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To play at hide-and-seek where moon-beams sift.
In the pale light, I cannot see the gleam —
Of wild forget-me-nots that star the grass ;

Yet feel their presence in the winds that pass.
Then, like the changing phases of a dream,
Or startling discords in some slumber tune,

I hear the coyotes laughing at the moon.

Los Angeles, Cal.


Some Little Heathens.


15) San



Fles fiss ! Fiss-a / Lock Clod !
Sammo ! Flounner ! "
This is the cry that awakens the
boys and girls who come from the East, or
from the great interior valleys of California,
down to the sea shore at picturesque old
Monterey. It is the cry of the "China fish-
man ' ' Hop Ling. Out from cottage and tent
pops many a head as old Hop calls out
"You kletchum fiss, lady? Him heap live,
velly fles, see?" And a wriggling flounder
is held up for inspection. As he brings
forth from his basket fish after fish, the
boys are at once able to interpret and imi-
tate old Hop's lingo. His leathery features
relax into the blandest of smiles. From these
strangers he will coin many a dollar — and he
invites them to visit his home.

" Me lib Chinatown, heap nice, China baby
velly cute, all same Melican chillen. You
klum ? "
A cluster of redwood shanties huddles close

to the water's edge in a sheltered cove. One need not be told that this is a

" China fish-town." The pungent trade winds are powerless to disguise

the odor of drying fish that greets us. Every available space is covered

with lath frames on which the fish are spread to dry; and also limpets and

leathery abalones, as well as many curious and uncanny forms of animal

life from the sea. On the dry grass are

heaps of dry squids — malodorous

squids — awaiting shipment to China.

Poles are fastened from house to house,

and to these fish are tied by the tail,

where they flap in the wind with

ghastly effect.

What a crowd swarm out of these

shanties to greet us as we enter the

narrow street threading their village !

Men, women, children, chickens and

ducks vie with one another in noisy

greetings. "John " is accustomed to

visitors from this seaside resort and

greets us with a smile that is " child-
like and bland." He at once offers us
his shells and curios ; but when he

falls from " five dolla" to "two-bittee," Mau3ard Collier Eng Co

and we afterward find that he has A coolie baby.


given us a dead shell instead of a live one, we cannot help repeating
Bret Harte.

A pretty little mother invites us into her house, and offers tea in
tiny cups of beautiful china. These coolies drink cold tea instead of
water ; it is not the delicate Pekoe, but a bitter decoction which we can
only make a pretense of tasting. We buy the cups ; and a two-year-
old baby that sits on the table reaches for the teapot. What was bitter
medicine to the American children is evidently nectar to the little
coolie, for he crows with delight as he'swallows his national beverage.

" How do! How do ! " seems to float down from a house-top, and
we look up to find a group of little brown coolies fenced in on the flat
roof of a shanty, while mothers are bnsy cleaning fish on the floor
below. There is a chatter among the mites on the roof, and tiny hands
are reached down in friendly greeting ; but the distance is too great,
and a Chinaman runs up the rickety stairway, opens the gate, and
brings them all down to the group of American children who shake
hands with these comical little brownies. They seem top-heavy as
they waddle around under the weight of a heavy padded blouse, and


sometimes two ; while the only covering to their legs is a pair of thin
cotton trousers reaching a little below the knee. The tiny brown feet
are bare but plump. The hair of the baby boys is pieced out with red
silk thread to make a queue reaching to their knees. The bias eyes
smile up into the faces of the visiting children as the tiny hands are
filled with candy.

A bell rings ; there is a chatter among the Chinese mothers who drop
their fish, come out to their little ones, give some instructions (we
guess) and away the little coolies scamper to a small house standing
apart from the village proper and on higher ground. "You likee go
China school?" we are asked by their interpreter, and we follow.
The school is taught by an American woman, a graduate of Oberlin.
Her work is almost one of charity, and her hope is to convert these
little heathens to Christianity. She cannot speak their language — which
pleases the parents, for the children are sent to school to learn English
that they may make money bye and bye. Under the circumstances
very little discipline can be enforced. The oldest pupils act as inter-
preters, after they can speak English " as she is spoke " by a coolie ;


but [from the 'shouts of laughter that sometimes greet their efforts in
this line, there is a suspicion that the interpretations are not always
literal. The pupils range in age from six months to twelve years.
When this statement is made by the teacher, the sharp eyes of the visit-
ing children begin to peer around for that baby. The teacher calls up
a ten-year-old -girl who seems to have a peculiar hump on her back ;
that hump is the baby — tied on. The mothers must clean fish all day
during the summer, and the babies must be kept out of the way.

