A clever lawyer who bides his time and slowly, quietly hoovers up the assets of dissolute aristocrats, while ever fawning over and reverencing them. But one glance at those ‘prune-like eyes’ and you can see the astute focus on a long game.

‘His voice was humble and his manner so servile. All the same his bulging prune-like eyes gave the lie to this impression.’

From the second of Miklos Banffy’s Transylvanian Trilogy, a rich depiction of shifting historical and social sands beneath the apparently solid foundations of the Hungarian aristocracy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

 

Source: Miklos Banffy, They Were Found Wanting, trans. Patrick Thursfield and Katalin Banffy-Jelen (London: Arcadia Books, 2011 (1937)), p. 374

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