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That poor boy is the son of two of my oldest spend hours in getting up philosophical-phifriends; and for himself we have always had the losophical !-excuses for a rudeness which was greatest esteem and liking. If he caused us a lit- really unpardonable. What I chiefly wish for, I tle annoyance at this time, he had perhaps a sort know, is to see all those young folks happy and of excuse for it—which is more than some people enjoying themselves; but it would puzzle wiser can say, when they have long ago got over the heads than mine to find a means of reconciling jealousies of courtship, and yet do not cease to them. As for Count von Rosen, if he made up persecute their wives with far from good-natured his mind to ask Bell to be his wife, because Ellesjests—and it is, I think, a little unfair to represent mere looked pretty when the moon came out, I me as being blind to his peculiar situation, or un- can not help it. It is some years since I gave up merciful toward himself. On the contrary, I am the idea of attempting to account for the odd freaks sure I did every thing I could to smooth over the and impulses that get into the heads of what I anpleasant incidents of his visit; but I did not suppose we must call the superior sex.”] find it incumbent on me to become a partisan, and
(To be continued.)
An almost unparalleled success and ther, then a boy, would seem to have atpopularity, an acknowledged high position tracted this gentleman's notice, for he emin that inscrutable realm known as “the ployed him for some time as an amanufirst society," and at a time too when its ensis, and afterwards obtained him a clerkportals were much narrower and more ship in the Treasury. He here acquitted jealously guarded than in these degenerate himself so creditably as to be later recomdays of successful merchandise and nou- mended as secretary to Lord North. He veaux riches; an intimate acquaintance occupied this position until his patron's with “the first gentleman in Europe," resignation, in 1788, when he retired from and a welcome reception in half the best office and purchased a comfortable estate, houses in England, unassisted too by known as The Grove, near Donnington. either wealth or connections; surely, with He had some years before married a Miss such a combination of distinctions, George Richardson, reckoned one of the prettiest Brummel might well lay claim to the posi- women of her time. tion sarcastically allotted to him by Lord The Grove appears to have been a popByron, as one of the greatest men of the ular house, for not only were Fox and nineteenth century.
Sheridan among its frequent visitors, but His name is now almost forgotten. We many also of the celebrated wits and litehave merged into a totally different phase rary men of the day; and to his early inof society—a society that refuses to award tercourse with such society may I think be notoriety to the wearer of a perfectly- traced much of George Brummel's ready starched cravat, or creaseless coat; yet a wit and excellent conversational powers. glimpse into “ those good old times," and The Beau and an elder brother were both a slight sketch of the life of the once fa- sent to Eton. Of his school days there is mous Beau, may not, I hope, prove wholly but little to relate. His contemporaries devoid of interest.
describe him as a handsome, pleasant, George Bryan Brummel was born in gentlemanly boy, and one who made plenJune, 1778. Much has been said as to ty of friends, but did not specially distinthe obscurity of his birth and parentage. guish himself, either in school or playAccording to some statements his father ground. At Oxford, where he completed was a confectioner; others declare him to his education, his career was much the have been one of Lord Bute's household same. His leaving the University was alservants; but these and many similar as- most immediately followed by a most imsertions are without foundation. His portant event in his life-his introduction grandfather, however, certainly appears to to the Regent. One of the many titled have been in trade, though what his call- friends whom Brummel had so assiduously ing I can not say; he lived in Bury Street, cultivated, both at Eton and Oxford, conSt. James's, and supplemented his modest trived a dinner-party for this purpose. income by letting apartments. Mr. Jen- The particulars of the interview have not kinson, afterwards Lord Liverpool, was transpired, but it would seem that the one of his first lodgers. The Beau's fa- Beau's excellent manners and cool, self
possessed bearing on this occasion, though sider his right to the sobriquet of Beau, and à mere boy, barely seventeen years old, how he obtained it. The term “ beau," in met with His Royal Highness's more than those days, was synonymous with our more common approval, for almost immediately modern word “ dandy," and was applied followed the present of a cornetcy in the without distinction to all who were remark10th Hussars, a regiment then command- able for care in the style and taste of their ed by the Prince himself. So marked a attire. preference from such a quarter of course Dress had at that time become very unmade Brummel at once the centre of all tidy. Fox, and many of the leading men notice and attention, and many absurd an- of the day, affected a supreme contempt ecdotes are told of the consequent assu- for all outward adornment; and it conserance, not to say impudence, of his man- quently grew to be considered the mode ner at this time. One of these, though per- for a gentleman's appearance to be as néghaps well known, I can not forbear relating. ligé, or to speak more correctly, as slovenAt a great ball given by a certain law lord, ly, as possible. But a reaction was graduone of the handsomest as well as the most ally setting in, and Brummel, who had difficile girls in the room was observed to re- been conspicuous from boyhood for the fuse every dance. Late in the evening, scrupulous neatness of his appearance, however, Cornet Brummel made his ap- now determined to be the best dressed pearance, when this haughty beauty at man in London. His figure was remarkonce yielded him her hand and joined the ably good, and he took care that it should dancers. The dance over, the Beau saun- always be displayed to the fullest advantered up to a friend and inquired with tage, by a perfectly-fitting coat. His spesome curiosity who the very ugly man cial aim, however, was to avoid any thing standing near the mantelpiece might be. marked, considering it a great mortification "Why surely you must know him," said for any gentleman, that his dress should his acquaintance; " that is the master of attract observation in the street. In this
“Really ?" replied the Cor- particular he was most successful, being net, nonchalantly. “How should I? I distinguished only, as Lord Byron truly never was invited."
