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turn with interest. In two hours we
are off again, coming presently upon
a small settlement called Diano
Marina, which proves to be one of the
most interesting places on the route.
Here in 1887, the earthquake which



3HE2yv *





visited the Riviera made itself severely
felt, and not a house in the place re-
mained intact. Six hundred lives
were lost in this disaster, and human
bones are frequently disinterred from
beneath the ruined dwellings. On
one side of the main .street every build-
ing was leveled to the ground, and the
city government taking pity upon the
homeless ones erected many rows of
small one-storied houses for a tempor-

us from a picturesque slope above, we
drive around the Capo delle Mele and
there breaks upon our view one of the
finest vistas of the whole route. A
prospective of snow-tipped mountain
ranges on our left, softened in the pur-
ple lights; and far ahead just off the
coast, the wild rocky island of Galli-
nari is seen ; while white Lagueglia
and Alassio stretch between along the
nearer edge of the sea. AVe soon


ary refuge. Some of the unfortunates
still inhabit these humble quarters,
having never since been able to lay
aside enough money to erect other
homes. The building trade is very
brisk in Dia?io Marina, and new
houses are going up on every hand.
Past Cervo which looks down upon

reach the former — a very bower of
orange and lemon groves.

Then skirting the shores of three
separate bays we reach Alassio at
sunset, and find at the extreme end of
the long main street of the village,
the Grand Hotel, our haven of rest
for the night. What an abode of



comfort it is ! A peaceful spirit settles
down upon us, as we take our after-
noon tea on a terrace overlooking the
Mediterranean, which is crimsoned
with the glorious hues of the Occident.
Beyond, off a rocky point, lies the
Gallinari Isle. Drear and somber it
appears, and desolate must be the
life thereon, with only a stony fort
and its accompanying gray walls to
vary the landscape.

The next morning we reach L,ag-
ueglia with its yellow fruit groves, and
then pass by Albenga, which lies a
little further back in the broad low T -
land. Here the valley of the Capri-
anna widens and opens, giving us
full sight of a broad arena with dis-
tant expanse of mountain ranges, the
higher peaks tipped with snow.

All along the shore in this vicinity,
we see at intervals the fishermen haul-
ing in their nets, and become quite
interested in the process. A boat is
usually launched and rowed about an
eighth of a mile out from the shore to
where the buoy is floating, when the
net is allowed to drop into the water.
Ten or twelve stalwart men stand on
the shore and haul in the rope, back-
ing slowly up the beach. Then they
change places ; each advancing to
the water's edge and beginning the
long pull over again. Thus they con-
tinue until the net is landed and the
fish hauled upon the beach. Fishing
is the principal industry along some
parts of this district, and the poorer
villagers live almost entirely on fish
and vegetables.

Now we pass through more groves
and vineyards, and beyond come to a
dual village bearing the euphonious
name of Pietra-I^igure. Here the
country opens again and the mountains
recede. The two villages, Pietra and
Ligure, lie a mile apart up on the side
of a hill, and the intervening space is
filled with richly cultivated gardens
containing artichokes, lettuce, cab-
bage, peas and parsley and extensive
vineyards. We drive into Finalma-
rina,* ascending a steep hill w T here the
horses slip on the smooth pavement ;

and then on through the old town
from whence, as we turn the corner,
there is a rift in the hills which shows
us a glimpse of snow tipped moun-
tains. Nearer, on the crown of a high
hill stands the picturesque ruin of
Castello Gavone, with the triangular
town of Borgo at its feet.

After luncheon, at Finalmarina, we
w r alk around the place, visiting the
church of St. John the Baptist, gor-
geous in colored marbles, gilding,
and gaudy frescoes. At three o'clock
we start once more.

The bakers in the villages along this
coast have a curious custom of nailing
samples of bread to the outside door
of their shops. The rain soaks these
products of their skill, the sun beats
down on them and the dust floats
about them in clouds. Still they hang
there, those round rings of pain ordin-
aire, until they fall to pieces and are
replaced by fresh loaves.

