E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Honours (h silent).
Crushed by his honours. The allusion is to the Roman damsel who agreed to open the gates of Rome to King Tatius, provided his soldiers would give her the ornaments which they wore on their arms. As they entered they threw their shields on her and crushed her, saying as they did so, These are the ornaments worn by Sabines on their arms. Roman story says the maid was named Tarpeia, and that she was the daughter of Tarpeius, the governor of the citadel.
Draco, the Athenian legislator, was crushed to death in the theatre of Ægina, by the number of caps and cloaks showered on him by the audience, as a mark of their high appreciation of his merits.
Elagabalus, the Roman Emperor, invited the leading men of Rome to a banquet, and, under the pretence of showing them honour, rained roses upon them. But the shower continued till they were all buried and smothered by the flowers.
Two or four by honours. A term in whist. If two partners hold three court cards, they score two points; if they hold four court cards, they score four points. These are honour points, or points not won by the merit of play, but by courtesy and laws of honour. The phrases mean, I score or claim two points by right of honours, and I score or claim four points by right of four court or honour cards.