Archive for the '70 Years Old' Category

Seventy Year Old: Bellgrove

‘What I would do,’ he said, ‘is something that no gentleman could possibly divulge. Faith: that is what you need. Faith in me, my dear.’

‘There would be nothing you could do,’ said Irma, ignoring her husband’s suggestion that she should have faith in him. ‘Nothing at all. You’re too old.’

Bellgrove, who had been about to resume his seat, remained standing. His back was to his wife. A dull pain began to grow beneath his ribs. A sense of black injustice of bodily decay came over him, but a rebellious voice crying in his heart ‘I am young, I am young,’ while carnal witness of his three score years and ten sank suddenly at the knees.

In a moment Irma was at his side. ‘Oh my dear one! What is it? What is it?’

She lifted his head and put a cushion beneath it. Bellgrove was fully conscious. The shock of finding himself suddenly on the floor had upset him for a moment or two and had taken his breath away, but that was all.

‘My legs went,’ he said, looking up at the earnest face above him with its wonderfully sharp nose. ‘But I am all right again.’

Directly he had made this remark he was sorry for it, for he could have done with an hour of nursing.

Mervyn Peake, Gormenghast 

Published in: 70 Years Old | on March 21st, 2012 | 1 Comment »

Seventy Year Old: Mrs Anthony

Mrs Anthony knew instinctively that Mrs Pettigrew was a kindly woman. Her instinct was wrong. But the first few weeks after Mrs Pettigrew came to the Colstons to look after Charmain she sat in the kitchen and told Mrs Anthony of her troubles.

‘Have a fag,’ said Mrs Anthony, indicating with her elbow the packet on the table while she poured strong tea. ‘Everything might be worse.’

Mrs Pettigrew said, ‘It couldn’t very well be worse. Thirty years of my life I gave to Mrs Lisa Brooke. Everyone knew I was to get that money. Then this Guy Leet turns up to claim. It wasn’t any marriage, that wasn’t. Not a proper marriage.’ She pulled her cup of tea towards her and, thrusting her head close to Mrs Anthony’s, told her in what atrocious manner and for what long-ago reason Guy Leet had been incapable of consummating his marriage with Lisa Brooke.

Mrs Anthony swallowed a large sip of tea, the cup of which she held in both hands, and breathed back into the cup while the warm-smelling steam spread comfortably over her nose. ‘Still,’ she said, ‘a husband’s a husband. By law.’

‘Lisa never recognized him as such,’ said Mrs Pettigrew. ‘No one knew about the marriage with Guy Leet, until she died, the little swine.’

‘I thought you says she was all right,’ said Mrs Anthony.

‘Guy Leet,’ said Mrs Pettigrew. ‘He’s the little swine.’

‘Oh, I see. Well, the courts will have something to say to that, dear, when it comes up. Have a fag.’

‘You’re making me into a smoker, Mrs Anthony. Thanks, I will. But you should try to cut them down, they aren’t too good for you.’

‘Twenty a day since I was twenty-five and seventy yesterday,’ said Mrs Anthony.

‘Seventy! Gracious, you’ll be – ’

‘Seventy years of age yesterday.’

‘Oh, seventy. Isn’t it time you had a rest then? I don’t envy you with this lot,’ Mrs Pettigrew indicated with her head the kitchen door, meaning the Colstons residing beyond it.

‘Not so bad,’ said Mrs Anthony. ‘He’s a bit tight, but she’s nice. I like her.’

Muriel Spark, Momento Mori

Published in: 70 Years Old | on March 21st, 2012 | No Comments »