"Mining felt like an abstraction, an anachronism, a hot rock the earth had belched up onto its long-settled surface, this groomed land, tree-lined paved paths, Ionic columns and level, trimmed fields…The mining building at Cal was named Hearst, of course. For George Hearst, the Ur-Hearst, who’d made his millions in the Comstock lode, Nevada, the desert east of here. That poor oaf McTeague left San Francisco and died in the desert. The ones who’d made their fortunes, made their beds of coin, came to San Francisco to spend it and build. The mainland begins at Berkeley, east of the bay, and we’re a fragile spit of land poised to snap off at its corset-narrow waist. The earth criminals have everything to the east, why load us down with their bodies and buildings and ore?"