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The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

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The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  Zachary Pye on Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:09 am

Pye clutched his broken fingers to his chest. They ached and the pain appeared to have increased since the excitement at the wagons. Perhaps he could have blamed it on the fact, that the earlier amounts of adrenaline were no longer felt in his system. Whatever the reason, he was silent about it, the sole indication of his discomfort, the tightly pursed lips and the occasional nip at his lower lip.

He was walking, obediently. There was no point in attempting to flee. Nor could he get far. And even if he might have escaped successfully without being shot, or brought down by the butts of the French muskets, he would still not go. Newbury, Cotton had to come too. Perhaps the camp followers, but he held almost no ties towards them. He had yet to recognise many faces or care for them. It was perhaps a selfish thought, but the civilians needed not to fear to be locked in a prison in France. They would be released. The soldiers would have no such luck.

He should have expected the British army to come for them. He did not. The whole of the army had better things to do than to retrieve its lost souls. There was another thing that supported that claim, the belief that formed in his mind. If the French had reached the wagons something must have gone terribly wrong. The British would have been fleeing. Another reason why they could not be saved.

He appeared quite lost in thought, his eyes cast on the ground ahead of him. It kept him from stumbling and tripping, and it also helped his toes from being struck on the uneven ground. He adjusted the position of his hand a little, and then his coat. The poor chick. there was a limited amount of space it could move in now, a much more limited amount of time, that it could be found outside his coat. Poor thing. He needed to feed it, but his supplies scarcely could last that long.

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Re: The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  outis on Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:27 am

Le Bras, walking along beside the prisoner, regarded the grasshopper curiously, "Your hand. What happened?" he asked in heavily accented English.

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Re: The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  Zachary Pye on Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:31 am

Pye did not answer at first. It took him a few moments to register that the man spoke English at all. And a few moments more to realise that he was speaking to him. He jerked his head up a little and studied Le Bras. "...What?" It was not that he did not understand the accented English at all. It was simply that he had not heard what was said.

He noticed the look that Le Bras was giving his hand, and perhaps misunderstanding at first, brought it protectively closer against his chest, his uninjured hand shielding the fingers as if that simple act could protect them from the abuse.

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Re: The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  outis on Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:35 am

"Hand," he said, raising his voice and drawing out the single syllable. He tried pointing. "Did we do that?"

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Re: The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  Zachary Pye on Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:40 am

Pye hesitated. He was alert this time. "No." He answered and then shook his head for a good measure. But no was very similar in French as well. The man would understand whether he said it or indicated it with a shake of his head.

"Not you." He hesitated again, holding his breath. "Not the French." He relaxed his hand again, and slipped it away from the injury to rest at his side.

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Re: The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  outis on Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:52 am

"Alors, qu'est-ce qui s'est - ah.... What happened?"

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Re: The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  Zachary Pye on Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:39 pm

"...No..." The lad began as if unwillig to explain. He lowered his injured hand, had it come to be held at his belly's level and then moved to for a few steps.

"...was attacked. " He decided to pick words that would be easy to understand. "Don't tell, our officer..yes? " He looked pleading, worried. "I don't know who....but one of ours. Broke them..." he dropped the volume of his voice and sounded fearful. "Don't tell. I said... I fell." He appeared regretful of ever mentioning it in the first place.

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Re: The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  outis on Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:59 am

Le Bras grimaced sympathetically, then frowned. "Your officer, he would punish you for this?"

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Re: The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  Zachary Pye on Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:33 am

Punish? Well, yes, in the 33rd rendering oneself unfit for duty would be very punishable. The same in any other regiment, be it the rifles, or the line. He believed Vickery had known it was not his fault but still feared that eventually, after he had been well, the captain would decide on what example was to be set.

"For brawling, fighting , yes. Not 'llowed t' fight. An' things. You get punished if you break their law...you get flogged ..cobbed too and um.. fer worse things, hanged. Mostly 's a flogging though." He shrugged, though it was quite clear he disliked that part of the discipline. But that was the way of the army, was it not?

" But m' captain's good." He smiled. He could not help but speak well of captain Vickery. Even now. "Jus'.. he needs t' follow t' same law." Which was true, and an unpleasant fact when faced with a decision the captain might loathe to take, but had to.

"..uh.. What about you?" He asked for the first time. "...Sure your officers flog ye too." He asked some silly questions, and though Pye had heard the rumours he thought them just that. French rumours that wanted to trick men into deserting to find a worse world on the other side anyway.

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Re: The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  outis on Thu Feb 03, 2011 6:06 am

Les Anglais!” Le Bras exclaimed with sudden contempt, “In the Grande Armee there is none of flogging. Et,” he added emphatically, “And our officers, they would punish the bastard who did that, not you.”

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Re: The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  Zachary Pye on Thu Feb 03, 2011 6:19 am

"No flogging?" Pye scoffed. "You must be telling tall tales.. I mean." He paused unsure whether the Frog would understand what he meant or not. "...You must be .." Could not exactly accuse him of lying. "uh...Sure t' officers punish yer. Flog yer, no? When yer accused of commitin' a crime, there's some way to set an example infront of t' others and ter yourself." He picked the right words. It was not when one did it, but solely when one was accused of it, whether innocent or guilty.

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Re: The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  outis on Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:40 am

The young grasshopper spoke very quickly, or so it seemed to Le Bras, and in a dialect he was not familiar with, but he understood enough of the words to gather the basic meaning. “Pas de ‘flogging’,” he shook his head, “No flogging. The discipline, it is necessary, but to treat the men like the beasts, to whip them? That is not the discipline.” There was a disgusted pause as he tried to recall the English words for what is was. “It is the injustice.”

