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 10th January; Hail, fellow, well met!
John Vickery
 Posted: Sep 8 2016, 10:30 AM
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Captain; 5/60th Rifles
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Vickery had taken the two puppies (one puppy, one young dog) with him as he went to inspect the picquet. Even in this part of the world, in quarters, it was as well to keep a good lookout, for who knew what the French might try? Besides which, it helped to keep the men sharp, which was all to the good.

After inspecting the picquets, he had taken the two young dogs to a nice flat open piece of land with their new favourite toy: a length of rope with a solid knot in one end of it. Sticks being almost impossible to acquire out here, even without competition from soldiers seeking firewood, Vickery's initial idea had been adopted, although he had no idea where Cotton had come up with the rope (or, indeed the leather and buckle for Benjy's collar, or the leather for the two leads. He rather suspected the nearest cavalry regiment might be missing a couple of items of tack whether they were aware of it or not.)

Benjy had, thankfully, caught onto the game rather quickly, once Ajax had demonstrated, but one item with two dogs was proving... interesting.

"View hulloo!" he called, noticing a horseman nearby as he threw the rope yet again.

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Edward Torrington
 Posted: Sep 8 2016, 12:58 PM
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The rider looked up, startled out of his thoughts, and instinctively reached for the brace of pistols holstered next to the saddle pommel. But then he seemed to recognize the caller, turning his enormous black horse towards Vickery and raising his hand in greeting.

"Hullo, Vickery! What are you doing out here?"

He spurt his stallion into a short gallop. The horse took exception to the gambolling dogs, crow hopping and snorting, but the man, in the blue coat of the Royal Engineers, skilfully brought him back under control and drew rein next to the rifles officer.

"I see you have successfully acquired a hunting pack!"

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John Vickery
 Posted: Sep 8 2016, 01:28 PM
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"Well, two gun-dogs, though whether I can train the younger to anything approaching usefulness remains to be seen," Vickery said. The dogs were looking up at him hopefully, having somehow arranged themselves to both retrieve the length of rope this last time, despite Benjy's total disadvantage of age and size. "Sit!" he told them. Ajax obeyed, but it took a hand pressing the spaniel's rear down with a repeated command before the younger of the two likewise plopped down.

"As for what I am doing out here, I have been exercising these two," he added, with a grin. "Ajax, sent out recently by my father, and Benjy, wished upon me by Captain Blackwood who discovered him abandoned along the road. You have arrived just in time for luncheon, I believe - will you join me?"

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Edward Torrington
 Posted: Sep 8 2016, 02:06 PM
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"Gladly!"

Torrington lightly jumped down from his high perch and put a hand on his horse's nose.

"Trueno, parar!", he commanded before dropping on one knee and offering his hand to the dogs.

"I assume Blackwood has sensibly decided that keeping up with this bundle of energy is more in keeping with the mobility of the Rifles than with the dignity of the Guards ... No need to slobber all over me! The chief likes us to dress without too many decorations on our uniforms ... I'm sure you will do your namesake very proud ... Have you taken them out yet? I assume you will teach them to fetch rather than to course?"

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John Vickery
 Posted: Sep 8 2016, 02:17 PM
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"Ajax has been trained as a pointer, if I know my father - apparently he was going to be my father's latest gun-dog until my sister received a letter wherein I expressed a wish to have a dog sent out. Being a spaniel, I think I will have an easier time teaching Benjy here to retrieve anything I shoot, although he's perhaps a little young to manage it with any ease at the moment - I am beginning with the basics, as you can see."

He grinned. "Ajax, shake!"

The older of the two promptly sat and lifted a paw for Torrington to shake.

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Edward Torrington
 Posted: Sep 8 2016, 02:55 PM
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With a startled laugh, Torrington lightly took the offered paw, bowed from the waist and said with great dignity: "A pleasure to make your aquintance, sir! Your father's dog, you say, Vickery? A relation, by any chance, of those two pointers Saltash is known for? I believe they were superb gun dogs in their youth?"

He padded the dogs for a moment longer, playfully tugging at the younger puppy's ears, and giving the older one a good scratch, then rose.

"Even if Benjy I is too young to carry anything bigger than that rope yet, I believe he would enjoy an outing, and somehow I think he would do his best to bring you a whole boar. Might I shamelessly inquire which direction the promised luncheon lies? I spend my morning arguing with the ex-Colonel-now-commissar Simmerson, and could really do with a cup of tea. Preferably a very strong one. He is still making some noise that the unfortunate behaviour at Talavera was due to lack of support ... From the skirmishes, from the cavalry, from the artillery, and we engineers build the barricades precisely where he did not want them ... He even dared to hint that General Wellesly gave the wrong orders. Major Hogan and William Lawford quit the room somewhat hastily at that ... If Simmons continues like that, somebody at some point will find it necessary to shut him up over the point of a sword. And his latest fancy is that the Rifles should drill more and with stricter discipline!"

Considering that the rifle regiments generally were considered elite soldiers and had a high level of specialised training, the demand was preposterous, of course. But as one rifle officer had shamed him, Simmerson seemed to want all of them hanged for it.

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John Vickery
 Posted: Sep 8 2016, 03:16 PM
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"I've heard something of that and can imagine the explosion - someone will eventually encourage him to take a short walk off a high cliff. He is going to be impossible to procure any stores from, I am certain of it." Vickery straightened. "I am conducting somewhat of an experiment: How much exercise does it take to wear out a very young and very eager springer spaniel?"

