Blackadder entered the kitchen where Baldric was cleaning potatoes (with his own spit) and prepared a tea tray. Baldric wasn't very bright, but even he knew how to count to two, which was the number of services Blackadder was putting on the tray. "Is his Royal Highness having company then?" he asked.
"Quite." said Blackadder as he poured steaming tea from a well worn kettle into a fancy gilt china teapot. "It seams Mister England's ward, the American Colonies, has been acting rather brash of late, and Mister England believes all the boy needs is to spend some time with another young lay-about, someone with no ambitious ideas to fire up this restless rebellious phase."
"Oh, Prince George would be just perfect, then." said Baldric.
"Exactly." said Blackadder, filling the sugar bowl and creamer as he talked. "Young Master America has no idea how well off he is. George will remind him how nice it is to sit around and be pampered while others do all the work."
"By others," said Baldric. "Do you mean blokes like you and me?"
"History is made." said Blackadder, retrieving biscuits from the oven. "Baldric was actually right for once." Blackadder arranged the matching gilded china tea set on a silver tray and carried it off to the prince's suite.
Inside said royal suite, George and America were complaining to each other about their respective caretakers. "Well, sometimes," George was saying. "You've just got to tell the old man to bugger off! Now, take my father, oh, and you certainly may. The old codger told me just the other day that he was a kangaroo! And I said 'Oh, bollocks, you crusty old fart!' For you see, my father is not a kangaroo at all and it was simply rubbish for him to say otherwise!"
"Yeah, Britain's not that nutty." said America. "But he tells me what to do all the time!" America shook his finger and imitated England's cross and authoritative tone. "Clean your room, eat your vegetables, don't use so much paper, quarter my soldiers, stop importing slaves. And get this! He wants me to pay a huge-ass tax on some tea I didn't even want! I mean, if you're gonna tax me, at least give me a chance to represent!"
"Well, here's what I'd do in your place, America." said George. "I'd chuck the whole lot into the harbor! Take every crate of that bloody tea and just chuck it overboard to show Britain just how you feel!"
America hummed and scratched his chin in thought. "Can I dress like an Indian while I'm doing it?"
"A fancy dress party?" George asked with a smile. "Oh, smashing idea, America!"
"Tea is served." said Blackadder on entering.
"FUCK YOUR TEA!" shouted America, slapping the tray out of Blackadder's hands, causing the crockery to shatter against the floor. "And you tell Britain for me that he can go get fucked as well! Fuck his tea, fuck his Stamp Act, fuck his soldiers, fuck his eyebrows, fuck his shoes, fuck these quote unquote 'biscuits'." America made air quotes. "They're cookies, goddam it!" America emphasized his point by stomping on the biscuits. "A biscuit is those little bready things you call scones! And fuck those things he calls chips! I'm calling them…uh…fries! Cuz they're fried! No…." America grinned evilly. "I'll call them FRENCH fries because I know he hates France so much!" America laughed madly. "Oh, this is great! I'm gonna go tell France what I'm gonna do!" He ran to the door and opened it. "Yo, butler dude!" Blackadder looked up from his attempt to clean the mess to see America flipping the bird. "Tell England to swivel on it!" With a slam of the door, America was gone.
Blackadder stared at Prince George. "You had one job, Your Highness." he said evenly. "One job, and you cocked it up royally."
"Well, I don't do anything any other way!" George said proudly.
"So," sighed Blackadder. "Now what do we do?"
"Well, I can't say England will be dead chuffed when you tell him to swivel on it." said George. "And I think you ought to clean up that sugar and the biscuit crumbs. That's a good way to get ants, you know."
"Yes, I know." said Blackadder, making a mental note to leave a few sugar cubes in George's underwear drawer.
A few days later, Blackadder was dusting in George's boudoir while Baldric did a bit of sweeping. "So America's really gone and done it then?" asked Baldric. "He chucked the tea into the Boston Harbor?" He shook his head. "Gonna make some awful salty tea, that is." He swept up a sugar cube. "Here now, what's this doing on the floor?"
"Oh, that's not supposed to be on the floor." said Blackadder, taking the sugar cube. "It goes in here." He crumbled it up and stuffed it in George's underwear drawer. "Here, antsy antsies." he said in a small voice. "Come get the nice sugar in the Prince's knickers!"
George walked in with a sheaf of papers under his arm. "Well, I've been doing some thinking." he said.
