Charles Frederick Holder.

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the world over.

What Japanese, even of the better






THE PROFESSIONAL BEAUTIES OF JAPAN.



659



class, travelling through America,
sees our noted beauties? Though,
indeed, as some of our fairest women
are to be seen on the stage, he has
more opportunity in this regard than
foreigners have of seeing Japanese
women, for they never appear at any
theatre or on any stage.

Of the aristocratic women, the
Marchioness Nabeshima is consid-
ered, both by foreigners and the
Japanese themselves, to be the most
beautiful of all the court ladies. She
wears European dress, -for she was
educated in Paris, and is as lovely a
little woman as one could imagine.

As to the mental capacity of the
Japanese woman, when we remem-
ber her opportunities we must ac-
knowledge that she has redeemed
them gloriously, for her greatest
obstacle, — want of education — she
made the stepping-stone to success.

Her countrymen thought women
unworthy and incapable of learning
the classic Chinese characters and lit-
erary style taught all well-educated
men. The result was most curious.
Men wrote their books in stilted,
formal Chinese, so that there was and
still is a great gulf between the writ-
ten and the spoken language; but
women could neither read nor write
these formal, dry-as-dust productions,
so they wrote their own books, and
to-day the classics of the living Japan-
ese language owe their existence to
women.

Mr. W. C. Aston, the authority on
Japanese literature, says: "I believe
no parallel is to be found in the his-
tory of European letters to the re-
markable fact that a very large
proportion of the best writings of the
best age of Japanese literature is the
work of women. "

Murasaki, a court lady of the Mid-
lie Ages, wrote the Genzi Monogatare,
r hich is the recognized standard for
le language of her time.

The Ise Mo7iogatare and Makuri
Zos/ii, which are classics, and a great
deal of the poetry of the period, were
written by women.



Japanese men have always admired
women gifted with wit, poetic facil-
ity, and sparkling repartee, and in
these the geisha and the court lady
excel.

But in such matters it is almost
impossible for a foreigner to judge,
unless resident in the country many
years, owing to the difficult)
munication, for Japanese is one of
the most intricate languages in the
world. But that there have been
Japanese women of great intell
history plainly proves. When
remember what they have
plished in literature and in art, that
four empresses besides the warrior-
empress Jingu ruled Japan with re-
markable ability and firmness, not
to say brilliancy, we can hardly in
fairness assert that Japanese women
are lacking in mental endowment.

Native history would show a woe-
ful hiatus if all the names of women
were stricken from its pages.

Many Japanese women were 1
in the use of arms and thoroughly
understood the art of fencing, besides
the use of the more warlike weapons.

They are devoted wives and moth-
ers, and whether legally married or
bound only by some irregular tie,
they are faithful and true — adultery
being almost unknown among w< nnen.

There is much the same difference
between them and our own women
as there was between our gi
grandmothers and the men of their
day. They have had neither the
education nor the advantages of our
girls, but every day they more nearly
approach the Western standard. Al-
ready there is beginning to be as
wide a breach between the old-school
Japanese women and the modern
native girl as there is between the
nineteenth-century American woman
and the English girl of the eigh-
teenth century.

Hitherto the geisha has been the
only educated woman in Japan, ex-
cept the ladies of the court, whose
numbers were so few as not to affect
the question. In consequence, many



660 TO CALIFORNIA'S GRATE FIRES.

a clever geisha made a brilliant mar- theatre, where he will soon expect to

riage, simply because she added to see actresses as well as actors, and

her other attractions a cultivated the lovely, captivating geisha will

mind. sink into obscurity, or seek some

Foreign writers, who know where- other occupation,

of they are speaking, predict the But with her will disappear one of

gradual disappearance of the geisha the most fascinating and characteris-

before the spread of Western ideas. tic phases of Japanese life, and the

The modern Japanese man will reign of the genuine "professional

seek his amusement at the public beauty" will be o'er.



TO CALIFORNIA'S GRATE FIRES.

BY xMINNA V. GADEN.

Whether primeval forests there are burned,
In by-gone age by mightier agents turned
To thine account, or whether blaze the logs
Thy mountains grew above thy cities' fogs
Up in the sunshine they perpetuate
Whene'er they burn within the peaceful grate,
The hearths of California's homes must be
The scenes where painters of her destiny
Shall ever their best inspiration find,
The place where future greatness is enshrined.
Before the lifted curtain of the grate
Are the great scenes enacted of the state,
Its real drama played upon the stage
Of the home life of every passing age.