Under the bald and rugged Cape
Bergeggi, we pierce the misty gloom
of another long tunnel, and when we
emerge, a beautiful prospect opens
before us — thirty miles of Italian
coast, with its green banks, beautiful
bays, undulating ridges of mountains
and olive-covered hills. Before us, at
the farthest point of the crescent, we
can just discern the white lighthouse
of Genoa, standing out like the spire
of a church against the dark hills.

Vado is a walled city with a ruined
castle. The mountains fade away
gradually tow r ard the city in the soft
prismatic hues of a Southern sunset,
and the blue water touching the sandy
beach and gray rocks seems to blend
into the harmonious coloring of an
Oriental scene. On the beach are
more fishing boats and men folding
their nets, while the entire population
apparently is out in the open air,
chatting in the waning sunlight.
Far up in a cleft of the rocks, just
outside the town, nestles a little wiiite
chapel which looks wonderfully
peaceful, so far removed from the
turmoil and noise of the busy world

1 68



We cross one or two small rivers
here, without bridges, the horses
wading ; not much of an undertaking
now that the water is low, but a
rather dangerous performance after
heavy rains, or the melting of snow
on the mountains.

We are glad to reach Savon a,
although our first impressions of the
place and of the Hotel Svizzero are
not very favorable. But when we
saunter out after dinner we find some
good broad streets, fine squares,
attractive shops, and an interesting
scene at the port, to which a wide
avenue lined with trees, leads direct.
This place was of importance under

Napoleon I., and has now about
30.000 inhabitants.

The next morning we start off
bright and early for our last day's
drive, and Cogoleto, to which we
have looked forward with great in-
terest, conies in sight at last. It is
a poor little village by the sea, flat
and devoid of interest, except for the
fact that this insignificant little town
dares to dispute with Genoa the honor
of being the birthplace of Christopher
Columbus. It is a long, narrow vil-
lage with two streets, one of which
runs close to the sea, the other
between two rows of houses. Driving
slowly along the former, the squalid



dwellings are on our left, with their
small terraces and balconies over-
looking the Mediterranean. In the
only other street, the houses look even
more dirty and miserable. Fir trees
are placed over many of the doors

After luncheon we set out on a
journey of exploration, accompanied
by most of the unemployed inhabi-
tants of the village. In the open
square is a marble statue of Columbus
with a tablet stating that it was dedi-

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indicating that some commodity is
for sale within.

In the poor little " Albergo della
Bella Italia " the only inn in the
place, there is no fireplace, and as it
is cold, the old waiting woman brings
in a brazier, making a great merit of
having put in a piece or two of lemon
peel, to impart a delicate odor to the
chill and musty atmosphere of the
apartment. As there is not much
else in the brazier, the coals being
few and far between, the lemon-peel
has it all to itself, and we continue to
see our breath in the air.

cated in 1888. Farther on we come
to an insignificant little house which
is pointed out as the great discoverer's
birthplace. There is a portrait of
Columbus on the outside of the house
with an appropriate inscription, and
the narrow stairs are badly worn by
the tread of many tourists.

Once more we are on the way, until
in a blaze of electric light we drive
past the famous statue of Columbus,
and past the crescent bay where the
stately ships lie idle. And so at last
our glorious trip is ended and we have
come to " Genova La Superba."



T was in the early
days of the Corn-
stock, just when
the great boom in
silver mining had
fairly commenced,
that I first met
Samuel L,. Clemens,
now better known as " Mark Twain."
It was in the days when ' ' Washoe ' '
was still the popular name of all the
silver mining regions of Nevada.
Mr. Clemens had been engaged in
prospecting at Aurora, Esmeralda
County (then a lively cam])) whence
he sent to the Territorial Enterprise,
of Virginia City, .some humorous let-
ters signed "Josh." The Enterprise
was then not only the leading paper
of " Silverland, " but also was one of
the liveliest and most prosperous
newspapers on the Pacific Coast.

I had been at work on the Enterprise
about two years, when, in December,
1862, I concluded to take a trip to the
"States," whereupon the proprietors
of the paper — J. T. Goodman and I).
E. McCarthy — engaged "Josh " (Mr.
Clemens) to come in from Aurora and
take a position on their paper as re-
porter. I was absent from the Com-
stock about nine months — on the
Plains and in the States — and when
I returned, Mr. Clemens had shed his
110111 de plume of "Josh" and taken
that which he still retains and has
made famous. Mark did not much
relish the work of writing reports of
mines and mining affairs, and for that
reason, and because of the boom in
business and rush of events demand-
ing reportorial notice, I was asked to
return " post-haste " and resume work
on the paper — everything being, as my
letter of recall said, " red-hot."

