« 上一頁繼續 »
at hand, and the returned wanderers, study had been devoted, and which, now each in his turn, proceed to set forth nearly completed, were soon to be given their respective claims. And as the old to the world under somo such imposman, their father, who it was agreed ing title as this : “ The Philosophy of should arbitrate in their behalf, listened Civilization, demonstrated by Historicsuccessively to their reports, and, as al Data, and illustrated by Examples the impossibility of a decision, between drawn from the nineteenth century." claims so equally balanced, became con- I say by these, his sons, the explanastantly more and more apparent_thus tion of these proceedings on the part leaving the contention between the of the old man, their father, was easily young men as far from a settlement as guessed at. ever-it needed no very close observa- And now, having finished these jottion, to detect the ever deepening shadow tings, and apparently becoming again which rested upon those benevolent fea- sensible of tho duty which awaited him tures.
It was, however, a shadow of as umpire between the contesting claimbut short continuance; for, hardly had ants, he thus addressed them : Africanus brought his, the last report, “My sons, you bring back good proof, to a conclusion, when the fuce of the old that you have not been idle during your patriarch resumed, at least for a time, year's absence. You seem to have been its wonted cheerfulness; and, drawing all alike diligent, and such like success a slip of paper toward him, he pro- has attended your labors, that I can ceeded to jot down such memoranda as award the precedence to neither. So these : “Vol. 2d, Chap. 4. Quixotism. far, the experiment has proved a failure, Sunlight to the bats. 'Mammoth Cave. and yet it may in due time yield its fruit. Vol. 3d, Chap.9. Progress by Law, not But, of that'hereafter. You are still against Law. Page 317, note at foot;" young, and, as your ages are the same, and others of a like description: all I do neither of you injustice in postponwhich, to the uninitiated, would have ing the decision another twelve-month. seemed only senseless jargon, but I will again provide the means. Go; whose meaning was by no means hid- and, this time, he who finds the wisest den from those sons of his now in wait- man shall win the prize." ing, who saw lying before their eyes, Whether the young men accepted the even then, that huge pile of manuscript terms thus imposed, and what was the sheets, to which long years of laborious result, we may perhaps learn hereafter.
MR. KARL JOSEPH KRAFFT
OF THE OLD CALIFORNIANS.
One of the Founding of about 1839 he came to Valparaiso quite the City, came to San Francisco penniless-nothing extraordinary in a Mr. Karl Joseph Krafft, whose appear- constitutional adventurer, especially in ance in these pages is not, say certain & German one, and more especially of the spiritualistics, the first of his ap- such a German adventurer as Mr. paritions since he died.
Krafft, whose life, if the latter part of it Mr. Krafft was a German adventurer might represent the whole, had been a -an accomplished gentleman, a natural life of scrapes, and awkward shifts, and artist, poet, soldier, traveler, speculator. desperate passes. It was said he had been in his early Mr. Krafft was abundantly provided youth an attendant on the person of with letters of introduction from the Prince Metternich, in the capacity of most distinguished sources about Eupage; that later in his life he had been ropean courts. Indeed, the genuineness an officer of Austrian cavalry—a proba- of them was afterward sweepingly ble story, to judge from his military car- challenged in Valparaiso, no doubt by riage and babits, his gallant horseman- envious and detracting persons. Still it ship, his babilo familiarity with pistol must be acknowledged that Mr. Krafft and sword, and even a faint trace of had a lively fancy, a fine inventive facuniform in his clothes. Somewhere ulty, and a ready pen. Whatever those qualities may have had to do with his Very soon the son-in-law became a letters of introduction, it is known that partner in the patron's business ; immehe quickly ingratiated himself in the fa- diately, one brilliant speculation after vor of a rich Italian, the first of the for- another, all successful; and then a eign merchants : a success wholly due, sublime failurema sort of Paradise Lost perhaps, to his cleverness, bis varied among the epics of speculation and useful accomplishments—especially which swallowed them all up. When as a linguist, in which character he was Mr. Krafft sailed for San Francisco in polyglot--and his adroit address, which Forty-nine, the white haired Italian was in a remarkable degree courtly had just died a broken-hearted, halfafter the manner of the old world, in- witted bankrupt, and the incomparable structed, searching, wily, irresistibly Maria, with her three little Kraffts, was charming
in the most picturesque straits, a pretty In a short time Mr. Krafft becama a pensioner on the bounty of her father's principal confidential clerk in the mer. old friends. cantile house of his patron--a position My acquaintance with Mr. Krafft was which afforded bis natural and acquired made under somewhat singular circumdiplomacy the rarest advantages, and stances, when he was cashier in the cusgave him opportunities for sudden tom-house. A very San Franciscan instrides of promotion of which he was by cident, on that occasion, drew out some no means slow to avail himself. Perhaps of his peculiarities and showed him to some of the larger operations of the con- great advantage. Having oocasion to cern had not been of a sort to bear in- visit a medical friend of mine, on Sacravestigation; therefore Mr. Krafft investi- mento street, I was conversing with him gated them diligently. All secrets were in his office, when two forlorn wretchfish, that came to the cunning net of es, one far gone in consuinption, the his finesse. No one doubted that Mr. other utterly disabled by rheumatism, Krafft had found something out-there were brought to the door by comrades was no other way of accounting for his not much better off than