No one was born or died or executed
today yesterday. That’s okay.
Daily Reading May 26
Both are from The Pocket U. Library Vol. VII: American Wit and Humor. I liked “Melons.”
Bret Harte. Ring a bell? Faintly. The Works of Bret Harte, part of a small incomplete collection of 18 in my little home library from Black’s Readers Service Company (1932). It includes a short, three and one-half page biographical Introduction. What an almost pathetic story.
But what would Bret Harte have been without the California of the fifties and sixties, and that local color?Ben Ray Redman, “Introduction” to The Works of Bret Harte (1932)
After the death of his father, and five years after the beginning of the California gold rush, Bret and his mother made their way from Albany to San Fransisco, via Panama. As a young man– and I can image this meant someone very much younger than it does today– Bret set out to the mines. He apparently had quite a number of experiences before returning to San Fransisco where he took to writing short stories with a “combination of humor and pathos” based on keen observations of the sort of folks who make up the mining community, including “dissolute, abandoned women.” He was editor of The Overland Monthly, and it was his “The Luck of Roaring Camp” in the second issue of that magazine that brought him fame. Indeed, his first book, The Luck of Roaring Camp and Other Stories, was a best seller in 1870.
He was wildly successful! “Too important a person to live in California,” according to the literati of the time. And so he left. And he was again successful in fame and money.