By Allan Mallinson
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Lankester’s proposition did not immediately reveal its sense to Edmonds, who was all but lost in contemplation of his brigade commander. ‘What? ’ Edmonds shook his head with disbelief at his own slowness. ’ ‘Another commandment, you mean,’ smiled Lankester. ’ Edmonds could not but reflect the smile, the first he had been tempted to that day. ’ Lankester thought he perceived the storm cones to be lowering. ’ Edmonds nodded and frowned: Lankester had judged the storm’s passing over-hastily. The major’s bile rose again at this reference to the Royal Navy, whose utilitarian principles he had long held in admiration.
What in heaven’s name was there to lose? he wondered. ’ he roared. The adjutant closed up from where he had posted himself, three horse-lengths behind, next to the guidon and Edmonds’s trumpeter. The Sixth still carried the colonel’s guidon in the field – many regiments had abandoned the practice – though the squadron guidons had been left in England. When any movement was to be executed, the adjutant took up his position with the other serrefile officers to the rear, but he otherwise liked to keep close to Edmonds so that he could heed his orders at first hand.
There were the same dark curls, the long face, the hooked nose, and hardly a year between them, too. What was Wellington now, forty-four? forty-five? Four years younger than Edmonds himself – it was enough to test the resolve of a saint. Admittedly he liked Cotton well enough. The man had done his share of fighting in the Peninsula, and before that, too, and he had been sound enough on the retreat to Corunna – but he was no Uxbridge. Edmonds knew that, in the business of war, he was Cotton’s equal.
A Close Run Thing volume 1 by Allan Mallinson