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The San Francisco Daily Morning Call, September 15, 1864


There is nothing in the Mechanics' Fair more ingenious or pleasanter to look at than the Skating Pond, and neither is there anything about the Pavilion which is half so hard to find, unless it be the wretched school-boy who stealthily rings Dexter's excellent but distracting door gong, and then melts suddenly away under the neighboring billiard tables, and is seen no more in life. But the Skating Pond is really easy to find when you have intelligent directions by which to guide yourself. From the main entrance, you go straight to the floral tower, and glance off at an angle of forty-five degrees to the left and forwards; preserve the direction thus secured until you reach the wall of the building, and your object is attained. The Skating Pond sits on a table in a neat parlor, and if you would have one like it, you should line the inside of a wash-tub with mirrors, have the bottom peopled with male and female dolls in skating attitude, and arrange it so that it will turn around rapidly; you will observe that the little figures will be multiplied in the mirrors into countless multitudes of hurrying and skurrying skaters, growing smaller and smaller and more and more crowded together, as far as the eye can reach into the limitless distance; and if your dolls are dressed in as perfect good taste, and appropriate colors, and are arranged in as faultless skating postures as are these of which we are speaking, you cannot fail to be delighted with the liveliness, the unlimited variety and the magnificence of the scene, and if you are anything of a skater yourself, you must infallibly become inoculated with the dash and spirit and rushing excitement of it. Put your eyes down to the rim of the tub (this one is handsome enough for a drawing room,) and look far away into the mirrors, and you may see thousands and thousands of men and women swiftly passing and repassing each other, over a stretching sea of ice that apparently has no more limit than space itself. It is a beautiful work of art, and the more one looks at it the more he is pleased with it. Mrs. Nathaniel Holland, the lady who has charge of it, invented and constructed it herself, and the best artists in the city say that the grouping of her miniature figures, and the gracefulness and appropriateness of their carriage and costumes could not be improved upon. Two months of her time were given solely to its construction, and all the reward she asks for her labors is, that she may gather together, by exhibiting it, a thousand dollars for the Sanitary Fund. She will accomplish this, easily enough, and she might have already done so if placards to direct the public to her part of the Pavilion had been hung up here and there, where they would arrest attention. This will be looked to, directly. The Skating Pond was exhibited at the late Christian Commission Fair and netted fifteen hundred dollars in currency to that charity.

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