CHAPTER III. Armies of fleas
Leave the mission
Arrive at Pueblo de San Jose
Description of the Pueblo
Beautiful and fertile valley of the Pueblo
Absence of architectural taste in California
Contrast between California and American gamesters
Leave San Jose
Mission of Santa Clara
Rich but neglected lands
Effects of a bad government
A senora on the road-side
Kindness of Californian women
Cruel treatment of horses
Arrive at the mission of San Francisco
A poor but hospitable family
Arrive at the town of San Francisco
W.A. Leidesdorff, Esq., American vice-consul
First view of the bay of San Francisco
Muchachos and Muchachas
U.S. sloop-of-war, Portsmouth
Town of San Francisco; its situation, appearance, population
Commerce of California
Extortion of the government and traders.
September 19. - Several Californians came into the mission during the night or early this morning; among them the husband of our hostess, who was very kind and cordial in his greetings.
While our man Jack was saddling and packing the mules, they gathered around us to the number of a dozen or more, and were desirous of trading their horses for articles of clothing; articles which many of them appeared to stand greatly in need of, but which we had not to part from. Their pertinacity exceeded the bounds of civility, as I thought; but I was not in a good humour, for the fleas, bugs, and other vermin, which infested our miserable lodgings, had caused me a sleepless night, by goring my body until the blood oozed from the skin in countless places. These ruinous missions are prolific generators, and the nurseries of vermin of all kinds, as the hapless traveller who tarries in them a few hours will learn to his sorrow. When these bloodthirsty assailants once make a lodgment in the clothing or bedding of the unfortunate victim of their attacks, such are their courage and perseverance, that they never capitulate. "Blood or death" is their motto; - the war against them, to be successful, must be a war of extermination.
Poor as our hostess was, she nevertheless was reluctant to receive any compensation for her hospitality. We, however, insisted upon her receiving a dollar from each of us (dos pesos), which she finally accepted; and after shaking us cordially by the hand she bade us an affectionate adios, and we proceeded on our journey.
From the Mission of San Jose to the Pueblo of San Jose, the distance is fifteen miles, for the most part over a level and highly fertile plain, producing a variety of indigenous grasses, among which I noticed several species of clover and mustard, large tracts of which we rode through, the stalks varying from six to ten feet in height. The plain is watered by several arroyos, skirted with timber, generally the evergreen oak.