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came in 1851 and after, made the name “honest miner” a satire and a reproach. At first men who were capable of meanness and evil ways to get a living, hung around the small taverns, the saloons, dancehouses, and gambling bells which infested every mining and trading village in the State. There they plied some device to pluck the miner and ease him of the hard-earned results of his toil; but the toiling, industrious men, who endured hardships in the mines, and worked in hopes of a future, were generally honest and true.

The bairn to whom Charley alluded was the son of Jem Sykes and his wife, who lived on the Cañon a bright, manly little fellow of six years of age, who only needed to be what he was, a child, to become a petted favorite of the hardy miners.

" Jem Sykes's old woman,” as Kentuck styled her, was the only woman living within six miles of Cañon creek; and one of two only within a score of miles, who having lawful husbands, and working for a living, were reputed “all right.” The other was known as “Marm Devine," and lived in Kanoôngville, about six miles off — the faithful and industrious spouse of a man who, at times industrious and goodhearted, when under the influence of liquor became almost a fiend incarnate to his wife and neighbors.

“Jem Sykes's old woman was also the washer-woman for the miners “all round them diggins," and as her charges were regulated by California prices, she was rapidly accumulating money. Her husband, however, was perfectly willing to be supported by her industry. He had no vices, and almost as few virtues; he was a "ne'er-do-weel,” a lazy fellow, yet of such imperturbable good-humor that every one seemed to have a half liking for him, especially as he was obliging enough to do anything for a neighbor, though nothing for himself or family. But his wife was an important member of the community; and it was a momentous question that was put by Captain John Fleming, “Sir — and thar's no one can say a word agin him, sir,fur he came from North Carliny, sir — and his fam'ly is well known, sir ” — the wiry little fellow who felt anxious about his clothes being properly washed.

It may seem strange to any one living where mothers and sisters and female friends are found at every turn, that the announcement of the death of so humble an individual should produce such a sensation as this did ; but in California from 1849 to the fall of 1851, where for months the genial smile of a true woman, or of even a decent woman, was hardly to be seen, when the arrival of any female, save those who disgraced their sex, was hailed with delight, it was not strange. Men, even men of culture and refinement, when living away from women, or only in contact with the vile, seem to become bruialised and bestial. When one unfamiliar with such scenes visits such a society that has been deprived of female associates for a few months only, he is inexpressibly shocked. In a week he is perfectly at home; but even then, virtue in a woman is sacred to him. It matters not what her visage or her garb may be, association with a true woman becomes a new motive power in his life, and the arrival of one immediately tends to lift a community of men out of the mire. The writer has known strange scenes enacted when a virtuous woman came to a


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camp - guns fired, processions formed, and all the honors shown ; and there was hardly a miner who would not impoverish himself, taking the very means of supplying his daily food, to “salt" the pan the dainty fingers of same female visitor to his “claim " would pretend to wash in for gold.

The discussion at length began to assume a practical form.

"My name, gentlemen, is Captain John Fleming, sirs,” said that worthy, “and I have seen that woman washing clothes day after day, sirs; and an industrious and hard-working woman she is, and well worthy consideration, sirs; seeing as she is a good woman, sirs, and is a hard working woman, and should have a helping hand to sustain her noble character, sirs; that is to say ---if, sirs - she, sirs —had not - I mean to say, sirs a hard-working woman that is — was — if, sirs, she had – was, I say emphatically, Jem Sykes's widow, that is, Jem Sykes has my most profound sympathy in his deep affliction - when - when, sirs, she might have worked less hard, sirs - and made made, sirs," -- looking around very fiercely, -"yes, sirs, made more money. But being a good woman, all our hearts must warm up to her, sirs, and her defenceless progeny — that we must all feel — that some some, sirs, public — yes — yes, sirs, that's it — some public action should be taken; and to that effect, you may book me down for ten ounces, for the use and benefit of that urchin, Jem Sykes, that is, Mistress Sykes's boy; and there it is "- and he threw down very emphatically a buck-skin purse partly full of the metal they had all come to seek.

Disjointed and disconnected as the Captain's speech was, it went straight to the hearts of those who listened. They all knew the Captain and just what he wanted to say, and though there were little peculiarities about him, yet the straightforward, independent tone, the kindly heart he had often exhibited, and above all the manly courage which always characterised him, joined to his hatred of every little meanness, had endeared him to all who knew him. recognised leader; and somehow his speeches, always disconnected, got at the point very directly at last. Those who were in the store knew the Captain's claim was not the best on the creek, and the ten ounces in all probability"sized his pile.” His action stimulated others, until quite a sum was raised and deposited in the hands of the Squire.

