"If it was a question of an Imperium, he said to himself, and if one wished, as a Roman, to recover a little sense of that, the place to do so was on London Bridge, or even, on a fine afternoon in May, at Hyde Park Corner. It was not indeed to either of those places that these grounds of his predilection, after all sufficiently vague, had, at the moment we are concerned with him, guided his steps; he had strayed simply enough into Bond Street, where his imagination, working at comparatively short range, caused him now and then to stop before a window in which objects massive and lumpish, in silver and gold, in the forms to which precious stones contribute, or in leather, steel, brass, applied to a hundred uses and abuses, were as tumbled together as if, in the insolence of Empire, they had been the loot of far-off victories."
Why am I making you read James at this late hour (it's a quarter to lunch where I'm at)? Well, mainly it's because I love James's sentences, but with this there's the added element of inspiration. For my NaNoWriMo novel, Tickle Arms, about the visit of a two-armed stranger to the insular, provincial Valley of the Crash, I plan to write in a pastiche of James's particular fustian. I hope it will give my gonzo sword-and-planet-and-mad-science setting the right kind of Space: 1889-type--decidedly not-punk steampunk--vibe. Is it Edwardian? My British history is quite spotty.
Here's some inspiration for youse (from The Art of Manliness):