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11th June - Reporting

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11th June - Reporting

Post  Guest on Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:41 am

George went off in the direction Private Cotton had pointed, soon finding himself in more familiar Redcoat territory.

He debated on reporting straight to command, but after feeling the stares and hearing the whispered comments, he decided to find the tent he shared with one of his fellow lieutenants and get cleaned up a bit instead.

Pure luck got him to the tent, as it seemed to have moved in his absence. Inside he found some private who looked barely old enough to shave. Instead of a razor, the boy was fumbling with a needle and thread in an attempt to sew a button onto Lieutenant Steele's coat. He yelped when George came in, knocking the spool of thread to the ground.

“Bloody hell, sir,” he said. “You look a right mess.”

“Yes. You're the fiftieth person to notice that, Private Obvious,” George replied. He looked at the red wool in the boy's hands. "What are you doing to poor Steele's coat? I doubt it deserves that level of punishment.”

“Um, sir, I'm his new batman. He told me to mend it for some dinner t'night. And m'name's Briggs, sir, not Obvious.”

George rolled his eyes and sighed. “Give it here. And the needle and thread. He took the coat and sewing items, then sat down on his empty cot. “Watch me.”

Deftly he sewed the coat button on, wrapped the thread around the loop holding the button, then did a neat backstitch to finish it off. He cut the thread off, then tossed the coat to Briggs.

“Tell anyone I sewed that button, and I'll have you flogged. I'm a gentleman. We don't sew buttons. Now go fetch me a bucket of water.”

“Course, sir.” The boy was back quickly with said bucket. So quickly in fact, that half the contents sloshed onto the dirt floor. George sighed again.

He stripped off his coat, then his shirt, tossing the latter under his cot. He handed the coat to Briggs, telling him to get some of the dust out of it.

“Outside,” he snapped, chasing the young man out of the tent. Quickly he found a cloth from his shaving kit and used that to start washing up.

He was almost through when he felt someone watching him. This was confirmed by a giggle that belonged to a camp follower who had apparently been watching his arse, as he'd forgotten the tent flap had been open.

“Miss! Show some decency, please.”” He pulled the flap shut almost on top of Briggs.

“Your jacket, sir.”

“Good. All right, the linen.” He fished out a black neck stock from his clothing chest. “Before that, a shave.”

His ablutions finished away from the prying eyes of lascivious camp followers, he stepped from the tent, putting on a hat swiped from Lieutenant Steele's wardrobe.

“All right, Briggs, where's Captain Blackwood?” he said to the private.

“His tent, sir, I think.”

“Good.” He gave the man a few pence. “Do launder the shirt under my cot. And thank you for your help.” With that he went off to the captain's tent.

He knocked on the flap, and waited.


Last edited by George Wickham on Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:01 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Title reformat.)

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Re: 11th June - Reporting

Post  Ben Blackwood on Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:19 am

Not for the first time, Blackwood was wishing that Hutton was back. His new batman was proving frustratingly slow to learn his trade. He could understand the need to adjust to such additional duties, but the poor fellow could not even manage to deliver a cup of tea of a morning!

This afternoon alone had seen Blackwood lose his temper with the man, after the unfortunate soldier had succeeded in smearing blackball down the back of Blackwood's best shirt. Doubtlessly Blackwood's strongly-worded rebuke was still ringing in the poor beggar's ears.

It was with some relief, therefore, that the captain now sat alone in his tent, a mug of proper tea resting on the tiny desk before him. Thank God for Sergeant Northcut, he thought wryly. The sergeant had been bold enough to offer the mug a discrete few minutes after Blackwood's batman had fled the tent.

The rustle of a knock upon the canvas alerted him to another new arrival, though unlike Northcut before him this visitor did not announce himself. "Come," Blackwood called, setting his pen aside.

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Midshipman

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Re: 11th June - Reporting

Post  Guest on Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:58 am

George took off his hat, then ducked inside the tent. He saw the annoyed expression on the other man's face and wondered what he'd done to warrant this. Then he realised it probably wasn't him at all.

"Lieutenant Wickham, sir. Got a bit lost thanks to the Frenchies. Spent a few days wandering about, and finally ended up back here. Anything going on?"

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Re: 11th June - Reporting

Post  Ben Blackwood on Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:06 pm

Wickham. Right. Blackwood had wondered where this poor fellow had got to. The report had been that the lieutenant was wounded and most likely captured, yet happily here he was.

