Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Reading biography

I ran out of mysteries to read, so decided to improve my mind by reading one of Mr Charm's biographies, a book about the Duke of Wellington by Christopher Hibbert and well worth reading.  He was an authentic hero, who defeated Napoleon and cared not  a rap what anyone thought of him.  He had a chest full of medals and was beloved by the ladies.

Like Ulysses Grant, who had been a quartermaster, Wellington understood the importance of supplying his armies, above all with food.  Send enough bullocks and sheep, and your army will be assured of victory. It sounds very quotidian, but it worked for him.

The citizenry loves military heroes, especially handsome ones. He went from triumph to triumph, including serving as Prime Minister.

The only unsatisfactory thing in his life was his marriage.  He had proposed to a woman when he was a young man and unable to provide for a family, and she refused him.  When he achieved success, he felt honor bound to renew his proposal, though he no longer cared for her, and she, who also had doubts, felt honor bound to accept.  So, despite the misgivings of both, they were married and lived together uneasily ever after.  He avoided her company whenever possible, and she was obsequious and timid, which made him him more impatient with her.

They were totally unsuited to each other.  He was the first man ever to say, for the record, that his wife did not understand him, although doubtless not the first to feel that way.  But as she lay dying, he was at her side.

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