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The way we were

Three extracts from diaries and memoirs recording first encounters.

By Ian Irvine   November 2009

On 1st September 1764 James Boswell, aged 23, meets Giacomo Casanova in Berlin and records the meeting in his diary “I dined at Rufin’s, where [Casanova], an Italian, wanted to shine as a great philosopher, and accordingly doubted of his existence and of everything else. I thought him a blockhead…”

The Duke of Wellington recalls meeting Lord Nelson. The account is taken from the papers of John Wilson Croker, Wellington’s friend “We were talking of Lord Nelson, and some instances were mentioned of the egotism and vanity that derogated his character. ‘Why,’ said the Duke, ‘I am not surprised…

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