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Kate Sanborn.

A truthful woman in southern California; online

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BY THE SAME AUTHOR.

Hbopting an Bbanboncb jfarm.

i6mo. Boards, 50 cents.



"'Adopting an Abandoned Farm' has as much laugh to
the square inch as any book I have read thLs many a day." —
Boston Sunday Herald.

"Miss Kate Sanborn has made a name and place for herself
beside the immortal Sam Slick, and has made Gooseville, Con-
necticut, as illustrious as Slickville in Onion County, of the same
State." — The Critic.

" She scores a point in every paragraph." — Chicago Interior.

" Full of wit under cover, and sly little hits at the manifold
peculiarities of human nature." — New Y'orJi Home Joiirnal.

" If any one wants an hour's entertainment for a warm sunny
day on the piazza, or a cold wet day by a log fire, this is the
book that will furnish it." — iVe-zv York Observer.

" We all know the charming lecturer and the clever writer,
a perfect Rothschild in quotation and historic allusions, but
Kate Sanborn the farmer is a new and extremely pleasant ac-
quaintance. Her manner of description is inimitable. Each
smallest incident becomes under her eloquent pen of vital in-
terest and importance."— ^(jj/^^w Times.

" She has unwittingly answered a much-vexed question while
writing a truly delightful book." — Boston Pilot,



New York: D. APPLETON & CO., i, 3, & 5 Bond Street



A TRUTHFUL WOMAN
IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA



BY

KATE SANBORN

AUTHOR OF ADOPTING AN ABANDONED FARM, ETC.




NEW YORK

D. APPLETON AND COMPANY

1894



Copyright, 1893,
By D. APPLETON AND COMPANY.



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER PACK

I. — Hints for the journey . . . i

II. — At Coronado Beach .... 7

III. — San Diego 20

IV. — En route to Los Angeles ... 50

V. — Los Angeles and round about . . 57

VI. — Pasadena 64

VII. — Camping on Mount Wilson . . 80
VIII. — Catching up on the kite - shaped

TRACK 96

IX. — Riverside 113

X. — A lesson on the train . . .123

XL — Santa Barbara 137

XII. — Her city and county . . . .151

XIII. — In gala dress 165

XIV. — AU REVOIR 184



Cafifornid.



CHAPTER I.

HINTS FOR THE JOURNEY.

The typical Forty-niner, in alluring dreams, grips
the Golden Fleece.

The fin-de-sihle Argonaut, in Pullman train, flees
the Cold and Grip.

En Sol y la Sotnbra — shade as well as sun.



afcv-^jES, as California is. I resolve neither
* to soar into romance nor drop into



poetry (as even Chicago drummers
do here), nor to idealize nor quote too many
prodigious stories, but to write such a book as I
needed to read before leaving my "Abandoned
Farm," " Gooseville," Mass. For I have dis-
covered that many other travellers are as igno-
I



H XTrutbfu Moman,



rant as myself regarding practical information
about every-day life here, and many others at
home may know even less.

So let me say that California has not a tropi-
cal, but a semi-tropical climate, and you need
the same clothing for almost every month that
is found necessary and comfortable in New
York or Chicago during the winter.

Bring fur capes, heavy wraps, simple woolen
dresses for morning and outdoor hfe ; and
unless roUing in wealth, pack as little as pos-
sible of everything else, for extra baggage is a
curse and will deplete a heavy purse, — that
rhymes and has reason too. I know of one
man who paid $300 for extra baggage for his
party of fifteen from Boston to Los Angeles.

Last year I brought dresses and underwear
for every season, and for a vague unknown
fifth ; also my lectures, causing profanity all
along the line, and costing enough to provide
drawing-room accommodations for the entire
trip.

Why did I come? Laryngitis, bronchitis,
tonsilitis, had claimed me as their OAvn. Grip



Ibints tor tbe Journey.



(I will not honor it with a foreign spelling, now
it is so thoroughly acclimated and in every
home) had clutched me twice — nay, thrice ;
doctors shook their heads, thumped my lungs,
sprayed my throat, douched my nose, dosed
me with cough anodynes and nerve tonics, and
pronounced another winter in the North a
dangerous experiment. Some of you know
about this from personal experience. Not a
human being could I induce to join me. If
this hits your case, do not be deterred ; just
come and be made over into a joyous, health-
ful life. I would not urge those to take the
tedious journey who are hopelessly consumptive.
Home is the best place for such, and although
I see many dragging wearily along with one
lung, or even half of that, who settle here and
get married and prolong existence for a few
years, and although some marvellous cures have
been effected, still I say the same.

