficient height
to be effective and picturesque ; although wonders may
be worked by the Eucalyptus, which has been extensively planted. WESTERN WANDERINGS.
This tree—the Australian blue-gum  tree—grows
well in California, and with great rapidity. It has been
known to grow fifteen feet in one year, and ought to be
planted all over the plains and valleys.    It would give
verdure, shade, and rain to desert places, and would be
a fortune to farmers who had a few acres of such
beautiful forest. The timber, too, is good and valuable.
The Eucalyptus  also possesses  extraordinary power
of  destroying   the  influence  of miasma   in   marshy
districts.    When planted in swampy ground it will dry
it up very soon.    In Algeria I have seen several plantations of the Eucalyptus on farms once noted for their
extreme unhealthinessj but on which, since the planting
of this tree, no cases of fever have occurred.    Near
Constantine, too, where formerly there were several
acres of marshy fever-haunted soil, a few plantations of
these trees soon transformed the land into a dry salubrious park, from which fever has entirely disappeared.
It is known that many strong-smelling flowers develop
ozone in sufficient quantities to counteract the influence
of a malarious situation;  there is, therefore, all the
more reason to give credit to the health-giving qualities
of the Eucalyptus.    Planted singly, the tree  is not
picturesque, but in numbers is very pleasing.
One evening in San Francisco I witnessed a sad
occurrence.   Whilst in the act of crossing a street I heard SAN FRANCISCO.
the report of a pistol, and a man on the opposite pavement fell down, having shot himself through the head.
The poor fellow hved but a short time, and it was ascertained afterwards that he had lately married, and had
since lost all his money by speculation. Suicides
and homicides have obtained a terrible prominence
in Cahfornia.
Some statistics of the latter were lately given in a
newspaper, to the effect that, while in Great Britain the
average of murders was four to the million, and in the
Papal States 113, in Cahfornia the average was 250.
Such an average seems almost incredible; and although
deduced from statistics of 1871, yet, from the wholesale
butcheries recorded in the papers nearly every day, I
doubt whether the estimate is far out at the present
time. Whether the number of homicides is to be
accounted for by the rare execution of justice on the
murderers, or whether the universal practice of carrying pistols and knives bears fatal effect, I cannot say.
In the Eastern States of America, where the same habits
and the same laws prevail, the average of murders is
only eighteen to the million. In British Columbia,
where the carrying of arms is the exception not the
rule, and where men know that the loss of their own
hves will be the penalty of taking another's, murders
ar<5 of very rare occurrence.
The discovery of gold formerly brought to Califor-
^* u
nia the idlest and most reckless vagabonds in the world,
and desperadoes poured in from all sides; the best of
a bad lot flocking to the mines, the worst remaining
in the city, to gain by gambling or thieving the money
they were too lazy to earn by digging.    Bobbers and
murderers then walked the streets in gangs, in broad
daylight, and not unfrequently to the sound of music.
But, at last, a movement took place among the better-
disposed citizens;  Vigilance  Committees  sprang up,
justice was promptly administered, and the reign of
terror was at an end.    Would not the better and more
certain administration of the law have a salutary effect
in the present day in reducing the enormous amount
of crime which is still abroad ?    But, in spite of the
defects^ which after all are natural to a young and
richly-endowed State, and which time must remedy,
San Francisco, to all appearance, is as well governed as
any city in the Eastern States.   The police are efficient;
gambling is held in check; and the Fire Department is
admirably organised.
The school system is good in a certain way, but
more attention should be given to the solid branches of
education. In a young country, where work is the
element most needed for success, the public schools
turn out little else than a lot of clerks, and book-keepers,
and hundreds of young women who all want to be
school-mistresses.    At an age when in older countries SAN FRANCISCO.
young men begin to work, here they are left with some
knowledge of arithmetic, a smattering of French or
German, a httle music and less geography; but are unable to drive a nail straight, or to do anything useful
except add up long columns of figures and measure out
yards of riband.    What is wanted in California is a race
of educated working men and women; and a practical
course of study in the Labour Department of schools is
one of the means for satisfying that want.    There are
evidences, however, of a high civilisation, and that the
intelligent and moral element is in the ascendant.   There
are excellent libraries and reading-rooms, having a great
number of members.    The churches are well-attended;
there are charitable institutions of all kinds, and a call to
assist them is always liberaUy responded to; in a word,
the general tone of the community is hospitable and
Of course Cahfornia has its pohtical jobbery, as Well
as other States, but she seems fortunate at present in
having the right men in the right place. A Californian
politician has no opinion of his own, but depends on that
of the newspapers of his party. Whatever the majority
says must be right. But then that is the opinion of the
Americans generally; they much prefer being tyrannised
over by a hundred to being quietly ruled by one. With
them' the majority' can do no wrong. I should like to
know what they call the wholesale bribery and corrup-
N Iff § I
II 1
1    lil
tion of their pohtical rulers!    But who can explain
American politics ?
A black gentleman, at a coloured Convention held a
few months ago at Sacramento, gave a good idea of the
requisite qualifications for a Parliamentary career in
America-, when he said, in the course of a very amusing
speech, [ If I only had privileges ekal to my cheek,
I'd ha' bin in Congress long ago.'
The best men in America stand aloof from politics.
And no wonder, if the ignorant gabble of many pohtical
speeches is a sample of the quality of the men who
direct the fortunes of the nation. Ignorance in rags
may be tolerable, but ignorance in broadcloth, even
with the accompaniments of' a beautiful cravat, sustaining a faultless dicky *■■—which a certain well-known
clergyman of New York says ought to be worn by
every true gentleman—is unendurable. Fortunately,
the American people have acquired the art of governing themselves, and that is the only true road to a
successful Eepubhc.
Probably in no other city in America are the labouring classes in such prosperity as in San Francisco. Civilisation has there contrived a means to enable the labouring man to have a house of his own, and almost every
mechanic has his house and garden. If a small shopkeeper or labouring man has saved sufficient to buy a
small' lot' of ground in the city or suburbs, and has not SAN FRANCISCO.
means to build his house, he applies to one of the Building Associations for a loan. When the society has
satisfied itself of the soundness of the title and the value
of the ground, it loans on a mortgage upon the property
the sum required for building. The loan is payable in
monthly instalments. The value of real estate is always
increasing ; so the loan is a very safe one for the company, besides being a very useful one for the recipient.
The rate of interest paid is about ten or twelve per
cent, per annum; and this is not much, considering
what enormous profits are made in all branches of
The steady labouring men are not fond of mining
speculations, but generally invest their wages in land,
or deposit them in the savings banks. It is no uncommon thing for a hired man to own a valuable city
lot, or a nice httle farm in the country; and savings
bank deposits accumulate very fast with interest at
twelve and fifteen per cent. The annual dividends of
the Savings, Loan, and Building Societies are a proof of
the prosperity of servants and labourers, whose high
wages ought certainly to make Cahfornia a veritable
El Dorado to them.
Cahfornians are very generous and intelhgent, as
well as very energetic; and in spite of their tremendous exertions to make money, nowhere is money less
valued than in their State.    Of course, there are a few
N 2 £*>._( i jr, {r
illit 1
c suddenly-rich' men who indulge in the most ostentatious extravagance.
' Shoddy' must show itself in a land where the
general feeling is to estimate a man by his money.
Consequently, you see, here and there, a diamond ring
outside the glove, or a gorgeous coachman with a
bad hat, and holding white reins attached to brass-
bespangled harness.    But these are the  exceptions.
Eefinement and culture predorninate; and a taste for
natural beauty is seen in the quiet flower-decked home
of the mechanic, as well as in the more magnificent
country residences at Menlo Park and Oakland, where
the artistic tastes of the proprietors are as evident in
the interior of their houses as in the beautiful gardens
which surround them.   Some of these gardens are most
dehghtful, and all are kept with the greatest care.    It
is a perfect treat to leave the dust of the city for a
day and wander amongst the botanical treasures which
abound in the grounds, and a visitor is always sure to
receive a most hearty welcome.
I must say I was astonished—although perhaps so
short a residence in California hardly gave me a right
to judge—that the Western people, in spite of their
intelligence, evinced so little interest in the subject of
literature, and especially in that of. home manufacture.
Pollack, a poetical genius closely identified with the
past and present of Cahfornia, is almost unknown 'SAN FRANCISCO.
among them. His writings are uncollected, and his
grave is not marked even by a slab to perpetuate his
memory. Mark Twain had to go elsewhere to find
people who could appreciate other things besides dollars. Joaquin Miller had to seek in England the just
reward of his merits, and the fame of Bret Harte was
made in the East.
The intelligence of the community at any rate supports a very well-conducted press, and two or three of
the journals ought to be most lucrative properties,
judging from the frequent paragraphs they contain
about their enormous circulation. They may perhaps
be influenced too much by a spirit of rivalry—in fact,
it is war to the knife with some of the Western newspapers—but they discuss questions with plenty of
ability and fairness, and there is not that eagerness to
abuse England and the English which is so character---
istic of Eastern journalism.
It is true that the contents of certain newspapers
are very soiling, and of these Baron Hubner remarked,
in 1871, ' Je n'ai vu nulle part des journaux quotidiens
plus depraves que ceux de San Francisco. En les par-
courant je n'ai remarque que recriminations inutiles,
grossieretes qui feraient fremir un exalte de Belleville !'
But these form the exception. Amongst the superior
pubhcations, the ' Overland Monthly ' stands out preeminent for its refinement and good taste, and takes ■!..- ■
i» I
rank with the periodicals issued from the Enghsh
As a rule, the American press never loses an opportunity of abusing the English. If, once in a way, some
scandal appears in an English newspaper it is immediately copied into the American journals—not once
only, but three or four times, and each time with some
new exaggeration. If it concerns the nobility, the joy
of the journalist is supreme. The Canadian Pacific
Eailway scandal was a real godsend to them.
Some people condemn American journalism as a
whole. It is narrow, they say, superficial, and abusive
on every subject external to its own country. But this
is too sweeping a judgment; considering that men
like Woolsey, Charles Adams, Higginson, and others
of the most scholarly writers in the country, are constant contributors to its newspapers, while nearly
every American professional author, except Longfellow
and Hawthorne, has at some time written for the
But even clever and accomplished literary men
cannot help sometimes having a hit at the 'Britishers.'
In a recent letter from the editor of the ' Louisville
Courier,' he states, as his opinion, that the average
British subject hates all Americans, and he goes to
some trouble to explain the fact. I must say I think
his explanation an utter failure; and his coarse letter SAN FRANCISCO.
could only have increased the ill-will between the two
nations, if it had ever really existed.
And yet I hear that this man has been made a
member of an influential club in London, and has
most likely received that kindness and hospitality due
to all strangers of merit—his bad humour is therefore
difficult to account for.
The Americans generally are far in advance of us
in the art of advertising, and the Californians carry it
to the utmost hmit of inventive power. The Enghsh
papers often contain puffs, but they can be recognised
at a glance. Not so in the San Francisco papers. In
them the reader is led on with extreme artfulness
through a long sensational story, or one of pastoral
simplicity, in perfect ignorance, almost to the very last,
of the real object of the narrative. The stranger the
tale, the more cunningly is the finale led up to. Here
is an example: 'Not long ago, in one of those old
baronial halls for which England is so renowned, a
strange drama was enacted. Sitting in the deep embrasure of a fine Elizabethan window, which was not
the least charm of a beautifuUy-appointed boudoir,
overlooking an old-fashioned pleasaunce, was a lady,
evidently in deep distress. Her husband, a tall, handsome man, held in his hand an exquisitely carved pillar
which had been brokea off the door of a superb old
oaken   cabinet.     This   accident would never   have rr
I Mir   '*
occurred if it had been purchased from the celebrated
stores of Messrs. Wall & Co., San Francisco. Their
furniture never breaks.'
Again, what can be more striking or better adapted
to raise tender emotions than the following effort from
the muse of a provision shop ?—
" Ob, say not I love yon because the molasses
You purchased at Simpson's were golden and clear j
The syrup, the sugar, the jelly in glasses,
The crackers, the mack'rel, I know were not dear;
But when you came to me with Simpson's smoked salmon,
And showed me his samples of Limburger cheese,
I felt that his claim to be cheap was not gammon j
I loved you, and said so, dear Jane, on my knees.'
Even great disasters are made use of—vide the follow-
ing: f In the fire which recently destroyed the Grand
Opera House, in Paris, the scores of the musical library,
dating from the days of Lulh and Eameau, were burnt.
The losses sustained by the musicians were very, very
serious. One of the orchestra lost a Straduarius violin
worth 1,400 dollars. The harps alone were worth
4,000 dollars. But what the lessee grieved for more
than anything else was a cask of Gerke Wine that
had been sent to him from San Francisco! Frenchman as he is, he declared over and over again that the
Gerke Wine, for dry qualities surpassed all hght wines
he had ever tasted.'
If advertising is necessary to success in trade, San SAN FRANCISCO.
Francisco ought to be a most flourishing city. Houses,
windows, and dead walls teem with advertisements, and
even the pavements are made use of as places for
puffing. I suppose the wooden side-walks are considered convenient for the purpose, because the boards
which form them are so far apart that your stick or
umbrella is constantly being torn from your hand, and
whilst recovering it there is ample opportunity for
studying the pictures or the writing with which it is
sure to be surrounded. These plankings are hke vast
cribbage-boards. They tear dresses and trip you upy
and their general appearance would disgrace a colony
of Hottentots. But then you are not supposed to walk,
or if you do, you are thought to have connections in
the shoe trade; and in California that is not what they
call' high-toned.'
The street-cars of San Francisco have one great
advantage over those of New York—you hardly ever
hear of a robbery in them, while in the latter city the
pickpockets look on the cars as happy hunting-grounds
made specially for their convenience. The notices in
street and railway cars are sometimes very curious. I
remember one that struck me as particularly odd. It
ran thus : ' No gentleman will occupy more seats than
one at a time—unless he be twins.'
But it is time to leave San Francisco and its flowers
and   fruits;   its   spiritualists, mediums,  and  Veiled FU
\% L*
Prophetesses, its advertisers, and interviewers—the
latter always ready to interview anyone and anything,
from an emperor to an earthquake—and proceed
on my journey to Vancouver's Island and British
M   if!
i ii
L z
02    H
—     k
Z   iS
oq  ,2
The Bay—Education of turkeys—The sparrow—Larks—Golden grain—
Stubble—Bad farming—Fruit—MarysviUe—Bank robbery—A humming-bird fight—Staging—Companions—Highwaymen—Scenery—
No grumbling—'You bet'—Making oneself popular—Grizzlies—Spiritualism—Castle Rocks—Soda Springs.
The simpler mode of going to Victoria from San
Francisco is by sea, but I had been promised some good
shooting in Northern California and Oregon, and was
also very anxious to visit the renowned Modoc country,
especially as the recent capture of Captain Jack and
his band had removed all danger from the expedition.
I therefore determined on making the overland journey,
trusting to Providence for accomplishing the terrible
three hundred miles of staging without being jolted to
As it was necessary to return to Sacramento, and
thence to take the branch line as far as it was yet
opened for traffic, I crossed the bay to Vallejo, and got
to Sacramento by a different route to that I had before
travelled. Crossing to Vallejo gives you an idea of the
wonderful capabilities of California, with regard to its
natural highways. In this respect there is no State in
America, perhaps in the world, better off than Cahfornia. tit    &
m ->
i ti-
I   K
It has the ocean in front and the great bay of San
Francisco, opening into other bays, and including about
ninety miles in length of deep water, while beyond, it has
several hundred miles of river navigation. The voyage
up the bay was dehghtful, with ever-varying views of
the Coast Eange and Mounts Tamalpais and Diablo.
The road to Sacramento was hot and dusty, and, except
in one particular—the immense flocks of turkeys in the
fields—wholly uninteresting. The education of turkeys
is carried on here to a great extent in some places.
These birds will eat anything and everything they can
swallow, and are therefore used to destroy the' army-
worm' and other insects that infest the sugar-beet plantations. I should think they might be employed with
great effect in destroying the locusts which create such
havoc in the country, and whose ravages have hitherto
defied all the efforts of man to guard against.
The English sparrow has not, up to the present time,
found its way to Cahfornia ; the thrush and the sky-lark
are also wanting. Various opinions are entertained there
regarding the merits of sparrows, some people believing
that their introduction would be an injury to the farmer.
It is true that sparrows will eat grain, but it must be remembered that they also destroy grubs, caterpillars, and
insects of nearly every description that prey upon grain
and vegetation in general. The fruit-raisers of the interior might object to them, because they would occasion- SAN FRANCISCO TO MOUNT SHASTA.
ally peck at the cherries ; but it is probable that even
in gardens in the country they would do more service
than harm. What a feast they would have on the grasshoppers, too, which march across the country leaving
not a blade of vegetation behind them ! The sparrows
would save many a crop from being devoured.
The introduction of this bird has proved a great
blessing to New York. The trees in the parks are in a
much more flourishing condition than they used to be,
and where formerly the worms and caterpillars held
high carnival, and scarcely a leaf was to be seen on the
trees, there is now beauty of fohage equalling that of the
The only bird to be seen in the streets of Western
towns is the pigeon, which subsists principally on the
scattered grain it finds in the streets, and leaves the
destroyers of vegetation to work out their pleasure.
The sparrow would be a great benefit to the towns, in destroying the insects that attack ornamental trees, as well
as the flies and fleas that infest the sand in the streets.
There are some people always glad of a pretext for
destroying harmless birds and animals. I saw an
article in a San Francisco paper—written by a gentleman of that place—inviting ' weary business citizens
of San Francisco to the sport of killing meadow-larks.'
The comparative ease with which the lark-fields could
be reached was urged as a reason for preferring that ilSIli
9/1 *P*W 11
ijyif I
III fulfil
hi 0)
sport to the more common one of shooting quails and
hares. This individual had also made the discovery
that the little bird was fond of eating grapes, and was
therefore himself delicious eating, as well as an enemy
to mankind.
The sentiment, ' It's such a beautiful day! let us go
and kill something,' which is said to be implanted in
the bosom of many an Englishman, must have been
very strong in that of the lark-slayer. But, until a
law is passed prohibiting the ruthless slaughter of
robins, larks, and small birds in general, crops must
suffer and ravaging insects reign supreme.
The farms and corn-fields in the Valleys of
Sacramento and San Joaquin, as well as in the more
southern districts of California, give the traveller some
idea of the immense resources of that country. As I
journeyed on to Marysville I saw the golden grain
stretching over the plain, down the slopes of the
ravines, over the opposite hills, and into the distant
valley; and frequently not a tree or shrub disturbed
the view. Such taU stalks, too, and long full ears ! A
farmer told me that on some of his land the product
generally reached sixty bushels to the acre, and eighty
bushels per acre are known to have been taken from
some places. The machine used at harvest-time merely
cuts off the heads of the grain and throws them into a
large cart, which looks like a house moving by the
side of it. I saw acres and acres that had already been
cut. The stubble would have gladdened the eye of
many a sportsman in England on the 1st of September
—cover almost sufficient to hide a tiger, and forming a
safe retreat for the fowls of the air.
The yield of wheat to the acre was formerly wonderful in Cahfornia. But now, owing to poor fanning,
in many districts the yield as a rule has been brought
down to twenty bushels per acre where it used to
average from ninety to a hundred. The land receives
neither rest nor manure ; and even the straw is burned.
What with ■ volunteer crops,' turning cattle in to feed,
and burning the land, many farms are ruined. A
' volunteer crop' is one that springs up of itself in an
uncultivated field, from scattered seeds of the preceding year. These crops are often wonderfully rich,
receiving no aid from human labour, and are much
sought after by lazy farmers.
Wherever the land is properly cultivated the
average yield is forty bushels. But, what with the improvident habits of the people and the almost total
absence of real economy in farming, the grain-fields of
California are in great danger of being laid waste and
It has always appeared to me that the farmers paid
too much attention, or rather gave too much land to
wheat-raising, instead of raising different crops, and 192
pursuing the other occupations usually included in
farming operations. At present, if rain fails at the
usual season, or if locusts devastate the country, the
farmer is often ruined, although he calculates that
one good season will compensate him for two bad
ones. But everything here is left too much to chance
and the great fertility of the soil.
Fruit is so plentiful that no trouble is taken in
growing it, and the best varieties are neglected; consequently, the peaches, plums, nectarines, and strawberries, although in wonderful profusion, do not equal
the European fruits in flavour and quality. Cherries,
apples, and pears seem to grow to much greater perfection, but in no greater quantities, than other fruits. Ah
orchard I saw near Marysville was a perfect wonder,
both in extent and the quantity of fruit. But with all.
the advantages of climate and soil, skilled labour is
still greatly needed in California, both for farming and
fruit raising, and for dairy-farming and wine-making.
The art of making good butter and cheese, and still less
the art of making good wine, has not yet reached
the Pacific Coast.
On reaching Marysville I found the httle town in a
great state of excitement, owing to an attempt which
had just been made to rob the Bank. In the broad
dayhght a man walked into the Bank, and levelling a
m 1
pistol at the clerk, who was the only occupant of the
room at the time, began to break open the desks. The
clerk dropped behind the counter and contrived to
crawl to the manager's room. Arming himself with a
shot-gun, the manager boldly faced the intruder, who
made for the door, and was instantly shot down. His
confederate, who was waiting outside, and was mounted,
galloped off on hearing the report. A hot pursuit ensued, but without success. However, from the description given of his accomplice by the dying man, there
was no doubt about his ultimate capture—at least, so
said the pohce.  For my own part I doubted it greatly,
The gardens of Marysville appeared to be a favourite
resort of the humming-birds. They literally swarmed
with these beautiful httle creatures. They were of two
kinds, but their plumage was not so brilliant as that of
the South American humming-birds.
In the httle garden opposite my room I had
frequently noticed one of these birds which had much
brighter plumage than the others, and I had named him
' Euby,' from his ghttering throat. One morning he
was attacked by two very plain-plumaged birds; for
what cause I could not make out, except that he was
so much handsomer than his assailants. They struck at
one another with their long beaks, then soared into the
air for a moment, darting down swiftly again amongst
>i iff
I   "
% Ism
| ■*■*
81 •
the flowers. There was so much quiet grace in their
movements that'it seemed impossible they could really
hurt one another; but suddenly poor Euby fell fluttering to the ground. I ran out to his assistance, but he
was quite dead when I reached him. I found that one of
his eyes had been put out, evidently by a blow from the
sharp beak of one of his murderers. They were still
hovering near, but presently flew swiftly away—per-
haps in search of another victim.
