To our great astonishment and disappointment, one by one we returned into the camp with the news of our non-success. By the old trapper’s advice, an exploring party was despatched to follow up the stream towards its head. They travelled the distance of some ten or twelve miles, crossing some of the more important tributaries of the main river, and had the good fortune to strike upon a spot where a slight examination was sufficient to prove that the gold existed in great abundance in the sand and shingles, and imbedded in flakes amid the rocks. To-day we have moved the camp to this spot; and, as we are now beyond the reach of aid from white men, and have begun to feel that we must be, for some time at least, a self-supporting party, our first thoughts are turned towards making arrangements for obtaining a supply of food, and for ensuring our security. Bradley, Joe White, and Jose, are to be our hunters; Malcolm, Lacosse, and McPhail, are to set to work to-morrow to make a couple of cradles, the carpenter giving them an occasional helping hand, but occupying himself principally in superintending the construction of a large shanty, sufficient to accommodate the whole party, with a rough fortification around, com posed of pine logs and palisades, pointed at the top, sufficient to enclose a space of ground into which the horses could be driven at night, out of the way of any outlying Indian who might be thievishly inclined. We calculate that the construction of the shanty, with its appurtenances, will occupy at least a week—in all probability, much longer. Malcolm, McPhail, and Lacosse, are to join us in our labours as soon as they have finished the cradles. The hunters had good luck to-day, and came in with a couple of fat bucks. The trapper had also snared a number of quails, so that our table was nobly furnished. Our dinner, also, included a dessert of a fruit similar to apples in taste, but not larger than well-grown gooseberries. These had been gathered and brought in by the trapper in the morning.
Sunday, August 6th.—I have felt very low-spirited these last few days. One’s thoughts have turned towards home, and an indescribable sensation of melancholy has been weighing me down, which at last my companions have begun to take notice of. This evening, just as the remainder of the party contemplated turning in for the night, I pulled out my note-book, and began writing beside the camp-fire.
“?No puede Vm. dormir?” said Don Luis to me, as he moved away towards the tent.
“No, Senor,” replied I. “Pienso a la veja Ingleterra; a mi Hermano y a mis amigos.”
“Por ventura a una amiguita,” observed Don Luis.
I laughed, and answering, “Es possible, Senor,” went on writing.