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And so we met the kindly old Irishman who has done so much for the restoration of the California missions. He was of portly stature, unshaven for several days and clad in the brown robes of his order. He came to San Luis Rey in 1902 from Santa Barbara and all the restoration had been done since then. He had raised and expended more than twenty thousand dollars in the work, besides the labor of the monks themselves, who receive no pay.

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"I will accept your contribution," said Father O'Keefe, "for this work; the Franciscan fathers take nothing for themselves; and will you write your name in our visitors' book?" I did as requested and Father O'Keefe declared, "That name looks good anywhere-it has a genuine flavor of the Ould Sod about it."

And we fell to talking of the Emerald Isle, which the kindly old priest never expected to see again. He was greatly interested when he learned that we had made a recent motor tour through the hills and vales of the Ould Countrie, which he still loves as a loyal son. He bade us adieu and before departing we paused on the cloistered porch to admire the beauty of the scene before us. The mission overlooks a pleasant green vale shut in on every hand by low hills, through which we caught a fleeting glimpse of the sea. It was a prosperous scene-as it no doubt was in the days of old-with ranch-houses, cattle, and cultivated fields-another instance of the unerring eye of the early monk in choosing a site for his mission home.

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San Luis Rey was one of the later foundations, dating from June 13, 1798. From the very start the mission was prosperous. In 1800 there were three hundred and thirty-seven neophytes, and twenty-six years later it had reached its zenith with twenty-eight hundred and sixty-nine. It had then great holdings of live stock and harvested a crop of over twelve thousand bushels of grain. From this time it began to decline and at its secularization in 1834 its net worth was but a fraction of its former wealth. So indignant were the Indians over the decree that, it is recorded, they slaughtered twenty thousand head of cattle to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Mexicans. In 1843 the property was restored to the church, but its spoilation had been accomplished and barely four hundred poverty-stricken Indians remained. In 1847 General Fremont took possession and later the building and site were returned to the church.

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Beyond Oceanside there was much fine scenery along the road and everything was at its best on this glorious May afternoon. It was a clear, lucent day, with only a slight purplish haze in the far distance. The sea was as transcendently beautiful as this warm soft southern sea can be in its loveliest mood-a deep, dark, solid blue flecked with purple seaweed and shading to pale green near the shore, upon which the long white line of the breakers swept incessantly. At times we ran at the foot of desert hills covered with cacti and scrub cedars, but relieved from monotony by the orange flame of the poppies. Again we passed through wide meadows starred with wild flowers-the delicate daturas, dahlias, poppies, and a hundred others spangled the hillsides everywhere. Along the beaches gleamed the pink verbenas and yellow sand-flowers. Birds were numerous; the clear, melodious note of the meadow lark and the warble of the mocking bird were heard on every hand. In places we ran along the shore on a headland high above the sea and again we dropped down to a sandy beach. Much of the road was dusty, rough, and poor-sand and adobe that must have been well-nigh impassable in wet weather. Need I say that it has been improved since the new state highway follows the course of El Camino Real south of Los Angeles?

After closely following the beach for many miles the road rounds a huge cliff and turns sharply inland-we saw no more of the ocean. Dana mentions the coast just above the point in "Two Years Before the Mast," as a spot where the ship's people landed to trade with the natives, whose merchandise consisted chiefly of skins and furs. Climbing to the summit of a pass through the hills, we caught a distant glimpse of the crumbling walls and red tiles of another of the old-time retreats of the fathers of St. Francis.

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I find in my "Log-Book of a Motor Car," set down on the spot, "Capistrano is really the most picturesque of all the missions we have seen"-a judgment which I am still willing to let stand after having visited every link in the ancient chain. Perhaps this impression is partly due to the fact that the restorer's hand has so far dealt lightly with San Juan Mission and partly because the town of Capistrano itself is so redolent of ancient California. Indeed, this scattered hamlet must have looked very much the same fifty years ago as it does to-day, and as yet it shows little sign of waking from its somnolence and catching step with the rapid march of California's progress. The population is mostly Mexican and half-breed-a dreaming, easy-going community that seems quite content with its humdrum life and obvious poverty. There is a good-sized wooden hotel which in numerous roadside signs makes an earnest bid for the patronage of motorists, and looks as if it might be fairly comfortable for a brief sojourn.

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To see Capistrano, the motor which takes you away when you are ready to go, is the means par excellence. The charm of the place is the mission, which you can see to your satisfaction in an hour or two, though you will doubtless desire to come again. It stands at the edge of the village in the luxuriant green valley, guarded by the encircling hills so omnipresent in California. Someone has styled it the Melrose Abbey of the west, but it is quite as different from Melrose Abbey as California is unlike Scotland. We enter the grounds and look about some time for a guide, but find no one save a dark-eyed slip of a girl in a broad sombrero, placing flowers on the altar of the diminutive chapel. She leads us to the quarters of the padre and we hear him chanting a Latin prayer as we approach. He is a tall, dark, ascetic-looking young fellow, who greets us warmly and asks us to step into his study until he is ready to go with us. It is a bare, uncomfortable-looking room, which from the outside we would never have suspected to be occupied. He is Father St. John O'Sullivan, a young Kentuckian of Irish descent and one can soon see that he is at San Juan Capistrano because his heart is in his work. He tells us little of the story of the mission, for he has written a booklet covering that-which we gladly purchase, and also a number of the beautiful photographs which he himself has taken. Like every other mission priest whom we met, his heart is set on the restoration and preservation of his charge and every dollar that he gets by contribution or the sale of his pictures or souvenirs is hoarded for that purpose.