Monday, 2 January 2012

Rifles & Diplomatic Bags

Count Olaf's hunting Lodge

Count Olaf sat at the rough oak table in what served as dining room to his hunting lodge. Before him lay a number of oily rags and half a dozen pieces of what made up his favourite fowling rifle.

It was a very expensive English piece and he made a number of mental calculations as to the cost of equipping a squadron of dragoons with such weapons. Expensive, but a hundred mobile men with rifles accurate to three hundred yards would be a formidable and mobile force. He must mention the idea to General Bojollay.

The sound of hoofs in the cobbled yard made Olaf sigh. Undoubtedly the diplomatic bags for him to plough through: how tedious. He had hoped to be shooting duck at the side of the lake before the courier arrived. Within a minute a footman in shabby green livery entered the dining room with the red velvet bag. At least there was only one bag today.

Olaf emptied the contents around the lock, stock and barrel and immediately picked out the pale yellow parchment with the blue wax seal not much smaller than a saucer. Only the Emperor and the Duke of Fromagere were so ostentatious and Olaf guessed it was not from the Emperor.

He tore open the seal and read the long letter from his hated neighbour. The damned cheek of the man…

The door opened again, this time General Bojollay waddled in. Olaf turned and said: “You will never guess, old fellow, what that damnable Fromagere has suggested.”

“It cannot be good news, Olaf,” replied the general. “For a small army of Fromagere's is massing along the river as we speak.”

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