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Carlyle Channing Davis.

The true story of Ramona, its facts and fictions, inspiration and purpose online

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will be disposed of in due time as directed by
her.

That Mr. Sandham was an artist of great

[349]



+ THE TRUE STORY OF RAMONA >

versatility is evidenced alone by the variety of
subjects of the " Ramona " illustrations. His
portrait of Father Salvierderra would be a
credit to Van Dyck; the scene of demonstra-
tive love between Alessandro and Ramona on
horseback proves him an animal painter of the
talent of Landseer; his Mission buildings and
landscapes are worthy of Fortuny.

It should be gratifying to " Ramona " lovers
in California to know that the original paint-
ings of Mr. Sandham, from which were taken
the illustrations of the " Pasadena Edition " of
" Ramona," are in California, having been pur-
chased and being now owned by Mr. C. C.
Parker of Los Angeles, a book-dealer and a
book-lover, who pays tribute always to Helen
Hunt Jackson and lauds the artistic genius of
Henry Sandham.

The wide range of Mr. Sandham's talent was
beyond the ordinary. It would be difficult
to name an artist who sketched and painted
so many and such a variety of subjects as did
he. He was equally brilliant with animate and
inanimate things; portraits, landscapes, build-
ings, animals and character scenes and studies.

" The Battle of Lexington," bought by pub-
lic subscription, which now hangs in the city
hall at Lexington, is his work. His picture



& THE TRUE STORY OF RAMONA *

of two moose in a death struggle was awarded
a gold medal at the Paris Exhibition. In
Canada his best known canvas is his portrait
of Sir John Macdonald, at Ottawa, which the
latter's widow has declared to be the " most
speaking likeness " ever painted of Canada's
greatest statesman.

The Canadian Government purchased and has
at Ottawa several other of his paintings, the
best being " St. Mark's of Venice."

There was a Memorial Exhibition of Mr.
Sandham's sketches and paintings, found in
his studio after his death, at the Imperial In-
stitute, London, under the patronage of all the
former living Governors General of Canada,
and the then recently appointed one, H. R. H.,
the Duke of Connaught; and other prominent
persons, including United States Ambassador,
Hon. Whitelaw Reid. One gallery was reserved
entirely for the royal reception. Four hundred
and sixty-six pictures and sketches of the dead
artist were exhibited. In the list were these
California subjects: "Death Bell of the Bro-
thers," Santa Barbara Mission; portrait, "Fa-
ther Salvierderra " ; "California Hydraulic
Mining"; "Young Chinese Merchant"; "On
a California Ranch"; "After Sundown";
"The Priests' Garden," Santa Barbara Mis-



Jt STORY OF RAMONA &

sion; " Cactus in Bloom "; " Mountain Clouds ";
" California."

During most of the time Mr. Sandham was
in Los Angeles he made his home at the
hacienda of Don Antonio and Dona Mariana
de Coronel. Mrs. Jackson introduced him to
this courteous and hospitable couple, and asked
as a favor that he be permitted to be in their
home, so, as Mrs. Jackson stated, he might
hear stories of the Mission Indians and study
and sketch them in life. She especially re-
quested that the Coronels should select In-
dians as subjects for Mr. Sandham's work.

For two months at a time Mr. Sandham
was at the Coronel home, working earnestly
and constantly. His illustrations of Mrs. Jack-
son's writings were but a minor part of his
drawings and paintings while in California.
" He was an enthusiastic worker," said Dona
Mariana de Coronel to the authors. " I have
known him to sketch and paint from four to
five subjects in one day, all complete. My
husband and I brought to him many Indians,
men, women and children, dressed in their
native costumes, and assisted in posing them
for Mr. Sandham, who sketched and painted
them. He was a most courteous and consider-
ate gentleman. Whenever any person or thing



*t THE TRUE STORY OF RAMONA *

attracted him, out came his pencil and sketch-
book and he earnestly proceeded to work. I
remember well one day I was returning to the
kitchen from the orchard, carrying a panful of
freshly picked peaches. He saw me, and I
had to please him by stopping until he sketched
me. He said he wanted the picture to send to
his wife. Mrs. Jackson and Mr. Sandham were
congenial and harmonious companions. Both
were enthusiastic in their respective lines of
labor."

From a source other than Sefiora de Coronel
the authors have the information that Mr.
Sandham pronounced her the best and nearest
type of the Madonna he had ever seen in life.
He painted a bust picture of her, which he
kept in a prominent place in his eastern studio,
which he always designated as " My California
Madonna."

Mr. Sandham's description of an evening at
the Coronel home is interesting, and evidences
the pleasure of his stay there, and is here given :

" We were sitting on the veranda, whence we
could count thirty different kinds of roses, and
Don Antonio in the gentle Spanish was telling
us of the California of the past. Sefiora, his
charming young wife, interpreted for us, often
beginning a sentence before he had quite fin-

[353]



> THE TRUE STORY OF RAMONA *

ished, their voices unconsciously blending in
one harmonious chord, to which Don Antonio,
leaning back, dressed in full Mexican costume,
kept up a gentle accompaniment on the guitar.
The various ranch hands, sauntering up, seated
themselves in a semicircle at the foot of the
stairs, a picturesque group in their broad-
brimmed sombreros with scrapes draped about
their shoulders. In the deepening darkness the
only lights came from the cigarettes of the
men, whose interest, like our own, was con-
centrated on the recital of the Don. There,
with music and the scent of roses filling the
night, we lingered, to listen to stories of the
forgotten past, and to learn of old customs of
the California that was. It was here that we
learned for the first time of the singing of the
sunrise hymn so artistically introduced in
Chapters V and XI of ' Ramona.' "

After witnessing the shearing of a band of
sheep at " Lucky " Baldwin's ranch, Mrs. Jack-
son sat in an unusually prolonged silence. It
was Mr. Sandham who said to her, " You are
tired?"; to which she thoughtfully and feel-
ingly answered: " No; but for the first time in
my life I appreciate the scriptural text, ' As
a sheep before her shearers is dumb/ " " The
helpless protest of the Mission Indians," wrote



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THE GUITAR AND "THE DEATH BELL"

(l) The guitar of Don Antonio dc Coronel. brought to Cali-
fornia in 1835, with which he frequently entertained Helen Hunt
Jackson. Now in the Coroncl Collection, Chamber of Commerce,
Los Angeles. *' Don Antonio * * * dressed in full Mexican
garb, kept up a gentle accompaniment on the guitar." Page 254.
(2) "The Death Bell." Santa Barbara Mission, mndc in i?37-
" On the corridor of the inner court hank'* a l>cl! which is rung
for the hours of the daily offices and secular duties. It is also
struck whenever a friar dies, to announce that all is over. It is
the duty of the brother who Ins watched the last breath of the
dying one to go immediately and strike this bell. Its sad note
has echoed many times through the corridor." (Mrs. Jackson in
of California and the Missions*')



>, THE TRUE STORY OF RAMONA *

Mr. Sandham, " had a new meaning for her
from that moment."

Henry Sandham's work is inseparably con-
nected with " Ramona." In conversing with
him concerning the novel Mrs. Jackson was
wont to designate it as "our book."

The original paintings from which the illus-
trations of the novel were taken should belong
to the public, and to this end the authors are
negotiating with the owner, that they may be
placed for all time in the Los Angeles Museum of
History, Science and Art. They do mute but just
tribute to Henry Sandham, companion and co-
worker in California with Helen Hunt Jackson.

" His pieces so with live objects strive,
That both or pictures seem, or both alive,
Nature herself, amaz'd, does doubting stand,
Which is her own and which the painter's hand ;
And does attempt the like with less success,
When her own work in twins she would ex-
press.

His all-resembling pencil did out-pass
The mimic imagery of looking-glass.
Nor was his life less perfect than his art,
Nor was his hand less erring than his heart,
There was no false or fading color there,
The figures sweet and full proportioned were.' :

[fSSl



CHAPTER XIX
THE DRAMATIZATION OF "RAMONA"

IT is among the strangest anomalies of his-
trionic annals in the United States that the
great American novel should never have
been successfully dramatized. There would
seem to be in the romance of Mrs. Jackson a
superabundance of genuine dramatic material,
a plethora of tragic as well as dramatic inci-
dents, any amount of sentiment and pathos,
with opportunities for the introduction of folk-
lore and folk-song almost boundless, with the
widest range for the costuming of characters
and the introduction of stage effects. Yet
fifty-three distinct failures to dramatize the
story have been recorded, while " Uncle Tom's
Cabin " holds the record for the largest aggre-
gate box sales of any American play ever
staged.

