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11th June; On Styles

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11th June; On Styles

Post  Cross Johnson on Tue Dec 31, 2013 11:20 am

It was, Johnson thought, well past time he had a chat with his new counterpart on the matter of the Shepherds. The twins represented a fresh problem and both corporals had addressed that problem at different times, but it seemed to Johnson that only he had gone about the business correctly. Which meant Thompson needed bringing into line. There was only one way to properly deal with the Shepherds and that was firmly. None of that softly-softly foolery that Thompson seemed to favour so.

"Here, we needs a chat, you'n'me," Johnson said, addressing himself to the other corporal without preamble or even greeting as he set his hat down onto the mess-table.

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Re: 11th June; On Styles

Post  George Thompson on Tue Dec 31, 2013 11:36 am

"We do?" Thompson looked up from sewing a tear in his second pair of trousers and only just prevented himself from adding 'Corporal' to the end of his sentence. Not that he wanted to be rude, of course, but they were the same rank now and he was not going to let the other think he still outranked him.

What the hell he'd done, though, he couldn't imagine. He couldn't think that he'd missed doing any part of his duty, even though he was still getting to grips with it.

"What about?" he asked, preparing to shift topside - or somewhere away from earwigging Marines. "Mind your own business, Grattan!" he added, noticing someone listening in, while trying (and failing) to look as though he wasn't.

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Re: 11th June; On Styles

Post  Cross Johnson on Tue Dec 31, 2013 2:25 pm

"We do," Johnson confirmed flatly. "About the Shepherds."

Let the lads whose interest had been caught stew on that! Not that it was likely any great surprise that the Shepherds had again come to the corporals' attention.

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Re: 11th June; On Styles

Post  George Thompson on Tue Dec 31, 2013 8:17 pm

He couldn't say he was exactly surprised.

"What've them imps done now?" he said, indicating the empty seat across the table in case Johnson wanted to sit down unless he'd prefer topside.

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Re: 11th June; On Styles

Post  Cross Johnson on Wed Jan 01, 2014 2:35 am

Good God. 'What've them imps done now?' Either Thompson was playing dumb - passingly likely - or he had no idea what Johnson wished to discuss - more than passingly likely likely. Neither option did anything to elevate the other Marine in Johnson's estimation.

"You lot. Clear off." Johnson looked pointedly at the handful of men nearest them. He was not going topside for this, where he had no idea who might be loitering too close by. Down here, at least, he could ensure there was a nominally private setting.

"I'm fair sure you knows what they've been up to," he went on, dropping gracelessly down onto the table's bench. "You havin' took a goodly bit of booty off 'em, after a fashion."

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Re: 11th June; On Styles

Post  George Thompson on Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:30 am

"Jus' 'cause I took it off 'em don't mean I know what they was doin' with it," Thompson pointed out. "They didn't have any good reason to have it, so I confiscated it."

They hadn't even had a bad reason to have it.

He waited till the nearest tables had been vacated. "Does anyone ever know what them scamps're up to, till they've done it?" he said.

It wasn't hard to figure out when they were up to something, but figuring out what, and catching them at it was quite another kettle of fish!

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Re: 11th June; On Styles

Post  Cross Johnson on Wed Jan 01, 2014 4:25 am

Johnson lifted an eyebrow slightly. "Takin' things off lads 'cause they ain't got a good reason to have 'em is a new rule, is it?" If that was so... heh. Maybe he should have taken that ha'penny off Shepherd the other day when he'd caught him and Oxley nattering away on deck. Since there had been no good reason for the lad to have it! Done Oxley's pipeclaying indeed!

"What all was it then, if it was needin' confiscatin'?"

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Re: 11th June; On Styles

Post  George Thompson on Wed Jan 01, 2014 5:44 am

"About three shillin's in mixed coin - not all of 'em was coppers, neither - an' a whole mess o' buttons. 'Cludin' an officer's button." And if Johnson wouldn't have confiscated it, Thompson hadn't a clue what else he could have done. There was no sort of way possible anyone could turn a blind eye to the lads having that.

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Re: 11th June; On Styles

Post  Cross Johnson on Wed Jan 01, 2014 6:00 am

"An' you would've asked after why-for they had all that."

Three shillings' worth in mixed coin, with an assortment of buttons besides, was a little more than the lads were likely to have. Johnson was suspicious of that, but for his own reasons.

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Re: 11th June; On Styles

Post  George Thompson on Wed Jan 01, 2014 6:08 am

"Like you wouldn't've," Thompson returned, equably. "If they'd got it from honest graft, that's one thing, but them scamps never give a plain answer to a plain question if there's summat fishy they need to hide." Unlike some folks, who'd spin a yarn so well you'd believe them if they told you the sky was sea-blue pink.

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Re: 11th June; On Styles

Post  Cross Johnson on Wed Jan 01, 2014 6:25 am

"That," said Johnson blandly, "is neither here or there. So's you asked 'em 'bout it, had an answer, then took it off 'em anyway. Right, whatever. They're already gatherin' coins up again anyway."

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Re: 11th June; On Styles

Post  George Thompson on Wed Jan 01, 2014 6:41 am

"Not quite," Thompson said, pushing his needlework to one side and clasping his hands on the rough deal planking of the mess-table. "The whole lot was given me by one o' the boys who told me plain as day he'd found it in the Shepherds' sea-chest. He's lucky I didn't larrup him round the ear for goin' divin', but that ain't the point. So's I takes it off him, like you would, an' go to see them twins to see if they'd like to tell me where they got the stuff, which they wouldn't." He shrugged. "An' so I tell 'em fair's fair, if they don't know nothin' about it, it'll go to the Widows' Fund, which it ain't yet but will do."

And if there was anything in there that he could have done better, he'd like to know what - bearing in mind Corporal Johnson wasn't the sort to stand for any nonsense either, of course.

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Re: 11th June; On Styles

Post  Cross Johnson on Wed Jan 01, 2014 7:00 am

Now that changed the game, didn't it? Christ. It was all Johnson could do not to pinch the bridge of his nose in exasperation. If he had been the one involved...

"Where's it gone to now?"

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Re: 11th June; On Styles

Post  George Thompson on Wed Jan 01, 2014 7:58 am

Thompson straightened a little and gave the senior Corporal a level look. "I still ain't got to the bottom of things, so I've still got hold of it - though I gave Maple the officer's button back. Figured if it wasn't Mister Sewell's to start with, it'd be good for spares - 'sides, he's the only one of us that has them brass buttons anyway."

Now, just why was Johnson so interested in all this, anyway?

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Re: 11th June; On Styles

Post  Cross Johnson on Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:15 am

"Let's have it out, then."

He didn't care a whit about any officer's buttons or such-like, and thus didn't listen to the rest of Thompson's statement. All that mattered was the revelation that the other corporal was still in possession of the collection of coins.

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Re: 11th June; On Styles

Post  George Thompson on Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:24 am

Thompson frowned. "What d'you want it for?" he asked reasonably. "It's goin' to the Widows an' Orphans' Fund."

Thompson was the one who'd been dealing with this so why Johnson wanted to butt in over it, he couldn't fathom. There was no way that the other Corporal could be in cahoots with the Shepherd twins, there just wasn't - that would be completely out of character.

Unless there was something going on that Thompson didn't know about, which was highly likely - but involving Johnson?

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Re: 11th June; On Styles

Post  Cross Johnson on Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:50 am

Whatever Thompson did with the money was no business of Johnson's. It only mattered that he had the bundle out now, so he could settle this whole mess.

"That's fine an' lovely. Have it out anyway. Here, Shepherds! Get here. Now."

The twins hesitated just a moment too long before scampering across the deck to stand at rigid attention before the mess-table. One of them had shoe-black all over his hands and the other was sporting something that looked suspiciously like the beginnings of a bruise on the base of his jaw. Damned pair of rascals, these two...

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Re: 11th June; On Styles

Post  George Thompson on Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:56 am

Thompson just about managed not to say anything. It'd be nice if Johnson at least gave him an idea what he was about, anyway.

He gave a mental shrug and turned to switch sewing for the various coins and other oddments that were the centre of all the goings-on. He laid the roughly-wrapped bundle on the table between himself and the senior Corporal, but kept a hand on it just in case Johnson didn't want the Shepherds to see it yet.

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Re: 11th June; On Styles

Post  Cross Johnson on Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:20 am



"Which of you's got that ha'penny from Oxley?" Johnson asked by way of preamble. He suspected it would be the Shepherd sporting the young bruise, but one could never be sure of who was who with these two.

The twins did not look at each other and the one with the shoe-blacked hands said, "What ha'penny - "

"I'll play no games here, boy. Is it you's got it, or your brother?"

Without a word, the unfilthy Shepherd stuck a hand into his trouser pocket and produced two coins, which he held out after an obvious pause. That wasn't so hard, was it? Johnson took the two farthings with a half-suppressed grunt.

"Three shillings an' a ha'penny for the Widows an' Orphans Fund now, it is."


Last edited by Cross Johnson on Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:47 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: 11th June; On Styles

Post  George Thompson on Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:27 am

"Right," Thompson said. "Three shillin's ha'penny it is." He said nothing more, merely slipping the two farthings into the bundle before resting his elbows on the table and cupping his chin in his clasped hands, keeping his eyes on the two boys even as he let the bundle come into full view.

He wasn't quite sure where Johnson was going with this, but was more than happy to play along.

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Re: 11th June; On Styles

Post  Cross Johnson on Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:30 am



Judging by the expression on the face of the unfilthy Shepherd, the chosen tactic was working. Good.

"Next time you'll know better than to go round makin' bets with sailors," Johnson went on. He was only half-sure about that but he had overheard enough of the two drummers' conversations yesterday to make it a more than reasonable assumption.

"I ain't - " the unfilthy Shepherd began before shutting himself up.


Last edited by Cross Johnson on Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:47 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: 11th June; On Styles

Post  George Thompson on Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:35 am

"You ain't what, Thomas?" Thompson said, quick to pounce on the half-spoken protest.

Let them wonder how he knew which was which - he'd figured out the other day that it was Thomas not Andrew Shepherd who was at fault this time. Therefore, it must have been Thomas who'd got the ha'penny - Sticks hadn't known anything about it and wouldn't want to recoup his losses.

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Re: 11th June; On Styles

Post  Cross Johnson on Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:45 am



"I ain't nothin'. Corporal."

A pretty piece of defiance, but too little too late. Johnson sat forward a little. "Shall I have Oxley down to get the story outta him, then?" He only waited a heartbeat before turning partially away to call for Ware.

"It were only for doin' Oxley's crossbelt," Thomas said, sounding very nearly pleading, a flicker of fear crossing his face. Tellingly, his brother said nothing but stared almost sightlessly at the bundle of coins on the mess-table.


Last edited by Cross Johnson on Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:48 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: 11th June; On Styles

Post  George Thompson on Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:51 am

Now, what did Thomas have to be afraid about, Thompson wondered, noticing the lad's expression change, so quickly as to escape someone who wasn't watching him at the time.

There was a pause while Ware got his things together and went up to send Oxley down. The other drummer appeared a moment later, a confused look on his face that changed to apprehension at seeing both Corporals sitting there waiting, along with both the twins.

"Corp'ral...s?" he said, looking from one to the other and coming to attention, though the puzzlement was still there on his face.

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Re: 11th June; On Styles

Post  Cross Johnson on Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:00 pm

"Which Tar was it Thomas here's been layin' bets with?" Johnson enquired. He could sense blood in the water and was as keen on the kill as a shark, now.

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