California eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 153 pages of information about California.

July 12th, Wednesday.—­We finished our cradles late upon Saturday night, but delayed working until Monday.  A few of the miners pursued their avocation on the Sunday, but the majority devoted the day to rest—­smoking and sleeping in the shade alternately.  I walked through the washings, and heard that many of the miners had been taken ill with intermittent fever, a circumstance which did not astonish me.  Bad diet, daily exposure to the sun while it is at its greatest height, followed by an exposure to the cold damp air at night time—­these conjoined were quite sufficient to bring on the most severe illness.  On my return to the tent I looked over our little stock of medicine, which I foresaw I should soon be required to use.

On Monday we commenced operations in the old style—­digging, fetching water, and rocking the cradle.  The sun came blazing down with great power, causing headaches to most of the party, particularly Malcolm, who complained much.  The day’s taking was very good; we having realised nine ounces with one machine, and seven and a half with the other.  At night, as Malcolm still continued to complain of his head, and as there was evidently a good deal of low fever about him, I gave him a dose of calomel and a febrifuge mixture, which by the morning produced a good deal of relief.

Bradley made his appearance during the forenoon, after a fatiguing ride from Sutter’s Fort.  He had seen the Captain, had delivered the gold, and settled the transaction.  We were hard at work the whole of to-day.  In the evening a man came crawling into the tent to know if we had any medicines we would sell.  I told him I was a doctor, and asked him what was the matter.  He had been suffering from remittent fever of a low typhoid type.  I gave him bark, and told him he must lay up and take care of himself.  He said he would; but next day, during the intervals of fever, I saw him working away with his pan.  The news of there being a doctor in the camp soon spread, and I am now being continually called on to prescribe for a large number of patients.  An ounce of gold is the fee generally given me.  This sort of work is as much more profitable as it is less laborious than working at the cradle.  But the great drawback is that one has to do something else beyond advising.  People require physicking, and as I cannot submit to be deprived of the little stock of medicine I had brought with me in case of my own friends having occasion for it, I am obliged to give over practising in those cases where medicine is absolutely necessary.

The native Californians, both Indians and whites, have an universal remedy for febrile affections, and indeed for sickness of almost any kind; this is the temascal, a sort of hot air bath, shaped not unlike a sentry-box, and built of wicker-work, and afterwards plastered with mud until it becomes air-tight.  There is one of these machines at the Weber Creek washings, which has been run up by the Indians during

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California from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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