Somewhere in this book I must write a paragraph exclusively about myself. The fact that in the outcome of all these stirring events I have ended as a mere bookkeeper is perhaps a good reason why one paragraph will be enough. In my youth I had dreams a-plenty; but the event and the peculiar twist of my own temperament prevented their fulfilment. Perhaps in a more squeamish age-and yet that is not fair, either, to the men whose destinies I am trying to record. Suffice it then that of these men I have been the friend and ...
Somewhere in this book I must write a paragraph exclusively about myself. The fact that in the outcome of all these stirring events I have ended as a mere bookkeeper is perhaps a good reason why one paragraph will be enough. In my youth I had dreams a-plenty; but the event and the peculiar twist of my own temperament prevented their fulfilment. Perhaps in a more squeamish age-and yet that is not fair, either, to the men whose destinies I am trying to record. Suffice it then that of these men I have been the friend and companion, of these occasions I have been a part, and that the very lacks and reservations of my own character that have kept me to a subordinate position and a little garden have probably made me the better spectator. Which is a longer paragraph about myself than I had purposed writing. Therefore I will pass over briefly the various reasons, romantic and practical, why I decided to join the gold rush to California in the year . It was in the air; and I was then of a romantic and adventurous disposition. The first news of the gold discovery filtered to us in a roundabout way through vessels to the Sandwich Islands, and then appeared again in the columns of some Baltimore paper. Everybody laughed at the rumour; but everybody remembered it. The land was infinitely remote; and then, as now, romance increases as the square of the distance. There might well be gold there; but more authentic were the reports of fleas, rawhides, and a dried-up coast. Minstrel shows made a good deal of fun of it all, I remember. Then, when we were of a broad grin, came the publication of the letter written by Governor Mason to the War Department. That was a sober official document, and had to be believed, but it read like a fairy tale. "I have no hesitation in saying," wrote the governor, "that there is more gold in the country drained by the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers than would pay the costs of the late war with Mexico a hundred times over." And he then went on to report in detail big nuggets and big washings, mentioning men, places, dates, in a circumstantial manner that carried conviction. Our broad grins faded. The minstrels' jokes changed colour. As I look back, it seems to me that I can almost see with the physical eye the broad restless upheaval beneath the surface of all society. The Mexican war was just over, and the veterans-young veterans all-filled with the spirit of adventure turned eagerly toward this glittering new emprise. Out in the small villages, on the small farms, the news was talked over seriously, almost without excitement, as offering a possible means of lifting the burden war had laid. Families strained their resources, mortgaged their possessions, to equip and send their single strongest members to make the common fortune.
Fair. HB, Grosset & Dunlap Publishers, c1913 by Doubleday, Page & Co., illustrated by Thomas Fogarty. Tan cloth on boards showing alot of soil and wear with a sunned backstrip, extremities of pages have a light damp mark and pages are rippled, decorative end papers, pretty tight. Fair.
Front hinge is torn, with the fep and half-title page loose from the binding. Fon fep in dark pencil (attempted to erase). Spine is slightly darkened and frayed. Corners are bumped and rubbed. Back board is dust-stained. In Fair condition.
Hard Cover. Good. 8vo-over 7¾"-9¾" tall. Pictoral boards, faded but bright, lower front corner bumped, only very slightly edge worn, no cracking, slightly cocked, owner's ex-libris on upper left corner of pastedown (neat), charcoal illustrated endpapers, illustrated title page, color plated frontispice, illustrated title page, This book is an amazing piece of true Americana. Thomas Fogarty's 4 color prints and numerous sketches make it an art masterpiece as well.
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