Transcript: Stangroomletter18661203 [Page 1] 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, [Page 2] 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. [Page 3] 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 since, [Page 4] 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.