were charlatans who had been forced to take up other professions. Only
three or four had a good reputation and a good following; for
professional calls they charged from 45 to 100 francs a visit.
have been cited where almost unbelievable fortunes have been made.
Several of our countrymen who arrived shortly before us with from 100
to 2,000 francs in their pockets had, by the time of our arrival, an
income of 25,000 francs, not annually, but monthly. All this was in
addition to what profits were made in their businesses. As a general
thing, such enormous fortunes were derived by renting out buildings, or
from land speculations. I nearly forgot to say that later on I went out
to buy a small, cheap stove. The price asked was 800 francs. But I was
not as yet economical enough to practise such economies. Such tales
which strongly suggest fabrications were told to instill both hope and
fear in the hearts of poor emigrants who had just landed.
the members of our association twenty-five now remained, four having
left the first day for the mines. These were the men who had funds.
That reports at Valparaiso had been so conflicting was not at all
surprising. Even at San Francisco it was difficult to decide on what to
rely. The nearest placers, that is, those of the San Joaquin River,
were a ten or twelve days' trip from the city. Despite the conflicting
rumors that were noised abroad, how to go about searching for gold was
still the main topic of conversation. Moreover, as we were about to
depart for the mines we were harassed by all that would be needed and
realized how large an expenditure, even with the utmost economy, was
required to be able to ascend the Sacramento or the San Joaquin and
become a miner. This is why I say that only the richest men dared start
off for the placers.
I was not classed among the men of wealth; I have already revealed to
the world at large my financial condition. The problem, then, was how
to earn what funds were needed for the journey. Luckily in Tillier who
had arrived, as I have said, fifteen days in advance, I had an
excellent friend to initiate me into local conditions in California. We
remained for four days at French Camp, occupied mainly in arranging our
tents. Finally, on the fifth day each of us began to work at whatever
was at hand, laboring for the common benefit. This community labor,
however, lasted only four more days. On the fifth, the organization
Our first task had been to chop wood in the forests lying on the