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The full sentence that Jack cites reads:
"They walked through the diningroom where the firebrick in the hearth was as yellow as the day it was make because his mother could not bear to see it blackened."
I visited the house last weekend. Despite the fire, the firebrick in the hearth and the fire box are still an unsullied yellow. As my wife, Judy, remarked, "Your mother's psychic abilities are legendary."