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TEB GREEN CLOTI.
IT was a common saying among us, This same Gossage_that was the
old Californians of Forty-Nine, that name of the retired tract-mongerthere was no such light for shining afforded, in his own character and habthrough a man as that of the first great its, an amusing example of how a man fire. In its strong glare the philo- could get imbued with the peculiar vice sophic spectator became clairvoyant, of the time; and that was the game of and his subject transparent. Morally, Brag-brag, and the hard old vices of
-, your scrutiny pierced the heart of the its kindred, bluff and poker. Brag was San Franciscan then, and in the same in all the air, and you breathed it glance you took in the letter, full of unwholesomely, to the tainting of your his mother's pious admonitions, in his blood; its principle soaked through your breast-pocket, and the revolver in its very clothes, as it were, and percolated belt at bis back—as in Harlequin Faust your pores. There were men, all around you see, through the sad-colored waist- you, who believed in nothing but brag, coat of Mephistophiles, the three red- who swore by brag, who lived on brag, hot buttons on his coat bebind. The who, if needs must, would die for shade was drawn back from the human brag. Of such was Gossage ; and be dark-lantern, and flaming passions with- shall serve for my representative bragin, blazing through the bull's eye, lit up ger, of whom a characteristic anecdote, all around. Then you recognized any familiar to many Forty-Niners, may man by the light of his neighbor's soul. illustrate my meaning. Then the cardinal virtues, like certain We old Californians hold in respect. oommon necessaries of life, met with an ful remembrance Moffat's Coin," as appreciation naturally enhanced by their they were called - pretty five-dollar scarcity. Honesty was a high trump gold pieces, fac-similes of the federal oard. Indeed, to pursue the appropriate half-eagles, save in the substitution, on local figure, society was as the favorite the reverse, of the words " Moffat & game, wherein everybody pretended to Co." for United States of America." plays on the square ;" when your ad- They were a god-send in the days when versary, having been your last • brag," the great dearth of standard money stopped" going better," and called your among us subjected us to all manner of band, if you happened to hold a single inconvenience, not to mention serious sterling trait, it was sure to be received losses by the discount on gold-dust as a as the four aces, which can “rake down legal tender in trade. It was said that any kind of a pile."
they even exceeded in value, by one It was strange how soon, and how per cent., their namesakes of the nasurely, the original Satan in every now tional mints. At all events arrival asserted himself. The enter- very happy in them, and had no paprising publican who, regardless of tience with the suspicious egotism of expense, first brought a wagon-load of Wall street, which ignored them altoice into Sacramento City, from the gether, bringing them into bad odor Sierra Nevada, and introduced his grate- abroad, so that they were, from the ful fellow-citizens to a new pleasure in first, quite useless except for the bethe shape of brandy-smashes at half a hests of our small local traffic. Vory dollar å drink, had been, two years 800n they were called in from their before, president of a far-reaching soci- brief hour of circulation, to be melted
, ety of Washingtonians in Philadelphia, into ingots for home shipments; and so, and out-Goughed Gough in wondrous utterly disappeared from the pockets apocalypses of cold water. The wbite of our citizens, and even from the green neck-clothod and single-minded brother boards of the gamblers. Six months who, when the Grabam House was from the date of their brilliant appariopened, undertook, for the higbest bid, tion, a specimen was good for sore the bar and coffee-stand, two billiard eyes,” and would command & premium tables, one rondo, three roulette, two as a curiosity. faro, and six monte ditto, had, within the One day, not many weeks before twelvemonth, ridden an apostolic circuit Col. Bonner and the proprietor emptied in Alabama, dispensing pious tracts their revolvers at each other across the from a groen bag.
bar-and by the samo token the City
't nuther argu
Fathers found the bullets sticking in even tied up, like Tom Carter's milk. the wall when they installed themselves Ready money worth twelve per cent. a in those premises in the name of Law month, too, and ho with twelve banks and Order—a crowd of miners, me- in monte and faro-Hi, hi, hi !" chanics, clerks, learned-professioners, “ All very fine, gentlemen,” Gossage and other am ur gamesters, being said, but hi, hi, hi met in the saloon of the Grabam House, ments por manners. Facts is facts, and the conversation among a knot of thirsty opinions as is opinons is worth backing. souls, who waited for brandy-smashes, I'm ready to back my facts as high as turned on California currency in gen- any man's moderato pile, and if I'm eral and Moffat's coin in particular. deceived in 'em I'm willing to pay for Their sudden apparition and evanish- the disapp'intment." ment were remarked upon, and one or " Pshaw, Gossage,” said some one, two had specimens to show, which they “ what's the use your trying on that prized next to half-cents, or certain old dodge at your time of life? Why curious political coppers of the Jackson don't you take your brag in the natucampaigns, inscribed "Not One, Central way? Especially when everybody for Tribute, Millions for Defense." knows your game.” The bragging ear of Gossage caught But Mr. Gossage began now to have its cue, as he was toying idly at a faro- & grievance ; he felt hurt; "he had table with a few red counters.
asserted a thing, and he thought he was "Gave half an ounce apiece for them good for all it would cost to prove it; it Moffat kines, did you?
