The Mirrored Man: Part 1

The Mirrored Man: Part 1

A Story by Katie de Lavani

Sir Henry Wold, a man of extreme vanity, finds his manner rebound against him.


“Oh, how you look tonight.

I gaze upon your eyes, a trickle

Of immortal waters

Circumnavigating vision’s dilations

And precious lips

And see



Love, a lock threaded hoop

Dancing, weaves

Round you in ballroom’s first waltz, none

Can resist.

Whenever their mineral masks

Turn ere-




Wing thruple beats conduct


Such a symphony

Of simple string-ed hearts.

The music, an oboe sole,

Pythons from basket


Of angel kiss’ed


 Faceless mirror mimics the slight rise in eyebrow, sharp sensing eyes and curvatures of a callow speech. The borders crested in gold twisted down into maiden’s braid, its glossy reflection always the same face of self-reverence.

Henry Cabbage (though he told everyone his surname was Wold) was a man of extreme vanity, possessing six and twenty mirrors, at least two at any given time. His eyes stroking the mirror, calmed by his self-addressed speeches of awe became the painting of the man.

Whenever a traveler’s curiosity would press for the background of grand Sir Henry Wold, they would receive a weary sigh and variants of “Do not deign to speak to the man for he pays no heed to any but himself.” Although the ladies swooned when they caught a glimpse of such an outrageously handsome creature, soon their heart flutters became clicks of wooden spheres in croquet, knocking their looks from his view.

It was a simple answer why this man was not aware of his conceited demeanor, his lack of attention beyond the slight curl of his heavenly hair. Sir Cabbage never stooped to look past his nose unless it was to identify the individual he was conversing with. This action was of course in order to juxtapose their dullness to his face, one knighted with a flawless complexion.

As the years shed their jacket leaves, exhaling advance of life, Henry Wold continued to attend every party he thought “worthy” of his most charming appearance. When the men called him daft, he waved it off, believing that the mere mortals had entertained a simple twist of the tongue. Such men had not the power in their addle minds to discern what they were allowing to dribble from their mouths. When the ladies shirked his advances, he scooped up the heavy gauntlet, believing those were acting coy and secretly wishing the man to work for his victory. And win ladies over he would, though always baiting them with his looks and an ever refreshed lawn of wealth.

He traveled, indeed. To great distant lands, towns of large and small sizes; Sir Wold would cover as much of the Earth as he could, for all must be witness to his beauty. Ship, carriage, hundreds and hundreds of miles away from his hometown, but he always returned. Never tempted by the theatres, social circles mingling with royalty, a beautiful woman; nothing would contain the infamous Sir Wold from falling back to Pittermop, a town designed and lived in exactly as the name sounded.

 Why his point of homely gravitation was pinned on the lamppost of Kirkland Lane, one in such a dreary traveler’s town, eluded most. His father was ill, blind, but why then not hire a nurse to care for him?

The townspeople would invite him to spend seasons in most notable of places, hoping he would grow an attachment and desire to stay. Unfortunately, no such luck would smile upon the permanent residents of Pittermop and Sir Wold’s character remained to shear already minds weak, without self-esteem, into despondency.

It was the night of Lady Frost’s first ball that Sir Cabbage’s vanity would be tapped on the shoulder for a special dance.

Offering greetings, ignoring scoffs, gliding through the lively environment to ask each woman for a spot on her dance card, Henry stepped through the motions as he always did.

Fresh from the amusements at Bath, Lady Malvere was delighted to be taken by the hand and lead out to the back garden.

Roses, tulips, rooted in circular mounds almost refused to deliver their sweet senses to the escort, to deny such a character of any assistance to win the maiden. Fountains off to the side added to the symmetry of the flower’s home, cobblestones captured in a circle dance around them. An engraved stone bench set it shoulders and half arms in front of a small pond with lilly pads and drifted dust. The ballroom’s light proffered the illumination for tender words and a silent picture to be harvested on the pond’s surface.

“How I adore your smile, Lady Malvere,” Sir Wold began. “And such lighted eyes whisper to me of your longing spirit, wishing to seek out the mysteries of the world.”

The Lady blushed.

“You know, I’ve seen a great many places that you might never see,” he smoothly brushed his sandy hair back with an ingratiating smile. “Would you like me to tell you of my adventures?”

The Lady opened her mouth to speak when a call came from a perched sparrow at the entryway, “Lady Malvere, I need you here.” It was her mother. The young maiden smiled lightly and tapered off and out of mind as she stepped into the house.

It came as a pleasant surprise to Henry when he saw himself reflected on the small pond. He slid onto the bench and stretched an arm over the water’s hip. “Look!” he gleamed at himself.

