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The San Francisco call. (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, October 11, 1896, Image 15

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1896-10-11/ed-1/seq-15/

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Golden Gate Park's Lake and the Cataract
Sar\ Frar\cisco Belles Qairv jiealtk and
JMuscle or\ StoW Lake
"Now," said an earnest feminine voice
with an accent. The owner of the voice
cist a glance over her port shoulder,
moved along on the tnwart of the boat
aiuHships so as to shift ballast, then,
having her boat "trimmed," she bent her !
back and "gave way" with a vim. Some
boat lengths ahead was a boat which was
A- ceding along under the impulse im
parted to it by a pair of bending oars, the
handles of which were firmly grasped by
tiie shapely hands of alady well known in
San Francisco society. This boat was
leaving behind, in its wake, a train of bub
bles which danced in tbe sunshine. Under
its keel bubbled tbe water musically.
The wielder of the oars pulled "like a ma
jor," only she feathered her oars like an
old salt.
The ladies have a new fad. They are
learning to row on Stow Lake, at Golden
Gate Park. They have started gently
with small biceps and a wholesome fear of
callous places and blisters on their hands.
They have progressed in skill aquatic and
have developed their muscles. They know
"all aboard," "port" and "starboard"
and when to "feather high" and when to
'•feather low." Some 1 aye acquired a
nautical squint, which they use only when
they are boating on the lake, but then it
i« very fetching. They can breathe easier,
row harder, stick to it longer, make their
boat go more steadily and faster, get less
blisters, pull more strokes without hitting
tneir rowing partners, make a straighter
wake without a rudder and run up along
side of the boat-landing more neatly than
they could when the summer opened.
Tne trick is catching. Ladies go to tbe
lake without knowiner a thing about a
boat. They step in gingerly, with suudry
small screams or ejaculations, and the
subject of their remarks is, in the main,
that they did not know that the boats
i would tip so easily. They take the oars,
away forward and poke their hands
iTWay down the bottom of the boat and
point the blaues of their oars well sky
ward. They splash the water, roll Che
boat, rub the skin off ihe inside of theii
soft, white fingers, "catch crabs" and
learn— possibly because they see that their
friends have learned— to row a boat.
Handsome horses draw family carriages
up the somewhat steep slope to the height
upon which the Stow Lake boathouse
stands. The ladies bring their children,
sometimes the children's nurses, and, with
hampers filled with lunch, which they
spread later in the pine grove just west of
tbe boathouse, they have come prepared
to stay the better part of tje day. Tbey
pet afloat as soon as possible and very soon
are siiow.ng how they can row, with ever
growing satisfaction. When they become
tolerably proficient and meet a friend
who may be a social rival they may try a
little bout with the oars after the fashion
already described.
Not only tbe ladies are learning to row
and are making a fad of it. They are ri
valed in the fidelity with which they de
vote themselves to this branch of njuscle
developing athletics by at least a score of
Chinese women. Often the Chinese women
come to the lake without an escort. They
are there every day and co out rowing
every day. They do not ask any instruc
tion in rowing, such as Louis Obnimus,
the keeper of the boathouse, imparts to
the Caucasian ladies. Their idea appears
trjjbe to pet afloat and then laugh as much
a | possible. Whether they can row or are
totally ignorant concerning boats, they
laugh pretty constantly from the time
they first take the oars in band until their
sport is over.
Tbe habit has so grown upon while
ladies that it is absolutely safe to predict,
that they will appear on certain days,
whenever the weather is fair. Their faces
and the stroke that they pull have become
perfectly familiarto habitues of the boat
bouse. Amone them are some very
wealthy ladies who find this the pleasantest
form of diversion that they have been able
to discover. They do not wear navy-blue
blouses wit!i "cute" little anchors in the
corners of their naval cut collars like the
young ladies who affect yachting, but they
would be able to handle a dory neatly in a
fresh blow and fair sea with some men.
Sto*r Lake is ihe highest artificial lake
constructed for adornment and diversify
ing of park scenery in existence in the
United States, and probably the highest
of any simlatly created and similarly de
voted body of water in the world. That
is to say that it is unique and not alone in
this particular. The principal comparison
with park lakes in the United States roust
be with those of Central Park in New York
and Prospect Park in Brooklyn, N. Y.
