A fine gentleman
It was just after four o’clock that Sir Donald arrived, by growler and unaccompanied. I had expected something more impressive: a private carriage and a retinue of servants. But it was a rare occasion even for a hansom to come into our street, and I saw curtains being twitched aside as I let him in.
And he himself, though at least sixty years of age, was a fine figure of a man. He was as tall as my father, with a silver and black spade beard, thick silvery eyebrows, grey eyes that rested with calm assurance on the person he was viewing, a long straight nose that was slightly hooked.
He wore a black cape over a double-breasted black frock coat, hanging unbuttoned to knee level. Beneath it he had a waistcoat of grey and white striped silk, showing a heavy gold watch chain, and dark grey trousers with a braided side seam. On his head was a black silk top hat with a broad ribbon, and at his neck a black silk neckcloth fastened by a gold pin with a black pearl as its head. He wore grey kid gloves and carried a silver-topped cane. His appearance was that of a fine gentleman, to the last inch.
He doffed his hat as I nervously greeted him, and yielded it to my care when I ushered him in. Mother had hurried the children into the parlour at the sound of the cabbie’s rattatatting on the door, and I led him through the kitchen to meet them. The parlour, in his presence, looked suddenly small and poky, but he himself seemed quite at ease, though in a grand and somewhat forbidding way.
I feared him again, and more sharply, for what he was – the power he held.