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After the Battle

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After the Battle

Post  Guest on Wed Nov 26, 2008 10:55 am

Lieutenant George trod heavily across the deck to where the Captain was standing, surveying the damage to the ship. His hat was sitting uncomfortable on the bandages, but it gave an air of formality to what he had been asked to say. Lieutenant Bush, over on the Victorieuse, was too throng to come back, and Mr Leat was injured - not badly they said, not like poor Mr Dunnock...

He coughed to attract the Captain's attention, and saluted.

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Re: After the Battle

Post  Richard Bolitho on Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:07 am

Hearing someone cough nearby, Bolitho turned and saw George standing behind him.

"Yes Mr. George. What is it?"

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Richard Bolitho
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Re: After the Battle

Post  Guest on Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:15 am

"Well done, Sir. I am sorry about ... A great shame, and a loss." George looked embarrassed. This was not the time to raise such an embarrassing subject, but the young man could not be kept in purdah for ever - disrupting the ship nearly as much by being confined to the midshipmen's berth as he had before.

"It's an awkward time to raise this, Sir, but - it's about young de Guarde. Just before we actually engaged with the ship, he had gone back to the same damned ways, despite warnings, despite even the punishment. Threatening the men whatever they did, so that orders were not followed. It was Chase again, and others, he was picking on. So Mr Bush confined him to the berth, for you to reach a decision on once the engagement was over, Sir. He strongly advises - and Mr Leat and I agree on this - that the boy be disrated, for as long as it takes to teach him his duty and some sense of what is acceptable and what isn't."

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Re: After the Battle

Post  Richard Bolitho on Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:26 am

Bolitho blinked a few times, digesting this information, his mind still foggy from his pain and blood-loss. In all the excitement of the battle, he had not given much thought to De Guarde and his antics. So he had been up to his tricks again, and Bush had confined him to the midshipmen's berth. And now all three lieutenants supported disrating the boy. Well, Bolitho had to agree with them in that De Guarde had certainly done enough to warrant such a punishment. And since obviously kissing the gunner's daughter had not made him see the error of his ways, perhaps this would.

"So all three of you suggest that...that I disrate him?" he said at last, "Well...I must say I do think such a punishment might finally teach the boy a lesson....since it seems nothing else will do."

He paused, fighting back a sudden stab of pain in his side.

"Very well. I...I shall have Mr. De Guarde disrated."

[OOC: Argh, dinner time! I'll pop back later, but I think disrating De Guarde (hey, catchy title!) will have to wait 'till tomorrow.]

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Richard Bolitho
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Re: After the Battle

Post  Guest on Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:36 am

"I will have him sent for, Sir." George looked with concern at the Captain. "Might I suggest that you return to your cabin, sir. It has been restored - there was only minor damage, and I can keep an eye on things up here - not that I'm needed with Mr Tadcock and Chips..."

He cast an eye across to the Victorieuse. "Will you be needing to speak to Mr Bush, Sir? He did ask me to speak for him if possible... We did a deal of damage to the Frog."

[Have a nice dinner!]

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Re: After the Battle

Post  Richard Bolitho on Wed Nov 26, 2008 3:43 pm

"Yes...yes, I will retire to my cabin," Bolitho said, nodding, "And I will speak with Mr. De Guarde in there."

He too glanced across at the French frigate before adding, "I'm certain you...you have conveyed Mr. Bush's opinion very well, so I see no need to discuss this with him any further. Besides, he surely has his hands full on the Victorieuse right now. I would...much rather he continue overseeing the repairs instead. Carry on, Mr. George."

Then he turned and started making his way to the cabin.

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Richard Bolitho
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Re: After the Battle

Post  Richard Bolitho on Thu Nov 27, 2008 11:26 am

Now back in the Great Cabin, Bolitho found himself pacing back and forth as he waited for De Guarde to be brought in. His side still ached a good deal, and his incessant movement was not helping. But even so, he found it too difficult to sit still. The aftermath of the battle weighed heavily enough on his mind without having to worry about the aggravating midshipman as well. Thankfully Bush and George had taken charge of the repairs, so that was one less thing on his mind. But there was still the concern over all the wounded--especially Leat--and the impending funeral for the dead. Young Dunnock's death too still weighed on him, and he had to decide on a prize crew to command the Victorieuse as well. Now on top of all that, Bolitho had to wonder if he was doing the right thing by disrating De Guarde. He agreed the boy deserved it, but should he really be taking such rash action so quickly?

