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The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, December 20, 1896, Image 19

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Culver Pictures Some of the Exceedingly Prosy Realities of the Christmas Season
Cahilfs Sketches in the Top Gallery
I'^ CAN'T see anything in them new-
fangled plays, said the old man, but
_*, he sat quite still and watched every
move the vihain made, nevertheless, just
as though he were taKing a great deal
of interest in it
But there were others in the gallery that
night, and so far as I could see the old
man's face wore the only immobile, expres
sionless look in the entire family circle.
If you want to catch a glimpse of unadul
terated human nature, see it swayed
hither and thither, backward and forward,
as it were, rfirongbont tne entire gamut
of human emotions, spend an evening
with the gallery gods when there is an
old-school melodrama on the boards.
It is hard to tell which is the unreal
\ world, whether the staje or the gallery.
Indeed they work in entire harmony and
sympathy throughout the entire play, if
only the sentiment oi the play be right I
md there is enough "acting" to satisfy
the somewhat critical taste oi the true
connoisseurs of the melodrama. Of course 1
the villain must be foiled at last, or the [
• top gallery, SB a rule, will thin out before
the week is over. And there must be
nothing mawkish about the sentimental
scenes in the play, for those who sit in the
too gallery may turn from gods lo de
mons, and a long, low hiss from the gallery <
is as effective as from any other part of
the house. The pathos must be measured
carefully, and must be of an intensely
human kind, or else instead of tears there
is liable to be laughter In the gallery.
What pleases most of these gallery gods
is the old Milton Noble or Dion Bouci
cault five-act drama, with a sure enough
villain always on the trail of the fair hero
ine and the brave and gallant hero until I
the last scene in the last act. You do i
t:e gallery god an injustice, however, if
yon think he revels only in vulgar gore
and low comedy. His only demand is that
the play be one of genuine human inter
est and that the language be outspoken
and clear. He hates paradoxes and has
no stomach ior the subtleties of expression
' and the far-fetched incidents of some of
tba modern dramas. 'T,;e Vicar of Wake
field, 1 ' with its classic simplicity ot plot,
s.ene and action and its homely out
s; oken phraseology, is plenty good enough
i and none too gov.d to win the hearty ap
preciation of the famiiy circle.
I counted myself fortunate this n T ght in
securing a seat on the front row of tne top
gailery next to the old man, who couid see
nothing "in them new-fangled playt."
But in order to sain this point of vantage
both the old man and myself, as well as
all the others, who occupied the front
rows, bad to wait a good half hour be
tween the time of taking their seat and
the rising of the curtain: One can
"size up," casually, a good many oi one's
near-by neighbors in half an hour, and
one is not Apt to miss the opportunity,
thereby the half-hour wait becomes one of
the most interesting events of the even
ing. These are all Dickens' people up
here — men and women, boys and giris —
but little schooled in the fashionable art
of suppressing natural sentiment, and you
can see irom their faces that when the
curtain goes up the verdict rendered by
the gallery urchins will be spontaneous
and sincere.
It is no matter what the play was.
There was a very beamifal heroine in it,
and almost from the very opening lines
the plot begin to thicken. Now the hero
comes on the stage, tall, handsome, dar
ing and open-hearted. "I love you,
Nora," he cries; then in the distance
crouches as black a scoundrel as ever a
Dickens painted. There is a moment of
deep suspense, and the young man who
sits next to me has his hands on his knees,
his face thrust forward, his mouth and
eyes wide open. His nostrils dilated.
There is an invisible yet certain magnetic
current between him and the stage, and
his heart beats as that current vibrates,
now slowly, now fiercely. I prefer to
watch bis lace rather than the stage, for I
know that the drama I read in his face is
a truer drama, and the emotions ex
pressed by it far more spontaneous and
sincere than is the fictitious stage drama
that causes them. I can see now — watch
ing the play of moving passions upon
those features — that at last the villain and
the hero have met face to face. It will be
a war to the death, unless something in
tervenes, which, of course, it does, because
the play must run till after 10 o'clock.
Presently, I see by the darkening lines on
that face that the villain is gaining
ground. Then the curtain falls on the
first act, and the young man heaves a
long-drawn sigh that seems to come away
up Irom his boots.
Now the hisses commence, and they are
so vigorous and so long drawn out that
tLe villain makes his appearance in front
of the curtain, bows, and is hissed back
into the greenroom.
In the second act the scene is at the
debthbed of the little sister of the heroine,
and I follow the heart beatings and illy
suppressed sobs of the motherly looking
woman who sits almost facing on the up
ward arc of the semicircle. I know when
the deepest chord of human sorrow has
been toucoed, for now the motherly look
ing woman can restrain herself no further.
Her pocket handkerchief suddenly finds
its was to her eyes, and by the time the
-ad scene is all over and the curtain rings
down upon the second act this real woman
has had a cry that will do her good and
make her heart lighter and her sympa
thies more kindly to the troubles of her
neighbor on Natoma ,-trcfet.
The feature of the third act is the rescue
of the heroine by the hero. You
should hear the encore that greets
this denouement— you should hear it
from the very midst of it, in order to ap
preciate its volume, its depth, its honesty.
There is a vibration of sincerity in it all
that one loses when heard only from the
parquet or dress-circle. Now the plot has
turned, now the hunted turns hunter. It
is the villain who is now pursued. It is
doub ful for a time— in the minds of the
gallery gods— whether the villain will be
finally captured. But, of course, he is, as
really all villains are sooner or later, and
now there is another encore for the hero
that threatens to lift the roof.
Downstairs the folks are getting on their
wraps, and moving about disturbing one
another. But up .here in the top gallery
the trance is not broken. There is yvt the
j epilogue to be spoken, and when at last it
all ends happily, and when the hard old
man has repented and given his consent
to the union of hero and heroine, and the
low comedy man haa uttered his last gag,
the expression of supreme happiness and
contentment that settles down upon the
faces of my friends in the too gallery, is
something far more pleasing to me than
| even the foiling of the villain. I have
passed an entrancing evening, have wit
nessed a play that not everybody takes the
; trouble to see, and I know that my friends,
i the gallery gods, are the better citizen?.
; the truer men and women, for the chords
that have been struck upon emotions and
sentiments that a work-a-day world soon
[ dulls and extinguishes.
Qold and Its Uses.
If the average reader or thinker will
devote a few minutes to the. subject of
gold and its uses, and bow much of it an
nuaily disappears by wear, leaving no
possible trace, he will find himself in
volved in some extremely interesting cal
culations. If some genius would only in
vent a power strong enough to attract to it
the millions of invisible particles that
have and are constantly being worn off
the various articles composed of that
metal what an immense amount would be
recovered !
Where do these particles go? Here,
there, everywhere, in your house, on the
streets, in the banks, business houses,
stores and wherever man g >es- As an
instance of this the following is cited:
There is at present a veritable gold mine
being worked in an old watch-case factory
in Brooklyn. It occurred to the new
purchasers of this property that during
the long years of manufacturing of gold
watch cases that took place there, a large
quantity of gold particles must have been
absorbed by the flooring, walls, furnace
chimney, etc. So they went Carefully to
work ana tore the old building down bit
by bit. and burnt and crashed the material,
afterward assayms the ashes. So far
something like $50,000 has been recovered.
Say an ounce oi this lost gold were re
covered. If we melted it down and gilded
a fine silver wire it would extend more
than 1300 miles; or, if nineteen ounces
were recovered (which in the form of a
cube would be about one and a quarter
inches square), ii would gild a wire long
enough to compass the whole earth like a
If you pick up a goldleaf, such as is used
for gilding purposes, it becomes a curiosity
in your eyes wtaen you realize that seventy
five square inches of it weigh only one
grain. Now the thousandth part of a line
or inch is easily visible through a common
pocret-glass. Henoe it folldws that when
gold is reduced to the thinness of gold
leaf, 1-50,700,000 of a grain of gold may be
distinguished by the eye. Bat it is claimed
that 1- 140,000, 000 of a grain of gold may be
rendered visible.
