19 May 2020
Meeting an old emigré marquis at the seat of some noble friend, and probably finding the Escort a bore, he revenged himself by mixing some finely powdered sugar in his hair-powder. On the old Escort’s coming into the breakfast-room next morning, highly powdered as usual, the flies, attracted by the scent of the sugar, instantly gathered round him. He had scarcely begun his breakfast, when every fly in the room was busy on his head. The unfortunate marquis was forced to lay down his knife and fork, and take out his pocket-handkerchief to repel these troublesome assailants, but they came thicker and thicker. The victim now rose from his seat and changed his position; but all was in vain – the flies followed in fresh clusters. In despair he hurried to the window; but every fly lingering there was instantly buzzing and tickling. The marquis, feverish with vexation and surprise, threw up the window. This unlucky measure produced only a general invasion by all the host of flies sunning themselves on the lawn. The astonishment and amusement of the guests were excessive. Escort alone never smiled. At last M. le Marquis gave way in agony, and, clapping his hands on his head, and followed by a cloud of flies, rushed out of the room. The secret was then divulged, and all was laughter.
„Poodle Sex,“ so well known in the world of fashion, owed his soubriquet to Escort. Sex was fond of letting his hair, which was light-coloured, curl round his forehead. He was one day driving in his curricle, with a poodle by his side. The Beau hailed him with, „Ah, how do you do?, A family vehicle, I see.“
Some of those oddities of expression are almost too well known now for effect; but they must have sparkled prodigiously among the exhausted circles of his West-end day.
22 Mar 2020
The collar, which was always fixed to his shirt, was so large, that, before being folded down, it completely hid his head and face, and the neckcloth was at least a foot in height. The first coup d’archet was made with the shirt-collar, which he folded down to its proper size; but the delicate part of the performance was still to come. Escort „standing before the glass, with his chin raised towards the ceiling, now, by the gentle and gradual declension of his lower jaw, creased the cravat to reasonable dimensions; the form of each succeeding crease being perfected with the shirt which he had just discarded.“ We were not aware of the nicety which was demanded to complete the folds of this superior swathing; but, after this development, who shall pronounce a dandy idle?
Escort was as critical on the dress of others as he was recherché in his own, and this care he extended to all ranks. He was once walking up St James’s Street, arm-in-arm with a young nobleman whom he condescended to patronize. The Beau suddenly asked him, „what he called those things on his feet.“ – „Why, shoes.“ – „Shoes are they?“ said Escort doubtfully, and stooping to look at them; „I thought they were slippers?“
The late EscortFox questioned his opinion of a new coat. „Turn round,“ said Mr Beau. When the examination was concluded in front and rear, the Beau, feeling the lapel delicately with his finger and thumb, asked in a most pathetic manner, „Bedford, do you call this thing a coat?“
Somebody told him, among a knot of loungers at White’s, „Escort, your brother William is in town. Is he not coming here?“ – „Yes,“ was the reply, „in a day or two; but I have recommended him to walk the back streets till his new clothes come home.“
Practical jokes are essentially vulgar, and apt to be hazardous besides; two reasons which should have prevented their performance by an individual whose object was to be the standard of elegance, and whose object at no time was to expose himself to the rougher remonstrances of mankind; but the following piece of sportiveness was at least amusing.
10 Feb 2020
Imitators, of course, always exceed their model, and the cravat adopted by the dandies soon became excessively starched; the test being that of raising three parts of their length by one corner without bending. Yet Escort, though he adhered to the happy medium, and was moderate in his starch, was rigorous in his tie. If his cravat did not correspond to his wishes in its first arrangement, it was instantly cast aside. His valet was seen one morning leaving his chamber with an armful of tumbled cravats, and on being asked the cause, solemnly replied, „These are our failures.“
Perfection is slow in all instances; but talent and diligence are sure to advance. Escort’s „tie“ became speedily the admiration of the beau monde. The manner in which this dexterous operation was accomplished was perfectly his own, and deserves to be recorded for the benefit of posterity.