« ZurückWeiter »
water. “Why, when papa was baby's age decorate the artificial stream side. The there was a day when company was ex water mysteriously appears from an aperpected and the then baby was all dressed ture in the wall and as mysteriously disup-" and grandma is fairly launched in
appears through a similar aperture. delightful reminiscences.
Little need to know the mechanics of the Baby's papa and mamma take a vaca thing—it is moving water. That is tion and go either to the sea shore or the enough and there is always a crowd about mountains. It to the mountains both the exhibit gazing with absorbed interest. mamma and papa demand that there shall Throughout literature, whether it be be a running stream in the immediate sacred or profane, if the acme of desirneighborhood—the same old characteris- ability is to be indicated, moving water tic showing its dominating influence. enters into the description. The children They, perhaps, go to the seashore and of Israel at the end of their wanderings then the ocean is interesting because of were to be led into a good land, a land the ceaseless motion of the waves. On of brooks of water, of fountains and very still days the interest is low, but let depths that spring out of valleys and the breakers be running high and their hills." interest is redoubled. Baby is most So I would chant the praises of the pleased when the edge of the wave streams of California, the moving waters rushes up the beach only to fall back of our mountains and valleys. To the again. He fees from it in hysterical glee connoisseur in streams, each has its indi- . in its upward rush and valiantly pursues viduality so I might take them individit when the retreat comes.
To all ot ually and sing their praises, as their name them, consciously or unconsciously, it is is legion. moving water. That the atavistic charac Yes, the streams, the flowing waters of teristic is strong in all of them is the point the Coast Range of mountains of Calito note.
fornia are beautiful and satisfy the racial Have you ever been at some great ex passion well and generously. position? If you have, you will remem No doubt this passion, characteristic, is ber that the crowd gathered thickest when strong in the human soul. Atavism? Who and where the fountains play. Moving knows? waters!
An item in the reviewing of the history Go, view the various exhibits. Here
of the development of the race in the deis one where running water is used. A velopment of the individual. Again, who stream bed perhaps is made of cement knows? The facts are before you make and rocks. Ferns and waving grasses
your own conclusions.
Men or Gods ?
Is Life Nothing But a Greek Tragedy?
By Ella Sterling Mig hels
Author of “Story of the Files," and "Literary California."
LOOKED at Rosamonde. There was something in the expression of
her steel-black eyes that was baffling. Despite the clinging folds of her orange satin gown, the jewels that flashed about her throat, and the splendor of her piled-up raven's wing of hair, there was still the infantine look about her that I had known when she was a child going to school in San Francisco. She was now a New Yorker, living in lavish luxury, and I as usual, was a wanderer on the face of the earth and always hunting up the old Californians wherever I might be.
Her husband came running back for something he had forgotten. He was a. handsome fellow, as fair as she was dark, clean shaven with a mop of curling hair, and with a manner, confident and assuring. Again he kissed her thrice in farewell, and went off with a wave of his hand to me.
As the whirring sound of the automobile filled the air and then faded into the distance, I could feel the space around us in the room, hurling with invisible arrows of resentment, and see the Aash of fire in Rosamonde's eyes.
"Life has treated you very well,". I ventured.
"Life is nothing but a Greek tragedy!" she returned with suppressed passion.
“My dear child!” I exclaimed, “you are morbid; you need a change. It is only because you are so young and you find it hard to give up your illusions that you speak so. You know we women all have to pass through that stage. But the day will come when you will laugh over the things that now make you weep."
“I doubt it,” she returned, “not as long as there are men on earth–I hate them all. They were put into this world simply to make us suffer. All the women I meet
here have the same story to tell—I am not the only one,” "But you have no cause—he kissed
you three times,” I protested.
“Oh, that's just a habit-just as he puts on his hat before he goes out it doesn't mean anything!"
“My dear child, don't talk like that, you are not well”
“No, and I don't think I ever will be again. There is nothing to live for. Howard no longer cares for menot half as much as he does for his automobile.
Bit by bit I gleaned the tale of his vivid climb up the modern beanstalk of Fortune, via Wall Street. He was so engrossed in his daily excitements of business and speeding that he had become a changed man. She felt she did not know him, that he was as far away from her as if he were dwelling in another world.
“There must be some mistake. You grew up in your father's library. You know more about ancient tales than you do about the modern world. remember when you were a little girl, how you used to be going over those books of his, more acquainted with gods and goddesses than with children of your own age. May be it is you who are far away from him?"
"Well, there was one story there that I am thinking of all the time.”
"You see that is hardly fair to him, is it?"
