'It's wonderful, isn't it,' said Mr Eccles. 'Just to be strolling arm-in-arm like this.'
They were walking briskly now by the lake in the direction of Clarence Gate, whence they were to emerge for their supper into London, whose lights were now seen glittering, and whose buses and trains could be heard roaring, an entirely furious and disparaging welcome to the surface to divers in its dark parks.
So soon as they had started walking Mr Eccles had become a different creature — experiencing an influx of all that cheerful sense of manhood and resilience known to overtake gentlemen who have just been kissing young ladies a great deal and for the first time, and holding her arm and becoming loquacious. Ella, having got cold sitting out all that time, was also glad to be moving, and inclined for this reason to reflect his mood in some measure, however doubtful her inner frame of mind.
'Yes — it is,' she said, not finding it in her heart to damp his spirits, but her heart sank. It sank firstly because his remark, together with some which had preceded it, were all manifesting a growing air of jubilant proprietorship which, in spite of her late tacit agreement, frightened her more and more every moment; and secondly because, if she did sincerely consent, and if walking thus with him was 'wonderful,' as he had assured her it was, then she must have a blind spot about wonder in general, and would never know the wonders of love. For all she felt was a feeling of being no more and no less puzzled and ordinary than she was at any other moment of the day.
'It changes everything, doesn't it,' said Mr Eccles. 'Love.'
— from The Plains of Cement, in Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky, by Patrick Hamilton.