What more beautiful characters than those
of Ramona and Alessandro? What more sub
lime character than that of Father Salvier-
derra? Where will be found such genuine
spiritual devotion as is shown in all the mem-



Jt THE TRUE STORY OF RAMONA *

bers of Sefiora Moreno's household? Where
such another exhibition of true maidenly love
as that of Ramona for Alessandro? Where a
more chivalrous lover than Alessandro? Where
such an incident of pure, patient devotion as
that of Felipe for the girl his mother could not
love? What play- writer could ask for greater
emotional climaxes than the discovery by the
Indian of the wondrous beauty of the maiden,
and the joyful hint that the blood of his race
ran in her veins? Or the unfortunate discov-
ery by Sefiora Moreno of the two at the first
love-making in the willows? What more
thrilling scene than the fainting of Felipe on
the wool-shed and the night flight of Jose to
Temecula for the violin?

What prettier setting than the meeting of
Father Salvierderra with Ramona in the mus-
tard field? What more sisterly devotion and
innocent conception than that displayed by
Ramona in saving Margarita from disgrace and
punishment for carelessness in handling the
altar cloth? What more pathetic scene than
the deathbed of Sefiora Moreno, pointing her
bony finger at the hidden chamber, wherein the
Ramona jewels were kept, and struggling for
breath to articulate the secret she had so long
kept from her son? What more terrible scene

[3571



*, STORY OF RAMONA *

than the driving of the Indians from their
homes at Temecula at the point of the bayonet?
What more thrilling tragedy than the slaying
of Alessandro before the very eyes of his de-
voted Majella? What more romantic spectacle
than the night journeys over the mountains to
San Diego of the homeless lovers, the devo-
tion of the one, the perfect trustfulness of the
other? Where could be found another such
wholesome, genuinely good soul as Aunt Ri?

The story is clean, instructive and uplifting
throughout, the purpose sublime, the end sad
but sweet.

And yet it never has been successfully dra-
matized or staged. The last unfortunate and
inexplicable failure, too, occurred in the very
heart of Ramonaland, where local color was
in the very atmosphere, and every heart in
the audience pulsated with fervid sympathy
with the theme.

Passing strange, but all too true. It was
at the Mason Opera House, Los Angeles.
Never a larger or more enthusiastic audience.
Never a more fashionable or aristocratic one.
Never an audience more kind or patient or con-
siderate; yet never one so disappointed. Ra-
mona was "played" till twelve o'clock, and
the people went to their homes grieving as one



^ THE TRUE STORY OF RAMONA *

might over the fall and breakage of a beautiful
vase. The writer grieved with the rest, sorry
for the dramatist, sorry for the actors and
actresses, yet more filled with compassion for
the audience.

Some day a real dramatist will rise up and
give to the American people a correct presenta-
tion of one of the sweetest, most pathetic and
soulful stories ever written.



[359]



HELEN HUNT JACKSON *
Ina Coolbrith

What songs found voice upon those lips,
What magic dwelt within the pen,

Whose music into silence slips,
Whose spell lives not again!

For her the clamorous to-day
The dreamful yesterday became ;

The brands upon dead hearths that lay
Leaped into living flame.

Clear ring the silvery Mission bells
Their calls to vesper and to mass;

O'er vineyard slopes, thro' fruited dells,
The long processions pass.

The pale Franciscan lifts in air

The cross above the kneeling throng;

Their simple world how sweet with prayer,
With chant and matin song!

There, with her dimpled, lifted hands,
Parting the mustard's golden plumes,

The dusky maid, Ramona, stands,
Amid the sea of blooms.

From " todfs from the Golden Gate," with permiMioo.

J260]



* THE TRUE STORY OF RAMONA

And Alessandro, type of all
His broken tribe, for evermore

An exile, hears the stranger call
Within his father's door.

The visions vanish and are not,

Still are the sounds of peace and strife,

Passed with the earnest heart and thought
Which lured them back to life.

