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The great desert which figures in great tales of the West and serves as subject for artists of the world

ing of Los Angeles to the rush and greeting of New Orleans it is a dream of color and comfort and peace between two awakenings!

It is lamentable that all one sees, all one feels, all one does in the strange corners away from home cannot be indelibly impressed in the brain. Every moment of the trip, every scene and sentence of it graven in perfection. But it cannot, and there is little that can be accurately written; a series of impressions, mostly which of themselves are a complete and intriguing journey. The average passenger sees so many "niggers" scooting after bags and trunks, a hoard of kids whistling for pennies, severelylaced and white-garbed officers strutting about sleepy streets beneath a benevolent sun, rustic buildings accepting sun after sun through dreadful and exquisite decades. But the writer, again, sees differently. He doesn't seem capable of grasping the ordinary and the physical squares of a city. The officers, the kids, the buildings and shops he has seen before and his brain rejects them instantly. Here is what he gets: Somewhere off a smudge of smoke against a grey sky curling out over some laborer's hut; a wideeyed kid about to cry over in one corner of the depot; two little darkies hiding behind their fat mammy when a benevo

lent Middle Westerner offers them a nickel with a holy pucker in his plump red cheeks; a faded pony tied to the gen eral grocery's hitching post at Del Rio, Texas, his left hind leg describing a perfect 45-degree angle: Scene after scene quite intimate and quite unimportant registers itself in his brain-but the usual panorama of pictures eludes him. And he doesn't necessarily want it. The writer can picture town after town, city upon city, nation after nation. He can handle them all in a light confusion of fog, mighty columns rearing up from the green of a valley to the blue of the sky, immaculate streets, color, music, children and sound-the whole shooting children and sound-the whole shooting match, as a whole, he can gather, But when it's put together, it fails in its perfection unless there is the smudge of smoke over a laborer's hut, the kid crying in the depot all that which is spice to the meat, food for the fastidious.

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But in this Louisiana there is just that perfect detail of life; that exquisite coloring for the writer and his paper, the tourist and his kodak, the student and his note book. In New Orleans, little touches of harmony and unhurried existence which are delights to the heart and which grow to be necessities for the eye. The rambling French Quarter with its tumbled buildings, its artist studios, its

sleepy decay. The exquisitely named streets, the roadways of wood blocks worn smooth and glistening by the bare feet of the "niggers." The little curio shops and the gaily colored French restaurants. The little dinkey street cars and the cobbled roads leading to the docks where Southern Pacific boats, immaculate in their polished brass and white paint form a marvelous contrast to the brown skin and tattered clothing of the "niggers" loading them. All of it an impression and a symphony of perfume, color, warmth and sound. All of it that indescribable something which is the unalterable truth of the depot legend, "America's Most Interesting City."

And we come here to cover a flood for the hungry columns of the press-and are astounded with impression after impression of sheer beauty. We travel over the garden road of the Southern Pacific's "Sunset Route" to write of suffering and courage and deprivation-and are stopped short at the very beginning by the beauty and peace of this Louisiana Athens. And, after all, why not an impressionistic article? For in a few weeks the flood will be past history, forgotten in the resume of events, while the delight of this trip will remain forever young, shall live as does New Orleans in the halls of a memory reserved for the beautiful and the at peace.

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The Poets of the Overland

HEN the editor of the Overland asked me to review for her magazine the various accounts of the poets I had written for the Overland of other days, my mind jumped far back to the Sixties, to the incomparable three with whom the letters of the West begin. Matchless trio! The esthetic Harte; the lovely Ina, "divinely tall and most divinely fair"; the romantic Stoddard!

Of the greatest of this three, there is comparatively little known that can be called exact biography. The two lives, one by Merwin, the other by Pemberton, are unsatisfactory. The truth is, Bret Harte's way, particularly his life in California, was half concealed in the mystery he purposely surrounded himself with. There is, for example, no thorough-going evidence his essay, "How I Went to the Mines," was not written with an eye to romance rather than an accurate account of himself.

