1854-02-16

HORATIO FORBES BROWN, English writer and historian, born (d: 1926); Alas, poor Brown. When the English writer died in 1926, his executors burned almost all his unpublished works, attempting to hide what his acquaintances already knew. Like the tastes of so many of his upper-class colleagues, and his close friend John Addington Symonds, Brown’s ran to sailors, footmen, tram conductors, and other strapping members of the lower orders. One of his surviving poems, a psychological gem, depicts a boring society musicale in which Brown can’t keep his eyes off a broad-shouldered servant when he should be concentrating on the performing artiste. Each stanza ends with the line, “But I liked their footman John the best.” And he did, too.