Far Away And Long Ago A History Of My Early Life By W. H. Hudson

 -  It may be that this eccentric individual is
remembered by some of my readers, but I assure them that he - Page 20
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It May Be That This Eccentric Individual Is Remembered By Some Of My Readers, But I Assure Them That He Was Quite A St. James's Park Dandy Compared With My Hermit.

He wore a pair of gigantic shoes, about a foot broad at the toes, made out of thick cow- hide with the hair on; and on his head was a tall rimless cow-hide hat shaped like an inverted flower-pot.

His bodily covering was, however, the most extraordinary: the outer garment, if garment it can be called, resembled a very large mattress in size and shape, with the ticking made of innumerable pieces of raw hide sewn together. It was about a foot in thickness and stuffed with sticks, stones, hard lumps of clay, rams' horns, bleached bones, and other hard heavy objects; it was fastened round him with straps of hide, and reached nearly to the ground. The figure he made in this covering was most horribly uncouth and grotesque, and his periodical visits used to throw us into a great state of excitement. And as if this awful burden with which he had saddled himself - enough to have crushed down any two ordinary men - was not sufficient, he had weighted the heavy stick used to support his steps with a great ball at the end, also with a large circular bell- shaped object surrounding the middle. On arriving at the house, where the dogs would become frantic with terror and rage at sight of him, he would stand resting himself for eight or ten minutes; then in a strange language, which might have been Hebrew or Sanscrit, for there was no person learned enough in the country to understand it, he would make a long speech or prayer in a clear ringing voice, intoning his words in a monotonous sing-song.

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