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California eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 127 pages of information about California.

  The party leave the Mormon diggings
  Cradles sold by auction
  Laughter and biddings
  The wagon sent back
  The route to the saw-mills
  A horse in danger
  A miss at a Koyott
  An antelope hit
  Mr. Marshall
  Venison steaks for supper
  The saw-mills
  Indians at work
  Acorn bread
  Where the gold was
  How it was got
  Gentlemen and horses
  New-comers
  “Yankee Doodle” and the “Star-spangled Banner.”

Sunday, July 2nd.—­Yesterday, in accordance with the resolutions debated this day week, we left the Mormon diggings, and pursued our course up the Americans’ River.  It was on Thursday night that we adopted the final determination of moving off from our late quarters; and, accordingly, next day I walked with Bradley and McPhail through the diggings, to try to find purchasers for our cradles.  This was not a difficult task.  We had plenty of offers; and we were so importuned by some six or eight people, who were anxious to trade with us, that we decided in a minute on having an auction of them.  I was not bold enough to play the part of auctioneer myself; but Bradley very coolly mounted on the top of one of the machines, and called upon “gentlemen traders” for their biddings.  This was a capital move.  The highest offer we had previously obtained was one hundred and sixty dollars for the largest of the two machines; but Bradley succeeded in coaxing the purchasers on—­stopping now and then to expatiate on the mint of gold which, he guessed, he would warrant it to produce daily; and then calling to their minds the fact that this was “the identical cradle into which the lump of gold weighing two ounces and three-quarters—­the largest piece ever found at the Mormon diggings—­was about to have been shovelled, when it was discovered and seized hold of by the fortunate digger—­the gentleman on my right hand—­who, as you all know, in accordance with the admirable laws of these diggings, laid claim to it as his private property.”  This produced a roar of laughter; but, what was better, it produced a roar of biddings, and the cradle was knocked down at one hundred and ninety-five dollars, payable in gold dust, at the standard rate of fourteen dollars the ounce, or a discount of ten per cent, if settled in broad silver pieces.  The other cradle fetched us one hundred and eighty dollars.

For these two cradles, therefore, we got three hundred and seventy-five dollars’ worth of dust.  The same night we occupied ourselves in constructing strong bags, made of rough hides, and well strapped round the person for the conveyance of the gold dust and scales which we had already amassed.

On Wednesday morning, before sunrise, we had sent the wagon and wagoner back to Mr. Sinclair’s rancho, accompanied by Jose, who returned on the evening of Thursday with the horses.

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