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 06th May; Another posada in Lisbon
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 Posted: Apr 18 2018, 09:47 PM
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"Why do you think I stare past his left ear? Staring at him and having to blink wouldn't be the same thing at all. And yes, I'd lose."

There were certain things you learned in the ranks and improved upon vastly as a sergeant that came in handy when you were an officer. Learning not to stare into an officer's face was one of them, and you could always tell a wet-behind-the-ears Ensign from a seasoned soldier because of this. Quite apart from the vast difference in ages, of course.
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 Posted: Apr 18 2018, 09:48 PM
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Padstowe bit his lip to hide his grin and fixed his gaze on the ground. He recalled being on the receiving end of that look several times throughout his life, but it had only got him the first time - mainly because he had employed a similar expression whilst facing down his mother. Yes, facing down Lady Padstowe definitely did draw parallels with talking to awkward superior officers.
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 Posted: Apr 18 2018, 09:59 PM
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And of course, staring past officers usually gave the impression you were staring at them, with the added bonus of being perfectly truthful in denying that when they accused you of it. Some officers continued to be put off by it, especially those who really didn't have that much experience of dealing directly with the rank and file.

But amused by it? That was a first, and only Sir Arthur had the sort of twisted sense of humour that could be amused by an officer playing at sergeant. That's if Padstowe was right about it.

"He always looks at me like I'm something the cat dragged in," Sharpe said. "Even when I've done him a favour."

Even when Wellesley had thanked him for saving his life after Assaye promoting him and making him a gift of the telescope he now carried everywhere, he hadn't offered him a genuine, warm smile, just stared down his long nose and looked disdainful.
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 Posted: Apr 18 2018, 10:01 PM
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Padstowe lifted his gaze to the sky and wagged his head thoughtfully.

"He does that everyone," he said offhand. "I don't know whether on purpose or not - perhaps he just doesn't know what to say."
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 Posted: Apr 18 2018, 10:02 PM
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"He doesn't do it to everyone. Least, not like he does it to me, he don't. I think I get the look ten times worse than everyone else." Mind you, he had an acquaintance with Wellesley that went back over ten years, and probably had a lot to do with it. How many other officers here could claim they'd known Wellesley when he was still Colonel Wesley?

Well, 'known' might be too strong a term. 'Saluted at a distance' would probably fit the bill better. And how many other officers could claim that he'd broken them down from corporal, or had them cut down part-way through a flogging? 'History' was right. But it wasn't exactly comfortable, having a shared past like that.
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 Posted: Apr 18 2018, 10:03 PM
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"Probably because you've known him the longest," said Padstowe. "You've been with the army since you were, what, sixteen, and the first seven or eight years spent in the 33rd in Flanders and India. You are the only officer here who knew him before he made a name for himself - and somehow I don't think you're the only one who's uncomfortable with that!"
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 Posted: Apr 18 2018, 10:04 PM
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Sharpe was taken aback at that. Somehow it had never occurred to him that Sir Arthur might be uncomfortable with their shared history himself. The man had always appeared too... cold, to have those sort of feelings.

"Sir Arthur? You can't mean he feels the same way." It was a strange thought.
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 Posted: Apr 18 2018, 10:05 PM
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Padstowe rolled his eyes again.

"Oh no," There was a sarcastic edge to his voice. "No, he can't possibly, Richard - everybody knows his heart is carved of granite and his brain a cold lump of ice."
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 Posted: Apr 18 2018, 10:06 PM
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"I wouldn't go that far," Sharpe said. "It's just if he has feeling about things, he doesn't show it, and it's dis...dis.... off-putting." He sighed as they turned a corner and came within sight of Headquarters.
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 Posted: Apr 18 2018, 10:19 PM
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"Somehow I think that's the idea," Padstowe muttered quietly as they went up the front steps past the sentries into the hall. He was about to mount the staircase which would take him to the first floor where his broom-cupboard of an office was to be found, but stalled by a sudden shout.

"Jonathan!"

He froze mid-step and turned to see Hogan heading towards them.
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 Posted: Apr 18 2018, 10:36 PM
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Sharpe nodded civilly in Hogan' direction. "If he's goin' to claim your attention, I might as well wait here. He won't want me listenin' in, after all."

"Though quite what Hogan wants to discuss with you is beyond me. Maps, maybe."

He knew Padstowe was an Exploring Officer, and with Hogan's penchant for mapping terrain, it was the only explanation he could think of.

(OOC: Now we've arrived at HQ, shall we move into the Headquarters thread? It'd make more sense...)
They go here.
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