The Last of the Sussex M. C.'s. 153
case with Lieut.-Col. Eld. The man was made for the office. His body was cast in the M.C. mould, and he had a soul to match. So high, and no higher. You can but fill a vessel, and when Lieut.-Col. Eld was elected to the office of M.C. for Brighton he was filled, and he held all the liquor that there was to pour into him, or that he could hold. The whole world recognised it. How he existed previous to that moment, who can say? We are sometimes inclined to doubt if he did exist at all previous to it—if the occasion did not give him birth— so that, when the moment came, he walked forth, like Minerva from the brain of Jupiter, a complete and immaculate M.C. Who ever saw him under any other aspect?—in any other relationship? He had no wife—no sister, brother, cousins, aunt, or uncle—no relatives—no friends—no acquaintances— only his M.C. surroundings of spinsters, and widows, and "maids forlorn," and they only came forth on the occasion of his balls, to flit round him for a weary night or two, make their offerings (the price of a ball-ticket), and then fade away into the regions of single unblessedness.
They were ghostly assemblages, those M.C. balls. They began in nothing, except the announcement in the local papers that " such things would be;" they brought nothing to nothing—they ended in nothing. Did a single ray of love illumine them? Impossible. Did Hymen ever crown them? Incredible. Hope itself must have withered in such an atmosphere. There were but two elements in them: the M.C. element and the husband-hunting element; and the necessary link was missing! But they were the Avatars of the M.C. of Brighton—the occasions on which he made himself palpable to the senses of his followers, and was a Being. Did any one ever see his name except when appended to the yearly advertisements in the local papers which announced to the Brighton world the fact of the recurring M.C.'s ball? Did anyone ever hear of his doing, saying, suffering anything except as M.C.? Did he ever change in his " outward man ?" We never noted it. Did he ever laugh,