But the lakes in these two great Eastern
cities, both being of artificial origin, are
not on the heights but are in the depths of
the pleasure ground. Consequently, while
they are pleasing features of Dark scenery
they are not scenic in the sense that from
their surface wide vistas are opened to
But Stow Lake is raised hundreds of
feet above the sea level by pumping ma
chinery, and it was located on a high hill
simply that it might be the most wonder
ful artificial park late in the world. This
claim is modestly advanced for it without
fear of contradiction or dispute. A huge
ledge was blasted partly away to make a
basin for it and the remnants of this ledge
constitute a beetling island not far from
the northern end of the basin. Then
another island was made artificially, hav
ing upon it an artificial cascade of con
siderable size and much beauty. Then
came the big waterfall, which tumbles and
splashes into the lake from a height of
something like 100 feet, its source being
the reservoir supply which has been forced
up to that elevation.
Unon the artificial island semitropical
vegetation is growing rankly. Around the
sides of the big waterfall on Strawberry
Hill tbe huge fronds of ferns have thrived
beyond expectation. The artificially
made banks of the Jake are grassed and
on the inner edge of the sheet of water,
the Strawberry Kill edge, many plants,
flowering and otherwise, have been placed.
While it is impossible to accurately por
tray the progressive development of bi
ceps on the part of the lady wielders of
oars, it is fair to remark that the San
Franciscan is favored in this particular
over her sister in New York, for the Cen
tral Park boats are pulled by hired men
and the parfc boating trip has no advan
tage other tnan the enjoyment of com
paratively tame park areas which the
windings of the watery lane known as
the lake present to the passive passenger.
The New York girl gets no added muscle
this way. She might get a little, but
the great municipality of New York
treats her as if it were unsafe to let her
But when the breezes from the Pacific,
blowing freshly in from over the gener
ous width of 6000 mile? of blue sea that
chafes alike the shores of Asia and of
America, sets all aflutter all the rihbonsof
the aquatic balle of Stow Lake it is a
picture worth going to the park to see.
She is lithe, erect and strong. Her hands
are sometimes encased in gloves when
the sun threatens to tan with the wind
their immaculate whiteness. She has on
her cheeks the glow of health and in her
eyes the reflection of thorough enjoyment.
Her eyes may be dark or may be blue, but
in either case they are as good mirrors for
the spirit of fun to show itself in as the
round world affords, "Cadiz not excepted.
Her dress is strictly up to date, fitting
superbly, and appropriate for the wearer
and for the occasion. It has strength and
elasticity. But no fabric is equal in elas
ticity to the flexible muscles which urge
the Stow Lake boat on in a friendly race
with another aquatic belle. The oars
flash as they run up to a speed of thirty
five to the minute, possibly. They drip
and dally with the smooth water as the
victorious belle waits for her vanquished
rival to come up. They furnish the best
music t ossible to accompany the laughter
and jollity of the lake party or family n'c
nic, as they strike the little white caps
with clock-iiKe regularity and precision.
There are some girls who can pull a regu
lar man-of-v;ar stroke.
Along a seemingly endless shore line,
which the belle sees as she urges on her
shallop, the breakers of the Pacific Ocean
boom and enamel the shelving sands
with snowy foam. She stops rowing and
looks off seaward, being raised far above
the ocean, and, while she smells the fresh
grass of the lake's turf margins and hears
the songs of the wild birds on Strawberry
Hill, she sees big ships with masses of
sails like huge snowdrifts piled up against
their trim masts. She is at once in a
land-locked lagoon and at sea with the
China and Australian liners. All of the
varied pageantry of the sea is hers to en
joy. Framed by the lake and the over
banging and sunny sky, with the deep
blue ocean for a background, she is a
pretty picture. At the same time it may
be remarked that there is no other park
lake in the world that commands such a
The majority of the Chinese women who
splash with the oars and astonish the
many thousands of fishes in Stow Lake by
tneir queer aquatic antics go for the most
part dressed for business. They are all
bareheaded, of course. They wear a blue
upper garment and dark trousers, snowy
white stockings and Chinese shoes. Upon
their wrists are the inevitable green brace
lets of jnde stone. They hove some chil
dren along occasionally. The men who
attend them are few, and more often they
demonstrate their complete and entire
emancipation from social shackles by
coming and going without having any
tyrannical man to mar their pleasure or
to even hint at sexual inferiority.
But occasionally, while the Caucasian
belle holds her oars suspended, there ap
pears at the boat landing, from which all
lacustrinic voyagers depart in boats, a
vision like a human butterfly. In short,
this is a Chinese realization of the possi
bilities of color as lavishly applied to the
adornment of a belle of the almond-eyed
co-dwellers in the town; her hair, plas
tered and fixed in inflexible folds by the
application of pomades and oils, fairly
gorgeous with artificial flowers, such as
the gayest that ever grew in the gardens
of far Cathay. Her cheeks have layer
upon layer of fixed color upon them which
make up a total result in concentrated
hue like an Alpine glow on a fog bank.
