OCR Interpretation

The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, October 20, 1907, Image 8

Image and text provided by University of California, Riverside; Riverside, CA

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1907-10-20/ed-1/seq-8/

What is OCR?

Thumbnail for 8

Adriana Spadoni
ONCE upon a time there was a
fire In San Francisco, and af- ;
ter that there was progress,
an awful, haunting nightmare [
tt progression and reinforced con
crete; Leagues and clubs and 'other .
civic organizations chortled with' de
light as they rushed- madly for* the
cualnt, dear old places and \u25a0 "cleaned" \ '
them up knd "bettered" . the . conditions. "
The Latin quarterT. Ifs co. "improved".
Ifs slmoet dead. Soon the Italian.;!
colony will be lost to art altogether.
"What with banks : and theaters and*
clinics and newspapers getting out spe
cial editions \to chow . the. rehabilita
tion of Dupont street. It is almost*gohe'
cow. There Is only the Sicilian nshlnp
colony left.- and as soon as spine well
Cstentloned .philanthropist masters the \u25a0'-]
fllalect that will go, too. v \u25a0 '-;
But there is a hope, Just a bare hope. ,
Hidden away ,In scattered spots. In -
come 10 or 15 boarding houses, ; there
Is a new Spanish colony." No.- not* a
Mexican , colony," nor a Central Ameri- ;
can colony, but a real. Spanish' colony. '
These people are .neither^ untidy' nor :
lary nor poor, nor I illiterate, *so ; they ;
tnay escape' the philanthropist. '.Very
few speak English, ' so they will con- :
tlnue to live among themselves, j with
time to be kind and polite and^courte- :
Otis and Ignorant .of the only truth' on :
earth-T-that time is money.
Now don't picture swarthy men sit- j>
ting about all day In the sun, flirting :
with Carmenish beauties who have left :
their homes in chaos while "they 101 l •
about on balconies draped in- mantil- '
las. They do that kind of thing only! 1
emong the very poorest class of Span- y
l«h-Americans and In "typical fiction.". '
The Spanish colony works and works ;'
hard. There are brick layers and car- '
penters, and cement workers, painters, I
laborers and servant girls. Before the '
fire San Francisco was only, a name to '
moet of the workingmen ;of Spain. 1
There were not more than a few ''huh- ''
dred Spaniards here. Now there are
8,000, some say 5,000, from Gallda, i
from Catalonia, from Andalusia, from J
Gibraltar and from Navarre. The won- 1
derful accounts of wages— -without the l
interesting Information as to the cost* <
of living — sounded pretty good to me* <
chanlcs whose ' highest rate was from i
|1 to |LSO-a day. So they came.. /.
And thatTs why the Spanish laboring
colony Is different from the Italian,
and why it's going to be a restful-Eden. rT
JTot because the people don't; work, but
because sometimes . they stop. Thanks :
be to the powers on high we have not ",
yet converted jthe whole world to our •
doctrine of mad pelt and rush. There ,
ere still spots on the face of the earth j
where work Is a necessity -and not a ]
pleasure. May we be spared the sight ";
of a Bpan!eh trabajador e lnking to the ]
ls&uxtriom level of his Oenoese brother j
who works all day, gathers the. family- ;s
firewood on his way home, eats his $]
dnner and departs -to act as night 1
iratcnman. ; \u25a0 ,
The PrcvaSing Fiesta " \u25a0"\u25a0 \u25a0"" : . - 1
Woea winter. comes the man who has .,
tMtt worklnc'ln the country will come ']
to tne dty. If possible he will get (
tsto a hotel where there • are mostly
people from bis owa province; a Gal
ttro will room wlta aaUegos and a
Ba«co with Basques. On the days when
tie rtia keeps the carpenters 4: and j
bride layers from working I there will ! <
be a fiesta If any possible occurrence J
can make an excuse for one. These i
worklasmen: will sins; 'and. play the.
csit&jr and dance. They 'will, eat .as
macy grood dinners as they can pay -
ten extract *11 the pleasure . possible i
from every bofia (wedding) and Christ- ~ i
| «nlnar: go to the theaters -If they : un-' <
'derstand English, but will make no j
very strenuous ( effort to learn It -if 1
they don't; to the opera' always. If; by U
chance some one should develop enough :
•xecatJvo* ability and the requisite. en-, 3
ergy. one of the larger halls ; of : " the;
Quarter may be rented and an amateur '
play given, where If \ you happen \ to, '
know any one In the colony • you can ;
go and be treated like visiting royalty*
But In all probability:; there I will "* be "...
no much, strenuous' undertaking. ; . There * .
