Tuesday, November 30, 2021

the last book I ever read (Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop, excerpt nine)

from Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather:

When they sat down to supper, the host introduced to the Bishop the tall, stout young man with the protruding front, who had been asleep on the floor. He said again that Trinidad Lucero was studying with him, and was supposed to be his secretary,--adding that he spent most of his time hanging about the kitchen and hindering the girls at their work.

These remarks were made in the young man’s presence, but did not embarrass him at all. His whole attention was fixed upon the mutton stew, which he began to devour with undue haste as soon as his plate was put before him. The Bishop observed late that Trinidad was treated very much like a poor relation or a servant. He was sent on errands, was told without ceremony to fetch the Padre’s boots, to bring wood for the fire, to saddle his horse. Father Latour disliked his personality so much that he could scarcely look at him. His fat face was irritatingly stupid, and had the grey, oily look of soft cheeses. The corners of his mouth were deep folds in plumpness, like the creases in a baby’s legs, and the steel rim of his spectacles, where it crossed his nose, was embedded in soft flesh. He said not one word during supper, but ate as if he were afraid of never seeing food again. When his attention left his plate for a moment, it was fixed in the same greedy way upon the girl who served the table—and who seemed to regard him with careless contempt. The student gave the impression of being always stupefied by one form of sensual disturbance or another.

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