"Oh no, the Apocalypse is upon us." Blackadder deadpanned.
"God I hope not!" said George. "We've enough problems with America doing that…that thing he's doing."
"He's revolting, sir." said Blackadder.
"Yes, I know." said George. "He's also refusing to do anything he's told! I thought this was some silly adolescent phase. Bladder, remember the time I decided I wanted to be independent and ran away from the castle? I didn't stay gone for long, now did I?"
"I'm sure it was the longest five minutes of your father's life, sir." said Blackadder.
"America has been at this revolution thing for some time now." said George. "And I sat down and made a list of things America likes. I think if we give him something he'd quite fancy, maybe he'd forget this whole silly revolution thing."
"Stooping to bribery, then?" asked Blackadder.
"Oh, it works." said George, shifting his notes. "Now, top of the list is 'being a hero.' Oh, I think we should avoid that one. Revolution is the surest way to make heroes. He also likes stars."
"We can't very well give him the stars now." said Blackadder. "Might as well offer him the sun and the moon."
"He once told me," said George. "That he would like very much to have a ship that sails among the stars."
"And how many pints was he in before he came up with that?" asked Blackadder.
"You could give him some cheese." Baldric suggested. "Everyone knows that's what the moon is made of anyway."
"Cheese is on the list." said George. "He'd like a type of cheese named after him."
"American cheese?" Blackadder scoffed. "What's it made of? Buffalo milk?"
"Milk is also on the list." said George. "But he likes his cold."
"Quite mad if you ask me." said Blackadder.
"Maybe if we came up with a way to keep milk very cold for a long time." mused George. "He also likes flavored milk. Strawberries are an old standby, but he also likes flavors made by beans from the southern continent. What were they called? Navilla and ca-ca or some such."
"Vanilla and cocoa, I'm sure His Highness means." said Blackadder.
"Right." said George. "Now, I propose we invent a dessert made with milk and those flavorings. Maybe a very rich cream instead of milk would work better. And of course it would have to be very cold. As cold as ice."
"We could call it ice cream!" suggested Baldric.
"That's the stupidest idea ever!" said Blackadder.
"Too right!" agreed George. "That idea is about as mad as the one about the star ship! Let's think of something more realistic." He went over his notes. "Well, he also likes birds. Maybe we could give him a nice hunting falcon or ask Prussia for one of his canaries. Let's give America a bird!"
"Why not?" said Blackadder. "He gave England the bird as he left."
"Or, better yet," George decided. "We can get him a horse! He likes horses. He told me once he doesn't care much for carriages. He much prefers to get astride of a big beast and ride it for hours at a time."
"Well, who doesn't?" deadpanned Blackadder.
"He also likes guns." said George, looking at his list. "Yes, he was quite cross when Father told Mister England to confiscate his guns. It seems America likes that nice loud banging noise they make. Ah, I have it! I'll send America an army of my finest soldiers and have them fire their guns for him! I'll send them to Boston, where America had his little tea party to show there's no hard feelings. I'll have the soldiers wear their prettiest red coats and ride the finest steeds we can lay hold of! And they'll fire those guns nice and loud! Oh, won't Father be chuffed to hear how I put a stop to this nasty revolution!"
"YOU BLOODY STUPID GIT!" raged King George.
"Really, what were you thinking?" asked England. "Sending armed soldiers to a town full of angry villagers? It was a bloody massacre!"
"That's it!" said King George. "I'm hopping back to Australia!" He posed his hands in front of himself and took some bounding leaps towards the door.
"For the last bloody time, Father!" Prince George shouted after him. "You are not a sodding kangaroo!" The king ignored his son as he hopped through the door. "Oh, don't worry too much about him." said the prince. "He thinks the back garden is Australia."
"Well, what do we do now?" asked England. "My colony is in a state of revolt! Do you know what he's been doing? He's been writing mean things about me in his newspapers! He says that I neglect him and make him pay absurd amounts in taxes and that my eyebrows are ugly!"
"Well, all of that is true, Mister England." Blackadder pointed out.
"But he needn't print it in the papers!" said England. "Can you imagine what it would be like if people could just write whatever rubbish they felt like writing and put it where just anyone could read it? It would lead to utter chaos! No, this has to stop right now! If I give America an inch, he'll take a mile. Next I suppose he'll want women to vote or all people to be treated equally!"
