This room was chill, because it seldom had a fire; it was silent, because
remote from the nursery and kitchen; solemn, because it was known to be
so seldom entered. The house-maid alone came here on Saturdays, to wipe
from the mirrors and the furniture a week's quiet dust: and Mrs. Reed
herself, at far intervals, visited it to review the contents of a certain
secret drawer in the wardrobe, where were stored divers parchments, her
jewel-casket, and a miniature of her deceased husband; and in those last
words lies the secret of the red-room--the spell which kept it so lonely
in spite of its grandeur.
Mr. Reed had been dead nine years: it was in this chamber he breathed his
last; here he lay in state; hence his coffin was borne by the
undertaker's men; and, since that day, a sense of dreary consecration had
guarded it from frequent intrusion.