Frank Leward: Memorials
Same to the Same
Same to the Same.
Monte Rosa, Sacramento, Call. May 1850.
Dear old Bam You should see me here it beats everything such a pandemonium. It's a good thing I got accustomed to pretty rough work on the whaler and page 185in New Zealand this is worse you never saw such a lot of scoundrels. We had to get from Frisco to Sacramento as well as we could the river's beastly unhealthy and a lot have died from fever. Then up the Sierra Nevada and to work in the gullies. Hundreds of roughs with their boxes getting alluvial dirt and panning it off or with cradles. It's rum how rough the work is and yet they don't loose half as much as you'd think. If you come on anything good you must keep it to yourself or your nugget your tent and all your worldly goods self included will be gone somewhere by the next morning. It isn't so hard to get it it's the keeping it when you've got it makes the difficulty. You can make from one pound to a hundred a day according to your luck but what to do with it is awkward and to get food. We're all under canvas and when it rains it does. Sometimes you cant get food for love or money. Then we have to go down to the nearest place and there are scenes good God not a woman in the place. I should like Normanby to see the sort of gambling here. Faros the game they like thats very simple but there are a lot of others played. In Faro a pack of cards are laid on the table the banker has another pack in a tin sort of box back upwards you put your money on any card you fancy on the table and the banker turns up a card from bis pack for himself and then one for the players. If you have your money on a card the same as the one he turns up for himself you loose and he takes your money if it's on a card like the one he turns up for the players you win and he pays you. The chances are very nearly equal if it's square page 186but very few tables are square. It's curious what excitement gets up and what rows go on besides all the yelling and swearing pistols generally add a good deal to the row and harmony of the proceedings. I've known lots of men who'll work like anything for a month and make a lot up to their middle in water all day pretty near and have hardly anything to eat and go off and loose every penny in one night and come back as cheerful as possible and go on again the same way for another month and so on month after month. They go on playing the whole night till broad daylight and the fellow who keeps the room will keep ordering liquor and cigars and anything you like all the time and its handed round freely. I could give you a lot more descriptions of the scenes that one sees about and the shooting and fights but I don't suppose you would care about them they are not the best specimens of men here though Ive met with some very good fellows with awfully rum histories. It does seem strange sitting round the fire outside our tents hearing some of them talking of their people at home and what they've seen
I must stop now I only wrote this to tell you where I am in case you have any news to send me Yours old man