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Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Edward Leat on Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:25 am

Leat waited as the small gaggled of boys assembled on the quarterdeck in front of him, glaring at each on them as they scurried into place. All of them seemed terrified - Button could not even bring himself to meet his gaze - and it was with the expression of a frightened rabbit on his face that Simon Fletcher knuckled his forehead to him.

"S-Sir?" Fletcher asked.

"What in God's Name," Leat had lowered his voice to a quiet, deadly tone of anger. "Were you all doing up the mast?"

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Fingers Smith on Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:31 am

Um... Fingers stared at something far beyond the taffrail and kept quiet. He couldn't exactly admit to skiving, could he? Even if it had turned out to have a useful point.

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Terry Button on Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:34 am

Terry shivered at the question and the tone of the Lieutenant's voice, and found himself nervously rubbing the back of his right leg with his bare left foot, trying desperately to think of something - anything - to say in answer, that wouldn't get them into any more trouble.

It wasn't as though they'd hurt anything by being up there, was it?

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Simon Fletcher on Sun Oct 31, 2010 3:53 am

Fletcher was quaking in his shoes, but he could not answer. His tongue seemed to have dies in his mouth, and though he knew he must answer - answer or face punishment for insubordination - he could not. He looked up at Mr. Leat, who looked so angry, so fierce, with tears welling behind his eyes.

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Edward Leat on Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:14 am

Leat felt a fresh stab of anger and annoyance in his breast as Fletcher did nothing but stand there, shaking and looking fit to burst into tears. Ye gods, but the boy was a waste of space! Still a child, too young, too incompetant and too frightened to show the basic dignity of an officer and answer his superior!

He transferred his glare to Button and Smith, disgusted by Fletcher's lack of courage.

"Well? Has not one of you a tongue in your heads? Or shall I ask Mr. Watts to remind you how to speak!"

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Terry Button on Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:30 am

What could he say, really, that the officer would accept as a valid reason for him - for any of them - to be aloft? The only thing he could think of would sound horribly as though he was blaming the young gentleman - which wasn't the case at all. "M... Mister Fletcher said he'd on'y bin aloft once, sir, so... so we said as we'd show him how. Sir."

He couldn't even look at Mister Leat's dark blue coat - he was petrified when it came to being addressed by an officer, any officer.

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Fingers Smith on Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:16 am

Button's response gave Fingers some heart. He looked timidly at the flame-haired lieutenant.

"He waz doin' good, sir," the boy offered helpfully.

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Edward Leat on Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:41 am

Smith's comment irritated Leat all the more, and not only because it was implying that Fletcher had willingly appeared at a disadvantage to his inferiors. The lieutenant's eyes narrowed.

"Eager to lend a hand to an officer when needed, eh?" he asked, a deceptively soft edge to his voice.

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Terry Button on Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:50 am

Terry wasn't quite sure what to say to that. He glanced up at the officer, noticed the look on his face, swallowed hard and looked down again. It wasn't his fault - or Fingers' - that the young middy had been scared rotten by the height, and he had been doing really well, too. The first few times aloft weren't exactly fun, and some people never got over their fear of heights.

But what was he supposed to say? Any sort of answer was probably going to lead to trouble for someone - most likely him and Fingers, of course.

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Fingers Smith on Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:58 am

" 'F he needs it, mebbe, sir," Fingers replied, oblivious to any possible hidden meaning in the sea officer's tone. "We was hopin' to make a bitta skylark outta it. To help like."

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Terry Button on Mon Nov 01, 2010 4:00 am

Terry surreptitiously poked Fingers... though it was probably too late by now. It was never a good idea to suggest that a midshipman was somehow any less capable than a ship's boy - and that was just what they'd done, wasn't it... though they hadn't exactly meant to.

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Edward Leat on Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:57 am

The boys had blundered into the trap headlong.

"Well then, since you are so eager to lend a hand you may report to Mr. Foxley this instant to take on any extra duties he may have for you!" Leat snapped. "Hopefully that will occupy you long enough to keep any further thoughts of skylarking out of your heads."

