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Excerpt from The Mystery of the Locks
Davy's Bend - a river town, a failing town, and an old town, on a dark night, with a misty rain falling, and the stars hiding from the dangerous streets and walks of the failing town by the sluggish river which seems to be hurrying away from it, too, like its institutions and its people, and as the light of the wretched day that has just closed hurried away from it a few hour since.
The darkness is so intense that the people who look out of their windows are oppressed from staring at nothing, for the shadows are obliterated, and for all they know there may be great caverns in the streets, filled with water from the rising river, and vagabond debris on their front steps. It occurs to one of them who opens the blind to his window a moment, and looks out (and who notices incidentally that the rays from his lamp seem afraid to venture far from the casement) that a hard crust will form somewhere above the town, up where there is light for the living, and turn the people of Davy's Bend into rocks as solid as those thousands of feet below, which thought affects him so much that he closes his blinds and shutters tighter than before, determined that his rooms shall become caves.