I had Euby stuffed, that being the only kindness
left me to show him. But nothing could bring back
the grace and bee-hke movements of the hving bird.
The intense heat—it had been very nearly 100° in
the shade for some days—made me look forward to the
Ion* staging with anything but pleasure; indeed, I may
as well say at once that I think nothing would induce
me to undergo the heat, or encounter the dust and the
intensely painful jolting of that journey again. When
I call to mind some of the eating-places, the beefsteaks cut from a boot-leg, the plates of cakes apparently made out of an old flannel petticoat, and the
grumpiness of some of the proprietors, I cannot help
feeling that Shenstone never alluded to this journey
when he wrote :— - * V
'Whoe'er has travelled life's dull round,
Where'er his stages may have been,
May sigh to think he still has found
The warmest welcome at an inn*'
H i ii
Eedding was the name of the station where the
railroad terminated, and our misery began, in the shape
of ricketty old stage-coaches with seats of wrought-iron,
or something equally hard and agreeable to sit upon.
The train arrived at midnight, and the coach started
at one in the morning. That hour was the usual
one for starting all through the journey—that is, if the
start was made at the appointed time. But whether
the departure took place a few hours before or a few
days after was apparently of no consequence whatever.
My travelling companions were two commercial
travellers of the most snobbish description, two Celestials of the ordinary type, and an elderly female with a
face hke a water-melon, and who in answer to any and
every remark that was made never rephed otherwise
than [ I guess so.' My vis-a-vis was a middle-aged
lady, decidedly inclined to embonpoint—I think you
might almost have called her stout. As we progressed
by a series of bumps and jerks, she was sent flying into
my arms at intervals of half-a-minute. At last I
became quite expert in catching her whenever she was
propelled towards me, and then she would apologise
and flounder back into her seat. My style of architecture being somewhat bony and angular, I do not think
she appreciated this game of ball as much as she might
otherwise have done, and I could hear her groan whenever she came against any particularly sharp angle.
Towards daybreak I managed to get a seat on the
box, and found we were surrounded by thick, darkling
woods, through which our road lay for the greater part
of the journey. The driver told me an amusing story
of a robbery that had lately been effected near that part
of the road we were passing, and where, as I have
lately heard, the stage-coach has again been attacked
and robbed by highwaymen. The driver's story ran
as follows :—
A man, whose appearance was that of a miner,
was travelhng along the road, when he suddenly heard
a great noise from amongst the bushes, which were
thicker on one side of the path than the other. Thinking that robbers were there, he fired off a pistol, and
the outcry ceased. On making his way through the
bushes he discovered a man tied to a tree. ' Thank
goodness you're come,' he exclaimed. ' I have been
waylaid, and the ruffians were robbing me, but when
they heard the report of your pistol they made off.'
' Have they robbed you of everything ? ' asked the
' No, only of my watch,' was the reply, ' as I
had, fortunately, placed all my money in my right
boot,'and the villains hadn't time to search for it.'
' And couldn't you get loose ? '
' No, they have tied me too tight.'
' Are you sure they are all gone ?' SAN FRANCISCO  TO MOUNT SHASTA.
' Oh, quite sure,' said the poor man ; ' I could hear
them ride off on their horses.'
\ Then/ said the other, ' as they're gone, I think I'll
finish the job myself.'    Which he did !
Stage robbing is quite a profession in the Far West,
. and it has this pecuhar advantage for its professors—no
one ever thinks of resisting.    The coach, bearing most
D *" O
probably a box of treasure, belonging to Wells, Fargo,
and Company, is stopped in the depth of the forest by
the captain of the gang, who covers the vehicle with
his repeating-rifle, whilst another of the robbers opens
the door and requests the passengers to alight.
The search then begins; and after all the valuables
have been taken a polite good night is bidden by the
highwaymen, and the coach is allowed to proceed.
No one grumbles, and everybody understands what
a ' six-shooter ' means when pointed at his head. This
non-protecting principle does not arise from want of
courage, for a Cahfornian possesses rather too great a
disregard for his life; but as money is so easily come by,
it is taken as a necessary evil that it may depart in a
hke manner. Besides, even if travellers carry arms
they are pretty certain not to be ready for use when
required—thus, everything is made as pleasant and
agreeable as possible. Summary punishment is often
inflicted on the robbers; for in spite of the masks they are
frequently recognised, and the pohce are soon on their Wi
■■ urn*
t I
<*M-Br^-k.     <rr
track. There is no summoning to surrender or parleying with robbers in California; the quickest and
.surest shot is the man who comes off best.
We were delayed for a few hours in our first day's
journey by the bridge being broken that spanned
a narrow ravine. The stout lady was terribly
frightened, and asked the water-melon lady if she
didn't think the robbers had broken the bridge on
purpose. ' I guess so,' was the answer, and that was
all the consolation she received. Eventually she put
her money into her blue cotton umbrella, which she
thought a good hiding-place, and for the rest of the
journey she saw highwaymen in every thicket and
robbers behind every rock.
If it had not been for the dust, which was far worse
than even anything I had experienced on the Yosemite
route, our first dav's drive would have been dehghtful.
Sometimes the road ran through miles of solemn pines,
gloomy and still, and with no undergrowth, only level
beds of brown moss dotted with dropped cones. At
other times we passed through long alleys of buck-eye,
manzanita, and red-woods, with here and there a
gigantic cedar or sugar-pine; now and then we crossed
a rushing mountain-stream, the banks of which,
covered with ferns and fragrant lilies, were in charm-
D '
ing   contrast   with   the  red   rocks   and   silver-grey
hchens.    There seemed to be but few birds, with the SAN FRANCISCO   TO MOUNT SHASTA.
exception of red-shafted woodpeckers; perhaps an
occasional jay would fly screaming between the dark
branches, but otherwise there was no sound of bird or
beast to break the stillness, which was apt to become
rather oppressive.
Generally in California the inns on travelled roads
are very fair, but on this occasion we found some
thoroughly bad specimens—the outside very pretentious, the inside totally neglected.
In   California one never thinks of grumbling  at
public accommodation; consequently, no improvement is made until competition absolutely compels it.
Pubhc criticism would do a vast amount of good and
correct many abuses in America, but it never occurs to
anyone to write to the papers on the subject.
I think stage-drivers and the class of people met
with on the coaches are fonder of betting than any other
people in the world, hot excepting Chinese and Indians.
It is perhaps more in their peculiar mode of expressing
themselves than in the actual stakes that their betting
consists. No sentence is ever completed and no opinion
ever expressed or answer given without, ' bet your
hfe,' ' you bet,' or ' bet your boots.' The latter is the
favourite expression; it extends all through the West,
and, I am sorry to say, up into British Columbia,
where they ought to have more command of language
than to adhere strictly to one style of gambling exclama- mf{>
It*      vi
tions. I asked a driver whether it was a Californian
saying, and he answered, 'jest as much Enghsh as
Californian, you bet your boots ;' and he continued—
alluding to the bagman inside—'say, mister; those
chaps ain't high-toned, and no specimens of Cahforny,
you bet your hfe.'
The same man told me that he was the best whisky-
drinker thereabouts, and that he drank nothing else, as
it made him popular. Now, how whisky-drinking
could add to his popularity I am unable to conceive.
On the way, we stopped at a very neat httle farmhouse, at  the edge of an almost  circular  cornfield.
7 D
Nearly the whole crop had been trampled down and
destroyed, and the owner informed us it had all been
done by grizzly bears. These animals are very fond of
sucking the ripe ears of corn, and will tread down acres
D Jr
in a single night. Of all beasts that walk the earth a
grizzly is the most formidable, and it is a difficult matter
to get even professional hunters to pursue them. The
immense masses of muscle and fat over their vital organs
render them exceedingly difficult to kill outright, and a
wounded one is a terrible opponent. They can run as
fast as a horse, and their prodigious strength enables
them to crush a bull as easily as if he were a squirrel.
However, they seldom attack man, unless they are
wounded or have their cubs with them. They are then
very dangerous and savage.
The rage for spiritualism, which is very strong in
the large towns of California, had reached the wilds
D •»
through which we were travelhng, and we passed a small
cottage, a dirty untidy-looking place, where the mother
and daughter had of late taken to seeing ghosts and
spirits. They had given up all work,, being under the
impression that mediums should be above attending to
domestic duties. The consequence was that the husband
and father, who considered spirits, except of a certain
kind, as unnecessary to his social comfort and position,
used the most forcible arguments against the spectres
and their mediums, and the shanty was a continual
scene of strife and wailing. The unhappy proprietor
got into the coach, and informed the driver that there
was another tea-party of spirits in prospect; and that he
had made up his mind to leave home and never return
to it. This threat, I found out, had been repeated
so often, that now it was generally discredited; and
when he descended at the next halting-place it was
understood that the following morning would see him
on his way back. Spiritualism as a rehgion is advancing with rapid strides in America.
One of the chief causes of its success is that it includes
amongst the members of its Church everybody who in
any way beheves in the supernatural, and gratifies the
tastes of its believers in any form most pleasing to
:/-■ 202
After crossing the wooded valley of Pitt river—or,
as it is generaUy called, the Upper Sacramento—the
road constantly ascended amidst brown hills covered
with fine oaks, until, on reaching the crest, pine-forests
again surrounded us and extended up the picturesque
Castle Eocks, which reared their sharp peaks far off on
our left.    This range of granite and hmestone rocks
attains an elevation of about 3,000 feet, and extends
along the Pitt Valley. The summit is broken into
innumerable ragged forms resembling gigantic
castles, with battlements and donjons, whose clearly-
defined walls and angles stand out boldly against the
bright blue of the California sky. The glare of the sun
falling on the snowy hmestone peaks is perfectly
dazzhng, and it is a rehef to turn the eye towards the
blue-grey granite cliffs and the shadows of the wooded
crests below.
Sometimes the valley broadens into prairie breadths
and plains covered with rank grass, surrounded by
slopes clad with manzanita and cotton-wood, where the
Pitt Eiver Indians dwell and spear their salmon. Now
and then a settler's hut may be seen, with a httle cultivated land around it. But farming does not answer well;
and though the land is hght and easy to work, it is
generally less easy to secure the crops.
Continually traversing woods of mountain-pines, we
at   length   caught  a glimpse  of Mount Shasta ; its
rugged snowy peak, standing like a sentinel at the
entrance of the Sacramento Valley. Presently we
arrived at - Soda Springs,' and the heat and dust of the
day rendered the water more delicious than the best
manufactured soda-water I ever drank. The water of
these springs, in which iron and soda predominate, is
highly charged with carbonic acid gas. It effervesces
strongly, and is extremely pleasant to the taste. Invalids often spend weeks at the inn, as the water has
wonderful curative powers—it certainly creates a most
voracious appetite.
I met at the Springs two travellers who were going
to ascend Mount Shasta on the following day; and as
they had no objection, I gladly joined them in their
expedition, and was not at all sorry to say good-bye to
the lumbering old coach for a time. T
I m
B if
Game—Foliage—-Barrenness-—Night—Morning—Clouds—The crater—
Boiling springs—View—Sunset—Red snow—Sisson's—Play of colour
—Packing—The trail—Our first deer—American deer—Destruction of
game out of season.
Mount Shasta is the most striking feature of Northern
Cahfornia. Its height is about 14,500 feet above the
sea—very nearly the height of Mont Blanc. Mont
Blanc is broken into a succession of peaks, but Shasta
is one stupendous peak, set upon a broad base that
sweeps out far and wide. From the base the volcanic
cone rises up in one vast stretch of snow and lava It
is very precipitous to the north and south, but east and
west there are two slopes right up to the crater. It is
a matter of doubt whether Shasta is dead or only sleeping. Vesuvius slept calmly for centuries, and then
spread death and desolation for miles around. The
base of the mountain is magnificently watered and
wooded, and forms a splendid hunting-ground. The
woods are full of deer and bears; and now and then
a   mountain-goat, an animal very  hke  the  chamois OQ
of the Alps, is seen in the higher part of the mountain.
Well-provided with blankets and provisions, we
started with a guide, and a man to look after the horses,
at a very early hour, and rode through a beautiful forest
of pines, silver firs, and cedars. Along the banks of the
streams were aspens, willows, and the trees known by
the name of the ' Balm of Gilead,' whose vivid green
leaves were already changing to a rich orange or an
apple-red—forming a beautiful contrast of colours
with the glazed green of the cedars and the green-
tinted white of the silver firs.
After an easy ascent to a height of about 8000, feet
we reached the limits of vegetation. Thence our upward path lay over snow, ice, and lava—lonely, isolated
barrenness on every side, relieved only by an occasional
solitary dwarf-pine, struggling to retain hfe amidst
fierce storms and heavy-weighing snow. Many of them
were quite dead, but embalmed by frost and snow in a
never-decaying death.
With a few loads of this fuel we soon made a
splendid fire, the warmth of which was most welcome
in the cold rarefied atmosphere. Scarcely had we
finished a capital supper ere night descended, and great
clouds and fitful fogs began to drift past. These in
their turn broke, and the moon threw a weird hght over
the forest below;  whilst above rose piles upon piles 1
■■ m
n i
■ ■ft
\ ml ml
i 1 m
■ *v
of pinkish lava and snow-fields, reaching far up into the
sky, whose magnificent blue grew more sparkhng and
clear every moment.
Wrapping ourselves in our bundles of blankets, we
crept as close as possible to the huge fire, and before
long my companions were fast asleep and snoring. I
could not sleep a wink, and mentally registered a vow
never again to camp out without a pillow. No one can
tell till he has tried it the difference there is between
going to sleep with a pillow under the head and a stone
or a pair of boots or saddle as its resting-place.
The deep silence, unbroken save by a most unro-
matic snore, was painfully oppressive, and I longed to
hear even a growl from a bear or a deep whine from
a Cahfornian hon.1 I listened intently, for it seemed as
if the shghtest sound, even a hundred miles away,
ought to be heard, so still and frosty was the air.
But none fell on my ear, not even a murmur to
soothe one to sleep, and I began to think bears and lions
were snares and delusions, when, just as I was dozing
off, I felt my arm violently pulled, and a voice called
out that it was time for us to make a start. Hot coffee
soon had a cheering effect, and long before dayhght we
left our warm camping-ground, and began the higher
1 These so-called lions are a sort of panther, and abound in most
parts of California and Oregon. They are very cowardly, and seldom
attack a man, unless they can spring on him from a tree, and not often
ascent on foot. Broken stone and slabs of lava afforded
pretty good foothold, far preferable to the fields of
frozen snow, which we carefully avoided. After a
couple of hours' hard walking we seemed to be just as
far from the summit as when we started; but the views
gradually became grander. From a rocky promontory
we looked back over a sea of ghttering clouds, the only
land visible being the peaks of the Coast range, near
the Pacific ; all else was cloud, to which the moonlight
lent an almost dazzhng whiteness.—
(Far clouds of feathery gold,
Shaded with deepest purple, gleam |
Like islands on a dark blue sea.'
When the sun rose and the mists cleared off, the
scene was indescribably grand, and the gradual unfolding of the vast panorama unapproachable in its
After some hours of weary climbing over crumbling
scoria and splintered rock we reached the crater. In
the ascent to the summit overlooking the crater, we had
to cross an ice-field. It had that blue tinge found in the
ice of which glaciers are composed, and its shpperiness
made it almost impossible to walk over it, the ice lying
often in ridges resembling the waves of the sea.
The main crater covers several acres. It is hemmed
in by rims of rock, and is filled with volcanic debris,
covered with snow and ice.    Numbers of little boiling fill
springs were bubbling up through the bed of sulphur,
and were suggestive of the subterranean fires which once
threw their molten lava over the surrounding country.
The view from the summit was most extensive, and
fortunately there was none of the usual smoke from the
forest-fires, so prevalent in autumn in Northern
California and Oregon, to impede the range of vision.
Looking northward, far over into Oregon, we could
see her lakes, valleys, and mountains. Southward, we
could trace the Sacramento and Pitt rivers. The great
boundary-wall of the Sierra Nevada lay to the east, and
farther onward, the deserts and sparkling lakes of
Utah could be distinguished. To the west, the sinuous
outline of *the Coast range was visible, and beyond, the
broad Pacific shelved away to the horizon. Fertile
valleys, rugged mountains, wood and water, all lent their
aid to enhance the beauty of this unsurpassable scene.
The descent to our camping-ground was accomplished in a comparatively short time. On the way, we
stopped to witness a most glorious sunset. Eound the
horizon ran a thin mist with a brilliant depth of colouring. To the east, a blue gauze seemed to cover each
valley as it sank into night, and the intervening ridges
rose with increasing distinctness. The lower country
was flooded with an exquisitely delicate light, and a
few fleecy clouds tinted with gold, pale salmon, and
sapphire, passed over the empurpled hills of the Coast
range. The great shadow of Mount Shasta spread
itself, cone-like, across the valley; the blue mists were
quenched; the distant mountains glowed hke fairy hills
for a few moments; and the sun, poising itself hke a
great globe of fire in the darkening heavens, descended
slowly below the golden ridge to illumine another
During our deseent we passed through some patches
of red snow, which leaves a crimson track behind those
who cross over it. This curious phenomenon is always
avoided by the Shasta Indians when acting as guides
or porters, as they say it brings death if you tread on
it willingly and after due warning. We found a warm
fire to welcome us on our arrival at the camp, and the
exertions of the day made us very willing to turn in
among the blankets, where we slept soundly till long
past daybreak. The following day, when we arrived
at our original starting-point, my companions resumed
their journey to San Francisco, and I went on to Sisson's,
a station on the stage-road, whence I was to start on a
shooting expedition amongst the Castle Eocks.
Sisson's, so-called after the name of the proprietor,
is a very dehghtful place to spend a few days at. The
view of Mount Shasta, which is directly opposite the
house, is magnificent; and Sisson himself is a capital
sportsman and guide, and succeeds in making his
guests very comfortable.    Looking at Mount Shasta is 210
occupation enough for some time. The play of colour
on the mountain is extraordinary. The lava, which is
of a rosy hue, often penetrates through the snow, and
when the sun shines upon it the effect is most beautiful.
The pure white fields of snow are diversified by great
blue glaciers, and when the sunbeams fall with refracted
D *"
glory on the veins of ice they exhibit wonderful tints
of opal, green, and pink. The effects produced by the
mingling colours of lava, snow, and ice, and the contrasting shadows of a deep violet hue are so varietfe
and the radiation of colour at sunrise and sunset so
vivid, that it is difficult to keep the eyes turned from
the mountain—for nothing seems worthy of consideration in comparison with Shasta.
I had heard at San Francisco so much about the
great quantity of deer in the region whither we were
bound, that I confess I was rather sceptical on the
point; as it invariably happens that where good
shooting is looked for upon mere hearsay the results
are most deplorable. However, our little cavalcade,
consisting of Sisson, his two hunters, and myself, set
out early one morning for Castle Lake, near which we
were to fix our first camp.
The pack-horse which carried our tent, cooking
utensils, provisions, &c. seemed to possess a capacity
for carrying as much as a luggage-van. When all had
been packed on his back—and it was no hght load— MOUNT SHASTA.
there was still room for more, and he trotted off' as
gaily as our own less encumbered animals.
Considerable skill is required to 'pack' a horse
well. Our load overlapped too much at the sides, and
the consequence was, that in going through the bush
and between trees the entire load was twice swept
from the back of the animal, which gladly seized the
opportunity to disappear in the woods on a foraging
We were soon in the depths of the forest, following
an indistinct trail in Indian file, and keeping a sharp
look-out for deer. The trail led into a tangled maze
of bracken and rose-briar, with now and then long
7 D
vistas into the green heart of the wood. Presently
we descended a steep track into a wooded ravine, from
the dark recesses of which ilsued the rushing noise of
a mountain stream, which soon came in view, tumbhng
over loose rocks and stones in frothing white masses.
Here and there were long deep reaches covered with
foam-crested circles of sparkling water, sweeping downwards to other falls, and the more noisy rapids, and overhung by drooping cedars and mountain cypress.
Beyond, the rocky pine-clad steep rose black against
the sky.
A low whistle from Sisson, who was in advance,
caUed my attention to a fine deer which was standing
in the shade of the trees, hardly a hundred yards off,
p 2
■ 212
gazing curiously at us, and showing its alarm by a
quick little stamp of the foot. In a second I was off
my horse; I pulled the trigger of my rifle, and had the
satisfaction of seeing our first deer disappear in the
bushes. Sisson declared the bullet had struck the rock-
just over the animal's shoulder, and that it was a capital
' hne shot.' But I determined to avoid ' line shots' for
the future, however capital they might be. It was the
only deer fired at that day, though we saw two or
three more in the distance.
The American deer is very like the European red
deer in size, but differs somewhat in the structure and
shape of its horns. In colour it is generally of a
reddish-brown, with white on the throat and chin. The
ears are tipped with dark brown, and the tail is white
beneath, a circumstance soon discovered by an indifferent shot. The killing of these deer has by law
been restricted to five months—August to December,
inclusive. In some counties it is lawful to shoot them
only during September and the two following months
Laws, however, are useless so long as the spirit of the
population is set against their enforcement, and the
merciless and incessant war waged on every wild animal, bird, and fish, at all times and in all places, in
season and out of season, will soon render hunting,
* D'
shooting, and fishing in America sports of the past.
The wanton destruction of the buffalo in the West
(only last November over five hundred were slaughtered
in two days, near Denver, by white men), the murdering
©f hundreds of moose in Canada, and the knocking on
the head with clubs of thousands of deer in New York
and other States, by men on snow-shoes, during the
deep snows of winter, are examples of the strange perversity and folly of the white settlers of every part of
America. Civilisation and culture have nothing to do
with the decrease of game, as game increases in the
same ratio as cultivation increases, if woodland is left of
sufficient extent to afford shelter to the animals, and
they are unmolested during the breeding-season.
But some people kill for the mere love of slaughter;
and the destruction of forests by fire, the roasting of
eggs in spring, the reckless annihilation of animals
at seasons even when they are utterly useless, and with
the sure prospect of a total extermination, are all
nothing compared to a httle present selfish advantage.
