It is 1849 when 12-year-old Jack Flagg and also his Aunt Arabella’s butler, Praiseworthy, stow far on a ship headed for California to sign up with the yellow Rush. Aunt Arabella has actually been guardian to Jack and his sisters, Sarah and also Constance, because their parents died of cholera year earlier. She has fallen on difficult times and also is about to shed her home in Boston. Jack and also Praiseworthy know they space the just hope for conserving the family.
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Jack and Praiseworthy initially pay for passage on a ship called the Lady Wilma, but their tickets room stolen together they wait come board. They’re compelled to hide in potato barrels in the hull until the ship is fine on that is way. Then Praiseworthy leads them to the captain’s quarters to tell him of your plight. Capt. Swain permits them to stay aboard and also shovel coal right into the burners till they have the right to trick the ticket thief, a male named Cut-Eye Higgins, right into admitting his guilt. Capt. Swain then gives Higgins the coal-shoveling job, till the thef escapes in a rowboat.
Jack and Praiseworthy meet countless other interesting men top top the Lady Wilma. Because everyone is anxious to stake gold cases in California, Capt. Swain races against another ship, the Sea Raven, approximately Cape Horn top top a 15,000-mile, five-month journey. Despite water and also fuel shortages and harrowing storms, Jack and also Praiseworthy remain excited about their brand-new venture. They additionally rejoice through the other passengers when the Lady Wilma win its contender to mountain Francisco.
Once in California, Jack and also Praiseworthy discover that whatever is quite expensive. They find an imaginative ways to make money along the way, consisting of cutting hair because that miners (whose hair is full of gold dust the two can harvest). They record up through Cut-Eye Higgins, who is posing as a dentist and extracting gold-filled teeth. Jack and Praiseworthy uncover themselves on a stagecoach v Higgins and urge him to return the sweetheart map that stole from a other Lady Wilma traveler. A corridor of thieves strikes the stagecoach, stealing many of the passengers’ valuables. When one outlaw comments on Praiseworthy’s photograph of Aunt Arabella, the servant punches the man, that lands 15 feet uphill. The outlaws get away, but the story the Praiseworthy’s beat grows choose a high tale. He soon earns the nickname Bullwhip. Together they look for a case of your own, Praiseworthy and Jack occupational with a male named Pitch-pine Billy on his claim in Hangtown. Billy provides them thick black color coffee come drink, and also Jack battles to sloop down it. Billy offers him the nickname Jamoka Jack. In ~ an auction, Jack by chance buys a barrel full of neckties. If such things seem useless there, he and Praiseworthy are able to market them as soon as a lady moves to town and the miners desire to clean approximately impress her.
Jack and also Praiseworthy eventually have sufficient money come buy their own burro and search in other places for a claim. Lock promise to return to Hangtown, since a man dubbed Mountain Ox has tested Praiseworthy to a fistfight. When Praiseworthy has no formal training in fighting, he has pored over The Gentleman’s book of Boxing: The Fine arts of Fisticuffs Explained and Illustrated.
The boy and also butler once again run into Cut-Eye Higgins together he’s around to be hanged for horse theft. He promises to give them the sweetheart map if castle will conserve him. Praiseworthy convinces the townspeople not to hang the just dentist castle have, and also Higgins provides them the map, which turns out to it is in useless. The righteousness of the tranquility still orders Jack and also Praiseworthy to destruction a grave because that Higgins, due to the fact that he will require it eventually. Together they dig, lock strike gold and stake your claim.
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Once their claim dries up, Praiseworthy and also Jack go back to Hangtown where Praiseworthy bests the mountain Ox in boxing. He and Jack take a steamboat to mountain Francisco, yet an explosion sends out them overboard. Every one of their gold sinks to the bottom that the sea. Penniless, they space still identified to return to Boston. They look for out the Lady Wilma and also find that abandoned and teaming through cats. As soon as they hear about the town’s rat problem, they realize they can sell the cats. With practically $400 in their pockets native cat sales, lock wander along the kai to discover passage home.
Suddenly, they spot Aunt Arabella and also Jack’s sisters. The young women have actually sold whatever in Boston and also come to uncover Jack and Praiseworthy. Finally seeing himself together a brave miner quite than a timid butler, Praiseworthy asks Aunt Arabella come marry him. She states she assumed he would never ever ask. The five walk happily up the wharf, coming to be a new family in a new land.