Buku Hervey 03 – A Regimental Affair by Allan Mallinson

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Hervey 03 – A Regimental Affair by Allan Mallinson

Author:Allan Mallinson [Mallinson, Allan]

Language: eng

Format: epub

Tags: Historical fiction

Published: 2011-12-24T13:16:13+00:00

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Hervey 03 – A Regimental Affair by Allan Mallinson

CHAPTER ELEVEN

THE PEN AND THE SWORD

Brighton, next day

 

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Hervey 03 – A Regimental Affair by Allan Mallinson

Author:Allan Mallinson [Mallinson, Allan] , Date: July 8, 2019

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Author:Allan Mallinson [Mallinson, Allan]

Language: eng

Format: epub

Tags: Historical fiction

Published: 2011-12-24T13:16:13+00:00
CHAPTER ELEVEN

THE PEN AND THE SWORD

Brighton, next day

‘What the fornicating hell do you mean, Captain Hervey? A halftroop’s horses gone, Strickland’s troop’s uniforms in tatters, dragoons killed!’

Hervey bit his tongue hard. The preposterous sequence betrayed Lord Towcester’s priorities very plainly: the horses and uniforms touching on his pocket, the dragoons of no financial consequence to him. And the death of a revenue officer would not disturb his lordship’s thoughts in the slightest. Unless, that is, it might reflect on his own efficiency. But what was his commanding officer’s sincerity to Hervey, who stood before him with the blood of that officer and four dragoons on his hands?

‘And nothing to show for it – nothing! Smugglers escaped with not so much as a flesh wound, and with their contraband. So-called owlers disappeared into thin air with their wool – if there were any owlers in the first place!’

Hervey had begun to doubt this himself, though he resented intensely the sneer with which it was intimated, the words hissing from Lord Towcester’s slitted lips like steam from a kettle’s lid.

‘Your lordship, I have said that I acted as I saw best.’

‘Indeed, sir; indeed. You take things upon yourself too freely. It is your Indian ways again. My regiment is at Brighton to guard the Prince Regent. It is not here to chase about after miscreants and Frenchmen. You hanker after the French war, do you, sir? Then why do not you exchange into some Indian regiment and sate your lust for battle there!’

The lieutenant colonel’s tirade continued a full five minutes more. Throughout, Hervey remained rigidly at attention, his left hand holding his sabre scabbard, his shako under his right arm. Never – ever – had he been bareheaded on parade before. In all the times as a cornet and lieutenant that he had found himself answering for some indiscretion or misjudgement, he had never suffered the indignity of being ordered to remove his headdress. Truly it was an effective device for belittling a man – for humiliating him, indeed – for it took away his surety, his sense of being an entire soldier. Hervey listened to the acid stream of denunciation, self-pity and threat with a growing feeling of hopelessness. Nothing he had done before, and certainly nothing he might say, could mitigate his delinquency in the eyes of the Earl of Towcester. What power did a commanding officer of cavalry possess, for good or evil! It was a power that Hervey believed he would never now possess for himself, whatever the Earl of Sussex’s aspirations. How right Henrietta had been to urge caution on him, though last night’s events made that caution seem at once worthless.

‘Well, Captain Hervey,’ concluded Lord Towcester, waving a hand in airy dismissal. ‘There shall be an inquiry, and thereafter, I have no doubt, a court martial. And, if you are fortunate enough to escape a cashiering, I myself shall require you to resign your commission at once. And so you may as well begin now to find an Indian regiment with fewer scruples than it has officers.

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