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Re: The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  Zachary Pye on Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:50 am

Pye remained quiet for a few steps, his eyes cast on the ground. He was mulling over the answer. He could imagine thee Frenchman not to understand him, pretend that the answer stemmed from that. But he knew better. No flogging, for anything.

"What do they do then when you do something wrong?" For the first time he was genuinely interested in what a Frog had to say. "They tell us it has to be done." He flinched at that.

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Re: The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  outis on Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:37 am

Le Bras shrugged, “More of the duties, more of...ah, exercises of marching, the...less of rations. The things like that. And... for the offenses the most grave, we have, ah...” He hesitated, for there was no direct translation he could think of for the practice, “We say the savate. For the cowards and the thieves. Their comrades beat them with the bottoms of the shoes.”

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Re: The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  Zachary Pye on Thu Feb 03, 2011 5:27 pm

"I see." What sort of thieves were those. Thieves who stole from their fellow soldiers or thieves who stole from the civilian population. He had not thought the French received any punishment for stealing. They were often said to steal anything they could find. This offered a different view on the enemy. He looked up, studying Le Bras. "Do you hang people fer pickin' chickn's they found?" He felt rather protective of his little chick that was still safe in the front of his tattered coat. The little thing chirped thinking it was called, and Pye cleared his throat.

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Re: The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  outis on Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:46 am

The specifics of the grasshopper’s question escaped Le Bras, but he gathered the boy was asking about looting. He shrugged. "It depends." And it did – on whether a town capitulated or not, on what kind of officers one had, on the current logistics (foraging and looting were a means of survival when their supplies were insufficient). "They can punish you for it. But nothing so bad as the flogging or.... you said 'hang'? Which punishment is that?"

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Re: The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  Zachary Pye on Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:57 am

"Hang. Oh that's..." What better way to explain than to show it. He did not have a neckerchief which he could use though. But he could do with a mixture of say and show and so did. "Hang means.. by the neck. Like this.. they take rope and..." He placed his good hand over his throat and then went to show how they might have put rope over it. Then he moved his hand to the back of his neck and made a tugging motion. " Hang. Can't breathe, n' you die." He dropped his hand to his side again.

"They like to do that... though it can be quick. Floggin' ain't. An' it's worse couse yer knapsack is right on your shoulders the rub at yer back, 'fter!....will you let our civilians go?" The last question came out of the blue, and the one that followed it, too: "..Ifn' you will.. when? Couse they's goin' further from t' army now.. we all are, ain't we?"

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Re: The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  outis on Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:13 am

“Oh.” The boy’s gestures were explanation enough and Le Bras shuddered at the elaboration on flogging. The question, however, took him by surprise. “Do I look like an officer?”

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Re: The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  Zachary Pye on Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:32 am

"No...But men know. We usually do." He paused and shrugged , dropping his gaze. "Sorry. Shouldn't have asked that." he glanced at his hand. ".....is t' food good in yer army?"

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Re: The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  outis on Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:25 am

"The food?" Le Bras had never really thought about it seriously. Sure, he griped about it, but that was a matter of course. Food was food, as far as he was concerned. "When there is enough, it is good."

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Re: The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  Zachary Pye on Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:18 am

Pye nodded. He looked ahead again,wondering what would happen after he was seen by the surgeon and they were all put to rest. "You'm.. fair kind, thank you." He said at long last. He turned away again and mulled over his options and what he was to do. it was a sacrifice he could make, though a risk that he was to take was no easy feat.

"If.....a man were to... chose to.. say.. to .." He hesitated biting at his lip. "...All I've got from them was t' be flogged an' ..me fingers broken, though they'll mend. I'll fire good again, that's sure..." He looked at Le Bras again. He only hoped it would work out. None of his plans in the past had gone just as he had wanted them. "You say you don't flog.. an' are fair an'...." he left the rest unspoken. Surely the other man would pick up what he meant to say and if he did, that would be a step forward in his plan.

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Re: The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  Allhands on Wed Feb 09, 2011 7:29 am

"Hey, there you are. We were looking all over for you." Moreaux called, raising a hand to greet Le Bras, even from the distance. "What do you have here?" He had asked, gazing at the prisoner that he was accompanying. "Where're you taking the boy? Will it take you long.. we are planning on a game of..." He nattered away in animated French.
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Re: The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  outis on Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:23 am

Le Bras stopped, his face grown uncharacteristically serious. "You want to...." he hesitated, not sure if he had truly understood the boy's halting English. Before he could finish the question, however, he was interrupted. "Moreaux!" he called cheerfully, the gravity of a moment before vanishing in an instant. "It's a baby grasshopper, see?" he continued in response to the other man's question, "Needs the surgeon to take a look at him. Some English bastard broke his hand."

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Re: The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  Allhands on Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:15 am

"Awwww, such a little one you've found." Moreaux teased, laughing softly as his eyes skimmed across the injured boy. The laughter died and he appeared somewhat more serious as Le Bras continued. "English? But isn't he English as well?" He studied Pye's uniform. No doubt about that. English. And his blank expression spoke volumes about how much French he understood.
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Re: The enemy and the friend: Evening, 1. June.

Post  outis on Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:35 am

Le Bras rolled his eyes. " 'Course he's English. Didn't do him much good though, did it? This," he continued, switching over to English, "is Moreaux. Say hello, er..." He realized he did not know the lad's name. "How are you called?"

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