Dreadful was hard if he couldn't get the chance. green of you I must say. Why I've If he was bluffing, here was an opportugot a thousand of them myself; and if nity for gents of spirit to take the conany gentleman with a turn for kine- ceit out of him." fancying, would like to fill a cabinet or A quiet young man who had remained. a cart with just such fellows as them, froin the first, in the background, seemfor a small deduction from the last ingly only an amused spectator, here price, I should be glad to accommodate came forward, and said he quite agreed him. Talk of half-cents, now; they with Mr. Gossage. Mr. Gossage's veare something like-should like to give racity was at stake on an interesting a dollar for one myself. But eight dol- question, and he was in favor of Mr. lars for Moffat's kine is a leetle enthusi- Gossage's having a fair show. Gentleastic, if not green."
men should not be too hard on Mr. Gos. Mr. Gossage was no stranger to sage. True, he would have, occasionmost of his audience; and this new, ally, his little outside game of bluff, by and somewhat bolder, exhibition of his way of joke merely. But this time ho ruling passion would have elicited no was evidently serious and sincere. Mr. more than a quiet smile from the so- Gossage's feelings ought not to be triphisticated circle, but for the presence filed with; gentlemen were wrong_to of two or three new arrivals, who ex- twit him with his little peculiarities. For pressed their appreciation of what they his own part, he did not believe a considered high old blowing,” in a word Mr. Gossage had said about the burst of hilarity, wherein their astonish. Moffats. Not that he doubted Mr. Gosment was not unmixed with disrespectful Sage's word-ob, by no means ; he only incredulity. Such popular ejaculations, thought he saw tho bluff sticking out. expressive of a good-natured doubt, as He wished he had as many dollars as he “G-a-as !” “ Over the left !” “ Hi, hi, did not believe in those Moffats. He hi!" etc., broke from these brusque was ready not to believe in them—say new-comers.
two hundred dollars worth, which was Now Gossage was at home. all he had about him. any gentleman would back his disbelief Mr. Gossage “ knew his young
friend to the extent of a few ounces, he would was a gentleman by the remark he be happy to size his pile."
made-a man of spirit and disposed to Hi, hi, hi! Oh yes ; fivo thousand do things on the square. Them 'ere dollars, you know, lying—where did obserwations of his'n was worthy of his you say you kept them, Mr. Gossage ?" head and heart. He would meet his
• In my trunk, sir—in my room, little pile." sir-in this house, sir."
So the four hundred dollars were "Oh, yes-lying about loose, not forthwith produced and placed in the
hands of a “mutual friend." Then gent's pocket, as never did him no with sudden gravity-for a suicide, or a harm, and clean bim out like. Gents murder, or a hanging match was, in as knew Tom Gossage knew he was those days, a less grave affair than an oncapable of sich. The brother was apextraordinary bet, even for so small & periently a person of feeling and resum as two hundred dollars-all turned finery. He hoped Tom Gossage was toward the stairs by which they were to the same in bis humble way. Theremake their way to the chamber of the fore, he wished, in a friendly way, to treasure; but, first, all took another exposterlate with the gentleman. Might drink at Gossage's expense, and it was not the brother be rushing at his pudagreed that the
winner should treat the dles, rayther resky? He was agreeable crowd to champagne.
to let the gentleman up." To the Gossage apartments were
The brother" returned thanks. He many stairs, with their corresponding was touched by Mr. Gossage's kind landings. At the top of the first flight consideration. Those who knew Mr. Gossage stopped, and turned to his Gossago better than he did, would no company, as one who suddenly recol- doubt say that it was all quite natural, lects an important something. There just like Tom Gossage ; but he conwas a "pint” on which he would like to fessed he was touched. Nevertheless, understand the gentleman. Did the he preferred not to be let up. The bet gentleman intend to avail himself of the was a good bet, and he thought it would leading maxim to which all fancy gentle- keep-it was, indeed. a delightful bet, if men subscribe-namely, that betting on only in having been the means of introa certainty goes for nothing--that a ducing him to his honorable friend. He wager is made pull and void by positive would rather not part with it. foreknowledge, with conclusive assur- Mr. Gossage was touched, in his ance of the result, on the part of either turn; there was a trace of sadness in better. If yes, they need go no fur- his air, as he resumed the ascent. ther, for he was betting on a certainty. Flight No. 3: Once for all, Mr. Gog
No, the gentleman unconditionally sage wished to know how far the genwaived all that; he would take all the tleman meant to carry this joke, if it risks-somewhat facetiously adding that were a joke. If the gentleman was in Mr. Gossage's certainties were an ex- earvest, the gentleman must excuse ception to the general rule.
