One young man who had killed another in a quarrel was pointed out to us. The woman who loved him and who expected to be his wife, and still had faith in him, was at his side, with her sister, conversing with him between her sobs, in a low earnest tone. He seemed greatly agitated. A detective stood a little way off from the trio. The evidence was strong against the murderer, and an officer said to us that there was no chance for him to escape from the penalty of the law. In a cell was a young Chinese woman, just brought in, possibly for disorderly conduct. She could not have been more than fifteen or sixteen years old. She was pretty and refined in appearance and handsomely dressed, and she wept as if her heart would break. Not yet hardened by sin, and probably imprisoned for the first time, she felt the shame and degradation of her lot. I could not but feel pity for her, and expressed sorrow for her, though she may not have understood my words. At least she could interpret the signs of sympathy in voice and expression. These are a universal language. Maybe she was more sinned against than sinning,—and that Divine One Who reads all hearts and knows the temptations and snares which beset unwary feet, would say to her—“Go, and sin no more!”
In another cell was an old offender who had a face furrowed with sin. As we looked at her I could see that she regarded our presence as an intrusion. I recalled Dr. Watt’s lines:
“Sinners who grow old in sin
Are hardened in their crimes.”
Yet there is an awakening of the conscience at last, and even a prison house with its corrections may be a door of escape from that other prison of the sinful soul from which no one can go forth, be he culprit or juror, counsellor or judge, until his pardon is pronounced by Him who can forgive sins.
FROM STREET NOMENCLATURE TO A CANNON
The Streets of the City—Numbers and Names—Example of Athens—Names of Men—Names of States and Countries—American Spirit—Flowers and Trees—Market Street—Pleasantries—Mansions of California Avenue—Grand Reception—Art in California—Cost of Living in 1849—Hotels and Private Houses now—Restaurants—New City Hall—Monumental Group—Scenes and Representations—History of a Cannon—Chance Meeting with General Shafter—Mission of the Republic.
The streets of the city! They are an important feature, and the traveller naturally observes their direction and studies their character. In the description of New Jerusalem, St. John noted the fact that its street was “pure gold.” The streets of earthly cities cannot vie with the celestial, though the gold of commerce may be found in their warehouses and mansions; but if men were as earnest in seeking after the treasures of Heaven as were the tens of thousands who flocked to the gold-fields of California in 1849, they would surely win the fortune