Wellington: A Personal History

By Christopher Hibbert | Go to book overview

31 Vienna and Verona 1822-4

'There is nothing so improper as for one government to interfere in the internal affairs of another.'

BEFORE HE LEFT for the Continent the Duke had a duty to perform as Master-General of the Ordnance, an office which required him to supervise the Army's equipment, armaments, fortifications and barracks. Various howitzers were to be tested at the beginning of August and his presence was required by the Artillery. There had been a deafening explosion dangerously close to where the Duke was standing and a month later he was still suffering from earache and a ringing, such as that caused by tinnitus, in his left ear. Wellington's physician was Dr J.R. Hume, the uncomfortably hearty Scotsman now living in Curzon Street who had served with distinction in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo. Hume, unable to cure the complaint himself, called in Dr John Stevenson, a well-known aurist who had been apprenticed to his father, a surgeon, at the age of sixteen and had attended both Queen Caroline and the Duke of Saxe-Coburg. Stevenson treated the Duke's ear with so strong a caustic solution that the patient suffered such distress from inflammation for forty-eight hours that he could neither sleep nor eat. 'I don't think I ever suffered so much in my life,' he said. 'It was not pain: it was something far worse. The sense of hearing became so acute that I wished myself stone deaf. The noise of a carriage passing along the street was like the loudest thunder, and everybody that spoke seemed to be shrieking at the very top of his voice.'1

Dr Hume called the next morning and was shown into the Duke's room where he found his patient sitting at his table, 'unshaved and unwashed with blood-shot eyes and a flushed cheek and he observed that when he rose he staggered like a drunken man. His whole appearance, indeed, to use Dr Hume's expression, "was that of one who had recovered from a terrible debauch?".' 2

'Indeed, I never was so unwell,' he wrote to Mrs Arbuthnot when he was slightly better. 'I do not remember before in my life having

-241-

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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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