At the beginning of the story, the author describes Mrs. Drover's house as deserted and dilapidated. Because of the bombing, there are a few cracks in the structure and the door is warped. The protagonist, Kathleen, notes that the tell-tale marks of the family's past occupancy still stands in familiar places. The old smoke stain is still apparent on the marble mantelpiece, the escritoire still bears the mark of the bottom of a vase, the wallpaper still displays a bruise mark from the door handle, and the claw marks left by the piano on the parquet floor are still visible.
The author describes the air in the house as stale and the atmosphere, eerie. Whether this is due to a supernatural presence in the house or to Kathleen's state of mind, the author does not say. However, when Kathleen discovers a letter on the hall table that is addressed to her, she becomes visibly anxious and frightened. The letter is not stamped but bears the current day's date. As the story continues to its resolution, the reader senses that the state of the house may possibly bear a direct correlation to the state of Kathleen's psyche.