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Clarence King 

Helmet of Mambrino 

Published for the King Memorial Committee of 

ThciCentury Association by G. P. Putnam's Sons 

New York and London 


-/- /ci/(Jf 





Published March, 1904 



SHORTLY after the death of the 
late Clarence King, the Board of 
Management of the Century Asso- 
ciation appointed a Committee to ad- 
vise in what manner the Club might 
most fitly take due note of the demise 
of their distinguished fellow-member. 

After some long and disappointing 
delays it was at last determined to 
recommend the publication of a King 
Memorial Book, which should contain 
a number of personal memoirs, con- 
tributed by some of his more intimate 
friends and associates, together with 
a reprint of King's short story entitled 
" The Helmet of Mambrino," which 
was first published in the Century 
Magazine, in May, 1886. 

These efforts have resulted in the 
publication of the volume here pre- 
sented, which has been produced under 


iv Preface 

the direction of the King Memorial 
Committee, consisting of Edward 
Gary, John LaFarge, and the under- 

The thanks of the Committee are 
due to Mr. A. F. Jaccaci and Mr. R. 
Swain Gifford for their many helpful 
suggestions and friendly participation 
in the work. 


Century Club, March 2, 1904. 


The Helmet of Mambrino 
Clarence King 



Don Horacio .... 
James D, Hague 

. 39 

Clarence King .... 
John Hay 

. 117 

Meetings with King . 

William Dean H dwells 

• "^SS 

King 157 

Henry Adams 

Clarence King 187 

John LaFarge 

King—" The Frolic and the Gentle " . 199 

Edmund Clarence Stedman 

King at THE Century . . .211 
William Crary Brownell 

Century Necrological Note . . 227 
Edward Cary 

King's " Mountaineering " . . 237 
Edward Cary 



Clarence King— Geologist . . 253 
Samuel Franklin Emmons 

Clarence King's School-days . . 295 
Daniel C. Oilman 

Biographical Notice . . . 303 

RossiTER W. Raymond 

Memorabilia 375 

James D. Hague 

Synoptic Index. .... 417 



Clarence King . . Frontispiece 

From portrait by George Howland 

King — In La Mancha . . -37 

When seeking the Helmet of Mambrino 

Horace F. Cutter . . . , 41 

Don Horacio 75 

King in John Hay's Library . ,121 
King at Age of 27 . . . . 137 

Photographed at Washington about 1868-9 

King in a Mountain Camp . . 247 
King in the Market Place . -357 

Photographed at Sombrerete, Mexico 

King — " Crossing the Bar " . . 415 

The Helmet of Mambrino 
Clarence King 

New York, January lo, 1885. 

Horace F. Cutter, Esqre. 

My dear friend, — Two years ago 
in Paris after I had returned from a 
trip in Spain I wrote you a very long 
letter and had it covered with a piece 
of silk taken from an old robe of the 
time of Cervantes. I put this letter 
together with an ancient barber's ba- 
sin of brass, and was on the point 
of sending them to you. But at 
the last moment what I had written 
seemed so lacking in local color, so 
dull and uninteresting, that I put it 
one side. 

Now my mother has read it and 
bids me forward it to you. I must 
only ask you to be gentle with its 
literary shortcomings and to be care- 
ful that it does not by any misad- 
venture get into print. 

The Helmet of Mambrino 

Wishing you the happiest of New 
Years and bidding you receive after 
this long silence the renewed ex- 
pression of my firm friendship for 
you, I am 

Faithfully yours, 




The Helmet of Mambrino* 

" How can I be mistaken, thou eternal misbe- 
liever ? " cried Don Quixote; " dost thou not see that 
knight that comes riding up directly towards us upon 
a dapple-gray steed, with a helmet of gold on his 
head ? " 

" I see what I see," replied Sancho, " and the devil 
of anything can I spy but a fellow on such another 
gray ass as mine is, with something that glitters o' top 
of his head." 

"I tell thee that is Mambrino's helmet," replied 
Don Quixote. — Cervantes. 

cannot have forgotten the 
morning we turned our backs upon 
San Francisco, and slowly rambled 
seaward through winding hollows of 
park, nor how the mist drooped low 
as if to hear the tones of fondness 
in our talk of Cervantes and the 
Don, nor how the approving sun 
seemed to send a benediction through 
the riven cloud-rack overhead. 

* By courtesy of The Century Company. 

The Helmet of Mambrino 

It was after we had passed the 
westward edge of that thin veneer 
of poHte vegetation which a coquet- 
tish art has affixed to the great wind- 
made waves of sand, and entered 
the waste of naked drift beyond, 
that we heard afar a whispered sea- 
plaint, and beheld the great Pacific 
coming in under cover of a low-lying 
fog, and grinding its white teeth on 
the beach. 

Still discoursing of La Mancha, we 
left behind us the last gateway of the 
hills, came to the walk's end and the 
world's end and the end of the Aryan 

We were not disturbed by the 
restless Aryan who dashed past us 
at the rate of 2:20 with an insolent 
flinging of sand, a whirling cobweb 
of hickory wheel, and all the mad 
hurry of the nineteenth century at 
his heels. 

For what (we asked one another 


Clarence King 

as we paced the Cliff- House veranda) 
did this insatiable wanderer leave his 
comfortable land of Central Asia and 
urge ever westward through forty- 
centuries of toilsome march? He 
started in the world's youth a simple, 
pastoral pilgrim, and we saw him pull 
up his breathless trotters at the very 
Ultima Thule, rush into the barroom, 
and demand a cocktail. 

Having quenched this ethnic thirst 
and apparently satisfied the yearning 
of ages, we watched him gather up 
his reins and start eastward again, as 
if for the sources of the sacred 
Ganges, and disappear in the cloud 
of his own swift-rushing dirt. 

By the fire in our private breakfast- 
room we soon forgot him, and you 
led me again into the company of the 
good knight. 

Even Alphonso must have felt the 
chivalric presence, for all unbidden he 
discreetly hispanized our omelet. 

The Helmet of Mambrino 

Years have gone since that Cervan- 
tean morning of ours, and to-day, my 
friend, I am come from our dear 

As I journeyed in the consecrated 
realm of Don Quixote, it happened 
to me to pass a night " down in a 
village of La Mancha, the name of 
which I have no desire to recollect." 

Late in the evening, after a long 
day in the saddle, we had stopped at 
an humble posada on the outskirts of 
an old pueblo, too tired to press on 
in search of better accommodations, 
which we believed the town would 
probably afford. We were glad enough 
to tie our weary animals to their iron 
rings within the posada, and fling 
ourselves down to sleep in the door- 
way, lulled by the comfortable munch- 
ing sound of the beasts, and fanned 
by a soft wind which came fitfully 
from the south. 

The mild, dry night, wherein thin 

Clarence King 

veils of cloud had tempered the moon 
light and overspread the vacant plains 
with spectral shadows, was at length 
yielding to the more cheerful advance 
of dawn. 

From the oaken bench on which I 
had slept, in the arched entrance of 
the posada, I could look back across 
the wan swells of plain over which 
my companion and I had plodded the 
day before, and watch the landscape 
brighten cheerfully as the sun rose. 

Just in front, overhanging the edge 
of a dry, shallow ravine, stood the 
ruin of a lone windmill — a breach in 
its walls rendering visible the gnarled 
trunk of an old olive-tree, which 
hugged the shade of the ancient mill, 
as if safe under the protection of a 
veritable giant. 

Oaken frames of the mill-arms, 
slowly consuming with dry-rot, etched 
their broken lines against the soft 
gray horizon. A rag or two of 

The Helmet of Mambrino 

stained canvas, all that was left of 
the sails, hung yellow, threadbare, 
and moldering in the windless air. 

The walls of our doorway seemed 
visibly to crumble. Here and there 
lingering portions of stucco still clung 
to a skeleton of bricks ; and over- 
head, by the friendly aid of imagin- 
ation, one could see that time out 
of mind the arch had been white- 

Signs of life one by one appeared. 
From a fold somewhere behind the 
posada a small flock of gaunt, lately 
sheared sheep slowly marched across 
my narrow field of view. 

Single file, with heads down, they 
noiselessly followed a path faintly 
traced across the plain, the level sun 
touching their thin backs, and casting 
a procession of moving shadows on 
the gray ground. One or two stopped 
to rub against the foundation-stones 
of the mill ; and presently all had 


Clarence King 

moved on into a hollow of the empty 
land and disappeared. 

Later, at the same slow pace, and 
without a sound of footfall, followed 
a brown and spare old shepherd, with 
white, neglected hair falling over a 
tattered cloak of coarse homespun. 
His face wore a strange expression 
of imbecile content. It was a face 
from which not only hope but even 
despair had faded out under the 
burning strength of eternal monotony. 

A few short, jerky, tottering steps, 
and he too was gone, with his crust 
of bread and cow's horn of water, his 
oleander-wood staff, and his vacant 
smile of senile tranquillity. 

Then an old, shriveled parrot of a 
woman, the only other inhabitant of 
the posada, came from I never knew 
where, creeping in through the open 
portal, heavily burdened with an 
earthen jar of water for our beasts. 
'* Buenos dias I " fell in a half-whisper 

The Helmet of Mambrino 

from her lips, which held a burning 
cigarette. She too disappeared. 

On the other side of the arched 
entry, against the opposite wall, on 
an oaken bench like mine, his head to 
the outer air, asleep on his back, lay 
my guide and companion, Salazar, — 
a poor gentleman, humbled by fate, 
yet rich in the qualities of sentiment 
which make good men and good 

His arms were crossed on his breast, 
after the manner of those pious per- 
sonages who lie in their long bronze 
and marble slumber in church and 
chapel. His delicate constitution, 
yielding at last to the wear of time, 
and now plainly declining, had de- 
creed for him only a narrow margin 
of life. In a little while, in a few 
short years, he will lie as he lay that 
morning in La Mancha, and his 
countenance will wear the same ex- 
pression of mingled pain and peace. 

Clarence King 

I had chosen him as companion for 
this episode of travel because of his 
fine, appreciative knowledge of Cer- 
vantes, and from his personal resem- 
blance to the type of Don Quixote. 
He had listened affectionately to my 
talk of the Bachelor of San Fran- 
cisco, and joined with zest in my 
search for a *' Helmet of Mambrino," 
which I hoped to send as a gift to 
the gentleman by the western sea. 

I scanned his sleeping features long 
and thought him a perfect Spanish 
picture. How sternly simple the ac- 
cessories ! Only a wall of time-mel- 
lowed brick, barred by lines of yellow 
mortar, and patched by a few hand- 
breadths of whitened plaster ! Only 
a solid, antique bench of oak, weather- 
worn into gray harmony with an 
earthen floor ! Nothing more ! 

His ample cloak of dark, olive-col- 
ored cloth, reaching from foot to chin, 
covered him, save for one exposed 

The Helmet of Mambrino 

hand, completely, and hung in folds 
to the ground. There was nothing 
to distract from his face, now thrown 
into full profile against the rough 

Far back over the bald cranial arch, 
a thin coat of mixed gray and brown 
wiry hair covered the back of his 
head, just where it rested on the blue 
handkerchief he had carefully com- 
posed over an improvised pillow. 
The heavy eyebrow formed a particu- 
larly long, high bow, and ended ab- 
ruptly against a slightly sunken bony 
temple. The orbital hollow, an un- 
usually large and cavernous bowl, 
showed beneath the brow a tracery 
of feeble blue veins ; but the closed 
eye domed boldly up, its yellow lids 
strongly fringed with long brown 
lashes. The hooked beak of a well- 
modeled but large aquiline nose 
curved down from the brow. Over 
his always compressed mouth grew a 

Clarence King 

delicate, grizzled mustache, the ends 
of which turned up in the old Span- 
ish way. His jaw was refined rather 
than strong, and bore on his long 
chin a thin tuft of hair, which grew 
to a point and completed a singularly 
chaste and knightly profile. The 
shallow thinness of his figure, the 
sunken yellow cheek, and emaciated 
throat, were all eloquent of decline. 

Age, too, recorded itself in the ex- 
posed hand, — not so much in its 
pallor or slenderness of finger, as in 
the prominence of bony framework, 
which seemed thrust into the wrinkled 
muscular covering as into a glove 
which is too large and much out- 

These are but material details, and 
only interesting as the seat and found- 
ation of a fixed air of gentleman- 
liness, which, waking or sleeping, 
never left his countenance. 

He was, as he slept, the figure of 

The Helmet of Mambrino 

the dead Quixote, — a gaunt face soft- 
ened by a patient spirit, an iron frame 
weakened and refined by lifelong fru- 
gality, and now touched by the wintry 
frosts of age ; but, above all, the 
sleeping mask, with its slightly curled 
lip, wore an aspect of chivalric scorn 
of all things mean and low. I watched 
the early light creep over his bald 
forehead, and tinge the sallow cheek 
with its copper warmth, and I marked 
how the sharp shadow of his nose 
lay like a finger of silence across his 

There lay one of those chance 
friends, whom to meet is to welcome 
from the heart, and from whom I for 
one never part without perplexing 
wonder whether chance or fate or 
Providence will so throw the shuttle 
through the strange pattern of life's 
fabric, that our two feeble threads 
will ever again touch and cross and 


Clarence King 

Chocolate is the straw at which 
the drowning traveler catches in the 
wide ocean of Spanish starvation. Its 
spicy aroma, with that of a cigarette, 
announced the coming of the old 

I reluctantly awakened Salazar, and 
we began the day by each pouring 
water from an earthen jar for the 
other s ablutions. From a leathern 
wallet my companion produced a few 
dry, crumbled little cakes, and my 
ulster pocket yielded up a bottle of 
olives I had brought from Seville. 
The woman squatted by us and 

While waiting for his boiling bev- 
erage to cool, Salazar addressed our 
hostess. " This American gentleman 
has in his own country a friend of 
whom he is exceedingly fond, a certain 
Don Horacio, who, it seems, is in the 
habit of reading the adventures of 
Don Quixote, which you very well 



The Helmet of Mambrino 

know, seftora, happened here in La 
Mancha. This Don Horacio has 
never seen one of our Spanish bar- 
bers' basins, such as the good Don 
Quixote wore for a helmet. 

'' It is to find him an ancient basin 
that we have come to La Mancha. 
There were plenty of new ones in 
Seville and Cordova, but they will 
not serve. We must have an an- 
cient one, and one from this very 
land. Do you by chance remember 
where there is such an one ? " 

The good woman reflected, while 
we sipped the chocolate, and ate the 
cakes and the olives. She threw 
away the end of the cigarette, and 
began rolling another. This little 
piece of manipulation, well known as 
provocative of thought, was hardly 
accomplished when she exclaimed : 

'* Mira ! I do know the very piece. 
Come to the door ! Do you see that 
church in ruins? Bueno I Just be- 


Clarence King 

yond is an old posada. The widow 
Barrilera, with her boy Crisanto, lives 
there. Poor people put up their 
beasts there. It used to be a great 
fonda many years ago, and ever since 
I was a child an old basin has hung 
in the patio. It ought to be there 
now." At this we were much glad- 
dened ; for our search all the day be- 
fore among the villages and hamlets 
had been fruitless. The posadera 
was so dumb at the silver we gave 
her that she forgot to bid us *' Go 
with God!" till we were mounted 
and moving away from her door 
toward the pueblo. 

A Spanish town, especially in 
wide, half -waste regions between 
great cities, sometimes sinks into a 
slow decline, and little by little gives 
up the ghost of life ; dying, not of 
sudden failure in the heart or central 
plaza, but wasting away by degrees 
around its outskirts, and shrinking 

The Helmet of Mambrino 

by the slow ruin of block after block 
inward toward the center of vitality. 
This form of decay comes at last to 
girdle the whole town with mounds 
of fallen wall, vacant squares of roof- 
less masonry, fragments of paved 
patio, secluded no more by inclosing 
corridors, but open and much fre- 
quented of drowsy goats, who come 
from their feeding-grounds to sleep 
on the sun-heated stones. 

Here and there a more firmly 
founded edifice, like a church or a 
posada, resists the unrelenting prog- 
ress of destruction, and stands for a 
few years in lonely despair among 
the leveled dust of the neighbor 

If a church, it is bereft of its im- 
memorial chimes, which are made to 
jangle forth the Angelus from some 
better-preserved tower on the plaza. 
Owls sail through the open door, and 
brush with their downy wings the 

Clarence King 

sacred dust from wooden image of 
Virgin or Saviour ; till at last the old 
towers and walls, yielding to rain and 
wind, melt down into the level of 
humbler ruin. 

The old posadas, while they last, 
are tenanted by the poorest of the 
poor. Childless widows too old to 
work end here in solitary penury their 
declining days, sister tenants with 
wandering bats and homeless kids. 

Past such an old and dying church 
Salazar and I rode, following the di- 
rections of our hostess and soon 
drew rein before an old oaken gate in 
a high wall of ancient masonry. Upon 
the lintel was rudely cut, as with a 
pocket-knife, the sign '' Forraje'' 
Half the double gate, fallen from its 
rusty hinges, lay broken and disused 
on the ground, its place taken by a 
ragged curtain of woolen cloth, 
which might once have been a wo- 
man's cloak. This, with the half gate 


The Helmet of Mambrino 

still standing, served to suggest that 
the ruinous inclosure was to be re- 
spected as private ground. 

My grave companion alighted from 
his horse, folded his cloak, which till 
now he had worn against the morn- 
ing cold, laid it carefully across his 
saddle, and knocked very gently ; 
then after a pause, as if to give 
misery a time to compose its rags, 
he drew aside the curtain an inch or 
so, and after peering around the in- 
closed yard, turned to me with a 
mysterious smile, laid his finger on 
his lips, and beckoned to me to look 
where he pointed. 

I saw a large, square, walled in- 
closure bounded on the right by a 
one-story house, with a waving, sag- 
ging, collapsing roof of red tiles. The 
left or eastern wall, which rose to a 
height of twenty feet or so, was 
pierced by two doorways and sev- 
eral second -story window - openings. 


Clarence King 

Through these we looked out upon 
the open plain, for the apartments 
into which the doorways had once led 
were ruined and gone. 

Over the eastern door was traced 
the half-faded word ''Comedor" and 
over the other " Barberza." Still 
above this latter sign there projected 
from the solid masonry an orna- 
mental arm of wrought iron, from 
which hung a barber's basin of bat- 
tered and time-stained brass, the 
morning light just touching its disc 
of green. 

Salazar knocked a little louder, 
when a cheery, welcoming woman's 
voice called out, " Pasen, senores ! " 
We held aside the woolen curtain, 
crossed the inclosure, and entered a 
little door directly opposite the old 
barberia, scenting as we entered a 
rich, vigorous odor of onion and 

There are nerves so degenerate, 

The Helmet of Mambrino 

there are natures so enfeebled, as to 
fall short of appreciating, as even to 
recoil from, the perfume of these 
sturdy esculents ; but such are not 
worthy to follow the footsteps of 
Don Quixote in La Mancha, where 
still, as of old, the breath of the cav- 
alier is the savor of onions, and the 
very kiss of passion burns with the 
mingled fire of love and garlic. 

From a dilapidated brick floor 
rose the widow Barrilera, a hand- 
some, bronzed woman of fifty, with 
a low, broad brow, genial, round face, 
and stout figure ; who advanced to 
meet us, and rolled out in her soft 
Andalusian dialect a hearty welcome, 
smiling ardently out of sheer good- 
nature, and showing her faultless 

It did not seem to have occurred 
to her to ask, or even consider, why 
we had come. Our entrance at this 
early hour created no surprise, no 


Clarence King 

questioning, not even a glance of cu- 
riosity. It was enough for her socia- 
ble, affluent good-nature that we had 
come at all. She received us as a 
godsend, and plainly proposed to en- 
joy us, without bothering her amia- 
ble old brains about such remote, 
intricate conceptions as a cause for 
our coming. 

To one of us she offered a stool, 
to the other a square of sheepskin, 
and urged us to huddle down with 
her in the very focus of the garlic 
pot, which purred and simmered 
and steamed over a little fire. She 
remarked in the gayest way that it 
was still cool of a morning, and 
laughed merrily when we assented to 
this meteorological truth, adding that 
a little fire made it all right, and 
then beaming on in silence, while she 
stirred the savory contents of the 
pot, never varying the open breadth 
of her smile, till she pursed up her 

The Helmet of Mambrino 

lips as if about to whistle, and blew 
on a ladle full of soup till it was 
cool, when she swallowed it slowly, 
her soft eyes rolling with delight at 
the flavorous compound. 

** Sefiora," said my hollow-eyed 
and hollow -voiced comrade, ''the 
gentleman is a lover of good Don 

The woman flashed on me a look 
of curiosity, as who should say, *' So 
is every one. What of that ? " 

*' My friend is Americano^' con- 
tinued Salazar. 

" Valgame Diosf" ejaculated the 
now thoroughly interested widow. 
** All the way from Buenos Ayres ! 
No ? Then from Cuba, of course ! 
Yes, yes ! My father's cousin was a 
soldier there, and married a woman 
as black as a pot." 

'* No, senora, my friend is from 
another part of America ; and he 
has come here to buy from you the 

Clarence King 

old brass basin above the barberia 

Curiosity about America suddenly 
gave way to compassion. 

'^ Pobrecito I '' she said in benevo- 
lent accents. " You take care of 
him ! He is " — making a grimace of 
interrogation, arching up her brows, 
and touching her head — "a little 
wrong here." 

Salazar, with unbroken gravity, 
touched his own head, pointed to 
me, and replied, ** Perfectly clear ! " 

" What in the name of the Blessed 
Virgin does he want of that old basin 
with a hole in it ? " shrugging her fat, 
round shoulders till they touched her 
earrings, and turning up the plump, 
cushiony palms of her hands to 

"It seems very droll, my good 
woman, does it not ? " I interrupted, 
** but I have in my own country a 
charming friend whom I love very 


The Helmet of Mambrino 

much. He is called the Bachelor of 
San Francisco, and he has never seen 
a Spanish barber's basin, so I want to 
carry this as a gift to him. We have 
no barbers' basins in America." 

*' Caramba ! " she exclaimed, ** what 
a land ! Full of women as black as 
coals, and no barbers ! My father's 
cousin had a beard like an English- 
man when he came back, and his wife 
looked like a black sheep just sheared. 
As to the basin, seftor, it is yours." 

Then turning to a hitherto un- 
noticed roll of rags in a dark corner, 
she gave an affectionate shove with 
her foot, which called forth a yawn- 
ing, smiling lad, who respectfully 
bowed to us, while yet half asleep. 

** Crisanto, get down the old bar- 
ber's basin from the patio, and bring 
it here ! " 

In a moment the boy returned 
with the old relic, but seemed to 
hesitate before relinquishing it to his 


Clarence King 

mother, who extended her hand to 
receive it. 

** What are you waiting for, child ?" 
said the woman. 

'' It is mine. You gave it to me," 
said the boy bashfully. 

" My lad," said Salazar, ''we shall 
give you two silver duros for it." 

The boy at once brightened and 
consented. His mother seized the 
basin in one hand, a wet rag in the 
other, and with her toe scraped out 
some ashes from the fire, and was 
about to fall upon it with housewifely 
fury, and In a trice, had I not stopped 
her, would have scraped away the 
mellow green film, the very writing 
and sign-manual of the artist Time. 

A few silver duros In the smiling 
lad's palm, a bit of gold to the mother, 
a shudder of long unknown joy in the 
widow s heart, a tear, a quiver of the 
lip, then a smile, — and the bargain 
was made. 


The Helmet of Mambrino 

I was grasping her hand and she, 
saying ** Adios ! ", was asking the Vir- 
gin to give me '*a thousand years," 
when Salazar said : 

"No, no! it is not yet 'Adios!' 
This basin and bargain must be cer- 
tified to by the ayuntamiento in a 
document stamped with the seal of 
the pueblo, and setting forth that 
here in La Mancha itself was bought 
this barber's basin." 

" Seguro ! " replied the woman, 
who flung over her head a tattered 
black shawl, tossing the end over 
her left shoulder. We all walked, 
Salazar and I leading our beasts, to 
the door of the alcalderia. 

The group of loungers who sat 
around the whitewashed wall of the 
chamber of the ayuntamiento showed 
no interest in our arrival. To our 
story the secretary himself listened 
with official indifference, sipped his 
morning coffee, only occasionally 

Clarence King 

asking a question of idle curiosity, or 
offering objection to the execution of 
so trivial a document. 

*' Ridiculous ! " he exclaimed ; *' the 
authorities of Spain have not pro- 
vided in the Codex for such jesting. 
What is this all for?" 

•' Sefior Secretario," I replied, '* I 
have conceived this innocent little 
caprice of legalizing my purchase of 
the basin, to gratify a certain Don 
Horacio, known in America as the 
Bachelor of San Francisco, a gentle- 
man whose fine literary taste has led 
him to yenerate your great Cer- 
vantes, and whose knightly senti- 
ments have made him the intimate 
friend of Don Quixote." 

** But," said the secretary, ** no con- 
tract of sale with a minor for vendor 
can be legalized by me. The Codex 

provides " He was going on to 

explain what the Codex did provide, 

when Salazar, who knew more about 


The Helmet of Mambrino 

the legal practice of provincial Spain 
than the Codex itself, stepped for- 
ward, passed behind the august 
judicial table, and made some com- 
munication in a whisper, which was 
not quite loud enough to drown a cu- 
rious metallic clink, as of coins in 

Thus softened, the cold eye of the 
secretary warmed perceptibly, and he 
resumed : " As I was about to say 
when my friend here offered me a — 
a — cigarette, the Codex does not in 
terms recognize the right of an infant 
to vend, transfer, give over, or re- 
linquish real or personal property ; 
but on reflection, in a case like this, 
I shall not hesitate to celebrate the 
act of sale." 

A servant was dispatched for some 
strong paper, and the softened magis- 
trate fell into general conversation. 

" You have had a great war in your 


Clarence King 

** Yes," I replied, '* very destructive, 
very exhausting ; but, thank God, 
North and South are now beginning 
to be friends again." 

" Are you of the North or of the 

'' The North." 

*' Do you not find it very trying to 
have those Chilians in your Lima, 
senor ? " 

Weeks before this I had given up 
trying to stretch the Spanish concep- 
tion of America to include a country 
north of Mexico, for the land of Cor- 
tes is the limit of imagination in that 
direction ; so I helplessly assented. 
Yes, it was trying. 

The boy returned with the paper ; 
ink-horns and pens were successfully 
searched for, and the document was 
executed and sealed. 

Salazar and I withdrew after salut- 
ing the upright official, mounted our 
beasts, received the soft benediction 


The Helmet of Mambrino 

of the smiHng widow, and pricked for- 
ward down a narrow way which led 
to the open plain. We were descend- 
ing a gentle slope on the outskirts of 
the pueblo when we were overtaken 
by the secretary's servant, who charged 
down upon us, his donkey nearly up- 
setting mine in the collision. 

Like a wizard in a show, he drew 
from under his jacket an incredibly 
bright and brand-new barber's basin. 

** The secretary," he said, '* remem- 
bered, just after you had gone, that 
the old Duchess of Molino had de- 
posited with him, as security for a 
large loan, this basin, which is proved 
to have been the authentic and only 
one from which Cervantes was shaved 
every day while prisoner at Argamo- 
sillo. The secretary knew that you 
would like to see this valued relic, 
and to touch it with your own hand. 
The duchess, senor (lowering his eyes 
and face), is in gloria. For ten duros 


Clarence King 

you can have this undoubted me- 
mento ; and full documents shall fol- 
low you to Madrid or Lima by the 
next mail." 

''Hombre/" I replied, "do me the 
favor to present to the secretary my 
most respectful compliments, and say 
that the supposed death of the duchess 
is a curious mistake. The old lady 
is Hving in great luxury in Seville, 
and her steward is already on the 
way to redeem her favorite relic." 

The man, who saw the force of my 
pleasantry, laughed explosively, and 
shamelessly offered me the basin at 
two duros and a half. We shook our 
heads, and rode away. Having gone 
a hundred yards, we heard a voice, 
and looking back beheld the servant, 
who brandished aloft the basin and 
shouted : ** One duro ? " I answered 
" Never," and we rode out upon the 
brown and sunburnt plain. 

Some sheep lay dozing, huddled in 


The Helmet of Mambrino 

the shadow of a few stunted cork- 
trees. Brown and dim as if clad in 
dusty leather, the Sierra Morena lay 
sleeping in the warm light. Away 
up among the hazy summits were 
pencilings of soft, cool color ; but we 
were too far away to discern the rocks 
and groves where Don Quixote did 
his amorous penance. 

After riding long and silently, Sal- 
azar addressed me : 

*' Senor, this friend of yours, this 
Don Horacio, will he ever come to 
La Mancha ? " 

''Quien sabef' I replied; ''but if 
he comes you will certainly know him 
and love him as he is known and loved 
by his friend." 

To the Bachelor of San Francisco. K. 


In La Mancha 

King's diess in the above picture is said to be the same he wore in Spain when 
seeking the I lehnet of Mambrino. 

Don Horacio 

James D. Hague 


j, l/OuAtiC 

Don Horacio 

DON HORACIO" was a fa- 
vorite name of the Quixotic 
friend for love of whom King sought 
the precious ** Helmet of Mambrino," 
in the province of La Mancha, and 
to whom he addressed the delightful 
epistle which accompanied his gift 
of the barber's basin he found there. 
To certain fellow-lovers of roman- 
tic literature Don Horacio was also 
known as '* The Bachelor of San 
Francisco." To everyday and com- 
monplace acquaintance his matter- 
of-fact name was Horace F. Cutter. 
He was born in Boston more than 
eighty years ago.* In his boyhood 
he was a pupil at the Boston Latin 
school and, as he always remembered 

* July 4, 182 1. 

Don Horacio 

with pride, a contemporary scholar 
and youthful companion of his life- 
long friend Edward Everett Hale. 

When he grew to manhood he 
drifted westward and, after a brief 
stay in St. Louis, landed, not far be- 
hind the earliest gold-seeking pio- 
neers, in California, where, in the 
city of San Francisco, he lived fifty 
years and lately died. At the be- 
ginning of his career there he ac- 
tively engaged with a business partner 
in commercial affairs, so-called, con- 
sisting mainly in very speculative 
ventures in the merchandise market, 
such, for example, as " corners " in 
whiskey, tobacco, turpentine, oatmeal 
or macaroni, or in any of the many 
contemporary equivalents of Colonel 
Sellers's eyewater, all of which, with 
occasional success and ultimate fail- 
ure, seem to have left him, at last, 
rich only in pleasing illusions of 
prospective fortune, the memories 


James D. Hague 

of which, long after, cheered his old 
age. He rose superior to the petty 
embarrassments of unsuccessful busi- 
ness, and never allowed the failures 
of the past to overshadow the bright 
prospects of the future. His daily 
business occupation, during many 
years following the collapse of his 
firm, was in the office of lifelong 
friends,* owners of a large landed 
estate, where, in some clerical capa- 
city, he earned, or at least received, 
money enough to secure his com- 
fortable support. He lodged in a 
bare and scantily furnished upper 
room of the office building and spent 
his leisure hours at his club, where 
he was a cherished companion and a 
familiar figure in his accustomed seats 
in the library or dining room, during 
nearly forty years. A most welcome 
visitor in half a dozen houses where 

* The Howard family, of San Mateo 


Don Horacio 

he was an expected guest for dinner 
once or twice a week, he enjoyed 
the best of everything that devoted 
friends could offer, and lived with- 
out anxiety concerning his personal 
welfare, giving himself wholly to his 
favorite pursuits. 

He was an insatiable reader of 
many sorts of books, old and new, 
with a wide range of current litera- 
ture, and, while most at home in the 
atmosphere of romance, he seemed 
to know something of everything 
going on in the universe generally, 
visible and invisible, anywhere within 
the far-reaching domain of psychi- 
cal research or of Swedenborgian 
philosophy, which was his favorite re- 
ligion. The revelations of the tele- 
scope in astronomical research, the 
transactions of the Microscopical So- 
ciety, geographical — especially polar 
— exploration, serial navigation, the 
practical applications of electricity to 

James D. Hague 

modern inventions, the Keeley Mo- 
tor, the extraction of precious metals 
from the ocean, everything in heaven, 
or in the air — from flying machines 
to humming-birds and butterflies — 
or in the earth, whether the product 
of the soil or of the mine, or in the 
waters under the earth, including the 
sea-serpent, in the existence of which 
he died a firm believer, together with 
the social and political conditions of 
people everywhere, the foreign wars 
and revolutions, the international re- 
lations of the world at large, bi-met- 
allism, the demonetization of silver 
and, especially, the Bank of England 
rate, engaged his daily attention and 
constant solicitude. 

Cutter was a phenomenal Ameri- 
can, a composite, in characteristic 
qualities, of Confucius,* Socrates, 

* A noteworthy likeness in the occupations 
of their younger days appears in the histori- 
cal coincidence that Confucius " in his youth 

Don Horacio 

Swedenborg, Don Quixote, Mr. Mi- 
cawber and Colonel Sellers. 

He delighted in schemes, projects 
and enterprises of every sort, finan- 
cial, industrial, scientific, romantic and 
sentimental, and was never without 
something in hand for promotion. 
Many of his undertakings were short- 
lived and quickly came to grief ; but 
his hopeful spirit never knew the 
pang of failure, and none of his most 
visionary projects ever wholly van- 
ished before he had conceived some 
new and better thing. If an unwill- 
ing capitalist positively and, perhaps, 
rudely refused to engage in some 
proposed enterprise today. Cutter al- 
ways knew a much richer and every- 

was successively keeper of stores and super- 
intendent of parks and herds to the chief of 
the district in which he lived," while Cutter 
was also a storekeeper in early life and subse- 
quently a self-appointed, unofficial guardian 
of the animals and birds in Golden Gate 


James D. Hague 

way better man to whom, confident 
of success, he would unfold his pro- 
ject tomorrow. 

His favorite enterprises were world- 
wide in their range, sometimes involv- 
ing important international relations. 
One of his proudest achievements 
he accomplished nearly twenty-five 
years ago, having been deeply moved 
thereto by reading, at his club in 
San Francisco, in a current number 
of the London T^'^/^^j-,* a stirring letter 
from that paper's correspondent at 
Peking, reporting recent events in 
China and relating a most pathetic 
story of the wretched fate of certain 
youthful captives, the children of Ya- 
koob Beg, a famous chieftain and 
ruler of Eastern Turkistan, Amir of 
Kashgar, who, in 1877, was defeated 
in war with China and ignominiously 
put to death, and whose three young 
sons, with one little grandson, all 
* London Weekly Times^ September 19, 1879. 

Don Horacio 

innocent victims of their father's 
misfortune, had been condemned to 
imprisonment, with abominable mal- 
treatment and, upon reaching the age 
of eleven years, to be given over as 
slaves to the soldiery in Turkistan or 
in the Amoor region.* 

* . . . "In consequence of the rebel- 
lious attitude of the Mussulmans of Kashgar, 
and their openly expressed regrets at the loss 
of their beloved Yakoob Beg, the Chinese 
authorities ordered the bodies of Yakoob 
Beg and of his son, Ishana Beg, to be disin- 
terred and publicly burned to cinders. The 
ashes of Yakoob Beg were, moreover, sent to 
Peking. . . . 

" At the time that Eastern Turkistan again 
passed into the hands of China, there were 
taken prisoners four sons, two grandsons, two 
granddaughters, and four wives of Yakoob 
Beg. Some of these were executed and 
others died; but in 1879 there remained in 
prison in Lanchanfoo, the capital of Kan- 
suh, Maiti Kuli, aged fourteen; Yima Kuli, 
aged ten; K'ati Kuli, aged six; sons of Ya- 
koob Beg; and Aisan Ahung, aged five, his 
grandson. These wretched little boys were 

James D. Hague 

When Mr. Cutter read with 
unspeakable indignation of these 
distressful events he immediately 
resolved to devote all his energies 
and resources to the rescue of the 

treated like state criminals. They arrived in 
Kan-suh in February, 1879, and were sent on 
to the provincial capital to be tried and sen- 
tenced by the Judicial Commissioner there 
for the awful crime of being sons of their 
father. In the course of time the Commis- 
sioner made a report of the trial which he 
concluded as follows: 

" * In cases of sedition, where the law con- 
demns the malefactors to death by the slow 
and painful process, the children and grand- 
children, if it be shown that they were not 
privy to the treasonable designs of their par- 
ents, shall be delivered, no matter whether 
they have attained full age or not, into the 
hands of the imperial household to be made 
eunuchs of, and shall be forwarded to Turkis- 
tan and given over as slaves to the soldiery. 
If under the age of ten, they shall be con- 
fined in prison until they have reached the 
age of eleven, whereupon they shall be handed 
over to the imperial household, to be dealt 

Don Horacio 

innocent sufferers, in whose behalf he 
promptly took the first initiative steps 
to engage public attention and sym- 
pathy in this country,* which, through 

with according to law. In the present case, 
. . as Yakoob Beg's sons . . . are 
rebels from Turkistan, it is requested that 
they may, instead, be sent to the Amoor 
region, to be given as slaves to the soldiery 

" * As Maiti Kuli is fourteen, it is requested 
that he may be delivered over to the imperial 
household as soon as the reply of the Board 
is received. Yima Kuli is just ten; K'ati 
Kuli and Aisan Ahung are under ten; they 
have therefore, to be confined in prison until 
they attain the age of eleven, when they will 
be delivered over to the imperial household 
to be dealt with according to law.' " (Apple- 
ton's Annual Cyclopcedia^ New Series, Vol. 
iv., 1879, page 145.) 

