Imágenes de páginas


[ocr errors]


a lariat around one of his hind legs, and thus checked on both sides, he is dragged off to slaughter.

The plaza is refilled as quickly as it was emptied, and the course of business is resúmed. About twelve o'clock a wind begins to blow from the north - west, sweeping with most violence through a gap between the hills, opening towards the Golden gate. The bells and gongs begin to sound for dinner, and these two causes tend to lessen the crowd in the streets for an hour or two. Two o'clock is the usual dinner - time for business men, but some of the old and successful merchants have adopted the fashionable hour of five. Where shall we dine to-day? the restaurants display their signs invitingly on all sides; we have choice of the United States, Tortoni's, the Alhambra, and many other equally classic resorts ; but Delmonico's, like its distinguished original in New York, has the highest prices and the greatest variety of dishes. We go down Kearney-street to a two-story wooden house on the corner of Jackson. The lower story is a market; the walls are garnished with quarters of beef and mutton; a huge pile of Sandwich Island squashes 1) fills one corner, and several cabbage - heads, valued at two dollars each, show themselves in the window. We enter a little door at the end of the building, ascend a dark, narrow flight of steps, and find ourselves in a long, low room, with ceiling and walls of white muslins, and a floor covered with oil-cloth.

There are about twenty tables, disposed in two rows, all of them so well filled that we have some difficulty in finding places. Taking up the written bill of fare, we find such items ?) as the following: SOUPS.

d. c. d. c. Ham and Tongues

0 75 Mock Turtle 3).

0 75

ENTREES St. Julien

1 00 Fillet of Beef, mushroom sauce 1 75 Veal Cutlets, breaded

1 00 Boiled Salmon Trout, An

Mutton Chop :

1 00 chovy sauce 1 75 Lobster Salad

2 00 Sirloin of Venison

. 1 50 Leg Mutton, caper sauce . 1 00 Baked Maccaroni

.0 75 Corned Beef, cablage 1 00 Beef Tongue, sauce piquante

1 00 So that, with but a moderate appetite, the dinner will cost us five dollars, if we are at all epicurean in our tastes. There are cries of «steward!» from all parts of the room — the word “waiter) is not considered sufficiently respectful, seeing that the waiter may have been a lawyer or merchant's clerk a few months before. The dishes look very small as they are placed on the table, but they are skilfully cooked, and very palatable to men that have ridden in from the diggings. The appetite that one acquires in California is something remarkable. For two months after my arrival, my sensations were like those of a famished wolf.

In the matter of dining, the tastes of all nations can be gratified here. There are French restaurants on the plaza and on Dupont- street; an extensive German establishment on Pacific-street; the Fonda Peruana; the talian Confectionary; and three Chinese houses, denoted by their long three-cornered flags of yellow silk. The latter are much frequented by Americans, on account of their excellent cookery, and the fact that meals are one dollar each, without regard to quantity. Kong-Sung's house is near the water; Whang - Tong's in Sacramento - street, and Tong - Ling's in Jackson-street. There the grave Celestials serve up their chow-chow and curry, besides many genuine English dishes; their tea and coffee cannot be surpassed.


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

1) Obst, Pfebe, auch Bohnen. 2) Anfäße. 3) Schildkrötensuppe.

The afternoon is less noisy and active than the forenoon. Merchants keep within doors, and the gambling-rooms are crowded with persons who step in to escape the wind and dust. The sky takes a gold grey cast, and the hills over the bay are barely visible in the dense, dusty air. Now and then a watcher, who has been stationed on the bill above Fort Montgomery, comes down and reports an inward-bound vessel, which occasions a little excitement among the boatmen and the merchants who are awaiting consignments. Towards sunset, the plaza is nearly deserted; the wind is merciless in its force, and a heavy overcoat is not found unpleasantly warm. As it grows dark, there is a lull'), though occasional gusts blow down the hill and carry the dust of the city out among the shipping

The appearance of San Francisco at night, from the water, is unlike anything I ever beheld. The houses are mostly of canvas, which is made transparent by the lamps within, and transforms them, in the darkness, to dwellings of solid light. Seated on the slopes of its three hills, the tents pitched among the chapparal?) to the very summits, it gleams like an amphitheatre of fire. Here and there shine out brilliant points, from the decoy - lamps of the gaming - houses; and through the indistinct murmur of the streets comes by fits the sound of music from their hot and crowded precincts. The picture has in it something unreal and fantastic; it impresses one like the cities of the magic lantern, which a motion of the hand can build or annihilate.

