Page:Mexico, California and Arizona - 1900.djvu/316

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296
OLD MEXICO AND HER LOST PROVINCES.

some new Crusoe escaped in the long-boat, with Xury, from the Rover of Sallee, and afraid to land for the howlings of wild creatures.

If, in our Pacific Mail steamer, we were discovering the country for the first time—as every traveller does discover a new country for the first time, no matter what accounts he may have heard of it—we should try along without finding a single good harbor for four hundred and fifty miles, from San Diego, at the Mexican frontier, to San Francisco.

Then all at once comes an opening through bold Coast Range at the water's edge, and we are in the far-famed "Golden Gate." It is a mere eyelet—a strait, giving access to a wide expanse of bay. So happy is the opening, and commodious the shelter afforded, that the reversal of the churlishness prevailing up to this point seems miraculous.

There is no doubt, when once the site is understood, as to why San Francisco is located just where it is. It has the only natural harbor between Astoria, Oregon, to the north, and San Diego, to the south. It bears, besides, with this advantage, such a relation to the resources of the back country, that it could not escape a destiny of greatness.

It is not simply a bay upon which we have entered, but an inland sea, with a great commerce of its own. Immediately in front rise round-backed Goat Island and Angel Island, resembling monsters asleep; and terraced Alcatraz, with its citadel, as picturesque as a bit of Malta. Vistas open beyond on many sides, with gleams of light falling on white cities under lowering atmospheres of smoke. San Francisco, close at hand, piles up impressively on steep hills, its bristling structures covering their undulations sharply from numerous hills. The water-