While this was being done, the attending physician, Dr. Armstrong, came in. He was a choice specimen of the pretenders that swarm in our western country, and infested California in its early days rough, ignorant farrier from Illinois, who had gained his title “Doctor" at his former trade, and carried his authority to physic horses and dogs a grade higher, and attempted to do the same for men. At his entrance there was a silence, and a scowl crept over the faces of the most uneducated of those present, for even in them there was an undefined misgiving that to him might partly be imputed the cañon's loss. The Doctor was not a man easily abashed. He always rose with an emergency, and he was not unequal to this occasion. He took in the whole thing at a glance. Coolly drawing near the fire, he drew off his gloves, warmed his hands for a few moments, and then

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stretching himself up to his full height, said, as if resuming an interrupted conversation,

“Yes, gentlemen, Jem Sykes's old woman is gone. She died of numony — yes, aggravated numony. I tendeď her day and night; all was did that could be did: she was purged and blistered. Who says them ain't good in numony? I sot by her bed-side, she took my hand in hern, she did — she said, she did — Doctor, you've done all you could.' I tried castor oil, but it didn't go ; I tried mustard poultices, but they didn't work. The numony reached the third stage in nine days, gentlemen, and thar's no hope then. She's dead, gentlemen, dead on this here drizzly, sleety day, when the cold got to her through the cracks, and the rain dripped on her one night, ine not knowing on it; and what can a man do when natur is agin him? And thar's her poor boy, gentlemen, a-crying of his eyes out, and we here deliberatin' — yes, a deliberatin'."

The Doctor saw the allusion to the boy had struck the right chord, and his tact showed him it was time to leave. He left. Many wavered in their doubtfulness and murmured a good-bye to his own; others were completely convinced by his “numony," others by the remedies used. The Captain merely set his teeth together and inaudibly murmured to himself, “ The fool ! I guess he killed her.” But the thought of the boy was uppermost in all their minds, and soon the discussion again began as to what was to be done with him. At length it was decided that the future should take care of that, as the funeral must be first attended to.

Two days after this the funeral was to take place. The news that a “good woman” had gone to her rest, had down almost with telegraphic speed. The creeks, gulches, and cañons near Cañon creek were emptied of their sturdy sons. All the mining camps anywhere in the vicinity were well represented; for almost every man who heard that a woman who maintained her womanly honesty in those times, was dead, felt she deserved this mark of respect. Around the little house groups of miners, clothed in their best toggery, stood silent and affected. As the cry of the orphan was now and ihen heard calling on his mammy, tears would glisten in their eyes. As the hour for the funeral drew near, a man and woman were seen walking down the road together. It was Devine and Marm Devine from Kanoôngville. As she passed — a large, elderly female, with nothing attractive in her

appearance -- every hat was lifted in involuntary homage. She entered the house. For the first time little Bill Sykes ceased the low, plaintive moan, which sometimes rose to a cry of “Marmy, Marmy, oh Marmy!” and looked at the large, ungainly woman. In a moment there seemed to be an electric sympathy between them. She opened her arms, and leaving the side of his mother, the little fellow glided into them, and with a tired, weary look laid his head on her shoulder, with the cry of “Marmy." Her womanly heart yearned over the little waif. Her own tears streamed down her cheeks and mingled with his as she brushed his hair from his little forehead and showered kisses on it, and took him to the door. He looked out with great wondering eyes at the crowd of men, then nestling his head on her shoulder, closed them and was at rest in sleep, while rough but tender hands lifted the pine coffin and bore it away to the grave where “Betsy Sykes, aged 45 years," was to lie until the resurrection morn. It was but a plain pine-board that bore this record. Captain John Fleming, looking at it a few days afterwards, conveyed it to a painter friend of his and had the words “A Good Woman” added, saying at the time, “ It is true, sir, she was a good woman. It may, sir, stir up Jem Sykes to do something, sir - and it will comfort that orphan, sir -- that urchin, Bill Sykes, as he stands by his mother's grave, sir - and can understand what it means, sir."