Is always manana, and some i of : the '
hotels have dining rooms that do very
wen for a baile. "Why 'not 'let them V*
continue? %i-- '
If any sudden energy, anything very i
much out of the ordinary, does attack
the colony, it wilKbe;the"'fault^ef jfthii
Bascos. To begin with there are aboutV •
600 and they seem to have latent poesi
bmtles for hustling; that may "In ; , the r^
end prove dangerous. A good many
of the hotels are run . by them,.. even
those which house Castillani and Oe.l
legos. A fiesta - still appeals ; tcy them,
but one can Imagine, a Basco, retting
along without a vacation much 'bettor '\u25a0•\u25a0
than an Andaluslan. ' They are • hard- -
working, extremely clannish, save their
money, never need assistance, \u25a0'* and; .
rarely, g-et into trouble. You never hear
of a Basco stabbing another In! the back
or running; off with his neighbor's wfTa,
There have been several huadred Span
ish Basques In California, ever . since'
the gold days, when they came to work
In the mines, and In all that- time only
two have ever gone to the state prison.'
"Every now and then some, erudite.,
magazine holds forth on the • origin- of
the Basque people. As * yet ; ; no one
teems to 'have file covered very much.
They have a language that f Is .: llko
nothing else on the face of the earth. \u25a0
The only human belnsr, who can.under
stand a Spanish Basque . is ,a French/
Basque and vice versa. When, rotr first L . -
bear It spoken you listen Intently.' and ;
'dccl«3c it sounds like Welsh. ("Then you
catch a few detached phrases and veer \u25a0
ever to j Hungarian.-^ 6ome\ one « shows '
you Easco printed and yon, know that It
is closely I',1 ', allied -with': Russian, j Sanscrit
er reformed 'spelling: Then you hear,*a
Easque ;poem' recited— and you. suggest
no more. ' ; ':/ \u0084^ *-, -.. -.- \u25a0'-;' , ,\u25a0\u25a0' :*
. For- several:years a.newspaper was .
published fnlxw An grits f n the' Basco \u25a0
dialect. It is pnhllshed no^'tndre.' Per-r
'tiaps'tltci type" wore out.,-. The
consul.-L'imself of Basque descent, has .
ppen't j years 'studying the p'hjlolosr und,
'has compiled a table showing.t he close .
' .'resemblance .-*. between; : many -oX- the
words- anfl our \u25a0. own -Indian • dialects.
"When a.; Basque ?..wbrd:* is -picked.; to I
pieces 'you* can , only ; marveL - ' You. are \u25a0
not , angry ;_ then v at ? Its "length, 7 Just .
; thankful* that' lt stopped ; at' all. .^ There
: seems to befajD reason why It shouldnt*
lute Bon» •\u25a0-* on Indefinitely,^gathering \u25a0.
nntb : : itself . • like • \u25a0';\u25a0. a \ German "; eclentiflc -
term. \u25a0- \u25a0 . \u25a0•"',"'. •'.\u25a0\u25a0 f-*i •' "-."',. ' ' '\u25a0 "
. \ About difficult to\uhravel"; as I the;
' languace Is : - the typical card .game of ;
| mus/ which •Is absolutely;. Indispensable
to :four f BasquesVwith^nothing in par- ;
tteular <-to~: do. * ' You t"J can. watch';- four •
, sflent, >'- Intent .: men ' playing "for."-; hours,
without* getting j at ' the of
mus an j* niore than' if j you^ were " blind.
You- think itr'looks tliker npker. \u25a0>': The
players, 'stop, - ;. pinile <\u25a0' pleasantly, /and
prove' that .'it ~' t is ! no^more* Uke-'poker •
than-. It is -like casino. "-You "try.* again
•with trenteret-un f : feeling 1 very -wicked
and \u25a0\u25a0' It's ' no ~ more ' like -
that than- It i. was' like : poker. ; : It's Just
Basco and that's all there is 'to it. : And
not even for the ,'well'belqved mus .will
a ; true "Basco risk ; much ; money." He
bets ,on ;every,garoe, :but \u25a0 f or ; drinks; or ..
an extra- good 'dinner, j I' should -love to
\u25a0 win at this game of mus. Just to; see to
what - lengths • an "extra" -dinner could
go. . An \u25a0 ordinary ' Sunday, night one ris
Quite good enough for. this ' world and
would* make\a : middle I class ''American"
private v family ; sit /up: and take /notice.'