And what is to be put in the one big trunk?
Plenty of flannels of medium thickness, a few
pretty evening dresses, two blouses," silk and
woolen or velvet for morning wear, with simple



H ITrutbtul Moman.



skirts, a gossamer, rubbers, thick boots for long
tramps and excursions, parasol, umbrella, soft
hat to shade the face, and gloves for all sorts
of occasions. I do not venture to suggest
anything for men, they travel so sensibly. The
more experienced one is, the less he carries
with him.

So do not load up with portfolio and portable
inkstand, your favorite .stationery, the books
that delighted your childhood or exerted a
formative influence upon your character in
youth. Deny yourself and leave at home the
gold or silver toilet set, photograph album, fam-
ily Bibles, heavy fancy work, gilded horseshoe
for luck, etc. I know of bright people who
actually carried their favorite matches from an
eastern city to Tacoma, also a big box of
crackers, cheese, pickles, and preserved fruits,
only to find the best of everything in that brill-
iant and up-with-the-times city. One old lady
brought a calla-lily in a pot ! When she arrived
and saw hedges and fields of lilies, hers went
out of the window. Another lady from Boston
brought a quart bottle of the blackest ink,



tints tor tbe Journey.



only to spill it all upon a new carpet at Santa
Barbara, costing the boarding-house keeper
thirty-five dollars. Everything that one needs
can be purchased all along the way, from a
quinine capsule to a complete outfit for any
occasion.

As to the various ways of coming here, I
greatly prefer the Southern Pacific in winter,
and Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe in spring or
summer. Either will take you from New York
to San Diego and return for $137, allowing six
months' stay. The " Phillips Excursion " will
take you from Boston to San Francisco for
fifty-five dollars. But in this case the beds are
hard, and you provide your own meals. Some
try the long voyage, twenty-three" days from
New York to San Francisco. It is considered
monotonous and undesirable by some ; others,
equally good judges, prefer it decidedly.

I believe in taking along a loose wrapper to
wear in the cars, especially when crossing the
desert. It greatly lessens fatigue to be able to
curl up cosily in a corner and go to sleep, with a
silk travelling hat or a long veil on one's head,



a Urutbful iRHoman,



and the stiff bonnet or big hat with showy
plumes nicely covered in its long purse-like
bag, and hanging on a hook above. The sand
and alkali ruin everything, and are apt to in-
flame the eyes and nose. I find a hamper
with strap indispensable on the train ; it will
hold as much as a small trunk, yet it can be
easily carried.

Now imagine you have arrived, very tired,
and probably with a cold in your head, for the
close heated cars and the sudden changes of
climate are trying. You may be at The Ray-
mond, and "personally conducted." Nothing
can be better than that. But if you are alone
at Los Angeles, or San Francisco, come straight
down to Coronado Beach, and begin at the be-
ginning — or the end, as you may think it.



CHAPTER II.



AT CORONADO BEACH.




ASSOCIATE Coronado Beach so
closely with Warner (Charles D.), the
cultured and cosmopolitan, that every
wave seems to murmur his name, and the
immense hotel lives and flourishes under the
magic of his rhetoric and commendation. Just
as Philadelphia is to me Wanamakerville and
Terrapin, so Coronado Beach is permeated and
lastingly magnetized by Warner's sojourn here
and what he " was saying."

But I must venture to find fault with his
million-times-quoted adjective " unique " as it is
used. It has been stamped on stationery and
menu cards, and has gone the world over in his
volume " Our Italy," and no one ever visits
this spot who has not made the phrase his
7



8 H xrrutbtul Momaiu

own. To me it deserves a stronger word, or
series of words. We say a pretty girl has a
" unique " way of dressing licr liair, or an
author a " unique " way of putting things.

But as I look out of my window this glorious
morning, and watch the triple line of foaming
waves breaking on the long beach, a silver
sickle in the sunshine ; the broad expanse of
the Pacific, with distant sails looking like but-
terflies apoise ; Point Loma grandly guarding
the right, and farther back the mountain view,
where snowy peaks can just be discerned over
the nearer ranges ; the quiet beauty of the
grounds below, where borders and ovals and
beds of marguerites contrast prettily with long
lines and curves of the briUiant marigolds ;
grass, trees, and hedges green as June — a view
which embraces the palm and the pine, the
ocean and lofty mountains, cultivated gardens
and rocky wastes, as I see all this, I for one
moment forget " unique " and exclaim, " How
bold, magnificent, and unrivalled!" Give me
a new and fitting adjective to describe what
I see. Our best descriptive adjectives are so



Ht CoronaC)o Beacb.



recklessly used in daily life over minute mat-
ters, that absolutely nothing is left for this rare
combination.

