Sunday, March 2, 2014

Chapter 69: Pettygree's Tincture of Obfuscation


Date: May 26, 1903 
Location: City of Alexandria, Nile Delta
Situation: A Tincture of Obfuscation
See Previous Chapter 68 here:
Clicking images enlarges them prodigiously.

May 19, 1903:  Mary and General Pettygree disembarked Ajax into The Nile Delta to begin a Grand Tour.

Later Colonel Lawford unexpectedly arrived with unfortunate news. We resume our story on:


May 26, 1903 -- {Late Morning}

General Pettygree: "A week ago I learned about losing the Port of Suakin and the retreat of Brigadier Kettering's forces behind the walls of Khartoum. Surely this would be incorrectly seen as a sign of our weakness. What had begun as insignificant Hadendowah disturbances in the eastern Soudan might now encourage those with long memories to avenge their 1898 defeat. Would thousands more, quiet until now, unsheathe swords, fashion new spears, remove shields from walls of their huts and raise standards to recover all of The Soudan? Would even more blood be unfortunately spilled? I hoped not."

"Therefore, a resolute show of force needed to first be poured into the streets of Egypt reported by newspapers and communicated by word of mouth deep into The Soudan. Into that drink a singular and strange tincture would be added to sway those so disposed to abandon further rebellion and return to their herds, crops, stores, and other peaceful endeavors."

Pettygree: "The Garrison of Alexandria assembled on Parade witnessed by civilians, journalists and I hoped, insidious vigilant foes. Perhaps distant incoming storm clouds would enhance the atmosphere I desired."

Pettygree: "Were European spies observing from galleries?"

Pettygree: "Surely not amongst convalescents atop the hospital."

Pettygree: "Nor could I believe traitors were at Government House."

Pettygree: "Countess Alexandra Elaina Volkanskaya (center) with my dear Mary were keen to see us off."

Pettygree: "Captain Douglas-Ward! Lead us out."

Douglas-Ward: "Aye, aye, General!"

Douglas-Ward: "AJAX! --- By the centre, --- MARCH!"

Pettygree: "Ajax's shore party led the parade into the streets of Alexandria."

Pettygree: " A grizzled aged man was the first to see us coming. I wondered if he had served with the Mahdi or Khalifi years before."

Pettygree: "Inhabitants began coming out to observe our march."

Pettygree: " Our 15 Pounder Section...."

Pettygree: "Followed the blue jackets."

Pettygree: "Next marched the 27th Bombay Miners and Sappers."

Pettygree: "Back on parade the 10th Hussars were soon to trot off."

Pettygree: "Observed by city dwellers atop the roof of their home."

Trooper Ham: "My dear Corey, who d'ya s'pose that chap is riding the camel?"

Trooper Corey: "Oh did I forget to tell you? Sorry mate! Just last night at a dinner party, the General leaned over, gingerly touched my elbow and secretly told me who he was."

Trooper Ham: "Ain't you in a cheeky mood! Never mind."

Trooper Corey: "Oh don't mind me my dear fellow. I've no idea who he is. Strange we don't know though."

Pettygree: "The procession marched and trotted along."

Pettygree: "All was polite and peaceful until...."

Pettygree: "A European woman drew a revolver on a suspicious chap on her premises!"

Pettygree: "Several ratings turned to view the situation and render assistance if needed."

Pettygree: "Apparently it was nothing. The halted parade soon moved on again."

May 26, 1903 -- {ABOUT NOON}

Pettygree: " 2/66th followed along in the last portion of the parade."

Pettygree: "Looking very smart as expected."

Pettygree: "Mary and Alexandra had joined the parade too. We rode behind the 66th."

Pettygree: "The 2/Seaforths followed me at the ready guarding the rear of our procession."

 Pettygree: "The parade continued with no further problems."

Pettygree: "The expression as peaceful as a walk in Hyde Park came to mind."

Pettygree: "Hopefully the march would produce desired results."

Pettygree: "Would the enemy respond to my tincture? I prayed they would. Odds were long. Time would tell."

MAY 26 and JUNE 9, 1903

Narrator: Word did indeed spread south throughout the land of Egypt and The Soudan. One self-appointed messenger of many was Malusi Dosi.

Talia: "Grandfather, I beg you! On this journey, do not go!

Malusi Dosi: "Cherished one, I must. What I have seen to our people must be told. Kit and I will be protected. It is the...."

Talia: "No! I beg your forgiveness for speaking so, but...."

Malusi Dosi: "See do you not, the urgency? The boat leaves for Kirbekan in the morning. I must go. Pray for us my Granddaughter."

Later in The Soudan:

Malusi Dosi: "Are any warriors near?"  

Ramba: "Honoured old one, yes, even in wretched Kirbekan. Turn around and see four starting a mad quest."

Malusi Dosi: "Warriors, beg you I do to return to your homes and families."

Makum: "Old one, why?"

Malusi Dosi: "Have you not heard stories of the ruin of the Khalifa's Army at the hands of the soldiers from beyond the sea only a few years ago? They will return with even greater vengeance if you continue. I have seen them forming in the north. You are doomed unless you heed my words!"

Tamik: "This time we will prevail!"

Malusi Dosi: "Hear me young brave ones! Even greater vengeance said I. The Khalifa was doomed to failure even with his thousands. You are too because of dishonour."