* One of Mr. Cutter's first efforts was an 
appeal to the New York Society for the Pre- 
vention of Cruelty to Children, whose presi- 
dent, Mr. Elbridge T. Gerry, addressed and 
published an urgent letter on the subject to 
the President of the United States. 

James D. Hague 

his persistent and untiring efforts, 
ultimately led to Congressional ac- 
tion, resulting in the successful in- 
tercession by the United States, 
in concert, it is said, with England, 
France and, perhaps, other Govern- 
ments of Europe, for the justification 
and liberation of the unfortunate chil- 
dren, with suitable provision by the 
Chinese Government for their subse- 
quent welfare. 

More than thirty years ago Cutter 
sent as a gift to His Imperial Majesty 
the Tenno of Japan, a beautifully 
bound copy of a book entitled *' The 
Tales of Old Japan " (Mitford's), the 
first of its kind published in the Eng- 
lish language. In due time he re- 
ceived through His Majesty's consul 
for California a highly appreciative 
letter, written by instruction of the 
Japanese minister for foreign affairs, 
expressing his majesty's pleasure and 
thanks, together with an accompany- 


Don Horacio 

ing case of royal gold-lacquered ware, 
** sent to Mr. Cutter as a token of re- 
quital for his kindness." In his let- 
ter of transmittal accompanying the 
book, Mr. Cutter had expressed a 
wish to obtain his majesty's photo- 
graph, referring to which he was ad- 
vised, in reply, that *' As to the desire 
of Mr. Cutter to possess H. I. M.'s 
photographic likeness, we regret to 
express that as no photographic like- 
ness of His Majesty is as yet taken, 
it is unable to fulfill the desire." 

Japan again received the personal 
attention of Mr. Cutter, about fifteen 
years ago, when he strove persist- 
ently, as no one else would have 
done, and finally succeeded in obtain- 
ing from the United States Govern- 
ment, in the interest of humanity, 
due recognition of the great kindness 
shown by certain native villagers and 
fishermen, on the Japanese island of 
Tanegashima, to a company of ship- 


James D. Hague 

wrecked American seamen who, in ex- 
treme distress, narrowly escaping fatal 
disaster, landed on their shore. Mr. 
Cutter labored long and assiduously 
with senators and representatives until 
Congress passed appropriate resolu- 
tions, acknowledging and duly appre- 
ciating the kind deed and benevolence 
of the Japanese villagers. Gold 
medals were sent to the principal res- 
cuers ; and the sum of $5000 was 
transmitted to the Japanese Govern- 
ment to be used as might be deemed 
most advisable for the benefit of the 
two villages, Anjio and Isaki. This 
money was invested for the support 
of the schools in these two villages, 
in each of which a memorial school- 
house was built by the Japanese. A 
stone monument was erected, also by 
the Japanese, in the yard of each of 
the two schoolhouses, *' to commemo- 
rate the goodness of the United 
States " ; and each stone bears an 

Don Horacio 

inscription, in Japanese, relating the 
story of the wreck of the lost vessel, 
the Cashmere, and concluding with a 
poem, written for the occasion, by a 
Japanese poet of high distinction, ex- 
pressing appropriate sentiments in 
acceptance of the gift and dedicating 
it to the education of the native chil- 
dren. Photographs of these school- 
houses were made and sent to Mr. 
Cutter in compliance with his request.* 
These distinguished services, thus 
rendered by Mr. Cutter, received also 
the highest official acknowledgment 
in the presentation to him of the 
** Decoration of Merits with Blue 
Ribbon," which was granted by His 
Majesty the Emperor of Japan and 

* A narrative relating some of these inter- 
esting events was published in the St. Nicho- 
las Magazine, September, 1894. Mr. Cutter 
has also made further reference thereto in a 
brief article, entitled "Two Monuments," 
printed in the Century Magazine (March, 


James D. Hague 

conferred by the Government upon 
Mr. Cutter (October 2 2d, 1894), for 
his " noble endeavors relating to the 
establishment of the schools on the 
Island of Tanegashima." 

Mr. Cutter's relations with Spain 
were apparently very pleasant, having 
begun many years ago (1879) i^ ^ 
correspondence with Sefior Castelar, 
when, in response to a public appeal 
for aid in behalf of many sufferers 
from disastrous floods in the province 
of Murcia, he sent to Castelar a gift 
of one thousand francs as the *' con- 
tribution of an American who remem- 
bers that the discovery of his native 
land was owing to the generosity of 
Spain." Castelar personally acknowl- 
edged this gift in a very gracious let- 
ter and sent his photograph, bearing 
his own inscription of greeting and 
friendly regard, *' A mi amigo Mora- 
cio F. Cutter, en prueba de entran- 
able afecto, Emilio Castelar^ 

Don Horacio 

Not long thereafter, Mr. Cutter 
submitted to the prime minister a 
plan for the capture of Gibraltar by 
means of balloons, from which explo- 
sive bombs were to be dropped upon 
the British occupants. Castelar re- 
sponded with thanks in an autograph 
letter, expressing his appreciation 
with the intention to give the matter 
due consideration and to reply further 
at some more convenient moment. 

It was probably his love of Spanish 
romance that led Mr. Cutter, some 
years later, to engage actively, though 
unsuccessfully, in the financial promo- 
tion of a project for raising from the 
bottom of the bay of Vigo the Span- 
ish galleons, sunk there in 1 702, which 
were supposed to be laden with twen- 
ty-five millions of treasure, but proved, 
so far as exploited, to contain little or 
nothing of available value. 

In 1892, Mr. Cutter was appointed 
by authority of the Spanish Govern- 

James D. Hague 

ment to serve on a commission or- 
ganized to promote and manage an 
International Exhibition at Madrid, 
in celebration of the Four Hundredth 
Anniversary of the Discovery of Am- 
erica by Christopher Columbus. 

The attitude of Portugal on the 
question of slavery and the slave trade 
attracted Mr. Cutter's ever- watchful 
eye, some years since, and led to cer- 
tain manifestations of his interest in 
the matter through the press of the 
time (i 889-1 890). 

The friendly relations of Russia 
with the United States during the 
war of the rebellion, forty years ago, 
gave Mr. Cutter much satisfaction, 
and he made it the subject of an in- 
teresting contribution to history in a 
magazine article,* which attracted at- 
tention both in America and Europe. 

In the western hemisphere one of 
Mr. Cutter's most absorbing interests 
^ Overland Monthly^ September, 1892. 

Don Horacio 

was arctic exploration, which he never 
ceased to follow closely, from year to 
year. He had long-cherished projects 
in Bering's Sea. One of his favorite 
schemes was the purchase of British 
Columbia by the United States, for 
which he proposed to pay $100,000,- 
000, in gold if need be, but preferably 
in silver bars, with the double — bi- 
metallic — purpose of acquiring our 
neighbor's coveted territory and pay- 
ing for it in the unjustly depreciated 

He was greatly interested in active- 
ly promoting the project of the Drake 
Monument, with which it was proposed 
to mark the point on the California 
coast, now known as Drake's Bay, near 
Point Reyes, not far from San Fran- 
cisco, where Sir Francis Drake landed 
in 1579, and where his much-abused 
chaplain, Francis Fletcher, read for 
the first time in California the service 
of the Church of England. 

James D. Hague 

This project was partly realized in 
the erection of a wooden cross at a 
point said to be the one referred to ; 
but a more easily accessible and en- 
during monument, in recognition of 
the interesting event, has since been 
more conspicuously established in 
Golden Gate Park, in the city of San 
Francisco, overlooking the sea. 

On the Mexican coast of Lower 
California an enterprise of magnifi- 
cent proportions was projected by 
Mr. Cutter, based, as he affirmed, on 
the largest private landed estate in 
the world, for the gathering and util- 
ization of seaweed as well as the cul- 
tivation and production of orchilla, 
a vegetable substitute for cochineal. 
Another great scheme of inter- 
national importance, in which our 
lamented friend King was also con- 
cerned, designed to reclaim and de- 
velop a large, unutilized tract of 
Mexican territory, near our boundary 


Don Horacio 

and lying along the Colorado River, 
for the cultivation of cotton by Jap- 
anese colonists to be imported for 
the purpose, engaged to the time of 
his death the constant attention of 
Mr. Cutter, in whose far-reaching 
vision the capitalists of Japan, Mexi- 
co, the United States and Europe 
were to participate jointly. 

The South Seas and all thereto 
pertaining, especially, the royal family 
of Tahiti, the surviving descendants 
of the mutineers of the Bounty on 
Pitcairn, the coral islanders and the 
mysterious graven images of Easter 
Island, were always for Mr. Cutter 
unfailing sources 9f interesting ro- 
mance and curious speculation. 

His last international effort, in 
which he successfully sought the finan- 
cial and sympathetic co-operation of 
his friends, was an undertaking to send 
slates, slate-pencils, and spelling-books 
to primary schools in the Philippines. 

James D. Hague 

With all his devotion to foreign 
interests, he was a most patriotic citi- 
zen, thoroughly American in spirit 
and purpose and a firm believer in 
the high vocation and destiny of the 
American people among the nations 
of the earth. He labored persistently 
to accomplish some desired measures 
of reform, notably in the Jury laws, 
of which, it is said, that certain legis- 
lative amendments, made in several 
States, have been largely due to his 
efforts. He was an active though 
not a leading member of the cele- 
brated Vigilance Committee in San 
Francisco (1856) and liked to tell in 
later years of his participation in that 
public service. 

One object of his constant atten- 
tion at home was the Golden Gate 
Park, between the city and the sea, 
or, more particularly, the aviary there, 
which was created and maintained by 
the Park commissioners mainly by 

Don Horacio 

Mr. Cutter's persuasive influence and 
action. It was his habit to visit the 
aviary almost every day. He knew 
all the birds in it and many more out- 
side. He was a sort of bird-charmer 
in his way, and he liked to tell of 
friendly humming-birds that would 
sometimes alight upon his hand or 
head. He caused the introduction 
to the park and to California of the 
J apanese bulbul. * He was personally 
acquainted with the black swans on 
the lake, and constantly visited and 
fed, during their season, his migra- 
tory friends, the coots. He was on 
familiar terms with the rainbow trout. 
He also maintained more or less in- 
timate relations with the elks, the 
moose, the buffaloes, and the big griz- 

* It has been asserted that the '* ten pairs " 
of bulbuls, first imported from Japan, proved 
to be all males, without a single mother-bird 
in the lot; but this may be the cynical inven- 
tion of some " eternal misbeliever." 

James D. Hague 

zly bear, and was a particular friend 
of the ruffled moufflon of North 

He beHeved in the great and far- 
distant future of San Francisco, and 
the only real property of which he 
died possessed is a still deeply sub- 
merged and wholly invisible water-lot 
on the north beach, which can only 
become valuable to generations yet 

One of Mr. Cutter's most notable 
achievements was the fortuitous in- 
vention (about 1870) of a literary 
hoax, which attracted world-wide at- 
tention, purporting to answer certain 
inquiries which were just then in cur- 
rent circulation through the literary 
journals of the period, touching the 
authorship of the familiar quotation, 
** Though lost to sight, to memory 
dear," the origin of which had then 
long been, as it still is, a puzzle past 
finding out, the inquiry having begun 


Don Horacio 

more, than fifty years ago (185 1) in 
Notes and Queries, in which peri- 
odical the subject has since been 
again and again discussed by many 
correspondents." * 

Mr. Cutter s first conception of his 
hoax was apparently quite impromptu, 
intended only as a passing joke at the 
expense of a fellow member of his 
club, and probably without any ex- 
pectation that it would be carried 
further, still less that his little squib 
would be heard around the world. 

It appears that, somehow, there 
had come to be a popular impression 
that an eccentric individual had of- 
fered a large reward for such infor- 
mation concerning the quotation in 

* According to Bartlett, the much-quoted 
line in question originated in a song, written 
and composed by George Linley for Mr. Au- 
gustus Braham, and sung by him in London, 
probably about 1830; but certain correspon- 
dents of Notes and Queries show that it was a 
" familiar quotation " long before then. 

James D. Hague 

question as might lead to the convic- 
tion of its original author ; and this 
so stimulated further search that the 
matter was much talked of, far and 
wide, largely increasing the number 
of active inquirers, among whom was 
one in San Francisco, who so persis- 
tently bored certain Union Club 
companions that his unceasing im- 
portunities naturally encouraged any- 
body so disposed to trifle with his 

About this time, also, there ap- 
peared in the New Orleans Sunday 
Times, a communication from a liter- 
ary correspondent, purporting to give 
the original source of the familiar 
line in ** verses written in an old 
memorandum book, the author not 
recollected," beginning with the words 
" Sweetheart, goodbye ! the fluttering 
sail," and ending aptly with the 
quotation *' Though lost to sight, to 
memory dear," to embody which the 

Don Horacio 

accompanying poem had been com- 

When this publication met Mr. 
Cutter's eye, he promptly announced 
to his inquiring friend not only the 
alleged discovery of the verses but, 
moreover, the further information, 
invented by himself, that the author 
of the lines was '* Ruthven Jenkyns," 
whose poem first appeared in the 
Greenwich Magazine for Marines in 
1 701. 

The joke was taken seriously and 
communicated in good faith by its 
credulous victim to the press, im- 
mediately provoking further discus- 
sion of the subject, which, during 
many following years, was often re- 
vived both in America and England. 
Mr. Edward Everett Hale, in Old 
and New, intimated that the marines 
at Greenwich had hardly attained in 
1 701 such development of literary 
culture as to require a magazine of 


James D. Hague 

their own ; and one of the leading 
literary periodicals in England said, 
in effect, that inquiry at the Library 
of the British Museum confirmed the 
shrewd suspicion that no such mag- 
azine ever existed. 

In 1880, a London publisher 
brought out the bogus song in sheet 
music, concerning which Bartlett, in 
his Familiar Quotations (1891), after 
saying that the composer of the music 
acknowledged, in a private letter, 
that he had copied the song from an 
American newspaper, makes a per- 
sonal reference to Mr. Cutter as *' the 
reputed author, Ruthven Jenkyns." 

An amusing sequel to the story of 
this invented name appeared when a 
distinguished member of the Jenkins 
family in the United States, a man 
eminent in the naval service, seri- 
ously claimed Cutters fictitious au- 
thor as an ancestral relative. 

It seems, moreover, something like 

Don Horacio 

a touch of poetic justice in the mor- 
tuary notice printed in a San Fran- 
cisco newspaper, announcing the 
death of Mr. Cutter and briefly re- 
viewing his career, that the creator of 
Ruthven Jenkyns, a wholly imaginary 
character, should be presented as first 
cousin of another purely fictitious 
person, who is there made to appear 
as the nearest bereaved relative and 
chief mourner of the deceased. The 
obituary writer, after making due 
mention of Mr. Cutter's pedigree and 
his relation to the well-known Coo- 
lidge family of Boston, says that his 
first cousin and nearest surviving re- 
lative is "Susan Coolidge, the au- 
thor," a name familiar to story readers 
as the wholly fictitious nom-de-plume 
of Miss Sarah Chauncey Woolsey. 

Another significant example of 
hasty editorial misapprehension oc- 
curs in the same obituary notice, 
wherein the deceased, by ridiculous 

James D. Hague 

misnomer, is pathetically alluded to 
as the '* Hermit of Mambrino." 

In his later years Cutter seemed to 
his daily companions to be neither 
rich nor poor, well known to be im- 
pecunious, yet lacking nothing neces- 
sary to his comfort. He was, in fact, 
both poor and rich, with hardly a 
dollar that he could really and truly 
call his own, yet rich and happy, not 
only in his favorite illusions but in 
the resources of personal friendship 
and in the possession of devoted 
friends who never failed to provide 
him with all desired means of living, 
in such a gracious way that he could 
not have felt, if he ever knew, his 
obligation to others. His wants were 
few and he required little for personal 
subsistence. He used to say, *' I have 
enough already for my necessities. 
What I wish for now is enough for 
my eccentricities." He really desired 
wealth for the benefit of others. On 

Don Horacio 

a certain occasion, when he had ex- 
pressed to an acquaintance his pro- 
found sympathy for their mutual 
friend Clarence King in a recent mis- 
fortune which, he said, had cost King 
a loss of $400,000, he explained, upon 
cross-examination, that the alleged 
loss, which he thus deplored on King's 
account, consisted really in a construc- 
tive loss which he himself had lately 
made in failing to realize a hoped-for 
profit of $400,000, in a negotiation 
for the sale of mining property, which 
had just then finally resulted in com- 
plete disappointment, but on the suc- 
cess of which he had till then reckoned 
so confidently that he had already 
made a will, bequeathing to Clarence 
King a fortune of $400,000, which, 
under existing circumstances, could 
now never be realized, and his only 
regret was for King's misfortune, in 
the loss of so much money. 

It appears from another character- 

James D. Hague 

istic anecdote of Mr. Cutter that this 
imaginary fortune of $400,000 af- 
forded him not only the illusory de- 
light of acquiring it, as he thought he 
had done at the time, with the real 
pleasure of giving it to King, as he 
actually did in his will, but, moreover, 
the great satisfaction of saving it from 
loss, as he believed he had, by a very 
rare streak of good luck. 

About the time when he was daily 
expecting to realize his profit of $400,- 
000, the trusted friend and private 
banker with whom he intended to 
deposit the whole sum came to grief 
in a disastrous failure, which swept 
away everything in his possession ; 
and Mr. Cutter's money, had it been 
realized and so deposited, would thus 
have been wholly lost. ** It was the 
narrowest escape of my life," he after- 
wards said, " the closest shave I ever 
had." It made him shudder to think 
how nearly he had accomplished the 

Don Horacio 

making of a fortune, only to lose it 
again in the mishap of a moment. 
The situation seemed still more sig- 
nificant when among the bankrupt's 
worthless assets there was found an 
outlawed note of his friend Cutter 
for $150. 

In personal appearance Don Ho- 
racio was moderately tall, rather 
slender, sometimes almost gaunt, al- 
though always of kindly countenance, 
with thin gray hair and scanty beard. 
But for the picturesque drapery of the 
long cloak he might have posed for 
the Century Magazines artistic draw- 
ing of the guide and companion of 
King's journey in La Mancha, *' Sal- 
azar, — a poor gentleman, humbled by 
fate, yet rich in the qualities of senti- 
ment which make good men and good 
friends." There was no suggestion 
of Spanish romance in Don Horacio's 
dress, which was invariably a plain 
dark suit, with short sack coat and 

(V^ K, 

The above picture, a snap-shot, shows Don Horacio in the act of telling 
the story of his marvelous escape from drowning in the Oakland railway- 
bridge disaster, pointing with his stick, as lie had done at the moment ol 
danger, to a fellow passenger then struggling in the water, and shouting to 
the rescuers in a boat to " Save that man! " 

James D. Hague 

high silk hat, more or less worn out, 
according to the interval occurring 
between successful election bets, al- 
ways on the Republican candidate, 
the source from which all his hats 
were derived. 

Mr. Cutter's high hat, a character- 
istic and familiar feature of his out- 
door dress, curiously recalls one of 
the most extraordinary events of his 
career, when, being a passenger in 
a suburban (Oakland) railway train 
which had plunged through an open 
draw from a trestle bridge into the 
water (an accident which involved 
some loss of life by drowning, in May, 
1 891), he climbed through the broken 
window next his seat, badly lacerating 
his hands and arms and drenching 
his body nearly up to his neck, and 
with great difficulty managed to reach 
the roof of the car and thence the 
track on the trestle, narrowly escap- 
ing with his life but saving spotless 

Don Horacio 

and unruffled his high silk hat, which 
he most carefully protected at the 
moment of extreme danger and kept 
thereafter as an evidence of his im- 
perturbable equanimity under the 
most trying circumstances. 

This adventure was also the occa- 
sion of another noteworthy incident, 
in which Mr. Cutter seemed pleased 
to perceive something of psychical 
mystery, especially in its relation to 
his favorite ghost story, which he had 
known by heart since first reading it 
in All the Year Round, brought out 
by Charles Dickens in 1861, purport- 
ing to be the truthful narrative of 
Thomas Heaphy, a well-known Eng- 
lish artist, who relates the rare ex- 
perience of painting a portrait, at 
least in part, from the visible appari- 
tion of a young lady who had shortly 
before departed this life. The facts 
and incidents of this narrative had 
long been the subject of much dis- 

James D. Hague 

cussion among truth-seekers in the 
field of psychical research, in all of 
which Mr. Cutter was deeply inter- 
ested. On the occasion of his rail- 
way disaster, as he reached dry land, 
walking from the shore-end of the 
trestle along the railway line, he pres- 
ently met, near the door of their cot- 
tage, two ladies, who insisted on 
giving him aid and comfort. They 
bound up his bleeding wounds with 
such solicitude that Mr. Cutter could 
not do less than return, a few days 
later, to make his grateful acknowl- 
edgments, on which occasion he was 
surprised and pleased to find that the 
elder lady was the daughter of the 
artist who had painted the mysterious 
portrait and who had thereafter re- 
lated the ** wonderful ghost story" to 
Charles Dickens, who printed it in 
his magazine. The lady herself had 
somehow participated in at least one 
incident of the story, when she with 


Don Horacio 

her own eyes had seen the apparition 
leaving her father's house, and she 
was able to add some interesting and 
unrelated details to the written narra- 
tive. She also gave to Mr. Cutter, 
or at least promised to obtain for 
him, from one of her family, a photo- 
graph of the portrait made by her 
father of the " phantom ladye." 

Mr. Cutter delighted in ghost 
stories and psychical mysteries of 
every kind. Sir Edward Lytton's 
story of a haunted house. The House 
and the Brain, was one of his prime 
favorites. His reading generally 
covered a wide range, from fairy 
tales and juvenile literature, espe- 
cially of the grown-up variety, like 
Alice in Wonderland, Babb Ballads, 
The Adventures of Bre'r Fox and 
Brer Rabbit and the primitive folk- 
lore of Uncle Remus, on the one 
hand, to the latest reports of current 
astronomical research, on the other. 

James D. Hague 

He had been interested in star-gaz- 
ing from his youth up, and one of 
the favorite recollections of his early 
life in Boston was a story he liked 
to tell concerning Alvah Clark, the 
afterwards famous lens-maker, who, 
he said, at that time, used to stand 
with his telescope on Boston Com- 
mon, during fine evenings, to give 
the passers-by a peep at the moon or 
stars, at popular prices. The youth- 
ful Cutter spent many a dime in these 
observations and became personally 
acquainted with Clark, who so highly 
appreciated the zeal of the young ob- 
server that he often gave him a free 
show as a compliment. On one oc- 
casion, when it was about time to go 
home, Clark invited Cutter to take one 
more look, without pay, at something 
of his choice. "Don't be in a hurry," 
he said, '' take your time ; let 's have 
another whack at Zeta Cancri any- 
way, before we go." 


Don Horacio 

Among the carefully kept papers 
and personal belongings of Don 
Horacio, which his executor has 
kindly placed at my disposal for the 
purpose of this memoir, are many 
letters, notes, manuscripts and printed 
papers, referring to various matters 
and events in which he had been 
an interested participant. Notable 
among these are some long-pre- 
served epistles from Edward Everett 
Hale, commenting on the current 
events of their time. In one of 
these (1888), addressed to ''My 
dear guide, philosopher and friend," 
Mr. Hale writes: *' I regard you as 
the prophet of the Politics and social 
order of the 20th century. This 
is to be an order based not on 
Adam Smith's separate and informal 

doctrine of *the D 1 take the 

hindmost ' but on Jesus Christ's di- 
rection that we should bear each 
other's burdens." ..." You and 


James D. Hague 

I are lingerers on the borders of 
the 19th century, let us push our 
ideas over the frontier, into the 20th 
century." And in another letter of 
earlier date: " When I write to you 
I step off my rather Gradgrind daily 
path to the romantic and poetic and 
Pacific world. The Damsel of Den- 
mark, Amadis, Esplandian and Ori- 
ana enter at the open door, and to 
them follow Thorwaldsen, Hamlet 
and Horacio." 

Responding to Mr. Cutter's re- 
quest for a personal autograph, Cas- 
telar enclosed to him in a letter, 
dated at Madrid, January i, 1880, 
a separate page, which is reproduced 
here in fac-simile : * 

* " Does it not seem to you that Faith is 
necessary to inspire sublime actions or to 
console one in extreme sorrows ? It is im- 
possible to cross the Ocean of life without 
Faith. In that vessel Columbus embarked, 
and he found at the end of his voyage a 

Don Horacio 

The London T^'^/^^j* correspondent* 
in China, with whom Mr. Cutter ex- 
changed several letters concerning the 
unhappy fate of Yakoob Begs chil- 
dren, wrote in 1881 : 

''You might send me your photo- 
graph. I confess to a curiosity to 
see the features of a phenomenal 
American who can find time, in the 
midst of bustling 'Frisco, to take an 
interest in the fate of two young 
barbarians in Central Asia. If there 
is much of this pure philanthropy 
in California there is hope for you 

The cordial friendship of King 
and Cutter began with their first ac- 
quaintance, more than thirty years 
ago. In Cutter's eyes King was, be- 
New World. Had that world not existed 
God would have created it in the solitude 
of the Ocean, were it only to reward the 
Faith and constancy of that man." 

* William Donald Spence. 

Don Horacio 

yond compare, a man after his own 
heart ; and King, himself a life-long 
lover of Cervantes, saw in Cutter the 
modern Don Quixote of California. 

Several letters written at sundry 
times by King to Cutter, show so 
well some characteristic traits of both 
men, that I venture to transcribe here 
certain passages of special interest : 

(Date noted — November 11/ 88). 

" En route to El Paso. 
** My dear Don Horacio 

" I owe you, as is alas too often 
the case with me, a full and humble 
lamentation for so long neglecting 
your letter. 

'* Since my last visit to California 
I have been nearly all the time a sick 
man and when the life and buoyancy 
of good health depart from a man's 
body the poor mind grows weary and 
the thousand and one duties of daily 
life lie like heavy burdens which 


James D. Hague 

must be again and again lifted by an 
effort of tired will. 

" Thus with me the duties of the 
days and weeks seem like an insur- 
mountable wall always in front of me. 
Perhaps in some flush of strength 
some day I may clear the wall and 
land in the green pastures beyond, 
where the heart may find utterance 
and joy again. 

** But all these long months past, 
in spite of my silence and my general 
nonproductiveness, I never passed a 
day without my thoughts wandering 
to you, my old and valued friend. 

" I am happier for knowing you 
and your unclouded soul. 

*' Before very long I want to make 
a pilgrimage to California if it is only 
to take our classic walk through the 
fresh greenery of park, the gray mono- 
tone of our beloved sand-dunes and 
reach the lips of the Pacific and hear 
him whisper to us of far lands and 

Don Horacio 

infinite horizons. It breaks my heart 
to think that the day will come when 
our happy feet cannot wander together 
thither, that one of us will tread the 
sands alone, and then a little later no 
footfall of either will leave its print 
by the foamy edge of our sea. 

** But God grant that where the 
waters of Paradise ebb and flow in 
the sunshine of Eternal Peace, there 
together we may wander with hearts 
still warmer, thoughts still loftier, 
souls more transparent. Amen." 

** Dear Friend, Men are such 
mute undemonstrative creatures that 
I do not know if I ever said in words 
how greatly I value our friendship. 
If I have not, no matter, you have 
felt my meaning. . . . Ever yours 

" Clarence." 


James D. Hague 

(Stamped 1893.) 

" Newport, October 24. 
** Dear Amigo Horacio : 

** I just came home from a month's 
journey in Canada and my mind was 
full of annexation already when I 
found your letter with the two news- 
paper extracts on the Drake Monu- 
ment and the British Columbia idea. 
At the same time I found the letter 
of Aug. 28 with your copy of the 
Critic note on the two heroes of 

*' I always sympathize, you know, 
with all your projects and ideas be- 
cause they are always high-minded 
and good and for the real inspiring 
of man. You ought to be a sort of 
general autocrat of the spiritual and 
aesthetic destinies of America, with 
full power to carry out your good and 
admirable plans. Yet with all the 
disadvantages of being a private in- 
dividual you have really carried into 

Don Horacio 

execution more than any idealist I 
ever knew. You saved the Kashgar- 
ian children, you made a stupid nation 
reward the good Japanese. You will 
mark the landing of Drake and you 
will see British Columbia ours, and I 
believe you will see Gibraltar under 
the flag of Spain. This latter if not 
with mortal eyes, yet with those clearer 
seeing orbs when we see no longer 
with dimness of human imperfection 
* through a glass darkly ' you will be- 
hold from the slopes of Heaven the 
fulfilment of your lofty and worthy 

** I am impatient to see you and 
hold converse with you, and see the 
enthusiasm kindle your eye again and 
feel the warmth of your faith and your 
humanity. Soon may it be. . . . 
I have a feeling in my bones that 
something will take me to California 
before long. It is just one of those 
vague presentiments that always come 

James D. Hague 

true with me. Either I shall come 
there or you will come here. So I 
will keep my heart up on that hope. 
Oh dear Don Horacio how deeply I 
wish we might live under the same 
skies and talk together daily instead 
of with the dull silence of years be- 
tween our meetings. 

" Ever yours 

'* Clarence." 

" December lo, '93. 

" My dear Don Horacio : 

'* At last I am able to write you a 
few lines. Hague has told me of 
your affectionate anxiety about me. 
It will I am sure comfort you to know 
that my condition daily improves, 
that my difficulty is not organic, that 
it will pass away in a few months 
leaving me as well as ever. The 
whole nervous system will have to be 
given a complete rest for several 

Don Horacio 

months. The doctors say that a very 
long railway journey may not be un- 
dertaken by me under a year. I had 
a dream of coming to California in 
the spring but that must be given up. 
** Do write me of your feelings and 
doings : you know nothing gives me 
greater pleasure than to breathe the 
same intellectual atmosphere with 
you, for am I not also of the family 
of Quixote ? . . . 

** Ever affectionately 
" Clarence." 

Of much earlier date than the pre- 
ceding letters is the long-treasured 
note of introduction which follows : 

" 23 Fifth Avenue, January, 1878. 

*' Dear Mr. Cutter, 

" Life is so short and uncertain 
that I find myself in haste for you 
and my friend Mr. Thomas Sturgis, 

James D. Hague 

who will ' serve this notice ' on you 
to know each other. I have felt it a 
privilege to know in you the intimate 
companion of Socrates. My friend 
who is like yourself somewhat divided 
between the hot pursuit of modern 
things, and the contemplation of the 
too-much-forgotten glories of the past, 
will be I know a welcome acquaint- 
ance to my dear philosopher, my 
valued anachronism, my friend of the 
book and owL Perhaps the dust still 
lingers on some solitary glass cylinder 
known only to you in the secret re- 
cesses of the Union Club cellar and 
that you will draw out the cork and 
my friend at the same sitting. 
" Socrato-memorabilially yours 

*' Clarence King." 

H. F. Cutter, Esq. 

And here are two characteristic 
notes, addressed many years ago by 


Don Horacio 

King to his friends, W. D. Howells 
and John Hay, introducing Mr. Cut- 
ter to their personal acquaintance, and 
ever since carefully kept, awaiting 
opportunities which never came : 

** San Francisco. 

** My DEAR Howells, 

** You made a great mistake in not 
coming to California with Pres't 
Hayes. Not in missing the Yosemite, 
not in failing to pour out a libational 
cocktail at (that Ultima Thule of the 
Aryan migration) the Cliff House, 
but in losing the chance to meet 
some choice spirits at table with me. 
I had five or six good men and true to 
lie in wait for you and drag you away 
from royalty and make a dinner. 

" However I love you and will 
partly make it up to you. The best 
of all my symposium is the good 
friend Mr. Horace F. Cutter who will 


James D. Hague 

present you this. He is salt which 
hath not lost its savour. Verb, sap, 
'* Yours ever, 

*' Clarence King." 

" San Francisco. 
" My dear John, 

" My friend Mr. Horace F. Cutter 
in the next geological period will go 
east. It would be a catastrophy if 
he did not know you. You will 
* swarm in,' as the Germans say, when 
you meet. Lest I should not be 
there to expose Mr. Cutter's alias I 
take this opportunity to divulge to 
you that the police are divided in 
opinion as to whether he is Socrates 
or Don Quixote. I know better — he 
is both. 

** Ever yours, 

" Clarence King." 

It was for love of this Quixotic 
friend that King went, in 1882, to 

Don Horacio 

seek the Helmet of Mambrino, in 
the province of La Mancha. In 1885 
he sent to Mr. Cutter the barber's 
basin he found there, together with 
the formal letter accompanying his 
gift. This letter, not originally in- 
tended for publication, was printed 
in the Century Magazine the follow- 
ing year, in May, 1886, addressed to 
*' Don Horacio." The originally fin- 
ished manuscript, engrossed on large 
paper and bound in silk which was 
cut from a robe of the period of Cer- 
vantes, was kept as a precious treasure 
by Don Horacio during his lifetime, 
and was found by friends after his 
death among his most valued effects 
in the barely furnished upper-room 
in which he lodo^ed. 

But perhaps the most precious thing 
on earth to Don Horacio was the Hel- 
met of Mambrino, the barber s basin. 
He kept it carefully in his room, to 
be seen occasionally by rare visitors, 

James D. Hague 

for whose entertainment he some- 
times set it on his head, to show 
how it might have appeared to Don 
Quixote and to that ** eternal misbe- 
Hever" Sancho Panza, when worn 
by the approaching barber. An ac- 
quaintance who visited Don Hora- 
cio in his room, about six months 
before his death, relates that Mr. 
Cutter called his attention to a 
paper-wrapped parcel, saying " Do 
you see this box ? It contains the 
most precious treasure in San Fran- 
cisco. It is the Helmet of Mambrino." 
When Don Horacio was stricken 
with his last illness he was taken by 
his nearest friends from his lodging, 
where proper care and nursing were 
impossible, first to his club and thence, 
a few days later, to the hospital where 
he shortly after died. One of the 
ladies of his most intimate family ac- 
quaintance gave him her constant 
care as nurse. This lady relates that 


Don Horacio 

shortly before his death, Don Hora- 
cio made a request (with which it 
was then impracticable to comply) 
that certain favorite books, among 
them, doubtless, Amadis of Gaul 
and Palmerin of England (1540 and 
1547), and with them, especially, the 
" helmet," be brought from his lodg- 
ings to his bedside, where he could 
see them during his illness. At the 
last moment she supported his reclin- 
ing head, which fell upon her shoul- 
der as he died. His last intelligible 
words were "" Love to Clarencio," his 
favorite name for King, who, first of 
all, had named him '* Don Horacio." 
His mortal remains are now in re- 
pose, sharing in silent companionship 
the final rest of lifelong friends,* in 
whose family tomb, a stately mauso- 
leum, overlooking the sea from his 
favorite point of view, Don Horacio's 
memorial tablet bears the inscription, 

* The Bourn family. 

James D. Hague 


* * * * 

Sometime known as 

" The Bachelor of San Francisco " 


Nearly eighteen months intervened 
between Don Horacio's death at San 
Francisco, July 13, 1900, and the 
death of King at Phoenix, Arizona, 
December 24, 1901. Shortly after 
the last-named event I determined 
to obtain, if possible, the original en- 
grossed manuscript and silk-bound 
copy of King's letter to Don Hora- 
cio, together with its accompanying 

Don Horacio 

barber's basin, to be preserved as 
fitting souvenirs of King in the Cen- 
tury Club ; and on my next visit to 
California, in May, 1902, I made my 
wish known to Don Horacio's close 
friend and principal legatee, who was 
also his duly appointed executor.* 
He said : *' You can easily get the 
manuscript. My wife has it and will 
be pleased to give it for your pur- 
pose. As for the basin, I know noth- 
ing about it. I have not seen it for 
years, nor thought of it since Cutter's 
death. My sister, who was with Cut- 
ter when he died, may know what 
became of the basin. I will ask her." 
On inquiry, his sister said that she, 
too, had, unfortunately, forgotten all 
about the basin. She had been un- 
able, after Don Horacio's death, to 
visit his lodging or give attention to 
the disposition of his effects, and if 
the basin were missing she would not 
* Mr. William B. Bourn. 

