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Scholastic sojourns

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Scholastic sojourns

Post  Sam Mayden on Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:36 am

One of the obliging maids in the tavern had told him of the existence of the library, which had piqued Sam Mayden's interest. He had learned to read as a boy but there had been few opportunities to exercise this skill after he had enlisted. To be so close to a complete library here was like being told he was to receive a hundred guineas.

After some initial difficulty, he discovered the room. It was a comfortably appointed space, with walls filled with shelves and books. The young Rifleman grinned broadly and hastily set his shako aside, then crossed quickly to the nearest shelf. One of his mates had worked for a bookseller and in that tiny shop, Mayden had read snatches of many books, but had never finished any of them, cover to cover. Here, now, was a chance to try that.

The first book he took down was some sort of collection of poetry, which held no interest to him. He stuffed it back onto the shelf and tried again, only to find he had chosen one of that fellow Shakespeare's plays. That went back onto the shelf as well. Ah! His gaze fell on a simply-bound book with the name Fielding on the spine. There was a good work if there ever was one. The Fieldings were held in special regard by many of Mayden's mates back home, despite the general public distrust of their Runners. Mayden himself hoped to become a Runner when he returned, after the war.

Content that he had a fine novel in hand and also that he was not likely to be bothered, Mayden plopped down in one of the overstuffed armchairs and got comfortable. The rest of the world outside the door no longer mattered to him.
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Re: Scholastic sojourns

Post  Keiju on Tue Jun 15, 2010 11:43 am



As he had half-expected, he was largely ignored by the others after the group's return from their outing to visit the Victory. This suited Tom Mayden well enough. He'd had his fill of their daft talk. They were all delusional. Even the officers.

The Marine spent a few minutes in the tavern's kitchen, once again scrubbing at his coat-tails, before slipping off to explore the rest of the place. It was nothing if not expansive and unusually well-kept. Definitely a haven for officers. Of course. That was one more thing he disliked about the tavern, on top of the uncomfortable sense he got that something wasn't quite right about it.

His wandering brought him, eventually, to a half-open door. Through it, he saw shelves laden with books. A library. He could read, but only just. Captain Collins had taught him letters and basic words, which was a start. It wasn't enough for Mayden though, who found it fascinating to make sense of what previously had been meaningless jumbles.

He elbowed the door open and looked around, not sure where he ought to start looking for something he could most easily read. It would probably be a matter of trial and error... "Ah," Mayden said when his gaze fell onto the greenjacket who claimed to carry the same name. He was not at all interested in sharing any room with him - wait, was the man reading?

"You can read?" The question was asked in a slightly-disbelieving tone, for it was uncommon indeed for common soldiers - and Marines - to possess such an ability.

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Re: Scholastic sojourns

Post  Sam Mayden on Tue Jun 15, 2010 1:40 pm

Sam looked up in surprise at the interruption, but his surprise turned swiftly to disgust when he saw who the newcomer was. "Course I can," he answered curtly. "Ain't stupid, just 'cause I'm wearin' a green jacket."

He marked his spot in the book by folding a corner of page over, then gave the other man a more thorough looking over. Old-fashioned uniform, ugly hat, uselessly long hair... he shook his head. "You do know that rig's long outta use. You're daft for wearin' it around still." The Rifleman snorted derisively. "That's not s'posin' you ain't daft already."

There could be no doubt about that, really. The strange fellow had claimed he, Sam, could not possibly be a Mayden, when Sam knew clear as day that he was indeed a Mayden and was heartily proud of it.
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Re: Scholastic sojourns

Post  Harry Quinn (Retired) on Tue Jun 15, 2010 11:44 pm

Quinn turned the corner, heading for the library. Someone had mentioned that the Crown had such a place and, like the rest of the tavern, it was open for Other Ranks as well as officers. It had been a long time since he'd last been able to get hold of a book to read for his own pleasure. Even with a Sergeant's pay, he could rarely afford to indulge himself.

He wasn't the first man to find the library, apparently. There was a rifleman there and a redcoat wearing a rather old-fashioned uniform coat. They were eyeing each other up in a distinctly unfriendly fashion.

"Hello there, lads," he said, pausing to weigh up the situation.

