The Adventures of a Forty-niner eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 121 pages of information about The Adventures of a Forty-niner.
called the Devil’s Elbow.  There was a sharp turn in the river and the current was rapid, and we might have to pull the vessel around it; but sometimes, if it was favorable, he could sail around it, and if done successfully, then the vessels that had come to anchor could find no fault; otherwise you had to come to behind the others and take your turn.  When we were coming to it, he was at the helm and I at his side, to see what was the best to do.  As we approached, we saw several vessels had come to for the purpose of pulling around.  The last was a large vessel that the captain said could never get around.  If we anchored behind it we might not be able to deliver our freight according to the charter.  We had put an English sailor in the hold to let the anchor go, in case we did not succeed, if we gave him the signal to do so.  As we came to the place with all sails set, there was a breeze sprung up, filling all the sails.  I said to the captain, let her go.  As we passed the vessels that had come to anchor there was a howling and yelling from them of derision and anger at us for going by them.  Just as we got two-thirds of the way around, the sailor in the hold let the anchor go without orders.  He got frightened.  If he had not, we would have made it successfully.  As it was, we got ahead of all the other vessels, and got to Stockton in ample time.  The next morning there was a drove of mules at the side of the brig, and the cargo was being discharged and packed on their backs to be taken to the mining camps, as there were no good roads there in those early days.  About all the grain and flour came from Valparaiso and Chili, put up very nicely in fifty and one hundred pound sacks, so it was easy to handle.  As soon as all the mules were packed, the head mule, who had on a bell fastened around his neck, which rang as he went, was started first, and all the rest, in single file, followed him, and they were going for the different mining camps in the interior.  In two or three days we were unloaded, and we were prepared to return.  The freight money was paid to me in gold, at $16 per ounce in full, all being satisfactory to the shipper.  I had delivered it within the time specified.  One of the passengers who came up with me, a tailor, from Salem, Mass., asked me if I would not give him a free passage back on the vessel to San Francisco; that he wanted to try to get home; he was discouraged.  I said to him you have traveled eighteen thousand miles to get to the gold mines, and now you are within half a day of them and want to go home without trying your fortune.  If you do go, you will never forgive yourself, but go to the mines and try your luck; then, if you are discouraged and want to go back, I will give you a free passage, as we have no passengers on our return trip.


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The Adventures of a Forty-niner from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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