ONLY the rattle of early traffic over the cobblestones disturbed the lighter sleepers of the great metropolis of the West that morning. Only those who prepare for the entire army of city workers were astir, breathing the fresh air off the Pacific, unsullied by the dust of the street and the smoke from the factories. Even as the first rays of the morning sun tipped the Golden Gate hills their ears were startled by an unusual sound - a low rumble, chilling ifl its ominous tone, that seemed to come from the bowels of the earth. Instantly following the ground rose and fell and swayed and shivered with awful emotion, and hell was loosened.
The shrieks of women and children and the imprecations of men were drowned in the roar and crash of falling buildings, the grinding thunder of the upheaving earth and the groaning, cracking and splitting of timbers as the homes and business places of the peerless city were being wrenched to pieces. With a last vicious tremble, as of a terrier shaking a rat, the terrible subterranean power ceased with a groaning sigh, and quiveringly the earth settled to quiet, a cloud of dust arising from the shattered city. As that mantle of destruction was being borne toward the calm bay on the morning sea breeze, there was an instant of silence as the people gasped in the dumb realization of the cataclysm. But the horror had but begun. From every direction red spears of fire shot from among the ruins and as the men rushed to the work of preservation the blood in their veins was frozen when the pumps brought forth only air. The wracking of the earth had torn the water pipes from the ground, and with a greedy roar the flames mounted higher and leaped upon their prey with little hindrance.
The details of the ghastly conflagration, the heroic fight of the people to save the city, the suffering and privations of the tens of thousands of homeless ones and the unexampled rush to the rescue by the American nation, has been told by a thousand pens. Some of the most interesting views of the scene are herewith presented as a memory when San Francisco will soon have exceeded her former beauty and rank among the cities of the world.