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Post  sans nom Mon Jun 15, 2009 4:59 am

The young woman had heard the approaching cart and looked up in hope. But hearing the driver speak in English and seeing them look down in her direction, she finally abandoned her boat to flee.

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Post  Guest Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:10 am

Stephen made a shaky bow in return. "Only what we carry, sir."
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Post  Jonathan Padstowe Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:13 am

Padstowe sighed and shook his head.

"Women... I don't suppose you know if she is local, Andrew?"

Barnthorp squinted at the retreating figure and shook his head.

"Sorry, old chap - didn't get a good enough look. I suppose it's not practical to carry more," he said in reply to Stephen. "Though I did bring the cart in case. Four of you, is it then? Who is the naval chap?"

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Post  Guest Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:16 am

"This is Mister Yates, formerly of HMS Terpsichore," said Stephen; Yates bowed.
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Post  Jonathan Padstowe Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:25 am

Barnthorp inclined his head in response.

"A pleasure, Mr. Yates," he said. "And to you, monsieur." This address was to Raoul, who had been standing quietly since the young major in green facings arrived. "I suppose Captain Padstowe has already informed you that your parole still stands on the terms he has given you, so we shan't go into all that now. Would you care to mount up, sirs? We have a way to go back yet."

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Post  Guest Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:28 am

Yates clambered in, and Raoul helped Stephen into the wagon. "Sir, we have been starved of information. The British army has now reached Porto, I assume; have they met the French in battle?"
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Post  Jonathan Padstowe Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:40 am

"Not yet, no," Barthorp said as he climbed back up next to the driver. "But I daresay we'll be with them before the action starts."

He gave a sideways glance to Raoul, not knowing how much he could or should say.

"There's bveen a small complication," he said non-committedly.

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Post  Guest Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:43 am

"What is it?" asked Stephen, leaning heavily against the side of the wagon. Raoul looked pale, but as though he would rather know.
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Post  Jonathan Padstowe Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:59 am

Barthorp looked at Padstowe, who gave an infinitesimal nod.

"The bridge over the Douro is burnt," the major said, lowering his voice, though there was not perhaps any need to do so. "And every boat of use has been seized by the French - that you already know. We are stalled; at the moment there is no way across."

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Post  Guest Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:01 am

"There is a blockade at sea - could their boats not be put to use?"
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Post  Jonathan Padstowe Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:19 am

"Only to a limited use, I should say," Padstowe said, before Barthorp could reply. "They could not get very far upstream without being scene, and they'll have artillery covering the approach from the sea. It would only be of use with more than one crossing point."

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Post  Guest Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:25 am

Stephen nodded, and settled back into the wagon. He could not cope with his own problems, he thought wryly, let alone the British Army's.
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Post  Jonathan Padstowe Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:28 am

Seeing that the required information had been delivered, Barnthorp turned front again on the seat to talk in low Portuguese with the driver. Padstowe cast a quick glance to the major's back to the doctor.

"How are you feeling?" he murmured.

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Post  Guest Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:31 am

Stephen retained just enough grip on himself not to say what he really thought. "Well enough, thank you." He lifted his hand to his face; his cheek had swollen from his fight with the French Marine, and he suspected he had a black eye. He cast a worried glance at the major, then looked back to Jonathan."How did he know where to fins us?"
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Post  Jonathan Padstowe Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:34 am

"He knew we would be coming," Padstowe replied. "I sent a request before we left Lisbon to be met, so when the ship joined the squadron they knew we were here."

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Post  Guest Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:40 am

"What will we do when we reach the village?" asked Stephen, trusting Padstowe's decision entirely.
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Post  Jonathan Padstowe Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:45 am

"Get some food, some horses if they're available and then go and rejoin the main body of the army," Padstowe replied simply. It was not a very detailed plan, but at this stage detail did not particularly matter. "We'll contact Major Hogan first; but much relies on the situation when we arrive. They may well have begun the engagement by the time we get there."

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Post  Guest Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:46 am

"Do we know where the army is? Is it sensible to be riding into a battle?"
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Post  Jonathan Padstowe Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:48 am

"The rearguard will not be - and that is where we'll find Hogan if indeed we are riding into battle."

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Post  Guest Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:55 am

"I am worried about he in grey," said Stephen in Portuguese. "Should the battle go badly for his countrymen... But if we are in the rear then he will not have to... I do not know. Will Hogan not be needed with the artillery, or in finding a way across the river?"
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Post  Jonathan Padstowe Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:13 am

"Not him personally; not in an actual battle, and it will be Colonel Fletcher with the artillery."

Padstowe paused a moment and moved his shoulders slightly to loosen the stiffness that came now and again to his left shoulder; the arm of which was still in its sling.

"But he shall be perfectly safe amongst us. The rearguard shall remain out of action and will not cross until the city is taken - there will be no danger for him if everything is orchestrated well, and we can eliver him safely to his Lord friend."

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Post  Guest Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:15 am

"At least he will be remaining with his parole officer; that should afford him more safety among the British soldiers than I could guarantee," Stephen said wearily.
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Post  Jonathan Padstowe Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:25 am

Padstowe gave Stephen a worried glance. The doctor looked terrible; worn, bandaged, bruised and pale; and with a battle coming up he would doubtless insist of trying to be some used to the wounded - so many wounded... It struck Padstowe that Stephen may well never have witnessed a land battle, and therefore be unprepared fror the sheer number of wounded that he would have to cope with. Naval battles were comparitively small affairs, with the wounded limited to the number of men on one particular ship per surgeon; but with a land battle the number would doubtless be significantly more. And Stephen looked so very frail.

"Will you be staying with the medical corps?"

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Post  Guest Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:27 am

"If we reach the army then I think I must; there will be so many wounded that every, any, pair of hands will be needed..." said Stephen, closing his eyes.
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Post  Jonathan Padstowe Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:31 am

"I am sure Dr. McGrigor and his staff will manage," Padstowe said firmly. "And that he will insist you take your rest. You need it as much as any soldier; you have fought far too many battles of your own in the past few weeks."

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