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THE LUCK OF ROARING CAMP, AND OTHER SKETCHES.
TRUTHFUL JAMES, AND OTHER POEMS.
THE BROADWAY, LUDGATE.
EARLY in the January of 'sixty-nine, I received
a batch of new magazines, which on inspection proved to be the first five numbers of “The Overland Monthly," which had been started at San Francisco in the July preceding. I had been for some time acquainted with that most clever and audacious print, “ The San Francisco Newsletter," and was therefore prepared to find merits in the new periodical. Nevertheless, to eyes accustomed to the gorgeous covers and superfine getting-up of our English magazines, the appearance of the new-comer was not attractive. It was printed on paper seemingly related to that species in which Beauty puts away her ringlets for the night, and its brown wrapper was of texture and tint suggestive of parcels of grocery. The title, plainly set forth in ordinary type, ran—"The Overland Monthly, devoted to the Development of the Country," with a small vignette of a grizzly bear crossing a railway track. But if the exterior was unpretentious, the contents were attractive enough. The magazine had, as it were, a fragrance of its own, like "a spray of Western pine.” The articles were fresh and original, the subjects they treated of were novel and interesting. I believe I read every page of those five numbers, and looked forward anxiously for the arrival of the sixth.
One feature in the magazine I commend to the consideration of Editors generally. Each monthly number had its table of contents, wherein the articles were anonymous: but in the Index in the sixth, and last in each volume, the names of the authors were given. It gave a peculiar relish to one's reading, after one became acquainted with the various styles of the writers, to guess the authors, and compare conjectures with the Index.
The Editor's name did not appear, but in a gossip entitled “Etc." at the end of each number, he from time to time inserted little bits of verse, that had a local flavour that was very agreeable. In the “Etc." of Number One appeared the "Mud Flat” poem. The second number contained “ The Luck of Roaring Camp.” The critiques on new books here and there betrayed his hand. The “Etc." in Number Five opened with a quaint mention of “an earth-wave, which, passing under San Francisco, had left its record upon some sheets of the number, by the falling of the roof of the building in which they were stored," and asking readers, it having been too late to reprint, to pardon "any blemishes on those signatures to which the great earthquake had added its mark.”
The sixth number arrived, and turning to the