The City That Was - A Requiem Of Old San Francisco By Will Irwin





































































































































 -  In the back rooms of these saloons South Sea
Island traders and captains, fresh from the lands of romance, whaling - Page 9
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In The Back Rooms Of These Saloons South Sea Island Traders And Captains, Fresh From The Lands Of Romance, Whaling Masters, People Who Were Trying To Get Up Treasure Expeditions, Filibusters, Alaskan Miners, Used To Meet And Trade Adventures.

There was another element, less picturesque and equally characteristic, along the waterfront.

San Francisco was the back eddy of European civilization - one end of the world. The drifters came there and stopped, lingered a while to live by their wits in a country where living after a fashion has always been marvellously cheap. These people haunted the waterfront and the Barbary Coast by night, and lay by day on the grass in Portsmouth Square.

The square, the old plaza about which the city was built, Spanish fashion, had seen many things. There in the first burst of the early days the vigilance committee used to hold its hangings. There, in the time of the sand lot troubles, Dennis Kearney, who nearly pulled the town down about his ears, used to make his orations which set the unruly to rioting. In later years Chinatown lay on one side of it and the Latin quarter and the "Barbary Coast" on the other.

On this square the drifters lay all day long and told strange yams. Stevenson lounged there with them in his time and learned the things which he wove into "The Wrecker" and his South Sea stories; and now in the centre of the square there stands the beautiful Stevenson monument. In later years the authorities put up a municipal building on one side of this square and prevented the loungers, for decency's sake, from lying on the grass.

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