harriet arbuthnot

[September 14; 1852]

Mrs. Arbuthnot, who was often the Duke’s adviser, and gave him her clear and honest opinion on matters of which others were afraid to speak – views inspired by her clear brain – was invaluable to the Duke. Their intimacy may have given gossips an excuse for scandal; but I, who knew them both so well, am convinced that the Duke was not her lover. He admired her very much – for she had a manlike sense – but Mrs. Arbuthnot was devoid of womanly passions, and was,, above all, a loyal and truthful woman. She had, from her childhood, been accustomed to live in the society of clever old people. She married, when very young, old Arbuthnot, who found her so perfectly discreet, that he and Lord Castlereagh – when in office – talked openly in her presence, with a sense of absolute security. The Duke of Wellington fell into the same habit at her house, and would see people there, without the fuss of an interview which would have found its way into the newspapers. We three together formed a perfect union, where no jealousy or littleness of feeling ever intruded to destroy its harmony.

When I recovered my health Mrs. Arbuthnot and I were much together. One day I told her that she need never be afraid of my taking the Duke’s friendship from here, although I was far more devoted to him than she was. Mrs. Arbuthnot used to laugh at my reverence for, and my shyness with the Duke: she had no such feeling.

The Diary of Frances Lady Shelley, 1818 – 1873, edited by Richard Edgcumbe, p. 310 et seq.

He said I told him always the most disagreeable things in the most invidious manner and that he would take care never to tell me anything again or ask my opinion – and I, on the other hand, got at last into a passion, too, assured him I would never tell him the truth again and that if that was his way of behaving, he would neither deserve a friend nor have one. In short, we had what he calls a grand breeze and I thought the people on the Mall would have thought he was mad, he talked to loud, but we ended as we always do. We made up our quarrel and were very good friends and I must do the Duke the justice to say that though he gets into a passion for a moment, he never likes one a bit the less for telling him unpleasant truths.
—  From the diary of Harriet Arbuthnot, November 1829

“I have requested my Tyrant to be the slave only for one week. But she won’t agree! Is not that very unreasonable? Considering that I have been the slave so long!!”

From a letter by the Duke of Wellington to Lady Shelley, referring to Harriet Arbuthnot.
—Quoted from: The Diary of Frances Lady Shelley, 1818 – 1873, edited by Richard Edgcumbe, p. 115

“Kitty Wellesley blinks at Harriet. Harriet smiles in return. Kitty then catches herself and smiles back and says, ‘oh well that certainly sounds like a thing.’

‘It was. Absolutely a whirlwind. And our time here, too.’

‘A whirlwind?’

‘A whirlwind. Just so. It was for Charles last year as well. Had to do something or other for Horse Guards. And he purchased a cow. Did you hear that he purchased a cow? I cannot know what he is thinking but he wrote me and explained that he went in on a bull and it is making itself at home in the south field. He’s named it Talleyrand which is something I am not sure how to take. I told Arthur and he just did that mysterious laugh of his and said it to be fitting but then he worried that Charles was becoming too friendly with Bonaparte for the fellow was mentioned twice.’

‘Oh dear.’

‘Indeed! Oh dear indeed! It is not that Bonaparte will lead Charles astray only I worry about the wretched man’s Whig tendencies. With Liverpool so precarious and the government teetering this is not the time to be bandying about the countryside purchasing farm stock with a former Jacobite revolutionary.’”

I have finally gotten to my rewriting of Pale where Harriet and Arthur et al show up. FINALLY. 

Also Harriet calm down, give the woman time to respond. 

The Duke who has never missed being here for my birthday since the year he was at Verona. Lady Charlotte Greville had been an old and intimate friend of his youth and he was delighted at having her under his roof. I was rather in hot water while she was here. I was so afraid the Duke should pay me more attention than he did her and as he was formerly said to be in love with her. I was afraid of her being mortified by neglect from him. I thought her rather cross one day when he drove me out in the Curricle, but he drove her two or three times and that set it all right.
—  Journal of Harriet Arbuthnot, 10 December 1826

Napolington fic first bit is up on AO3

Title: A Wolf in Chase
Rating: IDK. Mature-ish?
Pairing: Napoleon/Wellesley; the Arbuthnots; the Wellesleys etc.
Characters: Napopo, Wellingboots, Charles Arbuthnot, Harriet Arbuthnot, the Montholons, Bertrands, various local people
Summary: Sequel to “Pale Before the Fall” though I don’t think it’s too much a necessity to have read the first one. A continuation of something like a friendship. If one may be so liberal as to call it that. Mostly, there are mysteries and a bored (former) emperor who has nothing better to do than drag a certain duke along on his adventures.
Warnings: gets a little bloody in places. Flagrant abuse of folklore. Flagrant abuse of history. COME AT ME STARKEY. 

