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A Little Girl in Old San Francisco

Balder the Beautiful
A Wedding and a Parting
The Enchantment of Youth
In the Balance
The Decision of Fate
To See You Once Again
The Guiding Finger
An Enchanted Journey
It was a long journey for a little girl, so long indeed that the old life had almost faded
from her mind, and seemed like something done in another existence. When she was
younger still she had once surprised her mother by saying, "Mother, where did I live
before I came here?" The pale, care-worn woman had glanced at her in vague
surprise and answered rather fretfully, "Why, nowhere, child."
"Oh, but I remember things," said the little girl with a confident air, looking out of
eyes that seemed to take an added shade from her present emotions.
"Nonsense! You can't remember things that never happened. That's imagining them,
and it isn't true. If you told them they would be falsehoods. There, go out and get me
a basket of chips."
She was afraid of telling falsehoods, most of those rigid people called them by their
plain name, "lies," and whipped their children. So the little girl kept them to herself;
she was a very good and upright child as a general thing and knew very little about
her tricky father. But she went on imagining. Especially when she studied
geography, which she was extravagantly fond of, yet she could never quite decide
which country she had lived in.
Through those months of journeying in the big vessel over strange waters, for she
had been born in an inland hamlet with a great woods of hemlock, spruce, and fir
behind the little cottage, and two or three small creeks wandering about, she had
many strange thoughts. Though at first she was quite ill, but Uncle Jason was the
best nurse in the world, and presently she began to run about and get acquainted.
There were only a few women passengers. One middle-aged, with a son sixteen, who
was working his way; a few wives emigrating with their husbands, three women
friends who were in the hope of finding an easier life and perhaps husbands, though
they hardly admitted that to each other.
She often sat in Uncle Jason's lap, hugged up to his breast. Of course, her mother had
been his sister, they had settled upon that, and he did not contradict. She was lulled
by the motion of the vessel and often fell asleep, but in her waking momen ts these
were the memories that were growing more vague and getting tangled up with
various things.
Her father had taught school at South Berwick the winter she could recall most
readily, and came home on Saturday morning, spending most of the time at the
store. Woodville was only a sort of hamlet, though it had a church, a school, and a
general store. Sometimes he would go back on Sunday, but oftener early Monday
morning. Then late in the summer he was home for a while, and went away after