As I write these words, I can truthfully assert Harte's first, and perhaps only, public school taught was the Indian Spring School. I have evidence enough at my hand to reasonably prove this. This school furnished the spectacular atmosphere for the stories, "M'liss" and "Cressey."

We know also he came to San Jose, putting up at the Ouserais House, to see how his first book of poems, "The Lost Galleon and Others," (now a rare volume) was coming on in sales. Waltenfel's Book Store acted as his agent. He afterwards registered at the Ouserais, accompanied by Anton Roman, when the two, in 1868, were planning the Overland. These plans were afterward continued in Santa Cruz in a small house still pointed out by Santa Cruzans. That most exquisite bit of Bret Harte poetry, "Dickens in Camp," is the poet's most romantic picture of himself in the Sierra mining camp.

The Indian Spring School House is yet standing. I remember it when I was a kid attending school there in 1872, thirteen years after Harte instructed in it the originals of "Cressey" and "M'liss."

Very recently I have written a fullpage account of California's only laureate, Ina Coolbrith. In this I have told in detail of the striking place Miss Coolbrith, when but a girl of less than eighteen, filled in making the first era of Pacific Coast letters. With her rare quality of lyric song she put a triumphant touch in the poetry of her time. Who

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"Fed by the constant sun and the inconstant dew."

This accretion of power continues to the last line in which the lone tree, the only tree on the lonely coral island, in its ultimate personification is made to


"Till all my senses stiffen and grow numb

Beckoning the tardy ships, the ships that never come."

Knowing the loneliness of the life Stoddard led, always hungering for some distant sphere, two things are evident on reading this poem: it is in epitome his sad, earnest spirit; only a lonesome Stoddard could have written it.

Stoddard once told me he was whipped into literary line by the keen criticism of his associate, Bret Harte. But Stoddard knew his own weaknesses and responded to the drubbing in all matters but spelling. "Dear Seaceless Wanderer," he begins a letter. He grew in his art always toward the end, perfection.

If I should try to qualitize the note in Stoddard's poetry I would call it the spirit of yearning. To illustrate:

"I sit in silence by the watery gates A'questioning the fates.

I ask, what manner of strange ships are these

Slipping a down the seas,

Slipping a down the shouting seas?
What sail

Is yonder gray and pale?"


"White caravans of clouds go by Across the desert of blue sky; And burley winds are following The airy pilgrims as they fly Over the grassy hills of spring. What mecca are they traveling to, What princess journeying to woo In the rich orient?"

And another:

"Oh, love me not that I may long for thee;

Or, loving me, show not thy love alway, For love that yearns shall weave a song for thee."

Stoddard was dutifully attentive to the niceties of rhyme. He disliked rough or hissing sounds and once wrote some lines leaving out the "s" sounds altogether. He always worked patiently till he achieved the melodious finish as in the refrain of the "Bells of San Gabriel":

"And every note of every bell
Rang Gabriel, sang Gabriel,
In the town left the tale to tell
Of Gabriel, 'the Archangel'."

His poetry is singularly of the humor of his prose, which is a humor that many times is produced by making fun of himself. So he says satirically after he has been tempted:

"If there is something you want to do and know you shouldn't, do it quickly and repent afterward." (Quoted from memory as are all extracts in this article.-H. M. B.)

́Y KEENEST memory of Stoddard

Mis Montereyan. The Blands were

housed in their bungalow on McAbee Beach, a little inlet of sand and tide splashing up to their very door. Here Stoddard came an afternoon walking, leaning heavily on his gold-headed cane. Annie Embee (Mrs. H. M. B.) prepared a rosy luncheon by the window looking out on the summery StevensonFishhook bay; with the break of the surf on the sand sounding lightly like wind blowing through the leaves of poplar trees. We talked many things; autograph hunting-he was a veteran at the work and had many scrap-books full, "A. Tennyson" for one.

