Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Chapter 63: Two And A Half Years Later

Date: April 30, 1903
Location: Channelside House
Situation: Retirement
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See previous post from September 1900:  http://generalpettygree.blogspot.com/2013/02/chapter-62-general-pettygree-defeated.html
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Today I have the honour to end my self-imposed silence. For those readers who may have an interest in my welfare and whereabouts, I am alive, well and rested at Channelside House on the Sussex coast. My intention is to offer a glimpse of the near past and recommend your attention to pending circumstances of the new century which may propel you and I into a remarkable future. You may remember....

My recall home on September 25, 1900 following the signing of The Armistice of Dongolo by the mad Thugee Guru and myself. I hoped it would lead to a permanent end of the war  in Surajistan. Only The Almighty knew for sure if peace would be sustained.  

Though some ardently believed it, being relieved of command must not be viewed as shocking after six years service on The Frontier. The campaign versus the Thugee cult, severe damage rendered to its malevolent cause by Her Majesty's gallant soldiers and sailors  did lead to closure via The Armistice.  

The past two years and a half have been unremarkable from the standpoint of news destined for The Times pertaining to Surajistan or myself. Peace after all offers only boring headlines. A great many other matters weighed more heavily on the scale of history.  Consider the incendiary gunboat incidents lit by the Kaisier on the east Mafrican Continent. Even the  meagre Gallian encroachment in northern Mafrica versus the charismatic El Krobar raised more headlines to disturb our breakfasts. 

My circumstances were insignificant by comparison excepting to Mrs. Pettygee and myself. Retirement on half pay was my lot. No command decisions were to be made, no eager orderlies dashed about and certainly not one jezail bullet was fired in anger on the south Sussex coast. Higher command authorities were content with my quietude. Yet on the sunny afternoon of April 30, 1903, all this was about to change as my wife and I returned home from our customary afternoon walk.  

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Mary Pettygree: "William, it is so very good you are home these past few years. Six years on The Frontier surely was enough fighting that beastly Thugee cult. Before that it was your posting to The Sudan and....The best is having you all to myself now. I am so very happy."

Major General Pettygree: "Dearest Mary, my love for you has never been stronger. You've made my return to Channelside refreshing, warm and --- the restoration is proceeding nicely, don't you think?"

Mary: "I do. --- Soon Channelside will be as new and when our verdant land flourishes once more, things will be even better. --- Our afternoon walks are so lovely. Shall we go in for tea?"


Mary: "Earl Grey should do nicely I think?"

Gen. Pettygree:  "Perfect dear. Ask Jameson to plan for three. A rider is coming in."


Gen. Pettygree: "In ceremonial dress."

Mary: "Something important I shouldn't wonder. I'll speak to Jameson. Ask him to dinner, will you dear?"


Gen. Pettygree: "Third Dragoon Guards uniform, if I'm not mistaken."

Rider: "Good afternoon General. I'm Colonel Chartwell, Sir, bringing news from Horse Guards."

Gen. Pettygree: "Welcome Colonel. Mrs. Pettygree and I love having visitors. Won't you join us for tea? You may find Earl Gray tolerable. You must stay for dinner as well." 

Chartwell: "Thank you General. I bring vital news...."

Gen. Pettygree: "If it can wait, we will speak privately later."


LATER

Pettygree: "We'll ride to the channel talking as we go Colonel. It's not far."

Chartwell: "Very good , Sir."


Pettygree: "This way."

Pettygree: "I'm afraid spring is late this year Colonel. Yet a close examination reveals dormant vegetation about to return to robust life."

Chartwell: "You have a magnificent view General."

Pettygree: "Quite so. It reminds me of my service abroad; Egypt, The Sudan and Surajistan particularly."


Pettygree: "Longfellow wrote, "Ah what pleasant visions haunt me, As I gaze upon the sea! All the old romantic legends, All my dreams, come back to me."

Chartwell: "I know it Sir, The Secret of The Sea. The ending goes like this I think, "Till my soul is full of longing, For the secret of the sea, And the heart of the great ocean, Sends a thrilling pulse through me."

Pettygree: [Deep breath] "And now Colonel, I've delayed your news long enough."

Chartwell: "General. I bring news about Fort Grant and Surajistan."

Pettygree: "My last command was headquartered there."

