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- The Native Son - 6/6 -


I know that the Native Son works and works hard. The proof of that is California itself. San Francisco twice rebuilt, the progressive city of Los Angeles, all the merry enterprising smaller California cities and towns. But, somehow, he plays so hard at his work and works so hard at his play that you are always wondering whether it's all the time he works or all the time he plays. At any rate, out of his work comes gaiety and out of his play seriousness. His activities are so many that when I try to make my imagined program of his average day, I should provide one not of twenty-four hours, but of seventy-two.

I imagine him going down to his office at about nine in the morning, working until noon as though driven by steam and electricity; then lunching with a party of Native Sons, all filled with jocund japeful joshing Native Son humor which brims over in showers of Native Son wit. I imagine him returning to an afternoon of brief but concentrated strenuous labor, then going for a run in the Park, or tennis, or golf, ending with a swim; presenting himself fine and fit at his club at first-cocktail time. I imagine him dining at his club or at a restaurant or at a stag-dinner, always in the company of other joyous Native Sons; going to the Orpheum, motoring through the Park afterwards; and finally indulging in another bite before he gets to bed. Sometime during the process, he has assisted in playing a graceful practical joke on a trusting friend. He has attended a meeting to boost a big, new developing project for California. He has made a speech. He has contributed to some pressing charity. He has swung into at least two political fights. He has attended a pageant or a fiesta or a carnival. And he has managed to conduct his wooing of that beautiful (and fortunate) Native Daughter who will some day become Mrs. Native Son.

Really my favorite hour is every hour.

Every hour in San Francisco is a charming hour. Perhaps my favorite comes anywhere between six and eight. Then "The City" is brilliant with lights; street lamps, shop windows, roof advertising signs. The hotels are a-dance and a-dazzle with life. Flowers and greens make mats and cushions of gorgeous color at the downtown corners. At one end of Market Street, the Ferry building is outlined in electricity, sometimes in color; at the other end the delicate outlines of Twin Peaks are merging with night. Perhaps swinging towards the horizon there is a crescent moon - that gay strong young bow which should be the emblem of California's perpetual youth and of her augmenting power. Perhaps close to the crescent flickers the evening star - that jewel on the brow of night which should be a symbol of San Francisco's eternal sparkle. And, perhaps floating over the City, a sheer high fog mutes the crescent's gold to a daffodil yellow; winds moist gauzes over the thrilling evening star. At the top of the high hill-streets, the lamps run in straight strings or pendant necklaces. Down their astonishing slopes slide cars like glass boxes filled with liquid light; motors whose front lamps flood the asphalt with bubbling gold. If it be Christmas - and nowhere is Christmas so Christmasy as in California - the clubs and hotels show facades covered with jewel-designs in red and green lights; mistletoe, holly, stack high the sidewalks on each side of the flower stands. The beautiful Native Daughter, eyes dancing, lips smiling, dressed with much color and more chic, is everywhere. And everywhere too, crowding the streets, thronging the cafes, jamming the theatres, flooding the parks, filling the endless files of motor-car, until before your very eyes, "the city" seems to spawn men, is -

Generous, genial, gay; handsome; frank and fine; careless and care-free; vital, virile, vigorous; engaging and debonair; witty and winning and wise; humorous and human; kindly and courteous; high-minded, high-hearted, high-spirited; here's to him! Ladies, this toast must be drunk standing - the Native Son.


The Native Son - 6/6

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