James D. Hague 

know where to look for it now. The 
manager and janitor of the office 
building where Cutter had lodged 
were equally ignorant concerning the 
matter inquired of, although one of 
them had seen the paper-wrapped 
parcel, said to contain the helmet, in 
Cutter's hands not long before his 
death ; and Don Horacio's request 
that the helmet be brought from his 
lodgings to his bedside was remem- 
bered as a certain indication that the 
basin had been there among his per- 
sonal effects when he left his lodging 
for the last time. They gave the 
further information that when certain 
books and other chosen articles had 
been removed from the room shortly 
after Cutter's death, the remaining 
effects had been sold to a second- 
hand furniture dealer who, some 
weeks thereafter, took everything 
away, including, possibly the missing 
basin ; but this possibility proved 


Don Horacio 

disappointing, for the dealer affirmed, 
on careful inquiry, that nothing like 
the thing described had ever come 
into his possession. Thereupon it. 
was determined to employ a detective 
to prosecute the search and also to 
seek further light by advertisements 
in the papers, whereof in one, sand- 
wiched between the announcements 
of a very liberal reward for the re- 
covery of a lost dog, and of a hygienic 
remedy for restoring lost hair, there 
presently appeared the offer of a valu- 
able consideration for the return of a 
Spanish barber s basin, an heirloom, 
of no value except to the owner.* 


INFORMATION wanted that will help find an 
old Spanish-made babers' brass basin, an heir- 
loom, only valuable to advertiser. Suitable re- 
ward paid. Address W.. 401 Califomla St., 
room 14. 


LOST — White bull terrier, brlndle patch over 
both eyes, spiked collar aud having name and 
address of owner on it. Very liberal reward 
- -"--ii-n 1049 Market st. 

James D. Hague 

Pending hoped-for results I re- 
turned to New York, where, shortly- 
after, I received the desired manu- 
script with the discouraging informa- 
tion that no sign of the basin had 
yet appeared. I wrote in response, 
urging that no effort or expense be 
spared in continuing the search until 
the basin should be found ; and, about 
a fortnight later I had the great 
pleasure of receiving a telegram from 
Don Horacio's executor, reading 
*' Helmet found — will be forwarded 

The morrow and several following 
days passed, however, without further 
advice until, about the end of June, 
the expected parcel arrived, contain- 
ing the promised basin, with a note 
explaining that the delay had been 
occasioned by the time required 
for the proper identification of the 
** Helmet," which, it appeared, had 
at last turned up in a well-known 

Don Horacio 

pawnbroker's shop, without any sat- 
isfactory information as to where it 
came from or how it got there and 
with a plainly implied suggestion of 
** No questions asked or answered." 
Under these circumstances it was 
thought desirable that the helmet 
should be identified before accept- 
ance, for which purpose it was sent 
to the country home of the friends 
most competent to judge, who recog- 
nized it positively as the missing 
basin of Don Horacio, otherwise 
known as the ** Helmet of Mam- 
brino," whereupon its purchase from 
the dealer for the price of seven dol- 
lars was completed and the basin was 
forwarded to New York. 

With it came also sundry bills of 
incidental expenses, notably that of 
the detective agent who rendered an 
account for his professional services 
in recovering what, by queer mis- 
nomer, he erroneously describes as 

James D. Hague 

the ** Helmet of Sombrino." These 
expenses amounted, in all, to about 
forty dollars, notwithstanding the 
very liberal discount of 33-I per cent, 
which the detective made on purely 
sentimental and friendly considera- 
tions, being himself a man of strongly 
sympathetic temperament, a constant 
reader of the Century Magazine and 
the proud possessor of a long line of 
back numbers, in the proper one of 
which (May, 1886), he had promptly 
found the story of the " Helmet" and 
the picture of the basin, all of which 
he was able to place at the disposal 
of those who were called upon to 
identify the property of Don Horacio, 
before concluding its purchase at the 

The actual possession of the basin 
gave great satisfaction to all con- 
cerned in looking for it, but still 
left unsatisfied a lasting curiosity 
touching its mysterious disappear- 

Don Horacio 

ance from Don Horacio's lodging 
and its whereabouts thereafter until 
it reappeared in the hands of the 

My wish to know these things was 
so strong that on visiting San Fran- 
cisco again in August (1902), I called 
at the pawnbroker's in pursuit of the 
desired information. I found him an 
Israelite indeed in whom there was 
no guile — perceptible. He seemed 
perfectly frank in this matter. When 
I told him my errand he smiled and 
said *' I don't know anything about 
that barber's basin. I had it here 
only a week. It came to me from 
another dealer. The parties who 
bought it took it away to see first if 
it was what they wanted. They had 
it several days. When they came 
back they bought it for seven dollars. 
I just sold it on commission. I kept 
two dollars and paid five to the other 
dealer. I don't know how or where 

James D. Hague 

he got it. He might tell you. His 
name is Benguiat. He is a dealer in 
rugs, very expensive ones, and he 
buys all sorts of curiosities and has a 
large collection, worth many thou- 
sands of dollars. Here is his address. 
You better see him." 

This seemed to confirm the sus- 
picion that some person had taken 
the basin from Cutter's lodging after 
his departure, and sold it to a known 
buyer of curiosities. 

Next day I called at the establish- 
ment of the Benguiats, Hadji Eph- 
raim and Mordecai, father and son, 
dealers in rugs, curios and antiques, 
belonging to a family of famous col- 
lectors well known not only at San 
Francisco but in New York, Lon- 
don, Paris and the Orient. I found 
Mordecai, the son, alone, who also 
smiled when I mentioned my errand. 
He said, '* I can tell you all about 
the barber's basin I sold to Joe Stern 

Don Horacio 

(the pawnbroker), but I don't know 
anything about the basin that be- 
longed to the old gentleman who 
died here awhile ago. My basin was 
not that basin. My father brought 
my basin from Smyrna a few months 
ago. He bought it there for me, 
packed it with other things in a box 
which I myself unpacked here. I 
have had it in my room at home 
ever since it came until I let Stern 
have it." 

** How did you come to let Stern 
have it?" 

" I was in his place one day, a lit- 
tle while ago, when, knowing me to 
be a buyer of curiosities, he said that 
he was looking for a Spanish barber's 
brass basin that had disappeared some 
time before and was now wanted and 
advertised for by friends of the owner, 
who had died. He thought I might 
have bought it from some one who 
had offered it as a curiosity. I told 

James D. Hague 

him I had never heard of the basin 
he spoke of, but that I had one like 
it, which he might have if it would 
answer the purpose. I told him if 
he could sell it for seven dollars he 
might make two on it. My father 
bought it in Smyrna for half a dollar. 
Stern said he would show it to the 
parties who were looking for the 
other basin and sell it to them if 
they wanted it. It was sent, on ap- 
proval, to see if it would do, and the 
parties bought it for seven dollars. 
I made no pretence that my basin 
was the missing one, which it could 
not possibly be if that is made of 
brass, because mine is made of cop- 
per ; and it is absolutely certain that 
my basin came from Smyrna." 

Further conference with the detec- 
tive brought out the fact that he had 
not learned from the pawnbroker, at 
the time of purchase, the name of the 
*' other dealer," whom he then still 

Don Horacio 

supposed to be some mysterious per- 
son, concerning whom no questions 
were to be asked, and it was not un- 
til after the basin had been mistak- 
enly identified, paid for and sent to 
New York, that he heard Benguiat's 
story, the truth of which he does not 
question in any particular. 

Mordecai earnestly assured me that 
if he had known the buyer s purpose, 
he would have gladly given his basin 
when he sold it, through the pawn- 
broker, for seven dollars ; but it is 
obvious that in such case the buyer 
would also have known that Morde- 
cai's basin was not the missing one 
and, for that reason, he would not 
have wanted it. 

It also became evident that a bar- 
ber's basin is not such a unique 
curiosity as Don Horacio's friends 
supposed when they made their mis- 
taken identification in the firm belief 


James D. Hague 

that no other basin Hke the missing 
one could possibly be found in Cali- 
fornia. On the contrary, not less than 
thirteen such basins were declared or \ 
reported as extant in the near neigh- 
borhood. One well-known dealer in 
bric-a-brac, when interviewed by tele- 
phone, responded that he had half 
a dozen then in stock, lately brought 
up from Mexico. 

" What do you sell them for ? " was 

** Three and a half," he replied. 

'* Yes, but for what purpose ? What 
are they used for ? " 

" Oh, anything you like — gener- 
ally to put flowers in." 

When these facts became known 
to the friends who, at my request, 
had taken so much trouble to seek 
the missing "helmet" of Don Ho- 
racio, they were very sorry that I had 
been led to buy another basin through 


Don Horacio 

their mistake ; but I strongly assured 
them that in the absence of the genu- 
ine thing the mistaken substitute 
would be very acceptable, especially 
because it is quite consistent with the 
spirit of the original story that they 
who seek the ** Helmet of Mambrino," 
whether in gold or brass, may find 
the thing they are not looking for. 
Don Quixote sought a helmet of gold 
and found a brazen basin ; and we, 
seeking brass, have found copper. 
Moreover, it is said that the en- 
chanted golden helmet of Mambrino 
made its wearer invisible ; and it 
seems most fit that the brass basin 
of Don Horacio should mysteriously 
vanish with its departing owner, who 
might, indeed, have wished it to be 
buried with him. 

The search for the helmet may still 

go on ; and while awaiting the return 

of Don Horacio's elusive basin, we 

may as well, perhaps, adopt for its 


James D. Hague 

present substitute the name suggested 
by the sympathetic detective in his 
bill of sale and services, 



Clarence King 

John Hay 


Clarence King 

WE sometimes, though most 
rarely, meet a man of a 
nature so genial, of qualities so 
radiant, so instinct with vitality, that 
in connection with him the thought 
of mortality seems incongruous. 
Such men appear as exempt from 
the ordinary lethal fate of the rest 
of us as the ''happy gods" of the 
Greek poets. They are not neces- 
sarily fortunate or prosperous, but 
whatever their luck or their accidents 
they seem as independent of them 
as actors are of their momentary 
disguises. The law of their nature 
is to be radiant ; clouds are to them 
a transient and negligible condition. 
While they live they are surrounded 
by an atmosphere of universal regard 

Clarence King 

and admiration, and when the end 
comes, though the mourning of their 
friends is deep and sincere, it is 
tinged with something exquisite and 
splendid, like the luxury of purple 
and gold that attends the close of 
a troubled and electric day. 

Such a man was Clarence King. 
While he lived, it was our habit to 
believe that no real evil could be- 
fall him ; and now that he is dead, — 
although we know we have lost 
something from life which made it 
especially precious and desirable, yet 
there remains a souvenir so delight- 
ful, so filled with tenderness and 
inspiration, that there are few pleas- 
ures the world contains so valuable 
as his memory in the hearts of his 

He possessed to an extraordinary 
degree the power of attracting and 
attaching to himself friends of every 
sort and condition. The cowboys 

In John Hay's Library 

John Hay 

and packers of the plains and the 
hills ; the employes of railroads and 
hotels ; men of science and men 
of commerce ; the Senate and the 
clergy — in all these ways of life 
his friends were numerous and de- 
voted, bound to him by a singular 
sympathy and mutual comprehen- 
sion. When in middle life — if we 
may use this expression in reference 
to one who was always young — he 
went to Europe, he continued the 
same facile conquest of hearts. In 
this he was aided by a remarkable 
ease in acquiring a colloquial com- 
mand of languages. Having occa- 
sion to go to Mexico, he put in his 
pocket a small Spanish Dictionary 
and without the aid of a grammar 
got by heart some thousand nouns 
and verbs in the infinitive, so that 
on arriving at Guaymas he was 
master of a highly effective and 
picturesque jargon which delighted 

Clarence King 

the Mexicans and carried him tri- 
umphantly to the mines of Culiacan. 
Afterwards he acquired a correct and 
grammatical knowledge of the Cas- 
tilian. It was the same in France. 
He had read French from child- 
hood, but had never spoken it. On 
arriving in Paris, where he was con- 
ducting some important business, 
he did not pause to gain famil- 
iarity with the spoken idiom. He 
attacked it with the energy of a 
cavalry charge, and though at first 
he made havoc of genders, moods 
and tenses, he took it as we are told 
the Kingdom of Heaven is taken, 
by violence. In a few weeks he was 
speaking the language with perfect 
ease, and was an equally welcome 
guest in financial, artistic and literary 
circles. In England nothing de- 
scribes his success but the well-worn 
phrase of Dickens. He was ** the 
delight of the nobility and gentry" 

John Hay 

and not of them only, but he made 
friends also in Whitechapel and 
Soho, and even to some in the sub- 
merged fraction, the most wretched 
derelicts of civilization, he brought 
the ineffable light of his keen com- 
prehension and generous sympathy. 
I introduced him once to a woman of 
eminent distinction, one of the first 
writers of our time. After he had 
gone, she said : ** I understand now 
the secret of his charm. It is his 

It is not for me to speak of his com- 
manding place in the world of science: 
his associates and colleagues will 
keep that phase of his life in remem- 
brance. I think his reputation as a 
great physicist suffered somewhat 
from the dazzling attractiveness of 
his personality. It was hard to re- 
member that this polished trifler, this 
exquisite wit, who diffused over every 
conversation in which he was engaged 

Clarence King 

an iridescent mist of epigram and per- 
siflage, was one of the greatest savants 
of his time. It was hard to take seri- 
ously a man who was so deliciously 
agreeable. Yet his work on System- 
atic Geology is a masterpiece of prac- 
tical and ordered learning, and his 
treatise on The Age of the Earth has 
been accepted as the profoundest and 
most authoritative utterance on the 
subject yet made. 

If he had given himself to litera- 
ture, he would have been a great 
writer. The range of his knowledge, 
both of man and nature, was enor- 
mous ; his sympathy was universal ; 
his mastery of the word, his power 
of phrase, was almost unlimited. 
His literary product is considerable 
and will keep his name alive ; but it 
bears no appreciable proportion to 
the literary treasures he squandered 
in his daily and nightly conversation. 
I recall with the sharpest regret of 

John Hay 

my own incapacity of memory the 
evenings by my fireside, when he 
poured out in inexhaustible profusion 
his stores of fancy and invention. 
There were scores of short stories 
full of color and life, sketches of thrill- 
ing adventure, not less than half a 
dozen complete novels, boldly planned 
and brilliantly wrought out, — all ready 
for the type or the pen ; which now — 
an infinite pity ! — are only of the stuff 
that dreams are made of. 

Few men had so quick and so sure 
an eye for art. In that first visit to 
Europe, to which I have alluded, he 
seemed like one to whom all the scenes 
he visited had been familiar in some 
antecedent state. His time was lim- 
ited, and his pace, therefore, amaz- 
ingly rapid. He swept through Spain 
like a breeze. He had apparently no 
preferences. In the space of a few 
weeks, he covered the whole field ; he 
knew the masterpieces of classic and 


Clarence King 

modern painting ; he was familiar 
with the syncopated melodies of Cuba 
and Malaga and Andalusia ; he was 
an aficionado in fans, embroideries 
and bronzes. Nobody has felt more 
keenly the melancholy charm of Cas- 
tile ; the proof is in that exquisite 
idyll of the Helmet of Mambrino. 
Fastidious as he was, he was yet 
easily pleased by whatever was natu- 
ral and genuine. I remember his 
horror — in the midst of his enthu- 
siasm over Spain — at meeting an 
eminent man of letters from New 
England who had found nothing in 
the Peninsula to suit him, and who 
wound up by expressing his disgust 
that " from Salamanca to Cadiz you 
could not get a fishball." 

All over Europe he scampered with 
the same vertiginous speed, and the 
same serene and genial appearance 
of leisure, and perfect satisfaction 
and delight with all he saw. The 

John Hay- 
art of Holland was as enchanting to 
him as that of Spain and Italy. His 
admiration of the great men of the 
past never rendered him unjust to 
the men of the present. His wide 
sympathies comprehended Velasquez 
and Fortuny in a kindred apprecia- 
tion. He became at sight the friend 
of Mesdag and Israels. I took him 
to the studio of Gustave Dore, and 
in five minutes they were brothers 
and were planning an excursion to 
Arizona to sketch the war dances of 
the Apaches. A few days later the 
robust Alsatian, who seemed built to 
last a hundred years, was dead, stricken 
down by the terrible pneumonia of 
those years. 

In England while as I have said 
his success was universal with all 
classes, his closest intimacies were 
with men who were occupied with 
the things of the spirit Ruskin took 
him to his heart, entertained him at 



Clarence King 

Conlston, and offered him his choice 
of his two greatest water-colors by 
Turner. '' One good Turner," said 
King, ** deserves another," and took 

Few men ever can have lived who 
loved knowingly and ardently so many 
things. All the arts gave him joy; 
his mind was hospitable to every in- 
tellectual delight, the simplest as well 
as the most complex. In music he 
enjoyed Beethoven and the latest 
rag-time ; in painting he revelled in 
the masterpieces of all the schools ; 
in poetry his taste was as keen as it 
was catholic ; in literature he liked all 
styles except the tiresome ; for years 
he read a chapter of higher mathe- 
matics every night before going to 
bed. He had the passionate love 
of nature which only the highest 
culture gives — the sky, the rock, and 
the river spoke to him as familiar 


John Hay 

I imagine that in comparing our 
impressions of him, the thought which 
comes uppermost in the minds of all 
of us, is that Clarence King resembled 
no one else whom we have ever 
known. The rest of our friends we 
divide into classes ; King belonged 
to a class of his own. He was inimita- 
ble in many ways : in his inexhausti- 
ble fund of wise and witty speech ; 
in his learning, about which his mar- 
vellous humor played like summer 
lightning over far horizons ; in his 
quick and intelligent sympathy which 
saw the good and the amusing in the 
most unpromising subjects ; in the 
ease and the airy lightness with which 
he scattered his jewelled phrases ; but 
above all in his astonishing power of 
diffusing happiness wherever he went. 
Years ago, in a well-known drawing- 
room in Washington, when we were 
mourning his departure from the 
Capital, one of his friends expressed 

Clarence King 

the opinion of all when he said, ** It 
is strange that the Creator, when it 
would have been so easy to make 
more Kings, should have made only 


Meetings with King 

William Dean Howells 


Meetings with Clarence King 

THOSE who knew Clarence King 
better than I must have more 
varied impressions of him, for no one 
presents at all times the same moral 
and mental aspect to his familiar ac- 
quaintance, though he is apt to wear 
it to such as have no claim to his in- 
timacy. For his intimates his moods 
vary and his looks, while he shows 
one physiognomy to those standing 
farther from him, whatever his mood 
may be. I say this not to establish a 
truism, but to let the reader under- 
stand how little right I should have, 
if I were of a mind to urge any, to 
speak of King with authority, or any 
sort of finality. What I could chiefly 
wish besides would be to impart the 
sense of a certain sunny gayety in 

Meetings with King 

him which was the repeated effect of 
all our meetings, and which I still 
have from every portrait of him. 

Our first meeting was in the proof- 
reader's room of the old University 
Press at Cambridge, where one was 
apt to meet all sorts of casual and 
habitual literary celebrities. He was 
then a young man well under the 
thirties, whose blondness was affirmed 
rather by his blithe blue eyes and 
fresh tint than by the light hair which 
was cropped close on the head where 
it early grew sparser and sparser. 
He was of a slightness which his fig- 
ure did not afterwards keep, and he 
was altogether of a very charmingly 
boyish presence, heightened in effect 
by his interest in explaining the pith 
hat which he had by him on the desk 
where he was reading the proofs of 
one of his papers on Mountaineering 
in the Sierra Nevada. The time was 
the hot heart of the Cambridge sum- 

King at age of 27 

William Dean Howells 

mer, when a pith hat was as desirable 
as in the California heats which he 
described in their relation to it. He 
advised one in my own case, but he 
met me even more sympathetically 
on the ground of literature, where 
he professed to envy me my associa- 

I was then a very ardent young 
assistant editor, and I shared all my 
chiefs admiration of those vivid and 
graphic papers of King's which he 
had got for the Atlantic Monthly, 
In my perfectly contented ignorance 
of every intellectual or moral interest 
outside of literature, I regarded the 
brilliant and beaming creature before 
me simply as a promise of more and 
more literature of the vivid and gra- 
phic kind, and of a peculiar quality 
unequaled in the performances of 
the new California school with which 
I classed him. Of his scientific value, 
then already fully attested, I had no 

Meetings with King 

just conception ; it was a trait the 
more in the character of a young au- 
thor who afforded to have it in a mag- 
nificent superfluity along with his 
artistic gifts. It made him more pic- 
turesque, though it could not make 
him more pictorial than he was. 

Later, I found that it had rather 
the first place in his self-estimate, and 
he amused himself in meeting my 
reproaches for not having done some- 
thing more in literature with the an- 
swer that he was writing a book which 
just three people in the United States 
would care to read. This reply may 
have been first made by letter in re- 
sponse to my editorial entreaties for 
more papers like the Mountaineering 
series, for the magazine having fallen 
solely to me, I knew I could not do 
better for it. Perhaps, however, it 
may have been personally urged at 
my second meeting with him, which 
was at Washington, where he was 

William Dean Howells 

pretending to some scientific place 
in the government, in the intervals of 
actual scientific work in the West, 
and was putting lightly by all tra- 
ditions of his literary achievement. 
We met at the White House, to the 
occupant of which, in those pleasant 
eighteen-seventies when everybody 
was reasonably young, I had been 
the means of introducing him with 
an enthusiasm which he deprecated 
as *' din." 

He was above everything indifferent 
to literary repute. He would have 
preferred not to own the things he 
wrote, and kept only for his reward 
the aesthetic delight he had in doing 
them. I think he had the greatest 
delight in them ; a man who could so 
fit incident and character with phrases, 
must have had ; and I believe that he 
always vaguely meant to write a great 
work of fiction, though I do not be- 
lieve he would ever have done it. He 

Meetings with King 

was supposed to have by him the 
beginning of a novel, and perhaps he 
had, but it was rather something to 
bluff his inquiring literary friends 
with, to dream over and fancy finish- 
ing, than ever really to expect or 
intend finishing. 

There was doubtless something in 
the exactness of science which formed 
a pull on his poetic nature strong 
enough to draw him to the perform- 
ance from which the vagueness of 
aesthetic motives and impulses relaxed 
him. It was easy to put these off 
with the self-promise of fulfilment 
some other time when he should feel 
more like it ; but with a scientific prob- 
lem or task before him he had to act 
promptly. In life, I believe, he was 
much controlled by what we may call 
the literary side of him. 

I next met him in London in the 
crucial moment when he was trying 
to go down to a friend's country 

William Dean Howells 

house in Scotland, and buying his 
railroad ticket day after day, and then 
telegraphing his host that he would 
come the next day. He was delight- 
ful, in this, at least to the witness, and 
he was delightful in all his talk about 
London, from which he had been 
long endeavoring to tear himself for 
a more protracted period with the 
same impossibility he found in a brief 
absence. He told, with the sunnily 
smiling eyes of our interviews at 
the University Press and the White 
House, of the fascination London had 
for him, in the mirky purlieus of the 
poorest, where you could buy for a 
penny a slice of wonderful pie which 
included the courses of a whole dinner 
in its stratification, not less than in 
the circles of the Prince of Wales set, 
where the young archworldlings went 
ingenuously about showing their vac- 
cinations to one another, and ex- 
changing boyish congratulations and 

Meetings with King 

condolences. He was having the 
good time which he seemed always to 
carry with him, and to one so ignorant 
of the English as myself he might 
well have appeared intelligently criti- 
cal, though not censorious, of them. 
They amused him, by their novelty of 
type and their frank naturalness, in 
the same degree if not the same kind 
as the wild or wilding children of the 
Pacific Slope and of the intervening 
alkaline regions. No American of his 
intellectual gifts and wide human 
experience ever got more, I should 
think, of the good of a sojourn among 
the English, which was finally ex- 
tended almost to the despair of the 
friends wishing him home again. It 
was charming to hear his philosophy 
of them, as shrewd and penetrating 
as it was humorous and unfinal. 

It was early in his visit, I believe, 
that I met him at a dinner, given by 
an American publisher, which was re- 

William Dean Howells 

markable for having at it, in the heart 
of London, only one Englishman, and 
he by birth a foreigner. The rest of 
us were Americans, and King surely 
the most American of all in a certain 
fine expansiveness of good fellow- 
ship. He had been in Spain, and 
Southern Europe generally, and had 
come up by way of Paris, where he 
had stopped and bought pictures — 
several Fortuny watercolors among 
others. "Ah," I said, hearing his 
joyous brags of their beauty, ''what 
a fortunate man, to own Fortunys ! " 
" Why, I will give you one," he re- 
turned ; and I thought that a good 
bluff, and he let me laugh. But the 
next morning the Fortuny showed 
itself at my lodgings, and that is how 
I am still able to say to people, 
'* Have you seen my Fortuny ? Of 
course, I diOViX. buy Fortunys; Clarence 
King gave it me," and then tell when 
and how. 



Meetings with King 

I never can tell why, except that it 
was from a princely impulse which 
he must often have indulged towards 
others no more worthy its effect than 
I. He had much of the Arabian 
Nights in him, and liked to shine in 
a surprising munificence, if he could 
choose its object ; and I suppose he 
enjoyed launching such a challenge 
at my imagination. If he might no 
longer write poet he could live poet, 
and now and again do a thing that 
was noble literature. He was not 
rich, as rich men go, and that was 
why he could afford pleasures that 
rich men, as they go, cannot or will 
not permit themselves. His generos- 
ity was not merely in gifts that could 
not wax poor through any after un- 
kindness of his, but in recognitions 
that go farther yet with one in the 
numerous solitude where an author is 
always apt to find himself. His rec- 
ognition was more than a nod ; it 

William Dean Howells 

was a stretto di mano, something bor- 
dering on an embrace in its cordial 
properties, if your current story had 
the good luck to please his good 
taste. Then he would write not only 
to say so, but to say why, with close, 
yet clear reasons, in which the most 
evasive, the most elusive of acquaint- 
ance became the most open and im- 
mediate of friends. One such letter 
of his goes with that Fortuny of his, 
which it outvalues in very intrinsic 

If I seem to be celebrating his 
friendship as in unusual sort an inti- 
macy, let me say again that it never 
was. It was something that could be 
resumed wherever it was left, with a 
sense of common ground under the 
feet, in which there could be no mis- 

There was somewhere a breakfast 
before or in between our London 
meeting and the next, but I cannot 

Meetings with King 

securely date it, though a vivid sense 
remains from it of King's sweet satis- 
faction in bringing two persons to- 
gether who tasted the pleasure he 
meant in making them acquainted. 
It might have been then that he 
talked of some of the people in his 
Western sketches, and especially of 
that frontier artist with the New 
York ambitions and longings, whose 
likeness he had caught but too per- 
fectly, and who would have been 
willing to ** take it out of him," if he 
had not been disarmed by King's 
frank bonhomie when they met. He 
liked and valued all those grotesque 
and rude figures, these strong and 
fibrous human textures of the West, 
but he had a sense as subtle as its 
own of the silken Latin and meridi- 
onal temperament, and it was measur- 
ably to imagine Cuba to hear him 
tell of his Cuban cousins and ac- 
quaintance, who flashed and glistened 

William Dean Howells 

and darkled in his talk as they must 
have done in life. 

But I am leaving him standing 
where I next met him, in Boston 
Common, namely, two years after our 
parting in London. It was pending 
that presidential election of 1884, 
when friends hardly knew where to 
find each other, or knew whether they 
were quite friends when they did so. 
But we instantly and instinctively 
came together on Blaine, for whom 
we were going to vote, in a wide 
literary and social isolation, because 
*' in our bones " we felt it the right 
thing, rather than from any reasons 
better than those of our friends who 
were going to vote against him. King 
had a personal kindness to remember 
of him, such as his leaving a sick bed 
to come to the Senate and help 
through a bill in which King was in- 
terested, and "He stands by his 
friends," he said with that fine close 


Meetings with King 

smile of his, which impHed a gust for 
the quaHty the phrase had taken from 
its common politicianal use. 

It was this smile which keeps his 
image before me as I write, which I 
find delicately intimated in Mr. How- 
land's portrait of him — an admirable 
likeness, I think — and which implied 
his gentleness and sweetness together 
with a kindly irony not unseldom 
going with such traits. The smile 
broadened as we left the public in- 
terest and looked at each other, to 
find that we had no more fallen away 
physically than politically. I asked 
if there were anything to be done 
about that constancy of weight, and 
he said " No. The fact is we like to 
overeat," in all philosophical if not 
scientific answer to the anti-obesity 
hopes which still lure and mock con- 
fiding middle age. 

He had, as I remember him, a 
pleasure in the joys of the table as 

William Dean Howells 

generous as his other pleasures, but 
depersonalized by the interest he took 
in certain branches of the culinary- 
technique. We next met at dinner 
in New York over a very specific 
beef-steak, in company with a poet 
now more venerable but not yet too 
old to recall his sympathy with King's 
zeal in concurrently compiling a gravy 
of which he had the knowledge and 
inspiration, while the talk went on of 
things both humane and literary, till 
the steak came up to have that won- 
derful sauce poured over it. King 
spoke then of that romance of his, 
begun as ever, but somewhat more 
advanced, he owned, though he owned 
the fact cryptically, as if he might still 
never suffer the cypher of its secret 
to be interpreted in mortal print. He 
talked also of things millennial, of 
which the air was then momentarily 
full, and by which his heart was 
moved. He confessed a feeling for 

Meetings with King 

those who do the hard work of the 
world, that others may enjoy their 
ease, so great that as he further con- 
fessed, he had stayed most of that 
summer in town not to let an old 
retainer of his be left friendless 
there in sickness. 

It was not a boast of his goodness, 
and I suspect that he did not like 
bringing up very serious things in a 
casual talk lest they should be too 
serious. The sad side of life he would 
keep turned inward, or at least he did 
to my knowledge. But there was yet 
one more feast at which we foregath- 
ered where the shades of melancholy 
and pathetic experience hovered too 
palpably to be dispersed by the gayety 
of his talk, subsiding oftener into the 
easier gayety of that most winning 
smile of his. 

I did not see him again, but in the 
church where the words of farewell 
were said over him, coffined under 

William Dean Howells 

the chilly flowers, I had the sense of 
his smiling presence, with a sort of 
grief, which I shall not be able to ex- 
plain, for the unfitness of the intense 
cold of the day, and of the piercing 
bleakness of the sunshine from which 
we had escaped, and into which we 
issued and suffered again when the 
words were all said. I promised my- 
self then to try sometime and say 
about him the things that were in my 
heart, but these " trivial fond records " 
are not they, and I doubt if I could 
ever get them out. They concern 
what is deepest in me if not in him, 
for they touch that old, great, high 
affair of literature, and his own contri- 
bution to the vocabulary of his race 
and place. 

What he could do was proven in 
the Mountaineering in the Sierra 
Nevada papers, which will remain his 
monument, and what he might fur- 
ther have done is attested in that 

Meetings with King 

sketcli of Spanish character and cir- 
cumstance, Mambrind s Helmet, which 
is almost as Httle companioned as it 
is paralleled. The power of uniting 
himself by sympathy with an alien 
life while remaining humorously and 
critically detached from it, which he 
evinced in this and the earlier studies, 
approved him to my thinking an im- 
aginative talent of the first potential- 
ity ; and I have to accuse myself of 
using the wrong word in calling that 
or any life alien to him. As an artist, 
as a realistic observer, every kind of 
life appealed to him for report ; and 
he was one with it, if I may trust my 
reading of his work, and my conjec- 
ture of his nature. He was first of all 
most tolerant, which is the wisest and 
best thing any man can be ; but he 
was not trammeled by his kindness 
in any helpless complicity. He liked 
the thing he laughed at, and yet he 
laughed, for he was both humorous 

William Dean Howells 

arid humane ; and could lose his poise 
no more in the presence of the gro- 
tesque than in the presence of the 
beautiful. He felt, or so his literature 
says to me, his unity with all men. 
From some men, from most, he was 
of course intellectually parted by im- 
mense distances of culture, but essen- 
tially he was the neighbor of mankind. 
He knew the '' world " of his time far 
beyond all other American literary 
men save one, but he was not awed 
by it, or estranged by it from his fel- 
low-beings outside of it. The greater 
the pity, therefore, that he could not 
have had the time or the will to write 
the American novel which we are so 
persistently expecting both of the fit 
and the unfit ; but it is not essential 
to his remembrance as an American 
author that he should have done so. 
He has brilliantly fixed forever a 
phase of the Great West already van- 
ished from actuality ; in one glowing 

Meetings with King 

picture he has portrayed a subHme 
mood of nature, with all those varying 
moods of human nature which best 
give it relief. The picture is none 
the less striking for being of a pano- 
ramic virtue ; that is the American 
virtue, as far as we have yet got at it 
in our literature. 



Henry Adams 



DOZENS of men in this Club,* 
and hundreds outside of it, 
could give material for a little poem 
on the theme, ** How I first knew 
King," with a motive quite as original 
and perhaps more dramatic than that 
of Browning's ** When I last saw 
Waring." Every one who met him 
thirty years ago remembers how he 
bubbled with life and energy, and 
how his talk rippled with humor and 
thought quite new to our rather 
academic life in the East. Traces of 
it still hang about our book-shelves. 
One can recall the odor of it, and 
of the delight it gave us, by read- 
ing a page of his Mountaineering 

* This paper, presented here as originally 
written, was intended to be read at a proposed 
King Memorial Meeting at the Century Club. 


in the Sierras, or by only open- 
ing a volume of Bret Harte. No 
other place except the Sierras has 
produced in our time the same sense 
of freshness, and no one else had its 
whole charm except King. At least, so 
thought most of those who knew him. 
We would, at any time and always, 
have left the most agreeable man in 
Europe or America to go with him. 
We were his slaves, and he was good 
to us. He was the ideal companion 
of our lives. 

Perhaps, like the rest, I too might 
try my hand on the little poem we 
all have the material to compose, but 
with your permission I will spare 
you ; not so much because it might 
not bear comparison with Brown- 
ing's, for that would matter little 
since it is not for sale ; but because, 
when I come to think about it, I 
fear that the motive would cut too 
deep into King's life, not to mention 
1 60 

Henry Adams 

my own ; and because, after all, the 
odor of youth and the pine forests is 
a little sacred, like the incense of the 
mass. We had ideals then, ambi- 
tions, and a few passions, which 
faded with time, and are dead, even 
though they may not be buried ; and 
his are not mine to handle. They 
were as fresh and exciting as the air 
of the Rocky Mountains, and the 
smell of the camp-fires in which we 
talked till the night grew tired of us. 
All that had long vanished, and both 
of us were elderly and not very gay 
fragments of the past, when we took 
our last vacation, which shall serve 
for a picture of him, or the back- 
ground of one, for he always seemed 
to make his background alive, and a 
part of himself. 

On the first day of January, 1894, 

I received the following letter in 

King's handwriting, always a rare 

thing to receive, and just then par- 



ticularly welcome. The letter runs 
thus : 

' ' Bloomingdale Asylum 
"December 31 

" My dear Henry 

" I refrained from boring you with 
the miseries of my months of torture 
here, and I don't think I should ever 
have broken the silence were I not 
at last convinced that the progress of 
recovery, though of geological slow- 
ness, is really going to arrive at a 

** Early next week the Doctors are 
to have another consultation over my 
damned spine (how I reverence a 
polyp) and I am assured in advance 
that they will sanction and even com- 
mand my going somewhere in the 
south. . . . Everything favoring I 
shall go. South I must go, and next 
week is to be my last in this house 
of madness. I shant like it so well 
a few months hence when Columbia 

Henry Adams 

College moves in here and displaces 
these open, frank lunatics with Seth 
Low and his faculty of incurables, so 
I better go now. 

** What do you say to taking the 
island trip with me ? . . . I have 
read up a little on the Caribbees, and 
if any trust can be put in human 
testimony they must be splendid for 
scenery and absorbing for geology. 
A light opera-bouffe effect is evi- 
dently given by the extremely char- 
acteristic darkeys with their chatter 
and bandannas, with something seri- 
ous and orchestral in the way of 
gumbo and pepper-pot. Rum is the 
agent of erosion, from all accounts. 
Antigua makes a celebrated dish of 
turtle, and grows the finest pine- 
apples in the solar system. 

" You need have no fear of my suf- 
fering a recurrence of disability, and 
even if I do, you could cut my ac- 
quaintance and leave me to Alex- 


ander who is a trained nurse and a 
monument of medical wisdom. . . . 
Common honesty demands that I 
confess that I am likely to be rather 
dull company for a little while, but 
in a few days I shall be gay enough. 
If my back goes up to the tempera- 
ture of melted diabase, and moral 
viscosity sets in, I promise not to 
bore you with it." . . . 

