After George had gone off into the alcove, Mana stayed in the living room for another hour before she could bring herself to go to bed. She was too tired to do anything, and remained sitting at the table, staring in front of her. The light in the alcove stayed on all the time although she thought she had heard George getting into bed. Towards midnight she went to bed, too. But in spite of her tiredness she could not fall asleep. Her bedroom was at the front of the house, between the alcove and the shop. From her bed, she could see the slit of light between the threshold and the door, and she knew that the lamp in the alcove was still on. She asked herself if perhaps he had forgotten to turn it off. But, listening carefully, she heard a faint rustle of paper, and she knew that he was reading. It seemed as though she could not sleep as long as his light was on. She listened to the creaking of his bed and the occasional striking of a match, and she concluded that he was smoking in bed.

At half past one the light in the alcove went out, and she thought he had gone to sleep. But suddenly the door opened and he entered her room. His entrance made her start and she sat upright, her heart pounding. He asked for a coin for the meter and then she realized that the current had run out and that it was this which had interrupted his reading. She gave him the coin; he went to insert it, and the light came on again. She waited for another half hour before he turned the lamp off and went to sleep. But even then she remained awake. When she put her head high upon the pillow, she could look through the glass peephole through which one could see who was in the shop. She saw that the display was faintly lit by the street lamp in front of the house. The lenses and the metal parts of the cameras in the show window gave a bluish shine, and the framed portraits and enlargements on the shelves reflected a little light as well.