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Mojave Desert History - Pioneer of the Mojave
Green Gold and Mint Juleps

A Glimpse of Lane's Affable Nature

By the summer of 1868, his prospects for further sales were looking very good. Grass was plentiful for grazing his stock, and his crops were flourishing. In August 1868, he wrote a lengthy letter to the Guardian in which he describes the 160 acres he had "taken up as a homestead":
    There are one hundred acres well adapted to farming purposes. My place is well timbered, and I have as good water as there is in the world. I have command of grazing land sufficient for several head of stock. You can judge of the quality of the grass when I tell you that my horses and cattle keep fat the year round. I am supplying Camp Cady with beef, and the soldiers swear it is the best they ever ate.
This correspondence consisted of 78 lines in the newspaper column, and the publication of such a long letter in a four-page weekly is proof that Lane's attraction to the press survived even after the Guardian was sold by his good friend, Henry Hamilton, who was both owner and editor. The paper was sold to two San Bernardino men, F. J. C. Margetson and Sydney P. Waite, on March 2, 1868, and the letter was written and published almost six months later. While it is true that much of Lane's coverage in newspapers was self-promotional, these editors and their successors obviously liked him, and there was a mutual benefit from his news "bulletins."

Even though the August correspondence to the Guardian is partly commercial, it is Aaron's only writing that offers such an intimate view of his affable nature. As can be seen from his letter, it is a peaceful day on the river, and Aaron is relaxing and enjoying a lull in activities:
    All is quiet on the Mojave, and I write, not because I have any news of importance to communicate, but simply to gratify a propensity for scribbling, my mind having fallen into that particular mood this morning, immediately after indulging in that greatest of all luxuries -- a mint julep.

    What is better than a mint julep, especially on a hot day? And where is the man who can furnish better "stuff" to make it with, than Charlie Roe? Compounded of Roe's 40 year old French Brandy, Mojave water, loaf-sugar, and the proper proportion of mint, and it is not too much to say, that the "julep" is equal to the nectar of the gods. It is refreshing, cooling and healing; it drives away "dull care," gives one "spirit," sharpens the appetite, animates, invigorates, and it is a specific for the "blues."

    Fiend of my soul this goblet sip,
    'Twill chase away thy fear;
    'Tis not so sweet as woman's lip,
    But, ah! 'tis more sincere.

    I told you in the opening paragraph that all was quiet on the river. There is but little travel, and "Lo the poor Indian" makes himself "mighty scarce" in this section of country. The principal freighting over the road at this time is done by the Government. Until within two weeks the weather has been quite pleasant, but we have had some "scorchers" during the last ten days, and we will probably have much hot weather between this and the 1st of October.
It sounds as though the Captain is a very contented man. The Charlie Roe referred to here, and in the court-martial, was the owner of The Exchange, a liquor store in San Bernardino that advertised "Fine Cognac Brandies" among an assortment of other beverages. Lane closes his letter with this offer to his prospective guests:
    In conclusion, Messrs. Editors, allow me to give you an invitation to come and see me. I can feast you upon wild game and fish, as well as green corn and all sorts of vegetables, etc., etc.

    A. G. Lane

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