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The Little Gold Miners of the Sierras and Other Stories   By: (1837-1913)

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First Page:

THE LITTLE GOLD MINERS OF THE SIERRAS

BY

JOAQUIN MILLER

AND OTHER STORIES

FULLY ILLUSTRATED

[Illustration: "COLOR! TWO COLORS! THREE, FOUR, FIVE A DOZEN!"]

BOSTON D. LOTHROP & COMPANY FRANKLIN AND HAWLEY STREETS

Copyright, 1886, by D. LOTHROP & COMPANY.

CONTENTS.

PAGE.

I. THE LITTLE GOLD MINERS OF THE SIERRAS. 7 Joaquin Miller.

II. A MODERN HERO. 23 Marion Harland.

III. BENNY'S WIGWAM. 44 Mary Catherine Lee.

IV. BENNY'S DISAPPEARANCE. 63 Mary Catherine Lee.

V. HOW TWO SCHOOLBOYS KILLED A BEAR. 86 H. F. Marsh.

VI. PETE'S PRINTING PRESS. 94 Kate Gannett Wells.

VII. AUNT ELIZABETH'S FENCE. 119 George H. Hebard.

VIII. THE BUTTON BOY. 138 A. M. Griffin.

IX. DAN HARDY'S CRIPPY. 156 James Otis.

X. HIS THREE TRIALS. 185 Kate Gannett Wells.

XI. IN THE SECOND DORMITORY. 211 John Preston True.

XII. THE DOUGHNUT BAIT. 232 George Varney.

XIII. A REAL HAPPENING. 239 Mary B. Claflin.

THE LITTLE GOLD MINERS OF THE SIERRAS.

Their mother had died crossing the plains, and their father had had a leg broken by a wagon wheel passing over it as they descended the Sierras, and he was for a long time after reaching the mines miserable, lame and poor.

The eldest boy, Jim Keene, as I remember him, was a bright little fellow, but wild as an Indian and full of mischief. The next eldest child, Madge, was a girl of ten, her father's favorite, and she was wild enough too. The youngest was Stumps. Poor, timid, starved Little Stumps! I never knew his real name. But he was the baby, and hardly yet out of petticoats. And he was very short in the legs, very short in the body, very short in the arms and neck; and so he was called Stumps because he looked it. In fact he seemed to have stopped growing entirely. Oh, you don't know how hard the old Plains were on everybody, when we crossed them in ox wagons, and it took more than half a year to make the journey. The little children, those that did not die, turned brown like the Indians, in that long, dreadful journey of seven months, and stopped growing for a time.

For the first month or two after reaching the Sierras, old Mr. Keene limped about among the mines trying to learn the mystery of finding gold, and the art of digging. But at last, having grown strong enough, he went to work for wages, to get bread for his half wild little ones, for they were destitute indeed.

Things seemed to move on well, then. Madge cooked the simple meals, and Little Stumps clung to her dress with his little pinched brown hand wherever she went, while Jim whooped it over the hills and chased jack rabbits as if he were a greyhound. He would climb trees, too, like a squirrel. And, oh! it was deplorable but how he could swear!

At length some of the miners, seeing the boy must come to some bad end if not taken care of, put their heads and their pockets together and sent the children to school. This school was a mile away over the beautiful brown hills, a long, pleasant walk under the green California oaks.

Well, Jim would take the little tin dinner bucket, and his slate, and all their books under his arm and go booming ahead about half a mile in advance, while Madge with brown Little Stumps clinging to her side like a burr, would come stepping along the trail under the oak trees as fast as she could after him.

But if a jack rabbit, or a deer, or a fox crossed Jim's path, no matter how late it was, or how the teacher had threatened him, he would drop books, lunch, slate and all, and spitting on his hands and rolling up his sleeves, would bound away after it, yelling like a wild Indian... Continue reading book >>




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