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Almaden-wild and bright but soft as wirdy | suggested a reference to some wish of the days in April! The heavy rains began late, one resting in peace. Many of the plants and the greenness which came with the were weird, tropical-looking things,-a pepfirst fall rains faded for want of encour- per-tree or cactus, or some shrub which may agement.
The valley was touched by have brought up remembrances of a sunnier frost, and this blight, added to the drought, land even than this. Everything was dazmade it look as if a flame had passed over zlingly bright, the air as mild, and the stillit. We had only a few pale wreaths of ness as deep, as in the “hollow lotus-land." fog those clear, windy mornings and they I have seldom felt the sadness of this landfloated low, leaving the mountain line dark scape as on that morning. It is a sadness and sharply outlined against the most which comes from a perpetual lack of sympa. solemn radiant morning sky. The red- | thy between Nature and the pitiful creatures woods on a distant range of hills stood out whom she so grandly and calmly refuses to like spears or furled flags of a marching recognize as her children. The Mexicans army. There is always a distinctly mascu- alone seem to belong to her in a way they line character in this scenery; the mount- have of uniting themselves with their clothes
, ains are ominous, and even when all alight their houses, and even with the country itself. with color they seem to be in the shadow They are not self-asserting and full of perof some impending doom. No matter how sonality as we are; they slip along in a listthe wind may blow here, or the people less, easy way, unfretted, unambitious, graceclatter and cackle in their little houses, the ful, struggling against nothing, accepting light on the mountains is always still, as if all without question. they were part of another world.
On Christmas-eve there was a midnight In Christmas-week I sat on the piazza mass at the “Campo del Mexicana.” I did with broad sun-hat and a gown I wear in not know of it till too late, or I would have June. Stillness and sunshine rested every- gone. On Christmas evening I was left where. The valley was filled with haze. alone for a while. It was a little dreary, The mountains had withdrawn themselves especially after the wind rose and began into fainter outlines against the sky. Col- making noises round the house. As I sat umns of smoke from burning stubble-fields thus over the fire, there were steps and rose and floated away over the valley. On voices outside, then a stillness,—and then Christmas-day I took a long walk, climbed a chorus of children's voices burst out with the bare hill behind the Mexican camp, a Christmas hymn! where there are some lonely graves in According to custom, the singers were stark relief against the broad, blue, smiling invited in. They made a very striking expanse of sky. The skies here, except at group. The children crowded round a small sunrise and sunset, are very unsympathetic.table in the center of the room, where two From this hill, which is up in the very eye candles threw a strong light up into the of the sun, without a tree or rock to break circle of rosy young faces and bright eyes,with a single shadow its broad, pitiless glare, the young men, with their stalwart figures we can look over all the mountains round and voices, making a contrast to the sweet and into the glooms of the deep cañon youthful choir. Two of the elder girls beyond the camp. I remember once seeing helped me pass among the guests an elaboa sketch in a few lines of a knight, stand- rately frosted cake which had been given us ing alone on a hill with rays of the sun (the workmanship of Chinese Sam's subtle around him, as if he were the only man on fingers), and then, after another song, they the round earth. I thought of this picture went away, leaving me in a sort of bewilderas I stood here. But as I turned away from ment as to whether it were not all imaginathe broad light in which the whole country tion. lay in a sort of trance, there were the lonely graves, each with its wooden cross slanted The spring at New Almaden is most by the wind, and its rude fence to keep bewildering ! One week the rain and wind stray donkeys and cows from trampling keep up a tumult round the house ; the next what lay within. I tried to read the Span- we are flooded with sunshine ; flowers are ish inscriptions, but could only make out the names and the formula which all creeds and * Often those who die at New Almaden are buried races cling to : “ Here rests in peace.”
at the Company's expense or by the charity of the Each grave had its vine or flower planted strangers,--only a short time at the mine,—their
neighbors. Many of the graves are those of over it, and the peculiarity of some of them friends unknown or out of reach.