him, but he considered the gentleman Mr. Gossage, with a reproachful look, a fool. The brother must recollect that went on, only remarking that he was his, the speaker's, character, as a man glad they understood each other; be of honor, was at stake. If he took the presumed tho gentleman knew his own gentleman's pile, other brethren, outbusiness best.
siders, would say he hadn't done the Flight No. 2: Mr. Gossage stops clean thing by the gentleman. He would again—stands for a moment suspended, like to hear any gent say that; any as it were--all silent; Mr. Gossage ap- gent would oblige him by putting in pears to be about to make a speech; he that insinorwation; he would be happy does make a short one.
to bet any brother fifty, or a hundred, bling was his trade and the cards was or a hundred and fifty, or two hundred his tools ; but there was a time for every dollars, that no man in the crowd had thing, and at sich times as it suited him the cheek to put in that insiderwation. 80 to do, he hoped he could conduct The gentleman hoped not. Did Mr. himself as a gentleman, and a man Gossage live inside the house, or out on whose heart is in the right place. He the roof? had not the honor to be personally ac- Mr. Gossage walks straight to a door quainted with his young friend, whom and, with indignant resolution depicted he met on this occasion for the first on his countenance, lays his hand on time--and happy he was to find him a the knob, takes from his pocket a key, gent after his own heart. The brother applies it to the lock, turns it. might be a man of independent fortin, . You'd better not." the tallest kind of a pile; and then agin “Oh, I think I will." he moughtn't. Howsover, he was will- “No don't. Upon my soul I don't ing to give the gentleman a fair shake, like to. Say you think better of it, in to treat bim on the square. Far be it time. Then I'll just show you the from him to poke his fingers into a kine, to amuse you, stand the cham
" True, gam
pagne myself, and say nothing about and he put his own life into the ohase. it.”
He had his sentiments, more or less Omnes: “Hi, hi, bi !"
exalted, according to the location of his Mr. Gossage throws open the door tables and the quality of his friends. violently; leaps to the side of a narrow The fifty-cent roulette-twirler or thimble iron bedstead; drags from underneath rigger, of Pacific street or Little Sidney, it a scurvy hair trunk, rather easy to might not be so sublime and imposing handle; goes down on his knees and in his definitions of honor as the thouopens it with a small key, fished out sand-dollar faro-dealer of the Parker from the profound of his breeches House or El Dorado ; but he was sure pocket.
to be twice as noisy and exacting. “You will, will you ?"
“Gentlemen," he would say-no word • Yes, sir-ee."
half so often on his lips as that—"Gen. Mr. Gossage tosses up the lid of the tlemen, we plays on the square; if scurvy rattle-trap.
we doesn't play on the square, difficulTwo stumps of cigars, a box of per- ties, and on pleasantnesses, and six-shootcussion caps, and a pack of cards ! ers is liable. Gentlemen, I hope wo
“ Boys,” says Mr. Gossage, slyly are all honorable men; we'll have our looking up, “I believe you've got me little game peaceable and on the square this time."
if we can, but we will have it any how, by thunder!"
In the Bella Union, or the California In truth, the Gossages were the “re- Exchange, aristocratically pitched on markable men” of the day. They con- the Plaza, the style of conversation across stituted a controlling class, with whom the green cloth, in cases of ".
difficulty," was all the moral, physical and financial was different, being more debonair, not force. Abounding in ready resources 80 broad : of no particular nature, and unscrupu.
"A moment, if you please," quietly lous in the application of them-them- remarks an almost beardless desperado, selvas well stocked with the adventurer's covering his pile with a firm hand, and courage, and their courage imposingly fixing dangerous eyes on the burly backed up with six-shooters ; number- dealer of monte whom he addressesing in their society, whether as profes- “You can stop there." sionals or amateurs, many of the first “ Well, sir?" men of the city ;" having the largest “Well-excuse me, but I think you show of “smartness," if not of a purer drew two cards." intellectuality and culture-of sophisti- " I believe not. I'll take your pile, cated observation, reckless enterprise, if you please ; the kerwaiyo takes it." and, best of all, cash; paying the high- * Two cards!" est rents, monopolizing the most desir
!" able business sites, prompt in applying
And in each case the words are ac. every new and admirable improvementcompanied by a quick but quiet move. commanding every comfort that inven- ment which discloses a revolver. With tion or expensive labor could supply- the appearance of these two new dispuovery luxury that fine raiment, and pic- tants-polished, curt, of brief but sharp tures, and shows, and music, and wine, downright speech-there is a quick but and a motley “world of ladies” could fussless stir among the spectators around stand for--no wonder that they swayed the table. In a moment a clear space the city, and carried the day with a is formed in the midst of a still circle high hand.
