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The World As I Have Found It / Sequel to Incidents in the Life of a Blind Girl By Mary L. Day Characters: 5958

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


"A man he seems of cheerful yesterdays,

And confident to-morrows."

We made a trip to San Francisco at a time when life seemed a continued carnival season, for there winter is the most delightful portion of the year. We rented apartments in a delightful New England family, named Collins. This, at that time, was the most comfortable way of living, for in no part of the United States did restaurants furnish such good and liberal fare at such reasonable rates. The characteristic cheerfulness of California became intensified in San Francisco, where every face looked radiant and happy as if all who entered the Golden Gate found a City of the Sun.

We had so often asked the reason of this, and were as often told that "it was all owing to the climate." We finally concluded that the climate carried an unusual weight of responsibility; indeed, according to Joaquin Miller, among "the first families of the Sierras," every unusual phenomenon of nature, whether it came in the form of a fascinating widow, a spooney man, a premature birth, or a fish with gold in its stomach, was all owing to "this glorious climate of Californy."

Although San Francisco is pervaded by the business activity of a great commercial metropolis, it is not possessed of the spirit of excessive drudgery in the hot pursuit of the "almighty dollar" which prevails in many other places. Every Saturday afternoon there is a lull in the labor routine, business being entirely suspended, and the fashionable promenades, Montgomery and Kearney Streets, are thronged with pleasure seekers; husbands and wives, lovers and sweethearts, happy children, gay colors and brilliant equipages.

Among the beautiful resorts is that of the Woodward Gardens, with zoological and floral departments, parks, lakes, dancing halls and skating rink. A friend kindly accompanied us to the Cliff House, a delightful resort upon the beach, about six miles from the city, and too well known to require description.

We remained in San Francisco about three months and a half, became every day more fascinated with its charms, and would fain have rested longer under the spell, but duty called us to many places on the coast, among them the floral Oakland, a perfect bijou garden and grove, and, like Alemeda, a beautiful, suburban home for the merchant princes of San Francisco.

We visited San Rafael and Santa Cruz, the Newport of California. At the former place there was an incident, which, although of a personal nature, we mention as illustrative of the magnanimous character of the Californian, prone to err, but ever ready to confess a wrong. We entered the office of the County Clerk and offered him a book. Without removing his feet from the counter, upon which they were elevated at an angle of forty-five degrees, he threw down a dollar and bade us "go along."

We "stood not upon the order of our going," but went, taking care to leave the dollar. A bystander said to me: "Take it! he is rich!" I

quietly assured him that I never accepted money without rendering an honest equivalent, and as I left I heard the ejaculation: "She's plucky, isn't she." On entering a livery stable on the opposite side of the street, a gentleman took the proffered book and opened to a page containing the name of Aunt Nancy Lee. With an exclamation of surprise he said: "I have an aunt of that name." This led to further conversation and a better acquaintance, the person really proving to be his aunt. While we were talking, the four gentlemen from the office of the County Clerk came in, and I being introduced in a new light they each bought a book, and the clerk made an ample apology for his abruptness, which I readily accepted as an "amende honorable."

We went to Santa Barbara by steamer and greatly enjoyed the sail. Finding no pier upon our arrival, we had to descend an almost perpendicular ladder to a small boat. In this apparently perilous process, the boatmen were actively assisted by Captain Johnson, whose mellow toned voice softened and cheered the transit. In the descent, a woman dropped her baby into the water, and, although it was quickly rescued by the seamen, her continued screams even after its safe delivery quite intimidated me, but with the usual sure-footedness of the blind, I went down with so much ease that I was greatly complimented by the astonished captain. Our skiff-ride to shore was a pleasant episode, and the romance was much heightened by the floating sea plants around us, which could be easily touched with our hands. There were no good hotels in Santa Barbara, but we were comfortably accommodated in a private family. The climate is finer there than in any locality in the State, the thermometer most of the time standing at seventy degrees, hence it is so greatly sought by consumptives.

It was to me a delightful pastime to spend an occasional hour with the fishermen on the coast, who are so happy to impart any information regarding their own calling, and from whom I learned many a valuable lesson.

From Santa Barbara we went down the coast to a little railroad landing and took the train bound inland; after leaving the beach the road passes through dense, fragrant orange-groves and rich, fruitful vineyards. A ride of twenty-five miles brought us to Los Angeles, a town with the same beautiful surroundings. It was, at that time, a quaint, old, dilapidated Spanish place, with an air of shabby gentility, but the subsequent tide of immigration and trade has doubtless transformed it. We returned to the coast and took the steamer to San Diego, which, with its arid, sandy waste, has little to recommend it to the visitor, save its truly, palatial hotel, which must have been built in anticipation of the many projected railways diverging from this point.

While there, our hearts were rejoiced by a meeting with Dr. Baird and his wife, a pleasure known only to those who, exiled from home, see a "dear familiar face."

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