Friday, June 29, 2012

"It is not unlike beef...."


I'm listening to Anthony Trollope's Barchester Towers right now.  I can't recommend it highly enough. It's hard to do justice to Trollope in a brief excerpt; his genius manifests itself over pages and chapters, not in paragraphs.  Nevertheless, I strongly encourage you to read this book.  The following is part of the chapter that introduces the novel's central villain, Mr Slope:
Mr Slope is tall, and not ill made. His feet and hands are large, as has ever been the case, with all his family, but he has a broad chest and wide shoulders to carry off these excrescences, and on the whole his figure is good. His countenance, however, is not specially prepossessing. His hair is lank, and of a dull pale reddish hue. It is always formed into three straight lumpy masses, each brushed with admirable precision, and cemented with much grease; two of them adhere closely to the sides of his face, and the other lies at right angles above them. He wears no whiskers, and is always punctiliously shaven. His face is nearly of the same colour as his hair, though perhaps a little redder: it is not unlike beef,--beef, however, one would say, of a bad quality. His forehead is capacious and high, but square and heavy, and unpleasantly shining. His mouth is large, though his lips are thin and bloodless; and his big, prominent, pale brown eyes inspire anything but confidence. His nose, however, is his redeeming feature: it is pronounced straight and well-formed; though I myself should have liked it better if it did not possess a somewhat spongy, porous appearance, as though it had been cleverly formed out of a red coloured cork.

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