The scene at the funeral had determined the future of the boy. It was after solemn debate decided that Captain Fleming should act as his guardian, and invest the money, amounting to $1500, for his use. The father was a mere nonentity in the discussion, and made no resistance to the decision of the miners. Bill Sykes himself would not leave the arms of his adopted mother. He clung to her all the day, crying “Marmy, Marmy!” if any one attempted to take him away; and when at length it became necessary for “Marm Devine” to accompany her husband home, nothing could separate the two ; so horses were procured, and the family of Devines with their new charge conveyed to Kanoôngville, a deputation of miners accompanying them



The town of Kanoôngville is now neither what it was, nor where it was, at the time our story opens. Its very site was changed in 1851, when a great fire devastated the whole town, sparing but a few houses. Up to that time it had been situated on a side-hill between two gulches, with a long narrow street running through it. The houses stood on each side of this street. They were very primitive-looking, as all California houses were at the time. Some few were built of logs and were solid and substantial; but most of them of a rude and rough kind of shingle. he rooms in the houses were separated by only a thin partition of muslin, so that no conversation could be carried on without being heard over the whole house ; and when a candle was lighted in any of the rooms at night, the shadows thrown on the walls sometimes revealed strange scenes.

When the town, which had been an important mining place, was burned down, those most interested laid out the site of a new town immediately above the old one. It was a beautiful situation, on a fine plateau from which one of the two gulches which ran by the old town originated ; the other took its rise miles above. The new town was also built in a more substantial manner. Saw-mills had been put up in the meantime, and neat, and in some cases picturesque cottages, with large grounds for gardens and orchards, were found in the suburbs ; while in the main business part large stone and brick buildings made their appearance. Through all its vicissitudes since then, Kanoôngville has borne the appearance of a substantial place. But it is with the old town we have now to do. The home of the Devines was in a two-story “shake " (or shingle) house. No one but themselves lived in it. Next to it, on the south, was an alley some fifteen feet wide, and on the corner of this alley opposite was a large round canvas-covered house known as the “Round Tent." This was a gambling-saloon. The bar was fitted up in what seemed in those days magnificent style ; there was a flood of light from candles and lamps of various kinds at night. On one side was a large and splendidly executed picture of Samson and Delilah, drawn without much regard to the amount of costume on either figure ; in the centre a large mirror, and on the other side a wineglass-rack, filled with glasses of various hues and patterns, which glittered in the light which fell from every side. Round the room were ranged tables, which, on the night we are speaking of, were groaning with the weight of coined gold and silver and gold-dust. At some of them were seated women, gorgeously dressed, with jewels flashing on neck, arms and fingers, and their eyes glittering almost as brightly, and ready to assume any shade of feeling or emotion their keen-sighted tact might teach them best suited to attract their unwary victims from the mines. Some of these women were accomplished, even elegant in their manners, and could throw the charm of intelligence and refinement into their conversation. They knew every means by which men could be enticed to ruin, and shrank not from any act that would bind victims to their wiles. The soft and luxurious attitudes of languor they could assume might in a moment be changed to the fury of a tigress, if they thought their victim could be frightened more easily than cajoled. At the other tables men presided, for the faro-bank, the rouge-et-noir and poker tables needed no other lure to attract the crowd. A boy or so — boys in years, but old men in cunning, deceit and trickery - sat before bare tables,

with their little games of thimble-rig or three-card faro. In one corner of the room a stand was erected, and a band of musicians took their places upon it. Among these musicians were men famous for their talent in the older cities, and some whose names if now mentioned would recall the memory of men distinguished in their art in New York, Baltimore, and other Atlantic cities. For no expense was spared to secure good musicians. Their duties were arduous after nightfall, but their pay was enormous. If they had been frugal they might have amassed fortunes; but who was frugal in those days in California ? The men and women of the gambling saloons were the aristocracy of California in its earliest years, they gave tone to the social life, and when were gamblers frugal? Their money came easy, and was spent as freely as it came. Scores and scores of hard-working miners came to town every Saturday night, with the whole of their week's earnings in their pockets. Some came to send part to the wife and children at home ; some to their fathers and mothers who had sacrificed everything to send their son where in a short time the means of support for a whole lifetime might be gained; others just enough to buy a week's provisions. On Sunday evening they returned to the mines and their work, their coarse fare and horrible abodes, no money in their purses, none sent as intended, in debt for their week's "grub.”

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