He felt suddently tired and stopped a taxi. As it drove him home he ruminated(沉思默想) on the question why scientific observation differed from humane observation, and how the same people, observed in these respective sense, actually seemed to be different people.
A fire-engine clanged past. Alec leaned in his corner and closed his eyes. The taxi turned a corner, Alec shifted his position and looked out into the evening. The taxi was purring along the Mall towards St. James's Street.
The driver leaned back and opened the communication window.
"A fire somewhere round here," he said.
Alec found himself on the pavement outside his block of chambers, in a crowd. There were policemen everywhere, smoke, people, firemen, water, then suddently a cry from the crowd and everyone looked up as a burst of flame shot from the top of the building.
Alec pushed through to the inner edge of the crowd. A policeman barred his way with a strong casual arm. "I live here," Alec explained. "Let me pass, please."
"Can't go in there," said the policeman. "Stand back, please."
Alec said, "But I live there. My things. Where's the porter?"
"The building is on fire, sir," said the policeman.
Alec made a rush advance and got past the policeman into the smoke and water at the entrance to the building.
"Come back," said the policeman, "You're obstructing(阻碍) the firemen."
"My papers are up there," Alec said.
The policeman took him by the arm and pulled him away. "There is a cat," Alec said desperately, "in my rooms. I cannot let her burn. Let me dash up and let her out. I'll take the risk."
The policeman did not reply, but continued to propel Alec away from the fire.
"There's a dog up there. A beautiful husky(拖雪车的爱斯基摩种狗) from a polar expedition," Alec haggled(争论不休). "Top floor, first door."
"Sorry, too late, sir," said one of the firemen. "Your dog must have had it by now. The top floor's burnt out." Alec walked away.