June 19, 2010

You may see such disfigurements far and wide over California – and in some such places, where only meadows and forests are visible – not a living creature, not a house, no stick or stone, or remnant of a ruin, and not a sound, not even a whisper to disturb the sabbath stillness – you will find it hard to believe that there stood at one time a fiercely-flourishing little city, of two thousand or three thousand souls, with its newspaper, fire company, brass band, volunteer militia, bank, hotels, noisy Fourth of July processions and speeches, gambling hells crammed with tobacco smoke, profanity, and rough-bearded men of all nations and colors, with tables heaped with gold dust sufficient for the revenues of a German principality – streets crowded and rife with business, – town lots worth four hundred dollars a front foot – labor, laughter, music, dancing, swearing, fighting, shooting, stabbing – a bloody inquest and a man for breakfast every morning – everything that delights and adorns existence – all the appointments and appurtenances of a thriving and prosperous young city, – and now nothing is left of it all but a lifeless, homeless solitude.

All right, all you 9th grade English teachers of yore, diagram this!

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