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Cave may be accomplished by taking
the Stockton and Copperopolis Rail-
road to Milton, thence by stage
through Angel's Camp and Vallecito,
reaching Murphy's in the early even-

After traversing a winding, pictur-
esque road of gradual ascent for a
distance of one
mile and a quar-
ter from the town
of Murphy's, we
reach a small am-
phitheater sur-
rounded by low
brush, and situ-
ated at the sum-
mit of a hill.
In this enclosure
are found the openings of the cave,
one of which is natural, while the
other is artificial.

The varied scenic effects in this
vicinity at once impress themselves
upon us. Below sleeps the somewhat
deserted mining- town of Murphy's,
whose inhabitants, accustomed to the
natural wealth about them, seem to
heed not the sights that charm and
enthuse the tourist ; be)-ond, and ex-
tending in all directions, are moun-
tains, projecting their thickly wooded





peaks majes-
tically above
the to wn ;
behind these
and far, far
in the dis-
tance, are
dim, hazy
peaks, whose
faint out-
lines almost
blend with
the azure
tint of the
sky above.
We are on the summit of the divide
between the Stanislaus and Calaveras
rivers, with Table Mountain, cele-
brated for the allusions made to it in
the writings of Bret Harte and Mark
Twain, directly within our view,
while still farther below sweeps the
canon of the San Domingo.

As we look at the opening of the
cave, a sense of timidity steals over
us, for we can see simply a ' ' black
hole" in the ground, only large
enough ' for a person to pass
through comfortably. But we lose
all fear, when, attired in rubber coats
and hats, with candle in hand, we
have descended the first flight of stairs
and begun to contemplate the curi-
ous formations found below. Down,
down the numerous stairs, about forty
feet, into the earth. And what meets
our wondering gaze ? An immense
"Gothic Chamber," the stalactites of
which form beautiful pendants and
draperies on the walls and roof. The
floor is composed of heaps of lime-
stone boulders, and stalagmites of
various shapes. One extremity of
this division of the " Gothic Cham-
ber " seems lost in darkness and
obscurity, but the other leads into the
adjoining apartment. The south wall
is almost perpendicular in direction,
but is corrugated in places, appearing
like pillars, or again, in thin sheet-
like masses. The stalactite of the
latter character attracting special at-
tention is the ' ' Piano, ' ' which,

when struck, gives forth musical

The greater number of stalactites
in this chamber are of a cream or
brownish tinge, but some are snowy
white. Drawing aside a curtain formed
of lichens and the roots of shrubs, we
see a bank of dazzling crystals, some
of which are colorless, while others
are tinted with the red or blue of
different minerals — a veritable mass
of diamonds, rubies and sapphires, set
among pearls.

We have but to descend a few steps,
when before us is the ' ' Fairy Grotto, ' '
guarded by the "Two Cherubim."
The latter are formed from the drip-
ping of a few small stalactites twenty
feet above them.

Very near this poin^ is the spot
where many of the human bones were
found at the time of the discovery of
the cave. From the finding of these
bones the cave derives its name,
"New Calaveras," (New Place of
Skulls.) These skeletons, probably

9 2



of Indians, and six in number, are supposed to have become

imbedded in the earth by storms. Whether the Indians

fell into the cave accidentally and perished, or whether they

were thrown in we can never know ; but one can readily

imagine the savages to have chosen the cave as

a sepulchre for their dead. At all events, the

finding of these skeletons is a historical item,

and may bring to light some important fact.

It does not require a vivid imagination to dis-
cern in the group of stalagmites near by, the
"Demijohn," with neck complete and handle
slightly broken. This stalagmite is seven and
one-half feet in height, and is six feet in circum-
ference. The "Demijohn" marks the lowest
point of the " Gothic Chamber," and is seventy-
five feet below the surface of the earth.

As if guarding the entrance to the succeeding

room, appears a pair of outspread wings like those

of an angel ; they are of extreme delicacy and are

almost transparent These "Angel's Wings"

are at a distance of two feet apart, and are nine

feet long and three feet wide, being variously

v shaded by minerals. Placing a light behind

M* one of the wings, a wonderful play of color

^^ may be observed. Prom brown and red the

color changes to white; then a blue tint is

seen, until all the rainbow hues are distin-


We now pass through a narrow
opening between the "Angel's
\\'ings,' ? and are at the top of a
long flight of stairs in the second
chamber— "The Organ Loft."
Descending, descending ! We
seem to be reaching the very
depths of the earth ! We are
now 130 feet below the entrance,
and have not yet reached the far-
thest limit. The foremost attrac-
tion in this room is the organ,
the immense pipes of which are
from ten to twelve feet in length,
producing musical tones when
struck. To one side, in a small
cavity, is a collection of curious
stalactites resembling snakes, and
aptly named "The Drunkard
Dream. " In the "Organ Loft"
apartment is found much of that
peculiar mineral formation resem-
bling coral.

