Then the transfer was made. It was all settled in less than half an hour, unceremoniously, almost hastily. For the sake of form Geary signed a check for eight thousand dollars which Vandover in his turn made over to Hiram Wade. The notary filled out a deed of grant, bargain, and sale, pasting on his certificate of acknowledgment as soon as Vandover and Geary had signed. Geary took the abstract, thrusting it into his breast-pocket. As far as Vandover was concerned, the sale was complete, but he had neither his properly nor its equivalent in money.
“Well,” declared Geary at length, “I guess that’s all there is to be done. I’ll get a release from old man Wade and send it to you to-morrow or next day. Now, let’s go down to the Imperial and have a drink on it.” They went out, but the notary returned to the anteroom, turning the spigot of the filter to right and left, frowning at it suspiciously, refusing to be satisfied.
That particular room in the Lick House was well toward the rear of the building, on one of the upper floors, and from its window, one looked out upon a vast reach of roofs that rose little by little to meet the abrupt rise of Telegraph Hill. It was a sordid and grimy wilderness, topped with a gray maze of wires and pierced with thousands of chimney stacks. Many of the roofs were covered with tin long since blackened by rust and soot. Here and there could be seen clothes hung out to dry. Occasionally upon the flanking walls of some of the larger buildings was displayed an enormous painted sign, a violent contrast of intense black and staring white amidst the sooty brown and gray, advertising some tobacco, some newspaper, or some department store. Not far in the distance two tall smokestacks of blackened tin rose high in the air, above the roof of a steam laundry, one very large like the stack of a Cunarder, the other slender, graceful, with a funnel-shaped top. All day and all night these stacks were smoking; from the first, the larger one, rolled a heavy black smoke, very gloomy, waving with a slow and continued movement like the plume of some sullen warrior. But the other one, the tall and slender pipe, threw off a series of little white puffs, three at a time, that rose buoyant and joyous into the air like so many white doves, vanishing at last, melting away in the higher sunshine, only to be followed by another flight. They came three at a time, the pipe tossing them out with a sharp gay sound like a note of laughter interrupted by a cough.
But the interior of the room presented the usual dreary aspect of the hotel bedroom—cheerless, lamentable.