Page:Mexico, California and Arizona - 1900.djvu/318

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298
OLD MEXICO AND HER LOST PROVINCES.

front is full of shipping. French and Russian and British frigates, and a Mexican gun-boat, are lying at anchor. Craft of all shapes and sizes cross one another's wakes in the harbor. The lateen-sails of Genoese and Maltese fishermen and the junks of Chinese shrimp-catchers are among them. Large ferry-boats, superior, as a rule, to those we are familiar with at the East, ply to Oakland, the Brooklyn of the scene—a city already of fifty thousand people; Alameda, with its esplanade of bathing pavilions; Berkeley, with its handsome university and institution for blind, deaf, and dumb; San Quentin, with its prison; and rustic Saucelito and San Rafael, under the dark shadow of Mount Tamalpais.

From Oakland projects an interminable pier, built by the Central Pacific Railway. A mile in length as it is, it was to have gone on to a junction with vacant Goat Island, which would then have been made a city also, and become the terminus of all transcontinental journeys. This project was stopped by violent opposition from property-holders on shore.

Patches of yellow, under the Presidio, are taken by our novices on the steamer for the "Sand-lots," famous in the Kearneyite agitations. The Presidio is a barracks, which was a fort and mission in the time of the first settlement by the Spaniards—to what slight extent they ever settled the place—in the year 1776. The man who has "been here before" plants himself squarely on the deck, pulls down a silk cap over his eyes, and explains that the Sand-lots are not the Presidio, but nothing less than the large yard of the new, unfinished City-hall, in the centre of town. But Kearneyism is dead and buried, he says—as the case proved and there will be no chance to see one of these traditional assemblages.

He names for us the various hills, and points out the