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of the flood with invitations to a rise in life, and took to the meadows with a butterfly-net .
My experience teaches that no sage (or gentleman) should chase the butterfly on horseback. You are liable to put your net over your horse's head instead of the butterfly's. The butterfly keeps rather ahead of the horse. You may throw your horse when you mean to throw the net . The idea is a romantic one; it carries you back to the days of chivalry, when court butterflies were said to have been netted from the saddle,—but it carries you nowhere else in particular, unless perhaps into a small branch of the Merced, where you don't want to go. Then, too, if you slip down and leave your horse standing while you steal on a giant PapiHo which is sucking the deer-weed in such a sweet spot for a cast, your horse (perhaps he has heard of the French general who said, "Asses and savam to the centre!") may discover that he also is a sage, and retire to botanize while you are butterflying,—a contingency which entails your wading the Merced after him five several times, and finally going back to camp in wet disgust to procure another horse and a lariat . An experience faintly hinted at in the above suggestions soon convinced me that the great arm of the service in butterfly warfare is infantry. After I had turned myself into a modest Retiarius, I had no end to success. Mariposa County is rightly named. The honey of its groves and meadows is sucked by some of the largest, the most magnificent, and most widely varied butterflies in the world.
At noon those of us who came back to camp had a substantial dinner out of our abundant stores, reinforced occasionally with grouse, quail, or pigeons, contributed by the sportsmen. The artists mostly dined & la fourchette, in their workshop,—something in a pail being carried out to them at noon by our Infant Phenomenon. He was a skeleton of thinness, and an incredibly gaunt mustang was the one which invariably carried the lunch; so we used to call the boy, when we saw him coming, " Death on the Pailhorse." At evening, when the artists returned, half an hour was passed in a "private view" of their day's studies; then came another dinner, called a supper; then the tea-kettle was emptied into a pan, and brush-washing with talk and pipes led the rest of the genial way to bed-time.
In his charming "Peculiar," Epes Sargent has given us an episode called the "Story of Estelle." It is the greatest of compliments to him that I could get thoroughly interested in her lover, when he bore the name of one of the most audacious and picaresque mortals I ever knew,—our hired man, who sold us— our— But hear my episode: it is
THE STORY OF VANCE.
Vance. The cognomen of the loyal nephew with the Secesh uncle. I will be brief. Our stores began to fail. One morning we equipped Vance with a horse, a pack-mule to lead behind him, a list of purchases, and eighty golden dollars, bidding him goodspeed on the trail to Mariposa. He was to return laden with all the modern equivalents for corn, wine, and oil, on the fifth or sixth day from his departure. Seven days glided by, and the material for more slapjacks with them. We grew perilously nigh our bagbottoms.
One morning I determined to save the party from starvation, and with a fresh supply of the currency set out for Mariposa. At Clark's I learned thai; our man had camped there about noon on the day he left us, turned his horse and mule loose, instead of picketing them, and spent the rest of the sunlight in a siesta. When he arose, his animals were undiscoverable. He accordingly borrowed Clark's only horse to go in search of them, and the generous hermit had not seen him since.
Carrying these pleasant bits of intelligence, I resumed my way toward the settlements. Coming by the steam saw-mill, I recognized Vance's steed grazing by the way-side, threw my lariat over his head, and led him in triumph to Mariposa. There I arrived at eight in the evening of the day I left the Valley,— having performed fifty miles of the hardest mountain trail that was ever travelled in a little less than twelve hours, making allowance for our halt and noon-feed at Clark's. If ever a California horse was tried, it was mine on that occasion; and he came into Mariposa on the full gallop, scarcely wet, and not galled or jaded in the least .
Here I found our mule, whose obstinate memory had carried him home to his old stable,—also the remaining events in Vance's brief, but brilliant career. That ornament of the Utah and Yo-Semite expeditions had entered Mariposa on Clark's horse,—lost our eighty golden dollars at a single session of bluff, departed gayly for Coulterville, where he sold Clark's horse at auction for forty dollars, including saddle and bridle, and immediately at another game of bluff lost the entire purchase-money to the happy buyer (Clark got his horse again on proving title), — and finally vanished for parts unknown, with nothing in his pocket but buttons, or in his memory but villainies. Nowhere out of California or old Spain can there exist such a modern survivor of the days of Gil Bias!
Too happy in the recovery of, Clark's and our own animals to waste time in hue and cry, I loaded my two reclaimed pack-beasts with all that our commissariat needed,—nooned at Clark's, on my way back, the third day after leaving the Valley for Mariposa, and that same night was among my rejoicing comrades at the head of the great Yo-Semite. That afternoon they had come to the bottom of the flourbag, after living for three days on unleavened slapjacks without either butter or sirup. I have seen people who professed to relish the Jewish Passoverbread; but, after such an experience as our party's, I venture to say they would have regarded it worthy of a place among the other abolished types of the Mosaic dispensation. As for me and the mule,-we felt our hearts swell- within us as if we had come to raise the siege of Leyden. In that same enthusiasm shared our artists, savam, and gentlemen, embracing the shaggy neck of the mule as he had been a brother what time they realized that his panniers were fulL Can any one wonder at my early words, " A slapjack may be the last plank between the woodsman and starvation?"
Just before I started after supplies, our party moved its camp to a position five miles up the Valley beyond Camp Rattlesnake, in a beautiful grove of oaks and cedars, close upon the most sinuous part of the Merced margin, with rich pasture for our animals immediately across the stream, and the loftiest cataract in the world roaring over the bleak precipice opposite. This is the Yo-Semite Fall proper, or, in the Indian,