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ing into its own merciless, thundering under-murmur, rose the weird roar of the sea lions, wild as the wail of some lost soul. On the rocks I could plainly see their silken-black bodies, drying to golden brown in the sun. They would wallow awkwardly about, crowding each other off the slippery, foam-dashed rocks, each huge floundering body, as it fell back into the sea, sending up above the deafening pound of the breakers that strangely weird cry. To the left, along a crescent of miles of white sand, a rolling lace-work of foam broke twenty feet high; and the surf ran up along a silver sleeve to the edge of the dunes. Hundreds, sometimes thousands, of colored specks dotted this strip of sand. Here the people of the city sunned themselves and bathed along the surf.

Oh, the peculiar, half-waking dreams which came to me then! With them, ever inseparably mingled, was that proud, copper-gold face and that mass of golden hair. The white ships, like butterflies on a blue field, floated out and floated in through the brazen portals of the Golden Gate. She seemed to float out with them, ever smiling; then to float in again on the white wings of the sea mist. Ah! it was a rapture of vision-filled peacefulness which, had I known it, only presaged the horrors of the storm.

When I had sat long enough here, I would take my way to the shore back of the Cliff House. Then I would wander along the caverns under the rocks, treading a carpet of white sand left by the receding tide. Here I sought out strange sea fish and colored shells to decorate the shelves of my cottage.

I was wandering and clambering along dreamily thus one splendid morning in April, now more than a year from the time I had first taken up my abode in this paradise of dreams. It was the spring of 1906. The weather was more bracing than usual. The ocean was a perfect velvet mirror of silver and crystal blue. The sky was as clear and as soft as the sea. Had I known it, it was that period of strange calm which directly preceded the terrible earthquake of April 18th. Not a ripple was on the water, not a breath of air was stirring. The temperature was that delicious, mild balminess, always lasting in this country from season's end to season's

end, making grateful the direct rays of the sun.

I looked at my watch. It was nearly time for me to return. The tide at this place rose very high against the perpendicular cliffs, and too great a delay meant certain death to the unwatchful wanderer. There was just one more deep-mouthed cavern, scooped out of the face of the cliff by the waves and carpeted by the sea with silver sand, which I wished to explore before I returned.

Usually I stretched out there on the soft dry sand to rest; but to-day I would scarce have time. Already the ocean was commencing to send up warning white tongues of salt and surf as if jealously eager to lick me in. I scrambled over the intervening projecting ledge of rock, then almost fell into the sucking, swirling sea beneath, as, to my breathless amazement, I saw sitting quietly, mournfully in the center of the sparkling crescent of sand, on a broken spar from some dismantled craft, the tall, proud form, the golden hair glistening dully in the sunshine, the pale olive pink and copper-gold features, the soft, brown eyes of the beautiful lady of my dreams gazing sadly out to sea.

For a few seconds I stood paralyzed, pale and trembling. Could this be a more vivid creation of my opium-crazed brain, the phantoms of which had begun of late to assume most startlingly distinct shapes? No, it could not be so; for I distinctly heard a deep and heart-breaking sigh. As yet, the imagery of my drugged slumbers and be-hazed day dreams had neither sighed nor spoken.

Now a tongue of surf licked the sand. almost at my lady's feet. It brought me to my senses. In a few moments more, retreat might be cut off. Hastily, I sprang down upon the sand and stood at her side.

"Pardon me," I said, scarcely able to speak with the excited tremor in my voice, "but the tide is flowing in."

The lady started. She glanced up quickly; then seeing, perhaps, no menace in my face, which, under the influence of this balmy clime had lost much of its haggard, haunted cast, she let her soft, neither large nor small, soulful eyes look up into mine, and said with a quiet smile: "I had not noticed it. Anyway, it does not much matter." Then, very slowly, she got up,

and with a movement of gentle fatigue, took her way towards the rocks I had just crossed. I helped her to mount them, and we walked along together, neither speaking, from strip of sand to broken rocky ledge, until we ascended in safety to the grass-carpeted surface of the cliffs.

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"I thank you greatly," she then said, turning to me once more with that quiet smile; then she prepared to take her departure.

"Pardon me once more," I cried, speaking desperately, yet sympathetically, catching up with her again as she moved away, "but you seem to be in deep distress. Can I is there any way in which I may be of service to you. Forgive me if I am indiscreet, but you do not seem quite a stranger. I have seen you before."

"Yes, many people recognize me," she replied, without offense, perhaps because of the depth of tremulous emotion which must have lain in the undertone of my voice. "My misfortunes have made me a figure of public curiosity. But, thank heaven, they are ended to-day, and I may escape from them-from the eyes of the curious," she added, a look of pain coming into her beautiful eyes.

