E.M. Forster A Room with a View
End of Chapter I
Miss Bartlett, in her
room, fastened the window-shutters and locked the door, and then made
a tour of the apartment to see where the cupboards led, and whether
there were any oubliettes or secret entrances. It was then that she
saw, pinned up over the washstand, a sheet of paper on which was
scrawled an enormous note of interrogation. Nothing more.
"What does it mean?" she thought, and she examined it carefully by the light of a candle. Meaningless at first, it gradually became menacing, obnoxious, portentous with evil. She was seized with an impulse to destroy it, but fortunately remembered that she had no right to do so, since it must be the property of young Mr. Emerson. So she unpinned it carefully, and put it between two pieces of blotting-paper to keep it clean for him. Then she completed her inspection of the room, sighed heavily according to her habit, and went to bed.