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words for rock, and sky, and picture, and across the valley, the windows and spires of the names of her brothers and sisters. The San José sparkle into sight, and the bay mother, leaning on the railing of the rough reveals itself
, a streak of silver in the far balcony above, smiled down at me and distance. There is no chorus of birds to counted them on her fingers—six in all— break the stillness. and then crossed both hands on her breast The first morning sounds I remember with a proud and gentle gesture of triumph noticing as peculiar to the place came up to in the possession of the six. The cheerful- us from a camp of Chinamen, happily out ness of the whole family,-brown, ragged, of sight, below the hill,—a cackling of disill-fed, sickly and numerous as they were,– cordant voices and a brazen beating and a cheerfulness which implied no hope or drumming which was explained to me even understanding of anything better, was as the Chinese cook's signal for breakfast, the saddest thing in the whole of that warm, beating on a frying-pan. Half an hour sunny desolation,
later came the long ringing call of the Early morning at New Almaden is worth seven o'clock whistle from the nearest getting up betimes to see. Sometimes the shaft-house. Still later, a rustling and tinkvalley is like a great lake filled with billows ling among the live-oak boughs, which of fog,-pearly white billows, tumbling and screen the trail, announced the panadero surging with noiseless motion. It is more from the Mexican camp. His gray mule as if the clouds had all fallen out of the sky, pushed her way out from the scrub, with the leaving its blue intensity unbroken, and great bread-baskets swinging, one on either heaping the valley with fleecy whiteness. side, their canvas covers damp with dew. On windy mornings, the fog rolls grandly out The panadero sat in front serenely smokto sea along the defiles of the triple chain of ing a cigarette; a little bell tinkled at the hills; when there is no wind, it rises and mule's bridle. I was half sorry when we drifts in masses over the mountains, making became a well-regulated household with the clear sunlight hazy for a moment before bread of our own baking, for then no panadissolving into it. After the rains, when the dero stopped at the gate on the foggy mornmorning air has a frosty crispness, the ings, and went swaying and tinkling up the mountains are outlined in sharp, dark blue trail. against a sky of reddish-gold; even the tops I was not encouraged to investigate that of the distant red-woods may be traced, camp of Chinamen below the hill, but once “ bristling strange, in fiery light,” along the we went to “ China Sam's” to buy a lanhorizon. As the sun lifts its head, the dark tern. Like “ Taffy,” he wasn't “home” blue hills flush purple, long shadows stream (there is another respect in which most
Chinamen are said to resemble “Taffy "), Chinaman tried to get his place by underbut his wife was. She seemed not more hand means. Sam carefully noted his movethan fourteen years old—a mere child with ments; there was a journey to San José, which the smallest hands. She carried a baby ended badly for the other Chinaman, and slung at her back in the folds of a dark-red not too well for Sam, as he was tried soon after silk scarf, which was crossed over her breast. for murder. He spent a few months in jail, The baby had a tiny black cap worked with but he had only killed another Chinaman, and embroidery on its head,--a chubby little he was an excellent cook, probably a much thing, fast asleep, swaying from side to side better one than his rival,—so he was finally as the small mother trotted about. She acquitted. Two or three years ago he sent examined my dress, hands and ornaments, to China for his wife ; she excused herself and, pointing to her baby, put her fingers on from coming on the plea of being too old her under teeth and held up two fingers to for so long a journey, and sent this young tell me it had two teeth. Whenever I tried girl instead. Sam says his young wife is to say anything to her she laughed and “heap fool! Allee time play chile (with said, “ No sabe.” She was very delicately the child]!” and he beats the “ chile” beformed, her hands small as a child's, and cause it is a girl. perfect in shape, yet when she took one of mine to look at a ring which had caught Toward the close of the dry season, her eye, I felt uncomfortable at the touch when brown and dusty August burns into of those slim, tawny fingers. She offered a browner, dustier September, a keen rememcigar to my companion, which he accepted brance of all cool, watery joys takes posses
and held carefully, but as we left the house, sion of one's thoughts. The lapping of I noticed that he tossed it into the bushes. ripples in pebbly coves, the steady thump
In an inner closet where the day was of oars in row-locks, the smell of appleshut out, we saw the glimmer of candle- blossoms on dampspring evenings, old light on some brilliantly colored papers on mill-races mossy and dripping, the bleating the wall. This was the family altar.
of frightened lambs at a sheep-washing and Several years ago Sam was head cook at the hoarse, stifled complaint of their mothers the boarding house on the “ Hill." Another mingled with the rushing of the stream,
--all these once common sounds and sights haunt the memory. Every day the dust-cloud grows thicker in the valley, the mountains fade almost out of sight against a sky which is all glare without color; below were transformed by the light into a dry wind searches over the bare, brown level bars of color like a horizontal hills for any lingering drop of moisture the rainbow sweeping across the entire valley; sun may have left there; but morning and above it the mountains rose; a wonderful evening still keep a spell which makes one variety of constantly changing hues made forget the burden of the day. At sunset the them look like something unreal. Then dust-cloud in the valley becomes a bar of there came a sudden darkening of the color stretching across the base of the lower part of the mountains so that the sunmountains, deep rose and orange, shading lit peaks seemed to float in the air above by softest gradations into cool blue. I the bars of sun-colored dust, with a strip remember one sunset especially. The of cool shadow between. All is quiet; as clouds of dust rolling up from the valley in the morning, no birds chirp and twitter
themselves to sleep; the stillness is only broken by the dull throbbing of the engine like a stifled breath in the distant shaft-house.
Every evening repeats this silent symphony of color, and every day it seems like something one has dreamed of. The rose and orange and blue have faded into the same dull, gray pall, which, to the valley stretched beneath, is never anything more; only those who see it from the hills know that sometimes this pall is a robe of glory.
We rode home one evening across the low, bare hills beyond the Mexican camp. It was during the “ earth-shock weather” (as the miners call those last, dry, lurid weeks before the early rain-fall), and one of the dull, red sunsets, peculiar to that season, had been flaming on the sky and mountains; its lingering glow colored the edge of the early moonlight. The soil here
has a vermilion tinge, which is stronger after camp in the cañon. They are fine at a sundown; it was intensified that evening distance, but I did not fully appreciate by the flush in the sky. There was no them until a troop came down the trail one positive light or shadow, only a pink glow morning, in charge of an old Mexican, and spreading over all the wide landscape, ex- stopped at our gate. I could then study cept where the cañon held its glooms, and the delightful intricacy of their pack-sadabove it a young moon slowly brightened dles, the clumsy leather breeching, the in a sky of twilight blue. It was in senti- cruel “cincho," the knots and ends and ment like William Morris's poetry. I al- lacings of leather string, the bits of colored ways think of it as the “land east of the cloth escaping from the padding, and the sun, and west of the moon." While the different phase of depression each mule moon is young and her light faint and pale, exhibited under its burden. one can scarcely mark the time when the The wood is fastened with ropes in two lingering twilight passes into the soft, dim great bundles, one on either side, giving radiance that spreads like a spell over the the mule from front or rear, the appearance valley, across part of which lies the shadow of an animated wood-pile. Three hundred of a mountain. We cannot see the moon pounds makes a load or carga." Two itself, only its light. The mountains op- Mexicans came with the mules, drove them posite remain always shrouded in silence into the yard and unloaded the wood. I and mystery. But when nights come for felt glad to see the weary burden fall the full moon the place is a paradise: in from those “ galled jades.” I was on the the foreground the winding trails with black piazza watching them; when I asked the masses of shadow from the clumps of live-elder of the men how much to pay for the oak crossing them, the dark mountain lines wood, he told me in broken English ; and rising grandly on every side, the mysteri- as he was below,—the piazza on that side ous depths of the canons, the lights of the being high above the yard,—he untolled a Mexican camp scattered over the hills, red silk handkerchief from his neck, made the closer clustered lights of the Cornish it into a ball and tossed it up. The maid camp on the lower range, the wide, dim came out and rolled the money up in it valley below, and the far-off barrier of and tossed it down. He was an old man mountains.
with a face the color of chocolate and with
shaggy gray hair. He smiled and looked like something inhuman in his gaunt
A Mexican brought our wood-of course a Chinaman chopped
The first one who came was, it seems, not equal to the emergency; 1 heard some one shouting to him from the window in a language which struck me as a kind of profane and hardened baby-talk:
“You heap no good, John. What for you no catchum saw ?-me no have
got-You go catch At this season every one is storing up
Come back to-mollow !" wood in anticipation of the winter rains. “ Allee light!” John said, and departed Every day a train of loaded mules winds with a smiling face. Next morning another over the hills from the “wood-packers'” came who had succeeded in catching a saw.
It is very interesting to see the Mexican down from the sycamore-trees, although, for boys, “ Muchachos,” and their donkeys con- a wonder, the afternoon was very still. A gregated around the store at six in the morn- red sunset was burning itself out on the ing, or climbing the trail. Often two little mountains and the valley was filled with fellows will ride one donkey with a bag of ashen shadows. I cannot tell how dreary flour in front. The donkeys are used to it was, and yet with half humorous tone “pack”•water to the Mexican camp. You in the recollection, I thought of the line: see them every morning and evening patiently
" Drink, weary pilgrim, drink and pray.”
climbing or descending the trail with buckets When summer passes into winter a new of water on each side. A procession of half phase of the climate is experienced. Morna dozen will be driven by a man or boy ing and evening we are wrapped in fog mounted on one behind. The donkeys that blows in wildly from the sea, fills the and mules in their picturesque trappings valley and rises until we are muffled in its are in fact the great feature of the place. chill whiteness. Going out for a walk after The wood-packers and water-carriers are as breakfast, I seem to be the only person in fine as anything in the Orient.
the whole world. It is impossible to deThere is a little spring by the road-side-scribe the curious feeling it gives one to merely a barrel sunk in the ground; over- walk in this veiled landscape. I pass along head is a shaggy bank with gray roots the edge of steep ravines and know that on projecting in light, deep shadows falling ahead, where the road goes out of sight over the water. Above is the mountain- around a bend of the mountain, lies a great
a side, below the wide outlook across the stretch of valley and mountain, but it is all valley to the coast range opposite. Here a blank white wall everywhere. It is always I saw one afternoon an old donkey, stand- very still here (except just in the camps ing perfectly motionless looking into the where children are playing in the streets) and pool. He was unsaddled, but his back the fog seems to deaden what little sound showed the galled places his burdens had there usually is. The silence then is complete. made. His ears and under-lip drooped. There were a few dead leaves dropping What strange Christmas weather at New