Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

“Lord, spare the green and take the ripe!”” promise that was given in that hour of grief and Dunsmuir called aloud, from his watch on the humiliation Philip might safely trust, and with dam. He stood about the middle when the his contrite joy began the work of reparation heart of it burst, and the lake went out in one vast arc of solid water. The better part of the Hardly had the cañon household torn down work remained as a bridge, spanning the aw- its garlands and buried its dead, when Norrisful rupture. On that bridge he was seen one son's telegrams were signaling, east, west, and instant and then he was gone. Even as the south, for men and materials for the rebuilding swollen waters rėnt their imperfect vesture of of the dam, And Philip's orders were to receive stone and mortar, so his soul cast off its mortal the stuff, and straightway to reorganize the lendings: the man and his work were one. work. When the new chief (made so by his

In twenty minutes from the bursting of the father's command, with no words wasted) went dam the lake was empty. And as the swollen to the manager to talk over the plan for the river thrashed and sobbed and rocked itself to foundation, Norrisson replied: rest in its old channel again, that small, cold “Excavate! Get down to that rock if you laugh was heard, distinctly syllabled, in the sink to hell

. This is Dunsmuir's dam.” And echo of the mournful wave that broke beneath never did Philip hear another word of acknowthe ruined dam.

ledgment from his father's lips. Norrisson's

way was not the way of talk. XXI.

“But the high water,” Philip objected. Dolly walked the empty house from room “ Turn the river over the waste-weir." to room, under festal doorways hung with flags “But, great heaven, the cost !” and silly emblems, between mantels banked “ I 'll take care of the cost. If the Englishwith flowers, breathing the sickly scent of men are going to lie down, let them be quick wilted wild syringa, crowded into pots in the about it; I can take my bonds elsewhere. I cold, drafty fireplaces. It was a chill spring walked the floor on that first scheme, now it's morning, but no one had thought to build a their turn. If they want this thing, they 'll have fire. The house had a haggard, bedizened to pay first and talk afterward." look — a stare of homeless expectancy. In the In that crisis Philip came to know his father. kitchen Jenny was setting forth breakfast for The man was simply a force, devoid of memthe men, hastily chosen from the heaped dain- ory, of conscience, or of ruth. He was nothing ties that now were funeral baked-meats. The hampered by the past nor daunted by the future. tents and all the camp outfit were strewn for Hesaw only the hole in the dam, which he swore miles down the valley.

should be stopped before the crops withered. Word had come from below that Philip had “You keep your hand on the throttle, and signaled his safety, but could not cross, as all the I'll shove in the coal,” he said. And Philip boats were loose, and the ford was roaring. But guided, and his father fed the fires of the work. toward evening he came, bringing Margaret Men, teams, powder, a costly electric plant, with him; and Job's wife was a widow. They timber, stone, mortar, and cement, were hurled had snatched the old man in his blankets and into the cañon, as fuel for those fires that burned carried him, half insensible, to the mesa, when by day and by night, without one hour's cessathe wave went down. He had not survived the tion, till the hole in the dam was stopped —and shock and the exposure, but passed away in the the crops were not yet withered. And Norrisnight, Margaret watching by him alone, while son's exultation passed all bounds : it was the Philip went on down the submerged valley, measure of his previous unspoken chagrin. carrying assistance to the fleeing settlers. “ Perhaps you thought you were working up

No lives were lost but those two most closely here before," he bragged to Dunsmuir's exbound up in the history of the work : but in the assistant. “ Now you know what I mean by track of the wave, fields were buried and houses work. I should have let Dunsmuir go ahead were gutted or swept away; and a heavy tale of with his own plan in the first place, if I could damages piled up against the company, besides have driven the work; but he would n't let the immediate claims on private benevolence. me drive, and he would n't drive himself. If

It was not likely that Dunsmuir's dam would he had been in charge here now, he 'd have ever be forgotten. Dolly's pride was as low as refused to do anything till the river wen! the dam; but her sympathies had spread like down; and then our stock would have been the waters. She was sister to all who owed to as low as the river. No, sir; an Englishman them their losses. Never was she to speak of does n't know the meaning of the word time.' the work again without remembering that it Having done the work, and satisfied his pride, had failed; never to boast the benefits of her and boasted like the son of Tydeus, he profather's great scheme without recalling the ceeded to do honor to the vanquished dead. wave of destruction that went before. And the Out of his own pocket, as though the expense

TO THE MEMORY OF

WHO DESIGNED

were naught (how that pocket was filled has ful hazel-gray eyes. With his finger he follows been hinted, but the thing could not be sworn the raised letters of the inscription; and the to), he superadded to the parapet of the dam a pair might well have been in the sculptor's tier of open arches on each side of the roadway mind when he designed the niche: Margaret, from the head-works, or “ poise," to the waste keeper of the past, and Philip's child, coheir weir. At the spot where Dunsmuir handed in and co-worker in the future. his resignation one arch was raised above the And the words the boy will one day read others and converted into a niche, wherein was are these: placed a bronze mural tablet, with a sculptured seat beneath. He did not meddle here with the ROBERT DUNSMUIR, M. INST. C. E., design, nor did he build in haste, for he was not “placing" this work; it was his present to pos

THESE WORKS FOR IRRIGATION,

1874-1891. terity, conceived in a spirit of reparation as extravagant as his pride.

