‘Well!’ said he with a sort of grunt. ’Beats the devil! I thought it was A wonderful thing was happening in the sky. A great double moon seemed to be flying over the city hooded in purple haze. A little spray of silver light broke out of it, as we looked, and shot backward and then floated after the two shining disks that were falling eastward in a long curve. They seemed to be so near I thought they were coming down upon the city. It occurred to me they must have some connection with the odd experience I had gone through. In a moment they had passed out of sight. We were not aware that we had witnessed a spectacle the like of which had not been seen in centuries, if ever, since God made the heavens’ the great meteor of 1860.
‘Let’s go back,’ said Trumbull. ‘We came too far. I forgot myself.’
‘Dangerous here?’ I enquired.
‘Not at all,’ said he, ’but a long way out of town — tired?
‘Rather,’ I said, grateful for his evident desire to quiet my alarm.
‘Come!’ said he as we came back to the pavement, his hand upon my shoulder. ’Talk to me. Tell me — what are you going to do?
We walked slowly down the deserted avenue, I, meanwhile, talking of my pians.
‘You love. Hope,’ he said presently. ’You will marry her?
‘If she will have me,’ said I.
‘You must wait,’ he said, ’time enough!
He quickened his pace again as we came in sight of the scattering shops and houses of the upper city and no other word was spoken. On the corners we saw men looking into the sky and talking of the fallen moon. It was late bedtime when we turned into Gramercy Park.
‘Come in,’ said he as he opened an iron gate.
I followed him up a marble stairway and a doddering old English butler opened the door for us. We entered a fine hall, its floor of beautiful parquetry muffled with silken rugs. High and spacious rooms were all aglow with light.
He conducted me to a large smoking-room, its floor and walls covered with trophies of the hunt — antlers and the skins of carnivora. Here he threw off his coat and bade me be at home as he lay down upon a wicker divan covered with the tawny skin of some wild animal. He stroked the fur fondly with his hand.
‘Hello Jock!’ he said, a greeting that mystified me.
‘Tried to eat me,’ he added, turning to me.
Then he bared his great hairy arm and showed me a lot of ugly scars, I besought him to tell the story.