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Stories by American Authors, Volume 10   By:

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Stories by American Authors

VOLUME X

PANCHA BY T. A. JANVIER

THE ABLEST MAN IN THE WORLD BY E. P. MITCHELL

YOUNG MOLL'S PEEVY BY C. A. STEPHENS

MANMAT'HA BY CHARLES DE KAY

A DARING FICTION BY H. H. BOYESEN

THE STORY OF TWO LIVES BY JULIA SCHAYER

NEW YORK CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 1896

COPYRIGHT, 1884, BY CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

The Stories in this Volume are protected by copyright, and are printed here by authority of the authors or their representatives.

[Illustration: Hjalmar H. Boyesen]

PANCHA: A STORY OF MONTEREY.

BY T. A. JANVIER.

Century Magazine, September, 1884.

When the Conde de Monterey, being then Viceroy of this gracious realm of New Spain, sent his viceregal commissioners, attended by holy priests, up into the northern country to choose a site for an outpost city, there was found no spot more beautiful, none more worthy to be crowned, than this where the city of Monterey stands to day. And so the commissioners halted beside the noble spring, the ojo de agua , that gushes out from its tangle of white pebbles in what now is the very heart of the town; and the priests set up the sacred cross and sang a sweet song of praise and thankfulness to the good God who had so well guided them to where they would be; and the colonists entered in and possessed the land.

This all happened upon a fair day now close upon three hundred years gone by. From century to century the city has grown, yet always in accord with the lines established by its founders. The houses a building now are as the houses built three hundred years ago; and, going yet farther into the past, as the houses which were built by the Moors when they came into the Gothic peninsula, bringing with them the life and customs of a land that even then was old. So it has come to pass that the traveler who sojourns here having happily left behind him on the farther side of the Rio Grande the bustle and confusion and hurtful toil of this overpowering nineteenth century very well can believe himself transported back to that blessed time and country in which the picturesque was ranked above the practical, and in which not the least of human virtues was the virtue of repose.

Very beautiful is the site of Monterey: its noble flanking mountains, the Silla and the Mitras, are east and west of it; its grand rampart, the Sierra Madre, sweeps majestically from flank to flank to the southward, and its outlying breastwork, a range of far away blue peaks, is seen mistily off in the north. And the city is in keeping with its setting. The quaint, mysterious houses, inclosing sunny gardens and tree planted court yards; the great cathedral where, in the dusk of evening, at vespers, one may see each night new wonders, Rembrandt like, beautiful, in light and shade; the church of St. Francis, and the old ruined church beside it built, first of all, in honor of the saint who had guided the Viceroy's commissioners so well; the bowery plaza , with the great dolphin fountain in its centre, and the plazuelas , also with fountains and tree clad; the narrow streets; the old time market place, alive with groups of buyers and sellers fit to make glad a painter's heart all these picturesque glories, together with many more, unite to make the perfect picturesqueness of Monterey.

Yet Pancha, who had been born in Monterey, and who never had been but a league away from it in the whole seventeen years of her life time, did not know that the city in which she lived was picturesque at all. She did know, though, that she loved it very dearly. Quite the saddest time that she had ever passed through was the week that she had spent once at the Villa de Guadalupe a league away to the eastward, at the Silla's foot with her Aunt Antonia. It was not that tia Antonia was not good to her, nor that life at the Villa de Guadalupe as well conducted a little town, be it said, with as quaint a little church, as you will find in the whole State of Nuevo Leon was not pleasant in its way; but it was that she longed for her own home... Continue reading book >>


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