"Believe me," I cried earnestly, "my glimpse of you was purely accidental. It came from no impulse of idle curiosity. I did not even know who you were then. I had not been an hour in San Francisco. It was at the Palace-while I lunched. You were there, seated in a seclusion of palms. I gazed at you, then asked your name of a waiter, who offered more than I had asked. I was made curious by your great beauty, the fairest type I have ever seen; and I have known the world well in my youth," I cried in a breath.

Something in the earnestness of my compliment, or perhaps the reference to my youth as something so long departed for I was yet a young man, as she could doubtless see, though made old in my feelings by the terrible conflict not much more than a year past-made her blush and her sad eyes light up with a smile of pleasure. "Beauty counts for little," she remarked simply, "as compared with the happiness we might have."

"You loved him deeply, then?" I ventured to ask, her tone seeming to invite the confidence of a friendly ear.

"Yes, with all the depths of my girlish heart," she replied in a low, musical voice, sounding somewhat stagey and far away. "Of course," she added more pleasantly, turning on me a second time that bewitching smile, after a moment's silence, "that was long ago, in the first year, before my disillusioning. After that, it was the burning pain of living under a knowledge of the truth. My love was then long dead."

"But you are free now?" I cried, with an eagerness from which I recoiled the moment the words were out of my mouth. What could explain to her the inexcusable emotion in my voice? How could she know that her face had never been absent from my mind, waking or sleeping, for more than a year? I trembled lest she grow proudly cold.

But apparently she did not notice it. She replied quite simply: "Yes, my decree was made absolute to-day. When you first saw me, I was no doubt in the midst of the deadness of mind which followed the trial. It seems yet almost like a dream. I can scarcely realize it."

"But why did he contest your right to freedom? Does your husband still love you? Forgive me if I seem rudely inquisitive," I exclaimed jealously.

Her beautiful lips curled scornfully. "No," she cried. "He knew then that he would lose the power of tormenting me with his neglect; that the knowledge of -his wrongs would have then no more possibility of hurting me. That was the reason, that and perhaps the fear that I might marry again and be happy," she added, with a blush of humiliation, the tears leaped to her eyes.

I could have clasped her to my arms then and begged her to let me make her happy, for I loved her with all the passion of my pent-up nature-loved the realization now, the flesh and blood, as I had vaguely worshiped the phantom. I trembled like a leaf. Then my lips curled, too, as for the first time in this year of dreamy indifference I realized the state to which I had fallen, the barrier that accursed black thing had built up between us.

She smiled again, and we parted here, neither speaking. She turned away with a sad light in her eyes which I still see now as I lie here convalescent, her sweetly smiling face bending-but I am getting

ahead. I returned that night to my cottage, after a haunted day among the rocks, maddened by the broken sobbing of the ocean, and I went wild-eyed to my cabinet of medicines and drank ounce after ounce of the wine of opium. I wanted it to kill, but it did not kill. Instead, as if held in the devil's clutches of a demon, the love of that blackish liquid swept into my being, submerging my soul, drowning my will, and for two weeks I lay drunk with the delirium of laudanum.

My God! the torture I endured. Those same scenes I had so loved and delighted in became the lurking haunts of demons. Strange and hideous faces leered at me out of the night. I dreaded the sight of day and when I went out on the rocks the wild, weird cry of the seals rose to my ears with the terrorized shriek of the damned. During this period, a sudden heavy storm swept the coast. I seemed to delight in it. It was something more awful than the tempest in my brain. I ran about upon the beach in the phosphorescent darkness. The sharp blown particles of sand cut my face with the keenness of a razor edge. I laughed and shrieked with the howl and roar of the wind and surf; and I chased with mad glee the swiftly skimming ghosts of foam that scurried up the slant of soapy sand to burst in a thousand pieces against the tufts of wildly wringing sea-grass. Then the hurricane subsided into that strange, almost breathless calm which preceded the tremulous shudder of the 18th. During this time I lay raving or lifeless upon my cot, attended only by my faithful Jap servant, seeming to see my beautifu! beloved writhing in agonies in a tongue of liquid fire, and I unable to succor her. Then, on that awful morning at dawn, came the frightful throe of nature; and with the terrible horror of its fear upon me, I woke from my delirium to realize what had taken place.

My first thought was of the danger to my beloved; and weak as I was, I sprang to my feet, drew on my clothes, drank a glass of whisky to strengthen my legs, and ran-ran like a terrified dog, with panting chest and lolling tongue to the city.

Emerging from behind the sand hills and coming within sight of the dreadful devastation, already I discerned great volumes of smoke belching up in three

quarters, one of which, great God! appeared to be about in the position of the Palace. At sight of it I fell on my face and bit the dust with my teeth. I cried out to God to give me strength to continue. I arose upon my elbows, then upon my knees, then staggered blindly to my feet and rushed on.

