"which stands on the site of a former palace, where, in the sixties, that incredibly agile medium, Daniel Home, is said to have been caught stroking with his bare foot (in imitation of a ghost hand), the kind, trustful face of Empress Eugenie "

Daniel Home (pronounced 'Hume') (1833-1886) was a well-known Scottish medium, fêted all over Europe and America for his alleged ability to levitate and to communicate with the dead in séances. The reference to Empress Eugenie here is possibly to do with the invitation to the Tuileries to perform a séance by her husband Napoleon III.