No wonder, indeed, for of flashing eyes, compressed lips, and they paid twelve per cent. a month for clenched hands. You may count twenty money, and were ready to take all they deliberately ere you hear & breath could get at that price, offering securi- drawn, or see the slightest movement. ties in faro furniture, the good-will and “Well, sir?" fixtures of a hell of decanters and ivory “ Well !" eounters, a lease, a house, a water-lot,
“ Your money!" a mine.
"Your cards !" Moreover, the gambler of Forty-Nino Up steps a by-stander, some cool, was no vulgar rogue, or villain of the steady veteran, expert in the game, and homely stripe ; he had his aspirations; versed in the law of difficulties—a man it was fat and proud game be hunted, of awful nerve, whose tympanum, ac
" Your money!
customed to the crack, no pistol-shot scratches on its face; yet, among his alarms.
fraternity, that curious 1. 0. U. would “Gentlemen," says he, “try arbitra- pass current for a month—the mystic tion first."
coin good as the best paper on Wall Another quick exchange of inquiring street for the thousand dollars it stood and responsive glances between the for, until it suited Mr. Coit to redeem disputants. Not a word ; but the eyes it, perbaps from fourth or fifth hands. of each plainly say “ Agreed.” Both Nor were these men, though most throw themselves back in their chairs, dangerous on certain professional points, and withdraw their hands from the ta- by any means habitually quarrelsome. ble, with the air of men inviting examina. On the contrary, they were often the tion, and resolute to abide the result. peace-makers of a fierce crowd whose The veteran calls up two brothers of explosive passions were stirred-conthe green cloth, competent to act as stituting themselves an extemporaneous umpires; and three minutes, fraught vigilance committee in the name of with mortal danger, are passed in de- the Law and Order they had themselves liberately counting the cards as they set up for the occasion; and then woe lie on the cloth, and naming them to the refractory! slowly-like the tolling of a bell, or the At one of the monte-tables in a saloon measured pronunciation of a death sen- on Kearney street, the game was dealt tence. Except that, there has been no by a slender, pale, young man, almost a noise but the simultaneous clicking of stripling, and with seemingly the delitwo pistol locks. The dealer and his cate organization of a girl-his lips young vis-à-vis are seemingly strangely soft, his eyes gentle, his hands small unconcerned for the event.
and fair, his hair fine, no beard save a “ You are wrong, my friend,” says slight moustache-bis attire well fitting Veteran, “do double card was drawn and scrupulously neat, his air pensive, here. Mistakes will happen to the most his ways always quiet. One evening careful gentlemen."
an ugly brute, of the Pike County From that decision there is no breed, burly and blustering, bis naturalappeal. His finger on the trigger, ly vicious temper heated to hideous after that, would have cost the young fierceness by rum, seated himself at this fellow his life. So pistols go back young man's table and called for a to their sleeping places, hands are sha. “ lay out” of the cards. His manner, ken across the table, drinks to the provoking from the first, soon became company, at the expense of the buck- intolerably insulting, and he assailed or"-as he who plays against the bank the dealer with outrageous taunts and is called ; and the game proceeds with menaces, accusing him of cheating, a better understanding.
and with abusivo oaths refusing to Had the result of the examination pay over the stakes the bank had been otherwise, a man or two would have been killed presently.
The dealer, patient and long-sufThus, the law being to play fair or fering, and soft-spoken to the last, die, and the finest distinctions of the gently remonstrated with the bully, as meum and tuum defined by the pistol, with one irresponsible, and whose ugly it is easy to understand that there were manners were bis misfortune. At last honest gamblers in San Francisco in the fellow, deceived by the gracious Forty-Nine. Indeed, I will go so far demeanor of his reluctant antagonist, as to assert that, as a class, none were demanded the refunding of his losses, so strict and punctual in all their deal. which were of mean amount-for be ings. The signature of a Gossago, in had been playing rather for a quarrel good standing, passed at par for the than for money—and threatened to cut sum it was responsible for. "No invest- the dealer's heart out, if he did not ment safer or more profitable than a loan instantly “fork over.". To this the to bim-no claim easier of collection. I young man replied by leaping nimbly have seen our young friend of the “Old across the table, and dragging him Adobe,” Mr. John Coit, when he had just by the hair from his seat. In an instant been cleaned out,” borrow a thousand the bully drew a formidable bowie; dollars from the nearest table, giving but before he could make a lunge, a no more formal bond than a quar- quick, sharp, shot-like blow from the ter of a dollar with a few mysterious ledy-like fist, delivered with scientifio