Ottawa rain and a storyteller from the past

It's a rainy evening in Ottawa. Umbrellas have appeared on the sidewalks and the historic buildings look stained because the stones are wet.
The figures on the monuments shine in the gathering darkness.

This June evening brings back memories of a short story written by Ernest Hemingway in the 1920s. He called it "Cat in the Rain," and the beginning of it went like this:

"There were only two Americans stopping at the hotel. They did not know any of the people they passed on the stairs on their way to and from their room. Their room was on the second floor facing the sea. It also faced the public garden and the war monument. There were big palms and green branches in the public garden. In the good weather there was always an artist with his easel. Artists liked the way the palms grow and the the bright colors of the hotels facing the gardens and the sea. Italians came a long way off to look up at the war monument. It was made of bronze and glistened in the rain. It was raining. The rain dripped from the palm trees. Water stood in pools on the gravel paths. The sea broke in a long line in the rain and slipped back down the beach to come up and break again in a long line in the rain. The motorcars were gone from the square by the war monument. Across the square in the doorway of the cafe' a waiter stood looking out at the empty square.

"The American wife stood at the window looking out. Outside right under their window a cat was crouched under one of the dripping green tables. The cat was trying to make herself so compact that she would not be dripped on.

" 'I'm going down and get that kitty,' the American wife said."

The story is actually a poignant study of the relationship between the woman and her husband, but the passage about the rain seems somehow appropriate for this night in Ottawa. No sea, of course, but the Gatineau hills and the monuments evoke a certain mood in the rain.

For related posts on E.H., see "Hemingway lives on in Cuba"

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