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1923. The book begins: The land of El Carmelo, with its mystic surroundings, nestles in the heart of a pine forest on the California coast near the historical pueblo of Monterey. It was here that California was born to civilization; here the Indians bowed to the humanizing influences of the Padres and learned the ways of progress; here men had lived and loved and fiercely hated. On the balconies of their adobe dwellings during the later Spanish possession and the early Mexican acquisition, flashing dark-eyed senoritas had throbbed to the rhythm of the guitar strings swept by the soft, pulsating fingers of the gallant caballeros.