One of the Great Gold Rush Satires.
The joint effort of Alonzo Delano and Charles Nahl, the present work reflects both the cynicism and the optimism among Californians after the initial excitement of the Gold Rush.
Each page of the work is illustrated with a wood engraving after an illustration by Nahl, who was the greatest illustrator of early California and the Gold Rush. The verse, by the equally-famous Delano, describes the life of a prospector through his unrewarded trials in the West, to eventually striking gold, and being able to return back home to his family in the East. It starts:
A Pilgrim from the Eastern shore
Stood on Nevada's strand:
A tear was in his hither eye,
A pickaxe in his hand.
A tear was in his hither eye--
And in his left, to match,
There would have been another tear,
But for a healing patch.
Immediately after he discovers gold, still disheveled "The Pilgrim Vamoseth the Diggings":
He drops his pick, his pan is left,
He e'en neglects his pipe,
He leaves the diggings far behind,
His purse he holds with iron gripe.
Resolved to dig and toil no more,
Nor more in dreams to trust,
His well filled bag upon his back,
Of pure and shining dust.
Finally returned to his family "The Pilgrim in the Bosom of his Family":
His wardrobe changed, behold him now,
In affluence and pride,
Surrounded by the forms he loves,
With joy on every side!
Pressed closely to his heart he holds
His wife and children dear,
The latter shouting madly, while
The former drops a tear.
The cover includes the following verses:
Once more returned, at close of day,
To a cheerless, dismal home,
He voes, if he was back in Maine,
He never more would roam.
How hunger makes his "bowels yearn,"
For "yams" or "Irish roots,"
But these he looks in vain to find--
Then tries to fry his boots.
C.K. McClatchy (of the McClatchy Newspapers family);
His sale, Witherell's Auctions, September 16, 2020