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- The Little Lady of Lagunitas - 1/75 -


THE LITTLE LADY OF LAGUNITAS

A FRANCO-CALIFORNIAN ROMANCE

BY Richard Henry Savage

INTRODUCTION.

Forty-two years have passed since California's golden star first glittered in the flag of the United States of America.

Its chequered history virtually begins with the rush for gold in '48-'49.

Acquired for the evident purpose of extending slave-holding territory, it was occupied for years by a multitude of cosmopolitan "free lances," who swept away the defenceless Indians, and brutally robbed the great native families, the old "Dons."

Society slowly made headway against these motley adventurers. Mad riot, wildest excess, marked these earlier days.

High above the meaner knights of the "revolver and bowie knife," greater than card sharper, fugitive bravo, or sly wanton, giant schemers appeared, who throw, yet, dark shadows over the records of this State.

These daring conspirators dominated legislature and forum, public office and society.

They spoiled the Mexican, robbed the Indian, and paved the way for a "Lone Star Republic," or the delivering of the great treasure fields of the West to the leaders of Secession.

How their designs on this grand domain failed; what might have been, had the South been more active in its hour of primary victory and seized the Golden West, these pages may show.

The golden days of the "stars and bars" were lost by the activity of the Unionists and the mistaken policy at Richmond.

The utter demoralization of California by the "bonanza era" of silver discovery, the rise of an invincible plutocracy, and the second reign of loose luxury are herein set forth.

Scenes never equalled in shamelessness have disgraced the Halls of State, the Courts, and the mansions of the suddenly enriched.

The poor have been trampled by these tyrants for twenty years.

Characters unknown in the social history of any other land, have been evolved from this golden eddy of crime and adventure.

Not till all these men and women of incredibly romantic fortunes have passed away, will a firm social structure rise over their graves.

Throttled by usurers, torn by gigantic bank wars, its resources drained by colossal swindles, crouching yet under the iron rule of upstart land-barons, "dashing journalism," and stern railroad autocrats, the Californian community has gloomily struggled along.

Newer States have made a relative progress which shames California. Its future is yet uncertain.

The native sons and daughters of the golden West are the hope of the Pacific.

The homemakers may yet win the victory.

Some of the remarkable scenes of the past are herein portrayed by one who has seen this game of life played in earnest, the shadowed drama of California.

There is no attempt to refer to individuals, save as members of well-defined classes, in these pages. This book has absolutely no political bias.

THE AUTHOR.

NEW YORK CITY, May 15, 1892.

CONTENTS.

BOOK I.

THE LAST OF THE DONS BY THE BLUE PACIFIC.

CHAPTER I.--Under the Mexican Eagle.--Exit the Foreigner.--Monterey, 1840

CHAPTER II.--At the Presidio of San Francisco. Wedding Chimes from the Mission Dolores.--Lagunitas Rancho

CHAPTER III.--A Missing Sentinel.--Fremont's Camp

CHAPTER IV.--Held by the Enemy.--The Bear Flag

BOOK II.

GOLD FOR ALL.--A NEW STAR IN THE FLAG.

CHAPTER V.--The Golden Magnet.--Free or Slave?

CHAPTER VI.--Lighting Freedom's Western Lamp

CHAPTER VII.--The Queen of the El Dorado.--Guilty Bonds

CHAPTER VIII.--Joaquin the Mountain Robber.--The Don's Peril

CHAPTER IX.--The Stranger's Foot at Lagunitas. Valois' Spanish Bride

BOOK III.

GOING HOME TO DIXIE.--STARS AND STRIPES, OR STARS AND BARS?

CHAPTER X.--A Little Dinner at Judge Hardin's. The Knights of the Golden Circle

CHAPTER XI.--"I'se gwine back to Dixie."--The Fortunes of War.--Val Verde

CHAPTER XII.--Hood's Day.--Peachtree Creek. Valois' Last Trust.--De Gress' Battery.--Dead on the Field of Honor

BOOK IV.

A LOST HEIRESS.--MILLIONS AT STAKE.

CHAPTER XIII.--Mount Davidson's Magic Millions. A California Plutocracy.--The Price of a Crime

CHAPTER XIV.--A Mariposa Bonanza.--Natalie de Santos born in Paris.--The Queen of the El Dorado joins the Gallic "Four Hundred"

CHAPTER XV.--An Old Priest and a Young Artist. The Changelings

CHAPTER XVI.-Hearing Each Other.--The Valois Heirs

CHAPTER XVII.--Weaving Spiders.--A Coward Blow.--Marie Berard's Doom

BOOK V.

REAPING THE WHIRLWIND.

CHAPTER XVIII.--Joe Woods Surprises a Lady. Love's Golden Nets

CHAPTER XIX.--Lovers Once, Strangers Now. Face to Face

CHAPTER XX.--Judge Hardin Meets his Match. A Senatorial Election.--In a Mariposa Court Room.--The Trust fulfilled at Lagunitas

LAGUNITAS.

BOOK I.

THE LAST OF THE DONS BY THE BLUE PACIFIC.

CHAPTER I.

UNDER THE MEXICAN EAGLE.--EXIT THE FOREIGNER.--MONTEREY, 1840.

"Caramba! Adios, Seflores!" cried Captain Miguel Peralta, sitting on his roan charger on the Monterey bluffs. A white-sailed bark is heading southward for Acapulco. His vaqueros tossed up their sombreros, shouting, "Vive Alvarado! Muerte los estrangeros!"

The Pacific binds the hills of California in a sapphire zone, unflecked by a single sail in sight, save the retreating trader,


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