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Fourth Night in Camp

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Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:47 am

Young Carty had brightened up considerably as the day wore on - he had joined in when they started singing, although he had not known most of the words, let alone the order in which to sing them. When the song was over, Harris had gone over them with the boy. You joined the army, and ended up as a teacher anyway, he thought. But Carty, when not frightened, was a willing pupil, always eager to learn more.

By the time they reached the campsite for the night, he seemed to have entirely forgotten his fears of the morning, and Harris had no qualms about enlisting the boy, and a couple of others, to help him fetch water, for tea and to cook their rations for the night. Of course, they were downstream, and had to walk up to find a place where the water was still clean, where men from all the regiments mixed together with their big cauldrons.

Carrying the cauldron between them, with two kettles and cans, slung over the other shoulder, Harris and Carty climbed back up from the river bed. The sight of the 33rd's flag made Harris look out for the Sergeant who had been blamed for Cotton's trouble, but their men seemed just like any other redcoats, and they passed on towards their own camp.

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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:57 am

"Haver list na soldier again, an diabhal be me sergeant!" Carty sang, concentrating on not swinging his arm and thus spilling the water from the kettles. "That right, Harris? Why an diabhal?"

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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2008 9:10 am

"A devil," said Harris automatically. "Because you'd be a fool to enlist, if you knew what was in store - it's only a song, and sung by soldiers, probably to annoy their sergeants. And the only thing worse than an annoyed sergeant is the devil." They were coming closer to their own unit, the flags that marked the different companies bore the number 62. But that did not mean safety.

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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2008 9:21 am

"Then," Carty began, his brows crossing in confusion, "why we sing it? If the song makes sergeant angry, and we know angry sergeant is bad, why sing the song? And Sergeant Harper ain't like an diabhal. He is like... Cú Chulainn. You know Cú Chulainn, Harris - you are clever, you will know Cú Chulainn. You know the story of Derbforgaill? When the ladies of Ulster kill Derbforgaill, I get cold! You know the Táin Bó Cúailnge?"

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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2008 9:29 am

"I've heard of Cuchulan," Harris said carefully, "but not the others. You must tell them to me, but in English. It will be good practice for you. A whole tale in English."

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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2008 9:34 am

"Whole tale - I tell whole tale last night! That was bad tale, but I know good tale! But tale of Derbforgaill also bad tale, at end, and I go cold! But good start to tale of Derbforgaill. My mother says bad tale all though, no tell bad tale, but my father says good tale, and the snow! The snow tale! Ha! Right, beginning of Derbforgaill-tail. Um. What is name for daughter of a king?"

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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2008 9:43 am

The voice attacted Waldegrave's attention. It was the same voice he had heard a couple of nights earlier, and the accent and the foreign words made it almost as incomprehensible as before. He stood up, outside the small shelter that his men were erecting in this bare camping ground, and looked around for the source of the voice.

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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2008 9:58 am

"Derbforgaill is the duaghter of king of Lochlann - um, dun' know where; to east and north - and she love Cú Chulainn from tales she hear, and she and her lady turn into birds - big, white birds, with long-" Carty indicated his neck. "You know - the birds!"

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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2008 10:18 am

"Swans?" Harris guessed from Carty's gestures. "They float on the water looking ...

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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2008 10:21 am

"Yes, yes, swans! Swans, swans, swans. So, Derbforgaill and her lady fly like swans to Loch Cuan to see Cú Chulainn. Only, they is swans, so Lugaid Riab nDerg and Cú Chulainn throws stone to kill the swans!"

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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2008 10:21 am

The voice, high and clear, came from one of two riflemen carrying water in a pot, that slopped at the boy made gestures to accompany his speech.

"You. Rifleman, come here."

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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2008 10:24 am

Carty's smile vanished, to be replaced by a look of absolute terror. "Ah, ah, I?" He looked wide-eyed from Waldegrave to Harris, and back to Waldegrave.

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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2008 10:33 am

Harris looked round, and saw the lieutenant, his face as round and pink as an officer's should be, with a small tight smile, and a glint in the eyes that might have been amusement if the mouth had not said something different.

The pot made it impossible to evade the man so Harris acknowledged him. "Sir?"

Waldegrave's eyes slid across him, and back to the boy. "Not you," he said dismissively. "You. You remember me, don't you? Or were you too drunk?"


