The Author and his friends part company
Their regrets at the separation
Friendship in the wilderness
Friendship at a supper
The Author finds himself alone
Officers’ servants not to be obtained
A few arrivals from the mines
Stores shut, houses blocked up, and ships left defenceless.
We had previously determined, on arriving at the sea-coast, to part company. There was now no object for keeping together in a party, and our future plans were, of course, very undecided. It was, therefore, clearly advisable that we should, at least for the present, separate. This resolution was not come to without something like a pang—a pang which I sincerely felt, and which I believe was more or less experienced by us all. We had lived for four months in constant companionship—we had undergone hardships and dangers together, and a friendship, more vivid than can well be imagined in civilized lands to have been the growth of so short a period, had sprung up betwixt us. There had been a few petty bickerings between us, and some unjust suspicions on my part in respect to Bradley; but these were all forgotten. Common sense, however, dictated the dissolution of our party. When we reached Monterey, we went to an inferior sort of hotel, but the best open; and the following day we arranged the division of the proceeds arising from the sale of the gold that Bradley had left with Captain Sutter for consignment here. The same night we had a supper, at which a melancholy species of joviality was in the ascendant, and the next day shook hands and parted. Don Luis went back to his own pleasant home, and Bradley started for San Francisco. As for the others, I hardly know what were their destinations. All I know is, that on waking the next morning, I found that I was alone.
After breakfast I walked about the town. Like San Francisco, Monterey has been nearly deserted. Everybody has gone to the diggings, leaving business, ships, and stores, to take care of themselves. The persons who remain are either persons carrying on profitable branches of commerce, the very existence of which requires the presence of principals upon the spot, and their clerks and servants, who have been tempted by high wages to stay. To give an idea of the rate of remuneration paid, I may mention that salesmen and shopmen have been receiving at the rate of from two thousand three hundred to two thousand seven hundred dollars, with their board, per annum. Mere boys get extravagant salaries in the absence of their seniors; and the lowest and most menial offices are paid for at a rate which only such a wonderful influx of gold would render credible.
But, even with the inducement of this high pay, it was found exceedingly difficult to retain the services of persons engaged in commercial and domestic capacities. I learned from Colonel Mason that the officers in garrison at Monterey had not been able for two months to command the assistance of a servant. Indeed, they had been actually obliged either to cook their own dinners, or to go without. Every one had taken his turn in the culinary department, and even Colonel Mason had not been exempted.