Friday, October 21


21 October 1805

Tonight at dinner, in a radical change from my usual routine, we toasted Horatio Viscount Nelson, on the occasion of his posthumous victory at Trafalgar over the combined Spanish and French fleets. Coming from a man who's tempted to wear a black armband on Michaelmas to mourn the defeat of the Spanish Armada (Vivat Hispania, Domino gloria, &c.), celebrating the defeat of His Most Catholic Majesty's navy (led by a monster 140-gun flagship named in honor of the Most Holy Trinity!) to the forces of the Hanoverian Usurpers is a pretty big about-face. But Spain, face it, was on the wrong side of the war when she was shacking up with Napoleon Bonaparte, given how he trashed the Papal States. And without Trafalgar we wouldn't have gotten that great portrait of General Wellington by Goya. So, raise your glasses to the man of the hour on the two hundredth anniversary of his greatest victory and his tragic death! Viscount Nelson and Merry England! Joseph, you have permission to sing Rule Britannia without me teasing you.

And just this once, no Emma Hamilton jokes a la Edmund Blackadder. At least this early in the evening.

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