The gold, resplendent sunshine that we boast

Is ever prodigal to give us most

Abundantly the daily bread of life,

And that with minimum of daily strife

Is concentrated in the firelight's glow

To warm our homes and hearts to overflow

With that which satisfies the larger needs

Of life, our spiritual nature feeds.

Philanthropy is born within the home

And gently nurtured there. Though it be grown

To full estate and peaceful empire sway,

Still must its life be lived at home. No rays

Of sun a wide prosperity requires

So much as those transformed in altar fires.




V



THE WILD WOMAN OF SAN NICOLAS ISLAND.



BY JAMES M. GIBBONS.




F we could form
a mental pic-
ture of San
Nicolas Isl-
and as it ap-
peared half a
century ago,
we should
find its phys-
ical features
the same as
those which
it presents to-day — a rocky, wave-
beaten finger-tip of nature peeping
above the surface of the Pacific nearly
due southwest of Los Angeles, moss-
carpeted where the brushwood has
found no soil wherein to take root, and
rising in the centre so as to form a
hill with somewhat steep declivities.
We should perceive at the base of
this eminence springs of fresh water
which would supply the unfortunate
mariner who might have the ill-luck
to be cast away on that uninviting
shore. Wild dogs would be seen
roaming about or stealthily creeping

661



np to the seals that lay basking in
the sun and slumbering on the craggy
rocks and beach, while shags perched
on peaks and slabs plume their oily
feathers in the warm rays, The
twittering of small birds in the brush
might also form part of this mental
impression. These would seem to
be the only signs of animal life 00
the island, and our first impression
would be that it was uninhabited by
human being. A closer scrutiny,
however, would reveal to us on the
mainland side of the hill three small
brushwood huts with framew-
of the bones of the whale, and a low
brush fence before them as a wind-
break. In front of one of these lowly
huts would be seen a woman squatted
on the ground engaged in weaving a
water vessel, or bottle, her textile
material being grass fibre, of which
she had an abundance at hand, col-
lected from the margins of springs
and the moist, swampy patches which
occupy the nooks and recesses of the
island. Ever and anon she raises



662



THE WILD WOMAN OF SAN NICOLAS ISLAND.



her eyes from her work, gazing wist-
fully seaward, and if a vessel should
heave in sight she would be seen to
rise excitedly, calling out " Mane-
quauna" at the top of her voice and
frantically waving her arms. Then,
as the vessel bears away, dipping and
rising with the billows, its crew un-
conscious of her call for rescue, she
"puts her head on the ground and
lies on the ground and weeps." She
is a very comely woman of the Indian
race, though her features are weather-
worn and her hair matted and sun-
bleached. Her well-developed, mus-
cular figure is displayed under her
tightly fitting coat, which with In-
dian patience she has made out of
the skins of shags caught by night
while asleep on the crags by the
shore. The lone Indian on that little
sea-girt isle is the Wild Woman of
San Nicolas Island.

The story of the Wild Woman of
San Nicolas Island is a singular one.
Outlines and summaries of it have
been published from time to time,
but a full account has never been
given, nor has any part of it been
presented as related by the principal
actors engaged in her rescue after
she had lived in solitude for seven-
teen years on that lonely isle. That
it can be so given now is due to the
zeal and 'thoughtfulness of Mr. D.
W. Thompson, one of the fathers of
the City of Flowers, and to him we
are indebted for a decidedly curious
page of history. In 1882 Mr. Thomp-
son, accompanied by a short-hand
reporter, sought out those princi-
pal actors — the venerable pioneers
George Nidever and Charles Brown —
and by elaborate questioning obtained
full particulars connected with the
unfortunate woman's career. From
their statements we are enabled to
furnish the following narrative of
facts.

George Nidever was born in Ten-
nessee in 1802, and left home when
only ten years old to follow the
vocation of a hunter and trapper.
The first field of his operations was



Arkansas; thence he proceeded to
Texas, which at that time belonged
to Mexico. Returning to Arkansas,
he joined a company which left for
the Rocky Mountains to trap beaver.
At starting the party was forty-eight
strong, and, ever pushing westward,
thirty-six of them, among whom
was Nidever, finally reached Mon-
terey in 1834, twelve of their number
having dropped out by the way. The
journey occupied several years of ad-
venturous travel, during which time
the party subsisted on buffalo, deer,
and bear meat, experiencing much
annoyance from Indians, who stole
their skins and otherwise molested
them. After reaching California,
Nidever settled down at Santa Bar-
bara in 1835 and engaged in sea-otter
hunting, a vocation which he pursued
for thirty years, during the earlier
part of which period he took part in
several conflicts with Indians.

Charles Brown, whose real name
is Carl Ditman, was twenty years
Nidever's junior, having been born
in Prussia in 1822. He followed the
sea for ten or twelve years, and
reached California in 1844, sailing
under Captain Wilson. He also en-
gaged in otter-hunting, and has re-
mained permanently in the country
ever since his arrival.

It is conjectured by these pioneers
that all the Santa Barbara Islands
were settled by Indians, who accord-
ing to Brown were much molested
by the tribes from the northwest.
These warlike savages would cross
the channel in their canoes and hunt
and shoot the poor islanders, "just
for mischief." Whatever may have
been the reason for adopting such a
measure, the Mexican government,
Nidever informs us, decided to re-
move the Indians dwelling on the
island to the mainland and distrib-
ute them among the missions. It
is with the removal of those on San
Nicolas that our narrative is con-
cerned.

The small schooner sent by the
authorities to bring off the family,






THE WILD WOMAN OF SAN NICOLAS ISLAND.



663



which consisted of seven or eight
members, was called Better -than- Noth-
ing and was in command of an old
sea-otter hunter named Sparks.
They succeeded in getting all on
board except the woman, who, though
brought down to the beach, was so
distracted at her two children having
been left behind that they let her go
back and sailed away. There is
some doubt whether she had one
child or two, but Mr. Brown says: " I
understand she made plain signs;
showed two fingers for two children.
She shook her breast; one was nurs-
ing and the other had teeth. She
sucked her fingers." Little it mat-
ters now whether she had one or two
babies: the cruel fact remains that
the poor creature was abandoned to
her fate by Sparks and his crew,
heartless semi-savage hunters who
recked little of the life of an Indian.
To judge from reports handed down,
it may be inferred that she returned
to the beach before the schooner was
at any great distance from the shore.
Otherwise how could such a detail
originate and become current as this
narrated by Brown? " When she got
there [the lower part of the island]
she found the vessel going away.
She called 'Manequauna!' They
made signs to her that they would
come back. She put her head on
the ground and laid on the ground
and cried; and they never came."
And again he says: "They told her
they would come back to-morrow,
but they never came back." So she
was left to return to her desolate hut,
with the wild dogs and the sea-birds'
cry rising above the hoarse murmur
of the surf howling by night around
her. Nidever states that after she
was brought off the island by him
seventeen years later she made signs
that her child had been devoured by
the wild dogs. Those creatures were
numerous on the island at that time,
but were poisoned off many years
later. The same authority informs
us that it was the intention of Sparks
to go back for her, but the schooner



was lost soon afterward on a vox
to San Francisco, and then adds ■ " All
thought the woman would not live
long, so they did not go back. " The
reader must form his own conclusion
with regard to this sad episode.

It is not difficult to picture to one's
self the condition and miseries of
this lonely woman, separata
husband and family and dependent
on herself for every necef
We can see her day by day gazing
seaward, on the watch for the t>oat.
The days summed up into months
and months grew into years, bol
schooner returned. She hips

going by, this way and that, but
body came for her. Her
" Manequauna" was unheeded, and
as time lapsed she became adaj
to circumstances and her surround-
ings. With deft fingers she wove
baskets and water-tight
smearing the latter with melted
asphaltum ; she twisted the sinew
seals, which she caught while sleep-
ing, into fishing-lines; she dug Up
the succulent roots of plants and
roasted them over fire obtained by
rubbing two sticks together; and
clothed herself in sea-bird skins which
she sewed together with fine sinew
with the aid of needles made of bone.
As the years passed by she became
contented with her lot; time dulled
her grief, and she accepted the situa-
tion with the stoical resignation of
her race. Fish, seal flesh, and roots
formed her diet; pure spring w
was her only beverage. Once she
fell deadly sick, lying helpless on
the ground for days before she
covered. Pioneer Brown say-
made signs that she had been sick,
lying in the dirt for days. She could
not move; all alone, she was down
sick and got well."