Her clothes are so shiny and so vari
colored that they product* an effect which
may be summed up as iridescent
She knows that she is "stunning" in
her make-up and she does not care who
knows the one fact or the othar. It is
significant of the faith which she reposes
in her artificial complexion that she does
not row. Therefore her complexion does
not become streaked or striped by little
telltale rills of Mongolian perspiration.
The other women labor at tne oars while
she sits, like a petted child, in a rustling
mass of silks et ai., on a thwart and tries
the effect of her moon-shaped eyes on the
boatmen— the coquetry of Canton and the
physical languor of the far East, coupled
with a catlike enjoyment of sunshine, ease
and being petted. If ever a human being
could be suspected of a desire to purr, this
would be the person.
The lake is not monopolized by the
ladies, but they are the more frequent
visitants. Professional men walk out
around the lake on the well-kept path
way every Bunday morning, with chests
thrown out, with flaunting boutonniere and
dispensing an aroma of choice tobacco as
they make the circuit. The favorite route
is out McAllister street and back by the
Park and Ocean road or over the park's
broad thoroughfares.
He Qatkers Skulls for a Lining
About five and forty miles below Port
land, on the Oregon side of the Columbia;
the broad expanse of water here flows
without a ripple, and is deep and as still
as death. The bans rises high above the
water's level, and stretches away back to
the timber line. Just above this point is
"Cofßn Rock," which was the starting
place to "the happy hunting ground" of
the various Oreeon tribes of Indians, but
the vary high water of 1862 swept Coffin
Rock of all of its deposits to the point op
low. It is a lonely place, without sound,
save the call of the cricket in the grass, or
the hoot of the screech owl nestled in the
adjacent timber. Here the overflowing
waters of nearly a half a ceniury ago
lodged the remains of many tribes, high
and dry, literally moving the last resting
place of their dead, for no Pacific Coast
tribe ever buried iheir dead below the sur
face of the earth. Some hedged them
about with rocks, above the ground, ieav
iug the face upward and exposed. Others
put a bark covering over them, while
others were suspended from limbs or left
in the forks of trees. Time has robbed every
form of its substance, and left only the
whitened bones and bleached skulls.
Students, dentists and physicians are
eager to secaie these trophies for articula
tion. So great is the demand that at
least one man has for years followed the
hazardous business of gathering these
skulls for the market It is risky, for the
few remaining Indians still keep vigil
over the remains of their dead, and to be
caught in the act would mean a prisoner
in the recesses of the neighboring moun
tains, followed by a death of slow torture,
for no quarter or morcy would be shown
the victim. Still, knowing this, Howard
Clause, a recluse, nightly risks his life to
gather these grinning, whitened skulls,
and every now and then a box of large
and small skulls are snipped from Port
land, Or., to the various noted seats of
medical and dental learning in the East.
Do JKir\gs "dust jiapper\"
Without Gause?
Have you ever thought of tbe relation i
which may exist between what we are ac
customed to call "mere coincidences"? A
phrase like this explains nothing, but
simply notes that occurrences whicn seem
to have no connection with each other,
nevertheless come together in a way that
startles attention.
You are sitting in idle reverie and the
image of a friend comes vividly into your
mind, perhaps in connection with some
unknown event. Later you learn that at
the very time you were thinking of him
be did pass through that experience and
wished that you were with him. Or you
arise some morning with an inner convic
tion that a relative has died. He was
well when you last heard of him. There
is apparently no reason why you should
suppose he has passed from life, but you
believe it, notwithstanding these facts.
In a few days information comes that he
died on the nicht when your impression
was received. Are these cases "mere co
It has been observed that crime fre
quently becomes epidemic after the com
mission of some deed which excites gen
eral horror. Is this again only a coinci
dence? Wars, panics and pestilences are
said to recur generally. Are these "coin
cidences" too? A thousand illustrations
might be cited of concurring events and
commingled facts which are too striking to
escape observation, but whose significance
is evaded for lack of explanation by the
repetition of a phrase. Surely it is perti
nent to inquire if there imay not be some
reason why they coincide? We may
properly question too whether circum
stances arc ever due to chance.
The idea that anything happens seems
oddly out of place in a world confessedly
governed by laws. From the smoothing
of a pebble to the evolution of mind order
prevails in natural processes. The connec
tion between cause and effect is always
maintained. Each kingdom claims its
own and puts forth no unrelated thing.
Law governs tbe formation of a elobe
from fire-mist, evolving its various ele
ments by orderly means that permit no
chance results, no causeless changes.
