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ing more from thirst than hunger. “Where there is a brewery, a baker's shop cannot exist,” is a good old proverb.
Before the great tent, “Försterling," the only one who had remained behind, was collecting dry wood and leaves, to keep up the nearly extinguished fire; but even here selfishness seemed the predominant passion (if the apathetic calmness with which he did it may be called a passion), for he was hungry himself, and had kept a few cold potatoes from his very frugal dinner, which he intended to fry for his own delectation.
The sun was fast sinking behind the gigantic firs and cedars: it was a glorious sight. The hills across the stream were bathed in its magical : rays; it sported in the dark summits of the pines, and gave its last lingering kiss to the tops of the most magnificent trees my eye had ever seen.
Holy silence lay upon the forest; the gentle evening breeze only whispered in the glistening foliage; thin, airy cloud shadows floated athwart the sky, and the hollow, distant murmur of the stream below, too far removed to disturb or interrupt the sweet calmness of the whole, sounded like the solemn peals of an organ.
“Well, confound it, Müller, you'll be lying there the whole evening," Albert at length broke out; “ don't you mean to get a fire ready for Haye and Renich?"
• Bah! they will not be back for a long time," Müller said, with considerable decision, but with some moral contrition, for they might return at any moment. He soon sprang up, threw his blanket into the tent, and went to work seriously to collect some wood before it became dark, and make the other necessary preparations.
Albert had in the meanwhile finished his supper-he and Panning divided their provisions in such a way that they always had something left for Sunday—and now waited impatiently for his companions, who usually returned at this time.
“ Not a drop of brandy in the bottle,” Försterling at length said; and as he came out of the tent, and held it, first to the last rays of the setting sun, and then, as if he would not believe it, to the now brightly burning firem"haven't you got any, Müller?"
“Not a drop," was the unsatisfactory reply; “ brandy does not keep here, Försterling ; the bottles are shaken too often.”
“Oh, the shaking doesn't hurt it,” said Försterling, as he took the empty bottle by the neck, and threw it as far as he could into the dry gulch, which was overstrewn with broken glass, and consequently most carefully avoided by the Indians, who frequently paid it a visit—"it's only the confounded turning bottom upwards, for brandy can't bear standing on its head. I wish, though, that Meier and the Blacksmith were come: where the deuce can they have got to so late?”
Half an hour passed, however, before the least was heard of them ; in the meanwhile it had grown as dark as pitch, while the spot where they must cross the gulch, about half a mile higher up, with their laden beasts, was rendered far from pleasant travelling at night through the thick bushes and the holes that had been dug all around.
At length Försterling listened attentively.
“ In der allerschönsten Saufcompagnie,” sounded clearly and distinctly through the bushes.
“ Ich bin liederlich, du bist liederlich, sind wir nicht liederliche Leute," a tenor voice was heard cheerily singing between whiles.
That's that scamp the Blacksmith!” Försterling said, with a shake of his head; “he's come home in a nice state again.'
“I only hope he's brought the donkey with him," Albert said; “and I don't hear Panning's voice among them.”
“Bumsfallera, bumsfallera !” another voice struck up, which had not been heard till then.
“ That's Haye !” said Müller; “ we shall have a jolly evening.”
“ So leben wir, so leben wir, so leben wir alle Tage,” was now heard, with the regularly intervening chorus of “Bumsfallera," nearer and nearer ; and while the bright flame sprung up through the dry wood that had been thrown on it, and was saluted by hearty cheers by the new arrivers, the long-expected, highly-delighted group made its appearance.
In front came the donkeys, Mosquito at full trot, for he knew that he would now get rid of his load, and have bread to eat; Hans, the other donkey, at a more gentle pace behind ; and, last of all, the horse-a very good-tempered animal.
The beasts did not require any further guidance, but moving quickly along the narrow path, which had till then wound through a species of wild coffee bushes and then entered the cleared field, each walked to its own tent, in order to be unloaded as quickly as possible, and then enjoy its ease for the rest of the week.
“ So leben wir, so leben wir, so leben wir alle Tage !” Meier shouted.
“ Yes, that would be a pretty story!” Försterling expressed his opinion ; “ we should feel much obliged to you.”
“ But where's Panning ?" Albert asked, with blighted hopes. That is, he asked for Panning, but meant the white mule with the provisions.
“ Isn't Panning here yet?" Haye asked, with a laugh. " Donnerwetter, he rode away with us—i. e. he was on foot, and was close behind us."
“ Has he got anything ?” Albert asked, with a meaning movement of his hand.
