Camilla and Charles' Apartment
Stepping inside, one found oneself in a small living room with slanted walls and dormer windows. The armchairs and the lumpy sofa were upholstered in dusty brocades, threadbare at the arm: rose patterns on tan, acorns and oak leaves on mossy green. Everywhere were tattered doilies, dark with age. On the mantel of the fireplace (which I later discovered was inoperable) glittered a pair of lead-glass candelabra and a few pieces of tarnished silver plate.
Though not untidy, exactly, it verged on being so. Books were stacked on every available surface; the tables were cluttered with papers, ashtrays, bottles of whiske, boxes of chocolates, umbrellas and galoshes made passage difficult in the narrow hall. In Charles’s room, clothes were scattered on the rug and a rich confusion of ties hung from the door of the wardrobe; Camilla’s night table was littered with empty tea cups, leaky pens, dead marigolds in a water glass, and on the foot of her bed was laid a half-played game of solitaire. The layout of the place was peculiar, with unexpected windows and halls that led nowhere and low doors I had to duck to get through, and everywhere I looked was some fresh oddit: an old stereopticon (the palmy avenues of a ghostly Nice, receding in the sepia distance); arrowheads in a dusty glass case; a staghorn fern; a bird’s skeleton.