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Beautiful as these rugged Sierras were in wood grows, not any is left. The poplar and the spring and autumn, there comes an add- balm of Gilead along the river-borders hold ed glory to them when the snow piles deep on their branches nothing but snow. The upon their sides, and turns their crest of willows are the last to lose their leaves, and stately pines into a delicate fringe of white. even now the course of the stream is marked So high the mountains look, so cold and aw- by their dull yellow. Some of them, howful, that no human approach to them seems ever, are only bare twigs, and have commenced possible. And when at night the clouds dis- to bud, poor things. appear, and the air is clear and cold, the Not far from the town there is a lake imheavens are deep, dark blue, and the stars prisoned, high above the valley, walled in by and mountains seem very near together. a circle of mountains. Years ago its outlet There is nothing that can express the sub- was artificially cut off, and all along its shores limity of a winter night in the mountains are spectral trees, killed by the rising of the after a storm. The snow lights up the night, water. Their blanched forms grow more and far across the valley you can see Mt. ghostly every year, and the tragedy they sugLassen white against the sky, while near it gest finds a human counterpart in the grave leans Orion. The Feather flows darkly by, of a murdered miner, marked by a rude railreflecting the depths above it. A low echoing that just shows above the water. Now,

, repeats the roar of the falls, and at intervals the whole surface of the lake is frozen over, comes the bark of a dog from the Indian and a bleak wind whistles along the shores. wigwams far up the river, where you see a At intervals there comes a low boom, as if faint light glimmer. Everything is cold and some terrible convulsion were going on bewhite: only the river moves. Yet one must neath the water. It is the crunching and needs be in love with coldness and whiteness, cracking of the ice, as the inflowing streams since it is they that have changed the picture alter the level of the lake. Imagine a cold, from the beautiful to the sublime.

frosty morning, thermometer below zero, a It would seem as if life in such a coun- dense fog hanging over the water. Now the try must fill the human soul with patience sun breaks through the fog, and shines on and charity and kindly sympathy. But the the middle of the lake, and shows the air full inevitable contrast presents itself here, as of flying Aakes of frost. All night a slight everywhere else, between inspiring beauty in breeze has been carrying the moisture down nature and every form of pettiness in hu- the cañon, and it has frozen upon each sepamanity. It appears that wide ideas and rate leaf and twig of the firs and the undertheir results in character cannot be ex- brush there. Now the sun is scattering the pected of a small isolated community. We fog and lighting up this delicate frost-work, must be contented, instead, with the rougher, and making such a brilliant scene as one perhaps the more fundamental virtues, and might expect to see but once in a life-time. try to read the heart under its disguises. Near by, everything is glistening, and the And that heart has usually a good deal more small trees and bushes make fairy bowers, gentleness and generosity than its speech as radiant as jewels could be. Then a little expresses. The bonds of human interest are farther down the cañon, where the frost has really strong in these isolated towns, shut in not settled so thickly, are trees that seem by mountain ridges; and perhaps the "How powdered, and their deep green foliage forms are you?” and “Good morning" of travelers a background to the whole picture; while ”

; passing each other on the roads has in it the down in the bottom of the gulch, where a significance of a typical custom.

stream splashes among the rocks, the spray With December's coming, the oaks have has leaped high, and frozen in all sorts of fandropped their last forlorn leaves, and of all tastic shapes. Great sparkling icicles hang the bright October foliage on the mountain- from the rocks, and in places you can catch sides, and in the deep cañons where the dog the glimmer of the mad little stream itself.

To all this coldness and weirdness there is and bright faces, that remind us of stories of a strange contrast. If on a clear night you eastern winters. And I am inclined to think shout across the lake, facing the south, a won- that he cannot know the highest joys of winderfully distinct echo will answer you, and re- ter who has not lived in a snowy country, peat itself again and again, until it gradually ridden behind the sleigh-bells, skimmed over dies away in a continuous note. If you call the ice on skates, and gone to sleep watchin three notes of a chord, the perfect chord ing the flicker from the fireplace making will ring through the air, and die away so gent- queer shapes upon the wall. Here we apprely that you cannot be sure when it has ceased. ciate our favorite books and pictures as we

But the grandeur of mountain scenery, and never did before; and here the wonderful the beauty of snow and frost, are not the only beauty of nature seems in harmony with attractions of Plumas in the winter. Under every good thought and noble feeling that these snow-covered roofs are cosy fireplaces ever found expression in the world.

