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Thinking happy thoughts

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Thinking happy thoughts

Post  George Thompson on Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:03 am

(This may be a self-posting thread, but I wanted to be able to show Thompson's thoughts on his unexpected promotion.)

Thompson shoved the donated chevrons into his pocket and collected his musket. His designated sentry-post for this watch was down on the forward hanging magazine, not one of his favourite posts, but one that was admirably suited for gathering his thoughts in the quiet darkness of Terpsy's orlop deck.

He nodded amicably at Mallory, feeling as though he was still grinning like a fool. Thankfully, Mallory didn't seem to notice anything out of the ordinary in his expression, and Thompson saw no reason to inform him of what had happened. He'd hear soon enough from the others anyway.

He took up position at ease, with his musket tucked into the crook of his arm, and pulled out the piece of fabric that Sergeant Quinn had given him, staring at it in the orange light of the lanthorn swinging from its hook.

He hadn't imagined it. Although he might be dreaming this whole thing, of course.

He slipped a hand down to pinch himself, and was rather surprised to find that he was indeed awake.

He had never looked for promotion, in all his years in the Corps, content to do his job as a private Marine until he was killed in service, or discharged.

His thoughts wandered to the other Marines in Terpsy's detachment. What would they make of it, he wondered. Would they be jealous - some of them certainly would be. He wasn't the oldest Marine aboard, not by a long chalk. He didn't think that he had seen more service than the others. Some of them had been in for even longer than he had - although Lakey at least was content where he was and was so laid back that he'd get walked all over if the Lieutenant had given the stripes to him, although as a Private he was listened to and his opinion respected.

And how would the detachment be reorganised? It was with a slight shock that Thompson realised that he would be put in charge of about half of the other Marines - men he respected - and would be responsible for their conduct and turn-out.

And he'd have to shift his hammock, too. Corporals and Sergeants slept along the outside ranks, by the ship's side, so that they could be found quicker during the night. And that position meant that they had extra space to sling their hammocks, too, which was another thing Thompson hadn't thought of.

It was definitely going to be an interesting few weeks until he got used to it all... supposing he ever would.

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George Thompson
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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

Post  George Thompson on Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:54 am

The creaking of the ship, together with the lively lift of the deck under his feet and the swaying of the lanthorn hanging from its hook soothed by their familiarity. He couldn't quite believe that this would be the last time he'd ever stand sentry again, unless he did something absolutely disgraceful and got reduced to the ranks again. And that would be to let Mister Cartwright down, not to mention Captain Bolitho...

He hoped the Captain would agree to it and let it stand. It would be a disappointment if he decided not to, of course, but Thompson was used to disappointments. He didn't dare think about what it would mean for him if the Captain did let it stand, though. Just in case.

Though... There was going to be some serious rearrangement of the Marines' duty roster and some shuffling to get them into two sections, the way they should be. And would have been, if they'd had two Corporals to start with. Would he get a say in who he'd have, or not? And who would end up with that sullen, bad-tempered lump of a... Shriver?

He slipped his hand back into his pocket, feeling for the stripes that Sergeant Quinn had given him. He'd have to get them sewn to his jacket just as soon as he could, if the Captain agreed to the promotion. He didn't want to be incorrectly dressed, after all.

And wouldn't that be something to tell his Mum and Annie? They'd never believe it, that he was an NCO now. He still couldn't quite believe it himself. He probably wouldn't believe it properly for a week, at least.

The distant bell sounded its second strike two decks above him and he reluctantly took his hand out of his pocket, waiting for Sergeant Quinn or Corporal Johnson or whoever to do their rounds and check the sentries.

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George Thompson
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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:00 am

The news traveled like wildfire. Well, not really. Or perhaps it jumped a few heads when it should have come to him. Then after he'd learned of the promotion he could not find Thompson. He was neither in the marine's mess, nor anywhere on deck. He wondered if his promotion had just thrown him over board or whether he was now contemplating it somewhere in the dark of the hold. But even there, he found nothing, let alone anything marine coloured.

He knew there were things yet to be done. But those things demanded time, even if not related to work on the ship. He would attend to them after he had found Thompson to congratulate.