I found things "red-hot" indeed.
Reaching San Francisco in the even-

ing after dark, the first news I heard,
even before our steamer had reached
the wharf, was that Virginia City was
on fire and was being ' ' wiped out. ' '
At once there was great excitement,
for a score or more of ' ' Washoe ' '
people were 011 bosrd the vessel. Upon
landing we rushed to the newspaper
offices and there heard that the town
was still burning. I also learned that
there had been a big fight among the
firemen and that some of my friends
and acquaintances had been killed and
wounded. It was midnight before we
heard that the fire was under control,
and I then ascertained, to my great
relief, that the Enterprise office had
escaped, while all about it had been

Thus I "resumed business at the
old stand" in the thick of red-hot
times — in the midst of flames and war.
It was also in the midst of the cutting
and shooting days — the days of stage
robberies, of mining fights, wonderful
finds of ore, and all manner of ex-
citements. As may be imagined,
Mark and I had our hands full, and no
grass grew under our feet. There was
a constant rush of startling events ;
they came tumbling over one another
as though playing at leap-frog. While
a stage robbery was being written up,
a shooting affray started; and perhaps
before the pistol shots had ceased to
echo among the surrounding hills, the
firebells were banging out an alarm.

The crowding of the whole popula-
tion into that part of the town which
had escaped the fire led to many
bloody battles. Fighters, sports and
adventurers, burned out of their old
haunts, thronged the saloons and
gaming houses remaining, where many
of them were by no means welcome
visitors ; and as in the case of cats in
strange garrets, battles were of nightly




occurrence. Ever}' body was armed,
and no man threw away his life by
making an attack with his fists.
f Mark and I agreed well in our work,
which we divided when there was a
rush of events, but we often cruised
in company — he taking the items of
news he could best handle, and I such
as I felt myself competent to work up.
However, we wrote at the same table
and frequently helped each other with
such suggestions as occurred to us
during the brief consultations we
held, in regard to the handling of any
matters of importance. Never was
there an angry word between us
in all the time we worked together.

Mark Twain, as a reporter, was
earnest and enthusiastic in such work
as suited him — really industrious — but
when it came to " cast-iron " items, he
gave them "a lick and a promise."
He hated to have to do with figures,
measurements and solid facts, such as
were called for in matters pertaining to
mines and machinery.

Mark displayed a peculiarity when
at work that w T as very detrimental to
the integrity of office property. In
case he wished to clip an item
or a paragraph out of a paper,
and could not at once lay his
hand upon his scissors, he would cut
out the required matter with his knife,
at the same time slashing into the
baize covering of the table. His end
of the cover was so mutilated that
little was left of the original cloth.
In its place appeared what might have
passed for a representation of the
polar star, spiritedly darting forth a
thousand rays. Some years ago, when
at Mark's house in Hartford, I found
myself almost unconsciously examin-
ing the top of the fine writing desk in
his library for evidences of his old
knife-slashing habit, but did not find
so much as a scratch.

Mark Twain was pretty apt in
sketching in a rude way, and when
reporting meetings where there were
long waits, or uninteresting debates,
he would cover the margins of his
copy paper with drawings. When

reporting the meetings of the Board
of Aldermen, where there was often
much tedious talk, he would fre-
quently make sketches illustrative of
the subjects under discussion. Some
of his off-hand sketches were very
good — good in the same way that a
pun is sometimes good, though far-
fetched and ridiculous. I have for-
gotten the subjects of most of these
pencil sketches. I recall cue, how-
ever that might have been labeled
"The Captured Menagerie." There
had been some trouble about collecting
city license from a menagerie (it had
paid county license) and the matter
came up before the Board of Alder-
men. Mark was amused at the talk
of what could be done and what would
be done with the show and showmen
if the license was not paid at once,
and so he pictured it all out. He
depicted the City Marshal leading
away the elephant by its trunk, and
the Mayor mounted upon a giraffe
which he had captured, while one
policeman had a lion by the tail, and
another had captured a rhinoceros.
Others still had shouldered kangaroos,
strings of monkeys and the like.