themselves. proud and jealous patron's excessive They had an order from the Alcalde. and even loud partiality, his undis- My friend was to "render them all imguised preference of the interloping and mediately necessary relief and attend by no means popular adventurer, as a them professionally at their lodgings; buitor for the hand of his daughter: in- he would also provide them with the deed—as many an American naval proper medicines, nursing and nourishofficer knows, who, on the Pacific sta- ment, and charge the city for the same, tion, and at Valparaiso, has been admit- according to the regulations provided in ted to the delight of her society-the such cases." most beautiful, the most accomplished, “Now here," said my friend, “is the tho most altogether charming Señorita beauty of being a doctor in good standin Chili or Peru. When the lovely ing in this golden anomaly of a city Maria was married to Mr. Krafft, which called San Francisco. These men, behappened before long, there were those ing sick, destitute, friendless, and comwho said they would not mock her pletely wretched, apply to the Alcalde with congratulations. I think their for relief. There is no public hospital, consideration never met with lively ap- no hospital fund, no city physician. The preciation from the lady; for certainly, Alcaldo cannot quarter them on the if her regard for her husband was but an Town Council, for the simple reason enforced liking at first, there is reason that the Town Council is here to-day to believe that it became a profound, and and gone to-morrow, their tenure of naturally a blind, passion in the end. office being regulated for the most part Mr. Krafft was a winning man ; he bad, by the vicissitudes of business in their in a degree as eminent as I have ever respective 'vocations—lightering, muleknown, the trick of procuring the love, driving, peddling, or bar-keeping, as even though its ingenuity were sadly the case may be. He cannot convert tared to invent excuses for him-ho the Town Hall into a hospital; for what was bent on having. The eyes, the was a rum-shop yesterday will, as likely lips, the mind, the culture, the soul of as not, be a church to-morrow. He can Maria were things worth the winning, hardly share his own couch with them; and Mr. Karl Joseph Krafft was master since, even if its dimensions were more of the ways to make them his.
liberal than they are, soft planks are but poorly adapted to the joints of this man dred dollars a day, I shall go home with or the lungs of that. So he sends them a splendid pile in a few steamers, please to me to be bedded and boarded, as remember this paper, consider the price though I were Abraham's bosoin, and of blankets and board—to say nothing bad a natural affinity for old sores and of my own boot-leather-and moderato purulent expectoration. I am to pro- your transports.” vide them with the necessary medicines, “Why not make a statement of the nursing and nourishment; that means matter, in the light in which you are that I am to clothe, nurse and cook for dow presenting it to me, to the Town them, till they die or get well, at my Council, in person ?". proper expense, for the pleasure and " So I did. Gentlemen,' said I, .do fame of my own beneficence. And I you take me for Sam Brannan, or Buram to attend them professionally at goyne's Bank, or Mr. Steinberger, or their lodgings; that means that I am to the Mariposa diggins? Is your servperform perilous navigation through the ant a whole row of front water-lots on municipal quagmires two or three times Clarke's Point that he should do this daily or nightly, as may be required, to munificent duty ?'-And they called me a hide tent in Happy Valley—so called to order.” because it is the most unhappy locality
With this sally, my droll friend tumo. on God's earth—or the loft of a Sidney ed to his patients, whom-having ascerconvict's hell at Clarke's Point. And I am tained the exact nature and gravity of to charge the city; and that means that their ailments, and provided them with I am to present my humble bill a great medicines--he presently dismissed with many times to the Town Council, whose a few cheering words, some money, "petitioner will ever pray,' etc.; by the and an order for food and lodgings. time I have become qnite desperate and Then, rejoining me, he resumed the have exhausted my resources of inter- rather comical story of his troubles. est, bribes and blasphemy, they will rc- In the midst of it, & gentleman enfer it to a long succession of special tered, whose peculiar appearance I committees to be audited-each com- noted with interest then, and have ever mittee cordially voting me a bore, wish. vividly remembered since : a man of ing me, and my accounts, and my be- medium stature, slender, but very gracenevolence, and my grievances, all at the ful, with almost effeminate feet and devil together; at last some verdant bands—the former neatly shod, the committee man, who has not been long latter scrupulously kept and with a in the business, will get my bill passed, certain appearance of fragility; very by dividing the total by two; and finally soft blue eyes, sleepily curtained with the Comptroller will put the crowning drooping lids; a classically correct nose; glory on the whole by ordering me paid short upper lip; a light moustache of in city scrip at fifty cents on the dollar. somewhat military cut, precisely trimSome thousands of dollars in the voca- med; rosy, moist, sensuous lips; a tive, I shall console myself with my most fine lower jaw and chin; bair first-rate grievance, and count on elo- light, thin, straight, and soft as a child's. quent sympathy, and public meetings, His clothes, which he wore with an and the thanks of public-spirited peo- officer-like air, consisted of a claretple, while my patients, rheumatic, phthis- colored coat, neither dress nor frock, but ical, and the rest, will vote me a rapa. mixed of both fashions, with a velvet cious villain, and seriously discuss the collar and brass buttons; a black velvet expediency of lynching me. That, vest, double-breasted; iron-gray, panbriefly summed up, is just what this taloons ; fresh, well-starched, and very paper means."
