(Lewrie – 06)
For my father,
Lt. Comdr. Dewey Lambdin, USN
to the U.S. Naval Institute for many reference works; to MacKenzie of the Maritime Information Centre, at the Iain National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, England; to Doug Cantrell at Nashville Tech Community College for his excellent map of Toulon; to Genevieve and her books Merde and Merde, Encore where I garnered such wonderfully feelthy phrases; and thanks to Genoa and Foozle, who cat-napped long enough for me to get a good day's work in, now and then.
Quid facial laetas segetes, quo sidere terrain
vertere, Maecenas, ulmisque adiungere vites
conveniat, quae cura bourn, qui cultis
habendo sit peccori, apibus quanta
experientia partis, hinc canere incipiam.
What makes the crops joyous, beneath
what star, Maecenas, it is well to turn
the soil, and wed vines to elms, what
tending the kine need, what care the
herd in breeding, what skill the thrifty
bees-hence shall I beginmy song.
Georgics, Book 1,1-5
Ooh, sir, wawtch out f'r the…'
Wherever I go lately, Alan Lewrie mused, rather resignedly, I seem to be arse-deep in shit. Oh, well.
He waved off the towheaded young 'daisy-kicker' at the Olde Ploughman Public House's hitching rail, who stood with silent offer to towel the offending matter from his glossy top boots.
'No use, lad,' Lewrie said as he swung up into the saddle. 'There's plenty more where I'm going.'
'Oh, aye, sir, so they
' 'Ta, yer honour, sir!' the boy called as Lewrie turned his horse west on the High Street.' 'Night, Squire Lewrie!'
Lewrie touched the wide brim of his hat with a riding crop in reply as he clucked his tongue and kneed his mount to a brisk walk.
His horse paced through the village of Anglesgreen, heading west for the vale between the rolling hills, hooves clopping on the icy earthen road, as candles and lanterns were lit in the windows of the homes alongside, and lights were extinguished as shopkeepers at last shut, after long hours of sparse winter trade. Very few villagers were out now that the brief stint of cloud-occluded sun had all but gone, and the winds blew foul and cold. Without the casual labourers of the sowing or harvesting seasons, Anglesgreen was an even more tedious and empty a place than ever he had experienced, now Christmas and Epiphany were come and gone. And cold. As cold as Parish Poor's Rate charity. And about as unattractive.
Arse-deep in it, he told himself again, glum with rum and ennui. Up to my nose in acres of it… and that, so
There were, to Alan's lights-much like the descending levels of Hell in Dante's
In contrast, the literal item (such as the horse droppings le'd just stepped in)-some of those he didn't mind half so Mich. Horses were noble beasts, beautiful in form and notion. Their stalings
No, truth be told, Alan Lewrie, like all good English gentlemen, rather
The by-products of the lesser beasts necessary to a farm, hough; even his inept, clueless style of gentleman farming, of vhich folks said he did little but raise his hat-now they were)dious in the extreme. He knew little after four years, and was forced to depend upon the knowledge of Governour Chiswick, his brother-in-law, or of the vile old Phineas Chiswick; they both dropped their jaws and whinnied at his questions, making him feel as out of place, even after four years of applying himself, as he had aboard
Or, even more discouraging, to have to 'talk things over' with dearest Caroline in private, being coached on what orders to give that particular day to the few permanent farmhands, or the hired day workers. To be such a humble know-nothing in his wife's eyes!
Truth be told again, Alan Lewrie thought the life of the rural gentleman farmer stank, in more ways than one,