from "Smoke Ghost"
There was a washed-out advertisement of some ancient patent medicine on the nearest wall. Superficially it was like ten thousand other drab city roofs. But he always saw it around dusk, either in the smokey half-light, or tinged with red by the flat rays of a dirty sunset, or covered by ghostly wind-blown white sheets of rain-splash, or patched with blackish snow; and it seemed unusually bleak and suggestive; almost beautifully ugly though in no sense picturesque; dreary, but meaningful. Unconsciously it came to symbolize for him certain disagreeable aspects of the frustrated, frightened century in which he lived, the jangled century of hate and heavy industry and total war. The quick daily glance into the half darkness became an integral part of his life.
– Fritz Leiber