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Terry Button on Mon Nov 01, 2010 10:29 am

Button mentally cursed a blue streak. To be sent below, where he was likely to get at least six of the best from Mister Foxley's hateful tawse... He unconsciously clenched and unclenched his hand. At least Fingers wasn't going to get it too - and it had to be better than the bosun's cane.

"Aye, aye, sir," he replied listlessly, knuckling his forehead.

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Fingers Smith on Mon Nov 01, 2010 10:37 am

The purser. Fingers visibly wilted. Couldn't it have been the gunner?

"Mister Fletcher too, sir?" He asked, the thought coming to him suddenly.

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Edward Leat on Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:07 pm

"Mister Fletcher has his own duties to perform, Smith." Leat's tone of voice stung. "So get away forrard!"

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Terry Button on Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:50 pm

Terry didn't hang around. He hastily knuckled his forehead again and grabbed for Fingers' hand, tugging him away before something worse happened. He was sorry for Mister Fletcher but they couldn't help him now - as he couldn't help them.

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Fingers Smith on Wed Nov 03, 2010 2:41 am

He barely had time to cast an apologetic glance at Mister Fletcher before Button dragged him toward the stairs.

"Tha' wazzan fair," Fingers grumbled, just loud enough for Button to hear.

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Terry Button on Wed Nov 03, 2010 2:54 am

"No, it warn't, but I ain't tellin' the officer that," Terry muttered in reply. "Reckon 'e's goin' to check with Mister Foxley whevver we showed up or not, too, the... the..." He couldn't think of anything to call the Lieutenant, and subsided. "'Ope Mister Fletcher's gonna be all right, though - wasn't his fault, that."

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Fingers Smith on Wed Nov 03, 2010 2:58 am

The purser. Ugh. "Coulda sen' us to the magazine," Fingers said, swiping at his nose. "Familyer work down there, like."

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Terry Button on Wed Nov 03, 2010 3:02 am

"Bet the gunner ain't such a bastard, neiver," Terry said. "Mister Foxley an' 'is damn bloody strap. He's a right bastard wiv that." He shot a sidelong glance at the other boy. "You ain't gonna get it though - he don't know you've bin skivin'."

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Fingers Smith on Wed Nov 03, 2010 3:18 am

A strap? Fingers shuddered. "Nah. He don't b'lieve in tha'. Jes' dirty extra work. Blackin' the guns an' all."

He waved his stained fingers with a grin. "He'll know prolly, if he talks to Mister Hennock any."

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Terry Button on Wed Nov 03, 2010 3:24 am

"You's lucky, Fingers," Terry said. "Blackin' them guns can't be 'alf as bad as gettin' leathered by Mister Foxley." He wondered for a moment if Mister Leat knew about the purser's tawse - he wouldn't be surprised. Lieutenants knew everything after all. "Can't be so bad as Mister Watts' cane, though," he said, though he wasn't really so sure as that.

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Fingers Smith on Wed Nov 03, 2010 3:32 am

Fingers shook his head. "Ever done it? He gets mad 'nuff, he sends you off to paint 'em all yerself." Which had happened once or twice. He swiped his dirty fingers lightly over Button's sleeve. "Sure the pusser wou'n't use his strap now. Ain't like it was real skivin'."

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Terry Button on Wed Nov 03, 2010 3:44 am

"'E wouldn't care if the ship was goin' down, I don't reckon, an' I warn't there 'cause we'd abandoned ship," Terry muttered gloomily. He wasn't looking forward to this - and sure as eggs were eggs, Mister Leat was going to ask Mister Foxley later if they'd showed up. And anyway, not showing up wasn't an option - that would be disobeying a direct order, wouldn't it?

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Fingers Smith on Wed Nov 03, 2010 4:26 am

Maybe. If so... Fingers shrugged. "Like t'see him try it, an' have Mister Hennock fin' out."

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