James Richmond's
California Story


March 12, 1860 The Captain today gave us an exhibition of sharks agility . "Quite surprising", he told us, "that sharks were not so plentiful in the Atlantic as in the Pacific ocean." But one old fellow had been following us for two or three days. We had watched his maneuvers with many comments. The Captain happened around while we were talking, after listening to us he proposed to show us the full size of the "animal" as he called it. He procured a five pound chunk of meat and tied a string to it or a small piece of rope and threw it overboard for Mr. Shark. The rope had been purposely too short to reach the water in order to make him throw himself out; the water to reach it. No need to hold it suspended long for he met it more than half way.

The Captain judged him to be more than forty feet in length. I feel sure half the length was mouth. It really did seem that it opened within only a few miles of his tale, And as that beef went in they closed together with a snap like a huge steel trap. I think none of us cared to jump overboard with that fellow in our wake. We felt quite willing to part company with him, as he sank our of sight, to digest the beef I suppose.