Friday 24 November 2017

Farewell, noble Sarah, the bravest person I ever met

Let's get right to the point. Sarah Lawson was English, as English as English as English could be. She was actually the Right Honourable Sarah Lawson, of Jewish extraction, many generations ago. But prosperous Jewry in time became English aristocracy.

She was highborn, and knew it: not in a snobbish way, but in her habits of effortless confidence. She once told me that whenever she walked into a room, she could spot her fellow Hons, as they could her. No word was needed: merely the secret and nameless runes of the tribe sufficed.

This caste has not had a good press in Ireland, or indeed, in modern England, not least because it is silent upon its virtues. Laconic self-depreciation is a readier hallmark of its outward image than articulate pride. It does not speak well of itself, or its virtues: and indeed, for one to do so would disqualify oneself from membership.

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