'The Shelley is arrived in great beauty!'
BY THE END of October 1815 the Duke's orders and dispatches were being dated regularly from Cambrai; for he had been appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Army of Occupation with over 150,000 men, Russians, Austrians and Germans as well as British, under his command. The diarist Mary Berry met him at this time and, while impressed by the 'simplicity and frankness of his manners', she noticed how easily he spoke of himself as a man on a par with the sovereigns of the soldiers he commanded. 'Talking of the allied sovereigns,' she observed, 'he says we found so-and-so -- we intend such-and-such a thing -- quite treating de Couronne à Couronne.'1 Fully and naturally conscious of his importance as he was, however, he did not consider himself indispensable; and, when he returned to Paris for a wedding in the French royal family, he spoke of going back to England to take a course of the waters at Cheltenham.
While waiting to leave, he did not let his rheumatism interfere with his pleasures. He went riding with Lady Shelley and took her out to tea. He attended the garrison races. Private theatricals were performed 'under the immediate patronage of Wellington' whose 'shouts of laughter' rang round the temporary theatre. 2 He gave a dinner for the Spaniards and put on his splendid Spanish uniform; and when Lady Shelley took leave of him to go on from his house to a late reception at the duchesse de Berry's, he urged her to stay: his own entertainment was far from over yet. She needed little pressing. Besides, the Duchess's party was sure to be 'monstrous dull'.
He asked her to a ball he was giving at the Hôtel de la Reynière; and, when she arrived, as instructed, earlier than the other guests, she found him busily rearranging all the chairs. Going in to supper he gave his arm to the wife of Marshal Marmont whose husband had been rewarded for deserting Napoleon by being created a peer of France; but after the meal he once more gave his attention to Lady Shelley