It was on the Grand Parade that I first saw the baron trying to teach a rudimentary drill to a gaggle of soldiers. The soldiers’ clumsy mistakes were almost funny, but when I remembered how Brandywine had been lost because the Continentals couldn’t maneuver quickly enough, the smile died on my face and I watched the man who hoped to change this.
He was no graceful youth like the redheaded Lafayette. If anything, the baron’s big nose and apoplectic temper put me in mind of Squire Cheyney. As he watched the men colliding and dropping their muskets, he jumped up and down in a rage. Though I understood not a word of foreign tongues, it was easy to see that the words issuing from his lips were not flowery compliments.
“I wonder what that language is,” I muttered.
“’Tis French—but the words are not familiar ones,” Sandy unexpectedly replied. “Oh, wait—that I understood.”
“What did he say?” I asked, stunned at Sandy’s knowledge. Despite my mother’s urgings, my book learning was all too meager. Even reading was too taxing to be pleasurable.
Sandy choked. “He . . . er . . . insulted their mothers.”
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