Rakamin Ibrahim: "I don't believe you. How?"

Malusi Dosi: "Before the Khalifa, the Engleesch sent one great man to restore order here. Against the Mahdi's command, he was dishonourably murdered. Yet he has returned."

Makum: {Laughing} "Who old one? A ghost!"

Malusi Dosi: "Yes. Against an apparition you cannot - must not - fight. There is no hope if you continue this madness."

Malusi Dosi: "For Gordon Pasha's ghost has returned to vanquish you!"



1) Gordon's ghost! Impossible you say? True or not we'll see next time how many warriors heeded the words of Malusi Dosi and others spreading eyewitness stories they saw Gordon's avenging spirit in General Pettygree's Army. How will their tales colour the morale of  enthusiastic warriors?

2) The image below shows percentile dice on their way down to rest in a building courtyard. Should the white die read 1 and the red die read 4, 14% of the warriors massing in The Soudan will superstitiously return home. Chapter 70 will reveal the actual score.

3) All buildings and the small river boat are from Miniature Building Authority. Chuck L. painted Malusi Dosi. Der Alte Fritz (Jim P. of Minden and Fife and Drum Miniatures) painted the Seaforths. John P. painted the shore party and 10th Hussars. Ajax is from The Virtual Armchair General.

4) Thank YOU for looking in.

5) Reader remarks are sought below and will appear after a brief pause for approval. Spammers are still trying but always failing to post nonsense here. General Pettygree and Gordon Pasha look forward to reading your sentiments.


Patrick Phillips said...

Great stuff Bill! And I love the, er, return of Gordon Pasha!

Stryker said...

A sheer joy to read as always with your posts!

Robert Herrick said...

Pettygree's Tincture of Obfuscation, a patent medicine for the discerning general faced with unwanted hordes and unpleasant problems.

One part force, one part mysticism, one part poor intelligence and a secret ingredient yet to the revealed to the public.

Some superb paradework there, and a pleasant set of images and storytelling, as always.

Phil said...

Once again, an excelent work, love your beautiful stories, really stunnning!

tidders2 said...

Excellent, very enjoyable

-- Allan

A J said...

Splendid! The might of Empire on display, with some suitable jiggery-pokery in the works too! I look forward to more.

Squibzy / Richard Hubbard said...

It's General Gordon! ... It is! It is! ... I just *knew* he hadn't been killed ... I just *knew* he'd return again when Britain needed him most once again...

Oh, what fun and mischief you've spread abroad, Bill! And what a superb turn out of men marching through great scenic! Thanks again for a crackin' tale.

Squibzy / Richard Hubbard said...

"It's General Gordon, I tell you! I've seen the Great Gordon Pasha once again! It is! It is! I just *knew* he hadn't been killed, only wounded, and escaped... I just *knew* he'd come back one day when Britain needed him again!"

Crackin' tale, Bill, and as usual well painted soldiers marching through triffic scenery!

Larry Stehle said...

Truely? Gordan Pasha has returned?

Time will tell....Great photos!!

Frontis said...

Always a treat to see a new installment. Love your work, thank you for sharing and giving us all inspiration to work our own corners of the miniature world. I was quite taken with the figure of "Malusi Dosi" and had a nice stroll through the list of manufacturers you provided but couldn't land him. Could you tell me who makes/made him?

Robert Herrick said...

Frontis, he's a Foundry figure out of Darkest Africa - one of the Zanzibari packs, IIRC.

Gallia said...

Here is Foundry's link:
Bill P.

Frontis said...

Many thanks Rob and Gallia!

Found him at Foundry and he arrived yesterday. Now to apply paint - I'm thinking of naming him "Mahbub Ali" and giving him a red beard!

Dai said...

When will the next installment arrive!? Really do love your commitment to this story very much. Keep up the good work!

I nominated you for a Liebster Award. :)

Gallia said...

Thank you.
Dai, the next installment will possibly be in the next 1-3 months.

paul tomsett said...

Hi Bill,
Just signed up ,but been following several of your blogs for sometime. Always something to look forward to.
I wonder if you would be so kind as to ID a figure please. Expedition to Alexandrapour chapter X To The Unknown. female in crowd shown in IMG1026,1028,1029,1034,1045,and 1046. Wearing green skirt , white blouse , brown waistcoat , very small black hat with green decoration on left side , arms to sides , may be holding gun in right hand ? Spent a great deal of time looking , but unable to find. Hope you can help.

Gallia said...

Hi Paul,
The lady is not mine. She is borrowed from the friend collection of one of two friends. She is not Chuck's. He checked around for you and could not find anything on the net either. I'll ask Randy and see what he says. Did you try the Old Glory collections of interesting characters; forgot the genre. Check back in a day or two.
Meanwhile thank you for your kind remarks. I appreciate it very much.

Gallia said...

Hi Paul
Eureka! My friend Randy is the owner of the casting saying, "I identified the figure. I bought her from Brigade games (But I am not seeing the line know). It was figures from or inspired from the movies League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. There was one female it is her, she has a pistol in her hand."
Good Luck Paul,

Gallia said...

Hi Paul,
Here she is at Brigade Games Miniatures under the manufacturer Paroom:
Best Wishes,