As a daughter of New Hampshire in this
farthest corner of the southwest, my mind
crosses the continent to the remote northeast
and the great Stone Face of the Franconia
Mountains. Chiselled by an Almighty hand,
its rugged brow seamed by the centuries, its
features scarred by the storms of ages, gazing
out over the broad land, where centre the
hopes of the human race, who can forget that
face, sad with the mysteries of pain and sor-
row, yet inspiring with its rugged determina-
tion, and at times softened with the touch of
sunlit hope?

Point Loma has something of the same .sphinx-
like grandeur, with its long bold promontory
stretching out into the Vv'cstern waters. These
two seem to be keeping watch and ward over
mountain and sea: each appropriate in its
place and equally impressive. There the stern
prophet surveying the home of great begin-
nings, the cradle of creative energy ; and here,



lo H Urutbtul Moman.

its counterpart, a mighty recumbent lion, its
dreamy, peaceful gaze turned with confidence
out over the wide Pacific to the setting sun,
with assurance of ultimate success, a pledge of
aspirations satisfied, of achievements assured,
of Whoa there! Hello! This to my run-
away steeds, Imagination and Sentiment.
Brought back by a passing bell-boy, I shall now
keep a tighter rein.

But when one first breathes the air of Cali-
fornia, there is a curious exaltation and excite-
ment, which leads on irresistibly. This is often
followed by a natural depression, sleepiness,
and reaction. But that view never changes,
and I know you will say the same. A florid,
effervescent, rhapsodical style seems irresistible.
One man of uncommon business abihty and
particularly level head caught the spirit of the
place, and wrote that " the most practical and
unpoetical minds, too, come here and go away,
as they afterward gingerly admit, carrying with
them the memory of sunsets emblazoned in gold
and crimson upon cloud, sea, and mountain ;
of violet promontories, sails, and lighthouses



Ht Coronabo 3Beacb.



etched against the orange of a western sky ; of
moonhght silvering breeze-rippled breadths of
liquid blue ; of distant islands shimmering
in sun-lit haze ; of sunrises with crowns of
glory chasing the vapory, fleece-hke shadows
from the wet, irridescent beach, and silhouetting
the fishermen's sails in the opalescent tints of a
glassy sea."

Some temperaments may not be affected
at all. But the first morning I felt like leap-
ing a five-barred fence, and the next like lying
down anywhere and sleeping indefinitely. I
met a distinguished Boston artist recently, who
had just arrived. The day was superb. He
seemed in a semi-delirium of ecstasy over every-
thing. His face glowed, his eyes shone, his
hands were full of flowers. He said, " My
heart jumps so I'm really afraid it will jump
out of my body." The next morning he was
wholly subdued. It had poured all night, and
the contrast was depressing. A six-footer from
Albany was in the sleepy state. " If I don't
pull out soon," he said, " I shall be bedridden.
I want to sleep after breakfast, or bowling, or



H Urutbtul Moman,



bath, or my ride or dinner, and really long to
go to bed by nine."

There has probably been more fine writing
and florid rhetoric about California than any
other State in the Union.

The Hotel del Coronado is a mammoth hos-
telry, yet homelike in every part, built in a
rectangle with inner court, adorned with trees,
flowers, vines, and a fountain encircled by cal-
las ; color, pure white, roofs and chimneys red ;
prevailing woods, oak, ash, pine, and redwood.
All around the inner court a series of suites
of rooms, each with its own bath and corner
sitting-room — literally " a linked suiteness long
drawn out." It is one eighth of a mile from
my bedroom to my seat in the dining-room, so
that lazy people are obliged to take daily con-
stitutionals whether they want to or not, sigh-
ing midway for trolley accommodations. The
dining-room may safely be called roomy, as
it seats a thousand guests, and your dearest
friends could not be recognized at the extreme
end. Yet there is no dreary stretch or cara-
vansary effect, and to-day every seat is filled,
and a dozen tourists waiting at the door.