I will even make a way in the wilderness, and While this demonstration was going forward rivers in the desert. in honor of her father, Dolly offered not a word. Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; Philip understood well her silence; he felt, with yet that valley shall be filled with water. her, the insolence of his father's complacent trib

But Margaret takes no cognizance of these ute to the man he had first broken and then haughty promises. The text from which she bought. He also understood that she endured reads the story of the ditch, the one she will for the sake of the living what she would have rather teach the boy to read it by, is this : rejected for the dead. Neither could he protest, and this strange offering of mixed motives

So then neither is he that planteth anything, added its significance to the story of the ditch. neither he that watereth ; but God that giveth

the increase. “Fifty years from now it will not matter," Philip comforted himself. Yes; in less than fifty The ideal scheme is ever beckoning from the years, in less than five. The great dam with its West; but the scheme with an ideal record is crown of sculptured arches stood there as solid yet to find—the scheme that shall breed no as the hills, the lake above, the spreading waters murmurers, and see no recreants; that shall below, telling its own story. Noone supplied the avoid envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitamercifulomission or enforced the lesson. Jacob bleness; that shall fulfil its promises, and pay who tempted, Esau who sold, for that he was its debts, and remember its friends, and keep weary and faint with fasting long afield — the itself unspotted from the world. Over the children of those very human fathers were hu- graves of the dead, and over the hearts of the man also; they loved, and humble love forgave living, presses the cruel expansion of our counwhat proud principle condemned. As for their try's material progress: the prophets are conworld, it was busy gathering the new wealth founded, the promise withdrawn, the people which the watershadsown; ithad notimetothink imagine a vain thing. Men shall go down, the who built the ditch or how. There was the water. deed arrives; not unimpeachable, as the first

On a fair spring evening, when the lake holds proud word went forth, but mishandled, shorn, the glory of the sky reflected in its depths, and stained with obloquy, and dragged through an old woman may sometimes be seen seated crushing strains. And those that are with it in sidewise in the niche, supporting on her ample its latter days are not those who set out in the knee a young child who is just beginning to beginning. And victory, if it come, shall border stand alone. He has bright hair and wonder- hard upon defeat.

Mary Hallock Foote.

[ocr errors]
[graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[graphic][subsumed][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[graphic]

HEN one studies the architecture. One of the first planters in the

vegetationofthe west- Santa Clara region was wont to say, “ I have ern coast of the con- given up trying to find what I can grow on my tinent, it is found to be land, but I should like to know if there is anyundergoing manyand thing that I cannot grow.” There are, howsurprising changes. ever, an infinite number of differences in the Native plants have same valley, or even on the same farm, and the

been destroyed in key to the fascinating contradictions of Calisome districts in order that exotic plants of fornia plant life is to be found only in the native commercial value might take their places. flora. Exotic plants have escaped from cultivation, California astonished the botanical world and are familiar denizens of roadsides and ra- long before it began to play much of a part vines. The soil and climate of California are in politics or business. Neé, the botanist, so friendly to plant life that only a botanist can was at San Diego and Monterey a hundred give a list of the species already naturalized, years ago, and his collections are still to be or another list of the species from all parts of seen at Madrid. Dr. Menzies, whose portfolios the world that might easily become wild here are partly at Kew, partly at the British Muif they had the chance.

seum, spent several seasons on the coast a few Out of all this arises a curiously complex and years after Neé. David Douglas, one of the interesting result -- as if a thousand grafts of most devoted and successful of botanical exmodern garden art were already set in native plorers, reached the Pacific coast in 1825. stocks to produce in due season more varied Nuttall sent his herbarium to Harvard Univerand wonderful results. In other States the ex- sity. Pickering, Hartweg, Coulter, and others otic elements remain exotic, mere pot-growers were early in the field. None of them were in conservatories; here they have equal rights more typical investigators than the late Dr. C. to the soil. Giant redwoods and oaks belong C. Parry, who first crossed the country with the to the earlier wilderness, and to the California Mexican Boundary Commission. At intervals, of the pioneers; but the orchards of olive and for forty years after, he was a familiar figure orange are the creation of an age of intensive to hunters, prospectors, mountaineers, and all horticulture. The border-land between realm sorts of outdoor people from the Arizona desof orchard and realm of wild forest is full of erts to the Siskiyou pine forests. undeveloped possibilities, new forms of land- So early were collectors in the region, and scape gardening, new harmonies of plants with so universal was the interest felt in Europe over the new plants of the Pacific coast, that many trees of sequoias and other superb conifers were planted in the parks of England, France, and Italy long before the discovery of gold. Wealthy Californians, as early as 1855, visiting Europe, were surprised to find how popular were the brilliant annuals, flowering shrubs, vines, and trees of their own State. Returning, they often urged neighbors to cultivate more of the native plants, but with little effect. In Alameda County, a plain, uneducated Englishwoman of Lancashire yeoman stock was one of the first persons in all California to make a home garden of wild flowers from field and hill. I remember in my boyhood the passionate devotion that she showed to this pursuit.