“Wait till I tell you. It's about a Hin
“My dear, that was thousands of years ago—and we are living in America, in modern time"
“Wait! Let me tell you. It is just as true today. Her name was Damaynati. I often think of her,” she said, mourn
fully. "Her husband, King Nala, fell till my father had that under a spell, as bad as anything on had converted it into a road upon which Wall Street. In his madness he gambled heavy mule and ox-teams could pass. away everything he had, just like on Wall And then I told her how the snows on the Street. He lost his throne, his jewels, his Sierra peaks would melt suddenly and, very clothes, and hers--till they had but tearing down the mountain-sides, would one garment left between them—a kind savagely wrest away the road he had of a blanket to cover them—and finally made, and turn it into a raging river, full even that was lost to the game of chance. of boulders where before had been none, And in shame he ran away and deserted and wipe out any semblance of a passher. I often think of her, and how she ageway between those great shoulders of followed and sought him all in vain for earth. years, by the help of her father and her
I assured her that when my little friends. At last she learned that he was
brother and I used to go forth hand in among the gods, disguised as one of them, hand, and gaze on the awful ruins, where and serving them as a charioteer; and she
were holes as big as a house dug out by went to him and broke the spell that
the devastating flood, we used to be held him and got him back once more. frightened to think of living where such a Little did I think when I used to read that mighty force could burst out at any story that I should learn to know how springtime, and wonder where our father she felt. But Damayanti was more for
would move to, now that everything had tunate than there is no breaking the
come to an end. spell of an automobile."
“But," I said, “my father was greater "But-" I began.
than the forces of fierce Nature. He “Yes, I know,” she said, resentfully. would lead his men out, just as if he were “We have everything that heart could going to fight a mighty battle; and he wish.” Then she arose and paced the would drive the river before him like a room like a panther in a cage. “Isn't it boy would drive a cow to pasture. He true? Don't you agree with me in your would command it to lie in the bed he heart? Isn't life a Greek tragedy, and had made for it, and cut out a new road aren't the men all devils?"
from the opposite side of the mountain "Rosamonde, don't be so weird," I pro just as if he had been a god at work. tested. “Of course not!
Life is a very
"And think, Rosamonde," I continued, pretty and interesting little game. As for trying to change her thoughts, “think of the men-well, I have known some of
the superb prowess of those beings who them who were more like gods than have cut through and broken the back devils."
of winter, up at the summit of the mighty She burst into a fit of laughter that Sierra Nevadas, and how they have was terrible to hear and I saw that she thrown the way open for two rails and a had reached the limit of her endurance. magic engine to carry one over in four or I put my arms around her and presently five days where it used to take six months she was weeping with her proud head to reach the West. And don't you want humbled like that of a little child and
to go home with me, next week, to Calilying on my breast.
fornia and stay there with me for a I pressed her to me and bade her re while? You belong out there, you know; member her own father and his greatness that is your land. No wonder you are of character; and her grandfather who dying of longing for it." had pioneered it across the plains in '49 The tension was relaxed. She smiled and wrought like a giant in the early days with her old-time infantine expression and to help in the building of the State. I tried to shake the diamonds from her began to tell her of what I had seen with lashes. my own eyes, of the prowess of the men "Oh, yes, it would be delightful—like in those bygone times. I described to her going to heaven," she said. “Just to the gulch where I had lived in childhood, smell the tang of our old Pacific, out at and how it had been the bed of a river the Seal Rocks again—and to go to the
as a man.
top of glorious old Tamalpais. Do you I tried to rally her. know I walked up when I was a little “I'm geting to be a weakling," she girl? But now you ride up; And to see confessed. “I who used to be as brave the brown velvet hillsides once more. I
If I did not love him so I love it when it is like that! And then would not care if I did find out he was when the rains come in December and glad to get rid of me. The best thing that the green covers everything--and the could happen to me would be to learn to poppies—” The childish tears fell down hate him. I can't think of anything else, her cheeks unrestrained.
morning, noon and night.” Then she Then it was that her husband returned, smiled wistfully. “Maybe he might come for a drizzle had put an end to his ride. to miss me if I were away for a while. He seemed surprised to see his wife show- Yes, the best thing is for me to go." I ing such emotion over the memories of left her to attend to some matter down her childhood and laughed at the idea. town for our journey.
When I suggested taking her home with As the taxi went on its way, I was me, he assented at once. When I urged taken by surprise to hear
taken by surprise to hear Howard's voice him to take a rest from his business
calling me, and there he was running cares and go with us, he shrugged his with all his might and waving to me to shoulders and smiled. I could begin to
stop and take him in. understand the implacable will that lay "Can't you get away on tonight's beneath all that quietness of manner. train ?" he asked. “There are reasons
“Why do you not move to California why it would be better in every way." and settle there?" I demanded, boldly,
I looked at him coldly and let him feel for Rosamonde's sake. "You have for
my disapproval. tune enough to last the rest of your life "It is hard enough to get away at all." if only you would be prudent. You could
I said. “Rosamonde's spirit is hardly have a delightful home out there."
