slip, so that life, deceived of her prey, blunders on without 
them. But, after all, we are only gliding smoothly on the 
surface. The eye is not a miner, not a diver, not a seeker 
after buried treasure. It floats us smoothly down a stream,
resting, pausing, the brain sleeps perhaps as it looks.

How beautiful a London street is then, with its islands 
of light, and its long groves of darkness, and on one side of 
it perhaps some tree-sprinkled, grass-grown space where 
night is folding herself to sleep naturally and, as one passes 
the iron railing, one hears those little cracklings and stir-
rings of leaf and twig which seem to suppose the silence of 
fields all round them, an owl hooting, and far away the 
rattle of a train in the valley. But this is London, we are 
reminded; high among the bare trees are hung oblong 
frames of reddish yellow light—windows; there are 
points of brilliance burning steady like low stars—lamps; 
this empty ground which holds the country in it and its 
peace is only a London square, set about by offices and 
houses where at this hour fierce lights burn over maps, over 
documents, over desks where clerks sit turning with wetted 
forefingers the files of endless correspondences; or more 
suffusedly the firelight wavers and the lamplight falls 
upon the privacy of some drawing-room, its easy chairs, 
its papers, its china, its inlaid table, and the figure of a
woman, accurately measuring out the precise number of 
spoons of tea which—She looks at the door as if she heard 
a ring downstairs and somebody asking, is she in?

But here we must stop peremptorily. We are in danger 
of digging deeper than the eye approves; we are impeding 
our passage down the smooth stream by catching at some 
branch or root. At any moment, the sleeping army may stir 
itself and wake in us a thousand violins and trumpets in 
response; the army of human beings may rouse itself and 
assert all its oddities and sufferings and sordidities. Let us 
dally a little longer, be content still with surfaces only—
the glossy brilliance of the motor omnibuses; the carnal