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PROTECTED by the example
of the amiable author of “The Deserted Village,” who did not consider the biography of Beau Nash too trifling a subject for his pen, and encouraged by some little success in a former attempt at authorship, I venture to take another shot at that target which still continues to be the object of my ambition—the approbation of those who read. The desire to
please is not, however, always attended with success, for the very simple reason, that it is impossible to please everybody; and those who expect to find in the Life of George Brummell a delightful dish of scandal, will, no doubt, exclaim, “ His shot has gone very wide of the mark !" I could, it is true, have served up one so hot, that it would have shrivelled
up of the most inveterate lovers of it; but, to repeat the anecdotes I have heard the Beau relate, of the orgies of Carlton House, of tippling Dowagers, doating Ex-chancellors, shy Generals, and borrowed
Jewels,' &c., &c., forms no part of my intention ; and, even if it were desirable that Brummell's gossip on such subjects should be repeated, it would be impossible
1 It was reported that a lady of high rank, whose name Brummell mentioned to me, requested a certain noble duke, with whom she was very intimately acquainted, to lend her the family diamonds, either to wear at Court or at some grand ball of the day. His Grace could, of course, refuse her nothing; he immediately acceded to her wishes, and gave her an order on his jeweller for them, imagining, no doubt, that his fair friend would return them to his tradesman when the occasion for which they were borrowed had passed over. The duke, however, reckoned too much upon her honesty, for after his death, which took place a few months later, his brother, who succeeded to the title, found on applying to the family jeweller that Lady — had never returned the diamonds into his custody, nor were they, according to the on dit, ever recovered.
About the year 1842, it was also hinted about in society that a certain noble countess had borrowed some jewels from a lady of high rank-her intimate friend-without the latter's permission or knowledge, but in this case the missing articles were restored.
to vouch for its authenticity; for no one so delighted in mystifying and hoaxing people as he did, or could so readily find imaginary, and very plausible, proofs, when the truth of his fictions was assailed.
That he wrote some detached papers in the shape of reminiscences, there can be no doubt: many passages in his letters prove this. In the centre of his diminutive garden, under the ramparts at Calais, which he frequented a good deal during the summer months, there was a small pavilion ; and here, when the heat obliged him
to lay aside his hoe or rake, he amused himself with his pen. The common-place book in which he inserted these memoranda secured by a lock, and one of his great friends, who, in his way through Calais, occasionally spent a portion of the day with him in his retreat, informed me, that Brummell once drew his attention to the manuscript-calling it, “his book of life,” and saying, as he turned carelessly over the leaves, * Here is a chapter on Carlton House; here one on Mrs. Fitzherbert and the Prince; this is devoted to Lady H-, &c.