said of him, by "the exquisite propriety of Brummel only remained in the roth un- his appearance." His chief forte lay in his til 1798. His reasons for selling out have cravat; this important article had hitherto never been thoroughly ascertained, and it consisted of a piece of limp cambric, loosecertainly does seem incomprehensible that ly fastened round the throat. Brummel
, he should thus early have given up a posi- however, took care to have his slightly tion so much coveted by others, and which starched, and the arrangement of this must too have been such a pleasant one to part of his dress would seem to have himself
. The unsettled state of Europe at been fraught with the deepest anxiety; for that time rendered it highly probable that it is related that a friend, calling upon him the regiment might be required for active one morning before the completion of his service, and it is said by many that this toilet, met his valet coming down stairs was a contingency specially distasteful to with a quantity of neck-cloths, slightly Brummel
. The reason he himself gave to tumbled under his arm. On being questhe Prince was the fact that the regiment tioned on the subject, the man replied with was suddenly ordered to Manchester. “I great gravity, “ Oh, these are our failures." have heard, your Royal Highness,” he But enough, has, I think, been said to jussaid, “ that we are ordered to Manches. tify Brummel's fullest claims to the title of ter
. Now you must be aware how dis- Beau; and I will only add a few words as agreeable this would be to me. I really to his personal appearance before passing could not go. Think, your Royal High- on to the more interesting portion of his ness Manchester! Besides, you would life. His figure, as has already been mennot be there.
I have, therefore, with tioned, was undeniable, but there all his your Royal Highness's permission, deter- claims to beauty ceased; his face, though mined to sell out.” “Oh, by all means, pleasing, was not handsome—it was too Brummel,” said the Prince, '“ do as you long, though otherwise well shaped, and please, do as you please."
his features were ordinary; his complexion Before following George Brummel's fur- and hair were fair, the latter, as well as his ther fortunes it may be worth while to con- whiskers, inclined to sandy; his eyes gray, and in this feature, as well as the mouth, lay a good marriage. His offers were numehis great power of expression.
rous, but they never seem to have been On leaving the 10th Brummel establish- either made or received in earnest; he ed himself in Chesterfield Street, May could not enlist sufficient interest in any Fair. The fortune left him at his father's affaire de cæur to carry it to a successful death, some few years before, now amount- termination; he considered it a proper ed to 30,000l. Being now of age, and compliment to every woman he admired perfectly independent, he resolved, with to make her an offer, but without the the assistance of this ample sum and a slightest wish or expectation of its being large circle of friends, to devote himself to accepted. As a sportsman he did not disa life of pleasure. His ménage, though tinguish himself; the exertion was too small, was most recherché ; its leading great, in fact the whole thing bored him; characteristic being an excellent cook. he however kept several hunters, and preThis chef de cuisine was no bad specula- sented a most ornamental appearance at tion; the Beau's little dinners soon be- meets, but was generally found at home came renowned, and were not unfrequent- again toward luncheon time. ly honored by the presence of royalty it- Though I have described the Beau in self
. His style of living at this time was, most respects as a gentleman, he had one if luxurious, certainly not extravagant; he great defect, that not unfrequently dangergratified, it is true, all his expensive tastes, ously threatened his reputation in that but was as yet wise enough to keep clear character; I mean his excessive impertiof the ruling passion of the day-high nence. He rarely visited it upon those he play.
