e surprising in Don Mariano; even though his race ran up to Adam, like the pedigree made out by heralds for his countryman Charles the Fifth. You ask about the history of California, he remarks; my biography is the history of California.
In one sense he is right.
Don Mariano's story is that of nearly every Mexican of rank.
In olden times (now thirty years ago!) he was the largest holder of land in California.
Besides his place at Monterey, the family-seat, he owned a sheep-run on San Benito River, an estate sixty miles long in San Joaquin Valley, a whole county on San Pablo Bay, and many smaller tracts in other parts.
High mountain ranges stood within the boundaries of his estate.
With an exception here and there, these tracts have passed into the stranger's hands.
Springing from an ancient root, claiming an ancestry all knights and nobles, Mariano took to arms as soon as he could ride a horse and wield a sword.
Joining a troop of rangers, he was soon a man of note.
ncisco five or six weeks, looking round, and feeling for an opening, but the sharpers of that city would have peeled and picked me to the bone.
I came down south, and finding two or three ranches in this valley built by English fellows, I thought the place would suit me, and I stayed.
How long ago?
Five or six years or so; just when Salinas was a sprinkle of log huts.
And you have now a good run?
My run extends from the Salinas River right across the Galivano range, to San Benito River.
Why, that is an estate as big as a Scotch county?
Yes, the dear old dad will stare when I go home some day, and tell him what his scapegrace son has been doing for the last twelve years. Ha!
ha! the dear old dad will stare when I tell him he sent me out with sixpence, and I ask him to come and see what I have bought with his sixpence-a little place in California, about the size of County Linlithgow!
The lands all round Salinas are in English and American hands.
suffer at their hands.
Like a true Mexican she blessed him to his task, and placed him under the protection of her saints.
I got my mother's blessing, says the brigand, and from that day I began to rove and rob.
Going into the hills of San Benito, where his kindred lived, he first fell in with Capitan Soto, and engaged to serve him in stealing mustangs.
He was soon a master of his craft, a favourite of his chief.
With Capitan Soto, he was taken prisoner, and got five years in San Quesalia loved him for his daring deeds; and how, whilst drudging on a farm, could he approve himself a hero in Rosalia's sight?
To hold her, he must fly into the hills.
Choice led him to the heights above Los Angeles, in the vicinity of that San Benito peak from which his mother sprang, among the ins and outs of which Leiva and Rosalia were at home.
Some rival bands were in the district, led by Capitan Soto.
On hearing that the rangers of Los Angeles were out, Vasquez joined his old leade