O'er the Gilded Shore
Marcus had gained a small reputation for his drawings and studies documenting new species of field mice in the eastern United States. Mentions of his successes had gained notice of William Richardson, a wealthy Californian, who called upon Marcus to survey the new lands he was hoping to acquire. Marcus boarded a merchant vessel and set sail to. The journey took nearly a year to sail around the tip of South American and up the coast until at last reaching the California Coast.
"... From here I could see any passing ships or messengers who may come ashore to give me news from my patron. I was expecting the fellow in the coming week, and I was giddy at the thought of having some small interaction with another human. Being so overtaken with the expectant arrival of the messenger, I had taken to spending my dawns and twilights to looking out onto the shore. One evening I saw a cat like creature quickly running through the sands back to the cliff face. I thought I must have dreamt this for I could have sworn the feline took a look up at me with uncommonly large gleaming eyes... Shaken I hurriedly back-steped away from the overlook and huddled next to my fire. Not sure if I had seen an illusion, ghost or perhaps lost my senses due to the isolation I had been engulfed in... I have felt alone and vulnerable many times before, but I had yet in my life to experience such estrangement and helpless wonder in the same moment.” –Marcus Kelli 1838 California Expedition