Clad in quiet black or gray gowns, made high round the throat - dresses that she would have laughed at, or screamed at, as the whim of the moment inclined her, in her maiden days - she sits speachless in corners; her dry white hands (so dry that the pore of her skin look chalky) incessantly engaged, either in monotonous embroidery work, or in rolling up endless little cigarettes for the Count's own particular smoking.
Marian Halcombe's narrative, Chapter Two, The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (published 1860).
Obviously, what I have shown you does not include an awful lot of description appearance wise, but even after this sentence, isn't is such a simple task to piece a picture together of what Countess Fosco would look like? Maybe even smell like? I am immediately repulsed by her. What does you look like to you?
N.B. Just a little wake up call that I feel is due - there haven't been any suggestions for out list of 100 Books to Read Before You Die for ages now. Surely you all have a book that you are passionate about? I don't want to fill up the entire list myself, although I will if you give me the chance!