The only objects left for us to visit are the gaming-tables, whose day has just fairly dawned. We need not wander far in search of one. Denison's Exchange, the Parker House, and Eldorado, stand side by side; across the way are the Verandah and Aguila de Oro; higher up the plaza, the St. Charles and Bella Union; while dozens of second - rate establishments are scattered through the less frequented streets. The greatest crowd is about the Eldorado; we find it difficult to effect an entrance. There are about eight tables in the room, all of which are thronged; copper - hued Kanakas, Mexicans rolled in their sarapes 3), and Peruvians thrust through their ponchos, stand shoulder to shoulder with the brown and bearded American miners. The stakes are generally small, though when the bettor gets into «a streak of luck,» as it is called, they are allowed to double until all is lost or the bank breaks. Along the end of the room is a spacious bar, supplied with all kinds of bad liquors, and in a sort of gallery, suspended under the ceiling, a female violinist tasks her talent and strength of muscle to minister to the excitement of play.

The Verandah opposite, is smaller, but boasts an equal attraction in a musician who has a set of Pandean pipes fastened at his chin, a drum on bis back, which he beats with sticks at his elbows, and cymbals in his hands. The piles of coin on the monte 4) tables clink merrily to his playing, and the throng of spectators, jammed together in a sweltering mass, walk up to the bar between the tunes and drink out of sympathy with his dry and breathless throat. At the Aguila de Oro there is a full band of Ethiopian serenaders, and at the other hells, violins, guitars or wheezy %) ac

as the case may be. The atmosphere of these places is rank with tobacco-smoke, and filled with a feverish, - stifling heat, which communicates an unhealthy glow to the faces of the players.

We shall not be deterred from entering by the heat and smoke, or the motley characters into whose company we shall be thrown. There are rare chances here for seeing human nature in one of its most dark


1) Windstille. 2) Gichengebüsch. ) Schnarrend, röchelnd.

3) Gewand.

4) Berg, eine Art Spiel.

and exciting phases. Note the variety of expression in the faces gathered around this table! They are playing monte, the favourite game in California, since the chances are considered more equal, and the opportunity of false play very slight. The dealer throws out his cards with a cool nonchalant air; indeed, the gradual increase of the hollow square of dollars at his left hand is not calculated to disturb his equanimity. The two Mexicans in front, muffled in their dirty sarapes, put down their half-dollars and dollars and see them lost without changing a muscle. Gambling is a born habit with them, an they would lose thousands with the same indifference. Very different is the demeanour of the Americans who are playing; their good or ill – luck is betrayed at once by involuntary exclamations and changes of countenance, unless the stake should be very large and absorbing, when their anxiety, though silent, may be read with no less certainty. They have no power to resist the fascination of the game. Now counting their winnings by thousands, now dependent on the kindness of a friend for a few dollars to commence anew, they pass hour after hour in those hot unwholesome dens. There is no appearance of arms, but let one of the players, impatient with his losses, and maddened by the poisonous fluids he has drank, threaten one of the profession, and there will be no scarcity of knives and revolvers ?).

There are other places where gaming is carried on privately and to a more ruinous extent rooms in the rear of the Parker House, in the City Hotel, and other places, frequented only by the initiated. Here the stakes are almost unlimited, the players being men of wealth and apparent respectability. Frequently, in the absorbing interest of some desperate game, the night goes by unheeded, and morning breaks upon haggard faces and restless hearts. Here are lost, in a few turns of a card, or rolls of a ball, the product of fortunate ventures by sea, or months of racking labour on land. How many men maddened by continual Josses, might exclaim in their blind vehemence of passion, on leaving these hells:

« Out, out, thou strumpet, Fortune! All you gods,
In general synod, take away her power;
Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel,
And bowl the round nave down the hill of heaven,
As low as to the fiends!»

8. A Glance at the Exhibition.

(By Chambers.) Nothing has ever struck us as more preposterous than to attempt convey by language any adequate description of the Crystal Palace. Every one who has seen it will have felt the impossibility of giving an account of either the fabric 2y or its contents. The spaciousness of the interior, far transcending that of the greatest cathedral; the prevalence of light, resembling that of the open air, and an absence of all shadow; the aërial effect produced by this lightness, along with the delicate blue tinting :) of the numerous slender supports; the gorgeous assemblage of objects of art- -snow-white statues, brilliantly-coloured tapestries, golden vases, sparkling fountains, inscribed crimson flags, the sign-boards of nationsand last, not least, the streaming, the loitering, the sitting and standing crowds of well-dressed people from all quarters of the globe - all are felt to be beyond the reach of words. In our estimation, the moral was grander than the physical part of the spectacle, when the Queen, with her hus

1) Umwälzer, eine Art scharfer Pistolen. 2) Gebäude. 3) Färbung.

band and children, surrounded by the members of her court, inaugurated this festival of industry by her presence. One felt that this was not only a great but a new event in human annals. It seemed like the beginning of a fresh era—an era of peace and good-will, of progress and melioration.

Now for a few words on the actual mécanique of the Exhibition. The Crystal Palace is seen at a glance to consist of two distinct parts — that on the west, or left hand of the main southern entrance, being devoted, above and below, to the United Kingdom and her dependencies; that on the east to foreign states. Each class of objects is by itself. As Britain has one half the house to herself, she accordingly has more space to shew off her productions than any other country. We should, therefore, in drawing comparisons, judge tenderly of what foreign states have to exhibit. Making every allowance on this score, it must be apparent that England has nothing at all to be alarmed about on the score of general and free competition. Of course she comes out ') strong in steam-engines and machines of every genus and species. That was to be expected; but perhaps to the surprise, and, it may be, to the mortification of certain onlookers, she has given unequivocal tokens of greatness in those objects in which elegance and taste are combined with utility: not that in various points she has come up ?) to France or Italy; nevertheless, it is consolatory to see what she has done and can do.

Turning to the left, on entering by the southern portal, we find ourselves in Canada and other colonies. Ranged on the floor or long tables, or hung in cases, we observed specimens of raw materials and manufactures. And what «latent possibilities of excellence!» We are sure every Englishman will feel proud of these manifestations; which indeed impart a new impression of our colonial strength. In cutlery, Nova Scotia seems to be becoming a match for Sheffield; and from that possession, as well as from Canada, there are pianos, furniture, and saddlery, equal to what are ordinarily seen in our own country. Comparing these and some other articles from the British American colonies with a similar class of things from the United States, it does not by any means seem they are so far bebind as it has been the fashion to represent them. The Australian colonies likewise shew a wonderful power of production. The specimens of coal, iron, copper, leather, wool, flax, oil, and fine kinds of wood, are a tangible 3) augury of the prosperous career which, under proper management, they may yet run. Woods from Van Diemen's Land and New Zealand may be expected to become a great article, not only for furniture but musical instruments. Cordage of the Phormium tenax, from New Zealand, is shewn in abundance; and of preserved beef and mutton, in airtight 4) canisters, from Australia, there are some remarkable specimens. We can only refer to the beautiful artificial flowers in shell – work, and fruits in wax, from the West Indies. The handsome sleighs") of Canada must go undescribed. On the whole, we are pleased with our colonial brethren, and give them great credit for their industry and enterprise.

