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Transcript: Stangroomletter18661203

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Sacramento 3rd December 1866 My Dear M or N, as the case may be I have been
driving and tramping round to such an extent through the mud and rain for
the last three weeks as not to member to which of you I wrote last, but
know on general principles that I should have written to someone long ago.
However, if you pass it round, it will not be "robbing" anybody. I left San
Francisco three weeks ago today, came here by land 170 miles, and have been
having surveys made between this place and Stockton (40 miles from here) to
determine the best route. I hope to commence work here in the course of a
month or two and if so shall be up here most of the time next year. Some
parties here want me to make a reconnaissance for a Railway from here to
the extreme S. E. corner of California, Fort Yuma, about 700 miles, but I
am afraid I can't get away to do it without losing my position here, though
I should like it very much indeed,

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as it runs down through a wild Spanish and Indian country, among the
Apaches, who have become a bugbear among all who have gone down to Arizona
and that section of the country. If they can wait a month or two, I may be
able to get away as I don’t think it would take me over two or three
months to do all they want and to see as much of the country and of the
Noble savages as I want. I wrote from San Francisco telling I found Charly
very well indeed and everyone glad to see me back again, my employers very
cordial, and everything pleasant, except the probability of not being able
to get money from them very easily. That, however, will not worry me if I
can keep drawing enough to get along with. In fact, I am quite "renovated,"
am in good health and spirits, and don't care about anything that happens
to be going wrong enough to m'en faire du mauvais sang. I hope to get my
surveys here completed so as to get down to San Francisco in time to put
something in Charly's stocking on Christmas Eve, and if not, then at all
events for New Year's Day. I am very thankful that Mark writes in such good
spirits. He is quite a new man.

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This is not by any means a lively town at present, or indeed at any time
but during the few months of the session of the Legislature. Stockton is
just about as dull but I am stopping at little roadside houses most of the
time and have enough to do during the day to make me ready to go to bed
pretty early and so it does not make much difference to me where I am. My
principal assistant, Frank Hinckley, the one I left in charge during my
absence on my flying trip to see you, is with me most of the time and by
dividing our spare time together kill it more easily. He is a nice young
fellow and (this is for Lucy) [over?] six feet high and with a splendid
heavy dark moustache, the regular "Moustache triste" that she admired so
much in the picture at the Crystal Palace. I have not seen her mare since
my return as I am using my other team but hear that she and her colt are in
fine order. If she (Lucy) were only here to ride her, there is splendid mud
from a few inches to a few feet deep everywhere, the finest "falling" she
could possibly get. Isn’t it too bad. My meerschaum continues to color,
but not in as regular a manner as I could desire; it may, however, sober
down with age. I commenced years ago to lose my hair; I had the first gray
ones pulled out and held up exultantly to my horrified gaze some time

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but never until yesterday have I known myself to be spoken of seriously as
"the old man," which was the descriptive term applied to me by a landlord
speaking to one of my assistants (a mere boy of twenty-seven or eight). We
must all come to it, but he might have spared my feelings and kept it from
me a little longer. Enclosed is a scrap from a newspaper, sent me by Daniel
Brez, attempting to be descriptive of our passage in the Arago. The fellow
who wrote it was down in his berth most of the time and knows nothing about
it, but what he says is true enough, as far as it goes. I wish you all a
very happy New Year and the young folks a merry Christmas, including
Charlotte, in the latter not so much on account of the Year of her Birth as
the Day thereof. My best love to you all, Pa, Ma, Lucy, Mat, Charlotte,
Charles, and all the little ones. God bless you. M. L. Stangroom I had a
letter, forwarded to me from New York, which missed me there, begging me to
go to Washington to hear a personal explanation. I am glad I did not get
it, though I don’t think I would have gone. It is much better as it is.