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A trip for some breath

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A trip for some breath

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:44 am

(happens a good while after the horse trip with Chase or anything else that might happen during the night , just a bit of musing and well a certain former Middie couldn't stop bothering me. The other topic is still open to be played and being awaited!)

It was late. Most sailors were asleep. The snoring of his neighbour kept the young former midshipman awake.

No,.. perhaps it wasn't the man snoring, but his own thoughts.

They had been in Lisbon, they now left it, and the problem persisted. He was still a common sailor and though Thompson was able to distract him and the hard work tire him, there was still the sight of other midshipmen that reminded him, the dirtiness of his slops, the stuffy feeling of below decks, the many men who slept, worked and conversed together and with him, that had it known. He wasn't one of the privileged. Instead he had fallen to be one of those he had loathed for all but for their work. He talked with them sometime, yet as much as it was distracting it was just making it worse.

He'd been friendly with Mr. Yates, yet at this late moment of the night he felt so envious of his happiness, so hateful towards all that the boy had and he didn't. But..he was a gentleman, and his parents had assured him a place of one. And now?

He bit at his lip. He felt angry and frustrated for there was nothing he could do. Nothing those men would notice. They dinned in the company of their guests, laughed, smiled, and were merry in all. He envied them that. The middies invited.. and even if they were just seated in the mid's mess. It was better than this.

He looked at his hands. He couldn't see them well, for it was now dark, but he could imagine rubbed skin, fringes of red, cuts at his palm, a nail that ached when pressed. As awful as Confidence was, as lonely as he had felt there, never had it made him feel the hardship of a sailor's life. He felt he held onto his honour. Be it that he was caned or sent to stand in the shrouds, sit up at the top, all they experienced they still all remained midshipmen. It was a pride to be one even if it was also a terror.

Slipping from his hammock he tiptoed around the many bodies neatly tucked in. He felt his way around till he found his way to the ladder. He climbed it as quietly as he could and then like a silent shadow, he slipped on ahead. He stopped and lowered himself into the spot he and Mr. Yates had first talked at and the latter boy read his book. Hidden from view he gazed up at the sky. The stars were bright that night. Twinkling carelessly above, the moon reflected in the water. A golden white part of a coin that a man could never scoop from the sea.

It was peaceful and serene. He adjusted the cloth he wore about his neck and bound, tightened it so that it looked as if he were a midshipman. He ran a hand through his hair, setting them straighter. The shirt that he wore he pulled at and imagined that he had only forgotten his coat down below. He spoke without any sound leaving his parted lips. And then he lay back again, tugging at the sleeve of his shirt. Nimble fingers slid across the scar. He was a middie then. They curled around his wrist and squeezed, to remind himself he was still there.

Nobody had seen him, so he was certain. And now nobody could. Hateful, angry, frustrated, torn and feeling as his honour had been done in, he lay and then curled up, pulling his knees tight to his chest. Fletcher perhaps was still wary of him, Chandos was strict, so was Kinsella. One as well as the other had felt much against how he had acted. They had no right, of course. Not in the young former midshipman's mind at least.

Even the Frog was treated better, he felt. As guest, not as a prisoner! The night was time to reflect... but for the former midshipman it was only a time to feel the full extent of his punishment. As just as it might have been, it hurt no less. Felt no more right to him. He slipped his hand under his shirt then and brought out the bottle he'd managed to fill with his rations of grog. He took a gulp from it and hid it again. Always felt better after that.

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Re: A trip for some breath

Post  Tom Oxley on Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:58 am

Oxley had slipped quietly out of his hammock and up the aft companionway. He needed the head, and it was stopping him from sleeping. At least he wasn't the duty drummer for this watch and could get to the head, which was something.

It was on his way back that he noticed the young lad sitting in the shadow of one of the guns. From the way he was sitting, he looked pretty miserable, which wasn't right, not for Terpsy. He stepped closer, wondering who it was. It looked too tall to be Danny Millburn and seemed all wrong for Johnny Stenhouse. By the time he realised it was de Guarde, he was too close to leave again without being seen.

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Re: A trip for some breath

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:04 am

He stirred at the sound and the sensation that accompanied many. The feeling that someone was watching him. Grateful that he hid his bottle right after he drank from it, he found himself staring up at a red tinted coat of a lad he hadn't remembered seeing or perhaps just taking much notice before.

