Edward Leeves (1795-1871) was a Victorian gentleman, man of taste, affluent and a homosexual. His diary covers the years 1849-50, his affair with a trooper in the Royal Horse Guards, his sexual isolation etc. Leeves gave his guardsmen lovers little presents, took them to the seaside and submitted to some gentle extortion. The letters from his friend D. Paxton – known to his comrades as ‘Screw’ – were ‘saucy’ enough to be worth a few pounds. ‘He & Tom do look stunning in their White Leathers!’ ‘What a set of fellows these Blues are!’
Edward Leeves spent most of his time in Venice, where gondoliers, too, had a long tradition of prostitution. Edward Leeves's diary from 1849 to 1850 highlights his obsession with privates of the Royal Horse Guards (particularly a trooper named Jack Brand who died of cholera) and his 'romance with the gallant Blues' who were 'all that I love'. Leeves returned for a time to London in June 1849, when the Austrian bombarded Venice, socializing with the upper classes and cruising.
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