From our California Correspondent.
Fort Grizzly, El Dorado Co., Cal.,
April 22d, 1855.
“Winter’s dreary reign is over,
Vernal airs blow soft again.”
DEAR ROCK: -Spring has come. “That’s no news,” says, you, “spring came a month ago.” Well allowing it did, I wish you to understand, that Fort Grizzly occupies an elevated situation in this world, and spring does not attain to this elevation until most other parts of the country have been served. It is spring; for “the grass is springing fresh and green; the soap roots are sprouting, and the old oaks are leaving out.
On the 15th of the month, a storm set in, which lasted three days snowing and raining pretty much all the time. It gave us four inches of snow on a level, but since their, the warm spring weather has carried it all off again. We have seen snow to our hearts content this winter, and much more than I saw in the hard winter of ’49. In January, we had it two feet deep on a level. It was a good opportunity then for hunting, and many took advantage of it, for the deer could not travel fast, and were easily tracked up. One of my neighbors, Ned W--, and myself, took our rifles one morning and sallied forth on a grand hunt, fully determines to “massacre” the first unfortunate “venison” that should cross our trail; but ill luck attended us; we waded through the deep snow, up the steeps and down the ravines, all day, not seeing so much as a squirrel to shoot at, and about sunset were wending our toilsome way homeward, hungry, cross, tired and disappointed, when on a sudden we saw an animal dash across the trail some three hundred yards ahead of us, and disappeared in the chapperal. “There!” exclaimed Ned, “did you see that dog?” “No,” said I, “that wasn’t a dog.” “Yes it was a dog too,” said Ned; “his master must be hunting near here, and you’ll see him presently.” “No siree Ned,” said I, “that was no ‘Indian dog,” that was a Coyote.” “coyote” he blow’d” said Ned, “that was an Indian dog.” “Well Ned,” said I, “you seem to be rather dogmatical about it, but, “Indian dog” or “Coyote,” he’s taken a turn, and is coming up the ravine right towards us; sure enough, there he was coming trotting up the ravine through the low bushes. As he neared us, we got a better view of him, and h hey! what?!! No “dog,” no “coyote,” but a veritable deer; a “fat young buck.” In an instant we dodged to cover behind a big tree, and stood ready to give that deer “fits.” We were both much excited and I could see by Ned’s eye that he meant to get the first shot at him, and have the honor of killing him if he could. I meant he shouldn’t and therefore stood ready. Just then the deer appeared from the bushes, about forty yards below, scented us, and with a short, quick bound, stood stock still, snuffing the air, with his side presented towards us. Now was our time; we both fairly trembled with excitement; up went Ned’s rifle, mine followed suit; a quick, hasty aim was taken; both rifles cricked with one report, and with three or four tremendous bounds, the “venison” disappeared over the next ridge. We both followed him with our eyes till he was out of sights, and then, for the space of five minutes, stood face to face, surveying each other. At length Ned broke out with, -“well I suppose you call yourself a hunter, d ---l of a hunter you are, I can make a better hunter out of ‘puakin stems’; as for myself, if any man says “venison” to me, or calls me a “hunter” hereafter, I’ll smash his nose and knock his eye out for him.” I was like the boy that was caught “hooking” preserves; I had “nothing to say.” If we had not been so much excited, but had taken a cool, deliberate aim, we should certainly have killed the deer; but taking a hurried, insufficient aim as we did, and shooting down hill at that, we overshot him. Moddily, and in silence, we trudged on home; as it was now dusk, but near camp, where our two paths turned off, Ned stopped, and with one finger raised very impressively said:-- “If you ever tell anything about this scrape, I’ll break your head.” I as impressively promised him that “I wouldn’t if he didn’t,” and we separated. I felt most ridiculously like laughing all the evening, whenever I thought of that “deer,” and must have laughed in my sleep, for I dreamed of it; but whenever any one asks me anything concerning that “hunt,” I always refer them to Ned. I did ask him the other day “which resembled a ‘deer’ the most, an ‘Indian dog,’ or a ‘coyote,’ but he replied with a certain most expressive look from his wicked black eyes that told me it wouldn’t do.
The miners all have plenty of water now to work with, and have no good excuse for not washing. In general they are doing well and business of all kind is looking up. The farmers are all busy, sowing and planting, and look confidently forward for a fine season for their crops. In the spring of the year, I think California, the mining region especially, is the most beautiful country in the universe. Everything grows luxuriantly; flowers of every hue, shade and shape, cover the green hill-sides and the verdant plains; indeed, it is one vast flower garden. But abler pens than mine, have written of “California flowers,” and have done better justice to the subject than I can do. Some of the banking houses that “suspended payments,” a short time ago in the “hard times,” have recommenced operations, but some of them will remain “suspended,” as their latest operation appears to have consisted in pocketing the “cash” and “sandersizing,” which I presume means about the same thing as running off with the funds! The public confidence in banks has been too much shaken lately, to recover immediately, and it will be a long time before any banking or express concern, will have the same confidence placed in it as Californians, and especialy the mining community, places in Adams & Co. "Raffles" appear to be the order of the day here just now. The miners, as well as others here in California, are a very gullible set of people, and whenever anyone has property in the way of jewelry which they cannot readily dispose of to advantage, all they have to do is make up a "raffle," sell tickets and thus dispose of their property at about four times the real value. There are several heavy ones just now on the tapis, and the great flaring handbills and posters glower at you from every corner. "Wade's grand gift enterprise!!!" "Maupin's grand raffle!!!" "Painter's grand raffle!!!" "Turner's lottery!!!" &c, all showing conclusively how a "fortune" may be made by the investment of "only one dollar." Extremely dubious investment. But with this last remark, we’ll close our already too long letter. Yours truly, BEN BOLT.