This is a long quote, but bear with me. It's worth it.
"In the midst of them, the blackest and largest jewel in that dark setting, reclined James Hook, or as he wrote himself, Jas. Hook, of whom it was said he was the only man that the Sea-Cook* feared. He lay at his ease in a rough chariot drawn and propelled by his men, and instead of a right hand he had the iron hook with which ever and anon he encouraged them to increase their pace. As dogs this terrible man treated and addressed them, and as dogs they obeyed him. In person he was cadaverous and blackavized, and his hair was dressed in long curls, which at a little distance looked like black candles, and gave a singularly threatening expression to his handsome countenance. His eyes were of the blue of the forget-me-not, and of a profound melancholy, save when he was plunging his hook into you, at which time two red spots appeared in them and lit them up horribly. In manner, something of the grand seigneur still clung to him, so that he even ripped you up with an air, and I have been told that he was a raconteur of repute. He was never more sinister than when he was most polite, which is probably the truest test of breeding; and the elegance of his diction, even when he was swearing, no less the distinction of his demeanour, showed him one of the different caste from his crew. A man of indomitable courage, it was said of him that the only thing he shied at was the sight of his own blood, whihc was thick and of an unusual colour. In dress he somewhat aped the attire assoiciated with the name of Charles II, having heard it said in some earlier period of his career that he bore a strange resemblance to the ill-fated Stuarts**; and in his mouth he had a holder of his own contrivance which enabled him to smoke two cigars at once. But undoubtedly the grimmest part of his was his iron claw."
*Long John Silver
**English/Scottish family who ruled those two countries
I loved this quote for two reasons:
1. It sucked me in. When a description is so realistic that the character seems to be standing in front of me, or really I seem to be standing in front of the character, I cannot help but like it.
2. I always pictured James Hook as slightly...goofy. But not so any longer! I was amazed at how fierce James Barrie actually meant him to be, and how much I had misinterpreted him through the Disney movie. Before I'd laugh at his "iron claw"; now, I cower.
(A book review for Peter Pan is coming soon...)