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30 May; Aimless Ambling

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30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Charlie Munro on Tue Sep 21, 2010 3:01 pm

Another day in Portugal. The ground was rough, the baggage train noisy, and Charlie was hungry. No different from any other day on the march. He ambled along after one of the wagons, not really knowing or caring which regiment it might belong to. It only mattered that it was heading in the same direction as the rest of the army.

He scuffed at a hard edge of dirt in the road with his bare foot and wondered if he'd have any luck scavenging around the Twenty-seventh's bivouac that evening. They hadn't had much in the way of pickings last night, but maybe tonight would be different. One never knew. Or he could lurk around the Ninth's campfires. There'd been a rumour they had somehow been getting extra rations.

A yawn made him slow his stride for a moment. The days were impossibly long when all you did was walk. Charlie gazed at the wagon ahead of him longingly. What must it be like to ride for all these miles, instead of tramping mindlessly along? His bare toes caught against a shallower rut in the road and he stumbled over it, not having been minding his footing. Somebody behind him cursed loudly and there was a swishing crack of a whip through the air.
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Charlie Munro
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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Polly Smith on Wed Oct 06, 2010 12:14 am

Polly had noticed the small boy walking along, and was curious as to where he had come from. She trailed behind the wagons meant for the 33rd, out of habit more than any remaining ties since Johnny had been killed, but she did not believe him to be the son or brother of anyone in that regiment. She bit her lip, wondering if there was a mother or a sibling looking worriedly through the march for him.

Before she could open her mouth to greet the boy, he stumbled and nearly fell, causing the driver of the wagon behind him to shout a curse and hurriedly attempt to move his horses around the boy. He snapped the reins and cracked his whip at their sides in the attempt, and Polly felt her heart pounding at the thought that she would see this boy trampled. Without thinking, she grabbed the boy by the waist and pulled him out of the way of the wagon.

Stumbling back, she grasped the boy's shoulders with trembling hands, and looked him in the face. "Wha' were ye thinkin'?" she asked, her voice shaking as well. "Amblin' a-front o' that wagon. Ye could hae been trampled."

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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Charlie Munro on Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:20 am

Somebody had grabbed at his waist and was dragging him - without much difficulty - well out of the wagon's path.

"Whaa - " It took Charlie a moment to comprehend what his rescuer was saying. "Course it coulda. Din't know it were there, though, did I?" He sounded distinctly sulky, as much because he hadn't been watching where he was going as because it was a woman who'd saved him. It wasn't like he was that helpless!
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Charlie Munro
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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Polly Smith on Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:51 pm

The boy's attitude rather surprised Polly. She had expected him to be at least a little shaken by being nearly trampled - goodness knew she was. But he was settling into the sulky petulance of small boys, and Polly found herself smiling in reminiscence of her own brother.

"Y'should pay attenchun," she said. "What's yer name, then?"

She glanced around. "D'ye have a mither or a sister about? Some un wha may be lookin' for ye?"

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Polly Smith
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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Charlie Munro on Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:09 pm

He swiped at his nose with his sleeve. " 'M Charlie," he replied, deciding that, at least, was a fair question. The other two... "Mam's off somm'rs. 'S jes' me."

It wasn't even worth mentioning his father.
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Charlie Munro
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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Polly Smith on Sun Oct 17, 2010 7:44 am

Polly smiled in what she hoped was a reassuring manner. "Hallo, Charlie. I'm Polly."

Figuring that he was likely to get in more trouble on his own, she asked, "Would ye like t'walk wiv me a bit? I nivver say 'no' to a bit o' company."

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Polly Smith
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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Charlie Munro on Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:11 am

"Hallo," he greeted, looking at her a little less warily. She seemed decent enough. "Walkin' in comp'ny ain't bad," he added. It was as close to an agreement as he felt prepared to give at that moment.
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Charlie Munro
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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Polly Smith on Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:50 am

"No, it en't," Polly agreed. She glanced about for a moment, before locating her dropped basket. Stooping to pick it up, she was relieved to find that she still seemed to have her thread and needle. If she'd lost those, she would certainly have never found them again in the dust, and they were difficult to replace.

Settling the basket at her hip, she smiled again at Charlie. She had been missing her own little brother sorely recently, and it truly was nice to have someone to walk with - Polly had never actually been much good at starting conversation. "Well, shall we git a'walkin', then? We don' wan' t'be left behind, so."

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Polly Smith
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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Charlie Munro on Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:57 am

No, getting left behind wouldn't be good. Pickings were hard to come by in the baggage, but they'd be non existent outside it.