Was he there, when they flogged a man?

"Wot' are ye lookin' fer?" He asked sharply, yet in a whisper that could only be shared between the two boys. He straightened up quickly, wiping away the silent tears that dampened his cheeks. No way he had wanted to look vulnerable infront of anyone.

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Re: A trip for some breath

Post  Tom Oxley on Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:12 am

"Weren't lookin' for nothin'," Oxley returned. "Found you, though, didn't I?" So this was the lad that Thompson seemed to be getting all friendly with. Oxley couldn't see why, but then, he hadn't seen the lad joining in with the youngsters when they'd been having fun. Maybe he just felt left out a bit?

He leaned against the gun, looking at the boy curiously. It was the first time he'd seen him properly, and he seemed to be a little stiff in his manner - though that could be because he'd been disturbed unexpectedly.

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Re: A trip for some breath

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:15 am

"Aye , yer did." And if the lad would continue standing in clear view, there would be others spotting him and wondering why he was talking to himself not seeing the source of his conversation.

"Wot' ye lookin' at?" He inquired trying to look more intimidating than his size and low rank combined. "I'um not growin' an additional 'orn on me forehead..ye know.."

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Re: A trip for some breath

Post  Tom Oxley on Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:23 am

"You." Oxley grinned. "Be worried if you had grown summat like that. We might wonder if it was catchin'." He softened a little. "I was wonderin' if you're all right. Only, I know you're in Cob Chase's watch, an' it's his watch below till eight bells."

Just why was Thompson all friendly with this lad? They had nothing in common that Oxley could see, but then, that didn't mean much - you got all sorts at sea. You only had to look at Billy Barrow and his landsman friend to see that.

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Tom Oxley
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Re: A trip for some breath

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:28 am

"..came for fresh air." He hoped Oxley wasn't the sort who would report him for being above deck when he was supposed to be dozing away bellow. Neither now or later.

He frowned and pointed his hand to the space that was left. "Be sittin' if ye want ter stare at me." He mumbled. Atleast his voice sounded less harsh and though it was far from friendly, it was certainly one bearing the lad's presence.

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Re: A trip for some breath

Post  Tom Oxley on Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:32 am

"Sure thing." He dropped easily to sit cross-legged on the deck. "You've been hangin' around with the men too much. You don't look much older'n twelve, thirteen, an' you sound like Corp'ral Johnson, who's... well, old. An' grumpy. You should be with us lads - when we ain't got things to do. We have more fun."

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Re: A trip for some breath

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:40 am

"I'um fourteen. " He corrected a slight bit irritated. Leaning back somewhat, the wood keeping him nicely propped up, he turned to look at the drummer boy while he talked.

The corner of his mouth was tugged upwards slightly at how the boy described the Corporal. The damned man had a swing of ten of men his size and the temper of the darkest creature of the sea.

" Fun.." He sounded unconvinced, and tugged at his sleeve absentmindedly. Still all was spoken in whisper, for he didn't want that one would find them here, when by all means atleast he was supposed to be below, and he had no idea where other youth had to stand.

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Re: A trip for some breath

Post  Tom Oxley on Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:49 am

Oxley frowned. "You ain't ever had fun or done summat just for a laugh?" He shook his head in disbelief. "You sure you're only fourteen?" He stared at the other lad in frank curiosity. "If you ain't careful, you'll grow up to be even older and grumpier than the Corp'ral!"


Last edited by Private Oxley on Fri May 22, 2009 10:24 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: A trip for some breath

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:53 am

"I could never be as grumpy as that man. Makes it an art.. he does." He murmured, pushing his hands between his knees to warm them up somewhat. "Ye called me ter be twelve a moment ago, n' now ye askin' me if I'um not older. You're some odd fellow,.. ."He paused for he'd remembered that he didn't even ask the lad for a name, nor had he introduced himself.

"...wot's yer name anyhow?"

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Re: A trip for some breath

Post  Tom Oxley on Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:00 pm

"Oxley - Tom Oxley. 'M a Royal Marine." He said the last proudly. "Well, I'm a drummer at the moment, but one day I'll get to use a musket like the others." He shrugged. "You're de Guarde, ain't you?" He didn't think it was fair to say he knew the other lad had been a midshipman, especially if that was why he'd looked upset earlier. "You're a topman, 'long of Cob Chase. And I didn't say you was younger'n fourteen - only that you look it. A bit."

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Tom Oxley
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Re: A trip for some breath

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:06 pm

"..Aye.. that'un. t' same mess 's Chase." There was no use to tell Oxley any different. He wasn't a midshipman and though it was easy to play pretense when he was alone, and he could but close his eyes and see the world as one he had painted, the reality was different.

"..How do ye know me name?" He asked, though he probably could have suspected the sources. "N'... wot' d' ye know of it?" He added. Straight forward as the questions were, the boy felt no inclination that he should beat about the bush with the questions to which he wished answers.

(and now x.x I sadly have to go find my hammock!! See you tomorrow? Night night!!)

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Re: A trip for some breath

Post  Tom Oxley on Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:11 pm

"You're the one who's friends with Thompson." He held up a hand. "He ain't said anythin', much. But it's, well, a bit strange, for a sailor to be friends with a Marine. So you must be summat special."

He shrugged. "And, well, you was a middy." He looked sympathetic then. "I'm sorry you ain't now, of course. But at least you don't have to be so smart all the time, huh?"

(Night - and I'm going to find mine. Till tomorrow, then! Very Happy )

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Tom Oxley
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Re: A trip for some breath

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Wed Jan 14, 2009 6:28 pm

"..I see." Special? He hadn't thought of it in such a manner till Oxley pointed it out. It was then that he considered the thought and also the friendship, for strangely that was what it was, that he had with the marine. Yes, a friend and it looked as if some of the marines at least knew that.

" Ha,... if it were true, ye'd be t' only one sorry...well that n' Thompson." He muttered:".. ye have ter be smart sure.. "He continued:" But ye have..." This was a lad he'd barely met, he couldn't explain him, his theory, his feelings as easily now.

"I should'a be a midshipman now. Only natural." He said instead.

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Re: A trip for some breath

Post  Tom Oxley on Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:50 pm

He shrugged again. "Well, I ain't sorry for us that you ain't now. But I'm sorry for you - must be awful hard t'be a sailor, when you ain't used to it all. 'Specially if'n you ain't made friends with any of the lads. I mean, Johnny Stenhouse is about your age, an' Danny Milburn's only a bit younger. Think Fingers is about 'leven. An' I'm seventeen, so I'm older, but I still ain't as old as some of the men."

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Tom Oxley
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Re: A trip for some breath

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:45 pm

(I haz a car icicle ! XD)

"I wos' t' way a mid' suppose' to be.. don't ye be believing some silly stories that Jack Tars come up with." He spoke with an air of confidence and certainty. "N' everybody gone after me fer bein' t' only one not slackin'. Ain't fair that! N' ain't right."

He was quick to lower his voice, when he found himself speaking a tad bit too loud, caught by the moment.

"T'..Thompson' 's a lad sure too. Not by age.. but' he's a good man." He remembered maltreating a poor boy, who was there to give him drink. Yet it was because he suspected the boy was plotting to something that he did not wish to be the joke of. He studied Oxley suspiciously. "..Ye'um his friend.. or are ye 'ere ter do me in, have me found on some unreal offense and reported?..."

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Re: A trip for some breath

Post  Tom Oxley on Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:50 pm

Oxley rocked back a little, studying the younger boy. "You're a suspicious one an' that's no error," he said finally. "Was just up at the head an' I saw you on me way back. An' you looked like you needed a friendly face. I'll go if you want, though."

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Re: A trip for some breath

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:09 pm

He studied Oxley silently. There was a way one turned their eyes, how they avoided the other's look, how they would perhaps bite at their lip, or move their fingers. All that when they were lying and were caught doing so. Or when they though they still had a chance. None of that he could observe on the drummer boy. The title rather relative since Oxley was about three years older than him.

He was tempted, urged that he were to tell the youth off. Go away, and the like. Find that in that he had power to decide. And then drink as he'd earlier, till he had to stumble below. The bottle was still safe at least. And Oxley must've come after he'd taken a swig else he probably would have inquired about it.

"'avent told you to sit if I were tellin' yer ter up and go." He said at last, an edge still in his voice. It was all done as if it were matter of fact that the boy was meant to sit there, and that indeed he had decided and near ordered it to be so.

