April Fools’ Day (3)

A final April Fools’ Day story from 1908.

A certain local businessman was both ridiculed and humbled. He had a lot of friends, all of whom liked him but for a fatal weakness of his. This weakness took the form of patronage.

He was always talking about “his friend, the Earl of Wharncliffe,” and no matter upon which point conversation turned, he would drag in a reference to the Earl.

Tired at last of his lofty talk, and fully confident that he was not even on nodding terms with the aristocrat, his friends decided to play a prank.

The businessman received a letter on the morning of April Fools’ Day, and the contents of it caused his heart to palpitate.

“It has come to the knowledge of the Earl of Wharncliffe that you have been publicly claiming his friendship, and spreading vague rumours about concerning his affairs, and he has instructed me to write to you demanding an instant apology. The Earl will be at home between the hours of ten and one tomorrow and will be ready to listen to an explanation.”

Never doubting the genuineness of the demand, the businessman rushed to Wortley Hall the next day, and with a great deal of difficulty obtained an interview with the bemused Earl.

What took place at that meeting was never divulged, but afterwards the businessman never again mentioned “his friend the Earl.”