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back his chair. “Well, what do you think of our fair young city?” he grinned.
“It’s got me going,” admitted Bob.
“Took me some time to find out where to get off at,” said Baker. “When I found it out, I didn’t dare tell anybody. They mob you here and string you up by your pigtail, if you try to hint that this isn’t the one best bet on terrestrial habitations. They like thei nike air max 90 sale r little place, and they believe in it a whole lot, and they’re dead right about it! They’d stand right up on their hind legs and paw the atmosphere if anybody were to tell them what they really are, but it’s a fact. Same joyous slambang, same line of sharps hanging on the outskirts, same row, racket, and joy in life, sa nike air max sale me struggle; yes, and by golly! the same big hopes and big enterprises and big optimism and big energies! Wouldn’t you like to be helping them do it?”
“What’s the answer?” asked Bob, amused.
“Well, for all its big buildings and its electric lights, and trolleys, and police and size, it’s nothing more nor less than a frontier town.”
“A frontier town!” echoed Bob.
“You think it over,” said Baker.
Part 2 Chapter 4
But if Bob imagined for one moment that he had acquired even a notion of California in his expe nike air max classic riences and observations down the San Joaquin and in Los Angeles, the next few stages of his Sentimental Journey very soon undeceived him. Baker’s business interests soon took him away. Bob, armed with letters of introduction from his friend, visited in turn such places as Santa Barbara, Riverside, San Diego, Redlands and nike air max Pasadena. He could not but be struck by the absolute differences that existed, not only in the physical aspects but in the spirit and aims of the peoples. If these communities had been separated by thousands of miles of distance they could not have been more unlike.
At one place he found the semi-tropical luxuriance of flowers and trees and fruits, the soft, warm sunshine, the tepid, langourous, musical nights, the mellow haze of romance over mountain and velvet hill and soft sea, the low-shaded cottages, the leisurely attractive people one associates with the story-book conception of California. The place was charming in its surroundings and in its graces of life, but it was a cheerful, happy, out-at-the-heels, raggedy little town, whose bright gardens adorned its abyssmal streets, whose beautiful mountains palliated the naivete of its natural and atrocious roads. Bob mingled with its people with the pardonable amusement of a man fresh from the doing of big things. There seemed to be such long, grave and futile discussions over the undertaking of that which a more nike air max 90 energetic community would do as a matter of course in the day’s work. The liveryman from whom Bob hired his saddle horse proved to be a person of a leisurely and sardonic humour.
“Their chief asset here is tourists,” said he. “That’s the leading industry. They can’t see it, and they don’t want to. They have just one road through the county. It’s a bum one. You’d think it was a dozen, to hear them talk about the immense undertaking of making it halfway decent. Any other place would do these things they’ve been talking about for ten years just on the side, as part of the get-ready. Lucky they didn’t have to do anything in the way of getting those mountains set proper, or there’d be a hole there yet.”
“Why don’t you go East?” asked Bob.
“I did once. Didn’t like it.”
“What’s the matter?”
“Well, I’ll tell you. Back East when you don’t do nothing, you feel kind of guilty. Out here when you don’t do nothing, _you don’t give a damn nike air max sale !_”
Nevertheless, Bob was very sorry when he had to leave this quiet and beautiful little town, with its happy, careless, charming people.
Thence he went directly to a town built in a half-circle of the mountains. The sunshine here was warm and grateful, but when its rays were withdrawn a stinging chill crept down from the snow. No sitting out on the verandah after dinner, but often a most grateful fire in the Club’s fireplace. The mornings were crisp and enlivening. And again by the middle of the day the soft California warmth laid the land under its spell.
This was a place of orange-growers, young fellows from the East. Its University Club was large and prosperous. Its streets were wide. Flowers lined the curbs. There were few fences. The houses were in good taste. Even the telephone poles were painted green so as to be unobtrusive. Bob thought it one of the most attractive places he had ever seen, as indeed it should be, for it was built practically to order by people of intelligence.
Thence he drove through miles and miles cheap nike air max trainers of orange groves, so large that the numerous workmen go about their work on bicycles. Even here in the country, the roadsides were planted with palms and other ornamental trees, and gay with flowers. Abruptly he came upon a squalid village of the old regime, with ugly frame houses, littered streets, sagging sidewalks foul with puddles, old tin cans, rubbish; populous with children and women in back-yard dressin nike air max 95 g sacks–a distressing reminder of the worst from the older-established countries. And again, at the end of the week, he most unexpectedly found himself seated on a country-club verandah, having a very good time, indeed, with some charming specimens of the idle rich. He talked polo, golf, tennis and horses; he dined at several most elaborate “cottages”; he rode forth on glossy, bang-tailed horses, perfectly appointed; he drove in marvellously conceived traps in company with most engaging damsels. When, finally, he reached Los Angeles again he carried with him, as standing for California, not even the heterogeneous but fairly coherent idea one usually gains of a single commonwealth, but an impression of many climes and many peoples.