"Lieutenant," Blackwood greeted, rising to his feet so he could offer his hand. "I would say you have found your way back well enough. Was it a successful chase?"

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Midshipman

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Re: 11th June - Reporting

Post  Guest on Thu Sep 15, 2011 1:31 am

George shook the captain's hand, but made a face at his question.

"Quite a failure, to be honest. I think I caught a hoof on my head - " he gently touched the huge lump hidden by his hair. "-but beyond that, absolutely nothing. Locals were quite friendly, though. I think they hate Boney as much as we do."

He ran a hand through his hair, wincing as he caught the lump. "So when do we get a go at them again?"


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Re: 11th June - Reporting

Post  Ben Blackwood on Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:10 am

Doubtlessly Wickham had already taken himself to see the surgeon, so Blackwood chose not to comment upon the man's report of injury, beyond a simple, "French cavalry do appear to enjoy riding over us."

The lieutenant's question gave him pause, however. He knew nothing of what was intended for the division. There were of course rumours, many concerning the likelihood of an impending march, but as yet no formal orders had been delivered.

"I could not say," he replied. "Though I hardly think we shall pass the summer in idleness here. From what I have heard of him, Sir Arthur won't have it!"

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Midshipman

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Re: 11th June - Reporting

Post  Guest on Sun Sep 18, 2011 2:04 am

"I would hope not," George replied. "It'll be a bad day when the French defeat the British decisively. I mean, what have they got that we don't? Other than Paris, but, well, you can't have everything.”

He paused to hide a yawn. Running from the French did take a bit out of a man. Not that he'd admit it to anyone.

“Is there anything I should know about? Not that I've expected some mad scandal to erupt in my brief absence, mind.”


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Re: 11th June - Reporting

Post  Ben Blackwood on Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:25 am

No indeed, thought Blackwood with an internal smile. "I should think a tendency toward flight is one thing they have over us," he remarked mildly. "As to scandals. There's been little enough in that way, perhaps fortunately. Even though I daresay a bit of a social flap might be just the thing."

Having said that, he thought of his other lieutenant and managed to suppress a grimace. Woodmarsh had been perfectly well-behaved of late. That is, he had not managed to offend anyone else with his manners. Though perhaps that might be something to be worried about by itself.

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Midshipman

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Re: 11th June - Reporting

Post  Gareth Woodmarsh on Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:12 pm

Little did Blackwood know that this illusion of good behavior was about to come to a screeching halt.

The news of there being a new Guards lieutenant having caught his ear, Woodmarsh was on his way to see the man for himself. After all, the sooner he met this new arrival and found out what sort of man he was, the better. He did not want to have some eager young pup mincing about and stealing his glory or making him look bad to any superior officer. No, he needed to make himself known at once so this newcomer would not get any foolish ideas into his head.

Throwing back the tent flap, Woodmarsh barged in, not bothering to give any warning for his untimely and unwarranted arrival.

"Ah Captain," he said, affording Blackwood a salute so as not to appear too insubordinate, "I heard we have a new arrival. Is this so?"

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Gareth Woodmarsh
Ship's Cook

Species : Lieutenant; 1/2nd (Coldstream) Guards
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Re: 11th June - Reporting

Post  Guest on Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:25 pm

George looked up at the other man's rather abrupt arrival.

"Well, not altogether that new," he replied. "Had a Frenchman try to run me down at that last scrap we were in, took bloody forever to find my way back."

He stood. "George Wickham, sir." He thought he'd seen the man somewhere before, but couldn't quite place him. Almack's perhaps? No, no, that was Torrington.

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Re: 11th June - Reporting

Post  Ben Blackwood on Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:19 am

There were quick footsteps outside the tent, then the flap was thrown abruptly open and an officer came swanning in. Oh for the love of - Blackwood kept his expression controlled only with an effort. It would be Woodmarsh, wouldn't it?

"We do," he replied evenly, but was forestalled making introductions by Wickham himself. That made things marginally easier, perhaps, though of course he had learned very quickly that nothing was truly easy with Woodmarsh involved.

"May I present Lieutenant Woodmarsh," Blackwood supplied with no small internal feeling of weariness.

