The Chelsea Pensioneers reading the Waterloo Dispatch
(Painting by Wilkie, commissioned by Wellington)
This page will introduce you to Wellington's World in my novels: I will introduce you to my historic and fictional heros and tell you a good deal about the social and political background of the days of the Napoleonic Wars.
The page contains the following chapters:
1. My Historic Heros
2. My Fiction Heros
3. Wellington's Political Masters
5. Wellington's Social Environment
6. The Times of Revolution and War 1789-1815
The Wellington you'll meet in my novels should not be so far away from reality: Perhaps he is a bit more Irish and a bit more Freemason then the historic man was, but I do believe - having read through the whole bulk of his dispatches from top to bottom - that I caught the caractere quite well. I cannot agree with Lady Longford (although God may bless her heroic research work into her ancestors life), that Wellington was just a weapon of war, void of most human feelintgs, stern, unconcerned and the least sentimental or romantic! He must have been all of this and perhaps even a bit more: He was a creature of the XVIII.century, of a time full of passion and high romance!
Perhaps he was not the least in love with his wife and could not handle his own kids after a prolonged absence, but he was definitively a man very much attracted by clever ( and beautiful) women and very popular with young children, towards whom he was much more permissive then any reasonable parent ever would be. Perhaps he made a stern face when professing his craft of war over a hundred battlefields, but who could be accused for wearing the 'Mask of Command' in a situation, when victory and often survival of an army depended upon the cool head and correct decision of its commander? Perhaps he had a hot temper, brushing of people and even reducing generals to tears when in an odd mood, but who had not in a time where men fought sword or pistol in hand for their honour and ....to death! Perhaps he was moody and taciturn, but I do understand this with a man who was exposed too much to the horrors of war and the worst sides of the human kind and who had shed quite a lot of blood - that of his soldiers, that of the enemies of his country and even that of innocent civilians who came in between a siege or fight - over two decades and in the exercise of his soldierly profession.
When he set forth to war, planning his campaign, he was usually in a high, but on the eve of battle -unhabitually for those times - he was also the one to break down and cry........unashamed of an observing Picton in front of Badajoz, holding Dr.Hume's hand the night after Waterloo................
My Wellington is the man I perceived through all he left behind in written and through those documents others left behind: He is just a creature of flesh and blood, with faults and positive traits of caractere, with convictions and vices, certainly a man with a lonely soul and a tendency towards melancholy.......................but a soldier, who long after his 'Years of the Sword' had gone bye saddled the wrong horse - the horse of Politics and the powerplay of Regency England!
I do not know if you'll like him (or if Lady Longford would approve of hime). Nevertheless we've spent quite some years together, while I allowed his 'ghost' to guide my fingers over the keyboard of a very much XX.th Century computer, and I enjoyed and still enjoy his company and....................I'll dearly miss him, when 'Die Ehre eines Soldaten', my Waterloo Novel should be finished by the end of this year.
Most people consider Napoleon Bonaparte a romantic hero. Mine has always been the Duke!
All of them are real; Sir Rowland Hill, Robert Craufurd, Sir Thomas Picton etc. all shared at one moment or another Wellington's War in Portugal and Spain. I made of them, what I believe they had been: A lot of care was taken to study their biographies and their military careers. Now I must admit, I have my favourites with this bunch! Tom Picton, the foul-mouthed, sturdy Welshman who died at Waterloo is one I do like a lot, perhaps because he somehow reminds my a now retired French general for whom I worked happily, while still a university researcher and who somehow showed behavioural treats of the boss of the 'Fighting Third'.
Sir Rowland Hill, although historic was given some caracter treads of an old friend of mine, who is his look-alike -Dr.Gerhard Hubricht, a crack physician and scientist! Gerd always wanted some adventures in his life, that go beyond the intriguing world of neutrons, particles and other tiny beast, which fly through accelerators or over computer screens. He test-read all my novels and corrected most of my terrible typos! So I gave him his role, which from a military and historic point of view is realistic................but with a tiny 'phantastic' plus. Tom Picton and Bob Craufurd, but also Henry Paget are purely historic, even if I did improve their relationship with Wellington perhaps slightly..........but who knows how it was realy in those days of war, when they were confined to live and work together for most of the time!
For more infos on Wellington's 'partners in crime', please refer to my page 'Commanders'
You can bet! They all existed and I did not miss one. So enjoy what I made of them and pardon the author if he put a bit too much of his heartblood and ink into Michel Ney! Anyhow, you'll met him soon in a novel of his own.........promised!
For more info on Wellington's blue-coated 'friends', please refer to my page 'Adversaries'.
When Arthur was young and unexperienced and narrow minded - fixed to his Irish homeland and the Vicereagal Court of Dublin and with no hope for a bright future - he was very much in love with the 'Longford Lilly', who was perceived as being one of the superbe beauties of Ireland's capital's 'petit bourgeoise' society. She came from a well-off family with influence, he was but the son of a broke 'shame' to aristocray who spent his time and money on music and landscape gardening and who ruined his fortune to pieces! Kitty was pretender to a good (that means rich and powerenhancing) marriage, while Arthur lived off a Captain's pay and was burdened with debth. When he proposed, his proposal was rejected!
