Wednesday, June 20, 2007

On a galley ,off the Gallian coast ,at 10pm..........

Von Bergman:
And now gentlemen we have enjoyed a most glorious repast. We have talked as men of refinement and as men of honour.The hour is getting late.My master the Duke had instructed me,before the voyage began,to make contact with representitives of Gallia. This I duly accomplished.I spent time,most esteemed time, in your company . Now as the hour gets late and Midsommer approaches I ask you to tell us how Tradgarland can be of service to you and what we shall gain in return. Speak plainly Sir, I am tired and need to rest. Let us complete the matter this very night. All open for discussion!Come Sir will you not speak your mind and heart?


Gallia said...

The Gallian Diplomat l'Comte de Rapproachement replies,

I do not speak my mind but that of my King through the Foreign Minister the Prince de Charade. I am obliged to confirm my government will:

Item #1: Agree to consider silks for your flags. You must understand colleague, we were unaware of this need until your arrival here.

Item #2: Assist where we are able when complimenting our interests to encourage allied states to consider your nation's marriagable royal daughters. There may be an answer found in Saxe-Raschstein's Crown Prinz, the son of Prinz Wilhelm should Catholicism not be an impediment.

Item #3: We would not object to military interventions on the part of your nation if directed toward Pommerania or East Prussia. This I have alluded to as "The Pommeranian Gambit", a renewal of your nations desires of the 17th Century. To be frank, such success on your part there would be of inestimable assistance in the Germanian War between Gallia, Freyburg, Saxe-Raschstein and our other allies versus Hesse-Seewald, Britannia, Frederick himself and their allies.

Item #4: Should Item #3 be of value, then I believe naval assistance by our fleet would become available to discombobulate Britannian cruisers off your shores. We undertand they have been an inconvenience in your sea-going trade. You know their appetite for trade by sea and their desire for monopoly as witnessed in the New World and the Carnatic. Indeed, colleague, Gallia is fighting in Germania to preserve her colonies and trade in The New World.

I beg to rest my case deferring to your reflections. We have some time left, but the hour is late as you have said. I see you are tired and l'Vengeance sails with me and the tide in a few hours. Allow me to pour you another glass of Chevert wine....if I may....

tradgardmastare said...

The hour is late .You have given me much to consider.One final request - may I have the honour of accompanying you to Paris that I might see for myself and have an audience with your master. I travel light , my man servent has my trunk ready. I am ready what say you Sir?

Gallia said...


Some hours later, l'Vengeance stood out to sea on the outgoing tide bearing up for LeHavre. The ship broad reached for several hours sailing well clear of the Gallian lee shore but not so close to Britannia as to tempt any enemy crusiers that might be working inshore there.

l'Vengeance was newly commissioned in the year 1754. Her smooth lines were left in resplendent natural wood in the style of the Gallians who disdain applying paint to their warships, natural varnishes being preferred. Armed with forty broadside guns, pairs of chasers fore and aft, a long waterline length to enhance speed and a fine crew of experienced officers and sailors, her press of off-white canvas has turned many eyes to remark of her grace, beauty, handling and speed.

That the Britannians know of her is a certainty and we must believe there is a desire to capture or ruin her during the current war. Yet with so many enemy warships on New World service, in the Carnatic and escorting troopships to Germania, the numerically inferior Gallian fleet need not overly worry about overwhelming odds unless ships are deliberately sent out to take her. Portsmouth afterall lies just over the horizon. A potential for mischief is therefore close at hand.

Yet with the neutral diplomat von Bergman aboard, l'Comte de Rapprochement is eased a litte perhaps beyond reason that his guest offers an increased measure of safety to all concerned. The two stand at the quarterdeck lee rail remarking upon a curious but common gull when from aloft comes the cry....

"Deck there! Deck! Frigate bearing down to intercept us out of a mist. She wears no flags Sir."

"Where away?"

"Forward amidships Sir off to starboard and hull down for you."

"C'est mal. She has the weather gauge. Beat to quarters and call the capitaine."

In seconds bare feet thunder across and below decks readying the ship for possible battle to the drumbeat of the familiar duty call. The two diplomats turn to see the ship's capitaine emerge from his companionway. As he jams his gold laced tricornered hat upon his head, his servant buckles on his #1 fighting sword. He moves to the weather rail as a telescope is thrust in his outstretched hand by the officer of the deck....

Gallia said...


Moments later the capitaine of l'Vengeance snapped his telescope shut. Looking at the helmsman, he

Maintain heading helmsman. The other ship will be hull up within the hour and then we'll know what game this is. Enseigne Bargot, I believe the mainmast topgallant yard could do with less shivering, sil vous plait.

Helmsman and Enseigene simultaneously say:
Oui mon Capitaine. Maintain present heading. Aye Monsieur, Tighten the maintopgallant starboard yard sheet! Vite! It spills too much wind.

von Bergman:
Does the Captain intend to engage the other ship? Colleague, do you suppose that would be prudential?

l'Comte de Rapprochement:
That I can not answer. We could suppose it is a friend or harmless neutral. Yet we must be ready for mischief from the foe. And that mist beyond his sails could hide another vessel of some kind.

I am to understand this heading with the wind coming into and through our right side is nearly our fastest point of sail. Indeed the little correction Enseigne Bargot made has given us a small boost, though I believe this is not a proper nautical term.

So, I am glad we have not changed course. Speed my dear, speed is what we need lest your, our, mission possibly comes to tears or worse. The capitaine knows this and that we have priority to arrive at Le Havre safely. Yet I wonder.

von Bergman:
I see, surely I do, but look. The captain now climbs to the top of the central mast and onto that platform. A job for a ship's crewman, boy or young officer is it not?

Oui, ordinarily but I suspect he desires to see her hull and perhaps identify the mystery ship now so much on everyone's mind. Do you see? He peers through the persepctive glass, the telescope I mean, to asertain the other's identity. Now he turns to look below shouting,

"Deck! Deck there! She is the....

Dear reader. The other ship is a frigate, we know. But to whom does she belong? And what is her mission? Will she be a friend, foe or fiend?

tradgardmastare said...

I await the next installment with a mixture of trepidation and excitement!
Keep up the good work!