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An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

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An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:26 am

Cotton sighed, hitched his rifle a little higher on his shoulder and wished he knew what to do. He still wasn't sure about Pye and his motives, though he was beginning to accept that he'd done what he had done from the highest motives, even if his actual actions hadn't been something Cotton found it easy to accept.

He looked up as he heard a horse approaching, walking slowly. The officer - of course it was an officer, in a red coat and with a cocked hat - was already too close for Cotton to safely be able to ignore him, so he saluted. The officer looked tired and saddle sore and Cotton hoped that he would just be ignored so he could get on with things.

No chance of that... it was Captain Padstowe. Could things get any worse? He really hoped that the officer would ignore him.

_________________
Character by Sharpiefan | Timeline | Wiki page


And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
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Gabriel Cotton
Captain

Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
Number of posts : 4145
Location : Over the hills, and far away
Member since : 2008-05-14

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Re: An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  Jonathan Padstowe on Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:47 am

Up ahead Padstowe saw a green jacket brace up and salute. Straightening up when he had slumped somewhat in the saddle Padstowe returned the compliment as was due... and then automatically pulled Bethany to a halt when he saw it was Cotton. Tired though he was from the game of cat and mouse he had been playing with the French for the last fortnight, the captain found he had a smile ready for the batman.

"Cotton," he said. "I am glad to see you returned safely."

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Jonathan Padstowe
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Re: An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:52 am

And Captain Padstowe had seen him, of course, and returned the salute.

And what was worse, he'd been addressed. There was no getting away now. The officer looked tired, which was only to be expected of course. But Cotton was thrown into confusion by the expression on Padstowe's face. He was smiling.

"Sir. I... thanks," he replied, and dared to add, "Glad you'm back safe too, sir."

_________________
Character by Sharpiefan | Timeline | Wiki page


And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
avatar
Gabriel Cotton
Captain

Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
Number of posts : 4145
Location : Over the hills, and far away
Member since : 2008-05-14

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Re: An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  Jonathan Padstowe on Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:03 am

"Close this time, I must admit." Padstowe gave an involuntary sigh of relief, the muscles in his thighs sore as he half-slid off Bethany's back, patting the mare on the nose. "Though I have had closer calls. You saw me right, didn't you my girl?"

He turned and addressed Cotton once more, the smile still on his face.

"I am truly glad to see you, Cotton; it goes some way to restoring my trust in human nature. Did you meet with any difficulty along the way back here?"

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Jonathan Padstowe
Captain

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Re: An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:08 am

He hastily stepped forward to take the mare's bridle as the officer slid stiffly to the ground. "Not... not really, sir, though there was a couple of sticky moments." He shrugged. "We made it, sir." Even Newbury had made it, no small thanks to Sergeant Burr.

"I... You all right there, sir?" he asked, reaching a hand to steady the officer if he needed it.

_________________
Character by Sharpiefan | Timeline | Wiki page


And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
avatar
Gabriel Cotton
Captain

Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
Number of posts : 4145
Location : Over the hills, and far away
Member since : 2008-05-14

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Re: An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  Jonathan Padstowe on Mon Aug 22, 2011 7:04 am

"A little stiff, no more," Padstowe said dismissively. He was being a little free with the truth, in that his still recovering shoulder was giving him hell and he was devilishly hungry, but those were not details to trouble Cotton with. "An occupational hazard."

He cast a glance at Cotton, recalling once more their earlier meeting on the road and the sudden mention of the watch. Padstowe's smile faded as he reflected that now was probably as good a time as any to raise the subject once more; there were things that needed to be said. His expression became serious as he stroked Bethany's velvet nose once again.

"Actually, Cotton, I am glad that I have this opportunity to speak to you privately."

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Jonathan Padstowe
Captain

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Re: An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:03 am

Cotton dropped his hand and stepped back, accepting the rejection of his offer. Officers had their pride, after all. He smiled as Captain Padstowe stroked his horse's nose.

The officer's expression grew serious and Cotton stiffened a little at his words, wishing that the officer would just dismiss him to go about his business. But no, of course he wouldn't.

"Yes, sir. I... Yes, sir."

Whatever the officer had to say to him, it probably couldn't be good.

