I received a letter from my blanket friend. He informed me that he could not sell the blankets, and had traded them off for flour, and would start the next day for the Yuba, which was the most remote gold river. That was all a lie. He did that so that I would not follow him up. He had not a dollar invested in them. They were my property. I knew at once I had been dealing with a rascal, but I was powerless to do any thing about it, so I wrote him back that it was all right; that I had bought a brig; and that I had it running to Stockton, and he could take ventures up on that and make up what we had lost on the blankets, and much more. (More of him later on.)
It was public most everywhere. Faro tables, the great American gambling game, Monte, the Mexican and Roulette. The Eldorado, on the corner of the plaza, was the most celebrated gambling house of that time. There had been a great deal of money expended in fitting it up. It had an orchestra of fifteen persons. It was run all night and day, with two sets of hands. It was gorgeously fitted up. What they used to stir up the sugar in the drinks cost $300. It was solid gold. Numerous gambling tables, piled up with gold and silver, to tempt the better, behind which were hired dealers. The owners of the Eldorado were not known. Many a miner has come with his few thousand dollars to San Francisco to sail for home, and taking in the sights, visited the Eldorado, got interested in the different games, and lost it all and went back to the gold regions broken and penniless to try his luck over again. I heard of one that lost his all three times in that way. I saw a man once put down a bag of gold, which contained $5,000, bet $1,000 on one turn of the card at Monte. He lost. While I was looking at him in the course of half an hour, he lost it all. I thought what independence that amount would have given some family in the East.
In those early days there was often but a muslin partition between you and the next room, and you could hear every word in the next apartment. About 1 o’clock in the morning I was awaken by two men entering and taking the next room to mine, whom I saw running a Roulette table on the plaza. They seemed to be considerably excited. They said they would be willing to lose some money to get rid of that tapper. Of course, I could not understand, at first, what they meant by that expression, but come to find out from their conversation, they had their Roulette table arranged so that they could make the ball stop on the red or black, as it happened to be for their interest to have it do. So, if there were $20 bet upon the red, the tapper would bet $10 on the black, and they could not make the red lose without making the black win. So the tapper was getting half of their gains. I would advise all my friends to let Roulette alone, unless they are sure they can place themselves in the position of the tapper.