When we got to Frisco and was at the corner of Kearny and Market, Cakey tells me he’s goin’ up to Sydney Town and gettin’ a ticket back to Honnalooloo. I tole him good luck and thanks him for all he’s done for me and the company, and just for good measure, I walks him over to Pudent’s saloon and gives him a send off whisky (or two). When that’s all done, he shakes my hand and tells me “Sardo Pat, I hope someday you come to Honnalooloo too! You gone make one good boy happy verry much! Maybe island girl for you too you find, eh bra?"’
I said “Thanks then Cakey, fer everthang, and I hopes you has a safe trip.” I knew that Kowakowa would go on to be big shakes back in his hometown with that sack of dust he had...
Well, I got to reckon I was gonna be a little lonesome now since Kanaka Cakey Kowakowa took himself off on that Express Clipper back to Honnalooloo. I figgered I could use some recreation of a type, and so I moseyed over to what was the old Spanish Mission to see me a bullfight or two.
Was at this little old bullring carved inta the hill there, right acrost the street from the Mission. ‘Twas a little ampitheater, with wooden seats, kinda benches, carved inta a soft hillside and made flat with planks. Was about sixtyfive Spannards or so, all types, Messicans, Chillymen, Californios, and such-like, all surmounting this ampitheater and down there in the center was El Toro.
It were the spectacle, of course, but after two or three of these fancy dance-of-deaths with the same durned outcome (the bull always died. Cusset! Couldna been a fair fight no how, since the Toriodor always come out on top!) even after the picodores and the trocoderos and the bandalleros got done with the bugger, then toriodor come alongwith his little cape and sword and finishes him off. Weren’t no fair fight, not atall. I spoze some of them Messicans and all paid a good penny then fer some fresh steaks afterwards, but steaks was not in scarcity no how, and I was feeling gypped of my dollar anyhow. Oh yes, it cosset a dollar just to sit thar. If you were nice to ‘em a pretty seniorita might come by you with a jug of “agua fresca” which weren’t no agua and it weren’t no fresca, but you could give her two bits and get a shot of that retchid cactus juice and join in the hollerin’.
Only I didn’t feel like it none. After a couple hours of this painful sort of boredom, I wandered back to downtown, and I goes to the Parker House to see me a theatrical event— it were no other than old Edwin Booth in MacBeth. Now I heared about this MacBeth character, like he was this old King of Scotland, and he done murdered the real king, Duncan, y’see, and all on account of his wife Lady Macbeth whose a shrew and a half and it wonders anyone anyway how can a man marry such a cuss herself if all he gets from it is a stain he can’t ever get offa hisself. Cause that were one horrific event, and a horrific scene. Even more impressive of course was how the new King-to- Be MacDuff sprung his trick and trap on MacBeth. Disguised his whole army up like trees, and hopitty hoppity they surrounds the castle like they was a forest, until all ready, and “Birnham Wood come to Dunsinane!” and all, and MacBeth is found out and kilt, and there be a righteous justice, the Lady MacBeth falls on her sword, and the whole playhouse erupted in cheers, it were so merciful to see a decent ending to a pair of wicked dealers. Thet man Bill Shakespear were no dummy.
Thet took about two hours offa my day. So I was at the Parker House but weren’t no way I was gonna spring for no meal there, being five to ten dollers, so I went over to the good Old City Hotel, I gets a ten dollar room for overnight, I spends two dollers on steak, taters, sparagus spears, and a glass of Sonoma wine. That being satisfied for my gut, I took to the streets and came to the Fulmar Fandango House, to have myself some sort of dance, if I could find one, with a lady, if I could even find one of that sort.
Now the Fulmar Fandango House is the creation of old Wolfram Grizzlepizzle, a name in his own right, and highly feared in orchestra pits acrost the country each side of the Mississip. They say he had competition in the name of old Lep Phelps, but Lep Phelps could not survive it, an’ committed sewercider but half a years into the game with Grizzle. Grizzle he’s a tough old snake. His Fandango House shore was a alot of fun, though. I reckon I were there a good four hours before I could drag myself outta there. The pretty waiter girls there was for real, but they were also tipped for the house— just like you would spect it in the gambling tables over at City Hotel. Tipped for the house, I tell ya. They must have got me for at least five before I was outta there, what with cigartees, drinks (I had a Pisco Punch, I had two Phlegm Cutters, I had at least one Taos Lightnin’ and one Ginger Pop.) For snacking, they had fired-up peanuts and Injun corn in a sack, with salt and butter, which were purty good, too.