OH GOD HARRIET!

don’t do that to me!
I think I left coffee all over the desk the first time I read this.


London, August 30, 1825
My Dear Lady Shelley,
[…]
As for John, you must impress upon his mind, first, that he is coming into the world at an age at which he who knows nothing will be nothing. If he does not chuse [sic!] to study, therefore, he must make up his mind to be a hewer of wood and drawer of water to those who do. Secondly, he must understand that there is nothing learnt but by study and application. I study and apply, more, probably, than any man in England.
Thirdly, if he means to rise in the military profession – I don’t mean as high as I am, as that is very rare – he must be master of languages, of the mathematics, of military tactics of course, and of all the duties of an officer in all situations.
He will not be able to converse or write like a gentleman – much less to perform with credit to himself the duties on which he will be employed- unless he understands the classics; and by neglecting them, moreover, he will lose much gratification which the perusal of them will always afford him; and a great deal indeed of professional information and instruction.
He must be master of history and geography, and the laws of his country and of nations; these must be familiar to his mind if he means to perform the higher duties of his profession.

—Quoted from: The Diary of Frances Lady Shelley, 1818 – 1873, edited by Richard Edgcumbe, p. 128 

(Me: Points at Atty’s education with one hand, his general success at creative spelling and grammar often exceeding what was common even for his time with the other, gives a dirty laugh and runs off quickly.)

Woodford, September 18, 1825
[…]
In respect to my letter upon education, I don’t recollect what I wrote; and I cannot consent to have a copy taken, without first seeing it. You had better send it to me, therefore. Besides, the Tyrant says she has no notion of my writing a letter deserving of being copied without her seeing it; and she wishes to ascertain whether I have myself learnt all that I recommend to others to learn. There is no use in disputing about anything, so that you had better send the letter at once. 
[…]
Postscript written by Mrs. Arbuthnot.
I have no notion of his finishing a letter in such a style; I will never allow that again.

—Quoted from: The Diary of Frances Lady Shelley, 1818 – 1873, edited by Richard Edgcumbe, p. 130 

(Me: Looks around; Can I keep her?)

“In 1827 Charles [Arbuthnot] was no longer at the Woods and Forests and so the summer excursion was a private one to Derbyshire, where they [the Arbuthnots] stayed at the Duke of Rutland’s shooting lodge at Longshawe, ‘a very tiring house, on the top of the moors, … not half finished,’ she [Harriet] told Lady Shelley, but when it was it would be ‘the perfection of a shooting box’. It was ‘as cold as Xmas—even the butter was frozen’, but the duke [Wellington] assured her that it was a ‘wholesome’ climate—’certainly if high winds are wholesome, this must be the most healthy place in England’.” -Wellington and the Arbuthnots, 129. 

Arthur, once again, showing his firm belief that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Unsurprising from the man who thought brisk activity, fasting and spartan living is the best way to cure a cold. 

[September 14; 1852]
Mrs. Arbuthnot, who was often the Duke’s adviser, and gave him her clear and honest opinion on matters of which others were afraid to speak – views inspired by her clear brain – was invaluable to the Duke. Their intimacy may have given gossips an excuse for scandal; but I, who knew them both so well, am convinced that the Duke was not her lover. He admired her very much – for she had a manlike sense – but Mrs. Arbuthnot was devoid of womanly passions, and was, above all, a loyal and truthful woman. She had, from her childhood, been accustomed to live in the society of clever old people. She married, when very young, old Arbuthnot, who found her so perfectly discreet, that he and Lord Castlereagh – when in office – talked openly in her presence, with a sense of absolute security. The Duke of Wellington fell into the same habit at her house, and would see people there, without the fuss of an interview which would have found its way into the newspapers. We three together formed a perfect union, where no jealousy or littleness of feeling ever intruded to destroy its harmony.
When I recovered my health Mrs. Arbuthnot and I were much together. One day I told her that she need never be afraid of my taking the Duke’s friendship from here, although I was far more devoted to him than she was. Mrs. Arbuthnot used to laugh at my reverence for, and my shyness with the Duke: she had no such feeling.


The Diary of Frances Lady Shelley, 1818 – 1873, edited by Richard Edgcumbe, p. 310 et seq.