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datatime: 2022-12-03 21:52:32 Author:zzXQewQe

Harper looked over the ramparts, at the drifting smoke. 'Just four shots. That's good shooting.' There was a reluctant respect in his voice.

'What day is it?'

Lossow stood up, wiped blood from his hands. 'We must get out of here!'

'Yes, sir.'

The Irishman grinned. 'Wouldn't worry, sir. It doesn't offend me and if it offends Him then He's plenty of opportunity to punish you.'

'Yes, sir.'

'Amen to that, sir.' Harper had infinitely more patience.

'You want to go?'

'Just a bruise.' Lossow saw the midshipman's head. 'Good God.' He knelt by Charles, felt for a pulse, and opened one of the Captain's eyelids. 'Dead, poor fellow.'

'Just a bruise.' Lossow saw the midshipman's head. 'Good God.' He knelt by Charles, felt for a pulse, and opened one of the Captain's eyelids. 'Dead, poor fellow.'

'Yes.' Sharpe's shoulder hurt like the devil. 'Where's the boy?'

Christ, thought Sharpe, Christ and a thousand deaths. Damn the bloody French, damn the bloody gunner, and he might as well have stayed in the warm bed with his arms round the girl. Footsteps sounded in the doorway and he swivelled anxiously, but it was only a squad of bare-headed Portuguese soldiers, muskets slung, who dipped their fingers in the holy water and clattered up the aisle to the priest and his service.

Sharpe turned round, blood flecking his uniform, and his face grim. 'We'll get out. With or without him, we'll get out.'

'Sunday, sir.'

The Irishman grinned. 'Wouldn't worry, sir. It doesn't offend me and if it offends Him then He's plenty of opportunity to punish you.'

'Just a bruise.' Lossow saw the midshipman's head. 'Good God.' He knelt by Charles, felt for a pulse, and opened one of the Captain's eyelids. 'Dead, poor fellow.'

Sharpe turned round, blood flecking his uniform, and his face grim. 'We'll get out. With or without him, we'll get out.'

'Amen to that, sir.' Harper had infinitely more patience.

Lossow's heels clicked in the side aisle; he came from behind a pillar, blinked in the sunlight. 'Where is he?' He disappeared again.

'Sweet Jesus.' Harper stood up, 'Are you all right, sir?'

The Sergeant pointed to the head. 'Rest of him's over the wall, sir. Poor wee thing.'

Sharpe turned round, blood flecking his uniform, and his face grim. 'We'll get out. With or without him, we'll get out.'

Christ, thought Sharpe, Christ and a thousand deaths. Damn the bloody French, damn the bloody gunner, and he might as well have stayed in the warm bed with his arms round the girl. Footsteps sounded in the doorway and he swivelled anxiously, but it was only a squad of bare-headed Portuguese soldiers, muskets slung, who dipped their fingers in the holy water and clattered up the aisle to the priest and his service.

'Is that Mass?'

Harper kicked the fallen beam. 'Perhaps they can rig another telegraph, sir?'

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