"What a dreadful thought!" gasped George. "Why, could you imagine a world where I'd be seen as no better than Baldric?" George shuddered as he gestured towards the dogsbody. "Not a world I want to live in!"
"What's worst," sighed England. "Is America's been palling with some old farmer by the name of Washington. They go on horsie rides, and play with his hounds, go hunting together and camp under the stars. Things he used to do with me!" England bit his lip to keep from crying. "Last time I spoke with Al- with America- all he could talk about was how great he thought this Washington bloke was! Seems he was invited to a dinner at his estate on Mount Vernon. You know that boy loves food. Can't stop talking about it! What he rhapsodized the most over was the dessert. Washington served him a dish of that fancy iced cream stuff!"
"Iced cream, you say?" asked Baldric.
"Oh, I seem to remember having something like that at Duchess Whatshername's house." said George. "Of course, I was so right plastered I forgot the name of what I was eating! We should've offered him ice cream to start with. Oh, well, spilt milk."
"Or cream as it were." sighed Blackadder.
"What we need," said Baldric. "Is a cunning plan to win Master America back over to our side."
"Well, bribery's out." said England. "That Washington bloke would probably give him anything he asked for. He…he might even give him his own ship! I don't know what I'll do if America gets his own ship!"
"Ah, I know!" said George. "We'll tell America that he simply has no choice but to do as he's told!"
"Oh, smashing idea." England said in a sarcastic tone. "I never thought of doing that myself."
"You like my idea then?" asked George with a smile.
"No, Your Highness." said Blackadder. "That was sarcasm."
"Oh." George said in a disappointed tone. "Well, just hear me out, England. The King is also head of the Church of England, right? And as England, you yourself are part of that church. Just tell America that God has ordained that kings have a divine right to rule. He has to stop the revolt because God said so! America might rebel against a king, but not against God Almighty Himself!"
England hummed and rubbed his chin. "You might very well have something there, Your Highness!" he said. "Yes! That's what I'll do. I'll tell America that rebelling against England is akin to rebelling against God! That will surely convince him to learn his place. I'll go immediately and tell him that."
One afternoon while Blackadder was playing chess with George (and pretending to lose) England limped in. His red military coat was in tatters and his knees spattered in mud, as if he'd been kneeling in it. His hair was even more unkempt than usual and his face was smeared with ash from gunpowder. He was on a crutch and his arm was in a sling. "Did things not go well?" asked George.
England balled up his fist. "No." he decided. "No, I can't strike my boss's son."
"Let me get Baldric for you." said Blackadder. "You can strike him since you can't strike the prince. It's what I do. Baldric!"
"You bellowed?" Baldric asked on entering. England socked him straight in the nose.
"Ah, that does feel a lot better!" said England. "As to Your Highness's question, no, they didn't bloody go well." England groused as he collapsed on the sofa. "Do you want to know what America told me? He doesn't even want to be part of the Church of England anymore!" George gasped in horror. "Get this! He said he wants every individual in his land to choose their own religion! Can you imagine that? A land where Catholics and Protestants live side by side? It's not done for a reason! There'd be complete chaos! I mean, in the scenario America was describing, there might even be a few Jews allowed to live openly in such a society! Worst of all, a few people might decide not to worship God at all! Can you imagine the complete anarchy that would cause? I've found that that Washington bloke America is so taken with rarely attends church at all. He spends his Sundays sleeping late, riding his horse or playing chess depending on the weather and then sits to some fancy dinner."
"Sounds like what I do every day." said George. "Well, don't be too hard on yourself, Iggy. I'm sure you gave as good as you got!"
England smiled wobbily, drawing on all his self-control not to cry. "Er…yes! Yes, I-I certainly gave him what for! Oh, did I give that boy a thrashing! Ha-ha!" England laughed to keep from crying. "I'm not done yet! I'll get him back! Just…just watch! He'll get tired of fighting. Why, I'm sure it'll all be over by Christmas at least! You know how much that boy loves Christmas. He wouldn't dream of attacking me on such a day!" England ran a hand through his hair. "You know what else that boy did just to spite me? He's got that sodding frog, France, helping him fight!"
"Oh! I've a good idea!" said George.
"Oh God, the Prince has an idea." grumbled Blackadder.
"Er, what was that, Blackadder?" asked George.
