Denis Pack 01

Era una fecha imposible para cualquier subdito britanico, al menos en el actual estado del mundo. La fecha, Denis sabia, era Navidad, pero el calor era insoportable. Sus soldados estaban cansados hasta los huesos, bañados en sudor y enojados con el clima, la humedad y la sed. Pero eran soldados de su Majestad el Rey, los duros highlanders escoceses. Resistirían, como habian resistido antes.
Este destino de mareo y humedad es, de todas maneras, el comun destino de marineros, de soldados, pensó Denis. Estaba a bordo del HSM Diadem, la nave insignia de la expedición. El teniente comandante Baird lo habia llamado, a él y a todos los oficiales. La costa africana ya se pintaba en el horizonte, verde y prospera como se la habia imaginado.

It was a unconcevible date for any British subject, at least in the current status of the world. The date, Denis knew, was Christmas, but the heat was unbearable. Their soldiers were also tired till the bones, angry with the heat, the humidity and the thirst. That is the fate of sailors, not soldiers, he thought. He was abroad the HMS Diadem, the flagship of the expedition. The lieutenant commander Baird has called him. The african coast was finally there, green and hot and luscious as he has imagined.
Then again, the hardship of dead sea navigation have finally ended. The rough sea has been replaced with calm waters and a firm breeze. A sailor has told Denis that storms are coming indeed, but no cloud veiled the african sun currently.
When Denis was a young corporal in the British army, in the eve of Quiberon, he has been exultant and anxious. Now, he was skeptic and grim. The other officers abroad were not happier. First of all, General Baird has a shadow in his face, a morose expression of dauntness. General Beresford was not different; he was scratching his well-shaved grim. The only person that looked happy in the entire ship was the Commodore Popham, a man of many talents. His round belly was more appropriate for a innkeeper that a Royal Army Officer, but here he was, and everybody else was there too.
The General Baird opened the dissertation. He has deprived himself of any pomp or circumstance, wigless and disarmed . They have tried to have the meeting in the Comodore's cabin, but it has proven to be unfeasible. The natural option was the bridge, open and fresh.
'That was a truly long sailing, gentlemen. In my initial calculations, I had thought we would have come at this point at the early days of February. I'm proud of the seamanship of our fleet and the sage hand of Commodore Popham'. Popham smiled and nodded, midly pleased.
'Our destiny is at our reach. The city of Capetown is less than two hundred miles from us. Our armada's vanguard has already arrived there, blocking any outgoing ship. No french reinforcement will come, not that they even have a ship to send them' Everybody laughed. None of us has been in the recent battle in the Mediterranean, where our beloved Admiral Nelson perished. But all us had earned the tales and stories; how the french fleet has became annihilated by the precise maneuver. The puny Spaniards tried to save his fleet, the linchpin of his failing maritime empire, but with no avail. Britannia rules the seas now, more than ever.
'The plain of the operation is really simply. We are going to disembark a few miles of the town, when the weather and the navigation hazard allows for a clean takedown. Then, we will march by the beach escorted by Commodore's ships. A simple and straightforward plan; no thing could be mishandled". Dennis nodded, a bit absentminded, remembering the disaster at Quiberon.
General Beresford spoke with his rough, wheezy voice. He was, like Denis himself, born and raised in Ireland; the natural son of a Marquiss from Ulster. But he appears to be a typical english officer: tall and daunty,

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