So young Lawrence Edgerton occupied a tall clark's desk in the room nearer the door, his top hat neatly stowed among a row of long, canted wall pegs specially made for that purpose. Shorter pegs might do for lesser headgear such as working men might wear, but this was an establishment frequented by middleclass quasi-gentlemen as well as those farther up the scale. Indeed, in 'the City,' as the financial district was termed, top hats were almost a legal requirement.
He was put to work reading every newspaper and broadsheet available and neatly clipping anything remotely important for his patron, Sir Charles, to examine later. After that, since he had a good hand, came subscription cards, fine heavy stock, about the size of what people in your time call an Ebook Reader. Each featured the name of the concern marketed, its location, the product or service vended, shares to be sold, date of initial sale and opening price. At the bottom came - Sir Charles de Castor, honourable broker, City of London plus his location on Chancery Lane. Lawrence penned them by the dozens and a bit later, during luncheon, distributed them to gentlemen coming and going from The Royal Exchange. Similar advertisements appeared in various daily business journals, but a card, respectfully presented in person was harder to ignore.... That's how he came to know Beau Brummel...
Now this 'Beau Brummel' was not the first Beau Brummel. that personage had long absconded to France in avoidance of debts and other obligations. Yet 'style' had become a 'thing' among certain moneyed circles of the town and this gentleman, one David Watkins, second son to Lord Hefton (thus he'd never inherit the title) was a sartorial paragon and because of that was bestowed with this informal appellation. Everyone called him Beau. We'll come back to him, but first I have to tell you more...
Lawrence particularly valued his time on 'the street.' He'd watch, as 'money barons' good naturedly gathered for lunch at this or that coffee house. Truthfully, coffee house entrances were a good place to distribute his cards, if not the best. The air was less sooty than districts farther east. Due to the narrow streets, foot traffic trumped the horse drawn variety. Shoes stayed cleaner. The meat pies sold at establishments up and down the thoroughfare seemed less lethal than those in less rarefied surroundings and the Honourable Mr. David Hefton apparently liked him. The 'tall' top hat is what did it. We described it in our last post, but for the uninformed, we'll do so once more..... taller than usual... slightly flaring at the top....fits low over the ears and brow, with a brim that rolls up on the sides...very memorable indeed.. In fact, the dapper man about town stopped him and asked where he got it.... but Lawrence didn't know. His 'pretend' aunt paid for it with Illuminati money. He paid no attention to the shop. He was new in town. What did he know?.... All Hefton heard was he didn't know and it struck him funny. Young men always sought good tailors, or hatters and the like and few 'forgot.' So he examined the subscription card Lawrence had just given him and later that afternoon, after a delightful coffeehouse lunch, the rather well known fellow came 'round to the House of de Castor for a talk.... and dropped seven hundred and fifty pounds on a canal company up in the midlands. Sir Charles was very pleased.
That evening Lawrence joined his new friend and other fashionable people for a night at the theatre, followed by a late dinner at one of the fashionable new hotels springing up around town.
Young Edgerton was off to a good start....
<more to come>
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