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**CLPRA scripts are working drafts for recording sessions. Recorded performances may vary due to editing for broadcast.**
Gertrude Atherton (1857-1948) | 4 Scripts Click the below to hear radio segment.
From "The Vengeance of Padre Arroyo," 1894. Read Online Download PDF Reader: Jessica Teeter

Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton.
In fiction—as in life—California's mission fathers could be stern representatives of Church authority. But that didn't mean they couldn't bend a little when the occasion was right.

In her short story "The Vengeance of Padre Arroyo," Gertrude Atherton created a romantic tale of two runaway lovers who are hunted down and returned to the Mission of Santa Ines. There, they face the discipline of an angry Padre.
Padre Arroyo descended the stair and awaited them at its foot. Separating them, and taking each by the hand, he pushed Andreo ahead and dragged Pilar down the narrow passage. At its end he took a great bunch of keys from his pocket, and raising both hands commanded them to kneel. He said a long prayer in a loud monotonous voice which echoed and reechoed down the dark hall and made Pilar shriek with terror. Then he fairly hurled the marriage ceremony at them, and made the couple repeat after him the responses. When it was over, "Arise," he said.

The poor things stumbled to their feet, and Andreo caught Pilar in a last embrace.

"Now bear your incarceration with fortitude, my children; and if you do not beat the air with your groans, I will let you out in a week. Do not hate your old father, for love alone makes him severe, but pray, pray, pray."

And then he locked them both in the same cell.
"The Vengeance of Padre Arroyo" appeared in Gertrude Atherton's 1894 collection of short stories, Before the Gringo Came, which was later reissued as The Splendid Idle Forties.

One of Our Tourists
From "One of our Tourists: An Unpublished Episode in Her Life," 1883. Read Online Download PDF

"Memorial Day Parade, San Francisco," photographer unknown, 1883. Larger.
The only thing worse than an unexpected houseguest is an unexpected houseguest who hates your food, hates your house, and hates your state.

In her short story, "One of Our Tourists," Gertrude Atherton describes Easterner Caroline E. Pall, who found San Francisco and California quite disappointing after all the news she had read.
"Atrocious! Simply atrocious! Fog a mile thick! Wind blowing a hurricane! Of all the overrated places I have ever heard of, California takes— takes— . . . takes the palm. Your boasted climate, indeed! The worst climate it has ever, ever been my ill luck to find myself in. . . .

You have quite a view . . . but nothing compares with any of ours. You have nothing in all California, indeed, to equal the scenery about the Hudson and of western Massachusetts. . . .

Your fruit may be handsomer to look at than ours, but there is no comparison otherwise. . . .

Monterey . . . another of your places about which there is so much newspaper talk, and of all the foggy, disagreeable places! It outrivaled San Francisco. . . .

But so far as I have seen California, it's a fraud all through."
Atherton was a prolific California writer, publishing in such serials as the Overland Monthly and the San Francisco Examiner.

–Contributed by Sarah A. Tkach.

Rebirth of a City
From Golden Gate Country, 1945. Reader: Jessica Teeter

Views of destruction taken from a vehicle moving east down Market Street.
One reason California has a reputation as a land of opportunity is because the people who live here keep reinventing the place. Sometimes, even Nature lends a hand.

On the Richter scale, the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 was an 8.3 monster that caused devastating fires and leveled much of the city. But according to Gertrude Atherton, the destruction created a new breed of pioneer intent on creating an even better place to live.
Strangers who may have visited San Francisco during the weeks following the fire and strolled along Van Ness Avenue would have been both puzzled and astonished. Instead of dour faces and listless feet, men, clad in khaki, were striding along or talking in groups, their faces eager and excited. Animated by the spirit of 1851 when the last of the old fires had destroyed San Francisco, all were fired with one purpose: to rebuild their city and as quickly as possible. Their faces were set toward the future. They forgot the millions that had spiraled upward in smoke; forgot the cherished private libraries, the priceless works of art—historic paintings and sculpture, tapestries, articles of vertù, the family silver, family portraits. All that was behind them, gone forever. They were pioneers, in at the rebirth of a city, and more interested and excited than ever before in their lives.
Novelist Gertrude Atherton looked back on San Francisco's history in her 1945 book, Golden Gate Country, an affectionate and lively account of how one of California's great cities grew to prominence.

Romantic Setting
From Rezánov, 1906. Read Online Reader: Jessica Teeter

"Golden Gate and Fort Point. Entrance to San Francisco." Illustration from Bartlett's Personal Narrative, Vol. II, 1854. Larger.
California has been setting to many a love story, both real and imagined. But few can match the romantic tale of Russian noble Nikolai Petrovich Rezánov and Doña Concepción Argüello.

Daughter of the commander of the presidio at San Francisco, Doña Concepción was captivated by the figure of visiting Count Rezánov. As told by fiction writer Gertrude Atherton, the Golden Gate itself seemed to open the noble's heart to new dreams.
In the extent and variousness of his travels, Rezánov had seen Nature more awesome of feature but never more fair. On his immediate right as he sailed down the straits toward the narrow entrance to be known as the Golden Gate, there was little to interest save the surf and the masses of outlying rocks where seals leapt and barked; the shore beyond was sandy and low. But on his left the last of the northern mountains rose straight from the water, the warm red of its deeply indented cliffs rich in harmony with the green of slope and height. There was not a tree; the mountains and promontories, the hills far down on the right beyond the sand dunes, looked like stupendous waves of lava that had cooled into every gracious line and fold within the art of relenting Nature; ages after, granted a light coat of verdure to clothe the terrible mystery of birth. . . Not a human being, not a boat, not even a herd of cattle was to be seen, and Rezánov, for a moment of forgetting to exult in the length of Russia's arm, yielded himself to the subtle influence abroad in the air, and felt that he could dream as he had dreamed in a youth when the courts of Europe were as fabulous as El Dorado. . . .
After his betrothal to fifteen-year-old Doña Concepción, Rezánov left California to see to business in Russia. Alas, he died in Siberia in 1807, and Doña Concepción became a Domincan nun, just the romantic finish required by a fiction writer like Gertrude Atherton.

–Dedicated to the memory of Alexander Luiz Arguello III.