Last edited by Rifleman Harris on Wed Oct 08, 2008 10:39 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Richard Sharpe on Wed Oct 08, 2008 10:35 am

Sharpe had gone down to the river for a quick dip and was returning to the 95th's bivouac. He was some distance behind Carty and Harris, and was pleased at the animation the young lad was showing, though he couldn't hear any distinct words.

His mind wasn't on what was going on; he was thinking about how a training day would actually work out here, and wondering how Vickery's man was doing, when he suddenly became aware that all was not as it should be. Carty had frozen, shrinking closer to Harris.

He paused, waiting to see the reason.

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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2008 10:54 am

"Put the pot down," Harris muttered, as the boy's shaking threatened to spill it. With their luck it would probably go all over the boots of the officer who had walked up to them. "The lad doesn't drink, Sir."

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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2008 10:57 am

Carty shook his head, stepping backwards, closer to Harris, and spilling water over this boots. "No, sir, not drunk, sir. I- I think, sir, sorry, sorry, sir! Not drunk, sir, sorry, sir!" He put the pot down as Harris said. "Not drunk, sir."

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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:01 am

"Drunk, and assaulting an officer," said Waldegrave with relish. "I have been looking for you since you tried to knock me down. A serious offence, worth a flogging!" He watched the boy, with one eye on his older companion.

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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:03 am

A flogging... "No," Carty moaned, unconsciously moving backwards. "No, sir, please! I'm sorry!"


Last edited by Mícheál Carty on Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:20 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Richard Sharpe on Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:05 am

Waldegrave. It would be.

Sharpe stepped forwards. "What's goin' on here?" he asked authoritatively.

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O'er the hills and o'er the main
Through Flanders, Portugal and Spain
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Richard Sharpe
Captain

Species : 95th Rifles; Lieutenant
Number of posts : 2686
Location : First on the field and the last off it!
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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:07 am

"Mister Sharpe!" Mícheál sobbed. "Please, Mister Sharpe, I din' mean to!"

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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:09 am

"This man," Waldegrave gestured towards Carty, "assaulted me two nights ago. He tried to knock me down, and then ran before I could have him arrested for it. It was pure luck that I have just recognized him." As I recognize you, he thought, but smiled quite pleasantly at the officer. Who was nothing but an old lieutenant, who would never make captain.

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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Richard Sharpe on Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:12 am

"All right, Carty, calm down. He's not going to hurt you."

He looked at Waldegrave for a moment without saying anything. "Rifleman Carty wouldn't hurt a fly. He certainly wouldn't knock down an officer he'd never met before. And I don't think it very brave to pick on someone who can't fight back."

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O'er the hills and o'er the main
Through Flanders, Portugal and Spain
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Richard Sharpe
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Species : 95th Rifles; Lieutenant
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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:21 am

"He is a private, and I am not picking on him." It was a shame that Sharpe had turned up now. Better if he had found out once charges had been laid formally. "I am concerned about discipline and the right way of doing things. That includes ensuring that assaults on officers are punished, not covered up by the assailant's officers. Or do you mean that you encourage such behaviour?" They were gathering some attention now, from the men of his own company among others, and he did not wish to stand here exchanging insults with Sharpe.

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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Richard Sharpe on Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:30 am

"Assault is a very strong word, Lieutenant, and I doubt very much you have the proof to back it up. On the other hand, someone accidentally walking into a Rifleman in the dark is quite understandable."

He wanted to wipe the smirk off the other officer's face, but remembered Edrington's warning. It was as much as he could do to offer him a way out, although he thought Waldegrave far too much of a boor and a bully to take it - or even see it for what it was.

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O'er the hills and o'er the main
Through Flanders, Portugal and Spain
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Richard Sharpe
Captain

Species : 95th Rifles; Lieutenant
Number of posts : 2686
Location : First on the field and the last off it!
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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

Post  Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:39 am

"Proof? My own evidence is proof enough, I think. And I expect the Colonel will agree. Your Rifleman was drunk..." Waldegrave hesitated, as if considering the other's words. Men had been convicted of assault on much less evidence than that, but given the genially innocent face... He did not, after all, want to see the boy hanged! "Drunk and incoherent, and if he tells me so, I will accept that his condition made him uncommonly clumsy. It was nighttime, after all." He smiled, as if conceding a point.

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Re: Fourth Night in Camp

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