Lar^e quantities of gold are used in
gilding portions of exteriors of public and
private buildings. For instance, if we
take the Church of St. Isaac at St. Peters
burg, we find that it required the use of
'247 pounds of gold to gild its five crosses.
They can be seen glittering at a distance
of twenty-seven miles. — Harper's Round
Standing of World's Naval Powers
f (ACCORDING to a Parliamentary re
*J*4"C turn by the British Admiralty on
•I.S'V* navies of the world, the standing
of the naval powers was, last July, as
follows: England, France, Russia, Ger
many, Italy ami United States. ■ .
The order of precedence. is evidently
based on the number of sea-going armored
ships, without regard to their compara
tive efficiency, and on this basis the
United States must be content to remain
at tbe bottom of the list a few years more.
|B.tM^ hl p».j Cruisers.
No. Ton*. >'o. : Tons.
England .............. 46 465,080 18 137.050
France.;.. ..-. 23 263.045 ,91 49.624
Knssia ! 10 90,532 9 45,040
Germany .......... 21 135.999 .... ..:....:.
[t*lr.... 131 131.8*8; 1 . 4,529
[inked State- „ 5 43,861 1 2 17,471
England 8T
France. i.'3
liossia ....... 2
ierinany.. 7
Italy 15!
L'nictd States.. 13 !
Tons. No.|
329.710 16
67,976 23
7,9.0 3
2^.091 22
40,6 7 i
' 58/209! 10
4 4,'. 90
. : .1. :
Coast De- I Special Vea-
tense. I : sea.
■ • -
.No. Ton*. • [So.! Ton?.
Kn?ltod 161 £8.430; 3 15.66 C
Fiance ....... ........ -14! 43.328: 1 5,994
Ru55ia.........; 18 34,818 4 4.31J
Sermany 11 12,001 1 Vt.Sl'i
Italy .....:........„.. ' 0 1. ........ 0 :......:.:
United states. 20 53,759 If . 83S
To'oodo Torpedo *
vessels, oegtroye^g^ =
->0 I Oils, -NC. lODS. )
Kngland- 31 27,840 42 11,000 101
France.. 13 7,082 ..:. 21]
Kuiwia 16 13.776 6 4,240 15:
>frm»ny 5- -4,626 • .-. 10;
Italy 15 11,336 1 260 141
L'nued 5tate5........ 1 939 .„■„ | i
The number of ships aud tonnage, ex
clusive of torpedo-boats, is thus sum
England ;....,..
Krance ;
Russia '.-• :.. -.
i<?rmany .-. ...".
Italy .......'...........:.„...;..
l tilted states.-.V.... -
." 5 a .
1,089,04 C
196. 27S
This apparent naval superiority of |
Germany and Italy over the United States
is more imaginary than real, as an an
alysis of the individual armored fleets
will show. The battle-ships and armored
cruisers of the United States are of quite J
the newest build, the oldest only four
years in the water, and they are at least
equal to similar ships of other navies of
recent build. In the German navy nine
of the twenty-one battle-ships were built
prior to 1880 and are obsolete in design
and deficient in armor and armament.
The twelve comparatively new ships
range from 3440 to 9874 tons and agjrre
| gate on'.y 68,728 tons, an average of 5727
i tons, against the average of our ships of
8772 tons. The heaviest guns on the Ger
man armored ships are only 11 inches,
while our battle-ships carry 13 and 12 inch
guns. Being smaller, the German ships
have of necessity thinner armor and less
coal-carrying capacity, which, coupled
with lighter guns, would place them at a
I disadvantage with the American fleet.