You all remember how King broke 
down in 1893, and how he went to 
Bloomingdale, as most of us would 
have liked to do, to recover from the 
nervous strain which prostrated the 
whole country, and cost hundreds of 
valuable lives in that disastrous year. 
That all one's acquaintance should 
retreat into asylums seemed at one 
time the only way to escape hopeless 
ruin and collapse ; but at any time 
King might have written from any- 
where without disturbing the natural 

Henry Adams 

order of his unexpectedness. We 
were accustomed only to the unusual 
from him. For my own part, I would 
always have joined him, whether in 
an asylum or out of it, rather than 
any one else, and to that effect I 
must have written him. He was de- 
layed longer than he expected in 
New York, but we joined company 
at Tampa at last, and reached Ha- 
vana together before the first of 

He had fitted himself out for a 
small geological exploration of the 
Windward Islands, but we soon found 
that the Windward Islands main- 
tained a rigid quarantine against 
the Spanish islands, and so we had 
to give up the Caribbees. We could 
not stay long in Havana which was 
perfectly familiar ground. After a 
few days there, not caring much 
where we went, we crossed to Bata- 
bano, and took the coasting-steamer 


along the south shore. The scenery, 
the movement, the pilotage, the pas- 
sengers, and the appropriate bull- 
fighter, with his circle of worshippers, 
quieted our nerves for a day or two, 
until we turned the point of Cabo 
Cruz and ran into the trade-wind, 
which King liked as little as I 
did, but which a good many of our 
friends were to enjoy at their leisure 
four years afterwards ; and, in the 
moonlight. King defied it enough to 
prove to me that the coast, with its 
volcanic peak Turquino, was to be 
compared for beauty with no other 
coast in the world except that of Cen- 
tral America ; and so, before dawn, 
we ran into the harbor of Santiago. 
There, too. King was at home ; — 
Where was he ever a stranger ? He 
seemed quite happy as we tramped 
in the dark up the streets, and 
pounded on the doors of inns which 
would not open, and which, when 


Henry Adams 

they did open, showed quarters more 
Spanish than I Hked. He loved 
everything Spanish, even the Spanish 
inn. That was his nature. When he 
liked anything, he liked it all. One 
felt colorless by his side, and, what 
was not altogether pleasant, one felt 
the truth. One's energies relaxed ; 
one felt oneself a drag on him. In 
this case I was put there to serve as 
a drag, — perhaps even as a drug, — 
and conscience did not mortify me 
too much ; but the relation was al- 
ways the same, and the nervous 
restlessness of 1894 was, if anything, 
weaker than the exuberant energy of 
1870. He loved the Spaniard as he 
loved the negro and the Indian and 
all the primitives, because they were 
not academic. Above all he loved 
a paradox — a thing, he said, that 
alone excused thought. No one, 
in our time, ever talked paradox so 



You can see, therefore, how little 
chance I had of keeping him amused. 
Had I been a Cuban negro, it would 
have been easy, or a Carib or a brig- 
and ; but unless I could find some 
way of reverting, step by step, through 
all the stages of human change, back 
to a pithecanthropos, or much better, 
a pithecgunai, I could not keep King 
occupied for twenty-four hours. I 
could not even handle a machete, or 
herd a bull, or dance the culebra. He 
had to get the priest to show me 
how. For such eccentric types, the 
little town of Santiago was then a 
marvellous garden of survival. No- 
where in the world had I ever seen 
anything more amusing, and I thought 
it a Heaven-sent harbor for us two 
worn-out craft to rest in. Four years 
later all America rang with the fame 
of Santiago, and especially with the 
name of Ramsden, the British Consul, 
but at that time King alone knew 


Henry Adams 

him, as he knew everyone ; and of 
course Ramsden loved King, and re- 
ceived him with open arms. I will 
not stop to tell you how kind the 
Ramsdens were, for that has nothing 
to do with the story, except that it 
was through Ramsden that his part- 
ner, Mr. Brooks, was interested in 
King, and offered him his country 
house at Dos Bocas. You may guess 
how eager I was to accept the offer. 
Of all havens of rest for the old and 
weary — of all bits of earthly Paradise 
— Dos Bocas was my dream ; and, if 
I tell you the dream, it is only to 
show what became of havens of rest 
when King lighted there. 

Many of you know Dos Bocas, a 
few miles by the little railroad from 
Santiago to Cristo, near the top of 
the valley. The woods come close 
down to it ; a small stream, not so 
very common in Cuba, runs through 
it ; and the trade-wind draws down 


the valley with a passion for the palm 
trees such as only tropic winds feel. 
Dos Bocas was far more Spanish 
than Spain, and the mule-trains ram- 
bled up and down the trail, defying 
the railroad to compete, while, as far 
as I know, there was not a cart-wheel 
nearer than Santiago, but there were 
plenty of interesting people and some 
of the most beautiful scenery in the 
world. It seemed to me that we 
could do no better than stay there 
forever, or till we were forcibly re- 
moved. As a background for King 
it was better than the South Seas ; it 
was better than Mexico ; indeed, I 
was the only serpent in it ; harmless 
enough, but, as of old in the Garden 
of Eden, a predestined victim. 

At first all went well. Every morn- 
ing we rose with the sun and rambled 
out over the hills, after the usual 
manner of the geologist ; and returned 
before the sun grew too hot, to break- 

Henry Adams 

fast and doze in the shade till it grew 
cool again ; but within very few days 
King showed signs of coming to the 
end of his interest in science and land- 
scape. Even paradox failed to stim- 
ulate him. Alarmed for fear of being 
turned out on the hot world again, I 
began to take a profound interest in 
geology and to dispute every view he 
held. Unluckily, he knew only too 
well that I could not tell the differ- 
ence between a trilobite and a land- 
crab, and we disagreed entirely in re- 
gard to a favorite theory of mine 
that if we could get deep enough 
down into the archsean rocks, we 
should find President Eliot and the 
whole Faculty of Harvard College, 
besides all the geologists there ; but, 
when at last I went to the length of 
asserting with much temper that a 
lump of coral was obviously a recent 
lava, he lost interest even in dispute, 
and threw me over. In fact King's 


real interest was not in science, but in 
man, as he often said, meaning chiefly 
woman. You remember his fam- 
ous aphorism : *' Nature never made 
more than one mistake, but that was 
fatal ; it was when she differentiated 
the sexes." In his instincts I think 
he regarded the male as a sort of de- 
fence thrown off by the female, much 
like the shell of a crab, endowed with 
no original energy of his own ; but it 
was not the modern woman that 
interested him ; it was the archaic 
female, with instincts and without in- 
tellect. At best King had but a poor 
opinion of intellect, chiefly because 
he found it so defective an instru- 
ment, but he admitted that it was all 
the male had to live upon ; while the 
female was rich in the inheritance of 
every animated energy back to the 
polyps and the crystals. If he had a 
choice among women, it was in favor 
of Indians and negroes, but if a wo- 

Henry Adams 

man was only old enough and ugly 
enough, and wore a red bandanna 
round her head, King was sure to 
be in her cabin, drinking coffee, and 
talking negro-Cuban dialect that was 
invented for the occasion, and getting 
from her all the views of creation 
in which she was rich. 

This sort of social dissipation was 
not so safe in Cuba then as it may 
now be. In the province of Santi- 
ago in those days, among the coun- 
try-people, one was sure of finding 
only two settled principles, — rebel- 
lion and brigandage. King did not 
object to rebellion, but he adored 
brigandage. Within ten days he 
knew all the old negroes in the dis- 
trict, and began to go off at night to 
their dances, and bring back tales of 
the old rebellion, and mutterings 
of the coming one, besides stories 
of the brigands who still held out 
against the government, and arrests 



constantly being made, and visits to 
patriots in gaol and out, until I pon- 
dered in silence, with more doubt 
than ever, whether Bloomingdale was 
to become the last refuge of sanity, 
since, outside of Bloomingdale, the 
world was obviously more insane than 
within it. 

The situation was really not un- 
like one of Frank Stockton's novels. 
There were two elderly men ; bald- 
headed ; gray-haired, or at least sable- 
silvered, like Hamlet's father; literary 
and scientific gentlemen of a respecta- 
bility that appalled even the Knicker- 
bocker Club and themselves ; persons 
who had never even been in gaol or 
the police-court, and who carried a 
sort of aureole of title-pages round 
their heads to protect them from vul- 
gar sunshine ; and these two profes- 
sors were plunged suddenly up to 
their necks in a seething caldron of 
barbarous passion as though they 

Henry Adams 

were missionaries in the Fiji Islands or 
New Guinea. Carelessly, as though 
we were hanging about this Club, we 
were inviting, every day, accidents of 
a kind that were every day occurring. 
At any moment a file of Spanish sol- 
diers might walk in, and not bid us 
goodbye until we were safely on board 
the steamer for Nassau and New 
York ; and the only obvious reason 
for not locking us up, or sending us 
off, was that, if the governor began, 
he could never stop, for, as far as 
King could see, every man, woman, 
or child in the entire province was a 
rebel or brigand or both. 

For myself I saw the humor of the 
situation rather acutely. Sticking 
to the habit of wandering off, every 
morning, across the mountain ridges, 
and through the by-paths of the for- 
est, it was always sure that some of 
King's friends of the night before 
were not far off; and their reputa- 


tion and appearance warranted me in 
thinking that, as I walked by their 
huts, they were making a fairly cor- 
rect estimate of my money-value to 
King, and of his to me, by way of 
ransom. They had every means of 
reaching the best sources of informa- 
tion while King was practising the 
danza under their instruction ; and 
there were among them a certain num- 
ber of gentlemen on whose heads the 
Spaniards had set a price. I thought 
the situation mixed, especially when 
connected with the exploits of a very 
celebrated bandit named Daniele 
who owned the whole country, except 
where the Spanish patrol rode. King 
himself was a little at a loss to know 
how he stood in relation to this neigh- 
bor. Senor Portuondo invited him 
to ride one day some thirty miles into 
the interior to examine a coal-seam, 
and King was somewhat surprised 
when their party was joined on the 

Henry Adams 

way, in an interval between coffee- 
drinking, by a stranger on horseback 
whose name and business were not 
mentioned, but whom King believed 
to be Daniele. He remarked on his 
return, — for a patient just released 
from Bloomingdale, he thought a 
sixty-mile ride in a tropical sun, on a 
diet of the strongest coffee-and-brig- 
ands, might suggest new views to his 

We were told afterwards that the 
gentleman known as Daniele was 
caught at a festival, by the Span- 
iards, of course by money, and shot 
where he stood ; but we heard only 
of his exploits, and of certain dra- 
matic murders he committed. I 
thought it all the more interesting 
that he left us alone. I took for 
granted that we were under some 
one's protection ; probably that of 
Mr. Brooks ; but there are black 
sheep even among brigands, and it 


was by no means always that Mr. 
Brooks could protect himself. I have 
been curious to know whether King's 
rebel-friends had a share in our com- 
forts ; but however that may have 
been, nothing happened. Everyone 
was kind and hospitable. Of a Sun- 
day morning the neighbors brought 
a brace or two of fighting-cocks over, 
to let us have a cock-fight in our own 
court. With Ramsden we rode up 
to the Gran Piedra and passed the 
night under the stars. No one ever 
so much as asked a question, — Span- 
iard, Cuban, mulatto or negro, — but 
every man, woman and child ex- 
pected the revolution that was com- 
ing, and counted on King for a friend. 
We stayed at Dos Bocas a month, 
and then King became restless again 
and insisted on going to Nassau. 
Of our subsequent wanderings it 
would be easy to make a story, but I 
am not telling a story ; I am only 

Henry Adams 

drawing a moral, and to make it 
stand out more distinctly I have 
ventured to use Santiago for a back- 
ground. Much greater persons have 
done it before me, as you know, with 
more success than King and I then 
dreamed of ; but when that man 
Daniele, if it really was Daniele, told 
King that the rebellion was coming, 
it seemed to me that I had better 
offer no obstacle to leaving our Para- 
dise. My business was, if I had any 
business at all, to keep him quiet, 
away from excitement, out of mis- 
chief. Remember that King took 
his companion with him for that pur- 
pose ; and certainly you do not need 
to be told that he could not have 
selected, even among his enormous 
acquaintance, a more quieting influ- 
ence than he chose. It stands to 
reason that if he could have found 
another peripatetic literary man older 
than himself, of quieter habits, with 


more respect for conventions, more 
deference to authority especially when 
unreasonable, more devotion to all 
Administrations and Constitutions, 
in short, with more admiration for 
principles and powers of every sort, 
and society in all its dogmatic forms, 
— he would not have chosen the man 
he did. You may take it for certain 
that in all America there was no per- 
son on whom his restless energy was 
likely to have so little effect as on 
me. Now, my moral belongs here, 
and it is the measure of Kings na- 
ture. To him it mattered little that, 
a year after our stay at Dos Bocas, 
Maceo and Gomez raised the stan- 
dard of rebellion, and our Cuban 
friends were swept into it. He found 
it natural and easy to follow them, 
and he flung himself into it, as you 
remember, with all his old energy of 
feeling. When I saw him the next 
winter, he was already deep in it. I 


Henry Adams 

tried mildly to show him that the 
cost even of success would be too 
awful to warrant encouraging a hope 
of it ; and that, with Wall Street 
against, and Boston to a man, and 
Grover Cleveland, and the Century 
Club, and only he and I for it, suc- 
cess was altogether out of sight. To 
him that sort of desperate odds was 
an amusement, and alone gave suffi- 
cient play to his energies. This was 
well enough for him ; the trouble 
was that of all great energies, that 
the influence never ended with him- 
self, but dragged his friends into its 
vortex ; and in this particular instance 
converted a harmless and respectful 
servant of all established authority — 
particularly of despotisms — into the 
patient ally of the most uneasy and 
persistent conspirator your Club ever 
nourished in its bosom. 

He won that stake, in spite of my 
prophecies, as he had won many 



others, almost as desperate ; but that 
was not the point to us who were 
his friends. The point was his sin- 
gularly sympathetic energy which 
carried us with him whether we would 
or no. To do us justice, I do not 
think we greatly cared whether he 
was right or wrong. As he put it, 
only one thing is certain — Nothing 
is right! His only ultimate truth 
was the action, not the thought. To 
him, all science and all life were in 
that law, which, after all, is the only 
result of his generation — the law of 
Energy. Those of us who gladly 
and carelessly gave ourselves up to 
his influence and let him swing us as 
he liked, — those he loved, and his 
gayety and humor played about them 
to the last, when gayety was the very 
last of emotions either in his mind or 
in ours. The last letter I have from 
him was written in the spring of 1897 ; 
he wrote about a trip to Mexico which 

Henry Adams 

I could not take because I was obliged 
to go to Europe. Not but that I 
would have instantly thrown Europe 
over to go with him to Mexico ; and 
this last chance is now one of the 
regrets of my life : 

" I grieve that you cannot go to 
Mexico with me," he said; ''all I 
lack is a pessimist addicted to water- 
colors and capable of a humorous 
view of the infinite. It is hard lines 
to go alone, for the only real fun is to 
watch the other fellow. Come along, 
and I will, in the secrecy of the 
primeval woods admit the truth of 
all your geological criticisms of me ; 
and I will even execute in advance 
an assignment of half the brown girls 
we meet. Moreover I will be a sec- 
ond La Farge, and never tell. Dear 
me ! I will do anything you like. I 
will read your complete works ; go 
to England with you in June, and 
help sustain Hay under the sodden 


weight of British aristocracy ; or 
in short anything, if you will sing 
that little Cuban song : ' Yo me soy 
contigo ! ' " 

We were touching sixty years old 
when he wrote this. He was strug- 
gling desperately under a load which 
was sure to break him down ; and as 
for girls, brown, black or yellow, they 
had about as much interest for us 
as a phonograph. If he wanted me 
with him it was because he knew 
that I was anything but a gay com- 
panion, and that with me he need 
make no effort. Yet it was instinc- 
tive with him to call for companion- 
ship on his own youth, and he was 
really thinking not of me, but of the 
pine woods of 1870; the Sierras; 
the Rockies ; and the brown girls. 
We both knew that it was all over ; 
that thenceforward his energies were 
to be thrown away ; that the particu- 
lar stake in life for which he had 

Henry Adams 

played was lost, by no fault of his, 
but by those strokes of financial bad 
luck which broke down fully half of 
the strongest men of our time ; we 
both knew that the struggle was too 
desperate to be kept up much longer ; 
but he remained the best companion 
in the world to the end. 


Clarence King 

John LaFarge 


Clarence King 

IN my early acquaintance with Clar- 
ence King, I fancied a resem- 
blance between him and Dante 
Gabriel Rossetti. I still think there 
was something, perhaps merely in 
the shape of the head, which justi- 
fied the impression. And notwith- 
standing the very distinct New Eng- 
land side of King, there was some- 
thing, the mark of which seemed 
to connect him with such South- 
ern terms as might belong to a 
Spaniard or a descendant of a Span- 
iard. In his picturesque accounts 
of dealings with the people whom 
we think of as belonging to Spain, 
there seemed to be always a subtle 
appreciation of their character, a 
manner of fitting into it which took 
away from the appearance of a 

Clarence King 

stranger talking about strangers. 
Not that he was not amused, and 
perpetually so, by the differing char- 
acteristics of the other race. Indeed 
those of us who remember the 
wondrous anecdotes beginning in 
the middle and ending nowhere, con- 
cerning various characters of dif- 
ferent persons, partook also of the 
keen representation of far-away 
manners of thought and living. This 
appreciation of a charm in certain 
strange characters was probably the 
expression of what we call the 
artistic temperament. The artist 
certainly trains himself in the faculty 
of putting himself into another's 
place. However free his judgment 
may be, his imagination builds for 
him the circumstances of the other 
form of life, or manners, or mind. 
And the mind can be that of an 
artist without the training of the 
eye and hand that is professional. 

John LaFarge 

Clarence King fitted naturally Into 
the ways of thinking of artists. He 
knew many of them. He was an 
early appreciator of many. He may 
be said to have been one of the 
early discoverers of certain men, and 
there remained in him this manner 
of discovering what he liked, of 
inventing his own enjoyment, not 
taking it ready-made from others. 
When he described his likings there 
was a freshness to the apprecia- 
tions which was specially his own. 
It seemed quite natural that he 
should have made the accidental 
acquaintance of Mr. Ruskin through 
sudden remarks uttered at some 
picture dealer's, when King, not 
knowing with whom he was discuss- 
ing, argued upon a number of sub- 
tle points which to him were evident. 
The famous writer appears to have 
been delighted by the value and 
form of these sayings or criticisms 

Clarence King 

and the ensuing acquaintance was 
one of the many gracious episodes 
in Clarence King's European ex- 

King's collecting of paintings and 
drawings began somewhere about 
this time, and we can all who knew 
him remember how remarkable was 
the choice of what he gathered and 
how unexpected. The little dark 
room in the old Studio Building in 
Tenth Street held paintings and 
drawings and stuff of all kinds fit for 
museums. He might say to a friend, 
as he has to me, " By the bye I have 
a Turner or a Millet somewhere here," 
and then bring out from behind trunks 
and the other deposits, which his no- 
madic life obliged him to warehouse, 
some example of the artists. Then, 
we remember also that he liked to 
lend. It pleased him to have others 
enjoy what he had not the time and 
the place for. There remained in his 

John LaFarge 

mind a wish to find an abiding home 
for all these things, and many times 
he described to me the manner of 
place where he might rest with these 
treasures about him. But they were 
not referred to in his talk. The place 
was built by his imagination for its 
beauty. When he described to me 
what he proposed to do, there was 
usually some reference to the forms 
of art which were familiar to me. As 
an instance : he had planned, if I may 
so describe a mere figment of the 
imagination, one great room in this 
dream-building, where, high up, above 
windows and doors, a manner of frieze 
should run around a large space filled 
with the most beautiful of stained 
glass, and continuing mentally the 
memories of his visits to Mr. Ruskin, 
and his seeing the drawings of Botti- 
celli, he suggested that stories from 
Dante's Divine Comedy give the mo- 
tive for this decoration. We had 



Clarence King 

many improbable devisings for this 
dream, both of us united in the memo- 
ries of the wonderful drawings. This 
delight in the imaginary use of the 
splendor of glass in some way practi- 
cable but novel or unknown, brought 
him at once to propose with me a 
scheme, which I still think worthy of 
our having worked it out together. 
This was when the project of the 
tomb of General Grant had been 
proposed to the public. Our notion 
was to have filled the drum, or per- 
haps even the curves of the dome, 
with the richest and deepest of figured 
glass, built, if I may so express it, 
into the walls or the structure, and 
not a mere fitting in as windows. 
This was on his part, as also on mine, 
a looking forward to a future which 
is certain to come. The experience 
of the last few years in the develop- 
ment of that wonderful material has 
pointed out how rational would be the 

John LaFarge 

use of glass combined with the struc- 
ture. This imaginary tower would 
then have been like the glory of the 
interior of a great jewel in the day, 
but at night would have sent out a 
far radiance over the entire city, mak- 
ing as it were a pharos, a light-house, 
to be seen from afar by night, as well 
as by day, and dominating the river 
as well as the land. Of course this 
was too poetic and ideal a structure 
to be accepted at the date we pro- 
posed it, but I cite it as one of the 
manners through which King's many- 
sided nature found employment. 

I keep, naturally, to these relations 
with Clarence King on the side of 
art. Others beside myself have en- 
joyed the wonderful way through 
which he would expound scientific 
theories, and give to them all the 
charm of a story, and leave his hearer 
believing that he, too, understood 
quite well the scientific basis of the 

Clarence King 

elucidation. Others, better than my- 
self, could describe the charm of his 
stories, of his recitals of adventure, 
the poetic completeness of these re- 
citals. Whenever he came back from 
any trip, things had happened to him 
which only the mind and eye of a con- 
stant enjoyer of human nature could 
have met with. I f only he had written 
them out ! They will probably have 
perished ; and yet even the very 
names of the tales, as we have chris- 
tened them, contained the proposition 
of picturesque and strange amuse- 
ment. Who that has heard the story 
of the Hen and the Gondolier but has 
wished to see it written out to give 
an example of the curious chances of 
Western life ? 

Behind this there was a great mir- 
age of a possible future of some mine, 
the very record of which was in itself 
romantic. When the resulting for- 
tune should come, the artists were to 


John LaFarge 

have a chance, were to help make use 
of it for beautiful things. 

I have kept to these few words 
which connect our friend and myself 
with the ideas of art, with the mani- 
fold interests which belong to that 
side of the intellect. It will be for 
others to talk of him in the ways 
through which they knew him more 
intimately than I did. It is difficult 
to believe that the brilliant, anxious, 
many-sided mind has passed away 
and has left so little of a record for 
those sides in which some of us knew 
him, but which to the great public 
were unknown. 


King— "The Frolic and the 

Edmund Clarence Stedman 


King — " The Frolic and the 
Gentle " 

FROM the first he had the grace 
to put me on close terms with 
him, although we seldom met when 
he had not just come from a distant 
region or was departing for some 
other point as far. In this wise, I 
could not free myself from the illu- 
sion that he was a kind of Martian — 
a planetary visitor, of a texture dif- 
fering from that of ordinary Earth- 
dwellers. It seemed quite natural 
that he should map out the globe, 
and bore through it to see of what 
It was made. Now that he is gone, 
I am still looking for his casual 

There was one occasion which I 
did not share with others of his pres- 


'' The Frolic and the Gentle " 

ent celebrants : a period when I had 
him to myself, and when he began 
an episode eventful in even his own 
full life. This was nothing less than 
that of his initial visit to the Old 
World. By chance, with a son in his 
first year out from Yale, I left New 
York, in the spring of 1882, on the 
same steamer which numbered on 
its passenger-roll Clarence King, and 
another mining-expert, at that time 
his partner. Of course I had read 
with admiration, a decade earlier, 
the Mountaineering in the Sierra 
Nevada, and often had wondered 
why its luminous author had not 
shone continuously in our literature. 
I should have wondered the more that 
I had never met him, had I not seen 
his name figuring in those society 
lists that were quite alien to my quiet 
round of life. But at dinner we were 
at the same table. He was good 
enough to make the advance, and to 

Edmund Clarence Stedman 

claim a whimsical consanguinity on 
the score of our Clarentian prenom- 
ina. Now, I knew that he was a 
famous government geodeticist, but 
had no conception of his temper- 
ament. Perhaps he took me with 
equal seriousness. At all events, he 
was more on his dignity, or gravity, 
than I ever afterward saw him. In 
the starry evening we walked the 
deck together, and talked of public 
affairs, books, etc., soon wandering 
to scientific research and discovery, 
concerning which I eagerly listened to 
his theories of matter, vortex rings, 
the Earth's structure, the chances of a 
future life. I doubt if there was a 
laugh between us, and am sure that I 
never again found him so long in one 
humor. Nor was there anything in 
this thorough -bred, travel-dressed, 
cosmopolitan to suggest that he had 
not spent repeated seasons upon the 
hemisphere to which we were bound. 

'' The Frolic and the Gentle " 

Out on the blue, the next morn- 
ing, what a transformation ! As I 
have said, it was in fact King's first 
opportunity to visit Europe, strictly 
off duty, and with means that seemed 
to him beyond the dreams of avarice. 
He broke out into a thousand pranks 
and paradoxes. Freedom was what 
we both needed, and my own reserve 
was at an end the moment I saw him 
changed from the dignitary to a ver- 
itable Prince Florizel with the tray 
of tarts, offering lollipops right and 
left. He and his comrade, I was 
speedily made to know, had *' struck 
it rich " in a mine and were indepen- 
dent for life. His motto for one 
summer at least was ''Vive la baga- 
telle'' His frolic was incessant and 
contagious. Here was my overnight 
philosopher with double-eagles in his 
pocket, one of which he periodically 
flipped in the air to decide wagers 
made upon every possible pretext 

Edmund Clarence Stedman 

between himself and his decidedly 
less buoyant colleague. He jested, 
fabled, sparkled, scorned concealment 
of his delight. Indeed, I verily 
believe that I then had the rare 
fortune, at the beginning of our 
friendship, first, to learn the resources 
and conviction of his noble mind, 
and in a trice to enjoy the ebul- 
lition of his mirth and fancy on 
some of the happiest days of his 

He had with him a Gargantuan 
letter of credit. From a slip in his 
wallet he took and showed me a 
single draft for a thousand pounds, a 
very sacred special fund, which was 
to be piously expended for some one 
work of art, his roc's egg, his su- 
preme trophy — in fine, the most beau- 
teous and essential thing he might 
come upon in this tour. All this as 
gravely as if he were a Knight of the 
Grail, or meditating in the end to 

** The Frolic and the Gentle " 

shift to America the Hotel Cluny or 
a court of the Alhambra. 

Among the many wagers which he 
forced his staid comrade to accept 
was one that compelled the loser to 
take the four of us, young and old, 
to Epsom on the Derby Day that 
would occur soon after our arrival in 
London. King lost this bet, plainly 
by his own intent. Everything was 
to come off in the traditional style — 
that the Scriptures might be fulfilled 
to the uttermost, as indeed they were. 
From the White Horse Inn, Picca- 
dilly, a fortnight later, we took the 
road and shared its carnival, on 
the finest tallyho obtainable ; whip, 
guard, lackey, hampers and all. 
Nothing was omitted in the going 
and coming. It was a brilliant day ; 
our coach rounded to in the center 
of the field, as in Frith's picture, and 
there were the gypsy tumblers on 
the green, the lunchers, the Prince 

Edmund Clarence Stedman 

of Wales, the race — with the Duke 
of Westminster's colors to the fore. 
Yes, and we saw a welcher mobbed, 
and everything else was accom- 
plished ; and I still cherish a fading 
tin-type exhibit of our group on the 
tallyho, lifting our cups, with King as 

Our Prince of paradox would not 
bide another day in London, but 
sped to France, leaving me a bearer 
of ill tidings to those who knew he 
was coming, and whose desire to 
welcome him taught me that he was 
an international character. When I 
overtook him in Paris he was on the 
eve of going to his longed-for Spain ; 
not, indeed, to tarry even there, but 
to push right through to Morocco or 
Algeria, upon the trail of a certain 
unique shawl, or curtain, or tapestry, 
which he alone must possess. Of 
his return to Spain, his social life in 
France, his conquest of England, his 

** The Frolic and the Gentle " 

blood-brotherhood with Ferdinand 
Rothschild, and of the spolia opima 
brought back to America, — are they 
not all written in the book of the 
hearts that held him dear ? 

Thus have I told how Pantagruel 
found Panurge, whom he loved all 
his life thereafter. I do not know 
whether it was on this ornamental 
journey that Clarence King's genius 
led him to the imperishable Helmet 
of Mambrino, now hung (by proxy) 
from its arm of wrought iron in the 
upper chambers of the Century. 
Whether it was then or afterward 
that he conceived his epistle to Don 
Horacio, and therewith imprisoned 
the very soul of Spain in the flask of 
his translucent English, the feat was 
equally enduring. Nothing compara- 
ble to the flavor of his style is to be 
found elsewhere, unless in the fantasy 
of his fellow-Centurion to whose loi- 
terings in Mexico we owe San An- 

Edmund Clarence Stedman 

tonio of the Gardens and successive 
companion-pieces. King's speech and 
writ were iridescent with the imagi- 
nation of the born romancer. Judge 
of the statue by the fragment, and 
think of what was lost to literature 
by the fact that it was not his voca- 
tion, but his accomplishment. Nor 
was it his lot to escape enrollment 
with the inheritors of unfulfilled re- 
nown by winning, like the most dis- 
tinguished of his poet friends, a place 
in history as one of the arbiters of 
civilization, and one of those who 
shape the destinies of their own 
lands. None the less, the by-play of 
some men has a quality unattained 
by a host of devotees who make its 
acquisition the labor of their worka- 
day lives. 

Quis desiderio sit pudor ! As I 
humbly stood on one side, that arc- 
tic morning when the choice and true 
followed his remains down the aisle, 

*' The Frolic and the Gentle " 

I knew that deep in the souls of all, 
however freezing the bitter wind, the 
memory of King was enshrined for- 
ever, and that his Manes would have 
no cause to make complaint of bene- 
fits forgot. 

King at the Century 

William Crary Brownell 

King at the Century 

I FIRST met King in the old club- 
house of the Century Association 
in Fifteenth Street and rarely saw 
him outside of our club surround- 
ings — save on occasions that were 
for the most part but a projection 
of Century comradery. It is there- 
fore only as a fellow habitue — not 
quite the same thing as a member, 
merely — of the Century, that I may 
venture to speak of him in the 
companionship of his older and 
closer friends. We had, indeed, in 
familiarity with Newport, a common 
tie of which it would be difficult 
for any one without these associa- 
tions to appreciate the force. But 
in every other respect — which is to 
say in a great many other respects 

King at the Century 

— the debt I am conscious of owing 
to King I owe to the Century also 
for an acquaintance that began there 
and there ripened into a friend- 
ship of which, Hke his other friends, 
I was destined to receive proofs 
that were not only substantial but 
touching as well. And I think it 
is interesting witness of the scope 
of this Association's influence and 
the character of its atmosphere, that 
a sentiment of such vivacity and 
such substance as that with which 
King's memory is there cherished 
by so many who did not know him 
elsewhere, can be born and fostered 
in its friendly and familiar environ- 

It is an environment to which he 
was evidently and exquisitely at- 
tuned, and which framed and set off 
both his lighter and his graver ac- 
tivities of mind to harmonious ad- 
vantage. Of every group of which 

William Crary Brownell 

he formed a part he was extraor- 
dinarily apt to be the centre, and 
a society where *' superiorities " are, 
though not perhaps ** discounte- 
nanced/' at least rather thoroughly 
tested, was often cordially content 
to figure as a background for the 
relief of his shining sprightliness. 
He was the ideal clubman because 
he illustrated in an ideal degree the 
Epicurean ideal. He was so con- 
stituted as fastidiously to desire to 
make the most of the Epicurean 
principle, to get the best out of its 
practice. Hence his luxuriousness 
itself — and he had this quality in 
an eminent degree — was charged 
with energy. No one ever saw him 
lounge or loll or doze — except ex- 
pressly. He did not know what 
enervation was. His movements 
were rapid ; his step was quick ; 
he never strolled. His enjoyment 
was invariably marked by zest rather 

King at the Century 

than tranquilHty, though it never lost 
equipoise in exuberance. Even his 
invaHdism was characterized by ac- 
tivity. It left him essentially un- 
touched. For his energy, in spite 
of what he accomplished with it, 
was essentially a state of mind even 
more markedly than it was an agent 
of accomplishment. And to us in 
the Century it was exhibited mainly, 
perhaps, in the guise of an extraor- 
dinary alertness. 

He was alertness incarnate. His 
senses seemed sharpened to a degree 
seldom exemplified in persons con- 
fined largely — as was necessarily his 
lot — to the society of their inferiors 
in interest, experience and capacity. 
Any material served him to file the 
edge of an appreciation that little 
escaped and nothing dulled. His per- 
ceptions seemed never to sleep. It 
was interesting to observe him ob- 
serve. He always detected your do- 

William Crary Brownell 

ing so, and always amusedly played 
the game with you. Part of his 
genius, to which all of his friends 
testify, for friendship (which has been 
defined as rien que s entendre) re- 
sided in this alertness, in virtue of 
which he *' always understood." Of- 
ten before you had completed your 
communication — a demi-mot — he had 
been there — everywhere — before; but 
he was none the less alive to the 
nuances of your report of the coun- 
try. He simply could not be bored. 
His faculties were in a constant 
state of functioning and one excuse 
seemed as good as another for their 
exercise. He saw **good in every- 
thing " when it was kind to see it, but 
his acuteness preserved him from il- 
lusions. Such as he had he cherished, 
rather wittingly, one guesses, and they 
were the mirage of his fancy, which 
was prodigious, and never due to 
defective vision. 


King at the Century- 
Was there ever so good a talker ? 
And why was he so good ? I fancy 
because, for one reason, he never 
forgot himself in his subject. He 
never, in fact, forgot anything. Every- 
thing in the environment, whatever 
the environment might be, lay cosily 
in his mind in a state of the most 
complete realization. Nothing ever 
possessed him ; so far as his own 
purposes went he was master of all 
his material. Inattention was impos- 
sible in his presence. He noted it 
with the quickness of the predatory 
eye and charmed it into interest at 
once. To quote words applied to a 
different spirit : "He was a man to 
whom the ball of conversation was 
really a ball, and not an anvil or a bar- 
rel of flour." But though he loathed 
the didactic, he loved discussion ; in 
fact, one of his fondnesses was to start 
a topic. Whatever your mood, some- 
thing penetrating from him would 

William Crary Brownell 

awaken reverie into active thought, 
or something paradoxical electrify 
lethargy itself. 

Paradox perhaps enjoyed the he- 
gemony of his mental states. If he 
can be said ever to have leaned on 
anything among the multitude of 
phenomena that he touched, paradox 
may be called his reliance. He had 
an undoubted predilection for its un- 
doubted stimulus — and indeed it is 
not an anodyne ; but his distinction 
in this respect was that he never 
pressed it. To have succeeded in per- 
suading you to share it would have 
sapped his interest in it. He never 
expected discussion to lead to any- 
thing. Sometimes indeed he would 
not permit it to. It was its art that 
attracted him. He enjoyed *' travel, 
not arriving." I fancy he thought 
that things capable of settlement had 
been settled long since. Conclusions 
might have had an anterior evolution, 

King at the Century 

but Its stages doubtless seemed to 
him of almost geologic length and 
ancientness. Those he reached were 
satisfactorily airy. Such as his de- 
cision, after long reflection, that ** a 
painter should always paint in his 
third manner." The deeper ones he 
never, in general talk at least, touched 
upon. His tact was unfailing here. 
His religion, for example, he said, 
was like his teeth, both were in- 
herited and both, so far as he knew, 
were sound. Nor was he one of 
those talkers who will listen with 
pleasure, but if you are silent talk 
themselves unremittingly — the neces- 
sity of talk by some one being their 
subconscious major premise. He 
made you talk. If you had no sub- 
ject he supplied one and made you 
interested in it. On the other hand, 
he would not only quite as readily 
talk about your subject, but contrive 
to give you the notion that he was 

William Crary Brownell 

eliciting what you had to say. It 
was a part of his inexhaustible en- 
tertainingness that he made you 
feel comfortable and copious, as if 
you were a real contributor to the 

One fancied him tingling with con- 
sciousness, so thoroughly aware of 
himself and what he was doing, how 
he was appearing, as to produce the 
happiest possible effect. Inspired by 
native tact and educated taste and a 
large social experience he marshaled 
his forces and conducted his cam- 
paign with an easy vigilance that ran 
no risks and made no blunders. Of 
course this implied complete freedom 
from the embarrassment of self-con- 
sciousness on one side and from any 
pose or other exhibition of vanity on 
the other. If he took an interest 
in surprising, even in startling you, 
as undeniably he did, it was an in- 
terest quite impersonal and artistic, 


King at the Century 

Nor, I think, did he expect you to 
experience any other — certainly not 
to be led very far astray by any in- 
tensity of interest or to be perma- 
nently disoriented by credulity pushed 
to the point of naivetd. To his alert- 
ness and agility of mind any open- 
mouthed contemplative resting in the 
mere fact — whatever the marvel he 
was divulging — must have seemed 
stagnant, rather than active, apprecia- 
tion. In proof of which one has only 
to recall the fact that the phenomena 
he was fond of relating were always 
of an illustrative rather than of a final 
character. Occasionally, perhaps, he 
left you to divine their bearings, their 
ulterior significance. But that they 
had such was the source of their in- 
terest for him. 

