Thursday, 6 September 2012

Closer to seven feet than six

      Bar Mangas Colorado, he was the biggest man I’d ever seen in my life, closer to seven feet than six and built like an overgrown gorilla. his enormous body was wrapped in a robe made of lions’ manes which covered him from the white scarf round his neck to his massive half-boots, he wore a black beard to his chest, horn-rimmed spectacles, and a smoking-cap, and carried a throwing spear in one hand and a straw umbrella in the other. To complete this bespoke costume he had a sabre on his hip, a revolver in his belt, and a round native shield slung on his back. When he grinned with a fierce glitter of teeth in the beard, he looked like a Ghazi on hasheesh — and then he spoke, brisk and high-pitched, his huge hand gently enfolding mine, and he might have been a vicar welcoming me to the sale of work.
      “Charles Speedy, Sir Harry, used to be adjutant of the Tenth Punjabis, saw you once on the Grand Trunk, near Fatehpur, oh, ever so long ago, but you didn’t see me.”
      Then you must have been lying down in cover and wearing mufti, thinks I.

Flashman on the March, p.31, Harper Collins, paperback edition 2005.

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