This volume of short stories forms a very complete picture, or collection of pictures, of the social life of California under the Spanish and Mexican rule, true to the traditions and customs of those fine old days, when the whole fabric of the life was, as it were, part and parcel of what can only now be seen in some of the remoter parts of old Mexico.
The Pearls of Loreto -- The Ears of Twenty Americans -- The Wash-Tub Mail -- The Conquest of Doña Jacoba -- A Ramble with Eulogia -- The Isle of Skulls -- The Head of A Priest -- La Pérdida -- Lukari's Story -- Natalie Ivanhoff: A Memory of Fort Ross -- The Vengeance of Padre Arroyo -- The Bells of San Gabriel -- When the Devil was Well
Ysabel moved her brows apart, but the clouds still lay in her eyes.
"Thou dost not ask of the races, O thou indifferent one! What is the trouble, my Ysabel? Will no one bring the pearls? The loveliest girl in all the Californias has said, 'I will wed no man who does not bring me a lapful of pearls,' and no one has filled the front of that pretty flowered gown. But have reason, niña. Remember that our Alta California has no pearls on its shores, and that even the pearl fisheries of the terrible lower country are almost worn out. Will nothing less content thee?"
"Dios de mi alma! Thou hast ambition. No woman has had more offered her than thou. But thou art worthy of the most that man could give. Had I not a wife myself, I believe I should throw my jewels and my ugly old head at thy little feet."
Ysabel glanced with some envy at the magnificent jewels with which the Governor of the Californias was hung, but did not covet the owner. An uglier