Closeness to death made the details of personal history seem irrelevant, so she evaded his enquiry, whether sympathetic or inquisitive, while noticing that one of her black gloves had a hole in the index finger, that her skirt was too short for bony knees, and that her shins needed attending to. Her feet she had tucked out of sight.
While she was living in Hendrey Street Ada had come to her as cleaner: a squat, dour woman from the North, which part of it Eadith could never remember, if she had ever known. Unwilling to share the details of her own life, she did not expect others to offer autobiographies, unless it was their vice to expose themselves.
Patrick White, The Twyborn Affair