Llstenl ,- '\u25a0\u25a0:.- f\ /\u25a0-:. L''''^ \u25a0 : '•'?' ! \u25a0*
> A -long dining ?room j festooned with
red and yellow tissue paper • trimmings;
two "guitar's or abandurria hanging "on ,
the wall.' In- aIL probability .the 'pro-,
prietor himself ;serves and everything is
spotlessly * clean. ;. Opposite r> you is a
carpenter, next; to you* a" painter on one
Bide and perhaps a baker- on the other,
with a' street" laborer 'Just beyond. ; -Va-*.
rlous mechanics stretch. away," down, the'
sides, .with ihere <and 'there ' a woman,
i very "few; married" Spaniards Uvo
.ln\hotels," and the single; women are
nearly all "servants .who: don't get out
on Sunday nights : in- time for the din
ner.", ! There are ; blue eyed ajid gray
eyed -and,' black eyed men; 'men ' with
red:halr.-and yellow;. hair i and s black;
hair. 'The.reis that class of immigrant
just over* who rejoices in very .tight ;
Hfhtjblue grousers and a hand painted
necktie; » the Ttyplcal >'* stage toreador,
\u25a0 with- dark seamed face, red tie and low, 1
' broad, felt hat. • His neighbor^ youyea'rn
to address 'as Don "Carlos,; he Is so 'pale
and dignified., and ypu watch, anxiously
to see.lf he^will use a toothpick. : You '
hear r soft CastUian/ still; softer Andalu
r^ian.-the harsh dial ectof ; the Galiegos,
th© odd Jerky 'Catalonian, and the ln-^
evltable Basque. ir't*. . t . . ;
A Latin's j Dinner, . „ ,-^ '
. And 'to : this' motley -gathering ''..'. Is
served soup ; that \ is .. coup . and not. an ,
apology; then 'sausage,; no Upton Sjn
; clair' myetery which you \u25a0 bolt wholo )
.trying^ not to think of ;the interior, ;but'.
sausage; that- -you can gloat over, and
think with iingering love of -each ih
gredlent; br ; Tlbs' of -be'ef."' I^won't try"
that .descriptjonr then a heavenly; con-. .
coction- of fgreeni beans : and potatoes,'?
with ''a', fiendish' name, and', garvanzas,'
which, you \u25a0would^neverj darel'refer: to
as dried- peas under; their^dlsguise.-, And
then"/chickeni. and > salad.j and cheese, s
• and fruit and black cbffee'twi'th"cognac,
andV^of ;course^wl9efaUJ through^ s The "i
laborer burns i-hls :i cognac ;; as 'ito i . : tjie I
manner - born, : and • apparently-; <Eroesn r ty-, -,
think he'Uiasr had ; anything ;at!all/out'; ."
r.of '.. tlie .' ordinary, for - the ' $ 2 5 .'or , |S o Va m \
month; that. he pays. \u25ba. i -:-,.' .-. ~ ;\u25a0-';\u25a0. > ', " _ .
I -Neyer/t never '~ mistake r\ot w '.
asking in^ a Spanish boarding ..house Tfot '*-•'
those dishes which, you /fondly, believed -"\u25a0-"\u25a0 v'
' \vere .the • staple, • Spanish diet.' *No;real; »
Spaniard _"*jVer Teats^ the overworked' ta- ;*\u25a0*' \u25a0
] male' and' enchilada^ in! facCih^ rarely > r v
, hears Cof/thenV, until f he; arrives, 1 .- and 4 s
never \u25a0 likes' 1 them.' ;, These > thlhgs/j are- , . ;
Mexican and Jnot to '.be ounfled-wlth V ' :
things ' Spanish.' ' No" unfavorable 'i'com-'v •
- parlson is «intended, : T but^they ;are *en- 4-V
tlrely -;' different^ 'Van'd : j: every ''time *that^: '
you 5 cbnfuse^the^twb • you^will^be' po- : ?'i
• lltelyj but fflrmJly. corrected. ';\u25a0;; Of icourfo'v;-.*,
a ;\u25a0 Spaniard *> speaking fno a English 'will - ;;
i choose to live? among rllexicans: or Spain- I}^
ish^Americans : \u25a0>. rather 7 1,'th'an § ; among^f.'