It has been urged that it is quite impossible to institute
game laws in a new State. But there are very few
States in America which are not old enough by this
time to comprehend what are their own interests; and
the rigid enforcement of the laws, and the example of
educated men who are settled throughout the rural
districts, would soon produce some effect on the minds
of the masses as regards the wholesale destruction of
game out of season. WESTERN WANDERINGS.
A frying-pan—Castle Lake—Famine—Fishing—Dinner—A song—Fresh
quarters—Deer-hunting— Ambush — Mountain-sides — Bears—Wild
flowers—Home—Camp life—A duel—Woodpeckers—Maternal love.
Our course for the greater part of the day's ride ran
up and down hills* having here and there delightful
clumps of mountain oaks, and, clustering beneath them,
groups of splendid tiger-lilies. It was almost dark when
we reached our camping-ground at Castle Lake, but we
soon found a capital place for a halt by a clear running
stream, with plenty of grass growing near for the horses.
A fire was soon made, and by the time some grouse
and quails which we had shot on the way were ready
for cooking, it was discovered that Sisson had quite
forgotten to provide dishes or plates of any sort.
Luckily he had remembered the frying-pan, and that
for the next few days was the only article we had to
cook in and eat out of.
The weather was so lovely that, although we had
tents, we never used them during our ten days* expedition, but slept by the fire and beneath the bright stars
and tall solemn pine-trees. By daybreak we were up and swimming in the lake,
which at that hour was almost too t^old for much enjoyment ; but the early morn being the best time for deer-
shooting, we were obhged to be up before the sun.
Castle Lake is far more picturesque than Lake Tahoe,
and though much smaller it has far greater variety.
Steep wooded hills slope down to the water's edge, and
bare barren bluffs rise up perpendicularly from the
lake whilst banks of wild flowers clothe the low promontories that sometimes jut out far beyond the steep
The first view of the lake was very beautiful.
The rosy light from the east was striking here and
there on the grey rocks and among the deep pine
glades ; and now and then across these bright streaks a
D ' D
long-necked doe with her fawn would pass and repass,
whilst down at the water's edge a fine fat buck was
taking a long draught, quite regardless of the intruders
into his sanctum.
Our first morning's hunt was most unsuccessful.
We saw plenty of tracks of deer, but not one of the
deer that made them. We therefore returned, after
about six hours' extremely hard climbing and walking,
to our camp for breakfast. As Sisson had calculated
on our obtaining plenty of venison, he had provided ho
meat; or, as he said, I nothing but bacon, and that I've
In the daytime it was too hot to do anything but
lie under the trees by the side of the lake and wish for
the evening ; and as that time approached I began to
have serious doubts about the bill of fare for our
dinner, for we had eaten the last grouse at breakfast.
If I had only been a fisherman I might have quieted
my fears in the mysterious absorption of fishing. But
I never had patience enough to become an adept
in the 'gentle craft,' whose soothing virtues, neither
D 7 D *'
poisonous, like opium, nor transient, hke music, ought
to be cultivated early.    Nevertheless the cravings of
•*/ D
hunger detercnined me to turn my mind to fishing.
Sisson had brought his fly-book and lines: so we cut
ourselves rods, and whilst the others whipped the
waters with the lordly fly I contented myself with the
more humble grasshopper. The lake was said to be
teeming with fish; but after an hour's dipping and
splashing, without the minutest result, I took my gun
and rushed up the nearest hill. At dark I returned,
without having fired a single shot, only to find that the
others had not caught a single fish—owing, they said, to
& ripple, but owing, I thought, to there being nothing
X: XT       7 D' D        ' D D
to catch.   Oh! that dinner! no fragrant stew, no grate-
O ' D
fill soup—nothing but a few potatoes and beans,
washed down by oceans of tea. But we were all so
very hungry that we made a hearty dinner—agreeing
with Sancho Panza that' the viscera upholds the heart, CAMPING  OUT.
and the heart the stomach,' and that it was necessary
to eat well to be ready for the hard work of the
Sitting round the fire, when the banquet was over,
somebody suggested a song as a suitable conclusion to
the festive occasion; upon which one of the party,
evidently inspired with the idea that he held in his
hand a silver goblet of wine—the reahty being a tin
cup of weak tea—struck up ' The Glorious Vintage of
Champagne!'   The third line of the first verse,
'When man has nothing left to stake,'
was so appropriate to our situation that it was enthusiastically encored, and the refrain sent us merrily to
bed. The next morning we determined to shift our
quarters to the other side of the lake, as it was evident
the deer had collected over there. As there was no
regular trail we had considerable difficulty in finding
our way. The pack-horses, too, would every now and
then rush between two trees; and if they would not give
way, as was generally the ease, why, the packs did, and
then there was half-an-hour's delay in tying them on
again. On our way we shot a deer—so the provision
enigma was solved for the present, much to our dehght,
but to the sorrow of the old pack-animal, who thereby
had his load considerably increased. Having reached
the other side of the lake, we crossed the mountain and
soon established our camp in a beautiful valley, which
looked as if it ought to be a perfect home for wild
Driving is the mode of deer-hunting most generally
practised in America. The shooters are placed round
a certain tract which is beaten by men and hounds.
But it is a dull stupid business for "those who do
not happen to be in a lucky position ; even then there
is not much pleasure in discharging your gun or rifle
X. D      D    J D
at a great timid animal which has been driven up
to within a short distance of you, where he stands
trembling, and with imploring eyes seemingly begging
not to be shot. But the worst practice of all is that
of lying in ambush near some ' lick' or spring, to
which the deer comes down to drink, and shooting
him down in cold blood, without either difficulty or
Indians are extremely fond of this mode of killing;
but then they do it from necessity, to supply themselves
with food, not for sport. Our hunting-ground was
much too rough and hilly for horses; and not caring
about 'lying in ambush,' we always started two and two
in opposite directions at daybreak, and shot what we
could by steady walking. We certainly had no cause
to complain of scarcity of game around our new camp;
for on the second day after reaching it one of
the hunters was sent home with eight deer, and with CAMPING  OUT.
orders to return as soon as possible with the forgotten
plates and dishes.
In the early morning the hills were alive with
deer; and it was no unfrequent occurrence to meet
with one before we had left our camp five minutes. It
was very hard walking up the mountain-sides, as
most of the ground was covered with loose angular
rocks, which turned over when trodden upon. The
brush too was so thick as to be almost impenetrable.
But the quantity of game would have compensated for
many more difficulties than we had to encounter. One
morning we counted no less than twenty-seven deer,
singly, or in groups of two or three. We saw also two
or three black bears, and once had a long shot at one ;
but did not manage to kill him. Sisson was very
confident that we should meet with others, as the woods
were full of all sorts of berries, of which they are
extremely fond. One morning we found the tracks of
a bear round our camp. One of the hunters had heard
him, but it was too dark to see the brute, and bears
are very methodical in their movements. We laid in
wait for some hours, near a path along which bruin
had lately travelled, but never got a glimpse of
him. His keen scent had probably told him of our
Our valley would have been a rare  spot  for  a
botanist.   Some of the wild flowers were most beautiful TraPp
—one kind particularly so. It opened only at sunrise,
and had an exquisite lilac tint, its leaves glistening with
dew like a diamond spray. Mountain-lilies looked up
from the dry grass, from the crisp bracken, and from the
arid hill-sides, each petal richly variegated and resembling the plumes of a pea-fowl. There were open
glades green with herbage, and bright with many-hued
blossoms; and in the centre of some of these oases
were little sparkling springs, surrounded with hundreds
of pitcher-plants, which we made use of as cups.
This curious plant is an admirable fly-catcher. There
were always several dead flies and other insects at the
bottom of the long stems. Sometimes, a bunch of
forget-me-nots, with a few wild columbines, and
honey-suckle clustering round the briar-roses, recalled
to mind many a home-scene, and lihes, pitcher-plants,
strange ferns, and the wild deer would be all forgotten
at the sight of the well-remembered shrubs and familiar
flowers. At such moments one is apt to feel a great
longing for home and rest; yet it is wonderful how
naturally we take to camp life. Its freedom and
simplicity, with the earth for a bed and the sky for a
ceihng, are very captivating for a time. Then there are
the glorious wild haunts into which it leads us; the
awakening in the fresh gray of dawn ; the delicious the mountain torrent; the appetite acquired by
healthful exercise and appeased by trout and venison CAMPING  OUT.
(when you can can get them) cooked on the glowing
embers ; the pursuit of game up to the high mountain-
tops, and at night the ruddy watch-fire, round which we
gather and talk over the day's events, or tell stories of
the most heartrending description.
One of the most horrible stories I ever heard was
told us by a hunter who had recently arrived from
Texas. It related to a duel that was fought in
July last, and of which he had been an eye-witness.
The duel was of so atrocious a character that I
should hesitate to record the particulars of it did I not
know that they are strictly true. They show too what
tragedies are still enacted in some parts of America, and
before a crowd of eager spectators.
A man of the name of Anderson had killed another,
named M'Cluskey, in a drunken fray. The brother of
the murdered man determined to be avenged, and at
length found Anderson at a place called Medicine Lodge,
in the Indian Territory. Both men, one. a Texan and
the other from Kansas, were well-known desperadoes,
as utterly reckless of their own hves as of others'.
A duel was quickly arranged, and seconds chosen.
Eevolvers and bowie-knives were the weapons. At sunset they met in the presence of a number of trappers,
hunters, railroad surveyers, gamblers, and Indians.
They were placed back to back at a distance of
twenty-five paces, and according to previous arrange- WF?
r - 'j
8 J
It I
:     6
llf 11 ,
ll   II
i i
ment were to wheel round and fire at a given signal, and
D D '
after that to conduct the fight as each thought best.
They fired almost at the same instant. A pause ensued
—each combatant closely scanning the other, to observe the effect of the shot.
Across Anderson's cheek was a deep furrow, from
which the blood trickled down and told of the sure aim
of his antagonist.
M'Cluskey remained standing ; to all appearance unharmed. But those near him saw a sudden contraction
of the nerves and his face blanched to a death-hke pallor,
but none knew where the ball had taken effect. At
the second fire M'Cluskey anticipated his opponent,
and taking a deliberate aim broke his left arm. Anderson uttered a sharp cry and sank on one knee, but
quickly recovering himself, returned the fire with dreadful effect. The ball passed through M'Cluskey's mouth,
carrying away several of the clenched teeth and lodging
in the base of the skull. He staggered forward wildly,
made desperate efforts to steady himself, and with
wonderful courage continued to advance. Anderson,
in his crippled state, wished to avoid a hand-to-hand encounter, and fired another shot, which broke M'Cluskey's
left shoulder. As if this was not enough, he sent another
ball after it, which striking him full, caused him to fall
heavily on his face.
M'Cluskey, now mortally wounded, and growing CAMPING  OUT.
weaker every moment from loss of blood, still retained
his grasp of the pistol and fired at his antagonist. Anderson had been closely watching for this, and tried to
save himself by dropping on the ground. Too late,
however, as the bullet struck him in the abdomen, and
he, hke M'Cluskey, was now a dying man. By a last
supreme effort M'Cluskey drew his knife, and feebly tried
to crawl in the direction of his enemy. The latter managed to raise himself to a sitting posture, and prepared
to meet him. Both had dropped their revolvers, and
Anderson was unable to move any portion of his body
except his right arm. With this he raised his knife, and
as M'Cluskey crawled up within reach dealt him a
terrible blow in the neck, half-severing the head from
the body. The great effort caused him to pitch forward on his face, leaving the knife sticking in  the
** D D
Everyone supposed that the blow must instantly
have killed M'Cluskey, yet before falling he twice
plunged his own knife into the body of Anderson. The
dead bodies, firmly locked in each other's embrace, were
taken to a house and laid out side by side on a gamingtable, and in a few hours after were removed for burial.
We found in the valley two woodpeckers' stores.
The red-headed Californian woodpecker has a great
talent for carpentering, and may often be seen busily
1 1
IV i
Bf >l 11 r
engaged boring holes in the bark of a pine tree and
D    D D -L
afterwards filling them up with acorns. The holes are
generally at an equal distance from each other, and just
the right size for the acorn. As these birds do not eat
acorns the reason for their stowing them away .is not
very clear. Though the storing takes place in the autumn
yet a thorough inspection and critical examination of the
larder goes on all the year round. It is most amusing to
see one of the birds gravely examining the holes, as if he
were not quite satisfied that the distance between them
was correct. The old stump of a tree, called ' Stock im
Eisen,' which is still t& be seen in Vienna, and into
which travelling artisans on passing through that city
used to drive nails, in order to bring luck, is very hke
a large woodpecker's larder.
On our last day in the woods we saw a striking
instance of maternal affection and courage in a doe.
Having killed all the deer that we wanted, we were
taking a stroll with our shot-guns, when a doe and fawn
suddenly jumped up quite close to us. The hound that
was usually held in a shp-knot happened to be loose, and
at once gave chase to the fawn, which he very soon
would have caught, had not the mother diverted his
attention by running close to him whenever he closed
on her child. I followed as fast as I could, and had not
the poor frightened creature run in a circle I should
not have been able to save it; as it was, I got up just as
the dog caught it, and the mother actually came to
within twenty yards of us, bleating most pitiably. Bret
Harte's lines were very applicable to this scene:—
' And she looked me right in the eye—I'd seen nuthin like it before—
When I hunted a wounded doe to the edge o' the Clear Lake shore;
And I had my knee on its neck, and jist was raisin' my knife,
When it gave me a look like that, and—well, it got off with its life.' 226
\ !&&.'
-; I
Eaten by a bear—Forest fires—A desert—Sage-hens—Mountain-sheep-—
Modocs—Indians—Belief—Cost of Indians—A liberal Government—
Indian agents—Present policy — Reservations—Issuing rations to
Indians—Santanta and Big Tree—Bed Cloud—War Department.
From Sisson's a forty miles' jolt on the old stagecoach, through forests, up and down hills, and finally
across a broad cultivated valley—along one of whose
mountain sides ran a ' flume,' conducting water for a
distance of over seventy miles—brought us to the little
town of Yreka. From this place I was to branch off to
the Modoc country and the Lava Beds—a -distance of
about a hundred miles. Yreka is a small but flourishing
mining town, with a temperature, when I was there,
exactly that of an oven. I was therefore very glad to
set off to the mountains, in company with two gentlemen
to whom I had letters of introduction.
The first part of our journey was between brown,
dry, and barren-looking hills, which in spring are
covered with herbage, and afford capital grazing for
sheep. Leaving these, we crossed a valley yellow with
stubble and dotted over with farm-houses, and then FROM   YREKA   TO  THE LAVA   BEDS.
began the long mountain ascent.    The low red rock,
hard foot-hills and hillocks, spiked with stragghng oaks
and pines, were very picturesque, but reflected the heat
of the sun in a manner uncomfortably suggestive of sunstroke ;  that evil, however, is of rare occurrence in
Cahfornia.    Presently we reached a sheep-ranch, where
a few weeks before a poor boy, who had gone up the
mountain in search of stray sheep, was killed by a bear
—at least such was the supposition, as the people who
sought for him found nothing but his cap, but saw
the tracks of a large bear, evidently from the marks,
in pursuit of  some  one  running  away.   The track
had been followed as far as was possible, and Indians
skilful   in   following   the   faintest   trail,   had   been
brought to   assist, but   nothing more had been discovered.
After leaving the ranch  we came to a splendid
stream, which rushed out of the bare rock after running
7 D
underground from its source near the top of the mountain. The dense forest into which we soon plunged
afforded a most welcome shade, and we remained there
for the next two days—camping luxuriously in the
most delightful spots, but troubled now and then by
swarms of mosquitoes. On the other side of the mountain we passed large tracts of forest on fire, sometimes
stretching for miles, and giving a charred, dismal aspect
to what would, otherwise, be a beautiful woodland scene.
q2 228
But the flames looked magnificent at night, hghting up
snowy Shasta1 with great effect.
In the west and north-west these vast fires rage all
through the autumn, their smoke covering the hills and
plains. And yet they appear to have very httle effect
on the immense wooded regions in which they prevail.
In former times, the Indians used to encourage these
fires, that they might more easily hunt game and gather
the roasted acorns. But now, there are severe laws
against firing the brush and underwood.    Yet careless
o o
travellers and woodmen still leave their camp-fires
burning; thereby often causing great damage to settlers,
and seriously affecting the water supply. Lakes that
once had water all the year round are now dry, except,
perhaps, in the spring-time, and streams disappear long
before they reach the lands through which they once
used to run.
Our last day's journey, before reaching the ranch
near which we intended to pitch our camp for a week's
hunting, was across a most forbidding district. For
. miles and miles, nothing was to be seen but low sagebrush and heaps of rock, with a few juniper trees
scattered among them. Now and then a villainous-
looking coyote would sneak across our path, making his
way to some distant spring, and ready to pick up any
sage-hen or rabbit foolish enough to come near him.
D i D
Eugged volcanic peaks towered in the distance, and all FROM  YREKA   TO   THE LAVA  BEDS.
around was desolate and arid. The very juniper trees
increased the idea of thirst, as they grow only where
there is no water and hardly soil enough to support
their roots ; but they afforded a little shade from the
blinding sun, so we were grateful even for their melan-
D 7 O
choly shadows. Sometimes a snake hissed from the
scorching rocks and glided into the brown, dry, inter-
D D ' J 7
minable brush—adding to the loneliness of the vast
solitary desert:
1 Here silence reigned with lips of glue,
O x, O /
And, undisturbed, maintained her law,
Save where the owl cried, u Whoo! whoo! whoo !'!
Or the hoarse crow croaked, " Caw! caw! caw! "'
The hours occupied in crossing this waste seemed
days, and our horses were as glad as we were our-
selves when we reached a small stream, whose banks
we followed for some distance until we arrived at our
The following day, we amused ourselves by shooting
sage-hens and prairie-chickens. The former are big
birds, something between a pheasant and a barndoor
fowl. They were there in great numbers, but afforded
very little sport, and, as we afterwards discovered, were
very sagey, ill-flavoured birds.
One morning some Modoc Indians came to our
camp with venison for sale. One of them, who could
speak a few words of Enghsh, told us that in the mountain above us there was a band of wild sheep.    These lil
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2 TO
animals are exceedingly shy, and difficult to approach;
but as I was very anxious to obtain a head for stuffing
I set off the next morning to try if I could meet with
them. An eight-mile tramp of the most heart-breaking description brought me to the top of the mountain,
on the north side of which I spent the day, without
seeing a hving animal of any sort. I then returned to
the camp, and found that my companions had killed a
deer, greatly to the disgust of the Modocs; who had
refused to accompany me, because, as they said, they did
not like climbing after the sheep, but in reality because
they were too lazy to care for any shooting but that
obtained by lying in ambush. On this occasion my
friends had followed the example of the Indians,
but had chosen their ambush in a more fortunate
I made two more attempts to get at the sheep, and
finally succeeded in coming suddenly upon them on the
south side of the mountain ; just where the Indians had
said they would not be. I had not time to pick and
choose, but fortunately the head of the one I did get
was a very fine one with magnificent horns, and it
was no light work carrying it into camp.
The mountain-sides were tangled with thick chap-
paral and aU sorts of wild berries, such as huckleberries, thimble-berries, currants, and a sort of cherry.
Some  of the  ravines  were  composed of masses of FROM   YREKA   TO  THE LAVA  BEDS.
loose flints, down which I slided that evening, regardless
of my rent garments, and clutching at flimsy wisps
of grass, which parted at once from the inhospitable soil that had long ago pinched off the roots in its
iron grasp. But more often I was brought abruptly to
a stand-still, or rather sit-still, by thorny shrubs, dead,
perhaps, but in full possession of their prickly powers.
On arriving at our camping-ground I found that
my companions had arranged with the English-speaking Modoc Indian, who was called ' Miller's Charlie,'
to guide me on the following morning to the Lava
Beds. They had visited them before, and did not
care to repeat the visit, as it necessitated a ride of over
thirty miles and across a wretched country without
any shade whatever. The Modocs who were camped
near us were all known Indians. Only one of them—
the one who was to be my guide—had taken part in
the late war, and he only because compelled to it by
Captain Jack and his men. Still it was a matter of
surprise that they had been allowed to remain there
The settlers would have been very glad to have got rid
of them.
It may not be out of place here to say a few words
on the rights and wrongs of the Indians, and to give a
D D 7 O
brief outline of the Modoc War.
There are altogether about a quarter of a million
of  tribal Indians now remaining.    Some  are partly . IH
■• 3
vP: 11 fit
civihsed, but most of them are in a state of utter barbarism. The Cherokees are the most civilised tribe,
and have their own written language, laws, churches,
and schools. The good qualities attributed to the red
men are, patient endurance, dignity of feeling, and self-
control. Yet, as a rule, they are treacherous and
proud, bloodthirsty, dirty, lazy, and ready to steal,
beg, or scalp, as it may suit their purpose.
When in need of anything, they can be humble
enough, and 'Eed Clouds' and 'Spotted Tails' then
swarm into Washington and try to gammon and overreach the ' Great Father.' The wild Indian still holds
to his ancient behef, that the white man is a poor weak
creature who can be humbugged and cheated at every
opportunity; and the shifting policy and bad management of the American Government does not tend to
lessen that behef.
The cost of these Indians, what with agencies,
army appropriations, presents, and pensioning, is about
eighty million dollars. The mismanagement of the
Legislature with regard to the Indians is proverbial,
and a different pohcy will be necessary before an end
to continual wars and outrages can be expected. The
great Indian question is said to be, ' White man, got
any rum ?' But that is looking at it more from a
social than from a political point of view.
It is not because the Government is parsimonious FROM   YREKA   TO   THE LAVA   BEDS.
that the Indians rise up in hostihty against the whites ;
for the Government is generous, and appropriates very
largely for the benefit and support of the Indians.
But it is because the Government is most indiscreet
in its selection of agents to carry out its compacts with
the Indians. The Government treats the Indians like
men and brethren, and makes all sorts of promises, contracts very formal treaties, and when the big chiefs
appear at Washington for a ' pow-wow' sends them
back to their hungry tribes with promises of beef,
beads, and blankets. It then furnishes unprincipled,
agents with the necessary goods and .provisions, and
they for their own gain at once set to work deliberately to swindle and cheat the Indians. While the
Indian agent has the opportunity he generally makes
the most of his chances, and robs the Indians without
let or hindrance—' Cheat the Indian while the contract lasts,' is his motto.
