California eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 127 pages of information about California.
the morning still at their pans.  Numbers were lying asleep under the trees, or in the shade of their tents and wagons.  Others sat smoking and chatting in circles upon the grass, mending their clothes or performing other little domestic duties at the same time.  It was really a motley scene.  Indians strutted by in all the pride of gaudy calico, the manners of the savage concealed beneath the dress of the civilized man.  Muscular sun-burnt fellows, whose fine forms and swarthy faces pronounced that Spanish blood ran through their veins, gossiped away with sallow hatchet-faced Yankees, smart men at a bargain, and always on the lookout for squalls.  Here, and there one spied out the flannel shirt and coarse canvas trousers of a seaman—­a runaway, in all probability, from a South Sea whaler; while one or two stray negroes chattered with all the volubility of their race, shaking their woolly heads and showing their white teeth.  I got into conversation with one tall American; he was a native-born Kentuckian, and full of the bantam sort of consequence of his race.  He predicted wonderful things from the discovery of the mineral treasures of California, observing that it would make a monetary revolution all over the world, and that nothing similar, at least to so great an extent, was ever known in history.  “Look around! for, stranger,” said he to me, “I guess you don’t realise such a scene every day, and that’s a fact.  There’s gold to be had for the picking of it up, and by all who choose to come and work.  I reckon old John Bull will scrunch up his fingers in his empty pockets when he comes to hear of it.  It’s a most everlasting wonderful thing, and that’s a fact, that beats Joe Dunkin’s goose-pie and apple sarse.”

Farther on we came upon a tremendous-looking tent, formed by two or three tents being flung into one, which, on examination, we found was doing duty as a chapel.  A missionary, from one of the New England States, as I hear, was holding forth to a pretty large congregation.  The place was very hot and chokey, and I only stayed long enough to hear that the discourse abounded in the cloudy metaphors and vague technicalities of Calvinistic theology.

The remainder of the afternoon I have been devoting to writing my journal, which I here break off to commence a hearty good supper, in revenge for the scrambling sort of dinner one has had to-day.  The beef doesn’t look roasted as they would put it on the table at the Clarendon, or at Astor House even; but none of those who sit down to the Clarendon table, at any rate, have such an appetite as I now have, far away beyond care and civilisation, in the gold-gathering region of California.

CHAPTER X.

  Digging and washing, with a few reflections
  A cradle in contemplation
  Scales to sell, but none to lend
  Stack of gold weighed
  More arrivals
  Two newcomers
  Mr. Biggs and Mr. Lacosse
  Good order prevails at the mines
  Timber bought for the cradles
  The cradles made
  The cradles worked
  The result of the first day’s trial.

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Project Gutenberg
California from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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