I did get me a dance, and I got to get on home after that, since the purty waiter girl I danceted with were not kind to playing low in the bushes none, not without taking another sack of gold offa me, which I was not about to do! But here I shall digress and give you more about old Grizzlepizzle, since now everone both sides of the Rockies knows who he is, and that’s his fault.
Wolfram Grizzlepizzle I spoze by now is an institution, far as Frisco’s fandango palaces goes. Here’s the dope on him: He was borned in Poland an’ his name- I kin barely spell it lest alone pronounce it— Grczlpczlye— goes back some centries. Both his parents was kilt when Napoleon invaded Warsaw an’ little Wolfram walked his way crost Poland, Germany, Holland, til he got to Brussels, with eighty other little orphan children, led by a monk named Frank Hans, a Dutch Reformist. He took ship with a buncha them to New York, where he grew up on the street, making petty theft with a Polish street gang, until his early twenties, when he made a small pile selling insurance to poor widders. When the Messican War come, he joins the US Cavalry t’ fight Messicans so he can get the free trip to Californee. When that ruckus petered out, he was in Frisco, an’ he took his cavalry pay, and some of what he had left from robbing ol’ widders, and he started his famous Fulmar Fandango House, war he’s bin ever since rakin in the dust, and being merciful to mining folk. Mostly. I heared (tho I warnt thar) thet last year he caused some sensation by bringing Jenny Lind out here from Pennsylvania. Warn’t too many folks here realized it, but that warn’t no Jenny Lind! That war an imposture, but the ruse was good enough. Grizzlepizzle packed the house a week straight, and warnt no miner the wiser. Not at least til a month later when the newspaper from New York and Phillidelphy come out, announcing on the very dates of the San Francisco engagement, Jenny Lind’s excloosive P. T. Barnum show in Phillydelphy, New York, an’ Dee Cee. Well that mighta cosseted him some miner dough for a while, but it were all soon forgotten, because Grizzlepizzle found a few more attractions—and they were always fresh off the boat— to come and work his fandango house, and as long as the likker flowed, weren’t nobody no sadder.
Many famous musicians of course got their start from Wolfram Grizzlepizzle. Thar’s some say thet Englishman Edward and Crustyman, not to mention Ninefinger Ned, was reglars down thar. Of course, Ned must have been famous way way afore this, but he was said to be friends with Hog Wald and Hog Wald’s acompanist Pearl Genull. Ned came up to Judas Gulch first with a whole cartload full of band supplies and passed them around to all the campers, and anyone with half a lick of sense they was soon sawin and pluckin away. Would not be a fair guess that on any day’s fandago up har at Ollarud’s, thar was six or seven of the boys hampin’ and harpin’ on git-tars and fiddles and squeezeboxes. When Ned had the money ta shar around he offen went out whole hog. I guess this wuz kinder his way of makin’ friends, turnin’ miners inta minstrels, but durn if it were not appreciated by the likes of John Spondino and Sunbeam Davy. Now thar was two boys was always meant to be wakin’ snakes together or apart.
One weekend, Ollarud set up the bar and a stage (this stage apparently stayed all the rest of our time here at Judas Gulch) on the back wall. Folks could come in and set themselves at a table or set at the bar and lissen to the purty music, cuz I sed, them boys could play— or they could spend some time tryin’ t’ git somewar with Millie, Ollarud’s flash assistant purty waiter girl.
I ain’t tellin ya much about my “special friendship” with Millie cause ain’t a heck of a lot to tell ya, ‘cept that she would always pick out the pizen I like and set it down nice and easy with a “Well thar y’are, Pat!” ever time. I never so much as asseted her fer a kiss— now that thar was MacDavish’s big talk how he even had done much much more with Millie than that, of course, and he was still payin’ fer it in consequences, too, it was wishperd ta me by Nicletto.
MacDavish he really were also one big “fan” of Ninefinger Ned. When Ned got to strickin’ his banjer (thet wuz like a second instermint to him) and frailin' away and Hog Wald pulled out his harmonicky and blew the blues, and Pearl set up her wailin up a storm like a herd of cats tryin’ a scape outta a sack, well, MacDavish could jes sit thar, hypn’tized, and knock back even more of the Fool Water and Cincinnatti Wisky and cry “More, more!” and stomp his foot like a herd a cattle. Thet one man could make so much racket is a testamint to the glory of the vine, I sez. MacDavish he went down to Frisco and happened to be in on the big Grizzlepizzle— Jenny Lind gyp-o, and dang eff he didn’t throw down his hat and stomp vig’rously upon it when Jamjob came runnin’ in that day we got the newspaper told us war the Real Jenny Lind happened t’ be at that time.
