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With the Guard

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With the Guard

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Thu Jun 19, 2008 9:36 am

[Continues from Leaving the Officers' Mess]

Guard duty wasn't Cotton's favourite duty ever, and now he, five others and a Sergeant were being sent to arrest a Private of the 27th and a Sergeant of the 33rd on suspicion of assaulting an officer.

They followed Captain Vickery back to a narrow street not far from the Officers' Mess to find the Private who had judged the shooting competition between Cotton and Hagman, and the Sergeant who had later threatened the girl in the tavern.

Cotton did not have a good feeling about this, even as the duty Sergeant saluted the Major who was standing with the two suspects.

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Character by Sharpiefan | Timeline | Wiki page


And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
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Gabriel Cotton
Captain

Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
Number of posts : 4145
Location : Over the hills, and far away
Member since : 2008-05-14

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Re: With the Guard

Post  Guest on Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:57 am

There was something strange about waiting for a guard to come and arrest you, Williams thought. The Major might as well have asked them to walk quietly to the lock-up, and they would probably have gone. They were, after all, standing peacefully on either side of the lane, with just the major and a couple of others to prevent their escape. A fearful man might have been tempted to run for it; even an innocent man, knowing how the dice were loaded against the common soldier, might have had it away on his toes. But they knew his name and battalion, and he did not fancy trying to survive outside the army, not in Portugal. And no doubt the officers had pistols, and would not hesitate to use them. Better to take his chance with the inquest. Damn them to hell and back! And damn the Rifle lieutenant, who was getting walked home, all nice and friendly, leaving him here to face - Christ! what would he be facing?

The sound of boots on the cobbles showed the guard had arrived. He took his time before looking round, and met the troubled eyes of the young lad - the Rifleman - who had won the shooting competition. He flickered an eye at him, beyond the Major's vision, as if to say that this was all in a night's regular amusement. But, he remembered with a lurch, the lad had also stood up to the Sergeant. What the bastard would be able to make of this coincidence he did not know - but he was suddenly more afraid, for both of them.


Last edited by Pte Owen Williams on Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:28 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : To curse Sharpe for abandoning him)

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Re: With the Guard

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:41 pm

There was something very wrong here. Cotton wondered how the Sergeant had managed to set Private Williams up - he had no doubt that the private was innocent, whatever he'd been accused of. And the fact that the sergeant was also to be taken into custody showed there was some doubt.

Nobody could accuse Rifleman Cotton of being stupid.

He hoped that the Sergeant would not start anything now; the coincidence of the three of them being together here hadn't escaped him. At least there were witnesses this time.

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Character by Sharpiefan | Timeline | Wiki page


And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
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Gabriel Cotton
Captain

Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
Number of posts : 4145
Location : Over the hills, and far away
Member since : 2008-05-14

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Re: With the Guard

Post  Guest on Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:14 pm

It was nerves, of course. Nerves and a loose tongue. And these officers weren't going to be amused. So what could they do to him that they hadn't already got lined up? "Well, there's nice. An escort home. The streets just aren't safe for an honest soldier these days. Goodnight gentlemen."

Williams turned to walk across to the guard.

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Re: With the Guard

Post  Obadiah Hakeswill on Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:20 pm

Hakeswill's face twitched and he gave a hideous grin as he recognised Cotton's shocked face. What a turn of fate that the rifleman would be one brought out to arrest his mate! Now was not the time to make a full attack; things were hanging just nicely in the balance, tipping slightly in favour towards Hakeswill, and he did not want to do anything to endanger his advantage. But he afford to twist the knife a little.

"Watch you lip, Davvie!" Hakeswill growled. "Shameless criminal, sir," he said to the major, shaking his head. "Shameless!"

He then turned his attention to Cotton.

"Come to arrest me and your mate, 'ave you lad?" he leered, his smile a hideous grimace. The lad was afraid of him, of what he might do. "Well I can't hold that against you, young'un, as it's the major's orders and it's your duty as a soldier of 'is Majesty. So I'll go without a fuss," he held out his wrists in a sign of submission. "But I only asks you makes sure I ain't put in the same cell as your Welsh filth, here."

