**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

"H.H." In Southern California
by [?]

It seems somehow more nearly an irreparable loss to us than to “H. H.” that she did not live to taste her very substantial fame in Southern California. We should have had such delight in her unaffected pleasure in it, and it would have been one of those satisfactions somewhat adequate to our sense of fitness that are so seldom experienced. It was my good fortune to see Mrs. Jackson frequently in the days in New York when she was writing “Ramona,” which was begun and perhaps finished in the Berkeley House. The theme had complete possession of her, and chapter after chapter flowed from her pen as easily as one would write a letter to a friend; and she had an ever fresh and vigorous delight in it. I have often thought that no one enjoyed the sensation of living more than Mrs. Jackson, or was more alive to all the influences of nature and the contact of mind with mind, more responsive to all that was exquisite and noble either in nature or in society, or more sensitive to the disagreeable. This is merely saying that she was a poet; but when she became interested in the Indians, and especially in the harsh fate of the Mission Indians in California, all her nature was fused for the time in a lofty enthusiasm of pity and indignation, and all her powers seemed to be consecrated to one purpose. Enthusiasm and sympathy will not make a novel, but all the same they are necessary to the production of a work that has in it real vital quality, and in this case all previous experience and artistic training became the unconscious servants of Mrs. Jackson’s heart. I know she had very little conceit about her performance, but she had a simple consciousness that she was doing her best work, and that if the world should care much for anything she had done, after she was gone, it would be for “Ramona.” She had put herself into it.

And yet I am certain that she could have had no idea what the novel would be to the people of Southern California, or how it would identify her name with all that region, and make so many scenes in it places of pilgrimage and romantic interest for her sake. I do not mean to say that the people in California knew personally Ramona and Alessandro, or altogether believe in them, but that in their idealizations they recognize a verity and the ultimate truth of human nature, while in the scenery, in the fading sentiment of the old Spanish life, and the romance and faith of the Missions, the author has done for the region very much what Scott did for the Highlands. I hope she knows now, I presume she does, that more than one Indian school in the Territories is called the Ramona School; that at least two villages in California are contending for the priority of using the name Ramona; that all the travelers and tourists (at least in the time they can spare from real-estate speculations) go about under her guidance, are pilgrims to the shrines she has described, and eager searchers for the scenes she has made famous in her novel; that more than one city and more than one town claims the honor of connection with the story; that the tourist has pointed out to him in more than one village the very house where Ramona lived, where she was married–indeed, that a little crop of legends has already grown up about the story itself. I was myself shown the house in Los Angeles where the story was written, and so strong is the local impression that I confess to looking at the rose-embowered cottage with a good deal of interest, though I had seen the romance growing day by day in the Berkeley in New York.