Chartwell:  "Aye Sir. It's the wretched Thugees General. Their devilish allies too. The Armistice was broken by them a fortnight ago. Fort Grant, Colonel Smythe and the garrison...."

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CLOSING REMARKS

1) Great War Miniatures provided General Pettygree's new uniform introduced circa 1902-1903. See: http://northstarfigures.com/list.php?man=20 and Brigade Games: http://www.brigadegames.com/Great-War-Minis_c_10.html  Specifically the 1914 British collection.

2) Mrs. Pettygree on loan from pard Randy F.  is from Foundry's Darkest Africa Range: http://wargamesfoundry.com/our-ranges/darkest-africa/mountains-moon-collection-bcda001/

3) Chartwell is a 28mm Elite Miniatures British heavy dragoon from the Peninsular range. See: http://www.eliteminiatures.co.uk/CAVALRY,%20ARTILLERY%20AND%20GENERALS.htm

4) The shore of Lake Michigan; a veritable inland sea near my home, stood in for the English Channel coast. Will you oblige me with your approbation? It was my first effort going on location outside. It was very satisfying. Fun! I hope to do more.

5) Channelside is a discontinued inn from Miniature Building Authority.

6) HG Walls built the lovely, realistic and properly large green deciduous trees.

7) Join me will you, as Major General William Augustus Pettygree's next adventure unfolds? Who is with me -- with the General -- that is?
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23 comments:

Michael Mathews said...

Recalled to the colours? The hound is loose and the hunt is afoot!

Der Alte Fritz said...

Sir Archibald Sinclair will be there with you, Pettygree!

Rob said...

Ah, the game is afoot!

Rather fortunate that Gen'l Pettygree missed the late unpleasantness in southern Mapfrica, grave of a dozen colonial reputations.

Dai said...

I'll be there in pipe and slippers. Do carry on.

tradgardmastare said...

I'll be following every step of the way.
Splendid stuff indeed Sir!

Steve Gill said...

Delightful scene-setting, very promising.

joppy said...

To pinch and adapt a WWI naval signal, "Pettygree's back". Thank goodness.

Mike Blake said...

Shame for the poor General to be leaving the comforts of home again but good news for his 'followers'. I look forward to the ensuing account with great anticipation.

Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

Love it!

Best Regards,

Stokes

Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

Love it!

Best Regards,

Stokes

Henry Hyde said...

Absolutely brilliant, Bill.

tidders said...

lovely storelyline - the new adventures are about to unfold ....

-- Allan

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to more time spent together.
Colonel Coote

Richard Hubbard said...

Well, I guess for a lifetime serving soldier like the General, two and a half years of homely comforts is probably all a fellow can stand! No doubt Mary Pettygree will be sorely disappointed that the restoration of their house goes on hold again, but I'm sure the General is just itching to get back in the saddle!
I can hardly wait for the campaign to resume, and certainly Captain James Squib will be with you all the way!

Bluebear Jeff said...

I look forward to reading of future actions.

Of particular delight was the sight of waves breaking against the shore, by the way.


-- Jeff

Bob Gallavan said...

Huzzah! Action (and full pay) at last! No half measures this time Gen. Pettygree, drive those Thugees back to the hell hole that spawned them!

Ross Mac rmacfa@gmail.com said...

HM will be very relieved I'm sure to hear that Pettygree has agreed to go.
As are we all!

Lovely pictures! I think having the figures photographed in situ against a real background makes them much more believable than extensive photoshop where anything might have been dropped off. You get that sense the the figures are really there, where they are (so to speak) and that therefore it is really happening.

oh, and nice to see that Drab can be still be dapper!

Good stuff!
-Ross

Fitz-Badger said...

Excellent "on location" shots! I've been in that vicinity, and it is a great lake.

Gallia said...

Your generous remarks are sincerely appreciated. Going "on location" at the stand-in English Channel and Channelside House was a lot of satisfying fun. I have an idea for another outside photo session sometime and hope it works out.
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Gen. Pettygree also truly appreciates your kind interest and remarks!
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Respectfully,
Bill

Phil said...

Fabulous looking pictures, a great work!!
Phil.

J Womack, Esq. said...

Should've had Darjeeling. Earl Grey is horrible stuff. Horrible! Tastes like a flower.

A J said...

Huzzah! The game's afoot once more! :)

Larry Stehle said...

The Mrs. will be so disappointed...but such is the lot of a soldier....