Quotes Houses


He led me through a wide parquet-floored hall furnished in pale lemon, with huge Cloisonnee vases, an ebonized and gold grand piano, and banks of pot flowers in Benares brass bowls, up a pale oak staircase to a spacious landing, where there was a green velvet settee trimmed with silver. The blinds were down, and the light lay in parallel lines on the floors


This is from “The House Surgeon” collected in Actions and Reactions.

On a journey, the story-teller has met a wealthy business-man, whose fine house is haunted by a strange overpowering sense of sadness.

Overwhelmed himself, the story-teller sets out to discover the source of this gloom. He finds that for years two women had believed that their sister, who had fallen from a window in the house, had killed herself.

When he shows it was an accident, their sad burden is lifted and the house is sad no more.

There were unaging pitch-pine doors of Gothic design in it; there were inlaid marble mantel-pieces and cut-steel fenders; there were stupendous wall-papers, and octagonal, medallioned Wedgewood what-nots, and black-and-gilt Austrian images holding candelabra


This is from “The Dog Hervey”” in A Diversity of Creatures.

The story teller, a great dog-lover,  encounters a wealthy young woman, and agrees to look after Harvey, her much loved terrier, while it has distemper.

He finds this an unsettling experience, for there is more to the weird squinting little dog than meets the eye.

Just at that minute we found ourselves opposite an empty villa. Its roof was of black slate, with bright unweathered ridge-tiling; its walls were of blood-coloured brick, cornered and banded with vermiculated stucco work, and there was cobalt, magenta, and purest apple-green window-glass on either side of the front door.


This is from “The Puzzler”, collected  in Actions and Reactions.

Out on a mission to seek advice for a colonial friend from a senior judge, they happen on this striking villa, which is adorned by a splendid Monkey Puzzle Tree,

There follows a hilarious comedy of errors involving a distinguished painter and a leading engineer, the judge, playing a barrel organ, the orgen-grinder chasing his monkey, which has escaped, assorted fruits and cakes, and the arrival of furious house-holders.

When they have all recovered from a serious attack of hysterical mirth, it proves to have been a propitious encounter.