This was her father
Dust lay thick on every shelf and ledge, and spider’s webs drooped from the oil paintings on the walls. Although the atmosphere was dank, there was a buzz of flies, and a strong fishy smell. The floor, of parquet with carpets that may have been good but now were shabby, worn, soiled, had been swept, but she suspected it had been done for this occasion and hastily. There was more dust in the corners.
As Troutaud led them through the house she caught a glimpse through an open door of a high-ceilinged drawing room, with more dusty furniture, a fireplace of pink marble and a huge gilt mirror over it. They were escorted to the rear of the house and along a corridor to an unpainted door where Troutaud knocked for admission.
It was a little room, originally the cook’s sitting-room she guessed, since she had glimpsed a cluttered kitchen next door, and barely furnished. There were a few chairs, a plain wooden table, a square mirror on the wall, an old chest-of-drawers with the top drawer open to reveal a mess of litter. Apart from a couple of small rugs on the stone-flagged floor, what little comfort there was came from a fire smouldering miserably behind the bars of a tiny grate. A man sat in a round-backed wooden armchair drawn up close to it. He fixed his eyes on Sarnia as she stood in the doorway, and she looked back uncertainly. This was her father.