“ Anything ?” Haye said, merrily. “ Bumsfallera ! Bumsfallera !"
For a moment utter confusion seemed to prevail in the little camp. All ran and shouted together, and the only sensible beings appeared to be the donkeys, who stood motionless and patiently before their respective tents, waiting to be unloaded. While one party attended to this, another arranged the fire, and produced pots and pans; Meier and the Blacksmith fell on each other's necks, both declared that they were very good fellows, and the other confounded rogues were altogether not worth a dump, and then laid themselves on their blankets in the tent to rest for half an hour, after the fatigues they had undergone. Albert, in the meanwhile, asked in vain for Panning ; no one knew what had become of him; and he seated himself at length to devour his supper, in solitary despair, as suddenly several voices exclaimed together :
6. There's Panning!” and in truth the mule at least made his appearance in the bright light of the fire, and walked with a joyful bray towards the well-known tent.
Sept.--VOL. XCIX. NO. CCCXCIII.
There's the donkey then, but where's Panning ? Certainly he had disappeared ; and as the only being who could furnish any explanation on the subject, the mule namely, was obstinately silent, nothing more could be done in the matter.
Mosquito had, in the meanwhile, employed his time famously. The provisions he had brought with him had been taken off him and lay partly in, partly before, the tent, and Mosquito received his usual reward after every Sunday's excursion—a whole ship's biscuit, which he immediately devoured, and then slowly walked round the tent to join his companions. This, at least, was his usual behaviour, but Mosquito was perfectly well aware what he had brought with him, and had no idea of leaving the nice things that were strewed about without at least making an attempt to obtain some of them. Before the tent lay a bag with dried apples and onions --(in consequence of the paucity of sacks, we were always obliged to pack several things together, and dried apples and onions agreed famously together). Mosquito was well aware of it, and when his masters turned their backs, he brought his head gently round the side of the tent and into the sack, picked the dried apples carefully from among the onions
-for he was not partial to the latter—and then noiselessly disappeared in the gloomy forest, without showing himself in the firelight.
Stewing and frying were going on at all the fires. Some of the men were cooking, others singing ; no one troubled himself about his neighbour till the cry of “ Work, work,” which they brought into the mountains from shipboard, collected several round the rough tables. The fire was then provided with dry wood, in order to furnish a decent light, and the meal commenced.
Försterling, however, had some trouble in waking his people.
“ Smith, confound it, how long do you want me to shake you; supper's ready ; you can sleep afterwards.”
The Blacksmith at length raised himself up, and looked round in surprise. He evidently fancied it was morning. “ Confound it," he said, in his soft voice, “it's quite dark yet—what's the matter with the Landrath this morning ?” Försterling was universally called by this name on board ship.
While the others laughed, Försterling made a fresh attack on Meier.
“Meier, I tell you for the last time, if you don't come directly we will not wait any longer-Meier !” and he shook the sleeper with all his strength.
“ Landrath," Meier muttered, for he appeared to have some faint idea from the voice who it was that disturbed him, “take care, it's perilous to rouse the lion."
“Well!” the Landrath said, as he made a new attempt to wake him, “I can't say that precisely, but it's precious difficult."
At last they were all awake, and the table-talk commenced, which had reference mainly to the events that had occurred during the day at the “store.” Meier philosophised. “Yes," he said, "such are the delights of California, the same thing has no doubt happened to Panning that occurred to me this day week. A fellow goes down in the morning to the store, drinks his glass or two-that makes him thirsty, and he sets to work on Champagne and porter ; by the time it's evening the affair costs him his thirty dollars up to two ounces, and when he wakes in the morning he finds himself lying in the bush, and does not know where he is, much less how he got there."
“But that was a better joke of Smith's a month back,” Haye said, with a laugh. “I am only sorry I'm not an artist, for it would furnish a famous picture."
“ You be quiet,” said the smith, as he worked away at a delicate beefsteak with fried onions; “it might have happened to any one of you.”
" What was it, then ?” said Wohlgemuth, a young man who had come from Calaveres to “prospect," and who was rather deaf, and held his hand to his ear.
" Ah, don't bring up an old story,” the smith grumbled.
“ Out with it," Meier cried, however, “that it may serve as a warning example for a careless young fellow like Wohlgemuth."
“Oh, the story is simple enough," Haye said. “Smith was coming from Charles' store and driving his donkey before him. Of course, as usual, he was the last, and half drunk in the bargain, though not so bad but that he could follow the path, or at least the donkey, which knew his road well. It was confoundedly dark in the forest, however, and about half a mile or more from Charles' store a tree lies across the path, or to speak more correctly, it fell on one side, and the roots block up the road. The donkey naturally went round the roots, struck the path again, and came home at the proper time. Smith, though, when he came to the tree, thought it was the donkey, and began pitching into it.
