Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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The Last of the Sussex M. C.'s. 151
important points in the life of a human being, namely, in which direction he shall go, or to what altitude he shall elevate himself. We mean the toe—the big toe. Other men ignore this great fact, and, consequently, it matters little which way they do go, or whether they go or don't go at all. But in our ultimus Arbiter Elegantiarum it was the all-in-all—the real starting-point in life—the summum bonum—the to kalon!
But to proceed with our portrait. As Lieut.-Colonel Eld stalked into your sphere of vision there was a something—a je ne sais quoi—that struck the imagination at once, and pro­claimed to you, " Here is a character—a curiosity—a being that stands by itself, is a law and an example to itself, and is either the first or the last of its kind." It was a puzzle. And you searched in vain for the key to it until, from resting on that calm, imperturbable visage, that towered in the sky, and seemed to seek its natural aliment in the air—thin air—your eyes decended, by the waning medium of his attenuated waist, and the long spindleshanks of legs, to the sharply projected toes. And then you breathed again. Eureka! The problem was solved. Aut Erasmus autdiabolus. It was either the M.C. or a dancing-master; and as dancing-masters do not, as a rule, perform their pas seuls in the open air, why then it was the M.C. of Brighton, and nothing more nor less!
Let it not be thought that we are gasconading, or going beyond the fair limits of our subject. To show that we are not, we will call into Court a witness, whose evidence on such a point would be accepted by any Court in the world. Let Sydney Smith, the witty Canon of St. Paul's, " come into Court," and speak " the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," concerning the party in this cause.
"'I never was in Brighton' (we quote from the Journal of Julian Charles Young), ' till to-day; but, nevertheless, I have made acquaintance with a great local power,' said he of St. Paul's. 'Who may that be?' asked Anderson. ' Who he is I know not; but I am certain what he is. It is that distinguished functionary, the Master of the Ceremonies. It could be no
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