"Sire, will you allow me to speak frankly as befits a loyal soldier?" he asked to gain time.
The above figure is coloured black as befits a funerary and nocturnal animal: it is more attenuated than even a greyhound, but it has the bushy tail of the fox or the jackal.
If the thought that things looked bad chanced to enter anyone's head, he tried to be as cheerful as befits a good soldier and not to think of the general trend of affairs, but only of the task nearest to hand.
"As befits a soldier, Aunt, I don't force myself on anyone or refuse anything," he said before he had time to consider what he was saying.