1861 California CPE: More engineering

Unnamed immigrants from China had something to say about devastating floods in California’s capital in the frontier era.

great flood 862

Did the 1861 Chinese remedy work? Here’s the great flood of 1862 in Sacramento! (Image credit: San Bernardino Sun)

I think you’ll understand the quoted phrases in that “other” pidgin language of our region, West Coast-style Chinese Pidgin English.

more engineering

MORE ENGINEERING. — The recent high water has brought into play a great deal of latent skill in the way of civil engineering in Sacramento. Our native talent encountered yesterday morning, unexpected competition from our Chinese population. From three o’clock to seven o’clock in the morning, the entire vicinity of I street was rendered hideous by the unceasing discharge of fire crackers and the melodious notes of the Chinese gong. The celestials were out in full force, and it was evident that some important achievement was to be accomplished. The work was facilitated by innumerable bonfires kindled along the bank of the slough. A few outside barbarians made inquiry as to the nature of the proceedings, and were informed that there was “too muchee water!” “water too high,” and that the performances then in progress would “make him go way;” “him go way now soon, and not come back.” When asked why the remedy was not applied a week ago or more, they replied: “No good! no good!” “frighten him too muchee;” “him not come back in Summer when we want him.” The timid may of course now throw aside all fears of an overflow. 

— from the Sacramento (CA) Daily Union of April 11, 1861, page 5, column 1

qʰata mayka təmtəm?
What do you think?