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Pursuing the French

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Post  Zachary Pye Thu Sep 10, 2009 1:44 am

Pye hurried along, glad that the deed was done. The men were dispersing and those burried would find their peace. Who ever had done such a crime would perhaps pay, perhaps not, or perhaps they've already died, when they fought the British and came to be impaled on one of their bayonets or the like. Perhaps even the cavalry saw the end of these .. or yet perhaps they were still free and ready to commit such a crime elsewhere.

He walked, keeping pace up with the other two men, his legs - shorter than theirs having to take two steps when Stubenrauch ever needed to take one. He remained silent for a while, gazing at the red coats that passed to their left, or was it right? Going the same way, anyway.

"..wot's a ...exce..viess?" He asked abruptly, and dared look at Harris before quickly dropping his gaze. Perhaps that wasn't the word exactly, but he said it as close as he remembered.

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Post  Guest Thu Sep 10, 2009 2:56 am

[OOC: I have only just noticed the typing slip - Harris actually meant to say heirs to the worst excesses of the Terror. However, he and I rather like the use of the word 'excessives' to mean those people who carry things to excess, so whether or not it ever entered general speech, he will continue to use it..... It would be interesting to know if Sam Johnson included it - it might be a local Lichfieldian word. Wink ]

Harris frowned, then remembered what he had said before. "The radicals who destroyed the French Revolution .... You are too young to remember, but it was going to be a new dawn for civilisation - the people no longer slaves to the aristocracy, but sharing equally. Then the new rulers worried that the old powers would come back, and then that there would be threats from other factions, or .... Torture, executions without cause and indiscrimate murder ... " He glanced down at the young rifleman and said: "France is slightly less dangerous now, but they are using the same methods here ...."
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Post  Zachary Pye Thu Sep 10, 2009 3:43 am

The frown made Pye shrink a little, feeling that perhaps he had upset the 95th rifleman. It was then though, when Harris began to speak that Pye smiled, uncertainly at first, and then more confident by the moment and with each word spoken. He listened so attentively he'd near fallen flat onto the ragged ground, having tripped on a larger, round stone.

Anxiously he straightened himself up, and turned, all ears for the man's explanation. "Less dangerous." But thinking of those bodies, in such a state, was it really? Poor men!

"The Reason.. it's it's the cause that they had? That'un for equality, no slaves?" That he couldn't exactly imagine. Officers, were officers and lords, privates were men of all backgrounds and were never equal to officers!

"..That one.. ,may I ask, what, what an alca...alc... alcalde is?" He looked at the path they were taking quickly. If Harris willed to answer no other question he would be grateful for the ones he did and he did more, well that would've just been great!

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Post  Guest Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:02 am

"An alcalde is what we would call a mayor - or magistrate, I suppose," Harris said. "Both the alcalde and the priest would be important, anyway." He thought for a moment then confirmed: "The Jacobins and others - the people who led the French Revolution - hated the Catholic Church, and wanted to replace it - either with the cult of Reason, or with a Deity - the Supreme Being. You can see their reasoning, but it led to Mass being banned and priests killed in the Terror. The men who did that, or saw it done, won't see anything irreligious about killing priests here ..."

His lips twisted. The Portuguese took their religion seriously, and revered their priests beyond the merits of most of them, but General Wellesley had made it clear that the army would behave respectfully towards their allies and their religious beliefs. Harris kept quiet about his own views.
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Post  Zachary Pye Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:40 am

"Thank you." It was genuinely said. Pye smiled, for though he knew little of the names that Harris mentioned he wasn't as daft as not to understand that there were the people of one and the other sort, and that priests were highly valued with the Portuguese. That this was an important thing that they did today, atleast what the relations with their allies was concerned. They helped.

It was simple enough for him. He wasn't witness to the thoughts nor feelings that Harris had for those ideas or for the things he said. He dropped his gaze again. He had nothing to ask, that he could remember. Not anything that they spoke of at least. Thank you, because he learned something new and the 95th Rifleman was real smart.

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'Green is the best colour for light troops and if put on in the spring, by autumn it nearly fades with the leaves.' J. G. Simcoe
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Zachary Pye
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Post  Guest Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:01 am

Harris looked down at the younger man, who seemed genuinely interested - not just in what he said, but in what he had seen and experienced. He knew that Pye had only just joined the 5/60th - everyone knew that Captain Vickery had signed him on, and that Simmerson, the colonel of the 33rd, had been very annoyed about it. That probably explained why he looked about so eagerly: the line regiments - kept in their ranks and files - did not have the opportunities that the Rifles had, scouting ahead.

"Are you liking your life in the Rifles?" he asked.
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Post  Zachary Pye Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:11 am

"Yes." It wasn't a hard question to answer, he needn't even to consider it much, before he gave a reply for it, which was without doubt the very same as how he felt. His face brightened as he hurried to tell, why and for what reason.

"'s' so different but in a good way, n' sometimes similar ofcourse, but.. so we scout, like we did then when we had to climb over wall n' prickly bushes! We go ahead, n' it's a real different way of fighting and we can think!" He hesitated and looked at Harris but remembered the conversation he had with Carty and smiled again, his eyes expressing a genuine gladness.

"We can think a little, n' say. Of course only when t' time is right, but we have to look 'round, see for signs. Like the birds flying off, n'.." He realised he had spoken so quickly, so eagerly about things the rifleman either knew or had heard plenty of times, so his cheeks coloured and he dropped his gaze again, replying more softly and quietly. "I do. Is harder someways n' times, but.. I like it. I do."

He did look ahead again, but it was for a short while at the men they walked by, and then at the side not occupied by the army, the trees that were there, and the rocks, and the wet mud puddles which could have a soldier stayed, slowed or even stopped if he had ventured in.

But then there was the talk of the Germans. The conversation that still troubled him, when he would think of it. Mostly he tried to forget their sharp, ill meant tongues. Rifles were not all honey and milk. Not with all sorts of men serving. Like any regiment they were, in that aspect, he reasoned.


Last edited by Zachary Pye on Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:14 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : just the germans)

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'Green is the best colour for light troops and if put on in the spring, by autumn it nearly fades with the leaves.' J. G. Simcoe
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Post  Guest Sat Sep 12, 2009 12:38 am

The funeral over, the Portugese eyed the foreign soldiers distrustfully. At least they had left the graveyard, but why were they still chatting in the main road?

One of the men had an idea and whispered in a woman's ear, who nodded and ran off, to reappear carrying some fresh eggs in a cloth.

Shyly she approached their unlikely helpers and offered the eggs.
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Post  Guest Sat Sep 12, 2009 1:03 am

Harris smiled at the woman and thanked her, hoping that they had not felt obligated. The German however reached into his pack, and brought out some of the local sausage, and offered it in exchange. In a soft voice, he said "It was given to me by a woman in Oporto - but I prefer the eggs!"
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Post  Zachary Pye Sat Sep 12, 2009 5:09 pm

Pye kept to the side, watching the exchange of food with great interest, yet in silence too. He didn't ask any about it, accepting and believing that it was intended for the two taller riflemen anyway. Instead he looked rather more eager to scan their surroundings, though he expected no Frenchman to jump out from the bush or from behind the rock. It was a good time as any to practice, while it did make the wait feel like there was none. He recalled what he'd been told just moments ago and felt embarrassed that he babbled like a child. All Harris wanted to know was whether he liked it, not all the reasons for it.

He sighed. Cold hold his tongue like he usually had!

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'Green is the best colour for light troops and if put on in the spring, by autumn it nearly fades with the leaves.' J. G. Simcoe
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Post  Guest Sun Sep 13, 2009 2:16 am

Willi Stubenrauch sensed the youngster's eagerness to share in the woman's generosity - half a dozen eggs were not much, and he had given the sausage for it. Though he had been given that for nothing much more than wearing a British uniform and smiling at the woman .... No doubt the English lad would share in whatever had been given to his mates, when they had a chance to stop and eat...

He caught the eye of the red-haired rifleman, and sighed. They had both done their share, pushing the cart. He held out the cloth with the eggs. "For you, too."
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Post  Zachary Pye Mon Sep 14, 2009 4:56 am

When Stubenrauch turned to speak with Harris, Pye turned to spare a last glance at the cemetery and the graves that had laid the two men to rest. He was dripping wet and could feel the water dampen his skin and slush in his shoes. His coat had gained in weight too, what with all the water it contained.

