An evening mildly out upon the town, following that vaguest of inclinations: civility. The plan had been to step out to the pub on the corner by the house; but peering in the windows at the sodden murmurings of the gray-haired regulars at the bar, we four, young and indecisive, given rather to nights ‘at home,’ turned towards town.
Oh you studied creatures, you flimsy confections of powder and resin, set in tinsel and imitation leather! Even on such a cold night as this, one could count the even freckles on a back whose coppery tan cost a pretty penny to acquire. How your braying diffuses in the smell of lipstick, and spilled beer, and ashes strewn across the floor! There are so many faces—stretched out of all proportion in shouts, harsher laughter, nonsensical roarings, and private jokes made public.
How strange these things seem to me. For I am temperance written in letters ten foot high; I am sharp and unamiable as the morning’s sorrows, whose shadows lie jagged across the smoky evening; I am the merest transpiration rising from the ruddy-orange rain-swept streets. And I am tired.