There are some men who have never betrayed the
trust reposed in them, but such is not the case with
the Indian agent generaUy. Eecent investigation
has shown that some contractors used to cheat the
Indians out of seven of every eight dollars appropriated
for their support by the Government. A very ' elastic
currency' is that in which the Indian agents transact
their dealings, and may well be called ' Indian robbery.'
The record of American legislation with the Indians II1
has been a history of robbery, murder, fraud, and profligacy.
Who can wonder, therefore, that the Indian, driven
from his home and hunting-grounds, breaks forth into
acts of reprisal, of robbery, and even murder, under the
idea that it is a duty, a right and necessary thing to do,
even though he be killed for it, and that he ought not
to submit tamely to the wrongs inflicted by the white
men ? How can the Legislature arm the Indian, load his
rifle, feed him on beef, and expect that he will not shoot,
whilst allowing its agents to cheat him right and left ?
The United States Government is firm in its determination that the Indians are neither to be exterminated nor abandoned, but are to be helped and protected. In 1872 President Grant wrote as follows:
' If the present policy towards the Indians can be
improved in any way I will always be ready to receive
suggestions on the subject; but if any change is made
it must be made on the side of civilisation and Chris-
tianisation of the Indians. I do not beheve our
Creator ever placed the different races of men on this
earth with the view of the stronger exerting all his
energies in exterminating the weaker.'
Even ' reservations,' which it is self-evident are
necessary for restricting the depredations and tribal
fights of the Indians, present great difficulties to the
perplexing character of the Indian question. FROM  YREKA   TO   THE LAVA   BEDS.
No 'reservation' can be large enough to herd buffaloes.
The red man must hunt or plough to keep himself
alive, and cultivate the ground he will not. The manner
of issuing rations on these ' reservations' has not tended
to civilise the red men to any great extent.
The agent furnishes the tribe with between one
hundred and fifty and two hundred head of cattle at a
time. The Indians then drive all but twenty or thirty
into an inclosure. Three or four of the copper-coloured
wretches then take their rifles and revolvers and commence firing on the herd, taking no aim, but just banging
away promiscuously—their great object being apparently more to maim and torture the poor animals than
to kill them. The wounded cattle soon set up a bellowing that the red-skins listen to with a delight that could
only be excelled if the cries were those of ' pale-face'
victims. After the massacre is finished the Indians
jump into the corral, and there is then a strife for
securing the tongues and other parts of the animals,
which eaten raw are very choice to the red man's
Afterwards they turn their attention to the animals
reserved for a hunt. These are stampeded across the
prairie, and are pursued by the Indians on horseback
with lances and revolvers, a la buffalo hunt—their tormentors uttering those hideous yells for which they
have long been famous.
a m
By means of spears and pistols, the miserable brutes
(I refer to the cattle) are so lacerated that they are soon
exhausted by loss of blood and the frantic pace at which
they have tried to elude their pursuers. When one falls,
the^Indians try to urge it on, by goading, to another
race; but when they fail in this, they stand over the
fallen beast and torment it until death ends its miseries.
The squaws are then turned out to get the carcases into
camp and cut them up. There are sometimes frightful
contests among them for choice portions of the animal;
and a couple of them may frequently be seen hacking
at each other with knives over a tender sirloin. When
the last animal is killed, the Indians return to their
lodges ; their bloodthirstiness whetted to such an edge
D ' D
that the only wonder is that they can be restrained
from massacring the entire post.
The Indian Department still does the most extraordinary things. Very lately, two chiefs, named respectively, Santanta and Big Tree, both vile Indian murderers, were captured and imprisoned, instead of
being hanged. After some correspondence between the
Governor of Texas and the Indian Department, in which
the latter almost begged that the prisoners should be
released, Santanta and Big Tree were restored to their
miserable tribes. And now news has arrived, as might
have been expected, that Big Tree has shown his grati- FROM  YREKA   TO  THE LAVA  BEDS.
tude by leaving the 'reservation' and going again on the
war-path—robbing and murdering wherever he can.
Western men all agree that there is but one pohcy to be
adopted towards the red man, and that policy consists
in the use of the rifle and the revolver. ' Scalp 'em fust
and talk to 'em after,' is the sentiment. The Indian
Commission lately wanted the Sioux Indians to abandon
their reservations in Nebraska and Wyoming.    Eed
«/ D
Cloud, their chief, had the impudence to demand eleven
hundred stand of arms, and one hundred choice white
women for squaws. The commissioners offered some
arms, but declined to give the women, although it was
thought at the time that it would be a fine opportunity
for getting rid of the female suffragists. The chances
are, they would have received a lesson on ' woman's
rights' which they would not easily have forgotten.
There are in all ninety-two reservations, and the
tract known as Indian Territory is so extensive that it
would hold 250,000 Indians, giving 150 acres to each
man, woman, and child; but they care not for acres
without buffaloes.
Even the best Indian agents lack the force and
power which savages alone respect. At present, if an
Indian suffers wrong he is much more likely to go for
redress to the officer commanding the nearest military
post than to his agent. In the one case, he sees with
his own eyes evidence of a force to compel obedience, 1#
■ Ml
ip'1 •lliil   * *
iji . *
IE •
whereas, in the other, he sees nothing of the kind. They
do not know what influences direct the so-called pohcy
of the Government, and they see in its shiftiness only
inefficiency. This brings about the question, why is not
tlie Indian Bureau under the conduct of the War Department, instead of under that of the Department of the
Interior? Such men as General Sheridan and other
able military officers would soon sweep away the race
of Indian agents and save the country many a life, as
well as many a dollar.
It seems evident, while the policy is pursued of
treating the Indians as nations or tribes of a character
sufficiently independent to entitle them to the right of
making treaties, while they are yet to be supported more
or less by the Government, that they should remain in
the charge of that branch of Government to which the
country looks for the enforcement of the terms of the
treaty on the part of the Indians; and that branch is the
War Department. The military forces are stationed on or
near the frontiers, where they can most securely keep in
check the raids and forays of the red men; and it is right
that they should Mve some voice in preventing needless
Indian warfare, which is more fraught with hardship
and danger than any other, and affords less of that
opportunity which is the soldier's highest incentive, and
which confers his truest reward. THE MODOCS.
Treachery—Treaties—War—Murders--—Modoc success—Peace Commis-
sion—Captain Jack—An interview—Warning—Murder of the Peace
Commissioners—MarveUous escape—Lower Klamath Lake—The camp
—The Lava Beds—Panic—Savage squaws—Warm Spring Indians—
Surrender—Execution—Pelicans—Graves—After dark.
The Modocs are an offshoot of the Klainath Indians, a
tribe which has always evinced a quarrelsome and warlike spirit. During one of their insurrections a chief
of the name of Modocus broke off with his followers
from the rest of the tribe, and established an independent nation.
In  1864, some  horses having been stolen   from
the white settlers, a war was commenced against the
7 o
Modocs. In the course of this war numbers of emigrants were waylaid, tortured, and slain, and in consequence a company of white men proceeded to the Modoc
country to avenge these wrongs. After first trying
poison, and faiMng, they got the Indians to agree to a
'peace-talk.' The Indians arrived at the appointed
meeting-place and laid down their bows. Upon a
signal being given, the whites, with a treachery only U i>
h r
equalled later by the murder of the Peace Commissioners, opened fire on the Indians, and forty out of
forty-five were slain. In the same year a treaty was
made with Schonchin and Captain Jack, chief and sub-
chief of the band, in, which they agreed to take up their
residence on the ' reservation.' After a short time they
got tired of their new quarters and returned to the old
ones. Several unsuccessful attempts were then made to
get them to return to the Klamath reservation ; and in
1869 the Superintendent determined that if possible
Captain Jack, who had then become chief, should, with
his followers, be sent back. A message was dispatched,
asking him to meet the Superintendent half-way.
The answer returned was to the effect, that if the
Superintendent wished to see Captain Jack he must
come to him.
The Superintendent then visited the Modocs, and
found the chief surrounded by seventy or eighty
warriors. A feast was proposed, but declined—for Jack
well remembered the poisoned: banquet of 1864.
Finally, however, he consented to return to the Klamath
reservation, on condition that he should be allowed to
choose his own dwelling-place. But the ' medicineman' objected to this, and, drawing his revolver, said
that they would not go there at all.
After some discussion, Jack retired to his camp to
hold a council, at which, as was afterwards found out, THE MODOCS.
24 j
a proposal was made to assassinate the white party.
Whilst the latter were anxiously awaiting the result of
the council, a detachment of soldiers arrived. The
Modocs were disarmed, and removed on the following
' D
day to Lake Klamath. But Jack had escaped to the
Lava Beds. Messengers were sent to him, and he
agreed to come in, provided that the Klamath
Indians should not be allowed to taunt him with being
a coward.
This was agreed to, and the Modoc band was handed
over to the care of the agent. Jack now made up his
mind to remain on the 'reservation,' but after a time
the Klamaths began to insult him; and having appealed to the agent, he was provided with a new home.
The same thing happened again, and at last he declared
he would no longer remain in a home that was no
home to him at all, and accordingly he left the ' reservation.' Towards the end of November 1872 the newly-
appointed agent sent orders to place the Modocs on
their ' reservation' peaceably, if possible, but by force
if necessary.
The Indian camp was surprised, and one man refused to surrender.    He was disarmed; a fight ensued,
1 D '
and the Modoc War was begun. The news imme-
diately spread to the settlers, who organised themselves,
and operations for attack and defence were conducted
with ardour.    Fourteen settlers were killed, and many
E llll1
A 11
more would probably have been murdered but for
timely warning given by friendly Modocs who had received kindness from the owners of some of the ranches
scattered about the district. Volunteers were orga-
nised; 400 soldiers were sent up, who at the first
battle near Lost Eiver retreated under cover of a brisk-
fire. This victory gave great encouragement to the
The feeling against the Indians on the part of the
settlers was most bitter, on account of the numerous
murders that they had committed; and although
Captain Jack was willing to make peace, the majority
opposed him, and they determined to fight it out.
Great preparations for war followed the first defeat ; troops were concentrated, and the Modocs, who
had gradually retreated to the fastnesses of the Lava
Beds, sent out emissaries to all the tribes on the
At this time the Peace Commission was resolved
upon, and in February it succeeded in opening communication between head-quarters and the camp at
the Lava Beds. Terms of peace were continually proposed, and were at first accepted, then rejected by the
Indians. But at last, on April the 2nd, 1873, the Commissioners met the Modocs about half-way between the
stronghold and the Lava Beds. After the usual preliminaries the talk began, and Captain Jack stated his *~2T
grievances. He said he had always advised his men
not to fight, and that all he wanted was a home on
Lost Eiver. As this could not be conceded the meeting was adjourned; and when the Commissioners returned to the camp they felt that they had narrowly
escaped with their lives, and determined to trust the
Modocs no more.
However, two days after, Captain Jack sent a message asking Mr. Meacham, one of the Commissioners, to
meet him alone. This was thought very dangerous;
but Mr. Meacham, who had had considerable experience of the Modocs, bravely determined to accept the
The report of the meeting is as follows :—Captain
Jack said : ' I was born free. I was not made for a
slave. I will not ask any man where I can go. I am
not a boy. I am no woman. God gave me this country.
He put me here first. The white man found me here,
but now wants it alL I only want a small place for my
people. I want to live like a white man. I never beg
or steal. I pay my debts, and no man can say I ever
cheated him. I do not want the President to give me
anything. I can take care of my people, if you will
take the soldiers away.'
Mr. Meacham then asked that the men who had
committed the atrocities on Lost Eiver should be given
up. , J
b2 us
: s-fcj
in i
' Who will try them,' Jack asked, ' whites or
Indians ? ' ' Whites,' was the reply. ' WiU you give
up the whites who killed the Indians ?\ was Captain
Jack's next question.    He was answered ' No.'    Upon
which he said that the law was all on one side; but the
meeting terminated amicably, and Jack abandoned his
O •/ 7
claim on Lost Eiver.
Three or four days elapsed before another meeting
could take place, and in the meantime a Modoc squaw,
belonging to a half-breed who acted as interpreter,
returned from a visit to the Lava Beds, and said that
she had been told that the white men must not go there
any more, for they would be killed.
At the first meeting, on April the 2nd, it had been
agreed to hold another ' talk | at the Peace Commission
tent on April the 11th. By the terms of the meeting,
five unarmed men on each side were to discuss the
points in question.
The Modocs said that if the Commissioners would
show their confidence in them in this manner, they
would have like confidence, and would all come in
and surrender.
The terms were accepted by Doctor Thomas, by the
advice of General Canby; but Messrs Meacham and
Dyar opposed the views of General Canby and Doctor
Thomas, feeling sure, after the warning received, that
something was wrong.    At length, having great reli- THE MODOCS.
ance on the experience of General Canby, they consented to keep the appointment. As they were setting
out, the squaw who had before told them of their
danger held Mr. Meacham's horse, saying, ' Meacham,
you no go ; they kill you,'
A consultation was held, and in spite of Mr.
Meacham's utmost efforts to prevent it they determined
to keep the engagement with the Indians. Doctor
Thomas was strong in his faith that God would protect
On reaching the ground the party found Captain
Jack and his warriors already assembled. The first
few minutes were passed in what was evidently manoeuvring for position; the Indians continually making
changes, so as to bring the Commission party near together, and as far from themselves as possible. At last
Hooka Jim, one of the Modocs, went up to Mr.
Meacham's horse and secured it with a rope. He then
slowly and quietly put on Mr. M.'s coat, and this
action confirmed the belief of all, except Doctor
Thomas, that treachery was intended.
General Canby made a short speech, and then asked
Doctor Thomas to talk. The Doctor in a few words
informed the Indians that he and the others were sent
there by the President of the United States, and that no
more bloodshed was wanted. When he had finished,
Jack rose to his feet and stepped to the right of General ML*..
Canby, and Schonchin moved to the side that Jack had
Jack then made a short speech, and while Eiddle
was interpreting it two warriors were seen approaching
from ambush, each with an armful of guns. The party
all sprang to their feet, with the exception of the squaw,
who threw herself flat on the ground.
Mr. Meacham said to Jack,' What does this mean ?'
He replied by drawing a pistol and calling out that all
was ready. Many pistol-shots were fired, one of which
struck the General in the face. He retreated, pursued
by Jack and another Indian, a distance of forty yards.
At last he fell on the rocks, when Jack stabbed him in
the neck, and the other Indian shot him through the
* D
head with a rifle, and stripped him of his clothing.
After the first shot, Doctor Thomas was taunted with
not believing the squaw when she told him of the
danger, and was almost immediately shot dead by
Boston Charley. Schonchin was to have been the executioner of Mr. Meacham, and he approached him with
a revolver and knife.   The first shot grazed his shoulder,
D '
the small pistol that Mr. Meacham had drawn probably
spoiling the Indian's aim. Mr. Meacham's pistol missed
fire, and he ran towards a small ridge of rocks amidst a
shower of bullets, one of which struck him on the temple,
another in the arm, a third on the head and rendered
him unconscious.    The Indians then proceeded to strip
him, and Boston Charley began to take his scalp with a
blunt knife, and had lifted five or six inches of skin,
when the cry of ' Soldiers ! soldiers !' was raised, and
the work was left unfinished. The Indians then retreated to the Lava Beds, and war was resumed.
And now let us take a look at these Lava Beds,
where the Modocs for so long baffled all the efforts of
the United States troops in their attempts to dislodge
The ride thither from our camp was over a wild
desolate country of rock and sage-brush. We skirted
Lower Klamath Lake—a vast sheet of muddy water,
fringed with tall rushes, from the midst of which rose
D '
numerous herons and cranes. After crossing several
rocky ridges and levels of brown brush, scantily stocked
with sage-hens, we entered a long narrow valley, flanked
by low steep hills on our right, and on our left by a
stretch of mountain, level at the top and bearing the
name of ' Table Mountain.' Eiding along the hne of
dust that ran through the valley of brush, and over the
alkali plains, was wearisome in the extreme, and the
heat was almost unbearable, there being no water fit to
drink in those parts—even the horses declining the
stagnant pools of Lower Klamath Lake. Turning
abruptly off to the left, we gradually ascended till we
reached the high bluff where the  camp of General
D •*- M-i
i 8. I;
Gillem was pitched, and below us, spread out at our feet,
lay the far-famed Lava Beds.
The Lava Beds must be about three miles long
and about a mile broad. They are bounded on one
side by Tule Lake, on the other by mountains and
hills, and throughout are covered with natural fortifi-
cations. The principal part of the Modoc camp was a
large opening in the ravine, of about an acre in area,
and on all sides of which rises a wall a hundred feet in
height, forming a bowl with sloping sides. A flat surface of lava extends back for more than a mile from
the summit of the wall, and this flat has numerous
holes with small openings, which widen downwards
into large caves. The caves communicate with one
another and with the camp. Huge rocks, two and
three hundred feet in height, rise from the earth almost
perpendicularly, and sometimes a narrow path leads to
the top of them, the summit being defended by a
breastwork of rock.
One man could keep a hundred at bay in these
volcanic caverns.
A small body of troops advanced a considerable
distance on one occasion amongst the beds of lava, and
D 7
were resting in what they considered a perfectly safe
position, when suddenly they were surrounded on all
sides, and hardly one of them escaped.    It was after- THE MODOCS.
wards discovered that two men of this party had been
only wounded, and had managed to hide themselves ;
but as soon as it was dark the Indians came out of
their caves to scalp the dead, and the two men were
found and dragged to the camp, where the squaws
beat them to death with clubs.
The successes of the Modocs in their stronghold
led to a complete change of tactics with the Americans
and to a change of commanders, and such efforts were
then made to dislodge the enemy that four of the
most redoubtable of the Modoc warriors, perceiving
that the pursuit was going to be relentless and lasting,
threw down their arms and surrendered. They even
offered themselves as scouts, and turned States' evidence against their comrades. They were notoriously
the most bloodthirsty and dangerous of the band, and
certainly deserved the same punishment as was afterwards awarded to Captain Jack; but General Davis
having accepted their services and promised them protection as a reward for the capture of the murderers
of the Peace Commissioners, the gallows was cheated
of some very deserving subjects.
Nettled by disasters, and roused by the cry of vengeance from all parts of the country, the troops redoubled their efforts; the Modocs were hunted from
stronghold to stronghold, from ravine to ravine, and
D D ' *
finally, at the beginning of June, Captain Jack .gave
himself up. A few days later the last of a band that
had spread terror throughout the settlements of
Northern California and Southern Oregon, and had for
a long time defied the whole of the military force sent
against them, also delivered themselves up, and the war,
unparalleled for its ferocity and murderous success on
the side of the Indians, was ended.
The execution of Captain Jack, Schonchin, Boston
Charley, and Hooka Jim, in October, at Fort Klamath,
was the last act in the Modoc drama. The three last-
named died with Indian stoicism; but bravely and
courageously in comparison with their acknowledged
chief, Captain Jack, who was utterly broken and unnerved. When they ascended the scaffold, a mournful
wail from the 500 Klamath Indians who had assembled
to witness the execution filled the air. A few moments
later, and the spirits of Captain Jack and his three
companions departed to the happy hunting-grounds.
To return to* our expedition to the Lava Beds;
we descended the steep trail of the bluff, wending our
way towards the lake, with the hope of finding the
water fit to drink ; but to our disgust it was perfectly
poisonous, and the air was tainted with the odour of
myriads of dead fish which were floating on the lake,
having been killed by the great heat.
Hundreds of pelicans and wild fowl of various des- THE MODOCS.
criptions rose up as we approached, and my Indian
guide gave me a sample of his skill, by firing at a
string of pelicans as they flew over his head, and missing them all; much to his disma}^, as he had tried to
make me understand that he was wonderfully expert
with his carbine.
After tying up our horses we visited the Lava Beds
on foot, passing on our wav a small enclosure filled
' Jr D J
with the graves of many poor fellows who had fallen
in the late conflict. Captain Jack's cave and headquarters and other curious hollows and natural fortifications were next inspected; but as it was getting dark,
and we had a tedious return journey to make, I could
not devote much time to the examination of the
different points of interest in these strangely desolate
The country round was full of rattle-snakes. I
managed to kill two, and was afterwards very careful
where I put my foot when walking on the sage-brush.
Long before we reached the camp the deep rose-
purple of the eastern hills had faded away, and so dark
a night set in that even the Indian gave up the attempt
to follow the trail. But, fortunately, the unerring
instinct of our horses enabled them to find their way
in the darkness as well as in the light.
By midnight we were home again, and the follow- >
ing week I said farewell to my hospitable friends, and
in company with an American artist and a German
traveller crossed the Klamath river into Oregon; and
D *
from Jacksonville set out for the Mystic Lake, in the
beautiful Klamath Land.
A custom—Fort Klamath—The agency—Dead Indian country—The
Lake of the Woods—An Indian workshop—A canon—Snow-fields-—
The crater's rim—A snow-camp—An alarm—O-po-co-ninne—Mystic
Lake—A canoe—The medicine man—The island—Law of death—
Midnight—Internal fires—Surmises.
The national American custom of drinking at ; the
bar' admits of many forms of invitation. At San
Francisco the latest mode of expression was ' Will you
go on a bond ?' When we arrived at Jacksonville we
found that the form used was much more expressive,
and' Stranger, let's irrigate,' was the one most constantly
in use. There is a pastoral suggestion in that invitation
which is not possessed by any other, and you feel, when
thus addressed, as if a proposal were made to extend a
benefit over the country in general, as well as on yourself.
*It certainly was excessively hot at Jacksonville,
which may have accounted for the perpetual dryness
which seemed to prevail there. If the farmers of that
part of the country would but irrigate their lands as well
as they irrigate themselves there would surely never m
;;■ -f j
Iff ?-I
i  1 if Ii'.
|rf. I }4
t f**
EH i
be any cause to complain of scanty crops and dry
Jacksonville had few inducements to detain us, and
as soon as we could obtain horses and a guide we started
for Fort Klamath, which we reached on the third day.
There we saw the unfortunate Modoc prisoners, and
afterwards started on some delightful expeditions into
the Klamath country.