Kitty mourned her lost lover for a while, falling ill as it behaved in those days and fadding away slightly, while young Wesley went overseas to forget and fight! Although dear Lady Longford wants to make us believe that Kitty remained faithfull to Arthur throughout his Indian service, she was nevertheless courted by Sir Galbraith Lowry Cole, of the powerfull Enniskillen family and she almost accepted his proposal for marriage. There would be a lot to say about this courtship and Kitty playing around with Lowry Cole, but this would make a book of its own.
Just let's admitt, it did not work out, Arthur returned covered with laurels and was somewhat pushed into a marriage which turned out to be disaster for both partners: Kitty was frightened of her soldier-husband and Arthur was bored by his 'little Dublin wife'. Intellectually she was no match for him; shy, bigot and overprotective, devoid of the slightest interest in those subjects which were a passion of his, bad with finances and inconsequent ( I believe, she was victim to a depression which became worse over the years but was never treated!), she made him flee their common home. He frightened her to pieces and she transmitted her fear of Wellington to their two sons, who only towards the end of the Duke's life established somewhat closer ties with their father. It is a sad story, as sad as many marriages where in those days, when it was all about money and influence and when a wife was basically kept in a state of demure ignorance by her parents, to make sure she would make a good spouse (producing male heirs!) I admit, I do not like Kitty and so I made perhaps a bit more of these lines of the Irish poet Sir Thomas Moore:
would‘st still be adored, as this moment thou art,
thy loveliness fade as it will;
around the dear ruin each wish of my heart,
entwine itself verdantly still.‘
(Marattha - König Zweier Welten)
Charlotte is a child of my phantasy; she never existed and Wellington never came so close to committing himself to a woman, while on service in India. I still believe he did not live the life of a monk, when over there -hardly 30 years of age, a normal guy and still getting over an unhappy love affair in Dublin, with the woman, who later on should become his wife: Kitty Pakenham!
Charlotte is a bit of a bluestocking, the type of clever woman, Wellington went for all his life. She is perhaps not so stifflaced as the historic Mrs.Arbuthnot, with whom he'll share his thoughts over more the a decade after his 'Years of the Sword' and who's death he'll mourn with a high degree of dispair, but she is exactly what -I imagine- a young Lt.-Col. Wesley would have liked for a company.She is the one who teaches him about India and the world in which he will have to make a reputation as a soldier and suddenly she becomes the cause for him to go by the Sword..............to the end!
(All Wellington Novels, but 'Marattha')
Although Sarah is like Charlotte another child of my phantasy, there is some thruth about her: Indeed there was a military surgeon serving with Wellington's Army and who should rise to the rank of 'Inspector General of the Military Hospitals' and when he died in 1852 and an authopsy was performed it turned out that Dr. James Barry was.........................a woman!
In fact the real name was Miranda Barry and she had got herself into a Scottish university, disguised as a man. And when other students moked her for her high female voice, Miranda challenged one to a duel and killed him. After this act - duelling was perhaps not forbidden in those days but still had consequences - there was only one way out: Follow the drums!
Miranda Barry was a hell of a woman and did not look like her kind. She was as though as her male colleagues and wore men's cloths throughout her life, while my fictional heroine Lady Sarah Lennox is all she pretends to be ..............and a surgeon,too. To make this realistic, I had to send her to France for studies, as the French universities accepted women much earlier then the British ones (Women were admitted to study medicine only in the 1870ies!) and I had to make her a member of the High Aristocracy, where she most certainly would have been frowned at............but potentially not excluded from society, if she belonged to important enough a family. Sarah is the eldest daughter of the Duke of Richmond, Wellington's lifelong friend and sturdy political ally. She is less bluestocking then Charlotte, but more socially conscious, a feature not uncommon with members of the nobility of those days............when they could afford a social conscience. Sarah is also Arthur's conscience in my novels, she is the one who -first as a friend, then as a lover - kicks him, when Irish moods become overwhelming with the Sepoy General or gets some reason into him, when his quick temper strikes.
May my faithful readers pardon me the love story, but which novel could do without and.......................I like dear Arthur too much to condemn him to years of lonely soldering!
Jamie was one of those volunteers - frequently young NCOs - that Wellington sent out to train his Spanish allies the 'Guerilla'. Having been trained by Sir John Moore at Shorncliffe, an Infantery School which was very progressive and professed cooperation between officers, NCOs and soldiers and not blind subordination, it is quite natural that he does his job and one moment attracts Wellesley's attention. If you study the historic facts about the guerilla war in Navarra, you will realise that many achievements up there in the North would have merited a gifted man a promotion from NCO to officer...........and so it happenes to Jamie, first even without Wellington knowing the man.
When the two of them have their first stormy face to face, they somehow like each other, Wellington seeing prospect, intelligence and something he'd never been when young and Jamie finding kind of fatherfigure. Wellington takes the risk to make the young man rise through the ranks, because he considers the battlefield quite a good place to chose a son. Dullmore will accompany Arthur through the whole Spanish campaign, ending up with the 33. Regiment under his command (That's not historic, I know! The 33.rd did not go to the Peninsula, but pardon me.............it is also a novel!)
