1874 edition; James R. Osgood and Company publishers, Boston; hardbound in green boards with gilt stamp lettering on spine (a little faded - see pic); good condition, for age; boards have minor edge wear; minimal page foxing; protective inside page has 2 minor nicks, otherwise quite good; no dust jacket.
"The Luck of Roaring Camp" is a short story by American author Bret Harte. It was first published in the August 1868 issue of the Overland Monthly and helped push Harte to international prominence.
The story is about the birth of a baby boy in a 19th-century gold prospecting camp. The boy's mother, Cherokee Sal, dies in childbirth, so the men of Roaring Camp must raise it themselves. Believing the child to be a good luck charm, the miners christen the boy Thomas Luck. Afterwards, they decide to refine their behavior and refrain from gambling and fighting. At the end of the story, however, Luck and a villager, Kentuck, perish in a flash flood that strikes the camp.
Roaring Camp was a real place. It was a goldmining settlement on the Mokelumne River in Amador County, California. It was home to forty-niners seeking gold in and around the river; it is now a privately owned tourist attraction. The story's flood theme may have been inspired by California's Great Flood of 1862, which Harte witnessed.
The story takes place in a small struggling mining town located in the foothills of the California mountains at the time of the gold rush. The camp is suffering from a long string of bad luck. With only one woman in their midst, it seems as though the miners have no future. However, the tide turns when a small boy is born. "Thomas Luck" is the first newborn the camp has seen in ages; things are looking up. The miners become cheerful, foliage begins to grow, and there is talk of building a hotel to attract outsiders. Unfortunately, the hope is wiped out by the sudden death of Luck in a flood. Water brought gold to the gulches, giving miners their first glimmer of hope. And water takes away what seems their last glimmer—Luck.