springing up everywhere ; the grass is like a the trail which winds steeply up the hill miracle, growing out of places that looked behind the house and disappears in a dark as if they had been sowed with salt. I go clump of live-oak trees; opposite is a bold every afternoon over the hills in search of spur of the mountains round which winds the wild flowers, and in the morning, before the road from the Hacienda. At sunset I can dew is dried, after mushrooms. They grow see the stage-coach crawling up with its in great profusion, if one can use ch a black leather curtains flapping in the wind, flowery word in reference to the modest horses and driver covered with dust. It is little pink and drab buttons that hide in the the bearer of letters, and therefore the only sod. Buttercups here grow double and are visible link with the world beyond the no prettier on that account. There is a mountains. These mountains are beginning delicate white-and-pink four-petaled flower to have a human expression as I watch with a faint perfume and a long drooping them day after day; they are stern, broodstem—it reminds me of our eastern anemone; ing giants. They make a barrier along and one day I found growing in the clefts the horizon like the tents or fortifications of of a mossy pile of rock a mass of fresh young an immense army, and seem to hold us maiden-hair ferns. I put my face down prisoners. Last night they were wonderful close among them to smell that delicious in the pink sunset light; but they always pungent, growthy smell, mixed with the give me the same feeling, whether dark moist, wholesome breath of the ground. with cloud-shadows or gorgeous in sunlight,
The long, hot, dry “winter of our discon- the sense of a silent irresistible fate—waiting tent” has passed, and this is the “glorious there, patient, unpitying, eternal. summer." Morning-glories were planted We see the lights of distant camp-fires around the piazza, and at the root of an burning after dark on the side of the first old half dead live-oak tree at the foot of mountain range across the valley. Every the yard. There were clumps of purple iris night as twilight closes, we behold them growing near the house. As the season moved shining always in the same place. I used to on we had violets, wild roses, clematis, wonder what lonely men they might be, and blackberry-vines, in profusion. I did not if they could see our light—one little spark, care so much for the great scarlet geranium faint and uncertain like theirs, but human. bushes, though it is very ungrateful. They Now I am told that they are sheep-herders' stood by us bravely all through the dry camps. I asked how many men were toseason, blooming continually. Their red gether? “Generally,” said my friend,“ one flames seemed to defy the sunshine and man alone." He had met them on the would not be put out.
Sierras and found them the most utterly We call our piazza the “quarter-deck,” discouraged men he had ever seen,-men and with its wide outlook and the strong who had been unsuccessful in all other wind that always blows there, I often feel ways. Now when I look at those fires they as if we were at sea. From here I can see seem like signals of distress.
THE POET AND HIS MASTER.
One day the poet's harp lay on the ground,
Then one drew nigh who was all robed in white.
“Why is thy voice
“ Master, forbear. I may not sing to-day:
Alas, and hast thou then so soon forgot The bond that with thy gift of song did goSevere as fate, fixed and unchangeable ? Dost thou not know this is the poet's lot : 'Mid sounds of war-in halcyon times of peaceTo strike the ringing wire, and not to cease : In hours of general happiness to swell The common joy; and when the people cry With piteous voice loud to the pitiless sky, 'Tis his to frame the universal prayer, And breathe the balm of song wide on the accursed air ?"
“ But 'tis not, O my master, that I borrow
“ And dost thou call
To guess what knowledge is, what grief may be,
“And thou who tell'st me this, dost bid me sing?"
“I bid thee sing, even though I have not told
Then shall thy still unbroken spirit grow
four years before, invested all his small WHITTAKER'S SHIP COMES IN.
savings in a whaling vessel sailing out of
the port of New Bedford. News had come POVERTY is always superstitious, if we from the Arctic seas which led to the belief may believe the Bonhomme Béranger, and that the ship was lost. Distress at the loss Whittaker, driven to and fro between a of his property, with the superadded grief growing love for Roxy Adams and an hon- of losing his wife soon after, had caused the est sense of obligation to pay for his educa- death of Whittaker's father. But the son tion, had one superstition. His father had, I had never been quite convinced that the
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