Ht Corona&o Beacb. 13

Every recreation of city or country is found
in this little world : thirty billiard-tables, pool,
bowling, tennis, polo, bathing (where bucking
barrel-horses and toboggan slides, fat men who
produce tidal waves, and tiny boys who do the
heroic as sliders and divers, make fun for the
spectators), hunting, fishing, yachting, rowing,
riding to hounds, rabbit hunts, pigeon shoot,
shooting-galleries, driving, coaching, cards,
theatre, ballroom, lectures, minstrels, exhibi-
tions of the Mammoth and Minute from Yo-
semite with the stereopticon, to Pacific sea-
mosses, the ostrich farm, the museum or maze
for a morning hour, dressing or undressing for
evening display, watching the collection of
human beings who throng everywhere with
a critical or humorous eye, finding as much
variety as on Broadway or Tremont Street ;
dancing-classes for children ; a chaperon and a
master of ceremonies for gi-own folks ; a walk
or drive twelve miles long on a smooth beach
at low tide, not forgetting the " dark room " for
kodak and camera f — amateurs.

You see many athletic, fine-looking men,
who ride daringly and ride to kill. Once a



14 H XTrutbtul Moman.

week the centre of the office is filled with game :
rabbits, quail, snipe, ducks, etc., everything here
— but an undertaker. And old Ocean eternally
booming (the only permanent boom I know of
in Southern California).

And that is what you see and hear at the Hotel
del Coronado. The summer climate is better
than the winter — never too warm for comfort,
the mercury never moving for weeks. I ex-
pected constant sunshine, a succession of June's
fairest days, which would have been monoto-
nous, to say nothing of the effect upon crops and
orchards. The rainy season is necessary and
a blessing to the land-owners, hard as it is for
" lungers " and the nervous invalids who only
feel well on fine days and complain unreason-
ably.

Ten inches is the average needed just here.
Rain is rainy and wet weather is wet, but the
ground dries as soon as the pelting shower is
over. I do not find the raw, searching damp-
ness of our Eastern seashore resorts. Here we
are said to have " dry fogs " and an ideal marine
atmosphere, but it was too cold for comfort



Ht Corona^o 3Beacb, 15

during the March rains for those not in robust
health.

As I sit in the upper gallery and watch the
throng issuing from the dining-room, I make a
nice and unerring social distinction between the
Toothpick Brigade who leave the table with the
final mouthful semi-masticated, and those who
have an air of finished contentment.

The orchestra is unusually good,gi\dng choice
selections admirably executed. I have not de-
cided whether music at meals is a blessing or
otherwise. If sad, it seems a mockery; if gay,
an inteiTuption. For one extremely sensi-
tive to time and tune it is difficult to eat to
slow measures. And when the steak is tough
and a galop is going on above, it is hard to
keep up.

Among the many fleeting impressions of
faces and friends here, one or two stand out
clearly and indehbly — stars of the first magni-
tude in the nebulae — as dear Grandma Wade
from Chicago, the most attractive old lady I
ever met : eighty-three years old, with a firm
step, rotund figure, and sweet, unruffled face.



i6 a xrrutbful Momatu

crowned with the softest snow-white curls, on
which rests an artistic cap trimmed with rib-
bons of blue or delicate heliotrope, and small
artificial flowers to match. I have known sev-
eral interesting octogenarians, but never one
that surpassed her in lovehness, wit, and posi-
tive jollity. Her spontaneous fun is better than
the labored efforts of many a famous humorist.

She still has her ardent admirers among men
as well as women, and now and then receives an
earnest proposal from some lonely old fellow.

The last of these aged lovers, when refused
and relegated to the position of a brother, urged
her to reconsider this important matter, making
it a subject of prayer. But she quietly said,
"I'm not going to bother the Lord with ques-
tions I can answer myself." When choked by
a bread-crumb at table, she said to the fright-
ened waiter, as soon as .she had regained her
breath, " Never mind, if that did go down the
wrong way, a great many good things have
gone down the right way this winter."

She is invariably cheerful, and when parting
with her son for the winter .she .said, " Well,



at CoronaOo Beacb. 17

John, I want to know before I go just what
you have left me in your will!" which little
joke changed a tear into a smile.

Even when ill she is still bright and hopeful,
so that a friend exclaimed, " Grandma, I do
beheve you would laugh if you were dying;"
and she replied, " Well, so many folks go to the
Lord with a long face, I guess He will be glad
to see one come in smiling."

