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6 June; Unwell

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Edward Leat on Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:15 pm

Markham, however, had been too many years a steward and therefore knew to watch where he was treading as far as sick officers were concerned. Fortunately Mr. Leat was quite light for a man of his age, so between Markham and Button they were able to get the lieutenant back into his cot with minimal discomfort - not that Leat was in a state to particularly care. He let himself be bundled into his cot without complaint, Markham tugging off his boots and handing them to Button.

"Stand those over on the chest - then for Gawd's sake go and get that scrubbing brush!"

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Terry Button on Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:21 pm

Terry gaped at him and did so, before turning to run. It was a few minutes before he returned, dragging a half-full bucket of water with him. He bent to roll his trousers up and dropped to his knees, fishing the scrubbing-brush out of the bucket to begin scrubbing at the stinking mess on the floor.

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Edward Leat on Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:28 pm

Markham watched Button out of the corner of his eye, grudgingly satisfied that the boy was doing a proper job. He started undoing the buttons of Leat's coat; an action which produced a protest from the lieutenant.

"Markham, there's no need -"

"Beging your pardon, sir, there is," the steward replied flatly. "You're not going anywhere soon, believe you me, so there's no point in you being dressed, is there?"

"I can still undress myself," Leat said through gritted teeth. Ill though he might be, he would not have Markham undress him like an infant.

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Terry Button on Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:30 pm

Terry turned, and scrambled to his feet, dropping the brush into the bucket. "I'll see to 'im, Mister," he said, suddenly realising that the older seaman had not left when he'd thought he had. "I ain't... I ain't goin' to go nowheres till 'e's all right again, s'elp me, I ain't."

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Edward Leat on Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:34 am

In that moment Leat blessed Button for his temerity, giving him the excuse to be rid of the steward.

"Button is my servant, Markham," he said pointedly, some of his usual steel entering his voice. "At your request, I believe."

Markham frowned, looking from the lieutenant to the skinny boy, then back again. In a way Leat was right; it was Button's duty, for all Markham resented this tiny erosion in his authority. Well, the boy had only been a servant a few days and had yet to be tested - now was as good as ever a test to see if he had it in him to cope. Markham knuckled his forehead.

"As you wish, sir."

Then without another word he withdrew from the cabin, closing the door quietly behind him. Leat sank back into his cot with a sigh.

"Thank God that's over!" he murmured.

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Terry Button on Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:46 am

"Well, I ain't," he muttered, picking the brush up again. "I lef' a basin on the side f'r you, sir, if you needs it," he added, at a more normal volume, before continuing to scrub at the mess on the floor.

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Edward Leat on Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:58 am

Leat raised his eyebrows at this, surprised by the brief flash of authority in the boy's tone. Coming from the usuallysotimid Button it was quite unexpected.

"Very considerate, Button," he said, levering himself up again enough to finish unbuttoning his coat and slipping out of it, flinging it at the desk where it landed in a heap. He started working on his waiscoat, thinking to do the same with that and his neckcloth.

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Terry Button on Sat Dec 31, 2011 1:17 am

He ducked as the heavy coat sailed past his head to land on the tiny desk, before slipping from it to the floor. He sighed, let go of the brush and picked it up, shaking it out before draping it over the chair, before resuming his scrubbing.

"He don't 'alf like bossin' people aroun'," he muttered to the brush he was holding, before sending a nervous glance at Mister Leat.

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Edward Leat on Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:58 am

"Markham?" Leat asked, overhearing Button's mutter. "Rather goes with the job, I'm afraid. He is nominally in charge of all the officers' servants, subordinate to Catchpole. 'Bossin' as you call it is second nature."

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Terry Button on Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:05 am

Terry opened his mouth to say something, and shut it again, giving the decking a couple of vicious strokes. "Bet 'e ain't so... so mean as the pusser," he mumbled, and went pink. If the Lieutenant had heard that...

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Edward Leat on Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:18 am

Button mumbled something else to his scrubbing brush (probably something that was not meant to be heard, anyway) and went a fetching shade of pink. Leat sighed, slipping out of his waistcoat and flinging that after the coat. He started of his neckcloth, glad to be free of the restriction around his neck.