Already the refugees from the stricken city began to pass me in twos and threes, then in ever-increasing numbers, until they were like swarms of ants hurrying up. the side of a hill. They were burdened with every conceivable kind of property, some pulling trunks, others pushing couches loaded with bags and boxes of their most valuable effects; had nothing but themselves; while many a poor, haggard woman pushed and tugged at a sewing machine, the precious source of her daily bread. Some there were wildeyed and frantic, clinging with insane desperation to the most useless of things. One woman-I grinned with hideous laughter at the sight, it was such a gruesome contrast with the thing I went to save-carried a bird-cage containing four blind kittens. Another rushed frantically hither and thither, searching the faces of every flying person she passed, a great armful of calla lilies clasped to her breast. No one paid any heed to me as I plunged and staggered on, wedging and fighting my way through the now densely packed, turbid stream. Each was imbued with the supreme thought of self.

At last I came to Market street at the intersection of McAllister. From here I could see over the heads of the moving masses the facaded front of the Palace, with the flames licking their dull, lurid tongues rapidly towards it. They could be scarce a block away. My strength renewed by a superhuman effort, I again dashed on.

Fighting, struggling, falling, kicked and cursed at by the mob, I made my way block by block. The heat was already insufferable, so that I was compelled to cover my face with my sleeve. Still I rushed on. No longer had I any hope of saving my beloved; it was merely the thought of dying with her.

Suddenly the horrible fear seized me that I might pass her as I fled on. So, despite the heat, my aching aching eyeballs

searched the features of every horrorstricken face which passed me. There were only the stragglers now, followed by a compact body of the crazed and weak, pushed on before the bayonets of the soldiers who had just swept down from the Presidio to take martial charge of the city. Lunged at and struck by a burly soldier, I madly shouted something in his face and rushed on, tearing my way into the jammed pack just now passing the doors of the Palace. With a wild leap I dived under the stroke of a policeman's club, and disappeared into the darkened, debris-littered interior of the hotel.

Splinters from the massive marble pillars tripped me as I ran on through the dim hallway leading eastward into the great interior court. I uttered a shriek of despair when I saw that the place was deserted. The guests had flown. Yet, something seemed to tell me I should find her here a mad confidence seemed to lure me


Crazed with grief, I cried her name, gazing insanely at the cold, shattered tiers of balconies, one above another, looking down on the four sides of the immense center court. Only their empty echoes ridiculed me and froze my heart. As I paused to cry out again in terrible despair, then to listen intently for some faint answer, I heard only the pulsing roar of the fire like the beat of great hammer strokes. The empty Palace echoed with the pressing roar like the interior of a drum. I listened again; but all was silence. Still I knew I felt that she was there; and I dashed madly up the broad stairs and ran from door to door, each of which was deserted, the contents of the room scattered about the floor. Costly jewels gleamed in evil, discarded luster at me through the dim light, on dressers and on the floor. Again I shrieked her name, mounting flight after flight, racing up and down the corridors, still madly calling her by name, only to be mocked at by the echoes flung back from the rows and rows of empty chambers, or to have my voice lost in the sullen roar of the conflagration, growing louder and louder, and the sultry heat becoming more intense at every minute.

At last I reached the uppermost landing only to fall on my face upon the upper

step, and to beat my forehead against the hard wood in hopeless agony. Then-suddenly I listened, every nerve straining to breaking. I could hear distinctly in the ominous bellows of the beating flames a faint moan.

I stared about me. Yes, there at the farthest extremity of the long hall a door was closed. I sprang to my feet and rushed to it. I seized the knob. It resisted my utmost efforts. Yet behind those heavy panels I could hear a faint moan coming at intervals as of one in great fear or pain. Springing back a few steps, I came again and again with the force of a madman against the door. I dashed myself at it heedless of torn hands and bruised body. At last it shook a little, then yielded. I was flung face forward into the chamber; and there just God! was my beloved, lying pale and moaning on her bed, dressed, but without the strength to fly.

Whether she knew me or not at the time I cannot tell. But, as the great plate windows at the north and east began to break and fall in with a crash, sucking volumes of black smoke and heat, which coiled about the marble pillars, and which ran like bluish devils along the deserted corridors, I seized my beloved in my arms, and staggering under her weight, which to a strong man would not have been great, I bore her tenderly, flight after flight, down the great staircase to the street.

"God of Mercy!" I cried, "give me the strength to bring her away in safety."

Again I picked her up, and running with her a few steps, then falling, lying panting and weeping across her lifeless body for a second, then struggling with her to my feet, pressing her face against my breast to shield her from the breath of the flames, again I staggered on.

Seemingly hour after hour I continued thus, yet gradually winning on the fire, which, to my maddened brain, seemed to be composed of individual demons of red hell, leaping at me, bellying towards me to leap a hundred feet in air. Hot cinders were flung against my neck and burned my hands until the flesh smoked. Yet I never gave up. Once a huge wall crushed into the street in front of me, and I must go round. Had God himself deserted me! No, for after what seemed an eternity of

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