_________________
Character by Sharpiefan | Timeline | Wiki page


And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
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Gabriel Cotton
Captain

Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
Number of posts : 4145
Location : Over the hills, and far away
Member since : 2008-05-14

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Re: An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  Jonathan Padstowe on Tue Aug 23, 2011 5:18 am

"I heard from Captain Vickery," he said. Padstowe decided that he might as well not beat about the bush - this was not a pleasant subject for either of them, and so was best not lingered upon. "That you were flogged for the theft of my watch whilst I was still in Lisbon."

He paused for a beat, making sure that he was looking the batman squarely in the eyes, even if Cotton was not at that moment returning his gaze.

"I want you to know that I have never for a moment believed you to be guilty."

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Jonathan Padstowe
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Re: An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Tue Aug 23, 2011 5:33 am

"I..." Cotton began awkwardly, and stopped as the officer's words registered. His eyes widened in surprise. He knew he hadn't taken it from Padstowe and he had never intended to do anything other than tell his own officer when he'd found it in Vickery's baggage. Captain Vickery had been convinced of his innocence - he was still the Rifle captain's batman, after all. But somehow he had never been sure that officers outside the Rifles would also be sure of his innocence.

"Thank you, sir," he managed, looking up. "That... that means an awful lot to me, sir."

_________________
Character by Sharpiefan | Timeline | Wiki page


And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
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Gabriel Cotton
Captain

Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
Number of posts : 4145
Location : Over the hills, and far away
Member since : 2008-05-14

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Re: An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  Jonathan Padstowe on Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:12 am

"I had hoped as much," Padstowe said, relieved to have conveyed the full import of the message. "Besides my own faith in your character, I have always known who it was that struck me and robbed - the damned pity of it all is that I do not have the evidence to convict him before a court martial. Believe me when I say that I am more sorry than I can express that I was an instrument, however unwilling, of this injustice."

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Jonathan Padstowe
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Re: An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:40 am

Oh. Then Captain Padstowe hadn't understood it properly.

"Um, sir... it come out at the court-martial that weren't me, sir." He steeled himself again. "I found it in Captain Vick'ry's things an' they reckoned I'd pinched it from him - though he didn't even know it was there, sir, an' I was wantin' to tell him."

And the whole thing was just a horrible complicated mess.

_________________
Character by Sharpiefan | Timeline | Wiki page


And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
avatar
Gabriel Cotton
Captain

Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
Number of posts : 4145
Location : Over the hills, and far away
Member since : 2008-05-14

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Re: An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  Jonathan Padstowe on Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:42 am

Padstowe's face clouded immediately.

"But that's impossible! The watch has my name engraved upon it... Surely Captain Vickery must have spoken for you?"

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Re: An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:48 am

Cotton nodded, keen that Captain Padstowe's opinion of his own officer should not be damaged. "Yessir. Only, well. I never got a chance to tell him that it was with his things afore..." He sighed. "See, sir, it'd bin rainin' that day an' he wanted his boat-cloak from his baggage, so I went to find it. An' found your watch on top of it, like it'd bin shoved there. So I took 'em both, meanin' to tell the Captain, an' got found with your watch afore I could say anythin' to me own officer."

Which wasn't quite true, of course - it had been Maggie who'd taken the watch and been found with it. But he was not going to tell-tale of her. He had been flogged for it, and she hadn't, so really, the fault was his anyway. "So they done it for... for stealin' from Captain Vick'ry." Which he hadn't done, and never would - he valued his position far too much even to think of so doing.

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Character by Sharpiefan | Timeline | Wiki page


And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
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Gabriel Cotton
Captain

Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
Number of posts : 4145
Location : Over the hills, and far away
Member since : 2008-05-14

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Re: An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  Jonathan Padstowe on Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:55 am

To Padstowe it felt as if the world had just been rocked to its foundations. How had they made such a ridiculous charge stick? Surely Vickery would have fought Cotton's corner viciously, would have done his utmost to argue that it could not be theft, as the watch had not been Vickery's property in the first place? Unless... Unless he had misjudged the character of John Vickery severely.

"You should never have been convicted," Padstowe said, lowering his voice. "Tell me, Cotton, does Captain Vickery still live?"

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Jonathan Padstowe
Captain

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Re: An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Tue Aug 23, 2011 7:02 am

"Here, sir," Cotton said, alarmed at the colour that the redcoat officer had gone. "You'd best sit down, sir." He pulled his canteen strap over his head and held the solid oak water-bottle out. "It ain't anythin' but water, sir, sorry. But you've gone awful white." He managed a smile. "The Captain got a sabre slash to the side an' took a nasty blow to the head, but he'm fine, sir."

