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Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 25. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Hon. James Murray Mason, of Mason & Slidell fame. (search)
sh temperament, American habits and Virginian abandon into a peculiar form. It made him self-possessed in his manner, and no scion of chivalry was ever more manly; and yet there was inexplicably mixed in him qualities confused in the composition, which made him seem to strangers what he was not—somewhat haughty in his carriage. There was a geniality mixed with a hauteur uncongenial; a hearty laugh contrasted with the sternest frown; a brusqueness with a reticent and commanding dignity; a John Bull bluffness with a French-like air of finished politeness; a Virginian old plantation way with marked attention to niceties; a jealous regard for conventional forms, and yet he would violate them imperiously. His integrity was sterling—exact to truth; his firmness was rock-like; his sense of honor was of the highest tone, and his every word and action was guided by a discretion always sound and always on guard. In the family, both of his father and his own home at Winchester, he was the mo