The San Francisco calamity by earthquake and fire eBook

Charles W. Morris
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 432 pages of information about The San Francisco calamity by earthquake and fire.

“‘Bosse, alle same, catchee match?’

“My escort gave him the desired article, and the Chinaman made a fire of his pile of twigs.  ‘Why are you making a fire, John?’ I asked.

“‘Bleakfast,’ he replied laconically.

“I asked him where his food might be, and he gave us a quick glance of suspicion as he said briefly, ‘No sabbe.’

“We stood watching him, evidently to his great distress, and finally he made bold to say, ’You no stand lound, bosse.  You go ‘way.’

“We left him, but after making the tour around the lake came back to the same place.  There sat four people on the ground eating fried pork, potatoes and Chinese cakes.  In a young woman of the group I recognized one whom I had seen dancing at one of Mr. Greenway’s Friday Night Cotillion balls in the Palace Hotel’s maple room during the winter.  They offered to share their meal with us, but we told them that we had just come from breakfast in Oakland.  I told them about the strange conduct of their Chinaman, who was traveling back and forth from his fire to the ‘table’ with the food as it became ready to serve.

“The father of the family laughed.”


“‘Yes,’ he said, ’that is Charlie’s way.  He has been with us many years, and when our home was destroyed he came out here with us in preference to seeking refuge among his countrymen in Chinatown.  Yesterday we were without food, and Charlie disappeared.  I thought he had deserted us, but toward dark he came back with a bamboo pole over his shoulder and a Chinese market gardener’s basket suspended from either end.  In one of the baskets he had a pile of blankets and a lot of canvas.  In the other was an assortment of pork, flour, Chinese cakes and vegetables, besides a half-dozen chickens and a couple of bagfuls of rice.’

“’Charlie had been foraging in Chinatown for us before the fire reached that quarter.  He made a tent and improvised beds for us, and he has the food concealed somewhere in the vicinity, but where he will not tell us, for fear that we will give some of it to others and reduce our own supply.  Charlie boils rice for himself.  He will not touch the other food.  Without him we should have been starving.’”

G. A. Raymond, who was in the Palace Hotel when the earthquake occurred, says: 

“I had $600 in gold under my pillow.  I awoke as I was thrown out of bed.  Attempting to walk, the floor shook so that I fell.  I grabbed my clothing and rushed down into the office, where dozens were already congregated.  Suddenly the lights went out, and every one rushed for the door.

“Outside I witnessed a sight I never want to see again.  It was dawn and light.  I looked up.  The air was filled with falling stones.  People around me were crushed to death on all sides.  All around the huge buildings were shaking and waving.  Every moment there were reports like 100 cannon going off at one time.  Then streams of fire would shoot out, and other reports followed.

Project Gutenberg
The San Francisco calamity by earthquake and fire from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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