Page images
[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]





MARCH, 1851.

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA. The existence of California has, at length, become, a "great fact.” For nearly two years, Europe was stupified with the strange exaggerations and contradictory tales which were received from this unknown and mysterious Dorado, but which she feared to believe. The doubt is, however, now solved; she has seen, she has touched, and even used the gold from the productive mines, the existence of which, not long since, she altogether discarded. The gold-seekers have quitted her shores in poverty, and returned laden with wealth; and accounts of its discovery, the veracity of which is incontestible, have been published in various languages. The most incredulous sceptics are at last convinced; several of the localities have been daguerréotyped; and amongst these views, the accompanying illustration. To relate the true history of California is not so easy a matter as to picture its realities: everything is yet in a state of transition, to say nothing of the conflagrations which destroy in a day towns rebuilt in weeks, again to fall a prey to the flames; for no sooner have we heard of one destructive fire, than intelligence is received of another.

Such is now the commercial importance of the country, that some months since there were between three and four


hundred ships moored here, presenting a forest of masts, from which floated the flags of every country of the globe; the Chinese junk, with its streaked pennant and its fantastic form, and the three-masted American liner, with its stars and stripes.

The "city" of Sacramento, in the immediate neighbourhood of the gold country, is irregularly built, in all styles of architecture, as will be well understood by reference to our engraving, which, with the preceding description is copied from the Illustrated London News.

“DUTY FIRST, AND PLEASURE AFTERWARDS.” “Emily, have you hemmed your papa’s new pocket handkerchief, as you promised him ?” enquired Mrs. Temple one morning of a little girl who was much engrossed in attempting a new pattern of crochet work.

“No, mamma,” replied Emily, “ I quite forgot it, but I will hem it directly I have managed this puzzling new pattern."

“Had you not better hem the handkerchief at once, my dear, lest you forget it again in the interest of your fancy work?"

"I do so want to finish this d’oyley first, mamma, it is so nearly done now."

“Duty first, and pleasure afterwards,' is the safest rule, Emily, so put that aside now, and fetch your work-box; you will enjoy your new patterns all the more by and bye, when you have accomplished your morning's business."

Emily blushed, for she was conscious that many of her little daily occupations had been neglected this morning, while she had sat ever since breakfast absorbed in her pleasing difficulties; and she now obeyed her mother with swift alacrity, to make up for lost time, exclaiming cheerfully

“I hope I shall finish the handkerchief before papa asks for it; what a pretty color it is. Are you going on with that pretty poem you were reading aloud last night, mamma ?”

"I should like to do so, my love," answered Mrs. Temple, “but I must set you a better example, and cut out all this linen and calico for my sons and daughters."

6 That is rather dull work.”

“But very necessary to be done, nevertheless, and there is a satisfaction in the accomplishment of what must be done, even if it were more disagreeable than this."

Emily's elder sister Jannette, who had hitherto been comfortably ensconced by the fire, reading a new book, started up at this remark, and left the room, but quickly returned with a bundle of her brothers' collars, at which she sat down to work with extraordinary diligence.

“ I shall soon have finished all my planning and calculating," remarked Mrs. Temple, "and then we can read in turn the • Lives of the Queens,' if you

like." Oh, that will be delightful!" said Emily, for I can understand a great deal of that book.”

It was Emily's Christmas holidays, so that her duties were not very numerous. Jannette had left school two years before, and had been gradually initiated by her mother into the mysteries of housekeeping, certain departments of which were her entire charge; whilst she also took care of her brothers' linen, repairing, making, cutting out, and purchasing, as her skill and experience increased. Though a considerable portion of her time was thus occupied, her parents kindly and wisely permitted her ample leisure for any pursuit to which taste might lead her, endeavoring to inculcate those orderly and systematic habits, by which she might avoid hurry and bustle, and become punctual and industrious. They also encouraged the cultivation of her mental powers, and gladly promoted the exercise of rational accomplishments, in due subordination to more important aims.

Soon after the morning alluded to above, the severe illness of an aged relative called Mrs. Temple from home. As she contemplated an absence of several weeks, she put her keys and housekeeping book into Jannette's hand, merely remarking, “ You will find everything right now, my love, and are sufficiently acquainted with all my plans to keep them up; I need not therefore burden your memory with any particular directions, only remember that the old maxim of duty first, and pleasure afterwards,' is especially useful to the head of a household.”

“I hope you will not be anxious, dear mamma, for I will do my best, I assure you,” replied Jannette, as she exchanged a parting kiss.

“What can be easier than keeping house in such a regular family as ours,” thought the young lady. “I wonder what mamma meant by repeating her favorite maxim the last thing. Well, I think if I am industrious, I shall have plenty of leisure time, so I will try and surprise her by making a bouquet of wax flowers for the new vase in the drawing room: she was wishing for some the other day. Emily shall go with me, and we will choose our models; but first of all, I must give the orders for the day, as mamma does.” And Jannette forthwith commenced a tour of inspection in each section of domestic economy. She was surprised to find that, ere this was completed, the morning was too far advanced to allow of her making her purchases before dinner, so prudently postponed her expedition for that day. The next morning was wet, and various unforeseen obstacles delayed the accomplishment of her wishes for nearly a week. During this time household duties had gone on well, and papa perceived no deficiency to excite anxiety for Jannette's domestic skill. At length the wax flowers were commenced. Botanical works were ransacked for pretty groups, and the nursery ground was visited for choice specimens of living flowers for models, and as the bouquet advanced, Jannette became more and more absorbed in her interesting recreation, and one little daily duty after another was put off, till a formidable pile of needlework and unsettled accounts had accumulated.

“ If you please, Miss Jannette," said the housemaid one Monday morning, “ the laundress has come for the linen.”

“Oh dear! I have not written out her list ;" exclaimed Jannette, and she ran nimbly up stairs to prepare it. Here she met nurse, who remarked, “ Miss Jannette, Dame Morland has sent up for the flannel gown your mamma promised her: the weather is so cold that the rheumatics have taken her, and the doctor has ordered her to wear flannel immediately."

Poor Jannette was dismayed, for she had herself undertaken to complete this garment, and knew that it ought to have been in the old woman's chest a fortnight before. To add to her


« PreviousContinue »