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and allow that Mr. Atkinson is right: I do
feel a pain "of a peculiarly stunning kind" in
my head. Large black spots float before me;
the steward becomes a dim monster: voices
that are growling near me, sound as from a
great distance. I make a plunge, rub my
eyes hard, spasmodically drag down my waistcoat,
shake back my hair, draw my cap firmly
upon my head, and make an attempt to walk.

A few more ignominious moments, and the
steward claims me as his own.



A FEW more of a "Woman's Experiences
in California," in addition to those narrated
at page 450 of the second volume of "Household
Words," may not be uninteresting. The
humble Correspondent, it will be remembered,
had arrived in August, 1849, at Stockton, with
her husband, her brother, and a Mr. T., in
whose service she was earning from eight to
ten pounds per week by washing and cooking.
Another letter, which is dated "February
12th, 1851," retraces her voyage from New
Zealand to St. Francisco, and thence to
Stockton. Hitherto gold-seeking has
monopolised the descriptive talents of travellers;
but here we have a graphic glimpse of a
"Ranch," with an inkling of rural life in
California. "A Ranch is a place," the writer
explains, "where people take in cattle, and
have a piece of land, sell liquors, &c. They
do not call them public-houses here." These
details are, however, prefaced by a sketch of
the journey and adventures between St.
Francisco and the present habitation, which
is on "The Oak Ranch, on the Calaveras
River, about twenty-four miles from the gold
diggings, and nearly as many from Stockton:"

"Oak Ranch, Calaveras River,
"Feb. 12th, 1851.

"I have seen some delightful places since
I have left England. I have not the least
desire to live in England again, only to see
you all once more is what I wish. But we
have been so happy since we came to this
part of the world; I often wish you were all
so comfortable as we are. I dearly long to see
you, my dear father, mother, brothers, and
sisters; oh how I wish you was all here.
This is a money-making place for any who
will work. For our passage from San Francisco
to Stockton, which is a distance of one
hundred and fifty miles up a beautiful smooth
river, we paid eleven pounds in a sailing boat.
We stayed four months in Stockton. Mr. T.
brought a large tent from New Zealand, and
we put it up in a large open field, made it
into three rooms, and lived very comfortable.
He bought a team, and sent goods to the
gold mines. Christopher worked at the
carpenteringearned two pounds per day
worked ten hours. I followed the
dressmaking; I was the only one in the place;
I earned from ten to twelve dollars per day.
A dollar is four shillings and twopence. I
have earned thirteen dollars in a day. I
charged one pound eight shillings for a plain
dress, without any trimming in it; I had my
price. I did my own washing and cooking
for ourselves; Mr. T. and Mrs. T. as well.
If a woman has a mind to work in this
country, she can earn as much, or more than
a man. We have worked hard since we came
here; but, thank God, we have had our health
to do it. At first we all had the fever and
ague very bad; but we are all in good
health now. I paid Mr. T. fifty-five pounds
in ten weeks, besides what I had out for
pocket money. I have no reason to spend
much money, as we have plenty to eat and
drink, both wines and liquors, in the house.
We are in the midst of plenty.

"We left Stockton 1st October, and have
taken a road-side house, at the foot of the
mountains. Mr. T. and us are now partners,
and paid five hundred dollars for the
place. We have built a house, which has cost
about one thousand dollars more. We sell
liquors and provisions, and have a great many
passengers stay for the night; we charge one
dollar per meal. We also take in mules and
cattle to grass, at one dollar per week. We
have begun ploughing, and intend to cultivate
25 acres; we have a man ditching; we pay
him fifty dollars per month, and board and
lodging. The nearest neighbour we have
lives half-a-mile from us. Ours is a splendid
place, so healthy, and twenty-four miles from
the gold mines. People have to pass our
house going to the mines; we have as many
as twenty- five stop at night. We have no
cook at present, but we shall engage one for
the summer, if our business still increases.
A cook here has from seventy to a hundred
dollars per month. I sell a great deal of
pastry. I can assure you we have plenty to do,
though, at the same, we are making money.

"There is a great deal of gambling in this
country. Gold is no more than copper to
some people here. Not so with us, we intend
laying up for a rainy day, while we have a
chance. Flour here is twenty-eight shillings
per hundred pounds; beef, seven to eight
pence per pound; potatoes, sixpence per
pound; sugar, seven pence to ten pence;
butter, three shillings; coffee, one shilling and
three pence; tea, four shillings; rice, five
pence; candles, one shilling to four shillings;
vegetables are scarce, but we have a great
many seeds of useful sorts. We have some
nice fowls, for which we paid sixteen shillings
each, which is considered cheap, as eggs are
four shillings and twopence each. We have
one hen just had eleven chickens; the hen
and chickens are worth six pounds. We
intend having some milking cows soon, as
milk is four shillings per quart. We have a
wagon and six mules. Our sign-board
hangs between two large oak trees. We