Next to the baby is Toy, not yet three years old. He started to
school at the age of ten weeks, a prisoner on the back of his sister. He
is so tiny now that he must have been a mere doll, but when a class of
boys are sent to the board to draw, Toy is the first to reach the chalk-
box and secure his place. They draw possible boats and fish but im-
possible bears and horses.

' ' Teacher ! Teacher ! Good ? ' ' they call out as a horse or bear,
"with a leg at each corner," takes shape. Some one rubs the tail off

Mausard-Collier Eng. Co. THE SCHOOL

Toy's horse ; there is a scream, and Toy's tiny fist lands a blow on
the back of the offender. They settle their school troubles among
themselves in true highbinder fashion. A boy suddenly shoots out
from his desk, gives some other boy a shaking, in spite of the panto-
mime protest of the teacher, and resumes his seat with the blandest of
smiles. Blocks are brought out to amuse the little ones. A small boy
is forming a train of cars which requires all the desk space ; his mate
resents this monopoly, and there is war ; hair pulling, yells, and train-
wrecking bring the teacher, who removes the train-builder to a whole
seat where he proceeds to imitate all the noises known to a well educat-
ed train.

During lunch hour the teacher relates many interesting things. She
once took her little heathens to a neighboring school to hear American
children sing. The next morning she requested her scholars to try to
sing like the Americans. There were shouts of derisive laughter, which
the interpreter explained by saying :


" Melican chillen sing all same cats ! "

It is almost impossible to get a photograph of a coolie. He believes
it shortens his life to spare enough of himself to make his picture ; even
the children dodge the " snap-shot " with aggravating celerity. When
a picture surreptitiously taken of one youngster was finished[and shown
to the amazed original, he indulged in a series of yells that brought out
the parents, who punished their son for so exposing himself.

In this village is a Chinaman who was born in California, and he has
outgrown some of his race superstitions. He has learned photography,
and was permitted to photograph the Chinese children in their New
Year's costumes, but he must have laid some spell on the evil spirit
that steals the years out of their lives for allowing [a picture of them-
selves to be made. The picture gives but a faint idea of their gorgeous
costumes. Blouses of rich and heavy brocades, with all the colors of
the rainbow, are worn by the girls, and with these are silk trousers of
the most brilliant green, purple or rose ; their heads are encircled
with bands and fringes of bright beads ; in their ears hang large hoops
that seem a torture to a child ; their costumes glitter with tinsel deli-
cate enough for a fairy's robe. The boys are dressed in plain silk ;
their queues are pieced out with the brightest of silk thread, and their
jewelry is a bracelet of the sacred blue stone.

The Chinese New Year is the one festival for these coolies. For this
event every shanty will be made scrupulously clean, and in each house
must the sacred lily be in bloom, or bad luck will follow. An old
legend says that this lily was a fairy's gift. A poor Chinese boy was
cheated out of his share of his father's estate by his elder brother. A
swamp being the only thing left to the younger son, he was about to
destroy himself, when a water-fairy appeared to him and told him to
dig in the swamp for a treasure concealed there. He did so and found
a bulb which soon burst into bloom ; and in time the black, unsightly
swamp was hidden under a fragrant cloud of snowy petals and golden
cups. They would not grow in any other part of China, and their
owner soon became rich and famous from their sale. Ever since,
this beautiful lily has been an omen of a happy New Year to the

On the first morning of their New Year thousands of fire crackers
will be exploded to scare away all evil spirits ; tinsel paper and incense
will be burned under the noses of the gods to secure favors for the com-
ing year. Joss will be regaled with roast duck and other delicacies
which will afterwards be eaten by New Year's callers. Salutations of
" Sz sz yue yee " will be heard on all sides. The children, dazzling in
their many-hued costumes, begin the day by kneeling to their parents ;
then they will receive and make calls with their mothers, who will
wear as rich brocades as the little ones.