We walked in fancy "The Tranquil Island of Delight;" followed Stevenson among Monterey pines, and listened to the far-off softened summer boom of breakers on the point. Stoddard told some more about Bret Harte and Inatold of Bret Harte's "den" in the upper windowed summery story of a house; where? He could not now locate it, in

Oakland, in San Francisco. Then he wrote verses in my autograph album; and then we talked over our plan to storm in a body the next day George Sterling's castle on El Camino Real at Carmel.

George came over early in the morning to escort us over the hills. We were ready "betimes," and packed comfortably in the surrey with a niche for our noble host. George talked a few moments about the grade, and then said he thought he'd run ahead so as to be ready to meet us when we got there. In vain our remonstrance! He was gone in an instant, taking long, long strides like a racer. In truth he must have run a veritable Marathon ahead of us, with his muscles steel, and his spirit tireless; for, though this big grey trotted furiously up grade and down, narry a sight did we catch of the swift, long legs; but true to his word, he committed out to meet us, and led us down the dim Real to his bungalow.

The old Sterling home at Carmel did not overlook the sea, rather it gazed down over Carmel pastures full of cattle and horses, with the little treed outline of the river. A shady front porch made us comfortable. The pines were all round about this quiet Jerusalem of a place. The main part of the temple was twenty feet square and full of books. The altar, a Cinderella fireplace, and the inner sanctuary a well-lardered but by no means Volsteadian kitchenette. After a while Stoddard was not very talkative, but snoozed comfortably in a great arm-chair.

But George and I talked of a number of things; yet inasmuch as we had common rallying point in the deep friendship and admiration both of us


had for Jack and Charmian London. Our conversation never lagged. George and I were first brought together on one of Jack's famous Wednesday night levees at his home on Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, now number 2628.

I listened chiefly on this momentous night. I boast I am a good listener. I heard Sterling comment satirically, when offered cream and sugar for his coffee, about adulterating the divine drug with flesh and a mineral; but in the main Jack was the talky autocrat while everybody respectfully listened. Throwing light on his constant search for dramatic material for stories, he said that very day he had been across the water to San Francisco, and had not seen one accident or one fight.

In his study Jack, after guests had gone, pulled from the desk a long manuscript and read aloud the yet-not-inprint "A Wine of Wizardry." I was deeply impressed by the music of the long English heroic sweep of line, and by the far flight of the imagination, as well as the multitudinous wording. Of the characteristics of Sterling's poetry I have written for the Overland under the title of "A Poet of Seas and Stars." This article is in the December number, 1915. As I re-read it I seem to feel my judgments are correct. I felt then as I do now that "Duanlon" and "Tasso to Leonora" are the great poems of George Sterling. The lyrics I love are: "To One Asking Lighter Songs" and "Lines to Constance Crawley."

But now, back to Carmel! After much London opinion and admiration, remembering a beautiful visit at Glen Ellen at which Sterling and I were guests, and recalling the happy graces of Jack and Charmian, I wrote "Love," beginning:

"Young as the swift heart-beat of a fiery bay,

Old as the pain that fell on sorrowing Troy!"

Ending with:

"Strong as the sprites that wing the boundless deep:

Still as the night, calm as eternal sleep."

This is one of the "Sierran Pan" poems, page 48.

We closed this Carmel day with picture taking. I still have the films I took, one of Stoddard (please look in "Stevenson's California"), and I still have the snap I took of George, and I prize it because in the dim background is Annie Embee and a little girl who even then tinkered with verse and whose "To the Merced River" is one of the things I cherish.

(Continued on Page 218)


When at the Knees of the Gods

Thomas F. Boyle,


and city auditor

HIS is an unusual story. It might have happened in Utopia. But it didn't. It happened out West. In colorful, cosmopolitan, romantic, generous-hearted San Francisco.

It is about a dream. A supposedly "impracticable", "utterly ridiculous", "impossible" dream. And how it came true. How a people, a city government, and the local press helped to make it

come true.

