Page:Memoirs of Henry Villard, volume 1.djvu/156

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towns in California, Nevada, and Montana. Interference with property and injuries to persons were not frequent, but it was practically impossible to bring offences against either to punishment, owing to the total lack of courts and jails. It was therefore not surprising that Judge Lynch had to be finally appealed to for order and safety. Banishment and hanging were about the only practicable punishments. Yet, during the summer and fall, only fifteen men and women were given notice to leave the country, and only two men hung for murders committed in gambling- and bawdy-house brawls. I witnessed one of the executions. The subject was a fine-looking young man, not over twenty-three, of respectable parentage, great intelligence, and fine education, but brought to this terrible end by drink and other bad habits. He admitted that he deserved to die, and met his doom very bravely.

By the latter part of the summer, the two towns contained several hotels with more or less “modern” improvements, two scores of stores, numerous mechanics' shops, at least one hundred doctors' and lawyers' offices, and other evidences of advancing civilization, besides great numbers of drinking- and gambling-saloons. Several excellent eating-houses were also opened, in which very good meals without lodging could be had at moderate prices—that is, at seventy-five cents a meal (instead of from one and a half to two and a half dollars). The Express Company had moved into a new building some time before, and I had found board and lodging elsewhere. I must not forget to relate an exciting experience we had before the removal of the Express Office from the original log-building. The company made a business of bringing letters from the East, for carrying which they charged twenty-five cents each, following in this a practice common in California and other mining States. At first the charge was willingly paid, but, as the population grew larger, grumblings began to be heard that gradually swelled into general and loud dissatisfaction and violent attacks in the press on the “ex-