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sides," said Tom Ryder, “them fellows at Red Dog would swap it, and ring in somebody else on us." A disbelief in the honesty of other camps prevailed at Roaring Camp, as in other places.
The introduction of a female nurse in the camp also met with objection. It was argued that no decent woman could be prevailed to accept Roaring Camp as her home, and the speaker urged that “they did n't want any more of the other kind.” This unkind allusion to the defunct mother, harsh as it may seem, was the first spasm of propriety, - the first symptom of the camp's regeneration. Stumpy advanced nothing. Perhaps he felt a certain delicacy in interfering with the selection of a possible successor in office. But when questioned he averred stoutly that he and “ Jinny” – the mammal before alluded to — could manage to rear the child. There was something original, independent, and heroic about the plan that pleased the camp. Stumpy was retained. Certain articles were sent for to Sacramento. “Mind," said the treasurer, as he pressed a bag of gold-dust into the expressman's hand,“ the best that can be got, — lace, you know, and filigree-work and frills, — d-n the cost ! ”
Strange to say, the child thrived. Perhaps the invigorating climate of the mountain camp was compensation for material deficiencies. Nature took the foundling to her broader breast. In that rare atmosphere of the Sierra foot-hills, – that air pungent with balsamic odor, that ethereal cordial at once bracing and exhilarating, - he may have found food and nourishment, or a subtle chemistry that transmuted ass's milk to lime and phosphorus. Stumpy inclined to the belief that it was the latter and good nursing. “Me and that ass,” he would say, “ has been father and mother to him! Don't you," he would add, apostrophizing the helpless bundle before him, “never go back on us.”
By the time he was a month old the necessity of giving him a name became apparent. He had generally been known as “ The Kid," “Stumpy's Boy,” “The Coyote” (an allusion to his vocal powers), and even by Kentuck's endearing diminutive of “The d-d little cuss.” But these were felt to be vague and unsatisfactory, and were at last dismissed under another influence. Gamblers and adventurers are generally superstitious, and Oakhurst one day declared that the baby had brought “ the luck” to Roaring Camp. It was certain that of late they had been successful. "Luck" was the name agreed upon, with the prefix of Tommy for greater convenience. No allusion was made to the mother, and the father was unknown. “It's better,” said the philosophical Oakhurst, “ to take a fresh deal all round. Call him Luck, and start him fair.” A day was accordingly set apart for the christening. What was meant by this ceremony the reader may imagine, who has already gathered some idea of the reckless irreverence of Roaring Camp. The master of ceremonies was one “ Boston," a noted wag, and the occasion seemed to promise the greatest facetiousness. This ingenious satirist had spent two days in preparing a burlesque of the Church service, with pointed local allusions. The choir was properly trained, and Sandy Tipton was to stand godfather. But after the procession had marched to the grove with music and banners, and the child had been deposited before a mock altar, Stumpy stepped before the expectant crowd. “It ain't my style to spoil fun, boys,” said the little man, stoutly eying the faces around him, “but it strikes me that this thing ain't exactly on the squar. #'s playing it pretty low down on this yer baby to ring in fun on him that he ain't goin' to understand. And ef there's going to be any godfathers round, I'd like to see who's got any better rights than me.” A silence followed Stumpy's speech. To the credit of all humorists be it said that the first man to acknowledge its justice was the satirist, thus stopped of his fun. “But,” said Stumpy, quickly following up his advantage, “ we're here for a christening, and we 'll have it. I proclaim you Thomas Luck, according to the laws of the United States and the State of California, so help me God.” It was the first time that the name of the Deity had been otherwise uttered than profanely in the camp. The form of christening was perhaps even more ludicrous than the satirist had conceived; but, strangely enough, nobody saw it and nobody laughed. “Tommy” was christened as seriously as he would have been under a Christian roof, and cried and was comforted in as orthodox fashion.
And so the work of regeneration begar in Roaring Camp. Almost imperceptibly: change came over the settlement. The cabii assigned to “ Tommy Luck" — or “ Tb Luck," as he was more frequently called first showed signs of improvement. It was kept scrupulously clean and whitewashed. Then it was boarded, clothed, and papered. The rosewood cradle — packed eighty miles by mule — had, in Stumpy's way of putting it, “sorter killed the rest of the furniture." So the rehabilitation of the cabin became a necessity. The men who were in the habit of lounging in at Stumpy's to see “how
The Luck' got on " seemed to appreciate the change, and, in self-defence, the rival establishment of “Tuttle's grocery" bestirred itself, and imported a carpet and mirrors. The reflections of the latter on the appearance of Roaring Camp tended to produce stricter habits of personal cleanliness. Again, Stumpy imposed a kind of quarantine upon those who aspired to the honor and privilege of holding The Luck. It was a cruel mor. tification to Kentuck — who, in the carelessness of a large nature and the habits of frontier life, had begun to regard all garments as a second cuticle, which, like a snake's, only sloughed off through decay — to be debarred this privilege from certain prudential reasons. Yet such was the subtle influence of innovation, that he there after appeared regularly every afternoon in a clean shirt, and face still shining from his