It is about a movement of the people, by the people, and for the people. And how, beautiful and unselfish in its conception, it has evolved a message of cooperation, idealism and altruism that should be broadcasted into every corner of the globe.

It is also about a few important people: a clubman, a union man, a business man, a clubwoman, a city father, and a dreamer and writer, who, when the Dream Ship was launched on its uncertain course, stood unswervingly at the helm, and guided it into the Port of Popular Fancy.

Ten years ago, possibly fifteen, the dreamer began to dream his dream. But the time was not ripe for its fruitionthat, he knew, nor for the confiding of it to kindred souls. So time went on, and in the intervening years, the city by the Golden Gate unfolded her aesthetic wings, awakened musically and claimed her traditional birthright. To

John Rothschild, first vice-president

By Ada Hanifin


day, San Francisco is universally recognized as one of the world's leading centers of music.

Among the local organizatinos that have contributed steadily to the city's musical growth, one, especially, is fundamentally responsible for her present status in the eyes of the world. The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. This excellent orchestral body of ninety musicians, was but an infant in the life of the city some fifteen years ago, with a clientele, relatively small, almost wholly representative of the musical elect. Today, how different! Under the baton of genial Alfred Hertz, genius, musician and artist, who, for the past thirteen years has guided its

Joseph Thompson, president Summer Symphony Association

artistic destiny, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, now a significant musical entity, with a following that has grown with the years, has become known in every section of the country and in Europe, where music is essentially a part of the life of the people.

But until last year, only two percent of the people of San Francisco heard the symphony orchestra. A startling. fact, but none the less statistically true. It didn't seem possible that a populace that was virtually being steeped in music, nightly attending legitimate recitals and actually packing the Exposition Auditorium to the roof (which means an audience 10,000 strong) during the opera season and when McCormack, or Hayes, or Schipa or Kreisler was in town, could admit of such an whelming majority being symphonically "deaf," or uninterested or uninitiated. Which?


Mrs. Leonard Wood, chairman Subscription Committee

One thing was certain: ninety-eight per cent of the people were symphonically starved. And one of the best orchestras in the world playing yearly to enthusiastic and appreciative audiences during its regular season of twenty-five weeks and sixty-five performances. A paradox? Apparently.



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One fine day it was in the early spring, just a year ago the business man and the union man met the idealist at luncheon. The business man, who some twenty years ago, had been responsible for a movement that was epoch-making in the musical history of San Francisco; the idealist, publisher and editor of the oldest musical journal in the West, who was to see his dream become a reality; and the union man, an official representative of an organization of thirty-five hundred members, who was to play a vitally important part in the unfolding of it.

The writer had invited them. He would give them his confidence. He wanted their advice. Were the people ready to accept a new idea? Support a new venture? Believe in his dream? (A dream conceived in many a brain, but his by right of clinging to it, cherishing it, nourishing it). He wanted to


An hour or so later, they parted, the

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three pioneers. Determined. Hopeful. Courageous. They would test the pulse of the people. More than that. They would have faith in the people. Believe in the people.


HE second meeting was in the nature of a public luncheon. Mrs. J. J. Carter, then president of the Hollywood Bowl Association, was the guest of honor and principal speaker, and told of how she had succeeded in establishnig the now famous series of "Symphonies Under the Stars". And that same unquenchable enthusiasm that had ignited her followers to blaze a new trail in the southern city, inspired the San Francisco apostles of Summer Symphony to embark on a virgin sea and conquer!-despite seemingly formidable. obstacles.

Then a series of luncheons followed. Committees were organized, chairman appointed, officers named. And the San Francisco Summer Symphony Association come into being!

And a group to be reckoned with -the officers of the Association, who put their shoulders to the wheel and gave wholeheartedly of themselves in the launching of the summer season of symphony. And the same altruistic, public-spirited music-lovers are at the helm this year.