Where would a freshly made corporal hide? Surely not on watch. He was above watch now. And this perhaps was De Guarde's error. Thinking not to check the post, before he checked everywhere else.

Rather out of breath, and with a scowl deep on his face he had finally decided to ask a marine where perhaps would Thompson be. And finally, after doing what he should have done all along, he was pointed to the correct direction. A loud thumping echoed over the creeks and the groans of the ship. Hop, thud, thump, patter of feet.

And then silence for perhaps a few moments before the boy burst out of the dark with a broad grin on his face. Before he knew himself better he hugged the marine, corporal Thompson, standing sentry, and then backed slightly looking up. "George! There seems summat different on you t'day!"

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Mathew De Guarde
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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

Post  George Thompson on Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:15 am

There were several suspicious-sounding thumps and thuds coming from somewhere. He brought up his musket and prepared to challenge, but he'd barely managed to open his mouth when he was caught around the middle in the biggest hug he thought he'd ever received. He looked down to see that it was de Guarde who'd wrapped his arms around him.

"Well. That does beat all," he said. "What d'you think you'm doin', Mathew?"

By this point the lad had let go and backed away a little, as if to try to get a better view of him.

"You feelin' all right, lad?" he asked, though he had to fight not to grin like a fool.

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George Thompson
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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:23 am

"Do I feel allright? Do I?" The boy spoke from a normal tone, to a louder one as he progressed. "Of COURSE I do! But do you? I've heard it. You've changed, right so you did!" He had such a large grin on his face that he had to feel fortunate he had not been in a fight a day before, to have a lip split or a corner of his mouth in tatters. If he had, then it'd certainly be hurting like hell now.

"Yer different.. hmm..did yer hair grow longer?" He playfully asked, walking around Thompson as if he could not point a finger as to why Thompson appeared to be unlike before. "Ah.. no, you've shined yer brass plate better!" He peered closer at it, shook his head. "No... perhaps your musket is brand new?" He eyed the weapon speculatively.

"Hmmm, nope... but.." He eyed the sleeve and it was not yet covered with the appropriate marks. "..there's summat I see missin' there. Else I must be blind!"

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Mathew De Guarde
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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

Post  George Thompson on Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:28 am

"You are out of your mind," Thompson said. He hadn't thought the news would spread that fast! de Guarde was grinning like an idiot, and the Marine was hard put not to reply in kind.

"It's all the hard work I've bin doin'. It's turnin' me hair grey," he added, as though that might be the change de Guarde was seeing in him. "You can't see what's not there to see, can you?"

How long could he keep it up, he wondered, before the boy started thinking he'd got it wrong and it was someone else who'd been promoted?

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George Thompson
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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:32 am

"Gray hair? Nah... if I could not make it that colour than nobody can." He stuck his tongue out at Thompson but then realised he probably should not do that to a corporal, he pulled it in right quick. "Hmm.. I see something is missing. I do! But.. .but it could be you're just real lazy." He scoffed.

"Why're you on duty... hum? I've been told yer not suppose to be doing duty.. something about .. oh.... you being ....." He paused, was quiet a long while and then innocently said:" Light duties.... something about your ankle acting up again!"

He chuckled and looked quite innocent still, though he was barely keeping the excitement down. George Thompson was a corporal! He was promoted! He did not know anybody more deserving.

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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

Post  George Thompson on Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:42 am

"You heard wrong, then," Thompson replied and paused for a moment before adding, "Me ankle's just fine, thanks."

Lazy. He'd give the boy 'lazy'... He couldn't sew that fast, not being a tailor.

"Why shouldn't I be on duty? I'm a Marine, after all."

It was the last time he was going to stand sentry, in normal circumstances anyway. After this, his duties would be the same as any Corporal's duties: checking the sentries, inspections and whatever else they did.

"Talkin' of duty, why ain't you on watch like you ought to be?" Thompson wasn't at all sure whether De Guarde was supposed to be on watch or not, but it was good for a tease either way.

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George Thompson
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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:51 am

"Couse I wanted t' see if it's true." He paused and made an actual effort to look like he was a mischievous little thing, who has been up to no good. " Don't care fer duty when there's things like this to be seen."

