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NOTES OF ENTERPRISE.

47

had heard from home but once in six months, and my anxiety and pleasure can well be imagined, when, in answer to my inquiry, I was handed a half-dozen letters. I went to a restau- . rant, read my letters, ate a $3.50 beefsteak, and felt as rich as men are generally supposed to feel after a six months' residence. I could neither get room nor lodgings in town. Many of the business men, and all the transient people, lived in tents. My tent was still on board the ship, and my friend above spoken of, offered me the hospitalities of his own for the night.

In the morning I took my writing-desk, and climbed to an eminence in the vicinity of the city, to write to my friends at home. Seating myself under a cluster of small trees which protected me from the sun, I commenced, and, with the exception of an interval for dinner, spent the day in writing. The scene around me was animated. Everything appeared to be propelled by the most indomitable perseverance. The frame of a house would be taken from the ship in the morning, and at night it was fully tenanted. The clatter of the innumerable hammers, each answered by a thousand echoes, seemed the music by which the city was being marshalled into existence. Ships were constantly arriving; coming to anchor a mile out, they would immediately disgorge their cargoes, which, taken by lighters, were conveyed to the shore, and thrown into heaps, their owners running about to contract for their immediate transportation into the interior. Others were seen rowing off to vessels, which, after receiving their complement of passengers, would weigh anchor and stand for the strait, which is the joint mouth of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers.

Towards evening the scene became less animated, and the noise more subdued. I could but look with admiration upon the heightened beauty of the scene, as Nature was about to repose. A smile of approbation seemed to play upon her countenance as she was taking the last view of this, the perfection of her works.

The sun is almost down, tinging only some of the highest peaks of the surrounding mountains. The city, extending from the bay up

the left base and side of the mountain, is about to cease her notes of enterprise, and light her lamps. At the base, directly under my feet, is an encampment of one hundred tents,

was entirely without interruption, and the scene most enchanting. It seemed to us that the gates had been thrown open, and we ushered in to view some fairy scene. At our left was the little bay of “Saucelito” (Little Willow), where several vessels were lying cosily under the bank, taking in water. Here is a small island, inhabited only by sea-fowl—there a strait which is the mouth of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, beyond which the shore of the bay is bold with mountains in the back. ground. We still head toward the island in the centre. At our right, the shore is bold, and still further on, a point of considerable elevation juts out into the bay. The tide is still bearing us along with headlong speed, and we are obliged to take in all sail with the exception of the flying-jib. As we neared the point we changed our course, making as near it as practicable, and, as we round it, San Francisco is spread out before us, where rides a fleet of two hundred sail. We feel that we have attained the acme of our ambition, that we have really entered the "Golden Gates." We pass along, and passing several vessels, come to the United States man-of war, “Gen. Warren.” Our patriotism, at this particular time, was not of a nature to be smothered into silence. We took off our hats, opened our mouths, and it was soon evident that our lungs had lost none of their vigor by exposure to the sea air. We passed most of the shipping, and finding a convenient place our captain cried out “haul down the flying jib,” “let go the anchor," and our ship rounded to, as if willing to rest after a run of sixty-five days.

We were immediately boarded by boatmen, and I was soon in a row-boat on my way to the shore. On landing, my first move was for the post-office. I had

I had gone but a few

but a few paces in this city of strangers, before some one called my name. I turned around; he did not recognize my six months' beard, and apologized. I recognized him as a New York friend, and assured him there was no offence, that I was the identical individual he was looking for. I accompanied him to his store, where he exhibited several specimens of gold, weighing twenty-seven ounces, twenty-five ounces, and down to a single ounce. These were no unwelcome sight to me, and served to stimulate the fever. My greatest anxiety, however, was to hear from home, and with the least possible delay, I hurried to the post office. I

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NOTES OF ENTERPRISE.

47

had heard from home but once in six months, and my anxiety and pleasure can well be imagined, when, in answer to my inquiry, I was handed a half-dozen letters. I went to a restaurant, read my letters, ate a $3.50 beefsteak, and felt as rich as men are generally supposed to feel after a six months' residence. I could neither get room nor lodgings in town. Many of the business men, and all the transient people, lived in tents. My tent was still on board the ship, and my friend above spoken of, offered me the hospitalities of his own for the night.

