'It's a fine thing to be a great man, is it not?'
'I BELIEVE I forgot to tell you,' Wellington ended a letter to his brother Henry, 'I was made a Duke.'1
He was also appointed Ambassador in Paris, a post which Henry thought he would find 'very pretty amusement'. Wellington considered it a situation for which he would 'never have thought [himself] qualified'; but he knew that he 'must serve the public in some manner or other', and he had, after all, by now a good deal of experience of diplomacy in dealing with the allies in the war. Nor did he particularly want to go home: although he had 'been so long from England', he felt 'no objection to another absence in the public service'. 2
He arrived in Paris at the beginning of May, entering the city, in strong contrast to the many other generals there, in civilian clothes of a blue frock-coat, white neck-cloth and top hat. It seemed to be a city en fête rather than the capital of a defeated country. There were military parades, balls, receptions, picnics, parties. English officers prided themselves on 'imitating the Duke of Wellington in nonchalance and coolness of manner', observed Sir Walter Scott whose admiration of the Duke was unbounded.
So they wander about everywhere with their hands in the pockets of their long waistcoats or cantering upon cossack ponies staring, whistling and strolling to and fro as if all Paris was theirs. The French hate them sufficiently for the hauteur of their manner and pretensions but these grounds of dislike against us are drowned in the detestation afforded by the other powers. 3
King Louis XVIII, complacently accepting the throne which had been restored to his family, was host to three other European sovereigns, the King of Prussia, the Emperor of Austria and the Czar of All the Russias. Numerous statesmen were gathered there, too, as well as generals. Lord and Lady Castlereagh had come over from England. With them