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THE LUCK OF ROARING CAMP There was commotion in Roaring Camp. It could not have been a fight, for in 1850 that was not novel enough to have called together the entire settlement. The ditches and claims were not only deserted, but "Tuttle's grocery" had contributed its gamblers, who, it will be remembered, calmly continued their game the day that French Pete and Kanaka Joe shot each other to death over the bar in the front room. The whole camp... more...

CHAPTER I. Where the North Fork of the Stanislaus River begins to lose its youthful grace, vigor, and agility, and broadens more maturely into the plain, there is a little promontory which at certain high stages of water lies like a small island in the stream. To the strongly-marked heroics of Sierran landscape it contrasts a singular, pastoral calm. White and gray mosses from the overhanging rocks and feathery alders trail their filaments in... more...

I The time was the year of grace 1779; the locality, Morristown, New Jersey. It was bitterly cold. A northeasterly wind had been stiffening the mud of the morning's thaw into a rigid record of that day's wayfaring on the Baskingridge road. The hoof-prints of cavalry, the deep ruts left by baggage-wagons, and the deeper channels worn by artillery, lay stark and cold in the waning light of an April day. There were icicles on the fences, a rime of... more...

The Introduction When Marshall's discovery caused a sudden influx of thousands of adventurers from all classes and almost all countries, the conditions of government in California were almost the worst possible. Though the Mexican system was unpopular and the Mexican law practically unknown, until other provision was made by congress, they had to continue in force. But the free and slave states were equal in number; California would turn the... more...

CHAPTER I It was nearly two o'clock in the morning. The lights were out in Robinson's Hall, where there had been dancing and revelry; and the moon, riding high, painted the black windows with silver. The cavalcade, that an hour ago had shocked the sedate pines with song and laughter, were all dispersed. One enamoured swain had ridden east, another west, another north, another south; and the object of their adoration, left within her bower at... more...


A VENERABLE IMPOSTOR. As I glance across my table, I am somewhat distracted by the spectacle of a venerable head whose crown occasionally appears beyond, at about its level. The apparition of a very small hand—whose fingers are bunchy and have the appearance of being slightly webbed—which is frequently lifted above the table in a vain and impotent attempt to reach the inkstand, always affects me as a novelty at each recurrence of the... more...

JIMMY'S BIG BROTHER FROM CALIFORNIA As night crept up from the valley that stormy afternoon, Sawyer's Ledge was at first quite blotted out by wind and rain, but presently reappeared in little nebulous star-like points along the mountain side, as the straggling cabins of the settlement were one by one lit up by the miners returning from tunnel and claim. These stars were of varying brilliancy that evening, two notably so—one that eventually... more...

The Prodigals. "SANDY".. Son of Alexander Morton, sen. JOHN OAKHURST.. His former partner, personating the prodigal son, Sandy. COL. STARBOTTLE.. Alexander Morton, sen.'s, legal adviser. OLD MORTON.. Alexander Morton, sen. DON JOSE.. Father of Jovita Castro. CAPPER.. A detective. CONCHO.. Major-domo of Don Jose's rancho. YORK.. An old friend of Oakhurst. PRITCHARD.. An Australian convict. SOAPY & SILKY.. His pals. JACKSON..... more...

TRENT'S TRUST I Randolph Trent stepped from the Stockton boat on the San Francisco wharf, penniless, friendless, and unknown. Hunger might have been added to his trials, for, having paid his last coin in passage money, he had been a day and a half without food. Yet he knew it only by an occasional lapse into weakness as much mental as physical. Nevertheless, he was first on the gangplank to land, and hurried feverishly ashore, in that vague... more...

CHAPTER I. A CLOUD ON THE MOUNTAIN. They lived on the verge of a vast stony level, upheaved so far above the surrounding country that its vague outlines, viewed from the nearest valley, seemed a mere cloud-streak resting upon the lesser hills. The rush and roar of the turbulent river that washed its eastern base were lost at that height; the winds that strove with the giant pines that half way climbed its flanks spent their fury below the... more...