"The face of the giant was indeed that of a god...."
On that summer day the sky over New York was unflecked by clouds, and the air hung motionless, the waves of heat undisturbed. The city was a vast oven where even the sounds of the coiling traffic in its streets seemed heavy and weary under the press of heat that poured down from above. In Washington Square, the urchins of the neighborhood splashed in the fountain, and the usual midday assortment of mothers, tramps and out-of-works lounged listlessly on the hot park benches.
As a bowl, the Square was filled by the torrid sun, and the trees and grass drooped like the people on its walks. In the surrounding city, men worked in sweltering offices and the streets rumbled with the never-ceasing tide of business--but Washington Square rested.
And then a man walked out of one of the houses lining the square, and all this was changed.
He came with a calm, steady stride down the steps of a house on the north side, and those who happened to see him gazed with surprised interest. For he was a giant in size. He measured at least eleven feet in height, and his body was well-formed and in perfect proportion. He crossed the street and stepped over the railing into the nearest patch of grass, and there stood with arms folded and legs a little apart. The expression on his face was preoccupied and strangely apart, nor did it change when, almost immediately from the park bench nearest him, a woman's excited voice cried:
"Look! Look! Oh, look!"
The people around her craned their necks and stared, and from them grew a startled murmur. Others from farther away came to see who had cried out, and remained to gaze fascinated at the man on the grass. Quickly the murmur spread across the Square, and from its every part men and women and children streamed towards the center of interest--and then, when they saw, backed away slowly and fearfully, with staring eyes, from where the lone figure stood.