do we care about princes andrnprincesses? To us, the names to bernrevered belonged to those whornfreed Venice from Byzantium:rnCorner, Ipato, Bembo, Contarini,rnMorosini, Dandolo, Tiepolo,rnGradenigo, Falier… All right, alsornpeople like Querini, Zorzi, Soranzo,rnZiani, who later joinedrnthem. Then came the new patricians,rnand even though they provedrnto be my undoing, I accept thosernamong them who were inscribed inrnthe Golden Book at the close of thernGreat Council in 1297: Foscari,rnLoredan, Grimani, Barbarigo,rnDona, Gritti, Marcello, Malipiero,rnTron, Venier, Mocenigo .. . Werncould all have made ourselvesrnprinces and marquesses and countsrnand whatnot, but the only title arnVenetian citizen may bear as properlyrnhis own is that of “Nobil Homo.”rnWe used to believe this anrnappellation greater than that ofrnmany a king, and even three centuriesrnafter my birth Henry III ofrnFrance, the last Valois, asked thatrnhe might be permitted to style himselfrna Venetian nobleman .. .rnMRS. MATRON: I know all that,rnbut now you expect to live in myrn. . . in your palazzo, and I’m notrnprepared . .. and frankly puzzled,rnbecause you’re not really telling mernanything. Do you know thernGradenigo family? My brother wasrnstaying at their house in the countryrnlast weekend. He was at Harvardrnwith Giovanni. And Lucy, Irnhear, is a wonderful tennis player.rnMARINO FALIER: My wife is ofrnthe family of Pietro Gradenigo. Hernbecame doge in 1289.rnMRS. MATRON; But do yournknow them? I mean, do they knowrnyou?rnMARINO FALIER: Er, well, myrnname, yes, but I’m afraid . . .rnMRS. MATRON (businesslike):rnI’ll have to speak with my husband,rnbut I don’t think we’ll be rentingrnout the apartment after all. I’mrnvery sorry to have to cut this short,rnand it was a pleasure meeting you,rnbut my daughter and I are going tornan important meeting of SavernVenice this afternoon, and I mustrnget ready. It’s being held at thernhome of the Steno family. Yournknow their ancestor Michele becamerndoge, too. In 1400,1 think.rnDo you know them?rnMARINO FALIER (killing herrnwith an ornamental paperweight):rnAargh!rnAs the curtain falls on my littlernvaudeville, I must add a couple of things.rnOne is that almost all the living personagesrndepicted therein are almost entirelyrnmy own spiteful inventions. The other isrnthat, of course, I’m not Marino Falier returnedrnfrom the dead, but in fact a reasonablyrneager and even accomplished socialrnclimber who would have Mrs.rnMatron, were I ever to run across such arnperfectly formed representative of her socialrnclass, eating out of my hand. Yournwant names, babycakes? I give yournnames. You want country weekends?rnYou can have all the country weekendsrnyou want, the week-ends with a hyphen.rnYou want hobnobbing with princes?rnOkay, here goes. Unfortunately, life isrnnot vaudeville, and a perfectly formedrnrepresentative of that social class is hardrnto find, which leaves me with Mrs. Matron’srnimperfectly formed, flawed, partialrnnamesakes: German, French, Hungarian,rnEnglish.rnAll of them, each in his or her ownrncluelessly snobbish way, manage to reenactrnthe scene from the Tenth Canto ofrnDante’s Inferno, when the old Ghibelline,rnFarinata degli Uberti, fixes thernpoet with his beady eye and demands tornknow, literally, who in hell he is:rnCom’ io al pie della sua tomba fui,rnguardommi un poco, e poi, quasirnsdegnoso,rnmi dimandd: “Chi fuor li maggiorrntui?”rnlo ch’era d’ubidir disideroso,rnnon HI celai, ma tutto lH’apersi. ..rnAnd the harder I try to “conceal nothingrnand reveal all,” the sorrier I feel forrnpoor Marino Falier. He would never findrnan apartment in Venice.rnAndrei Navrozov is Chronicles’rnEuropean editor.rnLetter From EnglandrnTo Subscribe:rn(800) 877-5459rnby Derek TurnerrnBlair’s War on BiologyrnIn the May 2000 issue of Chroniclesrn(‘Tetter From England: New Gaybour”),rnI wrote that there was a good chance thatrnSection 28 (the portion of the 1988 UnitedrnKingdom Local Government Bill thatrnforbids the promotion of homosexualityrnamong schoolchildren) would be retainedrnthrough the current Parliament atrnleast, because of the Labour Party’s failurernto push the repealing legislationrnthrough the House of Lords. Mirabilerndictu, on July 24, their lordships —orrnrather, one ladyship. Baroness Young,rnwho led the Tory opposition—came uprnhumps again, with a majority of 42 in favorrnof retaining the vexed clause.rnThis was a surprising result—or perhapsrnwe conservatives are just accustomedrnto losing such battles. Faced withrnthe prospect of having to drop the repealrnlegislation altogether in order to ensurernthe passage of the rest of the Local GovernmentrnAct, Tony Blair had resorted tornthe time-dishonored tactic of stuffing thernawkward legislative chamber with placemen.rnSince the last Lords defeat, 30 newrnLabour and Liberal Democratic peersrnhave been appointed. This should havernmade the government victorious; in thernend, however, there was a difference ofrnonly three votes, thanks to a revolt of 18rnprincipled Labour peers and the absencernof at least ten others when the vote v-asrnbeing taken.rnBut this war is far from over. Althoughrnthe government says that it will not try tornforce the repeal of Section 28 in this sessionrnof Parliament, the wealthy andrnmonomaniacal homosexual lobby willrnfight bitterly to ensure that it gets the resultrnit wants. The government’s optionsrnare either to introduce a short bill in thernnext session or to wait until after the nextrnelection, when the upper house has beenrnfully “reformed.”rnIf Labour wins the next general election.rnSection 28 will be scrapped—evenrnif the majority of Tories stand firm. Inrnany case, as more of Britain’s powers arernceded to Brussels by Blair’s Anglophobicrngovernment, it will become increasinglyrn38/CHRONiCLESrnrnrn