Full text: The waves

“ How much better is silence ; the coffee-cup, the table. 
How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird 
that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here for ever 
with bare things, this coflee-cup, this knife, this fork, things 
in themselves, myself being myself. Do not come and worry 
me with your hints that it is time to shut the shop and be 
gone. I would willingly give all my money that you should 
not disturb me but let me sit on and on, silent, alone. 
“But now the head waiter, who has finished his own 
meal, appears and frowns; he takes his muffler from his 
pocket and ostentatiously makes ready to go. They must 
go; must put up the shutters, must fold the table-cloths, 
and give one brush with a wet mop under the tables. 
* Curse you then. However beat and done with it all I 
am, I must haul myself up, and find the particular coat that 
belongs to me; must push my arms into the sleeves ; must 
muffle myself up against the night air and be off. I, I, 1, tired 
as I am, spent as I am, and almost worn out with all this 
rubbing of my nose along the sutfaces of things, even 
I, an elderly man who is getting rather heavy and dis- 
likes exertion, must take myself off and catch some last 
“ Again I see before me the usual street. The canopy of 
civilisation is burnt out. The sky is dark as polished whale- 
bone. But there is a kindling in the sky whether of lamplight 
or of dawn. There is a stir of some sort—sparrows on plane 
trees somewhere chirping. There is a sense of the break of 
day. I will not call it dawn. What is dawn in the city to an 
elderly man standing in the street looking up rather dizzily 
at the sky? Dawn is some sort of whitening of the sky; 
some sort of renewal. Another day ; another Friday ; another 
twentieth of March, January, or September. Another general 
awakening. The stars draw back and are extinguished. The 
bars deepen themselves between the waves. The film of mist 
thickens on the fields. A redness gathers on the roses, even 
on the pale rose that hangs by the bedroom window. A bird 
chirps. Cottagers light their early candles. Yes, this is the 

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