1 As for Italy, six of the battle-ships, ag
\ gregating 47,466 tons, were built prior to
I 1880 (two being built in 1863), and may,
therefore, be classed as back-numbers. Of
i the remaining seven armored ships of
84.432 tons, only two have been launched
since 1890. The armor- piercing guns of
these seven ships consists of sixteen 17
inch and twelve 12^-inch guns. The
; larger caliber, weighing 100 to 105 tons,
j have a penetration of 33 to 34 inches of
' iron at the muzzle, while the 13-inch gun
in our navy, weighing only 60 V» tons, will
. penetrate 30 inches oi iron. Monster guns
J are no longer built in any country fcr use
! on board ships, and the tendency is to re
! duce the calibers to 12 inches and less,
j and all the 17-inch guns in tbe Italian
I navy are to be replaced with 10-inch rifles.
When the question of coast-defense ves
sels is- considered, the United Btates is
better off than any of the other naval
i i owers. In the Puritan, Monterey and
| four of the Monadnock class England has
: nothing to compare with these monitors.
The coast-defense fleet of Great Britain is
chiefly composed of antiquated ironclads
no longer seaworthy, and there are at least
thirteen carried on the list of battie-ships
i whose proper place is in the so-called
I coast-defense class, while such armored
! cruisers as the Warrior, Black Prince,
Minotaur, Achilles, Aginconrt and North
umberland, built between 1860 and 1866.
have long outlived their usefulne-s and
should be classed as coast-defenders with
I the other old iron.
The coast-defense vessels of France are
likewise a sorry lot with most formidable
i name's. The six larger vessels of 4600 to
, 5900 tons are imitations of the American
' monitor, to which have been added
enormous superstructures, while the
smaller craft are only armored gunboats.
Russia's coast defense appears to be
I composed of failures relegated to retire
ment in the Black Sea. As for Germany,
her coast-defense fleet consists entirely of
small armored gunboats built between
| 1876 and 1881.
With modern guns the eight monitors
of the Camanche class and five of the Pas
saic class could ably defend our harbors
against attacks from the most formidable
sea-going battle-ships.
In protected cruisers, it will be noted,
the United States comes ahead of Russia
and Germany, and in unprotected cruisers
we lead Russia and Italy. In torpedo
vessels the United States is sadly deficient,
and signally so in torpedo-boat destroyers
and torpedo-boats. Of the two latter
types a small beginning is now being
made, but it will take many years, unless
a war scare comes up, before our list will
compare approximately in number with
those abroad.
And still navy- building is brisk all over
the world, as wil! be seen from the follow
ing table of the several classes of ships un
der construction:
.Ntn t » c - a
I 3 s 3 c 3.
f g S 3 "" 5
Classes or Vessels, a. : : = Z ' .'&
: .' : ! : 5
■.' ■ ■ ''- .' • ;i : ':'.': 7
Batti.e-sbioi " 12: 6 9 3 2 8
Armored cruisers. .... Jt - 1 6....
C oa-*i defenre... ........ 4 .... ...: 1 —
Protected cruisers 29 14 3 6 .... ....
Torpedo vessels.:...'... •> 1 — ....
T.-B. Destroyers. ,48 1 3
Torpedo-boats .... 9; 20 © 1 14
The armored tonnage in course of con
struction in the several countries is as
follows: Engianii. 169.050; France, 65,019 ;
Russia, 139,63* ; G-.ini.my. 34,010; Italy,
68,390; United States, 80,560.
The only weak spot of our naval defense
is in the lack of guns, ami especially
quick-nrin™ of 6-inch caliber and down
ward. In foreign navies the quick-firer is
being rapidly installed, thus increasing
the efficiency of the vessels at least three
times. It UKes apparently as much time
to build tbe guns as it does to construct
the ships, and Congress should make lib
eral appropriations for armaments.
•—«• — «. — •
A doctor in the Highlands of Scotland,
whese patients are scattered over a whole
district, takes carrier-pigeons with him on
his rounds and sends his prescriptions by
them to the apothecary. He leaves
pigeons, too, with di-iant families, to b*
let loose when his services are needed.

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