The State seal of California is Minerva, with a spear and shield and the grizzly bear at her feet. Before the discovery of gold they were quite numerous. They roamed in full possession, apparently, of the country—no one to molest them or make them afraid. It was a very formidable animal, weighing from seven to eight hundred pounds. When the rainy season set in, late in the fall, and the winter months, during which the grass commenced to grow, he fed on it in the valleys and fields, and became fat and powerful. In the spring, when the dry season set in and no rain for seven months, and fields dried up with a dusty brown, he fled to the tops of the mountains to browse on the leaves of the trees to support life until the next rainy season commenced. It is said he is not a ferocious animal if unmolested, and will not attack you if you let him alone, unless it is a she bear with cubs, or you shoot at them and wound them. They are very hard to kill. To be hit by a bullet has very little effect on them, unless hit in a vital spot. An acquaintance of mine was walking on a road in the interior and saw a big grizzly coming down the road in the opposite direction toward him. He knew it would not do to undertake to run. He had been posted on their natures, so he kept walking right on, as if he was undisturbed and had no fear, the bear coming nearer to him all the time, with his gait unchanged, or he his, until they passed each other, he looking the grizzly in the eye and treating each other with due respect and consideration as friends. As an illustration of their strength, an old Californian informed me that he knew of an instance where a grizzly came into a pack of live mules and took one off and carried it to his den and ate it. In corroboration of that fact, another man informed me that he saw a bear chasing a mule and fired on the bear and hit him, and the bear turned toward him, and the mule escaped.
[Illustration: THE MINER AND THE GRIZZLY.]
There was a Mr. W., who opened a fashionable hotel on the east side of the plaza. I was invited to be one of a party of twenty to give a complimentary dinner to a friend, who was about to return East. The bill was just $400, which was $20 apiece, the most I ever paid for a California dinner. The landlord became quite popular and was thought to be a very responsible person. A great many persons from the long voyages around Cape Horn arrived, sick with the scurvy, owing to want of vegetables at sea, most of whose systems underwent a change to become acclimated to the country; some seriously and others more mildly. It was thought it would be a good thing to do to erect a hospital for the benefit of the public and those arriving sick. There was $30,000 raised at the first meeting called, and Mr. W., the landlord, was elected treasurer.
[Illustration: THE MAN WHO ESCAPED FROM THE SANDWICH ISLANDS.]