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Re: With the Guard

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:25 pm

Cotton could have sworn he saw Vickery give a hint of a smile at the Private's words. But then, he knew the Captain and his lively sense of humour.

The major, on the other hand, did not look amused. At all. In fact, he looked thunderous. "I have told you before about keeping a civil tongue in your head, Private. By God, if you were one of mine..."

Vickery intervened at this point, taking the Major's arm and pulling him away.

"Come on, lads, fall in smartly, now," Sergeant Mayberry said.

Cotton tried to ignore Hakeswill. If he'd set Williams up, he could be sure he'd be next. This was not good at all.

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And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
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Gabriel Cotton
Captain

Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
Number of posts : 4145
Location : Over the hills, and far away
Member since : 2008-05-14

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Re: With the Guard

Post  Guest on Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:35 pm

Williams fell in, as close to Cotton as he thought looked reasonable - prisoners normally tried to stay apart. He spoke in a whisper he hoped would be covered by the sound of the others taking position. "Keep yourself clean, lad, or you'll join me. I've got one hope, and that's about it. And - tell my lot what really happened?"

That could well do for the Sergeant, who'd meet some of the boys down a dark back alley one night.


Last edited by Pte Owen Williams on Fri Jun 20, 2008 10:28 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: With the Guard

Post  Obadiah Hakeswill on Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:36 pm

Hakeswill did as he was told and meekly fell in with the guard, making sure that he stood right beside Cotton, eyes fixed front standing to rigid attention.

"Watch your step, grasshopper," he said with quiet menace, so quietly that only Cotton and perhaps Williams could hear. "For you is next."

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Re: With the Guard

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:43 pm

Cotton nodded at Williams, sending him a smile that he hoped would reassure him.

Sergeant Hakeswill's words sent shivers down his back. He wondered just what had happened, exactly. Hakeswill seemed to be the sort of man who would use someone's natural wish to help against them. If he caught wind of anything funny going on, he'd keep out of it. Just in case Hakeswill was nosing around.

"Silence in the ranks, there!" Sergeant Mayberry called. "By the right, march!"

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Character by Sharpiefan | Timeline | Wiki page


And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
avatar
Gabriel Cotton
Captain

Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
Number of posts : 4145
Location : Over the hills, and far away
Member since : 2008-05-14

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Re: With the Guard

Post  Guest on Thu Jun 19, 2008 9:01 pm

Badge of honour in the Inniskillings, being brought back under arrest. Normally with marks of the battle, at least on the other fellow. And not normally for attempting to murder an officer. Not even one of their own bloody officers, some of whom deserved it. And his one hope? A Rifle officer who'd gone off with his friend and without a backward glance. Next time... Well. No point in wondering what he'd do, when chance would be a fine thing, and something to be grateful for.

He began to hiss a tune between his teeth.

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Re: With the Guard

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Thu Jun 19, 2008 9:08 pm

Williams seemed to be cheerful enough, considering he was under arrest on the charge (likely enough trumped-up) of assaulting an officer.

It was the fact that Sergeant Hakeswill was marching beside Cotton, as close as he could get without pushing him out of file, that Cotton was more concerned with right now. Who knew what evil plans were brewing behind those blue eyes?

Cotton thought he was more than a little mad, and should have been locked up in Bedlam years ago.

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And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
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Gabriel Cotton
Captain

Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
Number of posts : 4145
Location : Over the hills, and far away
Member since : 2008-05-14

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Re: With the Guard

Post  Guest on Thu Jun 19, 2008 9:19 pm

Singing was not really an option, but the tune at least gave Williams the sense that he was putting up a decent show. But inside, his mind was turning over the possibilities. The first, the one that he kept coming back to, but couldn't quite believe, was that he would of course be cleared. He was bleeding innocent, after all. He looked at that thought, tried to hold it, and found that his faith in English justice didn't quite stretch that far. And if not...

Did they use rifles these days, or ... He'd seen hangings, and floggings, but he tried to imagine looking across at Cotton, with the lad's eyes over the rifle barrel. He did glance at him, almost in horror, and then towards Hakeswill. The hissing tune did not falter.