"Come, Hans-come, my good beast ; lazy Satan, does he mean to stop all night in the middle of the path ?' and then he began hammering into the elastic roots of the tree, which, when he struck, felt very much like the rear of a patient donkey.
“ In spite of Smith's well meant advice and warnings, the usually so obedient donkey would not move from the spot, and the driver, at length more fatigued by his exertions than all the previous 'drops,' sat down near his beast, as he thought, to let it rest a little, and then make a second attempt. When Smith woke again it was broad day, and he was sitting in front of the roots.”
“ You would not have known anything about it if I had not told you,”. the Blacksmith said, as the others laughed.
“ And was the donkey really there the next morning?” asked Wohlge. muth, who had only heard half the story.
“ Confound it, that's too bad,” Meier cried, and the smith now laughed along with them.
Försterling had bread to bake the same evening, and the dough was all ready ; before his tent the largest fire was therefore made, to produce the requisite heat, as we were forced to bake our bread in open pans in want of the necessary articles, and the whole little camp generally assembled there every evening.
The person who baked bread undertook at the same time the duty of providing the whole company with lights and fire, and as this was so arranged that two at the most baked on the same evening, and during
each week each company baked twice, every evening there was one famous fire as a meeting place, which flared up among the pines and quivering oak branches.
The evening, however, was not far enough advanced to collect all at one spot, and hence the most various groups were formed, for the most part so arranged that they all turned their faces to the ruddy flame.
Haye had now discovered, on going to remove the things he had brought, the trick which Mosquito had played us, and wanted to take the donkey to task; but where was Mosquito?
In his rage he could not be restrained from examining all the provisions and finding out what the donkey had really eaten, so he lighted one of the candles he had brought with him, and read the bill of fare.
It was intended to last three persons a week.
“25 lbs. flour, 4 dls. 25 cts., still there ; 3 lbs. sugar, 1 dl. 50 cts., behind in the packet; 1 lb. coffee, 75 cts., here, the cheese must be with it -all right; 21 lbs. cheese, 2 dls. 934 cts., by Jove! that's careful reckoning ; 63 lbs. salt pork, 2 dls. 53 cts., that's in the bag with the potatoes --here it is; 10 lbs. potatoes, at 25 cts., 2 dls. 50 cts. ; 4 lbs. dried apples, 2 dls. 50 cts., are running about somewhere in the gulch-it's only a blessing that the Satan doesn't like onions; 4 lbs. beans, 2 dls. 25 cts. -here ; 2 boxes lucifers, 25 cts.—well, that's sensible, we've wanted them a long while ; 2 lbs. soap, 1 dl. 25 cts. ; } lb. candles, 1 dl. 25 cts., not there-oh, yes, they must be there, they're in with the four-well, it will make them look nice, but still they'll burn ; 4 lbs. ship biscuit, 1 dl.
-the glutton is fonder of apples-here; 2lbs. onions, 2 dls.—they're with the apples : no! God be praised, here; 18 lbs. fresh meat, 5 dls. 50 cts. -hang up in the bag : we had better have hung the apples up and left the meat; 3 bottles of brandy, 4 dls. 50 cts.- ah! some of that old famous 1792, what a respectable number that is, that makes altogether "
“Come, give up your bothering accounts,” Meier cried—“come here with it. This is Sunday evening, and the devil may fetch calculations and all. You, Landrath, what a miserable fire you've got for a fellow to see by!”
Meier was the chief person, and had even been previously appointed Alcalde in the German camp, to settle all disputes that occurred, which, however, not unfrequently originated with himself. He wore a straw hat with a narrow brim, but of what dimensions it would be difficult to decide, for on the crown it had been so pressed in, with more strength than artistic skill, that the crown had retired like a snail into his shell, almost down to the fabulously narrow brim, and formed a deep groove all around.
His Sunday clothes were, in miner's fashion, simple, but strong and clean; his week-day or working clothes, on the other hand, would have created a furore at any masquerade. The first pair of trousers he had worn at his certainly very laborious work in the gulch had gone the way, if not of all flesh, of all trousers; and not to be bothered with the toil of performing some very difficult repairs, he had put another pair over them, which were not torn in precisely the same places as the others. In the morning and evening he wore a wide paletôt, which looked like a broken down gentleman in very low company; the fashion of the coat