The Italian Fisherman, an old Garibaldian, is a splendid fellow

The poster here mentioned about ‘Padre Dos Reales’ was first published in 1966 (J.D. Hart, FromScotland to Silverado). The Padre was the resident pastor of the Catholic Church in Monterey, Angelo Casanova. The text runs:


On the night of Sunday, 16th November, BIAGGINI, an Italian Swiss, from the same village as the Padre of Monterey and born in a house opposite to that of the Padre’s family, came to the latter’s door for charity. BIAGGINI had only to reach San Luis Obispo, where welcome and work were ready for him. He was now penniless, but naturally thought that all would be well since he had found his countryman. The Padre gave him – TWO BITS; and sent him for further help to – THE ITALIAN FISHERMEN. It will not be forgotten that the Apostles were fishermen. How long, O Lord, how long? People of Monterey, have you not a Bishop? Let us be done with PADRE DOS REALES.

RLS describes Frank Pasani – the Italian Fisherman and ‘old Garibaldian’ who ‘served on the Lakes in Garibaldian days’ – in the fragment ‘Simoneau at Monterey’, published only in 1966.

The American editor (of the Monterey Californian) was Crevole Bronson.

[Dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 3, 667.]

To Sidney Colvin [Colvin 1911, 1, pp. 298-299]

[Monterey, early December, 1879.]

Today, my dear Colvin, I send you the first part of the Amateur Emigrant, 71 pp., by far the longest and the best of the whole. It is not a monument of eloquence; indeed, I have sought to be prosaic in view of the nature of the subject; but I almost think it is interesting.

First proofs of a portion of “The Amateur Emigrant” with corrections in the hand of RLS, Beinecke MS, Yale []


Whatever is done about any book publication, two things remember: I must keep a royalty; and, second, I must have all my books advertised, in the French manner, on the leaf opposite the title. […] I know from my own experience how much good this does an author with book buyers.The entire A. E. will be a little longer than the two others, but not very much. Here and there, I fancy, you will laugh as you read it; but it seems to me rather a clever book than anything else: the book of a man, that is, who has paid a great deal of attention to contemporary life, and not through the newspapers.

I have never seen my Burns! the darling of my heart!

[…] I await your promised letter. Papers, magazines, articles by friends; reviews of myself, all would be very welcome, I am reporter for the Monterey Californian, at a salary of two dollars a week! Comment trouvez-vous ça? I am also in a conspiracy with the American editor, a French restaurant-man, and an Italian fisherman against the Padre.

Fr. Angelo Casanova served as pastor of the Monterey church for twenty-three years, until 1893 []

The enclosed poster is my last literary appearance. It was put up to the number of 200 exemplaires at the witching hour; and they were almost all destroyed by eight in the morning. But I think the nickname will stick. Dos Reales; deux réaux; two bits; twenty-five cents; about a shilling; but in practice it is worth from ninepence to threepence: thus two glasses of beer would cost two bits. The Italian Fisherman, an old Garibaldian, is a splendid fellow.


Biaggini Ercole (1857-1919), buried at Cayucos, San Luis Obipso: maybe the Italian Swiss of the poster above []

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