„“Baine, what do you think of this?” Tossie said, indicating the bishop’s bird stump. “Don’t you agree it’s the most beautiful piece of art you’ve ever seen?”
Baine straightened and looked at it, blinking water out of his eyes.
There was a considerable pause while Baine wrung out his sleeve. “No.”
“No?” Tossie said, making it into a screamlet.
“What do you mean, ‘no’?”
“I mean the sculpture is a hideous atrocity, vulgarly conceived, badly designed, and shoddily executed,” he said, folding the shawl carefully and bending to lay it back in the bundle.
“How dare you say that,” Tossie said, her cheeks very pink.
Baine straightened. “I beg you pardon, miss. I thought you were asking my opinion.”
“I was, but I expected you to tell me you thought it was beautiful.”
He bowed slightly. “As you wish, miss.” He looked at it, his face impassive. “It is very beautiful.”“
— Connie Willis American science fiction writer 1945
Chapter 19 (p. 333; the ellipsis represents a minor elision of description)