The millions of existing creatures are
under its sway. Law makes the rain to
fall and the mist to mount upward. It
causes fire to consume and light to speed
forth into space. Even the shifting wind
obeys tbe pathway it has traced. Where,
then, does the element of chance enter
into nature's domain?
We may be told that while law cer
tainly does control the phenomena of this
material world, it has nothing to do with
such concerns as have been suggested.
Such a reply, although clearly an as
sumption, is perhaps justified by the
present state of scientific attainment. The
laws of matter have been carefully in
vestigated, but the realm of causes imma
terial has escaped observation. No laws
have been discovered therein; conse
quently it is assumed that none exist.
But the widespread interest in mental
phenomena which has been developed
during tbe past decade or two has grad
ually led up to a different view. The in
visible is no longer the non-exisfent. The
tangible is not the only real. So many
unsuspected, or at least discredited,
powers of mind have been disclosed that a
solution is now readily given to problems
which had long remained inscrutable mys
teries. In some cases scientific experi
ment has proven the reality of these
powers, as that of suggestion, so amply
demonstrated in hypnotic practice. Other
cases have been as well verified by private
investigation, leaving no room for doubt
in the minds of candid explorers that
mental powers include a capacity to act
beyond the confines of tbe brain. A whole
series of marvelous possibilities has been
disclosed. Little as is yet known of
them it is already clear that these powers
are not fugitive, but act accordine to law.
That thought is readily transferred from
mind to mind without extraneous aid few
will ionger deny. Cases of thought trans
ference are too frequent to be dismissed aa
imaginary, or to admit the supposition
that they are "mere coincidences." The
only adequate explanation is that thought
does travel through the invisible ether
which surrounds us. If we consider that
thought is a mental act, and like all other
acts involves the use of a certain degree
of force, or energy, it will be easy to un
derstand that it sets up a definite vibra
tion in etheric substance. This vibration
reaches another brain which receives it as
an impression of the thought sent forth.
It is, in fact, a kind of mental telegraphy.
In tbe days when it was supposed that a
telegraphic message could only travel
over a continuous wire, it was the fashion
to scout such an explanation as savoring
too much of the "supernatural." Now
that messages are actually sent from wire
to wire across intervening spaces this ob
jection has been swept away, for although
wires cannot yet be dispensed with, it is
enough lor the justification of our theory
to show that vibration is communicated to
the ether.
Here, then, we have a natural explana«
tion of those mysterious coincidences in
thought which have been used as illustra
tions. Your friend, by thinking intently
of you in connection with his experience,
brought it and himself before your mental
sight. It was not supernatural. It was
not even strange when you know why it
occurred, but was quite as much a matter
of course as is the delivery of a telegram
That was once impossible, too, but as the
worlJ rolls on it brings now and then new
things and new forces into activity. The
present is pre-eminently a period of such,
unfoldment. as is shown by its remark
able discoveries and its even more remark
able inventions. Is it not, then, more in
keeping with the spirit of our age to seek
an explanation of mysteries than to brush
them aside as mere results of chance,
Similarly we may believe that a convic
tion which arose wholly from within, and.
which was subsequently verified, must
have been the result of thought transfer
ence. It was received in sleep because in
that state the brain is far more receptive
to impressions than when busied with
making thoughts. For this reason, al
though our minds catch frequent impres
sions during the day, those which come
to us in sleep are usually more vivid and
Accepting this view of thought trans
mission we are able to understand how a
criminal idea may be spread. Not only
does the criminal set up his own vibration
in etheric space, but every mind which
dwells upon his crime sends out a sug
gestion of the deed. Many minds make
{he thought intense. Can we, then, who
have learned something of the power of
suggestion, marvel that ready actors take
up the thought, repeating that evil deed?
Investigators are only on the threshold
of unseen realms in this age, and hardly
peer across the borders. What they have
learned, however, has already discredited
the idea that nature is limited to the
sphere of our sense perceptions. What
lies beyond tfelongs to nature, too, and is
evidently subject to natural law. Roent
gen's discovery of the X ray discloses,
moreover, the fact that our conceptions of
even visible nature were not correct, and
tnat the invisible bears much closer rela
tion to it than was supposed. We may
therefore assume that in future scientific
study will include investigation into these
realms of mystery in which we are en
folded. Then perhaps we may discover
tbe causes of other coincidences, and learn
why the cycles recur. We may find that
law governs earthquakes as fully as
eclipses, and that not even a disaster
comes by chance, but, like a comet in the
orderly constellations of the heavens,
bears its relation to orderly events.
Msbcis M. Thirds.

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