Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Battle of kleine Furz

 My Dearest Irma,
I write to you, exultant nay triumphant on the field of Mars. Oh my dear, dear sister, I have seen the elephant. Not of course one of those exquisite creatures of the order of pachydermata, although truth be told I have seen several of those, but rather the charge of bayonets, the whiff of grapeshot, the smell of powder.
Our army is presently encamped in the ‘rugged’ lands of Covonia, at a place called kleine Furz in their barbaric tongue. Let not the meanness of its name confound you my dear, this is a most pleasant place; charming hills and delightful woods abound. Why my dear I have seen several species of even toed ungulates and Bovidae, whilst Accipitridae and Pandioninae circle the skies. Although, alas, I have not seen sight nor sound of any Strigidae to remind me of our beloved Gormenghast.

Our esteemed Constable has been struck with the Gout, a veritable podagra of the metatarsal-phalangeal joint. It was most fortunate that I was present to intervene with all my knowledge of the physician’s art. The Constable has been leeched and bled and I like to think that it was only through the administration of our splendid friends the Hirudo medicinalis that the Constable was able to take the field of battle.

The encounter was a short sharp affair. The Covonians defended a ridge line in a long thin line, with cavalry on their right. A most irregular deployment, I am led to believe. Our Constable masked the centre of their line with infantry and guns, whilst four regiments of Foote, in columns, formed on our right flank. These marched ahead with such alacrity it was a marvel to behold. The precision of the Gormenghastian evolutions was such that, within a blink of an eye, they had formed two lines on the enemy’s flank. 

The High Linctus looks on aghast at the Constable's evolving columns.

Thereafter, it was simply a case of volley and charge and the end of the enemy line was put to flight. Oh how the scoundrels ran! Now the Constable was poised to roll up the enemy line but upon my word if the most peculiar incident did not occur. I shall eat my hat if it isn’t so. Why bless me if a little fellow, on a horse, didn’t dash from the Covonian lines carrying a white flag. Of course the Constable, being a complete Gentleman, was only too happy to grant them the honours of war.

So there we stood, in possession of the field, as the Covonian army marched away. And I do believe that we hadn’t lost a single fellow from the Gormenghastian ranks! If that is the measure of campaigning I do believe I may be home soon.
Please remember to water my Peace Lily.
Your most affectionate brother,

Alfred Prunesquallor, Physician to the army of Gormenghast

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