“The Squatter and the Don, like its author, has come out a survivor,” notes Ana Castillo in her Introduction. “The fact that it has resurfaced after more than a century from its original publication is a testimony to its worthiness.” Inviting comparison to Uncle Tom’s Cabin , María Amparo Ruiz de Burton’s illuminating political novel is also an engaging historical romance. Set in San Diego shortly after the United States’ annexation of California and written from the point of view of a native Californio , the story centers on two families: the Alamars of the landed Mexican gentry, and the Darrells, transplanted New Englanders–and their tumultuous struggles over property, social status, and personal integrity.
This Modern Library Paperback Classic is set from the first edition of 1885.
Ana Castillo is a poet, essayist, and novelist whose works include the recent poetry collection I Ask the Impossible and the novel Peel My Love Like an Onion . She lives in Chicago and teaches at DePaul University.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Squatter and the Don|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
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|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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The Squatter and the Don
Squatter Darrell Reviews the Past
“To be guided by good advice, is to profit by the wisdom of others; to be guided by experience, is to profit by wisdom of our own,” said Mrs. Darrell to her husband, in her own sweet, winning way, as they sat alone in the sitting room of their Alameda farm house, having their last talk that evening, while she darned his stockings and sewed buttons on his shirts. The children (so-called, though the majority were grown up) had all retired for the night. Mr. and Mrs. Darrell sat up later, having much to talk about, as he would leave next day for Southern California, intending to locate—somewhere in a desirable neighborhood—a homestead claim.1
“Therefore,” continued Mrs. Darrell, seeing that her husband smoked his pipe in silence, adding no observations to her own, “let us this time be guided by our own past history, William—our experience. In other words, let us be wise, my husband.”
“By way of variety, you mean,” said he smiling. “That is, as far as I am concerned, because I own, frankly, that had I been guided by your advice—your wisdom—we would be much better off to-day. You have a right to reproach me.”
“I do not wish to do anything of the kind. I think reproaches seldom do good.”
“No use in crying over spilt milk, eh?”
“That is not my idea, either. On the contrary, if by ‘milk’ it is meant all or any earthly good whatever, it is the ‘spilt milk’ that we should lament. There is no reason to cry for the milk that has not been wasted, the good th