|Home -> Samuel Levinson -> What We Saw at Madame World's Fair - A Letter Home|
Night Illumination, Tower of Jewels.
A Letter Home.
For weeks and months we had been reading every scrap of information we could find about the wonderful Fair which was to be given in San Francisco, the city of our dreams.
We had not even imagined that we could go to it, because mother could not come until later, and then school would be in session, so when father said that we might come with him we were more than thankful.
Mother looked a little doubtful, but father said, "Nonsense, it is no trick at all for me to take them." Madame World has sent us an invitation to her Fair and we could not think of refusing. So we came at once.
We have been so wishing that you could be here with us that father has suggested that we write you a letter every day, and tell you about some of the things that we see.
We think it is a good plan, and we shall try to make the letters as full of interest as possible, in the hope that we may show you something of it, and at the same time fix it in our own memories.
First, then, this Wonder City by the Sea is a real city, even though it does, as we heard a lady remark today, look like a poet's dream.
It has a bank, and a post-office, a hospital, a fire department, a hotel, a street car, houses for the different families of the world to live in, and in fact about everything which any city needs.
The buildings and statuary are made of a kind of cement, called artificial travertine, tinted to look like terra cotta.
Real travertine is a pure carbonate of lime formed from dripping water which bears a lime deposit, and is found in Rome, where it is much used in building and for statuary. The imitation travertine was discovered by Mr. Paul Denneville of New York, and we have to thank him for the fact that after all day at the Fair our eyes are not in the least tired; it is due to the fact that the material is easily tinted, that Mr. Jules Guerin who composed the color scheme of the whole Fair was able to carry out his ideas.
You will remember that Mr. Guerin is the man who makes the color pictures which we have so much admired in the "Century Magazine."
The roofs are covered with artificial tiles, and the contrast between the pinkish walls and the red of the roofs makes a picture which will never be forgotten.
It seems a pity that the city cannot remain, but it is not built for permanency, father says, but is like a beautiful dream, which seems so real that the memory stays always, and that its influence will color our whole lives, and make each one of us better for having seen it.
And when we got our first glimpse of the Tower! We couldn't even say "Oh!" We just looked at each other, and then back at the Fair city, just to make sure we were not dreaming.
There was the beautiful Tower of jewels, smiling and twinkling its shining eyes at us, and saying, "Come in, children; come in, and walk under my beautiful blue arches, and through my magic courts, and my sheltered gardens, and be happy, and love each other and all the children of the world. Peace I offer you, and Plenty, and Harmony, and Beauty. Here you are safe, and here you are welcome. Come in, my children."
So in we went. The sun was shining, the blue waters of the bay were sparkling, bands were playing, the red and yellow flags were flying in the sweet salt breezes, and the lovely white pigeons were cooing; and best of all, little white people, and little brown people, and little yellow people were here and there and everywhere, all happy and smiling and glad that they had come.
We will tell you about the Tower. It is Madame World's expression of joy and satisfaction that the Canal is finished, and it is really the key to the whole Fair. Mr. Thomas Hastings of New York designed it. It is four hundred and forty-three feet in height, and the arch, which is the gateway to the Fair, is sixty feet wide and one hundred and ten feet high.
On the pedestals are figures of men who have made the world what it is today. There are fifty thousand jewels on the Tower, of five colors - canary, amethyst, ruby, aquamarine, and white. These were made in Austria, of a peculiar kind of sand which produces a very hard glass, called Sumatra stone, and which takes a high polish. The jewels were cut exactly like precious stones, and are called Nova Gems.
These were set in bands of metal, and suspended from hooks, each jewel with a tiny mirror back of it.
When the winds move the jewels, they catch the light, and sparkle like real gems.
At night under the illumination of the searchlights the Tower is even more beautiful than in the sunshine.
We are glad that we are going to have the memory of the Tower to take away with us.
Your loving cousins,
Jane and Ellen.
Madame World has sent us an invitation to her Fair and we could not think of refusing. So we came at once.