At the end of yesterday’s post, Mr. Sherwood guessed that perhaps Mr. Johnson didn’t like California, because he was returning to Massachusetts so soon after arriving there. Based on this long, detailed response (probably his longest comment on any particular subject so far in the book), I’d say that Mr. Johnson *really* didn’t like California at all …

“I think this, that there are those who are responsible for the deception that has been sent abroad in regard to California. So much has been said on paper that brought out thousands who are not able to get back, who would if they could. I have heard many say that much. Oh, such a climate, so warm and pleasant, and so beautiful. I will admit that the months of December, January, and February, to Eastern people are most agreeable, that is, in regard to heat and cold. But in April and the summer months, till December, everything is dried up, except what irrigation has kept green. If you are located on the river valleys you are all right, but these are scarce. I have seen the sands blow like our eastern snows. I prefer snow to sand every time, when the wind blows. No rain is expected until the month of December. In the northern sections you may get some rain in November, but seldom.

“After the first rain things change; when the second rain comes, should it prove a good substantial one, say, so many inches, you put in your seeds and in order to get back the value of your seed and labor, you must have so much rain, or so many inches of rainfall in order to warrant a crop. Now during the months of December and January, these two month, the rains come. The best months are the first four.

“In April, things begin to dry up; May is dry, June is very dry, in July you are trying to get your sheep to the mountains. Can wait no longer, and you have to be smart to get them there or they will perish on the way. It is not yet August and don’t expect rain for several months. August, September, October, November; four months, all dried up. Think of it; ten months out of twelve, no rain. You get up in the morning, say five o’clock, the sun is just up, not a cloud to be seen. The day advances; nine o’clock, hot; twelve at noon, very hot, not a cloud to be seen. No, no rain today — no showers to lay the dust — all dried up.

“I prefer living where it is cold, warm, hot, with showers occasionally, to lying down in the hot burning sands, to bring out the rich colors of the shrubbery and make nature grand and sublime. A smart thunderstorm that will burn up the nitrogen and give us in [its] place a healthy oxygen, that is what I admire.”

I can just imagine poor Mr. Sherwood, at the end of this rant, thinking, “Well, ok, then. Off you go, back to Massachusetts.”