THE WIDE CONTRASTS IN LIFE
session of me, when, after having lived for a week on hardtack, boiled pork, and plum duff, begrimed with dust and cement, I would leave the inside of a coffer-dam and in a few hours find myself in the customary swallow-tail and white tie at a dinner of twelve, sitting among ladies in costly gowns and jewels.
“What, however, stuck out clearest in my mind,” I continued, “was neither time nor what I had had to eat, but the enormous contrasts in the color scheme of my two experiences: at noon a gray sky and leaden sea, relieved by men in overalls, rusty derricks, and clouds of white steam rising from the concrete mixers; at night filmy gowns and bare shoulders rose pink in the softened light against a strong relief of the reds and greens of deep-toned tapestries and portraits in rich frames. I remember only the color.”
At this Herbert lighted a fresh cigar and, with the flaming match still in hand, said quietly:
“While you men have been talking I have been going over some of my own experiences”—here he blew out the match—“and I have a great mind to tell you of one that I had years ago which made an indelible impression on me.”