With the aid of paste and long jeweled pins, the hair of the mothers
will be the exact imitation of a butterfly ; no covering for the head will
be worn by either mother or children. Callers— especially Chinese
merchants — go prepared to give a present to each child, and a small



L-Collier Eng. Co FOUR OF THEM.

sum of money mnst be left on the tray of sweet-meats handed them by
the servant who is usually a ten-year-old girl.

The afternoon session in this Chinese school is short, and it is almost
impossible to hold these restless ones who would much rather be racing
along the beach, defying the breakers as they jump from rock to rock.

At last the bell clangs out, and Toy is seen swinging on the rope. It
is time to " ling bell " and go home. The noise awakens the baby, in
its prison on the sister's back, and the tiny hand reaches out for a
much-soiled piece of bread held up to it.

The boys are formed into lines and make awkward little bows as they
file past the teacher ; then as they reach the door they break into a wild
scramble to get out. It seems but a moment until they have reached
the shanties and are out again with their hands full of food. The girl
with the baby on her back is skipping from rock to rock, trailing a sea-
gourd after her ; apparently careless as the sea-birds circling over her
head. Out beyond her the beautiful crescent Bay of Monterey is full of
white caps dancing in the sunlight ; a picture that half redeems the
ugliness of these unsightly huts, homes of an alien people.


L A. Eng Co.

t. Amiantis callosa (small). 2. Chione succincta. 3. Tapes tasmine:i.
telloides. 5. Amiantis callosa. 6. Satiguitiolaria nuttellii. 7. Macoma nasuta. 8. Maconia secta

Photo, by W»ite

Pachydesma crassa-


Southern California Clams.


O the average beach stroller, every mollusk with two
shells is a clam. After a more intimate acquaint-
ance with the gentle bivalves he differentiates some
as mussels, others as scallops, but still has a dozen
or more kinds to lump together as clams.

Let us go down to the shore at low tide — that
marvel of ocean strands called Long Beach, twenty
miles south of Los Angeles. We shall find the
sand in places fairly covered with clams scarcely
half an inch long. Some are pure white, others
brown, and others striped and marked with a great variety of colors.
Many think, at first, that these little fellows are the young of a larger
clam ; but they are fully grown. By those learned in shells this little
clam is called Donax Californicus. It is also known as the wedge
shell, because of its shape. People take wire screens to separate these
little clams from the sand and can soon gather as many quarts of them
as are desired ; and though too small to be satisfactory eating, they
make most excellent soup.

While gathering these Donaxes you find a larger clam with a brown
shell, perhaps marked with bright rays reaching from the hinge. The
shell is very thick and heavy, and white inside. Its general outline is
three-sided, hence it is sometimes called the triangle shell. Its scientific
name is Pachydesma, the former name referring to its
thick ligament and the latter to its thick shell. This clam grows to an
immense size, and I have found some weighing nearly two pounds, with
shells nine and ten inches long. But most of them are much smaller.
Like the Donax, this clam is anchored in the sand by a byssus of coarse
hair-like substance which grows out of the shell.

The Long Beach fisher takes a horse and plow, and turns these clams
out by the sackfull, at low tide. At Pismo beach, San Luis Obispo
county, it is easy to gather a wagon load of them, and very good eating
they are, too.

Our best tasting clams of common kinds are called Chiones. There
are several species of Chiones, two of which (Chione sitnillima and C.
succinctd) are quite common here. You can find hundreds of the
former species in San Pedro bay, and plenty of the latter species in
Alamitos Bay, buried a little way in the sand.

They range from one to three inches long, and if you are a clam-lover,
you can easily eat a hundred of them at a meal. To my taste, they
make a finer soup than oysters, and one does not soon tire of them.
Their shells are crossed and re-crossed by many ridges, some of which
show periods of growth.

