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Extra Fresh

Some one in San Francisco keeps hens. Not only hens, but a rooster. I distinctly heard him crow. It was in the very early morning, and like Tennyson's "Queen of the May" - lying broad awake - "I did not hear the dog howl, mother, but I did hear this crow."

It is Ralph Waldo Trine, I think, who says that "So long as there remaineth in it the crow of a cock or the lay of a hen a city is not a city." But I would not base the citifiedness of a city upon the mere crow of a cock any more than on the census. It is a vulgar criterion.

For human nature is human nature and nothing betrays human nature like hens. It is not surprising, therefore, that some woman has sneaked into the city limits a mess of hens. Neither is it an aspersion on the police.

Besides this was to be about eggs.

Has anyone noticed how eggs of late years are never just eggs, but classified? The hens seem to lay them classified. There are hen eggs and pullet eggs and large hen eggs and small hen eggs and large pullet eggs and small pullet eggs and strictly fresh eggs and ranch eggs and choice eggs and large dark eggs and all-mixed eggs and fresh cracked eggs and mixed color eggs and small brown and, oh, hundreds of sub-divisions.

The very latest I noticed were "dirty" eggs, 2 cents cheaper. I look next for "small dirty eggs." Why should they sound so unrefined? More so some way than "small dirty boys." But an artist must paint life as he sees it and I saw these "dirty" eggs on that bazaar - and bizarre - of diversities - Fillmore street.

On Haight street I saw "extra fresh eggs" and how an egg can be more than "fresh" I fail to see. Now, a man may be "extra fresh," but an egg is different. Even if it left the hen early it would still be only "fresh." Well, the grocer probably knows.

Every adjective he uses has its significance. Take "ranch" eggs, how pastoral they sound and fanned by fresh zephyrs. The same with "yard" eggs, such an "out in the open - let the rest of the world go by" impression they confer. And so reassuring, too, as though they couldn't have been manufactured for Woolworth's.

There is much, I find, to be written about eggs.

Isn't it "up-looking," as Mr. Wilson would say, that they are so cheap now?

I cannot help wondering if that woman's hens - the hens that went with the crow - if they laid well when eggs were so high.

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