The Indian Agency and the military fort occupy a
beautiful position on Great Klamath Lake, which lies
close under the mountain shadows. Above the lake
a lovely prairie reaches to the mountains which enclose
the valley on three sides. The Indians call it the
' Beautiful Land of Flowing Water,' and it deserves the
name. Streams of the purest water rise from the hillsides ; and the water is so clear that the smallest pebble
is visible at a depth of ten or fifteen feet. These rivulets
wind amongst beds of willows, through green meadows
• -      D -" \D      o .-•
and clumps of evergreens, and at last flow into the
lake. From the Agency, which is distant about five
miles from the fort, the view is most romantic. The
distant snow-peaks encircle the valley with their white
walls, as if guarding the home of the Klamaths.    To
*? D O
the north. Mount Scott rises to a height of 10,000 feet;
to the left, Mount Pitt looks down on the valley from
an altitude of 11,000 feet; and nestling at its southern
base is Glacier Lake, which is supphed by the melting FORT KLAMATH TO  THE MYSTIC LAKE.     255
snow, and whose shores are bordered by pine forests
and fine grazing lands.
Towards the west is discerned the ' Snowy Chester,'
a circle of twelve snowy peaks, enclosing a lava bed
twenty miles in circumference, and dotted with small
circular lakes, probably the craters from which the
peaks were thrown up long before the Indian made it
his favourite resort.
To the east lies Dead Indian Country, and beyond
it there is a beautiful sheet of water, called the ' Lake
of the Woods,' enclosed by a forest so dense and dark
that the sun's rays cannot pierce and brighten its
gloomy depths. Near this lake, we were shown what
must have been the spot used by Indians in olden
times as a manufactory for arrow-heads and spears.
The remains of a log-hut, and a few circles of stones,
evidently fireplaces, from their blackened htter, wrere
all the signs of an Indian camp that we could see. But
our guide told us that numbers of chipped arrow and
spear heads and the rough rocks on which they had
been sharpened, and some pieces of flint and obsidian,
had been found there a short time ago.
Now, of course, the Indians use firearms, and when
they want arrow-heads and spears they buy metal for
the purpose from the white men. But it is not so very
long ago that they chipped the agate, jasper, and chah
cedony, and laughed and sang in the pine woods by the
4 s f
quiet lake—knowing nothing of the pale-faced race,
and hving on in the happy thought that the home of
their ancestors was to be their own for ever.
One bright morning we mounted our ponies and
started for the Mystic Lake, in the Cascade Mountains,
distant about twenty-five miles. The trail ran through
a gently rising thickly wooded country, fragrant with
the laurel and pine, and abounding with wild flowers.
Sometimes the tall grass in the narrow meadows swept
up to our stirrups; sometimes no trace of vegetation
was to be seen—save the stunted hemlock growing
amidst lava boulders and pumice-stone rocks.
As fast as possible we made our way till we reached
an elevation where undergrowth became scarce, and we
then found ourselves on the brink of a splendid canon
whose walls were supported by basaltic columns several
hundred feet in height. A foaming torrent dashed
through the gorge, and many thread-like waterfalls
tumbled into the deep abyss amidst a luxuriance of
madrona and manzanita bushes.
Our artist companion was very anxious to make a
halt for the purpose of sketching^the scene ; but it could
not be, for the sun was already sinking, and we had miles
of snow yet to cross. Taking the snow-field, we pressed
up the mountain-side towards the black hne above
us, which the guide told us was the rim of the crater.
Soon we entered a belt of dwarf hemlock, whose FORT KLAMATH TO   THE MYSTIC LAKE.      257
tops had been cut by the strong winds to an even
height, thus giving it the appearance of a' well-clipped
We crunched over the snow without hindrance ; for
it was so hard in most places that the horses' hoofs made
no impression, beyond sending myriads of frozen particles
flying from the hard crust and sparkling like diamonds
in the light of the afternoon sun. Occasionally, in more
exposed parts, the animals would flounder in through
the yielding surface, and we had to zigzag upwards to
avoid the swift torrents fed by the melting snows and
descending the narrow ravines. At last, after crossing
an open stretch, we reached the black line on the ridge
that forms part of the wide circling rim of the Mystic
Lake, which lay fifteen hundred feet below us. But the
dark shadow of the mountains' already covered it when
we arrived at the summit, and nothing could be distin-
7 D
guished in the sombre depths beneath. We therefore
busied ourselves in preparing our camp for the night.
In a small ravine sheltered by snow-walls we kindled
a huge fire of the broken boughs of hemlock and pine ;
then we cut or scooped out a cave in the hard congealed
mass, in which we spread our blankets. After supper
we turned in, and found our snow bedroom as snug,
7 D'
comfortable, and warm as a brick walled chamber, and
decidedly more picturesque.
The night was bitterly cold and the winds swept
mournfully around us, but we slept the sound sleep of
'tired nature' after our long mountain ride; our surroundings of snow and fire shielding us from the cold
blasts. Towards midnight we were suddenly awakened
by a hoarse hideous yell, which echoed from every peak
and crag of the neighbouring mountains.    The war-
D o o
whoop of a hundred wild Indians close upon us could
alone be hkened to it. The profound stillness that
followed made us doubt whether we had not been dreaming ; when suddenly the hght of a very bright moon
revealed to us a dark creeping object stealing round the
shadowed corner of a steep rock, and before we could
well distinguish its outhne another burst of music told
us that ' O-po-co-ninne,' our pack-mule, or rather
donkey, had broken his tether, and was about to pay us
a visit. In a few moments he had found out our whereabouts, and was enjoying the warmth of our big fire,
subhmely unconscious of the confusion and alarm he
had created.
One of our poets (Coleridge, I think) says of the
' Poor foal of an oppressed race,
I love the languid patience of thy face;
And oft with gentle hand I give thee bread,
And clap thy ragged coat, and pat thy head.'
When he behaves himself, I do the same, but when
he awakes me in the middle of the night, and then, after
stumbling over my feet and kicking me, finally settles FORT KLAMATH TO  THE MYSTIC LAKE.      259
himself down across my legs, just too as lam dozing off
into a comfortable sleep, why, it is necessary to use means
more forcibly striking than ' a pat on the head' to
bring him to his senses. At the first gleams of daylight we were up, ready to welcome the sun when it
should light up the dark waters of the lake with its
cheering beams. A marvellous sight is the Mystic, or
Crater Lake, as it is sometimes called. It is about
ten miles long and seven or eight broad, and the moun-
D D      " '
tain wall which surrounds it is a sheer cliff rising from
fifteen hundred to three thousand feet. The height we
reached was about 9,000 feet above the level of the
sea. The walled-in waters look up to grey cliffs edged
with ragged pinnacles of red lava.
At the water's edge is a rim of boulders, but no
beach, no friendly shore—the solid smooth basalt
closely encircling the deep blue water.
By-and-by the sun's rays glimmered on the crest
of Mount Scott, throwing a shadow half across the
lake; then other peaks shone out, and a httle later the
rim of the crater was struck, and in about an hour the
waters below were sparkling and gleaming in the full
glow of sunshine. Gazing down we saw the perpendicular walls reflected in those waters of unknown
depth. The mountains and shrubs appeared as distinct
below them as above. It was impossible to say where
the land ended and the lake began, so mirror-like was
s2 yjrnjrisr
■ i.  R
the surface of the water. So still, too, so unruffled,
almost death-like in their calmness, were these azure
blue waters lying at the base of the steep grey rocks,
and forming, with the surrounding lofty mountains,
whose snow-covered sides and peaks towered high
above us, a grand, strange, and most impressive scene
—-the haunt of the Nereids below, the abode of the
Snow King above.
On the south-west side of the lake an island juts
up, formed of volcanic rock, and having a crater on its
summit. The cone of lava is nearly two hundred feet
in height, and the sides from a distance looked smooth
D        '
and symmetrical. Suddenly, near the island, a little
speck appeared, and
'O'er the water floating, flying,
Something in the hazy distance,
Something in the mists of morning,
Loomed and lifted from the water,
Now seemed floating, now seemed flying,
Coming nearer, nearer, nearer.
Was it Shingehis the diver ?
Or the pelican, the Shada?
Or the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah ?
Or the white goose, Waw-be-wawa,
With the water dripping, flashing
From its glossy neck and feathers ?
It was neither goose nor diver,
Neither pelican nor heron,
O'er the water floating, flying,
Through the shining mist of morning,
But a birch canoe, with paddles,
Rising, sinking on the water,
Dripping, flashing in the sunshine.'
The guide knew an old Indian trail leading down
to the water's edge; we therefore agreed to descend FORT KLAMATH TO  THE MYSTIC LAKE.     261
and persuade the occupant of the canoe to take us to
the island. The trail was partly covered with brushwood and small pines, which proved very useful in
aiding our descent.    The glaciers and the snow-walls
which overhung the cliffs made, our journey rather a
perilous one; but we reached the water's edge safely,
and there found a hideous old Indian, just about to
land—the trail down which we had come being the
only road to and from the lake. The guide understood
from the Indian that he was a ' medicine man,' and had
come there 'to hear the whispers of unseen beings
borne on the breath of the wild winds that swept over
the waters, and to talk with the Great Spirit who lived
on the shores of the dread lake; that, when he had
concluded his business with Manitou, and had seen the
fairy canoes sailing over the goblin waters, and had
given his messages to the departed spirits who bathed in
its mystic depths, he would return to his tribe with a
charmed life and possessed of supernatural powers.'
As the canoe could only hold two persons, and that
with great difficulty, the artist and our guide remained
on shore, and the German and myself, after a couple of
hours' paddhng, reached the island, and landed on the
lava beach. We found the cone, which had looked so
smooth from a distance, rough and rugged, and aided
by the hemlock which grew over the surface we soon
climbed to the top. There we found a crater about a
hundred feet deep and over two hundred feet across. H
On one side there were traces of steps cut into the lava,
but so broken and dangerous as not to invite a descent.
This island seems to have been the last effort of the
volcano, when the mountain had nearly burnt Itself
out, and from its base a ridge of lava reached for a
> D
long distance towards the western shore. The depth
of the lake is unknown, but it is said to have been
sounded unavailingly to the depth of one thousand feet.
We reached our camp that evening very hungry and
tired, and were greeted by ' Opo-co-ninne' in his best
musical style. As we intended to have a moonlight
view of the lake we kept ourselves awake by giving an
impromptu entertainment, consisting of stories, singing,
and recitations, to the wandering spirits who chanced
to be floating around.
One of the poems recited by the artist, who was an
admirable elocutionist, had been read in many a desolated house in Memphis during the dreadful yellow
fever pestilence which had lately depopulated the
At my request he wrote it out, and it runs as
The song of Kilvany—fairest she
In all the land of Savatthi.
She had one child, as sweet and gay
And dear to her as the light of day. FORT KLAMATH TO  THE MYSTIC LAKE.     263
She was so young and he so fair,
The same bright eyes and the same dark hair ;
To see them by the blossomy way,
They seemed two children at their play.
There came a death-dart from the sky—
Kilvany saw her darling die;
The glimmering shade his eyes invades,
Out of his cheek the red bloom fades j
His warm heart feels the icy chill,
The round limbs shudder and are still.
And yet Kilvany held him fast
Long after life's last pulse was past j
As if her kisses could restore
The smile gone out for evermore.
But when she saw her child was dead
She scattered ashes on her head,
And seized the smaU corpse, pale and sweet,
And rushing wildly through the street,
She sobbing feU at Buddha's feet.
' Master! all helpful! help me now!
Here at thy feet I humbly bow;
Have mercy, Buddha! help me now!'
She groveUed on the marble floor,
And kissed the dead child o'er and o'er;
And suddenly upon the air
There feU the answer to her prayer:
' Bring me to-night a lotus, tied
With thread from a house where none has died.'1
She rose, and laughed with thankful joy,
Sure that the god would save the boy.
She found a lotus by the stream:
She plucked it from its noonday dream,
And then from door to door she fared,
To ask what house by death was spared.
Her heart grew cold to see the eyes
Of all dilate with slow surprise.
1 Kilvany, thou hast lost thy head;
Nothing can help a child that's dead.
There stands not by the Ganges' side
A house where none hath ever died.' f
a    r
I ill 11
Thus through the long and weary day
From every door she bore away
Within her heart, and on her arm,
A heavier load, a deeper harm.
By gates of gold and ivory,
By wattled huts of poverty,
The same refrain heard poor Kilvany:
'The living are few—the dead are many/
The evening came so still and fleet,
And overtook her hurrving feet,
a/ O /
And, heart-sick, by the sacred fane
She fell and prayed the god again.
She sobbed and beat her bursting breast:
* Ah! thou hast mocked me !  Mightiest!
Lo !   I have wandered far and wide—
There stands no house where none hath died.5'
And Buddha answered, in a tone
Soft as a lute at twilight blown,
But grand as heaven and strong as death
To him who hears with ears of faith:
' Child, thou art answered !   Murmur not!
Bow, and accept the common lot.*'
Kilvany heard with reverence meet,
And laid her child at Buddha's feet.
At midnight the view of the Mystic Lake was not
merely grand, but perfectly fairy-like in its weird
splendour. The crater-peak of the island rose like a
silver pillar from a mass of molten gold*—so magical
was the effect of the moon's rays as they fell on the
still lake.    The shadows of the high clifls mingled with
the moonbeams, and everything floated in a silver haze
before us.    Nothing seemed real.   The crags and snow
pinnacles stood out with distinctness, but as if seen
through silver gauze*    The stars looked down from
the steel-blue sky, hke great eyes gazing into the deep
waters, from whose clear depths they were reflected
back with a brilliancy scarcely less than their own;
whilst the cold ghttering moon shed a mysterious light
over the silent volcanic region, and gave to it that
D 7 D
appearance of eternal death which is said to reign in
her own exhausted bosom. Once only, as we watched
and listened, a gentle moaning wind swept over the
broken tops of the gnarled pine trees around the rim
of the vast crater, and after rippling the smooth surface
of the lake into golden ladders died away as gradually
as it had arisen.
Nothing would have seemed more natural than to
have beheld fairy barks gliding over the deep lake
waters, and urged on by unseen hands to the music of
the spirit voices ; nor would it have appeared strange
to have heard issuing from the silvery vapour clear
familiar tones, whispering the prayers that perhaps were
uttered far, far away.
Silently we turned from the too-bewildering scene ;
and having looked our last on the Mystic Lake, with
a sense of relief we threw ourselves down on our rugs
by the pine-fire and talked till we fell asleep.
There is little doubt but that ages ago there stood
here a vast volcanic mountain, higher perhaps than any
in the world, the clustered heights and peaks around
us forming but a small portion of its cliffs and spurs, WME
f 11 111-
r Si  M
and reaching only a comparatively short distance up
the original central cone.
Where the vast sheet of water forming the lake
comes from is an interesting question. There is no
visible outlet, but it probably finds an underground
passage leading to the waters of the Rogue River,
which rises near the western base of the mountain,
and to Wood River, which feeds the Klamath Lake, on
the south-east.
The waters of the lake do not rise or fall, and their
depth is unknown. Where the waters go to, may be
surmised, but where they come from, who can tell ?
The Western Land furnishes many memories of
grand and striking scenes, but none awaken such
feehngs of solemn wonder as those of the Mystic
Oregon forests—The Umpqua Canon—A poultry fancier—A female
hermit—Willamette Valley—Eugene City—The Three Sisters—The
Mackenzie River—Oregon City—Falls of the Willamette—Portland—
The Columbia River—Scenery—The Multanomah FaUs—Castle Rock
—Cape Horn—The Cascades—A portage—Coffin Rock—Dalles—A
Sahara—Catching salmon—Great Salmon Falls—Fish eagles—A
crane story.
From Jacksonville to Rosebury is only about a hundred
miles, and there, thank Heaven! good-bye to the old
After crossing Rogue River—a splendid stream, and
full of fish—we entered the Umpqua mountains. In
Oregon the size of the forests is much greater than in
California. The trees themselves too are larger. Firs
are more numerous than pines, and the splendid madrona
laurel gives the country a semi-tropical appearance.
Birch, balsam, spruce, and other trees of more Northern
chmes grow everywhere, and the oaks spread themselves
almost as grandly as in Northern California. There,
they grow in groups or clumps, and preserve just so
much distance between each other as allows of their
full development, at the same time presenting a mass of
I win
!   '311
foliage of great beauty and fine form. A rare maple,
called from its curious grain the ' curly ' maple, is also
found in Oregon. When polished, it is one of the most
beautiful woods I ever saw.
The Umpqua Canon was formerly an ill-omened
pass for travellers. It is the resort of the Rogue Indians,
who infest the country, and are very quarrelsome and
dangerous. When an emigrant train was approaching,
the Indians would send a party on in front to form
an ambuscade, and others would follow the doomed
waggons into the melancholy canon, where nothing but
bleached bones would remain to tell the murderous
tale to the next travellers. Numbers of httle wooden
crosses still point out the spot of many a ruthless
At one of the small farms where we stopped for
dinner—or rather supper, as any meal, after breakfast
is always called—we were regaled on fowls (not chickens)
in all sorts of disguises, but in one respect all alike—
their extreme toughness. Our driver afterwards told me
that the proprietor of the farm was a little mad on the
subject of poultry, and that it was generally supposed
he fed the fowls on sawdust instead of corn-meal.
There was a story, he said, of one strong-minded hen
having laid a nest-full of bureau-knobs, and that after
sitting on them for three or four weeks she had hatched
a complete set of drawing-room furniture.
It •%
There was certainly an immense number of aged
hens running about, and each had her name—to which,
by the way, she never answered—thereby causing much
sorrow to the proprietor, who seemed to me to pass his
time in chasing the unfortunate birds about the grounds
and throwing sticks at them.
He reminded me of a strange character who lives
at a place called Oak Bluffs—an old woman of ninety
—tall, crooked, and with a grim face surrounded by
unkempt grizzly hair.   In her youth she had been jilted
by her sailor lover, whereupon she vowed to retire
from the world, and has since lived alone at the above
desolate dreary spot.    Her dwelling is a low wooden
shed, surrounded by old haystacks, and near a wood of
brush and oak trees.    A red cow and about a dozen
hens are her only companions.    To these she has given
the most extraordinary names, and she sings and talks
to them as if they were human beings.    A graveyard
h is set apart for her favourites, and tombstones mark
their graves.
She is called a poetess, most of her effusions being
in blank verse.
Not long before our visit one of her chickens was
carried off by the ' pip,' upon which she composed a
pathetic lament, concluding with ' Then the Lord
thought best to take her from evil to come.'
She has also written a lengthy treatise on' Doctoring
1 \    Hi1]   [UI ,
Err 1 In
< v    -
1 •:
Hens,' which with her ' poetry' she sells to visitors.
She must have made a nice httle sum by this time, as
all who visit the neighbourhood go to see her.
Oregon is a grand country for sheep, and Oregon
wool is celebrated for its fineness and flexibility. At
one place a farmer told me he had that season sheared
a Spanish merino sheep whose fleece weighed twenty-
three pounds.
Roseburg at last! The shrill scream of the iron
horse betokened that we were once more in civilised
regions ; and soon after we were on our way to Port--
land—about two hundred miles distant by rail. Leaving Roseburg, we entered a most charming gorge, thickly
clothed with dark pines, silver cedars, and magnificent
laurel trees. Grand rocks, softened by mosses and
clinging vines, towered far above us; and at our feet
D       D ' 7
a swift, bright stream ran through groves of azaleas
' O DO
and golden willows. From the number of tents and
waggons we passed, the. greater part of the population from the adjacent villages must have been camping out in the ravine, and it certainly looked most
cool and inviting. A lovely spot indeed to sojourn
in, if one could only be satisfied with the delights of
mountain scenery and clear blue waters dancing in the
Following the banks of the Willamette River, we
arrived at Eugene City, where the snow-clad summits of JACKSONVILLE TO  THE  COLUMBIA  RIVER.    271
the 'Three Sisters' loomed in sight. The Indians believe
that these three peaks were three giantesses who had
rebelled against their husband, Manitou, and were in
consequence turned into stone. They rise from a range
of volcanic hills, and are of an exact pyramidal form
and of equal size.
A broad belt of forest encircles them and extends
to an altitude of 6,000 feet. Above this belt, untrodden
snow hes in broad glittering fields.
The Mackenzie River flows through the plain, and is
singularly beautiful. Great blocks of basalt come sheer
down to the water's edge, and are divided naturally with
great exactitude into huge segments. Their yellow
and brown colours are reflected with wondrous effect
on the surface of the stream. After a few most pleasant
days, passed in the neighbourhood of Eugene City, I went
on to Oregon City, and there remained to visit the Falls
of the Willamette.
The river narrows near the town, and the water,
rushing very swiftly, is precipitated down a fall of about
50 feet. The rocks on either side are of deep black
basalt; and these huge walls, when viewed from the
south, are extremely grand. It is only when they are
seen from below that the mind is fully impressed with
the magnificence of these falls. They have been worn
into a horse-shoe form by the action of the stream,
and the river plunges into the depths below in great
•k ! I
:'   ^>
DlDH  ;
curves and sweeping currents. Masses of broken basalt
show their heads amidst the rush of foaming waters, and
altogether there is noise, mist, and confusion enough to
justify the Oregonians in their pride of their miniature
Niagara. Formerly, these falls were the only obstruction
to the free navigation of the river, but now it is overcome by the construction of locks, which have been
built in the most substantial manner. The scenery of
the river is very picturesque and diversified, and a
lovely panorama of hill and dale, water and forest is
continually passing before the view.
Portland had lately been nearly destroyed by fire,
consequently I had not a good opportunity of judging
of the town. It is, however, beautifully situated on the
Willamette River, and is surrounded by magnificent
forests. There are some delightful drives through the
woods, one especially to a place called the White
House, through a succession of glades and glens full of
splendid trees and sweet-scented shrubs, and with views
of peculiarly quiet loveliness.
The Willamette runs into the Columbia River
about twelve miles below Portland; so, taking the
morning steamer, I prepared to ascend that river, which
for grandeur of scenery is not surpassed by any river
(with the exception, perhaps, of the Fraser) on the
American continent.
We started so early that a grey fog swallowed up  m
■  c- j;
. !   •_ TT~- I
everything, and the only objects visible were the paddle-
boxes and the funnel.
We steamed very slowly and cautiously down the
Willamette, and as we approached the junction of
that river with the Columbia the mist lifted. As it
slowly crept back to the shores and up the hills and
away to the north, mountains sky and river came
out with intense brilliancy and colour under the rays of
the rising sun.