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Re: Scholastic sojourns

Post  Keiju on Wed Jun 16, 2010 12:36 am



Tom had had just about enough of hearing this same tired drivel. To him, everyone else were the oddly-dressed ones. This whole place was daft, to be honest. He wanted to be well away from it, back to that powder smoke-choked ridge he and his mates had been frantically trying to dig in behind.

"Ain't half as daft as some lad what claims he's a Mayden," the Marine snapped. "Ain't nobody here oughta be carryin' that name 'cept me. Certainly nobody who's wearin' - "

The entry of a third man - another of the unusually-dressed redcoats - neatly interrupted his rant before it could build any steam. Tom noted the marks on the man's sleeve but they meant nothing to him. He frowned. "Who're you?"

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Re: Scholastic sojourns

Post  Harry Quinn (Retired) on Wed Jun 16, 2010 1:06 am

Quinn rapidly took stock of the situation. Of course the other redcoat wouldn't realise the significance of the stripes on his sleeve, if the clothes he was wearing were an indication of where he'd come from. Maybe 'when' was the better word, though.

"Sar'nt Quinn, of His Majesty's Frigate Terpsichore," he said. "And you?"

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Re: Scholastic sojourns

Post  Keiju on Wed Jun 16, 2010 1:53 am



Ah, damn. A sergeant. Tom straightened his back, even though the other redcoat wore no recognisable marks of his rank. "Private Mayden, Sarn't. Off Cornwall frigate."

He waited a beat, his thoughts a-whirr, then asked, "Where's your shoulder knot, Sarn't?"

The greenjacket was forgotten for the moment, or he had been until he cleared his throat and said, "Rifleman Mayden, Sarn't. This 'un's plain mad, he is."

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Re: Scholastic sojourns

Post  Harry Quinn (Retired) on Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:02 am

Quinn tapped the white stripes on his sleeve. "Don't wear shoulder knots any more, lad. They went to wearin' these instead." He glanced between the two. Both called Mayden, and there was something similar in theirs faces, almost as though they were brothers. Though with the vast differences in dress, maybe 'brothers' wasn't the right word.

"Don't mind me, lads. I was just lookin' for a book for myself. Don't suppose either of you have seen if there's a copy of Tristram Shandy?"

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Re: Scholastic sojourns

Post  Keiju on Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:10 am



"That's - interestin'," Tom said, catching himself at the last moment. He shook his head. Stripes instead of shoulder knots. Blue instead of white. Those... round hats instead of proper cocked hats. Lunacy!

"I ain't daft, neither," he added with a scowl. "The almshouse ain't no place for Tom Mayden!"

Then, ignoring the greenjacket's startled expression and disbelieving "Tom?", the Marine glanced apologetically at Sergeant Quinn. "Dunno what all's in here, Sarn't. Can barely read my own self."

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Re: Scholastic sojourns

Post  Harry Quinn (Retired) on Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:15 am

Like father, like son, Quinn thought, hiding a smile. "Reckon you lads will have some catchin' up to do," he said. "I'll find it myself, then. Don't want to put you out, after all." He stepped past the two Maydens to scan the shelves for the book he was after.

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Re: Scholastic sojourns

Post  Sam Mayden on Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:22 am

Sam was staring at the strange redcoat in utter disbelief. He was named Tom. But that wasn't bloody possible. His own father was called Tom...

"You ain't ol' Tom," the Rifleman said accusingly. "You still got both legs!"
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Re: Scholastic sojourns

Post  Harry Quinn (Retired) on Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:31 am

"Sayin' that sort of thing to him ain't likely to make him look too kindly on you, lad," Quinn said, gently reproving the Rifleman. "And from the look of things, he might well be the Tom Mayden you're thinkin' he is, but from a bit before you know him." Not that that made any sense, but if Terpsy's crew and half of General Wellesley's army could meet in the strange tavern that was the Crown, why couldn't men from an earlier era also find their way here?

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Re: Scholastic sojourns

Post  Keiju on Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:42 am



Still had both his legs? Tom glanced down, instinctively, then he frowned. Of course he did! He wouldn't still be a Marine otherwise! He listened to Sergeant Quinn and nodded his agreement, even though he had no idea precisely what Quinn's second remark meant.

"Aye, I got both legs still. Always will do, won't I?" Tom retorted. "Sarn't... if you're lookin' 'round for books, maybe you could look for anythin' by some fellow called Smollett?"

The greenjacket was shaking his head, slowly. "No you don't. Lost the right one in the West Indies, in Eighty-two. At the Saintes, if I 'member that story, as many times as it's been told!"

