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.

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