Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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150               Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
belles, all marriageable and all unmarried, who flew and buzzed and droned round the last of the M.C.'s as ghosts of moths may be supposed to buzz round the ghost of a candle! For wings they had none to burn—they had been burnt off years ago; and there was no flame to burn them! Yet to them he was still a luminary, because all other luminaries had gone out. He was a relic of that Past to which they, too, belonged; and he still kept a hold, feeble as it. was, on the Present, to which they clung with a despairing grasp. For nobody could gainsay his title to his position. He was M.C. He held it by right of descent from a line of M.C.'s dating .back to Heaven knows what point of History or Tradition; and he carried his title in his look, his face, his figure, his every movement! How recall these, except to the memory of those who have beheld them with their eyes ?
Only to such as have gazed on the bodily presence of Lieut.-Colonel Eld—the last M.C. of Brighton—who have seen him walk down North Street or up the Marine Parade, or down the Marine Parade and up North Street, would we venture to limn that tall and erect and Quixotic-looking figure —that body poised so exactly upon those parallel legs, which kept such perfect time upon the Brighton pavement! If Archimedes could have made a man, amongst his other marvellous machines, it would have been such a man as our last M.C. It would have so looked—so moved—so stood still; its head would have been so held, in a perfect geometrical line, upon its shoulders; its arms would have so swung, and oh! perfection of Art, its toes would so have pointed, at the only correct angles for toes, right and left! For, as every man has his strong as well as his weak points—as the strength of Samson lay in his hair, and the vulnerability of Achilles in his heel, here—in his toes—lay the strength of Colonel Eld. Here was the essence of the man. His soul, if he had one, lay, not, as some philosophers aver, in the pia mater, nor the heart, nor the pit of the stomach, but in the extremity of that member of the body which determines, in the last degree, the most
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