"Oh, God!" Blackadder cried out gleefully, throwing his arms up to the sky in praise. "Thank you for blessing this wonderful prince with another splendid idea!"
"Well, it's not much." George said with false humility. "But, if America's got another nation helping him, we should get another nation to help us! I think we should ask Prussia for help. I hear his soldiers are some most excellent chaps."
"Isn't this the same chap with the canary?" asked Blackadder.
"Oh yes." said George. "But I'm sure he could easily put America back into his place. It's been said that Prussia is the most awesome nation that ever lived!"
"And just who says that?" asked Blackadder.
"Well, Prussia, mostly." said George. "But then, Prussia's a great and powerful nation that's been around for thousands of years and most likely he will be that way for thousands more. America?" George gave a scoffing laugh. "Just some jumped up little colony who thinks he can be a powerful nation! A thousand years from now, America will just be a bit of farmland that belongs to England. Just as God intended! I promise you, England, you and America will be a happy little family again just in time for Christmas!"
"Ah, the day after Christmas is always a bit sad." sighed George, warming himself by the fire as Blackadder and Baldric took down the decorations from the tree. "The gaiety is over and all the decorations have to be put away, the fancy gifts have lost their novelty and nothing but cold leftover goose to eat for a few days." George fidgeted a bit.
"Well, Your Highness," said Blackadder as he packed a porcelain angel in tissue paper. "The day after Christmas isn't so bad for us servants. There's a reason it's called Boxing Day."
"Why?" asked George, scratching at his hip. "Oh, yes! It's because that's the day servants have to put all the decorations back in their boxes."
"No." Blackadder sighed. "On Boxing Day it is traditional for a master to give his servants a little box with a little something in it."
"Oh. Well, of course I remembered that!" lied the prince. "Er, would the two of you turn around a moment?" Blackadder sighed, but he and Baldric did just that. George snatched up two empty gift boxes that were lying around and grabbed two random items from the supper table to fill them. "Right! There you go lads!" George proudly handed over the gifts. "Happy Boxing Day!"
Baldric gasped in shock as he opened his gift. "Why, it's a turnip!" he gasped. "My very own turnip! Oh, Your Highness, Thank you! How did you know?" He looked ready to weep with joy.
"Well, you did drop a few hints." said George.
"Look, Mr. Blackadder!" Baldric proudly held up the vegetable. "A turnip! And it hardly has any teeth marks at all! Isn't it beautiful?"
"Delightful." Blackadder deadpanned.
"Well, go on." Baldric prompted. "Open your gift."
Blackadder opened the box and pulled out "A saltcellar."
"Well, it's a very lovely saltcellar, Mr. Blackadder." said Baldric. "I believe the Prince has one just like it."
"Yes." Blackadder deadpanned. "Really, Your Highness, you shouldn't have."
"Oh well," laughed George. "You know how generous I can be around Christmas!"
"Yes, I certainly do." said Blackadder, wondering how much he could get for the saltcellar if he hawked it.
"I do wonder how Mr. England is getting on with his colony just now." said George. "I'm sure with Prussia's help he's been able to talk some sense into young Master America. They probably sat down to a nice dinner and exchanged some gifts, putting this whole silly war business behind them. I understand there's this bird in the New World called a turkey that they seem to prefer to goose. And there's this sort of berry that grows in marshes they call a cranberry that they use for sauce. Maybe next year, Mr. England will invite me to dinner over in the colonies. I might quite fancy that."
"Assuming Master America is still a colony next year." said Blackadder.
"Oh, don't be such a pessimist, Bladder!" laughed George even as he scratched his hips and close to his rear. "America is just having a little temper tantrum is all. I'm sure England and Prussia have him under control now." In staggered England and Prussia, both in their military uniforms, both looking worse for the wear. Their clothes were tattered and stained with mud and gunpowder. England had a black eye and Prussia's head was swathed in bandages. "Oh, hello, England, Prussia." said George. "Did you have a merry Christmas?"
"Do we LOOK merry?" snarled England.
"That America is an unawesome prick!" said Prussia. "Do you know what he and that Washington arschloch did? They and a bunch of their soldiers rowed a boat across the Delaware in the dead of night and attacked us while we slept! And on Christmas!"
"Surely you lot could've made up in time for Christmas." said George. "Duchess Whatsherface called me a cad last we met yet she sent me these nice cufflinks for Christmas. Duke Whoeverheis sent me a tea set even nicer than the one America ruined. And Father gave me a rock. He said it was a diamond from the mines of Australia, so it's the thought the counts."