Next, after the colonies, comes the mediaeval court, an enclosure devoted to a variety of objects in carved wood, metal, and tissues used in church decoration, the whole embodying that taste for middle-age architecture and embellishment which it has been attempted to revive in recent times. Further on, in going westward, are the hardwares, the woollens, silks, and cottons, and the mixed tissues of the United Kingdom. Paisley is strong in shawls; Glasgow sends a large variety of articles; Macclesfield is rich in hangings and other fabrics. To go through the stalls of woollen cloths seems endless. We can but barely notice the tartans

1) Ragt hervor. 2) Erreicht. 3) Fühlbar. 4) Luftdicht. 5) Schlitten.

and tweeds from Galashịels and Innerleithen; and just recommend our friends to take a kindly glance at the very beautiful poplins and cloths of Irish manufacture. The zephyr friezes shewn by Luke Dillon indicate what Ireland can do if she likes, and if she would only cease from profitless agitation. Bebind these cloth booths runs a long space occupied with agricultural implements, many of them more ingenious than useful in good husbandry. Highly - polished ploughs and wagons, made as if for drawing - rooms, cannot be spoken of with any degree of patience. Leaving these, however, to the «agricultural mind,» we mount to the gallery above. Here, at point over the cloth stalls, and with huge Turkey carpets suspended like flags, we find ourselves landed amidst a series of magnificent cases, formed of polished mahogany and plate-glass, and containing jewellery and plate to the value of hundreds of thousands of pounds. The gorgeous magnificence of some of these costly articles, particularly the dessert services and epergnes, gives one a profound notion of the wealth of England, and the pitch of luxury at which it has arrived. Nor is the taste for such things confined to the metropolis: Birmingham, Exeter, Bristol, Liverpool, Newcastle, Dublin, Edinburgh, and other towns, strain for pre-eminence. The Dublin jewellery, embellished with pearls and other gems, copied from the antique ornaments of Tara, will be viewed with no small interest by the Irish archaeologist. Io wandering amidst these groves of gold and silver, as in visiting other quarters where the spirit of ornamentation has been at work, the reflection suggests itself that the decorative principle may be carried beyond reasonable bounds. One can perhaps excuse a profusion of ornament in silver fancy articles for the table

, but he will have less toleration for bedsteads groaning under the weight of gold, enamel, embroidery, and tassels — beds which are clearly made to be looked at, not to be slept in. In one of the galleries, a huge bedstead of this kind, by Faudel and Phillips, invites the observation of the curious. The cost of the article, we are told, is upwards of fifteen hundred pounds -a prodigious misexpenditure of money—the only redeeming point being that the decorations embrace two pieces of needlework of extraordinary merit. Of several sideboards the same remark as to heavy and overdone ornament may be made; and we would once for all try to put the fabricators of articles for domestic use on their guard against sacrificing simplicity and neatness to the unsound spirit of extreme decoration which seems to be abroad.

It is felt as a kind of relief to pass from the jewellery to the horological department, where the plaint and substantial workmanship of Eng, lish watches and clocks brings us back to the integrity of the national character. Next to these are large varieties of firearms and military equipments, likewise of matchless excellence, and good taste. A prodigiously large organ, from which an amateur is bringing forth a flood of harmony, fills up the western extremity. This monster instrument contains nearly 4500 pipes, some of them as high as an ordinary house. Down the north side of the nave from this point, we have on the galleries a rich assemblage of philosophical instruments such as microscopes, sextants, telescopes, spectacles, theodolites, and magic lanterns; and next a variety of musical instruments, of tasteful construction and fine finish. Among these we recognise the handsome cottage piano made by Collard and Collard, at a moderate price, «for the people.» Lastly, in this section are a great number of stands covered with crystal and pottery. In no departments of art has England made such remarkable progress within the last sixty years as in glass and porcelain; and here, therefore, the visitor should make a critical inspection. He will be delighted with specimens of Kidds process of ornamenting mirrors, by which the effect of flower- painting is given beneath the borders of the glass; with the richly-cut decanters,

« AnteriorContinuar »