★ The first light came on strong, skimming over the top of the shadowed city to set an airplane aglow high in the slate-blue west. By the end of breakfast, though, the sun was gone; seamed and folded clouds covered all. Stretch marks ran through them on opposing diagonals. Drowsy and confusing dimness prevailed. Again a chill clung to the office. For one moment in the afternoon there was a flush of sun, and then the clouds shut it off again. By 3:30 it might as well have been night. It was more comfortable to be out on the sidewalk, haggling with the Christmas tree vendor in the dark, than it had been to sit at the freezing desk by day.