My copy of Bayard Taylor's Eldorado is, at long last, getting some perusal, if not yet a thorough reading. The book is certainly a credit to the journalistic skill of its author, a reporter sent from the New York Tribune to chronicle the events of the California Gold Rush. The news may be old now, but it makes good reading still.
Based even on so cursory a reading as mine, it would be difficult to pretend that the passage which begins below is the most momentous, the most historically important, or even the most interesting, that the book has to offer. It is, however, amusing, poignant, rather astonishing, and anyone who has ever dabbled in customer service might, in a dark and exaggeratory mood, persuade himself that it has certain familiar aspects. If you click the text below, it should land you at the beginning of the story, which runs to the top of page 213.