I think about Spuhura, too, but not to any effect.
The colonel looked almost handsome setting atop his horse. Victory suited him and it clearly showed on his face, even though his chin and cheeks were streaked with mud and his forehead glistened with perspiration. Half of a French cheroot dangled precariously from bemused lips while one hand casually held the reins. The other hand brandished his sword, which he was using to point out things for emphasis as he directed the distribution of the spoils of war.
He surveyed the scene. His men, a fine company of infantry, specially selected from his full regiment had made a daring channel crossing, landing, at night, on the sandy shoreline of the Crozon coast. The mission began simply, no more than to gather information on the movements of the notorious French corsair, Jean-Rene Devereux. A frigate waited at sea as a place of retreat in the event that they were engaged.
“You there,” the colonel yelled angrily, after dropping the reins and removing his cheroot, while thrusting the sword at the head of an unfortunate soldier doing something that he did not like, “mind that barrel, if you please; that’s the King’s brandy you’re mishandling.”
As the soldier righted the barrel and scurried off, his second in command sidled up beside him, waiting until they were more or less alone before speaking. “The Kings brandy, is it?” he asked softly, his sharp grey eyes glowing with mischief. “More likely to become an Earl’s brandy, no doubt.”
The colonel chucked. “My Father always did have a… special regard for certain French spirits, and I so hate to disappoint him. The King will not miss one.. or possibly four barrels, I should think.”
The captain smirked. “I expect you will share your bounty with your precious Darcy,” said the captain while rolling his eyes; he and the colonel’s wealthy cousin had never hit it off.
“But of course! After all, the man is like a brother to me.”
His second in command gave him a look that clearly said, ‘you call everyone your brother.’ The captain immediately grew serious again.
“The charges have been laid.”
“Excellent. You see, didn’t I tell you how enjoyable this would be. A company of infantry are able to do such amusing things; are you not overjoyed that I lured you away from the 12th?”
“Scintillating” groused the captain, knowing that the word ‘lured” was the Colonel’s polite ways of saying ‘abduction’.
“Now, “said the Colonel cheerfully, “where is our gracious host?”
As the colonel sheathed his sword, the captain nodded in the direction of an advancing group of soldiers: four surrounding their prisoner and two supporting his arms while practically dragging the Frenchman between them until they all stood before their colonel.
“Bonjour, Monsieur,” greeted the colonel, a bit of exaggeration in his manner while bowing at the waist.
“Je suis le Comte de Guillmont,” the Frenchman snapped, apparently outraged to be thought of as anything less than noble.
It took all of the colonel’s willpower not to laugh in the man’s face; he was no more a count than he himself was Bonny Prince Charlie.
The colonel raised his eyebrows in a mocking fashion. “Absolutement.”
The captive studied the English officer before him before speaking again. His tone continued to be brusque.
“May I have the… pleasure of a name, Monsieur le Major…?”
Squinting, the colonel pressed two fingers to his lips, took a long, slow drag, blew out a stream of snowy white smoke before again removing the cheroot.
“Je suis le Colonel…”
“Excuses moi, monsieur, ” sneered the Comte, “Colonel…?”
“J’appele le Honorable Colonel Arthur Fitzwilliam, a votre service. Pouvoir j’introduis le capitaine Frederick Tilney.”
The captain only nodded.
The Frenchman then responded in a slightly less sarcastic manner, though not entirely polite. “Then as a man of noble birth, Monsieur le Colonel, I am certain that you must recognize the distaste I have in being man-handled in this detestable fashion.”
Fitzwilliam stared at the Frenchman for a long moment before giving a slight nod to his men The Frenchman yanked away from his two captors, stood tall, adjusted his fine yellow silk waistcoat and smoothed down his shoulder-length black hair.
“Frog dandy,” mumbled Tilney under his breathe.
The Comte glanced around taking in the various activities of the other British soldiers. Some were loading barrels onto a wagon, some were packing bottles of wine and champagne into crates, and some were eating cheeses and breads fresh from his own kitchen.
“I see that your friends are enjoying the bounty of my larder.”
Fitzwilliam’s eyes gleamed with humour. “And be assured, that we are extremely grateful for your hospitality, are we not, Tibby?”
Tilney turned unamused eyes in the direction of Fitzwilliam, scandalized that his friend continued to use his ridiculous pet name in front of everyone and anyone.
“A humble company of foot soldiers aren’t always treated to such… fine delicacies as those you have so willingly provided.”
Authors note: So, like, remember about 50 years ago when I started writing the story: Persuading Elizabeth? Yeh, right, of course you don’t. So anyway, for those who don’t know, I use to post it at DWG before I got extremely discouraged because someone start posting a story called By Elizabeth’s Persuasion (but her story was about Elizabeth B and my story was about Elizabeth E… Apples. Oranges. But I still got discouraged.
Anyway, what was eventually going to happen in the story was, that after Frederick “Tibby” Tilney professed his undying love to Miss Elliot and after being refused, I was going have him high-tail it to France… to fight the French, naturally, along the side of his bosom friend, Colonel Fitzwilliam.
This was just a short scene between them that probably will never see the light of day. Plus, it gives you all something to read while you wait (patiently, I hope) for the next installment of Heart’s Guardian (more on that in a minute).