An excerpt from

Warhorses of Letters

Hudson & Phillips

Dear Marengo brackets Napoleon's horse close brackets,

I've never written a letter like this before. You probably get hundreds of them and this one might never arrive anyway, because of the wars smiley face, but I would never forgive myself if I didn't send it and so here it is. I have seen pictures of you. You are literally an oil painting. I don't know how you could look so amazing with that dumpy Napoleon on your back.

My name is Copenhagen because I am out of Lady Catherine who was in foal with me at the Battle of Copenhagen, which is ironic because I am not a warhorse but you are. I am dark brown and I am by John Bull, out of a mare by the Rutland Arabian, and also by Meteor, who was the son of the mighty Eclipse. You are an Arabian too, aren't you? Maybe we are distant cousins even! That doesn't matter for horses of course. I am only two and you are at least twelve, but that also doesn't matter for horses, as you know. Anyway, people tell me I look older than two.

I am a racehorse. It is so lucky that I didn't become a warhorse, or we'd have been mortal enemies, and that would be a nightmare. The word nightmare always makes me think of lady horses that want to seduce me. Lady horses, or mares, are always trying to seduce me. They don't get very far.

Maybe you are only interested in lady horses brackets mares close brackets, but when I saw the pictures, my equine gaydar pointed due south wink.

I hope you reply.

Love,

Copenhagen, kiss kiss hoofprint

****

Dear Copenhagen,

What a rare pleasure to receive a letter from a frisky young thing such as yourself. You are quite mistaken to believe that I am the recipient of many such overtures. The pasture of fame is a lonely one, as very few have the courage to approach an animal of my standing. It is one of the great sadnesses of my position, and I am moved that you have written to break my isolation, and with such rare enthusiasm.

I must, however, correct you on a few misapprehensions. 

You speak with generosity of my appearance, but the pictures do flatter. Most importantly, I am not, in fact, a horse. At 14 hands 1 inch only, I am technically a pony, though I am taller with my mane fluffed up. This has put off suitors in the past and I will understand if you are amongst them.

Equally, it is with some pain that I note your reference to my dear Napoleon as "dumpy". He and I are perfectly to scale. Napoleon, I am sure, does not have a fair reputation on the racecourses of Britain — because of the war — but my affection for him could not be greater, indeed I am proudly branded with his initial, and a crown, just above my gaskin. Know that if we are to pursue this correspondence I will never renounce Mr Napoleon. He has too much need of me. I must admit I am concerned about my master. He should be brimming with happiness and pride. He is the greatest military leader the world has ever seen! But ever since he was excommunicated, he has been moping. He and the Pope were involved in a dispute over who owns Rome. Napoleon told the Pope to go to Paris and the Pope told Napoleon to go to Hell. I do not think that Napoleon would mind Hell so very much, he is the bravest of men, but he needed the Pope to divorce him from that buck-toothed putain Josephine. So he kidnapped the Pope, and the church had a mysterious change of heart and granted the divorce, but now Mr Napoleon does not know what to do with him. It is all a little embarrassing.

Now now, this is all terribly serious, and you a mere lad of two. I do apologise. My dear Copenhagen, I very much hope that none of this causes you to reconsider your regard. I confess I was quite delighted with your letter, and the sentiments within. Your lively manner appeals to me greatly, I cannot say how greatly. And it is with some relief that I note you are a racehorse, as it would be much to my distress were we to meet on opposing sides on the battlefields of Europe.

With warmth and hope,

Marengo