Overview

* Illustrated as per the first edition by Thomas Fogarty

***

Stewart Edward White's book, "The Gray Dawn," is a novel which deals with life in the early days of California. "Gold." It's a story of the California Gold Rush times and and takes place in San Francisco of the early 1850s, just while the city is struggling towards a civic consciousness.

The Vigilante movement is a thing of the past, yet lawlessness and disorder are still rampant....
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THE GRAY DAWN

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Overview

* Illustrated as per the first edition by Thomas Fogarty

***

Stewart Edward White's book, "The Gray Dawn," is a novel which deals with life in the early days of California. "Gold." It's a story of the California Gold Rush times and and takes place in San Francisco of the early 1850s, just while the city is struggling towards a civic consciousness.

The Vigilante movement is a thing of the past, yet lawlessness and disorder are still rampant. The author has given us in this book an extremely vivid picture of the life of that time with its crudity, recklessness and wild extravagance, when huge fortunes were being made and lost in a day and the law as upheld by the courts a joke.

His historical accuracy and attention to details, his flashes of description and, above all, the people he has drawn for us, seem to put before us the very spirit of those old days in San Francisco. And like everything Stewart Edward White has ever written, the book is a very readable and an intensely interesting one, with the quality of catching and sustaining the reader's interest from chapter to chapter by the smoothness and spirit of the narrative. "The Gray Dawn" has a definite and well worked out plot, which culminates in a second and final Vigilante uprising and the entering of the city upon better days. To repeat, the book is a thoroughly enjoyable one, and it is a great deal more than that — it preserves for us something of the flavor of those picturesque and historic days in the great West. It is well worth careful reading

***

PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS IN TALE

MILTON KEITH: a young lawyer from Baltimore.
NAN KEITH: his wife.
JOHN SHERWOOD: a gambler.
PATSY SHERWOOD: his wife.
ARTHUR MORRELL: an English adventurer.
MIMI MORRELL: his wife or mistress.
BEN SANSOME: a lady-killer, destined to become an "old beau."
W. T. COLEMAN, or "old Vigilante," a leader.
DAVID TERRY: a leader on the other side.
JAMES KING OF WILLIAM: a modern Crusader.
THE SPIRIT OF SAN FRANCISCO
AND OTHERS

***

An excerpt from the beginning of the first chapter:

On the veranda of the Bella Union Hotel, San Francisco, a man sat enjoying his morning pipe. The Bella Union overlooked the Plaza of that day, a dusty, unkempt, open space, later to be swept and graded and dignified into Portsmouth Square. The man was at the younger fringe of middle life. He was dressed neatly and carefully in the fashionable costume of the time, which was the year of grace 1852. As to countenance, he was square and solid; as to physique, he was the same; as to expression, he inclined toward the quietly humorous; in general he would strike the observer as deliberately, philosophically competent. A large pair of steelbound spectacles sat halfway down his nose. Sometimes he read his paper through their lenses; and sometimes, forgetting, he read over the tops of their bows. The newspaper he held was an extraordinary document. It consisted of four large pages. The outside page was filled solidly with short eight or ten line advertisements; the second page grudgingly vouchsafed a single column of news items; the third page warmed to a column of editorial and another of news; all the rest of the space on these and the entire fourth page was again crowded close with the short advertisements. They told of the arrival of ships, the consignment of goods, the movements of real estate, the sales of stock, but mainly of auctions. The man paid little attention to the scanty news, and none at all to the editorials. His name was John Sherwood, and he was a powerful and respected public gambler.

The approach across the Plaza of a group of men caused him to lay aside his paper, and with it his spectacles. The doffing of the latter strangely changed his whole expression. The philosophical middle-aged quietude fell from him. He became younger, keener, more alert. It was as though he had removed a disguise.

The group approaching were all young men, and all dressed in the height of fashion. At that rather picturesque time this implied the flat-brimmed beaver hat; the long swallowtail, or skirted coat; the tight "pantaloons"; varicoloured, splendid, low-cut waistcoats of satin, of velvet, or of brocade; high wing collars; varnished boots; many sparkling, studs and cravat pins; rather longish hair; and whiskers cut close to the cheek or curling luxuriantly under the chin. They were prosperous, well-fed, arrogant-looking youths, carrying their crests high, the light of questing recklessness in their eyes, ready to laugh, drink, or fight with anybody. At sight of Sherwood they waved friendly hands, and canes, and veered in his direction.

"Yo're just the man we are looking for!" cried a tall, dark, graceful young fellow, "We are all 'specially needful of wisdom. The drinks are on some one, and we cain't decide who."
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940015915433
  • Publisher: OGB
  • Publication date: 11/1/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 2 MB

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