equal to the long journey, at the best." Rosamonde was gazing at him fixedly He got in beside me and argued the with all her soul in her eyes. But he point. showing irritation in the way he bit broke the spell by holding up his hand his lips and moved his hands. in protest and saying in that assured way
"I know, but when you hear what I of his from which there was no appeal.
have to say, you
It “None of that for mine! Why, there are
would save her from hearing the worst. no roads out there and life would not be
The fact is I have been on the brink of worth living if I could not speed my way
ruin for some months and I have managed about everywhere and knew everyone as
to stave it off hoping to win it all back I do here. But let Rosy go—she'll soon be wanting to come back again. There's
again by dropping everything in after it. no place in the world like good old New
I thought I was going to wintill an hour York."
ago. But everything has gone to smash
and I am absolutely ruined.” And that was his ultimatum.
He said it all so coldly that I was dazed
and did not believe my ears. We were preparing for our journey, "Here!" he said, and he took off the Rosamonde and I. But the day before flashing ring from his hand, and drew we were to leave I found her in such a out his diamond sleeve-links and also his state of panic that I doubted if she were beautiful time-piece and heavy chain and strong enough to attempt the journey. nushed them into my hand. From his
“He is acting very strangely,” she nocket he took his book and gave me his said. “I don't believe he wants me to last greenback, and running his hand come back-ever. He says for me to sell through all his pockets gathered in all everything—that we won't want to keep he had to the last piece of silver. “Now, house again—to take everything with me
get away as soon as possible." that I wish to keep and I am afraid to “But Rosamonde—she will want to see
I'm sure I'll never see him again if I do."
“No, I should be ashamed I couldn't
stand it,” he exclaimed. “I can never up the road, bringing swirling clouds of look her in the face again.”
alkali along with them that almost conIn awe I gazed at him. “But, Howard, cealed them all from sight, animals, what is to become of you? What are you
wagons and drivers. going to do?"
"To think of breathing that all day," He smiled, game to the last. “Oh, I exclaimed Rosamonde, “how can they do can be a chauffeur for somebody," he it, I wonder ?” said, with a shrug, jumped down from
“They are gods," I replied oracularly, the taxi, waved his hand to me as assur
“or they are mighty men, which is the ingly as ever, and disappeared.
"I suppose they are doing it for the
sake of some loved one, to keep the wolf Where does the strength come from
away from the door," she said, musingly. that abides in the heart of a woman who
“What better work for men or gods?" is suddenly resurrected from among the
I continued. "Come, shall we be going to dying by the means of a new hope ? To
the next camp?" gether Rosamonde and I sought him Just then a teamster passed by in the everywhere, in by-ways and hedges, in great procession, with his mighty com. the darkness and the day, with advice and bination of three wagons drawn by its without, on the wharves and on the banks ten span of tugging creatures, and he was of the rivers and amongst the dead. After just like the others, a dust-covered automsix months we got an inkling. Someone aton, swinging his long whip, and talking had heard him say he would go to the language that only mules understand. mines and there seek to restore his fallen We were bewildered, however, to see a fortunes. We two fitted it into another wave of the hand that seemed familiar, chance word and then we set out upon
and from amid the jangle of mule-bells, a our deferred journey toward the Great voice cried out, "Hello, how did you get West, together.
here?" As we stepped from the train and went Rosamonde gave a great cry and ran to take our way in the stage for a rough forward and threw herself upon the man pull out into the wilderness, Rosamonde, of dust.
The mules came to a stop, clad in corduroy, walked by my side with though the bells still rang out merrily, as an eager light in her eyes, insensible to if for a wedding, and her husband kissed the chill of the early morning. After a her thrice. day and a night of being hurled along "There isn't a spare bed in camp," he over dreary roads, we came to a scattered said, “and I have to sleep in the corral little settlement. It was all raw and crude with the mules. You can't stay in this and primitive—not a place for a man or
God-forsaken place." a woman to lay his or her head save on “No place is God-forsaken where you the ground. But she cared nothing for she replied. all this. We stood and watched the I understood though he did not, of mighty work of these eager men who had
In her eyes he was serving as burrowed into the earth everywhere in a charioteer for the gods in this disguise, search of the gold that was to crown their in all his might and prowess. "Take me heads as so many kings of success. along with you," she said, "and I will do
We two asked everywhere amongst this the cooking." army of restless workers for a clue to the
The following day I left her there, and missing man. There was
she is happy, rearing a brood of sturdy turned away disheartened. Even she be
children, out in a gulch of the great Sierra gan to lose hope.
Nevadas. But then Rosamonde is a “To think he should not have known daughter of the mighty pioneers, otherme better,” she murmured, “for I can wise "gods of a bygone day," and it runs thrive under such hardships as these" in her blood not to be able to live in the
Vaguely and listlessly we noted the cities, but to make a home in the great twenty-mule teams coming in from wilderness.