"How long have ye been standin' there?"

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Re: A trip for some breath

Post  Tom Oxley on Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:16 pm

"From what I've heard of you, you're as changeable as the weather," Oxley said easily. "Wouldn't put it past you to tell me to get lost if you wanted to. An' I'd hardly bin there at all before askin' how you was."

It was funny how the lad seemed to try to pretend he was still a middy when he wasn't, though. Or maybe it wasn't. Oxley tried to imagine what it must be like, but gave up. He couldn't imagine what it was like to be a young gentleman in the first place, never mind to suddenly find yourself living on the lower deck after losing that.

One thing was clear - he needed to learn to loosen up and have some fun.

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Re: A trip for some breath

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:29 pm

".. 's a lie. " The youth answered sharply. His voice softened a bit as he adjusted his neck cloth. What was very loosely worn by the sailors, was at present tightly bound around his neck and resembled most the manner in which midshipmen wore them.

"I could tell yer t' get lost..yet it would be purely your fault that I'd say so. So's fer present yer holdin' fairly well, n'.."Almost like a middie who had forgotten his coat below, not at all like a sailor who knew his place:" so I am convinced you should be here." It was then that he crossed his legs under him and rested his hands, each on one knee.

"Wot' else they be spreadin' bout me?" If nothing more, this lad seemed to be a valuable asset, a source of information even.

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Re: A trip for some breath

Post  Tom Oxley on Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:36 pm

"You ain't a middy any more, y'know. Which I am sorry for - for you. Though not for the rest of us. You shouldn't threaten folks. It won't make 'em like you, and might even make 'em decide not to do what you want, or talk to you nice, or help you out, or whatever." He shrugged. "If you want folks to be nice to you, you've got to be nice to 'em back. And I can do what I want right now. Ain't on duty, see."

He relented. "The men don't have much good to say about you, 'cause you ain't helpin' them have much good to say. An' Thompson ain't said anythin' much, either."

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Re: A trip for some breath

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:41 pm

" What does that mean... sorry not fer t' rest of you?.." He asked biting at his lip. He felt upset at what he was to be told, and more envious to Yates by the moment. The boy had it all, he didn't even know how much he had. The same with Chandos, Kinsella, Fletcher. Oh that young upstart of a boy, who was so timid and so easily lead about. Or had been, for now he feared to approach him. Not for Fletcher's own power, but for the fact that if the boy had anything of it mentioned to others, the other midshipmen wouldn't think twice to act against a sailor. Especially one they knew so well.

"..What exactly did they say?" He added after a moment of thought. His hands were in fists, his knuckles white. It was all that indicated the turmoil he felt inside. His face instead was calm, perhaps a bit too stone calm.

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Re: A trip for some breath

Post  Tom Oxley on Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:50 pm

"You had Cob Chase flogged. And he's one of the best sailors on Terpsy. And you bullied Johnny Stenhouse at the Captain's dinner - when he was only doin' what the surgeon wanted, so you wouldn't embarrass yourself and everyone else. He showed me the bruises."

How in the world had Thompson got to be friends with this boy?

"You haven't even said sorry to him, have you?" he said.

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Re: A trip for some breath

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:09 pm

"No .. " He had Cob Chase flogged for something he deserved. He had bullied Johnny Stenhouse because he was doing a poor job being a servant. Why would he apologise to him when he had tried to do something, that was against the middie's want?

"I don't see why I should. He was there ter stand n' ter pour me wine. He wasn't there t' listen t' others... or the like. If he wanted ter serve t' surgeon, then he should've hoped that he was appointed there. Since he was appointed ter me.. Well, ye don't go doin' wot' others want then!.. N' I'm sure he wanted ter make a run with that bottle. Change it fer summat diluted, while he and his buddies would drink t' one he snitched from me."

He crossed his hands over his chest defiantly. "If sumone deserves ter be flogged.. 'es flogged. No matter how good or poor a sailor he may be. If they did wrong.. s' no good reputation savin' 'em. T' best had been heared desertin'.. though how they were t' best, is beyond me... but no less...wouldn't be fair if they were treated lighter fer their reputation!"

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Mathew De Guarde
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Species : Royal Navy; Able Seaman
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Location : Somewhere on board, hopefully not overboard!
Member since : 2008-09-02

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Re: A trip for some breath

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