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British Army officer George Bryan Brummell decides to become a "beau" and lead a reckless bachelor's life after he sees his sweetheart, Lady Margery, forced to marry Lord Alvanley. He wins the friendship of the Prince of Wales, leaves his regiment, and becomes one of Europe's taste-makers. His insolence and his indiscretions with the ladies of the court make enemies, and he falls into disfavor. After escaping his creditors to France, he eventually dies there in poverty, deserted by all but his servant, Mortimer.