But the day arrived when the white
man again interfered with the cur-
rent of her life, and with fatal result.
The time came at last when she was
to leave her island home. It seems
to have been suspected, if not confi-
dently understood, that a wild woman



664



THE WILD WOMAN OF SAN NICOLAS ISLAND.



was living on San Nicolas Island, for
Padre Gonzales, of Santa Barbara,
requested Nidever to search for her.
"I went over three times," he says,
"before I found her." On the last
expedition Nidever took over several
Indians in addition to two or three
white men as crew, Pioneer Brown
being also on board. Reverencing
first-hand matter more than literary
form, we will quote the words of the
aged pioneer's dictation as he nar-
rated the circumstances attending the
finding of her: "We took all ashore
except the cook. We thought she
would try and hide, and we scattered
off, two or three hundred yards apart.
She had a little house made of brush,
and had a fire. Sitting by the fire
with a little knife, she was working
with it. She had a bone. All came
up and looked at her well. She had




THE WILD WOMAN AT WORK.



a heap of roots. That is what she
lived on ; she had little sacks to carry
them in. As soon as we sat down
she put a lump of them to roast on
the fire. Finally we got ready to go,
and made signs for her to come with
us. She understood the signs, for she
picked up her things to take them on
board. She did not appear to be sea-
sick at all, and was contented. Next
day we moved ashore and stayed there
a month and killed a good many
otter. She appeared to like every-
thing we had to eat. She was very
willing to come with us."

Brown is much more circumstantial
in his account, which may be ex-
plained by the facts that, being so
much younger than Nidever, his
memory of the occurrence was more
retentive of particulars, and that he
was the principal actor in the search.
From his dictation we
learn that Nidever
had previously to this
third visit to the
island seen signs of
the Indian woman,
but had afterward
failed to find the
tracks. On the occa-
sion when Brown ac-
companied him, the
weather was stormy,
and it was three days
before they could ef-
fect a landing. It
will be interesting to
many readers of the
Califoknian and only
justice to the old pio-
neer himself to quote
from his dictation
some portion of the
account he gives of
the finding of the
Wild Woman. He
says :

" I went round the
head of the island and
found tracks of the
woman; went back
and told the old gen-
tleman that the worn-






THE WILD WOMAN OF SAN NICOLAS ISLAND.



665



an was alive. He said it must be some
of our Indians. I said, 'Our Indians
have got bigger tracks than that. ' He
said, 'Well, if you think she is alive,
let us hunt for her, and take all the
men ashore. ' We went up to the head
of the island. There was a kind of
hill in the middle. I put my Indians
a couple of hundred yards apart. I
did not know what kind of woman
she was, thought she might bite or
scratch. We went from one side of
the island to the other and could not
see the hill, and she was sitting on
the side of the hill watching us.
When we got across to the Indians
I said, 'There's nothing here, let's
go back. ' There was a basket and
some feathers. She catched shags
and had a coat made without sleeves,
nicely covered with seal -skin. I said
to the Indians, iYou go to the hill
and scatter the feathers and things
in the basket, and if she is alive she
will find them. ' The same day we
found them all gathered up again
and put in the basket."

On the following morning Brown
persistently continued the hunt.
Toiling up the hill, when he was
about half-way up, he caught sight
of her. She was carrying something
heavy, and rested at intervals as she
ascended. Presently he came in
sight of "three huts made out of
whale-bone. Here he expected to
find her, but peering in found that
she was not there. Presently he
espied " something like a crow sitting
on a whale-bone," and perceiving
that it was the woman he was in
search of, he raised his gun with his
hat on it as a signal to the Indians
whom he hastily summoned, as he
did not know if she would "bite or
scratch." He thus continues his
narration :

