CHAPTER III. THE SEVEN YEARS' PEACE 1748-1755
I am up every morning at or before seven and fully
employed till twelve. Then I dress and visit, and dine
at two. At five most people go to the public
entertainments, which keep you till nine; and at eleven
I am always in bed. This way of living is directly
opposite to the practice of the place. But no
constitution could go through all. Four or five days
in the week I am up six hours before any other fine
gentleman in Paris. I ride, fence, dance, and have a
master to teach me French. I succeed much better in
fencing and riding than in the art of dancing, for
they suit my genius better; and I improve a little in
French. I have no great acquaintance with the French
women, nor am likely to have. It is almost impossible
to introduce one's self among them without losing a
great deal of money, which you know I can't afford;
besides, these entertainments begin at the time I go
to bed, and I have not health enough to sit up all
night and work all day. The people here use umbrellas
to defend them from the sun, and something of the same
kind to secure them from the rain and snow. I wonder
a practice so useful is not introduced into England.
While in Paris Wolfe was asked if he would care to be military tutor to the Duke of Richmond, or, if not, whether he knew of any good officer whom he could recommend. On this he named Guy Carleton, who became the young duke's tutor. Three men afterwards well known in Canada were thus brought together long before any of them became celebrated. The Duke of Richmond went into Wolfe's regiment. The next duke became a governor-general of Canada, as Guy Carleton had been before him. And Wolfe - well, he was Wolfe!
One day he was presented to King Louis, from whom, seven years later; he was to wrest Quebec. 'They were all very gracious as far as courtesies, bows, and smiles go, for the Bourbons seldom speak to anybody.' Then he was presented to the clever Marquise de Pompadour, whom he found having her hair done up in the way which is still known by her name to every woman in the world. It was the regular custom of that time for great ladies to receive their friends while the barbers were at work on their hair. 'She is extremely handsome and, by her conversation with the ambassador, I judge she must have a great deal of wit and understanding.' But it was her court intrigues and her shameless waste of money that helped to ruin France and Canada.
In the midst of all these gaieties Wolfe never forgot the mother whom he thought 'a match for all the beauties.' He sent her 'two black laced hoods and a vestale for the neck, such as the Queen of France wears.' Nor did he forget the much humbler people who looked upon him as 'the soldier's friend.' He tells his mother that his letters from Scotland have just arrived, and that 'the. women of the regiment take it into their heads to write to me sometimes.' Here is one of their letters, marked on the outside, 'The Petition of Anne White':
Collonnell, - Being a True Noble-hearted Pittyful
gentleman and Officer your Worship will excuse these
few Lines concerning ye husband of ye undersigned,
Sergt. White, who not from his own fault is not behaving
as Hee should towards me and his family, although good
and faithfull till the middle of November last.
We may be sure 'Sergt. White' had to behave 'as Hee should' when Wolfe returned!
In April, to his intense disgust, Wolfe was again in Glasgow.