CURRENT COMMENT.

The legislature which has just commenced its is it possible to know how much should be collected session is not, at this writing, old enough to disclose until contracts have been invited and opened? Huits special qualities—if it has any special ones. Ap- man nature is so constituted that men dislike to pay parently, it is of the average caliber of those which for a thing which lies only in intention. In truth, it have gone before; that is, the mass of the members is no easy task to collect assessments for work alare fair intentioned but moderately informed men, ready done; how much more difficult, then, if there while here and there are a few really bright, leading is only an expectation that it will be done. The minds. As to the rogues, there are undoubtedly streets of our cities are rapidly going to destruction, enough of them, but perhaps not so many as have been but it is highly probable, before we can expect relief, heretofore crying aloud for the rights of the people. that the present constitutional clause will have to

This legislature has important work before it be repealed, and a new and more reasonable one some of which should have been disposed of by the substituted. body in session two years ago.

At that time, as There should also be legislation providing a uniwill be remembered, the debris bill consumed very form system of township governments; concerning nearly the entire session; and, moreover, excited the funding of county and municipial debts, the apsuch sharp animosities between different sections of portionment of the State into legislative districts, the State, that no common agreement could be ar- and other matters, to adjust ourselves to the new rived at as to other needed laws. Two or three Constitution. The Germans will insist that the so. measures may be said to be pressing for settlement. called Sunday law shall be abrogated, and the AmerOne is a classification of the cities of the State, and ican Democrats will no doubt go with them so far as the providing of charters for those smaller than San to render it inoffensive to the foreign element. It is Francisco. The new Constitution enacts that this even asserted that the Teutons will propose that a shall be done by general laws, and existing cities clause be added to the State Constitution prohibiting, may adopt the proffered charter by a majority vote in the future, all legislation concerning Sabbath or of its electors. It is probable that every municipal. sumptuary laws. It is doubtful whether the American ity in the State needs a new fundamental law, or at voters will agree to this, because it is evident that least a remodeling and pruning of its old one. there is still a strong party in the State in favor

Again: a general street law must be framed which of putting down by law the continued multiplication shall be in harmony with the Constitution, and yet of whisky-shops. be practicable. It is quite generally feared, how- One of the points most strongly made in San ever, that no scheme can be devised which will stand Francisco in favor of the new Constitution was its the constitutional test, and at the same time be supposed inhibition of special legislation with referworkable. The requirement that the expense of the ence to city affairs. Under the old regime, local improvement shall be levied, collected, and paid into self-government, beyond the election of local officers the city treasury before the work shall be commenced, and the ordering the payment of bills, was pracor any contract let, interposes an almost insuperable tically transferred to Sacramento. obstacle to an effective law upon the subject. How through laws which increased the number of boards

Year by year, and officers, and which regulated the expenditure of ought to be investigated, and the greedy consul at the revenue, the field of local legislation and control Sydney removed; but it should rather suggest that was narrowed, until the board of supervisors was, in the system which makes it possible for a faithful effect, pushed almost entirely outside of it.

officer to be arbitrarily dismissed in this manner is It was supposed an adequate remedy for this essentially vicious. Under all civilized governments perversion was supplied by the apparently rigid re- except our own, twenty-five years of faithful service is strictions of the new Constitution. But our Supreme a guaranty of permanency in office, and usually of Court, in the case of Staude v. the Board of Elec- promotion. With us, however, the longer a man is tion Commissioners, has opened the eyes of the peo- in office, the more irresistible becomes the politiple to the melancholy fact that all this bristling cians' argument that there should be rotation; that hedge about their municipal liberties has, after all, “the boys should have a chance.” The Pendleton an opening in it, through which the enemy can pour bill, which has just passed both houses of Congress, to the assault of the citadel. The court, in deciding would not prevent such an abuse as this; but it is to that what is known as the Hartson Act applies to be hoped that this excellent measure is the comSan Francisco, held, in substance, that the city, by mencement of a reform which will finally embrace the terms of the fundamental law itself, is subject to all branches of the civil service. and can be controlled by "general laws.” It can be easily seen that, under the guise of “gen

This does not seem to be a good year for memoeral" laws, any sort of a measure may be made appli- rial associations. People do not respond with the cable to San Francisco, because it is easy to make a alacrity which the promoters expected, and the busistatute general in its terms bear directly on that city. ness seems to languish. The Garfield Memorial In this view, the people of the principal city are as

Association, whose object was to build something to much within the power of a hostile legislature as of perpetuate the memory of a murdered President, to old. Experience shows that there is always in our

which all Americans were expected to contribute, legislatures antagonism, more or less open, between finds a lack of benevolent contributors and of earnest the country and San Francisco. This feeling is workers. Immediately following the death of the adroitly acted upon by unscrupulous city members, poet, there was formed in Boston the Longfellow so that the result often-in fact, generally—is the Memorial Association, whose object was to cause stripping the city of its most valued rights of self

some erection which should express the reverence government.

and love of the people for the memory of him whose

name it bears. The names of people best known in Two paragraphs appeared recently in a San Fran- literature and taste were appended as directors. It cisco newspaper, which aptly illustrate the difference was conjectured that the contributions in amounts between a civilized and an uncivilized system of from ten cents upward would be countless. The civil service. One announced that Mr. Lane Book- “Literary World" said that there were 10,000,000 er, after a service of a quarter of a century as British children in the United States, and if one in twenty consul at the port of San Francisco, had, in consid- gave ten cents apiece that would make $50,000 eration of his faithful services, been promoted to the to begin with. As a sum in arithmetic, the solupost of consul-general at New York. The other tion was correct; but as a problem in logic, the stated that Mr. George Mitchell, for nearly a quarter result shows that figures are given to deceiving. The of a century United States consul at Newcastle, last report is that there have been about $5,000 New South Wales, had been removed without pre- given thus far, and a large portion of that has been vious notice, and without any complaint or charges absorbed already in expenses. made against his efficiency or integrity. His sudden Memorial associations are never likely to have removal called forth from the foreign consul at New- great success. They are attempts to guide and concastle and the leading citizens of the place a letter trol the impulses of people; and impulses are not to expressing their surprise and regret. The supposed be guided so as to be methodical in expression, but inner history of the removal adds to the disgraceful- they are simply to be taken advantag of. Such ness of the act.

impulses come from enthusiasm, and all enthusiasm It appears that the Newcastle consulship is subor- is temporary. Strike, if you will, while the iron is dinate to that at Sydney, and the new consul at the hot, for it never stays hot long. Enthusiasm over latter port distinctly informed Mr. Mitchell—so the individuals comes from an abnormal condition of the latter writes-that unless he, Mitchell, gave to him mind. The judgment is soon restored, however, half of the fees he should collect, he would ask the and it is then seen that there is no more reason for authorities at Washington to vacate Mitchell's place. being enthusiastic on the present occasion than Mitchell refused, and in due time he was dismissed. about other matters and persons, some of which are Whether it be true or not that an assessment of half of more consequence in a rational view.

If one the fees was made, this case is a fair illustration of must be enthusiastic over everything, there would the barbarous methods prevailing in our civil service. not be enthusiasm enough to go around. When the The paper from which we quote adds that the case shock of the death of a man eminent in politics is

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fairly over, we see to what pledges people have half success. It is an almost universal fact in nature, bound themselves; and it isnot strange if they con- that the two great endowments of beauty and genius clude that, if it is a matter of duty to build a monu- do not go coupled in one. Those who remember the ment to the loss, then duty as much would compel face of the greatest American actress, Charlotte monuments to other much greater men who have Cushman, did not feel it to be any reproach to her, passed on long before, and they dislike to pay tribute nor did it apparently detract from her success, that first to the memory of the lesser. And it becomes beauty and she were never thought of together. apparent also, that, for the most part, people strive Those who considered themselves critics, par excelby monuments to make immortal those who have not lence, always insisted that Adelaide Neilson was no really immortalized themselves. The place to lay actress. It does not seem to us of much importance the foundation for a perpetual memorial is in the to what quality we attribute the favor that one wins, mind of mankind. Monuments of stone and bronze after it is found that the favor in large degree is won. crumble, but there is no sign of age or ruin in the perpetual blazon in the human mind of the names of A PENNY is a wonderful instrument of delight to a člomer, and Plato, and Dante, and Shakspere, and child at the East. With it he can buy an apple, a Goethe. And monuments to perpetuate the mem- pear or peach, a piece of gingerbread, or a stick of ory of such as these are needless. When king Agesi- candy as large as he ought to eat.

It is a coin of so laus was dying, he charged his friends that no fiction small value that the humblest laborer can afford and or counterfeit (so he called statues) should be made does not begrudge to give it to his youngster as a for him. “For if,” said he, “I have done any hon- frequent reward of good behavior, or to spend as a orable exploit, that is my monument; but if I have sauce to his bread-and-butter lunch at school. Tens done none, all your statues will signify nothing." of thousands of little hearts are there daily made

happy by this insignificant token. If for a single It has been said that Mrs. Langtry may come day it were to go out of circulation, barrels of tears here. If she does, we shall go in crowds to see her, would be shed, and the fruit of the old woman's and this, malgré the criticisms upon her “Rosalind,” apple-stand on the street corner would go to decay. the dissent from her method of lacing, or the lack of Here in California we have scorned to take any ardent enthusiasm over her histrionic ability, that interest in so humble a coin. In the early flush have been expressed and sent by mail and telegraph days of large wages and large profits we thought a across the continent. The photographs that, bear- quarter of a dollar quite small enough to be of pracing her name, were displayed in the shop windows tical value. We had no children here then, and no of San Francisco a year before she essayed the poor people. After a while we were less proud and experience of an actress, gave us a desire to see a more economical, and found that a dime was not to lady of London society, who was courted by the be despised. The introduction of the half-dime was heir of the throne of Great Britain, and the fame of a struggle. The people who had to work and to whose beauty was not only national, but world-wide. pay as they go wanted it, but the shop keepers Those of mortals who have any pre-eminent quality denounced it as a contemptible currency, and tried are so few, that every one of them easily gains our to keep it in disfavor, and out of use. It came favor ; and, the endlowment of one heavenly favor along, nevertheless, and has proved of infinite being bestowed, we are silently grateful for that, and service and economy. But now we have laboring are not disappointed that more than one is not poor to whom five cents is an object of considerabestowed upon any.

An old Latin writer said that tion, and not to be wasted. We have, also, thou"a handsome face is a silent recommendation.” It sands of children who have the same desires as is so rare a gift that every one returns its smile with children elsewhere: when they pass the gorgeous an eternal friendship. If Mrs. Langtry adopted the piles of fruit seen on every street, or the toothsome stage as her only method of rebuilding fallen for- sugar-plums that look so sweet behind the platetunes, and had no considerable ability to aid her, glass window, they grow sad instead of joyous, the gift that made her famous did not need to be knowing that the only coin which can procure the supplemented by other great gifts to insure her the tempting luxury is not to be got except on holidays. accomplishment of the task she set herself. Had What matter that one can buy three or four apples, she histrionic genius, she would not need great per- or three or four sticks of candy for five cents. The sonal comeliness to win success. Having more little one has no five cents; besides, one apple or than usual beauty, with good intelligence, much candy is all it wants. Fruit is cheap at wholesale, natural sweetness, amiability, grace, simplicity, and all through the season could be retailed with urbanity, and the savoir-faire of society, she does good profit at a penny apiece. Let us have the not need genius nor even great ability to achieve copper coins, and make the children happy.

BOOK REVIEWS.

man.