"And look at the beautiful turnip His Highness gave me!" Baldric said proudly.
"A turnip…." gasped England as he and Prussia eyed it hungrily.
"Say, Bladder," said George, fanning himself with a handkerchief. "Think you could dampen the fire a bit? It's getting a bit sweltering in here."
"A fire!" Prussia called joyfully as he and England rushed to the fireplace and rubbed their chapped hands before it.
"I'd invite you chaps to stay for luncheon." said George. "But I'm afraid all I have to offer is some left over goose."
"We'll take it!" said England, rubbing some warmth back into himself.
"Blackadder," said George. "Go in the kitchen and fetch-" George paused and fidgeted, scratching at his hip. "Dear me, I think the cold has forced the ants to build a nest in my underwear drawer of late."
"Ah, yes, it must be the cold." said Blackadder.
"Well, anyway, Bladder," said the prince as he tried to make himself comfortable on the sofa. "Fetch my guests a bit of goose, some bread and maybe scrape together some chestnut dressing if there's any left."
"If you have beer," said Prussia. "I wouldn't say no to a pint!"
"I'd prefer a good shot of whiskey." sighed England.
"I'll see what I can do." said Blackadder. "Come along, Baldric."
"What do you think will happen now, Mr. Blackadder?" asked Baldric as they made their way to the larder.
"Oh, much the same." sighed Blackadder. "His Royal Highness will come up with some mad idea that will just blow up in everyone's faces. Perhaps literally. If they have any wit at all, they'll blame the king. He's so barking mad that it would be easy to pin anything on him."
"Did you know he was yelling at the Christmas tree yesterday?" asked Baldric. "He called it a ruddy tart that was asking for a jolly good shag. Then he started crying and apologizing. I think he tried to kiss the tree, but the needles kept sticking him."
"Oh, I can top that one!" said Blackadder, gathering a serving dish and a carving knife. "He called me 'Auntie Louisa' and tried to kiss me on the cheek."
"You'd think the feel of facial hair would convince him otherwise." said Baldric, opening the larder door.
"On the contrary," said Blackadder, cutting some meat off the goose. "He complimented me on keeping it better trimmed than usual. Then he gave me some weed he must've plucked from the garden and told me it was a poinsettia and I should wear it on my gown at the Christmas ball."
"Oh, and did you?" asked Baldric as he scooped chestnut stuffing on the plates.
"Oh yes." deadpanned Blackadder. "I was just the belle of the ball in my scarlet organdy."
"That would go with a poinsettia." said Baldric, slicing some bread. "Say, Mr. B, do you think Mr. England's really lost Master America for good?"
"Well, even if he has," said Blackadder, tapping some beer from a barrel. "Things won't go so will for the cosseted little brat. As an independent nation, he'll be all on his own, struggling to take care of himself which he can barely do. Without so much as British imports, I'm surprised he's lasted this long. If America doesn't go running back to England, he'll be scooped up by some other powerful nation. He's been palling with France a bit too much of late, for instance. And I hear he has a thing for strapping lads like Master America."
"Oh." said Baldric. "But, what if after all this, France decides he wants to revolt too?"
"Don't be silly, Baldric!" laughed Blackadder. "France is his own independent kingdom. In order to revolt he'd have to rebel against his own government! Why, that would mean deposing his own king! And I ask you, where would a country be without a king?"
"Well," said Baldric. "Suppose, just suppose, all the people got together and picked their own leader? They could all vote on it. Maybe get a new leader every few years or so."
Baldrick laughed at the very idea. "Oh, Baldric, Baldric, Baldric…." he sighed.
"What, what, what?" Baldric responded.
"That simply doesn't work." said Blackadder. "You see how messed up things are when people just vote on a Prime Minister. A random person chosen by the common people to be in charge of everything will run the entire country into the ground in a year or so. It makes much more sense to let the Grace of God and Royal Succession grant us with the leaders we deserve."
"You mean like the crazy coot what talks to trees, thinks he's a kangaroo and calls you Auntie Louisa?"
"As I said," said Blackadder, taking up the serving tray. "The leaders we deserve." Baldric opened the door to the larder to let Blackadder out. "I wouldn't worry about it too much. It's not like America's going to become a world superpower or anything."