On the altar are several of the old statues, and there are some quaint pictures upon the walls.
In the baptistry is a font of hammered copper, probably made either at San Gabriel or San Fernando. There are several other interesting vessels. At the rear of the church are the remains of five brick structures, where the soap-making and tallow-rendering of the Mission was conducted. Five others were removed a few years ago to make way for the public road. Undoubtedly there were other buildings for the women and male neophytes as well as the workshops.
The San Gabriel belfry is well known in picture, song, and story. Yet the fanciful legends about the casting of the bells give way to stern fact when they are examined. Upon the first bell is the inscription: “Ave Maria Santisima. S. Francisco. De Paula Rvelas, me fecit.” The second: “Cast by G.H. Holbrook, Medway, Mass., 1828.” The third: “Ave Maria, Sn Jvan Nepomvseno, Rvelas me fecit, A.D., ’95.” The fourth: “Fecit Benitvs a Regibvs, Ano D. 1830, Sn. Frano.”
In the year 1886 a number of needed repairs were made; the windows were enlarged, and a new ceiling put in, the latter a most incongruous piece of work.
SAN LUIS OBISPO DE TOLOSA
Founded, as we have seen, by Serra himself, September I, 1772, by the end of 1773 the Mission of San Luis Obispo could report only twelve converts. Serra left the day after the founding, leaving Padre Cavalier in charge, with two Indians from Lower California, four soldiers and their corporal. Their only provisions were a few hundred pounds of flour and wheat, and a barrel of brown sugar. But the Indians were kind, in remembrance of Fages’s goodness in shooting the bears, and brought them venison and seeds frequently, so they “managed to subsist” until provisions came.
Padre Cavalier built a neat chapel of logs and apartments for the missionaries, and the soldiers soon erected their own barracks. While the Indians were friendly, they did not seem to be particularly attracted to the Mission, as they had more and better food than the padre, and the only thing he had that they particularly desired was cloth. There was no rancheria in the vicinity, but they were much interested in the growth of the corn and beans sown by the padre, and which, being on good and well-watered land, yielded abundantly.
[Illustration: MISSION SAN GABRIEL ARCANGEL.]
[Illustration: SAN LUIS OBISPO BEFORE RESTORATION.]
[Illustration: RUINED MISSION OF SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO. Showing campanile and protected arched corridors.]
[Illustration: THE RESTORED MISSION OF SAN LUIS OBISPO.]