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We soon had our machine on the spot. As we were placing it several miners passed on the way to their work. They all look. ed, we thought, as if they considered us the most fortunate of men, and we detected a lurking envy in their expression. As soon as they left, our machine was put in motion; we now had no doubt as to the result, and after running through ten buckets of dirt we raised the screen, but, to our astonishment, there was not a particle of gold to be seen. This was beyond our comprehension. We could not conceive of a more convenient place for gold to deposite than this particular one, and determined not to abandon it until we had reached the granite. This we reached, and toiled on until noon, when we emptied our machine, and had two dollars' worth of gold. We adjourned to dinner, and learned that a team had just arrived and was to return to Sacramento city the next day. Harry, Sam, and Bent immediately resolved to take passage. They had had their expenses paid to California, and were to work under the direction of the Company, and have a portion of the proceeds. They, no doubt, considered the dividends too small in proportion to the labor. I determined to make a more thorough trial of the mines, and not wishing to be encumbered sold the provisions, cooking utensils, &c., hired the tent carried back, and the next morning the teamster had every individual that accompanied our mule-team up, excepting a young man who had been sleeping on the ground near our tent and myself. They all, no doubt, had the same exalted opinion of the mines, and returned with purses equally well filled. Harry and Sam had earned $40 beside what Bent and myself had earned. This, together with what I received for provisions, &c., amounted to $200, which I put into the hands of Harry to give to one of the firm, who was at Sacramento city.

I was now alone. The two companions of the young man spoken of above, had left him, and circumstances seemed to throw us in each other's way, and makes us companions. His name was Tracy. He and his companions, Scillinger and Hicks, were from Sante Fé; they had crossed the mountains, eaten their proportion of mule steak, and endured every conceivable hardship. We were at once friends. We determined to gain a higher point on the river, and, if possible, find a place where

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our efforts would be more liberally rewarded. We consequently filled a small camp-kettle with pork and hard bread, rolled up our blankets, to which we lashed our pick and shovel, and slung them over our shoulders. Our camp-kettle, coffee-pot, rifles, and tin-pans, in hand, we set out on our expedition. We first ascended the mountain, and when at the summit stopped to view the magnificent scenes around us; the heat was intense; the thermometer stood at 100°; still we were looking upon a range of mountains shrouded in eternal winter.

Our route lay over a succession of mountains, the peaks of which bore unmistakable signs of volcanic formation, being cov ered with lava. Our journey was a most fatiguing one, and at noon, having gained an elevated point, we sat down to rest. I here noticed, for the first time, a phenomenon which is of frequent occurrence during the summer months. A heavy white cloud resembling a bank of snow rises from the Snowy Mountains (Sierra Nevada,) and after gaining a certain altitude passes off to the south, and is succeeded by another. After disposing of a certain quantity of hard bread and pork, and kissing our flask, we stretched ourselves out on the ground under the shade of a pine tree, and were soon in the embrace of Morpheus. In one hour we were again under way, and at 3 o'clock, P. M., arrived at the "dry diggings,” (now Auburn.) This was a place of three tents, situated on the main road leading to the Oregon trail, which it intersects twenty miles above. These mines were not being worked to any extent, owing to the scarcity of water. There were a few, however, engaged in carrying dirt, a mile on their backs, and washing it at a puddle, in town.

puddle, in town. It was very uncertain business. The gold found here was in larger particles than in the river "diggings,” but there was a much greater uncertainty in obtaining it, some toiling for weeks without making a dollar, and sometimes finding pieces worth from $50 to $500. The gold has the appearance of having been thrown up in a molten state, perhaps during a volcanic eruption, and dropped into the earth.

After an hour's detention we were again under way, and after traveling sometime over mountains, changed our course, wishing to reach the river. After an hour of the most fatiguing effort we were on a brink, with the river beneath our feet, but so distant that it had the appearance of a meandering pencil mark. We could, however, hear its subdued murmuring as it struggled through its rocky channel. After a short rest, we commenced the descent, which we found extremely precipitous, requiring the greatest caution and attended with the most painful exertions. Sometimes losing our foothold, we would slide down until we could catch by the shrubs for support, and at others, be precipi. tated to the bottom of the step. We at length reached the base and found ourselves on a small bar. It being after sunset, we kindled a fire, steeped some green tea, broiled a quantity of pork, by putting it on the end of a stick and holding it in the fire, and after toasting the sea-biscuit, we sat down on the rocks and paid our cook a most flattering compliment. I must confess that I never felt the gnawings of hunger more keenly than on this occasion, nor did I ever more fully appreciate the influence of green tea. We were much fatigued, and after removing some of the larger stones, spread our blankets and prepared for sleep.

We were strangers, never having spoken until a few hours previous; yet, having been thrown together by chance in a strange land, we felt a mutual interest that could scarcely have been stronger, had we been brothers. I must here say, that I was associated with Mr. Tracy for the succeeding three months, and no brother could have been more attentive or sympathetic. Soon after we were blanketed, the moon gained a sufficient altitude to look down into the cañon upon us.

Our situation was novel in the extreme. The mountains rose on either side to the height of more than a mile, almost perpendicular. The moon and stars looking in upon us with unusual brilliancy. The distant and incessant howl of numerous packs of wolves, the restless gurgling and chafing of the river, as it struggled angrily through its rocky channel, our lonely and isolated situation, all conspired to generate strange thoughts, and to bring up strange, and often unpleasant associations. To look at the moon and think that our friends might be, at that moment, looking at the same orb, and thinking of us—thinking, perhaps, that we were already preparing to return home, having accomplished our most sanguine expectations; then to look at the reality, think of the dark prospect ahead, of the time that must intervene before we could think of returning, of the innumerable hardships



and privations that still awaited us, a gloom imperceptibly stole over our imaginations, and hung upon our thoughts like an incubus. But sleep soon dispelled our melancholy, and wild fancy restored us to our friends.

Chapter Fourteenth.


WE rose in the morning with renewed vigor, and after breakfast, thoroughly prospecting our bar, (see Plate,) we moved on up the river. We found the passage in many places extremely difficult, obliging us to climb precipices to the height of two to three hundred feet. We examined closely, but found no place sufficiently rich to pay for working. At about 12 m. we arrived at a bar that was being worked by a company that had recently purchased it of another company for $2,500.

Their labor was attended with fair success, but they did not succeed in making wages after paying the above sum. There is a law established by custom in the mines, which allows a man a certain space, generally ten feet, extending across the river. It is by this law that companies take possession of bars, and their claim is never disputed, as it is a privilege of which all wish to avail themselves. We ascended the river still higher, but found nothing to encourage us. We deliberated some time and concluded to reascend the mountain. We returned to the encampment of the above-mentioned bar, where we found an old man, a sea captain, acting as cook. They had no tent, but slept in the open air. The cook had a large camp-kettle hanging on a tripod under a live oak-tree, cooking pork and beans, and preparing dinner for thirty men. It seemed a strange occupation for a sea captain ; still, it had not yet lost its novelty, and he seemed to enjoy it much. I noticed, however, that he would frequently hitch up his pantaloons and look “aloft.” After resting an hour

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