Grafted onto your rayon sense,

Butterfly antennae needles



And down,

From quartz facets to Olympus,

Fleshy template for expressions


Where all fall

Patters of wishful


Flatter constantly

The red blush of lady’s cheek;

Nimble gymnasts spin, swirl

Light feet on perfume,


Words follow wistful looks-

I love you

I love you

I love you

But not

Required, for your tasseled smiles

Sever need

To depart hearts, ingredients

For lasting.

You’re rinsed in cloudy tufts

From thousand



Love’s encumbrance.

Such brilliance! empowers persuasion

Where once was ne’er heard.

Then placed is die topped scepter in hand."

He smirked and dipped his finger into the pond as if he were a god, marveling at the nominal decorations of mortal dwellers.

As his flesh stirred through the water, an object seemed to appear at the bottom, a candent slip began to arise from the shallow depth. It faded to a creamy glow as it reached the surface, not showing any signs of its liquid embrace. “My! Even the water cannot keep from stating its affection!” exclaimed Sir Wold.

The object was a small piece of parchment and on it was written, “Above This, Water sees. One who cares to please. Not his fellow man. But the holder of his keys. Above This, Blue Sail sees. One who traverses seas. To invade quiescence. With a caustic breeze. Above This, Rainfall sees. One who needs know deeds. To become humble. Taught by liventh trees. Above Them, I see. One who needed be. The glimpser not the gazer. To know of how he fees.”

Sir Wold was instantly soaked in a drowsy tedium from attempting to decipher the note’s mysterious meaning and ripped the parchment in half. “Just a love note, I’m sure.” The pieces slowly lost their glow, settling on the water, the ink bleeding silently over itself.

Henry closed his eyes for a moment, took a deep breath to resume his heart chiming spirit. When opened his eyes to glance back at the water once more, he realized how the reflection’s sharpness had flared. In fact, he could no longer perceive the dust or lilly pads sitting on pool but could see the circular encompassment of the pool’s under edges. It was as if… yes, as if he was looking up from the surface of the water! His head shot up to latch onto any sight of the garden, a heart race commenced. What he distinguished before him, however, was the exact opposite of stringed stems. Sir Cabbage saw himself, small, sitting upright and alert on the stone bench. He could see the backside of the pond, the entrance to the ballroom! He brought up his hands, searched for them through darkness, but saw only his face whirled in disgust at the discovery. Everything was a mirror! He let out a cry at the discord.

Sir Wold might have found this appalling ability quite amusing had he been enjoying the leisures of an unscheduled morning at his home, walking past his countless mirrors angled on the wall. But at a ball! This disquieting perception affected a total loss of balance.

 Wherever he directed his eyes seemed to be the point that determined the distance and angle of the reflection that was made. Look at his hands, his countenance was in full view. Blue eyes, blonde hair, bold nose, full lips. Throw a gaze in front of himself and might it hit a leaf of a tree, he saw everything from the eyes of the ribbed green plant. Blue eyes, blonde hair, bold nose, full lips. What if… He pulled his eyes upward, hoping for a gulp of sense. But no! He was the million eyes of accumulated condensation, his view: the entire house and its gardens, the driveway, a guest home, trees overhanging the country road.

The realization was instant, a terrific bolt of spearing voltage, one which had been suppressed by so many years of complacency. Oh! Such a tiny speck he was! inhabiting this enormous scene. How undeserving of he of godly detection! A grain of salt in bucket seasoning!

He spun his blind-wide eyes before him, scraping for a comprehendible view. Too far, too close!, an angle so awry! Such an aberration was immensely disconcerting, to see his person no matter where his lens might strive to collect objective light. Black dress coat and trousers, meticulously combed hair, but the stature fumbling, receding at every flick of the pupil.

Where was he? Where was the infallible Sir Henry Wold, the man too superior to descend his reigning throne? He had been vaulted into the sea of reality from the pedestal of aloofness. This was a man, not society’s castellan, but one susceptible to human faults of murmuring confusion and unsettling emotions. This shrunken man was no longer the charlatan armed with disparaging remarks, enamored by his own self. This was a two-legged, red-blooded child who found himself on the track of a horse race.

He struggled to arise from the bench, but muscles went askew, a jumbled mess of drumsticks and percussion cymbals. The infant task of finding balance had been carelessly inundated on his new fragile being.

All the while, instrumental waltzes rose and fell like sweet wishes.

The note! He remembered. Sir Cabbage felt desperately over to the edge of the pond and stared and stared, attempting to perhaps pierce this screen. But to no avail! All he managed to see was a once placid art warped in fretting consternation.