This was about his best effort, and
after writing out his report of the
meeting, he kept his sheets of notes
for some, time, working up and im-
proving the several pictures. At his
home in Hartford, Mark sometimes
dabbles in oil colors, he having taken
lessons in art since the Comstock
days. He "points with pride." to
the curly head of a dove-colored bull
on an easel in his library, and hints
that the best effects were all achieved
without the assistance of his teacher.

Mark Twain was fond of manufac-^
turing items of the horrible style, but
on one occasion he overdid this busi-
ness, and the disease worked its own
cure. He wrote an account of a ter-
rible murder, supposed to have
occurred at "Dutch Nick's," a sta-
tion on the Carson River, where
Empire City now stands. He made
a man cut his wife's throat and those
of his nine children, after which dia-




bolieal deed the murderer mounted his
horse, cut his own throat from ear to
ear, rode to Carson City (a distance
of three and a half miles) and fell
dead in front of Pete Hopkins'

All the California papers copied the
item, and several made editorial com-
ment upon it as being the most shock-
ing occurrence of the kind ever known
on the Pacific Coast. Of course rival
Virginia City papers at once denounced
the item as a "cruel and idiotic
hoax." They showed how the pub-
lication of such " shocking and reckless
falsehoods" disgraced and injured the
State, and they made it as '■ sultry " as
possible for the Enterprise and its
11 fool reporter."

When the California papers saw
all this and found they had been sold,
there was a howl from Siskiyou to
San Diego. Some papers demanded
the immediate discharge of the author

* The center figure of the cut is Mark Twain ; the
one on the right is Mr. Simmons, Speaker of the
House of Representatives, and the one on the left,
Mr. Claggett, Member of Legislature from Humboldt

of the item by the Enterprise proprie-
tors. They said they would never
quote another line from that paper
while the reporter who wrote the
shocking item remained on its force.
All this worried Mark as I had never
before seen him worried. Said he :
" I am being burned alive on both
sides of the mountains." We roomed
together, and one night when the per-
secution was hottest, he was so dis-
tressed that he could not sleep. He
tossed, tumbled and groaned aloud.
So I .set to work to comfort him.
"Mark," said I, "never mind this
bit of a gale, it will soon blow itself
out. This item of yours will be
remembered and talked about when
all your other work is forgotten.
The murder at Dutch Nick's will be
quoted years from now as the big sell
of these times."

Said Mark : "I believe you are
right; I remember I once did a thing
at home in Missouri, was caught at
it and worried almost to death. I
was a mere lad and was going to
school in a little town where I had an
uncle living. I at once left the town
and did not return to it for three
years. When I finally came back I
found I was only remembered as ' the
boy that played the trick on the
schoolmaster.' "

Mark then told me the story, began
to laugh over it, and from that hiot
ment "ceased to groan." He was
not discharged, and in less than -a
month people everywhere were laugh-
ing and joking about the " murder at
Dutch Nick's."

When Mark wrote the item he
read it over to me, and I asked him
how he w r as going to wind it up so as
to make it plain that it was a mere

" Oh, it is wound up now, "was the
reply. "It is all plain enough. I
have said that the family lived in a
little cabin at the edge of the great
pine forest near Dutch Nick's, when
everybody knows there's not a pine
tree within ten miles of Nick's. Then
I make the man ride nearlv four miles



after he has cut his throat from ear to
ear, when any fool must see that he
would fall dead in a moment."

But the people were all so shocked
at first with the wholesale throat-
cutting that they did not stop to
think of these points. Mark's whole
object in writing the story was to
make the murderer go to Pete Hop-
kins' saloon and fall dead in front of
it — Pete having in some way offended
him. I could never quite see how
this was to hurt Pete Hopkins. Mark
probably meant to insinuate that the
murderer had been rendered insane
by the kind of liquor sold over the
Hopkins' bar, or that he was one of
Pete's bosom friends.

To-day not one man in a hundred
in Nevada can remember anything
written by Mark Twain while he was
connected with the Enterprise, except
this one item in regard to the shocking
murder at Dutch Nick's ; all else is
forgotten, even by his oldest and
most intimate friends.

