Except for the laying down of a few Persian rugs
and the hanging of sherry-colored velvet curtains Ezra had not
allowed Esther to a lay a finger on the library. The
high molded ceiling was still smoke-dimmed and the paneling that
showed between the bookcases was pickled black with smoke and
age. The room was steeped in its own unchanging and
unchangeable smell; the wood smoke and tobacco smoke of decades
and the smell of old leather. The sunlight in this
room was always liquid amber; the shadows strange and soft
as the numberless feathers of a vast, ghostly, night-dark bird.
Paraphrases from the novel The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge.