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When he could eat no more

When he could eat no more, the old man sighed, wiped his hands on his  naked legs, and gazed out over the sea. With the content of a full  stomach, he waxed reminiscent. “To think of it! I’ve seen this beach alive with men, women, and  children on a pleasant Sunday. And there weren’t any bears to eat them  up, either. And right up there on the cliff was a big restaurant where  you could get anything you wanted to eat. Four million people lived in  San Francisco then. And now, in the whole city and county there aren’t  forty all told.

And out there on the sea were ships and ships always to  be seen, going in for the Golden Gate or coming out. And airships in the  air—dirigibles and flying machines. They could travel two hundred miles  an hour. The mail contracts with the New York and San Francisco Limited  demanded that for the minimum.

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