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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pig in a Poke Chapter 7 To the diggings

Hi Honey - I'm Your Mail Order Bride

After four months we made it to Sacramento, a bustling town and found there were a lot of want- a- be miners who went broke.

They were looking for a stake and had some fanciful tales to tell.  We found a bottle would garner a lot of information and after a few days we felt we knew enough to go to the mountain and seek our fortune.

We bought a mule to haul our equipment up to the digs and once settled, sold it to some guys who needed some help getting their stuff back to civilization. 

Charlie made the rounds looking for somewhere to start digging. As it turned out most of the good diggings were taken so we tried along a creek for we had to have some water for panning.

We didn’t find much gold and began to run low on food so Charlie went hunting.  With his long rifle he managed to bag a couple of deer.  When we got them back to camp some guys with gold wanted to pay an outlandish price for a piece of our deer. 

By supplying meat to the camp soon our pockets were full and then we managed to buy a claim that was producing gold.  I hired a couple of miners who went broke and they worked it for a percentage of what they found.

Charlie continued to hunt and supply food for the camps.  Then Charlie got a newspaper from a miner who had been to Sacramento taking his gold down there to deposit, and he brought some supplies for him and his partner.

Charlie saw an ad in the paper for mail order brides.  He was fascinated by the idea of ordering a bride just like a pair of pants or a plow.  I tried to remind him of what our mothers told us many times and that was “Never buy a Pig in a Poke.”

Nevertheless he immediately sent for a list of available women and a month later he received an answer with a history and pictures of many women.

Every night he would sit by the lantern and look at those pictures until he settled on one of them. 

According to the instructions he sent off for one of the women along with some money and a ticket.

It was six months later he was advised to come to the station and claim his bride.  I needed supplies so I went with him. 

When the train came in we looked for someone who looked like the picture we had and no one matched the picture.  Charlie asked the conductor if she had come in on the train and he said yes she is in the station.  Then he added is she your mother? 

At that remark we looked at one another for we both had a sick feeling in our stomach.

After waiting for awhile we went in and found the woman and she hugged Charlie till he could hardly breathe.  Charlie looked at the picture and then handed it to me.  This woman was her alright.  After you looked at her for awhile you could see a resemblance.

She was at least twenty years older and a hundred pounds heavier than her picture.  Charlie never panicked but causally asked about the discrepancy in the picture.  She said, “This was the only picture I had so I thought it would be alright for it was of her.”

Charlie said, “I’ll be right back and he returned in ten minutes and said here is a ticket and the train is leaving in the morning and here is a hundred dollars to spend as you like it.  I have a room at the hotel that you can stay in tonight.  Make sure you don’t miss the train in the morning otherwise you will be stuck here for several days.”

Pig in a Poke Sack
courtesy free clip art
He took her to the hotel and said his good-byes and came back over to me and said, “Let’s go, Ma was right “never buy a Pig in a Poke.”

A week later we were back at the diggings and when he was asked where his bride was he just said; it didn’t work out and wouldn’t say any more about it.  Some of them questioned me but I would only say, “Ask Charlie.”

After the marrying episode that didn’t work out, Charlie was listless. 

He didn’t want to hunt and he just hung around our diggings.  Sometimes he would go over and dig for a few minutes and then come back and sit again.

The whole camp felt sorry for Charlie for little by little the story came out as the miners would go to town and hear the story about what happened then come back and tell what they heard.

All Charlie wanted was a woman of his own and no one could fault him for that. 

There were almost no women in the camps that weren’t married and no one would try to fool around with them if they wanted to live. 

The next winter several men got shot and some died for making that mistake.

The weather got so bad that we couldn’t work the claim so I went to town for the winter.  Charlie stayed at the claim for he wanted to be alone.

To be continued

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