Story type: Essay
I have decided to sacrifice another valuable piece of mining property this spring. It would not be sold if I had the necessary capital to develop it. It is a good mine, for I located it myself. I remember well the day I climbed up on the ridge-pole of the universe and nailed my location notice to the eaves of the sky.
It was in August that I discovered the Vanderbilt claim in a snow-storm. It cropped out apparently a little southeast of a point where the arc of the orbit of Venus bisects the milky way, and ran due east eighty chains, three links and a swivel, thence south fifteen paces and a half to a blue spot in the sky, thence proceeding west eighty chains, three links of sausage and a half to a fixed star, thence north across the lead to place of beginning.
The Vanderbilt set out to be a carbonate deposit, but changed its mind. I sent a piece of the cropping to a man over in Salt Lake, who is a good assayer and quite a scientist, if he would brace up and avoid humor. His assay read as follows to-wit:
Salt Lake City, U.T., August 25, 1877.
Mr. Bill Nye:–Your specimen of ore No. 35832, current series, has been submitted to assay and shows the following result:
Metal. Ounces. Value per ton.
Gold — —
Silver — —
Railroad iron 1 —
Pyrites of poverty 9 —
Parasites of disappointment 90 —
Note.–I also find that the formation is igneous, prehistoric and erroneous. If I were you I would sink a prospect shaft below the vertical slide where the old red brimstone and preadamite slag cross-cut the malachite and intersect the schist. I think that would be schist about as good as anything you could do. Then send me specimens with $2 for assay and we shall see what we shall see.
Well, I didn’t know he was “an humorist,” you see, so I went to work on the Vanderbilt to try and do what Mac. said. I sank a shaft and everything else I could get hold of on that claim. It was so high that we had to carry water up there to drink when we began and before fall we had struck a vein of the richest water you ever saw. We had more water in that mine than the regular army could use.
When we got down sixty feet I sent some pieces of the pay streak to the assayer again. This time he wrote me quite a letter, and at the same time inclosed the certificate of assay.
Salt Lake City, U.T., October 3, 1877.
Mr. Bill Nye:–Your specimen of ore No. 36132, current series, has been submitted to assay and shows the following result:
Metal. Ounces. Value per ton.
Gold -- --
Silver -- --
Stove polish trace .01
Old gray whetstone trace .01
Bromide of axle grease stain --
Copperas trace 5c worth
Blue vitrol trace 5c worth
In the letter he said there was, no doubt, something in the claim if I could get the true contact with calcimine walls denoting a true fissure. He thought I ought to run a drift. I told him I had already run adrift.
Then he said to stope out my stove polish ore and sell it for enough to go on with the development. I tried that, but capital seemed coy. Others had been there before me and capital bade me soak my head and said other things which grated harshly on my sensitive nature.
The Vanderbilt mine, with all its dips, spurs, angles, variations, veins, sinuosities, rights, titles, franchises, prerogatives and assessments is now for sale. I sell it in order to raise the necessary funds for the development of the Governor of North Carolina. I had so much trouble with water in the Vanderbilt, that I named the new claim the Governor of North Carolina, because he was always dry.