Those eggs were few, but the German would take them and Harris too. He hoped that Stubenrauch would be willing to share with the British 60th, yet with a dampening feeling he figured that he could well be mistaken. He frowned. It wasn't just the eggs, but what had transpired before, while billeting. Couldn't tell anyone, not Harris - he was a 95th rifleman, it was never right or proper to discuss things that went on in one regiment with the people who were not off it - couldn't exactly talk to Captain Vickery about it - no snitch - and then Newbury had already been part of the sort of planning that could've been called foul. Cotton too, was busy, he had his own life to think off, his own problems and his lass. It just wouldn't be right.

He rubbed his temples a little. What was the lesson he'd learnt in the 33rd? No thinking, just following orders, just do as you are told, should go for that now.

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'Green is the best colour for light troops and if put on in the spring, by autumn it nearly fades with the leaves.' J. G. Simcoe
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Post  Guest Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:54 am

Harris took one - and put it carefully into a space in his pouch. He saw Pye staring back at the cemetery, and said, softly: "We will have a chance to repay the French for that - though probably not the ones who did it. Now, take an egg, and let's get on. If you drop it in the stewpot tonight, you can have it boiled..."
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Post  Zachary Pye Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:04 am

Pye nodded. If the French were so cruel, they deserved all that was thrown at them and each ball fired from a rifle or musket. It did help bring him from his thoughts too. A morbid, sullen place this was, but there was hope, as there was for the avenge of these men.

He gazed then reluctantly at Harris, unsure whether the offer he'd given him about the eggs, was meant or not.

"Thank you." He whispered and carefully took one of the eggs, taking great care not to break it. when he moved it to his own pouch. Didn't drop it either, even if the surface had been rather slippery, added with the rain water that had washed it clean.

He glanced at Stubenrauch, perhaps expecting a protest, then smiled, visibly relaxing. "Goin'.. n' shootin' them Frogs." He said, some of his excitement returning.

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'Green is the best colour for light troops and if put on in the spring, by autumn it nearly fades with the leaves.' J. G. Simcoe
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Post  Guest Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:56 am

"You shot quite a few on Monday, if I remember correctly," Harris said. He had seen the youngster on the roof of the Seminary, taking aim alongside young Carty. He hadn't actually counted the boys' successes - or even his own, but he did remember Carty saying something about them dispatching a Frog between them.
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Post  Zachary Pye Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:05 pm

Pye's cheeks burnt with embarrassment, more stunned that the rifleman would have even remembered him. He didn't think he shot quite as well, though there was one man he and Carty had felled. Other times he aimed and fired and hoped that his shot had counted.

"I.. I dunno." He stammered, as he didn't know what to say to that. Perhaps the 95th would be more interested in how one of his own had done or them together. That was something to be less embarrassed for.

"Got..uh.. one with Carty! Well he shot him dead." He nodded with certainty.

" Carty, He's yours. 95th!" He recalled them, two boys standing outside, in the cold and wet and how they've both gone to fetch their superiors anxious as can be!

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'Green is the best colour for light troops and if put on in the spring, by autumn it nearly fades with the leaves.' J. G. Simcoe
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Post  Guest Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:36 am

As Stubenrauch settled his shako back on his head, the eggs stowed inside in some ingenious way, Harris turned back to make up their lost ground. He spoke over his shoulder to the English lad. "Carty is my partner," he said. "He's good, and is going to be better, when he's older. But you'll do well too - when did you first fire a rifle?" It was a totally different discipline from firing a musket - not so much the loading, but the firing, requiring marksmanship rather than the reliance on the weight of the volley.
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Post  Zachary Pye Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:46 am

Harris was an experienced rifleman so he had to know! It was an uplifting feeling thus to be told that he could do good and would! It made the young rifleman smile more bravely and quicken his pace, careful of the ground and any stones that could cause a while of painful discomfort if hit.

"First fired t' Baker after I was transferred and kitted. " He hesitated. "With a target, when we was told to." He remembered how he was given the tutor and the powder, an allowance of how many balls they were to use. The Baker, which was what he assumed Harris was asking about, had been first tested then. "That's ..sometime after you've had your presentation, the 95th n' 60th."

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'Green is the best colour for light troops and if put on in the spring, by autumn it nearly fades with the leaves.' J. G. Simcoe
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Post  Guest Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:33 am

"You seem to have made a good start," Harris said. "Target shooting comes easily to some people - others work at it. It's not a skill you need to develop in the line. As for the rest... A good eye for the country helps. It is not good to miss things - but nor will you be popular if you call for back-up every time a rabbit runs from a fox. Are you country-bred?"
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Post  Zachary Pye Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:45 am

"No, t' line you have to shoot on command.. n' aim at... a general direction." Pye smiled shyly at the kind words and lowered his gaze, not quite sure what to say.

"Was told." He nodded quickly, then turned all quiet again. He fidgeted, which was interesting to see when the boy was actually also walking.

"I'um street-bred sir. Only a little o' country." He hesitated and then tried a grin. "No good, callin' alarm seein' a fox n' a rabbit! Not unless..." Then he blushed and looked down again. "You's country-bred?" He asked.

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'Green is the best colour for light troops and if put on in the spring, by autumn it nearly fades with the leaves.' J. G. Simcoe
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Post  Guest Thu Sep 17, 2009 12:24 am

"Not actually in the country," Harris replied. "But in a small town, you're never far from fields. People kept chickens, and the foxes came after them, right into town. But most of what I learned, I learned out here. To keep a watch, when it's your time to watch. A rabbit isn't dinner when you're on patrol: and they're unreliable picquets. I've seen them pay no attention to someone walking past, just carrying on eating."
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Post  Zachary Pye Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:33 am

Pye nodded. Rabbits were only dinner when it was the right time to hunt them. If on patrol, eyes were needed to spot a Frog. If on watch, they were needed for about the same thing, only one wasn't walking, he thought. And if on watch, there was no sleeping no matter how dearly one wanted to. Not only was it an offense, but it was an act that would've put everyone else in danger. His loyalty still lay fiercely with the people he had met of the green coated kind and of his friends that were in the 33rd.

"When on duty, it's real important ter pay attention 'bout everything. Not ter jump after t' first branch that falls down, but be sure ter.. ter make sure it ain't a Frog who caused it." He looked anxiously at Harris as if expecting that he might be scolded for what he had said.

"s'.. I would never." He shook his head. Never hunt a rabbit when he should be paying attention elsewhere. He doubted he'd hit it yet anyway. They were quick animals and he, only a short while in the rifles!

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'Green is the best colour for light troops and if put on in the spring, by autumn it nearly fades with the leaves.' J. G. Simcoe
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Post  Guest Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:16 am

"They will have taught you that in ...." Harris had heard about Pye's transfer to the army, but had to think hard before he could remember where he had come from. Of course, the 33rd - Colonel Sir Henry Simmerson had made quite a fuss that had amused some of the riflemen, so the story had gone around, crossing from the 5/60th to the 95th almost immediately.

"In the 33rd," he said. "How long had you been with them?"
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Post  Zachary Pye Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:09 pm

"..It was..."

Then he walked a few steps saying nothing. He held his tongue mostly for it took an effort that he would try answer as correctly as he was able, rather than that he would refuse to tell.

He lifted his foot over a large stone, carefully placed it into the muck that squealed and spread under his weight then made a rather unbecoming sound when he pulled his foot from it. He payed the bits of moistened earth little attention, even as the side of the road had become more perilous.

"When they came lookin' It wasn't yet as cold, though yer could get ter shiver some nights if it rained!" He tried. " But not so cold as winter no. Warmer. N' it was more days with sun." He nodded confident, though he was still searching for the word. What was the word, winter, autumn, spring and... He grinned once it came to mind and without much to describe the time by he exclaimed: "Summer! Since ..summer."

He looked apologetic and dropped his gaze, his eyes scanning the land to their left again. The cold, wet and an unfriendly landscape ironically helped calm his nerves.


Last edited by Zachary Pye on Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:25 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : changing the dates - 33rd arrived late!)

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'Green is the best colour for light troops and if put on in the spring, by autumn it nearly fades with the leaves.' J. G. Simcoe
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Post  Guest Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:24 am

"Last summer?" Harris asked. "So you've been in the army for nearly a year. And they will have taught you drill and to look after yourself and your uniform before they brought you out here. Most of that will be useful in the Rifles too. But there are the other things you'll need to learn. Skirmishing - you saw that at the Training Day, I suppose."
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