Mrs. Perkin's Ball, by William Makepeace Thackeray

Mr. Beaumoris, Mr. Grig, Mr. Flynders.

Mr. Beaumoris, Mr. Grig, Mr. Flynders.

Those three young men are described in a twinkling: Captain Grig of the Heavies; Mr. Beaumoris, the handsome young man; Tom Flinders (Flynders Flynders he now calls himself), the fat gentleman who dresses after Beaumoris.

Beaumoris is in the Treasury: he has a salary of eighty pounds a year, on which he maintains the best cab and horses of the season; and out of which he pays seventy guineas merely for his subscriptions to clubs. He hunts in Leicestershire, where great men mount him; he is a prodigious favorite behind the scenes at the theatres; you may get glimpses of him at Richmond, with all sorts of pink bonnets; and he is the sworn friend of half the most famous roues about town, such as Old Methuselah, Lord Billygoat, Lord Tarquin, and the rest: a respectable race. It is to oblige the former that the good-natured young fellow is here to-night; though it must not be imagined that he gives himself any airs of superiority. Dandy as he is, he is quite affable, and would borrow ten guineas from any man in the room, in the most jovial way possible.

It is neither Beau’s birth, which is doubtful; nor his money, which is entirely negative; nor his honesty, which goes along with his money-qualification; nor his wit, for he can barely spell — which recommend him to the fashionable world: but a sort of Grand Seigneur splendor and dandified je ne scais quoi, which make the man he is of him. The way in which his boots and gloves fit him is a wonder which no other man can achieve; and though he has not an atom of principle, it must be confessed that he invented the Taglioni shirt.

When I see these magnificent dandies yawning out of “White’s,” or caracoling in the Park on shining chargers, I like to think that Brummell was the greatest of them all, and that Brummell’s father was a footman.

Flynders is Beaumoris’s toady: lends him money: buys horses through his recommendation; dresses after him; clings to him in Pall Mall, and on the steps of the club; and talks about ‘Bo’ in all societies. It is his drag which carries down Bo’s friends to the Derby, and his cheques pay for dinners to the pink bonnets. I don’t believe the Perkinses know what a rogue it is, but fancy him a decent, reputable City man, like his father before him.

As for Captain Grig, what is there to tell about him? He performs the duties of his calling with perfect gravity. He is faultless on parade; excellent across country; amiable when drunk, rather slow when sober. He has not two ideas, and is a most good-natured, irreproachable, gallant, and stupid young officer.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:00