Gentle Julia (Chapter Six, page 2 of 10)


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Late in the afternoon, as the entranced collector sat musing alone near a window in his father's office, his exalted mood was not affected by the falling of a preternatural darkness over the town, nor was he roused to action by any perception of the fact that the other clerks and the members of the firm had gone home an hour ago; that the clock showed him his own duty to lock up the office and not keep his mother "waiting dinner"; and that he would be caught in a most outrageous thunderstorm if he didn't hurry. No; he sat, smiling fondly, by the open window, and at times made a fragmentary gesture as of some heroic or benevolent impulse in rehearsal.

Meanwhile, paunchy with wind and wetness, unmannerly clouds came smoking out of the blackened west. Rumbling, they drew on. Then from cloud to cloud dizzy amazements of white fire staggered, crackled and boomed on to the assault; the doors of the winds were opened; the tanks of deluge were unbottomed; and the storm took the town. So, presently, Noble noticed that it was raining and decided to go home.

With an idea that he was fulfilling his customary duties, he locked the doors of the two inner rooms, dropped the keys gently into a wastebasket, and passing by an umbrella which stood in a corner, went out to the corridor, and thence stepped into the street of whooping rain.

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