Passing within the courtyard you ring the bell on the right and enter the waiting hall, from which, in the course of time, when a sufficient party has been gathered, an elderly monk in a white robe leads you away. How many monks there may be, I cannot say; but of the few of whom I caught a glimpse, all were alike in the possession of white beards, and all suggested uncles in fancy dress.
He began to be laughed at; and, gossip taking a hand, his glorious luxury was attributed to the generosity of an elderly Englishwoman, Lady Anelsy, whose lucky favourite he was supposed to be. His walking stick especially a stick that, in his estimation, was worthy of Louis XIV excited curiosity. It was ridiculed, decried and admired.
He was not used to women, and it struck him, once or twice, that this elderly companion would have liked to dictate to her young mistress, had the latter allowed it. So, not feeling quite sure of his ground, he remarked vaguely, "I suppose a girl like that would be naturally wilful having everything heart could wish. But " "Well then, I'll let you know she isn't," snapped Miss Dover.
In all other respects the pregnant woman follows her ordinary mode of life until the pains of labour begin. Then she is attended by the wise woman and several elderly relatives or friends. She sits in her room which is LALI to all but her attendants and her husband; and she is hidden from the latter by a screen of mats.
"The Manor House has a high sound," he told me, as we sat with our feet up and talked, "but I believe it is little more than an overgrown farmhouse in the desolate heather country beyond D , and its owner, Colonel Wragge, a retired soldier with a taste for books, lives there practically alone, I understand, with an elderly invalid sister.
He emerged one afternoon upon the racecourse, and while standing on the grass in front of the Club stand, before the horses cantered down to the starting post, he saw an elderly man, heavy of build but still erect, approach him with a smile. Shere Ali would have avoided that man if he could. He hesitated, unwilling to recognise and unable quite to ignore.
We have sat in the later chapel where she said her prayers, a little consecrated room with high pews shutting in the worshippers, a royal gallery, open this time, and an elderly gentleman speaking with a measured, melodious voice.
Mr Edwards, who was a decent-looking elderly man in gray clothes and a wig of many curls, accosted Johnson with familiar confidence, knowing who he was, while Johnson returned his salutation with a courteous formality, as to a stranger.
He was an elderly, bearded man, very portly, and wore the brown garb of the Capuchins, which I certainly had no reason to love. His bald head, gleaming in the sun, was of the steep and flat-topped shape of our English quartern-loaves; and it came upon me with a shock that here was that Fra Palamone, whom I had last seen extended, shot by my hand, in the Piazza Santa Maria at Florence.
Like a man on the verge of a critical illness or a hazardous journey, I cleared up my correspondence, paid bills until I had writer's cramp from signing checks, read over my will, and paid up my life insurance, made to the benefit of an elderly sister of my mother's. I no longer dreaded arrest. After that morning in the station, I felt that anything would be a relief from the tension.