The roar of the city had relaxed. There would be no more blocks in Gracechurch Street that night. There was little smoke in the air, only enough to clothe the dome of St. Paul's in a faintly rosy garment, tinged from the west, where the sun was under a cloud. The huge mass looked ethereal, melted away as to a shell of thicker air against a background of slate-colour, where a wind was gathering to flow at sunset through the streets and lanes, cooling them from the heat of the day, of the friction of iron and granite, of human effort, and the thousand fires that prepared the food of the city-dining population. Crossing the chief thoroughfares, they went down one of the lanes leading towards the river. Here they passed through a sultry region of aromatic fragrance, where the very hooks that hung from cranes in doorways high above the ground, seemed to retain something of the odour of the bales they had lifted from the waggons below during the hot sunshine that wiled out their imprisoned essences. By yet closer alleys they went towards the river, descending still, and at length, by a short wooden stair, and a long wooden way, they came on a floating pier. There the wind blew sweet and cooling, and very grateful, for the summer was early and fervid.
By George MacDonald