Wellington: A Personal History

By Christopher Hibbert | Go to book overview

10 Kitty Pakenham 1790-1806

'She has grown ugly by Jove!'

HE HAD first set eyes on the Hon. Catherine Dorothea Sarah Pakenham, daughter of the second Baron Longford, years before in Ireland where her father, a post-captain in the Royal Navy, had, for a few months before he had come into the family title, been Member for County Longford. Arthur Wesley had often called at the Longfords' house in Rutland Square in Dublin and had made his feelings for Kitty known. She was a small, slim, vivacious and generous girl, indiscreet in her gossipy talk, much given to condemning the failings of others and to making dogmatic statements on matters which her knowledge of them did not justify. She read a great deal, sermons and books on religious matters as well as popular novels. An occasionally haughty manner concealed an inner uncertainty; but she was a well-liked young figure in Dublin society. 1

Her parents had not at that time taken kindly to Arthur Wesley's interest in their daughter. A younger son in a large family, his prospects had not then seemed bright and his reputation, like his eldest brother's, was far from unblemished. This was the attitude also of Kitty's brother, Thomas, who became the third Baron Longford upon their father's death at the age of forty-nine in 1792.

So all thoughts of marriage had to be abandoned; but Arthur Wesley assured Kitty that, should those prospects become more certain, and her brother become more kindly disposed towards him, his own mind would 'remain the same', a promise that he afterwards felt to be binding upon an honourable man. The years passed. He seemed almost to have forgotten her; certainly he never once wrote to her from India; none of the shoes he bought were destined for her feet, nor jewels for her throat, nor shawls for her shoulders. But she evidently had been thinking of him as she later admitted one day to Queen Charlotte at court. 'I am happy to see you at my court, so bright an example of constancy,' the Queen said to her, according to Kitty's own account given to her

-54-

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Wellington: A Personal History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Author's Note and Acknowledgements xi
  • I - 1769-1815 1
  • 1 - Eton, Dublin and Angers 1769-87 3
  • 2 - An Officer in the 33rd 1787-93 9
  • 3 - The First Campaign 1794-5 13
  • 4 - A Voyage to India 1796-8 17
  • 5 - The Tiger of Mysore 1799 23
  • 6 - The Governor of Mysore 1799 30
  • 7 - The Sultan's Palace 1800-1 36
  • 8 - Assaye 1802-5 41
  • 9 - Return to London 1805-6 47
  • 10 - Kitty Pakenham 1790-1806 54
  • 11 - Ireland and Denmark 1806-7 58
  • 12 - Portugal 1808 66
  • 13 - Board of Enquiry 1808 77
  • 14 - Across the Douro 1809 82
  • 15 - 'A Whole Host of Marshals' 1809 - 10 92
  • 16 - From Bussaco to El Bodon 1810-11 101
  • 17 - Life at Headquarters 1810-12 108
  • 18 - Badajoz, Salamanca and Madrid 1812 117
  • 19 - Retreat to Portugal 1812 126
  • 20 - From Vitoria to the Frontier 1812-13 133
  • 21 - St Jean De Luz 1813 144
  • 22 - In London Again 1814 151
  • 23 - Paris and Vienna 1814-15 160
  • 24 - Brussels 1815 167
  • 25 - Waterloo 1815 174
  • II - 1815-52 187
  • 26 - The Ambassador 1815 189
  • 27 - Cambrai and Vitry 1815-18 202
  • 28 - Stratfield Saye 1818-20 213
  • 29 - King George IV and Queen Caroline 1820-1 220
  • 30 - Husband and Wife 1821 226
  • 31 - Vienna and Verona 1822-4 241
  • 32 - St Petersburg and the Northern Counties 1825 - 7 251
  • 33 - The Prime Minister 1828-9 264
  • 34 - Battersea Fields and Scotland Yard 273
  • 35 - The Death of the King 1829-30 278
  • 36 - Riots and Repression 1830-2 287
  • 37 - A Bogy to the Mob 1832 296
  • 38 - Oxford University and Apsley House 1832-4 306
  • 39 - Lady Friends 1834 313
  • 40 - The Foreign Secretary 1834-6 319
  • 41 - Portraits and Painters 1830-50 326
  • 42 - Life at Walmer Castle 1830-50 338
  • 43 - The Young Queen 1837-9 348
  • 44 - Grand Old Man 1839-50 357
  • 45 - The Horse Guards and the House of Lords 1842-50 367
  • 46 - Hyde Park Corner 1845-6 373
  • 47 - Disturbers of the Peace 1846-51 378
  • 48 - Growing Old 1850-1 385
  • 49 - Last Days 1851-2 394
  • 50 - The Way to St Paul's 1852 399
  • References 405
  • Sources 426
  • Index 439
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