First and last, many newspapers,
daily and weekly, have been pub-
lished in Virginia City. The life of
one of these was so short, however,
that only a few persons are now aware
that it ever had an existence. It
opened its eyes to the light only to
close them again forever. This was
the Occidental, an eight-page weekly
literary paper, started by Hon. Tom
Fitch, the "Silver-tongued Orator of
Nevada." But one number of the
paper was issued. The good die
young — the Occidental was good.
Why the paper died as soon as born
I never exactly knew, but think it
would be safe to say that all the
" powder " in the magazine was used
up 111 the first shot.

Twain and I were rooming together
at the time in what was known as
the "Daggett building," a large
brick structure where there were
many lodgers. Tom Fitch and family
were our across-the-hall neighbors.
Of course we were informed in regard
to Tom's newspaper venture and took
a lively interest in all his literary
Vol, IV— 12

plans. The paper was intended to
constitute a sort of safety valve for the
red-hot and hissing Comstock literary
boiler. Writers on the other papers,
and writers at large were to contribute
to its columns.

In- the number of this paper that
was published a romance was com-
menced that was to have been con-
tinued almost indefinitely. At least,
in discussing the plan of it nothing
was ever said about how it was to be
ended, and had the story been carried
forward in accordance with the orig-
inal plan, it would have been one of
the curiosities of literature, and prob-
ably running yet.

Hon. R. M. Daggett, late Minister
to the Hawaiian Islands, wrote the
opening chapters of the story. A
striking character in the story, as
begun by Mr. Daggett, was an old
hermit, "reported a Rosycrucian,"
who dwelt in a partially subterranean
castle, situated in a dark and secret
mountain gorge, where " in the dead
waist and middle of the night ' ' smoke
and flames were to be seen issuing
from his chimneys while lights — red,
blue and green — flashed up in his
heavily-barred windows. The build-
ing had no visible door — all was solid
masonry — and the person viewing it
from the outside could only imagine a
subterranean entrance, which no man
could discover, ' ' for the dews that
dripped all over."

The old white-haired alchemist, had
a pupil, of course, and this pupil was
the hero of the romance, as it was
begun by Mr. Daggett. In the great
outside world dwelt the heroine, who
started out — began business — as a
very lovable young lady. The open-
ing was full of mystery, and was very
interesting. Mr. Daggett left the
hero in a position of such peril that it
seemed impossible he could be rescued,
except through means and wisdom
more than human.

Mrs. Tom Fitch was to have written
the chapters for the next number of
the paper ; she would have been fol-
lowed by Mark Twain, and he, in due



course, by J. T. Goodman, Tom Fitch
and myself, when Mr. Daggett would
again come in and take up the
thread of the exciting tale.

Each person would have been
obliged to extricate the hero, hero-
ine (or any other useful character)
from whatever sad predicament the
writer preceding him might have de-
vised, and would have aimed to puzzle
the one who was to follow him. It
would have been a sort of literary
game of chess.

It was thought that Mrs. Fitch
would respect Daggett's lovely hero-
ine, and carry her along in unsullied
beauty of both person and soul ; but
Mark Twain was sharpening his
scalping knife for her. The old Rosy-
crucian was Daggett's pet. He wanted
to carry the old fellow all through the
story, but was afraid Mrs. Fitch would
find him unmanageable, and would
roast him in one of his own furnaces.
In case she did anything of the kind
Mr. Daggett was resolved to take a
terrible revenge when he got hold of
her pet character — he would do "a
deed that the ibis and the crocodile
would tremble at."

Although Mark and I had promised
to let Mr. Daggett's old hermit live,
we had secretly conjured up a demon
fiddler who was to make his appear-
ance in the mysterious barred castle
at critical moments, and with ' ' rosined
bow" torment both the "quivering
string" and the old alchemist. In
case Daggett provided the old fel-
low with some spell sufficiently potent
to " lay " the fiddler, we intended to
introduce into the secret laboratory a
spectral owl that should worn- the
occupant by watching his every move-
ment ; and following the owl we
would send the whole progeny of
devils — aerial, aquatic and terrestial —

Online LibraryCharles Frederick HolderThe Californian (Volume 4) → online text (page 24 of 120)