Sunday, 24 Oct. 1858
In a letter which I wrote mother last week I mentioned my books among other things which I would like sent on. I have since thought it to be better to leave them where they are for the present. Freights are so very high and the articles themselves are so bulky and cumbersome, that the inconvenience and care they would occasion me would not be overborne by any advantage I should just now derive from them. I don’t care to be anchored anywhere and much baggage does that Effectually.
Being once fairly Embarked, I am ready for any movement which gives promise of Success. Gold-digging is all the talk here now. The Pike Peak fever rages high. I Saw a man direct from the diggings shortly Since who reports that from $8 to $30 pr day can be made by hand-washing with no machinery-
If these rumors are true and the gold deposits are extensive, which seems probable, next spring will see an Emigration which will make Kansas a second Calafornia. Calculations are being made for a great rush. I have several chances for business if I see fit to go into trade, and am at present uncertain whether to do so, or to adhere to law or combine the two
Meanwhile the law business opens very well. I argued my first case here yesterday and being the only free state lawyer in the County can undoubtedly build up quite a practice. The Standard of practitioners is extremely moderate and whether it was a consciousness of that fact, or the removal of the Haverhill incubus, I cannot say, but I felt a freedom and self-command never experienced before. It seemed perfectly Easy to badger and wind up a witness, to throw blocks in the path of Counsel and to Confuse the Court with the most remarkable points of law, and the argument was the Easiest of all. The Case was one in which a German had been sued by a doctor for a most exorbitant bill – of which I got the greater part disallowed. The dutchmans gratitude was profuse in words, but he had no dimes, and I am Consequently as poor as Ever. I am Engaged in two or three more, and hope to begin to realize soon.-
One remarkable feature in the Social Condition here is a total disregard of the Sabbath, perhaps because there are no Churches. No change of dress or manner indicates the advent of holy time, and the most of the Citizens Employ the day in hunting prairie chickens, or ducks and geese over on the Missouri bottom. I went up to Atchison, the headquarters of border ruffians – last Sunday on a boat which was carrying
lumber to improve the time, in hopes of finding an Episcopal Church, having understood that one was organized there. I was unsuccessful in my search, and was surprised to find the shops all open, whiskey shops full of cursing Democrats, & the click of billiard balls and the dull thunder of ten pin alleys mingling with the nasal notes of a Hard Shell Baptist preacher who was holding forth in a small upper room directly over the Same.
The climate here is inexpressibly fine: the days of the happy medium between hot and cold which combines the attractions of both, and the nights as bland and beautiful as June. Today a furious Easterly storm is raging, but instead of that cold harsh, benumbing wind which drives the blood from the Surface, hindering the circulation and making the secretions dull and Sluggish at home, it is more like a violent Summer shower. The worst feature is the mud. Kansas mud is incomparable: in the mud line it is a perfect triumph: slippery as lard, adhesive as tar, cumulative as a misers gold and treacherous as hope, it forms a compound unique and peculiar that defies description. There are three colors, black, red and clay, differing in no respect except chromatically. It sticketh closer than a brother, Entering Every crevice and then accumulating in varied laminae and strata, many Shaped and many colored, that can neither be kicked off nor
scraped off nor in any way avoided. It dries as hard as a mortar wall. A brush glides over it as it would a lap stone or the Farnese Hercules, leaving a hammer & an old case knife the only resource. The usual method of cleaning boots here is to take them by the straps and bang them against a brick wall. It is quite Efficacious, the only objection being that the process would soon bury the house as Effectually as Vesuvius did the city of Pompeii. I have an idea that they might be put in a large vat and boiled with great success, the notion having been suggested to me by the fact that our drinking water here looks and tastes very much as if the operation had been performed in it. – If you send me any package of goods this fall, shirts etc, I should like my tin signs Enclosed & forwarded with them.
I received a paper from you a few days since, which with the exception of a letter from Morris is the only word I have had from Haverhill-
With much regard to all the family
Very Truly, Your Son