It was very late and everyone had left the cafe except an old man who sat in the shadows the leaves of the tree made against the electric light. In the day time the
street was dusty, but at night the dew settled the dust and the old man liked to sit late because he was deaf and now at night it was quiet and he felt the difference.The two waiters inside the cafe knew that the old man was a little drunk, and while he was a good client they knew that if he became too drunk he would leave without paying, so they kept watch on him.
The opening lines of “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” by American writer Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961), from his collection of stories Winner Takes Nothing (1933). It’s still my favourite short story of his. I’m a big fan of Hemingway and have quoted him on the blog before, on a post about my favourite short story writers and on The Old Man and the Sea.