I was at his bedside shortly after the sun rose, and watched by him until he awoke Another good night’s rest had greatly benefited him. During the day, recurring to his misfortune, he told me that when the lasso first fell over his shoulders, he fancied for the moment that he was in the gripe of some wild beast, but immediately he felt himself drawn from his horse, the truth became apparent to him. He was stunned by the fall, and lay insensible on the ground, quite unconscious that the horse of one of the robbers had trampled upon him, as had evidently been the case.
Don Luis, Bradley, McPhail and Jose left us about noon on their way to Sutter’s Fort. I promised to rejoin them in a few days, if Malcolm so far recovered as no longer to be in need of my services. I was in great hopes of such a result, as he showed evident signs of improvement since I saw him the previous day.
The gold district
Sickness and selfishness
The dead become the prey of the wolf
Malcomb’s gradual recovery
The kindness of his nurse
Life and property alike insecure
The wealthy gold-finder laid in wait for
Bodies in the river
Gold for a pillow
Brandy at a dollar a-dram
The big bony American again
Intelligence of Lacosse
Intelligence of the robbers
Sweeting’s Hotel again
Desertions from the ships
Andreas’ offer to a captain
The first Alcalde gone to the mines
The second Alcalde follows his superior
Start for Monterey in pursuit of Andreas
Board the vessels in port
A deserter arrested
Cross the coast range
Meet with civilized Indians
Intelligence of the robbers
Continue the pursuit
Abandon it and return to Monterey.
I stayed with Malcolm throughout the next few days, and spent a good part of my time out of doors among the gold-washers, but still I felt no inclination to take part in their labours. Fever was very prevalent, and I found that more than two-thirds of the people at this settlement were unable to move out of their tents. The other third were too selfish to render them any assistance. The rainy season was close at hand, when they would have to give over work, but meanwhile they sought after the gold as though all their hopes of salvation rested on their success. I was told that deaths were continually taking place, and that the living comrades of those whose eyes were closed in that last sleep when “the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest,” denied the poor corpses of their former friends a few feet of earth for a grave, and left the bodies exposed for the wolf to prey upon.
In a couple of days Malcolm was sufficiently recovered no longer to require my assistance. At his instigation, I took my departure towards Sutter’s Fort, where McPhail or Lacosse might perhaps still be waiting for me. I felt that he was in good hands, and that his kind Californian nurse and her husband would do all that they could for him. Their kind treatment of my poor friend offered a striking contrast to the callous selfishness around.