Page:Memoirs of Henry Villard, volume 1.djvu/142

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of any sort was to be had. Nor had we any other resting-place. Every night buffalo robes were spread on the ground in the rear room, on which, with saddles and (later on) hay for head-rests, we made ourselves comfortable. The furniture consisted of a crude table made out of a packing-box, with small casks serving as seats. Our cook was a half-breed from New Mexico, speaking only Spanish. His knowledge of the culinary art was not great, but, even if it had been greater, it would not have done us much good, inasmuch as his material to work with was very limited at first. Buffalo and antelope meat, bacon, canned fruit, “flapjacks,” and bread were for weeks our uniform fare. Later, coffee, tea, canned vegetables, and potatoes from New Mexico were added to it. The express messengers and stage drivers shared our table and sleeping quarters. A “corral” with the stages and mules was immediately behind the building, the “long-ears” regularly disturbing our rest by their plaintive outcries.

The hearsay description of Denver and Auraria proved to be substantially correct; but Auraria, which occupied the left bank of Cherry Creek down to the South Platte River, was far ahead of Denver, which was laid out on the right bank. It contained several dozen scattered habitations of every sort, one- and two-story structures of rough-hewn logs, combinations of dugouts and tents, “adobes,” and log walls with canvas roofs, interspersed with wigwams. In Denver not over a dozen structures were up. It seemed as though Auraria would surely get a permanent start of its rival, but it turned out just the other way. Auraria contained all the business places, including some stores with very limited stocks, a tailor's, a shoemaker's, and even a watchmaker's shop, and last, not least, a printing-office, brought from Omaha, and started but a few days before my arrival. From it a readable weekly, the Rocky Mountain News, was already being issued, that subsequently grew into a very flourishing and influential concern and exists to this day under the same