Blouse

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Lieutenant Blouse
Blank.jpg
Name Blouse
Race Human
Age Youngish
Occupation Lieutenant in the Borogravian army
Physical appearance A bit feminine, lacking in the chin department
Residence Borogravia
Death
Parents
Relatives a 'darling Emmeline'
Children
Marital Status
Appearances
Books Monstrous Regiment
Cameos


Lieutenant Blouse is a junior officer of the Borogravian regiment known as the "Ins-and-Outs", recently re-assigned from quartermaster duties to front-line command of a platoon which includes the redoubtable Sgt. Jackrum and an odd collection of new recruits. Despite his rank, he is quite incompetent and not very qualified for dealing with the realities of war. He also has a tendency to miss the extremely obvious. Despite this, he seems to be liked by his subordinates, if not hugely respected. His main ambition is to have something named after him, preferably an article of clothing or a recipe (which of course has resonance with such famous Roundworld characters as the Duke of Wellington, Lord Raglan, le Compte de Mahon, Garibaldi and the Earl of Cardigan - all famous military men whose names have become indicative of items of apparel or food or both). He is public school educated with a love of amateur dramatics, so used to servants that he cannot actually shave himself.

A weak-chinned man with an Adam's apple like a ball on an elastic string, Lt. Blouse was promoted from 2nd Lt. in the Blankets, Bedding and Horse-Fodder Department due to there being NO other officers left in the entire Borogravian army who could possibly lead "men" to war. He cannot use a sword (in fact he manages to cut his own sword hand whilst attempting to do so, which is practically impossible), cannot ride well and seems to have no grasp of any military tactics. At least, that is, until they are actually necessary, when he comes up trumps with an ingenious scheme to capture and use enemy information and then feed them misinformation.

While his privileged upbringing and classical education have failed to prepare him for many of the problems of life and war (e.g. shaving), the description of Major Mountjoy-Standfast in Night Watch would apply largely to Blouse as well. They are part of the class of junior and staff officers who get the boots to the field and the horses fed despite the obstacles raised by their commanders. Blouse is no fool; in fact he may be a mathematical genius. As soon as he saw a clacks tower, he imagined a data-compression algorithm to speed up transmission – Moist von Lipwig would like to have him working with the Smoking Gnu.

His scheme to infiltrate a castle disguised as a washerwoman is entirely ridiculous but somehow works. He is promoted beyond his dreams by the end of the book, and presumably returns to Emmeline in triumph. Eventually he achieves his greatest dream when an article of clothing is named after him – a sort of fingerless glove.


Annotation

His horse, Thalacephalos, is an evil-tempered mare with a proud name. Thalacephalos was the legendary stallion (Blouse really is shortsighted) of General Tacticus, the most famous soldier in Discworld history. There is another Roundworld echo here, as Bucephalos ("Oxhead") was the mount of Alexander the Great. Thalacephalos has three possible meanings:

1) Greek Thalame meaning "den" or "lair", "cave", thus "thala-" meaning "empty" = empty-headed;

2) "Thallus" meaning a plant body = stem-head; or

3) Thallus standing in for "Phallus" meaning "penis" = dick-headed.

It's your choice which Terry meant...

Blouse - a somewhat dated Northern English piece of invective, directed at somebody who is male but being rather effeminate or otherwise "girly", is to call him a Big Girl's Blouse...

Blouse may, in one or two zones of the Multiverse, have got his wish concerning having in item of clothing named after him. Leaving aside "blouse = lady's button-fronted shirt", the French army still refers to a soldier's tunic as "un blouson", the German as "eine Feldbluse," and the US Marines as, well, a blouse.