'Granddad, Granddad! look up!--it is Marjorie. Have you forgotten your niece, Marjorie Wells? And this is little Edgar, Marjorie's son! Speak to him, Edgar, speak to granddad. Alack, this is one of his dark days, and he knoweth no one.'
In the arm-chair of carven oak stained black as ebony by the smokes of many years, and placed in the great hall where the yule log is burning, the old man sits as he has sat every day since last winter; speechless, to all seeming sightless; faintly smiling and nodding from time to time when well shaken into consciousness by some kindly hand, and then relapsing into stupor. He is paralysed from the waist downwards. His deeply wrinkled face is ashen gray and perfectly bloodless, set in its frame of snow-white hair; hair that has once been curly and light, and still falls in thin white ringlets on the stooping shoulders; his hands are shrivelled to thinnest bone and parchment; his eyes, sunken deep beneath the brows, give forth little or no glimmer of the fire of life.
Ninety years old. The ruin, or wreck, of what has once been a gigantic man.