In the Irish Brigade A Tale of War in Flanders and Spain

#Fiction #War & Military
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Excerpt Chapter 1: Fresh from Ireland. A number of officers of O'Brien's regiment of foot, forming a part of the Irish Brigade in the service of France, were gathered in a handsome apartment in the Rue des Fosses, on the 20th of June, 1701, when the door opened, and their colonel entered with a young officer in the uniform of the regiment. "I have asked you here, gentlemen all," he said, "to present to you a new comrade, Desmond Kennedy, who, through the good offices of the Marshal de Noailles, has been appointed, by His Gracious Majesty, to a cornetcy in our regiment. "Now, gentlemen, I have known, and doubtless you can all of you recall, instances where the harmony of a regiment has been grievously disturbed, and bad blood caused, owing to the want of a clear understanding upon matters connected with a family; which might have been avoided, had proper explanations been given at the commencement. I have spoken frankly to Mr. Kennedy, and he has stated to me certain particulars, and has not only authorized me, but requested me to repeat them to you, feeling that you had a right to know who it was that had come among you, and so to avoid questioning on matters that are, of all others, prone to lead to trouble among gentlemen. "Beyond the fact that he is a Kennedy, and that his father had to fly from Ireland, two years after the siege of Limerick, owing to a participation in some plot to bring about a fresh rising in favour of King James, he is unacquainted with his family history. He has never heard from his father, and only knows that he made for France after throwing the usurper's spies off his track, and there can be little doubt that it was his intention to take service in this brigade. There have been several Kennedys in the service, and I have little doubt that this young gentleman's father was the Murroch Kennedy who joined the third regiment, about that time, and was killed a few months afterwards at the battle of Breda. His death would account for the fact that his son never received a letter from him. At the time when he left Ireland, the child was some two years old, and, as communication was difficult, and the boy so young, Murroch might very well have put off writing until the boy grew older, not thinking that death might intervene, as it did, to prevent his doing so. "This is all simple and straightforward enough, and you will, I am sure, have no hesitation in extending the hand of friendship to the son of a gallant Irishman, who died fighting in the ranks of the Irish Brigade, exiled, like the rest of us, for loyalty to our king. "Still, gentlemen, you might, perhaps, wonder how it is that he knows no more of his family, and it was that this question might be disposed of, once for all, that I am making this statement to you on his behalf. He was not brought up, as you might expect, with some of his father's connections. Whether the family were so scattered that there was no one to whom he could safely entrust the child, I know not, but, in point of fact, he sent him to one of the last houses where a loyal gentleman would wish his son to be brought up....
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