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CHAPTER IV HOW THE TEOY GALLANTS CHALLENGED THE LOOE DIEHABDS That it was the Major's idea goes without saying. At Looe they had neither the originality for it nor the enterprise. I have already told you with what sardonic emphasis he quoted the saying that 'twas hardly worth while for Great Britain to go to war merely to prove that she could put herself in a good posture for defence. The main secret of strategy, he would add, is to impose your idea of the campaign on your enemy; to take the initiative out of his hands; to throw him on the defensive and keep him nervously speculating what move of yours may be a feint and what a real attack. If the Ministry had given the Major his head, so to speak, Agincourt at least might have been repeated. But since it enforced him to wait on the enemy's movements, at least (said he) let us be sure that our defence is secure. Concerning the Troy battery hehad not a doubt; but over the defences of Looe he could not but feel perturbed. To be sure, Looe's main battery stood out of reach of harm, but with the compensating disadvantage of being able to inflict none. This seemed to him a grave engineering blunder: but to impart his misgivings to an officer so sensitive as Captain -Eneas Pond of the East and West Looe Volunteer Artillery was a delicate matter, and cost him much anxious thought. At length he hit on a plan at once tactful and so bold that it concealed his tact. Between Looe and Troy, but much nearer to Looe, lies Talland Cove, a pretty recess of the coast much favoured in those days by smugglers as being lonely and well sheltered, with a nicely shelving beach on which, at almost any state of the tide, an ordinary small boat could berun and her cargo discharged with the greatest ease. A reef of rock on the eastern side of...