“My dear Mrs. Ali, I would hardly refer to you as old, ” he said. “You are in what I would call the very prime flowering of mature womanhood.” It was a little grandiose but he hoped to surprise a blush. Instead she laughed out loud at him.
“I have never heard anyone try to trowel such a thick layer of flattery on the wrinkles and fat deposits of advanced middle age, Major,” she said. “I am fifty-eight years old and I think I have slipped beyond flowering. I can only hope now to dry out into one of those everlasting bouquets.”
from Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonsen