22nd august 2005

When he went home at night to the empty house in Winchester Square, after a day spent with his inquisitive country-women, he wandered into the big dusky dining-room, where the candle he took from the hall-table, after letting himself in, constituted the only illumination. The square was still, the house was still; when he raised one of the windows of the dining-room to let in the air, he heard the slow creak of the boots of a solitary policeman. His own step, in the empty room, seemed loud and sonorous; some of the carpets had been raised, and whenever he moved he roused a melancholy echo. He sat down in one of the armchairs; the big, dark dining table twinkled here and there in the small candle-light; the pictures on the wall, all of them very brown, looked vague and incoherent.

- Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady