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The Middies' Berth

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The Middies' Berth

Post  George Thompson on Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:44 am

What had the lad done now? Thompson couldn't say, and wasn't about to ask the youngster. Whatever it was, it couldn't be good, if De Guarde were to be confined down here again. And so soon after being allowed up on deck, too. It probably had something to do with Chase, or one of the other sailors, though. It wasn't really any of his concern though.

What was his concern was drying off his musket just as soon as hoe could, however, and he managed to snaffle a dry cloth from his sea-chest as they passed through the Marines' berthdeck. He ran it over the barrel and stock of his musket, conscious of the lad watching him.

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George Thompson
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Re: The Middies' Berth

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Nov 08, 2008 4:51 am

As if in dream the young lad walked before the marine, stunned and shocked so that he couldn't even talk or feel. The lieutenant's words repeated themselves in his mind. And each time they stang more. Not required above, relieved from duty, sent to the midshipman's berth. All bad, yet almost well. It was the last though that had the boy tremble and shiver. Suggest to be turned before the mast? He felt his throat contract again and the urge to sob was strong as he entered the middy's berth where he was to be confined. He didn't look at Thompson, feeling cold and empty. Before the mast.

His former captain would not have done it, the lieutenants would not have suggested it. Not because they favoured their middies. Never, it was to enforce that the midshipmen did not hold back with authority. The captain's way. The Confidence's way.

He waited when he heard the man stop. He watched him unfeeling. It was bizzare how atentive he was to that motion of the redcoated lad, who was pulling a dry cloth from his chest to tend to his weapon. And then how he had began to wipe his weapon clean.

He slumped against his own chest, one in the middy's berth and didn't even seem to feel the pain of his rump. atleast not for the moment, for there was pain shown later. He would have been in doubt of the captain's decision but here.. two out of three.. .no, three out of three lieutenants would demand the same, the middies would vote for it, the crew would support it and even if the captain would have been against it, he wouldn't have a choice but to say yes.

"....p..put before the.. mast..."He finally stammered, speaking to himself. "..n..no.." His voice broke and tears slid down his cheeks, one by one, hot and clear.

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Re: The Middies' Berth

Post  George Thompson on Sat Nov 08, 2008 5:00 am

Thompson had thought to give the lad a little privacy, but he couldn't help overhearing the soft, broken words, and he couldn't ignore them, or the hurt that so obviously lay behind them.

Sentry or not, he turned to see the lad slumped on a sea-chest, shoulders shaking.

"Here, lad," he said, concerned. "Here, c'm on." He held the cloth out, feeling awkward, unsure of what to do. This was the boy who'd had a sailor flogged not four hours after coming aboard, after all. And yet here he was, looking so lost and lonely that Thompson wondered if there had been some mistake.

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Re: The Middies' Berth

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Nov 08, 2008 5:09 am

He looked up, gently rubbing a hand against his cheeks. He blinked at the offered cloth, sniffling. Slowly he took it and looked away curling up against the chest. He was silent, except for the soft sobs, and he rubbed the cloth against his face and then he hid it under the fabric and so muffled his sounds.

He didn't want to be a mere sailor, it frightened him and it hurt him. Pain he could take, he'd been able to and he would cry and he would walk stiffly, but then in a few weeks it would be gone and done with. But this.. this meant he would have to leave the safety of the midshipman's berth. And it meant he would have no authority, nothing. He would be the same as the ones against which he was so vile and mean. The same as them men, t' scoundrels.

He was afraid too. Before he was safe because he was a midshipman, now he was... well he was still a midshipman now, but if he was turned, then he would be nothing.

"... c.. can't do that... he can't do that, right?"

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Re: The Middies' Berth

Post  George Thompson on Sat Nov 08, 2008 5:16 am

The ship was still at quarters, so they were unlikely to be disturbed, which could only be a good thing, or Thompson was courting trouble himself. He nodded. "'Fraid he can, sir. You'm... you'm rated midshipman, like Chase is rated Able Seaman, or Colburn's rated bosun's mate. And that means the Cap'n can disrate you, too. Ain't so bad, though."

Any middy would hate it, sure. He tried to think of something to say to comfort the lad. "Best captain I ever had got turned afore the mast, once, when he was a middy," he said.

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Re: The Middies' Berth

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Nov 08, 2008 5:23 am

"..I know... I know's possible but.. your cap'n.. he wouldn't?" He was afraid, terrified even. It was an insult. A strike with the blade where it hurt and he wanted to take part in the battle too. Wanted to prove himself! Well, atleast show that he was able, as he was strict.

He banged his fists against the wooden side of his chest.

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Re: The Middies' Berth

Post  George Thompson on Sat Nov 08, 2008 5:33 am

"I don't know, sir. He might." The Marine shrugged, feeling a little uncomfortable. "But it ain't all bad, sir, I promise."

He found himself sitting next to the boy, unsure quite how he'd got there. If anyone came by now, he was going to be in trouble, but that didn't matter right now.

"There's plenty of things you can learn, bein' a sailor, y'know," he said.

(OOC - dinner time! Back soon!)

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Re: The Middies' Berth

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Nov 08, 2008 6:04 am

"NO!... No. I'm not like them, men! I'm better." He shook his head sharply. " I'm a midshipman .. I should be an officer, a lieutenant someday, n' captain! Not a dirty .. filthy...."His voice trailed off, and he began to sob again. He deserved it yes, but it didn't mean he would have liked it, would have been glad about it.

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Re: The Middies' Berth

Post  George Thompson on Sat Nov 08, 2008 6:37 am

"Don't mean you won't be a Lieutenant some day," Thompson said, wondering if there was anything he could do. He slipped an arm round the lad, prepared to be pushed away, rebuffed and told to mind his own business. He wasn't used to seeing lads crying, though, and it unsettled him a bit and made him want to do something to help.

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Re: The Middies' Berth

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Nov 08, 2008 6:45 am

He stiffened and he wanted to shove Thompson away, and yell at him for daring such a transgression and tell him to sod off and go mind his business and that he would see Johnson for it, but then he found himself too weak and he found himself too frightened, and that arm around him felt warm, and so he did not do it.

".. You don't need ter gloat.. you know.." He murmured stiffly, though the edge was much taken from his voice when he thought again that he might be placed before the mast and how Yates would like that and possibly the rest of the crew too. More odd it was that he found solace in those that made to enforce rules, while he loathed those , that made them.

"I'm not... don't. .dare ter tell them I ..had tears in me eyes!"His eyes were red, his cheeks puffy. He rubbed them again ,and felt his lower lip trembling. He pulled at the arm that held him, but not to yank it away. Instead he pulled it close to him. Sharp, commanding, demanding and.. in a way wanting. He wanted to strike the lad to ease his frustration and yet at the same time he wanted to be comforted and feared that, because he felt that he would be vulnerable. That the man would use it. So torn between his emotions he was, that his actions were barely logical, and abrupt, confusing but done to seek solace.

"... don't tell 'em. ..Or ..or I'll...." Do nothing. He curled up and felt the pain of his bottom, and wanted to cry because of that too. " They won't do it. ..I know they won't." He finally looked convinced, and he wiped ruefully at his tears." They just threatened.. ter.. ter break me." He looked up at Thompson. "Threaten me, I know. Are you onto it as well?....."And he wished he was not, and that he was wrong in his paranoia, but at the same time that he was right. After all, if he was right then atleast he had nothing to cry for.

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Re: The Middies' Berth

Post  George Thompson on Sat Nov 08, 2008 6:59 am

The lad stiffened and shifted and at first Thompson thought he was moving to push the Marine away, only he abruptly pulled Thompson's arm closer, tighter around him. Whatever else the lad was, confused seemed to be the word that described him best right now.

"Yer don't need to gloat, you know," the lad murmured, his voice somewhat muffled, and that made Thompson stiffen a little, before sighing and relaxing his posture a little. "I'm not... don't. .dare ter tell them I ..had tears in me eyes!" the middy continued, swiping almost angrily at his eyes with the rag he was holding. He curled up a little more and carried on speaking. "... don't tell 'em. ..Or ..or I'll...."

The expected threat didn't come, however, and Thompson looked down at the lad, frowning in puzzlement.

"Now, why for would I be tellin' the lads? Ain't none of their business, is it? Sir. And I weren't gloatin', neither, sir. Why would I do that?" he said. He sighed. The lad seemed confused all right, and appeared to think everyone was out to get him. "I dunno, sir. But it ain't like Mister Bush to threaten to break anyone. He ain't that sort of officer. An' I sure as hell ain't onto anythin'. 'M only a Marine Private, you know, sir."

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George Thompson
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Re: The Middies' Berth

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Nov 08, 2008 7:05 am

" I don't know." He answered. If Bush wasn't one to threaten to break anyone, it meant that he'd really crossed the line this time. And then it was real, after the fighting it would happen. He wasn't sure. Believe it, or pretend it wouldn't happen? He just wasn't sure about anything any more. It looked like a nightmare, unreal.

"...yer going to stay here, when t' fightin' starts?" He wanted to be up there, but knew that he wouldn't be able to. Miss out all the action. It was like sending a child to the corner when you allowed the other kids to play close by.

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Re: The Middies' Berth

Post  George Thompson on Sat Nov 08, 2008 7:15 am

"I been told to," Thompson said, a little annoyed that he might miss out on any fighting, though he hoped he'd kept it out of his voice. "There's allus another time though, sir."

He sighed a little. "Do you... do you want to talk about it, sir?"

It wasn't like standing guard on someone in irons, after all. There was nowhere De Guarde could go, and talking would pass the time quicker for both of them. Although, this was the lad who'd had a good man flogged for no real reason, but Thompson didn't know why he'd been confined down here yet again. Resenting the boy wasn't going to help anyone, though, and he did look so alone that Thompson felt sorry for him and wondered what had made him the way he was. It wasn't right for someone his age to be like that, it really wasn't.

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Re: The Middies' Berth

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Nov 08, 2008 7:25 am

Ah, in a way Thompson was being punished to. For nothing that he had done, but for being a marine in need to stand sentry. As strange at it was, it was a comforting thought to the boy. In the same boat for the time being. Neither of them was permitted to go on deck, for going there would mean disobeying orders. If Thompson did it, he would be in trouble with both the officers of the navy and his own, corporal Johnson. And the later was a terrible thing to look forward to. If the young midshipman did it, he might end up on the first ship home, thrown from the navy in greatest dishonour.

No, neither would go and do something like that, and both were not allowed , even if for different reasons. He sighed heavily and leaned back a little. He shifted to the side and eased pressure from his bum.

"Talk... about it , private?... about what?" He was startled. Lost in thought a moment ago, and just lost in general.

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Re: The Middies' Berth

Post  George Thompson on Sat Nov 08, 2008 7:31 am

"I dunno, sir. About anythin'. Only, talkin' will make time go quicker, and I don't s'pose you want me to go stand at the door so all you see of me is me back, like. Or would you rather I talked about summat instead? Or d'you just want me to shut up?"

If nothing else, he could find something to think about, the way he always did when on sentry somewhere. You didn't serve for twelve years as one of His Majesty's Royal Marines without finding some way of keeping yourself awake on watch, after all.

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Re: The Middies' Berth

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Nov 08, 2008 7:35 am

This private was.. a peculiar fellow. He was friendly, though it could have been, that he was just a marine and thus not inclined to the loathing of the sailors, but it seemed to come more from the core of the lad. More personal, a trait which he carried in him. It startled the boy and it felt for a moment, as if he were drawn to that, like a moth to flame.

A moment passed, and though he found himself shying away, he still considered the suggestion he was given. "...I guess....You talk." He spoke slightly forcefully, though under that tone and that facade, there was something more there, and a tiny bit kinder, but too afraid to come out.

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Re: The Middies' Berth

Post  George Thompson on Sat Nov 08, 2008 7:42 am

"You talk," the lad said, slightly forcefully, though without the slightly hard edge that seemed to accompany most things he said.

Though there was something about the boy, something Thompson couldn't name, couldn't describe, even, that made him wonder whether the boy was as cruel as he seemed to be. Something made the Marine think that cruelty was learned, wasn't natural to the boy. No wonder the lad seemed to be confused.

He grinned, though it was slightly forced. "Right enough, then, sir. Only, I don't know what you'd like to hear me talk about."

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Re: The Middies' Berth

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Nov 08, 2008 7:46 am

"..Anything." He answered and was distracted for the while, trying to think what he could suggest. It was so odd that this was actually helping him take his mind of what he feared and worried and would cry about. A good trick, no less.

" Yourself. " He shrugged his shoulders. He didn't know him, how could he know what he was able to offer as a topic then?

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Re: The Middies' Berth

Post  George Thompson on Sat Nov 08, 2008 7:59 am

"All right, sir. I'm Private Thompson, of the Royal Marines, and I reckon I'm about twenty-six. Been in the Marines for twelve years, and I joined 'cause it was that or get pressed. I'm from Chatham, and most men there are in the Army, or the Navy, or they work in the dockyard. And by the time I was fourteen, I knew that the pressgang was goin' to find me sooner or later. So I thought that if I was goin' to end up at sea anyway, I'd sooner choose my own way. And I'd allus liked the uniforms the soldiers had, but I used to wander down to the river to watch the ships comin' or goin', and wonder where they'd been and what it was like."

He sighed, remembering. "So I upped and wandered down the Dock Road one day to the Marine barracks and took the shillin'."

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Re: The Middies' Berth

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Nov 08, 2008 8:06 am

"Chose it then?... didn' run away like mos' of them young boys did.." He was surprised the lad wasn't pressed and he felt scorn for those who ran and fled. But for him, he wondered if he was a fool to join, or so loyal to his own country. Perhaps more the later, which made Thompson rise in the boy's eyes, like it or not. ".. Yer.. loyal, sir? ...heart n' soul fer t' king?"

He sniffed and wiped his nose on the cloth, for his cuff had buttons and they would catch on his face. Not a pleasant thought.

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Re: The Middies' Berth

Post  George Thompson on Sat Nov 08, 2008 8:21 am

"I ain't a sir. You'm the officer, I'm just a Private, me, sir." He thought for a moment. "'M loyal to me mates, o' course. And to the Terpsy, right 'nuff. Goes without saying I'm loyal to th'Captain, too. So, aye, I reckon I'm loyal to th'King. Never seen him, o' course, nor never will, likely."

He drew one knee up, and rested his free arm on it. His musket was lying on the deck by his side, where he could put his hand on it, if it was needed.

"So what else d'you want to know 'bout me, then?" he said, realising it was the first time any officer had really asked to know anything beyond the various things written in the muster book that summed up his life in the Navy in a few short, terse words.

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Re: The Middies' Berth

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Nov 08, 2008 8:26 am

( habit, habit, habit x.X makes one a funny rabbit! )

"..Was this your first ship?" He found himself asking without thinking to. His mind distracted, he wouldn't be crying nor thinking ill thoughts or trying to see danger where there was none, and hate where there was just frustration. It was a foreign yet pleasant sensation and made his worries squirm to the back of his mind for now. He still loathed Kinsella for telling on him, but even the thought of that boy was not present at the moment.

" N' .." What could he ask? Well he was an officer at present, so anything was fair game! Personal or less so: "....how was your life.. starting of, firs' time you came to show your face in t' red like?"

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Re: The Middies' Berth

Post  George Thompson on Sat Nov 08, 2008 8:44 am

Thompson grinned. "Been in th'Marines for twelve year, sir. Terpsy ain't me first ship. That were Vixen, a twelve-gun sloop." He paused and took a breath.

"Only, seems I'd best start at the beginning. I joined in the year of the Nore Mutiny, and spent six months trainin' in the Chatham barracks afore I joined me first ship, an' I hated ev'ry minute of it, 'cause I had a bastard of a sergeant. Stuck it out, though, an' got posted to Vixen. She were a lively little thing, right enough. Spent two years on her, mostly in the Western Med, round Gibraltar. Missed Camperdown, 'cause of that, like. Then I was on shore doin' duty at the Admiralty for a couple of months afore I got posted to Temmyrare. She'm a second-rate, ninety-eight guns, and she'm the biggest ship I ever bin on. Was on her till just afore the Peace, when I got posted back to Chatham. Was s'posed to be discharged - 's why I was back at Chatham, see, me bein' fr'm the Chatham division. Only then the war started again and I was on the receivin' ship afore I got posted to Calypso frigate, then Surprise frigate a year later, then Mistral brig, then Berry sloop f'r a couple of months, then here."

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George Thompson
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Re: The Middies' Berth

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Nov 08, 2008 8:57 am

Twelve years had quite a few ships to follow any man around, and while he was but a toddler this man was already fighting for his country. Twelve long years. Some time in peace perhaps, but most, out there in the land.. or sea of danger and on the various ships that he could or could not enjoy. He found himself staring at the man, mouth agape.

Quickly he turned and glared at the floor, ashamed that he was so obvious or that he'd reacted so, ready to be ridiculed by the marine.

"..What were they like?.. t' ships you were on. ..Tell. from ter beginnin' ter t' las.. ." As much as he sounded like he was ordering the man, under that tone was masked the genuine curiosity he was not willing to show, but posessed none the less.

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Re: The Middies' Berth

Post  George Thompson on Sat Nov 08, 2008 9:05 am

"You could say 'please' once in a while, sir," Thompson observed mildly. "Vixen was me first time at sea, ever, an' she was a skittish little thing. There weren't so many of us Marines there, only about eighteen, under Corporal Davies. He made every one of us go up the mast three times, at least." He grinned. "Y'see, sir, Marines don't have to go aloft, ever, and those of us who do are volunteers, like. But he made us all do it, to find whether we liked it or not, an' I found I liked it plenty, so I volunteered to be a sharpshooter. Means I'm up aloft in battle, firin' from the top - the platform. Anyway. Vixen was very little, an' I near knocked meself out, comin' to attention, the first time I was posted on the magazine, when the Corp'l came round."

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George Thompson
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Species : Royal Marine Corporal
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Re: The Middies' Berth

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