life indoors

He was staying at the Hotel Montecarlo, about ten blocks from the Hotel Ritz, a great shabby building that looked like the former residence of a military general. One entered it through a wide carriage drive, paved in black and white tile like a bathroom floor. This gave into a huge dark lobby, also tile floored. There was a grotto-like bar-room and a restaurant that was always empty. Stained marble stairs wound around the patio, and going up behind the bellhop yesterday, Guy had seen through open doorways and windows, a Japanese couple playing cards, a woman kneeling at prayer, people writing letters at tables or merely standing with a strange air of captivity.

– Patricia Highsmith, strangers on a train, Vintage, London, 1999, p. 50