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Ben Blackwood
Midshipman

Species : Captain; 1/2nd (Coldstream) Guards
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Re: 11th June - Reporting

Post  Guest on Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:37 am

"Woodmarsh, Woodmarsh," George said. Then it clicked. "You wouldn't be of the Wiltshire Woodmarshes, by any chance? Lady de Bourgh had mentioned you once or twice. Charming woman, her."

George knew he was fishing a bit, but it never hurt to have an idea of the social standing of your fellow officers. Connections were always useful.

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Re: 11th June - Reporting

Post  Gareth Woodmarsh on Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:42 pm

And that, Woodmarsh thought as Wickham discussed his run-in with a Frenchman, is precisely why I make a point to avoid battle at all costs. Either Wickham was not as talented at doing so or he was one of those valiant sorts who ran into battle as often as they could. Woodmarsh sincerely hoped it was the former.

He merely nodded politely as Wickham introduced himself, but when he mentioned having heard of Woodmarsh's family, that seemed a grand opportunity to boast. And Woodmarsh was never one to pass up an opportunity to boast.

"Why yes, I am indeed," he said, grinning broadly, "And you know dear Lady Catherine? Oh I do hope she is well."

In reality, Woodmarsh only vaguely recalled meeting Lady Catherine de Bourgh once, and from what he remembered of her, she was an irritating old biddy. But since Wickham was acting as though knowing her was mark of importance, he was going to play that for all it was worth.

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Gareth Woodmarsh
Ship's Cook

Species : Lieutenant; 1/2nd (Coldstream) Guards
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Re: 11th June - Reporting

Post  Ben Blackwood on Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:39 am

Good Lord, Blackwood thought with an internal groan. This was the last thing he needed!

"I presume you gentlemen are already acquainted, then," he remarked, a trifle dryly.

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Ben Blackwood
Midshipman

Species : Captain; 1/2nd (Coldstream) Guards
Number of posts : 378
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Re: 11th June - Reporting

Post  Guest on Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:36 pm

George paused, considering whether or not to say he knew Lieutenant Woodmarsh. The truth was that he did not know the man, and so he was considering if it would be a good idea to claim acquaintance.

Then he realized that the man did not appear to be the sort to overindulge in the finest port at his club, and so claiming drunken or sober acquaintance was right out.

"Ah, sadly I have not had the fortune of meeting Lieutenant Woodmarsh prior to this, sir."

He paused. "It is an honour though." A little bit of flattery never hurt any recipient, he thought. "I trust that it will be a long and interesting acquaintance."

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Re: 11th June - Reporting

Post  Gareth Woodmarsh on Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:13 pm

A little bit of flattery went a long way with Woodmarsh, and he beamed upon hearing Wickham's statement.

"Why thank you, Lieutenant Wickham," he said, "It seems we shall be quite good acquaintances, then."

Already Wickham had gotten off on the right foot by giving praise where it was due. Woodmarsh had no qualms about having an acquaintance who flattered him. For some strange reason, he never seemed to be able to find enough people who were willing to do that, so Wickham seemed quite a find indeed.

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Character played by Biggles

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Gareth Woodmarsh
Ship's Cook

Species : Lieutenant; 1/2nd (Coldstream) Guards
Number of posts : 114
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Re: 11th June - Reporting

Post  Ben Blackwood on Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:35 pm

How wonderful, thought Blackwood. It would be just his luck to have these two for subalterns.

"May I interest you gentlemen in some tea?" Anything stronger was likely to prove unwise. He would much prefer them to indulge somewhere else, outside of his own tent.

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Ben Blackwood
Midshipman

Species : Captain; 1/2nd (Coldstream) Guards
Number of posts : 378
Member since : 2010-02-16

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Re: 11th June - Reporting

Post  Gareth Woodmarsh on Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:39 pm

Tea? Woodmarsh resisted the urge to scoff. The least Blackwood could do would be to offer them some wine. But being as the offer of any sort of liquid refreshment meant that he could linger and hopefully hear some more of Wickham's praise, he was not going to look this particular gift horse in the mouth. Besides, a prolonged chat would allow for him to regale both Wickham and Blackwood with more embellishments about his vast social connections.

"Of course, sir. I would be most pleased to have some tea," Woodmarsh said, smiling as pleasantly as he could at the captain.

