Before her marriage, it was widely agreed that Arabella Woodhope's most striking feature was her smile. Mrs. Arabella Strange is not smiling now--her dark eyes are cast towards the floor, and her step is slow and heavy. In lieu of a smile, her most striking feature must then be her gown, which is the color of a sunset. Not a sunset as it has ever been painted by human hands or woven on human loom, but truly as radiant and subtly shifting as if someone had plucked down the very sky one evening and draped it over her body. The golden threads twisted into her hair seem as if they were drawn from the sun itself. Her face, by comparison, seems terribly mortal and ordinary, by turns enhanced by the spectacular, unnatural beauty of her clothes, and then made to seem rather drearily plain.
The first thing Mrs. Strange notices when she steps through the doorway into the main foyer is not that the furniture, the architecture, the carpet, the walls, are different from the place she just was: she notices the silence. The music has stopped. For a moment she holds very still, expecting it to return any moment, but when it does not, she rushes to the next person she sees.
"Please," she says. "Are you man or faerie, and is this place Lost-Hope, or no?"
Arabella Strange, magician's wife, from Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.