Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Fragment: venomous dislike of certain of his archaeological colleagues

From: Caton-Thompson, Gertrude. Mixed Memoirs. Gateshead, Tyne & Ware: Paradigm Press, 1983.
'The Prof' greeted me with a low bow and showed my my tent. His over-courteous manner was rather irritating and obscured depths of venomous dislike of certain of his archaeological colleagues. His distinguished appearance deserves a word. At 73 he was aging but still indefatigable. His splendid head well-carried, with aquiline features, very wide apart eyes of penetrating quality, and plentiful silky grey hair and beard was off-set by a loosely-framed body with an ungainly stride. His contempt for reasonably good living was proverbial. Food and drink to him were an unfortunate necessity to be endured as swiftly and cheaply as possible; a raw carrot was a meal. His mode of life was aided by a devoted wife, who would have been conspicuously good-looking if given the chance. She supported her husband in his economies with sometimes unforseen results from the long-suffering students. One day the frequent herring was served out of the tin. One of the young men delayed clearance of the plates by fiddling with his fish. Mrs. Petrie said impatiently "Mr. Walker hurry up, we are waiting." To which he replied "I am trying to take the skin off without breaking it. I thought you like to return it to the makers to be refilled!"
p. 83

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