- Americans.'^^But ; 'otherwise i'ithe \u25a0'. tw'o'col-^.i
onles do i not < mix'; ; and \u25a0 when ;you \u25a0; spealc:" £
t *1 t:p^lirthat?you :
jiUMemand lthe'v difference. \u25a0£ ITs '?? Just;
f •**? I *A' t he inm&tiUjiZryou-i accused^ a :
Perhsps^t ; yrtll?, t^eYmany;
\*£*Tl, •" Jof >V»k» ? for; us j to } ret »
:Att«lcaa;s; ; "v^:^!iS:s:^
$ v - ??, >\u25a0****& f for? tbft ftairi > menWc* But]
i eHc H! Tft '" ! *?*•! moTe^to^the] dinner Jthan )
\u25a0?°. aa^
l^ 11 ? ' e l«ndVof > ; tha/^ble)to\thej
15?^*!!»X^ fl l'^H n »T!ati*eac^
' !P^^P l^ri 1 8'?^»1^5l^M;'^t ; s£al
l*? I *^^ "£\u25a0"' Besides.'f Wb{ Sunday fenighuj
-.*?* -*f^\* I ?^''^'*tS^?7oWasUnyjUme^
« eni Su^ay^}nis;ht r he|had|better[befd
'."\u25a0tome^c^iit^! l^
- «)D». wd^j^u^ian's^^d^Bi^
; *^ BundayFnlßht ? dinner) is \ enough Hot
"-. make ";VaVMathe ?«irmer'i.f eel
Airnvno}. longer 't any V possible i excuse h f oV;
f; sntingj ab out \ theT tabie.Twhen { theVpro •>;
[\u25a0) prietor/rgets \up', and l^the*- help/ mak"es'a v
s ;kltchenfforithoT r en^
vVishes^aiia ;you > th'intf [ it's i \u25a0 a3l*«yer; softie •
?fone "* ask s } y ou > If I; you *• aren't' t • going ; t o ),
&Btay | f or .the :baile^ arid-r% ?i l^don^t j' siip-v
£ po'se.L'l/sj'ncerelyl hbpe^ no 6ne~-who . ever"
* had ? a|'chance^ to J stay} f or^the ;
night jbaile, ever'/ wentjaway.';-^*- '" <i *
rush ""the/ dining/tables -come';
g In toysection'sj aiid i varirsb"; into <'djm*' cor- f
r nera ifor?are|stack"ed^"up7at itheTfarTe'nd^
of i the'iroom."^ Most \of /the I men ' gettoiit \
%of |..the i way,^.whilet^the [ proprJ^.tOTt fllest
i i 'about'^th(a*,brootn.''^Fromfthe ( kitchen^
\u25a0f come*! the^rattie and^baTig" 5 of {dishes i'as '*
Ji the : : heipihurries ] torough.' . i'butslde 'on -
fetreet | the \ mVn { hang; about* smbk-) : ;
- ing, j waiting | for th er* prellinl nariea $ Xol
v -v--' -'.J; •v;-i".' \u25a0".\u25a0.-^ -.-"•<- '\u25a0>;\u25a0. ;'w^- : tr : . •?\u25a0-\u25a0>'\u25a0- /^"'.* "'- *''\u0084
>'be- 'finished. v \u25a0 Others' drift \u25a0. lover*" from
\u2666hotels., where.thej size Jof thV dining room
.^preventsjdancing^ tsoon*there are close
}' 0n. 60f0r ,70 men. •''.'' * - ' ;'- > \u25a0\u25a0. '.': ':.. • .
r } vln -i? 1 "^ groups |otf twos/ and i'threes
i^^^?^^ a^^yint° ">ha halL '.",; If \u25a0
: " they:l know/th*! -: sirts .well', enough . they
\ :go^out-Into- the kitchen: to', talk! If
I and ;eyery ,on©
£canji play. : l> li , shall > never -forge t[\u25a0 himj
r th« Carmenish : pla"rerVof -'my "first -baile.