"The Bear's Den," named from
the skeletons of bears found there,
(presumably of some extinct species,




for they are larger than those of any
bears now in existence) is compara-
tively small, and contains few attrac-
tions, so we pass rapidly through to
the "Flower Garden." This beauti-
ful room is beyond description. The
coral-like deposits here are of marvel-
ous delicacy and beauty, and the
infinitesimal crystals sparkle like dia-
monds. Every variety of flower and

are no stalactites or stalagmites in
this chamber.

The next room into which we are
conducted is the "Chapel," which
may be viewed from a small platform
built upon a boulder. Almost con-
cealed beneath a heap of huge rocks is
the "Milk Pan,' 1 a sheet of white,
with surface rcugh and hard as flint.
But, perhaps the most important fea-



foliage — every kind of fruit is repre-
sented in the "Flower Garden."
Here, you see a cluster of roses ; there,
a spray of honeysuckle, twining its
delicate tendrils around a moss covered
stem, while from the ceiling quanti-
ties of fruit hang temptingly. One
bank forms a bed of snowy white
chrysanthemums compactly arranged.
What could be more beautiful than
those delicate coral plants and flowers !
The ceiling of this room is broken and
fissured, but all the deep chasms are
lined with the coralline structure,
which is too fine and fragile to have
been formed by aqueous erosion, but
probably is the result of some chemi-
cal attributes in the moisture. There

tureofthe "Chapel" is the "Lam-
brequins,'' which are composed of
sixteen stalactites hanging in thin
graceful folds, the beautiful patterns
being wrought out with crystals.
These curtains are brownish in color
and almost transparent.

After descending the eighteenth
flight of stairs, we are in the " Coral
Grotto," the extreme limit of the ex-
plored region of the cave, and are 150
feet below the earth's surface. The
fleecy, arched roof, the down -covered
boulders, the dazzling, glittering banks
— one is lost in contemplation of the
wealth of beauty that surrounds him.

" Nature with folded hands seemed there,
Kneeling at her evening prayer."



We are in a laud of dreams. The
masses of shining crystal and
the sprays of coral suggest
fairy land. At every glance we
behold a new picture or
read a new story. But we
must push on, and re-
turning once more to
the " Flower Gar-
den," we ascend to
the " Crystal Cham-

The floor of
this room is
formed not
only of boul-
ders, but also
of stalactites,
w h i c h from
their weight
have fallen
from above,
and have be-
come covered with lime crystals. Por-
tions of the banks resemble great drills
of snow. A few steps above, still in
this canon, is an appropriately named
formation, " The Bridal Veil Falls."
The foundation seems to be of a stal-
actitic character, but the outer cover-
ing is pure white and without luster.
The position of the " Falls" is
oblique, and as you look upward.
your imagination can readily picture
the water falling in one filmy sheet
over a ledge of rock .

A narrow, winding stairway leads
us from the "Falls" to the last
chamber of the cave, "The Dome."
This circular room is fifty feet in
height, having an average diameter
of fifteen feet. Here, a combination
of the stalactite and crystalline forma-
tion is observable. Curious forms jut
out from the walls, while curtains
and lacy draperies adorn the ceiling.
The eye wanders through a perfect
labyrinth of objects, until finally,
midway of the ascent, it rests upon
the "Xylophone." Hundreds of stal-
actites hanging from the roof of a


little cavern afford, when struck, the
production of all possible tones. A
musician may readily play any tune
after a little practice, and the sound
of the clear liquid music echoing
through the "Dome" is wonderfully

Before the final ascent is made, we
turn to survey the road over which we
have traveled. " Solomon's Thumb,"
a curious, solitary projection, stands
out in bold relief, while the less im-
portant limestone formations "dwindle
far below."- A last glance, anjl we
turn to climb the final stairway.

