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On the California-Street Car

She was a little black girl about four years old, riding with her mother on the observation seat of the California street car. She was a little black girl and didn't know the difference - she might have been as white as milk for all she knew. She was poor but daintily dressed beside being very neat.

The rest of us in the car were grown-up and white - well-dressed people who looked as though we knew a lot. We were all riding along; we and the little black girl with her mother, when suddenly we came out from the surrounding wall of apartment houses into the open, facing a side street - .

And there before us, in all its morning glory, lay the great city of Saint Francis. It was just emerging out of fog. The smoke and steam rising, touched into color by the sun, softened it into a great mystery with forms and hulks coming into relief through the mists. For a moment it wasn't a city but a magnificent singing of the morning.

In a dull, inert way I suppose all of us, the grownup people, glimpsed some of its beauty. But we were all intent upon the business of the day - we didn't look out very far - .

But the little black girl who didn't know any better, the little black girl raised her two arms above her head and exclaimed in a high, joyous child voice - "GEE WHIZ!"

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