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Re: With the Guard

Post  Obadiah Hakeswill on Thu Jun 19, 2008 9:22 pm

Hakeswill kept his posture rigid, the perfect example of a soldier marching, eyes fixed front, but inside he was crowing. The Welsh was nervous, was whistling to keep his mind off things and had too quick a tongue for his own good. Hakeswill could as good as smell the hemp of the rope they would loop around the private's neck. As for the grasshopper he was quieter, more cautious, but more openly afraid. The lad feared him, and Hakeswill would do his best to keep him afraid, because he had every reason to be.

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Re: With the Guard

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Thu Jun 19, 2008 9:29 pm

Cotton knew Hakeswill was trying to keep him off-balance. That knowledge didn't help, though. He knew the Sergeant was a bully, using his own rank to keep others in line with what he wanted.

He'd seen it before. Even before he'd 'listed, he'd been bullied, like the rest of the village kids, by the Squire's eldest son. At least this time he had a good bunch of mates who would watch out for him.

He tightened his grip on his rifle and made his mind up never to be out alone if he could possibly help it, until they were well away from the 33rd.

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Character by Sharpiefan | Timeline | Wiki page


And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
avatar
Gabriel Cotton
Captain

Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
Number of posts : 4145
Location : Over the hills, and far away
Member since : 2008-05-14

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Re: With the Guard

Post  Guest on Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:50 am

All he'd wanted was a drink, and a bit of a chat. And he'd been talked into doing a favour for a couple of Riflemen, eager to test their skills. A good turn, nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with speaking up for Maria, either, seeing what she'd done for him over the months. And then another favour, showing that strange Irishman up to the HQ. And that's what had got into just the right place to stop the Rifles Officer getting killed, not that he'd been of much help.

God! You'd think that all this helpfulness would earn him more than a night in the cells, and a foregone-conclusion inquest.

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Re: With the Guard

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Fri Jun 20, 2008 1:22 am

Cotton wasn't exactly a-feared of the redcoat Sergeant, though he wasn't comfortable with him around. The man seemed to want to push Cotton out of his file, though, and it was taking concentration to keep marching in a straight line.

At least tonight he wouldn't cause any more problems for anyone. He'd be under lock and key, where he couldn't do any harm.

Cotton hoped that whatever happened, Williams would be all right. It wasn't right, that someone who'd only tried to help had been put into the situation where he was facing a firing squad, or a flogging at the very least. He hoped that someone knew the truth of what had happened and was prepared to stick up for the Private, though for an officer to take the word of a private soldier over a Sergeant was unusual in the extreme.

At least they were nearly there now.

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Character by Sharpiefan | Timeline | Wiki page


And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
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Gabriel Cotton
Captain

Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
Number of posts : 4145
Location : Over the hills, and far away
Member since : 2008-05-14

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Re: With the Guard

Post  Guest on Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:10 am

The slam of the gate behind them set up a vibration throughout Williams' body. Even the hissing whistle stopped, as his mouth dried. Across the yard diagonally to a door into what might once have been a stable block. The guard entered, pushing Williams and Hakeswill with them, and fanned out along the wall. He tried to look at Cotton, but the lad was standing stiffly facing forward. Opposite the door was a heavy desk, with a tired-looking officer sitting behind it.

Williams was barely aware of the Sergeant reporting, until his name was mentioned. "Williams, Private, 3rd battalion, 27th. Assault on an officer. Hakeswill, Sergeant, 33rd, to be held as witness."

And wasn't that nice? Both suspects, they were meant to be, but he gets the charge, and Hakeswill just the comfortable bed, and breakfast.

He pulled his bayonet off, and the belt, and started to empty his pockets. A cloth he had been cleaning a musket with, a few coins, mainly local, a sharp knife, and - and a length of cord. The bloody garotte. How had he ended up with that? Oh, of course, he shoved it into his pocket trying to hide the trembling from the officers. Apparently not a smart move. He laid them on the table, his eyes flickering left towards the Sergeant, and stepped back.