He closed his eyes and stood, finding it easier not to juggle sight with movement. Looking towards where he guessed the patio to the ballroom was, Henry was caught in a flurry of spinning dresses and every face trained on the sinuous dance. Red satin shoulder sleeve, some section of a deeply tanned face with tuxedo below, a tipped top of a champagne glass with peacock feathered hair off to the side; each view depicting the stricken man slumped sideways in the dark like a helpless animal down a hole. With the endless movement, perspectives were changing incessantly. Such a siege of views!

Sir Cabbage knew he had to leave the ball immediately, but how to sort his way through all those people? Surely he couldn’t walk backwards with a hand inches in front of his eyes.

“Sir Wold?” a female voiced, treading into the garden. Henry searched madly for a way to identify the woman, but all he could amass was a slender figure wearing an emerald and snowflake gown with deep brown hair advancing on him. “Sir Wold, are you unwell?” Judging by his lack of response, refusal to cease shifting his eyes up and around violently, and disoriented stance, the young Lady Frost concluded this was not the man she spoke to not five minutes past.

“Uhh. Uhm. My Lady,” there was a profound uncertainty in his voice, as if he were for the first time walking without the complacent carapace, “you are quite right. I am very unwell.”

Blue eyes, blonde hair, bold nose, full lips. When will this end?!

“You look deathly pale. Shall I fetch for someone?” Who was she, who was this woman?! A scathing frustration! The fountains behind him plodded with lapping water and fireflies cast an untimely enchantment.

Henry bore into the obstacle before him. She was coming closer he was sure, for his own image was growing. “My Lady, my- my eyes have seemed to fail me. It is most difficult to see… Might you be willing to lead me to the carriages?” He was staring at the ground around the woman, a tornado whipping in his eyes.

A hesitation barreled between the two as the Miss Frost was washed by uncertainty on how to act, this being her opening ball. But surely such an innocent act would be allowed; just look at the poor man. “But of course, Sir.”

As she slid quickly towards him, a grimace gobbled Henry’s face. Wounded and taken aback by his reaction, Lady Frost wondered, does he think ill of me? Am I so unappealing? She took his arm with a frail reluctance and deliberated the matter.

“How exquisite. You look tonight-- My Lady.” Sir Cabbage spoke to the floor as if he were being bombarded by rubber shards.

Lady Frost experienced a small lift in the heart as she entered into the ballroom with a bewildered Sir Cabbage.

Violins and cellos trotted in the ears of the audience, all oblivious to their troubled Sir Wold. In the arms of yet another lady, nothing new to report; but reality could not be more disparate than such a conclusion.

Always centered in the picture of elegant gowns and netted hair, of speculating monocles and brushed coats; he was a drained green and white puppet with sullen eyes barking for some Hercules to lift the encumbrance. Halfway through the carnival of people, Henry resolved to seal his eyes, to mitigate the confusion of transient angles.

Fresh air was a shower of relief. Sir Cabbage looked forward and caught a tree or shrubbery in the front of the home, bottling the sight of himself and… Lady Frost! standing at the top of marble stairs. A large, black carriage pulled by two harnessed horses crunched towards its owner. She must have sent someone for it while making our way through the home. How awfully considerate.

“My Lady Frost,” he managed with a late evening flourish, “I thank you for your great kindness.” Henry lightly slid down to her hand for he had no other way of finding it. Blue eyes, blonde hair, bold nose, full lips. It was everywhere! He lifted the delicate nails and forced himself to strain for her eyes, but as he kissed the hand, two blue eyes skated over a freckled nose. Blue eyes, blonde hair, bold nose, full lips. Where was her face?

Cabbage imagined that the lady blushed from the soft kiss. “Good evening, Lady Frost,” and he left her standing with her first farewell from a man most nearly worthy of the word “amiable.”

© 2011 Katie de Lavani

Author's Note

Katie de Lavani
Reviews please! Oh, and don't forget there's another part!

My Review

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I finally got around to reading something of yours, and I am most definitely impressed! Your words don't cause a sense of repetition, and flow perfectly almost like a poem. The end was a bit rocky, probably because of myself, but nonetheless still as good as the rest. Loved it, Will read the second. Sorry it took so long to get to reading.

Posted 9 Years Ago

I don't think this one needs a review, it is so fantastic in itself :)
Awesome story. It was just like reading a classic. You just took me back in time :)

Posted 9 Years Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on July 8, 2011
Last Updated on July 8, 2011


Katie de Lavani
Katie de Lavani


Hi. Nothing much to say about me. I'm always looking for a good story in my life and sometimes base the stories I write on real life experiences. I love to read others writing to see just how horrible.. more..

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