And had Padstowe just said what Cotton thought he had? He couldn't quite believe it, but the officer hadn't threatened him or sounded any different when talking to him. "I... Thanks for your good opinion of me, sir," he added, hoping he hadn't mistaken what the Captain had just said.

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Character by Sharpiefan | Timeline | Wiki page


And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
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Gabriel Cotton
Captain

Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
Number of posts : 4145
Location : Over the hills, and far away
Member since : 2008-05-14

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Re: An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  Jonathan Padstowe on Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:33 am

Padstowe shot Cotton a skeptical glance at the suggestion that he'd gone an unusual colour, but he accepted the canteen with good grace, taking a sip before passing it back.

"I hope to Heaven I shall never have anything but a good opinion of you, Cotton," he said sincerely. "But I must ask; is the captain fit to receive visitors?"

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Jonathan Padstowe
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Re: An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:38 am

Cotton only just prevented himself from gaping outright at the Captain. "That's... real nice of you, sir," he said, somehow recovering himself. "An' yes, sir, he is."

It was on the tip of his tongue to ask "D'you want to see him, then?" He managed to swallow the words - Captain Padstowe would hardly have asked if he didn't want to see Captain Vickery, after all, would he?

He took the canteen back, slipping the strap over his head again and tugged it back into place behind his left hip. "He'm... Well, I was jus' goin' there meself, sir. I'll take you, if you want?"

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Character by Sharpiefan | Timeline | Wiki page


And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
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Gabriel Cotton
Captain

Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
Number of posts : 4145
Location : Over the hills, and far away
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Re: An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  Jonathan Padstowe on Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:42 am

"That would be very kind of you, thank you."

Padstowe took back Bethany's reins and gently urged the mare to follow as Cotton led the way.

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Re: An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:45 am

"Reckon he'll be awful pleased to see you, sir," Cotton added, adjusting the rifle on his shoulder. "Oughtn't I to be leadin' your horse, sir?" he added.

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And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
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Gabriel Cotton
Captain

Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
Number of posts : 4145
Location : Over the hills, and far away
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Re: An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  Jonathan Padstowe on Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:55 am

Despite the growing hollow feeling within the pit of his stimach Padstowe managed an amused smile.

"Ought you? I honestly can't remember."

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Re: An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:58 am

"Well... bein' as I'm the swaddy an' you'm the officer," Cotton said with a quick grin. "Though, she'm your horse, sir. An' a beauty she is, an' all, sir."

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And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
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Gabriel Cotton
Captain

Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
Number of posts : 4145
Location : Over the hills, and far away
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Re: An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  Jonathan Padstowe on Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:55 am

"Well, maybe not the best looking lady at the ball," Padstowe said, patting Bethany's nose again. "But she turns a few heads now and again. And it's what she's made of that counts."

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Re: An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:59 am

Cotton grinned. The Exploring Officers like Captain Padstowe had to have fast horses that they could rely on - they went exploring behind the enemy's lines, usually in full uniform so that they could not be accused of spying.

"Here we are, sir," he said eventually. "I'll jus' go an' announce you, if that's all right?"

He'd had the concept of 'at home to so-and-so' explained to him, but it was patently ridiculous asking if the Captain was at home to visitors when Company HQ was a tree in the middle of the Rifles' bivouac and anyone could see that the Captain was sitting there, reading a book.

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And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
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Gabriel Cotton
Captain

Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
Number of posts : 4145
Location : Over the hills, and far away
Member since : 2008-05-14

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Re: An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  Jonathan Padstowe on Wed Aug 24, 2011 6:33 am

"Certainly," Padstowe said - his necessary reply to the farcical formality. He could see Vickery some way off sitting under a tree, reading a book. He did not look badly injured, which could only be a good thing, and Padstowe waited patiently, holding Bethany's head and watching from a distaqnce as Cotton approached his captain.

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Re: An Awkward Conversation, 10th June

Post  John Vickery on Wed Aug 24, 2011 6:37 am

Vickery looked up as Cotton approached, and closed his book as the Rifleman said, "Captain Padstowe to see you, sir."

He got to his feet, mindful of the stitches holding his side together and nodded amicably at his fellow officer.

"Captain Padstowe, I hope I see you well?" he said.

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