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[149] voice and lash into the pace that kills. That racecourse lying in the shadow of a grave-yard is a type of California in her ordinary mood.

The towns and villages on this bay not only teem with life, but life in a most strained and febrile state. No one is calm. No man sits down to smoke the pipe of peace; no day seems long enough for the labour to be wrought. All men and women aim at emphasis. An actor rants, a preacher roars, a singer screams. Such talk as suits a London diningroom sounds tame, such colours as beseem a London dancing room look dull. The pulses of society beat too high for ordinary men and ordinary times. A storm seems beating overhead, a battle raging in our front. If we would live, we need to be alert and prompt. A citizen bolts his dinner, gulps his whisky, puffs his cigarettes, and hurries off, as though he heard a bugle call. He sits at table with a loaded pistol in his pocket; he fingers his bowie-knife while asking a friend to drink. Suspicion is a habit of his mind. If quick to see offence, he is no less quick to bury the offence in blood. A rian will shoot his brother for a jest. Here is a case not many days old. A luckless wit described his neighbour in one of the

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