John Fildew at this time was about fifty-two years of age, but looked somewhat older. Thirty years previously he had been accounted a very handsome man, and there were still sufficient traces of bygone good looks to make credible such a tradition. But the once clear-cut aquiline nose was now growing more coarse and bibulous-looking with every year, and the once shapely waist was putting on a degree of convexity that troubled its possessor far more than any other change that time had seen fit to afflict him with. As yet he was by no means bald, and his iron-gray hair, however thin it might be at the crown, was still plentiful at the sides and back, and being seldom operated upon by the tonsorial scissors, its long, straggling ends mingled with the tangled growth of his whiskers and lay on the collar of his coat behind. Grizzled, too, were whiskers, beard, and mustache, but all unkempt and apparently uncared for, growing as they listed, and only impatiently snipped at now and again by Mr. Fildew himself, when his mustache had grown so long as to be inconvenient at meal-times. His eyes were his best feature. They were dark, piercing, and deep-set, and were overhung by thick, bushy brows, which showed as yet no signs of age. Their ordinary expression was one of cold, quiet watchfulness, but they were occasionally lighted up by gleams of a grim, sardonic humor, accompanied by a half-contemptuous smile and at such times it was possible to understand how it happened that many not over-observant people came to regard him as a genial, good-hearted, easy-tempered fellow, when, in truth, there was scarcely one touch of real geniality in his composition.