He studied Thompson's other sleeve. He was certain that what he heard was true. He heard it from several mouths, several different people. Though they could all be spreading the same rumour, or they could all be pulling his leg.

There was a faint feeling of doubt that was growing as he studied the marine's coat. "...It's true though. Ain't it." He said, hoping to sound confident. "...You're ...you don't need t' be on watch this time.. you jus' are couse you feel like it!"

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Mathew De Guarde
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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

Post  George Thompson on Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:57 am

"Well, of course I need to be on watch now. The magazine ain't goin' to watch itself, is it?"

He couldn't keep it up. The boy was trying to sound confident, but there was a hesitation in his words now.

Thompson pulled the chevrons from his pocket. "Ain't had a chance t'sew 'em on yet,"he said, holding them out so de Guarde could see them in the small pool of light provided by the pusser's dip in the lanthorn.

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George Thompson
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Species : Royal Marine Corporal
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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Thu Dec 30, 2010 7:02 am

They were right. Thompson had been promoted and those chevrons he now held in his hand were the proof of it. De Guarde grinned broadly again and moved to hug the marine, then took hold of his hand to see them better.

"Ah yes. You silly bugger wanted t' trick me into believing you were not all o' a sudden t' freshly made corporal! There should be a punishment for cruel liars like that. "He let go of the hand. "An' fer lazy, slow sewers.....sew...stuff. You should have them on by now!" He hesitated and then added. "Congratulations, Thompson. I'm real proud an' happy for you!!"

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Mathew De Guarde
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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

Post  George Thompson on Thu Dec 30, 2010 7:38 am

"Well. I ain't 'ad 'em long enough to get 'em sewn on yet," Thompson pointed out. "Not bein' that fast at sewin', not like your tailors at home." He grinned. "Wasn't lyin'. Didn't say as it warn't me, not in so many words, did I?" Mindful of his musket, he hugged the lad back. "You know I outrank you now, though?" And that was probably the strangest thing of all.

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George Thompson
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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Thu Dec 30, 2010 7:53 am

"I won't take that excuse." De Guarde peeked at the marine and shrugged. "You should be sewin' it now or have someone do it for you. You're a corporal , so... you're bound ter delegate tasks ter others." He thought it worked that way. It did with the officers, and the higher one went...

"You do outrank me." He realised with some surprise, but no jealousy. " Don't mean I can't hug you." He added with a grin. "N'.. I don't mind. You deserved it. If anybody I know did, then you did. " He hesitated and hoped that the newly gained power would not corrupt his friend. He knew how the feeling that one could control others could deal a person's psyche a blow.

"I'll have to address you corporal from now on. Corporal." He felt so happy about the reward George had gotten. Sure it would also be some hard work, a lot of effort and some lost relationships that the marine might've had with his friends, the other marines. But, he would be paid better, he would be ranked higher and he would have people listening to him. "You do know how ter tell people what to do?..I mean, other people that ain't me?" He said cheekily. "Oh.. before I forget this..." He reached into his pocket and brought what was probably the last few bits of sweets sent from home. "Fer you. " He held them up. "An'.. 'fore I forget more, we're going ter have writtin' lessons for you. Won't do ter have a corporal who can't write more n' his name!"

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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

Post  George Thompson on Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:02 am

It sounded odd, being addressed as 'Corporal'. He wasn't sure he'd ever get used to it... though maybe he would.

"I ain't takin' all of them, Mathew. You'll want 'em for yourself, won't you?" he said, realising what it was that de Guarde had pulled out of his pocket. "Writin' lessons sound good, too. Be useful to be able to read an' write prop'ly." He grinned down at the boy, and ruffled his hair amiably. "You sure you ain't s'posed to be on watch?" he added.

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George Thompson
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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:08 am

"You ought t' take 'em. They's for you, couse you got promoted to corporal. It's summat to celebrate with couse.... I dun' 'zactly have a big bottle o' something better t' drink." He held the lot up for Thompson to take. They were the last bits but he was willing to part with them, something he might not have considered possible a time before.

His smile grew brighter again, though he hurried to make some order with his hair. "Sure, I'm sure. Unless you're sending me away." He pouted. "..anyway, you'll have t' expect a strict teacher.. fer writin', just.. I don't need anything back, 'except a promise you'll do your best t' learn." Weird, and not drunk, except happy. Thrilled, excited.

