Mirror, mirror on the wall, tell me who is the fairest one of all?
Good mistress, why do you implore me so? Can’t you see? Lady Mary of Avonley’s countenance is beyond reproach. Beyond compare.
Next to her cerulean eyes, the summer sky is but an overcast storm. She is paler than the first snowfall but is brought alive by the spring rose of her cheeks and the autumn fire of her hair.
Why good mistress, knights, princes and kings have fallen to their knees at the sight of her beauty. Any man with eyes would do the same.
She is a sun that will burn with beauty for many moons to come. Next to her, you are dun, my good mistress. Lady Mary of Avonley is the fairest of all.
I concede mirror, I am quite plain. And Lady Mary of Avonley’s beauty never seems to wane. So then mirror, mirror in my hand, tell me who is the wittiest in the land?
The wittiest? Why good mistress, you make me laugh, I thought you brighter than this!
Quickly mirror, impart to me! Who is it that you see?
Duchess Beatrice Worthington! Who else could it be? No mind could ever hope to be as bright as her. No man nor woman nor child could ever compare to her wit.
Her knowledge is broad, good mistress. She is a master in the art of conversation. She can command the masses, light the flames of curiosity, dampen the zealous and jealous and temper tempers. She’ll have unravelled you and your pitiful games in a matter of moments. You know that good mistress.
She is a mage and scientist, a philosopher and writer. She and her ponderings are the talk of the land. They circumnavigate the globe and ignite minds in their wake. How exciting, is it not, good mistress?
I can assure you, there is no mind as sharp as Duchess Beatrice Worthington’s. You could not even begin to comprehend her wit; Duchess Beatrice Worthington is the wittiest in the land.
I’ve read her writings and, mirror, I admit it with a sigh. Mistress Beatrice Worthington brings a new dawn nigh. Alas, I cannot compare, for she possesses a natural flair. Then mirror, mirror my bed upon, tell me who is the bravest of all the ton?
Bravest? My, good mistress, you are certainly bold this eve.
Come now, mirror, pray tell. Some duke or dame who in battle fell?
Not quite, good mistress, you see —
Oh, relief! Have I been bold enough? Tell me, mirror, have I been the most courageous and gallant and tough?
You? Oh grief, how absurd! Of course not. A coward you are, good mistress. Even the meekest mouse is braver than you.
A mouse? I have to disagree. Oh mirror, you wound me!
It is truth, good mistress, so I’ve heard the ton say. The gossip whispers that there be none more cowardly.
Then mirror, mirror, be it my heart? Does my kindness set me apart?
Kindness? Nay! What kindness? Count and Countess Jon-de-Vinelle have hearts purer than yours — and they turn away the sick and starving from their golden gates from dawn to dusk.
General Jean O’Connolly.
Master Henry Williams.
Perhaps humility, or perhaps the most funny?
Father Paul Jeremiah. For both, my good mistress. In truth, I have not seen a man so humble nor heard sermons so absurd.
Then mirror, mirror, on the wall, am I truly the plainest of all?
Took you so long, and yet, here we are again. Good mistress, I have never seen a maiden nor crone as plain as you. Not one so dull and cowardly and selfish as yourself!
Cowardly? Selfish? Oh mirror, mirror, am I your foe? Why is it you hurt me so?
Me? Hurt you? Good mistress, I think you are mistaken —
Then what are these tears! Other than the result of your jeers?
You misunderstand me, good mistress. You see, though imbued with powerful magic I am, I am still only a mirror. A mirror which can only reflect. Through me, you see yourself as you think you are. Think yourself a coward, I tell you so. Think yourself plain, I tell you so. What you think to me, I say to you. My good mistress, I cannot hurt you.
Only, it is through me, you hurt you.