'•\u25a0.? I : *"iF!?™ ', handufr'ia; held ' ch>se^ "his big
4^}*sH';^tlp'ushe"d".back.^he^sat wfth his
rh^d;inted.; ; t<he>flaHng.gas;lightlng'hlst < he>flaHng.gas;lightlng'hls
all! alone i in ; a* comer 'playing soft
'< }Y*t°j hj rnself - : and . 'Gradually •
the fbth'efs/ga the r^dTround : h'lni. , : *Some'
'1 p n o J rcwa c li^<3- t \u25a0 f or Vonetof ithe ' guitars and*
,intb --an' ;accompahinieht,^and \u25a0
1 .t^ey^beacan* to/singr'^a' low,? sacV haunting:
;-i; -i a ?i s s!^ 't f.^Pff* '»l» l !&? i: Wfij, "iiscjo - was;
r-th'ousands-of mllesfaway.'-'; .1"
"";Morß : nen.coiae. Soon thara is quits
"•/crowd at the door and the air is blu»
' with smoke. The dishes are finished
cow.and the kitc&sn is quiet. The ffir!^'
ar«^glvinff the. universally femininaT
touch to t hs! r . ahi rt waists and. pattln?
: their % hair. -Then they come into the •*
~ dining*; room, instantly the haunting
'' faaf stops, 1 every one begins laughinsr
\u0084 ana talking again. The men are crowd
tejT: about ithe' girlanowj the room is
full and .very.' hdu From time to tlaa
the groups about the door part and as
otiar girl comes, a g}rl who has worked
all day cooking in some oses-house,
bet who is never too tired to dance. It
.there aro -eny babies the marrlsd
women- brine them. There I* always
some one willing to hold them, at least
. once, and let tho mother dance.
-Suddenly, above the voices and laugh
ter,'come tho rippling, liquid notes of
i the gnltar. ft Is tho Jota. The men
.press; back to tha door, leaving a clear
space In the middle. There are no In
troductions; ' everybody knows every
body else. .Thera aro no sacors or
eenoritas, only - Josea and Jtians and
Conchas and Angelitas. At tha first
notes of the Jota Joso makes . a line
stralsht for Angelita. Sitting demurely
In? her chair she notices him not at all
mrtll. standing beforo her, ha begs:
**WIII you dance. Angelita?" Then An
- Cellta takes tlmo to glance at him.
-rises,* but not in any hurry, for there is
no danger of being partnerleas at a
Sunday night baile, with 10 men to
.every girl and every man a dancer. So
Ansel! ta. follows Joso to , tho. middle of
th» floor," where thero aro already a»
many couples as tho stage permits, and
then— -"• . \u25a0
•" j'And then they danco the Jota. Tinkle
go \ the. guitars; click, click, the tireless "*
fingers keep- up a constant imitation of
tho r castanets. Click,* click, with his
waving: arms and hla laughing eyes h«
beckons : and sbo follows. Louder the
stamps, "faster he 'goes, -now V& comes
near/ now retreats. He Is ' flirting with
eyes, • with hia gleaming whlta teeth,
with every muscle of his 'body, ilora
intricate -grow the steps and she must
look closely to his feet Ho Is making
her pay now for her 'calm indifference,
and if she can do: only ono thins at a
time "Angelita'3 power is gone. Faster
and '\u25a0 faster ho dances,, then suddenly
Angelita 1 looks up,- just a little slda-
and smiles. The mu^u changes:
Jose 'holds out his arms;''"; Angelita
dances slowly into them; 'for a*- moment
they 'waltz.- Another! chord an«l , they
separate/but now ' it is Angelita'a eyes
that lead him! Again the cracking fin
gers-keep* tlmo to the' castanets. An
gelita looks down and I*up;-with1 * up;- with dazzling
rapidity. Then suddenly comes a sweejw
ingrtchord, the ; (ruiiar -witn a
final' stamp. and; a laugh the Jota stops.
No* wonder there are no-bach?lor girls
in* a land where they ' dance the Jota.
Afterward? That ts'different. Qu!ensabe?
if lasts every-^one is happy,
just completely, thoroughly happy.
FromUlme to time ths guitar calla a.
waltz Or a' mazurka,' but the favorita is
the;Jota, 'the provocative,' alluring, flir
tatious'Jota. -Asraln ' and again they
dance' it.- And as. you watch, somehow
you feel as if-, you had -been cheated.^ L
cheated of the power to let yourself go.»~*
to 2 forget 'and Just '• live.' Conscious of
yourself;, you sit and watch enviously
these nien and women who have not
forgotten howtoi forget...* In the hot
room, .under the flarJns: sas, whlla tha
Jota lasts," they 'live. f % -

xml | txt