When she entered with her mother we all edged and crowded over but the pepper-and-salt man won. Down she sat close beside him. Then you should have seen that man, the foolish, old fellow. He turned toward her; he beamed; he mentally devoured her; he never took his eyes off her long enough to wink.
When she seemed about to turn her restlessly bobbing head toward him, his hands moved and the strong muscles of his face worked in excitement. Then, when she smiled his way and for an instant there was a flash of tiny, milk teeth, that man, the old silly, made the most dreadful facial contortion, something between a wink, a smile, a booh and a grimace.
Then when she turned from him he sat there eating her up. I saw him look reverently at her exquisite hands and at the awkward little legs sticking out straight ahead. When her mother arranged her ruffles he watched every move — absorbed. Then he would wait eager, hoping and praying for her to smile his way again. . .
Why, I was waiting for her smile too and so was every one of the staid and grown-up people in the car. I don’t know when we would ever have come out from the spell of that ten-months-old baby girl if just then the conductor had not called out reproachfully — “Central Avenue — Central Avenue.” Then the pepper-and-salt man jumped and looked nervously out and rushed for the door. I, myself, had to walk back two blocks and when I turned at my corner he was still going back to his street.
Perhaps to go to Fort Mason on a sunny Sunday morning, that beautiful relaxed moment of the whole week, and there to sit with others who have no autos to go gallivanting in, and to sit idly gazing off at the bay. That’s not bad. To read a little and doze a bit, but mostly to gaze out to sea and dream.
A big foreign steamer in port, perhaps a Scandinavian boat, inert, enormous, helpless, while the little tugs chatter, around it and finally get hold of it, and tug it slowly around with its nose pointing out to sea. Lumber schooners come in slowly and rhythmically, long and low and clean. The Vallejo boat, looking like a rocking horse, goes importantly chugging off toward Mare Island. It’s hard to read a book with so going on out there.
Sunday morning, blessed play time, there is a fellow in a green canoe, and the muscles of his body play into the movement of the waves until he and his green canoe and the white capped waves are all one motif of the whole symphony. Men play around the yacht club like a lot of school boys, and now — “Shoot,” they push a long slim racer into the water. Dainty white yachts go dipping to the waves and seem like lovely young girls in among the sturdier boats.
Now the fishermen come in from their night’s work, making music all in an orderly procession, and every boat of them a brilliant blue inside. I’d like to catch a Maine fisherman allowing color in his boat, like a “dago” or a “wop.”