Wonderful forests extended from the far distance
down to the very edge of the river. Beeches, oaks,
pines, and firs of enormous size formed a sombre
back-ground, against which the maple and ash flamed
out in their early autumn tints. On the north, the
four stately snow-crowned mountains, Rainier, St.
Helen's, Jefferson, and Adams lifted themselves, rose-
flushed, high up in the heavens; the great river
flowed rapidly and smoothly between mountain shores,
from a mile to a mile and a quarter apart, and the
bold rocky heights towered thousands of feet in the
These mountains line the river for miles. When
occasionally a deep ravine opens you catch a glimpse
of distant levels, bounded, in their turn, by the never-
ending chain of mountains.
There is a rare combination, too, of beauty about
these mountains,; vegetation and great variety of colour
heightening the picturesque effect of the huge masses
of bold bare rock.
Now and then the cliffs impeded the flow of the
river, which then ran, disturbed and dangerous, between
rocky islands and sand-bars. Often the agitated waters
became gradually calm and formed long narrow lakes,
without any apparent outlet, until a sudden turn
showed a passage, through the lofty walls into another
link of the water-chain.
Sometimes a cataract of marvellous beauty came
leaping down the rocks from a height of 200 and 300
The Multanomah Falls in particular are most
beautiful, possessing both the swift resistless rush of
the steady downpour of water and that broken picturesque outline  which is the principal charm  of a
fail,   ^^m '-;^^^S   1     ^Fmm^
Castle Rock, a huge boulder with basaltic columns
like those of Staffa, stands out grandly and alone from
a feathery mass of cotton-wood, whose golden splendour
rivals in beauty tjkat of the spreading dark green
boughs of the pinesj" whilst the contrast of colour
heightens the effect of each brilliant hue.
On the crest of the rock a fringe of pine-trees, growing out of the bare stone and dwarfed to insignificance,
shows the vast height of this riped dome.
And now we are approaching Cape Horn, whose JACKSONVILLE  TO   THE COLUMBIA  RIVER.    275
ramparts rise sheer and straight, like a columnar wall,
860 feet high. B^kII     ^^§^^^^^^m:
This majestic portal forms a worthy entrance to the
cascades. Fierce seething -lipids extend for six miles up
the river, and the track of the ' portage ' runs near the
water's edge for the entire distance. The river is
narrowed here by lofty heights of trap rock, and the
bed itself is nothing but sharp gigantic rocks, sometimes hidden bvthe water and sometimes forming small
islands, between whjch the foaming torrent rushes with
tremendous uproar.
Near where the ' portage' begins, a relic of Indian
warfare, in the shape of an old block-house, stands
under the fir-trees.
A small party of white men held a very large body
of Indians at bay there for several days in 1856 ; and
as the provisions ran short, a grand attack was made
,on the red men, who were totally routed with great
The scene in this gorge is wild in the extreme.
Passing Rooster Rock, the mountain sides approach
each other, and the river flows faster and fiercer ; the
pillared walls rise sometimes to a height of nearly
3,000 feet, and the wind roaring fjihrough the ravine
beats up huge waves and adds to the wild grandeur of
the view. Whenever the mountains recede to the
South, Mount Hood fills the horizon.    Rising 14,000
feet, its snow-covered head shines out magnificently
against the blue sky, with unvarying grandeur and a
strangely attractive form.
Soon we pass an Indian burial-ground called Caffin
Rock, a bare desolate slope, covered with rude monuments of rock and circular heaps of piled grey
Dalles City, where we now arrive, ranks as the
second place of importance in Oregon. It takes its
name from the  'dales,'  or rough flag-stones, which
7 CD CD 7
impede the river, making narrow crooked channels, and
thereby causing another ' portage' for a distance of
fifteen miles.     Above the town  the scene changes;
D        '
the cliffs disappear, and from splendid forests and mountains we pass into a region of sand and desert. One tall
pillar of red rock, overlooking the sandy waste, stands
up forlorn and battered, as if it were the last fragment
of a giant peak; and numbers of birds hovering over
it seem to regard it as their special observatory.
Hot white sand is everywhere, and the wind scatters
it about in a most uncomfortable maimer, covering the
track and half-stifling you in its bhnding showers.
The river scenery is very fine all along this passage, the
Dalles being a succession of rapids, falls, and eddying
Although it was late in the season hundreds of
salmon were still ascending, and on the flat shore- JACKSONVILLE  TO  THE COLUMBIA RIVER.   277
rocks were several Indian lodges ; their occupants busily
engaged in spearing and catching the fish.
Their usual mode of catching salmon is by means
of nets fastened to long handles. They erect wooden
scaffolds by the riverside among the rocks, and there
await the arrival of the fish—scooping up thirty or
forty per hour. They are also very skilful at spearing
them ; rarely missing a fair mark.
At one of the falls we saw a most treacherous contrivance. A large tree with all its branches lopped off
had been brought to the edge of the river and there
fastened, with its smaller end overhanging the foaming
fall. A large willow basket, about ten feet deep and
over twenty feet in circumference, was suspended at
this end. The salmon in its efforts to leap the fall
would tumble into the basket, and an Indian seated in
it would then knock the fish on the head with a club
and throw it on shore.
This mode requires relays of men, as they soon get
almost drowned by the quantity of spray and water.
.Very often, between two and three hundred salmon are
caught in a day in this manner. We saw about twenty,
averaging in weight from five to twenty pounds, caught
in the hour during which we watched the process. But
the hook-nosed salmon—coarse, nasty fish—were the
most abundant. They always appear in the autumn,
and are found everywhere. WESTERN WANDERINGS.
The salmon are in their greatest perfection in the
Columbia River towards the end of June.    The best
variety is called the ' chinook,' and weighs from twenty
to forty pounds.  This species is generally accompanied
in its ascent by a smaller  variety, weighing  on  an
average about ten pounds, and which is also extremely
good eating.    Gradually, as the salmon go higher and v
higher up the river, their flesh changes from a bright
red to  a paler colour until it becomes quite  white.
There are such enormous quantities of them that they
can be easily jerked on shore with a stick, and they
actually jostle each other out of the water.    It is estimated that over 500,000 salmon were taken out of the
Columbia River during the year 1872.
There is a perfectly true story told of a traveller
who, when riding, had to cross a stream running from
the Cascade Mountains, at a spot where the fish were
toiling up in thousands; and so thickly were they
packed as to impede the progress of the horse, which
became so frightened as almost to unseat his rider.
When the salmon are caught, the squaws cure them
by splitting them and drying the pieces upon wicker-
work scaffoldings. Afterwards they smoke them over
fires of fir branches. The wanton destruction and
waste of these fish is terrible. In the season the
Indians will only take the fish in the highest condition,
and those that do not satisfy their fastidious tastes are JACKSONVILLE  TO  THE COLUMBIA RIVER.    279
thrown back mutilated and dying into the water. Even
when they have killed sufficient to last them for years,
they still go to the falls and catch and spear all they can,
leaving the beautiful silvery salmon to rot on the stones.
Salmon ought certainly to have ' Excelsior ' for a
motto. Always moving higher and higher, they are
never content, but continue the ascent of the river as
far as it is possible. They go on till they drop, or become so weak and torn from rubbing against the rocks
and against one another, that they are pushed into shallows by the stronger ones and die from want of water.
Out of the hosts that ascend the rivers, it is generally
supposed that a very small proportion indeed ever find
their way back to the sea.
Just below, the Great Salmon Falls the whole
volume of the stream rushes through a channel hardly
one hundred and fifty feet in width.
At the falls themselves the river is nearly a mile
across, and pours over a rocky wall stretching from
shore to shore and about twenty feet high. It is
fascinating in the extreme to watch the determined
creatures as they shoot up the rapids with wonderful
agility. They care neither for the seething torrent nor
for the deep still pools, and with a rush—-and with
clenched teeth, perhaps—they dart up hke a silver
arrow, and defying rock and fall, are at length safe
in the smooth haven above. WESTERN WANDERINGS.
Sometimes a speckled beauty, too weak to take the
grand leap, falls back into the rapid—wounded by the
sharp stones and dying. This is the opportunity for
the great white-headed fish-eagle, which is as fastidious
in his tastes as an Indian, and prefers a fresh-killed, or
rather dying fish, to any other. With one fell swoop
he seizes the victim in his talons and carries him off.
Now and then a tall crane may be seen standing on a
rock or in the shallow water, and out of mere spite
pecking at a poor exhausted fish.
I never see a heron or crane fishing without
.thinking of the clergyman who sought every opportunity to impress upon the mind of his son the fact
that God takes care of all His creatures. Happening
one day to see a crane wading in search of food, the
good man pointed out to his son the perfect adaptation
of the bird to his mode of getting his hving.    ' Look!'
said he, 'how his legs are formed for wading! What
a long slender bill he has I Observe how nicely he
folds his feet when putting them in or drawing them
out of the water! He causes no ripple, and is thus
able to approach the fish without giving them notice of
his arrival. My son,' continued he, ' it is impossible
to look at that bird without recognising the goodness
of God in thus providing him with the means of
obtaining his subsistence.' ' Yes,' rephed the boy, ' I
think I see the goodness of God as far as the crane is JACKSONVILLE  TO  THE  COLUMBIA  RIVER.    281
concerned; but, after all, father, don't you think the
arrangement a httle hard on the fish ?'
With the Salmon Falls miy trip up the Columbia
ended, and I returned to Portland, to resume my journey
to Victoria—the chief town of British Columbia, and
situated on the southern extremity of Vancouver's
A tedious journey—A terrihle threat—An epithet—Olympia—Puget
Sound—Snokomish City—An Indian cemetery—Flat-heads—Use of
Indians—American diplomacy—Washington Territory—Salmon not
taking a fly—San Juan—Victoria—Dull times—Terminus—A view—
Climate—Roads—Esquimalt harbour—Sport—Indians—A red admiral—Superstition—Hospitality.
Down the Columbia for some miles to Kaiama, a little
village, in Washington Territory; thence, by the new
Northern Pacific Railway for fifty miles, to Sinino.    I
think we must have been over five hours doing that
fifty miles.    In some places the trees were so near the
newly-laid hne that it was like pushing   one's way
through a growth of brushwood, and now and then the
removal of a branch, or perhaps the whole tree, fallen
across our road, would afford pleasant occupation for
half an hour or so.    It was, in fact, a primeval forest,
thick with cedar, spruce, arbor vitaa, and firs;   the
trunks covered with orange-green moss, the branches
hung with  brown   Spanish  moss,  and   the   marshy
ground  brilliantly coloured with yellow  and purple
Our journey was enlivened by a brief wordy war- KA LA MA   TO   VICTORIA.
fare between an irascible old gentleman and a man
whom he accused of having taken his seat in the
carriage. After an exchange of very doubtful compliments the elderly gentleman produced a little pistol,
saying, ' Do you see that ? Now, don't speak to me, or
touch me, or even look at me again, or I'll blow your
head off.' Upon which the other coolly retorted, ■ Do
you see that umbrella settin' thar ? Now, you touch
that umbrella, or even look at that umbrella, and I'll
ram it down your throat—and then I'll spread it.'
This terrible threat had the effect of somewhat appeasing the old gentleman, but not before he had vented
his wrath on an inoffensive clergyman who had endeavoured to assuage his anger, and whom he effectually silenced, after a round of abuse, by designating him
' an ecclesiastical old pelican.'
From Sinino a pleasant drive of fifteen miles brought
us to Olympia, a small town, situated at the head of
Puget Sound.    Great dissatisfaction and anger reigned
there, because it had just been decided that Tacoma,
instead of Olympia, was to be the terminus of the new
railway. The Olympians poured down their wrath
on the railway, the new site, and on everything
and everybody outside their own domains. Such 'a
storm in a tea-cup * could never have been witnessed
Puget Sound is one of the loveliest sheets of water 284
that can be imagined. It is bounded by forests sloping
down to its very edge, and hundreds of islands are
dotted over its surface. The view of Mount Rainier
from Olympia is magnificent, the vast mountain, apparently, being snow-covered from base to peak. The
mountain views all down the Sound are dehghtful, and
D /
the whole journey as far as Snokomish was like sailing
on a lake in the midst of high woodland. The water,
very deep and transparent, rippled into gleams of gold
away to the bases of the glorious mountains, which are
shaded from the deepest purple softened off to the
clearest grey, and their rounded contour varied by
many a dim rift, wooded glen and slope.
Snokomish City is decidedly a ' one-hoss settlement,'
as an Anglo-American, whose acquaintance I made on
the steamer, expressed it, and ' biled' shirts are looked
upon as quite out of place. The hotel accommodation
was not, strictly speaking, good, and those who were
effeminate enough to hke washing had to take their
turn at a tin basin, with a cake of musty yellow soap
and to dry themselves on a fortnight-old towel, hung
from a broomstick in the bar-room. However, as I
was able to obtain ponies, Indian guides, and provisions for a ten days' shooting expedition into the
interior, in search of elk, the aspect of the coUection of
wooden huts denominated a 'city' did not matter.
The country through which we passed was replete with KALAMA   TO   VICTORIA.
picturesque beauty, and the mountain streams were
stocked with trout, which furnished us with many an
evening meal.
The weather was so beautiful that we took no tents;
but, as it was very cold at night in the mountains, we
were provided with blankets. Our ponies were poor
creatures to look at, but they were hardy, and willing
to go any distance. On the third day one of the
Indians refused to go any further. We were approaching, he said, the territory of a hostile tribe, who, he
asserted, would kill him. On that day I shot two
deer, lots of grouse, and a wolf. On the fourth day we
arrived at a small lake, near where the elk were
supposed to be; and as the Indians found some of their
tracks I went to bed in the expectation of having a
shot at one the next day. Before dayhght we were
up, and started with two other Indians who came
into the camp with an offer of their services, and after
a long and hard walk we reached the north side of the
lake. I was stationed in a beautiful wood, while the
Indians were beating in an opposite direction, and had
not been there half an hour when I heard a crackhng
in the bushes, and out walked a fine elk. He did not
see me, and as he stood still at about a hundred yards'
distance I had only to take a deliberate aim, and down
he fell. He was not very large, but his horns were
remarkably fine, and,  being  still in the velvet, con- I
■ y
111    1
sidered quite a curiosity. The head was stupidly cut
off too near the ears to look well when stuffed. To
my disgust we met with no bears ; but I shot a beautiful
golden eagle, measuring nearly nine feet across the
wings, and in splendid plumage. I came near him only
by creeping on my hands and knees, for about two
miles, up and down the sides of mountains—for whenever I got almost within shot he would sail off for a
few hundred yards and wait until I again nearly reached
him ; then off he went again, though I do not think that
he really saw me. I had a long shot at another much
larger elk, but unfortunately missed him.
In one very lonely spot we found an Indian burial-
place. These Indians—' Flat-heads'—have a peculiar
way of depositing the remains of their dead The corpse,
dressed out in its best apparel, which usually consists
of a bit of old blanket, one leg of a pair of trousers,
and a feather, is placed in a box about three feet high
and long, and about two feet wide. The knees are
thus brought up level with the head, in about the same
position as the deceased would adopt when sitting by
his camp-fire. The box is then fastened high up in a
tree, out of the reach of wild animals, and his weapons
and any httle knick-knack—such as an enemy's scalp-
lock, an old boot, a beaver hat with no cro*vn—in fact,
anything of which he was particularly fond, are then
hung around it.   Under one of these boxes we saw the KALAMA   TO   VICTORIA.
remains of a canoe, and from the signs of luxury shown
by other articles hanging about—the barrel of an
old musket, the skeleton of a dog, a paddle, half a
panther's skin, and what was once a.blanket—it was
conjectured that it must have been the tomb of a
great chief. The ' Flat-heads' derive their name
from their custom of bandaging their children's heads
between two flat pieces of wood as soon as they
are born, one being placed on the forehead, the other
at the back of the head. This bandage is kept on
night and day until the child is nearly three years
old, by which time the head has acquired the desired
beautiful shape which it afterwards retains. They are
the most hideous and repulsive-looking Indians I ever
saw. The 'bandaging system,' I hear, is dying out
with them, or rather, the tribe is dwindling away, as
there are not many of them left.
It is difficult to imagine for what end Indians were
placed upon the earth. Perhaps they were merely
intended to hve with wild animals amidst wild vegeta-
tion and enjoy their wild hfe, until races of greater
capacity were ready to occupy the soil. A succession
of races, like a rotation of crops, may be necessary to
turn the earth to the best possible account, and consequently the Indian must be removed to make room for
Returning to the Sound, some distance north of #.
Snokomish, we  coasted down, then crossed to Fort
Townsend, and took the steamer to Victoria.
Soon we sighted the Island of San Juan, lately
handed over by us to the United States, in accordance
with the decision of the Emperor of Germany.
This island and Washington Territory are examples,
on the North-West of America, of the unscrupulousness
of the Government of the United States and the superiority of its knowledge to that of ours. The clauses in
the ' Rights of Fishing' treaties, on our Eastern shores,
exhibit a hke capacity.
The Emperor Napoleon said truly, ' America is a
fortunate country. She grows by the follies of our
European nations.'
Regarding Washington Territory, surely the Columbia River is the natural boundary; therefore, why in
1846, when Oregon was ceded by Great Britain, was not
this river considered the rightful limit, instead of the
imaginary line (the 49th parallel) which now constitutes
the southern boundary of British Columbia ? Simply
because American diplomatists knew the value of their
claims, and British diplomatists knew nothing about it.
It is not easy to conceive what reasons for claiming
the country north of the Columbia could be urged by
the United States Government. But they knew the prospective value of the magnificent inland waters of
Puget Sound, and acted upon that knowledge.    With KALAMA   TO   VICTORIA.
the possession of that grand inlet, British Columbia
could easily compete with California and Oregon;
without it, it becomes a difficult matter to do so.
Whether there is any truth in the story told of a
certain naval officer who at the time of the dispute was
stationed on the Pacific Coast, and who wrote home to
his brother, the then Prime Minister, that the salmon in
the Columbia wouldn't take a fly, and that the country
was not worth making a fuss about, I do not know,
but at all events the story has obtained popular credence
in British Columbia.
The Island of San Juan commands everything
British on the West and North ; and though its military
occupation by the British would be utterly useless, yet
in the hands of the United States it becomes a perpetual menace to us, and places the command of the
Straits in American hands.
It is only fair to say that, according to the
wording of the treaty of 1846, the island does belong
to the United States, but according to facts and the
spirit of the treaty it certainly does not.
We soon crossed the Straits of Fuca and passed into
the harbour of Victoria. Its entrance is narrow and
crooked, and it only accommodates vessels drawing
.about 18 feet of water; but dredging is constantly going
on when funds permit. tflp
rat I
Men-of-war always lie in the harbour of Esquimalt,
which is about three miles from Victoria.
A walk through the streets of Victoria impresses
the traveller with the idea that more than half the
population is Indian, and the remainder composed of
every nationality under the sun. * The town itself is a
pretty, cheerful, bright place, and looked business-like
enough when we saw it; but, on enquiry, we were
told that everything was at a stand-still and ' times
were never so bad.' It is a remarkable fact that go
where you will, no matter at what season, ' times were
never so bad' within the memory of the oldest inhabitant as they are sure to be at that very moment when
information is sought on the subject.
Victoria, hke Mr. Micawber, is ' waiting for some-
7 ' D
thing to turn up,' and that something must be the railroad. This ' waiting' retards the growth of the city,
and is hardly in accordance with the true spirit of
trade. The railroad will doubtless be of immense
service when made. But, at present, men hold on to
' business lots' and ' real estate' near the town, in the
uncommercial but hopeful spirit of making large sums
in the future at one stroke ; or they demand such a high
price for their land as discourages emigrants and
intended settlers.
The position of Victoria indicates a bright future
in store for her. KALAMA   TO   VICTORIA.
The products of China, Japan, and Austraha must
all converge towards that terminus whose hne of railway
will ere long extend from the Pacific to Newfoundland,
passing through the splendid provinces of the Northwest, and forming the quickest and surest route to
European markets.
The harbours of Vancouver's Island and the inlets
of the mainland are many and deep. The wealth in
minerals, forests, and fish in British Columbia, is unlimited ; and there is no reason why the Straits of
Fuca should not form a commercial highway of vast
importance, and eventually become another * Golden
Gate ' between the Old World and the New.
The town of Victoria slopes gently up from the
water's edge, and the view from the church eminence
overlooking the harbour is strikingly beautiful. Across
the straits the snowy range of the Olympian mountains
rises abruptly from the shore.
Towards the Gulf of Georgia masses of rock of
singular form, bare and rugged in some places,
clothed with shrubs in others, contrast in the most
picturesque manner with the calm and lovely scene
over the harbour. The blue waters run far up into
the undulating country, in deep fiords, bays, and inlets ;
and these innumerable indentations of the rocky shore
are fringed with luxurious vegetation. Here and there
are scattered beautiful little islets, amongst which the
v 2 ■*->(
\\ w
[IfL94. ij
Indian canoes ghde stealthily about. A little farther
off, hills broken by misty glens, the haunts of the wild
deer, slope gradually away, backed by the dim outlines
of graceful mountains, towering tier above tier, and
flanked by purple and gold-tinted headlands rising
from the sea. Over all there floats a soft dreamv haze,
a charmingly effective finish to a landscape so suggestive of peace and rest; so soft and harmonious, that
many a spectator must have turned away with a
tightening of the throat and a mistv gaze not altogether
CD CD »/    O CD
the effect of the atmosphere.
The climate of Victoria is dehghtful.    It is a crisp
invigorating  climate—a climate of elastic lungs and
rosy English cheeks. Fruit and flowers grow with a
Californian luxuriance. The flowers especially have an
extraordinary brilliancy of colour ; but, unfortunately,
labour is so scarce that a well-kept-garden is very
seldom seen, and the suburbs do not present that cultivated appearance which might be expected with the
advantages of such splendid soil and climate.
The town and the environs are blessed with most
capital roads ; and if the state of the highways is a test
of civilisation, Victoria must be far advanced indeed.
Beautiful drives and rides extend in every direction,
and it is quite a luxury to walk on the roads, so free are
they from dust or mud.
