Early one evening in the autumn of ’64, a pale girl stood singing Methodist hymns at the summit of Bush Street hill. She was attired, Spanish fashion, in a loose overcoat and slippers. Suddenly she broke off her song, a dark-browed young soldier from the Presidio cautiously approac...
<p>Early one evening in the autumn of ’64, a pale girl stood singing Methodist hymns at the summit of Bush Street hill. She was attired, Spanish fashion, in a loose overcoat and slippers. Suddenly she broke off her song, a dark-browed young soldier from the Presidio cautiously approached, and seizing her fondly in his arms, snatched away the overcoat, retreating with it to an auction-house on Pacific Street, where it may still be seen by the benighted traveller, just a-going for two-and-half-and never gone!</p>
<p>The poor maiden after this misfortune felt a bitter resentment swelling in her heart, and scorning to remain among her kind in that costume, took her way to the Cliff House, where she arrived, worn and weary, about breakfast-time.</p>
<p>The landlord received her kindly, and offered her a pair of his best trousers; but she was of noble blood, and having been reared in luxury, respectfully declined to receive charity from a low-born stranger. All efforts to induce her to eat were equally unavailing. She would stand for hours on the rocks where the road descends to the beach, and gaze at the playful seals in the surf below, who seemed rather flattered by her attention, and would swim about, singing their sweetest songs to her alone. Passers-by were equally curious as to her, but a broken lyre gives forth no music, and her heart responded not with any more long metre hymns.</p>
<p>After a few weeks of this solitary life she was suddenly missed. At the same time a strange seal was noted among the rest. She was remarkable for being always clad in an overcoat, which she had doubtless fished up from the wreck of the French galleon Brignardello, which went ashore there some years afterward.</p>
<p>One tempestuous night, an old hag who had long done business as a hermitess on Helmet Rock came into the bar-room at the Cliff House, and there, amidst the crushing thunders and lightnings spilling all over the horizon, she related that she had seen a young seal in a comfortable overcoat, sitting pensively upon the pinnacle of Seal Rock, and had distinctly heard the familiar words of a Methodist hymn. Upon inquiry the tale was discovered to be founded upon fact. The identity of this seal could no longer be denied without downright blasphemy, and in all the old chronicles of that period not a doubt is even implied.</p>
<p>One day a handsome, dark, young lieutenant of infantry, Don Edmundo...