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this was in the very best possible style. No perfumes, Brummell used to say, but very fine linen, plenty of it, and country washing. If John Bull turns round to look after you, you are not well, but either too stiff, too tight, or too fashionable. Do not ride in ladies' gloves, particularly with leather breeches. In short, his maxims on dress were excellent. Besides this, he was neither uneducated nor deficient. He possessed, also, a sort of quaint dry humour, not amounting to anything like wit; indeed he said nothing which would bear repetition; but his affected manners, and little absurdities, amused for the moment. Then it became the fashion to court Brummell's society, which was enough to make many seek it who cared not for it, and many more wished to be well with him, through fear, for all knew him to be cold, heartless, and satirical.” Harriette asserts that it was mere curiosity that led her to call on the Beau at Calais, where he was living in poverty. She has left on record her impression of this meeting.
“I made the Beau a hasty visit, just as the horses were being put to my carriage. My enquiry,' si Monsieur
‘ Brummell étoit visible?' was answered by his valet, just such a valet as one would have given the Beau, in the acme of his glory, bien poudré, bien cérémonieux, et bien mis, 'que monsieur fesoit sa barbe.'
“ ' Pardon,' added the valet, seeing me about to leave my card, ‘mais monsieur reçoit, en fesant sa barbe, toujours. Monsieur est à seconde toilette actuellement.'
“I found the beau en robe de chambre de Florence, and if one might judge from his increased embonpoint, and freshness, his disgrace has not seriously affected him. He touched, lightly, on this subject, in the course of our conversation, fesant toujours la barbe avec une grace
toute particulière, et le moindre petit rasoir, que je n'eus jamais vu.
Play, he said, had been the ruin of them all. “Who do you include in your all ? '
He told me there had been a rot in White's Club.
'I have heard all about your late trick, in London,' said I.
“ Brummell laughed, and told me that, in Calais, he sought only French society ; because it was his decided opinion, that nothing could be more ridiculous than the idea of a man going to the continent, whether from necessity or choice, merely to associate with Englishmen. I asked him if he did not find Calais a very melancholy residence ?
“'No' answered Brummell, 'not at all. I draw, read, study French, and —
Play with that dirty French dog,' interrupted I. “'Finissez donc, Louis,' said he, laughing, and encouraging the animal to play tricks, leap on his robe de chambre de Florence, and make a noise. Then, turning to me, 'There are some very pretty French actresses at Paris. I had such a sweet green shoe, here, just now. In short,' added Brummell, 'I have never been in any place in my
‘ life where I could not amuse myself.'
“Brummell's table was covered with seals, chains, snuff-boxes, and watches, as he said, from Lady Jersey, and various other ladies of high rank.
The only talent I could ever discover in this beau, was that of having well-fashioned the character of a gentleman, and proved himself a tolerably good actor, yet to a nice observer, a certain impenetrable, unnatural stiffness of manner proved him but Nature's journeyman, after all ; but then his wig . . . his new French wig was
.. nature itself.”
On a subsequent visit, when she was accompanied by Berkeley Craven, Brummell told her that her book was infamous and shocking.
“What has that truly amiable woman, the Duchess of Beaufort, done, pray? 'asked the great man of Calais.
“' Abused me most shockingly, to begin with, in letters addressed to her son,' I replied.
"' And I? What have I done?' retorted the Beau, whose self was, and will be, ever uppermost.
“' Very little for the State, I believe, at least until you took French leave, and quitted it. True, indeed, your services are appreciated by unanimous consent : excepting only one or two, who would gladly have detained you, for the purpose of justifying their private revenge for having been taken in by you.'
“' You are the most infamous woman in the world,' said Mr. George Brummell of-notoriety.
Amen,' responded the Honourable Berkeley Craven, who was equally abusive at being left out of the Memoirs, as was Mr. Brummell for having figured in their background. Of course, I mean what I say—nothing more or less than that Brummell's very low birth placed him at the bottom of the list of fashionables. Oh! but somebody told me the other day that he had grown a very good man, in Calais, lives quiet, and puts up for the consulship ; in which case we must let him alone ; but I was going to tell you how I came to write a certain little tale called Jealousy, which shall soon be published. Mr. George Brummell having cut me dead, I wandered about disconsolate as our first pair after they were turned out of Eden, and being jealous of the favours he bestowed on green silk shoes, I was thinking of throwing myself off the ramparts, but I changed my mind, and laid the plan of a dreadful romantic and murderous fiction.”
After 1825 no more was heard of Harriette Wilsonanyhow, in polite circles. She had married in that year at Paris a Frenchman named Rochfort. He predeceased her, and it is believed that she spent her last years in England, leading a quiet, respectable, and religious life. She died in 1846, at the age of fifty-seven.
THE DUCHESS OF YORK (1767–1820)
Princess Frederica of Prussia marries the Duke of York—Separation
The Duke the favourite son of George III—Description of the Duchess—The Duchess not intimate with the English Royal familyThe Duchess and Mrs. Fitzherbert-A charming woman-She entertains at Oatlands Park, Weybridge" Monk Lewis—Beau Brummell's devotion to the Duchess-Charles Greville-The Duchess's love of dogs.
The most popular lady of the royal family was the Duchess of York.
At the age of twenty-eight Frederick Augustus, Duke of York, had married Frederica Charlotte Ulrich Catherine, eldest daughter of Frederick William II, King of Prussia, who was four years his junior. The ceremony was performed at Berlin on September 29, 1791, and again in the following September at the Queen's House (now Buckingham Palace). An enthusiastic welcome was given to Her Royal Highness on her arrival in London. The alliance, however, was far from successful, and, to all intents and purposes, there was a separation after a few years, though, the royal couple resided under the same roof. The Duke, however, made his headquarters at Stable Yard, while Her Royal Highness rented Oatlands Park, Weybridge.
The Duke of York, who was born in 1763, was the second son of George II and Queen Charlotte. His father, in his capacity of Elector of Hanover, appointed him at the age of one year to the valuable see of Osnaburg --for many years he was known as the Bishop of Osnaburg. He enjoyed the title and the revenue until 1803.