Quite a little like the Chiones is a more common clam called the
carpet-shell ( Tapes staminea), which is often seen in our markets. This
shell, also, is criss-crossed with fine lines, and many of the shells have


curious and beautiful markings of brown which suggested the name.
The carpet-shell is found all along our coast, as far north as Alaska. It
loves a gravelly beach, and buries itself from two to six inches beneath
the surface, or, perhaps, under some big boulder. Like other clams, it
feeds on 'the floating bits of sea-weed it sucks in through a syphon-like
tube it pushes up through the soil to meet the incoming tide. The
carpet-clam is pretty good eating, but be generous to your friends and
let them have the larger, contenting yourself with the smaller ones, and
virtue will be its own reward.

Near Alamitos Bay I have sometimes found the beach, after a storm,
strewn with pure white clams three or four inches long, whose shells
were covered with beautiful, rounded, concentric lines of growth.

This mollusk is the Amiantis cal/osa, and it is as good as it looks. Its
name means pure and hard. You will often find live specimens of these
clams, but as they live just a bit farther out than lowest tide, they are
not gathered for the markets.

Your attention is drawn to some large clam-shells lying where the
high tide has thrown them. You see, at a glance, that these belonged
to a clam larger even ihan the huge triangle shell. You place two of
the shells together and find that they gape widely at the top. They,
too, must live out in deep water, but if you go far to the north, you can
get them at low tide ; for these are shells of the great Washington clam,
the Schizothczrus Nuttallii, found in great abundance along the shores
of Puget Sound.

Down in the sand or mud, maybe two feet or more below the surface,
lives this giant among clams. Through the gaping of the shell, a long
siphonal tube is pushed up to the surface, and it will throw a stream of
water several feet in the air when it is disturbed. It is not very good
eating, but the Siwashes of the north gather it by the hundreds, dis-
carding the necks and the stomachs and using the mantles, gills, etc.

We find, among the rocks, fairly good clams with a coarse, thick,
rough shell. The farther we go north, the more abundant do we find
these clams. They are the Saxidomus or rock-house clams, as the name
could be translated. There are not many of them here, as they seem to
prefer colder waters ; but in the north they are gathered by the ton.
The vSaxidomus loves to throw up a stream of water to scare away in-
truders, and so does another clam found the whole length of the coast —
the Macoma.

There are several species of Macomas here, and they may easily be
known by their thin, flat, white shells. Macoma means lean, and the
shell is noticeably flat. The early Indians were very fond of the Ma-
comas, and from the abundance of these shells which we find in the
Indian mounds, the Macomas must have been much more abundant
then than now.

The larger kinds bury quite deeply in the sandy mud, and their small,
white siphons stretch up many inches in length.

The Venus clam is occasionally found at San Pedro bay, and is the
handsomest clam we have. The outside of the shell is quite rough and
has a tinge like pale brick red. Bat the inside is often very beautiful,
with soft red colors, and makes the shell well deserve its name.

The last clam to merit mention looks somewhat like a pigeon's egg,
with its prettily marked round shell. It is quite abundant, at times,
above the mouth of the old San Gabriel river, an inch or two below the
top of the muddy sand. Unlike the other clams mentioned, it is not
palatable, and is gathered only because of the beauty of its shells. And
there are people who can admire clams only when they are in clam


In the Rose Garden.


I stroll my garden through, where blaze
Rose myriads such as Persia knows ;

Lingering, I pause and dream and gaze —

In this rose-world, by rosy ways,
My life first blossomed to its rose.

And amorous of the great glow

And perfume of this rose-filled space,
I loiter, linger, come and go,
And lean and breathe and bend me low
Above each tropical flushed face.

These austral skies, these austral airs
Have taught the Rose and me to bloom ;

And who for any other cares

When once the Flower of Life he wears,
And breathes the Flower of Life's perfume i

Yet, grateful lover, while I bless

The land wherein such flower grows,

Dear land ! I love thee not the less

That where thy rose-ranks wave and press,

Amid a million, I caress

This lowly white old-fashioned rose.

Such, rooted in New England's rock,
Her humble dooryards used to frame ;

And I am of New England stock,

Out of her steadfast granite block
Sinew and blood and brain I came.

Though austral suns more richly wake

Mine and the Rose's blood to start,

Yet where these nodding millions take

The eye with splendor, — here I break

This white rose for New England's sake

And give it room upon my heart.


The Trade Rat.


