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Denys

(St.), according to tradition, carried his head, after martyrdom, for six miles, and then deliberately laid it down on the spot where stands the present cathedral bearing his name. This absurd tale took its rise from an ancient painting, in which the artist, to represent the martyrdom of the bishop, drew a headless body; but, in order that the trunk might be recognised, placed the head in front, between the martyr's hands.

Sir Denys Brand,
in Crabbe's Borough, is a country magnate who apes humility. He rides on a sorry brown pony “not worth £5,” but mounts his lackey on a racehorse, “twice victor for a plate.” Sir Denys Brand is the type of a character by no means uncommon.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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