Oh, how repulsive the artificial bloom, the
cosmetics and hair-dyes which make old age
a horror, compared with her natural beauty!
God bless and keep dear Grandma Wade!

Little " Ted " is another character and favor-
ite, and his letter to his nurse in New York gives
a good idea of how the place affects a bright,
impressionable child.

" My dear Julia : // is a dummy fiear the
Jiotel and it takes Jive days to come here and there
is an ishmd right beyond the boat house and they
have a pigeon shoot every 7vcek. And there is
six hundred people here Julia, one hundred and
fifty came yesterday.



i8 H Urutbtul Moman.

^* There is a moiintin across the river and a
house very far aivay by itself, Julia. I flay in
the sand every day of my life, and I take swim-
ming lessons and I have two oranges. Califor-
nia is the biggest world in the countiy and there
is a tree very, very far away. Julia it is a puz-
zle walk near the hotel, Rose and me weiit all
through it and Julia, tve got our tvay out easy."

He has it all. All the trees are cultivated
here, so I looked round for the one Ted spoke
of, and find it lights up at night and revolves
for the aid of the mariners. I think that all
Cahfornians echo his sentiment that " Califor-
nia is the biggest world in the country " ; and
compared with the hard work of the New Eng-
land farmers, what is the cultivation of orchards
but playing in the sand with golden oranges?
Some one says that Californians " irrigate, culti-
vate, and exaggerate."

Charles Nordhoff, the veteran journalist and
author, lives within sight of the hotel (which
he pronounces the most perfect and charming
hotel he knows of in Europe or America), in a



Ht Corona^o Beacb, 19

rambling bungalow consisting of three small
cottages moved from different points and made
into one. He believes in California for " health,
pleasure, and residence." It is a rare privilege
to listen to his conversation, sitting by his open
fire or at his library table, or when he is enter-
taining friends at dinner.

So ends my sketch of Coronado. Coronado!
What a perfect word! INIusical, euphonious,
regal, " the crowned "! The name of the gov-
ernor of New Galicia, and captain-general of
the Spanish army, sent forth in 1540 in search
of the seven cities of Cibola. General J. H.
Simpson, U. S. A., has witten a valuable mono-
graph on " Coronado's March," which can be
found in the Smithsonian Report for 1869.

I intend to avoid statistics and history on
the one side, and extravagant eulogy on the
other.

Now we will say good-by to our new friends,
take one more look at Point Loma, and cross
the ferry to San Diego.



CHAPTER III.

SAN DIEGO.

" The truly magnificent, and — with reason — famous
port of San Diego." — From the Jirst letter of Father
Junipero in Alto California.




IFTEEN cents for motor, ferry, and
IS rPI car will take vou to Hotel Florence,
on the heights overlooking the bay,
where I advise you to stop. The Horton
House is on an open, sunny site, and is fre-
quented by " transients " and business men of
moderate means. The Brewster is a first-class
hotel, with excellent table. The Florence is not
a large boarding-house or family hotel, but open
for all. It has a friendly, homehke atmosphere,
without the exactions of an ultra-fashionable
resort. The maximum January temperature is
seventy-four degrees, while that of July is sev-
enty-nine degrees, and invalid guests at this
house wear the same weight clothing in sum-



San WiCQO. 21

mer that they do in winter. The rooms of this
house are all sunny, and each has a charming
ocean or mountain view. It is easy to get
there ; hard to go away. Arriving from Cor-
onado Beach, I was reminded of the French-
man who married a quiet little home body after
a desperate flirtation with a briUiant society
queen full of tyrannical whims and capricious
demands. When this was commented on as
surprising, he explained that after playing with
a squirrel one likes to take a cat in his lap.
Really, it is so restful that the building suggests
a big yellow tabby purring sleepily in the sun-
shine. I sat on the veranda, or piazza, taking
a sun-bath, in a happy dream or doze, until
the condition of nirvana was almost attained.
What day of the week was it? And the season?
Who could tell? And who cares? Certainly
no one has the energy to decide it. Last year,
going there to spend one day, I remained for
five weeks, hypnotized by my environments —
beguiled, deluded, unconscious of the flight of
time, serenely happy. Many come for a sea-
son, and wake up after five or six years to find



2 2 H XTrutbful Momau.



it is now their home. " There seems to exist
in this country a something which cheats the


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Online LibraryKate SanbornA truthful woman in southern California; → online text (page 1 of 10)