Orlando then for the first time noticed a small cloud gathered behind the dome of St. Paul's. As the stroke sounded, the cloud increased, and she saw it darken and spread with extraordinary speed. ... Height upon height above the city was engulfed by it ... With the twelfth stroke of midnight, the darkness was complete. All was dark; all was doubt; all was confusion. The Eighteenth century was over; the Nineteenth century had begun.

This quote, in the voice of the narrator, closes Chapter Four. As Orlando looks up, a cloud overhead gradually increases, covering the entire city of London and enveloping it in darkness. Orlando feels that the nineteenth century is dark, smothering and shrouded from sunlight. The period was known for its strong moral undertones; the Victorians strongly enforced their ideas of right and wrong. The appropriate sexuality was limited to relations between a husband and wife, and as Orlando looks around, everyone seems to be married. The dark cloud symbolizes the suffocation and limitation that Orlando and Woolf feel as a free spirits and as a women.

This passage, which draws a strict line between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, also challenges the idea that "ages" can be so easily delineated. As the clock changed from December 31, 1799 to January 1, 1800, the world did not change completely. Such an idea is found in history books which seek to draw order from dates, which are relatively arbitrary. Woolf knows this, and so includes this very important passage in her novel.