considered his equals or superiors, but The next ten years of his life were his chiefly such persons as presumed, as he halcyon days, spent as they were in con- thought unworthily, on an intimacy with stant intercourse with the créme de la créme him. The following anecdote may serve of the fashionable world. The Prince's as an illustration of this fact. Brummel patronage had of course given him a foot- had been dining with a young man, who, ing in this society to which he could nev- though very wealthy, was scarcely, as he er otherwise have attained; but to his own considered, in his world, and before the merits alone was due the position he sub- party separated he asked who would take sequently occupied there. George Brum- him to Lady Jersey's that evening. His mel, whatever may have been his follies, host, who was also invited, proud of the was always a gentleman, his tastes were prospect of being seen in such company, cultivated, and his manners distinguished eagerly placed his carriage at his disposal
. by that chivalrous courtesy which charac- “ Thank you exceedingly," said the Beau, terizes what we term “ the old school." “very kind of you indeed. But pray how That he was far from being the mere brain- are you to go? You surely would not less fop that some would have us believe, like to get up behind ? No, that would may I think be judged from the esteem in not be right. And yet it will scarcely do in which he was held by many of the lite- for me to be seen in the same carriage with rary men and women of his day. Though you." His authority on all social matters his reading was not deep it was extensive, at length came to be regarded as unquesso that with a retentive memory and con- tionable, and his approbation was earnestsiderable powers of observation, he man- ly sought for, even by persons of high disaged to take, if not a leading, still a promi- tinction, moving in his set. “Do you see nent part in any conversation that might that gentleman near the door ?" asked an be started. With women he was an espe- experienced chaperone of her daughter, a cial favorite; his artistic tastes finding great débutante, making her first appearance at favor in their eyes. Without any unusual Almack's," he is now speaking to Lord talent, he was still a clever draughtsman; _"" Yes, I see him," replied the lighthe possessed too some knowledge of mu- hearted girl. “ Who is he?” “A person, sic and a good voice, his dancing was per- my dear, who will probably come and fect, and he was quite an adept in writing speak to us; and if he enters into conververs de société an art then much in vogue. sation, be careful to give him a favorable It is passing strange that with so many impression of you, for he is the celebrated points in his favor he should never have Mr. Brummel.” been able to consolidate his prosperity by Brummel's intimacy with the Regent
continued unchecked for many years. and was as much mortified by it as even How the difference came about that final- its author could have desired. ly separated them it is difficult to say; but When all hopes of a reconciliation with it certainly did not originate in the well- the Regent were at an end, Brummel asknown story of “Wales, ring the bell,” siduously cultivated the acquaintance of which Brummel himself always indignant- the Duke of York. Between him and the ly denied. He said, "I was on such inti- Duchess there had long subsisted a most mate terms with the Prince that if we had sincere friendship, and one which continubeen alone I could have asked him to ed unaltered until her death. But dark ring the bell without offence, but with a days were coming for Brummel. Unusuthird person in the room I should never al success at play—for he had of late have done so; I knew the Regent too years become an inveterate gambler—was well.” It was much more likely due to followed by as disastrous losses. He Mrs. Fitzherbert's influence. No friendly raised money in all directions, but only to feeling ever seems to have existed between be spent in the same way. At length' his herself and the Beau; she always mistrust- credit was gone, and he found himself ed and disliked him, and he, in turn, be- completely beggared. ing jealous of her power, frequently in- Ruin stared him in the face, and the dulged in sarcastic remarks at her expense, only hope left him was timely flight. The not even sparing the Regent sometimes in night of the 16th of May, 1816, saw him the flashes of his bitter humor. No pains on his way across the Channel, and the were of course spared by Mrs. Fitzher- morning of the 17th found him safely bert in repeating these speeches to the landed at Calais, out of reach of his credPrince, and with so much success, that af- itors, who had just discovered his flight, ter a time she effected a total estrangement and were loudly and vainly bewailing their between them. But Brummel's excellent consequent heavy losses. position and unscrupulous audacity ren- Brummel had a curious way of accountdered him no inoffensive antagonist, as ing for this and all his subsequent misforhis royal patron discovered, on one occa- tunes. He used to say that up to a parsion at least, to his own cost. The story ticular period of his life every thing prosconnected with this circumstance is very pered with him, and that he owed this well known, and has been constantly re- good luck to the possession of a certain peated, but as no account of Brummel silver sixpence with a hole in it, that had would be complete without it, I shall not been given him years before, with the inapologize for relating it. There are many junction to take good care of it, as every versions of it, but I have good authority thing would go well with him while he did for thinking the following to be the really so, and the contrary if he happened to correct one:
lose it. In an evil hour, he gave it by Lord Alvanley, Brummel, Henry Pierre- mistake to a hackney coachman, when the point, and Sir Harry Mildmay gave a ball threatened ill-luck at once befell him. In at the Hanover Square Rooms, which was vain he advertised his lost treasure. Many called the Dandies' Ball, the four gentle- sixpences with holes were brought to him, men mentioned being members of that but the missing one was not amongst the club. Upon the Regent's expressing a number. wish to be present, he received an invita- On his arrival in Calais the Beau estabtion, though the rupture with Brummel lished himself in elegant apartments in the had but just taken place. On his entry best part of the town, and proceeded to into the ball-room, the four donors of the surround himself with all those luxuries entertainment stood waiting to receive which the constant habit of years had now him. He greeted them all with some rendered almost a necessity to him. The words of friendly recognition, with the ex- generosity of his friends enabled him to ception of Brummel, at whom he stared do this, and for some time his life in exile as if he did not know who he was or why differed but little from his previous one. he was there. Stung to the quick by this He at first entered into no society, and it public insult, the Beau said in a loud tone was not until some of his former friends to Alvanley, immediately their royal guest came and established themselves at Cahad passed on, “Alvanley, who's your fat lais that he appeared at any of the enterfriend?” The Prince heard the remark, tainments given by the English residents. The next few years passed uneventfully, being an object of as much importance to the continued kindness of his friends ena- him as formerly and much less easy of atbling him to live in a species of magnifi- tainment. Still those who unceremoniouscent mendicancy, having absolutely no in- ly intruded themselves on his notice, and come whatever of his own.