In the morning I took my writing-desk, and climbed to an eminence in the vicinity of the city, to write to my friends at home. Seating myself under a cluster of small trees which protected me from the sun, I commenced, and, with the exception of an interval for dinner, spent the day in writing. The scene around me was animated. Everything appeared to be propelled by the most indomitable perseverance. The frame of a house would be taken from the ship in the morning, and at night it was fully tenanted. The clatter of the innumerable hammers, each answered by a thousand echoes, seemed the music by which the city was being marshalled into existence. Ships were constantly arriving; coming to anchor a mile out, they would immediately disgorge their cargoes, which, taken by lighters, were conveyed to the shore, and thrown into heaps, their owners running about to contract for their immediate transportation into the interior. Others were seen rowing off to vessels, which, after receiving their complement of passengers, would weigh anchor and stand for the strait, which is the joint mouth of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers.

Towards evening the scene became less animated, and the noise more subdued. I could but look with admiration upon the heightened beauty of the scene, as Nature was about to repose. A smile of approbation seemed to play upon her countenance as she was taking the last view of this, the perfection of her works.

The sun is almost down, tinging only some of the highest peaks of the surrounding mountains. The city, extending from the bay up the left base and side of the mountain, is about to cease her notes of enterprise, and light her lamps. At the base, directly under my feet, is an encampment of one hundred tents,

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occupied by Americans and Chilians. Two hundred ships are lying at anchor, displaying their various ensigns, comprising almost all the commercial nations of the world; and looming up conspicuously in the offing, is the man-of-war, “Gen. Warren,” her majestic appearance proclaiming the superiority of American naval architecture. But the most striking feature in the scene is this beautiful bay; surrounded by mountains which protect it from the winds, it sleeps in perpetual calm, the flood and ebb tide carrying vessels in and out, at from seven to eight knots an hour. At this moment, although the wind is blowing in the mountains, the bay is as placid as a mirror. In the centre of the bay is a beautiful island, as if nature had set in pearl one of her choicest emeralds. But "night has let her curtain down, and pinned it with a star.” In the evening I strolled about with my friends, and was surprised to see that all of the best houses on the main streets were gambling houses. The rooms were brilliantly lighted, and each contained several monte tables, loaded with gold and silver coin, together with many rich specimens from the mines. To allure their victims, they were usually furnished with music, a bar, and an interesting señorita to deal the cards. Gamblers understand that the only sure way of making a man courageous is to get him drunk, consequently, at about every second dealing of the cards, all the betters are

treated.” A man bets on a card and loses. His last drink is beginning to effervesce, and, of course, he is too shrewd to let the gambler have his money. He doubles the bet, putting the money on the same card, thinking that a card must, at least, win every other time. I have noticed that gamblers are very considerate, always managing to throw out just the card the victim wishes to bet upon. Again he loses, and again is "treated.” His courage is up: the third time his card must certainly win. The “deal” takes place, and, strange to say, his card is turned up, and seems to say, in its very

face that it is to win. In order to win back his former losses, he stakes, this time, half his purse. The other betters and bystanders now begin to manifest an interest in the affair. The gambler now begins to draw the cards, and, lo! the victim's card don't win. He is excited; he sees that others are looking at him, and displays the greatest amount of courage by taking another drink, and

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calling for another deal. Again his card is turned up. It can. not possibly lose four times in succession. He throws on bis entire purse. It is lost. He goes out penniless. Another shrewd man was standing by, betting small sums on the opposite card, and consequently had won four times in succession. He had discovered the remarkable fact, that the card opposite the above described unlucky one, would invariably win. He determined to make a fortune by his discovery. The deal takes place, the unlucky card comes out, and he puts a large sum on the other one. The cards are drawn, and, strange as it may seem, the unlucky card wins. This appeared doubly strange to the shrewd man. He took another drink, and felt positive it could not happen so again. Another deal, and the indefatigable unlucky card is again in the field. Again the shrewd man bets, and again the unlucky card wins. The shrewd man displays as much courage as his predecessor, and is soon prepared to leave in the same financial condition.

The bystanders grow a little suspicious. The cards are again dealt, small bets are made and won by the bystanders. The gambler "treats," bystanders again bet, win, are "treated," and grow courageous. A better state of feeling exists; the gambler grows more complacent, and treats oftener. All are anxious to bet, the gambler is considered one of the best of fellows-one of that kind of men who would a little prefer losing money to win. ning it. Again bets are made and won, and all appear anxious to share the gambler's money, as it is, doubtless, about to be distributed among the fortunate bystanders. All drink and bet liberally; but this time they lose. This is, however, the first loss, and they bet again, but it so happens that they lose this time also. They drink and bet again, and again lose. They now find that they have only half as much money as they commenced with. They now resolve to recover what they have lost, and quit. But, alas! when the victim arrives at this point in the drama, he is lost. He loses every bet, until, seized by a feeling of reckless desperation, he risks all, and is immolated upon the altar of avarice.

Hundreds who have never risked, and who think it impossi. ble they ever could risk, a dollar in a game of chance, are daily drawn into the vortex. They come to town with well-filled

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