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Dick the Dandy-Killer
"I liked the Dandies, they were all very civil to me, although in general they disliked literary people, and persecuted and mystified Madame de Staël, Lewis, Horace Twiss, and the like, most damnably. They persuaded Madame de Staël that Alvanley had a hundred thousand a year, etc., etc., till she praised him to his face for his beauty, and made a set at him for, and a hundred fooleries besides. The truth is, that though I gave up the business early, I had a tinge of dandyism in my minority, and probably retained enough of it to conciliate the great ones at five-and-twenty. I had gamed and drunk, and taken my degrees in most dissipations, and having no pedantry and not being overbearing, we ran on quietly together. I knew them all more or less, and they made me a member of Watier's (a superb club at that time), being as I take it, the only literary man, except two others (both men of the world), Moore and Spencer, in it."
For a time Brummell raised money on the mutual security of himself and some one of his friends, and in an attempt to settle his affairs he drew out the last £10,000 that remained of his capital. Then came a quarrel over the division of a loan raised on security, in which the Beau was accused of taking the lion's share. To this Lord Byron ascribes the flight to France. "When Brummell was obliged by that affair of poor M—, who thence acquired the name of Dick the Dandy-killer (it was about money and debt and all that), to retire to France," etc.
Generally reticent about his affairs, Brummell took no one into his confidence, and it is probable that his winnings went partly to pay debts; even if so, he was so thoroughly overwhelmed with his obligations that he confided to Raikes one morning in 1816 that he was at the very end of every resource, and would have to leave the country that night. Though there were many people
who suffered loss from this extravagant man, there exists no statement as to what were his liabilities. That they were enormous must be judged from the fact that Brummell himself was quite convinced that he would never be able to return to England.
On May 16th, 1816, the Beau dined off a cold fowl and a bottle of claret, which was sent him from Watier's, and wrote the following note. It was a last shot at fate, a gamester's attempt to retrieve a fortune by borrowing a groat.
"MY DEAR SCROPE,
"Lend me two hundred pounds; the banks are shut, and all my money is in the three per cents. shall be repaid to-morrow morning.
To this his intimate friend, Scrope Davies, answered:
"MY DEAR GEORGE,
""Tis very unfortunate; but all my money is
in the three per cents.
When in Calais Brummell wrote to Lord Charles and Lord Robert Manners, who had been his sureties, expressing the grief he felt at having been obliged to leave England to save his freedom, and to have left them responsible for so much, offering every reparation in his power, which, according to Raikes, was not inconsiderable.
The First Week in Calais
The rooms he eventually fixed upon were in the house of M. Leleux, a bookseller, where he remained until September 1830, and being quite unable to realise the necessity for strict economy, he furnished them luxuriously, indulging his taste for buhl and sending a courier to Paris to seek out costly elegancies.
On May 22nd he wrote the following letter to Thomas Raikes :
"Here I am restant for the present, and God knows solitary enough is my existence; of that, however, I should not complain, for I can always employ resources within myself, was there not a worm that will not sleep called conscience, which all my endeavours to distract, all the strength of coffee, with which I constantly fumigate my unhappy brains, and all the native gaiety of the fellow who bears it to me, cannot lull to indifference beyond the moment; but I will not trouble you upon that subject. You would be surprised to find the sudden change and transfiguration which one week has accomplished in my way of life and propria persona. I am punctually off the pillow at half-past seven in the morning. My first object-melancholy indeed it may be in its nature-is to walk to the pier-head, and take my distant look at England. This you may call weakness, but I am not yet sufficiently master of those feelings which may be called indigenous to resist the impulse. The rest of my day is filled up with strolling an hour or two round the ramparts of this dismal town, in reading, and the study of that language which must hereafter be my own, for never more shall I set foot in my own country. I dine at five, and my evening has as yet been occupied in writing
"The English I have seen here-and many of them know me I have cautiously avoided; and with the