Up, up we rise, until we are con-
scious of a strong current of air, when
we know we are approaching the exit
of the cave. Rays of daylight stream
down upon us, and a few steps more
bring us upon the surface again. It
has required two hours to make the
circuit of the cave, and we have
passed over 377 steps, but what we
have seen treasured away in this
4 ' black hole ' ' compensates for any
loss of physical strength, and affords
many an hour of pleasant reflection.



IN England and indeed throughout
Europe, in the days preceding the
Renaissance, almost the only men
of consideration were soldiers, lawyers,
courtiers and ecclesiastics. The eccle-
siastics won for themselves a goodly
share of the highest honors of the
State by their learning, ability and
tenacity. In an age of general ignor-
ance they were the only scholars, and
they exercised the power naturally
falling to the sole depositaries of
knowledge. Occasionally court poets
might be men of some personal influ-
ence, or courtiers might affect a certain
literary elegance, but men were rarely,
if ever, honored with titles because of
their literary ability alone. The con-
tempt for the mere man of letters still
survives to no inconsiderable extent
among the higher classes of England,
where the young man of wealth and
fashion is usually a sportsman rather
than a scholar. In the ."public
schools" in which the public men of
the country are trained and moulded,
the boy who is over-industrious at his
books and participates little in games,
is rather looked down upon by his
fellows, and dubbed a "sap" — the
term not being intended to suggest
sapient but rather to imply a not-to-
be - commended fondness for mean
drudgery. On the other hand, the
captain of the boat, or of the cricket
eleven, is looked up to with respect
far exceeding that felt for the head
master, and amounting almost to rev-

There still lingers a feeling that the

literary man, like the artist, is a sort
of irresponsible creature, not quite
irreproachable as regards the cut of
his garments, the cleanness of his
nails or the spotlessness of his linen.
The men of the palette and of the pen
are supposed to feel or to affect a cer-
tain disregard for the conventionalities
of society, and to be frequently so
hard pressed to procure the necessaries
oflifeasto have little left wherewith
to supply its elegancies. In all times,
and countries, too, the man of action,
who is in the thick of life's battle, is
disposed to think lightly of the man
who sits in his study and covers paper
with words.

But nowadays, scholarship and
skill in sports are by no means neces-
sarily divorced ; Anthony Trollope
was an enthusiastic fox-hunter,
Andrew Lang is an ardent fisherman,
and many first-class Oxford and Cam-
bridge men have rowed in the Eight,
or played in the Eleven of their Uni-
versity. Further, the great increase
of wealth among the middle classes of
England and the enormous fortunes
recently acquired in the United States,
have contributed to widen the avenues
of profit for the successful artist and
litterateur, so that those who have
the ability or the good fortune to
become the vogue, reap rich rewards
and are enabled to live lives of luxury.
Sir John Millais, the great painter,
earns ' ' the wages of an ambassador, ' '
and lives like a nobleman. The vast
extension of periodical literature,
which is almost wholly a growth of


9 6

recent years, has opened hitherto
undreamt-of sources of gain to literary
work, especially for men of established
reputation and bearing names well
known — it little matters in what con-
nection — to the public. All this has
enabled the men at the top of the lit-
erary or artistic tree to live expen-
sively, and has increased their fitness
for high social position.

Nor must we overlook the fact that
the .strongly democratic tendencies of
the time have caused titular recogni-
tion to be extended to nearly all the
professions. Soldiers, sailors, courtiers,
and diplomatists are naturally marked
out for royal favor, their services
being of such a kind as to bring them
frequently into contact with the rulers
who are the "founts of honor."
Lawyers have never failed to secure
their full share of rank and title. As
the Lord Chancellor is ex-officio Pres-
ident of the House of Lords, the
lawyer who obtains the apex of his
profession is always made a peer.
Bishoprics and Archbishoprics also
convey spiritual peerages, though, as
these date from a time when England
was a Roman Catholic country, and
priests were condemned to celibacy,
the Bishop's wife and family have
never had any share in the titular
honors of the husband and father.
Now, when almost every cleric is a
Benedict, the result produced is some-
what anomalous. The Archbishop of
Canterbury, for instance, is a Most
Reverend and a Right Honorable ; he
is addressed as " Your Grace," and
takes precedence of all the dukes
except those of royal birth, yet his
wife is simply " Mrs. Benson," and
his sons and daughters are not
" Honorables. "