Abruptly, Bolitho stopped his pacing. Yes, he was right. De Guarde had been a little tyrant from the moment he had stepped aboard the Terpsichore. He needed to be taught a lesson. And if this drastic measure finally changed his attitude, then Bolitho would have no qualms about re-rating him later on.

Satisfied that he had made the proper choice after all, he turned to face the door, anticipating the imminent arrival of the soon-to-be ex-midshipman.

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Richard Bolitho
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Re: After the Battle

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Thu Nov 27, 2008 6:40 pm

(Come from Here! )

With his escort the young midshipman arrived at confident steps and halted before the door. There the captain was notified of his arrival and was asked if he would see him. It was most a formality, as the later was already demanded of the boy, by coming here.

He still kept that confident - you will let me back to my duties now - look on his face, still so confident that if Leat or Bush were here, they'd have been leaving with long faces at the captain's decision. Of course, once he was back there, with his midshipmen again, his sole presence as what he was, could be 'descreetly' rubbed into their faces. This brought the smile to broaden somewhat ,and he'd only forced it in a slightly more professional look, once he was told to enter.

"..Sir, you have sent for me." He spoke and saluted smartly again, then straightened some. Still no fear. The captain could not disrate him, it was of course unheared of and this man, he just did not seem like one who would do it, in the boy's opinion. And thus there was no reason to fear. Perhaps he would just be scolded, perhaps the captain would give him a harsh word. No problem there.

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Re: After the Battle

Post  George Thompson on Thu Nov 27, 2008 10:51 pm

Expect the worst, Thompson had told him, though from the look of things - and from what he'd said - the middy hadn't taken his advice. There was something undefinable about the way he stood that told Thompson he expected to remain a middy.

Though Bush had threatened to speak to the captain and have the lad disrated, and Thompson knew, and had tried to tell the lad that Bush was not one for making empty threats. But then, according to the lad's way of thinking, being a middy, he knew best. He could only hope that whatever happened wouldn't crush the lad's youthful resilience.

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Re: After the Battle

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Fri Nov 28, 2008 8:37 pm

The midshipman glanced briefly around the room he had entered. He wondered what the two marines were doing and if they were to remain in wait, or whether they were going to be sent to do their own duty of guarding. He couldn't right turn and look. Not with the captain's eyes on him. He would've seemed insolent, a child who couldn't stay in place for a short while, and a midshipman who took none of the reasons that brought him here seriously.

As much as the later was true, he wasn't as bold as to test his theory. Any man could change his mind if properly pressed. Every man had a price. That sort of thing.

He sighed and took a small breath, trying to clear his mind and concetrate on standing as right and as presentable as any midshipman should. It was hard to hide impatience, and even more to hide his smile of near triumph. Oh, he would have wished for the lieutenants to be here to witness their suggestions be disbanded. No captain would do such a thing, and they were fools to even suggest it.

His mind wandered briefly to the marines then, and the pleasant time he was having while in the berth. The stock he had tried on, the talk that was shared, as they did warmth. That was pleasant, though none would learn of it. Not from his mouth, nor from Thompson's! And he would see how to deal with Yates, once he was dismissed from this 'interview'.

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Re: After the Battle

Post  Tom Branning on Sat Nov 29, 2008 5:53 am

What could the captain possibly want with poor Mister De Guarde? Branning stood half a step to the midshipman's right, his blank expression hiding the unusual flurry of thoughts swirling around his head. He remembered that there had been an argument between the midshipman and Corporal Johnson. That must be why Mister De Guarde had been sent for.

Branning tightened his grip on his musket just slightly and wondered how Everett was doing.

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Re: After the Battle

Post  Richard Bolitho on Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:42 am

Bolitho stared at De Guarde for a long moment before speaking. The look on the boy's face told him plainly that he was not at all expecting the blow he was about to receive. Well, better to get it over and done with. No sense in delaying the inevitable.

"Yes...I sent for you, Mr. De Guarde," he began, "I understand that, before the battle, you had been...harrassing some of the sailors again. Now, I would have thought that...that your earlier punishment would have been enough to teach you a lesson, but it seems that has not been the case. It seems that more drastic measures are called for."

He paused for a moment, allowing that pronouncement to sink in, while he waited for De Guarde's reaction.

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Re: After the Battle

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:50 am

"Sir.."The boy began to protest before he found sense to get a hold of his tongue. What the captain had been told must've been stretched a great deal to portray him as a terribly guilty party. He wished to explain that he was not harrassing at all, but in ways requesting through greater means and manners, to be given the information which he was most interested in.

Still as he looked at the face of the captain, he thought it better to save his excuses for later. What could be a worse punishment than the caning? The puss? Well, he could easily go through that also. He took a small breath, held it and then smiled inwardly. Could only be that. Or more watch duty, or a combination of them all, perhaps.

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Re: After the Battle

Post  George Thompson on Sat Nov 29, 2008 9:00 am

Thompson was standing to attention behind the lad, looking at the view out of the Captain's stern window. Nice view too, with a lot of light in the Cabin.

He'd tried to tell the lad, but he didn't think he'd really understood what the Marine had been trying to say.

He did his best to tune the Captain's words out, and enjoy the light and air - a far cry from the lower deck.

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Re: After the Battle

Post  Richard Bolitho on Sat Nov 29, 2008 9:06 am

He'd been expecting some sort of defense from De Guarde, so Bolitho was mildly surprised when the boy silenced himself. This made him wait a moment longer before speaking. A stream of excuses would have given him all the impetus he needed to disrate the midshipman. But this unexpected silence made him think once more whether or not he was right to do this. He stared back at De Guarde, noticing that there was still a hint of a confident look on the boy's face. That did it. That gave him the needed impetus to let the axe fall.

"Since obviously the usual punishments will not make you learn your proper place, then I hope some time among the crew will have a better effect."

He took another pause, both to allow a brief stab of pain to pass, and to give his next words enough emphasis.

"Mr. De Guarde, I am disrating you. As of this moment, you are no longer a midshipman. You are now an able seaman."

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Re: After the Battle

Post  Guest on Sat Nov 29, 2008 9:10 am

Lieutenant George stood to one side, watching the Captain, knowing that until now the midshipman had not realized that Lieutenant's Bush's recommendation would be accepted. It was, he knew, the only possible decision. Everything he had seen about de Guarde said to him that only the most drastic measures would work - and they would have to be allowed to work over a long period to combat the boy's own refusal to accept his faults.

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Re: After the Battle

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Nov 29, 2008 9:16 am

He didn't really register what the captain said at first. So unreal he thought something of the sort to be that he stood in silence even once the captain had spoken. Then slowly he blinked. Was it some sort of a cruel joke that he did not know of , an act, a play of emotions that the captain so expertly concealed? He looked at the captain, studied him, watched him and waited that the man would burst in laughter, or just smile and say it was all a test.

Still the serious look that the man held on his face and his tone that was nothing but certain in what he was saying, had the boy slowly begin to grasp what just went on.

"..Sir.." He felt dizzy, cold, shocked and had an unhealthy pale, almost grey tint to his skin. "..sir..."

He began and felt himself uneasy on his feet. "....Sir.."He stammered, struggling to find words, his voice shaking and carying some of that shock and disbelief, for all to see:".. Sir...,you.. you are making... sir..." He felt the room swim before his eyes and he reached with his hand to his temple and then covered his eyes for a moment, trying to steady himself.

"..sir I..., you can't...Sir...it's not..."He wished to say it wasn't funny, that the joke was not amusing, and his voice was pleading, as if trying to beg the captain to tell him it wasn't true. "I... I''m a midshipman!" He spoke it as if it was his birth's right.

He didn't even see George there, didn't know he was there, just the captain and his outrageous sentence.

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Re: After the Battle

Post  George Thompson on Sat Nov 29, 2008 9:22 am

He'd tried to tell the lad, but he hadn't been able to understand it.

Thompson himself hadn't quite understood how the Captain could do such a thing, could only relay what he'd heard, what he knew about someone else. He hoped the lad could find some sort of strength, deep down, to accept it and learn from it, but this might be the hardest part of all: simply understanding what had just happened.

He looked at the lad, wondering if it would be all right to move to support him... but couldn't risk it, not here, under the Captain's eyes - in his own cabin.

