The frowsy chamber-maid of the Red Lion had just finished washing the front door steps. She rose from her stooping posture, and, being of slovenly habit, ﬂung the water from her pail, straight out, without moving from where she stood. The smooth round arch of the falling water glistened for a moment in mid-air. John Gourlay, standing in front of his new house at the head of the brae, could hear the swash of it when it fell. The morning was of perfect stillness. The hands of the clock across the Square were pointing to the hour of eight. They were yellow in the sun.