frost-bitten refinement of the features

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Ahmed Samir Darwish

Senior Member
In The Fairy Tale of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton, the author was talking about a very old man living in a hermitage on the top of a hill with his two servants:

And in this situation, he's talking about the two servants, saying:

They wore dull-black gowns like his own, but they had not the frosty silver on the hair, nor the frost-bitten refinement of the features.

What does he mean by frost-bitten refinement of the features?
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It’s a literary description the author has dreamt up himself, to conjure up an image of the old hermit – although, rather perversely, he presents the description as an appearance not shared by his younger servants.

    The reader has to interpret the description in his or her own way. To me, it suggests an old man whose face echoes the frosty/frost-bitten look of his silver hair by being the result of age and experience, making him look both solemn and dignified (frost-bitten and refined).
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