California eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 127 pages of information about California.
largest of the pieces now before you.  I condescended to pick it up, and to my astonishment found that it was a thin scale of what appears to be pure gold.’  He then gathered some twenty or thirty similar pieces, which on examination convinced him that his suppositions were right.  His first impression was, that this gold had been lost or buried there by some early Indian tribe—­perhaps some of those mysterious inhabitants of the west, of whom we have no account, but who dwelt on this continent centuries ago, and built those cities and temples, the ruins of which are scattered about these solitary wilds.  On proceeding, however, to examine the neighbouring soil, he discovered that it was more or less auriferous.  This at once decided him.  He mounted his horse, and rode down to me as fast as it would carry him with the news.

“At the conclusion of Mr. Marshall’s account,” continued Captain Sutter, “and when I had convinced myself, from the specimens he had brought with him, that it was not exaggerated, I felt as much excited as himself.  I eagerly inquired if he had shown the gold to the work-people at the mill, and was glad to hear that he had not spoken to a single person about it.  We agreed,” said the Captain, smiling, “not to mention the circumstance to any one, and arranged to set off early the next day for the mill.  On our arrival, just before sundown, we poked the sand about in various places, and before long succeeded in collecting between us more than an ounce of gold, mixed up with a good deal of sand.  I stayed at Mr. Marshall’s that night, and the next day we proceeded some little distance up the South Fork, and found that gold existed along the whole course, not only in the bed of the main stream, where the water had subsided, but in every little dried-up creek and ravine.  Indeed I think it is more plentiful in these latter places, for I myself, with nothing more than a small knife, picked out from a dry gorge, a little way up the mountain, a solid lump of gold which weighed nearly an ounce and a half.

“On our return to the mill, we were astonished by the work-people coming up to us in a body, and showing us small flakes of gold similar to those we had ourselves procured.  Marshall tried to laugh the matter off with them, and to persuade them that what they had found was only some shining mineral of trifling value; but one of the Indians, who had worked at the gold mine in the neighbourhood of La Paz, in Lower California, cried out, ‘Oro! oro!’ We were disappointed enough at this discovery, and supposed that the work-people had been watching our movements, although we thought we had taken every precaution against being observed by them.  I heard afterwards, that one of them, a sly Kentuckian, had dogged us about, and that, looking on the ground to see if he could discover what we were in search of, he had lighted on some flakes of gold himself.

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California from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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