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Re: After the Battle

Post  Richard Bolitho on Sat Nov 29, 2008 9:29 am

De Guarde's unbelieving reaction was just the sort of thing Bolitho had anticipated. The saddened look on the boy's face was enough to make him feel the slightest twinge of remorse. But he could not go back now. The sentence would have to be carried out. If there was any hope of De Guarde becoming a decent officer one day, he needed this. It was the only way.

"No, you are not," he said firmly, contradicting De Guarde's pleading declaration that he was still a midshipman, "You are an able seaman, and you shall be treated as one. And you had better treat your fellow seamen in a fair manner as well, and hope that they will not hold your past actions against you."

He glanced over at George and added, "Mr. George, please take De Guarde to see the purser, and have Foxley outfit him with all the necessary items of his new station."

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Re: After the Battle

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Nov 29, 2008 9:33 am

"N..no.." There was anguish and there was fear in his voice as there were tears in his eyes. "Please.." He knew, he sensed it, that no matter what he said, the captain would not change his decision, yet he tried, as a desperate man would to reach the last plank of wood.

"They'll kill me, sir!.. please!.. please no! " His shoulders were shaking and though he looked at George briefly as if only recognising his presence then, his eyes quickly returned back to the captain.

"Please! , sir!.. not..!"But he could not longer continue, his words caught in his throat, as his breathing was hitched.

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Re: After the Battle

Post  George Thompson on Sat Nov 29, 2008 9:37 am

He dared - he didn't know how he dared - to glance at the Captain and mouth, silently, "Please, sir."

They had tried to kill him once - and Thompson had been there to raise the alarm when he was thrown in the water. If there was anything he could do to help the lad, and prevent anything like that happening again, he would do it.

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Re: After the Battle

Post  Richard Bolitho on Sat Nov 29, 2008 9:45 am

Bolitho glanced away from De Guarde briefly, trying not to be moved by the boy's piteous display. His eyes alighted on Thompson, and he saw the Marine mouth "Please, sir," begging him not to go through with this. He shared Thompson's pity; De Guarde was only a boy and this was a harsh punishment to carry out. But he was also a King's officer, regardless of his age, and the lad's foolishness would have to end. This was the only way to do it. When he at last looked down at De Guarde again, he thought he would at least try to assuage the boy's misery somewhat.

"Calm yourself, De Guarde," he said, his voice softer but no less commanding, "This punishment shall only last as long as you make it last. If you behave well, and fulfill your duties, I will see fit to make you a midshipman once more. But it will all depend on you. The choice is yours and yours alone. Remain an able seaman, or return to your previous rank. Your actions will determine where you will stand in future."

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Re: After the Battle

Post  Guest on Sat Nov 29, 2008 9:56 am

George stepped forward. "De Guarde, come with me." He did not say anything else. The boy had been disrated, and would have to come to terms with it. Even to hold out the hope of an early end to the punishment weakened it. He would daily be expecting to be rated midshipman again - and so would all the other seamen, and the midshipmen who found themselves giving him orders...

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Re: After the Battle

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Nov 29, 2008 10:01 am

Those words did not help at the time. Perhaps they would have when his mind was clearer, now all he could see and feel, was the terrible loss of his rank, humiliation and fear. He shook his head and did so again and once more. He opened his mouth to speak then turned his gaze away struggling to calm his breathing. Able seaman, the word felt like an insult, a punishment worse than any caning could ever have felt like. It was cruel and he felt that he did not deserve it. Again the injustice he though had been made against him.

He glanced towards the Lieutenant, but didn't turn to look at the marines behind him. Able seaman - the word and the meaning it had stung. His hands reached to his coat and he grasped it so tightly as if perhaps, if he were to keep those garments on, so long he would remain what he was in rank. It was a childish take on things, not suited for a young gentleman at all, but he wasn't quite thinking rationally, or at all.

He looked again at George as if only then registering what he had told him. He still clung to his coat and held it tight against his chest, but he'd made a small step towards George. Still it was as if such a single small thing took the most effort to make.

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Re: After the Battle

Post  Guest on Sat Nov 29, 2008 10:05 am

"Hurry up, man." George said. If de Guarde responded that slowly to orders he would find himself being started, a procedure which as a midshipman he would have supported enthusiastically. Perhaps spending some months as the one being started, or brought up before the Captain as a defaulter, would make him think.

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