Sunday. . . . . . . . . . February 3, 1884


Celestial New Year Amenities—An Affluence of Snow—Something About Stocks and Newspaper Men—The Bush and the Bird—That Tipperary Dividend—Booms—Mining Outlook—The Old Comstock, Her Present Condition, Prospects and Future Possibilities.

[Correspondence of the Enterprise.]

AUSTIN, Nev., February 1, 1884.

The advent of China New Year, with its accompanying heavy snows, drove away those famous red glowing sunsets very summarily. And it was noticeable that they passed off to the westward. The comet, also, is about played out; but the snow remains in all its original purity, and plenty of it for the present. Old settlers say there has not been so heavy a snowfall for years along the Toiyabe range and in Smoky Valley as was deposited by the recent storm. Between here and Belmont the depth of the snow is variously estimated at from two to twenty feet. Indeed, an old Reese River pioneer, who came in from a scouting raid in that direction, pledges me his word that he found the snow over forty feet deep in some places, and still coming down at the rate of a foot an hour, "every flake big as a flapjack," and that he waded over ten miles that way without a drink of whisky. He describes his sufferings as something fearful, but he had no snowshoes, and when he tells of any one of his venerated old kind traveling ten miles without whisky, under any circumstances whatever, I know he lies.


Was ushered in after the true Celestial style by our numerous Mongolian fellow citizens. The noisy, infernal racket of crackers, bombs and heavy torpedoes blew up the latent stinks and thoroughly fumigated Chinatown, but as they do the same thing on the Fourth of July or any other proud occasion, the Piutes are thrown into a state of perpetual wonder as to its real signification. Sam Kee, the washman, came around smiling and treated every one of his numerous patrons to a cigar. He said his lily, Soi Sin Fwar (Water-God Flower) was in full bloom that day, insuring him luck and prosperity for the year; therefore his celestial goose hung particularly high. All the Johns and Sams put on their most stylish rig, had their tails freshly braided, and went around calling. The women, too, wore their best dungaree pants, bloomingest paint, nobbiest hair-pins and gayest handkerchiefs, and in all the principal houses were nice little lay-outs of cakes, sweetmeats, nuts, rice brandy, cigars, etc., for all who would partake. The chief drummer and the B flat gong performer lost heavily at "tan" the night before, and got drunk; therefore, there was none of their inspiring strains to mar the festivities of the occasion, but the big dragon flag and various streamers floated above the smoke and hilarious explosive din, and the moon-eyed sons and daughters of Confucius grinned at each other, exchanged salutes, and were happy, if nothing else.


It is rather refreshing to note the present little boom in stocks by way of agreeable variety from the universal apathetic monotony which has so long ruled the market. From conversation with parties who have been there and seen, there is little doubt that another very rich prospect is opened up in the Bodie mine. How extensive and expensive the new development is, remains to be seen; but it is sufficient to cause a lively stir in stocks, and give somebody a chance to get even, some to get rich; and many to get broke. The rich strike in that mine a few years ago was well groomed and boomed in the newspapers. Yet newspaper men are not the ones who reap the profit on these interesting occasions. They always do their best to represent and truly set forth the mining resources and prospects of their respective localities, as well of the State generally, but they simply beat the bush for somebody else to catch the bird. The assessment of $8 per share just levied on Northern Belle is a stunner to most people. With the stock selling at ten cents, it looks like a ridiculously bad business proposition, in fact, financial suicide to pay that assessment. But just wait till about the time it is delinquent, or sale day approaches, and the chances are that some sort of a boom will be worked up, through the newspapers, inducing hopeful stockholders to continue in the good faith, and send more good money after bad. Without the newspapers Northern Belle would not be dead and buried, with no possible hope of resurrection. But so it has been in the history of the Comstock---the newspapers always showed up all mining development to the very best advantage, and worked up the stock booms, yet somebody else always reaped the harvest, and though millions were thereby made by other people, the newspaper men remained poor; the crumbs falling to them from the rich man's table being merely a profitless aggravation in the way of excited hopes.


At the present time, generally speaking, it not particularly healthy. Many localities in this section and elsewhere in the State which were producing bullion a year ago are not doing so now, and assessments are levied on mines that were paying dividends. Some new and good prospects have been developed in the Carson and Colorado Railroad section, the most ponderous and perhaps the most profitable being the Mount Cory, yet the real success of even that development is not yet fully demonstrated. After all, the old Comstock holds out about as well as any of them. It is true her big bonanza days seems to have departed, yet let it not be forgotten that her probabilities and hopes of future bonanzas are still good, and not departed by any means. It is an absurdity on the part of any newspaper to speak of the Comstock as lost to the wealth of the State when the grand old lode is still producing more bullion and employing more labor and capital than any other mine or mining section in the State. Small ledges, let them be ever so rich, can be and are completely worked out, leaving simply the shell with not even low grade ore for future reference, but not so with the Comstock. Many very rich spots have been worked out, yet there is plenty of room for more to be found, and a whole vast wilderness of low-grade ore developed, which can be and is building profitably worked. When the long purses get tired of rushing down into the hot lower levels of the lode, where for years they have expensively delved and found nothing, or go back and pay more attention to explorations above the level of the Sutro tunnel, where all the bonanzas have been found, then renewed prosperity will reign along the Comstock. One straight-forward, practical mining man at the south end, in the Gold Hill section, has followed this idea for years, and has been the only one to make money. He has naturally and deservedly got rich in so doing. What one man has done many others may do. There is plenty of room in the upper workings of the broad Comstock belt, among the affluence of low-grade ore, for more rich bonanzas to be found and some time in the future, when a different policy is pursued, they will be found. ALF DOTEN.

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