Manhattan Beach: A Novel by Jennifer Egan:
Mr. De Veer had a Civil War injury, but it was his “bum ticker” that had confined him to the chair two years before, and to the care of his maiden sister, Miss De Veer, who had put an immediate end to his gaming. She claimed it had ruined his health, but he suspected she’d designs on his military pension to augment her collection of porcelain dolls, which already numbered in the hundreds. One afternoon, having just resumed after a winter suspension, Eddie returned late from a card game. Mr. De Veer ordered him away harshly. Wounded, Eddie watched from inside the park as a heavyset lady in a wide-brimmed black hat moved toward Mr. De Veer with boxy determination. The old gentleman looked bowed and frail in her presence, and Eddie understood that he was afraid of his sister.