His feats of arms at Vitoria are rewarded with the obligatory knighthood ( today, he'd have just got a pay rise,efficient but slightly less 'romantic'!) and with the hand of Richmond's youngest daughter, Jane! After Waterloo and the end of the 'Years of the Sword' it is Jamie, who will accompany you through Regency England and the expansion of Great Britain into a fullfledged empire.
(All Wellington Novels, but 'Marattha König Zweier Welten')
Jack Robertson is historic and...... not: The secret operation of Lord John Russell and General Wellesley to get the army of the Marquess de la Romana back from Germany into Spain is a historic fact. Robertson was a priest, even though not a Catholic, but a Protestant and his widow still touched an Alien's Office pension through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs late into the 1840ies. He was a genius with languages and he had been deep into England's 'Great Game' during the days of the Revolution and those of Napoleon.
Jack is my very personal reply to 'My Name is Bond, James Bond!" So he'll be back in his Secret Service job, when Jamie Dullmore takes a bout of leave in his Scottish Highland home following the end of the Occupation of France in 1818.....................just to discover, that a bunch of criminal hiding behind 'Jacobite' doctrine tries to rise an expedition to free..........well, I won't give it away, just wait and see. I have a tiny idea to write a 'Jamie Dullmore-Novel' situated in some exotic place of the Empire...Africa perhaps.
('Eagle and Leopard' and 'Warlord')
Jose is a guerillero of Basque origine, who fights with famous captain 'El Mina' in the mountains of Navarra. First employed as a messenger to bring intelligence to Wellington, he is recruited for Jack Robertson's Intelligence Service, after Major Cocks-Somers falls at the siege of Badajoz. Jose is one of the key players to ensure Wellington fights the Battle of the Pyrenees and crosses into France having all necessary intelligence at hand. With his rough behaviour and straightforward courage he somehow befriends Wellington and from time to time they enjoy each others company around a glass of wine and a good intrigue against the eagles.
Jose will be back together with his boss General 'El Mina', when the Spanish start their Civil War and Arthur sends out Sir James Dullmore to save the heads of some of his old chums from the day of the Peninsular War.
(All Wellington Novels, but 'Marattha König Zweier Welten')
Don Antonio at first is one of the leaders of Portugese resistance against the French occupation. He meets Wellington, while he plans his move against Soult and Oporto.Don Antonio's condition to cooperate with the British is to have his guerilleros integrated as regulars. This happens on the eve of Talavera and the Portugese noble is asked by Arthur to be one of his AdCs. Coming from the same aristocratic background and being of about the same age, both men become very good friends. Antonio will fight with Wellington through Portugal and Spain before leaving -after Napoleon's first abdication - for Vienna, where he will be one of his country's representatives at the Congress.................but for sure, the Portugese soldier will be back to fight with his old friend at Waterloo.
Inesa, Antonio's wife discovers early in the Peninsular War -and quite by accident- the key to the French Military Chyper, the so-called "Code de Paris". Being -like Sarah - educated and adventurous, she joins Robertson's team, bringing light into French secret waberdasch and even once..............capturing a drunk Eagle in a general's uniform.
You'll meet Antonio and Inesa again in one of the Jamie Dullmore novels.
(Marattha-König Zweier Welten, The Honour of a Soldier)
Colonel Alessandro Cappellini, of Italian/Corsican origins, like Napoleon Bonaparte and a childhood friend of the Emperor is the French Military Advisor to Tippoh Sultan of Mysore and therefore......the military brain, Arthur has to fight through the Maratha Wars. After the fall of Mysore, he is released by the British (like all other French) on the promise that they will leave the country and not take up service with another local warlord. But Sandro prefers to be king in his own realm instead of just a piece of dust gravitating around Bonaparte's rising star at home in France. He takes up service with Begum Sumroo, commanding her troups against the British. When finally taken and sent back on his way to france by Wellesley during the siege of Ahmednuggur, his master Sumroo changes allies and deserts into the British camp. Allessandro is brought back to help the Begum to get her troups out of the battle of Assaye unharmed. Apart fighting Arthur cheerfully, Allessandro is in good terms with his British opponent and they have quite friendly relations.
Colonel Allesandro Cappellini has a contemporary namesake, who gave him his appearance, caracter and also way of expressing himself: The real Sandro was a former officer of the French Foreign Legion and an excellent friend of mine. He converted into managing with his wife and daugthers the finest Italien Restaurant in the Orne region of Normandy 'Le Manoir de Villers' at Villers en Ouche and also has a top riding school and stud for fine Welsh ponies. He was quite a gentleman............and if ever you come by our place, you must not miss to have dinner at his place. He died in 2011. ( Le Manoir de Villers, 61550 Villers en Ouche France Tel:++33-2-33.34.90.00 Fax:++33-2-33.34.98.01 and WebSite: http://perso.wanadoo.fr/le.manoir/ )
Wellington's Political Masters
Wellington's Social Environment
The Times of Revolution and War 1789-1815