“Yes,” said Baker, “and if you’d gone North to where I live, you’d have struck a different nike air max 1 layout entirely.”
Part 2 Chapter 5
There remained in Bob’s initial Southern California experience one more episode that brought him an acquaintance, apparently casual, but which later was to influence him.
Of an afternoon he walked up Main Street idly and alone. The exhibit of a real estate office attracted him. Over the door, in place of a sign, hung a huge stretched canvas depicting not too rudely a wide country-side dotted with model farms of astounding prosperity. The window was filled with pumpkins, apples, oranges, sheaves of wheat, bottles full of soft fruits preserved in alcohol, and the like. As background was an oil painting in which the Lucky Lands occupied a spacious pervading foreground, while in clever perspectives the Coast Range, the foothills, and the other cities of the San Fernando Valley supplied a mod nike air max est setting. This was usual enough.
At the door stood a very alert man with glasses. He scrutinized closely every passerby. Occasionally he hailed one or the other, conversed earnestly a brief instant, and passed them inside. Gradually it dawned on Bob that this man was acting in the capacity of “barker”–that with quite admirable perspicacity and accuracy, he was engaged in selecting from the countless throngs the few possible purchasers for Lucky Lands. Curious to see what attraction was offered to induce this unanimity of acquiescence to the barker’s invitation, the young man approached.
“What’s going on?” he asked.
The barker appraised him with one sweeping glance.
“Stereopticon lecture inside,” he snapped, and turned his back.
Bob made his way into a dimly lighted hall. At one end was a slightly elevated platform abo cheap nike air max ve which the white screen was suspended. More agricultural products supplied the decorations. The body of the hall was filled with folding chairs, about half of which were occupied. Perhaps a dozen attendants tiptoed here and there. A successful attempt was everywhere made to endow with high importance all the proceedings and appurtenances of the Lucky Land Co.
Bob slipped into a chair. Immediately a small pasteboard ticket and a fountain pen were thrust into his hand.
“Sign your name and address on this,” the man whispered.
Bob held it up, the better to see what it was.
“All these tickets are placed in a hat,” explained the man, “and one is drawn. The lucky ticket gets a free ride to Lucky on one of our weekly homeseekers’ excursions. Others pay one fare for round trip.”
“I see,” said Bob, signing, “and in return you get cheap nike air max the names and addresses of every one here.”
He glanced up at his interlocutor with a quizzical expression that changed at once to one of puzzlement. Where had he seen the man before? He was, perhaps, fifty-five years old, tall and slender, slightly stooped, slightly awry. His lean gray face was deeply lined, his close-clipped moustache and hair were gray, and his eyes twinkled behind his glasses with a cold gray light. Something about these glasses struck faintly a chord of memory in Bob’s experience, but he could not catch its modulations. The man, on his side, stared at Bob a trifle uncertainly. Then he held the card up to the dim light.
“You are interested in Lucky Lands–Mr. John Smith, of Reno?” he asked, stooping low to be heard.
“Sure!” grinned Bob.
The man said nothing more, but glided away, and in a moment the f lare of light on the screen announced that the lecture was to begin.
The lecturer, was a glib, self-possessed youth, filled to the brim with statistics, with which he literally overwhelmed his auditors. His remarks were accompanied by a rapid-fire snapping of fingers to the time of which the operator changed his slides. A bewildering succession of coloured views flashed on the screen. They showed Lucky in all its glories–the blacksmith shop, the main street, the new hotel, the grocery, Brown’s walnut ranch, the ditch, the Southern Pacific Depot, the Methodist Church and a hundred others. So quickly did they succeed each other that no one had time to reduce to the terms of experience the scenes depicted on these slides–for with the glamour of exaggerated colour, of unaccustomed presentation, and of skillful posing the mo cheap nike air max st commonplace village street seems wonderful and attractive for the moment. The lecturer concluded by an alarming statement as to the rapidity with which this desirable ranching property was being snapped up. He urged early decisions as the only safe course; and, as usual with all real estate men, called attention to the contrast between the Riverside of twenty years ago and the Riverside of to-day.
The daylight was then admitted.
“Now, gentlemen,” con

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