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Terry Button on Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:25 am

He ducked again as the waistcoat followed the coat.

"Sir... whyn't you jus' pass it t'me?" he asked, looking up as the garment slid to the floor. "Be easier, wouldn't it, sir?"

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Edward Leat on Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:41 am

"Because you are doing something else, Button," Leat answered shortly, disposing of his neckcloth in the same way as his previous garments, then leaning back against his pillow again.

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Terry Button on Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:49 am

Terry knelt up, a wry grin on his thin face. The neckcloth was draped over his head. "I would be, sir, if your stuff landed where you wanted it to, sir," he said, pulling it off and laying it over the coat and waistcoat. "'Sides, I've practic'lly done any'ow, sir."

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Edward Leat on Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:49 am

Leat sighed again, though he did have to admit that Button with the neckcloth over his head was slightly comical.

"Are you criticizing my aim, Button?" he asked with half-hearted severity.

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Terry Button on Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:17 am

Terry's eyes widened and he hastily shook his head. "Nossir, wasn't at all, sorry, sir." He'd got it wrong again, hadn't he? Why couldn't he ever get it right?

He'd finished his scrubbing anyway by now, and dropped the brush into the bucket before getting to his feet and dragging the bucket out of the tiny cabin.

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Edward Leat on Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:41 am

"Button, stand fast!" Leat called, stopping the boy in his hasty exit from the cabin. He'd seen the look of fear on Button's face yet again and he was fed up of its continued presence. Something needed explaining, and he was going to get to the bottom of it.

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Terry Button on Sat Jan 28, 2012 4:20 am

He stopped and turned around, swallowing. What had he done now?

"S...sir?"

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Edward Leat on Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:07 pm

"That was a joke, Button," Leat said, his stress on the word making it sound somewhat pained. Did the boy seriously not know how to take a jibe now and then?

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Terry Button on Sun Jan 29, 2012 2:07 am

"You didn't sound like you was jokin', sir," Terry said doubtfully. And the Lieutenant didn't sound very happy with him. Maybe this had all been a big mistake...

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Edward Leat on Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:28 am

"That was why it was a joke," Leat explained, feeling an inner despair. He looked askance at Button. "Do you honestly think I am some ogre constantly seeking to be be displeased with you? Am I such a monster that you cannot bear to spend five minutes in the same room as me without running away?"

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Terry Button on Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:03 am

"No-o," he replied, still a little hesitantly. "On'y, I ain't used to folks not bein' angry wiv me. Sir." He managed a slightly wan smile. "You an' Mister Evans... you's the first folks who... who bin nice t'me." He swallowed a sudden lump in his throat and had to wipe his eyes on his sleeve. "Ever. Sir. Um. Growed-up folks, in charge, I mean, sir."

And he'd probably said far too much and was talking himself into real trouble, only the Lieutenant wasn't well and might not even remember all this when he was well again. Terry hoped.

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Edward Leat on Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:24 am

Leat shivered, suddenly feeling very cold, and pulled his blanket up from where it had been folded up at his feet.

"Not Mr. Bush, nor the captain? They are not monsters either - none of the officers aboard are. We are all but men." It was possibly because he was not feeling himself that Leat asked the question that had been plaguing him for weeks now. "Why are you so frightened, Button?"

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Terry Button on Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:44 am

"I..." He'd never really thought about it. "Never reelly spoke t'Mister Bush." And he'd only ever spoken to the Captain once - and that was something he never wanted to do again if he could help.

"Bin whipped too much to wanna 'ave anyfin' t'do wiv folks in... in charge," he managed in a rush, his face flaming red.


Last edited by Terry Button on Sun Jan 29, 2012 7:01 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

Post  Edward Leat on Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:55 am

"Whipped?" The word felt foreign on Leat's tongue; strange and distasteful. He also felt confusion. "No one here has whipped you."

Defaulters were reported back to the wardroom, and thence to the captain. Watts was not prone to over-use his starter like other bosuns he had known, either. Leat would have known if Button received any punishment.

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Re: 6 June; Unwell

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