Gisel’s Ride.

This exercise is coming to a close, so it may be a good time to mention that I started posting from “A Regency Bagatelle “ on May 31st. If you’d like to read the posts in order I’m afraid you’ll have to put up with the upside-down nature of blogs and track the posts in reverse. I’m thinking that I may post the whole Bagatelle as a download on my website http://christopherhoare.ca but that won’t be for awhile yet. I thought to put it in the Creative Commons, that would allow others to a limited degree of use and derivation, but really as a chance to see how the system works.

Ah well, all in good time. Meanwhile let’s see what trouble Gisel can get into on a thoroughbred in rural Regency Derbyshire.

Mr Author and Miss Georgiana hurried to the stable yard to join Mr Darcy and an anxious Mrs Darcy as Gisel appeared from the stable leading a large black horse by his halter. She was wearing her Iskander Security black combat fatigues with the silver unit and rank badges—Mr Author was unaware she had brought such attire with her. Two of the stable lads followed behind them carrying a light English saddle and various items of horse tack.

“Tha should take care o’ he, Miss. He do bite if ‘e gets ‘is chance,” the senior of the lads was saying.

“Thank you,” she replied. “I appreciate everyone’s concern, but I have spent most of this last summer in the company of cavalrymen, and such a mix of mounts as to acquaint me with the foibles of most of the equestrian species.” She turned her head to meet Mr Author’s eye as she said this, as if to say, ‘notice how I’m learning to speak like these people’.

“Cavalry?” echoed Miss Darcy, her eyes full of the sight of a young woman in military uniform.

Mr Darcy turned to look at his sister. “I would prefer you to return to the house, Georgiana.”

Gisel stopped in the middle of the yard and took the bridle from the stable lad with the tack. “I’ll hand you the halter when I’ve fitted the bridle.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

Miss Georgiana looked beseechingly at her brother, but his frown sent her walking slowly to the doorway to the kitchen garden and the terrace. Mr Author had no doubt but that she would stop to listen to the proceedings as soon as she was out of her brother’s sight.

Mr Darcy stepped closer to Mr Author to speak quietly. “What on earth is this nonsense about cavalry, Sir? I hesitate to doubt the young lady, but she seems rather given to exaggeration.”

Mr Author watched a moment as Gisel slid the halter onto her right arm. Agamemnon attempted to refuse the bit, but she slipped her thumb between the bars to set the bit into his mouth before he could back away. Her right hand raised the bridle to pull it over his ears. “I’m afraid it was no exaggeration, Sir. She was appointed to assist their cavalry general this summer campaign season, and was attached to his staff. I feel sure that among the fifty squadrons in the field there were many young officers who were tempted to test her with pranks and jokes.”

Gisel must have heard him. “I’ve learned not to challenge a wall with a ditch hidden behind it,” she said loudly, “I know enough to check a mount and trappings from nose to tail—and all the shoes twice, before accepting an invitation to ride; and I assure you I know enough not to take any wager that is less than one that would frighten any young lieutenant with certain penury.” With that she took the saddle from the other lad to set on Agamemnon’s back. He turned his head quickly as if to bite, but she put out an elbow into his cheek that dissuaded him.

“Good heavens,” Mr Darcy said. “It seems she is a horsewoman after all.”

Mrs Darcy joined them. “You cannot stop her? She will be safe?”

Mr Author smiled reassuringly. “I venture to say that Miss Matah is far safer on the back of any horse than I would ever be . . . and safer than many young bloods who fancy themselves expert enough to join a steeplechase. The cavalry general took a personal interest in ensuring she was capable of keeping up with his staff and tackling any challenge the squadrons would be required to take.” He didn’t divulge that General Lord Ricart of Amberden was also having an affair with her at the time.

Gisel straightened from tightening the girth and took the reins to walk Agamemnon a couple of circles around the yard. When she stopped before them again she bent to reach the girth and tightened it another notch. She stood and patted Agamemnon on the neck. “I know that trick, Old Chap.”

The groom arrived from the stable, leading a blaze chestnut by the reins. “Are ye ready to ride, Lady?”

Gisel put a foot in the stirrup and settled into the saddle. She checked her seat as the groom mounted his horse, and urged Agamemnon forward when he tried to back. “Yes, I’m ready. We’ll start at a canter until the mounts are warmed up.”

With that, she touched a hand to her forehead in salute and rode out the stable gate.

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2 Responses to “Gisel’s Ride.”

  1. Joylene Butler (@cluculzwriter) Says:

    I bet there isn’t one thing Gisel who do if she puts her mind to it. Lovely scene.

  2. http://cluculzwriter.blogspot.com Says:

    Gads, you’d think I drank or something. I meant can do. LOL. And no, I don’t drink.

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