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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

Post  George Thompson on Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:22 am

"Anyone would think it was you who'd been promoted, not me," Thompson said taking all but one of the sweets. "An' thanks." it was probably a good thing that de Guarde didn't have a bottle of drink to offer him - getting drunk would be the last thing he needed, not after Mister Cartwright was so kind as to give him his step.

"No, I ain't sendin' you away, though someone's goin' to come round checkin' the sentries at some point this watch," he added, and slipped a sweet into his mouth. "It's real kind of you. An' you know I'll do me best to learn... though I mayn't be so quick as you'd like me to be, of course."

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George Thompson
Commodore

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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:29 am

"Well, I'm just as happy it was you. You bein' m' friend an' I be repeatin' meself again, you're deservin' it!" He nudged the marine. "Ter add to that..knowin' a corporal. That's sure some connections right there." He winked and then laughed, having just joked. Sure he would know a corporal now, but even if there was something to use, he would not, nor abuse it.

He thought he heard some footsteps and before one could blink, he was standing behind the marine or rather, more to his side, hiding himself not because he was not supposed to be there, but thinking it would be bad if Thompson was found in company when on duty. Once he was certain the footsteps did not come their way, but rather veered off to somewhere, he peeked out just to check his belief to be true.

"Look. I know it's harder ter learn, later in time.. but if you try your best, it's all you can give. I'd be more upset if you were all lazy and said.. nah.. later, i ain't wantin' to try practicin' now. I'm lazy. Now that'd be summat that'd make me learn you something bad..and then you'll get in trouble fer it!" Which was not true, he would not have risked George's future.

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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

Post  George Thompson on Thu Dec 30, 2010 9:07 am

"Stop repeatin' yourself then," Thompson said. "Hidin' behind me ain't goin' to work you know," he added, when it was apparent that the footsteps weren't coming their way.

"I'll do me best, but you won't mind if I'm a bit slow with it all, will you?" he said. He didn't think anyone could accuse him of being lazy. But he wasn't used to thinking in that sort of way, and was a little worried that he wouldn't understand something that was plain and simple to de Guarde, or to anyone else with proper book-learning.

Deserving... What he'd told Mister Cartwright had been perfectly true. He'd been in the Corps for a long time but hadn't ever looked for promotion. He'd just done his best to do his job and hadn't ever thought that he'd been noticed, not like that.

And he hadn't, not till Mister Cartwright had come aboard. And the first time the officer had seen him, almost, he'd sprained his ankled tumbling down the companionway while at anchor. He couldn't believe the officer didn't remember that - and only a few weeks later he'd been in trouble for being involved in a tavern brawl that wasn't his fault.

He was still fairly sure there were other Marines in the detachment who were more deserving of it than he was. Or who hadn't come to the officer's attention in quite the same negative way he had, at least.

It couldn't be all negative though, not when Mister Cartwright had offered him the stripes. Him. A whoreson bastard from Chatham.

No, it was definitely going to take a lot of getting used to. "You know I work hard, lad," he said, remembering de Guarde was there. "But I'm a lot older'n most folks who learn to read, so's I reckon it's goin' to be much harder for me to learn it all."

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George Thompson
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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Thu Dec 30, 2010 9:16 am

"I won't be upset with you if you're slow. I'm an excellent judge o' character so I'll know when you're just being slow, or when you're being uncooperative. " At this point someone could laugh at his statement. He placed his hand over Thompson's. "Don't worry your head over it. I know you're older... though, I'd think you pretty young as is." He nodded seriously, pulling his hand over his messy hair. Just great. Thompson had made it messy again and the marine's queue had had many strands now sticking out. The spider legs, he could not even begin wondering about those. But then, he did not really have any wax and he was not supposed to look like a marine, only that he often tried to.

