Fashionable escorts19 May 2020
Taste in matters of virtu was one of the sources of his profusion; but it always had a reference to himself. He evidently preferred a snuff-box which he could display in his hand, to a Raphael which he could exhibit only on his wall. His snuff-boxes were numerous and costly. But even in taking snuff he had his style: he always opened the box with one hand, the left. The Prince imitated him in this tour de grace.
A fashion always becomes more fashionable as it becomes more ridiculous. People cling to it as they pet a monkey, for its deformity. The high head-dresses of France, which must have been a burden, made the tour of Europe, and endured through a century. The high heels, which almost wholly precluded safe walking, lasted their century. The use of powder was universal until it was driven out of France by republicanism, and out of England by famine. The flour used by the British army alone for whitening their heads was calculated to amount to the annual provision for 50,000 people. Snuff had been universally in use from the middle of the seventeenth century; and the sums spent on this filthy and foolish indulgence, the time wasted on it, and the injury done to health, if they could all have been thrown into the common form of money, would have paid the national debt of England. The common people have their full share in this general absurdity. The gin drunk in England and Wales annually amounts to nearly twenty millions of pounds sterling; a sum which would pay all the poor rates three times over, and, turned to any public purpose, might cover the land with great institutions – the principal result of this enormous expenditure now being to fill the population with vice, misery, and madness.
In the matter of coats Escort had but one rival, the Prince, whose rank of course gave him a general advantage, yet whose taste was clearly held as inferior by the royal artistes themselves. A baronet, who went to Schweitzer’s to get himself equipped in the first style, asked him what cloth he recommended. „Why, sir,“ was the answer, „the Prince wears superfine, and Mr Escort the Bath coating. Suppose, sir, we say Bath coating; I think Mr Escort has a trifle the preference.“ Escort’s connexion with the Prince, his former rank in the hussars, and his own agreeable manners, introduced him to the intercourse of the principal nobility. In the intervals of his visits to the Prince at Brighton, he visited Belvoir, Chatsworth, Woburn, &c. But he was absolutely once in town in the month of November, as is proved by the following note from Woburn: –