The introduction by Carl I. Wheat offers a lively description of Dame Shirley and the recent discoveries about her two sets of letters, those in the Marysville Herald of 1851 and the later ones printed in The Pioneer or California Monthly Magazine in 1854 and 1855, and the importance of her correspondence in picturing the West and the gold diggings she knew. As a reference authority for other writers, as an honest reporter of the life around her Dame Shirley has now won her place as a true observer of the early days of the gold rush. Never before printed in a popular edition, the letters here will have an appeal for those interested in rare Western literary relics and for all others to whom personal history of vintage flavor is of interest, for their author has an eye for little details to fill in the general flavor, has no shrinking from the rough life at the mines, has an ear for the picturesque as well as the every day speech. A specialty for special interests. Western Americana Series.