The Presidents and some of the
leading members of the Royal Acad-
emy are presented with knighthoods
or baronetcies — the former being a
merely personal honor, which dies
with the holder, while the latter is
hereditary. Both alike entitle a man
to prefix Sir to his own names, and
Lady to the surname of his wife. The


famous painters Sir Frederick Leigh-
ton and Sir John Millais are both
baronets, as was also the late Sir
Edgar Boehm, the sculptor. The
late Sir Gilbert Scott, whose skill and
taste restored so many of the old
cathedrals and churches cf England,
was a knight. The president of the
Royal Society, the most important
learned society in the country, is
usually knighted ; as also is the
Astronomer-Royal. Distinguished en-
gineers receive titles upon the com-
pletion of works of great magnitude,
difficulty and public importance.
Thus vSir Mark Isanibard Brunei, the
constructor of the Thames Tunnel,
was made a baronet, and was succeeded
by his son, Sir Isanibard Kingdom
Brunei, the designer of that leviathan
of the sea, the Great Eastern. Sir
John Fowler, a civil engineer of great
skill and experience, received a bar-
onetcy upon the opening of the bridge
over the Firth of Forth, one of the
greatest triumphs of modern engineer-
ing. Musical composers, such as Sir
John Goss, Sir Sterndale Bennett, and
Sir Arthur Sullivan, are knighted.
The last-named, besides composing
the operas by which he is known all
over the English-speaking world, was
principal of the National Training
School for Music, and British Com-
missioner for Music at the Paris Expo-
sition. Sir Archibald Geikie, the
well-known writer on geology, was
knighted on being appointed Director-
General of the Geological Survey of
the United Kingdom in succession to
Sir Andrew Ramsay. Another man
of science is Sir Henry Roscoe, Pro-
fessor of Chemistry at Owens College,
Victoria University, Manchester, who
was a member of the Royal Commis-
sion on Technical Instruction from
1882 to 1SS4, and in the last-named
year was knighted. Yet Charles
Darwin died unbedecked, and Huxley
and Tyndall are not entitled to prefix
Sir to their names ; but this is because,
eminent as they are, they have not
happened to do any work of a strictly
national kind, or to occupy any of the



offices which usually constitute claims
to titular recognition.

Great physicians and surgeons have
fared pretty well in the distribution of
honors. I need only mention the
names of Sir Astley Cooper, Sir Ben-
jamin Brodie, Sir William Jenner. and
Sir William Gull. A baronetcy is,
however, the highest rank yet attained.

Yet all these honors, though con-
ferred upon men of great intellectual
attainments, many of whom were, or
are writers of high repute upon .scien-
tific, social, political and artistic
topics, are not to be regarded as
rewards of literary ability. Sir Henry
Sumner Maine was an eminent legal
writer, who was a knight commander
of the Star of India, but he was not
so because he had been Professor of
Civil Law at Cambridge, and Pro-
fessor of Jurisprudence at Oxford;
nor because he wrote ' ' Ancient Law, ' '
" The Early History of Institutions,"
and "Village Communities," but
because he was for seven years law
member of the Supreme Government
of India, and Member of Council of
the Secretary of State for India. Sir
Monier Monier- Williams, the author
of many works connected with San-
skrit and Hindustani literature, and
compiler of a great Sanskrit and
English dictionary to be published by
the University of Oxford, was made a
Knight Commander of the Indian
Empire in 1886 on the opening of the
Indian Institute founded by him at

Sir Henry C. Rawliuson was a
soldier in the service of the old East
India Company, and was employed on
several important missions, especially
in Persia and Afghanistan. He was
Consul in Bagdad, and Consul-Gen-
eral in Turkey, and was knighted in
1856. In conjunction with General
Wilkinson and Canon Rawlinson, he
published the best English translation
of Herodotus. He is famous for his
Oriental scholarship, his diplomatic
and military ability, and for his
learned labors in the interpretation of
cuneiform inscriptions. He has lately

been created a baronet, and though
literary eminence and high scholar-
ship doubtless contributed in some
degree to the honor, yet it must be
observed that he had many other
claims, as a soldier, a civil servant
and a diplomatist.

Sir Algernon Borthwick, proprietor
of the London Morning Post, is a
Baronet, and the honor might seem
to have been conferred upon him as
the owner of an influential and fash-
ionable metropolitan journal, but a
little examination will show that
other considerations must be taken
into account. Pie is the son of a well-
known member of Parliament, and in
1880 was a candidate for election by
his father's old constituency ; he was
defeated, but five years later was
elected for South Kensington. His
baronetcy is, therefore, to be attrib-
uted to his political position chiefly,
and only partly to the fact that he
occupies an important place in the
newspaper world.

