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June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

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June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  James Duff on Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:02 am

By his reckoning he could not have more than a mile or two to go before he reached the village, where the Second Division should be encamped.

He'd been riding alone for almost ten miles now: his friends did offer to accompany him further, but a band of Spanish guerrilas, however good their standing was with the Junta and the Spanish Army, would not have met with a warm welcome here.

He glanced at the horizon, then took out his watch. Duff had not been out of the saddle since he left Cadiz, except to sleep, relieve himself and sometimes eat. He was sore and tired. But they had made very good time and he will now be able to spend a few days with his brother, right after he surrendered the impressive pack of despatches and letters to somebody at the Headquarters.
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Re: June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:17 am

They Hussars were up and about. Willoughby had strayed a bit further from his group Ever since their game was forbidden in camp they had had to secretly continue it out here. Their present game was similar to the first. They still chased, only that at this time their enemy had been anyone of their group. The winner would have gone away with the delicious bit of sausage that one of the peers had discovered not two days earlier.

Perhaps he had strayed further than he intended to, but he could do nothing else but blame Herrero for that. His horse would not usually spook, he was too proud for that. But for no reason that he could think of, Herrero had gone off on a wild run all of a sudden. He had galloped through the foilage, across field, and over undergrowth successfully taking his rider to a fair distance from his group and then.. he stopped as if nothing happened.

At a sound Willoughby froze. He debated the probability that it was Kenley or one of the others. He had turned the horse about, pressing at his sides. Herrero obliged beginning with relaxed walk in the direction of the sound. Willoughby was ready to spurr him into a trot if one of his fellow troopers decided to appear, and he was as ready to grab at his sabre, should it be less friendly than that.

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Re: June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  James Duff on Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:25 am

Duff had pulled out one of the two pistols he had on him after hearing somebody crushing through the bushes and undergrowth. Thankfully, the horseman who appeared some distance in front of him was alone and seemed to be wearing one of the British uniforms. Duff put the pistol away and hailed the horseman.
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Re: June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:32 am

Willoughby approached the man. He was still alert and weary of the stranger, so that his grip of his sabre relaxed only minutely. The man was not of military standing, if his lack of uniform was to be judged. However, he was certainly not a poor farmer either. The cut of clothing and the obvious quality of material, even if it had to battle the dirt and the wear of the journey, was higher than it would be, should the stranger have been a local.

His obvious use of English tickled Willoughby's curiosity. He responded in like and once he had gotten close enough he took a better look of the man. "15th light dragoons, hussars." He introduced himself then paused. Perhaps he ought to have demanded a response by which the man would be recognised as friend?

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Re: June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  James Duff on Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:36 am

Duff smiled kindly at the young man. "I thought I recognised the uniform. My name's Duff, Colonel with the Spanish Army. I am very glad to have come across you. Perhaps you could do me the service of pointing me in the direction of the Headquarters?"
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Re: June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:43 am

Willoughby blinked, then saluted sharply. Here was a colonel who he had nearly wanted to tell off, thinking he was a civilian taking a stroll. "Sir." He spoke halting his horse and giving the man a quick, short nod.

"..." He could not find reason why the Colonel traveled alone, nobody to defend him from the French, and he did not wear his uniform, which still bothered the young rider. "Forgive me, sir." He could as well be a spy, who would use one with the knowledge to be led to the army and then slay him, gather information, and ride of without anybody knowing better.

"But may I first inquire to see proof of your identity. It is for the purpuses of safety alone."

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Re: June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  James Duff on Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:53 am

Duff was not completely surprised by the hussar's request, it showed caution on his part, but he doubted that he could use anything in the bundle of the papers as identification. Then a happy thought came to him.

'I have a letter of introduction from General Cuesta, if you know who he is,' he pulled the letter out and handed it to the young man. It was a happy circumstance that the letter was actually penned by an English speaking ADC of Cuesta's and that Cuesta's signature and seal had enough flourish to resemble a King's.
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Re: June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:00 am

Willoughby took the letter. He studied it carefully. He wondered whether he could have even recognised a forged letter from a true one, but then decided he could take the leap of faith and believe this man was who he claimed. He could always call to his friends when they were close enough and then the colonel would have an escort.

He knew of the others being out there, in the woods and this man did not. Making up his mind and actually reading the words on the paper that he could see, he held the letter back to the colonel.

He nodded and then smiled. "If you would follow me, sir. " Herrero shook his head and stomped his hoove against the ground, threw his head up again and then obediently turned in the direction of their camp. Willoughby was perhaps taking up his role as guide, but he was itching to ask the few questions that still baffled him and thus he had a hard time to keep silent, but was inso far successful.

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Re: June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  James Duff on Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:04 am

Duff took the letter back, smiling to himself at the obvious struggle on the young man's face. His horse went obediently, not tired out yet, but certainly having lost any desire to prance around.

'Perhaps you would tell me your name, lad.' He asked once the horses settled into a comfortable walk side by side.
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Re: June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:07 am

"Trooper Willoughby, sir." He answered politely, tilting is head to study the colonel,, though his eyes never rose to the level of Duff's. Herrero was made to walk at the pace that was desirable to the colonel's own horse.

"We're meant to be out here." He hurried to say then even more quickly he added. "Training, sir. Of course." He felt foolish for bringing it up in the first place.

