Waterloo : Letter from William Crackanthorpe to Sarah Crackanthorpe

Crackanthorpe, William, 1790-1888


<p style='text-align: justify;'>In this letter William Crackanthorpe of Newbiggin, Westmorland, a cousin of the poet William Wordsworth, described to his sister a visit to Elba. His party was presented to and enjoyed a long conversation with Napoleon. The Emperor showed an astonishing ‘gaiety and gentlemanlike manner’, and Crackanthorpe noted that his energy was being channelled to the good of the island. From time to time, however, he ‘seemed to relapse into a kind of reverie, when his countenance assumed that fiendish appearance, which the light of the moon which shone upon it, perhaps rendered more horrid than it otherwise was’. In his small house, surrounded by loyal members of the former Imperial Guard, Napoleon maintained ‘all the pomp of a court with the same ceremony as at St Cloud or Versailles’. A collection of Crackanthorpe’s correspondence is held in the University Library as <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/db/node.xsp?id=EAD%2FGBR%2F0012%2FMS%20Add.8908'>MS Add. 8908</a>. </p>

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