The long street rising and falling and rising again until its farthest
crest high in the east seemed to brush the fading stars, was deserted even
by the private watchmen that guarded the homes of the apprehensive in the
Western Addition. Alexina darted across and into the shadows of the avenue
that led up to her old-fashioned home, a relic of San Francisco's "early
days," perched high on the steepest of the casual hills in that city of a
She was breathless and rather frightened, for although of an adventurous
spirit, which had led her to slide down the pillars of the verandah at
night when her legs were longer than her years, and during the past winter
to make a hardly less dignified exit by a side door when her worthy but
hopelessly Victorian mother was asleep, this was the first time that she
had been out after midnight.
And it was five o'clock in the morning!
She had gone with Aileen Lawton, her mother's pet aversion, to a party
given by one of those new people whom Mrs. Groome, a massive if crumbling
pillar of San Francisco's proud old aristocracy, held in pious disdain, and
had danced in the magnificent ballroom with the tireless exhilaration of
her eighteen years until the weary band had played Home Sweet Home.