Page:The Cambridge History of American Literature, v3.djvu/172

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154
Travellers and Explorers, 1846-1900

boundary along the 49th parallel had been surveyed to the Gulf of Georgia in settling the Oregon question.

A volume published for the author, Philip Tome, in Buffalo in 1854, now very rare, is Pioneer Life, or Thirty Years a Hunter. Being Scenes and Adventures in the Life of Philip Tome, Fifteen Years Interpreter for Cornplanter and George Blacksnake, Chiefs on the Alleghany River. Cornplanter, a half-breed Seneca, was one of the most distinguished of the Iroquois leaders.

In the early fifties Joaquin Miller[1] was taken to California overland by his parents, and the impressions he received coloured his entire life. His poem, The Ship in the Desert (1875), is a string of "these scenes and descriptions of a mighty land of mystery, and wild and savage grandeur."

What scenes they passed, what camps at morn,
What weary columns kept the road;
What herds of troubled cattle low'd,
And trumpeted like lifted horn;
And everywhere, or road or rest,
All things were pointing to the West;
A weary, long and lonesome track,
And all led on, but one looked back.

Joaquin Miller also wrote the prose volume Life Among the Modocs (1874).

A period was now beginning when the literature of the Far West was not to be confined to the tales of trappers and explorers. About 1860 a young printer obtained employment in the composing-room of The Golden Era in San Francisco, and he was a contributor to that paper as well. He was invited to the home of the Frémonts (who were then living on their Black Point estate near the Golden Gate) because of the talent, the genius, they discovered in his manuscripts. From that moment the career of Bret Harte[2] flowed on successfully to the end. About the same time there appeared on this remote and primitive literary stage another genius who was dubbed the "Wild Humorist of the Pacific Slope." He tried mining with no success and then turned to his pen. The Jumping Frog (1867) carried the name of the former Mississippi pilot to the outer world, and "Mark Twain" became a star among the

  1. See Book III, Chap. X.
  2. Ibid., Chap. VI.