Weir heard something different in the sounds. Once, during a period of calm, he sat on the firestep waiting for Stephen to return from an inspection and listened to the music of the tins. The empty ones were sonorous, the fuller ones provided an ascending scale. Those filled to the brim produced only a fat percussive beat unless they overbalanced, when the cascade would give a loud variation. Within earshot there were scores of tins in different states of fullness and with varying resonance. Then he heard the wire moving in the wind. It set up a moaning background noise that would occasionally gust into prominence, then lapse again to mere accompaniment. He had to work hard to discern, or perhaps imagine, a melody in this tin music, but it was better in his ears than the awful sound of shellfire.
Depression - that limp word for the storm of black panic and half-demented malfunction - had over the years worked itself out in Charlotte's life in a curious pattern. Its onset was often imperceptible: like an assiduous housekeeper locking up a rambling mansion, it noiselessly went about and turned off, one by one, the mind's thousand small accesses to pleasure.