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The Duchess of Richmond’s Ball

On the evening of 15 June 1815, the Duchess of Richmond held a ball in Brussels, where her husband was stationed. While at the ball, Wellington received word of Napoleon’s advance; the mood of those attending as they heard the news was vividly described by Lord Byron and William Thackeray, both of whom romanticised the ball in works written after the battle: Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro, And gathering tears, and tremblings of distress, And cheeks all pale, which but an hour ago Blush'd at the praise of their loveliness Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage