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appropriate letter from the Town Council. But no !-the name of Squibob remains unhonored and unsung, and, what is far worse, unrecorded and untaxed in magnificent Benicia. “How sharper than a serpent’s thanks it is to have a toothless child," as Pope beautifully remarks in his Paradise Lost. One individual characterized my letter as "a d-d burlesque." I pity that person, and forgive him.
For the last few days of my stay in Benicia, that city was in a perfect whirl of excitement. The election was rapidly approaching, and Herr Rossiter was exhibiting feats of legerdemain at the California House. Individuals were rushing about the streets proffering election tickets of all shapes and sizes, and tickets for the exhibition were on sale at all the principal hotels. One man conjured you to take a ticket, while another asked you to take a ticket to see the man conjured, so that what, with the wire-pulling by day, and the slack wire performance by night, you stood an excellent chance for getting slightly bewildered. Public meetings were held, where multitudes of fifty excited individuals surrounded the steps of the "El Dorado," listening with breathless interest to a speech in favor of McDaniels, and abusive to Bradford, or in favor of somebody else and everlastingly condemnatory of both. Election meetings, any where, are always exciting and interesting spectacles, but the moral effect produced by the last which I attended in Benicia, when (after some little creature named Frisbie had made a speech, declaring 'his readiness to wrap himself in the Star-spangled Banner, fire off a pistol, and die like a son of Liberty, for
66 That's a
the Union) Dr. Simple slowly unfolded himself to his utmost height, and with one hand resting upon the chimney of the “El Dorado,” and the other holding his serape up to Heaven, denounced such sentiments, and declaring that California had made him, and he should go his length for California, right or wrong, union or disunion. The moral effect, I say, produced, was something more than exciting; it was sublime; it was tremendous ! right-down good speech," said my fair companion; “but my! how the General gave it to him! didn't he, Mr. Squibob?” “He did so," said I. The candidates were all Democrats, I believe, and all but one entertained the same political sentiments. This gentleman (a candidate for the Senate), however, in the elucidation of his political principles, declared that he "went in altogether for John C. Calhoun, and nothing shorter.” Now I'm no politician, and have no wish to engage in a controversy on the subject; but, God forgive me if I am in error, I thought Calhoun had been dead for some months.
Well, I suppose some one is elected by this time, and the waves of political excitement have become calm, but Benicia was a stormy place during the election, I assure you. I succeeded in borrowing one dollar at ten per cent. a month (with security on a corner lot in Kearney street, San Francisco), purchased a ticket, and went to see Herr Rossiter. Gracious ! how he balanced tobacco pipes, and tossed knives in the air, and jumped on a wire, and sat down on it, and rolled over it, and made it swing to and fro while he threw little brass balls from one hand to the other
The applause was tremendous, and when, after a solo by the orchestra (which consisted of one seedy violin, played by an individual in such a state of hopeless inebriation that his very fiddle seemed to hiccough), he threw a back-handed summerset, and falling in a graceful attitude, informed the audience that "he should appear again tomorrow evening with a change of performance." We enthusiastically cheered, and my friend, the man in the red vest, who had sat during the whole evening in a state of rapt admiration, observed with a profound ejaculation, " that it went ahead of any thing he had ever seen in his life, except the Falls of Niagara !” I made many friends in Benicia. I don't like the place much, but I do like the people; and among my acquaintances, from Dr. Simple to my friend Mr. Sawyer, which two gentlemen may be termed the long and short of the place ;-I have never met with more kindness, more genuine hospitality than from the gentlemen of Benicia. The ladies are pretty, too; but, to use an entirely original metaphor, which, I presume, none of your readers ever heard before or will hear again : they are “like angels' visits, few and far between.” There isn't a more moral place on the face of the earth than Benicia. Ephesus, where the stupid people, a few years since, used to worship Diana, wasn't a circumstance to it.
Sonoma is twelve miles from Napa, and is—but I shall defer my description until next week, for I have scarcely made up my mind with regard to it, and my waning paper warns me I have said enough at present. Yours for ever.
SQUIBOB IN SAN FRANCISCO.
October 15th, 1850.
TIME! At the word Squibob comes cheerfully up to the scratch, and gracefully smiling upon his friends and supporters, lets fly his one, two, as follows;
Sonoma is a nice place. As my Sabbath school instructor (peace to his memory) used to add, by way of a clincher to his dictum-Piety is the foundation of all Religion—thar can't be no doubt on't." Situated in the midst of the delightful and fertile valley which bears its name, within three miles of the beautiful creek upon whose “silvery tide, where whilom sported the tule boats of the unpleasant Indians, the magnificent (ly little) steamer Georgina now puffs and wheezes tri-weekly from San Fransicso; enjoying an unvaryingly salubrious climate, neither too warm nor too cold. With little wind, few fleas, and a sky of that peculiarly blue description, that Fremont terms the Italian, it may well be called, as by the sentimentally struck travelling snob it frequently is, the Garden of California. I remained there ten whole days—somewhat of a marvel for so determined a gad-about as myself—and don't remember of ever passing ten days more pleasantly. It is useless for me to occupy time, and trespass upon your patience by a lengthy description of Sonoma. If any of your readers would know the exact number of houses it contains, the names of the people who dwell therein, the botanical applications of the plants growing in its vicinity, or any thing else about it that would be of any mortal use to any one, without being positively amusing, let them purchase Revere, or some other equally scientific work on California, and inform themselves; suffice it to say that there is delightful society, beautiful women, brave men, and most luscious grapes to be found there; and the best thing one can possibly do, if a tired and ennuyeed resident of San Francisco, Benicia, or any other great city of all work and no play, is to take the Georgina some pleasant afternoon and go up there for a change. He'll find it! General Smith and his staff reside at Sonoma, and a small detachment of troops have their station and quarters there. I saw a trooper in the street one day; he wore a coat with a singularly brief tail, and a nose of a remarkably vivid tinge of redness. I thought he might have just returned from the expedition, for his limbs were evidently weakened by toil and privation, and his course along the street slow in movement and serpentine in direction. I would have asked him to proceed to the Sink of Mary's River, and recover an odd boot that I left there last fall, but he looked scarcely fit to make the journey. I feared he might be Jenkins, and