"I'm not a born n' bred teacher neither. See. I may have learned my writtin' but it was long ago and I don't know if t' same way I was learnt will work for anybody else.. or for anybody older n' I was. We'll go one step at a time. See how it feels like, n' if it's good we'll learn you another. Deal? And if at any time yer have questions you'd like to ask. About a word, a letter, a mark, a stroke even, you ask. I'm not goin' ter use a cane, puss or whatnot on you. Firstly, I could not. You outrank me, an' I don't think strikin' a superior would be good in m' records." Remembering Johnson right there. "And secondly...I jus' can't.. an' won't. So..firs'..I think we could do it sometime when it's quiet in t' marine's mess. When I don't have m' duties. As much as I'd love ter skiv...ter teach you.. I don't think m' lieutenant will agree."

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Mathew De Guarde
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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

Post  George Thompson on Thu Dec 30, 2010 9:42 am

"I'll have to teach someone else how to do your hair for you, at this rate," he said. And that reminded him - he needed to sort his own hair out before any of the officers wanted to see him. And he was pretty sure Mister Cartwright, at least, would want to see him again before he actually started on his new duties.

"Well, we'll muddle through it all somehow, Mathew," he added. "Don't see why Mister Leat wouldn't like you helpin' learn someone to read - it's not like it's, um, dettry-mental to the ship, after all."

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George Thompson
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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Thu Dec 30, 2010 9:50 am

"You'll have ter order one of yer marines ter do m' hair if you don't want to... I know it would not do for a corporal to do hair of a mere Tar." Ok, maybe he was going to atleast tease with suggestions of power abuse. Perhaps he would not have anything against coming back as a young middie to demand his hair being made, but as a Tar, with roles reversed, he understood that thinks would be different. Some for the better, some for the worse.

"I won't ask him. I'll jus' make sure we're doin' it when we both have time and won't get in trouble fer doing it. " He tugged Thompson's sleeve. "But first... yer have ter sew that on! Surely it won't take you days to do it?"

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Mathew De Guarde
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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

Post  George Thompson on Thu Dec 30, 2010 10:03 am

"Wouldn't do that," Thompson said. "And no, it won't take days. I'll do it as soon's I get off duty here and get a minute to meself. It'll only take me half a bell, stitchin' neat-like."

And he had to see Sergeant Quinn too, and find out where he was going to sling his hammock tonight. "I've got a lot of things to sort out when I get a minute, though."

And now he rated with the junior petty officers... Didn't that mean he'd have to shift his mess, too? He didn't think so - in fact, he hoped it didn't. For some reason, he couldn't remember where Johnson messed - he'd never really taken much notice.

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George Thompson
Commodore

Species : Royal Marine Corporal
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Location : Up on the fo'c'sle smoking his pipe
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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Thu Dec 30, 2010 11:58 am

"Will there be many things that change for you know? Sleepin' place certainly, isn't it? .. I mean.. where you're going t' swing t' hammock.. n' 'fcourse you ain't going to stand duty no more... an' you'll be tellin' people wot' to do, rather n' just being told that all the time." He mulled over his question, to remember all the changes that he might know already, himself.

"An... hm.. wot' else other n' you'll be safer from bein' struck or all t' sort o' stuff? How many things change for when you're a marine bein' promoted?" He hesitated. "Will you need help with any of those?...I'd help, if I knew how. You know that!"

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Mathew De Guarde
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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

Post  George Thompson on Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:17 am

"I'll be slingin' me hammock along the side some'rs, I shouldn't wonder," Thompson replied. Of course, as a Corporal, he was equal to a petty officer now, and that meant he'd have 28 inches to sling his hammock, rather than the 14 the privates and sailors had - though even that was doubled in a two-watch system, where there was always one watch on deck.

"It's mostly passin' orders on, an' tellin' the Sergeant an' officer if there's any sort o' trouble." He grinned at the boy. "No, I oughta be all right with it. Apart from the readin' an' you already offered to help with that, didn't you?"

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George Thompson
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Species : Royal Marine Corporal
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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:15 am

"You won't tell 'em.. if I's any trouble, promise?" The boy did look full of mischief when he'd asked that, though he might have tried to look angelic all at the same time.

"S' not only readin', corporal, it's writtin' and readin. Which means yer can do both and then yer can write home all be yer own." Though, in truth, De Guarde would have preferred writing that letter for Thompson. Not because he'd learn what the man was thinking, but because it was a past time he really enjoyed doing for the man.
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Mathew De Guarde
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Re: Thinking happy thoughts

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