For, after all, his extraordinary ac- 
tivity of mind was something more 
constructive than mere alertness — 
however multifariously exhibited — 


William Crary Brownell 

implies. His alertness insensibly 
passed over into the realm of the 
imagination and blended beautifully 
with this rarest of faculties. His 
imagination was, as Mr. Gary has 
discriminatingly pointed out, " his 
dominant, at moments his dominat- 
ing, quality." At moments assuredly 
It held him quite enthralled within 
an almost hypnotic control, and he 
followed Its beckoning with the con- 
fident eagerness of ecstasy. But for 
the most part he was on terms of 
complete understanding with it and 
checked and tested its suggestions 
with the sagacity that gave its pro- 
nounced scientific turn to his mind. 
It was largely a matter of the material 
on which his imagination — the con- 
stant factor In his equation — worked. 
At work It always was. And, ex- 
ercised on serious and important 
substance, it reached commanding 
heights. It led him to very solid 

King at the Century 

achievements in science. And in the 
field of letters it was the inspiration of 
one of the very few books that have 
a clear title to be called unique. The 
Helmet of Mambrino is a charming, 
an original, thing, and a striking illus- 
tration of his versatility. But it is a 
trifle compared with his Mountaineer- 
ing in the Sierra Nevada, which is, 
in its way and considering its propor- 
tions and necessary limits, a work of 
imagination of a very high order. It 
is the portrait of a period and place 
and people painted with the firmest 
strokes, the individual impressions on 
which it is based generalized into 
typical interest and focussed into vi- 
tality by the writer's imagination as 
by a sun-glass. It is a book of which 
it is difficult to speak without ex- 
aggeration. It stands so completely 
by itself that it is hard to find the 
comparison that fits it. And it is a 
significant thing, I think, that the 

William Crary Brownell 

qualities which naturally and unaf- 
fectedly produced an imaginative mas- 
terpiece in a field merely collateral to 
the field of its author's specific work 
in life, should be the same qualities 
which attached and endeared him in 
an extraordinary degree to the varied 
and appreciative but not unexacting 
membership of the Century Associa- 
tion. It is indirectly a demonstration 
that he gave us his best, and what 
that was has, since his untimely death, 
been already too poignantly missed 
ever to be forgotten. 


Century Necrological Note 

Edward Gary 


Century Necrological Note* 

CLARENCE KING was bom in 
Newport, R. I., January 6th, 
1842, his father being James King, of 
the old China firm of King, Olyphant, 
& Co. He was prepared for the 
classical course at Yale, but chose 
the Scientific School and was gradu- 
ated in 1862. Almost from the por- 
tals of college, he and his college 
mate, James T. Gardiner, — par no- 
bile, — set out, in the spring of 1 863, 
to cross the Plains with an emigrant 
train for the purpose of seeing the 
whole interior of the continent, King 
making, during the four months' jour- 
ney on horseback, careful geological 

* Reprinted from the Report of the Board 
of Management of the Century Association 
for the year 1901. 


Century Necrological Note 

observations and notes. The experi- 
ence probably shaped the course of 
his scientific career. During the next 
three years he was engaged on the 
geological survey of California under 
Prof. J. D. Whitney, with Prof. 
William H. Brewer in charge of the 
field work. He was an assistant to 
Prof. Brewer in the exploration of 
the Northern Sierras and the region 
about Mount Shasta ; in an explora- 
tion of the southern part of Sierra 
Nevada, in which King discovered 
and named Mount Whitney and 
Mount Tyndall ; and with Gardiner 
made a geological and topographical 
survey of the Yosemite Valley. With 
the same companion he undertook 
and partially completed a survey of 
Arizona, but the party was obliged 
to give up the work on account of 
the attacks of the Apaches. The 
next summer, 1866, King and Gar- 
diner made a survey of the Sierra 

Edward Cary 

Nevada east and southeast of the 
Yosemite Valley. 

It was during this trip that they 
discussed the idea of creating, under 
the United States Government, a 
geological and topographical sur- 
vey, crossing the country from Cali- 
fornia to the eastern slope of the 
Rocky Mountains, and making a 
geological and topographical cross- 
section of the whole system of the 
Cordillera of Western America. The 
winter of 1866-67 King spent at 
Washington, and succeeded in inter- 
esting General Humphreys, Chief of 
Engineers, and the Government offi- 
cers and members of Congress in his 
plans to such an extent that the 
Geological Survey of the Fortieth 
Parallel was authorized and he was 
placed in charge, reporting to Gen- 
eral Humphreys. The work was be- 
gun in 1867 and completed in 1872, 
and several years were spent in the 

Century Necrological Note 

study of the facts and in the prepara- 
tion of the report, which remains the 
record of the most important scien- 
tific work of its kind up to that time 
undertaken and the foundation of 
much that has followed. In 1878 
the United States Geological Survey 
was organized, and King was made 
its first Chief, serving until the close 
of 1 88 1. In the eighteen years since 
he had entered on his work on the 
Pacific Slope, years of untiring activity 
and study, he had made brilliant and 
substantial contributions to science. 

He had also found time for some 
notable work as a geological and 
mining expert in the famous Mari- 
posa mines, in the Comstock mines, 
and in the exposure, made with 
singfular acuteness and swiftness, of 
the ** salted " diamond fields of Wyo- 
ming. The rest of his life was 
devoted to the exercise of his pro- 
fession, in which he attained emi- 

Edward Cary 

nence. But he cherished the hope 
of completing an authoritative study 
of the physics of the early globe, 
on which he spent much time and 
labor and money. He undertook a 
series of difficult and elaborate ex- 
periments to determine the action of 
the primal constituents of the early 
globe under the conditions of heat 
and pressure assumed to exist, when 
the material of the earth was sepa- 
rated from the sun. These were 
interrupted by business reverses and 
ill health some eight years since : 
but he had gone far enough in his 
investigations to make a reasoned 
estimate of the age of the earth, 
which was accepted by physicists 
in England and Europe, Lord Kelvin 
among them, as more nearly defin- 
itive than any other. 

What King might have been had 
he turned to literature is shown in 
his scientific studies and reports, 

Century Necrological Note 

models of clear statement of clear 
thinking on difficult subjects ; in his 
youthful sketches of Mountaineering 
in the Sierra Nevada, and in a few 
fugitive articles such as The Helmet 
of Mambrino, of which Mr. Stedman 
conclusively says that '* any writer 
might be glad to be judged by it." 

Had he lived a few days longer, 
King would have been threescore ; 
but we think of him, — so vigorous, 
when last he was with us, was his 
bearing, so bright his winning glance, 
so swift and kindling his unique 
intelligence, — as Milton thought of 
his friend King : 

" Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime, 
Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer." 

It is more than a quarter of a 
century ago that he joined the Club ; 
a little while since he described it 
to an enquiring foreign visitor as 
** the rag, tag and bobtail of all there 

Edward Gary 

is best in our country." The phrase 
is instinct with his gay veracity of 
paradox. He was himself a blend 
of varied qualities and gifts, that 
were not always ready to keep the 
peace one with another, but the col- 
lective manifestation of which was to 
his fellows a constant joy. The talk 
he made or evoked may be equalled 
by those who are to come after ; it 
can never be matched. Its range 
was literally incalculable. It was 
impossible to foresee at what point 
his tangential fancy would change its 
course. From the true rhythm of 
Creole gumbo to the verse of Theoc- 
ritus, from the origin of the latest 
mot to the age of the globe, from 
the soar or slump of the day's market 
to the method of Lippo Lippi, from 
the lightest play on words to the 
subtlest philosophy, he passed with 
buoyant step and head erect, some- 
times with audacity that invited 

Century Necrological Note 

disaster, often with profound penetra- 
tion and with the informing flash 
of genius. It is but a suggestion of 
his rare equipment to say that in 
his talk, as in his work, his imagina- 
tion was his dominant, at moments 
his dominating, quaHty. Intense, 
restless, wide-reaching, nourished by 
much reading, trained in the exercise 
of an exact and exacting profession, 
stimulated by commerce with many 
lands and races, it played incessantly 
on the topic of the moment and on 
the remotest and most complex pro- 
blems of the earth and the dwellers 
thereon. And within a nature bril- 
liant and efficient beyond all common 
limits, glowed the modest and steady 
light of a kindness the most unfail- 
ing and delicate. The good one 
hand did he let not the other know • 
both were always busy, laying in 
many lives the foundations of tender 
and lasting remembrance. 

King's "Mountaineering 

Edward Gary 


King's " Mountaineering 

>> Ht 

eering in the Sierra Nevada 
is the single volume of literary work 
which this strong and gifted man 
permitted himself in his active career 
as a scientist. Most of the sketches, 
fourteen in number, were originally 
published in the Atlantic Monthly in 
the sixties, and four editions of the 
book were brought out by James R. 
Osgood & Co., then publishers of 
that magazine, previous to 1874. 
Nine of the sketches bear date pre- 
vious to 1866, when King was in his 

* Reprinted from The New York Times, 
Saturday Supplement, January 10, 1903. A 
review of the fifth edition of Mountaineering 
in the Sierra Nevada^ by Clarence King. 
New York : Charles Scribner's Sons. 1902. 


King's ''Mountaineering" 

twenty-fifth year, and one gets a bet- 
ter notion of the writer by keeping 
this fact in mind. It is revealing to 
remember that the intercourse of the 
reader is with a lad but two years 
out of the Sheffield School at Yale. 
It is significant, too, of the reach 
and energy of his remarkable nature 
that he so early had sought the scene 
of his work and study on the Pacific 
Slope with the purpose of making 
himself acquainted with the geog- 
raphy and the geology of the route 
across the continent and had trav- 
ersed that route in an emigrant train. 
On the journey he gathered the in- 
formation on which was based the 
plan, afterward carried out under his 
guidance, for a geologic and topo- 
graphic survey of the fortieth paral- 
allel, a cross section of the whole 
system of the Cordillera of Western 
America, probably the most impor- 
tant single contribution ever made to 

Edward Gary 

the scientific knowledge of the conti- 
nent. And this in turn was the basis 
of the formation of the United States 
Geological Survey, organized in 1878, 
of which he was for four years the 
Ghief. In these papers, then, we 
have the first fruits of King's pecul- 
iarly rich and variously endowed in- 

The first paper. The Range, was 
probably written latest as an intro- 
duction to the others : at least, the 
first half of it, which is a succinct 
statement of the geologic history of 
the western part of the continent 
from the base of the Sierra Nevada 
to the Pacific. We wish it were prac- 
ticable to quote these dozen pages, 
they are so satisfactory as the pre- 
sentation in lucid form and logical 
order of a mighty chapter in the 
records of the planet. The reader 
with the slightest equipment of sci- 
entific imagination rises from their 


King's ** Mountaineering'' 

perusal with the progressive changes 
in the vast dynamic drama clearly 
and impressively portrayed on the 
tablets of his memory. The region 
to which they relate ceases to be a 
mere stretch of the earth's surface, 
varied with mountain and plain. It 
becomes the present stage of the re- 
sults of forces more than world-old, 
forces that were not new even when 
the planet had not yet been gathered 
from the nebulae, and which are still 
working their tireless will toward fur- 
ther results that may not be imagined. 
The vivid interest and the splendid 
scope of the impression thus be- 
stowed on the mind of the reader are 
enhanced by and, in no small de- 
gree, are due to, King's remarkable 
literary gift. 

There is in these pages a vital har- 
mony between the subject matter and 
the form. It cannot be analyzed ; 
much less can it be described or ac- 

Edward Gary 

counted for ; least of all can it be re- 
sisted. It stimulates and energizes 
while it charms the mind. It gives, 
in its own way and in its field, an in- 
tellectual reaction akin to that given 
by certain passages of Shakespeare 
in which he explores the depths of 
human consciousness, and every in- 
flection, every cadence thrills with the 
solemnity and the vastness of the sub- 
ject. If any of our readers think that 
this is an extravagant suggestion, we 
invite them — and if they accept the 
invitation they will thank us for it — 
to read the paper we refer to, and, 
after reading the whole of the little 
volume, to return to this chapter and 
test the renewed impression. 

Quotation is possible only in limited 
amount, and it must necessarily be 
somewhat misleading, since it cannot 
give the effect of the whole. But 
we venture a brief passage describ- 
ing the volcanic period intervening 

King's ''Mountaineering" 

between the uplifting of the Sierra at 
the ocean's edge and the glacial pe- 
riod, including the appearance of the 
Coast Ranges : 

" In the late tertiary period a chap- 
ter of very remarkable events oc- 
curred. For a second time the evenly 
laid beds of the sea-bottom were 
crumpled by the sinking of the earth. 
The ocean flowed back into deeper 
and narrower limits, . and, fronting 
the Sierra Nevada, appeared the pres- 
ent system of Coast Ranges. The 
intermediate depression, or sea-trough 
as I like to call it, is the valley of 
California, and therefore a more re- 
cent continental feature than the 
Sierra Nevada. At once, then, from 
the folded rocks of the Coast Ranges, 
from the Sierra summits and the in- 
land plateaus, and from numberless 
vents caused by the fierce dynamical 
action, there poured out a general 

Edward Cary 

deluge of melted rock. From the 
bottom of the sea sprang up those 
fountains of lava whose cooled mate- 
rial forms many of the islands of the 
Pacific, and all along the coast of 
America, like a system of answering 
beacons, blazed up volcanic chimneys. 
The rent mountains glowed with out- 
pourings of molten stone. Sheets of 
lava poured down the slopes of the 
Sierra, covering an immense propor- 
tion of its surface ; only the high 
granites and metamorphic peaks 
reaching above the deluge. Rivers 
and lakes floated up in a cloud of 
steam and were gone for ever. The 
misty sky of these volcanic days 
glowed with innumerable lurid reflec- 
tions, and at intervals along the crest 
of the range great cones arose, black- 
ening the sky with their plumes of 
mineral smoke. At length, having 
exhausted themselves, the volcanoes 
burned lower and lower, and at last 

King's ''Mountaineering*' 

by far the greater number went out 
altogether. With a tendency to ex- 
tremes which 'development' geolo- 
gists would hesitate to admit, nature 
passed under the dominion of ice and 

As an example of style of King in 
quite a distinct direction, we allow 
ourselves one other short quotation, 
a description of the effect of the view 
from the top of Mount Whitney : 

" The day was cloudless and the 
sky, milder than is common over these 
extreme heights, warmed to a mellow 
glow and rested in softening beauty 
over minaret and dome. Air and 
light seemed melted together, even 
the wild rocks springing up all about 
us wore an aspect of aerial delicacy. 
Around the wide panorama, half low 
desert, half rugged granite moun- 
tains, each detail was observable, but 

n a Mountain Camp 

Edward Cary 

a uniform luminous medium toned 
without obscuring the field of vision. 
That fearful sense of wreck and deso- 
lation, of a world crushed into frag- 
ments, of the ice chisel which, unseen, 
has wrought this strange mountain 
sculpture, all the sensations of power 
and tragedy I have invariably felt be- 
fore on high peaks were totally forgot- 
ten. Now it was like an opal world, 
submerged in a sea of dreamy light, 
down through whose motionless, 
transparent depths I became con- 
scious of sunken ranges, great hollows 
of undiscernible depth, reefs of pearly 
granite, as clear and delicate as the 
coral banks in a tropical ocean. It 
was not like a haze in the lower world, 
which veils away distance into a soft 
vanishing perspective ; there was no 
mist, no vagueness, no loss of form or 
fading of outline — only a strange 
harmonizing of earth and air. Shad- 
ows were faint, yet defined, lights 

King's *' Mountaineering" 

visible, but most exquisitely mod- 
ulated. The hollow blue which over 
Mount Tyndall led the eye up into 
vacant solitudes was here replaced by 
a sense of sheltering nearness, a cer- 
tain dove-colored obscurity in the 
atmosphere which seemed to filter 
the sunlight of all its harsher proper- 

The reader can gather from these 
imperfect examples what is the charm 
of King's descriptive writing. His 
narrative is not less attractive. We 
know of no writing devoted to climb- 
ing that Is more satisfying, that brings 
the thing more clearly to the view or 
enlists more closely the sympathetic 
interest. A considerable part of the 
book is occupied with personal adven- 
ture and with character sketches, 
which are excellent in their way. No 
tale of escape from robbers was ever 
more thrillingly and compellingly told 

Edward Cary 

than ** Kaweah's Run." Few more 
realizable pictures of strange human 
life were ever painted than those of 
the Newtys of Pike and the artist of 
Cut-off Copples's. Indeed, quite apart 
from its rare literary merit which jus- 
tifies its claim as an American classic, 
and the peculiar vividness and scope 
of scientific statement, the book has 
a unique value for the light it throws 
on a vanished life in a region at once 
important and picturesque. 


Clarence King — Geologist 

Samuel Franklin Emmons 


Clarence King — Geologist * 

CLARENCE KING was born at 
Newport, Rhode Island, on 
the 6th day of January, 1842. He 
was the only son of James Rivers 
and Florence Little King. His an- 
cestors were among the early settlers 
of New England, and all, as far 
as known, of English extraction. 
Among them were an unusual num- 
ber of cultivated men, graduates 
of colleges, or distinguished in the 
learned professions, in whom can be 
found traces of the many and varied 
accomplishments in science, litera- 
ture and the arts that were so 
happily combined in their brilliant 

*A partial reprint of an article published in 
the American Journal of Science^ March, 1902. 

Clarence King — Geologist 

Daniel King, the emigrant, who 
came to Lynn, Massachusetts, in 
1637, was a younger son of Ralphe 
Kinge of Watford, Hertfordshire, 
England. His great-grandson, Ben- 
jamin, moved from Salem, Massa- 
chusetts, to Newport, Rhode Island, 
and, according to family tradition, 
was a man of scientific tastes, who 
occupied himself with philosophical 
instruments and assisted Benjamin 
Franklin in his early experiments in 
electricity. Samuel King of Newport, 
son of the latter and great-grand- 
father of Clarence, was a portrait- 
painter of merit, who numbered 
among his pupils Washington All- 
ston, and Malbone, the miniaturist. 
On his mother's side, one of King's 
great-grandfathers, William Little, 
was a graduate of Yale in 1777, and 
received an honorary degree from 
Harvard in 1786. Another, Ashur 
Robbins, graduated from Yale in 

Samuel Franklin Emmons 

1772, was United States Senator 
from Rhode Island 1825-39, and 
received the degree of LL.D. from 
Brown in 1835. His grandfather, 
William Little, Jr., who died early 
in life, was noted as a linguist and 
a scholar. His grandmother, Mrs. 
Sophia Little, poet and philanthro- 
pist, was a woman of remarkable 
public spirit, energy and decision of 
character, who retained her mental 
and physical vigor in a most remark- 
able degree up to the time of her 
death in 1893, in her ninety-fifth 

His immediate King ancestors 
were pioneer merchants in the then 
highly remunerative China trade, his 
grandfather, Samuel Vernon King, 
having been as early as 1803 ^ part- 
ner in the commercial house of Tal- 
bot, Olyphant & King. Four of the 
latter's sons succeeded him in that 
business, the house later becoming 

Clarence King — Geologist 

known as King & Company. James, 
the second son, married at the early 
age of twenty-one, and was obliged to 
leave his young wife before the birth 
of his first child, Clarence, in order 
to take the place of his elder brother 
in China. By a singular fatality, 
three out of the four brothers died in 
the far East, and the house of King 
& Company became bankrupt during 
the crisis of 1857 through the loss of 
one of the company's steamers, which, 
under the charge of a confidential 
English clerk (also named King) was 
carrying a large amount of specie to 
meet their liabilities at another port. 
In this disaster was involved the 
property of James, which had re- 
mained in the firm since his death at 
Amoy, China, in 1848. 

The young mother, left a widow at 

twenty-two, devoted herself to the 

education of her only son, learning 

with an inherited facility both classical 


Samuel Franklin Emmons 

and modern languages that she might 
teach them in turn to him, and thus 
was founded a close intellectual com- 
panionship which lasted until his 

King's early boyhood days were 
spent at Newport, but he received 
his principal school education in the 
endowed high-school at Hartford. 

As a very young child he showed 
symptoms of a decided bent toward 
the study of natural phenomena, 
which was further developed during 
long summer vacations, spent in fish- 
ing, hunting and botanizing in the 
Green Mountains. 

In 1859 1^^ became a member of 
the Sheffield Scientific School, and 
during the two following years ac- 
quired a systematic grounding in the 
sciences of geology and mineralogy 
under the inspiring teachings of James 
D. Dana and George J. Brush, at 
that time their foremost exponents. 

Clarence King — Geologist 

Amonor his fellow-students who have 
since become eminent in their respec- 
tive professions were O. C. Marsh, 
Arnold Hague and Samuel Parsons. 
He graduated in 1862 with the de- 
gree of B.S., being among the first 
students of the Scientific School to 
receive a degree from the faculty of 
Yale College. 

During his college course, he was 
a leader among his mates in athletic 
sports, as well as in study of nature, 
being captain of a baseball team and 
stroke oar of a racing crew. 

During the winter following his 
graduation, he was, for a time, a stu- 
dent of glaciology under Agassiz, and 
later became a devotee of the Rus- 
kinian schools of art study under the 
leadership of Russell Sturgis. 

In May, 1863, in company with 

his Hfelong friend, James T. Gardiner, 

whose health had broken down under 

too close devotion to his studies, 


Samuel Franklin Emmons 

King started on a horseback trip 
across the continent. Upon reaching 
St. Joseph, Missouri, then the west- 
ern limit of railroad communications, 
they were invited to join the party 
of a well-to-do emigrant family, whose 
favor King had unconsciously gained 
by his characteristically tender care 
for their children during the latter 
part of the railroad journey. Their 
line of march followed, in general, 
what was known as the Old Fremont 
route, up the North Platte river and 
the Humboldt river in Nevada. The 
rate of travel of such a party was 
necessarily very slow, and the young 
explorers, being mounted on good 
horses of their own, were able to 
make excursions into the neighboring 
mountains for the purposes of ex- 
ploration and study, which, owing to 
the hostility of the Indians, were not 
always without danger. 

After having crossed the deserts of 

Clarence King — Geologist 

Nevada, they left the party to visit 
the then famous Comstock Lode. On 
the night of their arrival in Virginia 
City, the house in which they were 
staying caught fire, and all their be- 
longings were lost. Nothing daunted. 
King went to work at days' wages in 
a quartz mill to earn sufficient funds 
to enable them to continue their 
journey. In a few weeks they started 
again, crossing the Sierra Nevada on 
foot, and proceeding by boat from 
Sacramento to San Francisco. On 
this trip an incident which led to 
their making the acquaintance of 
Prof. William H. Brewer, then as- 
sistant on the Geological Survey of 
California, proved to be the turning- 
point in their careers. 

King's professional work as a ge- 
ologist may be said to have com- 
menced with his acceptance of the 
position of volunteer assistant ge- 
ologist on the Geological Survey of 

Samuel Franklin Emmons 

California under Prof. J. D. Whitney. 
During the three years that this con- 
nection lasted the work was largely 
exploratory, for as yet even the ge- 
ography of the country was but imper- 
fectly known. It thus gave full scope 
to the enterprise, energy and powers 
of endurance that characterized him 
during his whole life. In spite of 
his youth, he soon became a leader, 
especially in the exploration of the 
high mountain mass of the southern 
Sierras discovered by him, whose 
highest peak. Mount Whitney, still 
holds the palm as the highest point 
within the United States (excluding 
Alaska). During the winter of 1 865- 
66 he also made an exploration of the 
desert regions of southern California 
and Arizona as scientific aide to 
General McDowell, which involved 
much hardship and no little danger. 

Of even more importance for 
his future work was the familiar 

Clarence King — Geologist 

knowledge of the different varieties of 
volcanic rocks, acquired during field 
studies around the extinct volcanoes 
of the northern Sierras and in associ- 
ation with his friend Baron von Richt- 
hofen, and in which for many years 
he stood pre-eminent among geolo- 
gists of his time. 

King's earliest scientific achieve- 
ment on the Survey was the discov- 
ery, during the study of the gold 
mines of the Mariposa estate in 1863, 
of fossils in the highly metamor- 
phosed slates of the gold belt of Cali. 
fornia, a discovery that solved the 
problem of their age which had long 
puzzled Western geologists. 

In the autumn of 1866, after his 
return to the east, he judged that 
political conditions were then most 
favorable for the realization of a plan 
that had gradually been shaping itself 
in his mind ever since he first crossed 
the continent, viz.: that of connecting 

Samuel Franklin Emmons 

the geology of the East with that 
of the West by making, under Gov- 
ernment auspices, a survey across the 
whole Cordilleran system at its wid- 
est point. 

There had been considerable appre- 
hension during the dark days of the 
Civil War lest California, physically 
isolated as she was at that time, should 
separate from the other States and set 
up an independent government. The 
subsidizing of the transcontinental 
railroads was the first step towards 
overcoming this isolation and bind- 
ing her more closely to the East. In 
King's judgment a second, hardly less 
important one, would be the develop- 
ment of the mineral resources of the 
country thus to be opened up ; and 
this could best be accomplished by 
making a thorough geological survey 
of that region. 

During the winter of 1 866-67, which 
he spent at Washington, he was so 

Clarence King — Geologist 

successful in impressing this view 
upon Congress, that not only was 
an ample provision made for the 
geological exploration planned, but 
King himself was placed in abso- 
lute charge of it, subject only to 
the administrative control of Gen- 
eral A. A. Humphreys, Chief of En- 

In these days, when the West is 
covered by a network of railways, it 
is difficult to conceive the obstacles 
that had to be encountered at that 
time in carrying out so ambitious 
and, as some then thought, so chi- 
merical a plan as that which King 
had conceived. Of the transconti- 
nental roads, but a few miles at either 
end had yet been constructed. The 
territories of Utah and Nevada were 
represented on most maps of the 
day as one broad desert, and it was 
doubted whether sufficient water and 
grass could be found there to sup- 

Samuel Franklin Emmons 

port a camping party. Everything 
had to be specially created for the 
purpose, and, after the party had 
reached California over the Panama 
route, it took three months to pre- 
pare the necessary camp outfit and 
to carry them to their field of work. 
Even after this work was well under 
way there were times when it seemed 
that obstacles ahead were almost too 
great to be overcome, but King's 
energy and resourcefulness were 
equal to every emergency, and he 
soon succeeded in inspiring all the 
members of his party with such 
confidence in his leadership and in 
imparting to them such measure of 
his own enthusiasm that they never 
faltered in their devotion to the 
work, even though the three years 
originally planned were subsequently 
extended, by the unsolicited action of 
Congress, to seven. 

In recognition of the legitimacy of 

Clarence King — Geologist 

the public demand for a direct appli- 
cation of the results of government 
geological work, King pushed first to 
completion a scientific study of the 
ore deposits of the region surveyed ; 
more particularly of the great Com- 
stock Lode, whose enormous silver 
product was then disturbing the 
monetary system of the country. 
This work, written conjointly by 
himself and James D. Hague, ap- 
peared late in 1870 under the title 
of Mining Industry. It was de- 
scribed by one of its most capa- 
ble critics as " by itself a scientific 
manual of American precious metal 
mining and metallurgy." It is con- 
sidered classic among the works in 
its line and has served as a model for 
similar monographs which have since 
been published under Government au- 
spices and done so much to raise the 
mining industry of America to its 
present high position. 

Samuel Franklin Emmons 

In 1870 he discovered on the slopes 
of Mt. Shasta the first actual glaciers 
known to exist in the United States ; 
and in their study made observations 
that are credited with first suggesting 
the true origin of the kettle-holes and 
kames of New England. His later 
discovery in the summer of 1874, that 
a line of islands along the southern 
coast of New England formed a part of 
its terminal moraine, had much influ- 
ence in inducing the later systematic 
studies of the continental glacier. 

The field-work of the Survey was 
completed in 1873, but it was 1877 
before the respective specialists had 
been able to work up the amount of 
material gathered, for it was one of 
King's fundamental principles that 
abundant collections should be made 
in the field to illustrate all the natural 
phenomena observed, and the litho- 
logical collections alone numbered 
about five thousand specimens. 

Clarence King — Geologist 

In 1874, he sent one member of his 
corps to Europe to study the methods 
of European geological surveys and 
to obtain the best and latest geological 
literature, with which at that time 
American libraries were but scantily 
provided. He, also, instructed him 
to confer with Prof. Zirkel, then the 
greatest microscopical petrographer 
of the day, and to induce him, if pos- 
sible, to visit America and study in 
the presence of the collectors their 
collection of rock specimens, for at 
that time no American geologist had 
any practical knowledge of this new 
branch of geology. From this visit 
resulted Zirkel's volume on micro- 
scopical petrography, which marked 
the opening of a new era in geolog- 
ical study in the United States. 

King reserved for himself the final 
summarizing of the work of his assist- 
ants and the drawing of general con- 
clusions and theoretical deductions 

Samuel Franklin Emmons 

therefrom. This he wrote in the 
winter of 1877-78, and published in 
a quarto volume of more than eight 
hundred pages under the title of 
Systematic Geology, It has been 
characterized as the most masterly- 
summary of a great piece of geologi- 
cal field-work that has ever been 
written, and is used to this day by 
university professors of geology as a 
model for their advanced students. 

King's crowning service to geo- 
logical science in America followed 
shortly after the completion of the 
Fortieth Parallel work. After two 
of his field seasons had demonstrated 
the practicability of geological map- 
making in the West, the Wheeler 
Survey was inaugurated under the 
Engineer Department of the Army, 
and the already existing Hayden 
Survey later adopted his example in 
making topographical maps as a basis 
for its geology, employing for this 

Clarence King — Geologist 

purpose the Fortieth Parallel topog- 
raphers after their term of service in 
the latter Survey had expired. The 
work of these two organizations be- 
came so popular that each desired to 
cover the whole of the unsurveyed 
area in the West, and their rivalry in 
time became so intense that the influ- 
ence of either party with Congress 
was used to curtail the appropriation 
allotted to the other. As a final result 
of this rivalry the time came when 
there was serious danger that all 
government aid for geological work 
would be cut off. It was mainly 
through King's influence among the 
leading scientific men of the country 
and his tactful management of affairs 
in Congress that this crisis was 
averted. The question was referred 
to the National Academy of Sciences, 
and their recommendations, which 
were on lines laid down by him, were 
finally adopted by Congress, and on 

Samuel Franklin Emmons 

March 3, 1879, ^ ^^^ ^^^ passed 
establishing the United States Ge- 
ological Survey as a bureau of 
the Interior Department. President 
Hayes, after consultation with the 
best scientists of the country, ap- 
pointed Clarence ^ing as the first 
director of the new Bureau. King 
accepted the appointment with the 
distinct understanding that he should 
remain at its head only long enough 
to appoint its staff, organize its work, 
and guide its forces into full activity. 
At the close of Hayes's term, he 
offered his resignation, but at the 
President's request, he held over until 
after the inauguration of Garfield. 
The latter accepted it, on March 1 2th, 
1 88 1, in an autograph letter, express- 
ing in the warmest terms his apprecia- 
tion of the efficiency of King's service 
and his regret that he did not find it 
possible to remain longer in charge 

of the Geological Bureau. 


Clarence King — Geologist 

Brief as was the duration of his ad- 
ministration, his influence, being ex- 
ercised at the critical period of the 
Survey's existence, left a lasting im- 
press upon it. He outlined the broad, 
general principles upon which its work 
should be conducted ; and its subse- 
quent success has been in a great 
measure dependent upon the faithful- 
ness with which these principles have 
been followed by his successors. 

Foreseeing the important part that 
the development of its mineral re- 
sources was destined to play in the 
future progress of the country, he 
judged that, while not neglecting 
the more purely scientific side, its 
work should be primarily devoted to 
the direct application of geological 
results to the development of these 
resources. It has been because the 
people at large have realized its prac- 
tical success in this line that the Sur- 
vey has been more richly endowed, 

Samuel Franklin Emmons 

and thus better able to carry on its 
purely scientific work, than any or- 
ganization of its kind in the world. 

King set the very highest standard 
for its work, and showed remarkable 
judgment and knowledge of character 
in his selection of the men who, in 
their respective branches, were best 
fitted to keep it up, as nearly as pos- 
sible, to this standard. In his estab- 
lishment of a physical laboratory for 
the determination of the physical con- 
stants of rocks, he took a step in the 
direction of the application of methods 
of exact science to geological problems 
so far in advance of the average stand- 
ards of the day that its importance was 
not generally realized until long after. 

In all his after-life, he maintained 
a lively interest in the work of the 
Survey, and kept closely in touch 
with his successors in ofifice, who fre- 
quently consulted him on important 
questions of policy. 

Clarence King — Geologist 

After his retirement from govern- 
ment service, he came much less fre- 
quently into personal contact with 
scientific men, for he had little sym- 
pathy with that phase of scientific 
activity which is represented by acad- 
emies and societies. 

He had been elected a fellow of 
the Geological Society of London in 
1874, and of the National Academy 
of Sciences in 1876. He was, also, 
a life member of the American Insti- 
tute of Mining Engineers, but he 
rarely attended the meetings of any 
of these associations and never con- 
tributed to their proceedings. He 
found his recreation from business 
occupations rather in social inter- 
course with his many friends and 
admirers in the literary and artistic 
world, yet he was not forgetful of his 
chosen profession, and through all 
the varied occupations of an intensely 
busy life he still continued his inves- 

Samuel Franklin Emmons 

tigations Into the deeper problems of 
geology, to carry on which had been 
one of his motives for giving up ad- 
ministrative duties on the Geological 

In his financial affairs, King had 
difificulties to contend with that few 
of his friends realized, and which 
would have completely discouraged 
a man of less sanguine and buoyant 

At two successive periods In his 
youth, those to whom he would natu- 
rally have looked for financial support 
were overwhelmed by commercial dis- 
aster, leaving him to provide not only 
for his own wants but for those of 
other members of his family. In his 
later life circumstances entirely be- 
yond his control more than once baf- 
fled or annulled the efforts he was 
making to establish himself on such 
a financial basis that he would feel 
justified In applying his entire time 

Clarence King — Geologist 

to his chosen pursuits in science and 
literature. He was consequently 
obliged to devote more of his time 
and energy to the directly remunera- 
tive side of his profession — that of 
the mining engineer — than he other- 
wise would have done. This was es- 
pecially true of his later years, though 
even in earlier life his services had 
been not infrequently sought in cases 
of great moment. 

He owed his prominent position in 
this profession not alone to his ability 
and experience as a geologist, which 
exceeded that of most of his fellow- 
workers, but to his high standard 
of personal integrity and the rapid- 
ity and acuteness of his judgment. 
These qualities were early illustrated 
in an incident which gave him per- 
haps greater prominence in the finan- 
cial world than any other act of his life 
— his exposure of the diamond fraud 
of 1872. An apparently well authen- 

Samuel Franklin Emmons 

ticated discovery had been made 
of diamonds in sufficient quantity to 
affect the diamond markets of the 
world. Although its position was 
kept carefully concealed, through the 
intimate knowledge of the country 
possessed by his assistants, King 
was enabled to determine that it 
must be located in an area already 
surveyed by them, and at once fitted 
out a party to examine it. When 
this examination, undertaken prima- 
rily in the interest of science, had 
proved that the alleged discovery was 
an elaborate and skillfully planned 
fraud, it was his prompt action and un- 
shakable integrity alone that averted 
a financial disaster which threatened 
to rival that of the Mississippi Bubble 
of Law. 

In the many important mining 

suits in which he served as scientific 

adviser, and which involved most 

difficult and complicated problems of 


Clarence King — Geologist 

geological structure, combined with 
their still more difficult interpreta- 
tion under the terms of the United 
States mining laws, he was generally 
intrusted with the legal as well as the 
scientific management of the case. As 
he made it a practice to never trust 
the eye of another, but to verify every 
fact by his own personal observation, 
he obtained such a thorough know- 
ledge of his subject that the most skill- 
ful lawyers were unable to shake his 
testimony by their cross-examination. 
In his examination of mines, he vis- 
ited almost every part of the Ameri- 
can continent, and thus acquired a 
personal familiarity with deep-seated 
phenomena that it seldom falls to the 
lot of a geologist to obtain. Hence 
he was exceptionally well equipped 
In this, as in other respects, to carry 
on the Investigations he had under- 
taken into the problems of the inte- 
rior of the earth. 


Samuel Franklin Emmons 

In 1890, Brown University con- 
ferred upon him the honorary degree 
of LL. D. That he received no pub- 
lic recognition of his later scientific 
work may perhaps be ascribed to 
its peculiarly unobtrusive character 
which gave rise to the erroneous im- 
pression that he had abandoned sci- 
ence altogether. 

