Chapter 46 - Road
Any chapter with someone donkey-stoning a step must be good;
Dashing Daniel, at the head of the column, reined in his horse by a cottage where a middle aged woman was donkey stoning the front step.
More cinematic manoeuvres and characters’ interactions with the background of war and the quest for Tuerqui’s daughter. I don’t follow every innuendo of the action or plot, I’m sure, but this does not seem to diminish my enjoyment. Perhaps I’ll never know for certain, however.
Jane (Armstrong) seems to be developing as a character rather late in the day (as I can see the thickness of the book left to read (ie: it’s coming to a close soon)).
10 become 6 and 4 again as the group divides intent on different ends, and Jane follows Tuerqui, making 7 in that sub-group.
Two exemplary passages:
We made camp at least an hour before sunset, on a wooded hilltop overlooking a crossroads. The ways to the east, along which we had come, and to the west were quiet. By contrast, there was a lot of north-south traffic which, after a period of uncertainty, I recognised as members of my father’s guard and some of their allies. The progress of the troops showed no great hurry and I concluded that neither the Green Ford nor Teddy’s Town had fallen.
Unless either Modesty or Alicia could devise a better plan, we were all – I realised – at the mercy of unknown female assailants. The fact of their being women meant that they were almost certainly Surrey troops. Perhaps, were the gags removed, we could convince them of our being their compatriots – although the inclusion of Daniel and Carp Eye in our party would make this less convincing. There was also, I suddenly recalled, Captain Grace’s warrant – and, just as that thought occurred to me, the soldiers must have discovered the document.
Waste, indeed (!):
“Bad business, that. Waste of totty. Girls shouldn’t go to war.”
'Murder machines' – large multiple crossbows, generally mounted on wheeled carriages. Usually, they discharged either 100 or 144 quarrels. The front was a square plank structure with arrow holes evenly spaced. The largest examples of this period had 20 x 20 arrow holes and fired 400 quarrels. Usually, each murder machine was operated by six soldiers commanded by a bombardier. A battery comprised, more often than not, six machines commanded by a captain and two sergeants. They were most useful in the first hour of battle and any that survived at Teddy’s Town would have been withdrawn long before this. It is not known how many were deployed in this battle, but the phrase 'whole batteries' suggests at least twelve.
Should be ‘gatherers’:
It’s unlikely that the tax gathers will accept my signature.
Word docs of the actual chapters are freely available to readers of this blog.
The links to all Chapter comments by me are here: http://weirdmonger.blogspot.com/2008/06/odalisque.html