O, sunset land! O, land of vine,
And rose, and bay! in silence here

Let fall one little leaf of thine,
With love, upon her bier.



GLOSSARY OF SPANISH WORDS



Alejandro

Alessandro

Avila

Blanca Yndart

Cahuilla

Camulos

Canero

Canito

Cilicio

Conejos

Corralez (Corrales)

Del Valle

Domingo Garcia

Don

Dona

El Recreo

1 Retrio

Felipe

Francisco de Jesus

chez
Frijoles
Gonzaga
Grevoja Pa
Guadalajara
Guadalupe
Guajome
Guanajuato
Hacienda
Hispano
Ignacio
Inez
Joaquin



San-



A-la-han'-dro

A-las-san'-dro

A'-ve-la

Blan'-ca En-dar't

Ka-hwe-lya

Ka-m66'-los

Ka-na'-ro

Ka-ne'-to

The-le'-the-6

K6-na'-hos

K6r-ra-lath' (Cor-ra'1-es)

Dal Va'-lya

Do-me'n-go Gar-the'-a

Don

Do'-nya

Al Ra-cra'-o

Al Ra-tre'-6

Fa-le'-pa

Fran-the's-co da Ha-s66's

Sa'n-chath
Fre-ho'-las
G6n-tha'-ga
Gra-vo'-ha Pa
Gwa-da-la-ha'-ra
Gwa-da-166'-pa
Gwa-ho'-ma
Gwa-na-hwa'-to
A-thean'-da
E-spa'-no
Eg-na'-the-6
E-na'th
Hwa-kee'n



[263]



GLOSSARY OF SPANISH WORDS



Jose

Jos6 Jesus Lopez

Jos6 Pachito

Josefa

Juan

Juanita

Junipero Serra

La Jolla (La Joya)

La Puente

Lequan

Los Angeles

Los Coyotes

Majel

Majella

Mesa Grande

Moreno

Mortero

Nacha

Nachita

Navacana

Pablo Assis

Padre

Pajaro

Pala

Peyri

Pio Pico

Pirii

Potrero

Ramona

Rancherias

Rancho

Rivero

Rojerio Rocha

Salvierderra

San Bias

San Corgonio

San Jacinto



H6-sa

Ho-sa' Ha-s66's Lo -path

H6-sa' Pa-chc'-to

H6-sa'-fa

Hwan

Hwa-ne'-ta

H6o-ne'-pa-r6 Sa'r-ra

La Ho'-lya (La Ho -ya)

La P65-an'-ta

La-kwan

Los An'-ha-las

Los K5-yo'-tas

Ma-hal'

Ma-ha'-lya

Ma'-sa Gra'n-da

Mo-ra'-no

Mor-ta'-ro

Na-cha

Na-che'-ta

Na-va-ka'-na

Pa'-blo As-se's

Pa'-dra

Pa'-ha-ro

Pa'-la

Pa'y-re

Pe'-6 Pe'-co

Pe-roo

P5-tra'-ro

Ra-mo'-na

Ran-cha-re'-as

Ra'n-cho

Re-va'-ro

R6-ha'-rc-6 Ro'-cha

Sal-ve-ar-da'r-ra

San Bias

San C6r-g6'-ne-6

San Ha-then'-to



[264]



GLOSSARY OF SPANISH WORDS

San Luis Obispo San L66'-es O-be's-po

San Luis Rey San L66'-es Ray

San Ysidro San E-se'-dro

Santa Ynez Sa'n-ta E-na'th

Senor Sa-nyo'r

Sefiora Sa-nyo'-ra

Scrapes Sa-ra'-pas

Tehachapi Ta-a-cha'-pe

Ulpiano 6ol-pea'-no

Vaquero Va-ka'-ro

Varela Va-ra'-la

Vibiana Vc-bea'-na

Ybare (Ybarra) E-ba'r-ra (E-bar-ra)

Ygnacio Eg-na'-the-o

Yndart En-da'rt

Ysabel E-sa-bal

Zacatecas Tha-ka-ta'-kas

Zalvidea Thal-ve'-da-a



[265]



MUMS m"ii





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Online LibraryCarlyle Channing DavisThe true story of Ramona, its facts and fictions, inspiration and purpose → online text (page 14 of 14)