08 July

8 July 1920

2 Portland Villas, Hampstead - London

[. . .] How much bigger the house felt at night, thought Laura. All the lighted rooms & the passages that were dark & the cupboards & the front & back stairs. As to the cupboard under the stairs - Lauras eyes widened at the thought of it. She saw herself suddenly exploring it with a candle end - there was the old croquet set there were the goloshes, the shelf of old lamps & the buffalo tied up with ribbons. It was like exploring a cave.
Big - big & empty. No not empty exactly but very strange. For though the lights were up everywhere (the Sheridans were dreadfully extravagant about lights & fires) through the open windows the darkness came flowing in outside. It was the darkness that so gently breathed in the curtains, gathered in pools under the tables & hid in the folds even of the coats down there in the hall. And the stairs! Stairs at night were utterly different to what they were by day & people went up & down them quite differently. They were much more important somehow. They might have led to anywhere. But just as Laura thought that, she had an idea that someone on the top landing was looking down at her. Someone had suddenly appeared from nowhere & with a brilliant round white face - was staring. Oh how awful! And it was shameful, too, to think such things at her age. She even decided the face was a chinaman's before she had the courage to look up. What nonsense. It was the moon shining through the top landing window. And now there were moonbeam fingers on the bannisters. Laura walked up the stairs slowly - but for some reason she tried not to make a sound, & looking down at her little satin shoes she pretended they were two little birds tiptoeing up a branch.
[KM Notebooks, undated]