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still in comparative infancy. Corn-growing gives the State more right to the title of the Golden State than ever her nuggets did ; for her export of corn already exceeds that of the precious metal. And just as there are millions of Californian acres still untilled, so the growth of other articles in the State—as wool, wine, and silk-seems as yet only begun, and for several scores of years to come the country may develop as surely, though not as rapidly, as it has done during the score now ending.

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CHAPTER XXIII.

SAN FRANCISCO TO PANAMA.

'0! what a change was there!'

ONE morning in the middle of August we thread our way, on the P. M. S. Co.'s wharf in San Francisco through a crowd of carts, carriages, bales of goods, luggage, porters, tide-waiters, custom-house officials, passengers waiting to go, and friends waiting to see them go—and embark on board one of the large steamers that still ply regularly to Panama and back. The moorings are cast off; ten minutes of cheering, waving of handkerchiefs, farewell shouts, sighs and tears, ensue; and not long afterwards we have passed through the Golden Gate, and are steaming slowly southwards.

Before the Pacific Railway was an accomplished work, perhaps no steamer route was so crowded and so full of interest as this from San Francisco to Panama, excepting that from Panama to San Francisco. For on the latter route travelled nearly all the various adventurous spirits from Europe and from Eastern America, bent on trying their luck in the Golden State; and on the former travelled most of those who had already put their fortune to the test, and were returning either with double-eagles' and heavy nuggets, or with disappointed hopes and intentions of fortune-hunting elsewhere. But the iron road' has changed all this. Instead of carrying their 1,000 or 1,200 passengers up the coast, these

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steamers now sail with 100 or 120; and on our voyage down we have no more than seventy cabin and about 150 steerage, passengers.

The conditions of travelling from San Francisco to New York by land are six days in a railway and 130 dollars to pay; by sea they are six-and-twenty days in a steamer and a fare of 100 dollars. So that those who prefer the latter course are only such as either fear the fatigues of the rail or whose time is of no value, and to whom a few dollars is of importance. Consequently the passengers on this route are rather what a devotee of style, fashion, and blood,' would call' tag, rag, and bob-tail. Yet that there are exceptions to this rule among our own fellow-passengers, we can testify. Witness an elderly lady, full of spirits and intelligence, who was one of the first of her sex in San Francisco, and who led the march of civilisation in California by establishing the first school in the State—who was also a “digger,' i.e. in an amateur way, and for one afternoon only, 'making her pile of forty dollars during that time : witness, also an Americo-Swede, a traveller in most parts of the globe, and with a Californian experience of a quarter of a century; of such dignified appearance, moreover, that he at once passes for a General;' for in the far West almost every stalwart man is a ‘Captain,' every spectacled one 'Doctor,' and every dignified one varies between Colonel' and

General.' Witness also others, whom, however, it might be tedious to specify. But certainly, in the case of the majority, their dialect alone suffices to 'label' them at first sight, or rather at first sound. That they love the silent h' too dearly, and that their tenses are nearly all “imperfect, is palpable in the briefest of their sentences; indeed, with them the English tongue has degenerated from that thorough-bred stock known as the Queen's,' has been

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crossed with the inferior race of the President's,' and has · since been mingled with so many mongrel stocks, that the pedigree is hardly traceable, and the original features almost obliterated.

Our steamer is so heavily laden with the new season's tea from Japan and other freight, that her pace is even slower than her usual rate of steaming. So, in spite of favourable weather, she consumes sixteen days in getting over 3,200 miles. For the first thousand miles of the voyage we are near enough to shore to catch constant views of the bare and brown-looking hills which line the coast of Lower California. The climate on this coast is said to be one of the finest in the world, as proved by the great age to which the inhabitants generally attain; but the district is an almost rainless one, vegetation scarcely exists in it, and its gold mines cannot be worked for want of water; and consequently even the prospect of a long life has tempted few to settle therein.

Passing Cape St. Lucas, we lose sight of land for several days, and when we catch it again the first glimpse of it is sufficient to tell us that we are once more in the tropics. The Mexican coast, like that of California, consists for the most part of ranges of steeply-sloping hills. But these hills are no longer bare and brown; they are densely covered with trees and tangled brushwood of that bright green colour which speaks of abundance of moisture. Close down to the sea-shore are often rank and reedy swamps, or lagunes cut off from the sea by a narrow spit of palm-fringed land. Hot and steamy is the air rising up from them, and abounding in germs of cholera and fever: but a day's ride from almost any point on the sea-board will take a person up to healthy spots among the mountains, 4,000 to 8,000 feet above the sea, where the air is clear and light, and the sun's rays tempered

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by fresh breezes. With these mountain heights in view, and the thermometer in the ship's spacious saloon standing at 90°, we may well wish for some means of aerial transport up to the cooler regions.

Scarcely any signs of human habitations are visible to our eyes along the coast, except at the two ports at which we touch-Manzanilla and Acapulco. The former is the port for the inland town of Colima; we enter it after dark, and can see nothing of it, except its cluster of lights.

Acapulco we enter before sunset, and so are in time to admire the beauty of the land-locked harbour, three miles in breadth and as many in length, surrounded by hills thickly covered with rich green brushwood and a few palm trees. The town, with its red roofs and its ruinous remains of old Spanish buildings, looks picturesque as viewed from the water; but on landing in it, it dwindles to a collection of small houses and narrow streets, with a population of about 5,000 coloured people. This was the harbour from which there used to set sail yearly, for Manilla, a great Spanish galleon laden with Mexican silver and gold, to be exchanged for the products of China and the Philippine Islands. Hither came Anson, 130 years ago, with intent to seize one of the galleons as it issued from the bay ; but mistaking his position, he lay in wait at the mouth of a bay forty miles north of this, and so his prey escaped him, though he caught the one of the succeeding year, when nearly at the end of its voyage.

Those old galleons carried away cargoes from this port valued at nearly half a million sterling, but the exports are much diminished since those golden days; and though it is the nearest port on the Pacific sea-board to the city of Mexico, a little cochineal and indigo, with still a small amount of bullion, seems the only cargo shipped.

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