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The Pride of Palomar   By: (1880-1957)

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Author of Kindred of the Dust, etc.

Illustrated by H. R. Ballinger and Dean Cornwell

Cosmopolitan Book Corporation New York


[Frontispiece: The man Don Miguel Farrel.]




I have at last finished writing "The Pride of Palomar." It isn't at all what I wanted it to be; it isn't at all what I planned it to be, but it does contain something of what you and I both feel, something of what you wanted me to put into it. Indeed, I shall always wish to think that it contains just a few faint little echoes of the spirit of that old California that was fast vanishing when I first disturbed the quiet of the Mission Dolores with infantile shrieks when you first gazed upon the redwood studded hills of Sonoma County.

You adventured with me in my quest for local color for "The Valley of the Giants," in Northern California; you performed a similar service in Southern California last summer and unearthed for me more local color, more touches of tender sentiment than I could use. Therefore, "The Pride of Palomar" is peculiarly your book.

On a day a year ago, when the story was still so vague I could scarcely find words in which to sketch for you an outline of the novel I purposed writing, you said: "It will be a good story. I'm sold on it already!" To you the hacienda of a Rancho Palomar will always bring delightful recollections of the gracious hospitality of Señor Cave Coutts, sitting at the head of that table hewed in the forties. Little did Señor Coutts realize that he, the last of the dons in San Diego County, was to furnish copy for my novel; that his pride of ancestry, both American and Castilian, his love for his ancestral hacienda at the Rancho Guajome, and his old fashioned garden with the great Bougainvillea in flower, were the ingredients necessary to the production of what I trust will be a book with a mission.

When we call again at the Moreno hacienda on the Rio San Luis Rey, Carolina will not be there to metamorphose her home into a restaurant and serve us galina con arroz , tortillas and frijoles refritos . But if she should be, she will not answer, when asked the amount of the score: "What you will, señor ." Ah, no, Mul. Scoundrels devoid of romance will have discovered her, and she will have opened an inn with a Jap cook and the tariff will be dos pesos y media ; there will be a strange waiter and he will scowl at us and expect a large tip. And Stephen Crane's brother, the genial judge, will have made his fortune in the mine on the hill, and there will be no more California wine as a first aid to digestion.

I had intended to paint the picture that will remain longest in your memory the dim candle light in the white washed chapel at the Indian Reservation at Pala, during Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament the young Indian Madonna, with her naked baby lying in her lap, while she sang:

"Come, Holy Ghost, creator blest, And in my heart take up thy rest."

But the picture was crowded out in the make up. There was too much to write about, and I was always over set! I saw and felt, with you, and regarded it as more poignantly pathetic, the tragedy of that little handful of San Luisanos, herded away in the heart of those barren hills to make way for the white man. And now the white man is almost gone and Father Dominic's Angelus, ringing from Mission San Luis Rey, falls upon the dull ear of a Japanese farmer, usurping that sweet valley, hallowed by sentiment, by historical association, by the lives and loves and ashes of the men and women who carved California from the wilderness.

I have given to this book the labor of love. I know it isn't literature, Mul, but I have joyed in writing it and it has, at least, the merit of sincerity. It is an expression of faith and for all its faults and imperfections, I think you will find, tucked away in it somewhere, a modicum of merit... Continue reading book >>

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