Books: Matched Wit

THE REMINISCENCES AND RECOLLECTIONS OF CAPTAIN GRONOW. 384 pages. Viking. $7.95.

Captain Rees Howell Gronow was a dapper, wicked little Welshman. He fought with distinction beside Wellington in the Peninsula and at Waterloo; he gossiped and gamed at the best clubs of Regency London. He matched wit and waistcoats with Beau Brummell, shot pistols with Lord Byron. And in his later years, he sat sucking the handle of his cane in the window of his Paris club while the Revolution of 1848 raged in the streets below. Then he wrote his reminiscences.

Byron in...

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