Joseph Thompson, head of one of the leading manufacturing concerns of the city, and last year, the popular president of San Francisco's famed Bohemian Club, is president. Mr. Thompson has won for himself no small reputation as a brilliant extemporaneous speaker and toastmaster. And he used this singular gift, which he so delightfully punctuates with wit and wisdom, to plead the cause of Summer Symphony. Generously, he gave of whatever spare time was his, when called upon to speak before tentative symphony audiences.

John Rothschild, devotee of the arts, and one of San Francisco's most eminent business men, is first vice-president. It is needless to say that this profound music-lover gave heart and soul to the


It is he who is responsible for the bringing of symphony into the hearts of San Franciscans as a permanent thing. It was many years ago, in 1908, that Mr. Rothschild, as an ac

tive member of a club organized shortly after the earthquake and fire, for the upbuilding and betterment of the city, suggested a symphony orchestra for San Francisco. And it was he, and R. Tobin, now ambassador to Holland, and T. B. Berry, first president of the Musical Association of San Francisco, who, with the assistance of others, set who, with the assistance of others, set out to organize it. Two years later, 1910, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra gave its first concert under the leadership of its first conductor, Henry Hadley.

Mrs. Lillian Birmingham, second vice-president, is treasurer of the Past Presidents' Assembly, and also a member of the board of directors of the National Federation of Music Clubs, and was last year president of the State Federation of Music Clubs. Mrs. Birmingham has taken an intensively active part in the musical life of the city, and has the reputation of stamping with success any undertaking to which she brings her indomitable enthusiasm.

Albert Greenbaum, secretary, is secretary of the Musicians' Union. As a representative of that organization, and at heart with its members, he worked unceasingly to effect the additional season of symphony which would make possible the protracted engagement of the orchestra, as the Musical Association, which fosters the winter symphony, can only offer its personnel a six months' contract. It was his timely presentation of a plan whereby the members of the orchestra were to play, at a nominal remuneration, a stated number of concerts at the Auditorium, to which the public would be asked to subscribe at a nominal cost, that made the enterprise seem feasible in the first place.

Thomas F. Boyle, treasurer, and one of San Francisco's most beloved city fathers, played his part and played it nobly. For twenty-seven years, he was associated with the daily press and for the past eighteen years has served in the capacity of city auditor. It was because of his plea in behalf of the sym

phony, that the Board of Supervisors

set aside ten thousand dollars from the City Welfare Fund for the aid of these concerts. (Without the patronage of the municipality, and the support of the press, it is doubtful if the summer sym

phony would have materialized last year). This act on the part of the city fathers, who are ever ready to promote the public appreciation of music, added a stimulus to the drive, zest to the campaign, and instilled faith and courage in the hearts of those who, of their own volition, had ventured forth to face seemingly unsurmountable difficulties with no hope of reward other than that of victory.

And last but not least of these, Alfred Metzger, dreamer, idealist, and publisher of the Pacific Coast Musical Review, who is chairman of the Music Committee. As the guiding spirit, he worked, untiringly, day and night, toward the fulfillment of his dream.

A. W. Widenham, manager, and for the past eleven years, the able secretarymanager of the Musical Association, placed the library and personnel of the offices of the association at the disposal of the Summer Symphony Association.

There was a Publicity Committee made up of the music critics of the daily press, who availed themselves of every opportunity to spread the gospel of summer symphony.

And there was a Subscription Committee, headed by Mrs. Birmingham, as chairman, who could be depended upon to do something akin to that accomplished by Mrs. Carter in the south.

But "The best schemes o' mice and men gang aft a-gley" when Fate deems otherwise. Shortly after the opening of the subscription drive, Mrs. Birmingham met with a serious accident that confined her to the hospital for weeks.

Then it was that a new leader arose among them, destined to carry on the excellent work started by Mrs. Birmingham, and to lead her followers on to victory! Mrs. Leonard Wood. A wellknown society woman and patron of the


Now, the level-headed men at the head of the movement, wise in the ways of the world, who had decided that the financial support of the summer series

should come solely from the sale of tickets, did not feel justified in engaging conductors and orchestra or renting the Auditorium, until a certain number of

(Continued on Page 220)

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