Author(s): Allan Cochrane
This story occurs over the course of an afternoon and an evening. An unnamed narrator contemplates suicide by drowning himself in the Yarra River, but is approached by Matthew Flinders from Flinders Street who convinces him to walk around the streets instead and talk to people about his problems. The narrator agrees, and in each street he meets the person who the street is named after, such as King William in William Street or Captain John Foxton in Foxton Lane; but most of what they say is not helpful. It emerges that the reason for the narrator's despair is that he is in love with Chloe, a barmaid at Young & Jackson's Hotel, but he can't see her any more, and she won't hear anything he has to say. This is literally true as he does not see Chloe again and she doesn't hear from him, but she sends a series of messages through publicans who have lanes named after them, and these shape his journey around the city. She invites him to a game of cards, which he thoughtlessly declines; she pleads with him not to believe accusations that she was cheating at cards; she arranges to meet him at a party, and asks him to send a dress around to her for the occasion. Along the way he develops an idea that if he can find a job as a shepherd, he might be able to take Chloe out of the city, and they could live happily in the peaceful countryside. He also worries about his health and his appearance, contemplates a career in politics, considers how an artist might paint Chloe, and makes several attempts to get something to drink. Chloe fails to arrive at the party, and he learns that she has committed suicide. It is long after dark and his journey around the city is almost complete. He decides that he will kill himself too, so that they will be united as in a pact. But he lacks her decisiveness, and back at the riverside near where he began he falls asleep instead.