fine linen ; plain black cravat, tied with * But the regulations," I asked- a kind of picturesque negligence; A " . according to the regulations in such cambric handkerchief of fastidious texcases provided' - what does that mean?" ture, and dark brown kid gloves. He
" That means the Alcalde's authority, wore gold spectacles, and carried a Mavoted him by the Tow Council at my lacca cane, with an elaborately carved expense, to send my forlorn friends gold head, having his name and a date here to sleep in my bed and share my on the top, which suggested some mepot-luck. So, if you have indulged in morable occasion, perhaps a compliany friendly hopes that, because my ment, and a presentation. His compractice is worth from eighty to a hun. plexion was unnaturally flushed, or rather stained, as though by a refined Mr. Krafft had come to take the docintemperance. He had a singular trick tor to a poor devil he had in his bed at of caressing his lips, even prettily, with home, who, for all his lungs were ruined, the tip of his tongue, between bis talk; and he hadn't any friends or any money, and when he spoke his chin trembled, had a notion that he'd like to live a like that of a man whose nerves are un- little longer. strung, who is more or less spasmodic- “We'll go presently,” said the docally inclined. And yet there was a tor. “But sit you down now, Krafft, most rare deliberation, gentleness, and and hear what I was just saying to my a graceful composure in his manner, as friend here ; for you'll be sure to get of one who, to use his own favorite and into the Town Council, if it ever hapfrequent expression, never “fashed him- pens to be worth your while ; and then self.” His attitudes were simply cho- you'll be put on one of my special comsen and full of sense_his gestures few, mittees, and rather than fash yourself quiet, and a little quaint--the whole with inventing excuses to put me off, man bred to the most polished courtli- you'll have me puid, and do something ness, and expert in the management of for my rheumatics and consumptives his polito machinery. And yet, there besides.” was a degree of devil-may-careness And then, resuming his story, with about him, evidently not recently ac- even more of a melancholy drollery quired, which made you curious to know than before, he soon made the affable him better; for in that, plainly, you German sympathetically sensible of the were to look for the nature of the man wrongs that were put upon him. -the rest came of his education and “Where,” inquired Mr. Krafft, “ are closest associations. In his figure was these new patients you speak of-the a decided stoop, which to your least person with the lungs, and the other examination betrayed tho elegant de person with the joints, I meanbauchee. This stoop, you perceived,
now ?” could not be of long standing, for he "Oh, close by-at Ay-cow, the Chinawas unmistakably conscious of it. Nor man's, chop house.". was it even a defect-he carried it with
“Let us go get them. We will lay such a pleasant air, as one who thought them before the Alcalde immediately. I “scapegrace" of himself. And yet it think he will audit and pass them very imparted to him the appearance of more quickly, without waiting for the meetyears than be bad—for though but ing of the Council or your special comthirty-seven, as I learned, he passed mittee." for ten years older-and, with the com. And Mr. Krafft rose, and passed out, plicity of the gold spectacles, betrayed as though all be meant was very aphim into being called, behind his back parent, and very easy to do, and noonly, by a few graceless and irreverent body need fash himself with the why youths, “Old Krafft.”
