…cont

Goodness, how I have run on, and I have scarcely recounted the first morning’s events! I must try to be more brief, or my reader will fall to slumber, if you have not already, my dear idle sister.

The men all marched away after lunch, in order to prepare for the afternoon skirmish. This left me free to explore more of the site, particularly the fine men of the American Civil War camp. The hospitality of the Americans has not been overstated, they were remarkably welcoming and every thing charming. I was just making the acquaintance of a fine officer from Hood’s Texas Brigade when a loud volley shattered the peace. I took myself off to the main arena, as I felt it necessary to witness the skirmish, in case my husband fell in the battle. To my irritation, he survived, and the Frogs were triumphant.

Back to camp, whereupon Mrs T- produced her baps for all to enjoy.

Sunday

After a final night in our lodgings, we packed and repacked our conveyance until Mr F- was satisfied. I had selected my grey gown from Mrs Papendick, together with the black velvet spencer which is so becoming. I was torn between my riding hat, and the black bonnet with white silk lining, but settled on the bonnet eventually. We also took provisions for the men, obtained from the ‘Express of Tesco’, which was remarkably well-stocked for a rural supplier. After having delivered these to the camp, I took myself to Farthingales for a simple search for a black reticule. When I entered the tent, what did I see, but a second shako, in black and silver, which was a perfect match for today’s outfit! I cast aside my bonnet immediately, and secured the shako to my head without delay. How could Mr F- complain, when it was so clearly pre-destined?

After that particular argument was concluded, and Mr F- was sobbing on Mr Sm-‘s shoulder, I again betook myself to the wider display areas, where Vikings rubbed shoulders with Saxons, WWII soldiers, Royalists, and Tudors. What merry band we were, joyfully insulting each others’ preferred historical period, and ridiculing the absurd fashions of the different times! Again, a vast volley disturbed our fellowship, requiring our attention in the main arena for the Napoleonic display. Imagine my surprise to see my husband’s regiment on the field, but for the Allies this time! As it was their turn to win, the Prussians loudly proclaimed that they had ‘won both days’, which seems somewhat typical of military history.

The final part of the weekend was now concluded, so Mr F- and I made our excuses and left. The long journey back to London was enlivened by an oral commentary on a battle between a part of London and the entire city of Manchester, in which Manchester secured three victories, or some such.

I remain your devoted sister,

Sophie Frocksandbikes

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