Up to this point, though we have
encountered some cases of honors con-
ferred upon men of high literary rep-
utation, we have met with no clear
instance of a title bestowed on a
person who was only a man of letters
and nothing else. Without going
back to any earlier time than the
present century, the first indubitable
example of a baronetcy earned by
literary eminence alone, unaided by
social or political influence of any
kind, is that of Sir Walter Scott.
After winning the poet's laurel with
"The Lady of the Lake" and the
" Lay of the Last Minstrel," Walter
Scott put forth anonymously in 18 15,
"Waverly, or ' Tis Sixty Years
Since." For the next ten years he
poured forth that series of brilliant
fictions which constituted an era in
literature, and won for their author
an imperishable renown. In 1820,
without any effort 011 his own part or
on that of his friends, he was created
a Baronet, by the King. He died
twelve years afterwards, and was suc-
ceeded by his son Walter, a soldier,

9 8


who died in 1847 without children,
thus failing to perpetuate the family
which his great father had fondly
hoped to found. Another Scotchman
there is, whose baronetcy appears, so
far as I am able to ascertain, to have
been earned by literary reputation
only. This is Archibald Allison, a
Scottish barrister who wrote ' ' A
History of Europe from the Com-
mencement of the French Revolution
to the Restoration of the Bourbons,
1 8 15," a work of great labor and
research, executed with extreme fair-
ness. He afterwards added six vol-
umes to his History of Europe, and
wrote a " Life of John, Duke of Marl-
borough.' ' He was created a Baronet
in 1852.

Edwin Arnold was born in 1832,
and was educated at King's School,
Rochester, and at King's College,
London. Thence he went up to Uni-
versity College, Oxford, as a scholar,
and won the Newdigate English verse
prize with a poem entitled "The
Feast of Belslia/zar." In 1853 he
was chosen to address the Earl of
Derby on his installation as Chancellor
of the University. For a short time
after his graduation he was second
master in the English division of
King Edward's School at Birming-
ham, but he soon left to become
Principal of the Sanskrit College at
Poona, in the Presidency of Bombay,
India. He is the author of a metrical
translation of the great Sanskrit work,

The Hitopadesa." and since 1861
has been on the editorial staff of the
Daily Telegraph. In 1875 he pub-
lished the Indian "Song of Songs,"
a metrical paraphrase from the Sans-
krit. For all these services to Indian
literature and education he was made
a Companion of the Star of India, on
the proclamation of the Queen as
Empress of India. In 1879 "The
Light of Asia," a poem on the life
and teaching of Buddha, was pub-
lished, and soon after this the King
of Siam made him a knight of the
White Elephant ; he has also been
decorated by the Sultan and the Shah

of Persia. In 1888 he became Sir
Edwin, being made a Knight Com-
mander of the Indian Empire by the
Queen. He may be considered to
furnish a genuine example of a literary

Theodore Martin was the son of a
Scotch solicitor, and practiced law in
his native city, Edinburgh, for some
years. At the age of thirty he went
to London, and became a contributor
to Fraser's Magazine under the signa-
ture of "Bon Gaultier." He is an
excellent scholar and linguist, as is
clear from the varied nature of his
work. He has published the best
translation we have of the complete
works of Horace, translations of selec-
tions from the Danish poet, Henrik
Hertz, of the first and second parts of
Goethe's Faust, and of the Vita Nuova
of Dante. He was requested by the
Queen to write a life of H. R. H., the
Prince Contort ; this was published
on March 15th, 1880, and five days
later the Queen herself conferred a
civil Knight Commandership of the
Bath upon him. The Order of the
Bath is very rarely conferred 011 any
but distinguished diplomatists, sol-
diers, sailors or politicians, and Sir
Theodore Martin is probably the only
merely literary man who holds a Cross
of the Bath.

This slender list of literary knights
and baronets has, however, just been
doubled by the creation by Lord Sal-
isbury, on going out of office, of three
new baronets and one new knight.
Edward Lawsou, the principal pro-
prietor of the London Daily Tele-

Online LibraryCharles Frederick HolderThe Californian (Volume 4) → online text (page 13 of 120)