|'A Rake's Progress'|
(If 'progress' means being waved at the backsides of some sheep)
“You! Peasant!” Bawled a red-faced Fenwickian sergeant at a hapless looking fellow in a smock holding a rake. “Hmmm? Me, sir?” replied Gangulphus Schnittersplitte trying hard not to trip over the rake in his surprise. “Of course bleedin’ you, you bleedin' ‘orrible specimen! Get those bleedin’ sheep shifted sharpish or you’ll feel my bleedin’ boot so far up your bleedin’ jacksy you’ll be polishin’ it wiv your bleedin’ tonsils!” The words “I really shouldn’t be here you know” paused momentarily on the tip of Gangulphus’ tongue before retreating hastily as his brain took in the size of the sergeant’s feet. Instead he prodded hopefully at the sheep with his rake and said: “Get along there! Good sheep, erm, come by or something...” as the herd ambled it’s way a little further toward the waiting cooking pots of Fort Pippin some four miles up the road.
And he really shouldn’t have been there. Three days ago as an aspiring writer desperate to research the essential truth of Fenwickian peasant life Gangulphus had, in a fit of romanticism, exchanged clothes with a local shepherd. The next day he fell foul of Fenwick’s rather antiquated laws of serfdom when he not only failed to persuade the recalcitrant former shepherd to take back his smock and breeks, but was equally unable to convince the local authorities that he was anything but a peasant with ideas, some of them possibly dangerous, and all certainly well above his station. And now he found himself doing his best to shoo sheep up a dusty road as part of the Imperial attempt to strengthen the beleaguered garrison of Fort Pippin with a delivery of gunpowder, grain and fresh meat. The convoy of wagons was guarded by detachments of regular infantry at head and tail and flanked by further infantry and two squadrons of Pflöpwinckel’s Dragoons to the left whilst two platoons of Col Antondekk’s Jägers busily trampled the kitchen garden of the farm to the right of the column, scrumping turnips as they went.
|'A field full of turnips.'|
(Some of which are vegetables in the farm's garden.)