Mr. Jack Hamlin's Mediation

Top American Novelist

Book 17
VM eBooks
1
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Table of Contents

Published by VM eBook
MR. JACK HAMLIN'S MEDIATION
PART II
THE MAN AT THE SEMAPHORE
AN ESMERALDA OF ROCKY CANYON
DICK SPINDLER'S FAMILY CHRISTMAS
WHEN THE WATERS WERE UP AT "JULES'"
THE BOOM IN THE "CALAVERAS CLARION"
THE SECRET OF SOBRIENTE'S WELL
LIBERTY JONES'S DISCOVERY

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About the author

Francis Bret Harte (August 25, 1836 – May 5, 1902) was an American author and poet, best remembered for his short fiction featuring miners, gamblers, and other romantic figures of the California Gold Rush. In a career spanning more than four decades, he wrote poetry, fiction, plays, lectures, book reviews, editorials, and magazine sketches in addition to fiction. As he moved from California to the eastern U.S. to Europe, he incorporated new subjects and characters into his stories, but his Gold Rush tales have been most often reprinted, adapted, and admired.

Harte moved to California in 1853, later working there in a number of capacities, including miner, teacher, messenger, and journalist. He spent part of his life in the northern California coastal town of Union (now Arcata), a settlement on Humboldt Bay that was established as a provisioning center for mining camps in the interior.

The Wells Fargo Messenger, July 1916, relates that after an unsuccessful attempt to make a living in the gold camps, he signed on as a messenger with Wells Fargo & Co. Express. He guarded treasure boxes on stagecoaches for a few months, then gave it up to become the schoolmaster at a school near Sonora. He created his character Yuba Bill from his memory of an old stagecoach driver.

The 1860 massacre of between 80 and 200 Wiyots at the village of Tuluwat was well documented historically and was reported in San Francisco and New York by Harte. When serving as assistant editor for the Northern Californian, Harte editorialized about the slayings while his boss, Stephen G. Whipple, was temporarily absent, leaving Harte in charge of the paper. Harte published a detailed account condemning the event, writing, "a more shocking and revolting spectacle never was exhibited to the eyes of a Christian and civilized people. Old women wrinkled and decrepit lay weltering in blood, their brains dashed out and dabbled with their long grey hair. Infants scarcely a span long, with their faces cloven with hatchets and their bodies ghastly with wounds." After he published the editorial his life was threatened, and he was forced to flee one month later. Harte quit his job and moved to San Francisco, where an anonymous letter published in a city paper is attributed to him, describing widespread community approval of the massacre. In addition, no one was ever brought to trial, despite the evidence of a planned attack and references to specific individuals, including a rancher named Larabee and other members of the unofficial militia called the Humboldt Volunteers.

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Additional Information

Publisher
VM eBooks
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Published on
Feb 2, 2016
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Pages
128
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Literary
Literary Collections / American / General
Literary Collections / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Although Bret Harte's name is identified with Californian life, it was not till he was fifteen that the author of "Plain Language from Truthful James" saw the country of his adoption. Francis Bret Harte, to give the full name which he carried till he became famous, was born at Albany, New York, August 25, 1839. He went with his widowed mother to California in 1854, and was thrown as a young man into the hurly-burly which he more than any other writer has made real to distant and later people. He was by turns a miner, school-teacher, express messenger, printer, and journalist. The types which live again in his pages are thus not only what he observed, but what he himself impersonated in his own experience.

He began trying his pen in The Golden Era of San Francisco, where he was working as a compositor; and when The Californian, edited by Charles Henry Webb, was started in 1864 as a literary newspaper, he was one of a group of brilliant young fellows—Mark Twain, Charles Warren Stoddard, Webb himself, and Prentice Mulford—who gave at once a new interest in California beside what mining and agriculture caused. Here in an early number appeared "The Ballad of the Emeu," and he contributed many poems, grave and gay, as well as prose in a great variety of form. At the same time he was appointed Secretary of the United States Branch Mint at San Francisco, holding the office till 1870.

But Bret Harte's great opportunity came when The Overland Monthly was established in 1868 by Anton Roman. This magazine was the outgrowth of the racy, exuberant literary spirit which had already found free expression in the journals named. An eager ambition to lift all the new life of the Pacific into a recognized place in the world of letters made the young men we have named put their wits together in a monthly magazine which should rival the Atlantic in Boston and Blackwood in Edinburgh. The name was easily had, and for a sign manual on the cover some one drew a grizzly bear, that formidable exemplar of Californian wildness. But the design did not quite satisfy, until Bret Harte, with a felicitous stroke, drew two parallel lines just before the feet of the halting brute. Now it was the grizzly of the wilderness drawing back before the railway of civilization, and the picture was complete as an emblem.

PROLOGUE.
THE LAST GUN AT SNAKE RIVER.

What had been in the cool gray of that summer morning a dewy country lane, marked only by a few wagon tracks that never encroached upon its grassy border, and indented only by the faint footprints of a crossing fox or coon, was now, before high noon, already crushed, beaten down, and trampled out of all semblance of its former graciousness. The heavy springless jolt of gun-carriage and caisson had cut deeply through the middle track; the hoofs of crowding cavalry had struck down and shredded the wayside vines and bushes to bury them under a cloud of following dust, and the short, plunging double-quick of infantry had trodden out this hideous ruin into one dusty level chaos. Along that rudely widened highway useless muskets, torn accoutrements, knapsacks, caps, and articles of clothing were scattered, with here and there the larger wrecks of broken-down wagons, roughly thrown aside into the ditch to make way for the living current. For two hours the greater part of an army corps had passed and repassed that way, but, coming or going, always with faces turned eagerly towards an open slope on the right which ran parallel to the lane. And yet nothing was to be seen there. For two hours a gray and bluish cloud, rent and shaken with explosion after explosion, but always closing and thickening after each discharge, was all that had met their eyes. Nevertheless, into this ominous cloud solid moving masses of men in gray or blue had that morning melted away, or emerged from it only as scattered fragments that crept, crawled, ran, or clung together in groups, to be followed, and overtaken in the rolling vapor.

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