“It do be the best land the sun ever shone on,” she declared, “for poor folk to have a garden."

The first botanists recognized many and strange contradictions in California plant life; more complete knowledge has only emphasized this feature. Very glorious are the superb flowering shrubs of the desert plateaus, such as Fouquiera, the Fremontia, and numerous acacias. Around the old missions, naturalized long ago, is the fragrant Farnese acacia of southern Europe. Agaves, cacti, palms, and yuccas grow in the Mojave and Colorado deserts, and species of conifers allied to Mexican species hang to the barren mountains. The Coast Range, the Sierras, and the great interior valley of the State present widely different botanical features from those of the extreme south or of the desert district. Little of the Rocky Mountain influence, or of that of the Puget Sound and Oregon region, is manifest in the California flora, and it is connected only remotely with the flora of the Mississippi valley or the Atlantic slope. Species of the Portulaca family are very numerous on the Pacific coast, and the Composita really seem to make the bulk of the field and hillside flowers at all seasons of the year. Next to the Composita must rank the lilies in their innumerable subdivisions. Lupines and clovers are also well represented. On the other hand, very few asters, goldenrods, lobelias, milkweeds, or gentians are found in California. would be easy to give lists of plants whose nearest relatives are Asiatic, Mexican, or South American, and of others hardly represented outside of California ; but the purpose of this paper is less technical, and more universal. It deals with those features that are most striking, and most characteristic of the region.

Chief among the native species are the conifers, and the sequoias are easily first in the class. That most painstaking investigator, Dr. Asa Gray, who gave evidence over and over again that the Pacific coast vegetation possessed for him a perennial charm, tells us in one A MIDDLE-AGED REDWOOD TREE, CAZADERO, CAL. of his graphic papers how the two sequoias, that the redwoods of these three localities are sole living representatives of fossil species that in reality three different species. once grew within the arctic circle, were pushed I remember a typical outpost group of redsouth along Coast Range and Sierras, were cut woods on the trail from Cazadero to Guereoff from retreat, and therefore perished every- ville. Seven or eight trees stand on one side of where except where soil and climate fostered the road and nine on the other; their curving them. Hence the isolated forests of the giants branches, interlocking, form an immense arbor

[graphic]

ENGRAVED BY S. G. PUTNAM.

a

[graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small]

of a prehistoric age, scattered as sequoia isl- of a thousand feet in circumference, and more ands in the midst of hundreds of square miles than two hundred feet to the apex. They grow of pines, cedars, and spruces.

on the end of a long promontory thrust out In the minds of many lovers of forests the from the golden slopes of the higher ridges to true redwood sequoia of the coast is a finer the eastward, where hosts of deciduous oaks tree than the famous “big tree,” the sequoia are scattered as wisely as if planted by some of the Sierra. It is almost as large as the latter, landscape-gardener ; the promontory drops and far more graceful in stem and foliage, while downward in long, easy slopes, ever more and its habits of growth are unique among the coni- more thickly clad with yellow pine, Douglas fers of the world.

spruce, libocedrus, and scattered redwoods, till The redwood can be studied to advantage it descends to the dark cañon's depths, black in three places: along the banks of mountain with unbroken redwood forests. Golden grass rivers, such as the Gualala, where it grows to and scattered oaks shine in open vistas part an enormous size, occupying the entire valley way down the slope, and serve to isolate the almost to the total exclusion of other trees; in solitary group of redwoods by a mile or two from high cañons near the ocean, where the whole their fellows. Young redwood-trees, sprouting expanse of the redwood forest can be seen rising from the roots, make a dense and spicy thicket in slopes and terraces to the clouds; and lastly, about them, and half conceal the great shafts on the rounded summits of the mountains, that uphold in the wilderness this shelter that where the sea-fog ceases, and the outposts of an army might camp underneath. the redwood forest press into the land of the The place is fifteen hundred feet above the oaks and the laurels. One can easily believe sea, and, as one looks eastward, the physical

« AnteriorContinuar »