I've got to be goin' if I git up for that four-o'clock train in the mornin'. I've made fifteen pies an' five loaves of bread, besides bakin' beans, to say nothin' of a great panful of doughnuts an' some cake. I ain't been up garret nor down cellar cleanin', an' if anything happens to me, I s'pose folks'll see some dust and cobwebs, but I've done considerable.
Our supper consisted of a little more pea soup and half of the panful of berries. While we were lying spoon-fashion under the blankets at night, it was the custom for a man who got tired of lying on one side to say "turn," which word would cause the others to flop over immediately, usually without waking.
No frog-eater had ever been there. Near the shore we felled a tree which reached far out in the lake. Upon the trunk and branches, the frogs soon collected in large numbers, and gamboled and splashed about the half submerged top, like a parcel of schoolboys, making nearly as much noise. After dark, as I was frying the fish, a panful of the largest trout was accidently capsized in the fire.
There were few places in Bigbear Gully that would not yield two shillings' worth of gold to the panful, so that in those early days, while the surface soil was still fresh, a man could, by steady work alone without incidental nuggets work out gold-dust to the value of between five and six pounds sterling a day, while, occasionally, he came upon a lump, or nugget, equal, perhaps, to what he could procure by the labour of a week or more.
This toughness and elasticity of gluten is an important quality; for in bread-making, were it not for the gluten, the carbonic-acid gas formed by the action of yeast on dough would all escape. But, though it works its way out vigorously enough to swell up each cell, the gluten binds it fast, and enables us to have a panful of light "sponge," where a few hours before was only a third of a pan.
"Enough! enough of this," cried the commandant. "Be silent! And you," speaking to the soldiers, "get out of here! Send the blacksmith to solder these chains at once. Go into the second passage I want no one but the blacksmith." The soldiers withdrew, and the smith entered with his hot coals, his glowing iron, and his panful of boiling lead.
Talk up, says I, 'or we'll mix a panful of batter right here. "I slid over the counter after Uncle Emsley. He grabbed at his gun, but it was in a drawer, and he missed it two inches. I got him by the front of his shirt and shoved him in a corner. "'Talk pancakes, says I, 'or be made into one. Does Miss Willella make 'em?
One place was called Tin-cup Bar for this reason. Spanish Bar, on the American River, yielded a million dollars' worth of dust, and at Ford's Bar, a miner, named Ford, took out seven hundred dollars a day for three weeks. At Rich Bar, on the Feather River, a panful of earth gave fifteen hundred dollars. Yet the miners were seldom satisfied, but were always prospecting for richer claims.
What a variety of cooking the gulls enjoy from the steamships and sailing-vessels of various nationalities which visit Manhattan! French cooks, Italian, German, Spanish, English, Swedish cooks of all races minister to their appetites. Whenever a panful of scraps is thrown out from the galley, a flock of gulls may be seen fluttering over their fluent table d'hôte.
I read this aloud, and added, "I have never refused a gold nugget in my life." The following day brought me a pin made of a very beautiful gold nugget, and a few days later another Californian produced a cluster of smaller nuggets which he had washed out of a panful of earth and insisted on my accepting half of them.