Steven and Marc,
Thank you for your suggestions. However, I call your attention to the narrative context of the journal I am quoting. The Prince Regent called Leopold of Coburg, (later Leopold I of Belgium) ‘Monsieur ’Beu a’ peu’ because of his obvious attraction to the young Princess of Wales, Charlotte, who he later married.
‘Peu-à-peu’ is not ‘Beu a’ peu’ and does not fit the context of the journal’s narration that I am quoting. Because of that context I am asking if anyone who has French agrees that my journalist, or his amanuensis, may have misspelled ‘Beau‘ as ‘Beu‘ (or a play on words?); thus ‘Beau a’ peu‘ which could mean ‘little boyfriend’. N'est-ce pas?