or how of it. His talk was fluent, his words well cho- “Come along," said the doctor to sen, the brokenness of his English rather me; “I've no idea what he's up to; in the deliberation of his utterance, the but he'll do something out of the comslow procession of his words—which had mon, and it will be pretty sure to be & perceptible interval between them, as the best thing to do under the circumthough they were measured off with stances. It is not fair to .fash' him dashes-than in any vice of grammar beforehand." or pronunciation. When he speaks, In a short time we had dragged our my reader will try to remember this. astonished invalids from their rude His utterance was just that which, to me, bunks, or rather pens, over Ay-cow's has always seemed best adapted to con- feeding place, and, one on each arm of vey the ideas of Kurz Pacha in the our German friend, were conducting Potiphar Papers. “. This is the way to them in solemn procession to the Altake life, my dear. Let us go gent-ly. calde's office. It was mid-day, and his Here we go back-wards and for-wards. Honor was in all the pride, pomp, and You tick-le, and I'll tick-le, and we'll circumstance of full courtma time most all tick-le-and here we go round, round, opportune for the purposes of Mr. Karl round.y! We will not fash our- Joseph Krafft. Pushing, with his beselves"--comically beating time with wildered protegés, straight to the green both his white hands.
table in front of the judge's bench, ho abruptly interrupted the business of those. In a few days we shall come to the court with a characteristic address : ask what use you made of them. And
“Your Honor, and gentlemen,-We you can say to the Council for us, that are very sick, and hungry, and help- if they have no time for such cases as less, and wretched. If somebody does ours, they need not fash themselves not do something for us, we shall die; about water-lots or street improveand that will be hard, considering how ments." far we have come, and how hard it was He led out his invalids in triumphto get here, and how short a time we “ approved and ordered to be paid," as have been here, and that we have not he said; and as he conducted them had a fair chance. All we ask is a across the Plaza toward Sacramento fair chance; and we say again, upon street, he was followed by three hearty our honor, gentlemen, if somebody does cheers. not do something for us, we shall die, by The appropriation of a hospital fund, God! We have told the Town Council and the first steps toward the founding so, and offered to prove it; but they were of a City hospital, followed closely upon busy running streets through their own Mr. Krafft's coup de main. lots, and laying out grave-yards in Going, one day, aboard an American everybody's else's, and so, you see, barque, just in after a long and ugly they wouldn't fash themselves with our voyage, Mr. Krafft found an insane case. Our friend, the doctor here, will passenger, who had not tasted food for tell you all about us.
He hopes you several days, nor spoken for several will take us up and pass us at once ; weeks. Our queer friend became at and he thinks, as we do, that if some- once warmly interested in the case : an thing isn't done for us, very soon, we interest, indeed, which he evinced for shall be setting fire to the town first, every man whose equanimity was vioand then cutting all our own throats." lently disturbed, or who had fashed him.
“This is an extraordinary piece of self to such excess as to go crazybusiness, doctor; what does it all seeming to regard him from a purely mean ?" inquired his Honor.
scientific stand-point, as a phenomenon So the doctor told over again his not to be slighted by the philosophic story, as he had told it to us a little mind. Mr. Krafft asked many questions while before-only this time he delivers about the crazy passenger, and the spir. od it with more gravity, indeed with a it of his investigations conciliating all telling touch of pathos, and a dash of the rest, he was overwhelmed with offiindignant expostulation. And at the cious information. From some bushels close, Mr. Krafft-catching, and turn- of foolish gabble he sifted a grain or ing to quick account, the popular mood, two of useful fact--such as that tho as the rapidly increasing and curious man, an Irishman, had been a laborer, crowd, moved by tho doctor's tale, very industrious and trustworthyclosed around his protegés, pitying, sort of bead man or overseer of shovelscolding, and advising all at once-Mr. and-pick gangs on railroads and canals; Krafft, taking off bis cap and throwing that he had been ambitious, and had set three ounces into it, said:
his heart on rising to the post of con"Gentlemen, we head the subscription tractor. for our own relief with fifty dollars ; Mr. Krafft at once conceived the idea and as there are a great many of us we of curing this man. Requesting to be need a great many ounces.
left alone with him for a while, ho took tell you again, if something is not done a seat beside him, and talked - quietly, for us, we shall die in the streets, and kindly, very naturally-of his old purthen we shall all smell very bad, and suits, asking no questions, not seeming everybody will become infected with to be aware of his companion's witlesstyphus fever, and we shall set firo to the ness, indeed compelling himself to quite city and cut our throats.”
forget it. At first his efforts were reSo saying, he held out his cap with a warded only with the same vacant stare bow, and u most winning smile, to the which had repaid the more benevolent crowd. In a very few minutes it was of the poor fellow's comrades, who had almost full of ounces. Pouring them out already endeavored to inspire him with on the table, in a careless, generous an idea or a remembrance. But prebeap, he said:
sently, when Mr. Krafft began to talk * There, Mr. Alcalde—we lend you of splendid contracts, of millions of