Nelly’s Silver Mine: A Story of Colorado Life

Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Dianne Nolan and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at

Transcriber’s Notes

Original spellings and punctuation have been retained except as noted.
Nelly and Nellie were both used, standardized to Nelly.
Crestfallen and crest-fallen are both used, doorstep and door-step are both used. They have been retained.
Typographical errors in original have been marked with mouse-hover pop-up.

Frontispiece All that morning Rob fished and Nelly stuck grasshoppers on the hook for him.
FRONTISPIECE. See page 204.

The Beacon Hill Bookshelf

Nelly’s Silver Mine

A Story of Colorado Life


Helen Hunt Jackson

With Illustrations in Color by
Harriet Roosevelt Richards

Little, Brown, and Company

Copyright, 1878,
By Roberts Brothers

Copyright, 1906, 1920,
By William S. Jackson.

Copyright, 1910,
By Little, Brown, and Company.

All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America


I  Christmas-Day in Nelly’s New England Home1
II  A Talk about Leaving Mayfield18
III  Off for Colorado48
IV  A Night in a Sleeping-Car71
V  First Glimpses of Colorado and a New Home96
VI  Life at Garland’s125
VII  A Hunt for a Silver Mine141
VIII  The Marches Leave Garland’s156
IX  Wet Mountain Valley187
X  Rob and Nelly Go into Business208
XI  How to find a Silver Mine227
XII  Nelly’s Silver Mine250
XIII  “The Good Luck”270
XIV  An Old Acquaintance292
XV  Changes in Prospect311
XVI  “Goot-By and Goot Luck”323


All that morning Rob fished and Nelly stuck grasshoppers on
the hook for himFrontispiece
Nelly sat on one side, with all the dolls ranged in a row
against the wall20
He would ring out such a “jodel” that the people would stop
and look up amazed132
There she saw the very place she recollected so well256




It was Christmas morning; and Nelly March and her brother Rob were lying wide awake in their beds, wondering if it would do for them to get up and look in their stockings to see what Santa Claus had brought them. Nelly and Rob were twins; but you would never have thought so, when you looked at them, for Nelly was half a head taller than Rob, and a good deal heavier. She had always been well; but Rob had always been a delicate child. He was ill now with a bad sore throat, and had been shut up in the house for ten days. This was the reason that he and Nelly were in bed at six o’clock this Christmas morning, instead of scampering all about the house, and waking everybody up with their shouts of delight over their presents. When they went to bed the night before, Mrs. March had said: “Now, Rob, you must promise me not to get out of bed till it is broad daylight, and the house is thoroughly warm. You will certainly take cold, if you get up in the cold room.”

“Mamma,” said Nelly, “I needn’t stay in bed just because Rob has to, need I? I can take his presents out of the stocking, and carry them to him.”

“You shan’t, either,” said Rob, fretfully. “I want to take them out myself; and you’re real mean not to wait for me, Nell. ‘Tisn’t half so much fun for just one. Shan’t she stay in bed too, mamma, as long as I have to?”

Mrs. March looked at Nelly, and smiled. She knew Nelly had not thought Rob would care any thing about her getting up first, or she would never have proposed it. Nelly was always ready to give up to Rob, much more so than was for his good.

“Nelly can do as she pleases, Rob,” she answered. “I don’t think it would be fair for me to compel her to stay in bed because you have a sore throat: do you?”

But Rob did not answer. He was not a very generous boy, and all he was thinking of now was his own pleasure.

“Say, Nell,” he cried, “you won’t get up, will you, till I can? Don’t: I’ll think you’re real unkind if you do.”

“No, no, Rob,” said Nelly. “Indeed I won’t. I don’t care. It will be all the longer to think about it, and that’s almost the best part of it.” And Nelly threw her arms around Rob’s neck and kissed him.

“It’s too bad, you darling,” she said, “you have to be sick on Christmas-day. I won’t have any pudding, either, if you don’t want me to.”

Mrs. March was an Englishwoman, and had lived in England till she was married, and she always had on Christmas-day a real English plum-pudding with brandy turned over it, and set on fire just before the pudding was brought to the table, so that when it came in the blue and red and yellow flames were all blazing up high over it, and the waitress had to turn her head away not to breathe the heat from the flames.

You would have thought it would have made Rob ashamed to have Nelly propose to go without pudding because he could not eat any, but I don’t think it did. All he said was,—

“Don’t be a goose, Nell. That’s quite different.”

Just before they went to sleep, Sarah, the cook, went past their door, and Nelly called to her:

“Sarah, mamma says we mustn’t get up to-morrow morning till the house is very warm. Couldn’t you get up very early and start the furnace fire?”

“Why, yes, Miss Nelly, I can do that easy enough, sure; but where’ll you be sleeping?”

“Just where we always do, Sarah,” replied Nelly, much surprised at this question.

“Well, miss, I’ll be up long before light and get the house as warm as toast by the time you can see to tell the toes from the heels of your stockings,” said Sarah. “Good-night, Miss Nelly. Good-night, Master Rob.”

“What could she have meant asking where we’d be sleeping?” said Rob.

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