quarrel was made up. The old man, who would not have 
disgraced Ben Jonson's title-page, reached the box back to 
its proper place, bowed profoundly his good night to us, 
and they disappeared. She would get out her sewing; he 
would read his newspaper; the canary would scatter them 
impartially with seed. The quarrel was over.

During these minutes in which a ghost has been sought 
for, a quarrel composed, and a pencil bought, the streets 
had become completely empty. Life had withdrawn to the 
top floor, and lamps were lit. The pavement was dry and 
hard; the road was of hammered silver. Walking home 
through the desolation one could tell oneself the story of 
the dwarf, of the blind men, of the party in the Mayfair 
mansion, of the quarrel in the stationer's shop. Into each 
of these lives one could penetrate a little way, far enough 
to give oneself the illusion that one is not tethered to a 
single mind, but can put on briefly for a few minutes the 
bodies and minds of others. One could become a washer-
woman, a publican, a street singer. And what greater de-
light and wonder can there be than to leave the straight 
lines of personality and deviate into those footpaths that 
lead beneath brambles and thick tree trunks into the heart 
of the forest where live those wild beasts, our fellow men? 

That is true: to escape is the greatest of pleasures; street 
haunting in winter the greatest of adventures. Still as we 
approach our own doorstep again, it is comforting to feel 
the old possessions, the old prejudices, fold us round; and 
shelter and enclose the self, which has been blown about at
so many street corners, which has battered like a moth at 
the flame of so many inaccessible lanterns. Here again is 
the usual door; here the chair turned as we left it and the 
china bowl and the brown ring on the carpet. And here—
let us examine it tenderly, let us touch it with reverence—
is the only spoil we have retrieved from all the treasures of the 
city, a lead pencil.