Anyhow. If you want t’ hear a real musicker, you just settle back and lissen to the wondrous tones lucked upon by Ninefinger Ned on his git-tar and English Edward when he tickles the elephant tusk keyboard. Thar was a match thet were awaitin’ t’ happen, although, Edward he sometimes has a little too much Pisco in him, and likes to shoot off his big mouth about us Merricans. Well at least he aint no hard case, ackshully he survived the trip around the Horn with a sad case of consumption, they said. Anyway he found the nice sunshine of El Dorado t’ be much to his likin’, and we have ‘dopted him as our cuzin, brother, and friend, and ain’t nobody— said Sunbeam Davy and John Spondino— could teckle the tusks better n’ “thet man right over thar, wearin’ Millie’s garter on his arm!”
All these musickers what hung at The Pewter Eye war here to make a killin’ off the minders if they culd their own selves. A course, Ollarud war not all thet good to them, they had ta work fir him each an’ ever single day ‘cept Mundy, cuz Sundy war the biggest day o’ the week for Ollarud, an’ Monday all the minders was back on the river agin. An’ weren’t none that happy for Sundy so they give thar best performances on a Fridy or Saturdy night—by Sundy afternoon all they rilly wanted ta do wuz drink an’ play cards and smoke the cuerda. I cain’t sez I blames them none, who would not git antsy an’ viscious when they is tied to a git-tar or pianner fer eight ares a day anyway? Almost like Ollrud insisted they be music machines er somethin. One day English Edward he were so pissed off at Ollrud he ez “Why doncha git yerself an automatic pianner, you old Fat Swede!” an’ he runs outta thar without his hat. Ollrud takes thet hat and sets it at the end of the bar war he kin see it, and shore enuf, English Eward come a runnin’ back in, spies the hat, tries ta grab it an’ pop it on his head real quick, but Ollarud is swift on the draw he pulls out a sixshooter an’ plugs thet hat fulla holes real quick. I heared English Edward brought thet hat with him all the way from London, but it were not long afore he made his way ta Sackaminnow and got another one, looked jest like it.
Thet is jes’ the way things are up har in the Gold Country. Easy comes and Easy goes, an’ if you ain’t got the gold dust, ya mite as well jes’ scoot yerself on outta town. Eff ya got the dust, then, an you is welcome, thank you but doncha put on no uppity airs around thet mean old Swede bar man, Ole Ollarud! He’s one mean cat. I gots other tales ta tell about him to.
It was talked about town thet Ole Ollarud and Sherrif Neatness had a sorta protection racket goin’ with the minders they liked best. Supposin ta say, them ones what sent the most money on drinks, a coarse, or they tip the musickers well. Anyway if Ole liked you he would send Sherrif Neatness around ta inspect yer claim fer good boundrys. Eff a man were forging boundrys then he were cheatin’ someone, somehow. A coarse eff you was cheatin a Chinaman or a Chillyman or an Injun, thet war a little diffurnt, but, when it come to white men cheatin’ each other, Sherrif Neatness were having absolutely no truck with thet.
I heared thet he run a couple of boys off the River for doin’ this on a man use ta be called Nashua Robbins. Nashua Robbins were an original, he were in the River since late Forty Eight, and he used ta work fer the famous John Marshall who discovered the whole shebang at the start. NashuaRobbins allus claimed it were him brought the gold to Marshall who then went ta Sutter and it spread from there. But Neatness always douted this.
And yet even if he had has douts eff were sayin’ the honest humbug, then Neatness stuck up fer him when those two whackadoos wuz tryin’ to do a gyp on his boundry.
“Survey says thet Nashua Robbins has this line starts right har,” sez Neatness.
Slone Cawdry, one of them dishonest boys, wuz ready ta argue.
“No it ain’t. Ya see war thet stick is? Thet is his boundry, and I ain’t no Welsher!”
“Slone Cawdry, I is accusin you of stakin thet thar stick on the claim rightly b’longs to Nashua Robbins. He’s bin har since we started all this minin’ and he iz wut I nose to be an onnist man! You two is disgustin’ claim jumpers, an’ if you do not wish to hang by sundown, I might make you the polite suggestion thet you leaves Judas Gulch immejitly, lest I figure ta shoot you straight off an’ finish this bizniss up myself, ‘fore I turn y’all over ta the Miners Camittee!”
Them two boys looked nervis at each other then they change thar minds and packed up thar mules and left. Old Nashua got all his claim, plus, he even set a deal to take their claim too! He got sixty pounds outa thet spot by the end a last year I heared. So it ain’t a good idear ta miss with are sheriff nor none of us onnist miners.