April Fool’s Day with Lord Wellington.

Just a very brief comic glimpse into April Fool’s Day with my fictional Lord Wellington during winter quarters 1812-13. Personally, I have decided that the weather is enough of an April Fool’s prank this year, we seem to have gone from barbecues to snow within a week… I wasn’t at all sure if April Fool’s Day was a thing back in 1813 but it appears to have been going on for a long time before that. Whether Lord Wellington would have been in the mood for jokes in the spring of 1813 I’m not sure. But he might have been.

Happy April 1st to all my readers. Summer is on the way. It’s just not going to rush things…

Army Headquarters, Freineda, April 1813

“Morning, sir.”

“Ah, General van Daan. Come in and sit down. I have a job for you.”

“That always brightens my day, sir.”

“I have received a letter from London requiring me to provide troops for an expedition to South America. It would appear that there is some local unrest and I have been asked to send a battalion of experienced troops commanded by an officer who can be trusted to support the Portuguese royal family while not inflaming local sentiment. Naturally my thoughts turned to you.”

“That’s only habit, sir. The minute you hear about an unpleasant task my name just pops into your head. You should try to curb it, though. One of these days you’ll accidentally send me halfway across the world in an absent-minded moment and then you’ll spend a week yelling for me because you’ve forgotten where I’ve gone.”

“I am not senile, General.”

“Nor am I, sir. I even know the date.”

“Ah, I see. Well, it was worth the attempt.”

“Brazil, though, sir? Whose idea was that?”

“March came up with it and the idea amused me. Fitzroy said you would never fall for it. Do you have those reports for me?”

“No, sir, I’m afraid there’s been a delay. My wife’s dog ate them.”

Pause.

“I have no idea whether that is an April Fool’s prank or not, General. It is frighteningly plausible.”

“It is, isn’t it? That’s why I yelled for fifteen minutes this morning and threatened to drown the dog before she produced them alongside my breakfast and a very sweet note wishing me a very happy April Fool’s Day.”

“You would have had no idea of the date if she hadn’t done that, would you?”

“Not an earthly clue, sir. Which is why every year, she is able to find a way to make me yell before I’ve even put my boots on.”

“Just occasionally, General, I am less envious of your marital bliss. It must be like living with an unexploded mine.”

“That’s a remarkably good analogy, sir. Jenson has the reports, I’ll just call him.”

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