Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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152               Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
one else. It was a gentleman attired point device, walking down the parade like Agag, ' delicately.' He pointed out his toes like a dancing-master, but carried his head like a potentate. As he passed the stand of flies he nodded approval, as if he owned them all. As he approached the little goat-carriages he looked askance over the edge of his starched neckcloth and blandly smiled encouragement. Sure that in following him I was treading in the steps of greatness, I went on to the Pier, and there I was confirmed in my conviction of his eminence; for I observed him look first over the right side and then over the left, with an expression of serene satisfaction spreading over his countenance, which said, as plainly as if he had spoken to the sea aloud, ' That is right. You are low-tide at present; but never mind, in a couple of hours I shall make you high-tide again.'"
If the whole order of M.C.'s, from Petronius downwards, had been called on to choose a man in whom, as the last of the race, their characteristics should be summed up and most visibly shine forth, they could not have made a better selection than in Lieut.-Colonel Eld. There was the stamp of office in his look and carriage—an imposing air, " as one having authority," that asserted his right to respect, and, in spite of the eccentricity of his manners, daunted the profanum vulgus and ensured him from insult. He carried, indeed, a good stout stick (it was the only stout thing about him !)and it was said that he was skilled in the art of using it. But it was not to that stick that he owed his perfect immunity from anything like impertinence. No! It lay deeper than that. It was his perfect adaptation to the part he was playing—the harmony that existed between the man and the office. It is incongruity —a falling short of the true standard—whether that standard be high or low—a hangman's or a king's—that provokes con­tempt and excites the laughter of "little vulgar boys." If a man play his part, whatever it be, with due regard to the degree and nature of that part, he is recognised as a real thing, and allowed to go by unquestioned and unassailed. Now, this was the
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