A very pleasant walk of three miles along one of these KALA MA   TO   VICTORIA.
fine roads or by a path through the woods brings you
to Esquimalt. The first view of this harbour is of
magical effect.    The road runs through a diversified
D *—'
country of rock and forest, with the sea on the left.
Suddenly, a break in the rocks on the right reveals an
apparently circular lake, on which three or four men-
of war are Tying sleepily at anchor. This harbour is
a perfect gem ; it is surrounded by thickly-wooded
hills, has  excellent  anchorage, and  is  almost land
Plenty of sport, too, ah around. Grouse and deer
abound in the woods, and the popping of guns may be
heard all day, in the shooting season; and, alas ! out of
it too. There is also capital trout and salmon fishing;
but the great drawback to this amusement is that the
fish will not take a fly.
Now and then you hear of somebody having had a
successful day's fly-fishing; but the ' spoon bait' is most
generally resorted to, and with dire effect. In the
morning, canoes full of salmon may be seen entering
the harbour. The price of a big fish varies from a
' bit' up to half-a-dollar, but the latter is considered an
extravagant price. The Indians,- however, are getting
too lazy even to fish, and many of them prefer buying
a salmon from a white man to paddling out a short
distance in their canoes and catching as many as they
want. 294
/ fill!
I think the Indians—or ' Si-washes,' as they are
called here,, a name derived from the French sauvage—
of Vancouver's Island are, with the exception of the
Diggers, dirtier and wilder-looking than any I
have seen ; but they give very httle trouble, and are
quiet and contented, so long as they have a coloured
blanket to dress in. I used to be much amused with
one of them, whose ideas were evidently far grander
than those of his neighbours, as he always paraded
up and down the streets in a full suit of naval uniform,
including a cocked-hat and feathers. Both the uniform
and the hat he had embellished with more gold lace
than could possibly have fallen to the share even of the
Lord High Admiral in the days of Queen Elizabeth;
but it added considerably to the respect he inspired
among his tribe. His proud martial appearance was,
moreover, heightened by floating streamers of red
riband with which he decorated his long black greasy
hair, and which at a distance gave him the appearance
of a drunken recruiting sergeant, who had dressed him-
self in the wrong uniform, and hung himself out as a
The Australians have a superstition that boring the
ears of children is sure to give them large and beautiful eyes. The Indians, I think, must have the same
idea, with, the addition that boring their noses will give
them large and beautiful mouths. KALAMA  TO   VICTORIA.
They have undoubtedly succeeded as far as size
goes, but their beauty may be questioned, and I do not
think anyone who has ever seen these people could
answer the question, ' Who can tell where the lips end
or the smile begins ? '
Victoria, and indeed British Columbia in general—
that is, as far as my very hmited experience goes—is.
most hospitably inclined: everybody seems glad and
willing to do the honours of the country to strangers,
and you are seldom at a loss for pleasant companions
for shooting excursions and trips of all sorts up the
coast and across to the mainland. One of the plea-
santest expeditions we made was up the Fraser River.
But I must reserve that for another chapter. 296
New Westminster—Stumps—Halcyon days—Fishing—A panther—
Ferns—Sal-lal—Burrard Inlet—Steam saw-mills—Up the Fraser—
Anonymous gifts—Providence—Wood-cutters—Hope—A silver-mine
—Rapids—Yale—Hudson's Bay Company—Christianised Indians—
Missionaries—A waggon-road—A trail—Fatal accident—Hell's Gate
—Suspension-bridge—Scenery to Boston Bar—Indian larders—Salmon
—Fishing establishments—Boundary line—Haro Straits—The Driard
House—British Columbia.
The Gulf of Georgia, which we had to cross before
reaching the mouth of the Fraser River, is flecked all
over with lovely islands, thickly wooded, and in many
places affording rich pasture-land. The beauty of this
archipelago is best seen when coasting up Vancouver's
Island towards Nanaimo and Comox, an excursion we
were to make after our return from the Fraser. The
angle at which we crossed the Gulf made the distance
about fifteen miles; and as a strong wind was blowing
and there was a heavy swell, the passage bore a most
unpleasant resemblance to that between Dover and
The entrance to the Fraser is graced by immense
mud-flats, which are connected with rich bottom-lands UP  THE FRASER.
extending far into the interior, and forming a delta of
great agricultural importance. New Westminster, the
capital of British Columbia, and the only town on this
delta, is situated very picturesquely at a distance of about
twenty miles from the mouth of the Fraser and seventy-
five from Victoria. It was dark when we arrived ; so
we could, therefore, form no opinion of the merits of the
town till the following morning.    Then the feeling was
forced upon us that a more desolate, forsaken-looking
place we had never seen.
The ske is a splendid one: a magnificent stretch of
the river, with gently sloping hills rising behind the
town, and covered with fine forests. But close round
the town the huge cedars and pine trees have been cut
down or burnt, and the huge blackened stumps give it
a very dismal, neglected appearance. These stumps are
left standing in everv direction, in the straggling streets,
O J ' CDCD O '
around the church, and in the ill-kept gardens. The
houses for the most part are empty, and ruin and decay
are the chief features (besides the stumps) of this now
' deserted village.'
Once it was a gay, flourishing little town, with plenty
of society and amusements; but that was in the ' golden
days,' when the Government House was occupied, when
sappers and Marines filled the httle barracks, and nuggets rolled down from the mines of Cariboo. The
energy and varied talents of one man alone keeps New 298
Westminister from fading away into utter oblivion.
He is magistrate, captain of the Volunteers, general authority on Government matters, school inspector, and
town-councillor; he plays the harmonium in the church,
attends to church business, manages the school feasts,
7 O •'
rings the church bells,1 and in fact is the presiding genius
of the place. He put his house at our disposal as headquarters during our visit, and turned what would otherwise have been rather amelancholy sojourn into an extremely pleasant one. There are only two walks in
New Westminister; one goes to Burrard Inlet, and
the other follows the bank of the river to an old rifle
range, and crosses the Brunette, a small stream that runs
into the Fraser. In this stream we one day saw a number of large trout and white fish; so a day's fishing was
arranged, which resulted in a perfectly empty bag, the
fish, as usual, dechning a fly, and even the ground-bait
which we temptingly displayed. We were gratified,
however, by the sight of a big panther which walked
out of the wood and across the road close to us. It would
have been a capital shot, as it moved along quite slowly
and gracefully, never even turning his head to look at
us ; but, of course, I had not my gun with me, and if
I had had it I should most probably have seen a fish
walking across the road.
1 This peal of bells was originally intended for the church in Victoria, but by mistake it was sent from England to New Westminster,
where it has remained ever since. UP  THE FRASER.
Burrard Inlet is reached from New Westminster by
a very good corduroyed stage-road nine miles long.
The entrance to the inlet from the Gulf of Georgia is
fifteen miles north of the mouth of the Fraser River.
The drive thither was a most pleasant one. A collector of ferns could have gathered a charming variety
from the banks and dells on the road-side. There were
various sorts of shrubs, too; one, called the sal-lal, with a
berry hke our berberry, only much larger, and edible,
struck me as being very suitable for English woods, as
it is very hardy, and would make a most splendid cover
for pheasants. At all events, I shall make an attempt
at growing it, and its failure, I think, will be very
When we arrived at the Inlet we found a tiny
steamer ready to take us across to the large steam sawmill on the opposite side. A beautiful sheet of deep
water is this Inlet. It is twenty-five miles long, with
an average breadth of over a mile.
Three natural divisions form three distinct harbours,
the middle one narrowing at both extremities—thus
making an outer and inner harbour. Vessels of the
largest size can enter, and there is safe anchorage for
500 ships. The woods all round the shores are
stocked with deer. The usual way here of hunting
them is to send dogs into the forest to drive the
animals down to the water's edge, where they are shot. 3oa
\  1
Forests, as a means of wealth, are perhaps the
greatest resource of the country, and our visit to the
saw-mills gave us an insight into the lucrative business
ofc lumber-making' from an almost inexhaustible supply
of the most splendid material. There are two steam-
mills on the Inlet, and although they run night and day,
yet their proprietors are compelled to refuse numerous
The mill on the south side of the Inlet is the more
picturesque of the two. The white workmen hve in
what look like very comfortable little houses, and are
evidently well cared for. The workmen represent all
nationalities, Whites, Chinese, Sandwich Islanders, ' Si-
washes,' and negroes. The natives cannot be depended
upon for work, for as soon as they have made enough
money to keep them in idleness for a time they withdraw
their services, and return to their dirt and squalor
until necessity drives them back again.
The houses of the aborigines are the most com-
plete ' whited sepulchres ' one can imagine. The fronts,
facing the harbour, are generally clean-looking and
well whitewashed; but the backs, the sides, and the
interiors are filthy beyond description.
We left Burrard Inlet thoroughly well up in the
intricacies of ' lumber' and edified by a most interesting visit.
The next day we started for Yale, which is the: UP   THE FRASER.
•to I
head of the navigation of the Fraser, and about ninety
miles from  New Westminster.     The course  of the
Fraser is full of dangers and difficulties.    The extreme
swiftness of the stream and under-current renders a
capsize almost certain destruction, as the river is as full
of' snags ' and ' sawyers ' as the Mississippi.
Our flat-bottomed vessel, the ' Onward,' had a first-
rate captain, who knew all the snags and rocks in our
course, and was able himself to take the wheel in any
of the bad parts of the river.
The voyage at first was rather monotonous, but as
the dense woods were putting on their autumn tints
there was always plenty of colour to relieve the dulness
of the low overhanging banks. Sometimes we stopped
at new settlements, consisting of about two or three
houses; at other times at places where there was
no appearance of a house at all, on which occasions a
box, a parcel, or whatever there was to leave was deposited on the bank, and we resumed our journey.
These articles, I presume, were destined for some person
in particular, but it rather looked as if they were intended generally for anybody who chose to appropriate
them, and that if a Robinson Crusoe or a man Friday
should happen to be wandering that way he might accept
the consignment as a Providential gift. By the way, how
is it that the hand of Providence is always apparent in
that which pleases us, never in that which displeases ? i
For instance, how constantly we hear the expression,
' Providentially saved,' but never ' Providentially lost;'
yet calamitous results, I presume, are as much permitted by Providence as fortunate ones.
' Wooding up ' was a cause for continual lying-to,
the appetite of the furnace being insatiable.
Wood-cutting and rail-splitting are regarded here as
the last resource for a living that a man can descend
to; but from the good price paid per foot, and the
enormous quantity of wood used, I should have thought
them very profitable occupations. The loneliness and
utter isolation of the hfe of the woodcutter must be their
chief drawbacks, and the possession of a squaw wife,
and the accompanying blessings, are perhaps not likely
to conduce to a high state of civilisation.
As soon as night came on the boat was tied up to a
convenient tree* and there we remained till daylight.
As we approached Hope the scenery became much
grander; high mountains sloped down to the riverside, and sand bars, from which melancholy miners
were endeavouring to extract gold, were frequently met
with. Hope is a pleasantly-situated little settlement.
We stopped there to visit a silver-mine which had
lately been discovered in the mountain above the
town. We could trace one seam of silver ore for two
hundred feet up and for about one thousand feet along,
with a breadth of from four to eight feet.    This mine UP  THE  FRASER.
has raised great expectations ; and if they are justified
by the results, the companies ought before long to be
in a very flourishing position.
Between Hope and Yale there is a point where the
stream runs so swiftly that for two or three minutes the
vessel seems standing still, and it requires a considerable rising of the steam-gauge and many extra heaps of
resinous wood to be piled on the furnaces, to enable
the panting boat to stem the current and glide once
more into comparatively still water.
Yale has a thriving appearance, and the scenery in
the neighbourhood is superb. Hills rise in wooded
slopes for nine and ten hundred feet, then bare rocks
and crags shoot up for another thousand feet, and
streams dash down in cataracts and falls from the distant mountain-heights.
The Hudson's Bay Company has a very nice house
here, in which we were most hospitably entertained.
But where in America is there a Hudson's Bay post
where travellers are not welcomed and received in the
kindest possible manner ?
Since this wonderful old Enghsh company first
received its charter, in 1670, times have indeed
changed; and the pohcy of the company has also
changed. Instead of keeping the country closed, as in
former days, their efforts are directed to opening it up
as much as'possible. Hi
I M m    n !
This change has perhaps been forced on them, now
that they are no longer the rulers of the North-West;
but they have gracefully given way to existing circumstances, and still carry on their trade with the skill
which characterised it in former days. The old outcry against the company, accusing them of sacrificing
colonists for the sake of minks and silver foxes, had no
foundation. The company attended to its own business ; and if the real value of the country was not
known, it was not for the H.B.C. to destroy its own
prospects by pointing it out.
At Yale we attended service at the Indian church
one Sunday morning. The impression left on my
mind by the deportment and the apparent general
feehng of the congregation was of a mixed character.
D O       O
The outward tokens of a rehgious ceremony were
manifest, but there seemed to be a mere parrot-like
rendering of the devotions, which excluded-—at least
according to my view of the matter—any idea of the
true sentiment of Christianity being either felt or
understood by the Indians. The good pastor, however,
assured me that they understood and appreciated all
that was said. The service was of course conducted
in the Indian tongue, and, certainly, a hymn, one of
the 'Ancient and Modern,' was sung in a very creditable
manner ; vet I have strong doubts as to the efficacv of
the ceremony.    I certainly saw many of the congrega-
tion indulging in their favourite vices a few minutes
.   D     D
after leaving the church, yet wearing the same sanctimonious expression they had assumed during the
service. -But the missionaries themselves know best
whether their labours are well rewarded or not; those
whom I have met have been satisfied with the past
and are sanguine for the future. The world cannot
judge of the value of missionary labour ; it must be
judged from a far higher standpoint, and the reward
of many earnest men, whose hves have been passed in
preaching the Gospel to a few poor Indians, will not be
found wanting when good works are summed up in the
balances of eternity.
The waggon-road from'Yale to Cariboo is hardly
surpassed on the continent for the engineering skill
exhibited in its construction; and considering the infancy of the colony that undertook the work, it is a
perfect marvel.
Formerly, an old Indian trail alone led to the mines
of Cariboo, 300 miles from Yale. This trail wound up
and down steep mountains, crossed rivers and gorges^
and in one place led over a ravine by a bridge not two
feet wide, over which the traveller had to crawl with
his heavy pack, and with the sure knowledge that if
he slipped he would fall over perpendicular rocks
nearly 2,000 feet into the Fraser below.    Now, a fine WESTERN WANDERINGS.
but dangerous Jooking road runs the whole distance. It
has been hewn out of the rocks and cut through them,
and is built up with masonry and wood, sometimes running at a height of 1,200 feet above the Fraser, and sometimes descending almost to its edge. The chief danger
consists in the fall of rocks, and in landshps occasioned
by heavy rains or the melting of snow; but the road
is so narrow and the rocky wall so perpendicular that
loosened rocks and stones generaUy fall clear of the
road and descend into the foaming river.
The least want of care in driving, or the horses,
shying, would instantly hurl the waggon down a steep
of several hundred feet on to the rocks below.
Strange as it may appear, fatal accidents seldom
happen. The only one that had occurred for years
took place the day before we reached Yale, and within
a quarter of a mile of the town. One of the stage-
drivers had driven his wife and child for a short distance along the road; on returning, the horses shied at
a wheelbarrow by the road side, and the carriage was
immediately thrown on to the rocks, which at that place
stretched out below the road and over the river. The
drop was about twenty feet; a few yards further on or
further back, and all would have been dashed from those
precipitous heights into the river. As it was, the poor
mother died on the following day, but the father and
child escaped with but few injuries.    One of the horses UP  THE FRASER.
was killed on the spot; the other kicked itself free
and fell over into the river.
The scenery of the Fraser between Yale and Boston Bar, a distance of about five-and-twenty miles, is
grand in the extreme, and I think even excels that of
the Columbia River. At' Hell's Gate,' about ten miles
above Yale, the river rushes through a channel only
about fifty yards wide, the rocks on either side being
perpendicular. The difference between the height of
the river in summer, at the melting of the snows, and in
the winter is not less than ninety feet, as may be seen
by the high-water marks on the rocky walls.
Rugged and inaccessible mountains rise to a height
CDCD •*-. —■• j*-,
of several thousand feet, and are so precipitous that a
feeling of giddiness is experienced when looking up at
their snowy summits. A very pretty suspension-bridge
crosses the river about ten miles above Yale, and makes
a picturesque break in the stupendous character of the
scenery. Just imagine grand canons and giant cliffs,
along whose rugged sides the road runs, and whence
the swift-rushing river, far far below, looks hke a mere
silken-thread; wild heights, sometimes bare, sometimes pine-clad; snow-capped peaks, rising above
ranges of lofty mountains, the narrow pass dwarfed
by the altitude of the towering rocks on both sides,
and you have some of the ingredients of the Fraser
x2 I
ii      i
All along the road were tiny houses high up in trees,
round the trunks of which were pieces of tin and iron,
turned over at the tops, to prevent animals from climbing up. These houses (' cache ') are the Indians' larders,
and contain quantities of dried salmon ready for the
winter's consumption. The salmon in the Fraser are
as numerous as in the Columbia, and between Yale and
Boston Bar the atmosphere was often quite tainted by the
smell of the dead fish. Spearing and netting were going
on everywhere, although the season was far advanced.
A very delicious little fish, called the 'eulachon,' is
caught in the Fraser at certain seasons in immense
quantities. The season lasts for about a fortnight, and
during that period they appear in such shoals that they
are actually raked into the boats; buckets, nets, and all
sorts of queer contrivances being put into requisition for
their capture.
A short distance below New Westminster there is
a large establishment for canning and barrelling the
salmon, but there is room enough and plenty of occupation for many more fisheries, without causing any
diminution of the salmon; for the fish swarm in every
portion of the river, and they often vary their course
according to the state of the weather. On warm calm
days they play along the shore, and when it is cold and
rough they seek the mid-channel or shelter under the
bluffs and rocks.
Three systems are in use for fishing—gill-net fishing,
the ' weir,' and ' dragging the seine.'    In the former.
' DD      D '
nets are used with a mesh of sufficient size to allow the
head but not the body of the fish to pass through. This
mode of fishing is employed on dark nights. The net
is thrown into the channel which the fish generally take,
and the current carries it down for three or four
miles. It is then hauled into the boats, the fish being
killed by knocking them on the head with clubs. The
salmon caught in these nets are larger than those
procured in any other way, as the small fish can pass
through the meshes.
The weir is simply a large trap made of twigs and
poles. The catch is often enormous, four' and five
hundred salmon having been caught in a single haul.
Fishing with a f seine' is done by day and on moonlight
nights. The net is placed in the stern of the boat, a
man on shore holding on to a rope attached to it; the
boat then pulls out on the river, paying out the net as
it goes, and when it meets the current it is swung
round until it reaches the shore again when all is paid
out. The ' seine' is then pulled ashore at both ends
and emptied of its spoil.
The Fraser did not seem to me to offer so good a
-site for fisheries as the Columbia. Nevertheless, most
profitable establishments might be erected in many
places; as near the salt water as possible, that the fish fm
I lira >i
lift} if 1
r   11
which are of the -finest quality might also be in the best
As we returned to Victoria we caught a glimpse of
the boundary hne between the United States and British
Columbia. This boundary line cuts through the forest
from east to west, parallel with 49° of North latitude,
and extends from the Gulf of Georgia (where a
pillar marks its commencement) right across the continent to Manitoba, and then inclines southward to
Lake Superior. For several hundred miles a broad distinct cutting, which has a very singular appearance, has
also been made through the thick woods. The sail
through the Haro Channel presents a combination of
water, island, and mountain scenery that for variety and
beauty cannot easily be surpassed. On the mainland
there is the long fine of the Cascade mountains, from
D ~
^which we had just descended by the Fraser. The grand
-Mount Baker, the principal feature in the landscape,
stands out, in its snowy covering, monarch of all the surrounding heights. Further south, Puget Sound stretches
far inland, while the Olympian range extends towards
the sea, sheltering the island of Vancouver from the
rough winds of the Pacific.
On returning to Victoria harbour we again estab-
lished ourselves in our quarters at the ' Driard House'—
a comfortable hotel, but unfortunately at that period
employing a most execrable cook, who, I trust, has long UP  THE IRASER.
since entered on his proper occupation in the Shoe-black
The accounts given of British Columbia are so
various and contradictory, and the country has been
so praised by some and run down by others, as it has
suited their different interests, that it might be pictured
either as a Garden of Eden or a howhng wilderness by
those who have never visited it.
The httle that I saw of the interior of the mainland
does not warrant my saying much about it; but from
what I beheld myself and gathered in conversation with
people who lived there, the following remarks may be
received as facts.
The climate, although a few places suffer from
the extremes of heat and cold, is on the whole exceedingly healthy and pleasant. The vast extent of the
mountain ranges forms an almost insuperable barrier to
great commercial intercourse.
A sparse population and difficult intercommunication, which is in fact solitude, give the conditions of
barbarism; and until good roads and highways are constructed the colony cannot make much progress.
The lands in the interior where cultivation has been
employed are wonderfully rich and fertile ; wheat and
oats, with straw six feet long, and producing seventy
bushels to the acre, grow with comparatively imperfect 312
culture. As a fruit-garden it equals Oregon. Its grazing regions are immense, and would be of enormous
profit, if there were average means of transportation ;
but at present, timber, the fisheries, and mining offer
the richest prizes to capitalists, whilst the very high
rate of wages that labour commands soon places the
working classes in comparatively affluent circumstances.
The delta lands of the Fraser are of great extent
and richness, and they are at present occupied only by
a few farmers. The future prosperity of this part
of British Columbia will doubtless depend to a great
extent on its ditches and dykes. Those lands situated
on the Lower Fraser are subject to overflow at certain
The work of dyking looks formidable at first for
individual effort, but in reality is much easier than
clearing away forests. Land,, too, that has been subject to inundation is twenty times more valuable than
forest land.
But it is to the Government we must look for large
and important works of reclamation by dyking. And
when these are begun, and the sound of the locomotive
is heard in the land, they will attract thither a multitude of steady and permanent immigrants. The present
state of torpor and inactivity will then give place to
the energy and business-like habits necessary for the 1!
development of the industries and resources of the
country. British Columbia will then be advanced to
the front rank of the Dominion, as a vigorous and
7 o
prosperous province. WESTERN WANDERINGS.