"Aye. Best t'keep up." Charlie kicked idly at a loose stone and stirred his legs into motion. Walking was a delightfully mindless activity. "Move faster'n 'em wagons anyways, bein' afoot."
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Charlie Munro
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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Polly Smith on Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:43 am

Polly nodded, carefully matching her pace to that of the boy. "Sometimes 'tis," she agreed. "Them poor harses has much more t'carry."

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Polly Smith
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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Charlie Munro on Sun Oct 24, 2010 3:45 am

Horses. Charlie disliked them. They were big and they stank. "S'all they good for," he muttered. "Mules is better."

He was silent a few seconds, plodding along thoughtfully. "Yer not wid the Twenny-seventh." It was more a guess, albeit an educated one, than a question.
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Charlie Munro
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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Polly Smith on Mon Oct 25, 2010 3:28 am

She shook her head. "No. I cam' over wit' th' 33rd."

Polly frowned and looked down, biting her lip. Her John had been killed fairly quickly into the campaign - before they'd even had a chance to be married. So, she was somewhat uncertain as to where she actually belonged at this point, but she had no where else to go. She glanced back over to her companion.

"Is that where y'normally are?"

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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Charlie Munro on Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:05 am

"Sometimes." If he had no place better to go, at least. The Thirty-Third. Charlie didn't know much about them. They were just another regiment amongst many others.

"What's they like up there?"
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Charlie Munro
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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Polly Smith on Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:19 am

A fair question, to be sure. Polly thought for a moment. She was not always the best judge of character - and certainly not of soldiers.

"They seems nice," she said at length. "An' I know that Johnny liked 'em afore he died." She shrugged, feeling oddly embarrassed. "One or two of 'em brings me laundry and mendin' sometimes."

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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Charlie Munro on Fri Oct 29, 2010 12:48 am

That was good. A man's positive judgment of his fellows was worth noting. Charlie stuffed his hands into his pockets. Then again, his father liked the men of his regiment, and that lot were scarcely a tuppence when it came to helping its followers.

"Lookin' arter they followers, seems," he commented, without bitterness. Somehow. " 'Portant, in a good regiment."
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Charlie Munro
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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Polly Smith on Sat Oct 30, 2010 11:27 am

Polly nodded. "Aye. So 'tis."

She shifted her grip on her basket slightly. "What's et like with th'twenty-sivinth, then?"

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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Charlie Munro on Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:53 am

The Twenty-seventh. Heh. Charlie shrugged.

"S'arrigh'. Just anot'er regiment, really." He only hung around their bivouac when he was really bored. Or desperate.
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Charlie Munro
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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Polly Smith on Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:16 am

She nodded again. It was not as though Polly even knew overmuch about any of the regiments. To be perfectly honest, most of the soldiers made her nervous. But then, most things did.

"Well..." she said, trailing off as se tried to think of something else to say. "What d'ye do most days? I don' know much about what lads do here."

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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Charlie Munro on Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:20 am

"Walk," Charlie replied. "Maybe chase one of them Portugee mules around. They drivers allays get angry. Funny to hear 'em."

That only because they were Portuguese and invariably shouted endlessly in their strange babbling language.
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Charlie Munro
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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Polly Smith on Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:28 am

"That so?"

A smile worked its way onto Polly's face, and she bit her lip to keep from laughing. Boys would be boys, no matter where they were. She could easily picture her brother doing the same if he were there.

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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Charlie Munro on Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:42 am

He nodded. "Aye. Mules is easy to confuse, see. Get a coupla lads around an' it's easy gettin' 'em turned about so's they dunno where they goin'." This was usually a distraction, while other boys slipped in behind the angry, shouting muleteers to relieve them of whatever was edible nearest their packs.

Charlie shrugged and scuffed his foot over a rut in the road. "You do anythin' for fun?"
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Charlie Munro
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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Polly Smith on Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:56 am

The question surprised her slightly. "I.. dunno." Polly said.

She really didn't do much for fun, as she thought of it. She walked and hauled water and cooked what food she could get, mended clothes... Nothing that would be called fun. Uncomfortable, she shrugged.

"Don' really know so many folk," she said. "Jist knew Johnny, an' he were killed."

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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Charlie Munro on Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:25 am

Not knowing fun? Hm. That was no fun. Obviously.

"Friend'a yers, was he?" Charlie asked, half-wishing the same fate might strike his father.
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Charlie Munro
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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Polly Smith on Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:34 am

A blush crept up Polly's cheeks.

"Of a sort," she replied. "He were... th'reason I came here."

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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

Post  Charlie Munro on Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:31 am

"Oh." That sort of friend. Charlie glanced at his feet to cover the brief flash of embarrassment on his face. Oops. What was he supposed to say to that?
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Re: 30 May; Aimless Ambling

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