The Smiling Hill-Top
and Other California Sketches
JULIA M. SLOANE
CARLETON M. WINSLOW
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
Copyright, 1919, by
Charles Scribner's Sons
Published October, 1919
MY THREE COMPANIONS OF THE ROAD
ONE LARGE AND TWO SMALL
THIS LITTLE BOOK
IS LOVINGLY DEDICATED
THE SMILING HILL-TOP
AND OTHER CALIFORNIA SKETCHES
The following sketches are entirely informal. They do not cover the subject of Southern California in any way. In fact, they contain no information whatever, either about the missions or history—a little, perhaps, about the climate and the fruits and flowers of the earth, but that has crept in more or less unavoidably. They are the record of what happened to happen to a fairly light-hearted family who left New England in search of rest and health. There are six of us, two grown-ups, two boys, and two dogs. We came for a year and, like many another family,
have taken root for all our days—or so it seems now.
The reactions of more or less temperamental people, suddenly transplanted from a rigorous climate to sunshine and the beauty and abundance of life in Southern California, perhaps give a too highly colored picture, so please make allowance for the bounce of the ball. I mean to be quite fair. It doesn't rain from May to October, but when it does, it can rain in a way to make Noah feel entirely at home. Unfortunately, that is when so many of our visitors come—in February! They catch bad colds, the roses aren't in bloom, and altogether they feel that they have been basely deceived.
We rarely have thunder-storms, or at least anything you could dignify by that name, but we do have horrid little shaky
earthquakes. We don't have mosquitoes in hordes, such as the Jersey coast provides, but we do sometimes come home and hear what sounds like a cosy tea-kettle in the courtyard, whereupon the defender of the family reaches for his gun and there is one rattlesnake less to dread.
On our hill-top there are quantities of wild creatures—quail, rabbits, doves, and ground squirrels and, unfortunately, a number of social outcasts. Never shall I forget an epic incident in our history—the head of the family in pajamas at dawn, in mortal combat with a small black-and-white creature, chasing it through the cloisters with the garden hose. Oh, yes, there is plenty of adventure still left, even though we don't have to cross the prairies in a wagon.
People who know California and love it,