Full text: Mrs. Dalloway

shop window) naturally took the form later of buying 
off Rigby and Lowndes socks or shoes. So he rumin- 
ated. It was his habit. He did not go deeply. He 
brushed surfaces; the dead languages, the living, life in 
Constantinople, Paris, Rome; riding, shooting, tennis, 
it had been once. The malicious asserted that he now 
kept guard at Buckingham Palace, dressed in silk stock- 
ings and knee-breeches, over what nobody knew. But 
he did it extremely efficiently. He had been afloat on 
the cream of English society for fifty-five years. He had 
known Prime Ministers. His affections were under- 
stood to be deep. And if it were true that he had not 
taken part in any of the great movements of the time 
or held important office, one or two humble reforms 
stood to his credit; an improvement in public shelters 
was one; the protection of owls in Norfolk another; 
servant girls had reason to be grateful to him; and his 
name at the end of letters to the Times, asking for funds, 
appealing to the public to protect, to preserve, to clear 
up litter, to abate smoke, and stamp out immorality 
in parks, commanded respect. 
A magnificent figure he cut too, pausing for a mo- 
ment (as the sound of the half-hour died away) to look 
critically, magisterially, at socks and shoes; impeccable, 
substantial, as if he beheld the world from a certain 
eminence, and dressed to match; but realised the obli- 
gations which size, wealth, health entail, and observed 
punctiliously, even when not absolutely necessary, 
little courtesies, old-fashioned ceremonies, which gave 
a quality to his manner, something to imitate, something 
to remember him by, for he would never lunch, for 
example, with Lady Bruton, whom he had known these 
twenty years, without bringing her in his outstretched 
hand a bunch of carnations, and asking Miss Brush, 

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