California eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 153 pages of information about California.
about a couple of hundred yards wide, and we immediately made preparations for crossing it.  After several mishaps and delays, we at length succeeded in getting over in a launch.  The new town of Suttersville, numbering some ten or twelve houses, is laid out within half a mile of the banks of the river.  From here a brisk ride over a level plain—­parcelled out into fields of wheat and pasture-grounds, dotted with hundreds upon hundreds of grazing cattle, and here and there a loitering team—­brought us to Sutter’s Fort, an extensive block of building planted on the top of a small hill which skirts a creek running into the Americanos, near its junction with the Rio Sacramento.  A schooner and some small craft were beating up the Americanos River towards the Fort, and alongside the landing-place several launches were lying unshipping cargoes.  As we made the spot, we soon saw that here all was bustle and activity.  Boatmen were shouting and swearing; wagoners were whistling and hallooing and cracking their whips at their straining horses, as these toiled along with heavily-laden wagons to the different stores within the building; groups of horsemen were riding to and fro, and crowds of people were moving about on foot.  It was evident that the gold mania increased in force as we approached the now eagerly longed for El Dorado.

On inquiring of a squaw we met at the entrance of the Fort, and who knew just sufficient English to understand our question, she pointed out to us as Captain Sutter a very tall good-looking sort of personage, wearing a straw hat and loose coat and trousers of striped duck, but with features as unlike those of a Yankee as can well be imagined.  I at once introduced myself, and handed him the letter which Lieutenant Sherman had given me.  After reading it, the Captain informed me that he was happy enough to see me, although he feared, from the great change which a few weeks had made in this part of the world, that he could offer me but indifferent hospitality.  Every store and shed was being crammed with bales of goods, barrels of flour, and a thousand other things for which a demand has suddenly sprung up.  The Captain’s own house was indeed just like an hotel crowded with many more visitors than it could accommodate; still no one who came there, so the Captain was good enough to say, recommended by his friend Sherman, should have other than an hospitable reception.  All that he could do, however, he said, would be to place one sleeping-room at my service for myself and such of my friends as I liked to share it with; and, leaving me to arrange the matter with them, he went away, promising to return and show us our quarters.

I told my companions of the Captain’s offer, but they were satisfied to rough it out of doors again to-night, and it was arranged that only Bradley and myself should accept the sleeping accommodation offered by Captain Sutter, as a good night’s rest in comfortable quarters would be more beneficial to our friend with the injured limb, than an outdoor nap with a single blanket for a bed and a saddle for a pillow.

Project Gutenberg
California from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook