Lettre envoyée à George Bryan Brummell (1778-1840). Capitain William Jesse, Life of George Bryan Brummell, Chapter X, pp. 128-30.
August 30th, 1803
August 30th, 1803
If you are as conceited as formerly, I shall stand accused of taking your groom, to give me an opportunity of writing to you for his character. All the inquiry I wish to make upon this subject is to be informed whether you were as well satisfied with James Ell when you started with him, as when he had Stiletto under his care. If so, I shall despatch him at the end of next week, with my new purchases to Walmer, (1) where I am going very shortly. You may imagine I am not a little happy in having in my power to scamper upon British ground, although I was extremely pleased with my tour, and charmed with Italy.
I saw a good deal of your friend Capel (2) at Naples, if he fights the battles of this country by sea as well as he fights yours by land, he certainly is one of our first commanders. But of him you must have heard so full an account from Lord Althorp, (3) for they were inseparable, that I will only add he was as yet unsuccessful in the important research after a perfect snuffbox, when I left Italy. What news the last despatch may have brought upon this subject I am ignorant of, but take it for granted you are not, as in all probability the Phoebe was by your interest appointed to the Mediterranean station for three years, to accomplish this grand and useful discovery. Should it prove a successful one, Capel, on his return, will of course be made Admiral of the White,(4) for the signal services he has rendered to coxcombality.
I met with a rival of yours in affectation upon the Continent, William Hill! (5) I fear it will be long ere this country will again witness his airs, as he is now a prisoner, -this, perhaps, you are glad of, as the society of statues and pictures has infinitely improved him in this wonted qualification, and therefore rendered him a still more formidable competitor.
Hester L. Stanhope
(1) Walmer était la résidence officielle de William Pitt après sa démission du poste de premier ministre. Lady Hester devait y trouver un refuge. A son retour d'Italie en juillet 1803, elle apprit la mort de sa grand-mère, lady Chatham, pendant son absence. Elle vivait à Burton Pynsent, la demeure de cette dernière, depuis 1800.
(2) Sir Thomas Bladen Capel (1776-1853), était le fils du quatrième comte d'Essex. Un des officiers de l'amiral Nelson, il devint marin à l'âge de six ans. Il commanda le Vanguard pendant la bataille d'Aboukir (1799) puis servit sur le Phoebe, dont il prendra les commandes après Trafalgar (1805).
(3) John Charles Spencer, troisième comte Spencer, lord Althorp (1782-1845).
(4) The White's on St James's Street, fondé en 1693 sous le nom de White's Chocolate House, était LE club (masculin) des gentlemen de Londres. Brummell y fut admis en 1799.
(5) William Noel-Hill, troisième baron Berwick of Attingham (1772-1842). Ambassadeur à la cour de Turin.