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John Randolph.1

the spoiled child of Virginia. His vanity developed John Randolph, of Roanoke, was a peculiar com- into arrogance, his sarcasm into vituperation. His pound of vanity, political shrewdness, eloquence, fecundity in invective was inexhaustible. At last, brutality, and at last of insanity. He was one however, his readiness in debate, with its frequent of the eccentrics of American politics. He always flashes of eloquence, degenerated into twaddle. interests us, because he was original. He cannot be Our author, speaking of him while in the Senate, called a genius; he was rather a man of marked, says: irregular, unbalanced talents. His desultory educa

“Not once or twice only, but day after day, tion and his early surroundings gave a twist to his especially during his short senatorial term, he would exceptional character, which kept it always awry,

take the floor, and leaning or lolling against the railout of joint with the times in which he lived. He ing, which in the old Senate chamber surrounded the was an exaggerated type of the Virginia plantation- outer row of desks, he would talk two or three bred gentleman and politician.

hours at a time, with no perceptible reference to the The latest addition to the American Statesmen business in hand; while Mr. Calhoun sat like a Series, by Henry Adams, treats of this remarkable statue in the Vice-President's chair, until the SenaThe work is somewhat disappointing; it is

tors one by one retired, leaving the Senate to adhardly up to the standard of those which have gone journ without a quorum-a thing till then unknown before. We take it that the author is a grandson of to its courteous habits; and the gallery looked down John Quincy Adams. we are correct in this sur- with titters or open laughter at this exhibition of a mise, we can understand why it is that there runs

half-insane, half-intoxicated man, talking a dreary through the book a certain ill-concealed disdain monologue, broken at long intervals by passages for its hero. It is hardly to be expected that an

beautiful in their construction, direct in their purAdams should feel enthusiasm for a man who char. pose, and not the less amusing from their occasional acterized the political friendship of his ancestor with virulence.” Henry Clay as a “coalition of Blifil and Black

Browning's Agamemnon.2
George-a combination, unheard of till then, of the
Puritan with the blackleg.” There is a lack of

As Browning grows older he becomes increasingly distinctness and definiteness in the treatment. The

the despair of his readers—of the multitude because writer attempts to be too much above his subject.

they cannot understand him, and of the few who As we have suggested in noticing the previous follow but cannot reach him. The present volume issues of the series, it is evidently not intended that emphasizes his peculiar strength and his demurrable each of these compact treatises shall be a detailed points. The man who when he writes objectively account of the life of the man who is its subject. is a prince of seers, who many years ago crowned The attempt is rather through the lives of certain the threnodies with the simplicity and fine passion representative men to present the different phases of Evelyn Hope, and who now sings again so of our past political life, so that the general exquisitely in Pauline the realism of life turning reader may receive a vivid impression of the up to death, can never be mistaken for one less than making of the nation. In this view, this work

a hierarch in verse. What a picture is this !-lacks the breadth of treatment necessary to put

" Thou wilt remember one warm morn, when winter the reader in possession of the true relation of Crept aged from the earth, and spring's first breath Randolph and the ideas he represented with our Blew soft from the moist hills; the black thorn boughs, political history between 1800 and the Civil War.

So dark in the bare wood, when glistening The author, however, does bring out, though not

In the sunshine were white with coming buds, with sufficient emphasis, the influence of Randolph

Like the bright side of a sorrow, and the banks

Had violets opening from sleep, like eyes." in impressing upon the South the necessity of organizing in the interest of slavery. His bitter Could Browning content himself with the high enmity against Henry Clay arose in part out of his simplicity in which he sometimes ranges, no man perception of the fact that the great Kentuckian had would ever challenge him with complaint. But he divided the South upon this all-important slavery will not. He delights to do that almost impossible issue.

thing which, perhaps, no man has done absolutely Randolph, however, will be best remembered as well-versify theological argument and metaphysic

1 John Randolph. By Henry Adams. American 2 Agamemnon, La Saisiaz, and Dramatic Idyls. By Statesmen Series. Boston: Houghton, Miffiin & Co. Robert Browning. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. For sale by Billings, Harbourne & Co., San Francisco. Sold in San Francisco by Billings, Harbourne & Co.

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