Miners—Difficulties and dangers—Good and bad luck—Gulf of Georgia
—Calculating birds—Nanaimo—Duck-shooting—An Indian guide—
The beaver dam—Fishing-***-'*A river—Stars—Merit—An entertainment
—The coast.
During our absence from Victoria the town had had
an influx of visitors. New gold-mines had lately been
discovered on the Stickeen river, and hundreds of men
stricken with the ' yellow fever ' were on their way to
the north-west of the Territory—men of all classes, all
ages and occupations; men of refinement and education,
and others who had never opened a book; desperadoes
and law-abiding men of all nations and creeds ; and all
wearing the same weary, anxious, and care-worn look
alike habitual to the steady and the improvident
' There is an order
Of mortals on the earth who do become
Old in their youth, and die ere middle age,
Without the violence of warlike death;
Some perishing of pleasure, some of study,
Some worn with toil, some of mere weariness,
Some of disease, some of insanity,
And some of wither'd or broken hearts j
For this last malady is one which slays
More than are number'd in the lists of Fate,
Taking all shapes, and bearing many names.'' RETURN TO NANAIMO.
The difficulties and dangers encountered by miners
on their way to new diggings are of no common order.
Very often—as in the case of the Stickeen miners—no
trail exists along which even an animal could pick its
way. Obstacles that would stop an engineer have to
be faced and overcome.    You must trudge, with your
CD     ' J
provisions on your back, up and down mountain
precipices, over rocks and snow, through a country
probably infested by unfriendly Indians. When hungry
you must cut wood before you can cook and eat. In
wet weather you must remain moist and chilled till
it is fine again. Your hands and clothes will be torn
to pieces; and if you are unfortunate enough to
possess a tent, it will probably be only just large enough
to crouch im besides adding considerably to the weight
of your pack.
And the difficulties do not diminish when your
destination is reached. ' Prospecting' is a work of
incredible toil in a mountainous region covered with
thick forest; and though • gold may be everywhere, it
must be found in large quantities to enable the miner
to hve. Provision-dealers and hucksters of ah kinds,
who, with gamblers, &c. follow close in the wake of
the army of gold-hunters, will only sell their goods at
fancy prices, consequently the greater part of the
earnings goes into their pockets.
Two or three may make fortunes  in less than a K
[ Mi
■   I
&u I -,-.-11
■ if wr^ I
i ¥:\
■ rJ".   |
X i&l
t in!
fortnight, and a few may by degrees accumulate large
sums, but hundreds will only just make sufficient for a
living, and tens of hundreds nothing at all.    Mining is
like any other kind of gambhng—once taken to, the
difificulty then is to leave off. The excitement of
knowing that at any moment, by a ' lucky hit,' a fortune may be grasped, acts hke a stimulant and urges
on to exertion long after expectation is dead. Success
in mining depends on ' luck,' and therein it differs from
success in the ordinary affairs of life. In the latter
case good luck is a man of pluck, with sleeves turned
up to meet difficulties, and working to make things
come right; while bad luck is a man with his hands in
D '
his pockets and a pipe in his mouth, looking on to see
how things will come out.
In Calaveras County, Cahfornia, an instance of
really bad luck came under my observation..
The original locator of a claim worked for years
running a tunnel through the hard rock. After he
had bored a distance of about 800 feet his pecuniary
affairs became so involved that he was obhged to give
up the mine before reaching gold. Broken down in
health and spirits, he was nevertheless obliged to seek
employment, and again went to work at the tunnel for
wages, the new proprietor having determined to continue the boring. He had been employed there about
a fortnight, when he struck through to gravel, from RETURN TO NANAIMO.
which unprecedentedly large returns have been obtained ; so that after labouring for years the poor man
was obliged to rehnquish work just as wealth was
within his grasp.
Once more in the beautiful Gulf of Georgia! but
this time coasting up the island over a smooth sun-ht
sea. Every mile discloses some new charm in the
beautiful landscape. The numerous islands are composed of rock and sandstone, and the action of-the sea
has worn the soft material into caves, hollows, and many
curious and fantastic forms, all of which are overhung
with luxuriant vegetation, while above thick woods
extend   to  the  summits  of the  undulating heights.
t DO
Winding through the straits and among the countless
islets requires good steering, not only on account of the
narrowness of the passage, but because of the almost
invisible shoals and the swiftness of the current. Wildfowl of all sorts abound in these waters—the uneatable
species fluttering lazily about close to the vessel,
widgeon, teal, and mallards keeping carefully just out
of gunshot.
It is extraordinary with what nicety birds can calculate distances. They even appear to know what
weapon is to be used against them, and will keep
their distance accordingly. With an increased range
of rifle or fowhng-piece, birds adapt themselves to the 3i8
l  ' :'**1  irf it
circumstances, and contemplate their enemy from just
outside the limit of his range, and no more. It is the
same force of instinct, I suppose, which enables birds
of passage to strike their exact destination in precisely the calculated period.
For a yachting man, the Gulf of Georgia would be
most attractive, as, irrespective of the scenery, deer
and grouse are in abundance on most of the islands,
D '
and the bays, inlets, and natural harbours afford most
ample anchorage.. A sketch-book, too, might soon be
filled with innumerable ' bits' of charming effects of
colour and formation.
Our course was past the farming districts of Saanich
and Cowichan and other smaller settlements, at each of
which we stopped to dehver letters and freight, and
towards evening arrived at Nanaimo, where we intended
to remain for some days.
The whole coast of Vancouver's Island and a great
part of the mainland of British Columbia is a series of
magnificent bays and inlets, and the scenery of Nanaimo
c3 *** */
is of the same character. The town itself occupies a
most picturesque site, and the view .overlooking the bay
from the residence of our extremely hospitable host and
hostess was charming.    Although a coal-mining village,
CD CD CD CD     7
Nanaimo possesses but few of the unpleasant features
common to such places. The neat httle white cottages
are scattered about in pleasant nooks and on rocky
l- H
crags ; often they are surrounded by shrubs, trees, and
patches of cultivated land, not very neat, perhaps, or
well-tended, but still garden-like and pleasing.
Wild ducks frequent these parts in great force ; and
we determined one day to visit them at their headquarters—a beaver dam, situated a few miles from the
inland extremity of the bay. The Indians paddled us
over in canoes, and after a short walk we arrived at the
entrance of the narrow valley, at the top of which was
the dam. My two companions posted themselves in
the valley, down which the ducks were obliged to come
when disturbed, and I started off to the dam with one
of the Indians. This individual was a most ludicrous
object. He had got himself up for the occasion in his
Sunday best, which consisted of a striped blanket worn
like a toga, one boot, covering a lame foot, and a piece
of blue hnen wrapped round his head. He had given
his face an extra bright coating of vermilion, and had
softened the colour by a few white hnes across his forehead. His countenance was melancholy in the extreme,
and as he hopped on his lame foot over the marshy
land his appearance was something between that of a
flamingo and a disappointed heron.
After a long walk we arrived at the dam—a large
square swamp, surrounded on three sides by high rocky
hills covered with trees. The dam itself was so covered
with willows and treacherous little islands  made of WESTERN WANDERINGS
sticks and rushes, which afforded no footing, that it was
an admirable stronghold for the wild fowl as well as for
the beavers.    No dog or human being could swim or
walk inside it, as the former would inevitably have
been drowned by entanglement with the weeds, loose
Sticks, and brush, and the latter have immediately sunk
over his head in the yielding mud and quicksand.    The
consequence was no ducks could be gathered except
those that fell on shore.    I made my way as well as I
could along the dam-bank which ran across the valley,
and when I had got as far as I could I raised a shout.
Instantly the air was alive with hundreds of ducks and
teal, and as they flew over my head on either side of me
down the valley I banged away to my heart's content.
This went on for about ten minutes, until the ducks—
many of which kept circling round backwards and forwards^—got tired of the sport and took their departure.
All this time plenty of shooting had been going on at
the entrance of the valley, and I was sure a capital bag
would be the result.    Unfortunately, numbers of my
ducks fell into the dam.    I had a very good retriever
with me, and he made one attempt to get a duck that
fell within a few yards of us; he was unsuccessful, and
very nearly got drowned.   As for old Flamingo, he was
well acquainted with the dangers of the deep, and I
could not induce him to make the slightest effort to
So we picked up those that fell on land, and after
many a regretful glance at the dozen or so we had to
leave, returned to see what the others had done. Nothing is so annoying as losing dead game; clean missing
your shots is nothing, but not being able to gather
what you have killed is terrible.
My hopes of a large bag were not to be reahsed, as
most of the ducks had flown so high that they were out
of shot, and our total only numbered about fifteen or
twenty head after all.
The following day we passed in salmon-fishing
(spoon bait) on the other side of the bay, and in less
than two hours we had caught about twenty very nice
fish. An Indian who had been fishing all day came in
the same evening with between forty and fifty.
The Nanaimo river is a very beautiful one, and to
be paddled up the stream lying on soft mats stretched
at the bottom of the smooth-going canoe, only rising
now and then for a shot at some wild fowl, or occasionally landing for grouse, of which there are innumerable
quantities all over the island, is a most deliciously lazy
way of passing a day.
The stream winds tortuously through luxuriant
meadows and wooded hills, past overhanging rocks, at
the base of which many species of ferns and wild
flowers grow. Sometimes the stream flows swift and
deep, and often so shallow that paddles have to give ,JH
ill I
II III ii 1
At tl - - *- i^
place to long poles with which to push the canoe up
the ripphng rapids.
Now and then rich vales appear among the rolling
hills, unoccupied save perhaps by an Indian hut, while
in the distance the prospect is bounded by the giant
forms of the mountains.
In such amusements we occupied the daytime, nor
was there a want of entertainment for the evenings.
Programmes had lately been posted about of a performance to be given by a star of the first magnitude.
It is a fact that directly any third, fourth, fifth, or
sixth rate actor or singer sets foot in the West he or
she is at once changed into a planet, or even a whole
constellation, and becomes invariably either the ' admitted rival of the great Queen of Song' or the quintessence of every talent that has ever endowed the chief
artistes of the theatrical world.
Success does not always foUow merit in any country,
but in America there cannot possibly be any success
without gigantic ' puffing,' by which means an average
street-singer is made to rank as a prima donna, and
every clown as a Grimaldi. The performance in
question, though hardly up to our expectations, was
nevertheless very creditable, especially considering the
circumstances under which it was conducted.
At the appointed hour our party of four arrived at
the hall.    As we had the room entirely to ourselves we RETURN TO NANAIMO.
found we had mistaken the time. Nobody else appearing, we strolled out for half an hour. Presently we
heard a great noise of drums and tin-kettles, with which,
as we afterwards discovered, a number of boys had been
engaged by the manager to beat up spectators. But
as not the shghtest attention was paid to this invitation
the performance at last commenced, and was gone
through before an audience of about ten people, including the band, whose services were remunerated by
a free admission.
I never wish to be the tenth part of an audience
again, however admirable the performance may be.
The reason given for the wretched attendance was,
first, that so many professors, operatic stars, and wizards,
all coming under the head of' humbugs,' had visited
the town, that the people were determined not to be
taken in again ; but the second reason, and the likelier
of the two, was, that it was the beginning of the month,
and the miners had not the money to pay the entrance
The manager and company left Nanaimo at daybreak on the following morning, and proceeded in
canoes to New Westminster, where I hope a better
reception awaited them.
The scenery all along the coast north of Nanaimo
differed very httle from that which we had  already
passed through. Everywhere beautiful islets abounded
shimmering in green.    The reflection of these wooded
islets in the calm deep blue water was often as perfect as the reflection in a mirror, but sometimes a silvery
spray from the swell—almost unfelt within the estuary
—would suddenly shoot across their shadows and raise
a white ripple along their shores.
Afar off, the slopes and mountain ravines displayed
a thousand bright tints of velvety blue, grey, and green,
enamelled with variegated wild flowers, while the fervid
heat of the sun spread a diaphanous vapour over the
dreamy picture indefinite as
 * The twilight that surrounds
The border-land of old romance. BRITISH COLUMBIA.
Game in British Columbia—Grouse—Mud Bay—A day's shooting—
Raccoons—No woodcocks—Summer ducks—Bears—Indians of British
Columbia—Carving—Canoes—Chinook— Indian houses — Burials —
Door-posts—Smuggling—Civilised and Christianised Indians—The
iPrince Alfred'—The coast—Grumbling settlers—A Bohemian—
Sunset—The Golden Gate.
The shooting in Vancouver's Island and on the main-
land of British Columbia is excellent—bears, panthers,
elk, deer, grouse, quails, and wild-fowl everywhere.
Mountain-sheep, prairie-chickens, and fool-hens are also
found on the mainland. The fool-hen simply sits up in
a tree and allows a noose to be put round its neck.
The grouse are not much more sensible, for after a
short flight they generaUy perch up in the branches,
and there remain until shot or frightened away by a
volley of stones and sticks.
The grouse are of two sorts, the blue and the
common or spruce grouse. The blue take to the
mountains about October. When the grouse are found
in the open the cold weather sets in and the leaves are
off the trees.    They afford capital sport, as their flight WESTERN WANDERINGS.
is very swift and they take a good deal of killing. The
Indians bring them into Victoria by the hundred.
Their method of killing them is by sitting under the
trees to which they come for the berries, and then
shooting them through the head; for when the bird
is shot only in the head a much better price is obtained
for it. The only time an Indian is at all picturesque is
when he is so covered with grouse that he himself is
invisible. I once counted forty-six brace on one man;
they were hung on poles across his shoulders, and
they formed necklaces and chains down to his feet—in
fact, he was draped in grouse. The same thing may
be seen every morning, and I daresay the number I
saw is often exceeded.
Towards November the flocks of wild-fowl which
congregate on all the waters is perfectly marvellous.
Snipe cannot be depended on, for where there are
thousands one day there may be none the next.
But ducks, teal, widgeon and both the blue and
7 ' D
green-winged geese are always to be found in great
abundance. At Mud Bay, near the mouth of the
Fraser river, between two and three hundred shots per
diem may be had without the slightest exertion. You
have simply to he concealed, and the birds flock down
in scores. Of course this is not such sport as walking
them up, but on large level flats you must suit yourself to  the occasion,  though there are many places BRITISH COLUMBIA.
where you can walk all day and enjoy splendid
We drove out once to a swamp about ten miles
from Victoria, and after shooting away all our cartridges—and we had taken a good many, too—at snipe,
ducks, geese, &c, towards evening we had the mortification of seeing flight after flight of teal coming in
everywhere around us, and all we could do was to look
at them.
Our game-bag was very varied on that occasion, as
DO-/ $
we shot two raccoons. These animals are terrible
poachers, and destroy enormous numbers of eggs as
well as birds.
A friend of mine was out duck-shooting once near
San Francisco, and after knocking down a great
number of ducks it appeared to him and the man who
was with him that they disappeared as fast as they fell.
Watching very closely, they presently saw a httle black
thing moving slowly towards a dead duck, which presently vanished. They then rowed over to a small
island near to which most of the ducks had fallen, and
there they found numbers of ducks with their heads
bitten off, and innumerable remains of others. On
searching they discovered a quiet family of seven
raccoons, one of which was of very large size, and
actually showed fight.
There was no doubt then how the ducks had dis- 128
appeared, and probably for years these animals had
been fattening on canvas-backs and other ducks. Float-
ing quietly down the stream, with only their black
noses above the water, they would seize the unsuspecting bird, drag it under to the land, and after
eating their favourite bits return for another fat duck.
Their greediness at length brought them to grief, as
D O D O *
the whole family was destroyed.
It is curious that the woodcock is never found in
British Columbia, nor, I beheve, anywhere on the continent west of the Eocky Mountains. The woodcock,
of all birds, loves a moderate climate, and it is very
strange that it is never at any season met with in those
parts where one might expect to find it perennially.
The beautiful summer or wood duck is occasionally
found in British Columbia, but is there regarded more
-as a curiosity than as the familiar bird so well known
in the United States.
In a country where all sorts of unlikely birds perch
on the.trees, this duck—which is the only one of the
'duck family in America that roosts and spends the
greater part of its existence among the branches—-ought,
one would think, to be met with more frequently. The
beauty and glossy splendour of the plumage is so great,
and the birds are so domestic in their habits, rarely
moving far from their native haunts, that it is wonderful they are not more often seen on ornamental water. BRITISH COLUMBIA.
In appearance they are to other ducks, with the exception of the Mandarin, as superior as the golden pheasant
is to the rest of his species.
The black bear is the commonest in British
Columbia; and as they are not dangerous, the Indians
kill a great many of them in the winter in the following way:—Bruin prepares for the winter by making
himself a nest with about a cartload of leaves, ferns, &c.
in some sheltered place, and covers it with boughs and
sticks, leaving an air-hole.    The snow then gives it an
7 .0 o
outer coating, and the proprietor passes a comfortable
warm winter, sucking his paws being his sole amusement—a ceaseless one with bears. The Indians find
out where they are by the air-hole. A blank cartridge
is fired, and Bruin then comes out to see what is the
matter, and is immediately shot through the head.
Before leaving British Columbia let us take a glance
at the aborigines.    There are twelve nations, consisting
O 7 O
of about twenty-eight thousand Indians. The Indians in
the interior are far superior to those on the coast, the
natural depravity and corruption of the latter being
augmented by contact with the lower grades of white
men. Many of the tribes are cannibals, and also eat
dogs; and at the great medicine feasts they kill and
devour slaves. Gambhng is their favourite occupation.
Their commercial instinct is very keen.    They will DJ
steal anything they can lay their hands on; and whenever they can take the scalp of a white man they
fail not to do so. Where education has been pushed
they exhibit great mental capacity, and some of them,
particularly the Hydaks, show great skill in wood and
stone carving. They also make tasteful jewellery out
of coins and pieces of gold.
Their canoes are very graceful and accurate both in
design and workmanship. It is said that the lines of
the first clipper built by an eminent shipbuilder in
Boston were taken from a Nootka canoe. Their canoes
are made from large cedar logs, which they scoop
out and steam. The proper shape is secured by putting
in stretchers, and after a httle painting and carving the
canoe is complete.
The language spoken by the Coast Indians ha§ a
most dreadfully guttural sound ; but in the interior it
is softer and more liquid. Chinook is a sort of language corresponding in some measure with the ' pigeon
English ' spoken in China. It was first introduced by
the Hudson's Bay men, and is now generally spoken all
through British Columbia. A few words of it go a
great way and make a great show.
The Indians have very remarkable winter quarters;
we saw a few of them along the Fraser. A deep hole
is dug in the ground; a strong pole is then stuck in
the centre, and the hut is built up with logs in conical BRITISH COLUMBIA.
**5 0 r
form, from the ground to nearly the top of the pole.
Sufficient space is left at the top, not only for the
smoke to issue, but also to allow of the ingress and
egress of the'family; and strong cross-bars are fastened
to the centre pole, thus forming a ladder by which they
ascend and descend.
As it is troublesome work to climb up and down,
the inmates leave their hut only three or four times
in the winter; and as their dogs live with them, and
7 D '
when once in cannot get out, the filthy state and suffocating odours of these habitations may be imagined.
Often fever and other diseases make a sweep of the
entire family, whose grave is thus ready-made.
Amongst other strange modes of burial they have
the following :—They cut down a cedar tree, and in the
thick end they make a hole, in which the body is placed.
They then reverse the tree, planting the thin end in the
ground. It is curious that a cedar will look fresh and
green for ages after this operation.
The Hydak Indians cut down trees for a different
purpose. After felling a tree sixty, seventy, or eighty
feet in height they carve it the whole way up in
quaint figures and devices, and with great correctness.
They then set it up again and cut out a hole for the
door, and this forms the entrance to their huts, which
are built out behind.    Smuggling is carried on to a
OD        D
great extent amongst the Indians, and hardly a canoe
m 332
goes up the coast that does not contain whisky, or what
is called whisky. The liquor law prohibiting the sale
of intoxicating drinks to the Indians does not appear to
be a very wise one.
Indians will have liquor, and like getting it all the
better on account of the prohibition. It is worse than
useless to make laws that cannot be enforced. The
vilest liquor is sold to the Indians, yet they are willing
to pay for the best that can be obtained.
The bad liquor maddens them, and crime is the
consequence. If they had to pay high prices for their
hquor it would be an inducement to them to work, in
order to obtain the necessary money. A law prohibiting a drunken Indian from approaching within a mile
of a white settlement, and the enforcement of severe
penalties on its infringement, would be very effective,
and could easily be carried into execution.
In spite of all their faults, the Indians of? British
Columbia who live near settlements and have come
under the influence of civilisation and Christianity are
quiet and industrious. They find plenty of employment,
sometimes fill places of trust, and are often employed as messengers and trusted with large sums of
money. The conduct of the British Government, aided
by the Colonial authorities, in protecting the property
and persons of the Indians, and in punishing any who
may wantonly injure them, is the principal cause of BRITISH COLUMBIA.
the satisfactory state of affairs among the Indians of
British Columbia.
The influence, too, of clergymen and missionaries,
both Protestant and Eoman Catholic, is very great with
j J    CD
these people ; and the fruits of the religious training,
so perseveringly persisted in, already warrant the
belief that the moral life of the Indian will improve as
he advances in civilisation. Some philosopher has
well said: ' There are two men in every man; it is
childish to see only one; it is sad and unjust to look
only at the other.'
Of all vessels calling themselves mail steamers the
' Prince Alfred,' in which I returned to San Francisco,
must certainly be the most wretched. Her accommodation is indifferent, her food supply bad, and her
engines are of no power at all.
There was little to see on the voyage down, although
we were in sight of land a great part of the time. It
is curious that between Puget Sound and San Fran-
cisco there are no indentations on the coast, with the
exception of the mouth of the Columbia river, at which
place Astoria makes but an indifferent harbour.
This absence, of inlets was all the more conspicuous
after the splendid inland seas we had lately visited.
Most of the passengers were men who had gone up to
British Columbia with the idea of settling, but had left
o** 334
with the impression that false representations had been
used to induce them to go there. Many of them, however, had not gone farther than Victoria ; and having
found that they could not be allowed to buy up Government land, which had been set aside for the pubhc use
and benefit, had left in disgust. I remember one case in
particular which occurred when I was at Victoria, in
which an intending settler had been very much offended
because he was not allowed to settle on Beacon Hill.