One day the elderly soldier [Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington] chanced on a small boy weeping bitterly and on asking the cause the child began to explain that he was going away to school next day … not waiting to hear more the Duke read him a severe lecture on his attitude, which was cowardly, unworthy of a gentleman and not at all the way to behave, etc. At last the little boy managed to explain he was not crying because he was going to school, but he was worried about his pet toad, as no one else seemed to care for it and he wouldn’t know how it was. The Duke, a just man, apologized to the child for having wronged him, and being human as well as just, took down the particulars and promised to report himself about this pet. In due course the little boy at school received a letter saying ‘Field-Marshal the Duke of Wellington presents his compliments to Master —– and has the pleasure to inform him that his toad is well.’

— G.W.E. Russell, Collections and Recollections, 1963