The officer leaned forward and studied the collection. But a piece of cord did not apparently mean anything. It was something any soldier could have in his pockets. He began to sweep them all into a box.


Last edited by Pte Owen Williams on Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:22 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Posted in haste)

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Re: With the Guard

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:25 am

"All right, Sergeant Mayberry, I need a couple of your men to take these two to the cells and take first watch. The rest of you are dismissed."

"Yes, sir," Mayberry said, saluting. "Cotton and Sanders, you heard the officer."

The two soldiers turned to the prisoners. "Come on, then, this way." Cotton gestured to the door behind the officer.

Of course, the place didn't have proper cells, but it did have a big, old, empty wine cellar, with separate, lockable recesses that were just as good. Sergeant Mayberry followed, with the keys.

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Character by Sharpiefan | Timeline | Wiki page


And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
avatar
Gabriel Cotton
Captain

Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
Number of posts : 4145
Location : Over the hills, and far away
Member since : 2008-05-14

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Re: With the Guard

Post  Guest on Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:35 am

There were noises coming from behind closed doors. Someone was singing, though words and tune were equally indistinct. Like the muttering and the loud snoring, they all indicated that those behind the doors had drink taken before being picked up. But Williams was now cold sober, all the effect of the wine and brandy having worn off. As ordered, he stopped in front of the first open door, and stared for a moment at Cotton, while the Sergeant looked into the cell. For a second he was terrified that he would be locked up with Hakeswill, but the Sergeant gave him what was no more than a gentle shove, and slammed the door. The sound of the key in the lock, and the others moved away.

Williams stood where he had stopped, and brought his hands up to rest on the wall, leaning forward and breathing as if exhausted by a day's march. Oh bugger!


Last edited by Pte Owen Williams on Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:51 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : clarification)

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Re: With the Guard

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:45 am

Hakeswill was put into the next cell, and went easily enough, to Cotton's relief, though he couldn't get the threat of "You is next!" out of his head. He hoped the Sergeant would remain peaceable for his watch, but somehow he doubted it.

He really hoped that somehow Williams would be acquitted of whatever it was he was accused of. He really couldn't believe that the Welshman would assault an officer in the street.

Although he could believe it of the mad Sergeant of the 33rd.

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Character by Sharpiefan | Timeline | Wiki page


And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
avatar
Gabriel Cotton
Captain

Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
Number of posts : 4145
Location : Over the hills, and far away
Member since : 2008-05-14

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Re: With the Guard

Post  Guest on Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:56 am

"Psst!"

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Re: With the Guard

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Fri Jun 20, 2008 10:02 am

That came from the cell where Williams was.

He moved a little closer.

"Yes?"

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Character by Sharpiefan | Timeline | Wiki page


And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
avatar
Gabriel Cotton
Captain

Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
Number of posts : 4145
Location : Over the hills, and far away
Member since : 2008-05-14

View user profile http://showthecolours.forumakers.com/characters-f4/rifleman-gabr

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Re: With the Guard

Post  Guest on Fri Jun 20, 2008 10:03 am

Thank God it was still Cotton out there. Now to keep his voice down.

"Is that bastard locked up good and tight?"

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Re: With the Guard

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Fri Jun 20, 2008 10:08 am

He glanced over to the cell Hakeswill had been locked in.

"He ain't getting out any time soon, believe me."

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Character by Sharpiefan | Timeline | Wiki page


And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
avatar
Gabriel Cotton
Captain

Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
Number of posts : 4145
Location : Over the hills, and far away
Member since : 2008-05-14

View user profile http://showthecolours.forumakers.com/characters-f4/rifleman-gabr

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Re: With the Guard

Post  Guest on Fri Jun 20, 2008 10:11 am

"Keep him that way." Williams leaned against the door, as if he could see through it. "I didn't attack the officer. It was him, see. And those bloody officers believed him." A moment's thought: at least one of them had the sense to demand that Hakeswill be locked up too. "Well, most of them. And the officer who was attacked - he knows it wasn't me. But I don't think he'll care. He just walked off."

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Re: With the Guard

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