The Shirley Letters from California Mines in 1851-52

The Shirley Letters from California Mines in 1851-52

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The Shirley Letters from California Mines in 1851-52 by Louise Amelia Knapp Smith Clappe

Published:

1922

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The Shirley Letters from California Mines in 1851-52

By

3
(1 Review)
Fortune has preserved to us from the pen of a very intelligent woman, who writes under an assumed name, a marvelously skillful and undoubtedly truthful history of a mining community during a brief period, first of cheerful prosperity, and then of decay and disorder.

Book Excerpt

The hill leading into Rich Bar is five miles long, and as steep as you can imagine. Fancy yourself riding for this distance along the edge of a frightful precipice, where, should your mule make a misstep, you would be dashed hundreds of feet into the awful ravine below. Every one we met tried to discourage us, and said that it would be impossible for me to ride down it. They would take F. aside, much to my amusement, and tell him that he was assuming a great responsibility in allowing me to undertake such a journey. I, however, insisted upon going on. About halfway down we came to a level spot, a few feet in extent, covered with sharp slate-stones. Here the girth of my saddle, which we afterwards found to be fastened only by four tacks, gave way, and I fell over the right side, striking on my left elbow. Strange to say, I was not in the least hurt, and again my heart wept tearful thanks to God, for, had the accident happened at any other part of the hill, I must have been dashed, a piece of shapeless nothingness, into the dim valleys beneath.

F. soon mended the saddle-girth. I mounted my darling little mule, and rode triumphantly into Rich Bar at five o'clock in the evening. The Rich Barians are astonished at my courage in daring to ride down the hill. Many of the miners have told me that they dismounted several times while descending it. I, of course, feel very vain of my exploit, and glorify myself accordingly, being particularly careful, all the time, not to inform my admirers that my courage was the result of the know-nothing, fear-nothing principle; for I was certai

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Quite a good series of a life of an educated woman who, along with her doctor-husband, set out to live among gold prospectors in California in 1851. The letters were addressed to her sister Molly and eventually published as a series in a magazine. Really interesting read, I liked it, hence 3/5.