From the desk where he has been busy keeping the accounts for his estate during the last few hours, General von Tschatschke hears a stirring from the direction of the chaise, in the corner of the drawing room where the dissipated General de Latte has dozed the afternoon away. Let's eavesdrop on their conversation, shall we?
"I say, de Latte!" General von Tschatschke exclaimed as he put down his quill pen and closed the ledger on his desk. "You were out like a light, old mixing bowl. It's almost six o'clock."
"Not so loud, my dear von Tschatschke. Not so loud if you please. My head feels like it may split open at any second." He sat up slowly on the maroon chaise with the golden dragon flies all over it and rearranged himself with great care. "Be so good as to ring for a footman or two." Von Tschatschke stood at the desk, approached the chaise, and examined his guest with considerable skepticism.
"What's the matter, de Latte?" he chided. "Feeling unwell are we? Thought you might want a little hair of the dog to clear your mind, old flour sifter."
"Oh, good heavens no!" General de Latte quickly replied. "Though I think I will retire to my chambers early this evening if you wouldn't mind," he added. "Tell the dining room staff not to set a place at the table for me. I'd be frightful company in my present state I'm afraid."
"You can say that again," grumbled von Tschatschke. "But what about our game? You've yet to issue orders for Turn Seven, old egg beater."
"Of course, of course," said General de Latte as he lifted a hand and rubbed his throbbing temple with the first two fingers of his left hand. From the chaise, he peered for several minutes through his pince nez at the war gaming table occupying the center of the room. Growing impatient with his guest's apparent dithering, General von Tschatschke finally pulled his pocket watch from his waistcoat. He opened it with great production, checked the time, replaced it, and then spoke.
"Come, come now, old measuring cup. We aren't getting any younger! Or do I need to set out the miniature hourglass from that Scrabble game over there on that lower bookshelf to keep your strategic ruminations in check?"
"I'm thinking!" came a Gallicly-tinged retort from the chaise.
"Well," continued General von Tschatschke, "I thought from the length of time you were taking that it had somehow slipped your mind what it was you were supposed to be concentrating on for the moment. You know. A trio of chambermaids can be a great distraction," he cracked with Teutonic precision.
"Very well," General de Latte cut in. "I've thought carefully about this, considered all of the possible tactical ramifications, and. . . " Von Tschatschke interrupted his guest.
"My dear General de Latte, do get on with it!"
"As I was saying," replied de Latte, "before I was so callously interrupted, my orders for Turn Seven are as follows. . ."
1) The Ermland Garde will advance their two left-hand companies, pivoting on the centre of the regiment and attack your charging Anspach-Beyreuth Cuirassiers with musketry.
2) Von Flickenhoffer’s Fusiliers have a company behind their main line at this moment. This will advance to fill the gap left by the Ermland Guardamd then advance as far as it is able in the direction of the enemy. The Mittau and remainder of von Flickenhofers' will advance just enough to maintain a coherent line with them.
3) The 13th (Von Auflauf) Infantry will refuse as many of their right-flank companies as space will permit to face your cavalry and attack them with musketry should they be in range.
4) All of my O’Malley’s Irish Grenzers in the copse are to fire upon your accursed Cuirassiers.
5) The Electoral Pioneer Battalion will fix bayonets and charge your pesky Jaeger zu Fuss, who have not had the sense to lie low in Eispicke Village during the entire game.
6) The Cavalry Brigade will form up behind the Mittau Regiment, the Dragons and the Grenadiers a Cheval to the front and les Hussards to the rear.
7) The gunners of the gun about to be enveloped by the charge will flee (if they can) behind the nearest friendly infantry. The battery to their rear will unlimber and fire cannister into the seething mass (ah, wishful thinking!) of horsemen.
8) Finally, the third battery will limber up and move up in the direction of the junction of the Ermlande Garde and the Fusiliers.
"And with that, my dear von Tschatscshke," concluded General de Latte, "I must take my leave for the evening. I simply can't go on. Our ongoing carousal has simply been too much for my delicate constitution!" De Latte closed his eyes and fell wearily backward onto the chaise just as two of von Tschatschke's footmen arrived in the drawing room.
"More like your pursuits behind closed doors with those three amorous valkyries, posing as chambermaids, since you joined the household last February," von Tschatschke remarked without missing a beat. "Ah, there you are," he said to the pair of footmen. "Take that piece of human wreckage up to his room and see that he is assisted in preparing for bed by his valet. Supported beneath each shoulder by a footman, de Latte groaned unintelligibly. "And de Latte?" added General von Tschatschke over his shoulder as he returned to his desk.
"Yes?" General de Latte managed.
"If I hear of any shenanigans with those three chambermaids this evening, it's your hide old whisk. You need a decent night's sleep. . . or three. I hope I've made myself clear." General de Latte saluted his host half-heartedly as the footmen dragged him from the room and left his host with a final assurance.
"Clear as the sky on a summer's day my dear von Tschatschke. No more chambermaids. I give you my word of honor."
"That's what I was afraid of, old candy thermometer," muttered von Tschatschke as he sat down once again, reopened the ledger, and dipped his quill pen into the inkwell atop the desk.