It is difficult to fairly judge King's 
scientific publications in the light of 
the present day, for they were writ- 
ten just before the opening of an 
era of great change in the methods 
of geological investigation, a change 
which has thus far proved destructive 
rather than constructive in its re- 
sults. Many of the fundamental theo- 
ries of geology which prevailed at 
that time have been disproved or 
abandoned, while as yet there is 
no general acceptance of those which 
have been put forward to replace 


Clarence King — Geologist 

In June, 1877, he delivered the ad- 
dress at the thirty-first anniversary 
of the Sheffield Scientific School on 
*' Catastrophism and the Evolution 
of Environment." It was a protest 
against the extreme uniformitarian- 
ism of that day, based largely on 
the geological history of the Cor- 
dilleran System as developed during 
the work of the Fortieth Parallel 
Survey. This uniformitarianism he 
characteristically described as " the 
harmless undestructive rate (of geo- 
logical change) of to-day, prolonged 
backward into the deep past." He 
contended that while the old belief 
in catastrophic changes had properly 
disappeared, yet geological history, 
as he read it, showed that the rate of 
change had not been so uniform as 
was claimed by the later school. 
While a given amount of energy 
must evidently be expended, he rea- 
soned, to produce a given effect, yet 

Samuel Franklin Emmons 

the expenditure of this energy might 
be extended over a very long time, or 
crowded into a comparatively short 
one ; and his observations showed 
him that at certain periods in geo- 
logical history, the rate of change was 
accelerated to such a degree that the 
effect upon life produced was some- 
what catastrophic in its nature. 

Of his great work upon systematic 
geology, the larger part — that which 
outlines the geological history of the 
Cordilleran System — stands as firmly 
to-day as it did when written, as 
a correct and authoritative exposi- 
tion. In view of the circumstances 
under which the field-work was origi- 
nally done, its essential correctness, 
even in matters of minor detail, is 
considered surprising by those who 
have since had occasion to make de- 
tailed studies of portions of the area 

In the more theoretical sections, 

Clarence King — Geologist 

while he necessarily did not take into 
account the great number of new facts 
which have been established by more 
recent work, especially in the domain 
of microscopic petrography, he showed 
such grasp of his subjects, and such 
originality and power of thought, that 
his views constituted not only an im- 
portant advance over those of the 
day, but they were suggestive of the 
lines of investigation that have been 
most fruitful in the modern advance 
of geological science. 

For instance, in his discussion of 
the reason for the changes from acid 
to basic eruptives within the indi- 
vidual groups, which he proposed as 
a variation from the natural order in 
age of volcanic rocks, as laid down 
by Richthofen, he advanced views 
very suggestive of the modern con- 
ception of differentiation in eruptive 

Again, in endeavoring to account 

Samuel Franklin Emmons 

for the formation of those types of 
granite that pass into gneiss and crys- 
talline schists of essentially the same 
chemical composition, but which show 
no evidence of having been subjected 
to such excessive heat as would pro- 
duce liquefaction, he called in the 
agency of the immense pressure to 
which such rocks would necessarily 
have been subjected. While the 
long years of combined field-work 
and microscopic study of modern pe- 
trographers, made since King's theory 
was enunciated, have proved that the 
structure of crystalline schists is due 
to pressure, they do not go so far 
as he did in assuming that the end 
product of such mechanical pressure 
might be granite. 

Perhaps his most enduring theo- 
retical discussion of that time was 
that on hypogeal fusion, in which, 
accepting the validity of the physical 
arguments against the fluid interior 

Clarence King — Geologist 

of the earth, he discusses and rejects 
Hopkins' theory of residual lakes 
and Mallet's conception of local lakes 
produced by mechanical crushing. 
He then advances an hypothesis of 
his own which may be called that of a 
critical shell, or couche, between the 
permanently solid interior and the 
outer cfust of the earth, which is 
above the temperature of fusion but 
restrained from fusion by pressure. 
In this, therefore, the opposing forces 
of pressure and temperature hold 
themselves reciprocally in equilibrium, 
but when this equilibrium is disturbed, 
as for instance, by a sudden change 
of the relative position of isobars and 
isotherms — say by local erosion and 
rapid transfer of load within limited 
areas — local lakes of fusion would be 
created. Iddings, in his Origin of 
Igneous Rocks, says of King's treat- 
ment of this subject : '* By the breadth 
of his treatment and by better and 

Samuel Franklin Emmons 

fuller data he advanced the problem 
of the origin of the various kinds of 
volcanic rocks far beyond the point 
reached by any of his predecessors." 

In his chapter on Orography, King 
says, in speaking of the causes of 
crust motion : *' I can plainly see that 
were the critical shell established its 
reactions might thread the tangled 
maze of phenomena successfully, but 
I prefer to build no farther until the 
underlying physics are worked out." 
He was at that time already very 
strongly impressed with the imperfec- 
tion of the then existing knowledge 
of terrestrial thermo-dynamics and 
the indispensability of more exact 
data in this branch of science for a 
rational discussion of the fundamental 
problems of geology. 

This idea found a practical out- 
come a few years later in the estab- 
lishment of a physical laboratory, 
immediately after his assumption of 

Clarence King — Geologist 

the Directorship of the United States 
Geological Survey. His earnestness 
and energy is shown by the fact that 
instead of waiting for the slow action 
of Congress, he defrayed the cost of 
the delicate apparatus necessary for 
this work out of his own pocket. The 
credit of the brilliant physical in- 
vestigations carried on in that labora- 
tory is naturally due to Professors 
Barus and Hallock, who conducted 
them, but it was King's acumen and 
good judgment that was responsible 
for their selection, and his action 
that made it possible for them to 
carry on their work. To himself, as 
he says ten years later in his paper 
on ''The Age of the Earth," * he re- 
served the privilege of "making geo- 
logical applications of the laboratory 
results." The experirnents on the 
physical constants of rocks contem- 

* The American Journal of Science^ vol. 
xlv., Jan., 1893. 


Samuel Franklin Emmons 

plated were to be directed to the 
determination (a) of the phenomena 
of fusion, (If) of those of elasticity 
and viscosity, and (c) of those of 
heat conductivity, each considered 
with special reference to their depend- 
ence on temperature and pressure. 

The paper on ** The Age of the 
Earth," mentioned above, is his only 
published result, and was but an ear- 
nest of what he had planned to do. 
This was an attempt to advance to 
new precision Kelvin's estimate of 
the Earth's age deduced from terres- 
trial refrigeration. It consists mainly 
of a mathematical discussion of the 
Earth's thermal age as determined 
from various postulates presented by 
Laplace, Geo. H. Darwin and Lord 
Kelvin, and based on Barus' deter- 
minations of the latent heat of fusion, 
specific heat, melted and solid, and 
volume of expansion between the 
solid and melted state, of the rock 
^^ 289 

Clarence King — Geologist 

diabase. This is followed by a criti- 
cal examination of other methods of 
determining the Earth's age — by tidal 
retardation, by sun-age and by varia- 
tions of eccentricity. After a careful 
scrutiny of all the data on the effect 
of pressure on the temperature of 
consoHdation, King concluded that, 
without further experimental data, 
'*we have no warrant for extending 
the Earth's age beyond 24 millions of 
years," an estimate which, as the re- 
sult of a somewhat more extended 
discussion, was afterwards confirmed 
by Lord Kelvin himself. {Smith- 
soman Report, 1897, p. 345.) 

His further investigations along 
the same general lines on the funda- 
mental principles of upheaval and 
subsidence were in an advanced stage 
of completion when they were cut off 
by his untimely death. 

It is practically impossible to ade- 
quately characterize King's literary 

Samuel Franklin Emmons 

work, for the greater part of what 
he did was never published, and 
very likely never even written. It 
was his habit to work out in his 
head any subject which interested 
him, even down to its minutest de- 
tails, before putting a pen to paper ; 
once this was accomplished to his 
satisfaction, he wrote with such ease 
and rapidity that the words actually 
flowed from his pen. Probably one 
reason that he did not write more 
was that his own literary taste was 
so refined and exacting that he was 
never thoroughly satisfied with his 
own conceptions. In his scientific 
writing, there was generally some 
imperious necessity that made it 
urgent upon him to give his results 
to the public in spite of the imper- 
fections he might still see in them, 
but in literature such necessity rarely 
appeared. What he did publish he 
himself held in comparatively light 

Clarence King — Geologist 

esteem, but in the opinion of the 
best literary writers of the day, with 
most of whom he was on terms of 
friendly and intimate intercourse, his 
writings, and even more his affluent 
and delightful talks, disclosed a liter- 
ary quality that might have given 
him a foremost place among Ameri- 
can men of letters. 

He was a man of remarkable in- 
tellectual versatility, and has been 
probably as widely known and ap- 
preciated for his literary as for his 
scientific ability, though his published 
literary writings have been singularly 
few in number. The recollection of 
his consummate art as a conversation- 
alist and raconteur, of the delicate 
wit and irrepressible humor that 
showed itself at times even in his 
scientific writings, of the kindly spirit 
and refined courtesy that character- 
ized his every action, and of his 
irresistibly attractive smile, has left 

Samuel Franklin Emmons 

behind a mingled feeling of pleasure 
and regret among all who had the 
privilege of knowing him. 

King was a man of remarkably ro- 
bust physique, and showed through- 
out his physically arduous life powers 
of endurance that are rarely equaled; 
yet it was one of the penalties of 
the highly sensitive and nervous 
organization, which rendered possi- 
ble his marvelously acute and delicate 
perception, that he was subject to 
sudden and almost unaccountable 
break-downs in which he suffered 
intensely. His last severe illness 
was an attack of pneumonia in the 
early part of 1 901, which followed 
an examination of a mining property 
during very inclement weather. 
From this he recovered, but tuber- 
culosis, the seeds of which were 
supposed to have been sown during 
a trip to the Klondike during the 
previous summer, made such rapid 

Clarence King — Geologist 

progress during the following months 
that, after several changes of climate 
in the vain hope of ameliorating his 
condition, he finally passed away, 
quietly and without suffering, on the 
24th day of December in the year 
1 901. 

It was part of his characteristic 
unselfishness that he effectually dis- 
couraged all offers on the part of 
friends and relations to visit him — 
visits which might have cheered his 
last lonely days in that far distant 


Clarence King's School-days 
Daniel C. Gilman 


Clarence King's School-days 

CLARENCE KING was brought 
to New Haven by his widowed 
mother some years before he entered 
college, and they dwelt on Church 
Street opposite the house of President 
Woolsey and close by the house of 
Dr. Bacon. His appearance at that 
time I recall distinctly. He had the 
same bright face, winning smile, agile 
movement, that we knew in later life. 
Soon the two, then and always a de- 
voted pair, went to Hartford, where, 
if I am not mistaken, Clarence was a 
pupil in the historic grammar school 
founded by Edward Hopkins. Al- 
though his aptitude for letters was 
inborn and inbred, he chose the 
scientific courses at Yale, in place of 
the academic, and he entered the 
Sheffield Scientific School in 1859. 

Clarence King's School-days 

That department of the college was 
just emerging from its cradle and 
beginning the remarkable progress 
for which it has been in later years 
so highly distinguished. The number 
of students was not large and they 
had easy and familiar access to the 
professors. The name of James D. 
Dana gave prestige to the faculty, 
and he exerted a powerful influence, 
though not by the process of method- 
ical instruction. William D. Whitney, 
the eminent philologist (with whose 
brother, Josiah D. Whitney, the dis- 
tinguished geologist. King was after- 
wards associated on the Pacific 
Coast), was then teaching French 
and German at the Sheffield. George 
J. Brush, already distinguished as a 
mineralogist, was the life of the 
school, and his superb collection of 
minerals was freely opened to all 
qualified inquirers. The chemist was 
Samuel W. Johnson. Chester S. 


Daniel C. Gilman 

Lyman taught practical astronomy, 
and introduced his students to the 
art of making observations in the 
field. William A. Norton taught sur- 
veying. William H. Brewer, who 
had a great deal to do with King at 
a later period, did not join the faculty 
until two years after King had re- 
ceived (in 1862) the diploma of a 
Bachelor of Arts. These names are 
thus recalled in order that some of 
the influences may be remembered 
under which this promising scholar 
was trained. He did well in his 
studies, but, after all, King would have 
risen to distinction without the aid of 
pedagogics. He was alert, indepen- 
dent, quick to receive impressions, 
ready to act on his own impulses, fond 
of literature and of science, with that 
token of genius which is said to be 
** the art of lighting one's own fires." 
In short, he graduated one of the 
most promising, as he became one of 

Clarence King's School-days 

the most brilliant, of the Sheffield 

Not long after his courses were 
finished he set out for California by 
the overland journey, before the rail- 
road was built, expecting there to be- 
come acquainted with J. D. Whitney, 
to whom he carried an introduction. 
James T. Gardiner, his life-long 
friend, went with him. I well re- 
member the letters that came from 
the young geologist describing the 
incidents of his long journey, and I 
hope that their fresh and characteris- 
tic sketches are not lost beyond re- 

This record of his boyish days may 
end here. Others will tell the story 
of his active career, which included a 
survey (with Gardiner) of the Yo- 
semite Valley; mountaineering in the 
Sierras and the ascent of Mount 
Whitney ; the organization and direc- 
tion of the Fortieth Parallel Survey, 

Daniel C Gilman 

and his contributions to its publica- 
tions ; the remarkable detection of 
the diamond fraud ; and finally his 
appointment as the first Director of 
the United States Geological Survey, 
— a remarkable record achieved by 
one whose boyhood was full of prom- 
ise, whose education was as good as 
the country could afford, and whose 
manly energy, enthusiasm, and good 
sense enabled him to overcome great 
difficulties, win encouragement and 
support, and hold a station of respon- 
sibility and influence with credit and 


Biographical Notice 

Rossiter W. Raymond 


Biographical Notice* 

January 6, 1842, at Newport, 
R. I. His ancestors on both sides 
were New Englanders, of English 
blood, and among them not a few dis- 
tinguished themselves in art, science, 
politics or commerce. . . . 

His father died in 1848. The 
young mother, widowed in her twen- 
ty-third year, devoted herself to the 
education of her only son, pursuing 
for herself many studies, that she 
might teach him ; and becorning at 
the outset, as she remained always, 

*A partial reprint from the Transactions 
of the American Institute of Mining En- 
gineers. Certain portions of Dr. Raymond's 
original paper have been omitted because 
dealing with matters already covered by other 

contributors to this volume. 


Biographical Notice 

his sympathetic and competent in- 
tellectual companion. On his part, 
he began as a '* mother s boy " — best 
of all beginnings ! — and as a mother's 
boy, maintaining still in undiminished 
fervor and unstained purity the filial 
reverence and affection of childhood, 
he ended — best of all endings ! 

His early years were spent at New- 
port. At about thirteen he entered 
the High School at Hartford, Conn. 
He had already shown the character- 
istic qualities of physical strength and 
activity ; love of nature and the nat- 
ural sciences (exercised in hunting, 
fishing and botanizing during summer 
vacations in the Green Mountains) ; 
an almost equal passion and appre- 
ciation for literature and art ; great 
powers of entertaining conversation ; 
singularly quick observation and won- 
derful memory, and (as the poet Sted- 
man lately said of him) " the gift of 
friendship" — a gift which Mr. Gard- 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

iner, his schoolmate at Hartford, de- 
clares to have been as marked in him 
at fifteen as at fifty. I cannot do 
better in this connection than quote 
his friend's summary description of 
King at that period : 

** On Saturday, we usually spent 
the whole day walking in the country. 
If any question arose as to any object 
seen during the day, whether we had 
particularly noticed it or not, King 
could always describe it from memory 
with great minuteness. He seemed 
to photograph unconsciously every- 
thing that passed before his eyes, and 
to be able to recall the picture at will. 
He studied enthusiastically the bot- 
any, the bird and animal life, and the 
rocks, of the regions over which we 

'* Already at fifteen, he wrote beau- 
tifully, having been trained in literary 
judgment and skill by his mother, 
who possessed in high degree both 

Biographical Notice 

the faculty of expression and power 
to inspire enthusiasm. From her he 
received also, besides his literary and 
artistic tastes and critical perceptions, 
an ardent hatred of slavery, and a 
clear foresight of the impending ' ir- 
repressible conflict ' of the Civil War." 

In May, 1863, together with his 
friend Gardiner, whose health had 
been somewhat impaired by over- 
study, he started for California, in- 
tending to make the journey on 
horseback from St. Joseph, Mo., then 
the most western railway-terminus. 

This adventurous journey, taken in 
connection with King's subsequent 
career, reminds me irresistibly of a 
feature in the life of General William 
T. Sherman — a man possessed of 
the same tireless activity, hunger 
for new knowledge and faculty of 
perceiving, comprehending, retaining 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

and, at need, effectively utilizing, any 
facts he had encountered, however 
casually. When asked, in his old age, 
how he had dared to cut loose from 
his base of supplies and risk his whole 
army in the bold march from Atlanta 
to the sea, Sherman replied that he 
would not have dared it, in the ab- 
sence of detailed maps and other in- 
formation, but for the circumstance 
that many years before, as a young 
Lieutenant of the Engineer Corps, 
serving in the South, he had studied 
every stream, hill and road in that 
region, and learned, never to forget, 
the difficulties and resources of the 
country ; so that in undertaking what 
seemed to others a blind and hazard- 
ous venture, he " knew what he was 
about." We shall see that King's 
great scientific exploration from the 
Missouri to the Sierra was rendered 
practicable, at the particular period 
of its execution, by reason of the 

Biographical Notice 

early reconnaissance which he had 
made in person. 

On their way to the Golden Gate, 
the two friends accidentally made 
the acquaintance of Prof. William H. 
Brewer (an assistant in the Geological 
Survey of California); and both were 
drawn into the service of that survey, 
then recently organized under Prof. 
J. D. Whitney. 

From a private letter of Prof. Brew- 
er's, I make the following interesting 
quotation : 

** I first met Clarence King and his 
intimate friend, James T. Gardiner, 
on Aug. 30, 1863. I had been mak- 
ing, that summer, a reconnaissance in 
the Sierra Nevada, beginning in the 
extreme southern part, at Tejon, and 
zigzagging six or eight times across 
the divide, my last crossing having 
been from the northern end of Lake 
Tahoe to Forest Hill. My party had 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

been reduced by sickness and other 
causes until, during the last four 
crossings, I had with me my packer 
only. It was my desire to continue 
the reconnaissance northward as far 
as Lassen peak ; but another man, at 
least, was needed — especially as the 
Indians were reported to have broken 
out from Lassen peak to the Shasta 
valley. So I had left my animals 
with my packer at Forest Hill and 
started for San Francisco to see my 
chief, Prof. J. D. Whitney, with re- 
gard to the necessary assistance, and 
to interview the Indian agent and 
the military authorities concerning 
the reported Indian war. 

"On the Sacramento river steamer 
I noticed two young men conversing 
together in low tones, and curiously 
glancing from time to time at me, 
attracted, no doubt, by my costume 
and appearance, which indicated that 
I was engaged in rough mountain- or 


Biographical Notice 

forest-work of some kind, yet not 
that of the hunter or the miner. Pres- 
ently they drew near, and the younger 
one (King) asked, ' Is your name 
Brewer ? ' ' Yes,' I replied. ' Be- 
long to the California Geological Sur- 
vey ? ' ' Yes.' ' Well ; I had a letter 
of introduction to you from Prof. 
Brush ; but it was burned up the 
other day ! ' He went on to say that 
he had been for three years at the 
Yale Scientific School (as it was 
called when he entered it); and that 
he and his friend had crossed the 
plains, the interior basin and the 
Sierra, since leaving New Haven. 
Of course we began at once an ac- 
quaintance which soon became, and 
always remained, a cordial friendship. 
Many years after, he wrote on the 
fly-leaf of the second edition of his 
Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada 
(the most brilliant and fascinating of 
books on mountain-climbing), these 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

words, which I treasure with affec- 
tionate pride : ' To Professor W. H. 
Brewer, my earliest and kindest Sierra 
friend, to whose friendly guidance I 
owe my first and my most charming 
mountaineering, with the unchanging 
regard of the Author.' 

" I may be permitted to introduce 
here a reminiscence which is likewise 
most gratifying to me, as showing 
the part which I unconsciously took 
in bringing Clarence King to Cali- 
fornia, and thus initiating the career 
which was to make him illustrious. 

*' Both during our earliest confer- 
ences and on several later occasions, 
King told me that Mount Shasta 
was the magnet that had drawn 
him irresistibly to the Pacific coast. 
This magnificent mountain then pos- 
sessed a pre-eminence in popular 
estimation which it no longer pos- 
sesses. It was believed to be the 
highest peak in North America. Its 

Biographical Notice 

altitude had been variously reported 
at from 14,000 to 18,000 feet. From 
the first, the members of the Cali- 
fornia Survey looked forward with 
eager anticipation to a thorough 
examination of it. We had two 
barometers made with scales which 
would show an altitude of 18,000 feet, 
and after collecting all available in- 
formation, I was expecting to ascend 
Shasta in September, 1862. It was 
a very malarial year, and nearly all 
my party came down with fever. Of 
those who were able to work, some 
had to be distributed to observe sta- 
tion-barometers, for the subsequent 
comparison with the summit-readings. 
The rest, accompanied by Prof. Whit- 
ney, who came from San Francisco 
for the same purpose, proceeded to 
the western base of Shasta, and made 
the ascent to the summit Sept. 2, 1862. 
It was the first time that the altitude 
of a mountain in the United States, 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

more than 14,000 feet high, had been 
accurately measured ; and we were 
naturally proud of the achievement. 
A few days later I wrote to a very 
old friend and classmate. Professor 
George J. Brush, an enthusiastic ac- 
count of our adventure, emphasizing 
not only the scientific interest, but 
also the sublime and majestic scenery 
connected with it. To Clarence King, 
who happened to call upon him soon 
after the receipt, Prof. Brush read this 
letter ; and, as King told me many 
times, 'that settled it' He resolved 
to see California, and, in particular, 
Mount Shasta. 

** To return to my narrative : I liked 
King from the first ; he gave me 
much comparatively recent informa- 
tion concerning my old friends at 
Yale ; I told him my plans ; and we 
arranged to meet in San Francisco. 
And, at my invitation, he called sev- 
eral times at the ofifice of the Survey 

Biographical Notice 

in that city, deepening on each occa- 
sion my growing affection and esteem 
for him. I was intensely anxious to 
get into the Lassen peak region. 
The year before, I had passed it, go- 
ing up and down the great valley 
west of it, and had traced the Cre- 
taceous formation, finding it, at one 
point, overlain with lava. I now 
wished to get into some of the canons 
which cut through both the lava and 
auriferous series. All this could be 
done with safety ; but the Indian 
agent said it would be madness to 
try to go through, north of Lassen 
peak, to Shasta Valley. I decided to 
start anyhow, and go as far as I 
could. King wanted to go with me, 
as a ' volunteer without pay. The 
possible danger of the trip was an 
additional temptation to him. And 
Prof. Whitney (who was likewise 
captivated by his light and ardent 
nature) authorized me to engage him. 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

''Clarence King was then in his 
2 2d year, but looked much younger. 
Of course, he was not so thoroughly 
informed or so deeply interested in 
geological problems as he afterwards 
became. In fact, he stood on the 
threshold of that fascinating study, 
saturated chiefly with Ruskin and 
Tyndall. The remarks of the latter 
on the glaciers of the Alps were con- 
stantly upon his lips. * 

*'The trip was notable in many 
respects, and suggested many topics 
of inquiry which afterwards bore fruit 
in King's receptive, retentive and in- 
tensely active mind. Lassen peak 
was reported to have been, only a 

* Editorial Note. — A recent correspon- 
dent writes to say, on the authority of Pro- 
fessor Brewer, that King, when he joined in 
the field-work of the Geological Survey of 
California, had with him, as part of his 
camp outfit, "a Bible, a Table of Loga- 
rithms, and a volume of Robertson's ser- 
mons." — J. D. H. 


Biographical Notice 

few years before, an active volcano, 
and offered an opportunity for the 
study of recent eruptive rocks. The 
possible glaciers upon Shasta were 
discussed, as was also the age of the 
gold-bearing rock-zone of the Sierra, 
and the desirability of a geological 
section across the range. Incident- 
ally, the larger scheme of a transcon- 
tinental section was mentioned. This 
had been the dream of Whitney in 

1862, when the construction of the 
Pacific railways was actively begun. 
He thought that when once a section 
across California had been completed 
the railroad companies might be in- 
clined to pay for making one along 
their lines, across the interior basin 
and the Rocky Mountains, to the 
great plains. 

'* We ascended Lassen peak twice, 
on the 26th and 29th of September, 

1 863. The first time the day was un- 
propitious for good barometric work. 


Rossiter W. Raymond 

There was a fierce wind on the sum- 
mit ; a storm was approaching, and 
the barometer was falling rapidly ; 
and the whole Pitt river valley was 
filled with clouds, hiding everything 
below the altitude of 8000 or 9000 feet. 
But all was clear above, and Shasta, 
eighty miles away, with the tops of the 
adjacent mountains only, rose from 
the white mountain of cloud, projected 
against an intensely blue sky. King's 
exclamation was, * What would Rus- 
kin have said, if he had seen this ! ' 

** On the way back he wanted to 
try 2. glissade down one of the snow- 
slopes. I objected strongly, being 
uncertain whether it would be prac- 
ticable for him to stop before reach- 
ing the rocks at the bottom. But he 
had read Tyndall ; and what was a 
mountain climb without a glissade f 
So he had his way, and came out of 
the adventure with only a few unim- 
portant bruises. 


Biographical Notice 

"Three days later, after the end 
of an uncomfortable storm of rain, 
snow and sleet, we made a second 
ascent of the peak, going up in the 
night, by bright moonlight, and ar- 
riving before sunrise at the summit, 
where we spent ten hours. The sky 
was cloudless, and the atmosphere 
transparent in the highest degree. 
For a short time after sunrise we could 
see Mount Hamilton in the south 
— normally below the horizon, but 
* looming up ' long enough and plainly 
enough for satisfactory identification. 
This is the longest distance at which, 
so far as I know, I have ever seen a 
terrestrial object. Another spectacle 
of unique perfection and grandeur 
observed on that occasion was the 
shadow of the peak projected on the 
western sky. Although I have often 
reached greater altitudes, that day 
stands out in my memory as one of 
the most impressive of my life. 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

" It will easily be imagined with 
what satisfaction and delight these 
experiences were shared with such 
a companion as Clarence King, to 
whose glowing enthusiasm they were 
new as well as grand. Again, he 
was fascinated by Shasta. Three 
days before, the snow upon it had 
been in patches and streaks ; now 
the snow had covered with un- 
broken white — save here and there 
a protruding rock — the upper 4000 
or 5000 feet of the mountain. The 
lower limit of this cap was a 
sharply -defined 'snow -line.' The 
great white cone standing upon the 
dark base, against a background of 
intense blue, was a memorable pic- 
ture, and deserved King's rhapsodies 
of admiration. 

" It was in the earlier part of this 
expedition that the first discovery 
of the Jurassic and Triassic fossils 
in place in the auriferous zone of 


Biographical Notice 

California was made in the Genesee 
Valley, Plumas County. * 

** The next year, King and I passed 
around the eastern base of Shasta. 
The reconnaissance of this mountain 
had been made by the California 
Survey in 1862, after a winter noted 
for the heaviest rains and snows since 
the acquisition of California. And 
we had then announced that, while 
there was much snow on the moun- 
tain, there were no glaciers. King 
had never seen glaciers ; I had seen 
them only in Switzerland. 

" We forded one day at the base 
of Shasta a small stream, turbid with 
ash-colored mud, which came from a 
snow-field far above. I said that, if 
we were in Switzerland, I should con- 
sider it a typical, glacier-fed stream. 

* See American yournal of Science^ 2d 
series, vol. xli., p. 353 ; also Geological Sur- 
vey of California, " Geology," vol. i., pp. 308, 


Rossiter W. Raymond 

* Why is it not ? ' insisted King. I told 
him I had been, only a year before, 
on the upper part of that very snow- 
field, and that it showed neither ice nor 
crevasses. I thought the turbidity of 
the water was due to volcanic dust. 

** Six years later, in 1870, King 
discovered actual glaciers on Shasta, 
and in 1871 described them in the 
Atlantic Monthly and in the Ameri- 
can Journal of Science, Two years 
later, or ten years after our fording 
the turbid stream, he said to me, 

* That stream haunted me for years, 
until I got on Mount Shasta and 
found the glaciers ! ' 

'* That was an illustration of the 
way in which his retentive as well as 
perceptive mind stored up, and ulti- 
mately used, the facts and suggestions 
it had once received. Another occurs 
to me. On our trip, in 1863, I talked 
much about the value of large photo- 
graphs in geological surveys. I had 

Biographical Notice 

taken a fancy to stereoptical views 
especially ; and I thought the broken 
country about Lassen peak should 
be photographed, and could not be 
shown satisfactorily by drawings. In 
later years King was the first to carry 
out these ideas on a grand scale ; and 
now the camera is an indispensable 
part of the apparatus of field-work in 
such surveys. Many similar instances 
might be given in which King did the 
things of which others had dreamed." 

The foregoing reminiscences of 
his friend and, at that time, his im- 
mediate chief, abundantly indicate 
the qualities of ambition, energy 
and endurance which soon won for 
the young athlete of Yale recog- 
nized leadership in the field. The 
story of his ascent of Mount Whit- 
ney (14,898 feet above tide), the 
highest peak in the United States, 
outside of Alaska, affords an inter- 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

esting and, in some respects, amusing 

The whole somewhat complicated 
story is told in an article by Mr. 
Hague in the Overland Monthly for 
Nov., 1873, from which it appears : 

That the name of Mount Whitney 
was given in 1864 to the highest of a 
noble cluster of peaks at the head- 
waters of the Kern and King rivers 
by a party of the California Geologi- 
cal Survey, under the direction of 
Prof. Brewer, and including Clar- 
ence King, which was at work in 
that region during the summer of 
that year, and some of whom (in- 
cluding King, of course — when was 
he ever left out, if an adventure was 
on the programme ?) ascended a peak 
which they called Mount Tyndall, 
from which they saw two others, 
still higher, to the loftier of which 
they gave the name of Whitney, 
their distinguished chief ; that later 

Biographical Notice 

in the same year, after the party had 
been withdrawn, King made an un- 
successful attempt to reach this top- 
most summit; that in 1871 (when no 
longer connected with the California 
Survey) he returned, with character- 
istic pertinacity, to this endeavor, and 
climbed to what he supposed to be the 
top of Mount Whitney, but was pre- 
vented from identifying his position 
by ** dense, impenetrable clouds " * ; 
that in July, 1873, Mr. W. A. Good- 
year, formerly of the California Sur- 
vey, with a companion, ascended the 
summit last named, and clearly saw 
another and higher one, which was the 
true Mount Whitney, already located 
by observations from other mountain 
stations, and located upon official 
maps. This truly highest summit 
has since been reached by many 

* This ascent is described in King's book, 
Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada. 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

Whoever cares to unravel the in- 
tricacies of this narrative will find in 
Mr. Hague's article, already cited, 
an efficient guide. To me, I must 
confess, the only important and in- 
teresting item in the series is the 
circumstance that in 1873, ^s soon as 
he had heard of the observations 
of Mr. Goodyear, Clarence King, 
though no longer connected with any 
public work requiring from him 
further attention to the matter, left 
New York, and, at his own expense, 
traveled without a moment's delay to 
the locality concerned, and ascended 
the true Mount Whitney, simply to 
settle, for his own satisfaction, the 
question which (to use the felicitous 
phrase quoted above by Prof. Brewer) 
would otherwise have '* haunted him." 

Another incident of his work 

in California deserves mention — 

namely, his discovery in January, 

1864, on the Mariposa estate, of 


Biographical Notice 

fossils determining the Jurassic age of 
the gold-bearing slates of California. 
There was at the time a controversy- 
over the question of "priority" in 
this settlement of a scientific question. 
Prof. W. P. Blake had undoubtedly 
found paleontological evidence tend- 
ing to the same conclusion. After 
a laborious study of the contem- 
poraneous documents, I am led to 
believe that the discovery in place, 
in 1863, of Jurassic and Triassic 
fossils in the Genesee Valley, in 
Plumas County, was the earliest well- 
authenticated and decisive one, and 
that the credit of this discovery 
belongs to Prof. Brewer, though it 
was, in Whitney's subsequent official 
reports, attributed to him and his 
assistant King jointly. But it was 
not regarded as decisive by Whitney, 
because it did not include the observa- 
tion of actual gold-bearing veins in 
the same rock. The Mariposa dis- 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

coveries made by Blake and King in 
the country-rock of known gold-mines 
were conclusive. The question of 
priority as to these discoveries, involv- 
ing, as it does, the date not only of 
the discovery, but also of the first 
public announcement and the first 
publication thereof, is really trivial ; 
at least, it will not be discussed here. 
The record of science is not that of a 
patent law-suit, in which mere priority 
governs important rights of property ; 
and neither Blake nor King needed 
to rest his claims to scientific recog- 
nition upon a controversy so unim- 

His connection with the California 
Survey lasted until near the end of 
1866 ; but during that period he was 
twice loaned, so to speak, for other 
service — once to the Mariposa Mining 
Company and once to the United 
States. The latter episode occurred in 
the winter of 1865-66, when he acted 

Biographical Notice 

as scientific assistant of General Mc- 
Dowell in a reconnaissance of the 
desert regions of Southern California 
and part of Arizona. His friend 
Gardiner was detailed to the same 
expedition. That it was not free 
from danger, no one acquainted with 
the condition of Arizona and the tem- 
per of the Apache tribes at that time 
need be told, and others may learn 
from the following anecdote, which I 
heard from Mr. King himself, and 
which Mr. Gardiner confirms : 

One day, on the road to Prescott, 
Arizona, the two friends, absorbed in 
their work, had ridden ahead, beyond 
sight of their cavalry escort, when 
suddenly a couple of Apaches sprang 
from the bushes, under the very noses 
of their horses, with arrows aimed at 
their breasts, drawn to the head, and 
each held from fatal flight by a single 
hand. Gardiner's first impulse was 
to draw his revolver ; but King re- 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

strained him, divining instantly that 
the two visible assailants were not 
alone, and that resistance would be 
useless. Sure enough, at a signal 
given, some fifty Apaches emerged 
from the chapparal and surrounded 
them. They were ordered by signs 
to dismount and disrobe. Intent on 
saving precious time, during which 
the cavalry might come to their 
rescue. King distracted the attention 
of the savages for several minutes by 
exhibiting to them his cistern-barom- 
eter, and explaining, in Spanish and 
by signs, that it was a new-fangled 
gun of very long range. The delay 
thus gained, however, did not prevent 
their captors from preparing thongs 
for their captives, and lighting a fire 
to be placed upon their breasts, Ap- 
ache fashion, after they should have 
been laid, naked and bound, upon the 
earth. Indeed, they were already 
half-stripped when the cavalry became 

Biographical Notice 

visible, and, perceiving the situation 
at a glance, charged the Indians with 
such vigor and speed as to capture 
two of them and scatter the rest. 
(The two thus taken were released, 
because the troops were not strong 
enough to fight the whole Wallapai 
tribe, as they would have had to do 
if they had attempted to hold their 
prisoners.) There is no doubt that 
King's presence of mind, coolness and 
ingenuity saved the lives of his friend 
and himself. 

In 1866, circumstances led him to 
resign from the California survey, 
and to attempt a larger undertaking 
on his own account. Concerning the 
reflections and considerations which 
preceded this step, Mr. Gardiner 
contributes the following interesting 
reminiscence : 

'* In the summer of 1866 King and 
I were working together on a survey 


Rossiter W. Raymond 

of the region east of the Yosemite 
Valley. I had previously developed 
and tested methods of topographical 
work, based on triangulation from 
peak to peak without signals, and 
gradually expanding the scale of the 
triangles, until I believed that the 
system could be applied to very large 
areas in a country where peaks were 
sharp, so that the closure of the tri- 
angles could be made very accurate, 
compared with what had been done 
in reconnaisance-work. During that 
summer we discussed the possibility 
of carrying across the whole Rocky 
Mountain system a survey based on 
rapid triangulation without signals, 
checked with astronomical work, and 
with topographical work following 
the methods which were used in the 
Yosemite Valley survey and field- 
work of 1866. We believed that by 
the application of these improved 
methods in topography a geological 

Biographical Notice 

survey was possible which would be 
far in advance of anything done in 
the geological survey of California, 
or any other geological work previ- 
ously done in the western mountain- 

** Sitting on the high peaks of the 
Sierra, overlooking the deserts and 
ranges of Nevada to the eastward, 
we worked out the general outlines 
of the 40th-parallel survey-work. It 
was the natural outgrowth of our 
journey across the plains, our experi- 
ence on the California survey, and 
our exploration of Arizona, coupled 
with King's great aggressive energy 
and consciousness of power to per- 
suade men to do the thing that he 
thought ought to be done. 

'' Our study of the structure of the 
continent in our journey of 1863 
across the plains, and in our Arizona 
trip of 1865, led us to feel that the 
survey of California and the prob- 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

lems to be solved there were but a 
part, and possibly a minor part, of 
the great problems of the structure, 
topographical and geological, of the 
whole mountain-system of western 
America from the plains to the Pa- 
cific, and it was from this point of 
view that the great continental cross- 
section on the 40th parallel was 
planned. If King had taken charge 
of the department of economic geol- 
ogy in the California survey, the exe- 
cution of this wider plan might have 
been delayed ; but the plan itself was 
conceived without reference to our 
temporary California work." 