they were not a few, he studiously avoidIn September, 1821, the Regent, now ed. One lady in particular suffered severeGeorge the Fourth, stayed two days at ly at his hands for a similar indiscretion. Calais en route for the Continent; but his Perceiving the Beau and a friend walking visit, from which Brummel had hoped down the street past the open window at much, passed off, as far as he was concern- which she was sitting, she wished them ed, fruitlessly. The King was well aware good evening, adding, “ Now won't you of his old associate's whereabouts and dis- come in and take tea ?” “Madam," retressed circumstances, but it would appear plied Brummel laconically, “ you take medthat he had neither forgotten nor forgiven icine, you take a walk, you take a liberty, the past, for Brummel received no indica- but you drink tea;" and with a stiff bow tion that he might visit him, and, uninvi- he passed on with his friend. Misfortune ted, he could not, much as he might have never seemed weary of pursuing the undesired it, presume on such a step. An fortunate Beau, for scarcely had he held accidental rencontre, however, could not the consulate two years when the English be avoided. As the Beau was returning government determined to abolish it. It from his usual walk he came suddenly is said by some that Brummel brought this upon the King's carriage making its way calamity on himself by declaring that he to the hotel. The great crowd rendered had nothing to do and that the office was any retreat impossible, and he was obliged an unnecessary one, but this seems very to wait with the rest until it had passed. unlikely, as it was his only possible means In those few seconds his Majesty saw and of subsistence. The consulship, however, recognized him, and exclaimed in a loud was abolished, and notwithstanding many voice, “ Good God, Brummel!” The lat- promises to the contrary, the poor Beau ter, pale as death, crossed the street and soon found himself again in an almost destientered his lodgings. They never met tute condition. Added to this his health again.
was much weakened by a stroke of paralysis The remaining years of Brummel's so- by which he was attacked in the winter of journ at Calais were rendered most uncom- 1832. fortable by constant pressing need for Through the kindness of his numerous money. Since he had abandoned all friends, both English and French, at Caen, hopes of returning to England, he had he received every attention during his illbeen endeavoring to obtain some small of- ness, and ultimately recovered, but only to ficial appointment in France, sufficient to meet fresh calamities. A small portion of keep him from want, but for some time the sum he had borrowed to enable him to without success.
leave Calais had been defrayed by his first At length, however, after many difficul- two years' income as consul, but the reties and disappointments, he received the mainder, a large amount, it was now enoffer of the consulship at Caen, with a sa- tirely out of his power to repay. His credlary of about £400 a year. But even this itors, being aware of this fact, pressed him did not prove of much assistance to him; for the money, and at length, with the for to be able to leave Calais, where he view of extorting it from his powerful was deeply in debt, he was forced to bor- friends in England, suffered the law to take row so large a sum of money that a consi- its full course upon him. The poor Beau derable portion of his yearly salary would was rudely aroused from his slumbers one have to be expended for some time to morning by the grasp of a captain of gencome in defraying it. Both French and darmes, and shortly afterwards conducted English residents at Caen received him to prison. One of his English friends at most cordially; for in spite of his altered Caen at once proceeded to England to refortunes his former fame rendered him an present his deplorable situation to his forobject of great interest. The Beau seems mer friends there, and owing to their gento have entered very readily into their erous liberality the debt in a short time plans for his entertainment, and dined with was paid and Brummel released; but the every one who invited him, a good dinner three months' captivity he had endured