" She had a brush fence, about two
feet high, to break the wind, and
right in front of me she sat facing
me. The sun was coming in her
face. She was skinning a seal before
I came up to her. The dog, when he
noticed me, began to growl. Think-



ing she might run I stepped round
her, and she bowed as if she knew
me before, and when the Indians
came up they all kneeled." The
poor creature, when she saw beii
of her own color and race, "held out
some of her food" to them. She
hibited no fear, and at a sign went
without demur with her captor-,
such they can be called, though
afterward gave them to understand
that she would not have joined t:
if they had not found 1 own

and his followers carried away with
them all her primitive belongings.
" I took everything she had, "
"and she took a big seal-head in her
basket, and that was all. We all had
something to carry." Arriving at a
watering-place "she washed lie:
over. Her hair was all rotting away,
and kind of bleached by the sun."
When they reached the vessel she
kneeled and crawled to the st
which was on deck. Brown gave her
some biscuit which she enjoyed, and
made petticoats and skirts for her out
of bed-ticking and sailors' clot:

During their month's stay at the
island, the Wild Woman was per-
fectly well and happy with her new
friends. She camped out with them,
living on the same food that they did,
fetching fuel and water for herself,
and returning to camp without mak-
ing any attempt to escape. In camp
she would "play like a child," or oc-
cupy herself in making basket
ing at a dozen or more of them. She
worked on one and then on the other,
never finishing them. She liked po-
tatoes, rice, and fish; she did not eat
much, but often, just like a child.
Brown narrates a touching incident
which marks the sympathy
child of nature for dumb animals and
her kindly disposition. She had a
young sea-otter, and to prevent the
sun from shining in it she

rigged up a shade with sticks and
hung it over the little creatut

On their return to the mainland
they encountered rough weather.
the Wild Woman would not stay be-



666



THE WILD WOMAN OF SAN NICOLAS ISLAND.



low, but remained on deck making
signs to the men "to pray for the
wind to go down. " On their passage
they discovered that she had names
for all the islands, but Brown could
not recollect them. " When we came
to vSanta Barbara beach there was
nobody living there except old man
Nidever. Seeing the boys coming
along on horses, she thought it was
awful; and when she saw the cattle
she crawled on the sand beach on her
hands and knees."

When the Wild Woman reached
Santa Barbara all her family were
dead. They had been taken to San
Pedro, where they pined and died
under the Indian-destroying wand of
civilization; so nobody could under-
stand her dialect. The priests tried
hard to get her life's story from her,
but her gibberish was unintelligible.
Indians were brought to her from
Ventura, Santa Barbara, and other
places, but they could only under-
stand a few words spoken by her.
Nidever states that efforts were made
to find some tribe that could talk
with her, but without success. Fi-
nally an old woman who had been
raised on one of the islands was
found who could understand what she
said to a limited extent; but most of
her communications were made by
means of signs.

At the Mission of Santa Barbara
the Wild Woman was baptized under
the Christian name of Juana Maria,
as Brown thinks, though not feeling
certain on that point. From one of
the men who had sailed in the little
schooner Better-tha?i-N othing she re-
ceived the name of that vessel. Wild
Woman is a misnomer. Brown, who
before he became acquainted with
her entertained a judicious appre-
hension as to the diversified capabili-
ties of her teeth and finger-nails,
makes this remark : " They all asked
me if she was wild. She was not
wild." Poor harmless, childlike
creature, with a great capacity for
happiness, she enjoyed her new life,
and displayed no symptoms of feroc-



ity. Says Nidever: "She would go
round to different homes and dance
Indian dances. She went all over
town and the Mission, always a party
of twenty or thirty Indians and Mexi-
cans with her." Brown corroborates
this testimony as to her contentment :
" Happy as a lady. She would dance
when any one came in." Clothes
were her especial delight. The
woman was a great curiosity, and
Nidever, who had taken her into
his house, was offered $1,000 to part
with her, the object of the would-
be purchaser being to exhibit her.
To his lasting honor he refused to
make such a bargain, because " it
did not look right to me to sell a
person."

But the end was drawing near.
Change of diet cut short the life of
the luckless Juana Maria, who would
doubtless have lived many years
longer had she been allowed to re-
main in her island home, or even if
due caution had been taken with re-
gard to what she ate. "If," says
Brown, "they had worked it right
and kept her on her food, she might
have been alive yet. She was about
forty-five or fifty when we found
her." But she was supplied to her
heart's content with green corn,
melons, pumpkin, and squash, and
after the brief enjoyment of a new,
strange life to her, for a month or
five weeks, she sickened and died.
She drew her last breath under Nide-
ver's roof, where her home had been
from the day when she landed on



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