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Gareth Woodmarsh
Ship's Cook

Species : Lieutenant; 1/2nd (Coldstream) Guards
Number of posts : 114
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Re: 11th June - Reporting

Post  Guest on Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:24 pm

Tea? Mentally, George shrugged. He'd rather be taking a nap, having walked God knows how far over the past few days. In fact, he suspected his dogs had gone beyond barking and were now howling in pain. However, it might offend the good Captain, and heaven knew it was always a bad idea to offend one's superiors.

He cast about for a topic of conversation that was not Spain, the weather, Boney or the regiment. Finally, he settled for that old conversational canard that could almost always get people talking.

"So tell me about your family, Lieutenant Woodmarsh," he finally said.

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Re: 11th June - Reporting

Post  Ben Blackwood on Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:45 am

Doing his best to keep his expression neutral, Blackwood nodded and crossed to the tent flap. He had no idea where his batman was, but Corporal Miller was close enough by to do well enough as a substitute. There would be three mugs of tea delivered as soon as the water was boiled.

Of course, once he heard Mister Wickham's comment, he wished he could absent himself from the tent. It was very poor manners he knew, but the last thing anyone should invite Woodmarsh to talk about was himself. He'd only had the man in his company for a short time and he had learned that lesson almost immediately.

"You gentlemen may sit, if you wish," Blackwood said, indicating a pair of chairs.

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Ben Blackwood
Midshipman

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Re: 11th June - Reporting

Post  Guest on Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:24 pm

As soon as the words were out of his mouth, George realized he'd made an enormous mistake.

Etiquette demanded a certain quid pro quo to questions of a personal nature such as the one he'd just asked Lieutenant Woodmarsh. So, what was he going to say? That he was the son of a valet who had talked his father's employer into giving him the money that had purchased this commission?

He heard Captain Blackwood offer a chair, and gratefully took it.

"Thank you, sir." He'd felt something wet squelch in his boot, and hoped it was an enormous blister bursting. He needed some sort of excuse to get him out of the inevitable questions about his family sharpish.

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Re: 11th June - Reporting

Post  Gareth Woodmarsh on Mon Oct 24, 2011 2:55 pm

"Ah yes, the family," Woodmarsh said, heaving an exaggerated, theatrical sigh as he seated himself in the offered chair, "They are a fascinating lot. My dear mother, the Viscountess Woodmarsh, is thankfully quite well. I do fear for her health, being as she has such a delicate constitution. She is a wonderful woman. The heart and soul of our family."

He paused and tapped his chest lightly, thinking it would make for a good effect to act as though he was so overcome with emotion that he could not speak. But a moment of that was enough, and he promptly carried on. "I wish I could say the same for my father, the Viscount Woodmarsh. I cannot abide his domineering manner. He thinks he can still tell me what to do, if you can believe that! I ceased listening to him years ago, yet he never stops his insistent nagging."

This was punctuated by a sound of derision and quick shake of the head. "My brother John is no better, really. He has been lording his seniority over me ever since we were young. But I could care less about the foolish title he will inherit. I prefer to earn my glory on the battlefield." An outright lie if ever there was one. Woodmarsh hated that he had been forced into the service while his brother would get everything without doing anything to earn it. "I cannot speak for my younger brother Samuel, for I am not privy to his affairs and I have heard little of him of late." In reality, Woodmarsh simply did not care much about what his younger brother was doing. Samuel was the last in line for inheritance and so merited little concern.

Heaving another exaggerated sigh, he looked at Wickham. While Woodmarsh could easily have gone on about himself for ages, he grew rather tired of talking about his immediate relations for he never seemed to be able to gain anything by discussing them.

"And you, Lieutenant Wickham? I wager that your family is just as tiresome as mine."

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Gareth Woodmarsh
Ship's Cook

Species : Lieutenant; 1/2nd (Coldstream) Guards
Number of posts : 114
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Re: 11th June - Reporting

Post  Ben Blackwood on Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:35 pm

Perhaps shamefully, Blackwood was privately relieved when Woodmarsh was silent again, though he could not be sure that Wickham would not prove to be equally self-absorbed. It would be just his luck to have two such fellows for subalterns.

"I should think that all families could be considered tiresome every now and again," Blackwood commented, thinking of his own with no small feeling of irony.

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Midshipman

Species : Captain; 1/2nd (Coldstream) Guards
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