The little, old, blind man sitting there with one hand outstretched and the other holding a book, his white hair and beard neatly combed, reminds me of something Biblical and prophetic like pictures in old churches. Alas! no one seems to buy his story of prohibition. I think he would do lots better in Kansas or Iowa. A particularly fascinating one is the man of mending wax who stands before his table like some professor of chemistry with a tiny flame and saucers of mysterious powders and, I almost said, a blow pipe.
But, pshaw, I can’t write them up. I take them too seriously. “Logic is logic, that’s all I say.”
The San Francisco police are the handsomest and most-willing-to-flirt policemen in the United States, if not in the world. What a surly lot, the New York policemen. They treat one as though he were a blackguard for merely asking some direction.
“What car shall I take for the New Jersey Central Ferry?” we ask.
“Zippity-ip,” he snaps, moving off.
“What did you say?” we ask in timid desperation.
“Zippity-ip,” he yells, shaking his fist at us.
But ask a San Francisco policeman the way and how different. He will take your arm and smile down at you and even go away with you chatting all the time — “Stranger here? Well, you’ll never go back East again.” And somehow after that you never do.
Of course, the San Francisco police are many things beside being handsome and willing to flirt. But these are important qualifications which, up to this time, have never had their place in journalism. Ah, many a Raleigh and Don Quixote in the roster of the S. F. police.
A policeman is all things to all people. What a policeman is depends upon what we are. To those who are fast, either in reputation or driving, he is a limb of the law to be either evaded or cajoled. To the small boy he is a hero to aspire to become when grown. To the public-spirited citizen of the reforming order he is a piece of community linen to be periodically washed in public with a great hue in the papers about graft expose. To almost anybody in the dead of night with burglars prowling about, he is a friend to be called — in case one has a nickel handy.
But to the great army of women who are hopelessly respectable, the policeman is something quite different. And what we women think of the police is important. We pay taxes, we vote and we cross the street. We like our policemen to be handsome and cavalier and, again I say, the S. F. police are both. Any fine day they will make a funeral procession out of the motor traffic to escort a nice woman across Market street.
It goes without saying and is an unwritten law that policemen should be Irish. I enjoy Greeks in classic literature or in restaurants, but not as policemen. There is a saying in the city that when Greek meets Greek they go together to get a job on the Market Street Railways. But when they get upon the police force, I for one, shall move to the country. Policemen should always be Irish.