“I don’t remember that,” she said curiously.
“No you couldn’t,” he laughed outright. “I haven’t thought it good enough to publish.”
“And it isn’t the sort of thing,” she ventured gaily, “you could put in a sermon.”
“No, it isn’t.” They came to a corner of the street which led to Mr Finlay’s boarding-house. It stretched narrowly to the north and there was a good deal more snow on each side of it. They lingered together for a moment talking, seizing the new joy in it which was simply the joy of his sudden liberation with her consciously pushing away the moment of parting; and Finlay’s eyes rested once again on the evening sky beyond the river.
“I believe you are right and I am a moralizer,” he said. “There is pain over there. One thinks a sunset beautiful and impressive, but one doesn’t look at it long.”
Then they separated, and he took the road to the north, which was still snowbound, while she went on into the chilly yellow west, with the odd sweet illusion that a summer day was dawning.
The office of Messrs Fulke, Warner, & Murchison was in Market Street, exactly over Scott’s drug store. Scott with his globular blue and red and green vessels in the window and his soda-water fountain inside; was on the ground floor; the passage leading upstairs separated him from Mickie, boots and shoes; and beyond Mickie, Elgin’s leading tobacconist shared his place of business with a barber. The last two contributed most to the gaiety of Market Street: the barber with the ribanded pole, which stuck out at an angle; the tobacconist with a nobly featured squaw in chocolate effigy who held her draperies under her chin with one hand and outstretched a packet of cigars with the other.
The passage staircase between Scott’s and Mickie’s had a hardened look, and bore witness to the habit of expectoration; ladies, going up to Dr Simmons, held their skirts up and the corners of their mouths down. Dr Simmons was the dentist: you turned to the right. The passage itself turned to the left, and after passing two doors bearing the law firm’s designation in black letters on ground glass, it conducted you with abruptness to the office of a bicycle agent, and left you there. For greater emphasis the name of the firm of Messrs Fulke, Warner & Murchison was painted on the windows also; it could be seen from any part of the market square, which lay, with the town hall in the middle, immediately below. During four days in the week the market square was empty. Odds and ends of straw and paper blew about it; an occasional pedestrian crossed it diagonally for the short cut to the post-office; the town hall rose in the middle, and defied you to take your mind off the ugliness of municipal institutions. On the other days it was a scene of activity. Farmers’ wagons, with the shafts turned in were ranged round three sides of it; on a big day they