The new scheme was nothing less 
than a transcontinental topographical 
and geological survey, for which, with 
sublime audacity. King undertook to 
obtain, from the Executive and from 
Congress, the authority and the 


Biographical Notice 

The resuk, surprising then, and sur- 
prising still, was a generous provision 
by Congress for the geological survey 
of a strip of loo miles on each side 
of the 40th parallel of latitude ; in 
other words, of the belt containing 
the first Pacific railroad. The work 
was to continue three years, and was 
placed expressly under the charge of 
Clarence King (then 25 years old), 
subject only to the administrative 
control of Gen. A. A. Humphreys, 
Chief of Engineers of the U. S. 
Army — a brilliant topographical en- 
gineer as well as military commander, 
who appreciated the young explorer 
too thoroughly to interfere with his 
plans and methods.* 

The difficulties and dangers of this 
work were not small. King's party, 

*The first legislation of Congress did not 
cover all this. It was simply a brief provision 
in an appropriation bill, authorizing the ap- 
plication of certain unexpended remainders 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

reaching California by way of Panama, 
spent three months in preparing its 
outfit and reaching its field. Many 
times it seemed as if portions of the 
scheme must be abandoned ; but the 
leader's enthusiasm, energy and re- 
source inspired his associates, and 
made them invincible. At the end 
of three years the work was not fin- 
ished ; but its success and value had 
been so brilliantly demonstrated that 
the period was extended to seven 
years, by the unsolicited action of 

An incident reported by Mr. Em- 
mons illustrates the courage and de- 
cision which belonged to King as one 
" born to command.' 

In 1868, during his field-work in 

of former appropriations in the continuance 

of surveys for a transcontinental wagon-road. 

Upon this modest beginning, King won both 

popular and legislative recognition of his 

great enterprise. 


Biographical Notice 

Nevada, annoyed by frequent deser- 
tions from his cavahy escort — a small 
detail, under the charge of a sergeant 
— King resolved to make an example 
of the next case of the kind. The 
occasion was provided by a specially 
"bad man," who, while the party, en- 
gaged in their day's work, were ab- 
sent from the camp, fitted himself 
out with equipments belonging to 
the Survey, and '* struck " for the 
Pacific coast, nearly twelve hours be- 
fore he was missed. King and the 
sergeant started at once in pursuit. 
At about sunset of the next day the 
trail was seen to be heading for a nat- 
ural pass in the next range (one of 
the short meridional ranges charac- 
teristic of Nevada). Leaving the 
trail. King and his companion, by a 
hard night-ride, made a detour over 
the mountain, and reached at sunrise 
the western outlet of the pass. Here 
he saw the fugitive's horse picketed 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

near a willow thicket, which sur- 
rounded a spring, and in the middle 
of which the man himself was pre- 
paring his breakfast. King left his 
horse in the sergeant's charge and 
entered the thicket alone, with his 
" hair-trigger " Colt revolver. He 
afterward confessed that the situa- 
tion required all his "nerve." The 
man, who was known as a desperate 
character, might have heard him com- 
ing and made preparation to shoot 
him at sight. But, after a minute 
of suspense, the climax was tame 
enough. The deserter, taken by sur- 
prise, was marched at the muzzle of 
King's pistol back to camp, and 
thence sent under guard to the mili- 
tary prison at Alcatraz — and there 
were no more desertions from that 
party. As for King's " nerve," it must 
have been little, if at all, disturbed; 
for a man cannot long keep his finger 
still on a hair-trigger, if he is agitated ! 


Biographical Notice 

The following account of another 
of King's adventures is given by Mr. 
Emmons, an eye-witness and a par- 

*' At the close of the field-work of 
1 87 1, King joined my party, which 
had been engaged through the sum- 
mer in the Uinta Mountains, for a 
tour of inspection along the northern 
frontier of that range. One day, as 
we were starting on an untried route 
across a piece of * bad-land ' country, 
we spied, soon after breaking camp, a 
grizzly bear in the distance ; and all 
hands at once gave chase. The bear 
at first disappeared in a region of 
sand-dunes, where the party got scat- 
tered. After some hours' trailing, 
King, Wilson and I, with a couple of 
soldiers, ran the trail into a typical 
net-work of bad-land ravines — a se- 
ries of narrow gullies with perpen-' 
dicular walls, quite inaccessible for 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

horses. Tying the heads of our five 
animals together (for there was n't a 
bush big enough to hitch them to), 
we followed the huge, human-looking 
tracks down one ravine and up an- 
other on foot, each with rifle in hand, 
and King in the lead. (There was a 
pretended, but not thoroughly heart- 
felt, emulation to occupy this place \\ 
Not only were we constantly turning 
sharp corners, but the trail would run 
into caves made by changes in the 
course of the dry stream-bed, which 
would continue for some distance 
under a bend in the wall of a gully. 
The bear evidently ran into many of 
these caves, passing out of each at 
the other end. Finally, four hours 
after starting, we had run him to 
ground. We had found a cave with 
his track going in at one end and 
not coming out at the other ; and, 
by putting our ears against the bank, 
we could hear his labored breathing. 

Biographical Notice 

The cave was unusually long — per- 
haps 30 or 40 feet. Its upper end, 
by which the bear had entered, was 
hardly more than a foot high ; the 
other opening was high enough to 
be entered on hands and knees. 
The grizzly could be only heard, not 
seen ; but the sound indicated that 
he was nearer the upper end. Va- 
rious attempts at dislodgment by 
smoking, etc., were unsuccessful ; and 
finally King, who had poked his head 
far enough in at the upper end to 
see in the dark, said he could dis- 
tinguish the animal's eyes, and would 
go in and shoot him. So I was sta- 
tioned at the lower opening in case 
the bear should come out that way, 
and King wriggled himself into the 
little hole at the upper end, until he 
was far enough in to raise his body 
on one elbow and put his rifle to his 
shoulder. Even then he could not 
distinguish the form of the bear in 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

the darkness ; but he could see the 
gleam of its two eyes and feel its 
hot breath. Nor could he, at first, 
distinguish the sights of his rifle ; 
but, after accustoming himself some- 
what to the darkness, he aimed as 
best he could between the eyes, and 
fired. The big soldier who had been 
stationed for that purpose behind 
him, at once dragged him out by the 
heels, and, in his excitement, kept on 
dragging long after he had got his 
man out. As a result. King's face 
was badly scratched in the sand. 
We were not absolutely sure that 
the bear was dead ; but, as there was 
no sound, I went into my end of the 
cave, and succeeded in getting a strap 
round its neck, by means of which 
and the combined slow tugging of 
all hands we succeeded in dragging 
it into daylight. We then saw that 
King's ball had struck true, and pene- 
trated the brain." 


Biographical Notice 

Mr. Hague contributes another 
reminiscence of King's self-posses- 
sion under exciting circumstances. 
He was pursuing an elk, which finally 
turned and charged upon him. For 
a moment he was in considerable 
personal danger ; but he came out 
victor, as usual. Listening, some 
time after, to King's story of the 
adventure, Hague said, ** King, how 
did that elk look to you at the 
critical moment ? " " Like a first-class 
hat-rack on a mule ! " was the in- 
stant reply. 

It was in the first or second year 
of my field-work as United States 
Commissioner of Mining Statistics 
that I made the acquaintance of 
Clarence King. He was at that 
time camped with a small party on 
a terrace overlooking the Salt Lake 
Valley, and invited me to dine with 
him in his camp. I had just come 
from a very rapid examination of 


Rossiter W. Raymond 

some of the cations in the Wahsatch 
range, and he had been traversing 
the Uinta Mountains farther east. 
I remember the surprise with which 
I found him maintaining in the field, 
as far as possible, the decencies and 
elegancies of city life. Knowing of 
him as an explorer, hunter and ath- 
lete already famous, I could scarcely 
recognize my own expectation in the 
polished gentleman who, in immacu- 
late linen, silk stockings, low shoes, 
and clothing without a wrinkle, re- 
ceived me at a dinner, simple enough 
in its material constituents, but served 
in a style which I had not found 
west of the Missouri. When I at- 
tempted to make fun of him for 
" roughing it " in this )Vay, he re- 
plied seriously : *' It is all very well 
for you, who lead a civilized life nine 
or ten months in the year, and only 
get into the field for a few weeks 
at a time, to let yourself down to 


Biographical Notice 

the pioneer level, and disregard the 
small elegancies of dress and man- 
ners which you can afterwards easily 
resume, because you have not laid 
them aside long enough to forget 
them. But I, who have been for 
years constantly in the field, would 
have lost my good habits altogether 
if I had not taken every possible 
opportunity to practice them. We 
don't dine this way every day, but 
we do so whenever we can." I had 
abundant opportunity in after years 
to see King at work as well as at 
rest ; and I never knew a man more 
eager, tireless and reckless in field- 
work above or underground, while 
at the same time he maintained 
always the' instinct and practice of 
refined manners. It was, indeed, 
almost invariably his custom to have 
with him a personal attendant, who 
looked after his clothing, etc. One 
such, who was with him for years, 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

came to be an invaluable assistant 
in geological underground work, ob- 
serving with great acuteness, although 
without scientific knowledge, indica- 
tions which more learned men might 
have overlooked. I cannot forbear 
an anecdote told me by King of 
another valet of his, whose life was 
in his work, and who judged of all 
things in the world by their relations 
to it. At a gentleman's country- 
seat, with good servants' accommo- 
dations, ample facilities for blacking 
boots and brushing clothing, well- 
trimmed lawns and genteel society, 
he was in Paradise ; but experience 
in the muddy or dusty wilderness 
half paralyzed his usefulness and 
wholly quenched his enjoyment. On 
one occasion, attended by this man 
only. King made his way to the 
Grand Canon of the Colorado, and 
stood for a time dumb upon its brink, 
overwhelmed with the vastness and 


Biographical Notice 

the glory of the scene. At last it 
seemed to him that he must speak ; 
and, as he turned away, he said : 
" Well, Joe, how does it strike you ? " 
*' It is no place for a gentleman, 
sir ! " was the reply.* 

* Editorial Note. — The above-named 
" Joe " might well have been the same long- 
time manservant (Alexander), of whom a 
story was told some twenty years ago, which 
well exemplifies his gentlemanly instincts and 
cultivated manners. 

On a certain occasion when Mr. Abram S. 
Hewitt and Mr. King were together in Paris, 
it became necessary for Mr. Hewitt to cross 
over to London at a time when he was so far 
from well that his attempt to make the jour- 
ney alone would have been very imprudent. 
On Mr. King's urgent insistence Mr. Hewitt 
consented to take Alexander with him as his 
personal attendant. When they arrived at 
the Paris station of departure, Mr. Hewitt 
and Alexander were both surprised and 
amused at meeting the most courteous of 
railway officials, who, evidently awaiting the 
coming of expected travelers, immediately 
began to render every possible service, re- 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

The most famous incident of the 
Fortieth Parallel Survey was the ex- 
posure by King of the " Diamond 

lieving them of all hand-luggage and per- 
sonal impedimenta, and escorting them to 
a specially reserved railway carriage, into 
which the travelers were unhesitatingly as- 
sisted, Alexander, much against his will, pre- 
ceding Mr. Hewitt, under the irresistible 
guidance of their escorting officials. 

These extraordinary attentions were con- 
tinued throughout the journey, and were 
only clearly understood when it became 
known, later on, that the officials of the rail- 
way company at Paris had been requested to 
show their most respectful attentions to a 
certain Oriental Prince, who, attended by an 
English companion, was expected to leave 
Paris for London by the same train which 
Mr. Hewitt had also chosen for his journey, 
with the result that Alexander was mistaken 
for the expected Prince and Mr. Hewitt for 
his gentleman-in-waiting. It is said that 
Alexander bore with becoming dignity the 
honors thus unwittingly thrust upon him, 
while, at the same time, he failed in no re- 
respect in his duties to Mr. Hewitt. — J. D. H. 

Biographical Notice 

Swindle" of 1872. A full account of 
this episode will be found in the Engin- 
eering and Mining Journal of Dec. i o, 
1872, together with my own editorial 
comments, based upon private know- 
ledge as well as published reports. 
The whole affair reflected the greatest 
credit upon King's personal honor and 
loyal friendship — its most creditable 
feature being the way in which he 
managed the exposure so as to prevent 
further loss by innocent investors, and, 
at the same time, to avert unmerited 
disgrace from equally innocent pro- 
moters and experts. By a sudden and 
sensational disclosure he might have 
won cheap distinction for himself, at the 
cost of cruel injustice to others. . . . 
The great success and popularity 
of the United States Geological Sur- 
vey has been due, without doubt, not 
only to the liberal support of Con- 
gress, which King, more than any 
other one man, was able to influence, 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

and to the wise organization and far- 
reaching plans which he impressed 
upon this institution in its creation, 
but also to the ability, loyalty, ac- 
tivity and intelligent enthusiasm of 
the young men who received their 
training under him during the For- 
tieth Parallel Survey, and many of 
whom have since won high reputa- 
tion by their independent researches. 
The recent volume on '' Ore De- 
posits," published by this Institute, 
bears testimony to the extraordinary 
advance in that department of geo- 
logical science in which American 
observers may fairly be said to have 
taken the lead. No doubt they have 
won this distinction largely by reason 
of three exceptionally favorable con- 
ditions, namely : the vast and rich 
field for investigation offered by the 
territory of the United States ; the 
active development of this field by 
mining ; and the liberal expenditures, 
# 351 

Biographical Notice 

both State and Federal, which have 
been made for the study of economic 
geology. But these favorable con- 
ditions would have amounted to noth- 
ing without the men competent to 
take advantage of them, and the wise 
provision made for such investiga- 
tions by the first Director of the 
U. S. Geological Survey. 

King's important contributions to 
scientific literature, apart from his 
work on public surveys, were very 
few. Probably the most important 
were his address at the Sheffield Sci- 
entific School, in June, 1877, ^^ '' Ca- 
tastrophism and the Evolution of 
Environment," and his paper on ** The 
Age of the Earth," published Jan- 
uary, 1893, in the American Journal 
of Science. 

I know that King considered the 
praise of this work by Lord Kelvin 
as one of the greatest honors ever 
bestowed upon him. 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

To general literature he contrib- 
uted one delightful book, Mountain- 
eering in the Sierra Nevada^ and a 
few magazine articles. The book de- 
scribes the scenery and the people 
encountered by him in his early Cali- 
fornia experiences, and has never 
been surpassed as a gallery of vivid, 
graceful, and imaginative yet accur- 
ate sketches of nature and men. Bret 
Harte's admirable work is more ro- 
mantic, more artificial, less delicately 
humorous, and less perfect in style. 
Indeed, considering the relatively 
small amount of King's literary work, 
his mastery of style was wonderful. 
Perhaps the most perfect specimen 
of it was his fanciful sketch, The 
Helmet of Mambrino, published in 
the Century, 

Doubtless one reason why he did 
not publish more was, as Mr. Em- 
mons suggests, his fastidious taste, 
which led him to be dissatisfied with 

^ «3 353 

Biographical Notice 

anything less than the best work. 
But this is not, to me, a full explana- 
tion. The possessor of such a gift of 
expression, and so rich a repertory 
of knowledge, and suggestions wait- 
ing for utterance, usually feels, also, 
the spontaneous impulse to make use 
of them. King was not an exception. 
He talked often of things he would 
like to write, and intended to write, 
some day. But he never found time 
for such labors, partly because of the 
exigent social demands made upon 
him ; partly because of the necessity 
for more active and arduous occupa- 
tion, to which he was repeatedly, if 
not continuously, subject. A man 
can do literary work in his stolen 
leisure, and yet be a darling of soci- 
ety, shining brightly in the club and 
at the dinner-table ; or he may be 
active in business and professional 
engagements, and still keep enough 
time and strength for quieter pur- 


Rossiter W. Raymond 

suits. But he cannot be and do all 
three. King, especially, could not do 
this, because his brilliant talk exer- 
cised and fatigued the same faculties 
as if it had been pen-work. If he felt 
the impulse of utterance he wore it 
out in talking, and often threw away 
upon the transitory entertainment of 
a few what might have been the en- 
during delight of a multitude. An 
instance was furnished by a dinner- 
party in Washington, just before the 
outbreak of the late Spanish war, at 
which King was present, and ex- 
pressed with vivacity his views and 
expectations. He had lived in Cuba, 
was intimate with some of the patriot 
leaders there, and was thoroughly ac- 
quainted with their plans and cam- 
paigns.* But he had also sailed the 
Pacific, and had an intelligent notion 
of the situation in the far East, of 

* See his Forum articles, " Shall Cuba be 
Free ? " and " Fire and Sword in Cuba." 


Biographical Notice 

which few of us were specially think- 
ing at that time. And his prediction 
was this : ** If war is declared with 
Spain, the first thing to happen will 
be that George Dewey will go into 
Manila harbor and sink the whole 
Spanish fleet!" If he had put that 
day's talk in print, with what prophet's 
glory it would have crowned him ! 
Long after, he said to me, '' I was a 
little startled to have the thing so 
quickly and completely come to pass ; 
yet I made the remark upon good 
reasons. I had lived with Dewey, 
and knew him well ; I knew where he 
was, and that he could not stay there 
after a declaration of war ; if he had 
to go somewhere, he would be sure 
to go where the Spanish fleet was ; 
and if he found it, he would sink 
it ! You see, the argument was 
complete ! " 

After all, the chief hindrance to 
King's literary activity was the neces- 

C zL 

I - 

>< , 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

sity of earning money in his profes- 
sion. Several times in the course of 
his Hfe he suffered financial reverses, 
which forced him practically to begin 
over again, and to work as a mining 
engineer in the field — sometimes di- 
recting or advising, sometimes valu- 
ing, sometimes buying and selling. 
Of three companies which opened, re- 
spectively, — the Las Prietas mine, in 
Sonora, the Las Yedras, in Sinaloa, 
and the Sombrerete, in Zacatecas, — 
he was the president ; and he was 
actively connected with the Rich- 
mond, at Eureka, Nevada, and other 
American mines. 

On many occasions he was engaged 
as an expert witness in mining law- 
suits. I need hardly say that, while 
he was in the service of the United 
States, he gave no such assistance to 
private interests. Indeed, he was 
quick to perceive that the members 
of the public scientific surveys must 


Biographical Notice 

be kept free from any suspicion of 
utilizing, for the benefit of any party 
smaller than the whole of a mining 
community, the knowledge gained in 
that capacity ; and he exacted from 
every subordinate a pledge in this 
particular, corresponding with his own 
practice. But when not thus honor- 
ably bound, he repeatedly acted as 
adviser, or gave expert testimony, for 
clients. In this line, having both 
encountered Mr. King as an opponent 
and benefited by his assistance as a 
colleague, I may claim to be qualified 
as a critic of his work — or rather of 
his character as shown by his work. 

In the first place, he was, as I think 
an expert witness ought to be, an 
honest partisan. He did not carry to 
the witness stand the doubts or un- 
certainties which he might have felt 
during his previous study of the case. 
He came forward with a theory al- 
ready deliberately adopted, and for 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

that theory (In the absence of new 
evidence disproving it) he was pre- 
pared to fight. 

But this final temper and attitude 
had the indispensable safeguard of an 
inexhaustible curiosity and candor in 
previous inquiry. I have known, in 
my time, many mining experts, and 
their personal methods of studying 
mining cases. But I never met King's 
equal in insatiable desire to find out 
beforehand anything that anybody 
else knew or could know, whether it 
were relevant and important to the 
case in hand or not. I can remember 
him as going into a mine at early 
morning, taking his lunch with him ; 
coming out late in the afternoon ; 
bathing and dressing for dinner ; then, 
aroused by some casual table-talk, 
putting on his underground clothes 
again, and spending the greater part 
of the night in the mine, just to 
** settle the point" — though the point 

Biographical Notice 

was not perceptibly pertinent to the 
immediate case in which he was 

In general, his exhaustive prep- 
aration and wonderful general 
knowledge, reinforced by his alert 
self-possession, ready wit and unfail- 
ing good-nature, made him a most 
effective expert witness and a terror 
to cross-examiners. 

After retiring from the U. S. Geo- 
logical Survey, King spent three 
years (1882, 'S^ and '84) studying the 
geology of Scotland, Switzerland and 
Central Europe, occasionally visiting 
a mining district, like Bilbao, Rio 
Tinto or Almaden, and enjoying the 
social courtesies eagerly extended 
to him by the leaders of scientific 
thought, to whom his work had al- 
ready made him known and his charm- 
ing personality soon endeared him. 

At a later period, after recovery 
from a severe illness, he spent a win- 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

ter in Cuba, at the country-house of 
an American friend, and became 
deeply interested not only in the 
politics, but also in the general and 
economic geology of that island, 
examining particularly some of the 
important iron and manganese de- 
posits of the Santiago district. He 
conceived a high opinion of the min- 
eral wealth of Cuba ; and it was at 
least his dream, if not his definite 
intention and hope, that some day, 
when Cuba should be free, he would 
organize for that field, as he had done 
for a greater, a national geological 

I notice that Mr. Emmons * dates 
the final illness of Clarence King from 
an attack of pneumonia in 1901. 
From personal knowledge, I would 
put the beginning further back. 
During the spring of 1900 I was 

* In his foregoing memoir quoted from the 
American Journal of Science. 

Biographical Notice 

associated with King in the long trial 
of a case at Butte, Montana. The 
season was unusually mild and the 
atmosphere of Butte unusually clear. 
Perhaps these balmy conditions 
tempted people to imprudent expos- 
ure. At all events, the town was 
afflicted with a veritable pestilence of 
pneumonia. In popular rumor the fa- 
tality was 90 per cent; in actual statis- 
tics it was 54 per cent, of all the victims 
attacked. Among the counsel, par- 
ties and witnesses in our case, or in 
their families, eleven died during the 
trial. King prepared himself with 
his usual pertinacity and industry, 
spending many hours underground 
and taking prudent precautions 
against chills ; but he had an annoy- 
ing hoarseness, which he could not 
shake off. After giving his testimony 
he made a rapid trip to Salt Lake, 
for -change of air and altitude, and 
in a couple of weeks returned, still 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

uncomfortable, though not alarmed. 
But by that time the rest of us were 
anxious for him, and, against his will, 
made him consult a physician, who 
put him to bed instantly. This 
prompt measure saved him from a 
serious illness ; but the escape was a 
narrow one, as he was willing to ac- 
knowledge after a few days' confine- 
ment. He was not allowed to take 
further part in the trial, and it was 
over before he was able to leave his 
room. When he told me that he ex- 
pected to go to the Klondike that 
summer, I felt a thrill of apprehen- 
sion, and ventured a remonstrance. 
But, like all habitually healthy peo- 
ple, he thought nothing more of a 
temporary illness, once it was over ; 
and to the Klondike he went, with 
the seeds of pulmonary trouble al- 
ready sown in him. After the ex- 
posures of the Klondike trip he 
had a second and severe attack of 

Biographical Notice 

pneumonia, brought on in 1901 by a 
fresh exposure during the examina- 
tion of a mining property in inclem- 
ent weather. From that time the 
progress of tuberculosis was rapid 
and irresistible. With superb cour- 
age and calmness he fought to the 
end the hopeless battle, seeking iii 
vain, at Prescott and Los Angeles, 
cure of his malady, and finally re- 
turning from Southern California to 
Phoenix, Arizona, where he died with- 
out pain, December 24, 1901. With 
characteristic unselfishness he had 
refused all offers of companionship 
from friends or relatives, and made 
his last brave fight alone. 

Many, no doubt, have had ampler 
and more continuous association with 
Clarence King than I enjoyed during 
the one third of a century covered 
by our unbroken friendship. He 
was one who could pick up, after any 
lapse of time, however long, the asso- 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

ciations and reciprocities of the past, 
and make the intervening separation 
seem not to have been at all. How- 
ever one might h^ve been offended 
by his neglect to answer letters, or let 
himself be heard from in any way, 
five minutes of his presence was 
enough to show that the old friend, 
unchanged, had come to see the old 
friend, expecting an unchanged wel- 
come. And what he expected, he 
received. I never heard of anybody 
who refused to forgive Clarence King 
for neglect of conventional obliga- 
tions — and I fancy all who knew him 
had occasion for such forgiveness. 
My own theory of the matter is, that 
he was so universally beloved, and 
responded so easily to congenial com- 
panions, as to make it impossible for 
him to keep up, by the usual means 
of visits, letters, etc., the innumerable 
ties which he thus formed, without 
sacrificing all the more serious labors 

Biographical Notice 

and ambitions of his Hfe. A man 
can forswear society akogether and 
do his Hfe's work ; or he can give 
himself up to society and let his work 
go. King took a middle course, con- 
tinuing to study and to labor, while 
he freely gave and received social en- 
joyment, but defied the engrossing 
demands of formal etiquette. And 
"society" forgave him, because it 
could not have him on any other 

But perhaps it was given to me, in 
hours of unconstrained communion, 
to gain a deeper glimpse into his 
character than many days of mere su- 
perficial association could have given. 
And I found him clean to the bot- 
tom ; full of noble scorn for things 
trivial, vile and selfish ; alive to the 
highest ideals ; ready for the service 
of human needs. 

It was in such an hour that he told 
me (veiling with a transparent whim- 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

sical humor of narration his earnest 
feehng) of his ** Sunday-school " in 
London, where he used to meet, 
on Sunday afternoons, the girls em- 
ployed in Cross & BlackwelFs famous 
pickle-factory, and talk to them in 
fashion ** not quite orthodox, perhaps, 
but then, again, not so awfully heter- 
odox either ! " — and how, finding 
his Sunday-school utterly ignorant of 
the beauties and joys of green grass 
and flowers, he organized an excur- 
sion for them, securing, by unlimited 
use of his aristocratic acquaintances, 
unprecedented privileges for it, so 
that his delighted proteges, conveyed 
and convoyed by him on a special 
train, not only had afternoon tea on 
the lawn in Windsor Park, but the 
dear old Queen herself came out of 
the palace, walked among them, and 
accepted a cup of tea from a proud 
member of the company ! King's wit- 
ty account of his ** happy hen-party" 
'^ 369 

Biographical Notice 

I cannot undertake to reproduce. 
But there was for me something 
dearer and deeper in it than its spark- 
Hng surface. 

Few among those who have 
achieved distinction in the labors 
or the literature of science have 
also impressed upon their generation 
a vivid sense of their own person- 
ality. In the majority of instances, 
I think, such men have hid them- 
selves in their work, sacrificing to it 
the varied enjoyments and associa- 
tions through which they might have 
become better known to their con- 
temporaries. Perhaps we might say 
that, in this age, scientific distinction 
must be won, as a rule, in some spe- 
cialty, and at the cost of an exclusive 
devotion to that one department ; 
so that the great specialist, however 
versatile he might have become, if all 
his original endowments had been 
utilized, is at last, to the eyes of men, 

Rossiter W. Raymond 

simply the impersonal representative 
of one idea or sphere. On this point 
we have the frank, pathetic confes- 
sion of Darwin, that many aesthetic 
faculties and tastes, once his, became 
atrophied in the course of years de- 
voted to a single study. After the 
death of such a man, a sympathetic 
biographer may lift the veil and show 
to all what had been known before to 
few, — his personal traits and charms ; 
thus filling up with detail and color 
the hard, meager outline of him pre- 
sented by his special work alone. 

Clarence King did not thus sacri- 
fice himself to his work. His buoy- 
ant personality dominated his whole 
career. Gay, versatile, debonair, irre- 
sistible, gentle, honorable, *' tender 
and true," he was greater and dearer 
than his work. We shall have, as 
we have had, many prophets and 
pioneers of science ; but the King is 
dead — and there is no King to follow ! 

Biographical Notice 

The following list comprises the 
principal published works of Clarence 

Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada^ Bos- 
ton, 1870. 

Mining Industry (by James D. Hague, with 
geological contributions by Clarence King) 
vol. iii. of the Fortieth Parallel Reports — 
Government Printing Office, Washington, 

" Active Glaciers within the United States," 
Atlantic Monthly^ March, 187 1. 

" On the Discovery of Actual Glaciers on 
the Mountains of the Pacific Slope," Am. 
your. Sci.^ 3d ser., vol. i., p. 157, 187 1. 

" Notes on Observed Glacial Phenomena 
and the Terminal Moraine of the N. E. 
Glacier," Proc. Boston Soc. Nat. Hist.y vol. 
xix., p. 60, 1876. 

" Paleozoic Subdivisions of the Fortieth 
Parallel," Am. Jour. Sci., 3d ser., vol. xi., 
p. 475, 1876. 


Rossiter W. Raymond 

" Notes on the Uinta and Wahsatch 
Ranges," Ibid.^ p. 494. 

" Catastrophism and Evolution," Am. Nat.^ 
vol. ii., p. 449, 1877. 

Systematic Geology, vol. i. of the Fortieth 
Parallel Reports, Government Printing Office, 
Washington, 1878. 

First Annual Report of the U. S. Geological 
Survey, Government Printing Office, Wash- 
ington, 1880. 

" On the Physical Constants of Rocks," U. 
S. Geol. Survey, 3d Ann. Report, p. 3, Gov- 
ernment Printing Office, Washington, 1883. 

" Style and the Monument," North Am. 
Review, Nov., 1885. (An article on the 
proposed Grant monument — anonymous, but 
known by friends of Mr. King to have been 
written by him.) 

"Artium Magister," North Am. Review, 
Oct., 1888. 

" The Age of the Earth," Amer. your. Sci- 
ence, vol. xlv., Jan., 1893. 

" The Helmet of Mambrino," Century, p. 
154, May, 1886. 

" The Biographers of Lincoln," Century, p. 
861, Oct., 1886. 

"The Education of the Future," Forum, 
p. 20, March, 1892. 


Biographical Notice 

"Shall Cuba be Free?" Forum, p. 50, 
Sept., 1895. 

" Fire and Sword in Cuba," Forum, p. 31, 
Sept., 1896. 



James D. Hague 



MY personal acquaintance with 
Clarence King began in 1862, 
when, at the age of twenty, he was 
studying at the Yale Scientific School. 
He was my junior by several years 
and we were not intimately associated 
there as fellow-students ; but I well 
remember him as he was then, an 
active, sprightly youth, quick to ob- 
serve and apprehend, full of joyous 
animation and lively energy, which 
always made him a leader of the front 
rank, whether in the daily exercises 
of the classroom and laboratory or in 
an impromptu raid by night on Hill- 
house Avenue front fences, with the 
mischievous purpose of lifting off and 
swapping around in neighborly ex- 
change the door-yard gates of lawns 


and gardens. "Off fences must come," 
he sometimes said of the gates, '' but 
woe unto him by whom they come — 
if found out." 

In the following year, 1863, King 
left Yale and went with his school- 
mate, Gardiner, to California, cross- 
ing the plains on horseback, with the 
emigrant party referred to in already 
recorded memoirs which plainly show 
how the important experiences of this 
journey essentially determined King's 
subsequent career and the character 
of his scientific life-work. 

One of the personally interesting 
incidents of that expedition, hitherto 
unrecorded, so far as I know, which 
King, many years ago, used to relate 
with thrilling effect, was an exciting 
experience in buffalo hunting, which 
occurred not far from Fort Kearney, 
where, hearing of large herds of buf- 
falo in the vicinity, King determined 
to try his luck in getting one. He 

James D. Hague 

engaged as guide and companion of 
his sport a locally well-known hunter 
and bought a superior horse, said to 
have been especially trained for buf- 
falo. They set out early one morn- 
ing and soon came up with a large 
grazing herd, scattered widely over 
the plains, as far as they could see. 
As the men rode in among them the 
guide told King to pick out the buf- 
falo of his choice and go for him. A 
minute or two later King was in full 
chase of the best-looking bull in sight, 
dashing along, nearly side by side, 
King with revolver in hand, ready to 
fire at the first chance. After run- 
ning about two miles they descended 
into a shallow basin-like depression, 
in the bottom of which King fired an 
effective shot, whereupon the bull 
made a stand to attack the horse and 
rider, who had by this time turned 
about, facing the charging buffalo and 
looking back in the direction whence 



they had come. Just at this instant 
there appeared in view, swiftly de- 
scending into the depressed arena 
which was, for the moment, the field 
of action, the madly pursuing herd, 
which had been stampeded, partly by 
King's chase and partly by his slowly 
following companion. The sight of 
this so disconcerted King's horse, at 
the critical moment of attack, that 
he failed to escape the fatal thrust of 
the wounded and dying bull, so that 
buffalo, horse and rider went down 
together in a heap. King unfortun- 
ately jammed to the ground by the 
weight of the horse, lying on his leg. 
Although suffering from the severe 
physical strain and in mortal fear of 
being trampled to death by the flying 
herd, King remained conscious while, 
as he said, a mile and a half of solid 
buffalo galloped past, more than ever 
alarmed and terrified by what they 
saw, and wildly rushing by him on 

James D. Hague 

both sides of the narrow field of bat- 
tle, crowding and leaping upon and 
over each other in their mad efforts 
to get away from the visible cause of 
their panic. When the hunter ar- 
rived, after the rush and danger had 
passed, he found the bull and the 
horse quite dead and very nearly so 
poor King, who was with difficulty 
relieved from his painful position and 
taken to Kearney for medical care 
and recovery. 

It was after more than three years 
of geological campaigning and moun- 
taineering in California and Arizona 
that King appeared in Washington, 
early in 1867, as the advocate and 
promoter of his newly conceived pro- 
ject, the organization and conduct of 
the United States Geological Ex- 
ploration of the Fortieth Parallel. He 
came furnished with the best of social 
introductions, letters of scientific com- 
mendation and political endorsement; 


but it was his personal charm and 
captivating speech that won for him 
an immediate and enduring success. 
Senators, representatives and govern- 
ment officials of every grade became 
at once his admiring friends. Fes- 
senden, of Maine, after an evening's 
companionship with King at Sam 
Hooper's genial dinner- table, was 
himself almost persuaded to be a sci- 
entist, and professed his conversion in 
saying, ** If I were not United States 
Senator T would be United States 
Geologist." Another senator, on the 
same occasion, was so charmed by 
King's descriptive powers that he 
confessed a strong desire to actually 
see with his own eyes " those marvel- 
ous isothermal lines " which King had 
pictured to him with the fascinating 
effect of an Aurora Borealis. Con- 
ness, of California, was King's ardent 
advocate and a most zealous worker 
for his interests in all matters de- 

James D. Hague 

manding senatorial action. As long 
as John Conness remained in the 
Senate he was a faithful supporter 
of the Fortieth Parallel Survey. On 
one occasion, when legislative author- 
ity and appropriation of money be- 
came necessary for the work of the 
Survey and, especially in the case re- 
ferred to, for the publication of the 
report, Mr. Conness, being just then 
absent from Washington, on being 
advised that the then pending bill, 
containing the vitally important item, 
would probably come up for action 
next morning, hastily returned by 
night and took his place in the Senate 
Chamber at the opening of the ses- 
sion. The attendance of senators 
was very small when the measure was 
finally brought to a vote, fortunately, 
in the hands of a friendly presiding 
officer. The call for ''ayes," not- 
withstanding the encouraging voice 
of Mr. Conness, was met with what 


seemed like deadly silence to King, 
anxiously watching and listening in 
the gallery. The call for '* noes " 
passed, happily, with still less note- 
worthy response. " The ayes seem 
to have it," said the presiding officer 
tentatively — ''the ayes have it," he 
continued decisively — '' 't is a vote," 
he announced in conclusion, and the 
thing was done, much to King's relief 
and satisfaction. 

On another occasion, when the 
maintenance of the Fortieth Parallel 
Exploration depended upon the adop- 
tion of a certain amendment in an 
Appropriation Bill, then pending in 
the House, King sought to engage 
the favorable attention and interest 
of General *'Ben" Butler, chairman, 
I believe, of the all-important com- 
mittee, and set forth the character 
of the work and of the men em- 
ployed in it. '* Do you mean to 
say " inquired Butler, " that there are 

James D. Hague 

no regular officers — no West Pointers 

— in this thing?" ''Not one " said 
King. *' Are you all — all — civilians ? " 
Butler insisted. ** Every one," King 
again assured him. *' Then " said the 
General, with unquotable emphasis, 
** it shall go through !" and so it did. 

When the Secretary of War handed 
King his letter of appointment, im- 
mediately after the accomplishment 
of the first necessary legislation, au- 
thorizing the work, he said, *' Now, 
Mr. King, the sooner you get out of 
Washington, the better — you are too 
young a man to be seen about town 
with this appointment in your pocket 

— there are four major-generals who 
want your place." 

