unload, and that carried cargoes similar to what had been lost in the conflagration.
the morning of the fire common wine had risen, for example, from 100 to
600 and 800 francs a puncheon, clearly quite an advance.
at this time that two of our friends, Gauthier and Mir-andole, were
living in a house adjoining the burning section (they lived in Kearny
Street and had a bonded warehouse for consignments) we ran to their
assistance only to find them dismantling their building. Now to move
out under such conditions is almost suicidal, for to transport
furniture or goods from the city to the hill, the owners of moving vans
ask 100 francs for each trip. How invalids frequently preferred death
to sending for a doctor has already been intimated. With a fire close
by the majority are almost as willing to be burned out as to call for
wagons to carry off their merchandise. Everyone in San Francisco,
furthermore, is very obliging, almost too obliging. Everyone comes to
your assistance, everyone puts a shoulder to the wheel, and it is
amazing how furniture disappears in the hands of its movers.
give any idea of the noise made under such conditions by the Americans
is virtually impossible. They come, go, scamper here and there, shout,
enter the houses, break and destroy things, and above all, become
intoxicated. In addition to all this, no sooner has a house burned
down, than everyone digs with anything at hand among the ashes, not
only at the mines is there a frenzy of gold-digging!
the block of burning buildings was a steel house that had come out from
England, where it had been constructed. Owing to the material of which
it had been built the natural expectation was that it would defy the
flames. Everyone, in consequence, carried, rolled, pushed, and piled up
what he had of most value inside this building. But the fire proved
insatiable. Upon reaching the steel edifice, it was soon enveloped with
tongues of flame that lapped at it greedily, surrounding it with such
intense heat that the steel began to turn red, writhe and cringe, as
did all the adjoining wooden houses. Of the entire house and its
contents, all that remained was a kind of formless, shrunken,
shrivelled hull whose original shape could no longer be recognized.
fire travelled from north to south, being finally stopped at California
Street, a broad thoroughfare which the fire, despite its relentless
efforts, was unable to leap. The fire had lasted from seven o'clock
until eleven. Five hundred houses were burned and incalculable