He bent for the rope, turning to throw it in the direction of home. "As for the shutting up of Simmerson, I suspect that duel will be one our esteemed General will be rather willing to overlook. I understand there is a cavalry regiment whose Colonel returned from Headquarters spitting fire over some of the things Simmerson implied about his regiment."

"Ajax is the... grandson, I believe, of Pollux, one of the two dogs you mentioned," he added as the dogs returned with their toy and he bent to throw it again, watching them head after it.

"Tea? I can promise tea - your young batman seems to have returned with the intent of supplying the whole company for the next six months. If you should prefer brandy, the sun is over the yardarm, as I believe the Navy say, and I have a rather decent cognac I should like your opinion on."

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King George commands, and we obey
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An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
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Edward Torrington
 Posted: Sep 8 2016, 05:23 PM
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"I fear you will find that a young spaniel - and probably Rottlander - is the closest thing yet discovered to that ethernal mystery, the perpetuum mobile."

This time Torrington accepted the rope an enthusiastic Ajax brought back, and engaged in a brief tug-of-war before throwing it in the direction of the younger puppy.

"I hope Rottlander's enthusiasm has not caused too much trouble. He has very properly adapted to his new allegiance by adopting the English habit of employing large quantities of tea as an universal remedy. And he wants to help everybody."

The engineer lightly touched the reins of his horse and gave a brief command in Spanish, the led the stallion leisurely in the direction the hounds had gone.

"I heard Blackwood was made Brigade Major - do I congratulate or commiserate? They did not publish any promotion sofar, which he would certainly deserve for it."

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John Vickery
 Posted: Sep 8 2016, 05:46 PM
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"It is not a promotion as such, despite the name, more a position - not quite a staff officer either. I think commiserations are probably more in order than congratulations." Vickery's grin was undiminished, however. "Freddie remains a small hurricano in green, although I think Cotton may have said something to induce him not to rush into doing things quite so precipitately as he used to - although whether it will last is anybody's guess."

He threw the knotted rope Benjy dropped at his feet - the puppy had picked up the rules of this game rather quickly.

"Hulloa. Isn't that Bethany - Padstowe's horse?" he added, seeing a chestnut that was certainly not part of his own menagerie standing outside the shed that was his present home.

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King George commands, and we obey
Over the hills and far away ~ Traditional

An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
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Edward Torrington
 Posted: Sep 8 2016, 05:54 PM
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"It certainly looks as if you have a visitor!"
Torrington tightened his hold on the reins. A stallion and a mare was a combination not to be taken lightly.
"Shall I take myself off to stable this brute here?"


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John Vickery
 Posted: Sep 8 2016, 06:03 PM
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"Cotton or one of the others can do it - I do not expect my visitors to stable their own horses." Putting Trueno with his own geldings would be far less likely to lead to... interesting goings-on and debates about what to do with any resulting foals, after all.

One of the other Riflemen came over to take the stallion's reins, leaving Vickery and Torrington free to duck inside the outbuilding.

Vickery extended his hand. "Hulloa, Padstowe - please forgive the dogs. Benjy hasn't learned to mind his manners yet, for which I can only apologise. And you have met Captain Torrington, I believe."

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King George commands, and we obey
Over the hills and far away ~ Traditional

An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
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Jonathan Padstowe
 Posted: Sep 8 2016, 06:05 PM
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The said visitor was at present inside Vickery's shed, reclining on one of Vickery's chairs, his feet propped up on another (his coat and hat draped over Vickery's bed), reading one of Vickery's books, drinking a mug of Vickery's tea, and enjoying one of Vickery's cigars. Padstowe looked up from the page and, seeing Vickery had company, hastily sat up and dropped his feet back onto the floor.

"Torrington," he said, taking Vickery's offered hand, but already turning his gaze to the Engineer. "My apologies, the name is familiar, but I cannot recall the occassion of our previous meeting."

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John Vickery
 Posted: Sep 8 2016, 06:12 PM
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"Make yourself at home, Jonathan," Vickery said dryly, though one corner of his mouth was twitching at the sight. "It was at the map-making session our gallant Engineer organised for my men, I believe."

He turned to the Engineer in question. "We really should do that again, see how much of it the men can remember - once you have settled back in and found your feet, I mean, naturally."

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King George commands, and we obey
Over the hills and far away ~ Traditional

An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
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Edward Torrington
 Posted: Sep 8 2016, 07:13 PM
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Torrington executed a formal bow, more in response to Vickery's introduction, before offering his hand to the exploring officer.

"A pleasure seeing you again, Captain. Especially since I seem to have constantly missed you at headquarters these last few days. I believe at one point my horse even enjoyed a meal prepared for yours."

Before tossing the reins to the rifleman, Torrington had retrieved his cloak and saddlebags, which he now put neatly next to Vickery's bed - only to take them up again and put them on the bed when Benjy started to investigate them.

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Jonathan Padstowe
 Posted: Sep 8 2016, 08:08 PM
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Maps... Ah yes, that had been Torrrington.

"Ah, I recall now," Padstowe said, sitting down again. He remembered just in time not to swing his feet back onto the chair again. He took a thoughtful puff of the cigar. "Come to think of it, I remember that I borrowed one of your maps, Vickery, and it had 'Here Be Dragons' marked on it. When I enquired as to the meaning, he said I should ask you, Captain Torrington. These are damned good cigars, Vickery."

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