They linger on, eidolons of an idea, histories and stories caught in the soft reflective surfaces of windows, mirrors, bowls of water. Listen, they whisper, lips moving soundlessly beneath their glass faces, listen, o listen. They act out dramas strange and meaningless, slam doors that stir no breeze, throw vases to shatter against walls that never existed.

We give them names: there is Old William, a somber sour-faced old squire, his muttonchops grey with dust and spiderwebs. There is Mary, sweet Mary, a plain snip of a girl in a crisp white cap with the mad staring eyes of a prophet. We think she is a domestic, but of course it’s hard to tell in the brief glimpses we have of her. There is fiery Jack, the artist, ragged and spattered and dramatic, who shouts and stamps his feet and looks like he would thrust himself up out of the past he’s fallen into if he could. We see glimpses of his art now and then, a canvas left propped where our eyes can fall on it, as if by accident. Jack is talentless, a hack, but he hacks and slashes at his mediocre canvasses and has found in our eyes fame, of a sort.