Soured Man, Stormy Petrel

“Few men, no matter what their calling, can have been the object of so many different descriptions as were applied to him… [Edward George Hemmerde, K.C., the Recorder for Liverpool] was variously depicted as ‘a profligate’, ‘a wastrel’, ‘a martyr to the establishment’, ‘a stormy petrel’, ‘a soured man’, ‘a good-time Charlie’, and ‘a man who was much maligned and misunderstood’; he was also… ‘an irrepressible, loud-mouthed, honourable and outspoken braggart’… His physical perfection was marred by only one thing – or rather, two things: his feet. They were enormous. In profile, straight-backed and vastly-booted, Hemmerde was shaped like the letter L… He was conscious, too, of the unloveliness of his speaking voice, which, when he was at all excited, rose to a high-pitched screech. Since it took very little to get him excited, his voice, almost as often as not, was up in the higher registers, causing distress to sensitive ear-drums…”

From The Killing Of Julia Wallace by Jonathan Goodman (1969)

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