King's party was organized early 
in 1867 and nearly all of its mem- 
bers left New York for California, 
via Panama, by the steamer of May 
I St. King started by the following 
ship, unaccompanied by any of his 


intimate associates, and with few, if 
any, companions of his acquaintance. 
While crossing the Isthmus he met 
with an unusual experience which, 
some years thereafter, formed a part of 
one of his favorite stories, hitherto un- 
recorded, so far as I know, although 
he sometimes said he had been asked 
to make a written statement of the 
facts, in the interest of psychical re- 
search. As I now recall the story it 
so happened that after the ship's 
passengers had disembarked at As- 
pinwall and had taken their places 
in the train for Panama, there oc- 
curred a long delay before departure, 
during which many of the travelers 
left the cars and wandered about the 
station premises, regardless of the 
risk of being left behind in the event 
of a sudden start. Presently the train 
moved without notice, leaving many 
passengers to get aboard as best they 
might, while King, standing by chance 

James D. Hague 

on the rear platform, suddenly found 
a little baby in his arms, placed there 
by its mother, who, crying aloud, was 
already running as fast as she could 
in pursuit of her other child, a little 
boy, then playing at the distant end 
of the platform, so far away that the 
unhappy and almost frantic woman 
was quite unable to capture him and 
again overtake the rapidly moving 
train, from the receding end of which, 
King could only wave the baby, as a 
sign of accepting the charge thus 
suddenly thrust upon him. 

This new responsibility proved 
most embarrassing. His unheeded 
appeals for assistance met only with 
derision. Much to his surprise and 
disappointment he found no one, 
man or woman, among all his unsym- 
pathetic fellow-passengers, willing to 
offer aid or comfort or to share, in 
any way, the duties of a baby's nurse, 
wet or dry. Moreover there were 


many imaginable but unspeakable 
difficulties to be dealt with on arrival 
at Panama, a parting of the ways, 
where King, a northbound passenger 
for California, would need somehow 
to be rid of the baby, whose mother, 
he knew, was to go on the south- 
bound steamer to Peru. He was 
much relieved, after long suspense, 
by the official announcement that a 
following train from Aspinwall would 
reach Panama a few hours later, 
bringing all left-over passengers, and 
that all connecting steamers would 
await that arrival. It only remained, 
therefore, for King, while at Panama, 
to find the ways and means of sup- 
plying the crying needs of the baby, 
who by this time was in want of 
everything a baby ever does want. 

His plan was soon conceived and 

promptly carried into execution. 

Holding the baby on one hand and 

his parasol-umbrella in the other, he 


James D. Hague 

set out to walk the streets and by- 
ways of Panama, seeking some house 
of inviting aspect, with outward and 
visible signs of babes and sucklings 
within, where he might get his baby 
washed, dressed and nourished by 
some willing mother. This intel- 
ligent scheme was completely suc- 
cessful. In a neat and tidy cabin, 
containing a small family of English- 
speaking, " light-complected " colored 
women, one of whom was the health- 
ful - looking mother of a nursing 
child. King quickly found the whole- 
some succor he was looking for. He 
told his story to a sympathetic and 
promptly responsive audience, who 
immediately took the baby into 
camp, telling King to take a walk 
for an hour or two, when he might 
return to find his charge refreshed 
within and without. When he came 
back he waited at the cabin, talking 
with the friendly women, while the 


baby slept until train-time, when, 
having liberally rewarded his hos- 
pitable benefactresses, he returned 
to the railway-station, restored the 
child to its anxious mother and went 
on his way rejoicing in the happy 
issue out of all his troubles, and with- 
out the smallest expectation of ever 
again seeing any of the participants 
in the strange adventure. 

A few weeks later. King, who had, 
in the meantime, fitted out his ex- 
expedition at Sacramento, California, 
was moving with his train of army 
wagons and mounted scientists across 
the Sierra towards Nevada, the field 
of his first summer's campaign. He 
camped for Sunday near the little 
town of Alta, on the western slope 
of the range, whose curious inhab- 
itants, mistaking the strange outfit 
for a circus, came around during the 
day to inquire when the show would 
begin. Among these visitors was 

James D. Hague 

a mulatto-like young man, large, 
strong, well-built and pleasing in 
look and manner, who, when he had 
heard from King what it was, seemed 
to conceive an irresistible desire to 
join the party ; and his services, 
offered for any possible duty, were 
promptly accepted for the oppor- 
tunely created place of cook's mate. 
This engagement proved to be the 
beginning of a most important chap- 
ter in the young man's life. 

His name was *' Jim." According 
to his own story he was born in 
Jamaica, in the West Indies. He 
ran away from home when he was 
seven years old, went to sea as cabin- 
boy, continued going to and fro in 
the world and sailing up and down 
in it until he landed in California 
and found his way to Alta, where 
he was in service as a cook when 
favoring fortune brought him into 
King's camp. Since his first escape 


from home he had heard nothing of 
his mother. He had learned some- 
how that she was no longer living 
in Jamaica ; whether dead, or alive 
elsewhere, he did not know. 

Jim's tenure of office soon became 
permanent, outlasting the service of 
all the other camp-men. When the 
field-work had been completed he 
went with King to Washington as 
his personal servant and office-man. 
The Fortieth Parallel Exploration 
party had working quarters in an 
otherwise unoccupied and wholly un- 
furnished house, hired for the pur- 
pose. All members of the corps 
lived elsewhere, excepting' King and 
Jim, who lodged in the house. Some 
of Jim's colored friends told him 
that the house was haunted ; and 
their ghost stories, apparently con- 
firmed by strange and, for a time, 
unexplained noises, in the dead of 
night, due, in fact, to the drying 

James D. Hague 

of unseasoned wood In the new of- 
fice-tables and large draughting- 
boards, which cracked and split with 
fearfully loud reports, developed in 
Jim's unscientific mind an extreme 
susceptibility to spiritualistic mani- 
festations. After some time the 
party moved to New Haven, occupy- 
ing another house, where King also 
lodged in one of the main sleeping- 
rooms, while Jim's bed was in the 
attic. One night. King was suddenly 
aroused from sound sleep by Jim's 
precipitate descent of the attic stairs 
and startling entrance into his room, 
too terrified for speech. 

'* What 's the matter, Jim ? " King 
asked repeatedly, "What's the 
matter ? " 

* * I ' ve seen my mother ! " J im gasped 
at length. 

** Nonsense! " said King, " You 're 
dreaming, Jim! Go back to bed!" 

But Jim protested and refused to 



go back to his attic, under any 

** Did you speak to her ? " in- 
quired King. 

" No, indeed ! " said Jim, *' I was 
too scared to speak." 

" Did you touch her ? " 

** I came down stairs right through 
her — right through her," he repeated, 
" as she stood on the stairs." 

When Jim had regained his com- 
posure sufficiently, he lay down on 
the floor in King's room and waited 
for morning. 

A few hours later, while King was 
taking his breakfast, served, as usual, 
by Jim, a telegram arrived, addressed 
to King and signed with the name 
of a colored clergyman in San Fran- 
cisco, well known to King, stating, 
in effect, that a certain woman was 
then in San Francisco, seeking her 
long-lost son, James Marryatt, who, 
when last heard from, was known 


James D. Hague 

to be in Mr. King's employ, and 
asking for any further information 
concerning him. 

To this dispatch an answer was 
promptly returned, giving the desired 
information concerning Jim and say- 
ing that he would start that evening 
for San Francisco, to see his mother 

It so happened that King was then 
preparing and expecting to go to 
California within a few days. On re- 
ceipt of the above-mentioned tele- 
gram, he determined to send Jim 
immediately and to follow in person 
a little later. He accordingly arrived 
in San Francisco not many days there- 
after and went to his hotel, where Jim 
was his earliest visitor, bringing his 
mother with him. As she entered 
the room and met King face to face, 
recognizing and greeting him imme- 
diately with vigorous expressions of 
surprise and pleasure, she exclaimed 



abruptly : '' Well ! I declare ! And 
how 's that baby ? " 

The woman who had cared for 
King's baby in her cabin at Panama 
was Jim's mother ! 

One very notable and highly sensa- 
tional result of Mr. King's work on 
the Fortieth Parallel Exploration, and 
one which gave him much fame both 
in this country and elsewhere, was his 
startling discovery of the great swindle 
in the ** salted " diamond fields of 
Wyoming, late in 1872. Early in 
that year it had been noised abroad 
that a great find of diamonds and 
other precious stones had been dis- 
covered somewhere in the far West, 
presumably in Arizona, although the 
precise locality was most carefully 
concealed. A large number of the 
gems, of unquestionably considerable 
value, had been carried, it was said, 
from the alleged fields to San Fran- 
cisco and New York, where the most 

James D. Hague 

influential capitalists, who had been 
led to believe the favorable reports 
thus far presented, had invested large 
sums of money in the purchase of 
the ground said to be diamond-bear- 
ing, and were preparing for the in- 
tended operation of the so-called 
mines on a large scale, which would 
soon have caused a rush of fortune- 
hunters and adventurers comparable 
to the California immigration in '49 
and '50. Through information gained 
by one or more of his assistants, it 
suddenly came to Mr. King's knowl- 
edge that the locality of the alleged 
diamond find was not in Arizona, but 
in Wyoming and really within the 
region of his own field-work of the 
Fortieth Parallel survey. Not then 
suspecting a fraud, but, on the con- 
trary, having good reason to regard 
as trustworthy the favorable reports 
of the well-known engineer who, 
shortly before, had visited the fields 


with the leading promoters of the 
enterprise, King hastened to the des- 
ignated locality, not with the ex- 
pectation of unearthing a swindle, 
but for the purpose of studying the 
new diamond field, and making his 
official report on what then seemed 
to be a discovery of great national 

He set out promptly with two or 
three assistants, and duly reached his 
destination, following the trail with- 
out difficulty from Bridger, a station 
of the Union Pacific Railroad in 
Wyoming. He soon found diamonds 
and rubies in abundahce, but his sus- 
picions were quickly aroused by the 
observation that the plainly visible 
precious stones lay directly upon the 
hard surface of rock, where Nature 
alone could never have placed or left 
them, and that none could be found 
in the earth or on the underlying bed- 
rock, where, had the occurrence been 

James D. Hague 

genuine, the inevitable laws of Nature 
must have carried them ; with the 
further observation that the ant-hills, 
built of small pebbles mined by the 
ants, which were found to bear rubies 
on their surfaces or in penetrating 
holes (artificially made with a small 
stick), invariably showed in close 
proximity the storm-worn footprints 
of mankind, while other anthills, with- 
out such sign of human tracks and 
not pierced by any artificial holes, 
were also without rubies or precious 
stones of any sort. Thorough in- 
vestigation, following the lines indi- 
cated by these suspicions, soon proved 
beyond any doubt that some design- 
ing hand had ''salted" the ground 
with deliberate fraudulent intent. 

This disclosure created a great 
sensation in this country and in Eu- 
rope, whence evidence was soon forth- 
coming that the stones used in the 
salting had been bought in large 



quantities at London and Paris dur- 
ing the preceding winter, presumably 
by the originators of the swindle. 
The practical result of Mr. King's 
disclosure of the facts in this case 
was one of inestimable value, possi- 
bly more in money than the whole 
cost of the entire exploration of the 
Fortieth Parallel Expedition. Had 
the fraud remained undisclosed till 
the following spring, large sums of 
money would have been wasted in 
the costly purchase of worthless prop- 
erty and in fruitless prospecting, not 
only by capitalists, but by thousands 
of disappointed and ruined fortune- 

The leading and most active, even 
though wholly innocent, promoter of 
the diamond-mining enterprise, by no 
means necessarily a participant in the 
original swindle, or cognizant of the 
fraud until disclosed by King, was 
an old and very well-known Cali- 

James D. Hague 

fornian, one of the earliest gold- 
seekers, and a lifelong projector and 
operator of mining schemes, whose 
name has ever since been more or 
less intimately associated with this 
celebrated case of diamond-salting. 
It is a notably curious coincidence 
that these two men — Roberts, who 
helped blow the bubble, and King, 
at whose touch it vanished — should 
depart this life on the same day and 
at nearly the same time, twenty-nine 
years after the events in which they 
were thus concerned, and so strangely 
related. Within two or three hours 
after King's death in Arizona, Roberts 
died in New York City. Their names 
and their death announcements, with 
obituary notices, stand closely side 
by side in parallel and adjoining col- 
umns of the Times newspaper of Wed- 
nesday, Christmas morning, 1901. 

King, always a delightful compan- 
ion, was especially so in canjp. 




Everybody missed him when he 
went away and was glad when he 
came back. If any discontenting 
grievances, dissensions or difficulties 
had arisen during King's absence, 
they all vanished before his genial 
presence and cheerful spirit as soon 
as he returned. Many a scanty meal 
has been made good cheer by his en- 
couraging pleasantries. ** What do 
you want outside of that ? " he once 
said to me, in view of an avowedly 
meager repast. " Nothing," I re- 
plied, with some affectation of con- 
tentment, ''Nothing — except my 
jacket." '' Good for you " he re- 
turned ; and seeing that there was 
really nothing to eat but beans, he 
added, '* Pitch in, my boy, pitch in ! 
Sow the wind ! Reap the whirl- 
wind ! " 

It was his mental habit to touch 
with playful humor almost any sub- 
ject, grave or gay, with which he had 

James D. Hague 

to deal. On one occasion, when I 
had repeatedly written to him, in se- 
rious mood, asking for a much-needed 
remittance of money, he replied, at 
last, in an otherwise empty but very 
gracious and amiable letter, briefly 
explaining why he could not possibly 
send the desired funds, and subscrib- 
ing himself, in good faith, ** Unremit- 
tingly yours, C. K." 

Many years ago when King was in 
the West and near a then very im- 
portant mine, in which some of his 
Eastern friends were largely inter- 
ested, he received from one of these 
owners a telegram, asking him to 
visit the mine immediately and wire 
the results of his examination, espe- 
cially with regard to an alarming 
rumor that the value of the vein had 
been much impaired by finding in it 
a very large " horse," which is a 
miner's term for a body of worth- 
less rock that sometimes displaces 


the ore and makes a rich vein poor. 
When King had come out of the 
mine after inspection he found an- 
other telegram waiting for him from 
his impatient friend, asking in effect, 
*' Is it true that there is a horse in 
the mine ? " to which he promptly 
replied, " The mine is a perfect livery 

A nervous old lady once found him 
much too obliging when, having en- 
tered a crowded railway car, she was 
about to take the only available 
vacant seat alongside of King, but, 
having suddenly spied his gun stand- 
ing in the corner, she walked the 
whole length of the car, forth and 
back, repeatedly, looking for some 
other seat, and, finding none, re- 
turned again to King's place, saying 
severely, "Young man, is that gun 
loaded?" to which King instantly 
replied, with a charming smile, his 
•eye twinkling with merriment at the 

James D. Hague 

thought of the old lady going a- 
gunning for somebody, ** No, ma'am, 
but I can load it for you in a 

On another journey from Newport 
to New York King happened to en- 
ter an ordinary railway car which 
was wholly vacant except for a single 
passenger, an elderly lady, a stranger 
of interesting and companionable ap- 
pearance, who was sitting quite alone 
in one of the usual double seats, 
much hampered with bundles, parcels 
and a large bird-cage. King, ad- 
vancing as though the car were full 
and crowded, paused opposite the 
seat only partly occupied by the lady, 
saying, '' Madam, is this place en- 
gaged ? " and on being assured that 
it was not, with prompt removal of 
all encumbrances, he took his seat 
there and thus completed the jour- 
ney, in doubtless mutually agreeable 



King possessed unlimited capacity 
for adapting himself with natural 
facility to every sort of social condi- 
tion. I remember, somewhat vaguely, 
a story, in effect, that he was once 
a visitor at a certain country-house 
in England when the Prince of 
Wales, now King Edward, was a 
guest there. After dinner, while the 
men were still smoking, the host com- 
plained of some indisposition, where- 
upon the Prince begged him to retire 
and leave his guests to themselves 
and their own resources, saying as- 
suringly, '* King and I will get on 
well enough together." 

King seemed to have a natural 
liking for the African race. In ear- 
liest infancy his nurse was a colored 
woman, an old family servant, for 
whom he ever after cherished a life- 
long regard and affectionate sym- 
pathy. He had many friends among 
the negro people and often sought 

James D. Hague 

their companionship when opportu- 
nity offered. On one occasion, when 
he was on a visit in Georgia, during 
very cold weather, he attended a re- 
ligious meeting of a colored congre- 
gation, assembled in a large barn-like 
and frigid meeting-house, without any 
heating facilities whatever, except- 
ing the large hot stones and bowl- 
ders which many of the old women 
brought with them, rolled up in 
flannel petticoats or other comforting 
wrappers, that they might sit or place 
their shivering limbs upon. King 
took an active part in the proceedings 
and addressed the meeting. Not- 
withstanding the bitter cold, which 
might well have made unquenchable 
fire an everlasting pleasure, he much 
enjoyed the fervent spirit of the 
prayers and hymns and soul-saving 
exhortations, and he promised the 
chattering congregation that, as soon 
as possible, he would buy the biggest 


stove he could find in Dahlonega, 
and send it to them to save their 
bodies from freezing. This promise 
was promptly performed and a large 
four-foot stove, with ample lengths 
of circumflecting stove-pipe, sufficient 
to carry warmth to every part of the 
room, was soon installed in the meet- 
ing-house, much to the delight of the 
worshipers there, who made good 
use of their benefactor's gift. 

Two or three years later King had 
occasion to revisit the same neigh- 
borhood. As he journeyed from the 
railway station to his destination, a 
few miles distant, he talked with the 
driver of the conveyance, a white 
man, concerning various matters of 
local interest, and inquired especially 
about the colored church and whether 
the stove he had sent, in accordance 
with his promise, was still doing 
well. "Are you the man that sent 
that stove down here ? " inquired the 

James D. Hague 

driver somewhat reproachfully. *' Do- 
ing well ! " he continued, " I should 
say so ! There ain't a fence-rail left 
in this neighborhood within two mile 
of that meetin'-house." 

King's cheerful spirit remained with 
him to the end. His latest remem- 
bered intelligible words were spoken 
in pleasantry the day before he died, 
to his doctor, who, having, shortly 
before, given him a remedy known as 
*' heroin," which, as it sometimes does, 
caused a temporary wandering of the 
mind, had said to King in explana- 
tion of this result, *' I think the heroin 
must have gone to your head." **Very 
likely," King replied, " many a heroine 
has gone to a better head than mine 
is now." 

King possessed an inexhaustible 
fund of anecdote, from which he drew 
and has told in print many stories 
and incidents of his own experiences. 
Some skeptical hearers or readers 


have occasionally thought he "drew 
the long bow " in these stories, which 
they also said were too good to be 
true. King, however, rarely dis- 
counted the drafts he drew on the 
credulity of his audience, just because 
of their unbelief, although, in one in- 
stance, when I had intimated that his 
story of the slopes of Mount Tyndall 
might well seem pretty steep to an 
unimaginative reader, he offered to 
throw off five degrees for my flat ac- 
ceptance, or, otherwise, to conduct 
me personally to the not easily ac- 
cessible scene of his extraordinary 

With his keen and far-reaching per- 
ceptive faculties and vivid imagina- 
tion. King sometimes perceived things 
which others might see without per- 
ceiving or hear without understand- 
ing ; and many things, the truth of 
which has been questioned by the 
skeptical, were nevertheless true to 

James D. Hague 

him at the time and from his point 
of view. In his vivifying mind many 
a commonplace conception became 
brilHant, as a scrap of iron, dull and 
lifeless in common air, when immersed 
in oxygen, becomes a coruscating fire. 
Such tendencies in thought or speech 
were only part of the natural, glowing 
enthusiasm which was often a most 
potent factor in the accomplishment 
of his purposes. " If you want to 
get a man red-hot, you must go at 
him white-hot," he sometimes said in 
justification of an apparently exces- 
sive zeal. 

King has often been called to ac- 
count by many friends for neglected 
obligations in unanswered letters, un- 
kept engagements, broken promises 
and similar offences, concerning which 
another writer has already said that 
five minutes of King's personal pres- 
ence was enough to insure complete 
forgiveness. One reason why he left 



many letters unanswered, at least 
when in camp, was because he left 
them unopened, having many other 
preventing occupations, and he thus 
unknowingly neglected due response 
to certain communications which he 
had not consciously received. Many 
of his promises and engagements re- 
mained unperformed because it was 
a physical impossibility to keep them. 
In his friendly and obliging way he 
recklessly made many conflicting and 
interfering appointments, which, with- 
out the gift of ubiquity, he could not 
possibly keep. In the long run, how- 
ever, he usually more than made up 
for his failures ; and it may be truly 
said that if he could not always be as 
good as his word, he was almost al- 
ways, sooner or later, a great deal 
better. Moreover, he held a some- 
what unusual view concerning one's 
obligation to perform certain prom- 
ises, especially marriage engagements, 

James D. Hague 

of which, in a somewhat earnest dis- 
cussion of the matter, he once said, 
** I would never marry a woman any- 
how, just because I said I would. That 
is the poorest possible reason men or 
women can ever have for marrying 
each other. People who marry with- 
out any better reason than that must 
surely come to grief." 

Although King gained his highest 
distinction in scientific pursuits, he 
would undoubtedly have achieved 
great eminence in any other vocation 
which he might have chosen. He 
possessed marvelous intellectual ver- 
satility, with great facility in thought 
and rare felicity in expression. He 
excelled especially as a critic, both in 
literature and art, and seemed to be 
endowed with the gift of genius in 
the aesthetic faculty. As connoisseur 
he expended large sums of money in 
buying objects of art for wealthy 
friends in America and England. He 


spent a modest fortune of his own in 
pictures, embroideries, bric-k-brac and 
beautiful things he valued more than 
the money they cost. He had little 
use for money except for what he 
could do or get with it. He could 
have spent millions wisely and beau- 
tifully but never could have hoarded 
it. ** Why do you suppose the streets 
of Heaven are paved with gold, as 
some say ? " I once asked him. ** Just 
to show how little they think of it 
there," he replied. 

His charming personality, his noble 
and gentle spirit, his great kindness, 
generosity and constant friendship, 
have left a precious memory, which 
will long be cherished by many of all 
sorts and conditions of men, both in 
the very highest and the very hum- 
blest walks of life, who will mourn for 
him sincerely as one upon whose like 
they may never look again. 






Synoptic Index. 


King Memorial Committee iv 

King's letter to Cutter accompanying the gift of 

the Helmet of Mambrino 3 

Ramble in Golden Gate Park 5 

Journey in La Mancha 8 

Early morning in the posada , 9 

Salazar, guide and companion 12 

The posadera 17 

Morning chocolate 17 

A Spanish town 19 

The '''' Barberia''^ 23 

The widow Barrilera 24 

The barber's basin . . 27 

The widow's son " Crisanto " 28 

Certificate of the ayuntamiento 30 

The Secretario 31 

The Secretary's valued relic 34 

"Don Horacio" 43 

A phenomenal American 47 

The children of Yakoob Beg . 49 

An exchange of gifts with H. I. M. the Tenno of 

Japan 53 

Kindness of the natives of Tanegashima to the 

survivors of the Cash?nere 54 

Act of recognition by the U. S. Government . . 55 

Japanese schoolhouses built in commemoration . 55 
" Decoration of Merits with Blue Ribbon" con- 
ferred by Japanese Government upon Horace 

F. Cutter 56 

Relations with Spain 57 

Correspondence with Castelar 57 

Gibraltar to be captured by bombs dropped from 

balloons 58 

The sunken treasure galleons in the bay of Vigo 58 


Synoptic Index 


International Exhibition at Madrid 59 

The attitude of Portugal 59 

Relations with Russia 59 

British Columbia 60 

Drake Monument 60 

Lower California 61 

Japanese colonists to cultivate cotton in Mexico 

for international capitalists 62 

The South Seas 62 

Spelling-books for primary schools in the Philip- 
pines 62 

Jury law reforms 63 

San Francisco Vigilance Committee 63 

Golden Gate Park 63 

The aviary 63 

Japanese bulbuls 64 

Birds, fish, and the larger animals 64 

North Beach water-lots 65 

A literary hoax 65 

*' Though lost to sight, to memory dear" ... 65 

*' Sweetheart, goodbye ! the fluttering sail" . . 67 

-•' Ruthven Jenkyns " 68 

'Greenwich Magazine for Marines 68 

Publication in London of the bogus song ... 69 

A fictitious ancestral relative 69 

*' Susan Coolidge," a fictitious chief mourner . . 70 

*' i7'<?rw2V of Mambrino" 71 

Necessities and eccentricities 71 

A constructive loss of $400,000 72 

King's loss of a contingent legacy 72 

A fortune saved from loss 73 

Don Horacio's usual dress 74 

His high hat in a railway wreck 77 

His strange meeting with a participant in the 
"wonderful ghost-story" of All the Year 

Round 78 

Story of Alvah Clark and " Zeta Cancri "... 81 

Letters of Edward Everett Hale 82 

Letter from the London Times correspondent in 

China (i88i) 84 

Autographic letter of Emilio Castelar .... 85 

Letters from Clarence King 86 


Synoptic Index 


Note introducing Mr. Thomas Sturgis .... 92 

Note addressed to Mr. W. D. Howells ... 94 

Note addressed to Mr. John Hay 95 

Socrates or Don Quixote ? 95 

The Helmet of Mambrino, the most precious 

treasure of Don Horacio 97 

His last illness 97 

Final resting-place of * ' The Bachelor of San 

Francisco " 98 

Search for the helmet which vanished after Don 

Horacio's death 99 

An advertisement 102 

Supposed discovery of the helmet at the pawn- 
brokers 103 

Its purchase for seven dollars 104 

A sympathetic detective 104 

His bill of sale and services 105 

Subsequent investigation ........ 108 

The pawnbroker's statement 109 

Mordecai Benguiat's story no 

A copper basin from Smyrna in 

A mistaken identification 114 

"The Helmet OF SoMBRiNo" 115 

Memoir by John Hay 117 

King's genial nature 119 

His facility in acquiring command of languages . 123 

His universal sympathy 125 

His place in science 125 

What he might have been in literature . . . . 126 

His eye for art 127 

Visit to Gustave Dore 129 

Visit to Ruskin 129 

His intellectual versatility 130 

His power of diffusing happiness 131 

Only one King 132 

Memoir by William D. Howells 133 

Varied impressions of King 135 

His sunny gayety 135 

First meeting in proof-reader's room of the Uni- 
versity Press at Cambridge, about 1869 . . 136 


Synoptic Index 


His " Mountaineering " papers 138 

At the White House, Washington 141 

His indifference to literary repute 141 

Meeting in London 142 

A Fortuny watercolor 145 

King's princely generosity 146 

His frank bonhomie 148 

Meeting in Boston Common 149 

Voting for Blaine 149 

King's characteristic smile, delicately intimated 

in his portrait by George Howland . . . 150 

Sympathetic anti-obesity hopes 150 

Pleasures of the table 151 

A noteworthy beefsteak and sauce at a dinner in 

New York 151 

King's friendly sympathies 152 

King's work in American literature 153 

Memoir by Henry Adams 157 

" How I first knew King " 159 

His bubbling life and energy 159 

His charming companionship 160 

Our last vacation 161 

King's letter from Bloomingdale 162 

At Havana 165 

At Santiago 166 

His love of paradox — the only excuse for thought 167 

Dos Bocas — a dream of Paradise 169 

Paradoxical geology 171 

The archaic female 172 

Rebellion and brigandage 173 

A critical situation 174 

Fate of a bandit-friend 177 

Cuban rebellion 180 

King's letter proposing trip to Mexico . . . . 183 

The best companion in the world 185 

Memoir by John LaFarge 187 

A fancied resemblance between King and Dante 

Gabriel Rossetti 189. 

King's artistic temperament 190 

His acquaintance with Ruskin 191 


Synoptic Index 


His collection of paintings and beautiful things . 192 

His artistic conception of a dream-building . . 193 

Project for the tomb of General Grant .... 194 

His picturesque and charming stories .... 196 
A vanishing mirage of fortune for the benefit of 

art and artists 196 

Memoir by Edmund Clarence Stedman . . . 199 

King a kind of Martian visitor 201 

An eventful episode in his life 202 

A transatlantic voyage 202 

An overnight philosopher 203 

An incessant frolic 204 

A sporting wager 206 

A Derby day at Epsom 206 

King's quest of spolia opima 208 

His matchless style and translucent English . . 208 
His speech and writ iridescent with romantic 

imagination 209 

A loss to literature 209 

A place in history 209 

King's memory enshrined 210 

Memoir by William Crary Brownell . . . . 211 

King at the Century Club 213 

An ideal clubman in harmonious environment . 215 

His intellectual alertness 216 

His capacity for conversation 218 

His love of paradox 219 

His extraordinary mental activity 222 

His dominating imagination, a constant factor in 
scientific achievement and in the field of 

letters 223 

Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada, a work of 

imagination of a very high order .... 224 

Memoir by Edward Cary 227 

King's school and college days 229 

Crossing the plains with Gardiner in 1863 . . . 229 

Service on the Geological Survey of California . 230 
Undertaking of the Fortieth Parallel Survey 

(i866) 231 


Synoptic Index 


Completion of this work in 1872 231 

Organization of the United States Geological 

Survey in 1878 232 

Subsequent activities in scientific work .... 232 

His study of the physics of the Earth .... 233 

His literary work 234 

The Century Club — "the rag, tag and bobtail 

of all there is best in our country "... 234 

King's matchless talk 235 

His intense imagination 236 

His brilliant nature 236 

His unfailing kindness 236 

Edward Gary's review of King's Mountaineering 

in the Sierra Nevada 237 

Sketches, fourteen in number, originally published 

in Atlantic Monthly about 1 869 .... 239 
Four editions of the book brought out by James 

R. Osgood & Co., previous to 1874 . . . 239 

His earliest crossing of the continent .... 239 

A succinct statement of geologic history . . . 241 
An intellectual effect akin to that given by certain 
passages of Shakespeare in the expression of 

human consciousness 243 

View from the top of Mount Whitney .... 246 

King's charming narrative of personal adventure . 250 

" Kaweah's Run " 251 

The Newtys of Pike 251 

The artist of Cut-off Copples's 251 

An American classic 251 

Memoir by Samuel Franklin Emmons .... 253 

Clarence King — Geologist 255 

King's ancestry 256 

His father's death in China (1848) 258 

His mother a widow at twenty-two 258 

King's boyhood days at Newport and Hartford . 259 

At the Yale Scientific School (1859) 259 

Subsequent studies in science and art 1862-63 • 260 
Journey across the continent in company with his 

friend James T. Gardiner 261 

Burnt out at Virginia City 262 


Synoptic Index 


Crossing the Sierra Nevada afoot 262 

Meeting with Professor William H. Brewer of 

the Geological Survey of California . . . 262 

King's work on that Survey 263 

Exploration in Arizona, accompanying General 

McDowell 263 

Field studies a^-ound extinct volcanoes in associa- 
tion with Baron von Richthofen .... 264 
King's important discovery of significant fossils 

on the Mariposa estate (1863) 264 

Initiative efforts at Washington to organize the 
Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Par- 
allel, 1866-67 ..... 265 

Conduct of that Survey 266 

Mining Industry^ the earliest publication of the 

Report (1870) 268 

Subsequent publications 269 

Glaciers on Mount Shasta 269 

Islands along southern coast of New England . 269 

Systematic Geology (1878) 271 

Establishment of the United States Geological 

Survey 273 

King's work as United States Geologist . . , 275 

Fellowship in scientific societies 276 

Geological Society of London (1874) .... 276 
National Academy of Sciences (1876) .... 276 
American Institute Mining Engineers .... 276 

King's financial affairs 277 

Time and attention which he might otherwise 
have given to science and literature absorbed 

by necessity of earning money 278 

His quick perception and acute judgment illus- 
trated in his discovery of the "diamond 

swindle " ., 278 

Service as scientific adviser in important mining 

litigations 279 

Honorary degree of LL.D. conferred by Brown 

University (1890) 281 

King's scientific writings discussed 281 

" Catastrophism and the Evolution of Environ- 
ment" 282 

Systematic Geology 283 


Synoptic Index 


His establishment of a physical laboratory for in- 
vestigations conducted by Professors Barus 

and Hallock 287 

His paper on the " Age of the Earth " . . . . 289- 

His estimate confirmed by Lord Kelvin . . . 290 

King's literary work .... 291 

His remarkable intellectual versatility .... 292 

His last illness 293 

Memoir by Daniel C. Gilman 295 

Clarence King's boyhood at New Haven . . . 297 

School-days at Hartford 297 

At the Sheffield School 298 

His graduation there in 1862 299 

His subsequent career 300 

Biographical Notice by Rossiter W. Raymond . 303 

Clarence King a " mother's boy " 306 

His schoolboy days 306 

" The gift of friendship," a characteristic from his 

earliest youth 306 

James T. Gardiner's note descriptive of that 

period 3^7 

King's crossing of the continent in 1863, suggestive 

of General Sherman's experience .... 308 
Letter of Professor Brewer — quoted .... 310 
His meeting with King and Gardiner on Sacra- 
mento River steamer 311 

Brewer's first ascent of Mount Shasta .... 314 

His descriptive letter to Professor Brush . . . 315 

King's resolution inspired thereby 315 

King's 'engagement on the Geological Survey of 

California 316 

His literary camp outfit (footnote) 317 

Ascent of Lassen Peak 318 

'Kmg's glissade 3^9 

Discovery of Jurassic and Triassic fossils in the 
auriferous zone of California at Genesee 

Valley, Plumas County 321 

King's discovery of glaciers on Mount Shasta in 

1870 323 

Mount Whitney 324 


Synoptic Index 


King's ascent of mistaken peak in 1871 . . . 325 
Mr. W. A. Goodyear's discovery of King's mis- 
take (1873) 326 

King's hasty journey from New York and ascent 

of the true Mount Whitney 327 

Discovery on Mariposa estate of Jurassic fossils . 327 

Question of priority in this discovery .... 328 
King's scientific errand to Arizona with General 

McDowell 330 

An adventure with Apaches 331 

Reminiscences contributed by James T. Gardiner, 
touching the considerations which led to the 

undertaking of the Fortieth Parallel Survey 332 

Field work of the Survey 335 

King's courage and nerve under trying circum- 
stances 338 

Capture of a deserting soldier 339 

Close quarters with a grizzly 340 

An elk's resemblance to " a first-class hat-rack on 

a mule " 344 

A dinner in camp with King 344 

" Roughing it " in soft raiment 345 

A valet's view of the Grand Canon of the Colo- 
rado, " no place for a gentleman " . . . . 347 
King's valet mistaken in Paris for an Oriental 

Prince (footnote) 348 

The diamond swindle 349 

King's work as Director of the U. S. Geological 

Survey 350 

King's contributions to scientific literature . . 352 

His " Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada " . 353 
King's many social and professional engagements 

a hindrance to literary activity 354 

His Mexican enterprises 359 

An expert witness in mining litigations . . . . 359 

Travels in Europe 362 

Visit in Cuba 363 

His final illness 364 

King's constancy in friendship 367 

His " Sunday School" in London 369 

His "afternoon tea" in Windsor Park by royal 

favor 369 


Synoptic Index 


King's impressive personality 370 

List of published works by Clarence King . . 372 

Memorabilia, James D. Hague 375 

King at Yale in 1862 377 

Hillhouse Avenue garden gates 377 

Crossing the plains (1863) 378 

Buffalo hunting 378 

At Washington (1867) 381 

Senator Fessenden almost persuaded to be a 

scientist 382 

Some marvellous isothermal lines 382 

Senator Conness, a faithful supporter of the 

Fortieth Parallel Survey 383 

General Butler's pro-civilian sympathies . . . 384 
Secretary of War's admonition to King to get out 

of Washington without delay 385 

King's departure for California (1867) .... 385 
An unusual experience with a baby on the 

isthmus 386 

A Sunday camp at Alta 390 

Engagement of "Jim" as cook's mate .... 391 

A case for the Society for Psychical Research . 393 

The diamond swindle 396 

A strange coincidence in the simultaneous death 

of Roberts and King 401 

King in camp — a delightful companion . . . 401 

A feast of beans 402 

" Unremittingly yours" 403 

' ' A horse in the mine " 404 

" Young man, is that gun loaded ? " .... 404 
A companionable stranger in an otherwise vacant 

car 405 

The Prince of Wales and King in agreeable com- 
panionship . . 406 

King's gift of a stove to a colored church in 

Georgia 407 

King's cheerful spirit at the last 409 

King's alleged tendencies to exaggeration . . . 410 

His natural glowing enthusiasm 411 

" To get a man red-hot, you must go at him 

white-hot" 4" 


Synoptic Index 


King's unanswered letters and neglected engage- 
ments more than atoned for 41 1 

His unusual view of marriage engagements . .412 
King's love of beautiful things more valuable 

than money 414 

Why the streets of heaven are paved with gold . 414 
A cherished memory 4^4 



A new edition of this book has recently been 
published by Messrs. Charles Scribner's SonSy 
^53 Fifth Aveftue^ New York. 








Book Slip-Series 458 


Century association, 
New York. King memoria. 

C fnt vr\J 

P lYSlCAl 

Call Number: 

31 2882 







■ \