Now, you have 10,000 men, Grand Old Duke, and you’ve been marching them about a lot recently. Can you tell me about it?
Certainly. It was the hill behind the barracks that first drew my attention. An excellent place to march the men, I thought, make a change from the square-bashing. Up to the top and down again. Apart from a few minor incidents, it was a great success.
But a bit pointless, surely? Not much different from square-bashing.
Which itself isn’t pointless at all. Keeps ’em fit and disciplined, for a start. But going up the hill is even better – gives ’em a sense of achievement when they get to the top. And there was also a specific purpose behind it. You see, we knew very well that when they were down, they were down, and we had a strong suspicion that when they were up, they were up. But no one knew where they’d be when they were only half way up. Thanks to my expedition, we now know they were neither up nor down.
Well, that’s quite a discovery! Will it have any practical application?
Indeed it will. The nature of warfare is changing. We have good reason to believe that the enemy is neither here nor there, but until now we had no way to counter that. Being neither up nor down will give us a huge advantage.
I see. And what does that mean in concrete terms?
An intermediary position between lying down and standing up. In other words, we waddle. The enemy will be utterly confused.
Sounds… original, shall we say? And your men are with you on this?
There’s been a bit of insubordination. A few of them saying that if they waddle, they’ll be sitting ducks. But one has to expect any innovative idea to meet resistance at first. It’s nothing a decent flogging won’t sort out.
Hmm… Now, I don’t want to appear disrespectful, Old Duke – after all, you’re the second son of King George III – but it’s been whispered that your military tactics are totally up the chute. Your Flanders campaign was pretty disastrous and –
Why, you impudent little scallywag, how dare you? Lucky for you you’re not in the army! Out of my sight forthwith!
The interview thus came to a premature end as the Prince chased me round the room, sword drawn, before tripping over the carpet and skewering his butler as he fell.