But it was not the withered hand of the angry old beldame
that fell on the managerial ear, but the envelope itself, the cause of all the trouble, the magic envelope that opened with the blow, scattering the bank-notes, which escaped in a fantastic whirl of giant butterflies.
The moment he produced the glittering earbobs, the whimpering and whining of the sempiternal beldame
was at an end.
says Judy, making an ancient snap at her like a very sharp old beldame
Thirty years later when my mother sent me down from the mountains to the Brothers' school in the same town, she lodged me in the House in Jail Square with two stranded, derelict, timeworn, desiccated beldames
, aged somewhere between fifty and sixty.
Near the green edge of this recess We made our halt, and marvelled, more Than at its sudden loveliness, To find reborn that life of yore When ocean to Nausicaa bore The wanderer from Calypso strayed,-- For here swart dames, and beldames
hoar, With many a round-limbed supple maid, Plashed in the pool and eyed us unafraid.
Eamon Duffy has already suggested that "the reversability of whitewashing was an established fact," both among iconoclasts, and among those who resisted them: in the early 1580s "some well wishers" of the older tradition had rubbed at the whitewash covering a painting of the Passion of Christ in Chichester Cathedral so that it was now "almost as bright as ever it was"; while the curate of Ashford in Kent was accused of having improperly destroyed a wooden font cover painted with popish images by causing it to be merely "slubbered over with a white wash that in an hour may be undone," so that it stood "like a Dianae's shrine for a future hope and daily comfort of old popish beldames
and yong perking papists.