This, Under The Leaden Sky Of A San Francisco
Morning, Had A Depressing Effect On First Sight And Afterward Became A
Delight To The Eye.
For the color was soft, gentle and infinitely
attractive in mass.
The hills are steep beyond conception. Where Vallejo street ran up
Russian Hill it progressed for four blocks by regular steps like a
flight of stairs. It is unnecessary to say that no teams ever came up
this street or any other like it, and grass grew long among the paving
stones until the Italians who live thereabouts took advantage of this
herbage to pasture a cow or two. At the end of four blocks, the pavers
had given it up and the last stage to the summit was a winding path. On
the very top, a colony of artists lived in little villas of houses whose
windows got the whole panorama of the bay. Luckily for these people, a
cable car scaled the hill on the other side, so that it was not much of
a climb to home.
With these hills, with the strangeness of the architecture and with the
green-gray tinge over everything, the city fell always into vistas and
pictures, a setting for the romance which hung over everything, which
has always hung over life in San Francisco since the padres came and
gathered the Indians about Mission Dolores.
And it was a city of romance and a gateway to adventure. It opened out
on the mysterious Pacific, the untamed ocean; and through the Golden
Gate entered China, Japan, the South Sea Islands, Lower California, the
west coast of Central America, Australia.
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