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Port O' Gold A History-Romance of the San Francisco Argonauts   By: (1877-1961)

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PORT O' GOLD

A History Romance of the San Francisco Argonauts

LOUIS J. STELLMAN

1922

[Illustration: As they looked the sunlight triumphed, scattering the fog into queer floating shapes, luminous and fraught with weird suggestions.... One might have thought a splendid city lay before them, ... impalpable, yet triumphant, with its hint of destiny.]

TO THE CITY OF MY ADOPTION AND REBIRTH SAN FRANCISCO

Oft from my window have I seen the day Break o'er thy roofs and towers like a dream In mystic silver, mirrored by the Bay, Bedecked with shadow craft ... and then a gleam Of golden sunlight cleaving swiftly sure Some narrow cloud rift limning hill or plain With flecks of gypsy radiance that endure But for the moment and are gone again.

Then I have ventured on thy strident streets, Mid whir of traffic in the vibrant hour When Commerce with its clashing cymbal greets The mighty Mammon in his pomp of power.... And in the quiet dusk of eventide, As wearied toilers quit the marts of Trade, Have I been of their pageant or allied With Passion's revel in the Night Parade.

Oh, I have known thee in a thousand moods And lived a thousand lives within thy bounds; Adventured with the throng that laughs or broods, Trod all thy cloisters and thy pleasure grounds, Seen thee, in travail from the fiery torch, Betrayed by Greed, smirched by thy sons' disgrace Rise with a spirit that no flame can scorch To make thyself a new and honored place.

Ah, Good Gray City! Let me sing thy song Of western splendor, vigorous and bold; In vice or virtue unashamed and strong Stormy of mien but with a heart of gold! I love thee, San Francisco; I am proud Of all thy scars and trophies, praise or blame And from thy wind swept hills I cry aloud The everlasting glory of thy name.

PREFACE

This is the story of San Francisco. When a newspaper editor summoned me from the mountains to write a serial he said:

"I've sent for you because I believe you love this city more than any other writer of my acquaintance or knowledge. And I believe the true story of San Francisco will make a more dramatic, vivid, human narrative than any fiction I've ever read.

"Take all the time you want. Get everything straight, and put all you've got into this story . I'm going to wake up the town with it."

To the best of my ability, I followed the editor's instructions. He declared himself satisfied. The public responded generously. The serial was a success.

But, ah! I wish I might have written it much better ... or that Robert Louis Stevenson, for instance, might have done it in my stead.

"Port O' Gold" is history with a fiction thread to string its episodes upon. Most of the characters are men and women who have lived and played their parts exactly as described herein. The background and chronology are as accurate as extensive and painstaking research can make them.

People have informed me that my fictional characters, vide Benito, "took hold of them" more than the "real ones" ... which is natural enough, perhaps, since they are my own brain children, while the others are merely adopted. Nor is this anything to be deplored. The writer, after all, is first an entertainer. Indirectly he may edify, inform or teach. My only claim is that I've tried to tell the story of the city that I love as truly and attractively as I was able. My only hope is that I have been worthy of the task.

Valuable aid in the accumulation of historical data for this volume was given by:

Robert Rea, librarian, San Francisco Public Library;

Mary A. Byrne, manager Reference Department, San Francisco Public Library;

John Howell and John J. Newbegin, booksellers and collectors of Californiana, for whose cheerful interest and many courtesies the author is sincerely grateful.

THE AUTHOR.

CONTENTS

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