Page:Mexico, California and Arizona - 1900.djvu/311
CONVERSATIONS WITH A COLONEL.
Blas. My slight sketch of these bells, made on a fly-leaf my note-book in the first instance, came to have an importance far beyond its own merits. I have the gratification of knowing that it proved to be the source of nothing less than the last inspiration of Longfellow. The great and good poet died on the 24th of March, 1882. In his portfolio was found his final work, "The Bells of San Blas," dated March 15, which afterward appeared in the Atlantic Monthly. His memorandum-book contained a reference, as a suggestion for a poem, to the number and page of Harper's Magazine of the same month, in which the sketch was published.
At Mazatlan we are in a bustling harbor, and a well and handsomely built little city, with improvements and shops of the better sort, which other countries than Mexico might be satisfied with. It seems surprising, until we comprehend the extensive back country which is tributary to it, how a city of but fourteen thousand people can be justified in maintaining so elaborate a stock of goods.
We steam finally across the Gulf of California and up the coast of that peninsula which seems one of the remotest points of the globe. The days are-calm and blue; the bold outlines of the shores offer constant novelty. An arbitrary line is passed : we have lost Mexico, but gained California the richest and most marvellous of her provinces.It is remarkable now to recall that, upon the accession of the Emperor Iturbide, Mexico boasted of being, with the exception of Russia and China, the most extensive empire in the world.