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Re: Scholastic sojourns

Post  Harry Quinn (Retired) on Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:47 am

"Hmm," Quinn said. "Here. The Adventures of Roderick Random do?" He pulled the book off the shelf and held it out. "Maybe I shouldn't ask this, Tom Mayden, lad, but what year would you say it is, then?"

Because, judging by the look on the other redcoat's face, he had never heard of the Battle of the Saintes, which meant that he came here from before that battle had been fought. Or something like that. Quinn didn't entirely understand it himself.

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Re: Scholastic sojourns

Post  Keiju on Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:22 am



Roderick Random. Tom thought for a second, then nodded. That title sounded familiar. Captain Collins had used one of Smollett's novels to teach him letters, after all. It was, therefore, the only writer Tom knew.

"That'll do, thank'ee," he said, accepting the book gratefully. "It's the year seventeen hunnert an' eighty-one, Sarn't. Naturally."

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Re: Scholastic sojourns

Post  Harry Quinn (Retired) on Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:30 am

Naturally. Quinn nodded. That did fit with the other man's uniform, with its white facings. The Saintes hadn't been fought yet, should answer Sam Mayden's questions.

"This is a strange sort of place, here, Mayden. For us, it's the year eighteen hundred an' nine, you see."

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Re: Scholastic sojourns

Post  Sam Mayden on Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:41 am



"Aye," Sam chimed in, glad for the support. "Some twenny years difference. Only, the ol' Tom I knows is missin' his right leg and he's all grey. Still got that stupid long hair, though!"

Tom touched his ribbon-bound queue and grimaced. "Ain't nothin' wrong with havin' a good queue."
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Re: Scholastic sojourns

Post  Harry Quinn (Retired) on Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:44 am

"That's true," Quinn said, and smiled. "I'm sure you'll be pleased to learn that there are a couple of my own men who still wear queues, Private Mayden."

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Re: Scholastic sojourns

Post  Keiju on Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:47 am



Did they? That was good to know. "At least some things don't change!" Tom shook his head. "I still dunno all this rot 'bout me comin' up without a leg, though. An' I dunno who you are, fella, to be sayin' it's so."

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Re: Scholastic sojourns

Post  Harry Quinn (Retired) on Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:50 am

"Well, from the look of things," Quinn said, finally locating Tristram Shandy, "and I don't know as I ought to be the one sayin' it, but I reckon that this fella's your son. Or will be."

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Re: Scholastic sojourns

Post  Keiju on Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:54 am



At this, Tom looked almost horrified, while Sam simply smirked.

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Re: Scholastic sojourns

Post  Harry Quinn (Retired) on Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:57 am

Quinn shrugged. "Sorry lads, but there it is. Fits everythin' you've both said, don't it? And you do look as though you could be brothers, which doesn't fit with the year you both think it is."

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Re: Scholastic sojourns

Post  Keiju on Wed Jun 16, 2010 4:08 am



"But that can't be so!" Tom protested. "Means the war's over, an'..."

Sam shook his head. "I know what the proper year is, Sarn't. Just this 'un here don't."

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David Burr, Sergeant, Light Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Nathaniel Peters, Sergeant, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Timothy Hewet, Corporal, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Elijah Peters, Private, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
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Re: Scholastic sojourns

Post  Harry Quinn (Retired) on Wed Jun 16, 2010 4:13 am

Quinn shrugged. "This will come as a bit of a shock, lad, but the war - your war - ended in 1783. The war that young Mayden and the rest of us are fightin' in started ten years later. I don't know how much I ought to say, though, lads."

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Re: Scholastic sojourns

Post  Keiju on Wed Jun 16, 2010 4:42 am



Tom's face darkened. "An' how'd it turn out?"

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Currently active NPCs:
Michael Bright, Soldat, 86ème Régiment de la Ligne
Stéphane Proulx, Soldat, 86ème Régiment de la Ligne
James Todd, Surgeon, 3rd Company, 5th Battalion, 60th Rifles
David Burr, Sergeant, Light Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Nathaniel Peters, Sergeant, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Timothy Hewet, Corporal, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Elijah Peters, Private, Grenadier Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Pip Mayfield, Drummer, Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Foot Guards
Lily Connors, camp follower, 27th Regiment of Foot
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Re: Scholastic sojourns

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