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26th June, They are upon the road

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26th June, They are upon the road

Post  Edward Torrington on Tue May 29, 2012 7:30 am

Edward, perilously close to being late due to the ox's antics, allowed Trueno to gallop the short distance to the crossroad where he had agreed to meet Captain Hunter. He tried to wipe the slight grin off his face - even though he was deeply sorry for Captain Vickery, the whole episode had a humorous aspect that appealed to his sense of irony. A whole company of elite soldiers, and a single animal caused such an uproar.

Slowing his horse to pass the piquets, he looked around, trying to spot Hunter's red uniform. A pity that he wouldn't be able to tell him the story - he was quite sure Hunter would see the humour as well. But unfortunately, the Captain was not from their own tent, so Edward tried to school his features into their usual distant politeness again.

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Re: 26th June, They are upon the road

Post  George Hunter on Tue May 29, 2012 7:49 am

George checked his watch. He has been allowed time for this outing, after all he has been involved with guides and maps already and joining an engineer on his inspections and surveying was not exactly going on leave, but he did not want to be late getting back even by a minute. It was very hard trying to keep on Sir Arthur's good side.

He noticed Torrington and raised his hand in greeting.
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Re: 26th June, They are upon the road

Post  Edward Torrington on Tue May 29, 2012 7:58 am

Edward returned the gesture, nodding to the sentry who had challenged him and urging Trueno forward again. The stallion wickered as he reckognized the beautiful mare who had been so cold to him last time, but Torrington skillfully wheeled him around so that he came to stand parallel, but a good space away from the other horse. The engineer touched his head.

"Captain Hunter. I hope I haven't kept you waiting?"

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Re: 26th June, They are upon the road

Post  George Hunter on Tue May 29, 2012 8:03 am

"Oh, a minute or two," Hunter smiled to show that it wasn't a criticism, "I did get here a bit too early, but that's my own fault. I hope today finds you well? No ill side effects after our swim the other day?"
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Re: 26th June, They are upon the road

Post  Edward Torrington on Tue May 29, 2012 8:08 am

"No, not the slightest, fortunately. I found myself quite refreshed the next morning. I hope you haven't experienced any ill consequences either?"

Edward extended a hand for a more cordial greeting and set his horse at a walk towards their destination.

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Re: 26th June, They are upon the road

Post  George Hunter on Tue May 29, 2012 8:19 am

Hunter shook Torrington's hand warmly. "No, not at all. Though it was just my luck to meet Sir Arthur before I could get to my room. You may imagine the look he gave me upon seeing me in what clearly was not my uniform and a river weed in my hair, which neither you nor Vickery had the decency to spot."
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Re: 26th June, They are upon the road

Post  Edward Torrington on Tue May 29, 2012 8:25 am

"For which I of course heartily apologize!"

Edward gave a halfbow, half in jest, half in earnest apology.

"I hope he found nothing further to criticise than your unusual style of dress? You could of course have told him that you attented a dress rehearsal ..."

With some luck, his sister would soon send him some of the abridged Shakespearean plays that were popular for amateur performances.

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Re: 26th June, They are upon the road

Post  George Hunter on Tue May 29, 2012 8:30 am

"I found it best to say nothing except the usual things one says when briefly crossing paths with a superior officer." Hunter grinned. "I am not sure he would have believed that I was playing Ophelia and drowning myself left and right. I dread to think what he did actually think."
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Re: 26th June, They are upon the road

Post  Edward Torrington on Tue May 29, 2012 8:34 am

"Considering that you were neither drunk nor had a lady of the night in your arms ..."

Edward suddenly stopped, then laughed apologetically.

"Well, a fellow who looks like he has crossed a river, wears not his own uniform and sneaks into his room ... I would probably not think anything good. Shall I have to go and confess and take the blame?"

The offer was made only half in jest. He still felt slightly guilty for the unexpected bath.

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Re: 26th June, They are upon the road

Post  George Hunter on Tue May 29, 2012 8:39 am

"I pray, do not. I am quite sure that would make it even worse. Besides, as you can see, I am still alive and in the army, so whatever he did think, it has not been bad enough to do me much harm." Hunter gathered up his reigns. "Well, shall we?"
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Re: 26th June, They are upon the road

Post  Edward Torrington on Tue May 29, 2012 8:43 am

"Of course. Lead on, noble Hunter. I'm quite sure there must be a quotation for this somewhere, but I can't remember."

Edward closed his knees tighter around the sattle, ready to follow at whatever pace Hunter set.

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Re: 26th June, They are upon the road

Post  George Hunter on Tue May 29, 2012 8:47 am

"You and your quotations," muttered Hunter in mock annoyance. He touched Firebird's flanks and after a very brief walk she broke into a trot. Hunter rose and sat steadily in tact with the horse: he hated sitting trot with a passion.

"Where would you like to go first, Torrington?"
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Re: 26th June, They are upon the road

Post  Edward Torrington on Wed May 30, 2012 7:41 am

Edward pulled hist list of questions out of his pockets and glanced at it.

"Let's look at that road first - if it proofs unsuitable for artillery, we don't need to bother with all what comes behind it just now. And it would be pretty helpful if we could inspect that pass here, too, before the sun is up too high. Our horses will thank us for not having to climb in the heat. Everything else will deppend on what we find there. But it seems that there is a village at the foot of that pass which probably can supply a luncheon for us."

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Re: 26th June, They are upon the road

Post  George Hunter on Wed May 30, 2012 7:51 am

Hunter nodded in acquiescence. "That sounds good me." Hunter's horse fell in beside Torrington's. "You seem to be very hard worked. I hope your superior officers appreciate your efforts. Especially since you are even able to plan lucheons."
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Re: 26th June, They are upon the road

Post  Edward Torrington on Wed May 30, 2012 8:14 am

"A good military map includes all points were food, information or other necessities can be procured. And a drink in the local inn is a good way to learn about local borders and other things of interest, I have found."

Edward gave his reply rather matter-of-factly. It helped, of course, that it was perfectly true. That finding routes that included adequate nourishment for his companions although tended to make them more willing and therefore made life easier for him was an added (but very welcome) bonus. And usually it wasn't that hard to include this little detail into the plan.

"Do you speak the local tongue, by any chance?"

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Re: 26th June, They are upon the road

Post  George Hunter on Wed May 30, 2012 8:23 am

"I've picked up a couple of words here and there, but no." Hunter scanned the surroundings. "I do speak Spanish tolerably though. What about yourself?"
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Re: 26th June, They are upon the road

Post  Edward Torrington on Wed May 30, 2012 8:51 am

"Passable Italian and about fifteen words of Portuguese. French, of course, but that is no use at all here - even the people understanding it refuse to acknowledge that."

Torrington shrugged.

"Understandable at the moment, perhaps. I guess we are lucky that it is a la mode to learn English here."

He had to rein in Trueno again. The stallion wanted to stretch his legs, but it would not do to let the horses exhaust itself so soon, and Trueno's length of step was already bigger than his companions.

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Re: 26th June, They are upon the road

Post  George Hunter on Wed May 30, 2012 8:56 am

"That is lucky. Besides I've never really the head for French, so I am quite glad I am not required to use it in any shape or form. Where did you learn your Italian, if I may ask?"

Firebird was in a biddable mood today, barely requiring any attention from her rider.
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Re: 26th June, They are upon the road

Post  Edward Torrington on Wed May 30, 2012 9:11 am

"Woolwich, mostly, although I had the chance to put it into practice in Italy during the peace. We were required to learn the more important languages in which treaties on our subject are published - but unfortunately only in reading, and with a rather select vocabulary. It is a bit humiliating to be at least theoretically able to explain the building of a bridge in German, but unable to order breakfast from your servant in the same language."

Edward squinted his eyes, then pulled out his telescope. after glancing through it a moment, he handed it over to Hunter.

"There, is that the road?"

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Re: 26th June, They are upon the road

Post  George Hunter on Wed May 30, 2012 9:16 am

"Ah, so you know something of the German language as well! Shouldn't you be working for the Foreign Secretary?" Hunter smirked at Torrington. He decided not to mention that he himself had some knowledge of Polish and Russian, it wasn't exactly a thing one could easily explain away.
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Re: 26th June, They are upon the road

Post  Edward Torrington on Wed May 30, 2012 5:51 pm

Torrington smirked.

"Much as it would probably have pleased my father, it had been clear from an early age that diplomacy was not my forte. So it had to be the military, and I had the fortune to discover a professsion there that gives me great satisfaction, and is well suited to my talents. Fortunately my father agreed."

He raised an eyebrow.

"What made you choose your carreer? Certainly as a diplomate's son that path would have been possible for you, too?"

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Re: 26th June, They are upon the road

Post  George Hunter on Wed May 30, 2012 11:49 pm

"To want to be like one's father, one must like one's father firs," said George lightly. "Besides, my knowledge of languages besides English has always been a matter of necessity rather than training. And military life, it suits me. I would not have made a good diplomat."
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Re: 26th June, They are upon the road

Post  Edward Torrington on Thu May 31, 2012 4:49 am

"Well, since Bonaparte seems not much inclined to listen to diplomats, one could say that we chose the more profitable profession."

Edward answered, then stood up in his stirrups and looked around.

"There, would you mind a slight detour to that hill? It seems to have a rather commanding view of the landscape."

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Re: 26th June, They are upon the road

Post  George Hunter on Thu May 31, 2012 5:11 am

Hunter directed his horse towards the hill that Torrington indicated. As they got closer he could see two horsemen already there, seemingly lost in deep conversation.

"Torrington, either my eyesight is failing me or those two are from your corps."
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Re: 26th June, They are upon the road

Post  Edward Torrington on Thu May 31, 2012 6:08 am

Edward squinted his eyes against the sun, then frowned.

"It does indeed seem so ... although what they should be doing here is rather a mystery to me. The last letter from Colonel Fletcher stated quite clearly that he had no other engineers to spare for this district. Let's see what this means."

He allowed Trueno to fall into a light gallop towards the two men. His hand stayed close by his pistol, however. It would be rather ironic, he thought, if for once French officers got confussed with engineers ...

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