URING our five years' residence in the foothills of the Coast
range, I think none of our " neighbors " interested us so much,
certainly none more, than did a little animal known as the
" pile " or " trade " rat — so called on account of its perennial desire to
heap into piles everything which comes in its way. It is a very am-
bitious creature, as can readily be seen by the size of the articles it
often undertakes to transport.

It began its siege upon us, as would any well regulated rat, by
gnawing an entrance into the house. When tooth-brushes, boxes of
pills, and all other articles lying loose on shelves, began to disappear,
we did not think of laying it to his ratship, not knowing that he had
use for such things. But our suspicions were aroused when the muslin
used for ceiling overhead began bagging as if some heavy weight were
upon it. On ripping one side, all our lost articles were precipitated to
the floor. A summer kitchen built with the idea of giving California
climate free circulation gave these rats plenty of scope for their genius.
They seemed to think it rare fun to haul the kindling-wood across the
floor and pile it under the cupboard ; if we thought to humor them, and
thus gain for ourselves a little undisturbed sleep, by placing it under the
cupboard, they were immediately convinced that it should be under the
stove. But they soon conceived the idea of gathering the kindling
themselves and placing it where they wanted it. Accordingly, when all
was quiet for the night, each would provide himself with a dry stick,
weed, or small bone (they were not at all particular what), and proceed
to drag it across the roof of the shed and drop it down the hole around
the pipe. As the roof was corrugated iron, the effect can be partially
imagined. I have often found enough trash on the top of my range in
the morning to build the fire.

These rodents are the superiors of man in one particular, at least —
they can find a woman's pocket, as I discovered when, on donning my
Sunday gown, I found about a pint of castor beans where I proposed to
put my handkerchief. My husband was much annoyed by their pro-
pensity for mixing trash with his grain, could the}' find or make ever
so small an opening in his feed-box. I remember at one time they car-
ried several pounds of threepenny nails and dropped them in a box of
sulphur kept for purifying hens' nests ; afterward filling the box with
dried orange peelings gathered about the back yard. They depend
almost entirely upon vegetation for subsistence, as we found to our
sorrow. Our efforts in the way of a flower garden had come to naught
on account of the ever-present rabbit and the no less destructive chick-
ens. In our desperation we procured a mission cactus and century
plant, and comforted ourselves with the thought that, although our
decorations were not elaborate, they at least would not be molested.
Vain hope! Never had our little "trader" tasted a more delicious
morsel. The spines were mo objection, for he gnawed them off and


most likely used them for toothpicks. He builds his nest above ground,
heaping great piles of sticks and trash about the roots of trees to the
height of several feet. Naturalists are prone to look with leniency upon
his thievish and other annoying habits, excusing him on the grounds
of nest-building. But why the desire should be ever present with him in
season and out of season is inconceivable. Yet, everything considered,
he cannot be called an unmitigated nuisance, for the annoyance which
he occasions is partially atoned for by the amusement he affords.

Pasadena, Cal.

Southern California Summer.

The one superstition about Southern California to which the average
Easterner clings most tenaciously is that the summers are intensely hot.
His argument is very simple. Put in syllogistic form it runs thus :

Major premise — Summers are much hotter than winters.

Minor premise — Southern California has warm winters.

Conclusion : Southern California has frightfully hot summers.

A climate is a thing of exceptions. It canuot be said that it is never
disagreeably warm in Southern California, any more than it can be said
that it never rains in July and August. In eighteen years the total
rainfall for all Julys amounts to just one-third of an inch, and for August
ninety-seven hundredths of an inch. Therefore we may safely assert
that it does not rain in Southern California in those months. Similarly
we may say that Southern California does not have excessively hot
weather, although no one expects to pass an entire summer without
complaining occasionally of the heat.

The following general propositions may be laid down with regard to
Southern California summers :

1 Three-fourths of all the days of June, July, August and Septem-
ber are irreproachable — neither too hot nor too cold. They show a
maximum of 8o° and a minimum of 6o°, the latter occurring in the last
quarter of the night. Thus the mean average temperature of June for

Online LibraryArchaeological Institute of America. Southwest SocOut west (Volume 5) → online text (page 20 of 34)