…. A CALIFORNIA WIFE
We have been told that when John
. Late Governor of the State of California, was a member of
the State Legislature, Mrs. B., his wife, absolutely washed the clothes
of some of the honorable gentlemen for so much a dozen. At the time of
his election Bigler was very poor, and his per diem was hardly enough
for himself and wife to live on in those prodigal times. To make both
ends meet, and to save something against a rainy day, Madam Bigler put
her shoulder to the wheel, as above related.
Now, won’t this be rather startling to the pale-faced,
attenuated damsels of the East, who scream and faint at the sight of a
wash-tub or a cob-web? Think of it! The wife of an ex-Governor, with her
sleeves and gown tucked up, bending over the wash-tub, while her husband,
with his clean dickey standing upright, chafing his ears, rose to a question
of privilege – “Mr. Speaker! Mr. S-p-e-a-k-e-r!” And
then think of the ex-washerwoman being feted, three years after, as the
wife of the Governor of the State of California, worth a hundred and fifty
thousand dollars! – enough of money to make the heads of universal
snobdom duck and dive like an affrighted water-fowl in a thunder-storm!
Good for the Pennsylvania Dutch girl! Five hundred years
hence, when the historian lifts the veil from the catacombs of the past,
and writes the history of the unforgotten dead, he may, perhaps, happened
this little episode to the history of one of the California’s Governor’s
and the little ragged girls that then go down to dip water from the Rio
Sacramento may think better of their mothers who have to labor, because
a long time ago Mrs. John Bigler, the Governor’s wife, filled her
wash-tub from the same noble river.
These are the pioneer women of California. There are
many such, as strong-willed and as true, who quail not at their own footsteps
in the woods, whose hearts swell with hope at
The banging of the hammer,
And the creaking of the crane.