We met Peabody walking along Pike Street, which runs between the old open-air market and the new gauds of the financial district, my wife and I, as we took our pleasure of the evening. Since our marriage, it has been her firm custom, rain or shine, to trace these narrow, crooked streets; most nights I accompany her, though not always, being of that class of men who find more pleasure in observing the weather through a double pane of glass than upon their faces. It was just the end of summer, when the clerks begin to wear their sweaters again, and sweat for their fashion sense.
Peabody is a strange sort of person, cold and distant, and nearly unknown to me though we have worked together for twenty years now. My wife dislikes him, and insists on treating him with an icy reserve that pains me, despite all my pleading and remonstrances.
“Hello, Peabody,” I said, as we came abreast of each other, and half-raised my hand in greeting.
“Hello,” he said. I ventured a comment on the weather which he answered with a slight nod of his head. Our social duty thus performed, we moved to continue our walk when Peabody brought the ill-sown seeds of my wife’s disdain to full and noxious flower.
“That’s a good-looking wife you have,” he said, in the pleasant tones you might use to compliment an acquaintance’s dog. “Good night, McGuillicudy.”