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Re: June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  James Duff on Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:13 am

Duffed nodded, smiling pleasantly. "Of course. The moment I heard that awful ruckus your horse made, I thought to myself "Hussars training!". Having spent the last few days in the company of good, but very proud Spaniards, he could not resist teasing Willoughby a little.
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Re: June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:18 am

"....we are not loud, sir." Willoughby protested. "...it is unfair to accuse us of it.....sir!" He looked ahead obviously believing the new arrival was quite wrong in his accusation that he had heard them rather than seen them first. Even though Herrero had not been the quietest horse when he decided that the grass here was greener, he was not so bad!

"May I ask you something, sir?"

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Re: June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  James Duff on Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:35 am

Duff felt pleasantly amused by Willoughby's reaction. Whatever he and his friends were doing, he doubted very much that it was completely allowed. Well, he would not question him further, then should anyone ask he could plead ignorance and do so quite honestly.

"Yes, go ahead, trooper."
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Re: June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:34 am

"..Where is your escort, sir.. and where your uniform?" He studied the coat one more time, before averting his gaze from it and checking their surroundings. While he knew his fellow hussars to be close, he knew that there was still a chance of meeting someone who was not a friend.

He was guiding his horse in the direction from which they had run earlier. They could hear a distant thundering of hooves. When the wind blew more strongly in their direction at times, they could even hear a shout or two and Timothy could recognise who it belonged to.

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Re: June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  James Duff on Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:48 am

Duff was somewhat take aback by the question, he could of course refuse to answer, but he'd invited the questioning himself.

"Well, I thought that should I get into an unsavoury situation it would go easier if I was not dressed in the gold braid of a military uniform. Besides I find civilian clothing a lot more comfortable." He paused: there was no need to tell Willoughby that he did have an escort up until recently. "I did have an escort part of the way, but I suppose I don't rate one the whole way."
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Re: June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:54 am

"Well, sir. You have an escort now, and you shall have one when we enter the camp." He paused and more timidly added. "Should you want it, sir. And...do you want us to take you to see Sir Arthur and settle down, once he has had your audience, or...." He shrugged then his strangely coloured horse peering at Duff's with disdain. The horse decided that he was, after all, better than the other, and while Willoughby would have preferred he had not done so, he showed it by the way he had held himself, his head and how he had walked.

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Re: June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  James Duff on Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:00 am

"I would be most grateful if you just took me to the headquarters, I dare say Sir Arthur will be too busy to see me himself, but I suppose one of his aides-de-camp will see me." Duff patted his horse's neck absent-mindedly. "As for afterwards... Perhaps you could help me find where the 88th have their regimental lines. My brother is their Lieutenant Colonel, I dare say I could billet with him."
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Re: June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:35 am

"If I am appointed to you sir, I will be honoured to take you to the 88th." He smiled. "Or wherever you will need to go." He smiled pleasantly. "We are close, sir. The men you hear, are of the 15th Light Hussars also. Good men. The younger one..." He paused as they had gone a distance. "there, you can see him now..he is.." But there he stopped and looked flustered.

"...pardon me, sir.."

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Re: June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  James Duff on Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:50 am

"That's quite alright, lad. Go on, I believe you were about to tell me who all these young men are." Duff smiled kindly at Willoughby. He had no particular interest in the names of troopers he'll never have cause to address, but at least it might put Willoughby at his ease and keep him from plying Duff with questions.
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Re: June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:02 am

"I'm Willoughby, sir." The young Hussar said, thinking that he was not to be called lad, even if he was young. It made it sound somehow that he was inexperienced and while he did not take part in as many battles as some, he was in no way a novice.

"Kenley, is the younger one there.. He might well be the fastest. Intelligent lad, you would know..but.." He shrugged lightly. "...anyway. " He whistled to the men and some stopped their horses, others looked their way. Kenley waved, not yet aware the new arrival was a colonel. "They're the finest."

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Re: June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  James Duff on Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:36 am

"No doubt, no doubt," said Duff pleasantly. It was always your regiment that was the finest, wasn't it? He was sure that his brother would say the same about the Connaught Rangers.
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Re: June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:43 pm

Willoughby relaxed a little though there must have been a signal that he had given the others. Another whistle that the men perhaps had agreed on, just because such an occasion was possible to happen. The men gathered a column of lines four men deep, then rode together towards the colonel.

They were curious about who this civilian was, but let little on. "Your escort, sir." The young hussar spoke politely and smiled. There was a promise there, that he would explain everything to the men, once they had delivered this one to the headquarters. One had even been sent to fetch their cornett. The young lad was well liked by the men and trusted.

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Re: June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  James Duff on Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:33 am

Duff frowned a little: it was one thing to ask one of the soldiers to act as a guide for him, it was another to attract attention of every single busybody by having a troop of hussars convey him to the headquarters. His business, most of it anyway, and his position were not exactly a secret but neither did he want his business here enquired into.

"That is a mighty big escort."
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Re: June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:41 pm

"Could be worse sir. There was only this many of us out here." Willoughby seemed to be secretly enjoying this, even if he had not shown it as such.

"..Though, on your word, sir, they will go about their business." As such they would have been given 'an order' and if anything. Of course the men and their horses looked a little bit impatient. All of them had been eager to return to what they had been doing before the stranger - who was not from the cavalry - appeared to disturb their game.

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Re: June 25th, early evening: Joining the British Army

Post  James Duff on Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:58 am

"Well, I would prefer not to have the entire army camp staring at me, so if you could ask your friends to go back to whatever it was they were doing. I am sure it was much more exciting than making sure that an old man does not break his head over a mile of reasonable road".
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